Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book Recommendation

I'm not a big fan of recommending books to a large group of different people. Reading a book takes time and there's nothing worse then starting a book and waiting for it to be relevant or interesting to you. However, I have to recommend this one because I've honestly found it relevant and interesting in every stage of my life thus far. I read it when I was in high school and have referenced it MANY times since then. I recently pulled it off the shelf for a little refresher.

For ANY young woman (or mama of a young woman or potential mama of a young woman), this is for you. We live in a sex-crazed, superficial world and, although we might think we are coping, we are constantly being inundated by the media, celebrities, and even our peers. It's everywhere! This book called Every Young Woman's Battle (link takes you to Amazon for reviews and summary) will show you how to take a sex-saturated world and overcome it with Gospel-mindedness. It hits on some major points that we women face all the time.

It also answers the question, "How far is too far?" when it comes to sustaining virginity and purity. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked that question...and the age of the asker keeps dropping! Whether you are struggling with body image, relationship temptation, past sexual sin, or just want some motivation to live a pure and glorifying life, I highly recommend this book.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Single Minded

I really can't speak highly enough of this sermon on singleness by Paul Matthies. He nails so many important aspects of leading a God-glorifying life as an unmarried person.

Please, please, please listen to this! Even if you are in a relationship, engaged, or married, it's still beneficial. 

"To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion."-1st Corinthians 7:8-9 (ESV)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Who are you living for?

Between a Mark Driscoll sermon on hypocrisy and my pastor's message yesterday, I feel inspired to write something about it.

My pastor discussed the difference between knowing about God and being in a relationship with him. Big difference. I confuse the two all too often. Being a Christian shouldn't just be a proclamation, but a way of life.

I was listening to a sermon by John MacArthur and he discussed how Paul never changed his message. It didn't matter where he was or who he was talking to- the message was the same. He preached the Gospel. It made me think about how many times I change my message.

It reminds me of when I was a teenager and I'd think it was cool to sneak in a cuss word here and there while I was with my friends, but I would never have imagined doing it while my parents were around. Are we the same way with the Gospel? It's easy to talk about it with your Christian, church-going friends. It's easy to be sitting around the table and pray before a meal when you're with your family, but would you do it with your friends? With non-believers? Would non-believers know that Christ is the center of your life? These questions have been on my heart a lot lately.

Christ should be apparent in all aspects of our lives, not just certain parts where it's convenient. Our message shouldn't change depending on who we are or who we're talking to.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."-Colossians 3:1-10 (NIV)

*Emphasis added.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seeking Christ Through Trials

I'm not a generally emotional person. When A Walk To Remember came out, everyone left the theater all swollen-eyed and bawling and I had no idea why. I guess I'm not a big crier, especially in movies that aren't even real. But tonight I cried...for a long time. Tonight I feel broken. I am not blogging about this because I want sympathy or to vent my frustrations, but because I think there's a lot of misconception about being a Christian.

It's not all roses.

Becoming a Christian doesn't switch a light in your head and heart that makes your life pain-free and sets you on the easy street. I actually think it's quite the opposite. Being a Christian takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of changing the way you look at things, react to things, talk about things, and so on. I think it gets easier as time goes on, but there are always going to be setbacks. 

When everything seems to be going right, I await the bomb that's about to go off because it's only a matter of time. I wish I could say that, in those times where bombs are dropping, I turn to Christ for peace and comfort. Unfortunately this isn't always the case. It's easier to tell someone else to do it than to actually practice it. Tonight's a great example. 

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."-Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

Lord, make me into a woman who seeks after you, desires your will for my life, and turns to you in times of trial. Make me real. Make my heart clean. Create in me a right spirit.

*After I posted this, I saw that my friend had posted quotes about brokenness on his blog. Check them out; they say it better than I ever could. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Christ the Solid Rock

It's been a while since I last posted; things have been BUSY! Busy, but good. God continues to work and mold and shape my heart and I'm so thankful. Every day that passes sheds more light on the fact that I am saved and I should be suffering an eternity of punishment but I'm not because Christ took that on for me.

Lately, I've seen (in my own life and in other's) the desire to place earthly things above heavenly things. It's so easy to get wrapped up in these earthly relationships that will fail us every time. Why is it so easy to want to cultivate a friendship or a relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend, but require so much discipline to cultivate a relationship with the Father? I went through a phase where I had to seriously be strict on myself to spend time with the Lord. That's not the case anymore, by the grace of God, but I see others struggling and sometimes lack the words to encourage. So if you are reading this and you are discouraged and/or discontent with your relationship with God and your desire to study his word and spend time with him, I pray you will be awakened to your need and want for a close, personal relationship with your Savior. He loves you more than anyone on this earth can. Spending quality time with him is the only way to keep your feet firmly planted in what's right. It reminds me of the song lyrics: "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." Friends, be encouraged!

For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.-Titus 1:7-8 (ESV)