Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's a Wonderful Life Trivia Quiz!

If you’re like me, you’ve probably watched the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life at least 139 times (or maybe it just seems like that many). It’s definitely a favorite at our house. I mean, who can resist rooting for the underdog, George Bailey, and his lovely wife, Mary, as they struggle against Mr. Potter’s evil schemes?
So just for fun, I created a little It’s a Wonderful Life trivia quiz for you. Test your knowledge and see where you rate. Are you an IWL Aficionado, Fan, or Flunky?
Here we go: (Answers appear at the bottom of the post – no peeking!)
1. What famous actor was considered for the part of Mr. Potter?
a. Edward Arnold
b. Vincent Price
c. Humphrey Bogart
d. Spencer Tracy
2. According to the telegram Mr. Gower receives, Bedford Falls is in what state?
          a. Iowa
          b. Pennsylvania
          c. New York
          d. Ohio
3. Which animal appeared in every Frank Capra movie?
          a. Sassy the Squirrel
          b. Jimmy the Raven
          c. Willy the Westie
          d. Lucky the Basset Hound
4. True or False: For the scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock and hit a window in the old Granville House, Frank Capra hired a marksman to shoot out the window on cue.
          a. True
          b. False
5. Where was the school dance scene shot?
          a. The RKO studio lot
          b. Hollywood YMCA
          c. Beverly Hills High School
          d. Los Angeles YWCA
6. What is the last name of the angel sent to help George Bailey?
          a. Milford
          b. Wingley
          c. Oddbody
          d. Jones
7. How many children do George and Mary Bailey have?
          a. 5
          b. 4
          c. 3
          d. 6
8. What are the three gifts Mary Bailey gives to the Martini family when they move into their new home?
          a. bread, salt and wine
          b. a wreath, a loaf of bread and a goat
          c. wine, bread and butter
          d. a pie, a loaf of bread and wine
9. What song plays in most of Clarence’s scenes?
          a. O Holy Night
          b. Angels We Have Heard on High
          c. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
          d. O Little Town of Bethlehem
10. What was the name of the police officer in the town?
          a. Bob
          b. Ernie
          c. Joe
          d. Bert
Results (Answers Are Below):
8-10 Correct Answers: Congratulations! You have achieved the expert status of IWL Aficionado! Your friends will be amazed at your knowledge of useless movie trivia and your mother will be oh so proud!
5-7 Correct Answers: Not too shabby. You’re definitely an IWL Fan. Watch the movie a few more times this Christmas season to achieve expert status by next year.
4 or less Correct Answers: Wow. Really? Where were you when everyone else was watching the movie? Don’t worry. It’s not too late. Go out and buy your own DVD copy and watch at least once a day, and you’ll improve your score considerably.
Answers: 1. b, Vincent Price; 2. c, New York; 3. b, Jimmy the Raven; 4. a, True, but she didn't need him because the rock she threw really broke the window; 5. c, Beverly Hills High School; 6. c, Oddbody; 7. b, 4; 8. a, bread, salt and wine; 9. c, Twinkle, Twinkle; 10. d, Bert

Feel free to share this quiz with your friends on Facebook or Twitter! And remember, as Clarence once said: "No man is a failure who has friends." Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Words I Would Whisper to My Teenage Self

I wish I knew then what I know now. That who I am in Christ is all that matters. That other’s opinions of me don’t count.

I wish I could go back and tell the teenage me – that girl whose heart was hurting because her boyfriend dumped her out of the blue for a girl at camp, that girl who tried too hard to make sure everyone liked her, that girl who wondered sometimes whether God was even there – I wish I could whisper some things in her ear.

I’d speak words of truth into her heart about who she is in Christ, and this is what I’d say:

Girl, you are loved by the Almighty. You are a daughter of the King of Kings! You are precious, chosen and redeemed. Don’t let anyone belittle you or put you down! You might do some stupid stuff, and maybe friends will turn their backs on you, but it won’t be the end of the world. Remember this: You are amazing, you are beautiful, and the God of the Universe sings over you. Long before He created the world, He had you on his mind. You are worth more than gold. Jesus gave His very life for you! And He has good things planned for your life. You’ll see. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. Don’t believe the Enemy. You are good enough, because of Jesus.

I can’t go back and whisper to my teenage self. But I can whisper these words to my own two teenage girls and pray that they will truly believe them, that they will fully grasp “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:18)  I can pray that they will “know him better… and that the eyes their hearts will be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which he has called them, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

And you know what? While I’m at it, I just might whisper these things to myself, too, because a reminder would do my heart some good.

What would you whisper to your teenage self if you could?
So happy to be linking up my #WhoIAm post with the Proverbs 31 Blog Hop today! I'm learning so much through the current study, based on Renee Swope's book, A Confident Heart.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

{Day 31} ~ Wrapping It Up

To say I was apprehensive when I first started this 31 Day series on prayer would be an understatement. As I linked up my first post to The Nester’s blog, questions bounced around inside my brain. Could I really blog for 31 days on the same topic? What if I didn’t complete the task? Am I even qualified to write on this spiritual discipline? Who do I think I am?

Hmmm… I have an answer for that last question. Who do I think I am? I’m a daughter of the King, created and loved by the Almighty, and qualified through Jesus’ work on my behalf to bring my requests to God. In fact, He wants me to pray; He commands me to pray! So why not explore the amazing gift I’ve been given in prayer?

Of all the things I’ve learned through blogging about prayer for 31 days, one thing stands out: In order to have a relationship with God, I must invest in my prayer life. It’s not an option. And unlike the stock market, this investment is 100 percent guaranteed to reap eternal rewards.

So, I guess I would say that my perspective on prayer has changed quite a bit during these last 31 days. I have come to realize that prayer is not so much asking as it is listening; it’s more conversation than it is monologue.

This quote by Dutch Sheets pretty much sums it up:

Prayer is not a check request asking for things from God. It is a deposit slip – it’s a way of depositing God’s character into our bankrupt souls.
This is the last post in my 31 Days to a Powerful Prayer Life series. Find all the posts in the series here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

{Day 30} ~ Luke 24:38 ~ Examining Our Doubts

“Why are you frightened?” [Jesus] asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?” Luke 24:38 NLT

Have you ever read something and said to yourself, “Yes! This is exactly what I’m feeling! And I thought I was the only one…”? This has been my heart’s exclamation for the past three weeks, as I’ve been reading A Confident Heart by Renee Swope for this fall’s Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study.

Through Renee’s writing, I’ve realized the main source of my doubts – worrying about what others think of me. Here’s what Renee says:

We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves: how we’re performing and what others are thinking about us…. When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what He is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people’s opinions. We become overly concerned about what others think of us instead of what God thinks about us.

In order to shift our focus, we have to turn our thoughts completely toward God “by thinking about His strengths instead of my weaknesses,” Renee says.
The example of Gideon is one Renee uses in her book to brilliantly illustrate her point. At one point, Gideon was paralyzed by fear and insecurity, and during his conversation with God, he listed all the reasons why he couldn’t do the job God had asked him to do. Check out this conversation – I love Gideon’s honesty in this passage:

When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon asked, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:12-15)

Well, at least Gideon was polite when he questioned God with his “pardon me, but…” How many times have I talked to God and said similar things? “But God, I can’t do that! That takes too much time, or faith, or talent, or (fill-in-the-blank)! Ask someone stronger – I’m definitely not the one you want!”

But, you ARE the one God wants. And so am I. If He chooses me for a particular task – no matter how hard that task may seem or how unsuited for the task I might be – He will follow through. Not because of my strength, but because of His.

So, starting today, I am actively moving forward and turning away from my doubt, worry, insecurity and comparison. With God’s help, I am turning toward Him and focusing on His truth.  His truth says that because of Jesus, I am loved, I am cherished, I am valued, I am good enough, and I am His child. Nothing can ever change that!

Father, thank You for Your truth. Help me to remember that if You call me to do something for You, I have everything I need to complete that task. Your faithfulness is my refuge. Deliver me from my doubts and fears, and help me to rest in Your plan for me. You have begun a good work in me, and You have promised to complete it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{Day 29} ~ Needing Direction?

A few months ago I was driving down my road a typical sunny summer day. Out of nowhere, I was faced with a sight that took me off guard.


What’s so unusual about cows? You might ask. If you know me, you know I live in the country, so seeing cows shouldn’t be a surprise.  

But these cows… these cows were standing on the side of the road. Roaming free, but looking quite lost. They weren’t inside the fence in their usual pasture.

When they saw me in my big SUV, they looked a bit surprised as well. And then, as I made my turn onto the next country road, they followed me! When I decided to pull into the driveway of the farm house where I thought they belonged, they ran right up to the gate of the pasture.

These cows needed some serious direction. And you know what? So do I.

There are times in my life when I feel like those scared, directionless cows. Lost. Alone. Needing someone to point the way. And yet, instead of praying and asking the One who promises me direction, what do I do? I fret. I worry. I try to fix things myself. Duh! I’m just like one of those stupid cows!

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

This is awesome, friends! The God of the Universe is willing to offer His wisdom to us! He doesn’t say, “Oh, it’s you again? Will you quit bothering me? Last time you asked me for something, you really messed up.” He gives generously without finding fault in me or my request!

Thank you, Father, for not giving up on me. So many times I wander around, lost and without direction. Instead of running to You, I fret and worry. Help me to remember that You promise me wisdom and direction if only I will ask.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8


Monday, October 28, 2013

One Prayer CAN Make a Difference

Israel was a dust bowl. Dry as a bone. It had not rained a drop for over three years. All because of the prayers of one man – Elijah.

Now, three years had passed and everything was about to change again. All because of the prayers of one man.

“Get up! It’s about to rain!” Elijah told King Ahab.

 Then Elijah climbed up Mount Carmel, got down on his knees and prayed.

At first, nothing happened.

“Go look toward the sea,” Elijah told his servant.

 Elijah’s servant did as he was told. “There’s nothing there,” the servant replied.

“Go look again.” Elijah said expectantly.

Seven times, Elijah sent the servant back to check. On the seventh time, the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

That’s all Elijah needed. He told his servant, “Go tell Ahab to hitch up his chariot. It’s going to pour!” Elijah had prayed, expecting God to answer, and God did just that.

James 5:17 says, “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for over three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

Did you catch that? Elijah wasn’t a superhero; he was just a guy. But his prayer – one prayer – changed everything!

Think your prayers don’t matter? Think you’re just a guy or a girl, and your prayers won’t change anything? Think again! Your prayers matter. Pray earnestly. Pray expecting God to answer.

One prayer CAN make a difference.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weekend Links

Wow. What a week! I'm ready for a break, so I'm definitely taking it easy this weekend! I hope you do, too! In the meantime, here are some great pins I found on Pinterest on my "31 Days" topic: Prayer!

Instructions for this DIY "Prayer Pail" can be found here.

Helpful tool to print out and put in your Bible!

What a great way to teach kids to pray!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prayer for a Confident Heart

Last week, I started an amazing new Bible study through Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. The study is based on the book, A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, and the truth and wisdom found in its pages is refreshing! Here's one of my favorite quotes from this week's chapter: 
"Our hearts leak and will always end up empty when we find our worth in anything but who we are in Christ."
Since my 31 Days series is on prayer, I thought it would be appropriate to pen a prayer about what I'm learning through this truth-filled study:

Father, I need you.

When doubts haunt my mind
And life seems so unsure,
I pray and nothing happens…
Every sentence feels stilted and forced
Like small talk with a stranger.

Emptiness creeps into my soul
With all of its despair,
And I try to find peace
Somewhere, anywhere
But where I should –
In You.

When these times come,
Draw me back, Father.

Fill my empty places with
The fullness of all that You are.
Remind me to run to You,
For in your perfect love,
I find refuge.

This post is part of my series, 31 Days to a Powerful Prayer Life. Click here to view links for each day in the series. Bloggers everywhere are linking up their 31 Day series this month to The Nester's blog!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An Incredible Inheritance

Did you realize that you possess an amazing gift you can give to your loved ones after you die? It’s not found in the stock market or retirement funds, and it’s worth far more than fine gold or jewelry.

Your prayers are the most valuable inheritance you can leave for future generations.  

"Our prayers outlive us. They don't die when we die. They are the inheritance we leave to those whom we pray for. And the chain reaction our prayers cause will be the most startling revelation on the other side of eternity!” said Mark Batterson.

Think about it: Maybe you’ve been praying for your toddler, that someday he or she will grow up to marry a godly person, and together they will raise a new generation for Christ. You may or may not get to see this new generation, but your prayers can outlive you! Or maybe a grandmother or great-grandmother who is now gone to heaven (and who may have never even known you) prayed the same thing for you, and now you are reaping the benefits of a godly life because of her prayers. Isn’t this an incredible thought?

Are you discouraged because you don’t think God is listening? Don’t stop praying! Be encouraged by these words from Oswald Chambers: "As we obey the leadings of the Spirit of God, we enable God to answer the prayers of other people. I mean that our lives, my life, is the answer to someone's prayer, prayed perhaps centuries ago."

This gives me motivation to keep praying, to keep offering up requests to a gracious God who wants to give good things to His children. While I may or may not see answers this side of eternity, I am trusting that my prayers will become a priceless legacy for generations to come! So, are you with me, friends? Make an investment today in something that will outlive you for years, decades, maybe even centuries! Pray on!

This post is part of my series, 31 Days to a Powerful Prayer Life. Click here to view links for each day in the series. Bloggers everywhere are linking up their 31 Day series this month to The Nester's blog!
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

He Is Praying for You

We're 22 days into this 31 Day series, and I often wonder what I was thinking when I chose the topic of prayer. Am I a stellar example in this spiritual discipline? Not even close. But, through this series, I have been forced to think more about prayer. I have been forced to pray more, just for the simple fact that I don't feel qualified to write on this subject. I am begging God for His words and His wisdom!

Ephesians 8:26 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

I don't know about you, but this passage gives me hope. There are so many times I don't know what to pray. I am merely standing before God with my mouth open but no words coming out. During these times, I'm so thankful the Holy Spirit intercedes for me! What an amazing thought!

Consider these words from Bible scholar Robert Morgan. This is one of the best explanations of prayer and God's will that I have ever read!
We are weak in many ways, but in this passage the apostle Paul is specific about the particular weakness he is addressing—our prayer lives. We are weak when it comes to prayer. In what way? Well, we are weak in many ways, but here again Paul has something specific in mind. We are weak in our ability to know what we should ask. Many times we really don’t know what we should specifically pray for. We are not omniscient. We don’t know everything, nor can we see into the future. So we don’t know whether the things we’re asking for will turn out good or bad for us.
An old story illustrates: A Chinese gentleman lived on the border of China and Mongolia. In those days, there was constant conflict and strife along the perimeter. The man had a beautiful horse. One day, she leaped over the corral, raced down the road, crossed the border, and was captured by the Mongolians. His friends came to comfort him. “That’s bad news,” they said sadly. “What makes you think it’s bad news?” asked the Chinese gentleman. “Maybe it’s good news.” A few days later the mare came bolting into his corral, bringing with it a massive stallion. His friends crowded around. “That’s good news!” they cried. “What makes you think it’s good news?” he asked. “Maybe it is bad news.” Later, his son, while riding the stallion and trying to break it, was thrown off and broke his leg. “That’s bad news,” cried the friends. “What makes you think it is bad news?” asked the Chinese gentleman. “Maybe it’s good news.” One week later, war broke out with Mongolia, and a Chinese general came through, drafting all the young men. All later perished, except for the young man who couldn’t go because his leg was broken. The man said to his friends, “You see, the things you thought were bad turned out good; and the things you thought were good turned out bad.”

And thus it is with us. We don’t know if the things we want will really be good for us, or bad. We can’t see the future. That’s why James tells to us to pray, saying, “If it be thy will....” But God does know the future. He is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. He knows the end from the beginning, and He knows how all things will turn out. Verse 26 says that the Holy Spirit prays for us according to the will of God with intensity, with groanings that words cannot express. And God answers the Holy Spirit’s pleas on our behalf. The result is Romans 8:28! As the Holy Spirit prays for us, God answers His prayers, therefore all the things turn out for our good in the unfolding providence of the Lord. (Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook: 2002 edition. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers)


Monday, October 21, 2013

On My Knees

Today has been "one of those days." Crawling into bed after a particularly long Monday, I realized I had yet to post on my blog. This song by Jaci Velasquez came to my mind, and its lyrics ministered to my heart tonight. I hope they will do the same for you.

There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin
Then they're days when I feel I'm letting go and soaring on the wind
Cause I've learned in laughter or in pain how to survive

I get on my knees, I get on my knees
There I am before the love that changes me
See I don't know how but there's power when I'm on my knees

I can be in a crowd or by myself or almost anywhere
When I feel there's a need to talk with God, he is Emmanuel
When I close my eyes, no darkness there
There's only light

I get on my knees, I get on my knees
There I am before the love that changes me
See I don't know how but there's power in the blue skies, in the midnight
When I'm on my knees

I get on my knees, I get on my knees
There I am before the love that changes me
See I don't know how but there's power when I'm on my
Oh, When I'm on my
When I'm on my knees 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Congratulations, YOU Have an All Access Pass!

Do you ever feel like God is a million miles away? Like you just don’t feel His presence the way you should – or the way you think you should? Like your prayers are just so hard to pray, and you don’t even know what you’re saying? I do.

If you’ve had this feeling before, I have good news for you: It doesn’t matter how you feel. If you are God’s child, you have an all access pass to God, the King of Kings, Creator of the Universe!

Are you jumping up and down yet? Just like you would if I handed you a FREE backstage, all access pass to a concert featuring your favorite band or solo artist? Still not sure this all access pass is for you?

I have proof! A few days ago, I found this awesome passage in Ephesians 2:17-18 that just about knocked me off my chair. Check this out! I hope you love it as much as I do:

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

I don’t know about you, but when I read this verse, my heart skipped a beat! This. Is. Life Changing! Feeling far away from God? You have access. Feeling close to God? You have access. Feeling down in the dumps, depressed, low? You have access. Feeling happy, loved, content? You have access!

So, raise your hands if you have access! Yes, that’s right! You, my dear friend, are SEEN and LOVED by the Almighty God. Because of Jesus and His work for you on the cross, you have an all access pass to God through His Spirit.

No one can tell you that you are not worthy to go backstage with Him, to relax on the luxurious couches in the green room, to experience all the joys of knowing God up close and personal. No one can deny or restrict your access! No one!

Now say it with me: I have access! The God of the Universe has personally invited ME to His backstage, off limits, members only area. I have an all access pass! No limits! No restrictions!

What will you do with your access?
This post is part of my series, 31 Days to a Powerful Prayer Life. Click here to view links for each day in the series. Bloggers everywhere are linking up their 31 Day series this month to The Nester's blog!
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

All Is Grace

Ann Voskamp, author of the New York Times best seller One Thousand Gifts, has a favorite saying: "All is grace. God is always good and I am always loved." In her book, she convinces us that looking for grace in everything is the key to joy. "As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible."

A prayer of thanks, or "grace" as it is often referred to at meal times, is one of the simplest, yet most profound prayers we can offer. Food, shelter, clothing, love of friends and family... there are so many things for which we can give thanks. This quote by English writer G. K. Chesterton so beautifully illustrates the concept "all is grace." I would do well to remember this:

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, watching, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

~ G. K. Chesterton


During the month of October, bloggers from far and wide are linking up their posts on one topic for 31 Days. Check it out at The Nester's blog!

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Friday, October 18, 2013

31 Day Links

In homes all over the country (maybe even the world), bloggers from all backgrounds have taken the 31 Day Challenge this month! We're more than halfway through October already (can I get an amen?), and I thought you might like to check out some other bloggers who are writing on the topic of prayer. Over 450 bloggers are listed in the Inspiration & Faith category at the Nester's website, where the 31 Day Challenge originated!

Here are a few blogs dealing specifically with the topic of prayer:

31 Days of Focused Prayer:

31 Days of Praying God's Word:

31 Days "Exprayeriment":

31 Days of Praying for Your Teen:

31 Days of Praying for the Nations:


During the month of October, bloggers from far and wide are linking up their posts on one topic for 31 Days. Check it out at The Nester's blog!

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Captivate Me: A Prayer

During a writer's workshop last year, I penned this simple prayer. My word for 2012 was "captivated," and this prayer embodied what I wanted my year to be. In case you're wondering, my word for 2013 is PRAYER. :-) 

Captivate me, Father,
with your beauty.
The radiance
of Your holiness,
raining down
 like a million brilliant diamonds
   upon a world in need of Light.
Captivate me, Father,
until I am torn away
from the things of this earth –
useless, meaningless things
that keep me from experiencing
all that You are.
Captivate me, Father,
with your goodness
that never ends,
and your grace
that never stops giving.
Captivate me, Father,
until all that I see
is Your beauty,
all that I dwell on
is Your face,
all that I want
 is You.
Captivate me.