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Thursday, October 29, 2015

God's Values

On Tuesday, I learned something that has totally changed my way of thinking. And that was values. But what are values anyway? Before I explain how values shifted my perception of thought let's first dissect the word.
















 So a value can be something important or a person's standards. Okay...back to the story. Why I saw the values in a different light is because I didn't really appreciate them. On Tuesday around 7 pm, I was reading an ebook, when I was supposed to studying for my upcoming biology. You are probably wondering how can reading leading to trouble? In my circumstance it can, because I absolutely love reading! But I am taking a break from literature because I need to focus for my upcoming science test. So when my mother came downstairs and I was reading when I wasn't supposed to.... well it wasn't very pretty picture. And to make the situation even worse. I lied to try to cover up my sin. I  learned that you should NEVER try to cover up what you did wrong because it will not be exposed into the light. Anyway, that lesson is for another blog post. So to make this sad story short. I chose to read even though I wasn't allowed to at the moment, and then I try to hide it and lie to my mother.


How does this story apply to values? Great question. Well after I received my punishment due to my dishonesty, my mother gave me a talk. She explained that even though I disobeyed her rule about books, I still shouldn't try to hide it. I need to have values so I wouldn't try to justify sin. Another point I learned is that you cannot justify sin. Like for example, the phrase "a little white lie" is still a lie. That is why values are important because they keep us from trying to bend the rules. But wait a minute. Where do I find good values? Well let's look in the Bible. In Exodus 20, God gave Moses the 10 Commandments to set some rules and standards for the Israelites.


Also when a person follow their values they are protected from a possible negative situation. For example: If I decided to tell the truth to my mother about what I was doing on my comuter then my outcome would of been different. In addition, having values gives a person self worth. When you have values, you know not to follow anything that will can be harmful for you. For example: If I was pressured to try drugs. I would say no because I know that this can harm my body and my future. So to summarize this, I learned that values are important because they keep me from trying to hide or justify my sin.
 This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness." Isaiah 56:1

*I challenge you to think about God's values that he has created for his people* 


 -Gracelyn Lives

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

True Freedom

Most people like freedom. I certainly do! The joy of not having anyone to tell me what to do and
being able to do whatever I felt like was extremely high. It was until yesterday. Before, I thought that freedom was the ability to do what I wanted, whenever. Now, I am rethinking that because yesterday I got into trouble partly due to my mixed perception of freedom. Unfortunately, I disobeyed the rules and thought that my so-called "freedom" was utterly most important. However, look where it's gotten me now? I have lost trust and dignity because I couldn't think about the bigger picture. Let me move on because I am getting a little of topic, LOL! Anyway, I currently believe that there isn't true freedom without Jesus Christ.
So without further ado, I will clarify my complex thoughts to you! Ahem... *clears throat* When Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit all of the human race (except Jesus) was born into sin. Since we were born into darkness without the Heavenly Father interfering in our lives, we will automatically follow evil. There are only 2 sides in this world/universe/all existence (whatever you prefer to call it). There is the good side and the bad side. You cannot choose to follow neither and you cannot be lukewarm either. We cannot decide to walk our own paths because we were made to walk Jesus' path. There is no such thing as human freedom. True freedom is the ability to say no to the Devil and follow God.
Although we can choose who we want to work for (the good side or the bad), we will never be spiritually unemployed. On the bright side, God has given us the liberty to choose what side we want to work for! Anyway, back to topic!!! If a person is not following Jesus or does not personally know him; then they are with the Devil whether they realized it or not. This is why true freedom for mankind doesn't exist without Jesus because without him we would not have to power to walk away from Satan. Don't get me wrong a person can receive literal freedom from people, addictions, and bad behaviors/habits; but they cannot get real spiritual freedom without God. 
What is spiritual freedom? Jesus is the living example of spiritual freedom because he gave us ultimate liberty when he died on the cross for our sins. When you have spiritual freedom you have the ability to say no to those annoying demons/spirits because Jesus is with you. Jesus can break any addictions, guilt, shame, embarrassment, low self esteem, bad behaviors, negative personalities, strong judgment, and anything else. If you really want to be free lay down your burdens to Jesus, because he loves you enough to forgive you and take away the pain! 
  
Here is a summary in 4 straightforward points:
1. Everyone is either following the good side or the bad side
2. You cannot be lukewarm 
3. Jesus is the only one who can give you true freedom
4. You cannot get freedom without the Heavenly Father

Bible Scriptures (to show evidence)
1. "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17 
2. "It is freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

*I challenge you to thank God for giving you legit freedom.* 

 -Gracelyn Lives

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dreams into Plans!



When I turned 13th my mother decided that I needed to have some mentors. I am grateful of that because I learned so much from these outstanding women. One of my mentors is a lawyer; which is the career I want to get into. I learned so many important lessons from her. One of the most important lessons I have learned from her was to follow my dreams and put them to action. She taught me that I have to turned my can'ts into cans and my dreams into plans. I learned that if the obstacle looks difficult I need to call on Jesus to help, but I cannot give up. And instead of just dreaming and wishing for things I need to actually make plans to meet my goals.
Queen Esther also followed this moral. When Haman tricked King Xerxes into signing a decree that Jews should be slaughter, Esther didn't know what to do so she asked God for help and decided that she couldn't wait for someone else to fix the problem, she needed to do it (with the help of God) herself. My mother also chose to follow her gut and go to Atlanta by herself. But before she moved she asked God for guidance. Now that I talked (well typed down) about this topic. I am now going summarize it. (Why? Because it helps get to the point and its fun!)

What I learned:
1. Ask God for guidance and instruction
2. If the obstacle looks difficult ask God for help.
3. Do NOT give up! Try to find a way to overcome the problem.
4. Instead of wishing and dreaming I need to change my dreams INTO plans!

Why am I writing about this?:
Well, I have been dreaming and somewhat planning to get my learner's permit but I have never really got to it. Honestly, it's just pure procrastination. The longer I wait to take the test the longer it will be to get my actual driver's license. So starting tomorrow I am going to study for the test and I will take it next week. I need to work now and play later!

*I challenge you to set a goal and try to accomplish it this week!*

 -Gracelyn Lives


Monday, July 13, 2015

God's Traits

Life is beautiful. Right now as I am writing this I am outside on my back and just appreciating nature. I hear the birds chirping, the trees swaying in the wind, and the weather is just right. It is a beautiful day. I am still in awe that God created this amazing planet and us. Today I decided to write outside because I thought I needed some fresh air. Usually, when I write I am surrounded by noise and distractions so going outside was a great decision. God is like nature. He's warm, inviting, and tranquil. I am so thankful to be apart of God's image and to be able to see his creation. I am starting to see God's traits in other people. Like just yesterday I saw beauty in my grandmother when she was praying for someone over the phone. I saw strength in my friend when he came over to our house for the first time. I could tell that he was nervous and that he was trying to break his awkwardness. I even saw determination in my little brother when he kept dying in the video game he wouldn't give up. Since God's created us in his own image, we have somewhat his inherited traits. For example, lets talk about love. God showed and let us experience love. Without his introduction to love we probably would never get to comprehend and show it to others. Here is my evidence...
With that being said (or typed LOL!) here is a chart of some of God's attrubitues. By the way, He has a lot more than what's listed on the chart.

*I challenge you to find out some more of God's characteristics*

-Gracelyn Lives

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Overcoming My Temptations

What Would You Do?
Early in the summer, my mother made a rule that my sister and I could not be on our phones for more
than an hour. She didn't want us to lay around the house all day and just stay on our phones during the summer. At first, I didn't understand why she made the rule. I thought that this obstacle would be a breeze and that I could show my mother that I didn't need my phone to have fun. Unfortunately, this rule is soooo much harder than it looks. In the beginning of the process, I felt like I couldn't resist the temptation. I was into my phone that I even ignored the consequences of getting in trouble. I rather be sneaky and get on my phone for more than an hour than be obedient.
Now that I am writing this down it sounds so irresponsible and selfish. Anyway, I didn't realize how much time I spend on my phone. I use it for entertainment, when I'm just bored, when I need to get away from society, when I am in an awkward situation, when I am surrounded with strangers, or etc. My phone was literally a hobby! Now that I have been weaned away from my phone I realized that my emotions and actions have changed (positively of course). I have been more social, a better listener, more interested in others people's lives, more sympathetic, and more outgoing.
Also I have become stronger with saying no to temptation. Don't get me wrong I still get ideas and thoughts in my head, but now I know how to overcome them. And know I am going to explain how. This might not work for you, because EVERYONE has different ways to overcome temptation and that's perfectly okay. But here is how I overcome temptation:

1. Say no to myself either out loud or in my head
2. Think about the consequences
3. Think about how this can affect my loved ones
4. Pray to God and ask for his strength
5. Change the subject to something positive

LOL!
When I overcome my temptation to getting on my phone I feel great! I feel like that God is with me and that I can override the Devil's plans. I know that I am MORE THAN A CONQUEROR!


"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13 KJV


 "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he hasbeen approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord." 
James 1:12 NKJV



*I challenge you to think about any temptations you have and talk to God about them!* 

-Gracelyn Lives

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Trip 2 Greece

Hey guys! So yesterday I wrote about my trip to Italy and now I am going to finish my adventure by blogging about Greece.

How did we get from Italy to Greece?
We had to take a overnight ferry from Italy to Greece. The boat was very nice and super fast. Here is a video of the view from the boat:

Isn't this beautiful?





The next day we visit the Temple of Apollo. Here are some pictures:
Cool sign leading to the Temple of Apollo

Statue of Atoonis who lived near the Temple of Apollo

The Greece flag flying high






















The next day we visited the Parthenon and the Acropolis of Athens. Here is a link if you want to learn some information about these topics: Interesting Facts About the Parthenon and Facts About the Acropolis of Athens 
Anyway, here are some pictures: 
Another view of the Parthenon.


Sideways view of the Parthenon.


Close up view from the Temple of Athena.





























My mom and I standing in front of the Parthenon.












Here are some more pictures that don't really fall into the other categories:


Picture of me at the beach.
Got to eat a real Gyro in Athens, Greece!
My outfit for the Greek Evening. 

Visited a Greek beach!
Beautiful stairs leading to the Delphi Archeological Site






















































 This trip was so much fun! I hope you liked the pictures!


-Gracelyn Lives


Going home.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Trip 2 Italy

Sorry for taking so long to post these pictures and videos from my trip. Anyway, I had a great time and learned so many new things! I tried to take pictures of almost everything so you can sorta experience the trip too:

Vatican City and The Sistine Chapel

On the 1st day of the trip, we visited the Vatican City museums and the Sistine Chapel

FACTS: The Vatican Muesli (museums) were founded by Pope Julius II, in 1506. Multiple galleries of classical and Renaissance art masterpieces, plus the Sistine Chapel frescoes are held in these museums.










The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in Vatican City. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480 (from Wikipedia). This was my favorite place because it was so breathtaking!
FUN FACT: The Pope forced Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel. It took him 12 years to finish the creation. Unfortunately, he became temporarily paralyzed and colorblind because of this.


Here are some pictures of my very 1st day in Rome, Italy!
Rome has such beautiful architecture.





 
Italy has a lot of waterfalls and the water is drinkable.








 
Statues in the Vatican Muesli.




























This building used to be a theater for Roman Citizens.

















 The Coliseum

The Coliseum was an amphitheater, or a large staduim that was held for public meetings, sporting events, exhibitions during the first century (70-80 AD). Thousands of Roman citizens would come and watch Gladiators fight each other and even exotic animals. This place was very popular! Here is a video below of what it looks like inside:



Me and my mom outside the Coliseum
Me inside the Coliseum

Look how BIG the arches are!
The Arch of Titus.

Loved this spectacular green door!
A random, but beautiful Italian small town.


Capri

Capri is a beautiful tiny island that is next to Italy. This was my favorite place because it was so tranquil and stunning! Here are some pictures and videos to prove it, LOL!
My group and I on a boat in Capri!
     
View of the the city in Capri.

Another pic of me.

View on top of the City in Capri.






Me in Capri!
This looks like it came out of a postcard!

Viewing God's creations in Capri. 





Pompeii

Pompeii was a very interesting but sad place. If you don't know anything about Pompeii click this link:  Historic Info About Pompeii. Anyway here is a video inside the city of Pompeii. 
 


Other Pictures

Here are some other pictures and videos that really don't fit into the other sections!

Average Italian Dinner:
1. Simple Salad
2. Pasta (their pasta is more firm than ours) 
3. Gelato (wish this stuff was more popular in America, it was sooo good!)





























View from our hotel room @ night.  









                                                         View from our hotel in the morning.



Tomorrow I will blog my trip to Greece! 



-Gracelyn Lives