Friday, May 30, 2014

Beauty From God - By Sarah P.

Beauty From God 

By Sarah P.

My face is red.
As I'm writing this, I have a burn. My family and I went to the beach this morning, and then I used some cleansers on my face: on top of a sunburn. The result was this giant, red, welt-looking burn across my face. I don't know if you've ever had one of these, but they are really unattractive. If someone was to tell me, "Sarah, you look beautiful today!" I wouldn't take them seriously. I feel red, tired, and ugly. I feel like my burn is ruining my face. I feel like I can't even go out in public! Don't we all have times like that? Your hair is having a bad day, you can't find your favorite shirt... the list goes on and on. These times are definitely stressing. They can seem overwhelming. Yet today I came across this Bible verse:

"For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well." -Psalm 139:13-14, HCSB

The Bible says over and over again that God's creation is beautiful. That fact doesn't change on days when we don't feel pretty. The Bible doesn't tell us, "You'll be beautiful if you lose about ten pounds, wear this brand of makeup, and dye your hair a different color." Actually, the Bible tells us,

"...God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27, NLT)

The truth is that God has made each and every one of us, and we are beautiful. We were made in His image. Don't compare yourself to anyone's standards except God's. You don't have to be skinnier or taller or have bigger eyes and a clearer complexion to be beautiful. You are already beautiful; you are God's own masterpiece.

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus..." (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

Now, as I write this conclusion two days later, I can tell you that I’m okay. My burn is history. I'm not even red anymore! You know what? On the first day I wrote, I did
venture outside of my room. I went to Wal-Mart with my family and then out for ice cream. No one stared at me. No one laughed or pointed at my face. I was tomato red and yet still managed to have pleasant interactions with several people. Why was that possible? Could those people somehow see beyond my red face when I thought it was the end of the world? I think the answer is yes. Do you wonder why it works like that? Here’s the truth: beauty is more than the outside. Although we are beautiful on the outside, as Christian young women we are beautiful on the inside. The Spirit of God is living in us, and He gives us inner beauty. Jesus should shine through us constantly.

"You are the light of the world- like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden." (Matthew 5:14, NLT)

The next time you have a bad day; remember that this light is shining through you. Jesus is in your heart! What could be more beautiful than that?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Church (part 2)

Church (Part 2)

By: Leah F.
Flashback to Last Devotion:
I was looking at my emails/subscriptions and this website showed up in my inbox:

In it, there was an acrostic poem that looked like this:
C-Christ followers
H-hanging out together
U-under the influence of the Spirit
R-responding directly to His                        
C-celebrating the glory of
H-his only presence!

For a couple months, I'm going to grow through 1-2 letters at a time, going into each of these descriptions into detail.
Today we go on with:
H-Hanging out together
I-under the influence of the Spirit
Now, I know the maker of this poem needed a word starting with "h" but I don't like the term "hanging." I prefer the word "praising." We're praising together under the influence of the Spirit.
Praising includes things like praying, singing, reading the Bible, telling others about Jesus, etc. the Bible gives the impression that anything directed to God is praising him. That means there is an unlimited about of ways to praise our Heavenly Father. It's not just singing and praying, but so much more! Think, if you just promised God to that you will study for a test and you do; that's praising him! If you practice piano, and then thank God for your talent he gave you; you're praising him! And, since there is an unlimited amount of ways, the list goes on and on!

Since the day of Pentecost, the Spirit lives in the heart of each true Christian. It's what people would call your "conscience." Roman's 8:26 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans" This verse shines a new light on the importance of the Holy Sprit. Sometimes the Spirit is undermined, being looked at as the least important part of the trinity. But God is all the same, and the Sprit plays an equal role in our lives. This verse says that the Spirit helps us pray, helps us in our weakness, and intercedes for us. God doesn't see our sins, but he sees the perfection in Jesus and the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." This verse comes after the list of the fruits of the Spirit, which are; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Spirit influences these attitudes, and God is praised when you use them. Then going back to the verse, since we live with the Spirit, we should do as the Spirit does; "keeping in step."

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day - By Emily M.

Mother's Day

By Emily M.

I read something very interesting this morning it was a song... a kids’ song. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.” Yesterday I went out to take pictures of a family that needs help. The kids, a girl and two boys, are 4.5 years, 6 years, and 7 years. They live with their grandmother, haven’t been to school, and get a meal once in a day. Yet in spite of it all, the grandmother cares enough to give her whole self to see that they live. 

​Then it got me thinking about my own mother. What is it about my mother that makes her so special? She showed us in action that a wise woman builds her house. My dad left when I was 4. I am the 5th born and my mother has 7 of us. It could not have been easy raising us all on her own but God gave her the strength and the ability to see all of us through school, and taught us never to despise our father. So this Mother’s day I will be dedicating this beautiful proverb to her and all other women out there who have fought the battle and will someday fight the battle.

A beautiful woman (Proverbs 31)
13.She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
29 "Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all."

If you would like to donate to help the three children mentioned above, we are currently doing a fundraiser for them:

Mother's Day - By McKayla R.

Mother's Day 

By McKayla R. 

There are so many amazing stories featured in the Bible about mothers: Sarah (Issac’s mother), Bathsheba (Solomon), Jochebed (Moses’ birth mom), Mary the mother of Jesus - the list could go on, and on, and on. There is one thing that all these mothers have in common, though; they all trusted God.

            My favorite mother from the Bible is Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Her story is found in 1 Samuel 1: 1-25 which is summarized here:

        There was a man named Elkanah who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had roughly 10 children while Hannah was considered barren, or not able to conceive. Every year, Elkanah would take his wives and kids down to Shiloh where they would worship and sacrifice to God. For food, he would give Peninnah and her children each one piece of meat, but because he favored Hannah more he’d give her double the portion.
          Now Peninnah did not like this. She got so jealous, that every year when Elkanah would do this, she would antagonize Hannah and make her feel guilty about not having children. As a result, Hannah would become depressed and refuse to eat.
One year, after Peninnah got tired of making fun of Hannah, Hannah went into the sanctuary to cry. Eli, the priest there, heard her yell “God, if You give me a son, I’ll give him completely back to You!” She then continued to pray and cry silently. Eli, assuming she was drunk, hollered to her “Sober up, woman!”
           Hannah, starled, explained to Eli her situation. She told him all about being barren, about  Peninnah, and her wish to have a child. Eli then said to her “Go in peace. And may the god of Israel give you what you have asked.”
After they got home from Shiloh, Hannah and Elkanah slept together and God made her pregnant to a son that would be named Samuel.
Once Samuel was about three years old (my Bible says “weaned”), Hannah went with Elkanah, Peninnah, and all of the children back to Shiloh for their yearly trip. Sacrificing a bull, Hannah brought Samuel to Eli to be dedicated to God for the rest of his life. Samuel grew up, literally, in the church; learning under Eli and his two sons.”

I admire Hannah because of her story. She had so much patience and trust in God, that it’s unimaginable. She could have raised Samuel to follow God from her own home, but instead she gave him to the church and only saw him once a year. Samuel then later went on to become a priest and a prophet.

I would encourage every young woman who reads this to appreciate your mothers. I know how “dumb” parents can be, especially once you get to be a teenager; however they know what they are doing. Every time I have messed up in my life, it has been because I didn't listen to my mom. I pray that everyone has an amazing Mother’s Day and that you all show your mom how grateful you are for her!


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