Nov 11, 2011

Computers Need Love Too

I'm awful, followers. Truly, truly awful. It's been - oh, dear technological degenerative traits of mine - far too long since I've written in this beloved little portal of thought. (In my defense, I haven't had a functional computer at my disposal since springtime. Even now, I'm using a borrowed laptop. ) I could come up with a million excuses, but who would want to read those? ;)

Computers - and computer problems - are not exactly my forte. Technology simply eludes me most of the time. Honestly, I type about 11 words per minute, can rarely turn a computer on for the first time without some help, and spent 2 1/2 minutes staring at a computer screen with the face of a friend in it while I wondered what a "skpe" was. I'm far to young to be this dang old.

However, recently I've discovered that the computer really is a very useful tool for communication, and I've been giving it a bum rap.

"I HATE technology. . . "

But I use it to read, write, speak, and learn.


"Some people spend way too much time on Facebook. . ."

But I can, with only a click, see the faces of far-off friends and be a part of their world.


I really abhor love-hate relationships. They don't work in life, they don't work in theory, and they DEFINITELY don't work in technology. So, Lord willing me the ability, I'm back for awhile, with a better attitude. Sound good?


I'm praying for you guys, even if I don't know the whole story most of the time. (Sometimes, it's better that way. There ARE a few creeps on the Internet.) God knows, though.


With a "Happy Veterans' Day!" and "Make a wish!" on 11-11-11, I'll be praying for you, reading your blogs, and showing some love to this world of computer-generated life. God bless.

Oct 11, 2011

Bullying, Prayers, Loving, and Lonliness

Main Idea: Post how I can pray for you in the comments.

While writing an essay for a school assignment about 5 seconds ago, I was reminded of something I had completely forgotton about: Horse Camp, through my Girl Scout Camp...the summer after 3rd grade.

Okay, so work with me here and try to picture me in 3rd grade:

 I had a hideously short haircut (I have red hair), perfectly round brown glasses, and I wore matching leggings and long-sleeve shirts to school everyday. Me in jeans? Yeah, right!

The minute I walked in the door I spotted a girl who I immediately wanted to be friends with. She was tall, skinny, blond, etc. but the minute the adults walked out of the room, it was like one of those midnight cat fights you might hear in the alley. It was bad. I was the main target, so that made the other girls not want to be friends with me. Nights were the worst because we didn't have a counselor stay with us in the cabins.

It's really interesting when you think about it: girls learn these behaviors from others. Someone teaches them to be awful. I suppose we do all have that deep down thing that originated from Adam, Eve, and the apple, but still.

Lately I've been deeply thinking about humans, and how our deepest desire is to be loved. The deepest desire of everyone I know is to be loved and accepted for who they are. That's my deepest desire.

It's also interesting to think about how we, especially us girls, get so desperate for this love, that we settle for only 'attention' from other people, the wrong kinds of people. And we forget those that love us most: our true, honest-to-God friends (I mean that seriously: my friends are honest to God.), our parents, and our heavenly father. I know I forget about Him. It's easy to trust him in the good times, when everything is going our way. But it's hard when you feel so alone that you spend all day in the nurse's office crying, skipping two college credit courses in the process. Jesus loved me first, deepest, hardest, and he'll love me the longest.

Sometimes, you just need to be reminded.

I am so blessed to have Mo and Petey as my two very best Honest-to-God friends. They are beautiful people, in every possible way.

So: What are you guys struggling with? I know this blog doesn't have a huge following, but we can pray for each other! Send me a message or comment below. Jesus loves you; it's not just a kid's song.

Oh, and P.S. Shout out to Logan over at http://lovwritingblog.blogspot.com/ . He's had some great thought-provoking posts lately that I've genuinely enjoyed and been blessed by. Thanks Logan!

Jul 12, 2011

Doing the Impossible

Note: This is an article I wrote for our area's youth-run newspaper.

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” - Vince Lombardi

 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13; the Bible

Three weeks ago, in the harbor city of Duluth, twenty-one teenagers from the state of Minnesota met for the first time in the parking lot of Salem Covenant Church. I was one of them, and we had no idea what we were getting into.

Jun 24, 2011

Letting Go...Completely

I am the type of person who likes to know what's going on, when, and why.

And right now?

I have NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER of my life.

It's a pretty helpless feeling.

I went to a leadership camp last week, and this week I was at Bible Camp.
The next three weeks will be filled with Upward Bound classes.
Then a Missions trip.
Then a Vacation Bible School.
Then a Do Hard Things Conference in Indianapolis.
Then Camp volunteering.

And meanwhile, when I'm away, things happen. They go on. (And I spend 2 hours on Facebook trying to get in the know how..oops)

Please pray for me this summer. I am in a whirlwind of activity, of preparation for whatever God has called me to do.

Last night, I made promises to God and wrote them down on a sheet of paper. I wrote down His promises to me from the Bible and promised to 'be available' for those promises to be fulfilled.

Oh, and by the way? Galatians is an amazing book. I completely recommend it! It has 6 Chapters so you could get a group of friends together, read a chapter individually everyday, then talk about it together on Sunday!

God Bless all of you!
Grace and Peace <><

May 9, 2011

The 'F's of Wisdom

I've started writing countless articles, and whenever I get to the part after the intro where, traditionally, Rebelutionaries impart their wisdom to the few readers they have, I get stuck. I finally realized why: I'm NOT wise. My bible knowledge is minimal, I can be a horrible friend, and my self-control in regard to spiritual disciplines is nonexistent! So what right do I have to publish a post on wisdom when I'm so underqualified?
Because wisdom, just like love, is an action. It's a learning experience. It's acquired from God and cultivated by His Word and through friends holding us accountable. So here are my thoughts. This is my challenge to you: paint a verse on your wall, stick it up on your locker, write it on your hand. Put a verse relevant to what God is trying to teach you right now somewhere you'll see it frequently so as to hide it in your heart quicker and more efficiently.
  • Filter your thoughts, actions, media choices, etc. through the bible. (1 Tim 4:12)
  • Be a Fruitbasket. Fill yourself with the fruit of the spirit. Don't let your fruit get stale or rotten. (Gal 5:22-23)
  • Who your Friends are say a lot about you. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
  • My small group leader always says there is Freedom in boundaries. God put his laws in place to protect us. They were set up with good reasons. That doesn't mean that following God isn't fun! Far from! Mo, Petey, and I have a blast together! We share out weaknesses and problems, encourage each other, and do our best to follow God's word.
  • Don't Fret. Tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matt 6:34)
  • And lastly, but First and Foremost:
The main thing is to keep the Main Thing the main thing.

God should be your top priority. Seek first the kingdom! (Matt 6:33)

Please join me in challenging yourself to live according to the Word of God, seeking accountability and wisdom.

Notice: The above concept is probably not new to you. It may seem repetitive and unoriginal (so it seems to me) but this blog is also a place for the 3 of us to voice our thoughts and organize our ideas and what we should live by.

Articles coming from me in the future:
Rebelution Conference 2011!
and Guatemala Summer 2011!

Apr 20, 2011

Prayer and Praise

Recently, I started the book of Psalms, and it struck me how many times David, who was being chased down by mobs of people, and the king, said to praise the LORD even when he was in some pretty deep stuff. Even when people were constantly giving him death threats, he said to praise God for a new day and for everything we have. It made me think, "Wow, I really don't do that, and I really need to."

It's amazing how when we face trials of so many kinds, we almost always end up turning away from God instead of praising Him for the past miracles He has performed in our lives.Or even turning to prayer about anything and everything. Praying is an act of worship, and we, as Christians, are commanded to worship God for everything He gives us.

In the book of James, God even tells us that we will face trials of many kinds, but to take heart in them, and to stand firm because God will bring you through it. He tells us to not be surprised about facing trials and to try to get the big picture about them, for you will come out stronger, and even better than before.

So if any of you are out there facing trials, and asking God why, just turn to prayer, and cry out to God, for He hears our plea. and even if all you can do is cry, He sees your tears and hears you. He's always there for you. Or, if any of you are out there thinking that your life is going well, turn to praise God for what He has given you.

Turn to prayer.-James 5:15-18

Apr 9, 2011

God Moments

Hey Brothers and Sisters!
Let's get some interaction going here! We'd like to get to know our followers a little better, so here are some interview/discussion questions:

What's your favorite bible verse/passage?

What reminds you personally that God is with you?

What has God been teaching you lately?

Do you have a Christian mentor?


Personally, I have so many passages I like, but right now I'm really enjoying Philippians. Clouds and the wind always remind me of God (Nahum 1:3) and lately God has been teaching me to listen: to friends and the Holy Spirit. There are several amazing Christian ladies at the church the three of us attend, but one in particular who has really connected wih us. I'm sure Petey and Mo will edit this with their input later, but let's get the ball rollin'!

In Christ,
Essa

Apr 4, 2011

Purity: A Lesson from the Water Lily (Guest author Jordyn Wilson!)

 “If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty, if you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place.”  Job 8:5-7
 
A few years ago my sisters and I decided to write a book on purity and what it means to be pure in our culture today. When we first started writing it, the Lord gave us this verse from Job which answered our question, what does the Lord promise to those who are pure? This verse gives me all the answer I need. The Lord says He will awaken for you! He will awaken your desires, your dreams, your longings and He will bless and “prosper your rightful dwelling place.” In other words I like to interpret this as the Lord allowing you to prosper in everything you do in the place He has you in, the place He’s given you a right to!
 
So what does purity look like in our culture today? First, purity not only means keeping our bodies pure before marriage but it also means living in integrity before God. Purity means full strength! When you choose to live in purity and walk with the Lord, your strength is untouchable! The Lord has so much reward for you because you have chosen purity. Psalm 84:11 is one of my all time favorite verses. It says, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” He will not hold back His goodness from those who walk in purity before Him. What a promise!
 
My sisters and I studied the beautiful water lily because we were curious why such a beautiful flower would thrive in such a murky, gross place. Ever wondered that? Here’s what we found out.
 
The water lily is a symbol of purity. This subtle plant lives in ponds and still water, and although it looks delicate, it’s very sturdy and well anchored to the nourishing soil beneath the surface. As the water lily grows up from the muddy bottom in the pond, its slender stalks reduces wave action, making the surrounding water calm. The sweet-smelling flower that blooms from the plant rises out of the water, ever reaching toward the sun.
 
But the most interesting thing about the water lily is that it’s used to purify the water from poisonous heavy metals. It can also serve as a mini-waste-treatment plant for wastewater from household or industrial sources. God’s miraculous design for this flower is a striking picture of our call to purity as women.
 
How amazingly profound is the design of this flower! It’s a symbol of the purity to which God has called us—a reflection of His power and beauty. As the water lily reaches toward the light, so we lift our hands to glorify our Lord and reflect His light in the darkness. Just as the lily looks delicate and yet is well anchored in the soil, so we as women are called to express our strength in a delicate way as we anchor ourselves in the Lord. Just as the water lily is a calming presence in its environment, so we are called to bring the calming presence of our Lord to the culture. Just as the water lily grows up from the muddy, murky bottom if the pond to bring beauty to our natural world, so God raises us out of the muddy, murky soil of our culture to bring a supernatural beauty and grace to the world. And, most importantly, just as the water lily helps to purify the water from deadly toxins, so God brings healing to our culture through us and purifies ut from the poisons that threaten to destroy it. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, He flows through us from the root system of His word to bring healing, beauty, and wholeness to our world.
 
There are so many ways we can live in purity today.
1. Pure Gaze
We must choose what we gaze upon. Psalm 119: 37 is a beautiful prayer we should pray on a daily basis as we strive for a pure gaze. “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Ask the Lord to keep your eyes from dwelling on those worthless things like some books, movies, or magazines.  We must guard our eyes and keep our gaze fixed on Him as Mary did in Luke 10:38-42.

2. Pure Choices
Choice demands discipline. We can’t just flippantly make a choice to serve others, to spend time with the Lord in the mornings, to obey our parents and follow their lead. No, choice takes a lot of effort! That is why it is so important to spend time with the Lord and ask Him for the strength to choose well every day. Ask Him to help you live purely in the area of your choices. Choices can either bring order or chaos. Look at what Eve’s choice to eat the apple brought (Gen. 3:6-19). Her choice brought the curse. But then we see the incredible power of redemption the Christ brought when He chose to obey the Father’s will (Philippians 2:5-11). His choice brought miraculous redemption! What kinds of choices do you want to make?

3. Pure Thoughts.
Oh how crucial it is to guard our thoughts today! How do we do this? Well I think Philippians 4:8 gives a beautiful answer to this question. “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Once we get in that habit of meditating on “these things,” then we’ll find contentment, peace, and much joy!

So, dear maiden, I encourage you to strive for a life of purity before the Lord. Remember the promise we have in Psalm 84:11. He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. His goodness for you is overflowing! Ask Him for it! Be encouraged that this kind of life is blessed by our Lord. I’ve seen it with my own eyes! (for more in-depth teaching on this topic, see Lauren, Khrystian, and Jordyn’s book Purely Woman—Awakening the Hear of God Through Pure Living in Our Generation, available at purelywoman.com)

Jordyn & her friends run The Virtuous Maiden Magazine : Go check it out!
Used by permission. No one may transfer this from this blog without permission given by author.

Mar 28, 2011

Slavery Still Exists

During America's Civil War, Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery; yet, there are more slaves in this country TODAY than ever before. Most of them can slip by in society as prostitutes or hired hands, but they are surviving without the possession of their own lives. The most common form of slavery is found in "sex trafficking" or "sex slaves." Women, as young as FIVE years old, are sold by their parents into this industry every day. Sometimes, the parents think they're sending their daughter to a school or to work, but they never see her again. Within hours, she's living the life of an indentured prostitute - trying to pay a debt that will never run dry. It's horrifying, vile, and utterly senseless, but it's the face of our fallen world today. In Chicago, Detroit, Duluth, Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans. . . in just about every city in our "free" nation, there are girls without a voice. Knowing these things doesn't really do anything to change them, though, does it? What's being done? Well, legally, a lot of the "pimps" that deal these girls like playing cards have the kind of legal help to get off almost scratch-free from prison time or even a trial. A lot of places don't even have a crime sentence listed for this kind of criminal act. Right now, very little is being done to address this issue. But, honestly, has "addressing the issue" ever been the Christian way? In Christianity, we don't look at the numbers and find a way to tax illegal actions, or some such thing, we LOVE the hurt out of the broken. With love, nothing can stop us. Not ignorance, lawlessness, or vile intentions. With the love of Christ at our side, we can do anything that God puts before us to do. As a good friend of mine likes to say, "If it shall be, it is so." We, at our age, in our own ways, where we live, can help the efforts of ending this atrocity. If nothing else, we could just love our neighbors as ourselves. If everyone did that, we wouldn't be talking about slavery; there'd be no little girls in the world, wondering what life they'll be living tomorrow. After all, Jesus said to "love one another." Love, in itself, can be the greatest prevention of pain. Build upon it, and nothing on this broken earth can stop you.

Mar 23, 2011

2011&apos;s Forget, Forget Not

Things to Forget:





  • What people say about you, just before they are proven wrong by your actions.


  • "Big girls/boys don't cry."


  • The title of that junk-movie you saw previews about.


  • How to return to your old ways of life, before Christ.


  • The words of yelling coaches.


  • Prejudices and stereotypes of someone you're meeting for the first time.


  • The Theory of Evolution. (I was not bred from monkeys!)


  • Profane conversations you overhear in the halls of a high school.




Things to Remember:





  • Scriptures that you keep in your heart for the tough times


  • Where you've been, and how far you've come.


  • To love other people unconditionally, forgiving them endless times.


  • Homework that shoud've been done. . . YESTERDAY.


  • You are not your own, but were bought at a steep price- the death of God himself.


  • God spent 6 days creating the universe, but 9 months creating YOU.


  • Our parents were once our age, though in a much different world.


  • To write your name on big tests, like finals.


  • Songs to "get stuck in your head" at will when a not-so-good one pops into your mind.


  • Genesis 1:1

  • John 15:18

  • Psalm 23

  • Hebrews 11:40

  • Phillipians 1:3

  • 1 Timothy 4:12



Mar 5, 2011

Always Forever. . .?

You are the love I need
You are the air I breathe
You are my love, my life always forever
And I would lay down my life just to be by Your side
You are my love, my life always forever. . .

This is a song by Phil Wickham, and it was first introduced to me about two years ago at a youth retreat with my youth group. It's really been on my heart lately, and I have just been thinking about the lyrics, along with the meaning behind them.

God is the love I need, and He is the air I breathe, but is He my love, and my life, always forever? And would I really lay down my life, just to be by His side? Those are some of the questions that have come along while I have been thinking about this song. As much as I'd like to say "yes" to those questions, I honestly don't think I can. I mean, I always have some other love in my life distracting me from Him. Whether it be a crush, a friend, or some other item in my life, I'm always being pulled away. It's a bit of an eye-opener, really, to think about that. It's amazing to think about how much that I have to let go of, and surrender to Him, everyday of my life.

Would I lay down my life just to be by God's side? I'm not sure if I would, and I've been working on that, praying about it asking God to change my heart, to change ME. A girl, a victim, of the Columbine shooting did. I think about how much respect, and gratitue that I have for her for answering "Yes" to the question, "Do you believe in God?" while having a gun pointed to her forehead, knowing if she answered that one word she'd be killed. That just simply amazes me, and I simply cannot wait to meet her in heaven.

I'm hoping that maybe you'll look up that song somewhere, and really meditate over the lyrics. Maybe God can change your heart if you're thinking the same thing, that you can't answer "yes" to those questions. I certainly hope that He will change mine, because I know I need it.

Feb 17, 2011

Flowers

You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of flowers they get for Valentine's day. There's the white roses that are so pure and simple and original. Red roses come laden with commitment and extravagance; yellow are the kind you get for your friend, mother, or an informal event. Pink carnations are cute and young, like puppy-love flowers from a high school sweetheart.



Even more tell-tale than the kind of flowers that are purchased or picked is the person receiving the arrangement. For example, a different kind of person tends to buy flowers for their grandmother than the one who slips a red rose to their girlfriend to get out of trouble. I spent February 13th selling roses and carnations all day; I know the different motives for flower-buying. It's not exactly rocket-science. There was a 15-or-so year old boy who bought three red rose for his girlfriend, Sam. A man who attends the same church that I do bought a dozen multi- colored roses for his wife who stayed home with sick kids. Men bought yellow flowers for their grandmother. A young lady bought a dozen pink roses and carnation for herself, while her boyfriend sat in her car.

It makes me sad sometimes, to see the power of a dozen roses abused for the purpose of "getting out of the doghouse" or purely perceived obligation that never really existed. It reminds me a lot of how different people use and share God's Word. There's the Sunday-Only's who only do what is socially necessary to be acceptable in their own eyes, the kind you seek God only during rough times, and the people who are committed to God and are just showing him their love.

I don't know how you spent your Valentine's Day, but I dearly, truly hope that in the joy of love, the ultimate giver of love was not forgotten.

Feb 14, 2011

ATF

This year, a part of my youth group and I attended the Acquire the Fire that came near us. It's an intense youth conference where you worship, watch a drama put on by them, and learn more about God through the speaker. It was my first time going, and at first, I was a little leary abou it because of what I had previously heard about it from some other people. Boy, was I wrong in being leary! It was the most amazing youth conference that I've ever been to in my life.

It started out as us getting there a little later than we would have liked to because of navigation issues, but we got there! The worship band-School of Worship was their name-came out and did some pretty amazing songs that got us all pumped up! Our first message was on Restoration, and how people who are really into cars can see a beautiful car from a "rust bucket". In a sense, God is like that, because we are His rusted up cars, but in us, He sees a beautiful car in the making.

During the message, we were given these little slips of paper to write a letter to God about pretty much anything. What we're struggling with, how we need Him right now, or how we want Him to work in our lives. I wrote about somethings that have been really holding me back from Him, because of bitterness, and regret. We were called to come to the front of the auditorium (any of us who wanted to pray over what we had on our slips) and to ask God for His help. When I was praying, a girl came and sat by me, and started praying for me. I thought it was one of my friends, but it was a girl named Cheyenne who was part of the staff. We talked for a while, and she took my slip to pray for me everyday, and over what I had written. It was pretty amazing.

As it would take too long to go over everything, but don't get me wrong, the other stuff was important, and amazing, I'm going to skip to Saturday night's last worship session as that is what had the biggest impact on me. We started our last worship session, and not surprisingly, it was really awesome. Thing is, we never stopped singing. We were all overcome in worship, and by just EVERYTHING. Our speaker had to cancel his last message because we wouldn't stop. He didn't care though. He was simply amazed by us.

They had an alter call during the worship, and they had us all pray over them, and for each other by joining hands, shoulders, etc. I literally gave everything I had to the Maker, and the Healer, because every little thing I was holding onto was keeping me from experiencing God is His truest, highest form. I was just sobbing uncontrollably, because of the realization that I DO NOT DESERVE what God has given me. Who I've been, and who I am supposed to be, just came crashing over me. It was a very. . . Humbling experience, and I will hold onto it for the rest of my life.

If any of you have a chance to go to ATF, I would definitely suggest it. It is most definitely the best decision that you could ever make.

Feb 1, 2011

Running in the Right Direction

And here I am again
Lost from my own sin
I've run away from your embrace
I've turned away from Your face
My blindness sweeps over me like a shade
Reminding me of how I've strayed
Looking over my shoulder, I see You
And I see Your eyes, their wonderful hue
They are marked with a sorrow
So deep that they seem to glow
I see them, but I turn away
I turn into the frenzy, the empty fray
Of my wandering mind, my searching heart
This hole, this loneliness threatens to tear me apart
But I keep going, gaining speed
My wandering mind having to plead
Go, go, go on and run far from Him
His presence seeming so grim
I stop, exhausted from my exertion
I am so weary, so broken
My heart in many pieces, shards
And suddenly the part that gaurds
My restless mind tumbles
The defense, oh, it crumbles
I fall to my knees, the tears
Streaming down my face; my fears
Are suddenly too real
I just need to feel
That love, the endless, merciful love
That is so gentle, peaceful like a dove
I cry out to You
I know Your tears are few
For how I always turn my back
That I took the wide sidetrack
I lift my hands, and I bow my head
And I remember what You said
You said, "Run, my daughter, to me;
Run to where you'll be free
Beside me, you shall never grow weak
For blessed are the meek
The ones who realize
I see behind the disguise
That will satisfy, provide
To the ones who have relied
On my grace, my mercy."
I realize how blindly
How hastily I have run
In the opposite direction, from the Son
Who paid my price on the cross
I see it is my loss
Not His, that is being mourned
But He has still adorned
Me with His crown
He will never look down
Upon me when I leave
Because that is the grace I receive
I find the strength to stand
I turn toward His hand
And I run to the place where I find peace
Where time and tribulation cease
And here come Your grace, Your mercy
Like a wave, a rush, it washes over all of me
And I am overcome with your amazing love
Here You are to take me, to help me rise above
Your kindness awakened me from my ignorabce and pain
Quietly, You knocked at my door, softly calling me from my disdain
So I will bow down before my God, my Everlasting King
You've given me back whom I was used to
Being with You; I will place my transgressions onto
The cross; now all of my heart will give
It all back to You, and for you I will live

I wrote this poem for my creative expression category for speech. It's really just me expressing how I feel when I've strayed from His heart, and how it feels to come back to His welcoming, loving arms. We've all run in the wrong direction, and we all know how that feels to do so. We know when we're straying, but it's a question of what we do about it. When we come to that place where it's like, "I can't do this anymore," which direction will you go? The way you came from, or where you're going, which is leading you nowhere.


Jan 26, 2011

Zombies, Liberation, and Chivalry

Chivalry is dead. That's what everyone says, right? Well, if that's true, a few of my guy friends must be zombies. However, since my brain is still intact, this can't possibly be true. Though an endangered species, I believe that the chivalrous gentleman is still far from extinct. Still, they are rare creatures indeed; about as common as a modest woman, making me think those two things go hand-in-hand.

How did this happen? I may have an idea . . .

You see, somewhere in the 1950s-1970s, American women became more "liberated". (Basically, morally unacceptable things became acceptable; like one-night-stands and wearing clothes that don't even belong on a street-corner.) Women didn't have to be classy anymore, the whole "modesty" topic became an old-fashioned and somewhat drab alternative to the flashy styles that are much more popular. Thus, the majority of women became cheap and flirtatious- it didn't take romance and time to win their hearts, just hard liquor and a few compliments. With chivalry unnecessary to win a woman's virtue, it rapidly disappeared.

Now, there are still a few scarce gentlemen left in this world; godly men of honor who are willing to pursue a lady's heart and mind and fall genuinely in love with her, not what she can do for them. And there are beautiful, modest ladies who are willing to wait for said gentlemen to sweep them off their feet with romantic gestures and heroic patience. This type of romantic love may not be "liberated", but it's slowly appealing to a lot of the Christian youth of this generation, myself included. I don't know about you, but this un-dead "zombie" chivalry sounds like a lot less heartbreak for everyone involved, including God.

After all, would you like to see your children sold off so easily and recycled like old paper bags? I wonder sometimes what he feels about it.

Jan 25, 2011

Mothers of Annoying People . . .

For Second Semester at the school I go to, all of our schedules change around. (I don't know if they do this in some other schools, so I 'm just clarifying, but mine completely jumbled.) To add to the confusion, a certain annoying fellow classmate of mine is in all of my classes.

You see, this person and I have a history of annoying the Jolly Ranchers out of each other. Our personalities just clash, rather severely; he really drives me crazy, and I him. And until June, he will be with me (seated next to me in most cases) every moment of the school day. Why? I'm not sure, to tell you the truth, but I think God may be testing me a little bit- giving me an opportunity to grow. A faith-stretching exercise, as I like to call it. Will this be pleasant? Probably not. Will I survive?

Perhaps.

I'm trying to ask God to change my heart towards him. It seems that I've tried everything: random acts of kindness, being polite, turning the other cheek, ignoring him all together. . . EVERYTHING. I know that if I try hard enough, I can find the human inside the obnoxious shell; I found that it helps to try to think of him like his mother would see him.

Weird, I know, but it's been working pretty well. Because, well, mothers have a personal relationship with their sons- simply the connection of having given them the life God planned for them. Mothers watch their children grow, thinking that their boy is the handsomest, kindest, truest, most talented creation the world has ever seen. They buy them clothes, wondering how they ever got to be that tall and broad. It's the innocent, godly affection that constitutes motherly and brotherly love.

When he makes weird faces, I try to imagine him as just a little boy trying to get a laugh.

You know, when you think about it, mothers see their sons kind of like God sees us. Whenever we do stupid, annoying stuff, God doesn't abandon us. He disciplines us sometimes, but like a parent. Out of love. He sees the little children in us, seeking attention and affirmation. He sees our potential and the true desires of our hearts, and he cares.

And, like a parent, I think He's setting an example for us, that we may love our neighbor/annoyance/friends/enemies/lab partners not because of what we like or dislike about their personalities, but what we see through the eyes of someone who loves them unconditionally. Like the mother that watches them grow up. Like the God that makes that happen.

Jan 22, 2011

Three Story

Their Story
Our Story
God's Story

I currently participate in a local Friend 2 Friend group. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a group of teens who get together who usually go to the same school as each other and pray for the unbelievers/believers of your school.

We met last Sunday and we talked about Three Story. It's about where we are ministering to other people through listening to their story, telling them about yours, and eventually getting to God's story. Some of us may say that we should give them the "three minute" speech about how they're sinners, but they've been saved through Christ. Have any of you ever noticed how they respond to that? Usually not very positively. That's why we need to get to know them first before start God's story.

Make them feel comfortable with you. Show them that you can be trusted and that you relate to them. They'll feel more open with you later if you build that trust up first. It'll take a lot longer than the "three minute" story, but it'll be worth it. I tell you this, heaven rejoices more over one who comes to believe Jesus is Lord than a hundred people coming to Christ.

Are you ready to participate in your own Three Story? You know who's waiting for you. :)

Jan 10, 2011

Strong Tower

You are my Strong Tower
Shelter over me
Beautiful and mighty
Everlasting King
You are my Strong Tower
Fortress when I'm weak
Your name is True and Holy
And Your face is all I seek

Some of you may know that this is the chorus from Kutless's "Strong Tower" and if not, well, now you know. If you have never listened to the full song before, or even read all the lyrics for it, I strongly suggest it. I think it's a great example of how we should be living, and who God really is. He is true and He is the Everlasting King.

Maybe some of you who are reading this are not Christians, and you're thinking, "Yeah, right, there is no God." Or maybe some of you are in a tight spot with your faith, family, or friends, and you think God has completely abandoned you. Maybe you are so weary and don't think you can make it through another day. Well, in any of these cases, you're wrong. God is right there beside you, comforting you, taking your hand and saying, "Child, I am your strong tower, and I will shelter you in this storm." No, it won't suddenly make what is happening disappear, but it will ease your pain. He will shelter you from the driving rain.

For you, the unbeliever, you have only to look around and see the might of the mountains, the roaring of the sea, the majesty of the plains to know who God is. He's there, though you may want to deny it. He's ready for you, waiting, with open arms to lift you from the shroud of darkness.

"And Your face is all I seek." I think that perfectly sums up what we all need to do in this life. Seek God's face, and run towards him with reckless abandon. Seek Him with all your heart, delight yourself in Him. . . He wants that from all of us.

So, are you ready to take that challenge? Are you ready to become more like Him every day of your life?

It's a new year. A clean slate. Prime time to become who we really are in Christ, not who the world, or your family wants you to be. Be who GOD wants you to be.