Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Guest Post by Katy Kauffman - Life is a Battle: Arm Yourself

For years I wanted to be the princess-turned-warrior or the female Robin Hood or a Jedi knight. I assigned “warrior” status to the heroes in books and movies or to the real–life heroes of our armed forces, and I wanted to be like them. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I realized God was calling me to be a warrior, a spiritual warrior.

Are you sure, God? Me?

I’m the girl who was painfully shy as a child, the quiet one of the group who always listened but didn’t say much. I’m the eight-year-old clown in Brazil who hid her face when the kids came running to see our mission team. I’m the young adult who didn’t even let her green beans touch her mashed potatoes!

And You want me to be a warrior, God? How is that even possible?

It wasn’t until I read Psalms, Ephesians, and 2 Timothy that I really understood the concept of a spiritual warrior. The small but powerful book of 2 Timothy shows the spiritual battles we face as believers in Christ and how to overcome them. Spiritual battles are all around us.

What battles do you face? On a daily basis, whether it’s at school, work, in the neighborhood, or at home, we face temptations, struggles, and conflict. The world tries to conform us to its way of thinking, dressing, partying, and acting. Satan seeks to ensnare us with temptation, selfishness, and indifference. We battle peer pressure, uncertainty about the future, a critical spirit, and self-reliance. 

A war rages for our peace, our purity, our soundness, and our impact for God’s kingdom.
So what resources has God given us so we can be His spiritual warriors? God equips His soldiers with all the right gear. He arms us for each and every battle we face. 2 Timothy Ch.1 tells us what spiritual resources God gives us so we can fight our battles and win.

Which resources do you need this week? They are yours for the taking:
  • Grace, mercy, and peace  (verse 2)
  • Genuine faith  (v.5)
  • The gift of God which is in you  (v.6)
  • A spirit of power, love, and a sound mind  (v.7)
  • The power of God  (v.8)
  • Sound words  (v.13)
  • Faith and love which are in Christ Jesus  (v.13)
  • The Holy Spirit who dwells in us  (v.14)

Above all, stay in God’s Word. Stay close to His heart. As you go about your daily routine, remember what God has given you to help you to overcome daily problems. You don’t face your battles alone. God is with you. He loves you through each struggle, provides what you need to win, and guides you to victory if you look to Him. That’s how a warrior wins—by staying close to the Commander, following His lead, using what He’s provided, and giving their all for God and His purposes. Life’s a battle. But in God, we can win. Stay armed!

© Copyright 2014 by Katy Kauffman


➙ About Katy:

Katy Kauffman is the author of 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory, a Bible study on how to win the spiritual battles of life and ministry. She is a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies and a graduate of Luther Rice Seminary. Her heart’s desire is for people to know and love God, understand the richness of His Word, and fulfill His plan for their lives. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.




➙ Important Links:


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday's Minute Challenge: Writing Prompt Contest For Teens & Up


A quick writing challenge (and contest) to help get your creative juices flowing for the new week.


  1. The entry must be between 150 - 300 words. Otherwise, your entry will not be accepted. (In order to see how many words your entry is, write it in Microsoft Word, or you can copy and paste it here.)
  2. The deadline for the contest will be the following Friday. 
  3. You do not have to be a teen to enter the contest.
  4. The same person cannot win first place two weeks in a row. (Some exceptions may apply.)
  5. If there is at least 5 entries, the panel of judges will select a 2nd and 1st place. If there is at least 10 entries, the judges will select a 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place. However, if there is under 5 entries, the panel of judges will only select one winner.
  6. If there are at least 10 entries, there will be a few Honorable Recognitions, which are the next highest winners. They will receive a badge, as well as 3 points.
  7. The winners will receive a badge for their blog, as well as extra points (see the point system below).
  8. The winner will be chosen based on the judges's preferences, as well as the following questions: Does this entry capture my attention immediately? Does it make me want to continue reading? Is the writing clear? They will also take into consideration the writer's voice and style--not necessarily technical issues, such as grammar, punctuation, etc. 
  9. If you have entered at least 3 contests and have yet to place, send me an email and I will be happy to give you a critique of your last entry, which will include tips and suggestions.
  10. This is only for fun and to stretch your writing muscles--not necessarily to be taken too seriously. =)


Prizes:

More prizes to come!
  • 30 points: You will be able to create your own prompt that will be used in Monday's Minute Challenge!
  • 40 points: You will receive a critique based on your current week's entry.
  • 50 points: You will receive a free blog critique and helpful suggestions.
  • 70 points: You will receive an 700 word critique on your novel, short story, article, etc.
  • 80 points: You can help judge one of the contests!
  • 100 points: You will receive a free ebook of PURPLE MOON. =)
  • 150 points: You will receive a personalized handmade notepad. 
Earning Points:
  • 20 points: If you sign up for a month of my Write Now Mentoring Program!
  • 5 points: If you post a review of Purple Moon on Amazon and/or Goodreads. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 5 points: If you join the Purple Moon Publicity Group on Facebook. (You will have the chance to participate in monthly giveaways!)
  • 3 points: If you cast your vote! (See the end of this post.)
  • 3 points: If you post your entry on your blog, linking back to this post
  • 3 points: If your writing prompt is selected for Monday's Minute Challenge.
  • 2 points: If you post a tweet about Monday's Minute Challenge, with hashtag #MondaysMinute (You may tweet more than once in a week, however the points will only count for one tweet.)
  • 2 points: If you follow this blog via Google Friend Connect. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: If you "like" my Facebook page. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: If you follow my Twitter account(Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: Become a "fan" of me on Goodreads. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: Follow me on Pinterest. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 10 points: If you win 1st place in the writing prompt contest.
  • 7 points: If you win 2nd place in the writing prompt contest.
  • 5 points: If you win 3rd place in the writing prompt contest.
  • 3 points: You receive an Honorable Recognition. 
Points Tracker:
  • Angela: 13
  • Anna: 44
  • Armina: 40
  • Benj. Evans: 40
  • Brittney: 3
  • Brooke: 15
  • CeCe: 28
  • Elisabeth: 72
  • Emily F: 45
  • Emily S: 6
  • Evan: 10
  • FlyGirl: 30
  • Funto: 9
  • His Princess: 107
  • Jacqueline: 59
  • Jillian: 10
  • Kaira Anne: 51
  • Kaity: 5
  • Kaley: 2
  • Karina: 23
  • Katheline: 24
  • Kaity: 3
  • Katie: 67
  • Kendra: 53
  • Lottie Le: 39
  • Naomi: 10
  • Maddie J: 11
  • Mary B: 118
  • Marsh: 20
  • Mickayla: 11
  • Rcubed: 72
  • Rebekah B: 53
  • Russian Pianist: 38
  • Sarah: 120
  • S. Brightly: 110
  • Sofia Marie: 11
  • Tara T: 104
  • TW Wright: 172
*Points are updated every Monday.
*When you request to use your points for a prize, the points you use will be taken away from your total. In other words, when you reach 30 points, you can claim the prize for 30 points--but it will cost you all of your points. Or you can continue to try and earn points so you can claim a bigger prize.

 


If you have entered at least 3 contests and have yet to win, please send me an email and I will be happy to give you a critique of your last entry and offer suggestions.

The judge panel chooses these winners based on a point system (not to be confused with the point system mentioned above!) 

First of all, I want to apologize for posting this late! I was unable to judge and gather the scores for your entries on time due to being admitted to the hospital for a few days unexpectedly. Thank you for your patience! 

Also, the entries were very difficult to judge this week! Everyone did incredible. There was a tie for third place and four honorable mentions rather than three. 

Remember: The more times you enter, the more chances you have of winning. So keep it up!

(Keep in mind that the judges are not aware of which entry belongs to which participant until after the judging is complete.)

The entries that the judges thought was the most intriguing (based on rule #4) is ... 

Third place winner (tie): 

If Laira had known this was to be her fate, she would have hugged her mother once more. As she watched her homeland fade to mist, her eyes began to water. No. She wouldn’t show these barbarians weakness. She blinked in succession until her eyes were dry.

“Get off that step there, ye vermin! Come down to the bottom deck.” Laira narrowed her eyes at the man’s voice behind her but obeyed. What else could she do besides jump overboard? That. That was an option. Chancing the waves had to be better than the slavery in her future.

Too late. The man grabbed her arm. No escaping now. She sighed.

The man yanked her arm. “What was that?”

Laira shook her head. “Nothing.”

“I'm 'master' to you.”

She shot a glare at the wooden planks beneath her. It didn’t satisfy the surge of anger, but it was better than nothing. “Nothing at all, master.” She gritted her teeth so hard it hurt.

“We’ll work on that.”

He swung open a creaky door and pushed her down stairs that didn’t look sturdy enough to hold a rat. Of course, apparently, Laira was merely a rat to this bumbling bunch of savages. Oh, the nerve of that man to call her a vermin. She clenched her fist.

“Pent up anger ain’t good for ye. Yer master’ll whip that right out.”

Laira didn’t respond, nor did she unclench her fists. The man didn’t notice, though, because they’d reached their destination- a hollow hole housing the prisoners. No sooner than she’d stumbled into line with them did a man come up to her and take her hand. He pressed a stamp into her palm, and when he walked away, Laira looked at the mark.

A barcode, and under it: “Slave”.


So now it’s official. 
Congratulations, Katheline! Click here for your badge. =)


Third place winner (tie): 


I shuffled forward and halted, as I had been doing for what seemed like hours. I squeezed my brother’s hand so tightly it made my knuckles white, we were reaching the end of the line. The line began to move once again and my mind raced for an escape. A man with a black suit drew closer to me and my brother, Aiden. In this evil man’s hand was a large metal box with a black hole in one end.

“Just stay calm, Ryan, we will get ourselves out of this.” My brother whispered softly into my ear. His voice is shaky, he is scared too. 

“You two,” the man pointed straight at me and my brother, I gulped. “Single file!” Aiden obediently dropped my hand and stepped in front of me, but I wished he hadn’t, I needed his support and comfort, though he was just as scared and surprised as I was. The line once again inched forward and Aiden was the next teenager. 

I watched in horror as Aiden’s hand reached for the machine and entered. I heard a quiet popping noise and my brother’s sagging body shot up with attentiveness. What did they do to him? I turned to run away but was too late, the machine had already been slipped over my hand. In a matter of seconds a chill ran throughout my body and I walked forward against my will. I looked to see where Aiden went in order to follow but my legs led me in the other direction. What is happening to me? I was now alone. I was now enslaved.
Congratulations, Mickayla! Click here for your badge. =)


Second place winner: 





The broken glass crunched under my feet. I shiver as the wind blows, howling through bare trees. Even though Mom discourages me from coming up here, she doesn’t forbid it. In the tree house, with the old walls and the broken windows is where I belong. Not in our house that is slowly emptying as all of our belongings are packed up, but here in the woods where I can be free.
Two weeks ago, with one last, and very loud, fight, Dad got in the car and drove away. An hour after Dad left, Mom got a phone call. There had been an accident.
They said he didn’t suffer.
Now I come to the tree house that was ten years old. Dad and I had made it together. After I had gotten the news Dad was gone, I ran out to the tree house. The roof was gone, and the windows broken, but even messed up there was a beauty about it I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else.
Then Mom told me we were moving, just another blow to add to my beat up life. From my spot standing next to the broken window I watched as the “For Sale” sign got hammered into the frozen ground.
So much change in so little time. Would I ever have anything secure about my life again?
The wind blew again, ruffling my hair, gently stroking my cheeks, giving me a friendly reminder that God wouldn’t leave me. God will never leave me.
Congratulations, NaomiClick here for your badge. =)


First place winner: 





She knew he was coming back. He must come back. Their very lives depended on it. And he'd always come through before.

But the rushing water was up to their waists now, and rising by the second. It had all happened so fast. The luminous green water had swallowed their car in seconds, trapping them in this surreal world. Water had immediately begun spurting in from every possible crack and crevice she wouldn't have ever known was there. But the windows hadn't broken. Hadn't given them a way out. 

"Isabel!" Sarah's panic-tight voice caught her attention. She turned to the backseat, where her best friend still sat frantically struggling with her seatbelt. "I can't get it, Izzie, please-"

Isabel pushed between the two front seats, feeling around the icy water until her hand found the buckle. "I've got you." She pressed down to release. Nothing happened. "All right, count of three, I'll press, you pull. One, two, three!" 

Nothing.

"Izzie!" Even in the dark, Sarah's eyes glowed with terror. The water, just below Isabel's chest, was only a centimeter from covering Sarah's mouth. 

"It's okay. Ethan's coming, just wait." Isabel kept pulling as the water crept higher. Ethan had seen their car go under. He was coming. He would find them.

Wouldn't he?

Sarah was lifting her head, trying desperately to keep her nose above the water, to keep breathing. 

Isabel pulled. 

The seatbelt had to come undone. It had to. She prayed more desperately than she ever had before. God could break the window, He could lift the car right out of the water. Please, God-

But the water covered Sarah's head. 

In that instant, Isabel realized: It was all for nothing. Everything they'd been through, all they'd survived, fought for, it meant nothing.

Attempting life, they'd died.
Congratulations, S. Brightly! Click here for your badge. =)


Honorable Recognitions

These winners will receive a badge, as well as 3 extra points:
  1. TW
  2. Maddie
  3. Flygirl
  4. Sarah
Congratulations! Click here for your badge. =)

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!




  • Submit your response in the comments below. 
  • Your response should range between 150 - 300 words. 
  • The deadline for the contest will be this Friday. 
  • Let me know which prompt you have chosen.
  • If you'd rather not submit your post in the comments, you may email it to me instead.


Remember:

1) Your response should range between 150 - 300 words, otherwise it will not be accepted. (Copy and paste your entry here to count the words, or you could write it on Microsoft Word.)
2) The deadline for the contest is this Friday.


Choose at least one:

Note: You can always combine the prompts into one entry.
  • (Optional) Write a passage continuing your entry from last week week (or whichever week you'd prefer). If you can, try to continue it using one of the following prompts.
  • Write a passage using these items: piano, rose, necklace (submitted by Sarah)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by S. Brightly)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  I jumped at the sound of a door slamming downstairs. Where could I hide? (submitted by Emily)


Submit your prompt idea!:

The prompts that are used for Monday's Minute Challenge are submitted by the participants. Here's how this works:
  • You will be able to submit 3 prompts each week in the same format as above: three objects, one picture, and a piece of dialogue or phrase.
  • On Mondays, I will choose 3 prompts that have been submitted by 3 different people.
  • If your prompt is selected, you will receive 3 points!
  • You may submit in the comments below, Monday through Sunday.

Cast Your Vote!

Here's how it works:
  • You can vote for 3 entries per week, but you may not vote for yourself.
  • You can only click "submit" once per week, so be sure to wait until you have selected your top 3 entries before casting your vote.
  • Please do not vote until at least 7 entries have been submitted. (If you do before then, your vote will not count.)
  • Only the participants of Monday's Minute Challenge may vote.
  • Voting will only take place from Monday - Thursday.
  • We will choose the 3 people with the highest amount of votes, then select another 3 or 4 that we think deserve to win as well.
  • From those 6 or 7 entries, we will then select the winners (including the Honorable Recognitions.)

You will also receive 3 points for voting. So when you are done, please post a comment below saying that you have casted your vote.  

To vote, please enter the names of the 1 - 3 writers you are voting for below (or click here instead):

Current Judge Panel:

  • Tessa Emily Hall (me)
  • Kate Petty
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