Best Travel Photography Books

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Because I keep hoping and dreaming about traveling to see my sponsored children one day, I like to look at different travel tools and books. Recently, I borrowed five travel photography books from the library, and I would like to share these books with you. Each of these books are great for learning tips and tricks about improving your photography skills, especially while traveling.

I’Anson suggests those who wish to improve their travel photography skills obtain ‘flexibility, patience, energy, strong social skills, and technical and creative abilities’ (see page 10 of the book). In the book, he describes the advantages and disadvantages of using different types of cameras, lenses, filters, tripods, flash units, and other camera accessories. He then goes over the pros and cons of using a film camera versus a digital camera as well as types of digital cameras to buy. In the next section of the book, I’Anson describes photography rules, such as shutter speed, aperture, measuring light, exposure, depth of field, etc. He writes  about the importance of shutter speed on pg 96,

“Avoid camera shake by selecting a shutter speed the same or higher than the focal length of the lens.”

He also describes the importance of good composition, such as rule of thirds, framing, viewpoint, orientation, and focus. These key points of composition are traditional rules that beginning photographers are taught in photography classes. By following the rules of composition, your pictures will turn out way better. He then also covers how lighting affects your picture quality. In part three of the book I’Anson describes ways to protect your camera and equipment as you travel, especially in different weather conditions. In part four, he explains different photography subjects, such as people, landscapes, cities, special events, markets, sunrise and sunset, moving subjects, wildlife, and from the air. In the last section of the book, he gives tips on what to do once you get home to look at your photography. I’Anson’s travel photography guide covers pretty much everything you need for travel photography, and this book is definitely one that I recommend you read if you are looking to improve your photography while traveling some place new and different.

National Geographic is world renowned for their travel photography, so  I figured I should check out a book by their photographers. This is a slim guide packed with lots of examples and tips of how to get the best travel photography. Robert Caputo writes on pages 8 and 9 about the necessity of research in aiding a photographer take the best pictures:

Photographers for National Geographic spend a lot of time doing research. This helps us figure out what’s there – what the place is about and what subjects we need to cover. Read brochures and travel books. Go to libraries, bookstores, or onto the Web.

Researching the most famous and important sites of the city or country you are traveling to will help you know where to hunt for photographic subjects. If you happen to check this book out, one of my favorite pictures is on pages 10 and 11 of La Morra, Italy; the photographer really captured the beauty of  the town and the outlying vineyards. Caputo also explains that researching the customs and rules of a particular place is important so that you do not act offensively (see page 15 and 17). A more surprising tip is found on page 22:

“Get lost.”

Getting lost is actually a way to see new things and meet new people off the beaten path according to Caputo. Caputo’s book also features National Geographic photographers, such as Ira Block, Sarah Leen, and Jim Richardson. Caputo shares what photography equipment you should take and how to pack the equipment. Composition is also covered in this photography book, which shows that it is important to all photographers. Caputo’s photography guide is well written and includes beautiful photographs to learn more about photography. One particular photo that I would like to practice is on page 126, where the photographer takes a picture of the reflection of a subject in a car window; the picture is striking and a unique way to look at things. This photography guide is a must read for learning how to take your travel photography to the next level.

Adam Bronkhorst’s book differs from the other two because it focuses on taking pictures with your smartphone. Smartphone cameras have become more advanced in recent years, and of course, a phone is usually easier to pack than a professional camera and its equipment. Bronkhorst gives a quick guide to understanding the camera on your smartphone, and it’s important to remember this particular piece of advice on page 15:

“Your phone’s camera is never going to be able to take the same quality images that a dedicated camera can. Mostly, you’ll notice this in low-light situations. But don’t be put off by this. … Just know the limits, work within them, and use them to your advantage.”

Bronkhorst then explains how to use light to help take good pictures with the camera on your phone as well as the rules of composition. One particular tip that I have decided to use is to turn on the rule of thirds framing helper on your smartphone; it will help you take better photos using the rule of thirds. Throughout the book Bronkhorst shares the most helpful apps for taking, editing, and sharing pictures with your phone; the apps that I have decided to add to my phone from the apps that he suggests include:

One app that I am a little surprised that Bronkhorst did not include was the Blue Time app, which shows when the right times for certain lighting conditions for taking pictures where you are located. Other travel sites that focus on travel photography recommend the Blue Time app, which is available on the App Store and a similar app is available on Google Play. However, the Blue Time app might be newer than Bronkhort’s book, which was published in 2012, and might explain why he did not recommend the app in his book. If you are looking for more tips and apps for creating beautiful photography on the go, Adam Bronkhorst’s Snapp Shots book is a great guide.

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If you do not have enough room in your luggage to pack a professional camera for traveling, it is time to take a look at packing your iPhone as your camera. Michael Fagans book explains just how to accomplish this; Fagans reveals 60 pictures that he has taken and the apps he used to make them look great. The first app that Fagans introduces is the Hipstamatic app (available on the App Store), and he discusses how he uses this app throughout the book. Hipstamatic allows the photographer to make pictures look like they have been taken with a certain type of lens, film, and camera. One book that Fagans mentions is The Great Picture Hunt 2: The Art and Ethics of Feature Picture Hunting by David LaBell; I may have to search for this book to learn even more photography techniques. On page 45, there is a great picture of the sky above the Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, CA; Fagan’s advice  on page 45 to get such a great photo is:

“Sometimes, luck favors the prepared – but other times, luck favors those who are willing to hustle and get into the right position!”

For an Ansel Adams Tribute, on pages 66 and 67, Fagans descibes using the Hipstamatic’s Loftus Lens and Rock BW-11 film settings to take a picture of a waterfall similar to what Ansel Adams would take. Fagans lists all the apps and tools he uses for his pictures on page 126. This guide is an interesting introduction to using the Hipstamatic app on your iPhone, and while it is a good book, I would not conclude that it is even close to all-encompassing of taking pictures with an iPhone. This book is worth a look if you would like to know more about Hipstamatic’s ability to create good photos.

Dan Heller’s book is a guide for digital travel photography using a digital camera. Heller explains, “The First Step to Better Pictures,” is Composition (page 19). Rule of thirds and using frames and lines in pictures will help your travel photography stand out, which is taught in most photography classes and is reiterated by Heller. Heller also shares that we photographers should expect to do image processing, which is using software and processors to make the colors and lighting in the picture closer to what the actual subjects show. However, he did not go into detail on which image processing tools to use. He does share a couple of websites that give reviews on photography equipment:

Throughout the book, Heller shares information on what different lenses do and how types of equipment are helpful in certain situations. Heller also has tips on photographing children, which may prove useful if I eventually get to visit my sponsored children. In the last section of the book, Heller shares the ins and outs of extended exposures, including fireworks, star trails, waterfalls, fog, and lightning. My favorite part of this book is the information on extended exposures, and on page 111, Heller explains just how tricky lightning pictures can be:

“The frequency of lightning will affect the overall exposure, and there are no guidelines (other than experimentation) for how much exposure time you should allow.”

I personally have tried experimenting taking pictures of lightning before, and I could never get just the right shot. Heller’s advice encourages me to try again. Heller’s book on digital photography is a good one to get an idea on what types of pictures to practice.

travel photography books, travel, photography, books

Each of these books explain just how to take your digital and smartphone travel photography to a a new level, and I cannot wait to try some of their tips!

Comment Below

Have you read any of these travel photography books? Are there other travel photography books that you would recommend? What are your tips for photography?

signature: love, sarah


Apps & Tools I Use: Whole Magazine App

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I like to recommend apps and tools that I love, and today, I would like to share with you a wonderful Christian app for women. The Whole Magazine app is great for Christian women, whether you are married, a parent, or a single woman. It includes Bible Reading Plans, Daily Devotionals, inspiration, encouragement, and a whole lot more! I stumbled across this app when I followed their Twitter account. Whole Magazine is also available on Facebook, and it has a page for teen girls so your daughters can have the app too!

Their “motto” is “Leading Women Into Wholeness Through the Gospel,” and I love that they are Gospel-centered. Their app is beautifully designed with very feminine pictures, but the best part is the content! Their blog posts share what Biblical womanhood looks like and how to live it out day by day. I really like their “Attributes of God” series, which shows how great God is.

Their daily devotionals give Scripture to read, a thought to reflect on, a prayer, and an opportunity to live out what you have learned. The daily devotionals are great for women who are looking for a quick but meaningful way to spend time in God’s Word.

The app includes a link to, the Bible in English Standard Version (ESV), where you can read the Bible directly on your device. Bible reading plans are also available on the app, such as the “Being Made Whole” and the “Being a Woman of the Word” reading plans.

On the Whole Magazine Website, they feature a wonderful Recommended Resources page, which I highly commend! The resources are mainly focused for Reformed Christians, but I am sure that Evangelical Christians would be able to find their resources helpful as well.

The Whole Magazine app is available on iOS and Google Play. I highly recommend it for all Christian women!

Comment Below

Have you ever tried the Whole Magazine app? Did you like it? Is there another app for Christian women that you would recommend?

signature: love, sarah

Why I Quit Pinterest

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I used to enjoy pinning pretty pictures, inspiring Bible verses, my favorite books, and all sorts of things on Pinterest. However, I quit Pinterest this week, and I will not be going back.

Pinterest has recently signaled that they are not pro-life, nor do they support pro-life believing people on their site.

  • Pinterest has banned Live Action, a Pro-Life news group. They also have banned pro-life pins. They labeled Live Action as medical misinformation and conspiracies. See this article.
  • Pinterest has disallowed “Bible verses” to be pre-populated in their searches. So if you type in “Bible vers-“, it will not fill in the rest of the phrase “Bible verses” for you. This is censorship. See this article.

I am a Christian first and foremost. I am unashamedly pro-life from womb to old age, which means I do not support abortion nor physician-assisted suicide. I will not support companies, businesses, and organizations that are abortion friendly and / or physician-assisted suicide. I also happen to be Conservative. I will not live with fear of man; I will just politely but firmly stand my ground.

I have looked at alternatives to Pinterest, but I have to admit their designs are not quite as appealing as Pinterest. However, if you would like an alternative to Pinterest, check out this article: Ten Interesting Pinterest Alternatives Worth Checking Out. I have also been looking at alternatives to Facebook and Twitter, such as, Parler, and MeWe. I currently have a new account on Parler and MeWe.

Comment Below

What do you think of what Pinterest has done? Will you be quitting Pinterest too? Did you ever use Pinterest before? If you are pro-life, what will you do to take your stand for the unborn children without a voice? Where will you draw the line? (P.S. If you send hate, I won’t approve your comments. I’ll delete them.)

signature: love, sarah

Recipes of Love: Rice and Chicken

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Blessed from Zimbabwe wrote in a letter to me that she enjoys rice and chicken. Because I enjoy learning about my sponsored children and their lives, I decided I would try making her favorite meal.



The Recipe

Therefore, I set out to try a recipe for Zimbabwean Rice and Chicken; I found a recipe on If you’re interested in learning about Zimbabwean meals, you can also check out this website:

This recipe calls for 3 cups of water, chicken, 1 onion, 2 Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 can of stewed tomatoes, and 2 fresh chopped tomatoes. I substituted green peppers for Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic powder for garlic, and skipped the fresh tomatoes.

My Experience Making Zimbabwean Rice and Chicken

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For the rice, I used the leftover rice from the Ecuadorian arroz con puré y pollo; I have been making each of these recipes throughout one week and then blogging about them spread out. The Ecuadorian rice held up well and tastes good with this dish.

Zimbabwean Chicken and Rice, Recipe, Recipes of Love, Zimbabwe, Chicken, Rice, sponsored child, food, dish, meal

I used chicken wings with this dish. I had previously thought about cutting the chicken wings up before cooking them; however, I forgot to cut them when making this dish. It still worked well. This recipe parboiled (pre-boiled) the chicken and had clearer instructions on how to cook the chicken. Of course the previous recipe was translated from Spanish, which made it more challenging to decipher the instructions.

Because I was making this dish for one person (myself), I cut back the portions of vegetables. There were still a lot of tomatoes used in this dish; tomatoes were used in three ways! Overall, the dish was good. I’m more of a fried or grilled chicken fan rather than baked.

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Comment Below

Have you ever made or tasted Zimbabwean Chicken and Rice? Did you enjoy it? If you’re a sponsor, have you ever made any recipes of your child’s favorite foods?

Sponsor a Child

Please sponsor a child like Blessed through Eden Ministries in Zimbabwe. You can make a difference in a child’s life through sponsorship and letter writing. The children at Eden Ministries are mainly orphans and children in foster care, so the need is great. James 1:27 says:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

— Join me again for the next blog post on cooking my sponsor children’s favorite dishes; this post is part of a series called “Recipes of Love.” —

signature: love, sarah

My Summer 2019 Bucket List

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God gave us this life to enjoy along with glorifying Him, and that is what I intend to do. We also only have so much time each season to get things done, so we have to plan ahead and try our best to manage our time wisely. I have so many plans or hopes for this summer; this is my summer 2019 bucket list.

giraffe, Indianapolis zoo, Indianapolis, zoo

in the wild vbs, vbs, first baptist church of paoli, indiana

Comment Below

What is on your summer bucket list? What are your best tips for walking / hiking to waterfalls? Do you have any family vacation traditions? Is your church doing a VBS? What is your favorite part about summer?

signature: love, sarah

Best Book I Read in 2018: Book Review for One to One Bible Reading

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I like sharing the best books that I have read as a recommendation to everyone looking for their next book to read. Since 2019 is not over yet, and I am still reading lots of books this year, I decided I would share the best book that I read in 2018. The best book was One to One Bible Reading by David R. Helm.

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One to One Bible Reading is a great tool for teaching believers how to disciple others by reading the Bible together one on one. The Bible tells us that we should share our faith and disciple others; however, it can be frustrating to know where to begin.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

David R. Helm writes that one of the easiest or at least simplest ways to do this is to ask someone to read through the Bible with you verse-by-verse. Helm writes the steps of how to begin reading the Bible with someone, with one of the most important steps being prayer. Evangelism and discipleship should be fueled by our prayers because God is the one who changes things in people’s hearts and minds, not us.

Helm’s book comes with a guide for reading different biblical genres, such as poetry, law, history, prophets, etc. He also gives an example of how to start reading in Mark’s Gospel. This book is a short but valuable guide for believers who want to fulfill their calling to evangelize and disciple others through reading the Bible.

Helm’s book was the best book I read in 2018, and I give it five out of five stars.

Comment Below

Have you ever read One to One Bible Reading? Have you ever tried reading the Bible with someone else? What did you learn from doing so? What was the best book that you read in 2018?

signature: love, sarah

Apps & Tools I Use: Instant Eyedropper

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Have you ever wanted to match the color of your blog or website to the color in a picture or on another website? I have the tool for you! Instant Eyedropper is a great downloadable tool that you can use to match colors and make everything look 10 times better! When you use Instant Eyedropper, it gives you the color code (i.e. #12d12d). Then, if you  are using a program like Canva, you can enter the code into the color box, and you will have the color you want! More instructions are on the Instant Eyedropper website. I love how simple Instant Eyedropper is to use. By the way, did I mention this tool is free? It is!

I do not remember where I stumbled across this free color picking tool, but I am so glad that I did. I use Instant Eyedropper frequently when designing things with exactness in color. I even installed it at work so I could make the library website match the bricks in the library picture. I wanted the website to look professional and very put together, and Instant Eyedropper was one of the tools that helped me design the website.

Instant Eyedropper works only on Windows computers, so if you are looking for a Mac program check out this site which lists a few alternatives. (By the way, is a great site for finding alternatives to websites and tools.) Also, Color Picker is an app for iOS, like iPhones and iPads; I have not tried the app, but it is another alternative to Instant Eyedropper if you are looking for something that will work on your iPhone or iPad.

Comment Below

What tools do you use when designing websites and other items? Have you used Instant Eyedropper before? Do you like using Instant Eyedropper, or do you have critiques about it? What is another tool that you use?

signature: love, sarah

My Favorite Child Sponsorship Blogs to Follow

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It is really neat to see someone else who loves child sponsorship and sharing the Gospel with children like you do. One way to find others like yourself is to read blogs on child sponsorship. There are a lot of child sponsors out there, and some blog more about their sponsorship journeys than others do. Here are a few of my favorite blogs on child sponsorship to follow:

This is the main source to learn from about Compassion International. Compassion shares such inspiring stories about child sponsorship as well as gives ideas on letter writing, gift giving, and more.

Yvonne has worked with Compassion for a long time and is a sponsor through Compassion International. She sometimes writes for the Compassion International Blog as well. She takes great photos, writes about cooking and baking, and shares her Compassion sponsorship journey with her readers.

Hannah is a Compassion blogger and advocate. She also writes to a lot of sponsored children by being a Child Correspondent. Hannah frequently shares what she is sending to her sponsored children, which means readers get a lot of good ideas of what to write to their sponsored children.

Lisa shares her quilting adventures and instructions and her Compassion sponsorship journey. She has plans for beautiful quilts. She has traveled to Honduras with Compassion International. Her blog is a great one to follow.

Erica is a Compassion blogger who wants to point others to Jesus and share how to help children around the world. She also shares what she’s reading, which is a passion of hers.

This blog by Andrea has great ideas for making paper gifts for children, especially ones with Bible verses on them. She created this for child sponsorship as well as teaching children about Jesus and His great love for us. Andrea’s blog was included in the Top 100 Children’s Ministry Blogs of 2018, which shows how great her blog and ministry through it is.

Comment Below

There are so many more child sponsorship blogs! Which ones do you follow that you would like to share with me? Where do you find new ideas for letter-writing?

Sponsor a Child

Please sponsor a child through Compassion International. Not only would you be using the life you have been given to bless someone else, you would be helping that child have an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, receive the things they need for life, and a chance to gain an education. *To become a Child Correspondent, please contact Compassion International through their Support Community.

signature: love, sarah

Books For Women’s Ministry

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As Christian, believing women, we have a calling; in Titus 2, Paul writes out the command for older women to teach the younger women so that the Word of God may not be maligned. Titus 2 reads (emphasis mine):

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

As you can see, women’s ministry is just a small part of the larger working of the Church, and women’s ministry in itself should never overshadow the ultimate mission of the Church. Yet, we are still called to reach out and disciple the next generation of women. The process of discipling a woman younger than you may seem daunting; however, there have been many books and resources designed just for this need. A few years ago I was able to help my aunt with women’s ministry at church, so I read all the books I could find on women’s ministry. These were the books I found to be the best for fulfilling our Titus 2 calling when discipling women:

True Woman 101 is a great book that reveals the model for Biblical womanhood. It is easy to read, and we used this as a resource in Sunday School. There’s also a True Woman 201, which is also good.

The Gospel Centered Woman helps women understand the Gospel and how it affects our lives each day. I read this on my own, and I learned a lot from it.

Disciplines of a Godly Woman is a book that shows the different ways that women can be more consistent in their relationship with God – through prayer, Bible reading, submission, worship, contentment, etc. I decided to read the book after receiving a pamphlet of the 10 Disciplines of a Godly Woman; the book did not disappoint.

This is a practical, hands-on guide to starting a women’s ministry from the ground up.  I read this as I was preparing to study online for a Women’s Ministry certificate at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Word-Filled Women’s Ministry is a go-to resource for women’s ministry. I have highlighted and underlined so much in my copy of this book because it has such important reminders of how to keep God’s Word at the center of your women’s ministry.

Women Leading Women is a great tool for learning about the Biblical model of discipling women in the Church. My aunt recommended this to me, and I learned a lot from it when I got a chance to read it.

In Adorned, Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth walks verse by verse through Titus 2 and explains the essence of the Biblical mandate to disciple women. I read the eBook on my iPad while also listening to her podcasts during her Adorned series, and I learned a lot about Biblical womanhood from her.

In Spiritual Mothering, Susan Hunt gives a Biblical foundation for discipling women and then gives practical advice on how to actually live it out. I read this book as I was learning more about women’s ministry, and it is a great tool for women’s ministry.

This women’s ministry is a great step-by-step tool for starting to disciple women in the Church. It also has great forms and ideas for organization in women’s ministry and gauges to share with the women in your group to help them delve into their relationship with God.

For more books on women’s ministry, see my Goodreads Women’s Ministry shelf.

Comment Below

Are there any books that you would like to add to this list? What tips do you have for women’s ministry? What are the biggest struggles you have with women’s ministry?

signature: love, sarah

Number Our Days: One Life to Live

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Life is short. In Psalm 90, the psalmist writes about the mortality of man, comparing mankind to a dream or grass, that is here one minute and withered away the next. We may live to seventy or even eighty, and yet, there are many who do not see the age of thirty. The psalmist then asks God to grant him wisdom to number his days (Psalm 90:12):

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.

With this verse in mind, I have been thinking about the length and end of my days. I have thought it over: one day I will no longer breathe, and my heart will no longer beat. Therefore, while I am alive here on earth, what is it that I will do? With whom will I spend my time? What will my priority be?

If I had only one month to live, I like to think that I would spend my life savings to go visit my sponsored children and their families, sharing the Gospel with as many people as I could along the way, and then visit with my family and friends with whatever remaining time I had. My sponsored children mean a lot to me; they are like my children, my extended family, my friends. I pray that they and their families will grow to know Christ as their Lord and Savior if they have not already. I also pray that my family members will grow to know Christ as their Lord and Savior and grow closer to Him throughout their lives.

But isn’t life exactly like that? We do not know how many days, minutes, seconds left in our lives, although we count down the days until our next vacation, our next birthday, the next big event in life, or when the next basketball season begins. Let us not lose the chance that we have to share the Gospel by just floating through life without direction, meaning, or action. As I encourage you to share the Gospel with those around you, I am reminding myself to do the same. Proverbs 27:1 prompts us not to boast of what we will do because we do not know what will happen:

Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what a day may bring.

We may think we will do great things one day, but we do not know what will happen in the meantime. Therefore, it is imperative to live each day as if it is our last one. Today is the day to live well, not just one day as Paul writes in Ephesians 5:15-16:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Make the most of the time we have right now, even though at times, it seems like life is slowed to a screeching halt with nothing changing. When it feels like this, complacency sets it. However, what if things stay the same because we are missing out on what we are supposed to be doing right now in these circumstances? Step up and start living focused on the mission God has set before you. We only have so much time, and it is ticking away.

For more insight on Psalm 90 and the wisdom of numbering our days, see Ligonier’s article.

Comment Below

If you had one month to live, how would you spend your time, energy, and resources? With whom would you spend your time? How does the thought of a month to live affect your perspective about life? What is your highest priority?

Sponsor a Child

Please sponsor a child through Compassion International. Not only would you be using the life you have been given to bless someone else, you would be helping that child have an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, receive the things they need for life, and a chance to gain an education.

signature: love, sarah