Have Courage and be Kind – Getting Political (part 1)

I haven’t posted anything overly political in quite some time so I thought that now would be as good a time as any. I’ve been digging into God’s word more than ever this year and have found some really inspiring and interesting scripture about leadership, rulers, authority, and blessings upon a nation. Not only that, but I’ve also come across a couple of people who don’t think the way I do and it has challenged me to come up with an answer for my faith and political beliefs.

With that said, I’d like to share some passages that I thought were interesting and very relatable to what is going on in our country today. Please feel free to share with me any questions or concerns you may have and I’d be more than happy to respond. And remember, it is always better to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. This is my goal…to share God’s word in its purity for your benefit.

Let’s begin with a biggie:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Romans 13:1-2

This is a huge issue for people. We are called to pray for those in power in our own country, as a nation founded on Christian principles, that they might represent God in their actions. No leader is in place without the knowledge of God. God has always given us free will. Sometimes evil men come to power through the ignorance of the people who have put him in power.

Throughout the old testament (Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, etc.), God placed rulers in authority that reflected the heart of the people. If they disobeyed, they were met with oppression. If they were obedient, they were met with peace and prosperity. This is still the case in our world today. We are still called to the same obedience under what God has laid out in both the old and new testament.

You can look at the story of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar as an example of a people who were not repentant of their disobedience and thus an evil ruler came to power. However, he was placed there for a purpose set out by God. God allowed the will of the people to play out.

Whether you agree with our president or not, it is your duty as a Christian to pray that God will direct his decisions and his heart. Most of all, we are not to curse (despise, contempt) our president. “…the curse (vilification) causeless (devoid of reason or advantage) shall not come.”

Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Ecclesiastes 10:20

This opens up a whole different topic, which I will briefly discuss:

Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.

Proverbs 30:33

When we don’t agree, strife can arise. When one person is strongly against something that another is strongly for, this can cause strife. However, if you are encouraging or stirring up strife, anger and wrath will follow.

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12

A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Proverbs 15:18

We are called to be slow to anger. When you are slow to anger, you are representing the kingdom of God. People will try to stir up strife, especially if they don’t agree with you. And sometimes these people can’t (or won’t) be appeased or try to see both sides, but nevertheless, we must be slow to anger.

An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression (sin, rebellion). A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Proverbs 29:22-23

So as you can see, strife, anger, and fury result in sin. If we, as God’s children, are called to be perfect and blameless, don’t you think that engaging in strife and anger should be refused?

Remember the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

God has called us to be all nine of those beautiful fruits. If you are engaging in anger and strife, you are not being a good representation of Christ. Search your heart and ask God to speak to you about your attitude toward our president. If it is edging on hatred and unforgiveness, then you need to go back to your Father and ask for peace and forgiveness.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

I hope that this post has inspired you. I want, above all, to share God’s word so that my readers and peers can be more educated and free. I love the tag line that this Christian YouTube couple uses at the end of every video. They provide Christian advice to young people in order to give them hope so that they may be free.

So, have hope and be free, my friends!

Much love,

Amanda

Happy Independence Day!

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.

  • President Ronald Reagan

It will be celebrated…with pomp and parade…bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.

  • John Adams

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

  • Thomas Paine

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

  • Lee Greenwood

Remember the true meaning behind this holiday and why it is such an important part of our past. Many people have given their lives so that we might live in a free country.

Happy Independence Day!

Amanda

The Beauty of Being Able to Work

So, on Wednesday I talked a bit about why we shouldn’t let our careers define us. Another side of this is that being able to work and have job options is such a blessing. Not everyone is able to do what they love and not everyone is able to work. When you have the opportunity to do what you love is a blessing.

I love what I do! I love being a teacher…a dance teacher, a Personal Trainer, and a homeschool teacher. I love watching my students grow and learn. It is the highlight of my day when I get to teach.

There are many people who are not always able to live their dreams and work in the field in which they dream about. Continue pursuing that dream. Continue pushing, but don’t allow that dream to completely overtake you. Continue to trust in God’s plan for your life and blessings will come.

Remember, he knows best and will bring you to peace if you truly trust him. It is a blessing to have a job…don’t take that for granted.

Until next time friends,

Amanda

Why Must we be Defined by a Career?

I feel like I’ve been following a pattern for the past month. I’ve discussed college, what it looks like to be a confident woman, why simplicity in life is ideal, and why being single has been a blessing and not a curse. Now, I’d like to delve into an identity issue.

A lot of millennials have been brought up to believe that their career is what defines them. Their self-worth is oftentimes found in their successes related to their jobs. There is a sense of pride that comes with special titles, a prestigious position, and/or popular employer. The proof of their hard work is visible and gives them a higher standing amongst their peers. Without it, they’d be a nobody.

While this is all great and everything, what is going to happen if that job is suddenly taken away? Will they crumble or will they finally feel free?

Though your resume might look good, did that job really make you happy? If you look deep into your heart, did you really find fulfillment in it?

Your successes in life should not be defined by your career. Your successes in life should be defined by your self-love, your relationships with people, your true values, and most of all, your relationship with God.

Why search to be defined by something that could disappear or change in an instant when you could define yourself by what God says in his word? What God says about you will never change. He loves you and wants you to be confident, strong, successful, loved. When you begin to understand what God has said about his children – you – and you start to dedicate your time to follow his word, blessings will follow.

Once you know who you are as a son or daughter of God, you will begin to find your identity in him and you will be more content. That identity will also encourage self-love. Loving yourself is an important factor in being confident enough to break the cycle of what the world says is right.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”

Genesis 1:26

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (to see reflected) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as (exactly as) by the Spirit of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Ephesians 1:4-6

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar (for intended purpose, set aside) people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

1 Peter 2:9

“Again, I considered all travail (wearing effort, labour, sorrow), and every right (success) work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity (unsatisfactory) and vexation of spirit.”

Ecclesiastes 4:4

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Philippians 4:13

As you can see, You were set aside and chosen from the very beginning. You are loved, important, and you have an identity in your heavenly Father. Don’t let others tell you what you need in life. Pray that God will open opportunities for you. Careers are fleeting, but a wholesome and full life lived in faith is everlasting.

I hope that this helps you in whatever area of life you are in right now. Please share your thoughts and feel free to ask me any questions. I also take prayer requests as I would love to support you in any way I can.

Until next time friends,

Amanda

P.S. I love you all!

An Enchanted Summer Bucket List

A lovely fellow blogger, Hayley Solano, shared a lovely bucket list perfect for Summer. This bucket list was created to bring kindred spirits together for an enchanted, inspiring Summer of adventure and fun. I wanted to share this bucket list with you as well as some pictures of our first outing.

You can find the bucket list on Hayley’s blog: It’s an Enchanted Life

The first item on the list is a treasure hunt at an antique store or thrift shop. It turns out that there is an antique store down the road that we had never been to and I was feeling a little nostalgic so that is what we decided to do.

Enchanted-Summer-Bucket-list

The antique store that we visited had a special map that guided you through the large building so you wouldn’t get lost. There were so many wonderful treasures but, unfortunately, we couldn’t buy everything we fell in love with. Some of the finds that we came home with included some kitchen tools, Adam bought a knife, a 9-piece history book collection, a pith helmet for my archeology class I will be teaching in the Fall, Cyrano de Bergerac, and a book called My Brave and Gallant Gentleman.

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To finish off the day, we stopped at Sonic for milkshakes and lunch. It was a wonderful way to get out of the house and check off such a fun adventure. If you’d like to join, you can hashtag your pictures with #anenchantedsummer to share your adventures with everyone else.

I look forward to sharing more with you! Happy Summer!

Until next time friends,

Amanda

The Beauty of Books

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” – Paul Sweeney

I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Jane Austen

The beautiful thing about reading old books, is realizing all your struggles aren’t a ‘you’ thing but a ‘human’ thing.” – Atticus

What is a bookshelf other than a treasure chest for a curious mind?” – Unknown

Let us read, and let us dance: these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” – Voltaire

Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.” – John Green

Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes a place for that.” – John Green

Today, pick up a book and disappear into a lovely world of imagination. Until next time,

Amanda

Why I Think Young People Should Read Classic Literature?

I have talked a lot in the past about reading books. My Mom has taught me and my siblings from the very beginning the importance of reading. However, I’m not talking about books in general. I’m talking about classic literature. Books that were written by authors such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain, and Herman Melville – to name a few.

I’ve noticed that my generation has fallen away from these beautiful classics because they are either forced to read them in school and now sware them off for life, or they are simply put off by the language, history, and/or size of the novels. This makes me so sad that they are missing out on such rich, fantastic adventures, romances, and/or dramas.

Did you know that reading classic literature can improve brain function?

A 2013 study showed that reading the classics, in contrast with commercial fiction and even non-fiction, leads to better social perception and emotional intelligence.

Reading, in general, improves cognitive function, increases reading ability, and increases the development of reasoning skills. Because the stories are so elegant and thoughtfully written, classic novels also improve vocabulary skills. I learned more vocabulary and grammar reading books than I did in Grammar class. So, not only will you be able to think intelligently and contemplatively, you will also be able to speak concisely and with elegance.

Claire Needell Hollander, a middle school English teacher in Manhattan, discovered that her most disadvantaged students connected best with the tales of hardship, loss, and the tyranny of fate found so often in classic novels. Reading the classics can even be a form of therapy: a Liverpool University study showed that poetic language, in particular, stimulates the part of the brain linked to “autobiographical memory” and emotion.  This type of brain activity leads readers to reflect on their own experiences in response to what they have read. As Professor Arnold Weinstein so thoughtfully describes,

Classic novels are restless creatures, trying out new forms of expression, challenging our views on how a culture might be understood and how a life might be packaged. What is the shape of experience? How would you represent your own? These books help us toward a deeper understanding of our own estate.

Understanding various cultures from the people who actually lived in those times is such a gift. Even period novels with their history, characters, emotions, and dilemmas carry into the present. Human-kind never changes. This is why history is so important. That we may learn from the past to create a brighter, better future.

The only substitute for an experience we ourselves have never lived through is art, literature. They possess a wonderful ability: beyond distinctions of language, custom, social structure, they can convey the life experience of one whole nation to another… Literature conveys irrefutable condensed experience… from generation to generation. Thus it becomes the living memory of the nation.

– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

This is why I’m such a huge proponent of classic literature. I believe that everyone, young and old, should give them a try. If this thought is daunting to you, remember, you don’t have to start with Shakespeare or Alexandre Dumas. You can start with something as simple as Oliver Twist, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Huckleberry Finn. Whatever works for you as you acclimate yourself to the classics.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orzy
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

It is becoming so important for our young people to know the history of our world. With the influx of “junk food” books that are easy-to-read and require little-to-no investment of time or emotion, this generation is becoming very lax. When you invest that time and emotion, your reward is so much better than you could imagine. You end up falling in love with the characters, understanding real-world struggles and learning how to understand difficult people.

I hope that my words, and the words of the others mentioned, have inspired you to look into classic literature. Feel free to use my list above for inspiration and please feel free to ask me for recommendations!

Until next time,

Amanda

Resource: Quotes – Punchnel’s