Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Perfect Girl

     I was cleaning in my bathroom yesterday because frankly, I was really bored, and it was really messy (I'm not the most organized person in the universe to be quite honest). But I was looking at my counter, and I had my makeup in one corner, and my "necessities" in another. My "necessities" are my contacts, contact solution, tooth brush, tooth paste, mouth wash, floss, mouth guard so I don't grind my teeth at night, (okay, so that thing saves me a lot of pain, and I do kinda need it.) special brush cleaner for my mouth guard, face wash, astringent, moisturizer, deodorant, a comb, and body spray. It made me wonder why these things are considered necessities. I thought for a minute and I realized that society tells us that we need to be flawless to be worth something. I mean, I'm not saying that because you use these things it means you think that way, but it still made me think.

     What is the perfect looking girl to the world? Skinny, perfect hair, perfect skin, (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!) soft skin, long, thin legs, tall but not too tall (isn't the dream like, 5'7" or something?) a large chest, clothes that complement their body perfectly, thin arms, athletic (but if your muscles get too big then that's the worst thing in the world) and perfect, straight teeth. Yes, you can exercise for the perfect body, starve yourself if you need to, use all the hair and skin products you possibly can, wear heals all the time, stuff your bras, and get braces (okay, so there's really nothing wrong with braces) all you want, but there will always be something else. The world is looking for a perfect woman, but there can be no perfect woman. If you are willing to do all of those things, then that means you are letting the world rule over you, and chances are there won't be a whole lot of self esteem going on there if that's the case. And when there's no self esteem, then chances are no one will even notice if you are the only girl in the universe with the "perfect" body. But have you noticed something here? The "perfect" girl is based all on looks. Now don't get my wrong, there's nothing wrong with trying to look pretty. Nothing wrong with that at all. But honestly, if that's the only thing were worried about, then our priorities are in the wrong places.

     What does God say the perfect girl is? Well, in James 3:2 it says, "For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body." This isn't saying that if you don't gossip then you're perfect. What it's saying is that the tongue is the hardest thing to control. If we can accomplish that, then we have the strength to accomplish anything else pretty much. And then in 1 Timothy 2:10 it talks about how a girl should have good works, and in Proverbs 31 it talks about a godly woman, which I would like to encourage you to read sometime. But what is a perfect woman to God? That would be a girl who doesn't talk bad about others, and who puts others before herself. It doesn't matter if you measure up to the world's standards. In fact, we're supposed to stand apart from the world. That doesn't mean it's wrong to dress fashionably, I mean, you don't want to set yourself as an outcast. Paul even accepted the customs of the Jews and the Greeks to better identify with them. But as long as we follow the Bible, the rest is up to us. Not the world. So this week I want to encourage you to not worry about what the world thinks about, and worry about what God thinks. After all, God's judgement is the only one that really matters.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Message We're Sending

     Okay, so imagine you're at a super hero convention. Sounds awesome right? Everyone's in costume, there's movie posters everywhere, tons of booths selling AWESOME geeky merchandise, yeah, that's the dream. Anyway, say you're walking and you see someone dressed head to toe in a Batman costume. In fact, the costume is so similar to the one in "The Dark Knight" that you're pretty sure that it IS the one that Christian Bale wore when he was in that movie. How much would you be willing to bet that that guy likes Batman? I don't know about you, but I think that that would be a pretty safe bet. Why? Because that is the message that he is sending. He's probably seen every Batman movie, cartoon, old TV show episode, and read every comic in all existence (if that's at all possible). Why? Because he LOVES Batman. And I honestly can't blame him! But what is the message we're sending with out clothes?

     Is the message we're sending with the clothes we wear that we love God? I mean, if you see someone in tiny little shorts that don't even cover their rear end completely and a bikini top, would you say, "Wow! That is a person who belongs to God, and respects herself and her body." Probably not. I don't know about you, but I would think that she's probably trying to show off her body because she WANTS you to want it. I mean, why else would someone show off so much of themselves? This is why we need to be careful about how we dress, so we can send off the right messages.
     

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another Perspective

     We live in a world where it's all about me. It's all about my views, my dreams, my accomplishments, nothing else. Just me. Not you, just me. This is my life, my rules, I put me first. This is what the world wants us to think. The world wants everything to be about us, and not about others. But have you ever noticed that once people start worrying about themselves more than others, things just kinda fall apart in their lives? God tells us in several passages to treat others with kindness and love, and that we should always put others before ourselves. Even though this can be difficult at times, it still needs to be our priority in life.

     Why do we enjoy movies and books so much? Think about it! I mean, have you ever noticed that chick flicks are really popular, and they're just about random people having their random victories in life, and then we love the characters so much because of it. Why? Because we see and understand his/her actions throughout the movie and relate with them. We see someone cutting in line at Starbucks and we're like, "Hey! Back of the line! Wait your turn!" but in Ms. Congeniality we see the main character do it and we all find it funny. That's because when we watch a movie, we are viewing a single person's perspective on something, where as in real life, we're viewing things from our own perspective. We understand the person in the movie. We are open minded to the subject of the film because we're viewing things from their perspective. You become the character. This is exactly how we should view others. We may not be able to see all of their story, but if we took the time to view things from other people's perspective, then how much better would we treat them? 

     So today I want to challenge you to think before you do anything. Think about why the other person did what they did to you. Think about how you would react in that situation. Think about how you can treat each and every person because the world isn't a big group of people, but a lot of individual people. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Respecting Your Body

     We live in a world with ridiculous expectations for beauty. Once, I was watching this video on how people edit photos of models, and it probably took them 30 minutes. Making them taller, thinner, their eyes bigger, hair longer, skin shinier, etc. And that is what beauty is perceived to be. Super thin, tall, tanned skin, no wrinkles, perfect teeth, no scars, no facial acne, and large curves (but not too large). And it's not wrong to want to look pretty. There's nothing wrong with a little makeup, just as long as you're not wearing it because you think you're not beautiful without it. Girls who are pretty are pretty on the outside, while girls who are beautiful are pretty on the inside, and it shows through on the outside. But I am so tired of seeing or hearing about these girls who are starving themselves just to look pretty. 

     If you are starving yourself to please society, then who are you living for? I mean, when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, whose body do you see? Probably yours. And who created that body? God. So who do you think you should be trying to please? The world is a very critical place. The world tells you, "You will never have a perfect body, you cannot be beautiful without being able to see your ribs through your skin, you cannot be beautiful without starving yourself, you cannot be beautiful without tons of makeup, you cannot be beautiful unless you have perfect skin, you cannot be perfect unless you are a model or are famous or follow all the social standards." That is the society we live in. But you know what God says about being pretty? Literally NOTHING. God doesn't care if you have a thousand zits on your face, a unibrow, or aren't a size 0. I mean, yes He wants you to take care of your body because it's the temple of God. And there's nothing wrong with makeup, or fixing your hair, or trying to eat a healthy diet in order to help you lose needed weight, or gain muscle, stay healthy, or even gain needed weight. In fact, in 1 Timothy 2:9, it says not only to dress modestly, but if you look right before that, it says that we should dress in respectable apparel. I mean, some days you just want to stay home in your sweatpants and fuzzy hoodie and watch movies and eat tons of chocolate. Nothing wrong with that (as long as that's not every day ;) ). But what this is saying is that when you go out in public, change out of your pj's and throw on a pair of pants, brush your hair, put on a shirt that doesn't look like it hasn't been washed in 100 years because of all the stains, and don't look like a zombie. Look respectable, but don't care so much about how you look that that becomes what your whole life becomes about. Life isn't about pleasing everyone else with your body, it's about pleasing God with your actions. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why Dress Modestly?

     The last article I worte on modesty was about what modesty is. But today I'm going to be discussing why we dress modestly. Okay, so it's pretty much to the point to where if you go out into public and don't want to see a woman's thigh, cheast, entire back, or stomach, you're going to have a tough time. I mean, it's ridiculas. But why should we dress modestly? I mean, what's the big deal?

     Okay, so say you go to a beach and see a bunch of girls in bikinis. I tell you that one of them is a Christian and tell you to point her out among the croud. How easy would that be?? Not very. Why? Because she's being like the world around her. That's one of the reasons that women should dress modestly, so we can set ourselves apart from the world. 

     The second reason is because, what kind of men do you want to be attracting? I saw this video one time where a nonchristian guy was giving advice to girls about what kind men they're attracting. He said that he's tired of girls constantly posting on Facebook that they always have the worst luck with men because they're "all jerks and idiots", and then he looks at their facebook page and all he sees is pictures of them showing off their bodies. If a nonchristian can understand this without it being taught to him his whole life, then why is it so hard for a lot of girls to? I'm not saying that this is every girl, but it's getting more and more rare these days to see someone dressed modestly. If we dress in a way that shows off our bodies, then do you think you'll attract the guy who wants your body, or the guy who wants to keep his mind and actions pure? 

     The third and final reason is to keep the minds of our brothers in Christ pure. Girls and guys think very differently from each other. Girls can look at something and not think anything of it, while a guy can look at that same thing and have all these impure thoughts flood into their heads all at once. Now yeah, they can fight those thoughts, but wouldn't you much rather not give them the temptation to lust? I mean, if a boy lusts after you because you're not wearing enough clothes, then that's on your hands. You just caused someone to stumble. So please, it may not be the "in" thing, but dressing modestly doesn't become less important because it's less popular. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How Much Do We Talk About God?

     Okay, so I was talking to my best friend about baptism the other day, and we were talking about it for like, an hour or so. It was a long time. Anyway, I have been friends with this girl for over 6 years, (which is a real long time for me because I've never lived anywhere that long, so 6 years still staying in contact with someome is something that never happens. Like, ever.) and she's practically my little sister, but I didn't know that 1, she had been thinking about it, and 2, I didn't know hardly any of her thoughts on the subject. And she's been my best friend for 6 years!! So then I thought, "How much do I REALLY talk about God in my daily conversations?" Like that song, "He is My Everything", that part where it says, "Some one may ask me, some one may say, 'Who is this Jesus, you talk about everyday?'" Will they? 

     I mean, it can be so easy to get caught up in talking about politics, movies, boys, actors, or just about anything, that we forget to talk about the Bible. But let me ask you something, and I have a hard time with this too; but if all we talk about is our daily lives, and God is not incorperated in that, then what are we doing in our daily lives? Now, you don't have to talk about everything you have ever done for the church or for God. I mean, that can be kinda braggy. But what are we filling our daily live with? What are we telling our friends? I mean, there's nothing wrong with not talking about God 24/7. But we should at least talk about it more than none every day. So I want to encourage you to do so. To talk to at least one person about the Bible every day. You never know the impact it can have not only on their lives, but on yours. :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Take Advantage of Today

     Okay, I have moved around my whole life. I have lived in 10 different places, because my parents were missionaries for a while, and it took us a little while to finally get settled down somewhere. And one thing that I have learned is to make the best out of every situation. I have lived in large cities, small towns, I've had tons of friends, no friends, or only one friend. But one thing I've learned is that you don't really have a whole lot of controll of your situation. Especially if you're still in school. I mean, you can controll some things, but things happen that are unexpected. So what do we do in these situations? You simply make the best of them. 

     Yesterday, I saw this web comic. It started out with a little boy saying, "I wish I could be older." Then when he was an adult, "I wish I was younger." Then the next slide you him in a wheelchair next to a grave saying, "I wish I had appreciated the times more." It was kind of really depressing, but it was true. Every different stage in life comes with a different set of opportuneities, and a different set of limits. It can be easy to think about the limits, but it's best to think of the possibilities. What does this have to do with the Bible?

     It can be easy to think, "I'm too young to do anything for the Church." But in our youth, that's the best time for us to study. The habits that you set when you're young are the habits that you will most likely keep for the rest of your life. The things that we learn when we are young are the things that stick with us our whole lives. Of course we learn a lot later in life as well, but the things that you are taught in your younger years are often the most important. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it." So even if you're too young to teach a Bible class, you can still talk to your friends about the Bible, or just plain study so that you can use this knowledge to make sure you're on the right path, and so you can have all this knowledge so you can later be a Bible class teacher, or speak at ladies days, or whatever you want to do. 

     As you get older, the opportuneities to teach will become more and more frequant. Just because you're not an adult, that doesn't mean that you can't teach. I have several friends, and I do as well, who teach Bible class to the younger kids. You'd think that the kinds would just think they could walk all over you, but as long as you have a strong backbone, the kids will think that it is so cool that one of the teenagers is teaching their Bible class. Also, you're closer to their age than the adults, so you can connect with them better, as you remember that age better, and you remember exactly what kids like. 

      The first 18 years of life, so far from what I've heard (I'm only 15, so I don't really know much about what happens after I turn 18) are the best. It can be easy to want to grow up. But I want to challenge you to, at leas for this week, look at the situation that you're in and instead of thinking about what you wish it were, think about how good you can make it. After all, that's really the only way great things happen. :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

There's Always More

     Have you ever felt like there's nothing much more you can possibly learn? That's usually right before you learn something new, and realize that you know practically nothing. That's probably why school lasts so long... Anyway, Sometimes as Christians it can be easy to get comfortable with the fact that we're Christians, and we go to church and listen to the lesson, and we agree with everything that's said but we don't realize that it applies to us. Or we can be singing, "love one another", fully aware and in agreeance with what we're singing, but then go home and talk nonstop about things that happened to us almost a year ago, that we really should have stopped thinking about by now. This can be very easy to do. And I'm not saying that everyone does this, but it can be very easy to kind of fall into a rut and not even realize it.

     What do we do when this happens? Okay, so I was on Pinterest once, and I thought, "I don't think that there is anything on here worth repinning." But then I went to the geek section. I think I was on for another 5 hours or so. This is what learning is like. If you start getting discouraged, or you realize that you haven't been learning anything, just read a passage in the Bible at random that you haven't read in a long time. It can be very easy to forget that just because we're Christians, that doesn't mean that the journey is over. That ends when we die. Not when we graduate, or when we become old, or when we just get bored. God intended for us to follow Him until we die. That's why the Bible is so big. There is literally no end to what we can learn from the Bible. In fact, when most people die, even the most diligent Bible students probably have only learned a fraction of what can be learned from the Bible. Why? Because there's always more to learn. So remember, when you feel like you've studied everything, you haven't studied near enough. :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

100%

First of all, normally I use my dad's iPad to write these articles, but I haven't had either time or access to it to write for a while, so I figured this time I won't wait. And for some reason, unless it fixes itself when I post, the font is going to be SUPER big today, so sorry about that. :)

Anyway, I love movies, and actors, and stuff like that. You know how some people are gamers, or book geeks, or athletes? I am a movie geek. It's like, what I do. Anyway, have you noticed that a lot of actors are 100% for homosexuals and them having marital rights? Now, we see several times in the Bible that that's not okay. At all. In fact, it's listed as "The unnatural" in Romans 1 I do believe. But I saw a quote from a famous actor. (and it could have been a fake, but it's how most people who are all for it think pretty much) They said that being 100% for or against anything is being closed-minded. My first reaction is, "Are you 100% for that statement??" I mean, you can't win with that statement.

Okay, what would happen if no one was 100% for something? Like, voting time. "Uuuuuuhhh... I'm not 100% for either of them!! So I can't choose either of them! But I'm not 100% for not voting, but I'm not 100% FOR voting either!!" and then you would be there for HOURS, never making up your mind because you're not 100% for anything! The same thing goes for anything else. If and when you were baptized, were you 100% on board with being a Christian? I sure hope so! I know I was. Were you like, "Well, I guess I'll be a Christian, but if something cooler comes along later, I may just do that instead. I'm not 100% for either, really." If that was your attitude then you weren't 100% in belief. If you say you are 100% for homosexual marital rights, but you think that it's closed-minded to be 100% for something, I don't know about you but that sounds rather closed-minded don't you? If we aren't 100% for anything, then what are we for? I mean, if we applied this to every day life, can you imagine how hard it would be to order something in a drive through?? If you actually managed to pick one out that is.

Okay, so I love Batman (in case y'all haven't noticed). One of the villains is Two Face. In case some of y'all aren't familiar with him, I'm going to give you a brief description of him. Two Face has this whole back story that varies a bit depending on the series, but he has this trick coin that he used to carry around with him, and somehow (some stories say fire, some say acid) half his face was burned permanently, as was one side of the coin. Now, before this happened, he was a good guy. He was super cool, and put a lot of bad guys behind bars. But he was also mental, and had two personalities. One good and one bad. So instead of just killing someone, he would flip his coin, and if it landed on the clean side you were safe, but if landed on the messed up side, caboom, you're dead. Two Face reminds me of modern day politics (hmmm..) he's neither 100% for killing everyone, or 100% for not killing them. So he lets fate decide. If we are never 100% for anything, we become two-faced. And nobody likes that.

Friday, October 11, 2013

String of Pearls

Okay, so for my article, I'm not really going to do an actual article. A couple of my lovely friends have started this monthly online magazine for Christian women called "String of Pearls", which I am happy to be a contributor to. :) So for my article today, I am going to share it with you so you can hopefully read some of the wonderful articles it contains that were done by some amazing young women. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

God is always with us

     We all get discouraged at times. It's perfectly normal to. In fact, there are several verses on it. In Joshua 1:9 it says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for The Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Isn't that a pretty encouraging thought? I know that it doesn't always feel like this, but as long as you're doing the right thing, God is always with you. Even if we aren't in the best situation, God is always with you. Even Paul knew this when he was in prison, and was even content with what he had, even though he was in prison. In fact, he wasn't only content, but also he was singing praises and praying to God, and writing the epistles. Paul is like, the epitome of optimism. I mean, I might not be singing praises to God if I was imprisoned for being a Christian. I hope I would, and hopefully I will never have to find out. But when we are discouraged, it's good to look at Paul, and see the example that he set, and never seemed to be discouraged no matter what the circumstance. 

     If you look in 1 Samuel 12:22 it says, "For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His name's sake, for it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself." Okay, there is a difference between God being with us, and us not going through hard times. Just because we go through a rough time, that doesn't always mean that it's our fault. Sometimes we go through hard times because we need to learn something, and we're really stubborn so that may be the only way we can learn, (I feel like this happens to me a lot, as I am a very stubborn person, and learn things the hard way a LOT.) or maybe it's setting up for something even better in the end. Blessings in disguise are often the best kind, because you appreciate it more than if you hadn't had to go through the bad in order to get to the good. Or maybe you're going through a hard time for some other reason. But no matter what, as long as we follow God's commandments, it will always turn out to be fine. Even if we die first, we'll still end up in a place that's worth even the worst possible thing that can happen on earth. So remember, no matter what happens, remember that God is always with you no matter what, as long as you follow His commandments. And always remember that in Matthew 28:20 we are told that God is with us always. :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

More Important Things

     In 1 Timothy 4:7-8 it says, "Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." Okay, I like to run. But I kind of have bad knees, so before I start running I have to build them up a lot so I can go more than 5 steps without my knees being in extreme pain when I run. I want to take care of myself, but also, I just love running and always have. But even though that's important, it's not half as important as building up knowledge in more spiritual things. Or school. I mean, yes school is important, but it's not near as important as studying God's Word. Just like this verse says, it has promise for things here on earth, AND in heaven. Nothing else matters in the end. 

     Okay, think of it this way, will your great great great great great great grandchildren be effected by how good of grades you made in school? It's possible, but not very likely.  But will they be effected in your Biblical knowledge? Possibly, yes. I mean, if my great great great great great great great great great great grandfather was a king, do you think that that really matters to me now? No, not really. I mean, other than the fact that that would be kind of cool. But if my family had started being Christians that long ago, would that effect me now? Probably. I mean, if it weren't for them, then right now, I may not be a Christian at all. And not only will it effect their lives and mine, but also it will effect all of our lives even after we've died. Will good grades get us to heaven? No. 

     So next time you have to make a choice between doing something that might improve your grades, or get you on a sports team, or anything really, and doing something better, then I want to encourage you to do something better. Grades and such may be good for you now, but in the life to come. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Loving Your Enemies

     We are told in Matthew 5:43-44 to love our enemies. It says, "You have heard it was said to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," But what does this mean? A lot of times, this can be mistaken for, "Put up with your enemies." or, "You can dislike them, but just don't hate them." Well, what does the Bible say? That is what I will be talking about in this article.

     In 1 Corinthians 13, we are given a definition of love. So I will be reading that definition, which starts in verse 4, and goes through the first part of verse 8. It says, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends." Now, I am going to re-read that, but in the contexts of loving our enemies.

     "Be patient and kind to your enemies. Do not envy them, or boast to them. Do not be arrogant or rude to your enemies. Do not insist on your own ways. To not be irritable or resentful toward your enemies. Do not rejoice in your enemies' wrongdoing, but rejoice in the truth. Bear all things coming from your enemy, believe all that they say, hope all things, and endure everything. Always love your enemies." Basically, if you combine the two, this is what the passage would probably say. 

     But do we really treat our enemies like this? I mean, this may be how we treat our friends and family, but as we read in Matthew, we should treat everyone like this. Not just the people we like. This can seem difficult, and sometimes even impossible. I'm sure everyone has struggled with this before. But we shouldn't just put up with our enemies, or ignore them. We should love them with the kind of love that we read about in 1 Corinthians 13. I think that often, the word "love" is misjudged to mean other things when used throughout the Bible in commandments. But as long as we keep in mind what love really is, it can be easier to fully understand the command given. So today, I want to encourage you to not put up with your enemies, but to love them, even though it seems almost impossible at times. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chameleons

     A big part about modesty is showing everyone Who you belong to. We can see that in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 which is read a LOT when talking aboutmodesty. I mean, modesty is just not really talked about all that much in the New Testament. Or at least not directly anyway. That doesn't meant that it's any less of a big deal, but it's just so simple that it really doesn't need much explaining or repeating. It's pretty simple. Dress modestly. But today I will be talking about blending in with the world.

     It can be so easy to want to blend in with the world. The fashion styles that I'm seeing a lot is super skinny jeens, super tight tops, or super low tops, showing stomachs, short-shorts, short skirts, etc. And, I'll admit, some of those clothes are pretty cute. Like, once there was this dress that I saw at Macey's, and it was in my price range (which like, never happens. EVER.) and it had a simple blue top on it, and then the bottom part was was real pretty, it was cream colored with the same colored lace over it, it was SO PRETTY! But it went a good four inches above my knees. I was pretty frusterated (and then later I saw another girl wearing the same dress, but it went to her knees, and I was a bit frustrated  because I realized that if I had a different body type then I could've totally been able to wear it) but even though it was fashionable, and cute, I couldn't wear it. James 4:4 says, "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

     Okay, so we all know what enmity is, and if you don't, it's basically means being an enemy towards a person, place, thing, whatever noun you wish to use. Do we really want to be an enemy of God's? Like, an enemy isn't just someone who kinda doesn't like someone else. No! An enemy is someone who hates another person, or who wants to kill them or something Now, we can't really kill God. Kind of impossible. But what do you think nonbelievers are trying to do? Disprove God, right? Kill any thought of Him. Being friends of the world, or even wanting to, is being an enemy of God's. So yes, it can be tempting to buy those cute shorts, even though they don't really cover anything, or, really, this verse applies to every sin, (but since this is a modesty blog, I figured I'd use it to write about modesty) but either way, when we are tempted to do something, and our best excuse is, "But EVERYBODY'S doing it!!" Well, is that really a good reason? It can be easy to want to blend in, but we should profess godliness as we are told in 1 Timothy 2:10. How can we profess godliness if we look just like the world?

     

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Judging VS Judgement

     We live in a world that tends to take Matthew 7:1 not only out of contexts, but also a little TOO literally. Now, don't take me wrong. I'm not saying that following the Bible 100% to the letter is wrong. I am not saying that at all. I am saying just the opposite of that. I am saying that this verse is taken out of contexts a lot, and if you read the passages around it, it doesn't mean at all that you should never say or think that anything is right or wrong ever. In fact, just saying that is making a judgement about all people who make judgements, which I find kind of ironic. 

     If you look in John 7:24, it reads, "Do not judge by appearance, but judge with right judgement." What? What is this? A verse in the Bible telling use to judge?! It can't be!! But yes, it can. This verse is telling us to judge people not based on their looks, but based on the inside. Now, there's a difference between judging and making judgements. This is talking about making a judgement so that you don't hang around the wrong people. And the Bible does teach about that in Matthew 13 when Jesus tells the parable about the seeds. We don't want to get choked out by bad influences. 

     It's example time. Say a group of your friends want you to go to a party where there may or may not (but definitely will) be drinking involved. Now, right then you have to make a judgement. Going to that party is, as you know, a sin. Are you saying that those people are definitely not going to heaven? No. That is making a judgement. Also, if you decide that hanging out with those people is probably not the best idea because they are constantly tempting you to do something wrong, is that judging, or judgement?  That is making a judgement. That is what John 7:24 is talking about. It doesn't matter how popular, good looking, rich, or funny they are. If they are a bad influence, then they shouldn't be huge parts of your life. Now, completely shunning them because of their choices isn't very Christian like, and does fall under the judging category. There does have to have an even balance, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't make judgements on what you know is right or wrong.

     I'm going to use another example, but this time it'll be a less common, more extreme case that doesn't really have to do with any biblical principals, but still applies. Say you were a murder suspect, (like I said, very extreme and I doubt this would happen to you) and you were being chased by a bunch of cops. You're running as fast as you can, and all of a sudden there's a fork in the road. You look at each road briefly, and see that one has a bunch of cop cars at the end, and the other has a nice little hiding place where you could sneak in undetected. Which way are you going to go? I don't know about you, but I'd go to the second road with the nice little hiding spot. What made you choose the second road? Probably not wanting to get caught by the police, right?! That's what happens when we make judgements. We don't want to get caught up in sin, so we HAVE to make judgements so we don't end up doing the wrong thing. And this isn't just with people, either. We have to do this with every decision we make. 

     So, just because someone tells you that you're judging them for doing something wrong, just remember that as long as you're judging righteously, you're still following God's word.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What is Modesty?

We have all been told to dress modestly. I hear it all the time. We need to dress modestly. But how often are we actually told what it is? That is what I will be explaining to you in this article. 

     Modesty is dressing, acting, and speaking in a way that doesn't bring glory to you, but to God. Let me tell you what I mean. In 1 Timothy 2:9 it says, "Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire," This is where we see that we shouldn't bring glory to ourselves. Now, this isn't saying that it's wrong to look pretty. Back in the time of the ancient Romans and such when this was written, rich people had a LOT of servants. Like, a LOT. So what would they do all day if they didn't have to actually do anything? What they would do is they'd get all dolled up, then walk around the city trying to attract attention to themselves. They would decorate their hair, and put all their finest jewels, and sometimes things like fine china in their hair to show off how much they had. Now, in common days, this seems silly. No one does that now, right?  Have you ever gone to the store, or gone online and seen something like, "Look at _______'s new daring outfit!" or, "Look at _____'s new bold look!" in an article or magazine cover? Women of the world will try to dress so inappropriately, just to draw attention to themselves. This is exactly what this verse is saying NOT to do. 

     Now, if we shouldn't bring attention to ourselves, then who SHOULD we draw attention to?! Well, if you read on in 1 Timothy 2:10 it says, "but with what is proper for women who profess godliness- with good works." We need to dress in a way that is proper for women who profess godliness. What this is saying is people need to see God when they see how we dress, how we speak, and how we act. Modesty isn't about you. Modesty is about people seeing God in you. If you go to a beach and you see a thousand women wearing little bikinis and I told you that one of them was a Christian and told you to try figuring out which one it was just by looking, how easy do you think that'd be? I don't know about you but I might have some difficulty finding her. As Christians, we need to be set apart from the world. Not part of it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Perfect Man

James 3:2 says, "For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body." One thing that I've noticed (and I know that this kind of goes without saying) is that women love to gossip. Now, not all women gossip. I'm not saying that at all. I know a lot of girls who don't. Or try not to. And that is wonderful. But it is so easy, isn't it?? When you have that one piece of information that just makes things so interesting and you just wanna tell everyone you can, isn't it just so easy to justify it and tell everyone? It sure is for me. But this verse says that if you are able to control your tongue, you've got nothing else to worry about. Because once you've learned how to control your speech, you've already learned to control the hardest part and the rest should be easy compared to it. Wouldn't life be so much easier and better if we only talked good about other people? I mean, imagine that for a second. There wouldn't be any fights, rumors, miss judgements, etc. and when there's none of that, then there's no desire for steeling, murder, lying, etc. Why? Because everyone would get along! 

     My brother and I used to argue a LOT. Like, all the time. And I admit, being the little sister, I was kind of a pain, and may have tried irritating him sometimes, but after a while we started talking nicer to each other, and now we get along so well, I couldn't tell you the last time we even had an argument. Why? Because we learned to talk to each other kindly instead of every other thing we say being an insult. I'm not saying that we're perfect. Not at all. But if we could be like that to everyone, how easy do you think life would be? This is why we are told to be kind to our enemies. It can be so easy to do nothing but talk bad about people who don't like us or who we don't like. But if we look in 1 Samuel 24:3-5 says, "And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. And the men of David said to him, 'Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, "Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you."' And David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's robe." Okay, so here David is given pretty much free reign to do whatever he wants to Saul who has tried murdering him on several occasions. I don't know about you, but no one has attempted to murder me on several occasions. If David was able to spare Saul's life, even though he knew that Saul was trying to kill him, then I'm sure that we can resist the temptation to kill someone's reputation or friendship with someone. 

     We were given the ability to speak (or communicate in some way) not so that we could talk bad about people, but so we could build them up, and so that we could drive people TO Christianity. Not away from it. So next time you're talking to someone about someone else, make sure it's in a positive way. Even if they are mean to you, you'll always feel worse about someone when you talk bad about them, so why bother?? 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Temptation of Jesus

     Most of the time when we think of the temptation of Jesus, we think of Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days. But today I'll be talking about the over all temptation of Jesus. When we talk about how perfect Jesus was, it can be easy to forget just how impressive that is. As we can see in Hebrews 4:15, Jesus was tempted in every way that anyone every has or will be tempted. It says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Think about that for a second. I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly tempted to murder people, or to lie constantly, drink, gamble, etc. I mean, those things just aren't things that appeal to me. Now, I do have my weaknesses. Everyone does. But most people are not always tempted by the same things. Some people are tempted in some ways, others are tempted in other ways. But Jesus was tempted in all ways. But without sin as we can see in Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, and several other verses.

     Why? Why was Jesus tempted in every way possible? Well, if we look back in Hebrews 4:15, the first part of it says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses," This is saying that because Jesus was tempted in every way we have been, then He can understand what we're going through, and also so that we can't have an excuse for sinning. 

     1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." This verse can be proven by the fact that Jesus, as a human being, was tempted in every way but always found a way of escape because God never gave any man more than he can handle. Yes, Jesus did have the capability to be perfect as we see in 1 Peter 2:22 and man does not as we read in Romans 3:23. But we always have a way of escape. There has never been a perfect being on this earth besides Jesus. But that is exactly why Jesus died on the cross. 

     So next time you think that no one understands, or that no one has gone through what you have, remember Hebrews 4:15 and that Jesus was also tempted but without sin. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our Christian Lives: Christianity Isn't a Safety Net

     Everyone goes through tough times. And when we do, it's easy to pray and ask for help. I mean, we should. But what about the rest of the time? What about when nothing is going on? Do we still study and pray daily? Do we still live our lives like we should, or is it just when we want something? Christianity isn't just a safety net that we can pull out when we want something. It's something that we need to live every day. 

     In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it tells us to pray without ceasing. That doesn't just mean to pray just when you want or when you need something. You should pray during those times, but you should pray during every other time too. That also applies to studying, and living the Christian life. Not just when it's convenient. 

     What if Jesus only lived the Christian life when it was convenient for Him? First of all, He wouldn't have been perfect, so He couldn't have been a good enough sacrifice. But also, do you think that dying on that cross was very convenient? I'm guessing not. I mean, I wouldn't want to. Jesus was a perfect role model. Hebrews 4:15 says, "For we do not have a High Priest who in unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Jesus knows and understands everything we go through. Notice how it says that He was tempted in every way that anyone ever will. That means He was tempted to murder, steel, lie, everything. If He had acted on every temptation because that was the convenient way to do things, but when something bad happened to Him He'd immediately go back to being perfect, do you really think that that's what God would've wanted? No! That's not what He wants from us either.

     Christianity isn't something that we do once a week on Sunday for a couple hours and then go home and do whatever we want. Christianity is how we live our lives on a daily basis. It's not a safety net for when we have problems, but a way of life that God set up for everyone to have. 
     

Monday, September 2, 2013

Our Christian Lives Part 1: Running the Race

What if only one person could go to heaven? I mean, think about that. I was at a convention center this past week in Tennessee at a place called Polishing the Pulpit. For those of you who don't know what it is, basically it's a little taste of heaven. There were about 3,000 people there I think they said, and all day there are lectures from several wonderful Christian men and women. They have men's classes, women's classes, teen classes, preacher's classes, elder's classes, deacon's classes, youth minister's classes, basically, if it exists there's a class for it. Anyway, I was sitting in a class when a thought struck me, "What if only one person could go to heaven?" and then I realized that I probably wouldn't make it. Out of the billions upon billions of people who have lived, are living now, and will live, I don't think I'd make it with those odds! It'd probably be someone like Abraham or Paul or someone. Or if it were to be someone from my time it'd still probably be someone else. And then I thought about 1 Corinthians 9:24 which says, "Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it."

     My brother used to be part of a track team. And he LOVED it. But every morning he'd get up at 6 am before school, run 1 or 2 miles, go to school, then go to practice and run even more. And in every track meet he was in he used all those hours of training and ran with his goal being first place just like everyone else. He didn't just think, "Well, I'm part of the race. That's good enough. If I get last place at least I did something." No! Why? Because he spent all that time training, and then of course he used it! That is exactly what this verse is talking about. That is how our Christian lives should be. We should study God's word daily, and live our lives like only one person can go to heaven. I'll tell you what, there are times when it's easy to forget about this verse and fall back. It can be easy to get tired or forget that we're in a race. Now this isn't saying that we need to try to be superior to everyone. But that we need to try to be as perfect as we possibly can so that we can obtain the prize when the race is over. Tomorrow I'll be talking about why we run the race, and how we can run the race for the wrong reasons. But today I want to encourage you to train for the race daily by reading your Bible, and to live in a way that if only one person could go to heaven, it'd be you. Because that is exactly what we're told to do here in 1 Corinthians 9:24. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Influence With Modesty

     Everyone has an influence. If it's a small influence or a big one, everyone still has an influence on someone. It's not our choice of who we influence, but it is our choice of how we influence them. 

     In 1Timothy 2:9 it says, "in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing," Usually when I use this verse, I focus on the modesty part, but today I'll be talking about the second part of the verse which says, "not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing," this isn't talking about how we shouldn't dress nicely or brain our hair, but back when this was written in the time of the ancient Romans, women would braid their hair in these fancy, intricate braids and decorate it with gold, pearls, precious gems, and sometimes even fancy china plates in order to draw attention to themselves. Now, this may seem a bit extreme and like it doesn't apply to us today, but in all reality, it does. If you'll notice, a lot of articles you'll read in magazines or online about models, actresses, singers, or just random famous people, the headlines will usually read, "You'll never believe your eyes when you see _____ in this daring dress!" A lot of these people will wear things to seem more and more daring, bold, or even just strange to draw attention to themselves. And I don't know if you've noticed or not but this has deeply influenced the styles of clothing sold in stores today. These people have had a great influence on society, which has caused a great problem in modesty, all because they wanted to attract attention to themselves. So not only do we have to remember that we have an influence, we also need to remember that the clothing we wear shouldn't be worn to draw attention to us. In 1Timothy 2:10 it says, "but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." We need to make sure that when people see us, they don't see that we're drawing attention to ourselves, but to God. 

     Now I'll be taking about the influence that we can have on others. It can be easy to think that we're not big enough, or in a god enough of a situation to have an influence on anyone. But the truth is, you do. Everyone does. To your friends, classmates, children especially, and everyone else around you. We have to remember that just because we may not know who we influence, or just because you don't want to have an influence, that doesn't meant that we don't. And it can be very easy to be the wrong kind of influence, but we need to remember to be a good influence. The way we dress is very important. If someone looks up to you as an example, and they see you dressed inappropriately, then they will think that there's nothing wrong with that. This applies with everything else too. We need to remember to watch ourselves, because we never know who's watching. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

What are We Willing to Give part 2: The Sacrifices We Can Make in Our Lives

     Yesterday I talked about the story of Esther, and how she was willing to give her life for her people. Today I will be talking about what we need to be willing to give for our people. Now, we may not have to give up our lives like Esther did, but as Christians we still have to make sacrifices in order to convert others into Christians.

     Much like pretty much everyone else, I love watching TV. I love cartoons, movies, super heroes, action movies, all that fun stuff. But if I did nothing but watch TV all day, what good would that do me? What good would that do others? Not very much. Now, there's nothing wrong with watching TV, but if it gets in the way of us doing what we need to do, then it can turn into a problem. 

     Today, I want to encourage you to give up just one hour of TV, or something you catch yourself doing too much of, and do something productive instead. Maybe there's a widow in your church that you could visit, or there's a friend you have who's in need of a Bible study, or something like that. Not everyone has the same abilities or circumstances as others do to help those in need. Like, I may not be able to drive yet, but I can still invite a friend to church, or have a Bible study with them. Maybe there's something you can do, a circumstance you're in to use the tools given to you by God to help someone. It might be difficult, but the more you try, the more you'll grow in understanding God's Word. So I want to encourage you to do that. Even if it's just inviting a friend over who needs encouragement, it'll still be worth it. If Esther can give her life to save her people, then what are we willing to give to save ours? 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What are We Willing to Give? part 1: The Story of Esther

     I'm sure you have all heard the story if Esther. And I encourage you to read it if you haven't already. But let's take a look at the story of Esther. First, she was taken from her home, and then made queen. That's kind of awesome don't you think? I mean yeah, marrying someone you've never met before might be kind of scary. And that's an under exaggeration, but it would still be kinda cool. But then we read on and we see that she was forced to make an important decision for her people. As we read on, we see that Esther finds out about a law that said that on a certain day saying that all the Jews would be killed. And in case you don't remember, Esther was a Jew. But only Mordecai knew about it because he told her to keep it a secret.

     In Esther 4:14, Mordecai tells Esther that if she doesn't say anything to King Ahasuerus, then her people might die. It says, "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Mordecai is telling Esther that it is her responsibility as queen to save her people. So in verse 16 she tells Mordecai that if he goes and tells his people to fast, and she and her people will fast, then in three days she will carry out her plan. Even though she was probably scared, she was willing to give her life for her people.

     In Esther 5:4 it says, "And Esther said, "If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today for a feast that I have prepared for the king." Esther wasn't just going to halfheartedly going to go up to the king and say, "Hey, so, there's this law that says that my people are all going to be killed on this certain day, and I was just kinda wondering if you could put an end to that. Uh, I think that's all. I'm going to go now. Bye!" She came up with a plan, and set out to make it happen.

     In chapter 7 we read that Esther's plan worked. The king saw what was going on, and tried his best to put an end to it. If Esther hadn't used her situation and the advantages she was given in life, then she would have failed. If she hadn't tried to save her people, then they might not have been saved. Tomorrow I will be talking about how that can apply to us, and how we need to learn how to use our gifts and talents to save our people. Thank you for reading. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Keeping Peace

     How many times have you talked to someone, and they were getting on your nerves, and you just really wanted to tell them to shut up? Or maybe you were talking to someone, and they were talking about this one person, and you had something that you really wanted to say about them. Sometimes, it can be easy to use our mouths to hurt others, and it's very easy to do. But sometimes, we need to keep our mouths closed. And I understand, this is very difficult sometimes. I have the hardest time not being completely and utterly rude sometimes, because I just have the perfect comeback. But in James 3 we read about the tongue. In verse 3 it talks about how our tongues can be like a bit in a horse's mouth. I don't know if you've ever ridden a horse, but I did once, and all you have to do to make it turn is to slightly move the reigns, and the horse turns automatically. It's very easy to say the wrong thing sometimes. All you need is a little push. But we are called to be peacemakers. Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Today I want to encourage you to remember that verse, and to remember that even though it can be so easy to say that one little thing that you know you probably shouldn't, but you just really want to. I want to encourage you to tame your tongue, even if it is difficult at times. But a tree falls the way it leans. If you don't learn to tame your tongue, then it will just get easier and easier to stir up trouble. But the more you learn to hold your tongue, no matter how difficult it is at first, it'll get easier and easier the more you try.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Age Doesn't Matter

    In the Bible, we are called to serve God, and to keep His commandments. But sometimes it can be easy to say, "I'm really too young.." or sometimes even, "I'm just too old for that." But we still have responsibilities. Now, clearly, a new born can't really go out and evangelize, or even really understand anything that's going on. But we're not talking about them right now. A lot of times, we can start to think that we are too young to start obeying God. Now, clearly, we do have some limits. We can't exactly become missionaries on our own, and we do have women's rolls, as we can see in 1 Timothy 2:12 which says, "I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." But, we can always find things to do. We can teach Bible class, which sounds very difficult, but as long as you have someone in there with you, it's actually really easy once you get the hang of it. You can set up Bible studies with friends, or when a friend asks you for advice, tell them about what the Bible says about it, and plant that idea into their head.

     Talking about the Bible to other people isn't the only thing that people seem to have a hard time with, and tend to excuse with age. Also, dressing modestly seems to be one of those things. Some people tend to have it in their heads that, "Oh, I'm too young for it to really matter." It does very much matter. Now, I'm not saying that everyone does this. Not at all. But I do see a problem with it, and sometimes this is the thinking. For some strange reason, you can buy bikinis for your three-year-old little girls. And some people think, "Aaw! That's so cute!" But that is just teaching girls of all ages, that modesty doesn't matter. And that is very much false. It doesn't matter what age you are, as long as you are conscious and able, you need to follow God's Word.

     A lot of people use this excuse, as well as several others. But God didn't give us rules only for certain age groups. Once you are baptized, that is accepting all of the rules in the Bible, and no one can do that for you. Once you are baptized, you are saying that you are old enough to understand, and follow God's Word. So please, before you start thinking that you're too young for something, remember Luke 2:41-52, which is the story of Jesus in the temple. Jesus knew who He was, and was learning as much as he could when He was only 12. So next time you think, "I can't do it." or, "I;m too young." Remember that God will never give you anything you can't handle.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Wonders of a Tank Top

     Today, I will be talking about the wonders of a tank top. Now, I'm sure you're wondering, "Didn't Sarah already do an article on showing shoulders?" Yes. She did. And if you want to read it, it was really good just click here. But I'm not talking about wearing just a tank top.

     For those of you who don't know me, I'm pretty short. I reached five feet, four inches a couple years ago, and then I just kinda stopped. BUT! I have a really long torso, so I have the HARDEST time finding shirts that fit. Although lately, I've learned that graphic t's aren't just super comfortable, but also usually long. But other than that, I can't seem to find shirts that I can lift up my arms and not show my entire stomach. So, what I do when that happens is I go to a random store and buy a cheap tank top form the women's section, wear it under whatever shirt I'm wearing at the time, and TA-DA! I can now raise my arms as high as they'll go and it doesn't matter! It's a really cheap way to stay modest, and if you get thin ones, then you hardly notice them at all. Also, a trend (which I haven't seen as much of this year thankfully) is crop tops. Now I will admit, some of them do look kinda cute. So if you really like one, just wear a tank top underneath, and as long as it's not super tight, then it's fine. Just because you want to dress modestly, that doesn't mean that you have to throw out your entire wardrobe. Just layer. It's cute, cheap, and can be fun. :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Temptations

     "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.", Romans 6:23. Every day, we are tempted. Some of the things that we are tempted with seem just so right, and sometimes we can convince ourselves that they are. That is very easy to do. But in Matthew 5:29-30 it says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you loose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you loose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell." This passage here is telling us how important it is not to sin. Earlier I said that it is very easy to convince ourselves that sins are okay, but in 2 Corinthians 10:5 it reads, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." This verse is saying that not only do we need to get rid of anything physical causing us to sin, but also mentally. It's very difficult to say no to sin when you're trying to convince yourself that it's okay. If the Bible says that it's wrong, then it's wrong. Now there's nothing wrong with genuinely  not knowing that something is wrong and asking yourself, "IS that wrong?" But that's why we need to study the Bible, and read it often so that we can know what's right or wrong. Because whether we read the Bible or not, we will still be judged by our actions. Romans 2:11, "For God shows no partiality." That doesn't mean that everyone will go to heaven, or everyone will go to hell, but that we will all be judged equally. God won't have pity on you because you  didn't know what was right or wrong. That's why He gave us the Bible. And I do admit, there are some who have never heard about God. But that is why we are told in Matthew 28:19 to go and make disciples of all nations. But a lot of people get Romans 2:11 confused because it can be made to sound like everyone will go to heaven no matter what, or everyone will go to hell no matter what, but that's not what this is saying. It's like, say you have four siblings, and all five of you have to follow the same rules. If three of you break one of those rules, and the other two don't, who gets in trouble? The three who broke the rule! If the other two siblings had broken it too, they would've gotten in trouble. That's not showing partiality, that's giving justice. Make sense? So as long as we follow God's word, and do right, we'll get what was promised to us. Not because we did anything special, but because God loves us all and He always keeps His promises. So when we wonder if something is wrong or not, don't just assume it's not. Go to the Bible, or your parents, or someone with lots of Biblical knowledge who can help you by going through the Bible, and showing you if it is or not. And if you find out that it is wrong, don't talk to yourself into doing it anyway. We are told to destroy those thoughts, because they go against God's teaching.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Swim Suits in the Summer

     It's summer. Some of you are already on summer vacation, some of you are just about to be off, but I'm sure that there are some things that you're really looking forward to. I am very much looking forward to Bible camp next month! :) And I'm sure a lot of you have swimming pools, or you'll go to a lake or the ocean, but I'm sure that swimming is involved somewhere, as a lot of people enjoy it! I was flying over Texas once, and I looked out my window, and you would be so surprised at how many swimming pools there are in the state of Texas. There's a LOT! And there's nothing wrong with swimming! I love swimming. I used to go to my friend's house once a week and we'd go swimming. It was so much fun. But really, do we need to wear a bikini when we're swimming? I know I already wrote a couple articles on this last year, but I figured I'd give a recap since it's summer again.

     Once I was in Wal-Mart, and this was a few years ago, and I saw this person walk in wearing microscopic short-shorts and a bikini top. To Wal-Mart. Now, most people would go, "Why are you wearing that to Wal-Mart?! It's a public place so you should be covered up a bit more." Well, why wear that to the beach?! It's also a public place. You wouldn't go to the store just wearing your underwear would you? Why wear it to the beach? What's the difference? You get wet and all of a sudden it's fine? I'm not saying that it's wrong to go swimming, I mean there are plenty of modest swim suits (I'll be having pictures of mine on here when my laptop starts working again). I once saw a picture on Pinterest on how to convert your bra into a bikini top. Basically, all you have to do is put cuter material on it and woo! You have a bikini! There's no difference. So before you go and buy an extra bikini, or a one-piece that's super tight and doesn't cover your legs one bit, look for a more modest one. In fact, a few friends of mine just got tennis outfits and it worked just as well. There are options. So if you're looking for a swim suit and you just can't find one, remember that there is a way to find a modest swim suit (you may have to search, but it'll be worth it). :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Forgiveness

     In the Bible, we are told all the time to forgive. There are some parables, like in Matthew 18:21-35 that give instances of people forgiving or not forgiving. In Matthew 6:14-15 it says, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Most people, when speaking about forgiveness use Matthew 18:21-22 which says, "Then Peter came to him, 'Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" Or, some other translations say "seventy times seven". This passage is great for the topic of forgiveness. It tells us that we always need to be forgiving. But that's not all we have to remember. We also have to remember Matthew 6:14-15, which says that we need to forgive, or we won't be forgiven. Isn't that an awful thought, not being forgiven?

     Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we can accomplish.But when you've done something really hard, I don't know about you, but I always feel better after. And God will never give us anything we can't handle.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Good Read

     Just about everyone likes to read. I like to read adventure books. I like Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Hobbit, stuff like that. I used to read like, 6 books at a time because I couldn't figure out which ones I wanted to read first. But how often do we pick up our Bibles, and just read? I recently fell out of the habit of reading daily, but picked it back up a couple days ago. And you know what? I really enjoy it! A lot of times we can see the Bible as just a big book of rules that we have to follow. It is that, but it's also one big story book. If you read through, you'll learn so much, because the Bible wasn't written as just, "thou shall not do this" and, "thou shall not do that" all the way through. The Bible is full of stories that we can use so we can put ourselves inside that situation. It's written so we understand why things are wrong, or right. So we can sympathies with the characters, and see what a world of sin leads to. Or so that we can see how happy you can be when you have Christ in your life, even if you are being persecuted. Paul showed us that. He said that he was content with everything he had even though he was in prison. Philippians 4:11-12, "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."

    So, next time you wake up, or if you're like me and are more awake at night, but can't hold your eyes open in the morning, or maybe if you prefer to read at lunch time, I encourage you to pick up your Bible, and just read sometime every day. You will soon learn that it is the highlight of your day. :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chameleons

When we dress, it can be easy to want to fit in with the world around us. We don't want to stick out, or to dress and look differently than others. It can be easy to want to become chameleons, and dress and act like everyone around us. James 4:4 says, "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend with the world makes himself an enemy of God." I know that it can be a bit difficult to go to a store, see a really cute dress, but have to walk away from it because it's too short, or low in the back, or completely see-through, or whatever. I have seen several dresses that I really wanted, but they just didn't fit like they should. And you know what, I died a little on the inside, because they were REALLY cute. But, when we are made Christians, we are set apart from the world. We are to be lights in the darkness, a light set on a hill. Lights kinda stand out. But you know, I'd much rather be light than darkness. Even if the light may stick out, that's a good thing! Because we weren't told to be like the world. We were made to be set apart from it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Who We Serve


God has blessed us with so much. He has given us our physical, as well as our spiritual needs. He has given us a passage to heaven, and all we have to do is read the instructions that He has given us. He has given us His only son, to die for us. He has given us a way to communicate with Him though that sacrifice that He made. But sometimes, it gets easy to forget who God is. We can get so overwhelmed, and may I say spoiled sometimes, by the blessings that He has given us, and we get used to it. Now, there's nothing wrong with acknowledging our blessings. In Colossians 2:7 it says that we need to be overflowing with gratitude. But sometimes, it can be easy to forget just who God is. Matthew 16:16 says, “Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'” God isn't just some person who made a sacrifice. He's not just someone who you can ask for things that you want all the time, and He be your servant and give you anything you ask for. No. God is the creator of all things. John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” and in Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” God, is God. He is the Creator. He made us. He made everything. Everything that happens in this life, happens because God put that there. And we need to remember that we aren't serving just some random guy who has power over us. God created us. God gave us a choice of how we live. I love the song, I think it's called the “The Whipperwill Song”. The chorus says, “I own the cattle of a thousand hills, I write the music for the whipperwills, Control the planets with their rocks and rills, but give you freedom to do your own wills.” So, not only dis He create everything, and not only does He control everything, even the sun and the moon as we can read in Joshuah 10:13, when God stopped the movement of the sun and the moon to help the Israelites win a battle, and not only did He send His only Son to save us all from our own wrong doings, but He also gives us free will to do whatever we want. We can choose our own paths. We can make our own decisions. And He forgives us. But He is our Creator, He is the God of all things. He is the only one that can create, but He was not created. He has shown us mercy, compassion, love, and forgiveness. But He is our God. He is everyone's God. He can control everything. One day, He could just turn the whole world upside-down, and there would be nothing we could do about it. He's not, but He very well could. Sometimes, we need to take a step back, and remember Who God really is. And every time you do, every time you read about Him, it will ASTOUND you.

So what are we going to do about it? We know that God is the Creator of all things. We know that He sent His only Son to die for us. We know that He is perfect, and without mistake, but what are we going to do about it? Well, first we need to follow His commandments. Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, 'Repent, each and every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That verse isn't a suggestion. It's not. Some people try so hard to get around that verse, but the Bible was written for us to understand. Not to try to get around for our own sakes, but to follow it for God's. Then, once we've obeyed God's command, we need to remember all that he's done for us. And we need to take a step back and remember just Who He is, and just what He's done for us. And we need to remember the Who we serve, is the most incredible being that has always lived. And we need to be thankful, and appreciate just how much He has done for us. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Who do we Glorify?

     1 Corinthians 619-20 says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (20)for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." I'll be talking about the last part of verse 20. We need to glorify God in our bodies. How can we glorify God, if we're trying to glorify ourselves? If we're dressing to impress others, and to show off our bodies, then is that glorifying God? If you went to the beach, and you saw two girls, one dressed in a bikini, and the other dressed in knee-length shorts and a t-shirt, who would you think would be the Christian? Probably not the one showing off as much skin as possible without being completely naked. We need to remember that we weren't put on this Earth to bring attention to ourselves, but to bring attention to God. Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." We need to remember to give glory to God in what we wear, and not give the glory to ourselves.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


As many of you know, two weeks ago there was a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that killed around 20 people, injured over four times that number, and destroyed several blocks of homes, including an apartment complex and a middle school. My family and I were in Missouri when it happened, and we were left worrying about this adorable town with a heavy Czech heritage from far away. My dad's former co-worker used to have his cows butchered at the Nemeck Brothers butchershop that used to operate there, and since he would sell our family half of a cow every year, my dad and I would make a trip down there every year to pick up boxes and boxes of beef, and I always enjoyed getting to see the town. 
When we got back home from Missouri on Monday, my mom asked the West Church of Christ if there was anything we could do to help, and they said "yes!" So, early Tuesday morning, my mom, my two sisters and I drove down to West. We stayed at a hotel 20 minutes away, and stayed until Thursday. As soon as we entered the church building that morning, we were put to work making food to hand out, putting stamps on envelopes, and organizing the donation table. on, a cold front rolled through with an absolutely biting wind. It dropped about 15 degrees in five minutes, and we were dressed for spring. Several people were kind enough to lend me some clothes. Everyone was absolutely freezing, especially those (like me) who were stuck sitting at and watching the donation table, which didn't have a lot of traffic that day. Other people were sorting through the mountain of clothes, shoes, blankets and pillows that were donated over on the field next to the church building. There was a giant trailer which was filled with clothing, and another tent across from it for baby items and toiletries. There really weren't a lot of people who came asking for donated items the first two days, because there were funerals and a memorial service (attended by President Obama) going on those days.
On Wednesday, there were so many donations! Bag after bag after bag of clothing was brought to the church there to sort and hand out. Just when the volunteers thought they had a grip on sorting the clothing, two pickup trucks full of garbage bags STUFFED with clothes would drive up. It's now to the point where the church has stopped asking for clothing - there's too much for the workers to really handle. We worshiped with the congregation there that night. The preacher and his family were homeless at the time, because the officials weren't allowing them into their badly destroyed home. I was amazed when he said during Bible class that night that he was glad his home was destroyed, because that meant he could share the gospel through these events. True faith like that never ceases to inspire me, and many others, I'm sure.
After we went back home on Thursday, mom convinced my dad and several other people to go back on Saturday. As of Saturday, there were three giant tents set up, all jam packed with furniture, clothes, food, diapers, dishes, shoes, books, toiletries, bedding sets, blankets, pillows, and pet food. The generosity of people is astonishing. They want to help, they want to donate, they want to make sure that everyone who had a loved one lost, a job lost, or a home lost has everything they need to be as comfortable as they can.
If you want to help West in anyway, please contact the West church of Christ. They have a Facebook page, which is updated very frequently about what's going on. If you want to help West in anyway, please contact West church of Christ. They have a Facebook page, which is updated very frequently about the happenings there with the relief efforts. Last I checked, they needed items like: dog food, jam, dog treats, and dry milk. If you can't donate time, money, or items, donate your prayers (I Thessalonians 5:17) because they are the most precious resource available to humanity. Click here to go to the page.
~Sarah

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Photo of the week

 
Alright, so this style of clothing has gotten pretty popular. Colored or patterned jeans, and looser shirts. So I figured I'd combine them in today's photo of the day! With the colored jeans, it took me forever to find a pair that wasn't super tight. Ant that seems to be the style as well. Super tight pants. Which, if you think about it, if they're too tight, then it's not like you're really covering anything. So, when I have that one pair of jeans that's a bit too tight, just wear a longer shirt. This one I thought was kinda cute, these are all things that you can get at Macy's (including the shirt underneath). This is a simple fix for if your pants are just a tad bit too tight.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Importance of Popularity

    In life, it seems like everyone wants to be popular. It's normal, but how important is it? Now, there's nothing wrong with being popular, but is it more important to follow God and have a few friends, or live life to please others no matter what you're doing? Now, don't get me wrong, you can be popular without even trying to please anyone at all, but life isn't about making other people happy. Other people didn't put you on this earth, other people did not create you. God did. We need to remember that God should be first in everything we do, even if it makes us a bit unpopular. We should still treat others with love, but we shouldn't live to please others.

     Think about it this way, God never just completely ignored us for something else, did He? No. He hasn't. We need to remember to always put God first, and to remember that serving God is more important than our social status. And who knows? Maybe serving God will make you even more popular because it calls you to be nice to others. That shouldn't be our intention, but it could be one of the side effects. God didn't promise us a perfect life on earth, but He did promise us a perfect life in heaven, if we live according to His word. And honestly, I'd rather have a few friends on earth and eternal life in heaven, than a bunch of friends and no life in heaven.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What is Love?

According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, "love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. " In 1 John 4:8 it says, "Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." If we are to be like God, and God is love, then we are to be everything in this passage. We are to be patient, kind, and not envy or boast. We shouldn't be arrogant or rude. We shouldn't insist on our own way; we shouldn't be irritable or resentful; we should not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoice with the truth. We should bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. A lot of times, this can be hard, or even seem impossible. But we can always ask God to help us. Matthew 7:7-8 says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you. For anyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." And in Mark 12:30-31 it says, "And you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Our neighbors aren't just our friends. They're the people around us, whether we like them or not. We need to remember that even if that girl did say something mean to you, that you need to be patient, and kind. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Choosing a Translation

     Last night I was studying for an article that I'll be doing later on, when I thought of this verse that would fit in perfectly, but I couldn't remember where it was, or what it said exactly. So after about 30 minutes of trying to find it, I decided to just look it up on my laptop. I searched some of the key words, and a verse popped up. I didn't see what the verse was, I just saw, "VERSE" and clicked on it, because I was a bit desperate to find this one verse. The verse I had clicked on was Romans 2:12. I didn't know what translation I had clicked on (I usually forget to check that until after I read) but anyway, I read, "Some people do not know God's law when they sin. They will not be judged by the law when they die. Others do know God's law when they sin. They will be judged by the law." HOLD UP! Wait a second! That can't be right. So I pull out my ESV (which I really like because it's one of the most accurate translations) and I read it from there. It said, "For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law."

     The first one that I read was from the NIRV (New International Readers Version). I wanted to make sure that I wasn't making any false judgement on either translations, so I decided to read it all in contexts (that's the only way you can understand the Bible. Contexts is everything.) In verse 11 it says, "God shows no partiality." (I'm reading from the ESV now). So, verse 11 says that God shows no partiality, or favoritism if you prefer, then why are some judged by the law, and some not? Then you continue reading, and you get to verse 13 which says, "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but doers of the law who will be justified." Verse 12 isn't talking about how if you don't know that you're sinning and you sin, then you won't be judged. It's saying something completely different. It's saying that if you live a lawless life, then you will die being a lawless person. You won't be righteous, and then verse 13 talks about how just because you hear the word but don't practice it, then you won't be saved, meaning that if you live in lawlessness but have heard the Word, you will still die being a lawless person. Contexts is EVERYTHING. So when you're reading, or choosing a new Bible, make sure and choose a good translation. Here is a translation comparison chart. When choosing your Bible, make sure that you can understand it (I know that sometimes the KJV can be a bit difficult to understand even if it is very accurate) but that is also accurate. Now, if your Bible isn't exactly word-for-word, then that doesn't mean that it's necessarily inaccurate, but that it's just phrased differently. But you really want to stay as close to the word-for-word as you can. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righousness. Their end will correspond their deeds." There are false teachers, and false translations out there in the world, and we need to be very careful to avoid those. A false translation is pretty much exactly what Paul is talking about, "Disguising themselves as apostles of Christ."  So please, be careful next time you choose your Bible. Make sure that it's very accurate. It's not just something to pick at random, it's definitely important to pick a good one. Also, it is very important to study your Bible as often as you can, so when you come across something like this, you can know that it's false teaching and not become confused.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Singing from our Hearts

     Yesterday I talked about why we shouldn't clap while singing praises to God (if you didn't read it but want to, click here) so today I figured that it'd be a good time to talk about singing from our hearts.

     When we sing, it can be easy to get distracted from what we're saying. Sometimes we can forget what we're doing because we've just sung that song so many times, that we can sing it without even thinking. In Ephesians 5:19-21 it says, "(19) addressing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your heart, (20) giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (21) submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." This is saying that we not only have to sing, but we have to be reverent, and give thanks to God in our singing. This also means that when we go to worship God, we should sing, because it's part of the worship that God wants from us.

     But when we sing, we have to remember to mean what you're saying. If I sang the song, "All praises be, to the King of Kings, and the Lord our God, He is wonderful" but I was thinking about what I was going to eat for lunch, what would I really be singing? Probably, "I hope that I, can eat at Chilli's, maybe I'll get a steak, they're quite wonderful" Do you really think that God cares about my steak? Probably not. When we are singing praises to God, we need to make sure that God hears praises, and not plans for lunch. Sometimes it can be easy to get distracted, like if a little kid starts crying, or someone behind you is talking, to even if the person's shoe next to you is untied, and you're just dying to tell them, but we need to stay focused on what we're singing. Maybe you can tell the person sitting next to you to tie his shoe after the song is over, but when you're singing, you need to keep your mind focused on what you're saying, and devote those few hours of the week that we are worshiping to actually thinking about God, and being reverent.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Should We Clap While Singing to God?

     This is a question that is asked a lot in the Church of Christ; is it wrong to clap while singing praises to God? You'd be surprised at how many congregations actually do this. But is it wrong? Yes. It is. Today I will be discussing the topic, and explaining the answer as best I can.

    First of all, it takes away from the worship. I have been in (and I'm sure most of you have, too) situations where I was worshiping God, and people started clapping. To me, it seemed to be more of them trying to have fun and goof around, when that's not at all the purpose of those songs at all. When we sing praises to God, it's supposed to be about God, not us having fun. There's nothing wrong with having fun, but in Ecclesiastes 3:1 it says, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven" There's nothing wrong with having fun, but like I said, when we are worshiping God, we need to remember what we're doing, and actually be worshiping. Not trying to make it as fun as we can. Worship doesn't have to be completely boring, we just have to be sincere, and remember where we are, Who we're worshiping, and what we're doing. In Ephesians 5:21 it says that we are to be reverent in our praises to Him. We need to sing from our hearts as I will talk about in a second, and how can we sing from our hearts if we are too wrapped up in ourselves having fun?

     Another reason is that in Ephesians 5:19-21 it says, "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." This is another reason why we shouldn't have instruments, too. In fact, clapping is just like an instrument, but it's attached to your body, so people tend to overlook it. But is clapping being reverent, and singing from the heart? Is it speaking out to someone, or to God? No. It's not. It's not being reverent, it's not being anything. It's just taking something Holy, and changing it to what we want. God never said that He wanted it. In Leviticus 10 we read that Nadab and Abihu tried offering God something that He had not commanded them to, so God struck them dead as you can see in verse 2. God wants us to follow Him strictly, and not to add to what He told us to do. The Bible is a set of rules, not a set of guidelines. In John 14:15, God didn't say, "If you love me, you will follow my commandments as far as you're comfortable with." or, "If you love me, you will follow my commandments and add to them if you want." No. God said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." In Ecclesiastes 3:14 it says, "I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, not can anything be taken away from it. God has done it, so that people fear before Him." God is perfect, and we are not. Everything that God set up, the Bible, everything, is perfect. We are mere humans. We are not perfect. We need to remember that what God didn't tell us to do, we don't do, and what He told us to do, we do because He is perfect, and the rules He set up for us are not impossible. In fact, Jesus was perfect too, and He lived under these rules on this Earth. We shouldn't feel the need to add to that, because then it's not perfect.

     I hope that these reasons have showed you why it's wrong to clap, or use instruments during worship. It's a very important issue, and I know that God does not approve of it, as it is a strange offering. It's something that God didn't ask for. It's like if you ask for a pair of Batman socks for your Birthday, and instead you get a piece of foam. You didn't ask for it, you don't want it, you're just going to throw it away. This is the same way that God is with clapping. It's not the time to do it when we're worshiping Him.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Always Beside You

     Sometimes in life, we get discouraged, or something happens to us that knocks us down on our knees. This happens to all of us at some time or another. But we always have to remember that God is always there beside us. We can always go to Him and ask for help, or for Him to be with us. We can always go to God and tell Him our problems, and as long as it's His will, and as long as you're asking for the right things for the right reasons, He'll always be on your side with things. We have a very faithful God, Who never fails us. We should always remember that He's just a prayer away. So next time when something hurts you, remember who's on your side. As long as you're doing the right thing, God will always be there, and will protect you. This doesn't mean that your life will be perfect, but knowing that God is there, and being faithful to Him, and constantly praying to Him, it'll make things easier. Because you'll always know who's there with you. That's why in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it tells us to pray without ceasing. God always has time to listen, and we need to always have the time to talk to Him. :)