Friday, February 28, 2014

The Storm in Our Lives, By Kaitlyn F.

The Storm in Our Lives

By Kaitlyn F.

We all have times in our lives, where life just seems to hard, and the
light at the end of the tunnel that everyone is talking about isn't there
for you. You feel like God is far away, like he forgot about you to deal
with someone else. You pray, but you feel like he isn’t listening. And
all you wonder is why you are going through this.There is good news.
God will never leave you. Hebrews 13:5 says,

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what
you have, because God has said,"Never will I leave you; never will I 
forsake you"

 He is always with you. Through every storm and every trial God is with
youfor it says that he will never leave you. Now you may be asking why
God would let you go through this storm. Romans 8:28 says,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who
love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

There are two things to take away from this verse. The first is that God
works for the good of those who love him. The thing is, the “good” that
he is working for may lead you through a storm, either to gain endur-
ance or trust, or an experience that could help some one down the
road. The second thing to take away from this verse is that god has a
purpose for you. The thing that discourages us is that we only see bits
and pieces of this purpose while God is able to see the whole thing.

Trust God to help you through the storm.

Pledge for Christ, By Sarah K.

Pledge for Christ

By Sarah K.

I, as a young woman in Christ, pledge to:
·       Follow Christ’s example by walking in love toward all, both my friends and people I don’t get along with. If Christ could die on the cross for me, I can love them. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
·       Stand up to the world when it tells me beauty is found on the surface, and instead dress in truth, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and prayer; “the full armor of God”. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)
·       Practice the fruit of the Spirit, wherever I am, whatever my circumstances: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5: 22-23)
·       “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” (Galatians 6:10a) Even to the ones who try their hardest to make it difficult for us to do good to them!
·       Honor in my actions, the way I speak about them, and the way I think about them, every authority above me, no matter how annoying, ridiculous, or strict they are: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men.” (1 Peter 2:13a)
·       Remain pure “in both body and spirit”, saving any intimacy for marriage, and focus on my relationship in the Lord to give me my identity, not from any love I can find from boys: “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.” (1 Corinthians 7:34)
·       Keep in mind that outward beauty lasts only a while, then fades away, while internal beauty grows daily in my walk with the Lord: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, and the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
·       Practice modesty, (no matter how foolish, weird, or unpopular it is), and refuse to gossip, slander others, taunt others unkindly, and or let my speech be characterized by  inappropriate jokes: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:3-4)
·       Devote myself to prayer and knowing God’s Word, so that I can be prepared for any lies that the devil will try to plant in my heart: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

In the end, though I will never be able to do these things perfectly, I do them because I wish to honor the God whom I love, my Best Friend, Savior, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, and Mighty God. He alone “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14).

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Philippians 2:14-16a).

Respect, By Jemima S.


By Jemima S.

"You Never Really Understand A Person Until You Consider Things From His Point Of View; Until You Climb Into His Skin And Walk Around In It"- Atticus Finch

I feel this subject is something that we all know about, and were all taught to do when we were younger.

But I feel that there a different aspects of it that we don't necessarily always think about.
Of course there's the type of respect you give to people older than you, such as teachers and your parents.
Also the type of respect we give to each other as sisters in Christ, as it says in:

1 Peter 2:17 "Respect all, love the brotherhood" (well.. Sisterhood in this case)

But what about putting yourself in someone else's position and trying to understand where they're coming from?
I think that's a type of respect too.

Try an think for a moment...
Think of someone.. A person who doesn't seem to have one good cell in there body.... A person who you feel is just a gargantuan difficulty...

Now think about this:
How many times have you actually stopped to think why they are like that? Have you ever wondered what goes on at home... ?Ever thought that they maybe hurting...?

See, sometimes we have to stop and take two steps back and actually look at a situation from all perspectives...
I'm not saying it's easy, trust me it isn't.. But that's what we are meant to do.

I've been reading the world renowned Harper Lee classic "To Kill A Mockingbird" and I really feel that as Christians we can learn from one of the main characters, who goes by the name of Atticus.
In the book he says a very profound thing that has really stuck with me he says that:
"You Never Really Understand A Person Until You Consider Things From His Point Of View; Until You Climb Into His Skin And Walk Around In It"

We should really adopt that character trait and try and always look at things from others' points of view.

Nevertheless my sisters, I caution you... As a friend of mine says
"Just because it's understandable doesn't make it right"
We should not use this trait to excuse people when they are wrong,  because that's not what we're supposed to do. We are supposed to try and be compassionate towards others and consider the perspectives.

So this week/month, let us try to consider others and look at different points of views.

Stay Blessed x

Friday, February 21, 2014

You Can Help Orphans, By Leah Good

You Can Help Orphans

By Leah Good

You are skilled, trained, and gifted. Are you willing to use those resources for orphaned and vulnerable children?
~The Global Orphan Crisis, pg 275

These words grabbed my attention as I worked my way through The Global Orphan Crisis. You see, I recently started a website called Teen’s Interceding for Orphans (TIO). TIO operates on the premise that teens want to help orphans but often don’t know how.
Caring for orphaned and vulnerable children doesn’t seem to fit with our stage in life. We don’t have lots of money to donate, and we don’t usually have the ability to travel overseas to get involved in the hands on stuff.
Despite these roadblocks, we still have to face the fact that God calls us to help the orphaned and fatherless of our world. The Bible doesn’t say, “Wait until you’re old enough to make a difference and then help.” It just tells us to help. There’s no escaping it.
Which brings me back to the quote from The Global Orphan Crisis. God has given each of us special talents and gifts. You are skilled, trained, and gifted in some area, no matter how old you are. God has not left you without the resources to follow His calling.
So take a moment to step back from the overwhelming scope of organizations asking for money and volunteers and evaluate how God has equipped you.
Maybe you’ve been told you’re good at writing. You can use that talent to write encouraging notes to missionaries working with orphans. Or maybe you could find an orphanage willing to let you correspond with some of the kids.
Do you enjoy art? Draw or paint pictures to raise awareness for orphans in general or for a particular organization. Donate your work to a children’s home to brighten the walls. Or create a fundraiser by selling your work.
If you’re good at web design you could volunteer to help adopting families create an adoption blog or fundraising sight. If you like graphic design you could create blog headers, buttons and more. If you’re crafty, hosts of organizations accept handmade blankets, hats, scarves, mittens, and toys.
I could keep going, but you get the idea.
The idea of getting involved in something as big as 153 million orphaned children is overwhelming. I know. For years I thought I was too young to do anything besides learn about the subject.
But I wasn’t too young, I only lacked the right encouragement, the right tools, and the right perspective.
Whether you already have a heart for orphans or never gave it much thought till now, hit your Bible and find out what God says about our responsibility, and then get moving!
If you need more ideas (or have ideas to share!) come over and visit Teens Interceding for Orphans. And don’t worry if you’re not quite a teen or left your teens behind a few years ago. The needs and opportunities aren’t exclusive!

Editors note: Leah's site is based on 1 Timothy 4:12, which is very close to the heart of GGFG -

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."

What bullying, abortion, and racism have in common, By Gabby M.

What bullying, abortion, and racism have in common. 

By Gabby M.

I just have something to say, if you have time to read....
Bullying and abortion and racism all have something in common. They all don't value life.
With bullies, they beat other kids down physically and mentally until every day is a nightmare for the victim.
With abortion, they say its okay to kill children if you don't want them.
And with racism, they say its okay to make fun of, hate, and even in some cases kill other people just because they're a different color and come from a different culture.
I'm not calling anyone out, I'm just observing how messed up society is. All these stories on the news about Trayvon Martin, and at what point in a pregnancy should we consider it an actual life, and kids as young as 11 killing themselves because other kids are beating them up everyday and telling them that they should die. I am just sick of it. People keep asking why this is happening. I'll tell you why, because a lot of people do not recognize the value of life. And we pick apart every issue and scrutinize it like it's so complex, when all people need is to learn how to respect themselves and other people!
But we will never learn to respect other people until we realize that we're no better than anyone else; God created us equal. It doesn't matter if you're short, tall, black, white, young, old, skinny, thick, if you have autism, or dyslexia, or PTSD, or an addiction, or missing limbs. You are still valuable because God made you. We're all humans and we all need to just help each other out and quit being so hard on each other.
Another issue is a lot of people think that the awful things others have said to them are true, or that everyone owes them, especially the ones who have hurt them. Sometimes both. Face it, people will always let you down. Not forgiving someone only hurts you, and I know this from experience. Its like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. It doesn't work. I still have things I need to go back and make right, because I know that whenever I have messed up, I wanted forgiveness, too, and have been very grateful when I got that forgiveness. I owe it to God to forgive others because he forgave me when I absolutely did not deserve it. At all.
That doesn't mean you have to tolerate mistreatment or let people run you over or go to your ex's house crying at their doorstep. But if that bitterness you're holding towards someone is eating you up inside, you have got to let it go. No matter how big the offense, you eventually will have to move on.
It's not an easy thing for sure. It's not just like "Oh, okay, well I forgive them," and you're good. A lot of those things hurt bad. You have to trust God to do what needs to be done in you, no matter how long it takes. He knows every detail of the situation and will help if you ask.
 Basically, stop judging, hurting, and hating each other because of appearance, culture, or personality differences. What good does that do? None. Chasing perfection only leads to more imperfection and destruction.

 Editor's note: Gabby's thoughts here remind me (Hillary Beth) of Proverbs 18:31 - "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Friday, February 14, 2014

Remembering True Love, By Sarah P.

Remembering True Love

By Sarah P.

Valentine’s Day is a day that girls everywhere either look forward to or dread. It seems to suggest thoughts of guys, chocolates, roses, and those cute little teddy bears. Valentine’s Day is all about love.

Or is it?

I’ve been wondering about this question lately. We should all remember what true love is, but over time society pushes in other ideas. Some of us have settled down into believing these lies. Maybe we need to step back and look at what love really is. What’s the easiest way to do that? Let’s take a look at what the Bible says.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.   Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away."
-1 Corinthians 13:1-8, (ESV)

If you’re anything like me, you tend to “zone out” after about the first sentence or so. I mean, who hasn’t heard of this scripture before? But that’s not a reason to brush it off. If you didn’t really read it, please go back and do so!

Okay, now let’s break these verses down.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

What this is saying is that love is really important. I can know everything, I can do all sorts of miracles, I can have a ton of faith, and I can give everything I have away-even my life-but without love...

I'm nothing.

What? Nothing? You might think, but surely all of that other stuff is worth something, even without love. How important can love be?
"We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." -1 John 4:16*, (emphasis mine)

God is love. So, love is more than important, it's necessary. 

As human beings, we are made to love. We are made to love God, to have a strong relationship with Him, and to love those around us. Well, you might think, it should be pretty easy to love people, right? If we're made to do it, and it's necessary, then it should be just as easy as doing anything else.

That's not true. If love was what society says it is, then it would be easy. It would involve no risk. It wouldn’t take up all of your time or energy. It would be there when you found it convenient and ignorable when you were busy. It would be just emotions, hugs, and possibly chocolate. As selfish humans, that might seem desirable.  But look at what the rest of the passage says:

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away."

Real love is hard. It's not easy. It's hard. Do you find it hard to be patient and kind?  Is it a struggle not to envy other people’s talents and possessions? Is it hard to avoid boasting and being arrogant? Is it difficult not to act rudely? Do you find it hard to not insist on having your own way or being irritable when something doesn't go like you want it to? Those are just a few of the attributes of love. I don't know about you, but I could spend my whole life working on those eight and still not get it right!

Here's another point: Love never ends. Today's culture makes it seem okay to just "move on" if a relationship doesn't work out. Hey, it's not like there aren't plenty of people to love, right? But here's the truth: love doesn't end. God doesn't have an end, and true love doesn’t either. Love is eternal. It’s not something that you can just “move on” from because true love lasts forever

Does that seem too hard? It’s definitely impossible without God, but I’m certainly glad that God didn’t find it too hard to love us! Romans 5:8 says, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” John 3:16 is even clearer, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” It wasn’t easy for Jesus to love us. It was really hard for Him to love us enough to die for us. This shows that love isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

This Valentine’s Day, whether you’re smiling at your boyfriend or eating a box of chocolates by yourself, take the time to remember what true love really is. Rememberwho love really is: Jesus!

*Note: All scriptures are taken from the New Living Translation unless otherwise specified.

In Christ,

Love Who? By Leah F.

Love Who?

By Leah F.
Ok, so today is Valentine's Day, and we think about handing out cards and getting those little candy hearts that say cheesy little phrases. Now of course, Valentine's Day isn't a total Christian holiday, but a marketing holiday. But that doesn't mean that we can't make it into something that shows a Christian's attitude and spirit. Maybe, you can show your Christian love this weekend.

Leviticus 19 goes on about how you should treat the people you are close to, and at the end it says; "...but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD."  This verse is talking about how you should treat others how you want to be treated. So if you wouldn't want to be called a name, don't call other people names! Show your friends and people around you that you really care for them and love them, show them that they mean something to you. Don't say you are someone's friend, and then spread gossip about them behind their back. You wouldn't wanted tone tested that way

Matthew 5:43-46 says, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?" This verse says something that is hard for us to comprehend. Love our enemies!?!?!? What kind of a statement is that? But, the Bible nor The Lord lies, and here again it gives us a wise statement: love and pray for those who hurt you.
This verse hits me hard. There is a girl at school who doesn't really like me, and she isn't very nice to me. I know she is going through hard times with her family, but it's hard for me to forgive her. But this verse shows me that I should be kind to her even if she isn't kind to me, and pray for her. So I started praying for her, and she is actually started being nicer to me! So I recommend you keeping this verse on your heart, and follow it. Just like the verse says, loving someone who doesn't love you is a great reward.

Deuteronomy 6:5 says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." Now this might be like "well that's obvious!" but sometimes we forget. We forget the true love he needs from us, and that he needs to be the center of our lives. I know I need to work on this, and I think lots of us need to. Our lives can't be about pleasing man, we need to focus everything we do towards God. Love him with your heart, soul, mind and strength. The Bible says this is the greatest commandment! But God knows we can't do it on our own, and that's we he made it. He knows that without him this is impossible, we can't solely lean on man. If we could follow God's commands on our own, we would he give them? We NEED God, and ask God this Valentine's Day to help you love you neighbors, enemies, but most importantly; ask God to help you love him.


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