Dealing with Guilt

Monday, April 24, 2017

Are you bogged down each day by reminders of the past? Is the guilt of the past keeping you from the life God has planned for you today?


All of us have experienced guilt at some point in our lives. But guilt itself isn't necessarily bad. It's when you start to live in that guilt where it becomes unhealthy. When you make yourself less of a Christian because of past sins.

When you're climbing up the "guilt mountain", you often look at yourself in the worst possible light. You don't think you'll be able to make it to the top of the mountain because of your past mistakes, so why even try? God could never use someone like me, you think.

But God can use you.

Just look at Paul in the Bible. He was killing Christians but God still called him! Look at what he says in his letter to the church at Philippi:
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before." (v. 3:13 KJV)
Paul let go of his past in a way that it could no longer control him. He didn't let the sins of the past affect the way he looked at the present or even the future.

That's what we need to do. Let go of the past sins that are already under the blood of Jesus and move forward with the life God has called us to.

Don't let past mistakes or sins bar you from living the way God intended you to.

<3 blue topaz
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Psalms 103:12 KJV
I thought that this quote was good for this post and also last week's post. ;)

Easter: What's the Big Deal?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Last post I mentioned how we're taking a break from our "dealing with" series in order to focus one post on Easter. Next post, I'll be resuming with the "dealing with" series. So, enjoy!

Have you ever wondered what the big deal about Easter is? Why is it even a celebrated holiday for Christians? I mean chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs don't seem to have very much in common with the resurrection of Christ.


I think that most of you know that Easter is celebrated among Christians to remember the resurrection of Christ from the grave. But does that really matter? Did Jesus really have to rise up from the dead?

1 Corinthians 15 addresses this issue with clarity. There were some in the church at Corinth who believed there could be no resurrection from the dead. So Paul wrote by giving them a real life example - Jesus.

But let's get back to the question - Did Jesus have to rise from the dead? Let's take a look at 1 Corinthians 15 to find the answer.
"But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. For is the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 16-17 KJV
Without Christ's resurrection, all of Christendom would be vain. Why? Because how powerful is a god who can't overcome death? And who would want to believe in that god?

Aren't you grateful that our God can overcome death? Because of the resurrection we can truly say:
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:55,57 KJV
So, the thing we celebrate at Easter - Christ's resurrection - is a big deal. We would be lost without it.

And because Jesus rose from the dead, we will one day rise with Him as well!

Happy Easter my friends!

<3 ashley

Dealing wtih Anxiety

Monday, April 10, 2017

Are you worried about every single bad thing that could happen in a day? Do the littlest bad things that happen set you on edge?


Anxiety cripples us by making us believe that something bad is always about to happen. It keeps us from doing new things because we're afraid of the outcome.

When we climb up the "anxiety mountain", we get scared of every little rock that could get in our way. It seems like we're always thinking of the worst case scenario and though we may not be vocal about our fears, it shows in our body language. We may even be a little self-conscience when we stumble and get embarrassed when others see us fall.

Why are we such worriers? Maybe because we're not trusting God enough. Maybe because we've tried trusting in our own strength and realized it's not strong enough.

God never meant for us to worry about what's coming next. That's not our job; it's God's.

And I'm pretty sure that God's got this.

If you want to read a little more about some bad fears, take a look at this post I did a little while back.

Don't get so caught up in tomorrow that you miss out on what's happening today.

<3 ashley
"If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?" ~Luke 12:28 KJV
Next post we'll be taking a break from our series and be doing an Easter post. But after that post we'll be back to our series!

Dealing with Isolation

Monday, April 3, 2017

Have you ever felt alone in life? Like no one is there for you or that you can't seem to connect with anyone?

"I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop." Psalms 102:7 KJV
Loneliness can be a scary thing. It leaves you thinking that you're the only one who's struggling or the only one who feels a certain way.

God never created us to be alone. We're a social group who thrives on interaction from those around us.

But sometimes we can feel like we're alone. Even in a group of people, there are times when we don't think anyone understands. We look around and don't see anyone who we can confide in.

When we climb up the "isolation mountain", we see people who are running up what seems like an easier trail while we can barely manage a slow trudge. They wouldn't understand how hard this climb is we think. Many times we're going too fast or too slow for the others around us so we can never seem to make lasting friendships with the ones who are climbing with us. There may even be some times where we're left completely alone on the trail with no direction to the right way.

Even if you're feeling alone right now, God is always with you. He's promised to never leave you or forsake you.

You're not alone on this journey of life. God is for you, so who can be against you?

<3 blue topaz
"Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." Deuteronomy 31:6 KJV

Dealing with Emotional Burn-Out

Monday, March 27, 2017

Are you feeling emotionally drained? Maybe you're involved in several ministries where you give and give and give but don't seem to get anything in return. What's the "cure" for burn out?


Burn-out is something that seems pretty common in ministry. And I'm not just talking about physical burn-out; I mean emotional burn-out too. Because here's the deal: in ministry you're serving others emotionally. And that can be emotionally draining for you as well.

When we climb up the "ministry mountain", we're focused on others and helping them make it to the top. We watch them stumble and make wrong choices and get discouraged when they don't follow our advice. Sometimes we've already made it to the top of the mountain and we're just cheering them on while other times we're climbing the mountain with them. Either way, we're giving of ourselves to help them make it up.

Most people have a rosy view of ministry. They think of it as amazing work. And don't get me wrong, it is. But that's only half the story.

The other half is hard work. And it's easy to get emotionally burned-out - fast.

It can be discouraging to pour into children's lives and see almost no change in their behavior.
It can be discouraging to develop a relationship with someone you're mentoring and then have that person walk away from that relationship.
It can be discouraging to continually give your all to someone just to have that person only contribute half-way.

And if we're not careful these discouragements can make us want to quit. We look at everything we're involved in and feel like we're not really making a difference. We think that - despite everything we're doing - nothing is really getting through. And then we think that we probably aren't needed anyway. What can one person do? we ask ourselves.

But if this is you; let me encourage you today.

One person can make a difference.
Even if that one person is you.

The thing that amazes me is how God works through us; our weaknesses and downfalls as well as our strengths.

So keep up the good work. And don't quit. Your influence could change a generation.

<3 blue topaz
"Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded." (2 Chronicles 15:7 KJV)

The Dealing With... Series

Monday, March 20, 2017

I'm starting a new series here on this blog in the hopes to encourage you and try to bring some of reality into perspective.


In these next couple of posts, I'm going to get really real with you. We're going to explore topics like burn-out, loneliness, guilt, and more.

If you deal with any of the topics that will be covered, it may seem like a mountain in your life. Something you just can't seem to get over no matter what you try. But if you keep climbing you're bound to reach the top sometime! This is the place to come when you get discouraged during the climb; when you feel like the climb up isn't worth whatever's at the top.

In our own strength, it's impossible for us to reach the top by ourselves. We need the help of the Holy Spirit and guidance of others who have gone before us.

These posts are for an audience that is already saved (placing your trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the cleansing of your sins) but may need some encouragement in some of these areas.

The purpose of these posts is not going to be to try and give you a 5 step plan on how to overcome each area. Nor am I going to claim to have all the answers about any of them. The purpose of these posts is going to be to encourage you to keep fighting if you struggle in any of these areas.

I'm going to be using some mountain climbing metaphors in the next couple posts that will hopefully help illustrate some of the topics we'll cover.

I hope you enjoy the coming posts and can be encouraged in your daily life

If you have any suggestions for this series, please leave a comment or contact me through the Contact Me gadget on the side bar. I'm always open to other ideas!

Thanks everyone and I can't wait to start this new series with you all!

<3 blue topaz
"Fight the good fight of faith...." ~1 Timothy 6:12 KJV

P.S. happy first day of spring!!!

A Favorite Quote

I'm SO SORRY that's it's been so long since I posted here! My laptop broke a couple weeks ago and it's been hard to find time to borrow someone else's and write a post. But I'm back! (And hopefully there won't be anymore unexpected breaks anytime in the future...)


So, today I thought I'd share a favorite quote with you all and do a little ramble about it. (Did I just say ramble? I meant that I've totally planned what I want to say. not)

Well, here's today's quote:

Now, that's not to say that material things can't be a blessing. I think this quote is trying to get our focus off those material things and see how blessed we are in non-material things; like our faith, family, and friends.

In fact, I think those things can be more of a blessing than our material wealth.

Actually, the verse that this blog is based on says:
 "The trial of your faith, being more precious than of gold that perisheth..." (1 Peter 1:7 KJV)
Material things are temporary. 

In the epistles, Paul frequently refers to his audience as brethren, signifying their unity in Christ. The church is very much our family in God's eyes. So, we should treat them as such!
"... and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17 KJV) 
And then there's the blessing of good friends earlier in that verse:
" A friend loveth at all times..."  (Proverbs 17:17 KJV)
Then main point here is that material things will vanish in a minute but there are some things that are eternal. And those things are the things we should be focused on.

So, are you blessed today?

<3 blue topaz

What I like about Winter


I don't know how the weather has been where you all are, but here in Colorado we've had a lot of snow and ice and general cold weather. New flash: it's still winter guys.

Now, winter isn't my favorite season, but there can be beauty found in every one so I've decided to think positively about winter and think of the things I like about it.

Okay, so this may be a little confusing at first but bear with me. Snow is simultaneously my favorite/least favorite thing about winter. Because come on, snow is really pretty. There's a beautiful serenity that comes after a snow storm and seeing the landscape covered in white is often breath-taking.

But... the thing I don't like about snow is cold. I don't like the cold. And wind. Oh, it would be nice if we could have snow without the cold and wind!

Another thing I like about winter: hot drinks. Sure you can drink them in the summer but it's not as fun. Hot coffee and hot tea are so much better in the winter - trust me on this one.

And this has been Why I Like Winter with blue topaz. Stay tuned next time to hear another ramble about goals. :D

Oh yes and I found this winter-y poem I wanted to share with you all.

I do not mean to scare you,
But there's winter in my bones,
And when life become too heavy,
You can hear my glaciers groan,
Sometimes I don't go out,
Because my heart has been snowed in,
And it doesn't take too much,
For avalanches to begin,
But do not get me wrong,
There's beauty in the endless white,
The ice along my lashes,
Helps reflect back all the light,
And it's easy to find magic,
Skating on the frozen lakes,
Or in sticking out your tongue,
To catch the softly falling flakes,
The forest floor is freezing,
But the trees are wearing coats,
And I've seen the whistling wind,
Wearing a scarf around it's throat,
So do not waste your worry,
On all my blizzards and my storms,
I've got my own internal flame,
That always keeps me nice and warm.
~Erin Hansen

So what are some things you like about winter?

<3 blue topaz

Sharing Your Testimony

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I'm preparing a little piece about this for a Bright Lights group I help lead and I was thinking; since I have the outline why not go ahead and write a blog post about it! So here we go!


A testimony can be a good way to present the gospel to an unsaved person. It's your personal story of how you got saved and have grown in Christ.

~Why~

Why would you tell someone or write your testimony? I think there are several reasons why we should. 
  1. Reminder of God's goodness - This really should be the main point of a testimony. To show how God has rescued us from our sin.
  2. Vehicle for the gospel message - If you have some time with someone, this is a really great way to start a conversation about Jesus. It's also encouraging to other Christians to hear about all the different ways that God works.
  3. Help you own your faith - If you can put your testimony into writing it's a good chance that you have a solid view of what salvation is. Remember that your salvation is a personal choice that you make. So no one has the same story that you have! 

~How~

Now let's talk about some tips when you're writing/telling your testimony.
  1. Don't get hung up on a time or place - If you can't remember all the exact details then don't worry about it! Remember that the main point of your testimony is to give God the glory! 
  2. Include Scripture - Don't only use your own words! Use some of God's words too. :)
  3. Give a clear gospel message - Since a testimony can be used to help draw people to Christ, it's a good idea to include a clear gospel message! 

~When~

Now that you've got the why and the how let's talk about the when. 
  1. Look for open doors - Questions are your best friends here! A simple question someone asks you about your faith is a wide open door to proceed into your testimony. 
  2. How to tell if someone's interested - Sometimes when you jump into your testimony, the person you're talking to will shut down. How do you know though? If someone is actively looking at you and maybe even asking about certain parts of what your sharing, there's a good chance that they are open to the gospel message. If they're not really paying attention or just trying to be polite, they may not be open. Everyone is in a different place and hopefully you planted a seed. But that might be a time when you don't push.
  3. Be discerning! - Remember that we're not here to pick a fight. If someone starts getting rude or testy, it may be time to back down. We're not trying to be offensive in the way that we present the good news and though the Bible may be offensive to some, we ourselves don't want to come across as trying to offend.
Now this isn't an exhaustive list of any of these three points and writing a testimony is a lot more complicated than some 3 step plan. A lot of thought and prayer should go into a testimony.

a p.s. for those of you who don't feel like your testimony is life-changing

You've heard the testimonies. Where someone gets up and talks about how God saved them from drugs and alcohol and such. And everyone sits in awe and thinks about how amazing that is. But what  if your testimony is one of being saved from a young age and growing up in a good Christian home?

Well, for those of you who have stories like that, I want to tell you something. Your story does matter. No matter how mundane your story may seem, God can always work through it. Ultimately, your story is one that shows God's goodness and faithfulness in ways the other stories can't. You can be grateful for the life God gave you and the privileges you enjoy. 

So, do you think you could write your testimony now?

<3 blue topaz

Bible Reading: Have a Plan

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's a new year which means you have a new Bible reading plan right? Maybe you don't have one in writing but in this post we're going to talk about how important it is to have some sort of plan when it comes to time in God's Word.


Here's some reasons to have some sort of plan for your Bible reading.

1. To keep you on track

I don't know about you guys, but if I don't have some sort of plan about what to read, then it may or may not get done. If I have a goal for the year - like read the whole Bible, or the whole Old or New Testament - than I have a sense of direction about where I'm going. Maybe I won't reach my goal, but as long as I'm in the Word every day, that's a good sign.

2. To keep you focused

If you have some sort of plan about what you're going to be reading, you stay focused on that specific passage. But if you just decided to flip open your Bible and read something, you may not be too interested in what you're reading or you'll miss out on the context. Which is our next point.

3. To keep you aware of context

If you're reading through something, you read through all of it. Am I right? You don't skip parts you think are boring or unimportant. If you skip something in your Bible reading you could miss out on the context of a passage; which could cause you misinterpret it.

One of the most important things to remember when doing your Bible reading is to really read what it's saying. Don't read just to check it off your list for the day. The Bible says:
"But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Psalms 1:2 KJV
 Guys, we should be always thinking on God's words. But how can we think on them if we haven't read them? So, get into your Bible this year and think as you read.

<3 blue topaz


Hello Gents and Ladies! I hope you have had an incredible 2016, and will have an amazing 2017.
Our 2016 was quite an adventure. Starting in March the main floor of our house was renovated. It took a couple months to finish the redo, and my family lived in our unfinished basement during. It was a lot of fun, though a little cramped… After the beautiful renovation was finished lots of family started visiting. While my Aunt Morgan and cousins were visiting we got a call that my dear Grandpa, who lives in California, was in ICU. We left the next day with our Aunt to go see him. When we got there my Grandpa was very happy to see us, and thankfully made it out of ICU while we were there. Since we were already in California checking on Grandpa, my family, and my Aunt and cousins, went to LEGOLAND. It was a blast, and hanging out with my cousins Tyler and Levi, made it even more special. Then came birthdays for Gracie and me. We decided to share the celebration, and went on an overnight with some friends. We had a splendid birthday! After that, we went on another trip to California with some friends of ours to Disneyland. Disney was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!!! I rode many big rides, my favorite was Screaming California. I also participated in a Disney animation art class and learned a lot of new techniques. Next we celebrated Christmas at home and played games. It was a really great year in-all and I thank God for that! Have a lovely 2017! God bless~Diamond

Looking Forward: 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Last post we talked about what happened in 2016. But now it's time to move forward.

"... but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of high calling of God in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 3:13-14 KJV
 2016 is in the past. And I'm ready to put it behind me. I'm ready to move forward in 2017

 And this year I'm doing some things different than what I did last year. But I'm looking forward to the differences. Here's some things I'm doing different this year.

  • My Bible reading schedule - Last year I read a little from the Old Testament and then a little from the New but this year I have a schedule that breaks it up even more. But I'll talk more about that in another post.
  • A Planner - Yes, this year I'm using a planner and having a blast with it. I got a nice big one with some stickers and room for notes and photographs in it. Plus it has dividers!
  • A Devotional - I've never done a year devotional, but this year I'm trying it out. The daily reading is only about a page so it's easy to find time to do. 
Are you all doing anything different when it comes to Bible reading or devotional type stuff?

Well, this year I'm looking forward to:

  • Drawing nearer to God through Bible reading and prayer.
  • Developing better friendships at church and work.
  • Volunteer work with new moms.
  • Going to the gym with new friends.
  • Being able to mentor younger girls in Bright Lights.
  • Looking at colleges.
  • Turning 20!
Events that I'm looking forward to in 2017:

  • The home-school Civil War Ball (in about a week)
  • VBS Bible Club that our church will put on in the summer
  • Youth camp near the end of summer
  • Summer workshop for OYAN (for Jon and Jake and the rest of us are going to see friends)
  • Front Sight training in the fall
Ok... that's all I can think of that's going on this year.

Do you have anything that you're excited about that's happening in 2017?

<3 blue topaz
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