Friday, December 21, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Be Chaste Part 1

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.                                                                                          Titus 2:4-5

                                                                       Photo credit
So far, we have covered soberness, loving husbands and children, and discretion. We are about halfway through! :)

When I began looking up "chaste", I thought, "Oh boy! This ought to be good!" But as I dug deeper into the word meaning and origin, it became a bit more applicable to me. 

We are all aware of the fact that we are supposed to save physical intimacy for marriage; it's something we just know is right. So why would the women need to be "taught" to be chaste, if they were already honoring this in biblical times?

I was a bit confused, but when I looked up the definition, one of them was "The words 'chaste' and 'chastity' stem from the Latin adjective castus meaning 'pure'." (Wikipedia).  As I explored further, I found that it also meant "Pure in thought and act: modest." (Merriam-webster dictionary). Other definitions also alluded to dressing and acting modestly and  in a pure way. We touched on dressing modesty in the post To Be Sober, but not really on modest behavior. 

I will be the first person to raise my hand when asked if my behavior has ever been flirtatious or suggestive at times. I have by no means "arrived" in this area. So let us (together :)) discover what God has to say about the way we should conduct ourselves.

I would like to direct your attention to a woman who is commonly referred to in our house as, "The Proverbs 7 woman". Let us see how her behavior characterizes her as a harlot.

Verse 9: She does her work in the black of night. Or when no one is looking.
Verse 10: She dresses in a way so as to attract young men.
Verse 11: She laughs loudly, thinks she is right all the time, is prideful, and would rather be out partying than being home.
Verse 12: You never know what to expect of her next.
Verse 13: With an innocent face, she lures him into her trap, and catches him.
Verse 14: She is religious, and this would explain why she does this in secret. She goes to church, perhaps helps out in ministry, and her religious friends don't suspect a thing!
Verse 15: She appears"needy ". Men have a natural desire to protect females, and she is appealing to that.
Verse 16-17: I think she is telling him here that she has really made it romantic, and everything is pleasing to the eye, as we know that goods from Egypt was expensive.
 Verse 18: I can just imagine her cuddling up to him and looking up at him with puppy dog eyes as she says, "Let us have fun together!" (Insert seductive smile).
Verse 19-20: My man isn't home, so no one will know!
Verse 21: She strokes his ego, she flatters him in a way that he likes, making him feel like A MAN, and she leads him away like a ox to the slaughter. She has done her dirty work, and only destruction can come of it. 

"But wait! I am not a harlot!" I can just hear you saying. Well, at first glance, we wouldn't place ourselves at such a low standard. 

Here is my version of a Modern Day Christian Harlot.

"Cindy" is a Christian woman whom everybody adores. She is single, popular, young, still living at home, and seems to attract quite a few men. 

Cindy loves parties, and is commonly referred to as "the life of the party". 

One day, one of her good friends has a party. Cindy carefully gets herself ready, fixing her hair in a flattering way, dabs some makeup on, especially on the eyes, puts on nice earrings, not gaudy, but just the right "flare". A nice "modest" shirt with a slight v neck, belt tight around the waist, short skirt with tight leggings underneath, and high heels complete the look, not to mention the bright red nail polish on her long fingernails and toes, as well as a long necklace down the front. With a satisfied look in the mirror, she marches off, ready for action.

Upon arriving, she quickly looks around for any new men she hasn't yet met. As she spots a handsome young man, the following scenario unfolds.

Action 1: Get his attention.
She greets her friends with peals of delight, and laughs loudly. She doesn't want her friends to know that she has eyes for that man, but she wants to know who he is, how old he is, and if he is available. She will drop hints or questions, and they will eventually lead to the answers she is looking for. She tries to stay in the same room, or at least in his view. Continually being loud, or constantly drawing attention pays off, and she sees him glance her way, and she looks into his eyes. It may look innocent enough, so as her friends don't suspect, but she allows just enough of a sparkle in her eyes as to attract him and draw him in. After meeting eyes for a while, and moving in ways to get his attention, she is finally introduced to him.

Have you found yourself in here so far? Next week I will finish this story, and share a bit more.

Emily Long

Friday, December 14, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Be Chaste Part 2

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:4-5

And we continue our story of a Modern Day Christian Harlot. To read part 1 of this post, click here.
Action 2: She flatters him.
 Upon being introduced, she flatters his shirt, and how much she likes it, and how it looks good on him. They chat about life for a little, and she talks about herself and stands in a way so it is slightly seductive.She tells him all about her ministries, and lets him know how godly she is. She rubs her hands on her thighs, runs her hand through her hair, plays with strands of her hair, laughs at all his jokes, and looks at him so as to make him feel like she really admires him. They come up with little jokes, and then later when they are with everybody, he will say something and she will laugh and smack his arm lightly, but doesn't remove her hand immediately. She will lean down to get something, and her shirt may come down, and her skirt comes up in the back. It looks innocent enough to her friends, but she knows it is luring him in. 

Action 3: Makes herself look humble, and sort of pitiful.
She will talk to him, and perhaps say with a sigh, "My family is better at everything than me! They are so much prettier, etc., etc." in which he will reply how pretty she is, and how talented she is, etc. She may have a slight ailment, and will capitalize on it, so as to incite his sympathy, and make him want to help her. He feels like the hero, but she knows he if falling. She continues to flatter him, and give compliments about this or that. 

Action 4: She goes in for the kill. 
Cindy knows she has him. They stay late talking, and when it's time to leave, he helps her to the car and as they are standing in the dark, so close together, she looks up into his face, and with a seductive smile, she slowly puts her arms around his neck and draws him in...

Now, I know most of you haven't gotten to step 4, but in your hearts perhaps, that may be the case. I know I have been guilty of several of these things, including some of her dress and actions. I don't know if you were able to find yourself anywhere in here, and I genuinely hope you didn't. I have met many Cindy's, and they may go to your church, your homeschool group, your musical groups, or you like to hang around them. It is easy to want to be like them, because they are popular.

 I guarantee you that she will not be luring in good guys. "Guys know who the players are." A friend once told me. Are we even slightly imitating her? 

I encourage you to really take a look at your life. Your clothing standards, your jewelry, your shoes, your appearance, your actions, your heart, and your motives. The Bible says that when a man looks on a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery WITH her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28). So many times I hear women say, "Well, he just needs to control his thoughts!". But God says that he committed adultery WITH her, not against her! Something in her behavior and looks trapped him, and they are both guilty. 

If a man is staring at you, don't automatically think, "He likes me! He keeps staring at me!". Is there something in your behavior or apparel that is drawing unwanted attention to you? Perhaps you should have a heart check up. 

Now, I am not suggesting we all dress like rag bags, and wear no make up or jewelry, and become Amish, but I am suggesting that we check our heart attitudes. What is your motive for wearing that? Is it so you can get attention? Then perhaps it would be wise not to wear it. 

It is the heart attitude that is important. "...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth;  for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b) Our hearts should desire God's opinion, not our friends or family. But you don't just wake up one day and your heart is desiring God. It comes by reading and obeying the Word of God, and praying that the Lord would make your heart bend to His will. 

Please take a humble look at your life, and see "if there be some wicked way" in you (Psalm 139:24). We don't want to be stealing from other women's husbands. And that is exactly what we are doing when we act or dress like Cindy. 

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8.

Blessings until next time,
Emily Long

Friday, November 16, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Be Discreet

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:4-5 

Discretion can be a hard thing, especially for women, as we love to talk! The Bible says "In a multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." (Proverbs 10:19) That's how gossip starts. And slander. And friendships get cut off, and people get hurt. Not a fun cycle, but because women of this day and age have no discretion, that is exactly what happens.

Can we as Christian women set an example to the world, or have we also been sucked into this?  Let us take a closer look at discretion, shall we?

 The Dictionary describes it as "Careful and circumspect in one's speech or actions, esp. to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage; curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate." Some synonyms are, maturity, prudence, carefulness, thoughtfulness, and wisdom. Okay, so we get a general idea of what it is. Now what does the Bible have to say about it?
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. – Proverbs 2:11
As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. Proverbs 11:22 
 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. Proverbs 14:15
 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. Proverbs 16:20
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. Proverbs 18:13 
 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Proverbs 19:11
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2 
These are just a few verses that talk about discretion, or some form of it. So we know what it is, and what God has to say about it, so what does it look like in our lives?

Have you ever heard the saying, "Input, output."? What you put into something is what you will ultimately will get out of it. If you put a pizza in the oven, you will pull a pizza out. Same concept with your mind and heart. If you are constantly talking or thinking about what so and so said about so and so, guess what you are going to be talking about?

If you have ever noticed the headlines on the magazine racks at the grocery store, you already know that the world is all about getting the inside scoop or digging up dirt on people because that is what we are naturally drawn to. We enjoy talking about people, and getting in all those little details that are "important", because God has made us naturally curious, but with that curiosity, there must be wisdom to know what not to explore, or what not to look at.

Ever catch yourself telling a story that may be true, but you feel this check in your spirit about sharing it? That  is your conscience telling you that what you are about to share isn't the best thing to say, or isn't the most encouraging thing you could say to this person, or will probably cause an offense with the person you are talking about. It is always best to listen to that little voice and not share it. Even if you are in the middle of the story, you could simply stop and apologize for sharing that and explain that you don't think you need to share this story. Not only will you feel better, but the person you are talking to will respect you, and will know they can trust you.

Think about this for a minute; if the person you are talking to is gossiping about someone, what makes you think that they won't turn around to someone else and talk about YOU? You have to guard who you talk to, and what you talk about.

Now, what I am about to say next may be hard, but it is necessary. Daughters, do not, I repeat, DO NOT speak evil or wrongly about your Dad, Mom, or your siblings. This may seem like it is obvious, but we tend to do this, and it could really ruin the very relationships that you are trying to build! Also, wives, Don't talk bad about your husbands or share your marital problems to everybody. Share your heart with only a trustworthy friend or two who will point you back to Christ, but no gossiping. This could really tear your marriage down.

Discretion is a huge issue in our society, and we as Christian women really need to be setting an example in our church, community, and world. You never know who is listening!

Emily Long

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Love Their Children

Hi everybody, I am sorry it has taken me so long to get the next post up. I like to meditate on what I am going to say, and this one really got me thinking. Also, my life is busy!

           That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:4-5

How do I love my children? I don't have any to love! Or do I...

I am surrounded by children! They are not mine, but I can still set an example for them, and practice being a role model for my own children someday. I would like to have many!

There are different aspects of loving your children. One is preparing your body to bear children. Getting on a healthy steady diet, keeping your body in shape, and helping your body be fit and ready. I need to work hard on this myself.

Another way we can prepare is mentally. Think ahead on everything. Someday, your children will hear stories of when you were growing up. How you met Daddy, things you said, things you did, and do you really want the things you are saying and doing now to get passed on to future generations? I have just recently realized this, and it made me take a second look at my life.

And lastly, to prepare by watching, listening, and talking to godly older women who have children and see what methods they used, what worked, what didn't, and ask for any tips they have to share. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare. It is interesting seeing how things affected their children when the parents did this or that. Be open and humble, and soak it up.

These are just a few of the ways as single ladies, we can prepare to one day love our children

Until next time,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Titus 2 Series:To Love Their Husbands

When I told my Mom what my next blog post would be on, I casually said, "That will be easy to do!" I meant that I already knew what I would say. But she teased me and told me she would remind me of that comment the day I call her and tell her I am having some struggles in my marriage! We laughed really hard.

But seriously, why would a young unmarried woman be talking about loving husbands? And how does this pertain to young women-in-training?

Let's take a peek at Proverbs 31:12. "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." Did you catch that? She is honoring him all of her life! But how does she accomplish this?

If you look at the list of things this virtuous women does, you have to stop and wonder, how did she get to be doing all these things? Feeding the poor, making clothes for her children and husband, having a business head on her shoulders, and making meals for her household. I can assure you, she didn't start honing her skills when she was married. No, she started when she was young, before it was anywhere near the time she could be thinking about having a husband.

She also guarded her heart. She was pure, loving her husband enough to save her whole heart for him. I think this is the hardest thing for me to do. In this culture where you are considered weird if you aren't hanging on a guys' arm, or talking about the cute boy you just met in the store who was staring at you. Someone once told me, "You are so limited on your choice of men. My daughter can marry anyone, but you can only choose Christian men." To which I replied, "You have no idea how limited I am! I have only 1 man!". They didn't know how to answer that.

But, if you are like me, you need suggestions on how to live out the sermon! :) Well, I think the number 1 thing that has helped me tremendously throughout the years is to memorize scripture and meditate on it instead of thinking of boys and guys all the time. I know how we girls think. And it can be so hard to control our thoughts some times. One minute you are thinking about something, and suddenly a young man's name pops in your mind, and before you know it, you are dreaming about him! It is very frustrating! But it isn't our battle. It is Christ's. If you are filling your mind with truth, there will be no room for anything else.

Second, I have made a commitment not to read anything romantic. It only encourages those wrong emotions and thoughts. Not to say you can't read any fiction book, but make sure it is clean and wholesome. If it doesn't match up with Philippians 4:8, then you shouldn't read it. I know, that knocks practically every book out, but if we must think on truth, so we will be living truth.

Lastly, I would encourage you to start learning skills that will be beneficial for you later life. Don't sit around drumming your fingers on the window sill dreaming about Prince Charming, but rather fill your time wisely. Perhaps you could make encouraging cards and pass them out in nursing homes. Or, if you like to sew or crochet, consider making baby blankets or hats for expecting mothers you may know. Babysit for a family so the parents can go out on a date night (age allowing).

I have learned to pray this prayer. Some call it the prayer of Jabez. Every time I pray it, the Lord adds to my life. Actually, He adds to my ministry. He opens my eyes to the needs around me. This prayer is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10. "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep [me] from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." It isn't a secret remedy for a life of boredom, but if God answered for Jabez, He will do the same for you!

A good book I recommend is "Before You Meet Prince Charming" by Sarah Mally. It is one of the best books I have found on the subject, and is great for any age.

I hope I have encouraged you to love your husband all the days of your life!

Emily Long 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Titus 2 Series; To Be Sober

This past week, I have been doing an in-depth study on Titus 2:4-5. It has been incredible, rewarding, and eye opening. I plan to share some lessons I learned in a series of articles focusing on each quality God commands older women to teach the younger women, and hopefully encourage young ladies to follow these guidelines that God has set for us.

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."     
Titus 2:4-5

The first quality we will examine is soberness. When I think of being sober, I picture a person that is not drunk. Or perhaps my second choice of thought would be to think that we are to be docile, quiet, and not allowed to speak. Would you be surprised if I told you the word actually means the total opposite?

The dictionary definition is, "Possessing or characterized by properly controlled faculties." Faculties is also another word for power. We are to use self control to bring our power under control. 

"What power?" you may ask. May I speak frankly to all the young ladies out there?

We have power over men that we may not realize we have. We have the power to tear down a man, or build him up. We have the power to encourage a man in the Lord, or we can cause him to stumble. Very simply put, we have a choice, and what we chose to do with our words and actions can impact a man greatly.

Some women have realized the power they have, and they abuse it. They tear down men's masculinity, and defeminize him until he know feels like a man. I have been guilty of this very thing, to my shame. Being sarcastic, meaning to be funny, but all it accomplished was to make the man look stupid. That is the worst thing we could ever do to any man, whether he is our father, brother, or a brother in Christ. To make the opposite sex look like a fool is indeed a horrible habit that our society has fallen into. It is easier to think of something funny to say at someone else's expense, than it is to think of something humorous that is in concordance with Philippians 4:8:  "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." We want to be popular! We want people to like us, to think we are witty, and funny, and be the life of our party. But at someone else's expense? That is pretty cheap humor. Nobody likes to be the butt of jokes. It is better not to say anything than to hurt someone, or to make a fool of someone.You don't appreciate it, and nobody else does either.

We also have the power to cause a man to stumble by dressing and acting a certain way and causing him to lust. Please do not get lusting and thinking someone is beautiful mixed up. They are two completely different things. Appreciating someone's beauty or thinking a man handsome is not wrong in itself. I myself know quite a few beautiful women and handsome men. But lusting is on the opposite side of the spectrum. The dictionary definition defines lust as a strong desire or craving to have something you know you cannot or should not have. Do we really want guys to lust after us?

If we look closely at the wording in Matthew 5:28. "But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." He isn't lusting against her, but with her. That can only mean one thing; she is doing something to cause him to lust!

From what I have observed, I think the main reason that men lust after women is because of our modesty issue. As this world continues it's downward trek, so do the necklines of many females, while their skirts or pants go farther up than is respectable.

The Harris twins at The Rebelution did a modesty survey, and the answers the guys gave from all around the world, all different age groups, were very helpful. You can view it here.

Let's face it; We (referring to young ladies) don't have a clue. We have no idea what is going through the mind of a man when they look at us. We haven't the slightest clue what battle may be raging in his thought life. That is why we must be very careful what we say, how we dress, and how we conduct ourselves.

So, after having said all that, did I happen to change your view of being sober?  It goes beyond being docile and not being drunk. No, far from it. We have power, young ladies. Let us use it in a properly controlled way.

Blessings until next time,


Monday, September 3, 2012

Stinkin' Thinkin'

"My sisters will be married before me because they are so much prettier!"
"Oh, you are just as beautiful as they are. I think you will get married before them!"

"I am so fat."
"You are not fat! How could you think that?"

"I am such a klutz! I can't do anything right!"
"Yes you can! You do things way better than I ever could!"

Have you ever said anything like this and gotten a similar response to it? I have. Many times.

Why do we say things like this? Is it because we actually think we are ugly, or fat, or stupid, or a klutz? Or do we have another motive?

Photo Credit

Allow me to share with you what I have learned from saying things like this for years.

  • A false sense of humility

 I thought I was being humble. Well, to put it more accurately, I wanted to believe I was being humble. But in actuality, it is pride. Have you ever had a conversation with someone, where it is centered around them? Didn't talking to them get old after a while? That is what we are doing when we say these things. You are looking for compliments, so you can feel good about yourself, but in all truth, you are focusing on yourself. 
  • Goin' fishin'
Like I mentioned in #1, I think another reason is that we are fishing for praise, so we can feel better about ourselves. Everybody likes praise, but when it doesn't come all the time, we sometimes feel like we need to "help" people see our good qualities. "I can't do anything right" could be translated, "Notice everything I have done right!" Again, it boils down to pride.
  • Insecurity 
We need to know people like us, think we are pretty, or, plainly put, worship us. But I find when friends answer me like I expect them to, I become even more insecure. It never works.
  • Rejecting God
You are rejecting the way God made you. God made you for a special purpose, and He made you just the way you are. So by criticising yourself, you are blaming God. Now, don't get me wrong, this is not an excuse to not lose weight, or make yourself look nice. God wants us to take care of ourselves, and neglecting ourselves is irresponsibility.

Though these are only four reasons, they are, in my opinion, the four main reasons why I personally put myself down all the time.

Finally, I came to realize why it was so wrong. Yes, pride is a horrible sin that God abhors, and we should find our security in Christ, but that was not the reason, I believe, that made it so inerrant.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God, in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

Also, God said we are made in His image. You know what that means? Every time someone rejects themselves, they are rejecting God. They are also condemning God's temple. The place wherein God dwells. We are not our own to reject or glorify. We are God's. Everything about us is centered on God. You have no right to criticize or reject God's body.

Perhaps you don't say things like this. But maybe when you started reading this, a name or two came to mind. Here is some advice to say when someone says this to you.

1. Tell them the truth. Let them know they are not criticizing themselves, but rather God. Don't allow them to say things like that about themselves.

2. If they are not Christians, don't say anything. If you don't respond to it, they will realize that their "game" doesn't work, and they will stop saying it around you.

3. DON'T TELL THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR! That is the most important thing. You may think you are helping them, but you are actually making them feel even more insecure. If you can't tell them the truth, don't say anything. But for pity sake, don't tell them they aren't fat, or they are beautiful, or they are really good at things. Correct them and guide them into a better way of thinking. Because, where this ultimately leads is that they say these lies long enough, they will start to believe them. And then it turns into self pity. They will think that people are justifying the way they feel, which feeds the pattern, and they get so caught up in it, that that is all they can think about. Then it controls more and more areas of their life, until nothing but the mighty grace of God can save them. Believe me, I was there. And since then, I have been able to see it in other people's lives, and pin point exactly where their thinking is in error.

I thank God for allowing me to go through this, and it breaks my heart to see others head into this terrible pit. Please search your own heart to see whether this is true in your life, and and change your stinkin' thinkin' before it becomes a way of life.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Myrrh: Born From Tears

When you think of myrrh, what comes to your mind? The gift of the magi perhaps. Maybe the burial of the dead. But I always think of how it is harvested.

To get the myrrh, they must cut a deep gash all the way to the heart of the plant. This produces "tears". The tears are what we know as myrrh. It has many healing properties, and it aids in the burial of the dead. It is a very expensive oil, and because of that, it is highly valued.

Let's face it friends; life is hard. Sometimes, people say and do things that cut us to the heart. Things don't go as we planned, a loved one dies, someone messes up along the line and ruins everything, someone is trying to help, but just makes it all worse, or a promise was not kept. Yes, the tears will come. We will have moments where we can't hold on anymore, and the tears flow. But if we are wise, we will not blame God, but rather thank Him for what He has planned. For from those tears, we can become stronger, valuable, more usable people. Even though it may not seem like it, He has a plan, and a purpose for every cut.

There is a song by Laura Story called "Blessings". The chorus says: "What if Your blessings come through raindrops, what if Your healing comes through tears, and what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know your here. And what if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?"
Whatever you are going through, or is happening in your life, remember: God has a purpose for every tear!

This is one of my favorite quotes:
If He leads you to it, His grace will see you through it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Storm Warning

Last week, the county in which we live was hit with a really bad storm. Trees were down everywhere, power outages in a few areas, and power lines laying in the road. It was a bad one.

As the storm silently approached, my mom, younger siblings, and I were at the county fair with friends, enjoying ice cream and great fellowship. My older sister was with a friend, my next younger sister was at home, and Dad was at work. We were all spread out, which is unusual for our family. 

While talking, I casually told mom know I was going to get a drink. When I returned a few minutes later, I discovered my family was gone. I walked around the building, and, upon seeing no sign of them, searched the surrounding area several times. Still, no family. Thinking they may have walked passed by me and started toward the van as the storm was brewing, I headed in that direction. I walked around the circular walk that spans the fair, then I had the idea that maybe they had gone to the bathroom. Finding no trace of them there, I just waited, having no further ideas.

I happened to be standing near a radio station booth that was blaring music. Suddenly, the music was interrupted by a loud beeping sound. The announcement warned of a severe thunder storm with 60 mph winds that would be sweeping through our area within 10 minutes. People were admonished to seek shelter as quickly as possible. With this new information, I began to grow a little panicky. I am not afraid of storms, because I know God controls the weather. But I was worried my family wouldn't know. If I didn't tell them, who would? And who wants to go through a bad storm with no familiar people around you?

With a sense of urgency, I resumed my search, going around the path two more times. I saw people who seemed to know of the impending storm, as they were packing up and tying down tents.

Others who didn't know seemed to continue enjoying the afternoon, ignoring the approaching black clouds in the west. I overheard someone mention to another person that we might be getting some rain, so I briefly stopped long enough to say something about the upcoming storm, but quickly hurried off, not really caring if they knew the warning to get to safety or not. Finding my family seemed more important to me. I passed a few people who were reading newspapers, books, and looking at their phones very casually. I almost told a few people, but I figured when the time came someone would perhaps tell them. I was too busy. 

I had been praying the whole time that God would please help me find my family, and finally He told me to go to the van. On the way, I found our friend, who confirmed that mom and the children had dashed off to the van. I was reunited with my family as the wind started to pick up and blow dust and trash everywhere. As we got into the van (Mom needed to put the van windows up), I told her we needed to get to a building, because this was going to be a bad storm. So we all dashed back to the fair and into the nearest building. There were people there who had dashed in, and everyone was grateful to be dry and safe. The storm lasted a while, but my siblings and I played games as I tried to occupy them so as to distract them from the weather.

As we were driving home, there were trees down everywhere, branches littering people's yards and the road. We had to take another way home because a tree had fallen onto a power line. We found a few more trees and branches on the road the way we ended up going home, and accidentally ran over a power line. (We are  okay though. It was not a shocking experience thankfully!:)) 

As I arrived home, and the initial excitement of sharing stories with my other two sisters and my dad about how we "survived" the storm, I went upstairs and sat thinking on my bed. It seem the Lord was revealing a hidden meaning in the experience.

You see, I was like your typical Christian. I had been warned of the impending danger of Hell, and I heeded it. I ran to Jesus Christ for my salvation, and I knew I was going to Heaven, therefore I was in no danger. But what of my family? Who would warn them? I was so busy with life, that I didn't have time to tell anyone. I thought about it, they would probably just laugh. Why should I? I was busy, and besides, someone would tell them, wouldn't they? 
After escaping Hell, and going to Heaven with my family, I wonder what Jesus would say to me. I am sure it would not be, "Well done my good and faithful servant." 

God has commanded us to tell the world. But I think Christians, especially Americans, have become so complacent in our lives, that we just don't have time any more for God's work. I mean, isn't that for pastors and preachers, missionaries and nuns, and great evangelists, like Billy Graham, and Brother Andrew?

Think again, my friends. I will be the first to say that this realization hit me right between the eyes. I have been  hit with this epidemic that we Christians have been sucked into. As each generation comes and goes, the epidemic is growing worse. We need a revival. We need to a great awakening. People are dying every second. Who will tell them? Who will give them the warning?

Consider yourself warned. Go tell others, before they get caught in the fury of Hell, and God's holds you accountable for their blood on your hands.

Photo credit

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, now speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.                                                                                                                             Ezekiel 3:18

Monday, July 23, 2012

Out of the Mouth of Babes...

            Today I took a walk with my 2 year old brother. We were walking in the woods, looking at trees, picking blackberries, and having a wonderful time together. As we were heading home, there ensued a series of lessons that Jesus revealed to me in my own life, from things Michael said and did.
             Michael asked which path we would take. I answered casually, "Just follow me". It suddenly struck me that this is what Jesus says to us, His children. Sometimes in our life, we think we are lost. There seems to be too many different roads and paths to take, and we ask God, "Which way am I supposed to go?" But He just says, "Be still my child, and just follow me".
            We continued on, and presently, we came upon our creek. I was thinking on this new revelation, but I was still carefully watching Michael, who happily throwing rocks over a little waterfall that is 3-4 feet deep. He decided to put a big stick in there as well, and started on this course of action. He was so engrossed in his play, that he failed to realize how close he was coming to the edge. But being his big sister, I was watching the whole time. I was there. I warned him to get away from it, and he heeded my warning. He looked down and saw what was happening, and immediately corrected it.
            There are times in our lives when we are so occupied with sin that we don't see how close we are to getting into really big trouble. But our Father sees us the whole time, and warns us. Sometimes we take notice, and mend our ways. But sometimes, we willfully ignore the warning, and get ourselves in a world of hurt. But even if my brother had not listened to me, and continued on his dangerous course, and had ultimately fallen in, I would have been there to pick him up, comfort him, and make sure he wasn't too badly hurt. In the same way, even if we don't listen to God's cautions, and fall into traps that the enemy has set for us, God is still there to pick us up, comfort us, and heal our broken hearts. But we must be willing to accept His help.
            A few minutes after this incident, I decided it was time to move on. I called to Michael to follow me, but he was so absorbed in his play, he ignored me. He wasn’t  doing anything bad, he just didn't want to be interrupted. I called several times, and he finally came.
            It reminded me of how many times Jesus has called me during my life to do a job for Him (e.g. witness to someone, befriend someone, etc), and I did not heed His command. It would interrupt my "play", it was inconvenient at the time, it would make me uncomfortable, or it was just awkward.  These were the excuses I used. But my Father calls me to instantly obey Him, and there are consequences each time I fail. Many times, I have a guilty conscience. I hate having a guilty conscience. I lived with one for so long, I refuse to do it again. That is punishment enough for me. Just yesterday, a friend asked me to make friends with this young girl who really doesn't have any, and I didn't. I hardly said a word to her, because it was "inconvenient" for me. I have an uncomfortable state of mind today, knowing I failed my friend and God.
            So, back to the woods. Michael and I continued on our merry way, talking about everything (if you have ever had a conversation with an almost three-year-old, you know what the nature of the "conversation" was! {e.g. "We are in 'de woods!" "Yes we are." "I eaten backberrwies!" "Yeah, they are good, aren't they?" etc.}).  All of a sudden, he says, "I am tired". So I offered to carry him, and he gratefully accepted my proposal.
            Our Father is always there when we grow weary of life; tired of people, tired of circumstances, tired of everything. We just need to be carried. We need a rest. Jesus asks us to have a time of rest with Him each day; to pray, to read His word, to be cleansed, to be washed. We need that time with Him, so that we are refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Before I realized this important reason for devotions, I was always dragging my feet, reading every other book but the Bible, and found every reason not to. But when I became aware of the fact that I needed that time with God, or else I was prone to have an angry spirit that day, or was depressed, I quickly changed my view of my time with God. Are you being refreshed every day?
            We finally made it home, stuffed with blackberries, and continued life. But I was thinking; how many of us are so trusting of our Heavenly Father that we are willing for Him to lead us? There were a few times on the path in the woods when Michael thought he was leading me, but I, unbeknownst to him, was still directing his path. There was nothing Michael could do that I wouldn't know about. There was no where he could go without my knowledge of it. There is no where we can go that God doesn't know. The Bible says in Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."
            In Luke 18:17, God states why, in my opinion, we should try to see the world from a child's perspective by saying, "Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." It is important to have childlike faith, believe God at His word, and simply trust that He will do what He promises.
            The funny thing is, I am in charge of pre-schooling Michael, along with 2 other children in our neighborhood. But I believe, that if I watch and listen to Michael, he will be the one teaching me. I am blessed!
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength…" Psalm 8:2

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


What is my life? Who am I? Why am I here? 

Some people call these fundamental questions of life. But they are not, really. While it is important to know why we are here; who we are as a person, a daughter, a wife, sibling, parent, etc., we need to rephrase the question. 

There was a tiny flower I happened to observe while in the woods. From a distance, there are hundreds of these tiny white flowers. They are in a place where no one will likely see them. But when we pick one, and hold it close, we notice a few things we couldn't see from afar. The bloom, which looked white from a distance is actually striped pink. It is obvious that it is giving all its strength just to bloom. But why? 


I mentioned that it was in a most secluded place. So why is it giving away all of its time, talents and beauty for nothing? Because it is here to praise the Lord! It never asked God why it was here. Why no one was noticing it. Why it was here when there are hundreds more to praise Him, serve Him, and to bring Him glory. Soon it will wither away and die and no one will remember it, but yet it was not here to bring glory to itself; but to the One Who made it.

As a bud, it never asked, "What will I do? What will I become? What is the will of God for my life?" No, it did not ask these questions, it just grew in beauty, strength, and lived its life to the fullest. Do you know which direction it grew? Up! Straight toward heaven. 

But now, because I picked it, its life is over. Its mission and calling was to show me a lesson. But that little flower had a lot of growing and maturing to do before it could accomplish its big assignment.
We too have a great assignment to fulfill; a destiny if you will. But to fulfill it, we must first grow and mature. We may have several things He wants us to accomplish, but we have our own growing to do. 

So why are we here? To grow up, live for self, get what we want, do what we want get glory, make money, then die? 

No. We are here to give glory, not for ourselves, but for the One Who made us and gives us our every breath. That in itself is an amazing existence, my friend. 

Who will you give glory to and live for today? 

Who are you, but one tiny beautiful flower, serving Christ with all your strength.