Friday, January 24, 2014

Acts 13:52, By Abby W.

Acts 13:52

 By Abby W.
 Has someone ever acted ungrateful towards you? Have you ever done something kind for
someone only to have them throw it back in your face?
That's what happened to Paul and Barnabas. Directed by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the word of
God, the two traveled from the church at Antioch, to Cyprus, to Pisidian Antioch. On Cyprus,
Paul and Barnabus confronted a false profit, blinding him through the Holy Spirit and converting
many to Christianity. Once they reached Pisidian Antioch, the two were invited by the synagogue
rulers to encourage the people.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabus spoke the word of God to the people- both
Gentiles and Jews. Through the Grace of God, Paul and Barnabus were successful in spreading
the word of Jesus, too successful for the liking of some. Paul and Barnabus were invited back to
speak the next Sabbath. Multitudes of people came to hear the two speak, and some of the Jews
became jealous and spoke against Paul, Barnabus, and their message (God's word).
This was an extreme case of jealousy. Paul and Barnabus were speaking with the power of the
Holy Spirit, so by being jealous of Paul and Barnabus, the Jews were actually being jealous of
God. These people knew God too, they were his Chosen People, the people he had led out of
captivity in Egypt, through the desert, and sent his Son to die for. Paul and Barnabus had been
proclaiming God's word to them and teaching them about Jesus so that they might be saved, and
yet because of jealousy, the Jews were entirely unresponsive and ungrateful.
Paul and Barnabus did not back down. They knew that God had appointed them as his
messengers, and that there were those in the crowd willing to be saved. Paul and Barnabus spoke
boldly to the Jews, insisting that even though they were unwilling to accept God's mercy and
salvation, the Gentiles were willing to accept the truth, and many believed on the spot. Rather
than repenting for their vicious slander, however, the Jews insighted a riot against Paul and
Barnabus, expelling them from the city.
Paul and Baunabus were not dismayed, however. Acts 13:52 tells us that "the disciples were
filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
What?!?! I cannot tell you the last time I was thrown out from anything for spreading the God's
word, let alone felt happy afterwards! Yet, that's exactly what happened to Paul and Barnabus,
and not only were they happy about it, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul and Barnabus
knew that God had a plan, and that what had happened was a part of his plan. They did not know
the plan, and they did not see how what had happened fit into his plan, but they had faith in God
and continued to witness for him.
The story of Paul and Barnabus is an important example for all of us. Each of us is called to
witness for God. Each of us will face naysayers, and we must speak boldly against them. Most of
all, we must have faith that our lives are a part of God's plan, and continue to live joyously for

Accepting God's Will, By Allison A.

Accepting God's Will

 By Allison A.

 I was really frustrated recently because there was something that I wanted to do, but I knew it would be sinful, and if I went through with it, I was afraid that God would punish me (which is a whole different topic!). I was just angry with God because this was something I really wanted to do, and it didn't seem that sinful, and I felt like God was holding me back. Later, though, I realized I could accept God's will and make the very best of it- I was able to see the good in His plan, while not having to bear the guilt if I went through with my own plan. I'm going to take us back to a scripture that we all probably know: 

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11 

God's plan is there to help you; don't fight against Him. What you want isn't always what God wants; this can be frustrating, as I already explained. But just think about the consequences if you decided to sin instead of turning to God- you may feel guilty, regretful, etc. I realized that this isn't what I wanted, and it wasn't worth it. Sometimes we just need to let go of our own plans and desires and let God lead us.

Burning a Hole in Your Pocket, By Leah F.

 Burning a Hole in Your Pocket 

By Leah F.

Have your parents ever told you not the spend your money or act like it will "burn a hole in your pocket?" This phrase is talking about how you shouldn't get money and then spend it immediately. You need to save your money in case you want or need something expensive. But, what does the Bible say about what you should do with your money? 

Luke 14:28 says, "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?" This verse is talking about how we should know what we are spending before we spend it. Maybe you around seventeen and you are saving up for a car for yourself. You tell your parents that if they buy you a car now, you will pay them back by some date. You go to the dealer, and find the car you like, but you don't ask for the price, and let your parents deal with the money. You keep saving money, spend some money on some clothes and lunch with your friends, and then the date 
comes when you say you would pay your parents back. You give your parents the money, and you find out you're five thousand dollars short! You try to blame your parents about not telling you the price, but you know it was your fault. You didn't ask for the price, and you were confident about being able to get the money; and now you lost your car. 

Luke 16:11 says, "If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?" This verse is talking about responsibility. Let's say your around sixteen or seventeen again, and that you want to be able to go out by yourself. Your parents say that if you can prove yourself responsible enough, you can go. You say "Okay," and try to be responsible, doing your homework, not complaining, making sure to do all of your laundry, and keep your room clean. But you forget about your other responsibility; your money. You go get your pay check every week, and then you go spend it immediately. Then the time comes, and you ask your parents if you proved yourself responsible. But they don't ask to go see your room, or look at your grades, they want to know how much money is in your bank account. Your dad says that you get 50 dollars a week, and you've been working for a month, so you should at least have 110-120 dollars in your account. You go to the bank with your parents, and you have 20 dollars. Your parents tell you that if you can't be expected to be responsible with your money, you can't be responsible for other things like going out.  
Now, this verse wasn't talking about going out; it was talking about "true riches." But what are true riches? Of course, even though saving money is important now, it won't be when Jesus comes again. You need to make sure your "saving" the right thing, like Bible verses and God's love. But if you can't be expected to respect and use your time and money wisely, how can you be expected to use what God gave you wisely? Think about that when you get your next pay check or go shopping.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Going against the crowd: do what's right, even when it's not popular, By Sarah P.

Going against the crowd: do what's right, even when it's not popular.

By Sarah P.

Esther 3:2 and 3:5-6

As Christians, we will usually be against the majority. It is hard to stick to our beliefs in tough situations. However, it is possible to defend our faith, even when it's really hard.

Get your Bible and turn to Esther 3:2. "And all the king's servants who were within the king's gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage." (NKJV)

In this Scripture, the king had ordered for everyone to bow before Haman when he walked by (Esther 3:1). Everyone else was bowing down. Think of how easy it would have been for Mordecai to bow like the others! Instead, Mordecai chose to stick to his faith, you bow before God only, not any objects or people, only God.

Now let's look at Esther 3:5-6, "When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, the people of Mordecai." (NKJV)

Because Mordecai followed and obeyed God, Haman hated him. He hated Mordecai so much; he wanted to kill all of the Jews! If you stood up for what was right, and then someone wanted to kill you and your people, how would you feel? Again, how easy it would have been to give in! Mordecai could have bowed before Haman the next day, and Haman might have forgiven him. In spite of all temptations, Mordecai held on! His faith was strong, and he trusted in God.

Later on, Mordecai's niece and adopted daughter, Esther, who was the new Queen, pleaded her case before the king against Haman. Haman was killed, along with his wicked sons, and the Jews were saved. And, because of his faith, Mordecai took Haman's place as adviser to the king!

Though it was really hard, Mordecai stood with his faith. He went against what was popular. Not only did Mordecai receive a high place in the king's court, he also had the satisfaction of knowing he had done what was right! That feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is from God, and is so much better than being accepted by the majority!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Why do people suffer? By Sarah P.

Why do people suffer?

By Sarah P.

Why did he die? Why does she not like me? Why do they not have enough to eat? Why did God let that happen? Why was he born like that? Why?

If there is a God, then why do people suffer? This is one of the most confusing questions people have asked and will ask. Well... this requires a complicated answer, but for now, let's take a look at what the Bible says.

First of all, people suffer for their consequences. We have all sinned, and the wages of sin is eternal death. Romans 6:23a says, "For the wages of sin is death...." When we sin, there are consequences. Not only are we forever separated from God, we also receive punishment for what we've done. This is just, because God is just. He is fair, and so if we refuse to accept His gift of eternal life, we receive just what we deserve. Christians also have to suffer for their consequences. When David committed adultery, even though he repented and was forgiven, he had to suffer the consequences of what he had done. Even if you technically don't get "caught", your sin will catch up with you in the end; unless you repent. If you do repent, you still might have to suffer the consequences of your sin. (For more on this, see Galatians 6:7-8)

However, suffering is not always caused by someone directly sinning. There are many examples of this, both in the Bible and in today's world. Why are people born blind? Why do whole continents full of people die from thirst? Why do billions of people starve every day? Why does God let this happen? John 9:1-3 has an example of this, and shows what Jesus tells us. It says, "As He [Jesus] was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples questioned Him: 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' Jesus answered. 'This came about so that God's works might be displayed in him.'" (Emphasis added, HCSB). As the story continues, Jesus heals the man, but that's not the point. What Jesus said is what matters, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned... this came about so that God's works might be displayed in him." Many people get confused here. So... does that mean suffering is a good thing? Well, not exactly. In fact, suff ring is not a good thing by itself. Suffering is not, was never, created by God. Look at the beginning of the book of Genesis. God's creation was perfect and sinless. There was no pain in the Garden of Eden. There was no suffering. So what happened? Adam and Eve sinned. And that brought suffering down on them, their grandchildren, and everyone else that would ever be in the world; that was the punishment of their sin. Satan sinned even before that when he rebelled against God.

So how does the story of the blind man have anything to do with this? Does that mean that someone had to have done something wrong for the blind man to be born like that? Not at all. Think about this. Remember, God didn't create suffering. The first suffering started way back when Satan rebelled against God. Satan suffered the consequences of his sin, too; he still does. However, God can use something bad for His glory. Satan is the prince of this earth; he still can cause bad things to happen to us. Look at the story of Job. God can and does intervene, but sometimes He chooses not to. Sometimes He chooses to let people be born in a way we don't understand, to allow us to suffer the consequences of living in a fallen world and being fallen people. No, this isn't easy to understand. Someday, in heaven, we'll know all of the answers, but until then, we simply won't know everything. That might be hard to accept, but we have to have faith that God really does know best.

Using that thought, consider God's character. Has He ever done anything wrong? No, He's perfect and sinless. Has He ever failed to do what He should? No, God is always here for us and will help us in times of trouble... in His own time. No one down here on earth completely understands suffering. But we have to have faith that God knows best! Even when it doesn't look "fair" to us and we complain... remember that we are complaining that God; the righteous Judge; the Creator of "fairness" itself; isn't doing what we think He should. That sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? It is! We should not doubt God, but we do.

So, why do people suffer? We suffer for the consequences of our sin. We suffer because we live in a fallen world. We suffer, but God helps us to grow and trust Him through the suffering. Yes, there are times when we just don't understand. Yes, there are times when we are angry that suffering exists and wonder why God allows so much of it to happen. We question God's love; it just doesn't seem logical that He could love us and still let us hurt so much! It doesn't seem right, but we have to trust God and know this; Jesus suffered. Jesus didn't sin! But He bore our sin to the cross and died so He could save us from hell. He loved us so much that He suffered so that we could be saved. Jesus loved us enough to suffer for us! Don't you think you can trust a God who cares that much for us to know what's best for us? We might not know all the answers, but He does. That's one of the lessons that suffering teaches us; we have to trust God!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Letter from Mary, By Marvina S.

Letter from Mary

By Marvina S.

So this week I've been just thinking about Christmas and about Mary. Mary is the mother of Jesus.  If any of you don't know about how Jesus was born, it talks about it in Luke chapter 2. Since this article is about a letter to Elizabeth, though, you need to read from Chapter 1 all the way through chapter 2.  It's a beautiful story and it was a story I've been thinking a lot about.  Now just some info... Elizabeth was Mary's cousin, who they never saw that often.  Elizabeth and Mary were very close, so I took the liberty to see if I could feel, what Mary felt, that night when she had baby Jesus.  Now Mary was probably around 14 when she had the baby, and I'm 23, but I still felt something amazing as I wrote this.  I am Mary in this letter and I'm writing to my cousin Elizabeth; so here it is...hope you all like it and feel something too.

January 13, 30 B.C.
                 My Dearest Elizabeth,
How I've longed to write to you for a while, but never seem to have the time until now.  I've missed you so much and it’s been hard to be so far away from you.  Besides, Joseph, there’s not that many people that I feel comfortable talking to…so it can get pretty lonely at times.  How are you and Zechariah?  How is adorable little John doing?  I bet Zechariah is loving father hood.  Looking at John when he was a newborn, I know he’s going to grow up to be handsome and strong like his papa.  As he gets older, you will sure have your hands full, with him being so full of energy and all; it will keep you young I’m sure. 
Well so much has happened since we last saw each other.  Joseph and I have been so blessed.  I don’t even know where to begin.  However, not knowing when I will see you again or for that matter, write to you again, I will start from the beginning and tell you everything that has happened. Shortly after I left your home, Joseph got a message stating that we need to go to Bethlehem for the Census and Tax.  Oh how I dreaded that trip because it was long and I was pregnant.  We had to travel by donkey, which was hard on my belly; however we didn't have a choice.  I walked when I could and when I got tired, I rode the donkey.  However the donkey got tired too and the trip went by so slow.  Joseph, the kind man that he is, never once complained, even though his facial expressions gave him away every time.  It’s funny how when you have been with someone for so long, you know when they are tired or even not telling you how they are feeling or what is on their mind.  He was really tired and it took us a long time to get to the Bethlehem from Nazareth. By the time we arrived, all the rooms at the inns were full.  All Joseph and I wanted to do was to just find a place and rest; was that so much to ask for?  But inn after inn, slammed door after slammed door, we began to lose hope and faith.  Oh Elizabeth, I just couldn't stop crying.  I was so uncomfortable being pregnant and afraid that we would never find a place and I would have to have my baby in the dusty road.  Poor Joseph was exhausted too.  I think he was worried and a little annoyed but for the sake of me, he tried to hide it.  Finally, Joseph came across an inn that had a stable and talked the owner into letting us stay there.  The owner gave us things to keep warm, but he was not really nice.  The stable was nasty and really uncomfortable with the straw everywhere, but it was shelter which we needed. With the animals being there, they kept the place really warm and from that night, that became our home.  Who would have thought of me being in a stable?  It was so weird and strange for me, and as a wife, so not ok, but I was grateful for what we had.
I will never forget that place because I ended up having the baby right there, the day after we arrived.  I’m so glad I was with you when you had John. I learned so much from your mid wife; which helped me when I had my baby.  The pain was unbearable and it felt like it took for hours, but then I saw him…our beautiful baby boy, which we name…Jesus.  Joseph was a mess throughout the entire labor process, but when the baby came out; you could tell from his face, he was just so happy to be a new papa.  Elizabeth, baby Jesus is so beautiful.  Since we didn't have a real bed for him, we put him in a manger.  He has curly black hair, and bright wonderful eyes just like your little John.  I’m sure they will be the best of friends.  His hands are big so I know he will be a great carpenter just like his father. Tears filled our eyes, as we held our brand new baby boy.  I just can’t describe him or the feeling we felt when we held him for the first time; though I’m sure you can imagine, you having little John not too long ago.  I never want harm to come to him, and I want him to live a long and happy life.
When the town’s people heard about our baby, they all came to see him.  People came from all over and brought gifts and cute things for the baby.  Joseph and I were so surprised as to the love of the people.  We've never felt more honored to have been blessed with such a beautiful baby boy.  Last night some shepherds came to see him, and we shared the stable with them for the night.  They were so kind and generous and amazed as to how wonderful he was.  The women came and checked on him; they said he looked good and healthy and gave us some skins to keep him warm, some milk to feed him, and some food for us.  We told stories and sang songs.  It was nice making friends since we were so far from home and what we knew to be familiar. It was hard being far from you and Joseph’s family.  We are going to have to leave the country tomorrow morning.  Some important men were in town last night watching the stars.  They said that King Herod has sent out a decree that all Jewish newborn babies are to be killed.  When I heard this, I thought, he must be afraid of us, for him to do such a horrible thing.  So we are leaving as soon as we are able to travel.  The men gave us gold, frankincense and myrrh for the travel, since we have no money because of the trip. I am so grateful for the help that we have received.  I don’t know what we would have done if all those kind people didn't help at all.  Joseph says we should try and get to Egypt and stay there until we hear that it is ok for us to return home.  Take care of your son and your family too Elizabeth.  I can’t wait for the day when we can be together again.  Our little boys can play, the guys can talk and we can go for walks and talk like we always do.  I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as I ask you do the same for us.  Til we meet or write again…
Love always,

Christ born on Christmas day, By Tammie C.

Christ born on Christmas day

By Tammie C.

Again it's Christmas and girls I know you are preparing for the day that Jesus is born because you are part of the life He offered for us. First thing to do is to wake up early and make a day that leads you to where you will find Jesus Christ. Forget the hesitations and leave it all behind because this day is a big day for all of us.
Now, can you feel the air of the ber-wind? It touches every one of us and reminds us that it will be a brand new year coming, and how Jesus lives in our hearts. You have the Spirit, girls - make it a unique and godly day for you.
Go to church and pray, for Jesus Christ, His birthday is today, the day we celebrate the coming of the second part of the trinity was born. Remind yourself that He is with you always, whenever you're sad or lonely, and even in the tip of happiness in your life. Believe that every one of us has the faith and can do God's will for this year. Walk with sincerity in your heart you will never forget that the love of God binds you to Him. Christmas calls you to be ready to face the day, keeping in mind that His day is coming again.

7 steps to become unique this Christmas

1. Prepare a very nice food to celebrate with your loved ones

2. With that food drink a delicious drink

3. Remember to go to church

4. Dress yourself for this special occasion

5. Pray through your feelings and emotions about this time of celebration

6. Walk through the day - don't rush

7. Keep it simple but make it your own day in little ways

In All Honesty, By Gabby M.

In All Honesty

By Gabby M.

In all honesty, we shouldn't have had a chance at even a fraction of the kind of lives we lead. Especially as Americans, we were born with more than enough to keep us doing reasonably well, if not thriving. Sure, we've all had our ups and downs in life. I can say I've had my fair share of hurt and trials. But do we ever just stop and think about how incredibly blessed we are? 

The other day I was watching television, and a commercial came on advertising mascara, and again, it was dramatized to the point where I just had to roll my eyes. Seriously? How is it even possible to dress up an eye product commercial that much?

But this time, I did more than just sigh and roll my eyes. Something different happened. Suddenly I was viewing the commercial in the mind of someone who is from a third-world country, and this is what I saw:

A white American, flashy lights, booming colors, and a rich snob who knew nothing of what she had. She was trashy. Greedy. Vain. Ungrateful. I suddenly had no desire to purchase what she was selling and instead felt a burning anger toward the American way of life.

Can you imagine what would go through their mind? Take Haiti for example. They just suffered an earthquake not long ago, and are still in ruins. And here we are, trampling each other and camping outside the store on Black Friday, just so we can get STUFF. That's all it is, just stuff. And most of it we don't need.

I am really getting sick of all the selfishness and lack of gratitude I'm seeing in people today. We are so busy going after what we want that we can't appreciate what we already have.

I know the statement I'm making is bold, and I am saying this having been guilty of this attitude myself. But God has opened my eyes to see that life is more than boys, celebrities, drugs, parties, test finals, internet and even friends. I am just going to go ahead and go all "mom" on you guys and say, "There are kids in Africa who don't even get Christmas presents!!"

But back to a more serious note...the older I get, the more I find this statement to be more than a "mom" thing. I know when I get to be a mother I will probably say the same thing no matter how much my kids talk back, because we must appreciate what we have. It keeps us from being selfish, and prevents negativity in thoughts which, if left unattended, will quickly spiral into depression.
Jesus had a hard life. He was born in a barn, for starters. That's pretty weird for a king, don't you think? Then growing up, he had to play with his friends without sinning. What about peer pressure? Or when they treat you wrong? Then in his adulthood, his days were full of stress and crowds of people pressing in on him, wanting him only for what he had and not for who he was. He healed people even when his best friend passed away and he wanted nothing more but to be alone. He didn't have a place to stay, and I wouldn't be surprised if some nights he had to sleep on the street.
But he still loved people, no matter how self-centered.. He still came to bring us peace, hope, healing, and truth. All those things we would do well to offer to each other this Christmas year.

In all honesty, we don't deserve what he has given to us. But he gave freely, and so should we.

Merry Christmas everyone. :)

Thank You, Lord Jesus, By Trish M.

Thank You, Lord Jesus

By Trish M.

Hello beautiful sisters in spirit. I just want to greet you all in the mighty name of Jesus Christ and start off by quoting a song as per usual . This song says “ He paid a debt he did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away and now I sing a brand new song, amazing grace , How sweet the sound, Christ Jesus Paid the debt that I could never pay” .

Think about it. 

We were born from/of sin which was original sin by Adam and Eve. We are all sinners, every single one of us and the word of God says that sin is punishable by death. Basically someone had to die or else we would all die. Jesus himself, the lion of Judah, the son of God died just for you and me.
When I think about this, I start to cry because how incredible is it that thousands of years before you were born, somebody loved you enough to let themselves be crucified. Someone cared about you enough to give up their life for you. This is a very big deal.
I would just like to encourage you to repeat this prayer thanking Lord Jesus for dying for you.
A prayer of thanks:
Lord Jesus, I love you. Jesus you are a wonderful king, I exalt your mighty name for there is no one else like you. Jesus I just want to thank you for dying on the cross for me, my family, my friends, everybody before me and everybody after me. Jesus Christ, what you did as the ultimate gift of love and I just want to love you back. You are the Messiah, you are the mighty Savior. Thank you once again.

Distractions: Stressful and Depressing, By Tammie C.

Distractions: Stressful and Depressing

By Tammie C.
Girls, we know that we are easily upset; sometimes the simplest things we do cause us to give up. But then sometimes we are strong, because we have our dignity at stake in everything we do, so, we survive. That’s how we handle things, right? Even in the last drop, we always make things last as long as possible. Distractions are so common that they make our fast-paced daily lives seem normal. We always think that being depressed is a lonely mode and being stressful is very hard to work with. But look at the brighter way instead - remember each good thing that happens in your day when you feel stressed or depressed, and break the cycle. Maybe today you would have a break from things that rush up every day. Don’t fill your time with more busy, pointless things. Keep your day happy and right - don’t be trapped in those worldly problems. We know that God is with us, and every single day we live, He is always guiding us, and watching us walk on the path where He will lead us. Make it a day worth it to you, and for Him.
Do you notice that every time we are stressed out we would rather cook some comfort food for dinner instead of going outside? When you are depressed maybe you would appreciate someone giving you a hug and treating you to lunch. In these simple ways we try to overcome the stress or depression. We can help those around us by noticing them again and making them feel that we are with them in that stressful day.
Also, it is good to observe the Sabbath, a day where you come back to God for all those things that put a rush in your day. When you lay down in your bed, pray for the things that happen and suppose it will be for the good. The Holy Spirit intercedes to the Father for us, too.
Remember always: Sabbath is God’s rest for the fast-paced of the world.

Psalm 118:24, By Ella P.

Psalm 118:24

By Ella P.

Sometimes I get the feeling that God isn't with me - that He's too busy with all the miracles and life saving to deal with my little problems. For instance, today I was getting my math test back. I had been praying for days that He would help me get better grades... I'd been trying so hard and was confident this time I would get at least a low B. When I got my test back, before looking at it, I said a prayer. When I turned it over... AN F!!!! It felt like a giant wave just hit me in the face.
Why wasn't God there for me? Why did He let me fail? Turns out He was there all along. I realized it when I read this:

Psalm 118:24
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and and be glad in it.”
It showed me that God is there for me good times and bad. And to rejoice in each day. Celebrate life! Even when things don't turn out the way you want. Like my dad always says, "God doesn't always give you what you want, He gives you what you need."
Maybe that grade was just motivation for me to try harder next time! I shouldn't let adversity get in the way of my happiness. I now know that God is always there for me!
Thank you Psalms! :)

Trust in God's Plan for You - Above what you know, By Christian N.

Trust in God's Plan for You - Above what you know

By Christian N.
Matthew 11:25 & 26

"I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father for this is what you were pleased to do."

1. The Father has revealed these things to the little children. In this passage Jesus is not talking about age, but faith. Someone who has earned a Masters in philosophy or divinity, and pursues leadership, without being called by God to do so, will often weaken in their faith. Why? Well some old family friends of my dad's said it was because they learned so much, that they could not understand how anything could be outside of the rules of nature that they have learned. For example, look at Joshua chapter 10. To scientists and astrologists, the impossible happened. Even if God had told them that this was coming, their doubt would have cast that out because they trust what they have learned over what God says and can do. Time stopped until the battle of the Israelites versus the Amorites had been won. Joshua, who probably knew nothing about astronomy, believed that God would lead them to victory, because he had faith.
2. "Yes, Father for this is what you were pleased to do." Not, please, will please, are pleased, but were pleased. This is past tense; God has already anointed you as a spokesman to the world, and it doesn’t matter if you run like Jonah or if you hide like Jacob. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you will do. It's already done. You’ve got to move past the mistakes, and accept God's calling.
Now some things God has given us as a dream/vision in our hearts. He has given even the most unlikely of us a dream already! And He intends to bring His plans to pass.
You have been given the keys, What are you going to do?

Love, By Joy Wie-Addo


By Joy Wie-Addo
1Samuel 18:1-4, John 15:11-14

Love forgets mistakes, but “nagging about them parts the best of friends” says Solomon in Proverbs 17:9b.

Overlooking offenses is necessary in any relationship. We should be willing to forgive others’ offenses against us. It’s quiet tempting, especially when there is misunderstanding, to recall all the offenses the other person ever committed against us.

The greatest evidence of genuine friendship is loyalty. We should love our neighbours and friends at all times and be available to help in time of need and distress. Do not be a fair-weather friend. Fair-weather friends get close when the friendship helps and they leave when they are not getting anything out of the relationship.

The love of a true friend is constant. Think of your friends and asses your loyalty and love to them. Your company may help someone feel at ease, your smile may be a source of encouragement to someone; it may be soothing to the depressed soul of a friend. Your actions may just calm down rising anxiety in a friend. You need your friend and your friend needs you. Are you being the David or Jonathan of your friendship?

Be the model of the friend the Bible encourages.

Making Your time - Time for God, By Lauren L.

Making Your time - Time for God

By Lauren L.
The lives that we all live are often so overwhelming and busy.
 List of things to do:
1. Homework, revision, exam preparation
2. Visit family members
3. Meet up with friends
4. Tidy room
5. Help out around the house
6. Go to clubs - (Youth club, after schools clubs etc)
7. Get shower/bath and wash my hair
8. Go to the dentist
9. Go to the doctors
10. Help out at church events
11. Go get presents for friends/family members' birthdays
I'm sure you can all relate to the above, or at least a few of the examples, but seriously, do you ever just have those days when you feel so tired and exhausted by everything you have to do and you still haven’t done all the things you wanted to do? Sometimes you might have so much work for school that you can’t do it all and you might just have to choose one school subject to focus and work on, never mind finding time for family, friends or even God! Does this sound familiar?
Yes, it does, because it is! We all live busy lifestyles. But is that an excuse to keep putting off prayer, not going to church or our fellowship groups  or just generally working on our friendship with God? “God understands that I’m busy He wont mind  Ill go to church next week so its ok if I miss this one Sunday,  I’m sure I wont be the only one not there tonight, everyone understands cause they are busy too”.
No! It’s not an excuse! Don’t get me wrong - I understand that it’s so, so, so hard to find time for God because we always have so many other things we need/want to do. But the thing is we don’t always have to make specific time for God - I mean we don’t have to go out of our way to have quiet, chilled time giving God our undivided attention, although that is important to do when we can. When we are busy, it's better to make our time godly time than give God none of our time.
For example, instead of just saying I had too much work to do last night so its not my fault I didn’t have time for God, I could make time in the morning while I'm getting ready or when I'm in the car on the way to school. Pray to God and give him a wee bit off your time! Let Him know that although you have been extremely busy, you will never be too busy for Him! It might not be perfect, but it's better to show God that you are making the effort to find time for Him, than to not show any signs that you even care. Just remember we have a very special, very important and very unique friendship with the Lord our Heavenly Father, and just like all friendships, we need to put the time and effort into them to make them strong.
This is just like anything else - to do well in school, we need to spend time on homework or things we find difficult. How about the gym? If we are dedicated and go there on a weekly basis for an hour or more, we will see better results and feel better than the person who goes once a month for half an hour.
The same applies to us with God... So think! Think, am I making enough time for God to ensure I have the strongest friendship I can have with Him, or am not doing enough to spend time with Him?

God has a plan for you, By Trish M.

God has a plan for you.

By Trish M.

Hello Beautiful Ladies of Faith. I just want to start off by letting you know that God loves you and even though, I don’t know who you are, what your situation is and at which point of your walk with God you are at, I know the Lord has a plan for you and your life.

Okay so this topic came to me when I was singing one of my favourite church songs and the words are “ I know the Lord will make a way for me, yes for me , If I live a holy life, shun the wrong and do the right, I know the Lord will make a way for me” . This really got me thinking about my life and how for 16 years (and a few months!) God has been countlessly looking after me, making sure I’m healthy, protecting me from whatever the devil may throw at me. I also realised that from day 1 , 2nd of June( My birthday), God had a plan for me and he has one for you too!
I know that in this world full of pain, confusion, sin, suffering, Life ending diseases, wars and all sorts of horrible things, it can be hard to have a peace of mind. I know that we all go through terrible things like death of family members and it physically hurts us to the point that we feel like God doesn’t love us. This cannot be farther from the truth. The Lord, your God, loves us so much. We are all precious to him and each and every one of us is valued a lot.
So when you are feeling like life is living you , remember, God is your strength. I like to almost chant Psalm18:1-3 that says “ I love you , lord, you are my strength. The lord is my rock, my fortress, my Savior. My God is my rock in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies."
This verse really reaches the core of my message, God is our rock and if you are still not convinced when I say he has a plan for you, you can see in Jeremiah 29:11, it states that “ For I know the plans I have for you, says the lord, they are plans for good, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”. God has a big plan for you but he just needs you to follow him and let you guide him and at those times of heatbreak just remember Psalms 34 v 18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He recues those whose spirits are crushed”.
I really hope this article helps at least one person out there who is struggling with something or just simply lost their faith and hope.  
Keep holding on.
Xoxo Trish :)

Loving Him and Loving Others Are Our Greatest Commands, By Chadia M.

Loving Him and Loving Others Are Our Greatest Commands

By Chadia M. 

I am aware that when I’m talking about loving God and loving others, many of us feel like they already do that. However, I’ve been living through times where God calls me to re-examine my love for Him, and especially for others. Ask yourself, what is the first thing/ person you think about when you wake up? Is it yourself? How “you” are going to do in that test, how “you” are going to dress up, where “you” are going to go for shopping with “your” friends,… Or when you find a picture of you and your friends/family, who do you look for first? Isn’t it you? Here I’m not judging anyone. It is normal to act this way, that’s what everyone does, it is in our nature. In everything we want to be first; yes we make sure that the people we” love” are fine and satisfied but even unconsciously, we check on ourselves first. But is this what God prepared for us? Is it conform to his awesome plan for us? I don’t think so. God has always wanted us, from the beginning, to be selfless and to put others before us, at the example of Christ who didn’t spare his life because of his love for us.
Lately, God has been asking me to tell people at my school about Him. I am new at the school and as I am from a French speaking country, my English is not very good. However, I accepted, knowing that He would do the work anyway because it’s not by my might or by my power that anything is done, it is by His Spirit. So I prayed for the mission and I went, selfless, trying to bring to Jesus as many people as I could. But I realized that the zeal I was putting in talking about Jesus is not the zeal that people were using to respond. In fact, people were starting to change their opinion about Christ, but they were not willing to get saved. That’s then that Jesus told what was wrong. I was not loving and praying for them. All that time, I had been praying for myself, for the strength to go to them, but I was not praying to God so that He would change them. I was not loving them as I should have. I was loving myself more than I loved them. That’s how I learned my lesson. From then on, I constantly examine myself, trying to put other people’s interests before mine and you know what, yesterday, one of my atheists friends go saved after such a long time trying to bring her to Christ! Remember, it’s only when we start thinking, loving and loving others that God blesses our work beyond measure. John 12:26 says that the Father will honor those who serve Jesus and this is the truth. (Read John 12:25-26)
I just want to encourage each of you girls, there is more joy in giving to others than in receiving. Christ is all about giving even when we are undeserving. Let your love for the Lord and for others consume you and become less at the same time, as Christ become bigger (John 3:30). Then you will be truly amazed by all God can do through you.
Verses to read:
 James 1:27
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
1 John 3:11-18
 “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister* is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don't have eternal life within them.
  We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister* in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person? Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”

1 John 2:7
Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.

Romans 12:2, By Christina V.

Romans 12:2

By Christina V.

            Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters of the entire Bible. There are several verses in that chapter that are very thought-provoking such as verse 2. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (NKJV)." God does not want us to be a part of this world and the things the world participates in. He wants us to "fix our attention on [Him]" (Romans 12:2 in The Message paraphrase). We always need to put God first.
            This falls in line with the Ten Commandments when it says that God is a jealous. Jealousy is considered a sin and typically looked at in a bad way but when the Bible refers to God as being jealous it is a reminder that He is absolutely important. No other gods are to come before Him. During the time the Ten Commandments were written, people worshipped golden idols along with other gods. It is still practiced today but hardly prevalent in the United States. However, things around us can be considered idols. Our cell phone, boyfriend, iPad, celebrities we like--anything that takes place in your life before God that you spend a bunch of time with. These things aren't necessarily bad but they can be when they "control" your time.
            The Message paraphrase also says in verse 2 that "You'll be changed from the inside out." It is like that familiar old saying: "garbage in, garbage out." The things you do, watch on TV, listen to, people you hang out with--all have an influence on you and how you'll act. If we're cramming ourselves with worldly junk, then we're going to act like we're a part of the world. But if we spend quality time with God and hang out with Christians and be careful about what TV shows we watch and music we list to, an attitude that reflects God will come out. This is what God wants from us. And when we act like a Christian, others around us will see this and our example alone could possibly bring someone to the Lord. Always remember that no matter where you go, others will be watching. Let Matthew 5:16 remind you to "let your light shine before others (TNIV)."

Following the Lord, By Tammie

Following the Lord

By Tammie C.
For a time in my life, I wanted to get whatever I wanted, and believe that I could achieve all things myself, and that's how I thought things should go on around me. But it ended it when one day I was awakened by the rain that falls down in our room, it was a rain not too strong but loud enough to hear. First when I heard what it said to me, I cried - the rain was saying, "You have to be strong because I am coming to save you. Even this rain will fall down again you will never be broken because you are with Me." And the moment that happened I knew that God is with me, thinking of my future, what will happen to me where I am, here and now. First, I can never say that it is just a glimpse of rain, but it changed my whole life now.
I am now a Christian willing to serve God Almighty, for He saves me from the dangerous road I shall take. For me it is the faith that I have to carry this with me, faith that He will never hurt me, until the day comes He will allow me to enter His paradise. I am an ordinary girl not knowing that the things around me are real and full of love to live. By that noise I was awakened to the world He wanted me to have, leading me to a new place where His Will will be done and always surround you and me. Living with God is having a person with you every day with a voice saying "I am here my child, don't be afraid." Have faith and you will seek the paradise where you were made to be!

Mold Me More Like You, By Karen Finn

Mold Me More Like You 

By Karen Finn

Last week, as I was preparing to grill burgers for dinner, I reached for the package of buns which had been placed on top of the refrigerator. Before I even untied the wire twist-tie, my eyes caught a glimpse of something amiss. Ugh. Spots of a fuzzy, greenish-white mold were peppered on the doughy surfaces of two of the six rolls!

What do you think I did: 1.) discarded the two moldy buns and used the others for our meal; or 2.) tossed the entire bag into the garbage? If you chose the second option, you are correct! I was not taking a chance on eating something that had been stored with damaged goods. Yuck!

God’s prophet Haggai uses an illustration which displays how influential these (clean vs. unclean) conditions can be. “If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai ,’If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean?’ And the priests answered and said, ‘It shall be unclean.’ Then answered Haggai, and said, ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.’”- Haggai 2:12-14
Is it possible for something clean (holy flesh), to rub off on what it comes into contact with (skirt of his garment)? Or, is it more likely that the unclean item –like my moldy bread—contaminates what was once spotless? In this Old Testament reference, Haggai was addressing the Israelite nation concerning the sincerity of their sacrificial offering/worship. Their outward observances of sacred rites appeared holy and well-intended, yet inwardly their hearts and lives were a contradiction. This type of approach could fool others, but certainly not the Lord!

As I meditated upon this passage, I began to see how this example has application concerning various aspects of our lives, especially when it comes to influences. Friendships have the potential to “rub off” on us, as do the activities, instruction and opinions we adhere to. Do we allow this pressure to alter our beliefs and actions? If so, we’ve become as ineffective as a spoiled piece of food.

A commitment to Christ requires sacrifice-we give up our own desires and choose to follow His Will for us. Our heart’s desire is to be holy just like Him; in other words, we want to remain clean and mold-free, useable for service—like a hamburger bun! Every day is a means whereby we reflect on the outside, what has taken place on the outside. If we can prioritize that as our goal each day, we will be allowing the garment of holiness to massage our spirits and affect others in the most beneficial way ever!

Procrastination & Witnessing, By Makaeyla Z.

Procrastination & Witnessing

By Makaeyla Z.

Procrastination is very common among highschoolers. I am terrible about it! Just earlier tonight (Sunday) I looked at my planner and I have probably three tests tomorrow that I haven't studied for, not to mention, I just finished all my homework (it's 11:36 pm). I had three vocab papers, an English paper, and seven geometry papers. Oh, and I have to buy To Kill A Mockingbird by Thursday. I have the craziest schedule this year and I definitely need to work on this. The bible talks about procrastination a lot. 

Proverbs 13:4 "The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richely supplied."(ESV) 
Proverbs 12:24 "The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor." (ESV)

Slothfullness is one of the "seven deadly sins." You can't procrastinate but say you aren't slothfull, because slothfullness is being lazy and if you weren't lazy you wouldn't procrastinate. As Christians we should be motivated to do anything, and everything as we do it for Christ, whether that's biology homework or reading our Bible. 

One thing you should NEVER wait until the last minute to do is SHARE THE GOSPEL. I know that's hard to do for a lot of people. Hello! I hate confrontation, no matter what the circumstances. But you don't have to start witnessing and sharing the gospel by going straight up to someone and talking about God. The best way to witness to someone is by loving them, and showing them: This is Where I Was, This is Where I Am, and This is Where I Am Going!! Show them your testimony by being strong, and loving no matter what is going on behind the scenes. I know that can be hard, especially in highschool. Trust me, at a football game last Friday a girl told me she hated me because I ate lunch with her boyfriend who happened to be my best friend since seventh grade. I wanted to yell at her and punch her, but I couldn't. I had to put on my best Christian-Lady-Like face and walk away. I still have to love her even though she "hates" me. I pray she sees God in me through that. There are so many ways you can share the Gospel at school without actually having to talk to someone about it. Though, this is just a first step. Eventually you will have to talk. 

You can: Read your Bible at lunch or whenever you have time. Pray before you eat. Respect people who don't respect you. Offer to pray for people (yes i know this is talking but it's not exactly the same) especially hurt football players. Listen to podcasts instead of music, or just listen to Christian music. Remember, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 ESV)


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