Training Grounds For the Future

Remember what I said about school in my last post?  In the post, Mexico Vision Trip – Come I said that,

“School felt meaningless and I felt lazy when I was reading a book or just relaxing.”

However, school is not meaningless and it is ok to read a book or to relax when you’re tired. School has a purpose. It is important. But, why? 

School teaches you how to learn.

Now, one of my Dad’s favorite quotes about school come to mind. He says it every time we ask, “Why must I do school? Do I have I do this?”  It is,

School is where you learn how to learn.

It is as simple as that. 

We go to school and get taught how to learn. That way, when you are older, and you don’t have people in your life who are able to teach you things, you will still be able to learn something new. You will know how to teach yourself new and important things that you didn’t need to know when you were younger.

For example, you are driving to work and your tire pops. What do you do? You have never changed a tire in your life – never even seen one changed, for that matter. 

First, you would know that you need to find instructions on changing a tire. (Unless you are really ambitious and think that you can change a tire without instructions.) Once you find your instructions, you would read them and interpret what they mean. Then, you would change the tire, following the directions. Also, if you knew that you weren’t strong enough to change the tire, you would go and find someone to help. 

In this example, you 1. recognized your problem, 2. figured out how to solve the problem, and then 3. solved it. Does this sort of sound like those math word problems we have to solve each day?

So, we go to school to learn how to learn.

For those worried teachers out there, yes, it is extremely important to know how to read, write, solve problems, and interpret information. 

Life prepares us for the future.

Life, as it is now, is a training ground for what life will be like tomorrow, next week, next year, or the next season in my life. What you are experiencing today, will prepare you for a challenge you have to face in your future. 

I did gymnastics for four years and I loved it. I practiced at home almost every day. To perfect my cartwheel, sometimes I would do more than a hundred in one setting. 

Now, I don’t believe that gymnastics is what I will do for my career in the future, but it did teach me an important lesson – Perseverance.

Perseverance is steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

When I was practicing my cartwheels, I did cartwheel after cartwheel after cartwheel. Those cartwheels were not perfect overnight. I had to be patient with myself and continue to practice, even when it seemed like I was going nowhere.

So, the experiences you are facing now are training grounds for you to live out what you believe and to learn new skills that you will use for the rest of your life.  Go.  Train hard!




The Very Next Thing – Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns has just recently finished a new album called The Very Next Thing. I was originally just going mention the song Make Me a River, but I realized that almost all of the songs have to do with missions or God’s glory. Here are four of them…

  1. The Very Next Thing 
  1. Make Me a River
  1. What If I gave Everything
  1. No Other Name

   (I included the lyrics for this one because a couldn’t find a lyric video.)

One name holds weight above them all
His fame outlasts the earth He formed
His praise resounds beyond the stars
And echoes in our hearts
The greatest One of all
His face shines brighter than the sun
His grace as boundless as His love
He reigns with healing in His wings
The King above all kings
The greatest One of all
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Find hope when all the world seems lost
Behold the triumph of the cross
His power has trampled death and grave
Our life found in His name
The greatest name of all
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
The earth will shake and tremble before Him
Chains will break as Heaven and Earth sing
Holy is the name
Holy is the name of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
The earth will shake and tremble before Him
Chains will break as Heaven and Earth sing
Holy is the name
Holy is the name of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
There is no other name
There is no other name

C.T. Studd Quotes – #2

   So, the last quote we looked at was

If Jesus be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.  C.T. Studd Quotes – #1.

   Here is our quote for today…

Reflections: Like the fist quote, Studd talks about how we should live our lives. He said that “No sacrifice can be to great for me to make for Him.” This quote reminds me that, in brief-

   Life is short. There are a lot of things that you can do with your life. But, only those that will make a difference that will last forever are those that are done for Christ.

C.T. Studd Quotes – #1

   At Perspective’s class a few weeks ago we learned a little bit about C.T. Studd. He said some things that are worth spending a few minutes pondering. Here is the first quote …


   Reflections: Jesus Christ died for me. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for me – He gave His life. I should be willing to go wherever He calls me to go and do whatever He asks me to do. I should be willing to live a life that reflects and glorifies Him in EVERY way.


Jesus, Come Into My Heart. Amen.

    “Jesus, come into my heart. Amen.”

   That was the prayer I prayed about twelve years ago on February 28, 2005, two months before I turned three. It changed my life forever. Now, you might be thinking, “Huh? Why would Alyssa want someone to come and live in her heart?” And, that’s what I’m going to tell you in this blog post – why a girl of 2 would want someone to live in her heart… 

   Our world is amazing. God created everything just by speaking. 

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
~ Genesis 1:1-3
   God is holy. This means that He is perfect and never does anything wrong.

 “The Rock [God], his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he…” ~ Deuteronomy 32:4

   Also, He wants us to live with Him in Heaven forever.

   But, we break God’s law and disobey His commands. We are all sinful. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that breaks God’s law in any way. Exodus 20:1-17

“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” ~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” ~ Romans 3:23

   “Wait a minute,” you might say, “I’m a good person. I hardly ever do anything wrong.” 

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” ~ James 2:10

    This verse means that if you break one law, even a so-called “small sin” such as a lie or a mean thought, you are guilty of breaking all the laws.

   This creates a big problem. Because God is holy, He cannot stand sin. He must punish it. And, the punishment for sin is death. 

“For the wages of sin is death,” ~ Romans 6:23a 

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.” ~Ephesians 2:1

   We are spiritually dead in our sin. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. 

   Do you know what? God loves us even though we sin. God loves us so much that He made a way for us to live with Him in heaven forever. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. He took the punishment that we deserved. He died in our place.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8

   How could Jesus do this and how is He any different from you and me? Well, Jesus is God incarnate – God in human flesh. He is totally God and totally man. He had a body just like us, yet he never sinned. He lived the perfect life we could never live. This allowed Jesus to take our place. God punished His Son instead of us. 

     Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again three days after He was buried. He defeated death and conquered the grave! 

“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
~ 1 Corinthians 15:4

   What do we do with this? Jesus died on the cross in our place so that we can live with God forever.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  ~ Romans 10:9

   We need to confess our sins, repent (turn away from them and toward God’s ways), and trust in Jesus’ work on the cross to save us.

  “What must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” ~ Acts 16:30b-31

    So, when I said “Jesus, come into my heart,” I was, in a way, saying, “Jesus, I believe that you are God’s Son. I believe that You died on the cross to save me from my sins. I can’t save myself. Jesus, I put my trust in you to save me. Please come and be the Lord of my life. I put my life in your hands, Jesus.” 

   Now, I have told you why I asked Jesus to come and live in my heart. But, I have not explained how or why this decision changed my life forever.

   When I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior, God sent His Holy Spirit to live inside of me. He does this for all believers. 

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” ~ John 14:26

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…”‘ ~ Acts 2:38

   The Holy Spirit reminds us of different things that we have been taught about God and His word. 

  One of the other ways that my life was changed is a sense of peace and God’s presence in my life. When I am afraid, I can pray to the Lord and read the Bible. This peace that the Lord gives is nothing like you can ever have without Him. It is the kind of peace where even if you are to die in the morning, you aren’t scared and you know you are in God’s hands.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ~ John 14:27

  This is why, after I gave my life to Jesus, I was able to say “I have Jesus in my heart!” As a two-year-old, I could know that Jesus was really alive and that He was my Savior. He gave me joy, joy that only those who are saved by Christ’s blood can experience. He gives us joy and peace in all circumstances.

   So, through moving, missing friends, and losing those whom I care about, Jesus sustains me and gives me the strength to live for Him. 

   And, this is why and how my life is changed by Christ’s sacrifice for me.

Great Christian Worship Songs

   Listening to worship songs throughout the week has been a great encouragement to me.  Whether I am tired or discouraged, these songs point me to Christ and keep me focused on Him. There are a lot of great worship songs to choose from.  Here are ten of my favorite ones listed in alphabetical order.

(I have made it so that when you click on the name of the song it will go to the YouTube video for it.)

For All You Are – Casting Crowns
Have You Heard – Mandy Confer
Hosanna – Christy Nockles
Master Artist – Eric Anderson 
My Savior My God – Aaron Shust (This exact song is not sung by him.)
Never Once – Matt Redman
Psalm 100 – Chris Tomlin
Revelation Song – Keri Jobe
Scandal of Grace – Hillsong UNITED
Your Great Name – Natalie Grant

Identity – A Battle Fought and Won

Around church, youth group, and youth bible studies you hear a great deal about identity, why it’s important, and who or what we should put our identity in.

When I was in middle school, I wondered, “Why does everybody make such a big deal out of this?” I knew it was important, but growing up in the church I had always known that my identity should be in Christ – why stress the fact now?

So, I went to Sunday school and listened to people talk about identity. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was storing away in my mind the verses and thoughts that the leaders were bringing up in class.

One night, about a quarter of the way through ninth grade, while I was getting ready for bed, I looked at my face in the mirror. I really looked at it. Now, that might seem strange to you, but I did. Then I wondered,

“Is this who I really am? What happened to the little girl I see in my pictures from a few years ago? Am I still that girl? If I’m not, then who am I?”

And then it came to me – all that I had been taught at church and in Sunday school.

“I am a child of the King. I was bought with a price. It doesn’t matter what I look like or how old I am – God loves me just the way I am. He sent His son to die for my sins.

“I can find my identity in HIM and not anything else I do. I don’t have to put my identity in the sports that I play, the way I look, or even the talents that I have. All these things will, eventually, fade away. But, Christ will never fade away – He will last forever!”

“God has a plan and a purpose for me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. I am His and He is mine. I was bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

All that crossed my mind. Then I smiled,

“Thank you, Lord, for impressing Your word onto my heart. Thank You for those whom You have put in my life to teach me what Your word says.”

I wrote this poem because of that wonderful experience I had and I hope that it is encouraging to you as well. (Note that although this poem was written from a young woman’s point of view, it can be applicable for people of any age or gender.)

The Woman I Created You to Be

Who is that in the mirror,
Staring back at me?
She looks familiar, yet a stranger.
Is it me? It can’t be.
I’m not that old…
Am I?

It’s not who I remember being.
Not who I once was.
But now I’ve changed, matured,
Different from that little girl
Who I was before.

Yet, I still have my dreams,
My passions, my doubts,
And my fears.
But even those have changed,
Throughout the years.

Am I young, or am I old?
This question can plague
A person if they let it.
If I’m not like the little ones,
Who am I like?

But, does it matter,
In light of who I really am?
No, it does not matter!
I’m a child of the King!
Bought with a price,
My identity is in Christ!

Part of me says
“I don’t want to change!
Wasn’t it nice being young?”
But God says
“I’ve got you. Trust me.
I will use this time,
In your life, to make you
What I designed you to be.
A witness to the world
About my love to all the nations.

“If you put your hope, your trust,
Your identity in Me –
I will fulfill you more than anything
This world can offer.

“I want the best for you.
Put your trust in Me.
I made you.
I love you just the way you are,
And nothing in this
Universe can change that!

“If you trust me,
I can grow you,
Change you into the woman
I created you to be.”


For His Great Name