For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
Lee Bramlett is a missionary that works with the Hdi culture, translating the Bible into their language.
One night in a dream, God urged Lee to look up the word “love” in Hdi. In his study of the language, Lee had found that verbs in Hdi always end in “A”, “I”, or “U”. He looked for the word “love” and found forms of it ending in “A” and “I”. Why no “U”? In search of an answer, he asked the Hdi translation committee.
Lee asked, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”
The translators replied, “Yes. That would mean you used to love your wife. Now the love is gone.”
Then Lee asked, “Could you ‘dva’ your wife?”
“You could,” answered the leaders. “It would be love based off your wife’s actions. You would love her as long as she cleaned the house, cooked the meals, and remained loyal to you.”
Finally Lee asked, “Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?”
The leaders laughed. “Of course not! If you said that, you would have to continue loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”
Lee thought quietly for a minute and then he said, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”
Now it was the leaders turn to be silent for several minutes. Then tears started to trickle down their faces. “Do you know what this would mean? This would mean that God continued loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”
One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do,” to “I love you based on who I am and who I created you to be.”
I think sometimes we forget how much God loves us and how much He sacrifices for us. We live life as if we don’t owe God our entire existence. Other times, we think He loves us because of what we do and how much we accomplish. We try to do enough good actions to counteract our wrong actions, to make us worthy of God’s love. But it’s not possible to right our wrong with our good. Neither is it possible to make God love us anymore since He already loves us to the max! God loves us for who He created us to be no matter what we’ve done.
Instead of trying to earn His love or living like His love doesn’t matter, we need to accept God’s love and let His light shine through us, making us more like Him everyday.
My name’s Danielle Dodge. I’ve found it’s a hard job to summarize fourteen years of life into a small paragraph so I’ll just mention a few things. I’m an avid writer and reader. I love to write young adult fiction/fantasy novels and devotionals. I’m a ballerina, a violinist, an amateur photographer and an amateur horseback rider. I like BIG words, bright colors, cats, and of course, chocolate. And if you didn’t guess already, I’m a born again Christian, follower of Jesus Christ.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. (Romans 14:17-18 NIV)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV)
What’s big, tall, embodies sunshine, and brings a smile to anyone’s face? A sunflower! My mom loves sunflowers, so, of course she grows a lot of them. A funny thing about sunflowers is that the seeds spread. Every summer, bright yellow flowers pop up in unexpected places, like along the sidewalk, next to the front porch and in the pumpkin patch.
Did you know that the tallest sunflower ever was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Germany in 2009? It was 26 feet and 4 inches tall. The largest head of a sunflower was 32 ¼ inches in diameter and it was grown by Emily Martin in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada in 1983.
I think God must have really enjoyed creating sunflowers, because even though they’re plants, they express a bit of God. They’re so cheerful and joyous with their brilliant colors. I believe God has a sense of humor and loves to smile and have fun. After all, if we humans like to laugh, then wouldn’t our Creator love to as well?
It’s also pretty funny how sunflower seeds spread out and the plants grow in different places. It’s a bit like joy. Joy is infectious and can’t help but spread. If you’ve ever been talking to someone who is smiling and joyful and you start to feel their happiness rubbing off on you, you know what I mean.
We can get pretty wrapped up in life sometimes and life can be awfully serious. Now and then we need to remember to smile. Can you remember the last time you smiled in the last 12 hours and were really, genuinely happy? If not, do it now! And even if you don’t feel cheerful, sometimes just smiling at yourself in the mirror or making funny faces can make you happy.
God loves His children and wants us to be joyful in all things. That must be one of the reasons He made sunflowers: to remind us to smile!
Danielle Dodge is a fourteen-year-old girl who lives in Missoula, Montana. She’s in love with writing and reading. She also enjoys playing the violin, dancing, and horseback riding.
People milled about the room, almost everyone looking like they’d stepped out of a book. Actually, they had. I guessed that people costumes were dressed as a character from their book. Now why hadn’t I worn my costume? Ah well, at least I wasn’t the only one in normal clothes. Even though I wasn’t feeling like I was completely part of the crowd, I was ecstatic to be there at the One Year Adventure Novel summer workshop.
The One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN) workshop was absolutely the most awesome thing I experienced summer 2011. OYAN students are very excited about writing and really fall in love with their characters. That first day at the camp was an exciting way to start with all the people dressed up, talking, laughing, and having fun before the classes even started!
I made several new friends and learned more skills about writing. I’m now better prepared to go out and write good stories and I know whom I want to write for and why.
One of the biggest things that hit me at camp though, was that most of the speakers mentioned the need for more teen Christian fiction. They talked about how most of teen fiction nowadays has fallen far away from God. Most teen fiction is now full of violence and darkness.
After I listened to the speakers, I was so ready to go out and write! I wanted to write something amazing, be published right away, and change lives in the world. I realized that my calling from God is to write for teens; to write stories with God-inspired themes. I realized the amazing gift of story that God has given me.
Story is an amazing way to get our point across. There’s an example of this in the Old Testament of the Bible. After David took Bathsheba as his wife and sent Uriah out to die, Nathan came to David. He didn’t blatantly tell David what he’d done wrong. Instead, Nathan told David an allegorical story about the rich man who took the poor man’s lamb. The story made an impression on David and revealed his sin more clearly than a blatant reprimand would have.
Story has the ability to change lives. Teens need changed lives. They need to hear of the Good News and of Jesus. But, most fiction for teens has become dark and depressing.
God has given me a passion for writing, for story, for fiction, for Him. I want to use the gifts he’s given me in my writing to serve Him.
The camp in itself was not the best part of my summer; consolidating the fact that I’m a writer for God and cultivating my passion for writing were the discoveries that made my summer awesome!
I’m trusting God to use me in the ways He wants. He’s put writing on my heart and I’m going to use it to glorify Him.
Danielle Dodge is thirteen years old. Her top favorite activities are reading and writing although she does enjoy riding horses, ballet, and playing the violin. She’s placed in three contests and written two novellas.