Saturday, November 28, 2015

How to be an Influential big Sister

How to be an Influential big Sister 

By Maryann Y.
  Hey, we’ve all been there. You have a younger sister or brother who suddenly grows up and won’t listen to your advice anymore. They used to listen to everything you said, repeat everything you said, do everything you said, and then (seemingly overnight) you no longer matter and what their friends or whoever thinks is way more important than you. Sometimes they even pretend you don’t exist, and ignore you. When this happens, how do you be that Big Sister that you hear about or see in movies? She has it all together, she and her siblings are best friends, and they follow her beck and call in a moment. Wait, what? 

   First of all, there are no perfect sibling relationships. You WILL have fights and disagreements. Second, you have the right to choose; will you fight those petty little fights, turn mountains into mole hills, and leave deep roots of bitterness in your heart? Or will you be a peacemaker and forgive and forget, overlooking the shortcomings and all in all making everyone's lives a whole lot easier? 

John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: Just as I love you, so also you must love one another.”    Have you been quarreling or working it out and loving each other? 

My sister and I don’t get along perfectly by a long shot. She is extroverted and tomboyish, loving close cropped hair cuts and sleeping in, while I am definitely introverted, love purple, pink, and frills, have everything neat and tidy, and get up after the crack of dawn to make breakfast or hurry and finish my school work.  
We share a room, and her side is usually the natural disaster, and mine the assorted bins and frilly covers. She is loud and rambunctious and I am quiet. As you can see, pretty much opposites.  

I was to be at a loss when she hit the independence stage(and in some ways still am). At the innocent age of 6 my opinion rating in her eyes went to near zero, and I was suddenly no fun to be around. Now she’s 8, and it’s still the same. BUT there is hope for your relationship! 

 I have found ways to spend time with her doing what she loves to do. I taught myself to do cartwheels (after nearly breaking my neck) for the sole reason of knowing she wanted to learn. I read The Bobbsey Twins books to her and let her stay up a bit late so she can color all over some random piece of paper before we flip the light off. Find something she (or he) loves doing and even if you don’t necessarily enjoy it. Overcome the fear of water slides and chemistry, or the so called ‘boringness’ of hikes and MineCraft to spend quality time with them. Think of funny jokes they would like, or really, do with them anything they like doing, and teach them things through it. 
 And when disaster does strike, and you have that fight, don’t escalate it. See how you have erred and apologize. Tell them you’re sorry and make a comprimise 

I would like to suggest a book to you; it’s called ‘Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends: How to fight the GOOD Fight at Home!’ I love this book! It is so funny and I identify with it so much!  It was written by three young siblings (21, 16, and 12 if I remember correctly) who had this problem.  I would seriously recommend this! Really! 

Final thought: Put what they want first; allow them to tell the big news first, and get that joke in. Let them pick the movie and choose dinner, JUST put them first. It won’t go unnoticed. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Breaking Through Social Media

Breaking Through Social Media

By Kaitlyn F.
As we all know, the media is powerful in the world that we live in. With a click of a button, we can send a message for the whole world to see, whether it be a positive or a negative message. Now if we were able to categorize all the media into two categories, positive and negative, it would most defiantly seem that there would be a ton more negative than positive. On the news majority of the stories are negative, the stories that are found on social media are negative, the conversations on the radio can be negative, etc. It is very easily to get depressed because everything seems to be going wrong in the world because that is all we focus on. But we can change that. 
God called us to be the salt to the Earth and a light in the darkness. (Matthew 5:13-16) One way that we can do that is by infiltrating the media with positive messages, and positive stories. In my eyes the media is one big black whole, and we need to place little glimmers of light in it, to help people see that there is more to life than just all the bad that is happening. This could be as simple as putting an encouraging Bible verse up on social media, or writing encouraging words to a friend who may be going through a hard time. You can start a blog, or create a website that is uplifting just to name a few. There are so many things that we could do, and as being teens, we are the ones who are best equip with the ways to use social media that we can do more than an average adult could, and we can reach more people our age with encouragement. God gave each of us a set of gifts and resources and we can each use our special gifts to reach a multitude of people. 

So I challenge everyone who is reading this to change the things we put on social media to something that will bring light into the darkness, and give hope and encouragement to those on social media.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Letter to a Persecuted Christian

By Rachel J.
I have  realized how privileged I am. The other day as I was looking at blog stats, I realized that I have viewers from a country in which it is illegal to be a Christian. 

This blows my mind, and I am so honored by this. 

The person reading this text could be put in jail for what they believe— perhaps because of my blog. A blog written by a 16 year old who honestly doesn’t know what she’s doing. I am so amazed, honored and scared for your lives. 

As I was realizing this and just praying over this person/people I decided that I wanted to write something to you. Because people who stand for the Gospel--perhaps even to the death—are honestly my heroes. You guys are amazing to me. 

 I was thinking and praying about this. What do you say to someone who could lose their life because of what you believe? 

I guess I would start with thank you. Thank you for bearing witness to the name of Jesus even when it’s hard. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for making that stand. Thank you for being an example of what it means to stand strong. That's amazing. Thank you so much. 

Secondly I want to say something to encourage you. Something that kind of sounds like, “Stand strong because in the long run it’s so worth it.” 

I’ve never been in that situation, and I have no clue what it would be like. To be honest, the very thought of police showing up at the door and to be like, ‘Are you a Christian?’ then to say ‘Yes’ even though you know what it means? 


Keep standing strong you guys. Keep being that light and keep holding onto hope. I can only imagine how hard that would even be, but keep the faith. Paul talks about running the race until the completion, and you can do that-- but only through Christ who will give you both strength and the words to say at the right time.  

Jesus says that in this world there will be trouble, and you guys are at the very soul of that. But he also says to take heart, because he has overcome the world. He is holding you close through it all. 

He will be right there with you through the trials and the pain of the world. Just trust and believe that.  

I’m praying for you and I hope to meet you someday.  

Until then, your sister in Christ, 

~Rachel Joy 

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it loves its own. But I have chosen you out of the world, so you don’t belong to it. That is why the world hates you.” ~John 15:18

Dreaming Intentionally

Dreaming Intentionally 

By Sarah P.
“Reach for the stars.” “Follow your heart.” “Dream big.” All of those phrases express the idea that we’re supposed to “follow our dreams.” What does that mean? The world tells us that it means we can and should pursue whatever we want to do or whoever we want to be. While that may sound magical and exciting, it’s not very practical, is it? What if you want something that isn’t good for you? What if you end up being someone you weren’t meant to be? “Chasing your dreams” could easily be a really bad idea. 
Despite what the world may say, “dreaming big” is not the most important thing in life. We can easily become wrapped up in what we want to do instead of following God’s plan for our lives—a plan that will ultimately leave us more satisfied. God doesn’t want us to stop dreaming! God is a Dreamer Himself; He dreamed up this whole world and everything in it, including you and me! The difference between worldly dreaming and godly dreaming is where you put your focus. Worldly dreaming says, “I want to do what I want to do, what feels best to me, what makes the happiest.” God-focused dreaming says, “What can I do to love God and other people better, serve Him with the talents I’ve been given, and best meet the needs around me?”  
The Bible talks about dreaming in several places. Baruch was a scribe who lived during the time of Jeremiah the prophet. When Jeremiah received a message from the Lord, Baruch would write it down for him on a scroll. During a time of intense persecution where people were trying to kill Jeremiah, Baruch got discouraged. He started complaining about having to be Jeremiah’s scribe and thinking about what he wanted to do to keep himself safe. God sent a message to Baruch to stop him in his tracks: “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it!” (Jeremiah 45:5, NLT) God told Baruch to stop seeking his own selfish dreams and instead focus on God’s dreams for him. God promised to protect Baruch because He loved him and wanted what was best for him. 
I don’t think God would say that daydreaming about being a superstar or an astronaut is wrong. But I do believe that God wants us to let Him use our dreams for His glory instead of our own. Instead of building castles in the air and “seeking great things for ourselves,” we need to seek great things for God’s Kingdom. Following God’s plan is hard, but it’s worth it. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” God will always satisfy our needs better than any dream can. So why don’t you start dreaming intentionally about the plans God has for you? You might be amazed at what He does through you, one dream at a time.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hope vs. Fantasy

Hope vs. Fantasy

Kaitlyn F.

Many of us at some point in our lives have fantasied about what our future will be like. What car we will drive, who we will marry, how many kids we will have. But as we grow older, we convert our fantasies into what is actually real. We then end up gaining a pessimistic view on life, from the struggles and conflicts that fill our lives. 
The thing is that even as grow older, we may lose our fantasies but that doesn't mean we lose our hope. I was talking with a friend who is going through a tough time in life, and I emailed her, and I was so filled with hope for the situation. She responded "I don't live in a fantasy." It breaks my heart that as a whole we see hope as a fantasy, something that is our of reach, something that we can't have. God came to Earth to give us hope in the hopeless situations, and we don't have to earn this hope either. God offers it freely. Its not living in a fantasy if you are hopeful in a situation. There are days where it is that hope I have in the Lord that gets me though the day. I am hours away from home, in a new situation, not sure of my future, not knowing anyone coming in, but I still have hope that God has a plan for me here, and that he is there for me, and so far college has been amazing. Sure there are it's ups and downs, but I have learned so much already, and I hope that as I continue this new journey that I can continue to learn and continue to grow. Having hope is not the same as having a fantasy. 
If you are in a hopeless situation right now, below are some Bible verses for you to meditate on, with a specific goal to give you hope that can help get you through what may be going on in your life. 
 Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." 
 Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" 
 Philippians 4:13 "For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  
 Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”


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