Beauty, Culture, Your True Identity

Finding Your True Identity in Christ

inchrist

Identity. What is it? Where does it come from? Where can we find it?

For most, it’s beauty. Its the loads of makeup. The designer outfits. The expensive shoes. The dyed hair. The height.

For others, it’s social status. It’s the number of likes on a post. The envious glances of others. The number of followers on Instagram.

Or maybe it’s education. It’s the highest grades. The best scores. The straight A’s.

Its the economic status. The amount of money. The size of house. The brand of car.

And for others, it’s health. The working out. The diets. The perfect body.

And the horrible truth is, that’s what people find their identity in. To our culture, that’s what is supposed to satisfy. It’s all outward. People may look perfect on the outside. It may seem they have it all together.

But that’s not true. Inside, people are a mess. Their relationships are disasters. They don’t have strong bonds with family. Their lives may look put together, but in reality, they’re in shambles. Why? Why is this happening?

Because people are looking for identify – for beauty and satisfaction – in the things of this world. In fashion. In fitness. In academics. In wealth. In status. And if one thing doesn’t satisfy them, they move on to the next. It’s an endless cycle of unhappiness and fake living.

That’s not how we’re called to live. That’s not what we’re made for. All those things I mentioned are nothing compared to knowing Jesus Christ and living your life for His glory.

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:8-10

Knowing Christ is so much more worth it than getting a hundred likes on a picture. It’s so much more lasting that having loads of money. It’s so much more rewarding than getting highest honors.

Finding your true identity in Christ is so important. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use makeup or do your hair. Or that you can’t get good grades. Or that you can’t try and live a healthy lifestyle.

Remember Who you’re looking good for, Who you’re ultimately trying to do well in school for, Who you’re living a healthy lifestyle for. It’s for the One who created you. You’re beautiful, smart, and absolutely perfect in his eyes. 1 Corinthians 6 exhorts us to glorify God with our bodies. Ultimately, we’re to live for His approval, not the approval of others.

It doesn’t matter what others think of you, because He thinks you are perfect. There’s no guidebook to success. There’s only God’s word, which is THE best instruction manual on living a life of true beauty. Read it. See what He has to say about beauty. The next time you look in a mirror, think about these amazing truths from God’s word.

  • You are created in His image (Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 2:10).
  • You don’t have to look like that girl on the magazine cover. (1 Peter 3:3-4).
  • Your ultimate purpose is to please your King, not others (1 Samuel 16:7).
  • Your heart is more important than your style (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
  • Your inward appearance is far more important than your outward (1 Timothy 4:8).
  • Your identity is found in Christ, not in the acceptance of others.
  • Your life is on display in front of the whole world – are you fearing the Lord God and living for Him with all that’s in you (Proverbs 1:7, 31:30)?

It’s your choice. Will you live like the world, or will you be transformed by the word of God and live up to His standards, not theirs?

Rebecca

Advertisements
Courage, Faith, Sin, Thankfulness

3 Epic Ways to Make the Devil Scream “OH NO” Today {Guest Post by Madi Grace}

madigracepost

I live life every day wanting to be the type of young lady who, when my feet hit the floor in the morning, makes the devil scream “OH NO, SHE’S UP!”

And it’s not a hard thing to do. Today I have three simple, actionable ways guaranteed to bring you joy and bring the devil turmoil.

Also, at the end of this post, I have my absolute favorite way to kick the devil’s butt in a free, downloadable PDF you’re welcome to grab. That way alone has changed my life and took me from a radical pessimist to a radical optimist.

1. PRAISE GOD INSTEAD OF YOUR PROBLEMS

We all have problems. There’s no denying them or ignoring them.

Sometimes—most of the time, really—I’m tempted to vent about them. I just want to complain and be mad and it can take up my entire day if I let it.

But when we switch the focus, something happens. Fixing our eyes on Jesus instead of on our circumstances not only gives us joy, but it makes the devil infuriated. If he can get you focused on everything going wrong, he’ll get you depressed and living swayed by emotion.

Instead, start praising the God Who makes a way out of all that and turns everything around for His good!

When you release praise into the atmosphere, you release stuff the devil and all of hell can’t stand.

2. TALK ABOUT HIS DEFEAT AND JESUS’ WIN

I hold the keys of death and the grave.

(Revelation 1:18)

He made a public example of [the devil], having triumphed over him through the cross.

(Colossians 2:15)

Rub that all up in his face. The devil thought he had Jesus. He thought he had won. He thought people could be enslaved by sin forever.

But… nope! Now he’s nothing but a skinny little chihuahua acting like a big rottweiler. In fact, on Judgement Day, everyone’s going to look at the devil and go what? This is the guy behind all the bad? Are you kidding me? He’s a freakin’ pipsqueak! (Isaiah 14:16)

So rub that all in his face. Remind him how defeated and weak he is, and glorify the One who defeated him.

Never let him forget that Jesus now lives inside of you. You’re an unstoppable force ready to more-than-conquer your way through this life and do a wrecking-ball amount of damage to his kingdom of darkness!

3. DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE DEVIL’S WILL

How many of us want to follow God’s will for our lives?

*raises hand*

How many of us what to follow the devil’s will for our lives?

*puts hand down*

I have a very simple theology. It can be summed up in four words.

Good = God. Bad = devil.

Think God’s good will for your life is better than the devil’s wicked one?

Yep!

Nothing makes me madder than asking someone to do something and watch them do the exact opposite.

Ever don’t know what to do? Think of what the devil would want you to do and do the exact opposite.

Does he want you to believe every negative thought that comes your way until you’re a crying, crumpled heap on the floor?

Nope. Don’t do it. That’s happened to me more times than I can count. Tears are the devil’s trophy, and I’ll never give him the satisfaction of displaying them on my face out of despair again.

Not today, devil. Not now, not ever again.

The last thing the devil wants you to do is turn to God for your happiness. So do that! The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

And when God’s got our backs, something tells me things are not only going to be okay, but amazing. After all,

The path of the righteous … shines brighter and brighter.

(Proverbs 4:18)

We’re only going up from here.

Making the devil scream “OH NO, SHE’S UP!” when our feet hit the floor in the morning is just way more fun than buying into his lies.

Huge thanks to the ladies here at YLFC for letting me guest post today! This blog is the bomb. ♥

If you want an additional way to kick the devil’s butt—one that has changed my life and I think will change yours too—click here to download the PDF! The truth in this guide transformed me from a radical pessimist finding the cloud for every silver lining to a radical optimist living the most abundant life free of depression and defeat.

How are you planning to cause problems for the devil today? If you’re having a rough day, believe me, this is one of the best remedies.

grace madiMadison Grace is a blogger, writer, doll collector, and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to traveling and speaking to youth, she blogs about living an undefeated lifestyle at madigrace.org, professional doll collecting at delightfulworldofdolls.com, and writing excellent moral fiction at madisongraceauthor.com.

Courage, Faith, My Testimony, Relationships, Trust

Letting Go

lettinggo.jpg

Hello, everyone!

Today’s topic isn’t going to be a ton of fun, but I’m sure it’s one we’ve all had to deal with before. If you haven’t, you most likely will in the near future. Today I want to tell you a little about letting go, and my experiences.

Sometimes things happen, usually things that are really hard, and you want to stay bitter, stay sad… or even to keep hoping for something that deep inside you know isn’t in God’s plan for you.

Now this sounds pretty vague so far, so I will give you an example. My example.

I lived for nearly 10 years without any huge issues in life. In fact, I guess I could say I still haven’t had any HUGE issues- compared to a lot of people. But when I turned 10, someone came into my life. Not someone I had a crush on- or really liked…someone my sister started dating. This person ended up living with us for about a year…and he began to seem like an older brother to me. Keep in mind, I was only 10 or 11 at this time… I didn’t see anything wrong with this… I’d only ever had older sisters, but now I had more. I loved this guy as if he was an older brother. I loved him so much that-in my eyes- life was perfect…I didn’t realize I still needed God.

Time went on, and my sister realized the relationship wasn’t going to work, so they broke up. And in a single instant, he was gone- as in thousands of miles away gone…

I thought I had lost a sibling…in a way, I almost had… I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again in my life. And I didn’t want that. Nearly every morning I cried and cried, wondering why he had to leave. I would tell people I missed him- and they’d say “oh, me too”, but they never knew how much I missed him… I was bitter, so bitter. I wasn’t the happy girl I’d always been. My dad noticed, and he would try and talk to me every now and then, but I didn’t want to tell him. It got so bad that whenever I’d hear someone talk about this guy (we’ll call him S.E) or when I’d see a picture of him- I had to leave the room. I’d lost a family member. And there was a hole inside. I thought that the only way for that hole to be filled, was for him to come back- but really, God was the only thing that could fill that hole.

Yes, S.E moved away, but he was never really gone… He was still the main thing on my mind. He was still the main thing taking up my time… I had never opened my hand. I’d never let him go. I finally decided the only way to not be sad about it, was to be angry at him. And to try and forget him. I even put everything from around my room that had to do with him or his family in a bag, and threw it in the top of my closet. For a while, things were okay. It seemed better. But then I started desperately wanting an older brother. It was a terribly selfish desire, but I wanted one so bad that it became a daily routine to think about it. I’d let the skin heal over the first wound (losing S.E), but I’d never cleaned it. And the “infection” began showing in other ways(wanting an older brother). Some days were alright, others it was nearly unbearable. I prayed that God would somehow give me an older brother, but I knew he wouldn’t… I just didn’t want to admit that to myself.

After a while of figuring how to deal with it, I tried to move on. I prayed that God would use me. I told him that I was ready, I was ready for anything he would throw my way. Yet he knew I wasn’t. I was telling him I could move on, asking him to help me move on, but I didn’t want to let go of S.E, that very first person that hurt me. I found a quote recently, and it says: You can never cross the ocean, unless you have the courage to lost sight of the shore.

I had told God I was ready to cross the ocean, but I wouldn’t look away from the shore. It was like I was holding a rope, and I’d reached the end of it, yet I said to God, “oh yeah, I will move forward now”, but I wasn’t willing to let go of the rope, so I couldn’t move any farther forward.

Then I finally opened my ears to what God had been trying to tell me for two years- it was time. And to really let me know this, he had S.E in touch with my sister again. It brought back a tinge of hope inside of me, that he would come back… but then he was gone again..and I knew it was probably for the last time…. however, I wasn’t going to go through the same feelings that had torn my life apart before- so I said, “Ok, God. I’m ready… help me let go.”

And it hurt…it was hard to let go. But once I did (my way of doing this was to write letters to the person, although I didn’t send them, I just needed to get it out of my head) I felt so much better! And my wanting of a brother almost completely went away, as God began to reveal to me how many brothers in Christ I already have! Yes, I still feel a bit of wanting sometimes. Or a bit of sadness that I don’t have that brother I used to, or the one I wanted…but I know that without all of this happening to me, I wouldn’t be who God has made me, and is still making me…so I wouldn’t change any of it. God helped me to let go…to give HIM the rope, and let HIM deal with the shore… so that he could do with it what he wanted, and it was no longer my problem.

Now that was a long story, I know…but I hope you got the point. Yes, this was my story, and no, it wasn’t easy to let go. But God helped me to do it, so that with his help, I really can move forward now. You probably haven’t gone through my exact situation, but I bet you’ve felt similar before. Whether it’s anger towards someone that God is calling you to let go of, or if you want something or someone that you know you need to give to God…or maybe someone is on your mind…Just give it to Jesus. Let HIM deal with it! He’ll gladly take your burdens, your thoughts, and your hardships… And when you can let go of the past, he’ll help you to move into the future. When you can let go of what is in your hand, you can grab God’s hand instead. My heart is now filled with God… by letting go of the bitterness and anger I felt, I let more room in my heart open for God to come in.

It was hard for me to let go, because I had started to convince myself that that was who I was. I thought it was something people could feel back for me about, wanting a brother, losing someone so close to me…but I’m SO glad God opened my eyes on that…because I started meeting people in my life that were so happy in Jesus, and weren’t bitter as I had been..and God helped me want to be like them. And I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me now…because I’m glad God brought me through that, so that hopefully now I can understand more of what others are going through.

Now instead of just talking about me, I want to share some verses and quotes with you, so that you can see what God is telling you to do, and to maybe save you some of the pain that I went through.

Finding Rest

When we’re constantly thinking about something we want, or crying about something of the past, we have no rest. God will give you rest, if you’ll hand him your burdens. God is the one ‘person’ that will ALWAYS listen to what you have to say, and ALWAYS take the burdens and scars you give him. He will give you rest, if you will give him your stress. Whatever it is you may be holding on to, no matter how big or small, no matter what shape or kind… give it to God. I skipped this step altogether..and I had no rest… So Trust God…and trust that he will give you rest.

  • “It hurts to let go, but sometimes it hurts more to hold on.”

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.

Getting Past It

It can often be SO hard to let go of what we’ve felt and kept for so long. Whether it’s longing, hope, bitterness, revenge, or something different. But we MUST get past it, and in the right way. The option I went for with getting past it, was trying to just be angry. And then forgetting. I didn’t ever resolve it, I just tried to move on without letting go…and that hurt worse than if I would have just let go. God is doing a NEW thing in you, he wants you to be able to move on..and you must let go to move on…

  • “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Looking Forward

After you’ve gotten past it in the right way, keep looking forward. You’ll have things that come up that remind you of that pain, or anger, but you must continue forward on the right path. Don’t move to the right or left, just keep moving forward into what God is using you for now.

  • “Let go of the past so that God can open the door to your future.”

Proverbs 4:25-27 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

Not Looking Back!

Just another stress on moving forward. You have to strive more to reach a goal, instead of dwelling on the past ones you didn’t reach. If you are in a race, and you stumble during the first 30 feet- if you want to win, are you going to be constantly thinking about that mistake, and be looking back? No, you have to concentrate on what is BEFORE you to win the race, and let go of the mistakes you’ve made. Now if you’re reminded of whatever hardship you’ve had come up, it’s not a sin to pray and ask God to continue to heal your wound…but don’t dwell on the past.

  • “To heal your wound you need to stop touching it.”

Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Giving it to God

Yes, you must give it to God in “step one”, but you need to go even farther. Give your WHOLE LIFE to God, so that he can keep the same things from happening. When your mind is set on God and his word, instead of selfish needs, anger, sadness, and such, you will be SO much happier!

  • “Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” Dwight L. Moody

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things

Reaching For What’s Ahead

When you let go, God will bring you so much more. He will not only provide you with the happiness you didn’t have, but he will be able to continue revealing his plans for your life and the impact he wants you to have on others. When you can let go of one chapter in your life, he’ll bring you the next chapter. And when you’re reading a book, you don’t just want to stay in one chapter the whole time! God is already bringing me a new chapter to my life!

  • “When you finally let go something better comes along.”

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

There are also ways to turn your sadness you may feel into the opposite when you’re reminded of it! For example, sometimes I’ll see my friends having fun with their older brothers, or see a picture of S.E doing something with his younger siblings. Sometimes it still hurts pretty bad…but I’ve turned that sadness around so that when I’m reminded of wanting an older brother, I can be reminded to pray for my future brother-in-laws, and be thankful for the amazing siblings I have! Or when I see a picture of S.E, I can just pray for him, and that God would continue to protect him and use him the the lives of others.  That’s my way to keep from becoming bitter.

You may know someone that you really loved, but realized it wasn’t a love that God wanted you to have. So you had to let go…and sometimes when you see them, and feel that pain again, you can try to pray that God will keep working in their life and bring someone to them that’s right for them…even though it’s hard to do that.

I hope this post helped you to think about whatever you may be going through right now. And if this doesn’t seem to apply to your current situation, just be reminded to give all of your cares to God, because he cares for you. He’ll always be there. And he’ll always give you rest, help you to move forward, and help you let go.

I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to write out my prayer for anyone reading this:

Dear Lord,
I thank you for what you are doing in each and everyone of these girls’ lives. I pray that whatever they may be going through right now, that you would heal their scars. That you would take their burdens like you’ve taken mine. That you would lift the weight off of their shoulders and give them the strength that only you provide. I pray that you would comfort them through whatever their going through, and help them to know that they are NOT alone. Help them to turn to you in every situation, and help them to let go of earthly things, so they can look to you instead.
In your precious name I pray,
Amen.

Thanks so much for reading this post, and have a wonderful day! I’d love to hear what you thought of it in the comments! And please don’t be scared to ask for prayer on whatever you may be going through or trying to let go of. I would LOVE to talk to you, whether through our Contact Page, or just in comments! I love you all so much, and I pray that each one of you will be able to get something out of this post and turn to God for help ALWAYS! Thanks again for reading!

K.A. signoff

Faith, Sin

Is Christianity Worth It?

is it worth it

For a little while after I became a Christian, I was ecstatic with excitement. I read my Bible every spare minute I got, going over verses that I’d heard all my life in church and school but had really had no meaning to me before. Everything was suddenly so clear and it was like the Word was speaking to me.

I was like that for the next week or so. That’s when things started to get hard.

Christianity became harder for me over time. I felt like I suddenly had loads more responsibility in the upkeep of my spiritual and emotional life. Every day my #1 goal was to honor God in everything I did, but that was hard, as I am a sinful human like anyone else in the world.

And, on top of it all, Satan—who probably wasn’t very happy with my previous excitement—stepped into the picture and started giving me doubts about my faith.

Is God actually real? He seems too good to be true. Am I really worth anything to Him?

Do I really need God? Can’t I do everything myself?

Constantly striving to be righteous is harder than doing whatever I want and how I want. Is Christianity really worth the extra effort?

That one last thought just kept ringing over and over and over in my mind.

Is it really worth it?

I prayed and searched the Bible from cover to cover, trying to find an answer but I couldn’t find one. Then one night at youth group, my small group leader assigned us to buddy-read Romans 6 and discuss things that stuck out to us in the chapter. There were three verses that my partner read that hit me right in the heart and completely baffled me with the truth they spoke. I’d read and even memorized these verses in the past, but not once had I looked close enough to think  on what they really meant.

Romans 6:20-23 says, “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV)

In verse 20, it says that when we were yet unsaved, we were free from the responsibility that befalls a heart given to God, from that nagging in the back of our minds asking us over and over, what would Jesus do?

That’s what I had been missing. I had been wishing to have the “freedom” of being able to sin and not feel convicted by the Lord. The sinful side of me was aching to be able to do something bad and not be kicked in the shins by guilt.

Verse 21 was what really changed my view. It says, “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!”

That first sentence got my brain-wheels turning. What do I get out of sinning, what do I get out of following God, and how are they different? The more I thought about, and the more I read the verses, I realized that sin doesn’t benefit us in any way.

But God and His grace do.

With sin, we are eternally condemned to a hopeless life that will only lead to hell in the end. Yes, we are “free” from the responsibility of maintaining our relationships with God. We are “free” to rebel against Him in any and every way we choose, but we are not truly free, because sin comes at a price.

But for those who have accepted God, that price has already been paid.

And then I realized, I had been asking the wrong question the whole time. I had been asking whether Christianity was worth it because it interfered with my ability to sin. The real question was, though, was sin worth it when it interfered with the life God had bought for me with His own blood?

And, because that price has been paid, we have the privilege of being able to develop personal relationships with our Lord and serve Him by leading others to His light and love.

That is why Christianity is worth it.

Even though it’s not always easy, even though we may be shunned by the world, choosing God over sin is worth it because we get to help Him in His great ministry of healing our broken world. And in the end, our prize awaits in heaven where we’ll get to sit at the feet of Jesus for the rest of our days.

anika joy signoff

Christian Songs, List

3 Christian Bands

bands

Hello, lovely ladies! I hope you’re all doing well.

Today I’ll be sharing with you three Christian bands/singers that I love. It’s so hard to find good music now, just like it’s so hard to find clean books and magazines.

Let’s get started!

1. TobyMac

You might have heard of TobyMac before, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend you go check his music out!

My favorite songs of his are Love Broke Through and I Just Need U.

2. MercyMe

MercyMe might just be one of my favorite bands ever. Their song, Happy Dance, is awesome and it’s so encouraging on bad days. I first heard in on K-Love on a day when i was really depressed, and it helped so much.

3. Casting Crowns

Okay, so I just recently started getting in Casting Crowns. I’ve listened to it before on K-Love, and I never looked up the band before now. But it’s so good!

Well, those are my three bands!

But before I go, I want to say that you should feel free to contact us here at YLFC if you ever need prayer. And if you ever need someone to talk to, I’d be happy to listen and help the best I can.

Love you!

chloe signoff

 

 

Friendship, Relationships

What a Friend: Leaning on the Rock When All Else Fails

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 11.24.46 AM

Let’s imagine you’ve met this girl. She is beautiful, smart, and, most obviously, popular. You’ve met her in the hallway a few times – and get this – she’s talked to you!

You’re absolutely thrilled when she asks you to a party. You can’t wait! It’s been forever since someone has actually invited you somewhere, and it’s HER! The talk of the town, the girl who’s always at the center of attention, the trend-setter and leader of “the pack”.

You buy a new outfit for the occasion and take time thinking of the perfect gift. You want to look your best, so you spend loads of time doing your hair and makeup. Your mom offers to drop you off, but you opt to take the bus. Showing up to the party in your moms car would be embarrassing!

Finally, after a long bus ride and multiple transfers, you arrive at the party. You open the door, and here’s what you find.

The girl is (as usual) in the center of the group. Everyone is crowded around her. The group of girls are all whispering to each other. At first, you think nothing of it. She’s always the center of attention. Wanting to join in on the conversation, you start walking towards to group.

And then you stop.

You hear what she’s saying. It’s about you. She’s running you down, telling straight out lies about you, your grades, your home, and even your family. Every word that is coming out of her mouth is false.

You bite your lip and hold back tears. This girl, who you trusted, who you thought you knew so well and was your friend, betrayed you.

She didn’t actually have a true relationship with you. She brushed you off, just like she has to dozens of other people.

You’re hurt. How could this happen? If this has ever happened to you, know that you’re not alone. This has happened countless times to so many people

Girls, the message is simple. Friends are temporary. They come and go. There will never, ever be a friend who will be “the perfect” one. Your only true friend is in Jesus Christ. Earthly things will pass away, but HE is forever. HE is the rock. HE is there for you in the good times and the bad. HE will never leave you or forsake you.

Why? Because HIS love never fails.

Rebecca

Beauty, Courage, Friendship, Purifying the Mind, Body, and Spirit, Relationships

Your Inward Beauty…

ylfcgirl.jpg

Hey there, girls! How are you all doing?

So if you can’t tell by the title, this post is about letting your inward beauty shine just as strong or stronger than your outward beauty. As a teenage girl, I know sometimes I get caught up in my looks too much. My OUTWARD looks…

But I came to realize that I wasn’t actually looking for attention on my outward appearance. You see I was..and still sometimes am, but it didn’t give me the kind of satisfaction that I wanted when someone told me that I looked pretty…

Okay, so let me explain a little bit- don’t worry, I’ll try to make it short and not boring. So, I have long hair. Thick too…. and I get quite a few compliments on it. Now I like that, don’t get me wrong. But I was with someone for about a week and when it came time for us to write on things and say how we felt about each other, she said my hair was pretty. It shouldn’t have, but that kind of HURT. Not because she complimented my hair, but because she DIDN’T complement my INWARD actions. I wanted to hear “You’re a wonderful person. You’re loving, kind, and energetic.” Instead, it was “you have pretty hair.” Don’t get me wrong, that was really nice of her to say, and I’m glad she did… because it helped me to realize what I was truly looking for. I didn’t want attention on my outward appearance! I wanted people to think of me and how I really was, not how I looked. I know sometimes we get so caught up in our outward appearance that we forget about how important it is to have inward beauty. Let God’s beauty shine through you!

Look, I’m a teenager! I get it!!! So… I’ll share something kind of personal with you girls so that you know just how much I get this…

I had a boy tell me I was beautiful recently. I’ll admit it made my heart flutter a little bit. It’s not easy for me to confess this. I know I’m way too young to have a boyfriend, and I DON’T want to date yet!!! But there is a feeling that comes with someone – especially a really cute, nice boy- telling you that you are beautiful…and you know they mean it. I’ll also admit that I thought about that for a while… it made me realize just how much I HAD been wanting to hear something like that… But… I would much rather have someone like me (a boy) because he likes how I am on the inside, not just how I am on the outside, so I learned not to keep dwelling on it. Because it’s not that important. Also though, you need to know that it’s not a sin to like a boy. To think he’s cute, or to have a crush on him! Now if you let it get too deep, then yes, it very well can be a sin, but simply thinking someone is cute isn’t a sin. I used to think it might be…but I’ve since realized that it’s a natural girl behavior… SO don’t worry a ton about it… now on to the next topic…

Am I saying we have to appear ugly to everyone so that our inward beauty is able to be seen? Not at all!! But we have to be careful on how evident it is that we want to be seen with amazing outward appearance. It’s not bad to be pretty! But if your outward beauty outshines your inward beauty, then… you might want to examine yourself a little more closely…

Girls….you’re all so beautiful. You might say “how would you know? I don’t even have my face in my profile picture!” I know because you are reading this right now. I KNOW, because you follow this blog. I KNOW BECAUSE YOU LOVE JESUS CHRIST! I KNOW BECAUSE YOU WERE MADE BY GOD!!!! And the SAME ONE WHO MADE THE STARS, THE NEWBORN BABIES, AND THE SAME ONE THAT FORMS EVERY SUNRISE AND SUNSET

MADE YOU.

He made you! So you are BEAUTIFUL! Girls… be beautiful on the inside..AND THE OUTSIDE! This isn’t a lecture, it’s an encouragement.

Now, some helpful tips on this… (tips, not orders)

  • Watch what you wear

Now I know this one is hard sometimes… Now I’m not saying you have to dress like a hobo…but you can be cute without wearing clothes that show too much skin, or the exact shape of your body. Now if you believe that this is fine…that’s alright. I won’t judge you…but girls, this world is a crazy place..and it’s better to be safe than sorry. What I always tell myself when I think about this, is “Do I want my future husband to be attracted to me because of how I’m dressed or how I look? Or do I want him to notice my smile, my laugh, and my actions?” For me, definitely the latter.

  • Watch what you surround yourself with

This one is a struggle for me sometimes. I have to remember that looks aren’t all that matter. If you have friends that all dress a certain way, or criticize what you wear, it’s hard to stay modest and focused on your inward beauty. I find myself wanting to wear things that I think make me look skinnier or curvier (as weird as that sounds), but then I remember how much I love my friends that don’t dress like that too. Because of who they are on the inside. The people I look up to the most, I look up to because of who they are, not because of what they look like, or because of their clothes. So I remind myself to surround myself with people that are more focused on God, and inward beauty, and surround myself less with people who are focused too much on outward appearance.

The reason I put “Watch WHAT you surround yourself with”, is because there are things other than people that can be unhealthy. For me, one of those things is romance books. When I read too many, I start thinking only about guys, and hardly at all about praying, God, or reading my Bible. Also when I listen to certain songs, it can make me really sad or almost lonely, and cause my inward beauty to become less. Now I’m NOT saying that it’s bad to have friends that don’t ALWAYS focus on inward appearance. That’s not bad! You must be friends to them too! But you need to surround yourself with positive influences too, people to keep you accountable. In the same way, I’m not saying books or songs are BAD, you just have to limit yourself and ask yourself “Is this healthy for me?”.

  • Strengthen your walk with God

I can’t possibly stress how important this is! Girls, when you have a strong bond with the Lord…it literally makes EVERYTHING SO MUCH EASIER AND MORE FUN! You will be overflowing with God’s joy without even TRYING! This one is super important! And praying, reading your bible and such all go along with this too!!

  • Feel free to talk to us

We care about you! I – we – can relate to what you’re going through..and even if we can’t, I can promise we’ll pray for you as you’re going through whatever it is. It’s hard, yeah, but with someone to talk to, it can be SO much easier..

SO pretty much what I was trying to get across on this post was:

  1.  Let your inward beauty (aka God) be brighter than your outward beauty (aka clothing, looks).
  2. Strive to be noticed for your faith and attitude (in a good way) rather than for your looks and clothes.
  3. Look, you can still be a girl. And be pretty! Let God shine through you too though!!! He wants people to see him through you! And pretty soon, your inward beauty will OVERWHELM AND BECOME YOUR OUTWARD BEAUTY!
  4. Girls, believe me when I say this, even though it might not seem like it- there is DEFINITELY more to being a teenager than drama, looks, and boys.

I will now end with some verses for you all to ponder:

1 Samuel 16:7b

For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

I love you, girls! SHINE FOR GOD!!!!!!

And FEEL FREE TO TALK TO US!!!!

K.A. signoff

 

Faith, Friendship, My Testimony, Relationships, Your Walk With God

Religion or Relationship?

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SdYmG6CUujw/WmE9cZiraqI/AAAAAAAACLY/Qld-GqKthEkUF-3zRewz7Le6FY1eirANACL0BGAYYCw/h500/Screen%2BShot%2B2018-01-18%2Bat%2B4.35.13%2BPM.png

If you said I was born into a Christian family, that would be true.

But could you say that I was therefore born a Christian? Absolutely not!

When I was young, I “became a Christian”. Once I was nine or so, and actually understood (mostly) the faith, I renewed my salvation and faith. Now I don’t mean that as in “I believe that you have to re-say the prayer every three years to stay a Christian”, I just hadn’t fully known what being a Christian was. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s not enough to believe just because your family does. You have to seek it out yourself. You can’t simply believe it because “they” do, you must “own” it, in a sense. You must truly be able to say “this is what I know and believe to be true.” You must call your faith your own and really have it belong to you. This is hard to describe, so I hope you get the point. You can’t just believe because you were “born with it”, you have to truly KNOW it and KNOW God as YOUR savior and YOUR BEST FRIEND.

Maybe this is your story too. If so, have you ever really asked yourself in your heart if God is more to you than a dreamy figure that’s up in the clouds? Have you ever REALLY considered it?

It’s not a presentation to God, it’s a conversation.

It’s not always a prayer, but a talk.

God is there for you.

He can be just as real to you as your family you EAT WITH every day!

But you have to let him be.

He’s not an impersonal figure that’s billions of light years away,

He’s a best friend that’s by your side every second of every day of your life!

That is, if you let him…

And I’m not talking about the whole “inviting him into your heart and life to become saved” prayer. (I’m not at all trying to make fun of any of this by putting it this way, I just want to get my point across)

I’m talking about the prayer that says:

“God, I’m here. Right now. And I want you. God, lead my life, take the wheel. My choices are leading me astray, so I want you, God, to decide what’s best for my life. I don’t want you to belong to me- I want to belong to you. I don’t just want you in my heart, I want you pumping through my blood, showing on my face, revealing yourself in my actions. Make my life yours, and make your power my power. Help everyone to know that I am yours… forever. In your name, Amen.”

When you say this, and really mean it, (not exactly those words, please make them your own if you are going to pray this) and bathe yourself daily in God’s word and talk to him ALL DAY LONG….

It makes life so much easier. And so much more fun! And it helps others not to see you as “The judgemental goody-goody that acts like a christian”, but the person who’s identity is wrapped wholly around their faith. Is it hard to get started in reading your bible and praying every day? Come to us (and other bloggers) for encouragement! I promise you’re not alone! You’ll find encouragement here from us! I’m MORE than willing to lend an encouraging voice… and shoot up some prayers for you! I also have troubles sometimes being as close to God as I should be!! I’m not perfect, far from it actually!

When you really search it out, you’ll realize that instead of being a “good influence” on others, or straining yourself to act godly around certain people, you can let it be your personality. It’s not only so much simpler and better for you, but it will help others (even if you don’t always know it) to see you as more of an “authentic” Christian, and less of a fake. What you’re shooting for, is to relax and be yourself, and have fun, and be the same godly person that you are when you’re at church or reading your Bible. I know multiple people like this… they don’t even realize that they’re like that!!! They are SO easy to be around, and is SO obvious that they are a TRUE LOVING CHRISTIAN! Even if you met them at a concert (or somewhere other than Church), you can tell!!! I love that so much in a person!  And those few people (Thanks, G, F, K and C ..and J…) are DEFINITELY people I want to be like! Constantly happy, not judgmental, and have the love of God shining through their being!

Get whatever you’d like out of this post, and don’t let it discourage you in the least! Let it be an encouragement to all of us!!! There will be hard times figuring out what you as a person believe, and what you want to know, but one of the main keys?
BE EXCITED!!! It may sound crazy, but when you think about it, this time in your life- of figuring out your identity, and what you truly believe and how you want to act in your life (also how others see you) – is WONDERFUL! Yes, it can be scary, but really, you’re shaping WHO YOU ARE! You’re shaping this WONDERFUL relationship with God! And maybe you don’t know someone like I was talking about. Maybe you’ve never met someone like that… if not, I want you to check out this youtube channel, and video. This is an AMAZING young lady by the name of Emma Mae Jenkins. I encourage you to watch some of her videos. You’ll love them!

I made this post as much for myself as for you girls. I’ve really been questioning a lot of things lately… and I know for one thing- I want that relationship. That brings me to the title- Religion or Relationship? So why did I call it this? Because I believe as strong Christians who love God, we need to have that bond, that strong love and connection between God and us. And I’m going to show you the definitions of these two words real quick:

Religion: the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

Relationship: the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

So are you just merely believing in God and not letting your faith go any further? Or are you CONNECTED to God? I’m not trying to get on to anybody, as it’s an ongoing trek of dedication to have a connection. But I’m willing to go through that, because I LOVE my God, and I want him to be closer to me than any human in the universe could ever be.

So if I could chose which I want, it would definitely be Relationship. And that IS my choice. Because I believe that when you are connected to God, then it is so much nicer to be firm and steadfast in what you believe, which makes it easier to tell others about your faith.

I’ll end with some verses:

Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Deuteronomy 5:33 – Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and [that it may be] well with you, and [that] ye may prolong [your] days in the land which ye shall possess.

Colossians 2:6 – As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks so much for reading!

And remember, if you ever need prayer or encouragement, we’re here!

K.A. signoff

Friendship, Guest Post, Relationships

Repairing a Relationship

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 11.36.41 AM.png

Broken relationships are as old as the Bible. In Psalm 55:12-14, David describes his pain because of a friend’s betrayal,

“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.”

Because we invest love and time into our relationships, a part of us is destroyed when a relationship is damaged. Thankfully, there are practical steps available to handle a broken relationship. Here are four that I have applied in my life.

1) Meet in person

Technological communication can cause us to forget the real person with vulnerable emotions on the other side of the text or email. When a friendship is waning, arrange a time to see each other. If meeting in person is not an option, then try a phone or Facetime call. Talking directly forces you to engage with each other, which is often lacking from text or email. Establishing personal, direct communication can breathe life into a dying relationship.

2) Be honest

Dramatic confrontations are unnecessary, but we do need to be open about our feelings. Several months ago I mentioned to a friend that she was not responding to my texts. She explained that she had been extra distracted and busy lately, which eased my mind. In the past, I have overreacted to relationship problems, only to discover the facts later. My friends did not suddenly start hating me; they just had commitments that prevented them from contacting me. Being honest can save friendships and keep drama to a minimum.

3) Face your failings

Proverbs 28:13 says,

“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

This is especially true with family relationships. We cannot undo our mistakes. However, we can show genuine remorse to the person we hurt and express a desire to change our behavior. After genuinely apologizing to the person we hurt, we should recognize the problem with our behavior and ask for their grace and support as we work to fix that character flaw.

4) Ban bitterness

It hurts when a friend stops communicating for no apparent reason, but jumping to conclusions only worsens the situation. We are not aware of their present situation. They could be dealing with something that has captured their attention. Even if they have chosen to move on, we must remain positive because bitterness only hurts us. Whether or not that relationship is ever restored, we can choose to highlight the positive memories and diminish the bad. Just like David in the Bible, we will face broken relationships. Tension is a part of living in a broken world. But God is the repairer of broken things. When we surrender our relationship to Him and prayerfully take steps to restore the relationship, we can trust that He will give us His wisdom.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 11.17.52 AM

LivingBlessedWithLess.wordpress.com

Joy, Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving!

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 8.52.59 AM.png

Hope y’all had/are having a great Thanksgiving! Since it is Thanksgiving, I thought I would share some verses and thoughts about thankfulness and thanksgiving….

The Pilgrims had a lot of things they could have grieved about. Many died in the hard and cold winter before, and they were in the wilderness. But instead, they gave thanks for their blessings, such as their Indian friendship.

It can be super hard to be thankful, especially when times are bad. But there is always something to be thankful for. When I have had a really hard week, I can be thankful that God gave me trials that I could bear up with. When we hear about something really bad in the news, we can be thankful that God is in control! Again, it is hard to be thankful in an evil world! So, here are some things I am thankful for:

  • My family
  • Vacations to fun places
  • Latin class
  • Young Ladies for Christ
  • My friends whom I meet every Sunday, and every Wednesday
  • Music
  • A roof over my head
  • Sleep
  • That God loves us and is in control of the world

And here are some verses that reminded me of how praiseworthy our God is:

 Psalm 100:4:

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4

Ezra 3:11:

“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”

1 Chronicles 16:34:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

If you have a free moment, here is a thanksgiving hymn 🙂

http://safeyoutube.net/w/GLlc

So, have a happy Thanksgiving!!! Eat lots of turkey, stuffing, and remember why we are celebrating!

emmaline's signoff