“The festival of KALENDS is celebrated everywhere as far as the limits of
Hmmm....you know, if I hadn't read the first line of this description, I would have guessed that this was an account of an American Christmas celebration...you know? The "spend, spend, spend" attitude, the overindulgence...Doesn't it sound a LOT like a description of the way we celebrate Christmas? Guess what? This is actually an account of a Roman holiday called Kalends, a pagan-centered new year celebration. At the end of the year, Romans would celebrate Saturnalia (a celebration of the god Saturn) and Kalends. Festivities would include exchanging gifts to ensure good fortune in the coming year (gifts would include small idols and food), feasting, and decorating with evergreen boughs, which symbolized the fertility of the crops in the coming year. In case you were wondering, yes, this is where we got the traditions of Christmas trees and exchanging gifts. No, it didn't come from some Nativity play (although they did use an evergreen tree as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in a Medieval Nativity play). And no, the tradition of gift-giving did not originate from the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus. No, you see, those are just excuses that have been made over the years. Unfortunately, our American Christmas celebration is made up of primarily pagan celebrations. In Parent's Magazine's Christmas Holiday Book, this observation is made, "In fact, we are unknowingly reverting to a primitive human instinct: the celebration of the turn of the year, when the winter begins to wane and the sun starts once more to climb in the sky, and when the crops and fruits are reborn. Almost every known civilization…has had such a festival, and all of them have celebrated with feasting and rejoicing.” Honestly girls, if you really think about it, our Christmas rejoicing is not a commemoration of Christ's birth...but rather, a self-centered, me-me-me, overindulgent, American-ized holiday.
That's just what you wanted to hear a few days before Christmas isn't it? You really wanted to learn that all of America's traditions have roots in pagan ones, didn't you? Do you feel guilty? Shocked? Or did you already know all this stuff? I don't want to ruin your Christmas. I'm not saying some components of our celebration are wrong. In fact, some of them are rooted in purely Christian traditions. But no, that is not my point by any means.
My point, ladies, is this- a celebration that is supposed to be a celebration of Christ has become utterly American-ized, just like everything else in our country. It's self-centered and gluttonous. We need to focus on CHRIST during the holiday season. HE is what our thoughts should be centered on- not what's waiting for us under the tree...or what you're going to wear to the holiday party on Saturday...or whether or not your friends and family will really appreciate the gifts you bought them. No. Christ was...IS...others-centered. He reached out in compassion to the needy, dirty little children in the street, the physically and mentally disabled, even those who were stricken with leprosy and had been deemed "untouchable". Christ loved the people that no one else loved.
Look back over the links I posted earlier about ways that you can give back. Think about how you can love those who are unlovable, unworthy, thankless...
I'll post more later.
Alright, folks...we have our first photo contest entry...since it's such an excellent photograph, I just thought I'd share it to get you guys motivated.
This photo is by my friend Julia. Isn't she excellent?
So, how do I interpret this photo? (Remember, our theme is "What is True Beauty?") I think it reflects it in a few ways- first, it is simple. Very simple. And yet, in such simplicity, there is a beauty far greater than that of the flashy pop-culture we see all around us. Secondly, it is God's beautiful creation. Look at the rich colors, the intricate petals, the deep, dark center. It truly is a remarkable witness to God's creation.
Great job Julia...hope this gets some other girls motivated to get out there cameras and go find something beautiful to photograph!
It can make a help women like this:
It can be used to purchase items from stores who give a percentage of their profit to charity like these: Known to Me
It can provide water for thirsty children like this.
Water 4 Christmas
It can sponsor a child through World Vision.
So, I don't know about you, but I find that babysitting is one of the easiest ways for me to get money. Even though it can be exhausting, it only lasts a few hours and (hopefully) leaves you with a good chunk of money. Sometimes, though, when I babysit somewhere we run out of things to do. Then it's hard. The kids are bored. You're bored. And they expect you to find them something to do. Usually when this happens, the kids' activity of choice ends up being something like running up and down the hallway as fast as they can, doing flips off the end of the bed, or something else that may result in a visit to the ER. So, here is a list of quick, go-to babysitting activities that are truly easy and that you most likely have the supplies to make. This is not a list I copied from someone else's site...like most babysitting activities usually are. I have searched long and far for these activities. And the best thing is, I have actually tested these things on kids and they loved 'em! Here we go:
- "Science experiment"- Yes, I have tried the volcano thing with a couple kids...it was an utter failure. I don't recommend it. I have tried some other science experiments as well, a couple cool ones, a couple more utter failures...but the "experiment" below is the best by far- the kids love it. I love it because it's easy. Everyone's happy. :)
- Coffee filters (white ones work best)
- Black/green Crayola markers
2. Ornaments- Looking for a good Christmas craft? Look no further than Sculpey clay. That stuff is da bomb! I believe it's nontoxic (but I'm not sure, so don't try to eat it!), it bakes hard, and you can paint it! A couple years ago, I tried this with 3-5 year-olds. Even the boy loved it. All you need is:
White Sculpey clay
What to do: You may want to soften the clay for the kids a little bit before they start rolling it out- Sculpey does tend to get a little hard. Then, let the kids roll out the clay. After it is rolled out, cut it into shapes- no more than 2-3/child. Write their names with a Sharpie on the back so you don't get them mixed up. Poke a hole in the top of each ornament. Take them home and bake them in the oven as instructed. (I am assuming you're going to see the kids again sometime soon.) The next time you see the children, bring paint, paintbrushes, ribbon. Let the children pain their ornaments (this could get messy!) and let dry- you may have to take the ornaments home again depending on how fast the paint dries. Tie a ribbon through each of the holes and let the children take their ornaments home- this is a great gift for Mommy or Daddy, or just a fun keepsake!
That's it for now...more coming later, hopefully!
Characteristics of a "dead" believer
Jesus is shoved into the nooks and
crannies of our existence
Content to go with the flow
Content to be average
Morally goes to the edge of the cliff-
"How much can I get away with?"
Oblivious of/unconcerned about sin
Thoughts constantly centered on
Bored with God
Characteristics of someone who is alive in Christ
Life is centered fully around Jesus Christ
Love Christ first, others second
"A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God
is strange and jarring."- John Tavler
"What is the secret to great living?... [A] life that has
made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual
realm." - Amy Carmichael
"How much can I glorify Jesus Christ throughout my day?"
Deals with sin
Thoughts are constantly centered on Christ
Excited about faith!
Let me know what you girls think of this and if you have anything to add!
How can we, as young women, help our brothers and friends to become more like Christ- and train them to be noble, chivalrous princes?
I already have some ideas from the book, but I'm curious to see what the rest of you ladies say. Comment, comment!
Our role is so beautiful!
Let's try to be strong women, God-honoring women, kind women, loving women, womanly women. Let's show the world that we can be strong... AND be virtuous women.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
I've been thinking about this verse a lot lately, so I just thought I would share it with you.
Etiquette sounds old world doesn't it? when I think of etiquette I think of "how to bow to the queen" and "which fork two use first when you have over a dozen." and honestly I don't ever think I'll be in one of those situations. I'll never bow to a queen and I usually don't have more then two utensils at my seat at the same time. In fact I don't really get out of the house that often. The only people I see on a regular basics are just my family and c'mon there family I don't have to use poshy manners around them.
Okay, you get the point right? Manners, or etiquette, are important even in the home. if you don't quite get me give it a tad more thought and then come back here.
ready? good. So your probably wondering why I'm filing this post under beauty tip. Well have you ever heard the expression. "she has beautiful manners" catch the word beautiful. her manners are, as seen in the statement, beautiful. There's so much more to being beautiful then having silky hair or slender fingers. and one of those things are manners. In fact the state of the manners of a young lady can enhance or detract from her beauty in a obvious way.
a beautiful voice is nothing if the young lady insists on interrupting. beautiful fingers are made unattractive when they are used instead of a fork.
So you probably know how to use good manners. this stuff is probably old news. But do you use them? everyday even with you own family? especially with your own family? being beautiful at home is the first step to staying beautiful when you walk out your front door.
a bunches of love
"Perhaps mother was a little hasty today, Caddie," he said. "She really loves you very much, and, you see, she expects more of you than she would of someone she didn't care about. It's a strange thing, but somehow we expect more of girls than of boys. It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful. What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things in their rough way! A woman's task is to teach them gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness. It's a big task, too, Caddie -- harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers. It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things. They have them just as much as the men who build bridges and carve roads through the wilderness. A woman's work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man's. But no man could ever do it so well. I don't want you to be the silly, affected person with fine clothes and manners whom folks sometimes call a lady. I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind. Do you think you would like to be growing up into that woman now? How about it, Caddie, have we run with the colts long enough?"-Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink
That quote really struck me. It made me want to be a lady, more than usual. I've always wanted to be like that. But this put it into words so beautifully that it went straight to my heart.
Rest for the restless
and the weary,
Hope for the sinner.
In the hands of God we stand tall;
hands that are mighty
Giving us freedom.
You're amazing, You are!
In the hands of God we will fall,
-lyrics by Peter Furler
Design #1: Black and White- We are girls who are not wishy-washy about what we believe. We will stand firm in what we believe, even if it means being looked down upon by the world. I was thinking about a classy black and white color scheme with a little splash of color (maybe some hot pink???) and Victorian patterns, as well as some polka dots.
Design #2- Journal Entry- We are revealing our true selves from what we write on this site. We are open and real. For this design, I was thinking about a scheme where each entry would have a "scrapbook" sort of thing for the header instead of a title and it would look very much like my desk looks right now- messy, messy, messy! But with style...I think this is probably the design I personally am most excited about.
Design #3- The joy of the Lord is our strength! This would be a very colorful, cutesy design. I know what I have here looks a little bit like a preschooler's bedroom wall, but all of these designs are just the beginning brainstorm ideas. This design would be kind of like a patchwork quilt or something. I could even photograph a bunch of cute fabrics or something....oooh...ideas. :)
Let me know what you think. Thanks, Madeline
Also, I apologize for stalling the the Christian music showdown. I'm sure everybody now knows for sure that Kutless is the winner this time around. I think I'll have to redo the first one (Barlow Girl vs. Francesca Battistelli), so I will have to for you to vote on. Please vote and I will try to get on here more often! Thanks for your encouragement!
Music, music, music. Music has been around for a long time, even in Bible times people played music and listened to people sing songs. In the past 100 years, though music has become even more popular and available. Now music can be recorded and played back. There were records, and tapes, and cds, and now there are mp3s too. Mp3s can be transferred to an mp3 player and then listened to. Mp3 players can hold many different albums and songs, thousands and thousands of songs can be held in a device that fits in the palm of your hand.
Now, I am sure that all of you reading this article know what an iPod and an mp3 player are and what they are capable of doing, so the preceding paragraph was all something that you already know. I am also sure that you have been asked this question at some point in your life (don't worry though, if you haven't because it is possible that you haven't :P), “So, do you have an iPod or an mp3 player?”
There is nothing wrong about the question in its self, but it is the thoughts of the person being asked the question that are the problem. “So, do you have an iPod or an mp3 player?” I could make assumptions about how this question could affect the person being asked it, but I have been asked this question before so I will just tell you all how the question affected me.
Before I tell you my thoughts and feelings when I have been asked this question (remember the question has nothing wrong with it, but rather, the question can produce wrong feelings in the person, that is the part that we need to be concerned about.) we first need to uncover what is really in this question. The question is asking what type of player you have (perfectly fine), but it some times implies that iPods are better than mp3 players (we don't need to get into an argument about if this is true or not). I have been asked this question before, and I am sure I have also asked someone else this question. Remember, the question it's self has nothing wrong about it, just the thoughts of the person being asked is were the sin is sometimes committed.
So, now my feelings about this question, “So, do you have an iPod or an mp3 player?. First I must tell you that I DO NOT have an iPod. Rather I have a Sansa mp3 player.
I really need to get an new mp3 player. Mine is going on 4 years this Christmas, it is slow, takes 45 seconds to turn on, and only can hold 2G. When thinking about getting a new one I really had this desire to get an iPod instead of another plain, boring mp3 player (my thoughts then). See, I had been taught by the world that iPods are better than mp3 players. That question, “So, do you have an iPod or an mp3 player?” (and among other things) made me think that to have an iPod was better, even if it cost more. If it cost more it meant that I was richer and that I had THE BEST THERE WAS!
Whenever I was asked, “So, do you have an iPod or an mp3 player?” I was feeling discontent. I would reply, “I just have an mp3 player”. You see, I was beginning to feel insignificant and jealous of those people who had iPods. So when I was thinking about replacing my mp3 player all I wanted to get was an iPod nano, because then I could answer, “I have an iPod” to the question. I could FIT IN, MATCH OTHERS, be VIEWED DIFFERENTLY BY THEM, and I COULD HAVE A STATUS AMONGST OTHERS.
Now, I must stop to acknowledge my WONDERFUL DADDY! He helped me to see my sin and to correct it. When we were looking up different mp3 players to replace my old one, I kept saying, “I just want to get an iPod”. My Dad would ask my why, and I would say, “I don't know why, I just want to.” I had no idea then why I wanted one so badly instead of an mp3 player. My Dad said, “I could see purchasing an iPod because it would work better, but not for more than that. This Sansa FUZE that we have been looking at looks like it would work just fine for what you need it for, listening to music right?” I was so discontent with the Sansa FUZE. I wanted the iPod, but I didn't know why.
My wonderful Daddy (thank you Lord for him), pointed out that I had a serious problem and that I needed to pray about it. He showed me that I wanted an iPod merely so that I could be like everyone else and so that I could have it for a status. And iPod was a status to me. I saw people with an iPod as something better and I wanted to have something better. I was sinning, I was wanting what others had; I wanted to match those that had iPods.
So that question, “So, do you have an iPod or an mp3 player?” that was something that I had trouble answering. The question was making me sin, I was answering “No I just have an mp3 player” with a discontent heart.
I have repented of that sin! The Lord is teaching me to be content with an mp3 player (I still haven't bought a new one, I will soon though, with birthday money).
I must say that many of you reading this article probably have an iPod, so I hope that you read this far into the article with out turning your ears off. Actually, thank you for reading this far. I hope that I didn't let my ideas get into this article too much. I mean, there is nothing wrong with iPods, I hope that you all know that I realize that. I know that there is nothing wrong with iPods. Please note that! It is just that iPods cause me to sin, that is why I will not and do not own one. If I did own one, I would be proud and use it as a status. Because I don't have one I am learning to be content with second best (according to the world, iPods are the best, mp3 players are second best), and I am learning to not be jealous of what others have.
Maybe you are having a hard time being content with the mp3 player that you have, like I was. I hope that I was an encouragement to you. On the other hand, maybe you have an iPod and my article has encouraged you to look at how you view your iPod. Is it a status to you? Are you proud at owning it? Ask the Lord to help you if you are in either of these areas. The Lord showed me my sin, ask him to show you if you have sin.
So this is the end of my long article. You don't have to read anymore if you don't want to, but I have included some of my ideas concerning iPods vs. mp3 players below (which I tried to keep out of the actual article).
1. iPods are mp3 players, they play mp3s. Often people think that there are two types when there really is only one. Many think that you can get and iPod OR and mp3 player, when in reality you can only get an mp3 player. An iPod is just a brand name, but many classify it as it's own thing.
2. My sister, Ali, and I are calling the mp3 player that she has (and I will purchase soon) a 'FUZE', instead of an mp3 player. It is the same as calling and iPod and 'iPod' instead of an mp3 player. (Fuze is the brand of the mp3 player)
3. Here is a good reason to purchase an mp3 player (like a Sansa FUZE). All of the time there are newer and better things being made and invented. I mean, that is why we have laptop computers now when 20-30 years ago there were slow huge computers that took up a ton of space. Just think, 5 years from now, even 2 or 3 years from now there will a better iPod out there, a better mp3 player. Just the difference between my mp3 player and the FUZE I am going to buy is amazing (and that is 3 ½ years). If you are going to spend nearly $200 for an iPod nano which in a year or two will be old news, why not spend $50-$100 instead on a Sansa FUZE or another brand of mp3 player, that will be old news in a year or two?
So I hope that this was all helpful to you all reading this. I hope that what happened in my life will be able to help you in yours. Examine your own life, is there any area that you need to look at. Maybe it isn't an iPod or an mp3 player, but maybe there is something that you are not content with. Maybe your clothes, or your house, or whatever.
I am curious about what you have in your life that you might be discontent with. Comment and let me know!
Here are the links to the most recent Christian Music Showdown contestants, Flyleaf and Kutless. I didn't attempt to get videos because they're both kind of creepish to me...if you want to, you can go to there official Youtube sites at the links above. Note, though, that you cannot click on these links, because they're not going to take you anywhere. You're going to have to copy and paste them. My computer is so messed up...:) Please vote!
'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.'
Isn't that the most beautiful verse? Christ sure loves us a lot. I have recently taken classes at our church called Foundations in the Faith. We watch a video of R. C. Sproul teaching on a certain subject, and then we discuss it. It was very good. He's teaching on things from the book Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem. (That is actually a shortened version of the book Systematic Theology by Dr. Grudem.) But the reason I'm telling you all of this, is that, in one of the sessions we talked about the covenants. The first covenanant was a covenant of works. First, Adam and Eve blew it, right? The did exactly the opposite of what God had told them. Then God gave the Israelites a chance: if they kept ALL of God's laws, IN THEIR HEARTS as well as in their minds, then they would live. But OBVIOUSLY no sinful human can do that! I mean, we've all had those days when we decide not to sin. How long do we go without sinning in our hearts? 2 seconds? See, it's just not possible because we by nature hate God and don't want to follow his commands. But God wasn't finished with us. He sent His own Son to earth to become a man. We all know he paid for our sins on the cross, right? I mean, that's what we've always been told. But there's more: Not only did he become a CURSE for us (that's right, He really did, He took ALL of OUR SINS on Himself!!), but he fulfilled the covenant! He was perfect. So when He took all our sins and suffered God's wrath on the cross, our punishment was taken. But now, when He changes out hearts to WANT to love Him and obey Him, and we trust in Him, God looks at Christ's righteousness and not at our sin, because Christ took our sin and gave us His righteousness! Now that's what I call amazing.
(Post your poem as a comment on this post.)
It is also impossible for us to be holy before God. We have all "missed the mark" and we will never be able to get a "bulls eye". That's why we have Christ. In God's perfect plan for the world, He knew that we would mess up and He sacrificed His precious Son for us. Christ died and rose again and I think that's pretty awesome, but sometimes I'm still tempted to set standards for myself or beat myself up when I make a mistake. Why? I know I have salvation in Christ, but I want so badly to be good enough by myself. Let's face it- we're all gonna make mistakes. That's why Christ died for us- "We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" We can always run to Jesus when we mess up and tell Him that we want to be better and ask Him for guidance. This doesn't mean we should head over to the Dollar Store, steal a Twinkie, the confess to the Lord that we just can't control our urge for sweets. We still need to strive for holiness. I like to think of it as a constant uphill battle- it's hard, but we're getting somewhere! Even if you never wrote a list like mine, maybe you unconsciously set unrealistic standards for yourself. You have to be ___ lbs. to be beautiful. You have to go to church every Sunday to be a "good Christian". etc. etc. I want feedback- let us know the standards you have set for yourself- and ask God to set you free today!
The Bible is full of verses about honey- especially Proverbs such as:
To me, these verses represent good things- an adulteress, or someone/something that leads to sin shows us something that is attractive then we are quickly sucked into their evil scheme. (Pro.5:3) However, God wants good things for us and the world is full of good things for our enjoyment. (Pro. 24:13). Often, though, we are too greedy and want more and more and more, or we idolize those things God has given us as gifts more than we treasure the giver. (Pro.25:16) Skip 25:27. I'll explain what I understand that to mean in a second. Pro. 27:7 could be translated into American culture by saying something like, "We take for granted all the cool things God has given us, but someone who doesn't have those things would be really grateful for them."
Recently, I have been really convicted about my attachment to Facebook. It's not that Facebook is bad. In fact, I could list some really cool things about it- I can connect with my friends who live far away, chat live with them, share what's happening with my grandparents (yes, they have Facebook!!), and monitor who I become friends with. I'm pretty wise about my choices on Facebook. It's just that I was logging into my page a little to much and staying on the computer a little too long. I became a little bit lazy and neglected things that really matter- like my chores, projects that I'm working on, my friends who don't have a Facebook account. So, with a couple of my friends who were also attached to media-related stuff, I decided to take a 20 day fast from Facebook. 20 DAYS. I thought I would almost immediately break down, but I started on Monday and it's Friday now. That's 5 days down...15 to go...YAY ME!! :) Actually, I could never hold up against the pressure (since my mom is not fasting from Facebook) if it wasn't for the grace of God. The point I'm trying to get across is one we've all heard before, "Too much of a good thing..." You can fill in the blanks. I think often times we really take for granted our priveleges.
Now back to Pro. 25:27- I didn't really even realize that verse exsisted until I looked it up for this article. But before I started my Facebook fast, I realized that when I was posting pictures that I had taken, or posted a quiz about myself, a status update, whatever, I was really looking to see if anybody had commented on my stuff, because if they did, it would mean that they cared about me- yeah right. When I didn't get a friend request for several weeks, I would feel invaluable- like nobody cared about me. I was "seeking my own honor" through "eating too much honey". I had begun to look to Facebook for assurance that I was important. However, I didn't think I was addicted. HA! *Blaring sirens!!!! Madeline, you're definitely addicted!!!*
Sometimes my Dad likes to eat honey off of a spoon. He just gets a spoonful... and eats it. I've tried it too. It's pretty good, but can you imagine if I kept going back for more, over and over again. Pretty soon, the honey bottle would be empty and my stomach would be way too full. Then I might empty my stomach. What's on your spoon- something- even something OK (like honey) that you feel you can't live without? For me it was Facebook. Hopefully it will never be again.
Over the next few weeks, just for fun Above Rubies will be holding a Christian Music Showdown. Because of my vast knowledge of popular Christian music (laugh) I believe I created a fair list of some of our favorite Christian groups/artists. If anyone is missing, I can quickly change things around if need be. Please check out the brackets, then vote on the polls, which will be located on the sidebar. Can't wait to see who will take it all...even though there is no prize or celebration or anything...:P
The movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, a "romantic comedy" about a young woman who can't put down her credit card, is a surprisingly insightful commentary on this generations addiction to shopping, and really causes the viewer to think about their spending habits and what's really important. Click on the photo below to access Plugged In Online's Christian review on the PG movie:
Sabina Oster was born on July 10, 1913 in a town called Czernowitz which was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which became a part of Romania after WWI and part of the Ukraine after WWII. Sabina was born into a Jewish family. While growing up her favorite day of the week was the Sabbath when her family would gather for a meal and her father would pray. She was not even allowed to say the word “Christ”, her father explained to her that the Jews were still waiting for a Messiah and that Jesus had just been a man that had broken the law. How wrong Sabina’s father was, and Sabina would later find that out.
In 1936 Sabina married another Jewish boy, Richard Wurmbrand. Two years later Richard became a Christian, and that was too much for Sabina. . No matter what Richard did, he could not interest Sabina in his new found faith; it seemed that their marriage and love had just died. According to the short biography that I read, Richard one day took Sabina to one of the most disgusting films that were playing in the theatre, and then he took her to a party where people were horribly drunk, these things both opened Sabina’s eyes to sin and what her life was like without Christ. She saw that it was Jesus that accounted for the difference in her husband and other Christians. Sabina accepted the Lord Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
During WWII Sabina and her husband were very active. Together they rescued many Jewish children from the ghettos, they taught about Jesus in the bomb shelters, and were sometimes arrested. Sadly during the war her mother, father, two sisters, and one brother were all killed in the concentration camps.
After the war was over the Russians moved in and took over Romania. They set their communist rule on the people, and this included trying to control the churches. Richard and Sabina started an underground church, and everywhere they went they told others about Jesus. In 1946-47 she organized Christian camps for all religious leaders, all denominations. This is what became known as Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that helped persecuted Christians around the world. This organization still exists today and continues to help persecuted people all over the globe.
In 1948 because of the effective work of the couple Richard was arrested, leaving Sabina and their son Mihai behind. The secret police kept telling Sabina that she should just divorce her husband and forget about him. But she didn’t. She continued to help the persecuted church, praying and trusting in the Lord. She was even sentenced to 3 years of manual labor; she even had to leave her young son behind. But Sabina continued to pray and believe in Christ. For 14 years she never saw her husband and he was presumed to be dead. But then one day he was released! For the rest of their lives they worked with Voice of the Martyrs and served the persecuted church around the world.
Sabina has a wonderful life story. She was miraculously saved by Jesus Christ. Then she worked to spread the gospel and help the persecuted church. In America we have the freedom of religion, but in some countries to know Jesus Christ is illegal and could cost your life. We should be in constant prayer for those who surfer, just because they follow Jesus Christ. If you are called to suffer for Jesus Christ, like Sabina did, are you ready to give all up for Christ?
As always, we want to hear what our readers are...well...reading! Tell us about your favorite book, or what you've been reading over the summer!
For the past 3 1/2 years, Rebecca, Alyssa, and Lauren Barlow have been growing quickly popular in Christian teen society. When they started their girl band Barlow Girl after touring around the world as a backup band for their Dad for two years, I imagine they had no idea where they would be today. They have released 5 albums, including Barlow Girl, Another Journal Entry, Another Journal Entry: Expanded Edition, How Can We Be Silent, and Home for Christmas. They are scheduled to release their next album, Love&War in September 2009. In 2005, they were nominated for four Dove Awards and three in 2006. Their songs are played on popular Christian radio stations all over the U.S.A. But do they let their popularity get to their heads?
No. Instead, the girls remember this Bible verse from Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Another unique things about the Barlow girls is that they don't date. They say, "We believe that God has one perfect man already chosen for us; therefore we have no need to worry ourselves in searching for him. When the time is right, we know God will bring us together. In the mean time, we are not hiding in a closet avoiding all males, we are still living our lives, just without the pressure of having to have a boyfriend." While other young women are frantically searching for a boyfriend from whom they can receive love and attention, Rebecca, Alyssa, and Lauren know they are valued in the eyes of God, their Heavenly Father.
Teen girls in our culture are usually pulled slowly into the ways of the world. A sweet, loving thirteen year-old can gradually become a flirty, immodest teen who trusts in her "friends" more than her parents and tries to fill a God-sized hole in her heart with love from friends or attention from boys. Most parents of teens might consider this normal- it's a phase that many teen girls go through. But it is more than a phaze. It is a life choice. The things you do now will definitely effect your future. At this point, I don't have much more to say. The purpose of this blog was to encourage teen girls around the world, but also to get feedback from them! Please give some ideas for how we can "go against the flow" and show our peers where we find true satisfaction- in Jesus Christ! If you want to learn more about Barlow Girl, you can visit their website- www.barlowgirl.com
Let’s look more closely at what some of these words mean in this verse. The Bible was not originally written in English, it had to be translated. So I have looked at some of the words in the verse and the biblical use of the word.
My dear (agapētos (Greek) beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love)
Brothers (adelphos (Greek) any fellow or man; a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection; brethren in Christ; Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place) take note of this:
Everyone (pas (Greek) individually, each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything)
should be quick (tachys (Greek) quick, fleet, speedy)
to listen (akouō (Greek) to attend to, consider what is or has been said; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said)
slow to speak (laleō (Greek) to use words in order to declare one's mind and disclose one's thoughts, utter tell, to use the tongue)
and slow to become angry (orgē (Greek) anger, the natural disposition, temper, character; movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any violent emotion, but esp. anger
So the main thing that this verse encourages us as believers to do is to watch the way that was interact with others. When a dispute comes up was need to be QUICK to listen to what the other person says, SLOW to become angry and SLOW to speak. If we are more careful to consider what others are saying and slow to declare our own thoughts and ideas then it will be less likely that words will come out of our mouth that we will later regret saying.
So the next time you are provoked to want to speak or act in anger remember that in God’s word we are encouraged to be instead quick to listen and slow to speak. Think of your words as honeycomb. Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Kind words can bring healing and add sweetness to someone’s life. Let’s work on bringing sweetness to other’s lives, not bitterness. Be slow to voice your opinions and be quick to listen to others.
1 Timothy 2:9-10
That verse is rather full, isn't it? I mean, if you just glance at it you might think it's telling you that you can't wear jewelery, braid your hair, or wear a shirt that costs more than five dollars! But let's think about beauty for a minute. What does God say about beauty? Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. So beauty is really something that starts inside. If we love the Lord and want to do everything for His glory, then we are beautiful to Him. Outward beauty will fade. We know that. If you're considered gorgeous at 20, we all know you won't have that beauty at 90. It will decay, as does everything earthly. But there is an unfading beauty. "The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit." So beauty is truly in the heart. But is it wrong to wear jewelery, or even wear a little make-up now and then? No. God made beauty, and he made us to delight in beauty. But we need to have the right attitude about our outward appearance. If we dress ourselves "with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God", and that's what we focus on, then it's perfectly fine to wear something pretty. But if you only try to make yourself beautiful on the outside, you are not really beautiful. If you're like me, maybe you've seen a girl and thought "Wow, she's really pretty! I wish I looked like that!" But then maybe she's disrespectful to her parents, or does something that shows her inner attitude. When I see that, it totally spoils what I think of her outward beauty. I don't think "I wish I was like her" anymore. She is not truly beautiful. But I know a young woman who loves the Lord, who is kind and compassionate, thinks of others above herself, and just shows her love for God in everything. Ever since I was very young, there was no older girl at church who I thought was as beautiful as her. I admired her, looked up to her, and always wanted to be like her. As I've gotten older, to me she has still been all of that. But recently I thought, "What would I think if I looked just at her outward appearance? Is that really what is so lovely?" And when I looked, she was certainly not ugly, she was as fair and pretty as any of the other girls I know. But she was not what the world would call a "great beauty". And yet, a little girl loved and admired her so much. Why? Because she is truly beautiful. And that is what the Lord wants us to be.
For my whole life, I have grown up in one of those families that prays, reads scriptures daily, goes to church every Sunday, participates in missions, the whole nine yards. As you can imagine, some might stereotype me as a "good kid". I am involved in the church, rarely, if ever get into trouble, and when other people are watching I'm kind towards my family. Perhaps some people draw up a picture of my life that is far prettier than what it seems. While the outside of my cup may be clean, the inside is full of blemishes that can only be washed away by the power of Jesus. Out of all the things that I struggle with (the list could go on and on...) I want to focus on one- my daily relationship with God. Anybody have any ideas? Maybe some good steps to take would be restarting my prayer journal, starting a new devotional, and asking my parents for help and advice.
Every morning I wake up really early- compared to most teens- 6:30, usually. At the latest...7:30. I have a schedule that I like to stick to. Like a machine, my brain clicks on, I lay in bed for a FEW more minutes, then I hop up ready to start my day- shower, maybe pray while I'm in the shower (if I remember), get dressed, go downstairs and eat breakfast, try to listen during family Bible reading, go read my devotional, then it's off to the computer- or maybe a craft- or a writing project if I'm in the mood. Rarely do I truly enjoy delving into God's Word and seeing what He has for me there. Every once in a while, I'll really pray, but I feel like I just keep saying the same thing every time and somehow that makes me lose the feeling of being in God's presence. I guess you could call me a mechanical Christian. I feel stuck, like I'm repeating the same thing over and over again and I'm not growing.
Other girls' relationships with God could be tainted by other things. Maybe you have just started a relationship with God and you don't know where to go. I would suggest buying a devotional and a study Bible at your local Christian book store, finding a church that fits you (if you don't already go to church), and seeking advice from your older sisters in Christ (they were once teen girls themselves...). In some ways, your new relationship with God can be to your advantage. If you have not yet read God's Word, you have opened a whole new realm of wonder and beauty by opening the Bible and digging deep. Since I have heard Bible stories ever since I was little, they no longer give me the same little tingle in my spine. They no longer awe me, although I still cannot fathom the greatness of our God. For you everything is new, different, exciting!
If you are seeking God, look to your Christian friends, or if you don't know anybody who can encourage you in your quest, please leave a comment and maybe we can help! Never give up your search for God because He will find you and draw you to Himself. God gives me so much hope, even though I feel stuck sometimes.
As always, please leave any comments, questions, or bits of advice to improve the site! Thanks!
- Don't want your nails to be boring? Sometimes, colored nail polish can chip easily and end up looking trashy, but a transparent, or opaque skin tone color will lengthen the nails and make them look neat and clean.
- If you happen to have wavy/curly hair, but by the end of the day your curls end up looking frizzy and tangled, or just flat, try this method for defining your curls: After shampooing, conditioning, or just wetting your hair, gently comb in leave-in conditioner (I use Fructis). Then, scrunch curls with a hold gel (I used Suave- it works just as well as expensive brands). Later, when your hair has dried, lightly spray with hair spritz to keep the curls looking bold and defined. Spray again if needed.
- Did you know you don't have to use shampoo every day. Usually, I only use shampoo once or twice a week, then use conditioner on most days. If you're in a rush, you can simply wet your hair, then add gel. (This doesn't work with all hair types. A friend with very fine hair has to shampoo her hair daily, so find a system that works for you.)
- Do you have dark circles around your eyes, or always look tired? To brighten the area around the eyes, first use stick concealer around the bottom of the eyelid. Use light (cream) colored eye shadow on the upper eyelid and a bit below the eyebrows. You can also use some below the eye. You should use a small brush instead of a regular eye shadow applier. Then, dust the upper eyelid area and the area between the eyes and the nose just a bit with white eye shadow. If you choose to use mascara, just use a little bit to look natural.
- To make your face look smooth, with out caking on foundation, dust lightly with bare minerals powder.
- To keep your face moisturized, or if you have oily skin, wash twice daily with gentle baby soap, then use mild lotion for sensitive skin.
Ok, so since last week there were just too many videos, this week we are going to try the Weekend Top 5 Christian Songs. Remember, these are our favs and we just want you to vote!!!
These were the titles from last week that made it to the top 5:
I'm Letting Go by Francesca Battistelli
Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath
Shut Me Out by Kutless
The Motions by Matthew West
(And SO sorry- I can't remember the other one that made it, so I'm just going to add a new one. Here it is:)
Forgive and Loved by Jimmy Needham
(I apologize for the...interesting video. Just listen to the music.)
Don't forget to vote!
BIGGER! BETTER! FREE! EASY! RELAX!When I look around me- on the internet, driving down the street, in magazines and catalogs- these are the words that pop out of the page at me, a blatant reminder of where our culture finds pleasure. We try to get what we want, when we want it, the easy way. And if possible, we'd also appreciate if it didn't blow our budget. In our culture today, parents of teens shrug when their kids refuse to do chores, leave snack wrappers tossed around the house, neglect to meet simple responsibilities. They laugh, "Kids these days!". What they are neglecting to realize is that their teen is missing out on some big life lessons like humility, service, selflessness. The expectations of the average teen are generally low- sure, aren't most teens lazy anyway? They'll grow out of it. But they won't. They don't. Rising up is a generation of kids who are disgustingly self-centered. Even when we do "good things" we are probably secretly hoping someone will take notice and pat us on the back for making a good choice. We live only for ourselves. This hurts God so much as you will see in the following verse that we are going to study. Maybe you don't even realize it, but you are probably living for yourself too. I did. (Well, maybe I still do..a little bit.)
A little more than a year ago, as my mom searched for verses for me to memorize, she stumbled across the following. At the time, I had been struggling with selfishness (and perhaps a bit of laziness) and I needed to snap out of it. I was also extremely shy and quiet, sometimes helpless if my mom wasn't there to help me and give me the self-confidence I didn't have. Because it was getting to the point of rudeness (like not being able to carry on a decent conversation with an adult, let alone a girl my age) I needed something to help change me, move me.This verse is a humbling, brutal, and beautiful reminder of what our Savior went through and what a high standard God has set for us! The highlighted words are some keywords I would like to zoom in on and take a closer look at the meaning of each one of them. I used The Complete Word Study- New Testament Edition, edited by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. I also looked on blueletterbible.com, where if you go to a verse, then click on "C", you will find the meanings of several words. That way, we can get a better understanding of this verse:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (KJV)
- Robbery- harpagmos - a thing seized or to be seized, booty
- Of no reputation- kenoo - empty, void
- Servant- doulos - slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will altogether consumed in the will of the other
- Likeness- homoioma - resemblance, image
- Fashion- schema - external form, appearance; In Philippians 2:8- Jesus’ whole outward appearance in which there was no difference between the Incarnate Son and the other children of men, but he was God and continued to be God.
- Humbled- tapeinoo - In the case of Philippians 2:8- He brought about the recognition of His humanity by demonstrating His absolute dependence on His Father.
- Exalted- huperupsoo - To elevate above others, raise to the highest position
- Name- onoma- Implying authority, dignity; Delegated power and authority
- Bow- kampto- In honor of one, used of worshippers, bend the knee, bow
- Confess- exomologeo- To profess, confess as truth
- Lord- kurios- The title is given to God, the Messiah. Also it is used as a greeting from a servant to his master out of respect and reverence.
- Glory- doxa- It is understood in contrast with His earthly manifestation and is brought by Christ Himself into connection with the glory which He had before his humiliation in the incarnation. (Whew!)
Wow. What a powerful message. Take a look again at the meaning of the word servant. I love the picture of Jesus as a Man being all together consumed by the will of God. As He walked on the earth, He was willing to do anything to bring glory to His Father. And although He was still God, He had no problem with acknowledging His lowly position as a human. Jesus went so far as to even sacrifice His life on the cross for our sin. Daily, we are carrying a cross of our own. When we serve God, through directly serving Him, or through service to others, we are to " die" to ourselves. What does that mean? It obviously doesn't mean we work so hard we keel over and physically die. Every time we have a desire that isn't met as a result of loving others and giving them our time and attention we are sacrificing ourselves (though not so drastically as Jesus did on the cross).
Also about a year ago, my mom and I embarked on our first terrifying journey out of the country. We are both germ freaks, we are both control freaks, she had only been on a plane once before and I had never been on a plane in my life. As you can imagine, it did not go well with us. What I had imagined as a perfect trip on which I would change the lives of several young children and lead them to Christ, I ended up mostly taking care of my mom, who became dehydrated during our trip and ended up in bed with an IV for two days. That was when I realized how much I depended on my mom and how much she was dying to herself to meet my needs. During that week, under tough circumstances, I learned to fend for myself out in the real world (since my mom wasn't there to talk for me when I could think of anything good to say). I had to step out of my comfort zone and start doing things that I never imagined I could or would do for myself. But I did them (and I survived!). For me, my biggest humility problem is that I was so afraid of messing up and being embarrassed in front of other people, that I just would do or say anything. What an idea! Usually, the idol that "shy" people hold up is themselves. They are so obsessed with making the image of themselves perfect, that they hurt other people and appear rude and snobby instead of pouring over with love for others.
Don't get me wrong. There is a difference between humility (or meekness), and shyness. Meek is good- it's the servitude, willingness to sacrifice yourself for the glory of God, dying to ourselves. Shyness is holding ourselves up so high that we are afraid to look down because we might stumble.
But look at the promise God has for us if we only choose to walk in humility instead of pride- and that can be as easy as doing the dishes without your mom asking, helping an elderly lady with her groceries when you have a million "better" things to do, playing with your younger siblings when you feel like you have no energy left after a long day at school. When Jesus died and rose again, God raised Him to the highest place and glorified Him. And we must glorify Him also! God will reward us for our humility, even if we don't see our reward on earth.
Please comment to tell us what you got from this verse and it's additional meanings, as well as some ideas of how we can die to ourselves and glorify God while doing it! We appreciate all the feedback we can get!