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.