It is time to say goodbye…

May 15, 2008

I’m going to be closing Something Greater for awhile. With Natasha no longer contributing, it’s difficult to keep up with. I have loved writing here and getting to know those who have read this blog. It still means a lot to me, and who knows? I may revive it in a little while. But for now, I’m going to stop posting.

But I won’t be gone from the WWW! You can find me at Bethany Mae Photography, my personal blog/photoblog, and at my Flickr, where I frequently post my latest work.

I love you all and dearly hope to stay in contact.

~~Bethany

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed: Thoughts

April 30, 2008





Originally uploaded by Bethany Mae Photography

Note: Much of this post was origionally posted on TheRebelution.com forums.

I really enjoyed this movie. I learned a lot and was challenged to stand up for what I know is true.

Sadly, I don’t think this movie/project will have much effect. I do think that it will spark the thoughts of many people. It may cause some to fight for more fairness in the classroom and textbooks. It may cause a few teachers to give a fairer discussion in the classroom.

On my first day or two of junior high, my science teacher (who I later learned was a Christian!) explained to each class what a theory was. He told us that a theory is not a hardcore, proven fact, especially when it comes to evolution. He had each of us write down our thoughts about how earth came into existence on a note card and give it to him at the end of class. The next year of junior high, I was not so blessed. Though I was much firmer in my faith and beliefs, I soon realized my teacher was an evolutionist who did not give room to any other theory, at least in the classroom. The mere idea of Creation wasn’t even mentioned. I heard a lot of figures such as, “2 billion years ago…” and “it would take 156 million years to…”

Looking back, I can see a huge difference between these two teachers. The first, although prohibited from stating his personal beliefs and sharing what he knew to be true, he made sure that we all knew what he would be teaching would be a lot of theories, not facts. The second teacher didn’t give a thought to evolution as theory. The students who were never taught the truth will likely always think that the earth evolved and was not created. When I visited the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., I was shocked to find that my Mormon friend didn’t know too much about the subject when I told her that some different things weren’t true. I’m not for creation or religion being taught in secular classes. I’ve seen it first hand, and it is not a pretty sight to see. I am for equal fairness of ideas being suggested. In my humble opinion, evolution should not be seen as near truth or truth at all in the classroom. There is so very much weight placed on it in most public schools (I attended them for 9 years) that next to no weight is placed on any other theory. That doesn’t seem fair to me.

We can fight to change things. While yes, not much may change, we don’t know that for sure, and the least we can do is inform people with the facts and share the Gospel.

My one negative thing was that it seemed like Mr. Stein would be speaking about the point of the movie, but right at the end he’d always miss the mark which would have been made by a strong Christian: that Creation is what truly happened (Don’t believe me? Check out Genesis! : D). However, this was made by a man who is not a Christian (Ben Stein is Jewish) so it was inevitable. Tying up those loose ends would have been great, but overall this was a very well made, very informative movie.

Let me know if there’s anything I can clarify to make more sense.

What were your thoughts?

Do Hard Things: The Book

April 15, 2008

I can’t be more thrilled. I’ve been waiting for this book for about a year. I’ve been waiting for a book like this for much longer.

Do Hard Things was released today. Since I preordered it, it shipped yesterday and is coming tomorrow! I can’t tell you how excited I am. This book carries a message that desperately needs to be heard throughout the Christian teenagers of this generation.

You can expect a reveiw very soon! I look forward to it so much, and hope to do it justice.

To learn more about Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, visit www.TheRebelution.com.

Bethany

Questions for the Heart

April 11, 2008

The ladies at Beauty from the Heart typed up some very good questions yesterday. I encourage you to think and pray through each one.

  • Do you act out of obedience to Christ and a passion for His glory–or your own?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • How much of your time per day is spent chatting with friends (online, on the phone or in person)?
  • How much of your time per day is spent daily in conversation with family members?
  • How much of your time is spent daily speaking to God?
  • How often do you meditate on the Cross? (Once a day? Once a week? Once a year?)
  • Do you set time aside every day for prayer and Bible study?
  • Do you try to faithfully obey God in public and at home?
  • Do you ask God for the grace to help you obey consistently?
  • What people, books, movies, etc. influence you the most?
  • Do you read books, watch movies, or listen to music that does not encourage your walk with Christ? Do you think this is wise?
  • Are your friends fellow Christians who are seeking after godliness? Or do they encourage you in gossip and ungodly thoughts?
  • If so, do you also join in that gossip and allow those thoughts to dominate your mind?
  • What are your main spheres of influence?
  • What steps could you take to become a stronger influence of a Christ-like attitude to friends, siblings, neighbors, relatives, etc.?
  • Do you actively serve in your community?
  • When making decisions, do you consider how they affect others?

Stop Dating the Church: The Reveiw

April 9, 2008

Title: Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God
Author: Joshua Harris
Topic: Church and Christianity
Age appropriate: 13+
Rating: 10/10

Joshua Harris, I am convinced, is brilliant. He expressed so many Biblical points within a tiny little book, Stop Dating the Church. He covered so many important topics, from the reason why we should be committed to a local church, to the importance of humility in leadership, and things to remember when choosing a church.

This book has been good for me, as I mentioned in my previous post, since I’m in the process of searching for a new church home. Mr. Harris expresses some very important points on what to look for in each church one visits. As soon as I could, I pulled out a pen and a notepad to copy these down and what he wrote about each of them.

One thing I paticularly enjoyed about this book is that while he made it relevant and understandable, Mr. Harris did not compromise the truth of the Word. Many authors do this today, but Mr. Harris wisely didn’t! Also, Biblical explanations were given for nearly every point he made. This is very important to me and I hope to others.

I recommend this book for all Christians. This book would be good for all Christians to read, no matter what you think about church. It’s also a good guide for those looking for a new church, as it beautifully explains that which is important in a church and that which is not.

Bethany

Singleness

April 9, 2008

I closed the book and sighed. I didn’t want to be single forever. And I didn’t want to prepare for it! My dreams were somewhere over the rainbow, just waiting to happen. They contained a prince, a wedding, and a happily ever after. Sounds like the perfect Disney movie, no? The author, of course, was dead on. Singleness truly is a gift. But I didn’t want to admit it! I felt much more comfortable reading books that told girls to prepare for marriage, to save their hearts for their future husbands. But acknowledging that I may not have that happily ever after? No. That was not for me.

 I picked that book up again a few months later, still with an unwilling heart. I didn’t finish it that time either. I didn’t want to admit that singleness for the rest of my life could be a good thing. After all, why would I want to live alone with no husband to love me? Why would I want to have an empty house with not children running about? The idea seemed better for others who were more content and had their minds anywhere but marriage.

A year later, I was babysitting and while the kids were occupied with other things, I decided to read. And as I read a completely different book on a completely different subject, it hit me: If I was single for the rest of my life, it would be o.k. I would have things to do. I thought about the single women I knew and realized that they fill their time with serving, ministry, spending time with younger girls, hanging out with their families, and so many other spectacular things. It just clicked. It wouldn’t be so bad after all.

I firmly believe that we are not married from birth for a reason. We need time to, most importantly, grow in the Lord, as well as to learn how to care for a home, husband, and family. It takes time to change habits that would run dear ole’ Hubby out the window!  I know I am certainly not ready, spiritually, mentally, physically (I am such a weak young lady! It’s hard to screw in a light bulb sometimes!), and practically. I have so much to learn! And even though we wouldn’t like to admit it, the majority of us young women are not ready to get married. Again and again I am astounded at the wisdom God had when He designed the time of singleness. It is not meant to waste away, wishing and hoping and sitting around doing nothing. It is a time of purpose.

During the time we are single, we have so many opportunities to serve in our families, in our homes in general, in our churches, in our community, and in the world itself. We are not “tied down” by having a family and home to care for (Although every young woman’s circumstance and family may be different, so this may not always be the case.) Therefore, we may have much more time to commit to various forms of ministry and learning. There is much we cannot do when we have children that we can do now. For instance, I want to go on a few short-term mission trips before I have kids, Lord willing. I know it’d be an amazing time of growth and serving. It’d be far more difficult to do when I have little pipsqueaks running around my messy house (And I say that affectionately!)

While this knowledge may not always be a comfort when we feel lonely, at least we can know that this time was created by God and for a purpose. We must remember that God is good, He is in control, He is sovereign, and He knows. He is working all things together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).

Only those lonely rainy–or not so rainy–nights, I like to read books or articles that talk about our life in Christ– growing and glorifying Him. Some great examples are Knowing God by J.I. Packer, Heaven by Randy Alcorn, and Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. I also prefer to listen to music that glorifies Him. Songs like these can be found through Sovereign Grace Music (My favorite CD is Songs for the Cross Centered Life). Sometimes, calling up a friend just to talk or busying one’s self with family can help us to focus more on Christ and growing in Him.

{{Discussion}}

  • What do you to focus more on Christ in times of loneliness?
  • What “comforts” you?
  • What are you spending your single years doing? What are your plans and desires to fulfill, Lord willing, before marriage?
  • Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share with us on the subject?

 Love,

Bethany

Jealousy

April 9, 2008

Jealousy–what a vile and purtid word! Dictionary.com describes the word “jealous” as “feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages”.  Other words with a similar meaning include: grudge, intolerant, and so on.

For the longest time, I thought I was never jealous. I only wanted things was never hurt whenever another person got it. But I never wanted anyone to suffer for it. Until I met “Lora”. Lora had everything I could ever want. She had a great family, wonderful personality, a great love for God, a gift for serving and hospitality and patience and reaching out and singing and playing the piano and on and on it went.

And then, she began to step on to my territory, my realm of knowledge. I began to become jealous of her. Lora was as sweet as they got. I found myself struggling whenever I was around her because I saw myself as so much lower than her and because she would always get the things that I wanted. Not once did Lora know how much I envied her. Resentment built up in me.

“But God, why?” I asked pleadingly. And then I knew. I had begun to become proud. I thought that I deserved what she had, and she didn’t.

When we see others being blessed in the way we wish to be, it’s easy to become jealous. So how in the world do we handle such a difficult feeling?

Love and Bless
Love is perhaps the most difficult thing to do. I’m not talking affection here. No, I’m talking about a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

When we are jealous of another, we should love God and love the person we are jealous of. We should bless them instead of allowing our jealousy and maybe even dissent towards the person who has what we desire to overcome us. It’s not easy to remember God’s goodness when we feel discontent. I certainly know! But:

{{Philippians 4:13}}
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

We can do all things through Him. Even conquer jealousy.

Love,

Bethany

 

Guest Post!

April 4, 2008

I finally got my dear friend Erin to write a guest post! She loves Christ dearly and has a heart for purity. Erin is a big writer, and I’m sure we’ll see more work of her’s on the web! I met her a few years ago on a forum, where I quickly saw that she was different from many of the others there. Erin is a sweet girl living for somthing greater. I’m so thankful to have her talk to us about some of the real issues we face every day.

Note: This post does contain some mature content, so younger readers should not view this. As always, read with discernement. :)

Today I went to get my hair cut. I saw Cosmo magazine sitting on a table on the side glaring back at me with
topics written on the cover that caught my eye. Since it was going to be a while before my head would go under
the scissors, I picked up the magazine to pass the time. No harm in looking at a popular magazine with
Hayden Panettiere on the cover. I don’t usually read what is being put in these fad magazines, just look
at the pictures. Plus I was bored.

Flipping through the pages, I see a lot of things I wish I had. Gazing at the perfect girls with long beautiful legs,
not near afraid to show them off. The perfect tan and the perfect smile. I know its all fake. With the technology
there is today, they can make anybody look perfect on paper. I would just think how shameful it is that so
many people who spend money on this actually believe its true. I have yet to meet someone who is perfect.
So after all that, then I move on and look at the celebrities. Paris Hilton bought a new tank top. Look at
Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff: they bought the same hand bag. Compare Anne Hathaway’s dress to a desperate
housewives star.

I move on from that section, into another section that I wasn’t quite prepared for. Since I never read these type of
magazines I was surprised. Knowing I shouldn’t be cause its a common fad to believe everything a popular magazine
tells you to do, since the stars in Hollywood seem to do it all the time. There were sections such as “What men think
of sexy,” “How to keep your man,” “What He really wants in a girlfriend.” Knowing me, I would skip over these sort of
articles cause I have no use for them. I don’t have to become like a girl in a magazine in order to be something. So who
cares anyway? I got curious and decided to see what men are supposed to “really” think about these topics.
As I started to read, I saw how everything always led to sex. That’s nothing new. But it was all I saw written
in black. “We Like girls that do this, dress like that, treat us like hero’s. It catches us on fire.” Then afterwards,
from the writers own words, give the solutions as to what a girl is to do next. Here it provides a certain type of
outfit. This and that colors go well, these don’t.

I saw a problem with this, and it made me feel funny. I know to never look at myself and compare to these solutions
and women. Never to look at a magazine full of trash for answers. But for once, I felt like I was nothing. Here I was,
a single girl who in the past struggled with being single. Who has gotten back on her feet and has made God her
number one priority instead of boys. Who has finally begun her one girl revolution. Now I feel like I’m not worthy.
You mean to tell me, I have to be all these things, act a certain way and dress a certain way, in order to make it
in the world? I have to step out of my comfort zone to please people, who could careless about who I am as a person?
When I started to think this in my mind I hurried up and shut the magazine and put it back on the table. I started
to feel ashamed of myself. I saw I started to see that I wasn’t good enough. I’m not good enough to please a guy
out there, if I am not these things these other men say I should do and be. It gave me an insecure feeling. And
I realized, what a waste of cut down trees to produce a stupid piece of paper full of lies!

My thoughts went unfocused. Sex sells. Hollywood says so. I have come to the conclusion that celebrities aren’t
real people. They are one thing only, Idols. Idols are perfect. They don’t have issue’s such as severe acne, warts,
unshaved legs or even a stretch mark. Their bust is in perfect shape and perfect size with no bra to make them
that way. They don’t struggle cause they have money. They are our idols. Any fashion magazine will tell you,
they are perfect.

Sometimes this makes me doubt. You hardly see a normal teenage girl get a boyfriend who is actually good!
I never see an imperfect girl actually become somebody. The only people I see getting anything good in life are
those who go beyond themselves to please other people. They smile, they wave. It comes so easily. But no
one, not even a magazine, ever says that it comes with a price to pay. I have often thought that if I were to
become one of these girls then I would get my fulfillment. To step out away from my morals, to go against
everything I believed in. Maybe, just maybe, I could get there.

I have a friend right now, who listens to these so call love experts. I have known her for a long time, and we get along great. I love her for who she is. She is an awesome person to be around. But there is one place we don’t agree with. And
that’s our status. I have come to a place in my life that I am okay with being single. I don’t have to be anybody but who
I am. I don’t have to have a guy in my life to complete me cause a guy is not to be my number one goal in life. God is.
I know God is the ONLY one that can ever complete me. It has taken time, but I have accepted that life doesn’t
begin after I get married. It starts now, and it starts with God. With my friend…well that’s a different story. My friend
Stacie has never really felt loved before. Though she knows God loves her and she has accepted Jesus as her Savior,
she is not willing to wait on His timing when it comes to love. Her number one priority isn’t to serve God while she is
single, but to find the love she is looking for from the charms of a man.

Stacie picks up magazines of the latest news of how to get a guy. What personality she is to have to catch his attention.
And even though she never talks about it, I know that at the end of every day, she feels like she still hasn’t accomplished her goal. Because my friend, at the end of every chase, there is still work that needs to be done. It is never finished.
The only girls I ever see to receive love, are those who are willing to do anything to get it. Step out with insecurity. Because
if they don’t, they may not get the love that Cosmo magazine calls love. Men want only one thing and that’s sex from you.
That is what the men in Cosmo magazine say anyway. So sex must be love right? These are the common lies, that I see
everywhere I go, deceiving young girls into giving away themselves as toys instead of prized possessions.
And this is love? I have to do this, because its love? No, I don’t have to. I won’t let a guy tell me who I am to be. He CANNOT define who I am. I don’t have to act a certain way. I don’t have to flirt. I don’t have to let my chest hang out, get the tan and wear the high heals with the black mini skirt and matching bra. The only person I have to be is the girl that God made me to be and to grow into the woman He is creating me to become! My number one reason to live is not to please a man. I am here to grow in Christ, to serve others, to serve Jesus my Savior. My life starts now. And the only love in this world that will never leave me is from the Love of God!

Girls, we have to realize that true love doesn’t start with a kiss. It starts when we realize how small we are and how big God is. It starts when we allow ourselves to transform into the women God is creating in us. He is making us beautiful! A guy can say you are pretty, but will he say that when you are fifty? Most likely not. Cause looks do not last. Guys will come and go. But the word of God lives forever.

I’ve said before, life doesn’t start after you get married. We don’t have to have a boyfriend to make us whole. And until you accept that, you are never gonna be happy.

The guys in Cosmo magazine, they are full of crap. They aren’t real men. If they were real mean, they wouldn’t be reading Cosmo magazine. They would be living their lives according to what Gods Word says to live.(Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17) Why would I want love from them anyway? All they do is tell me how I need to be to please them. Dude, I am not here for that reason.

So guess what? I am not a girl who reads Cosmo Magazine. I am not a girl who dresses to please. I am not a girl who laughs with flirtations and seductive gestures of a fool. These girls may get published in the media and get publicity, but they are nothing. I am somebody in secret. I am being created to a woman after God’s own heart. And once we all get to Heaven, is Paris Hilton gonna get honors? No. The way I lived my life, and How I Please Jesus, is what will be praised for. I shall not dwell on the things on earth, but on things above.

Erin is so right. As daughters of our King, we have so much more to look forward to than romance or marriage. We have eternity with our King to live for! There so much we can do even now for Him. Are you using your talents, dreams, and resources to glorify Him?

Postage and Bloggage

March 27, 2008

Due to writer’s block, I don’t have anything I’ve written to share. However, I thought I’d share three of my favorite posts from the large circle of blogs I read. If you have any other favorites, please share in the comments.

  • To Say, I Have Known God
    Alex and Brett have done it again. I love this post and go back to it continually because it so vividly and Biblically expresses what it actually means to know God. One can have all sorts of knowledge of God. But that doesn’t mean they know Him as one knows their best friend. Alex reminds us that we must persevere, even if it is hard.
  • Serving
    I like this post from the girls at ModesTeen because it is so practical! Just because I am young does not mean serving is out of the question. A short but sweet post, these darling sisters in Christ remind us that we have a mission field of opportunities to serve the Lord by serving others.
  • Content But Not Complete- Part Four
    This article by Jeannie Castleberry really cleared up my head on the issue of longing for a husband while still being content! You can see all of her posts in this series in this category, along with others on the subject of contentment.

 Enjoy!

Our 1st Anniversary!

March 25, 2008

Unbeknownst to me, this is our 1 st anniversary! one year ago, Natasha and I started this blog with a mission and desire to minister to the young women of this generation. In our first month, we generated a total of 3 veiws. Yep, 3 whole veiws!But we kept at it, because we knew this blog was the Lord’s will, and though a  hard thing, it would be worth it. and it has been! Though we still only get 25 or so veiws a day, that is more than enough. God has been so gracious and kind to us! I pray that God would continue to use it in a mighty way for His glory. Praise God for the work He has already done!

Bethany


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