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Posts Tagged ‘God’

A Part-Time Confession

As of late, I’ve been wanting to find a devotional that I can connect with and apply truly to my life and the stages I’ve lived and am living in. I have to admit that I’m not at all good with starting and actually finishing a devotional with 100% dedication and effort. Either I’ll finish it, but not have gotten anything out of it, started it with a full intent of learning more about our wonderful Creator and then lose that drive and slowly “wean” (if you will) off, or I’ll start it and lose interest quickly.

Was I successful in my search of actually finding a devotional? Nope, not really. But I decided to start with rereading a book I had once read, but I had walls up and was making excuses for my actions at that point in my life. I’m really glad that I decided to reread this book (and I’m definitely going to reread it with a highlighter in hand!) – now, at this exact point in my life, I can’t say I’m completely over everything I’ve gone through, but my heart has softened and my eyes have been opened and I realized so many things I missed when I read it for the first time and how much of the book I had forgotten – parts that shouldn’t of been forgotten.

What is this book? It’s called Confessions of a Good Christian Girl by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan.

I can’t begin to explain the content of this book and the talent Maltby has in writing books for Good Christian Girls who are really broken on the inside and struggling to hold onto life. She covers every aspect that troubles women – writing with wisdom and advice, but also adding a personal touch, like the likes of a journal. A couple of my favorite chapters are chapters two, six, seven and nine. Each chapter is title with a title that often one’s heart will call out. Chapter Two: “I Can’t Take It Anymore” – The Desperate Pain of Suicide, “I Never Meant to Go There” – The Treacherous Trap of Addiction,  “Can God Hear A Crazy Woman?” – The Torment and Stigma of Mental Illness, and “How Much Longer, Lord? – Practical Grace for the Chronically Discouraged. I can’t stress how much I just wanted to reread the lines of those chapters over and over and over – highlighting and copying. The content in those chapters – I don’t want to forget them. I remember reading through them this second time and just going: “Amen,” “Yes,” “Exactly” (and so on so forth).

    Having listed those chapters as my top favorites, I’m sure many of you can guess what I’ve struggled with. Being only a teen, I’ve honestly been through a lot – but so have a lot of other teens, and frankly people in general – especially Good Christian Girls. At one point in her book, Maltby points out that it is often the women who are those Good Christian Girls that struggle the most, yet they – we – hide it, wanting to help others and follow Christ’s example. We push everything down, becoming accustomed and acquainted to the ways we live our lives. I can totally attest to that – I may not be that young woman who is constantly involved with cooking dishes for new moms, potlucks, and Bible studies… but I am that young woman who is constantly striving to grow deeper in my relationship and ministering to those around me. But I’m also that young woman struggling to keep hope, to strive to get one more day under my belt, and constantly battling my own mind in a battle of strength and weakness; to keep from reverting back to ways I’ve always known, the depression that caused me to hit dangerously low points, and memories that bog me down so that I am unable to move on.

    One of the passages in Maltby’s book was a slap in the face – a good slap (if that’s possible), as in it brought me back to reality and realization. And in saying this, I obviously want to share it:

        “This kind of pain can feel like living in slavery. Eternally trapped in our circumstances.
Yearning for release but unable to break free. Sometimes we can’t even imagine what freedom
would be like. Or sometimes the real trouble kicks in after we’ve been released… And we know that God is at work in our lives – we’ve seen the evidence. But still we find ourselves lost and wandering, somehow unable to find our way into the next chapter of our lives.”

– Tammy Maltby, The Confessions of a Good Christian Girl, pp. 203

There were points in my life that I also was testing and questioning my faith – I even strayed for a bit (I won’t go into detail – but I can say it was the worst feeling emotionally, physically, psychologically, etc. I have ever experienced). Even while I read the portion of the book where this passage I found, which I’m about to show you, I was struggling and in reading this and praying, I felt at peace – I knew God didn’t give more than we could handle – but in reading this on a off-white piece of paper brought the thoughts in my head into reality. The portion goes:

        “How do we believe in God and serve Him and love Him with heart and soul and mind and
strength when these very parts of us are compromised? … The answer, once again, is grace [from
God] … He knows our frames, remember. He remembers we are but dust (Ps. 103:14). He knows the limitations of our physical bodies, our sin-wrack souls. And his grace is sufficient enough to cover the ground between the best we can manage and the kind of fulfilling, purposeful life He wants for us.”

– Tammy Maltby, Confessions of a Good Christian Girl, pp. 167-168

It is also important to remember that we are not alone – yes, we have God’s grace, but we also have Christ, who not only is our Savior, but also our Friend… And on an ending note, I want to remind those who maybe be struggling personally, or know someone who is and you want to give advice or don’t know how to work through with them but not abandon them, that “[t]hrough it all, never forget that you have a constant Friend in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is always present with you, a dependable Helper and Comforter. The more time you spend in quietness, waiting on the Lord, the more you will experience His closeness and know His practical grace. He is the Companion you need most for your journey… and He is always there for you” (Tammy Maltby, The Confessions of a Good Christian Girl, pp. 220). I hope that this all makes sense to you all and that y’all can remember to depend on Him and to find that hope in the dark room. It takes time, believe me, as well as dedication and support. But all things are possible with Christ, I know that for a fact – He gives me the strength to carry on day in and day out – even when I sleep and dream (Matt. 19:26).

    – T.L.

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Writing

Usually when I’m about to make a post, I’ll have written it out, whether it be on a piece of paper or in my journal.

I’m going to try something new. Writing it plain and simple, no piece of paper or page in my journal.

It’ll show my flaws. It’ll show what my writing looks raw. Yes, it’ll be revised. But it’ll be the base material; it’ll have the original piece still in it.

This also isn’t my usual post. Surprise? The last one wasn’t like the posts I usually do.

Welcome to how my mind works.

I go from one topic to another. It is hard to focus, especially when I’m writing. It’s not because I don’t like writing or it’s hard for me to write. In fact, it is almost too easy for me. And as I write my mind goes off on tangents thinking of all the possible topics I could write on or everything that is on my mind.

Just like it is hard for me to focus on My Jesus.

Writing. Write.ing. Two syllable word. A seven letter word. A seven letter word that means a lot to me.
Being able to write. I’m so thankful for it. I use the gift God has given me to be able to do this – blog and share about God’s word. I use this gift to write amazing stories and poems. I also use this gift to my personal advantage. Writing down my feelings. I write down everything, literally, that goes through my mind exactly how I thought of it.

Like I said before, my mind wanders from one thing to another. I do not wish to elaborate, as that’s what my journal is for and maybe someday it’ll be in a post, but as of now… sorry. Of course this post has a point, it isn’t just me going on and on and on writing how I love to write. No, but it has gotten me thinking.

I dropped the line, “Just like it is hard for me to focus on My Jesus.”

It is true. Oh so often I find myself focusing on school, or music, or even cleaning or even my family and the struggle of living. I lose focus on Him. I try to do a devotional each morning. A small one, almost everyone probably has heard of it – it’s called Our Daily Bread. It is a great little devotional. Whether you can relate to the devos or not, it is eye opening and wonderful. But even when, in the quiet of the morning, I’ll be reading it, I still find it hard to focus. I go off planning my day, calculating how much homework I’ll have that day and how long it’ll take me to do it… yadda, yadda, yadda.

I don’t want my mind to wander as I spend time with My Lord, My Jesus. I’m sure I’m not the only one; I know I’m not the only one. I know that I’m proud enough to not admit it right away, that no, life isn’t easy. It’s not easy finding time and just sitting down and spending time with Christ. More often or not I find it easier to sit down and do my homework and listen to music. I just don’t get those people who are like, “Oh, yeah I sit down each morning and spend an hour reading and praying.” I marvel at that, at such dedication, I really do… if it is real true time with Christ. And there are people who spend hours with God and you can tell, you can tell that their faith is unshakable; firm in a solid foundation.

I envy that… “Thou shalt not envy.”

I want that… “Thou shalt not covet.”

But see, I can envy and covet that. That which is an amazing relationship with Jesus.
He wants me to envy and want a relationship with him, because he is My Saving Grace. He is our Saving Grace.

Yes, I’m a strong Christian. I have a firm faith, but it isn’t as firm as I’d like it to be. I want to sort of faith that the people living in persecution have – that no matter what they don’t waver.

Would I be able to stand up to that sort of test?

I don’t want to have to go through that to find out. I want to just know. 

I can feel Him in me. Trust me, he’s there and he’s working.

He is living in my heart, for it is His home. But there is the fact of handing over everything. The deed, the title, the key. And allowing him to rule every part of my Heart and my life. 

My Heart, Christ’s Home.

I may be weak, but the Spirit is strong in me. My flesh will fail, by My God never will fail.

God Gives Me Faith.

His love is relentless. He will never stop seeking to spend time with me, even though I may stop and go. Start and stop and restart. He’s always there, always at the same meeting place. I just have to meet him there, and I will. I go to him excited. Excited that I get to spend time with Him. Cause in the end, he’s all that matters. He’s always by my side.

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Those Nights

 Before you scroll down, please listen to: Those Nights by Skillet

I remember when we used to laugh
About nothing at all, it was better than going mad
From trying to solve all the problems
We’re going through, forget ’em all
‘Cause on those nights we would stand and never fall
Together we faced it all, remember when we’d

Stay up late and we’d talk all night
In a dark room lit by the TV light
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

We’d listen to the radio play all night
Didn’t wanna go home to another fight
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

I remember when we used to drive
Anywhere but here, as long as we’d forget our lives
We were so young and confused
That we didn’t know to laugh or cry
Those nights were ours, they will live and never die
Together we’d stand forever, remember when we’d

Stay up late and we’d talk all night
In a dark room lit by the TV light
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

We’d listen to the radio play all night
Didn’t wanna go home to another fight
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

Those nights belong to us
There’s nothing wrong with us
Those nights belong to us

I remember when we used to laugh
And now I wish those nights would last

Stay up late and we’d talk all night
In a dark room lit by the TV light
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

We’d listen to the radio play all night
Didn’t wanna go home to another fight
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

Stay up late and we’d talk all night
In a dark room lit by the TV light
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

We’d listen to the radio play all night
Didn’t wanna go home to another fight
Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive

Those nights belong to us
There’s nothing wrong

From: Metrolyrics.com

Sometimes a song’s lyrics can describe my feelings more than my own words can. Especially songs that have that melody and instrumental component.

There are nights where I just want to cry. Sometimes I do, sometimes it feels like a dam is blocking the tears’ flow.

This isn’t the sort of post I normally do. It’s personal. I really am not one who expresses my feelings to people, though there are a select few in my circle of friends.

As of late, my life, well, let’s just say hasn’t been easy. I’ve done, experienced, and seen things that no one should have to go through. But that is the result of a fallen world. I know many people around me are struggling, suffering, trying, coping, and/or hurting. I know I am one of them.

This is going to be one of my longer posts, just to fore-warn.

An excerpt from my journal.

2/14/14

These past few months I’ve grown sick and tired. I can’t stand it anymore. The yelling, the drama, the list could go on and on.

This really should be spoken aloud, but for now, writing it down will have to do.

My brother, [Younger Brother 1] is almost out of control. He yells and blows up at the smallest of things. ‘Things’ is a broad term. I used it properly. He bad talks and back talks to everyone. He bullies [Younger Brother 2], but then again, somethings [Younger Brother 2] just asks for – baiting him and watching him take the bait. I’m not justifying my brother’s actions, if that’s what you’re thinking.

I am so. fed. up. I’m so done, irritated. Et cetera. I can’t handle it anymore. I can’t remember the last day where there wasn’t any yelling, arguments, people laughing and smiling.

I am torn. I cry almost as much or more than I genuinely laugh. I’m sick of drama. 

[Younger Brother 2] disses me and calls me awful names. I act like they just bounce of. But they hurt.

I set my alarm this morning for 8:00, but turned it off and slept in. Around nine I’m awakened by yelling slamming, and screaming. My door is closed. From the moment I woke up my day has been rotten, even considering it’s a snow day. There is no peace. I just feel tension. I just don’t known anymore.

I jump at the slightest of sounds, I cringe and almost crumple at the raising of voices. I’m afraid. Though, I hide it all away. I put on a facade and keep calm and try to carry on.

I act happy, like I’ve bounced back from a down mood. But I don’t.

I often sit in my room alone, door shut, music either plugged in or not. But I sit there deep in though. I try to think about all the ways I can help my brothers; help [Younger Brother 1]. What’s the psychological factor? His heart? Emotions/real thoughts?

Truth is: I’m desperate.

Yeah, I’ve been going to God more and more, which is a good thing. He’s drawing me nearer to him. I need that.

Through trials, there is happiness at the end. They can be long and tedious or short and over. We can be at the end of the rope and that’s when God seems to pull us out.

I’ve been at the end for awhile.

I’ve been done.

I’ve promised not to ever cut again – I slipped just before New Year’s, but after I said I said I wouldn’t cut myself anymore. My wrists are so far, as clean as they’ll be.

Relapse is real. Addiction is real.

If I said I wan’t angry at God, I’d be lying. I know I shouldn’t be, I feel guilty and like a bad Christian for saying and thinking it.

But he knows all my thoughts and actions even before I think them. He knows exactly what I’m going through. He has a plan for my life. A road that is hard, slim, and narrow, but in the end and grand picture of life, there is an un-explainable or indescribable reward and treasure waiting for me.

I often find myself trying to help others first and pushing my feelings off or not wanting to trouble people.

Sometimes you don’t realize you’re actually drowning when you’re trying to be everyone else’s anchor.

— Unknown

Despite his bad times, [Younger Brother 1] has the occasional happy moment (as of late he’s been better than just have the occasional happy moment). There’ll be moments when we both are laughing so hard we cry.

Those moments can change quickly. They are also forgotten fast.

I love my brothers, I really do. I try to cope, I try to help. I try to act strong and fine. But every argument, every tear, every yelling/screaming word tears me apart slowly. There’s a wound try to heal, but each time it’s just ripped back open, even bigger. 

Why do I tell you all of this? To have you pity me? Never. Worry over me?  Don’t even. Post this so all family and friends could see my true thoughts and land me with a counselor? Nope. Cause drama? Didn’t I say I hate drama?

I tell you this because I want to give encouragement out to people who are going through the same, similar, or just tough situations. I want to tell them that there is hope. I’m living, breathing proof.

Those nights? Well, it’s these sorts of nights that causes me to pray even harder.

Pray hardest, when it is hard to pray.

— Unknown

These sorts of nights are what deepens my faith and causes me to hold on, trust, and believe in Christ. These nights belong to us. These nights keep me alive. They keep me alive in God’s word and the Spirit. They help me get stronger, even though it may cause disruption in me for a time.

God is My Lighthouse in the darkest night. He never fails. He never leaves.

One night I dreamed I was walking
along the beach with the Lord.

Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have seen only
one set of footprints in the sand, is when
I carried you.”

— Mary Stevenson

I can make it through anything. Anything is possible with God (Matt. 19:26). I know that with him I can be strong and courageous, facing each day knowing he is by my side and he will never leave it; I’m not alone (Josh. 1:9).

For an ending:

7eventh Time Down’s song “Just Say Jesus

If you have any questions, feel free to drop an email, you can see the email on the Contact Us page.
If you want a list of encouraging or just plain good Christian songs, email or comment, I’d be happy to provide a list for you of my favorite artists and songs.

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Speaking Of...

Recently, I’ve encountered a lot of talk on “relationships and love” with people – and it got me thinking about God’s love. How his love sets us apart (as well as himself) from all the other people and their religions/beliefs. This also made me think of how even when we fall into chaos and unknown territory – he is there; he’s always there, for us. And he’s never mad, even when we fumble big-time, or turn out backs on him, or even commit a serious wrong or hold a grudge against someone that we need to let go of – he’s always there calling to us. And when we find him – his bright and ever-lasting light in the darkness of our lives, he opens his arms wide and embraces us, crying or laughing, or smiling with us.

There’s a verse my youth past told us and taught about to us on Sunday (11/3). This is about God’s love and relates to all the things I’ve said. Luke 6:27-33:

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do no withhold you tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”

Now, I want to first point out that the first phrase of the verse says “to you who hear.” Why do I point this out first and foremost? Because Jesus is calling people to really listen, as what he’s about to say hasn’t been said before. He knows – as well as you and I, that some people just zone things out or do that “half-listening” thing when people preach/teach on a topic that’s been heard before. He wants to get everyone’s attention, letting them know that this is a new topic, it’s a topic that people really need to whole-heartedly pay attention. Make sense, right? I hope so.

Okay, with that covered, let’s talk about the rest of the verse. This verse is obviously about loving our enemies and treating others how we want to be treated, right? In fact, one of the verses (vs 3) – “do to others as you would have them do to you” as many know it by – is a very well-known verse to many people (not just Christians). And at a first glance of the verse, people get the obvious theme (which I pointed out at the beginning of this paragraph) – be kind to people I don’t like/are considered my enemies, treat others fairly, and take care of the needy. Easy right? No. Is there more to the verse? Of course. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t tend to those who need help or turn the other cheek, or treat others wrongly – their all great and wonderful things to be practiced, but I want to focus on the last bit of the verse plus a few in-depth details about the first part verse.

I’m going to start at the end – with verses 32-33 (the last paragraph of the given verse). Jesus is saying that when we love and treat those who are good to us and love us – what’s the point? What do you truly gain? Yes, it’s crucial for those who love you to love you and for you to love them back, but what about that kid who bullied or you really bad once – maybe more? It’s easy to hold a grudge against them, hoping something bad will happen to them, just as something bad happened to you, or if they try to apologize, you want them down on their knees begging for mercy while you have your arms crossed, foot tapping, and your head angled enough to look down on them making a disgusted face and refusing – until they collapse – to forgive (Jesus even points out that when we love those who love us – even murderers, prostitutes, etc. love those who love them – that’s what he’s referring to when he says “sinners.”) Why is it easy to hold a grudge and not “love our enemies” as we’re instructed? Let me tell you a secret – it’s called flesh; sin. We want to have revenge; satisfaction, making whoever made us feel unloved, unwanted, and not good enough… we those who weren’t good to us, have the same feelings, if not worse.

See, if we only love and do good to those who love us and do good to us, then we do not truly treat those how we want to be treated, we don’t understand truly what it is like to love our enemies. We don’t know what it’s really like to show them God’s love, and we don’t try to understand how to act or reply in a Godly way to those who wrong us. Just like in school, teachers teach and have the students practice the concept they teach – for without practice how can we truly learn and know the material?

Rewinding to the first section of the verse (vs. 27-31)… try applying what I just said about verses 32-33 to these verses. Have a different perspective now? What about a new plan or way to approach situations in relation to these?

Now, in verse 27, isn’t just loving loving your enemies that “Oh, that wasn’t nice – but all well” attitude, it’s about coming along side them, helping them; showing God’s true love, and forgiving them even if they haven’t asked forgiveness. As a Christian, we should always strive to go that extra step. And – or more – but, when these situations come up, we need to check ourselves – giving/praying (to) our hearts to hearts to God and letting him take those grudges and put them away – destroy them. We also need to make sure our actions are for self-glorifying reasons.

You know that sarcastic phrase that people (you) often mutter when in or towards a situation that comes up and is hurtful, benigning, etc.? The one that goes: “Well, that was a slap in the face.” Literally, it could of been – but that’s also when you show grace and turn the other cheek. Don’t lash out, don’t retaliate. Humbly offer the other side of your face. Either they will “hit” you again or be in shock from your actions. And even if it seems that your actions had no effect – let me assure you, they did. God is planting that seed in their heart through you. Some may often even come back asking questions, because their so dumb-founded, of “Why?” and “How?”. That is your opportunity to tell of the “why” and “how.” The same application can go for the second half of verse 29 – where it talks about offering someone your “tunic.” When someone begs – have a compassionate heart. Give to them – and don’t demand repayment or ask for what you gave to be given back to you. Whether is was simply loaning a money to a friend who forgot their lunch at school to food to someone needy… don’t ask for repayment. These actions and showing love sets us Christians apart (and God), as I said before.

You do need to be careful though, of people who have a false claim, do show them God’s love, but be wary, going to God and seeking counsel on the situation you’re in. It’s sad, but there are people who imitate and act in ways that are deceiving to gain things they are have and don’t need.

Referring back to the first paragraph – where I was talking about how we oh-so-often struggle, I want to conclude partially in reference to Tammy Maltby’s book, Confessions of a Good Christian Girl. In the book, she talks and tells of women who struggled – these were good Christian women, leading Christ-like lives and living well, or that’s what it appeared. Yes, they loved God, but these women were conflicted with suicide, cutting, addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography), self-image and confidence. The book tells countless testimonies of how in the deep dark, these women found the light, the love. One of the quotes Maltby put in her book, which is by Angela Thomas, goes:

“Jesus wants you to know that when you are broken, shivering, alone, or afraid, with nothing left and nowhere to go, then you can turn in His direction and lay yourself at the foot of his love…. God wants you to know that when everything is gone, that makes more room for Him, and every time there is more room for Him, you are blessed.”

(pg 5, Maltby)

In this we can take an apply the concept of that when we hold on to grudges, hate, and hurt (etc.) when you give them up and lay “yourself at the foot of His love” we are revived with his love and forgiveness. This helps us make that step to forgiving those who may have hurt us or even ourselves. Because just as other people may be our enemies and slap us in the face, we can do just as much damage, if not more to ourselves; we can easily become our own enemy. We must learn to have compassion on ourselves and others and to have respect for ourselves and others.

I wish I could write on about this topic, but time is such an enemy to me lately, so short and demanding. Before I part, until next time, here’s some verses in parting. Don’t just go, “Oh cool, verses to look at!” and ignore them or think I’ll look at them later. Look at them now. It won’t take much time.

Psalm 36:5, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, 1 John 3:1-2, 1 John 4:7-12, 16-18

Some questions for reflection:

  1. Are you able and confident that in times when people wrong you, you can stand up, humbly, forgive, and give your burden to God, even though it’s not easy?
  2. Even when you mess up, or others, are you able to go the extra mile for God’s sake?
  3. Loving your enemy will be hard, but will you be able to rise above the offense and “offer the other cheek?”
  4. In times of distress it’s easy to forget about God – it’s easy to blame him, and in times when you want something badly, and it may not be his will – are you able to accept him and trust him to lead you 100% through?
  5. Sometimes it’s our very selves that get in the way of seeing truly what’s right – having a personal conflict is hard to accept, confess, and be able to reason and respect yourself, but sometimes that’s the first step to forgiveness. If some of these questions were hard to answer, maybe start deep in your heart and soul. Really think about it.

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Prayer & Perspective

A verse that I’ve thought of on and off lately is the Lord’s Prayer – or as I like to call it ‘The Disciple’s Prayer’ – since Jesus gave the prayer to his followers as a guideline of how they should pray; Jesus already knew how to pray. I’ve always thought of prayer as something more than “special wording meant for Jesus.” It’s a personal thing; and that’s how God intended prayer to be – he wants your true thoughts and word, coming straight from your heart. A prayer shouldn’t be something you memorize and recite each night; it shouldn’t be like a script for then it loses its whole meaning.

I am only using the first four verses of the passage (Matthew 6:5-9), but the whole passage can be found in Matthew 6:5-18. I use the ESV version for verses.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward,” (vs. 5).

Pause there for a second. Before I go on, I want to point out these lines alone, are the first verse. This is a crucial verse. For oh-so-often, too many Christians get caught up in themselves – believing they know it all. The modern day “Little Christ” is not like the early, first Christians. “Little Christ” is what Christian means – it was coined when the first disciples were teaching, and actually the word Christian or “Little Christ” was meant as an insult.

The modern day Christians often think highly of themselves; thinking of how much better off they are because they know Christ and others don’t. They don’t care about the poor and needy – their focus is on money, while they teach Jesus’ sermons on how to care for the poor, broken-hearted, and lost souls. This is wrong, wrong, wrong; the opposite of how a Christian is supposed to act. Sadly, by preaching and having people look at them and either marvel or scoff, they get their reward of satisfaction. They are not true Christians – they do not live up to the definition of a “Little Christ.” Because these Christians are so caught in themselves they do not receive or get to experience the amazing wonders, things, and feelings that Jesus has to offer us.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who is in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him,” (vs. 6-8).

It is true, often it is the short, simple things that work best. Long, drawn ouutttt things make people lose interest, especially if they aren’t to the point. When people ramble on and just add “fluff,” they really don’t know what they are talking about. As it says in (some concordance to) verse 7, they are just wasting their breath and their words are “heap[ing] up [like] empty phrases” – they have no meaning.

God knows what is on our hearts and minds, he’s more than aware of our needs – but he also knows that we need a way to communicate our feelings, needs, and what is on our minds and hearts to him (not just other people). He gave us a way to do so: prayer. This, to me personally, meant so much, knowing I had a way to connect to my Father in heaven. Knowing there was someone, someone who was so powerful and perfect, was always there for a sinful ridden and hurting person like me… is just indescribable. He always listened. He always comforted in some way. He won’t tell anyone. And to me, that meant a lot, as my trust to certain people has been cut. I know that when I can’t find the words to express how I’m am feeling – he knows exactly what I’m feeling and going through. All I have to say in my mind, in the quiet of my room, is: “Father, help me – you know my heart and thoughts. Please help me to get over this painful feeling that’s tearing me apart in an indescribable way.”

He’ll always listen to you in your hardest moments.

It is comforting to know that my Father knows what I need before I ask him, that relationship between Father and daughter (or son) is unbreakable and imaginable by people who don’t truly know what it is like to know such a force. Those people who stand on the streets proclaiming out loud don’t hear when God calls them, like we do, they don’t hear it because of all the noise they’re making. For God doesn’t normally communicate in the form of a thunderstorm (per-say) – loud and noisy, but he comes like a soft wind, blowing gently. Only those who are quiet and listen can hear it.

When God calls to those lost people out proclaiming on the streets or elsewhere, they don’t hear him, or if they do, they ignore him. Even when fellow believers try to humbly point out that their ways are wrong or try to kindly help them in the right direction, they most often push them off. They point their finger at them, saying they are the wrong-doers; they are the false believers. And it is sad, but it is reality. We live in a fallen world and we are waiting desperately for our Savior to return to take us home.

Our Lord is like a shepherd – he calls and pulls us back when we are lost. He is most persistent and never gives up, even with those who are stubborn. But there are cases when flesh must die and their time to be redeemed runs out or the sheep don’t want to live under the wing of their shepherd. They believe there is something better; they get lost in the ways of the world.

I hope you all got as much as I did out of this verse – if not more.

I am no longer eager, bold, and strong

  All that is past; I am ready not to do

At last, at last, 

  My half day’s work is done,

And this is all my part,

  I give a patient God

My patient heart.

p 265, March by Geraldine Brooks

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“See what kind of love the father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are… Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
– 1 John 3:1-2 (ESV)

Remember when you feel down, unloved, and worthless; not good enough for people’s standards – whether it be peers or family – your Father in heaven is looking down on you with pride and indescribable love. You are perfect the way you are, don’t let people change you because you don’t match society’s contorted and twisted ways and standards. You are you, and no one else; “Just be yourself, everyone else is taken,” (Unknown). When you don’t feel like you can’t please or make your parents proud enough, do remember they love you, dearly, if you need extra comfort, God is there for you; he’s ready to take you and hold you in his arms, hear what you have to say, and to smother your tears with love and joy.

We are all children of God. One day all this pain, the feeling of unwantedness, and hurt will all be gone. For one day we will join God in heaven either when our days are up on earth or when Jesus returns to claim what is his and create a new earth and heaven.

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Dear Everyone,

I am sick of people trying to sit around and tell me that modesty has nothing to do with the way your dress- just the way you behave. Or that modesty is a ‘heart issue’ and what you ‘feel is appropriate.’  Someone once told me, ‘You can’t stop the guys from looking or thinking. that is their job.’ and that pretty much sums up what all my girlfriend’s say about their summer clothes.  Yet, as a sister in Christ to all of you whom are walking with God, let me say this:

There is no excuse you can come up with for wearing those short shorts, bikinis, tank tops (the ones that show your colorful bra or ride so low the only thing not showing is your nipple), or any summer items along those lines, that is Godly.

As brothers and sisters in Christ we are asked to help each-other in our walk with God. (Mathew 18:5-7) We are not to help each-other stumble on the fringes of sin without going over or blatantly walk straight into sin; we are to help each-other FLEE from it. God directly tells men not to lust after a girls’ beauty. (Proverbs 6:24-26) To understand what is modesty and what it is not, is not as simple as saying ‘what you feel in your heart.’. If it was, a girl could say ‘ I don’t think wearing a bikini is immodest because I am still covering my lady parts,’ just as easily as she could say,’ I think I need to wear what the nuns wear,’ the next day. ( http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey )

This is not saying we shouldn’t take care of how we look, but we do need to be more concerned about what’s on the inside and our walk with God; That includes helping one another with each-other’s walks. (Timothy 2:9-10) So is it just the guys problem to deal with? No. It’s also ours. Giving up what society says is fashionable for what God says is one of the simplest ways we, as girls, can show not only guys but God Himself how devoted we are. When we began our walk with Him, we pretty much said ‘Here I am Lord! Come into my heart and use me!’ But if we cannot sacrifice a few clothing items for Christ’s sake, then are you really allowing Him to dress you in His righteousness? We are suppose to portray a Christ like image- these scanty outfits are doing no good to that cause, they are hurting it. So please do not take this as a bashing or me knit-picking, but rather a thought to ponder on and research. Don’t think ‘oh, I’ve already done that. I don’t agree.’ and log off. You stuck by and read this whole thing for a reason, let God show you that reason.
(The link I posted above is a study done on what guy’s think of girl’s clothes)

~A

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