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.