Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gossip:It Really is a Big Deal.

A young woman goes home from church crying. Word just got to her that some of the other women have been talking about her behind her back. Just recently, she had broken up with her boyfriend, and the rest of the women were talking about it. They were discussing with one another why they thought they broke up.

“I bet she talked down to him all the time.”
“I always knew she was too immature for him.”
“Poor guy. It’s a shame that she must have broken his heart.”
“She didn’t deserve him anyway.”

Gossip is a bigger problem than we acknowledge. It ravages people, ruins reputations, and tears churches apart; all because someone decided to inappropriately open their mouths.

Gossip is defined as, “Idle talk or rumor, especially about the private affairs of others.”

Gossip is talking about someone just to have something to talk about, and discussing things that aren’t any your business. It is a problem because it spreads like wildfire and is so easily twisted and manipulated.
It doesn’t matter if the intent is malicious or not. If you’re poking your nose into other people’s business and spreading it around, it’s STILL wrong.

In the bible, gossip is referred to as a SIN. Too often, it’s one of those sins that Christians have a tendency to put onto the backburner and see it as something that really isn’t a big deal. News flash: Gossip is a HUGE deal-whether or not you choose to see it as such.

“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore, do not associate with a babbler.”-Proverbs 20:19

“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.”-Proverbs 16:28

“Whoever goes about gossiping reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit, keeps things covered.”-Proverbs 11:13

“They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful…Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” –Romans 1:29-32

These last verses I gave in Romans are pretty frightening. We see here that God does not consider gossip to be an unimportant sin at all! Those who practice it and encourage it are worthy of death!

Gossip is a tool that Satan has used so many times to ruin people. Gossip hurts people and hurts the Church.
Most of the time, I have noticed that they gossip because they have nothing better to do. Study your bible more; pray more; encourage others more; develop more hobbies; do more housework…just STOP talking about others behind their backs. Taste your words before you spit them out and always ask yourself, “Would I want someone to talk about this if it were me?”

Older ladies-you’re supposed to be role models to us younger women. We want to come to you when we have problems. How are we supposed to do that if we know we’ll be met with gossip and judging? It’s not enough that you smile at us and give us hugs every week and tell us that you’re praying for us. You’re always telling us that actions speak louder than words. Can you please practice what you preach?

Everything we do must be from a heart of love for others and a will to please God (Colossians 3:17, 1st John 4:7). Gossip does not come from this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Get Out of Spiritual La La Land

Jonah is probably one of the most popular stories in the bible to teach to small children. This is probably because the story of Jonah is contained within four chapters of one book in the bible. The story is easy to follow along to and children are intrigued by the fact that a full-grown man is swallowed by a giant fish.

However, much more is to be taken from the story of Jonah than just an old fish-tale.

Jonah disobeyed God and decided to run away from doing what God told him to do. He somehow got it into his mind that God didn’t know or see what he was doing. He decided that he would pull himself into la-la land and forget God’s existence.

God got His attention, though. The storm hit and the people on the ship realized that something wasn’t right. Jonah insisted on being thrown overboard, and finally, the men on the ship did as Jonah had told them to do, and the storm stopped.

God knows all. He can’t be fooled. Jonah’s arrogance was shown throughout the story that he thought he knew more than God did.

So many people look into the Word of God, and think, “God couldn’t possibly mean that!” So many people rationalize in their minds certain things that the bible says is wrong. Some people pretend to live for God, yet live in la-la land about certain things they like to do.

If the bible says it’s wrong, we can’t rationalize it or make it right no matter what society says. The bible is the inspired word of God and He knows better than we do (2nd Timothy 3:16). It doesn’t matter what we think, or we want; that’s an arrogant mindset can get in the way

In the major issues of today’s society, such as homosexuality, fornication, and abortion; to say that these things are okay goes against God’s word as a whole (1st Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1:26-27, 1st Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 5:19, 1st Thessalonians 4:3, Ephesians 5:3, Psalm 139:13-16, Proverbs 6:17).

The bible says not to curse or to joke in an obscene way (Ephesians 4:29, Ephesians 5:4, Colossians 3:8). How often do we let this commandment slide when we’re mad or excited? I can’t tell you how frustrated it makes me to see people who are claiming to be religious to be using foul language in their daily lives and on Facebook. Sometimes even in text language form.

Or, they turn around and say God’s name in vain. They’ll shorten it to “OMG!” or “Omigod!” or, as seen on pictures meant as a joke, “Ermahgerd.” (I’m getting really tired of seeing this)

It doesn’t matter how lighthearted you put it-it’s STILL wrong. Stamping a funny picture or status with it does not make it any less wrong than it already is. It’s STILL disrespectful to God. So many in the religious world are letting their integrity and morals slide to be in with the culture.

God will always be there. The trends and ways of the culture won’t. God is the only truly eternal thing out there. He knows better than we do what’s right and wrong. We need to quit living in la-la land and ignoring what He’s telling us to do.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”-Proverbs 3:5-7

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sticks and Thrown Stones...

On Wednesday, October 10th, 2012, a young girl named Amanda Todd from British Columbia was found dead from suicide in her home. I started reading more into this story, and this young woman was a victim of severe bullying at her school.

It all started with a mistake she made years ago by flashing herself for a guy on a webcam. Years later also, she hooked up with a guy who was already in a relationship; later, in a video where she’s telling her story says, “…huge mistake.”

She was shunned or made fun of by everyone at her school, which no doubt led to her suicide.
Days later, some people who knew her are still posting things about her on Facebook such as, “I’m glad she’s dead.”

I was almost in tears as I read this story, and I can’t help but think that if someone, anyone from her had only extended God’s love to her, would she still be alive?

Sometimes I feel like Christians have a tendency to back themselves away from people who have made mistakes like this. Many of us get an attitude of absolute disgust and think, “Sinner! Sinner! Back away! Back away!”

I think we often forget that Jesus came to die for everyone-not just those who commit so-called “tiny” sins. Also remember that he saved a woman caught in adultery from being stoned. To the men who were wanting to stone her, Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” No one could do it. He simply told the woman to go and ‘sin no more’ (John 8:5-11).

Before you became a Christian, what kinds of things did you do? Certainly you have deep regrets over things you’ve done, right? No one can become a Christian or know the love of Christ until someone shows it to them. People like Amanda desperately need the love of Christ to change their lives and to give them a purpose.

Do the people who’ve committed those sins need Him any less? We ALL need the love of Christ. As Christians, we must reach out to those who are alone and need help. God has given us the job as His followers to help others and tell them about the love and hope Christ can give to them.

Don’t be an encourager to bullying by standing off in the sidelines. Remember-by stepping in and reaching out, God can use you to positively affect someone else.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Defeating Temptation...God is on Your Side!!!

As Christians, each one of has as a particular sin that we struggle with more than others. And, a lot of the time, it can cause a lot of stress every time we slip up.

Then, we slip into a sadness asking, “How could God possibly forgive me? I keep messing up!”
For the longest time, I also struggled with this. I just kept messing up over and over again, and other people have told me they’ve done the same.

Let me tell you, your mind can be a huge thing to overcome. But, I believe that to grow, you must defeat it!

One thing as Christians that we have to learn to do is to think logically. Acting on emotions alone will get you nowhere. At some point, you must pause and realize these facts:

1. You’re human-therefore, you’re imperfect. (Romans 3:10-12)
2. You’re not the only one who struggles with sin. (1st Corinthians 10:13)
3. Your God is bigger, greater, and stronger than you and your sin. (1st Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 4:13, 2nd Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 3:16)

I think that often, we forget why Jesus died on the cross. He died to save us from our sins so that we wouldn’t have to be chained to them. He died so we wouldn’t have to be separated from God for eternity.
Isn’t that something to rejoice about?

One thing that so many of us fail to do is to think logically. Part of being a Christian is to look at things in a logical way. We have to realize that we aren’t perfect, but God loves us anyway and is going to forgive us.
The more we participate in negative self-talk to ourselves, the worse our problem is going to become. You get to a point of subconsciously thinking, “Why even bother trying to stop? It’s not like I’m going to get any stronger.”

When you do this, you shut God out of your life. You forget how powerful and good He is, and focus simply on your own shortcomings. You should feel strengthened knowing that God is on your side and can help you overcome what you’re dealing with.

When you sin, you can’t allow it to rot in your mind over and over again. You must ask for forgiveness, repent, then stand up, dust yourself off, and move on. Then, you must pray and ask God to help you do better next time. You know what, God is faithful-He will never let you down. (Hebrews 3:6)

Ask God to help you see what certain triggers are for you that lead to sin. When you can do that, you’ll better be able stand firm and prevent yourself from slipping. Satan is very tricky and uses lots of cunning methods to sneak his way in and make you fall. You must be on your guard (1st Peter 5:8).

Remember, God is not going to leave you (Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:9). We must not let our emotions get in the way of remembering that.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Listen to God.

Being a Christian has a lot to do with growth. From the time we are baptized into Christ and become babes, we have a responsibility to grow spiritually. Over time, we become stronger and more sure in our faith. Through diligent study, we begin to see the things which God would have us to do. Because we love Him and want to please Him, we strive to make those changes.

However, one thing that I see a lot that many have a hard time overcoming is selfishness. Many grow in knowledge, but so many do not grow emotionally.

Now, it’s not necessarily that we refuse to think of others and to help them. That’s not the kind of selfishness I’m referring to. I’m talking about the selfishness that occurs when we decide that we would much rather ignore what God would have us to do and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Don’t so many of us do that? There are so many things that we as people want to continue to do, yet, as human beings we have a hard time giving those things up!

The apostle Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 7. He says: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but the very thing I hate. Now, if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that is good.” (15-16)

He is saying that there are many things as a Christian, let’s face it-we don’t really like to do. However, whether or not we ‘like’ it has nothing to do with it. When we love God, and are striving to live the way He would have us live, we are going to do that which we don’t like to do. Being a Christian takes sacrifice. 

Sure, we might not like having to give things up that we enjoy doing, but Jesus gave up everything for us on the cross-which is so much more than our pet sins we enjoy taking part in.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, acceptable and perfect.”

Being a Christian means to radically change your thinking and way of doing things. In a movie I watched once called, “To Save A Life”, a young man who has started attending a church became angry with some of the people in the youth group. They were whispering and ignoring what a person speaking had to say about the bible. In frustration, he stood up and exclaimed, “If you’re not going to let it change you, why are you even here?”

Ask yourselves that. If you’re not allowing God to change you inside and out, why even call yourself a Christian? Why even attend worship? As it says in Romans 12:2, and various other places, we must be transformed. We can’t continue doing the same things we were doing before. We’re not going to be perfect, but we can’t allow our lives to be ruled by the same principles or lack thereof that we lived by before.

The only way Christians are going to make an impact in our world is if we start removing the selfishness in our hearts and allow God to rule in us-and to actually LISTEN to Him. When we allow God to move us, the world is going to hear us-loud and clear.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Attributes of the Christian Girl, Part Seven: She Puts God Above Everything Else

Ariel was incredibly curious. She had always been fascinated by those who walk on two legs rather than swam everywhere with fins. This curiosity led to her collecting items that once belonged to those people. The more she collected the more she would learn about them. Some of her information was a little off a lot of the time, but she was learning enough to see that a lot of what she had been told wasn’t necessarily true.

One night, she decides to go up to the surface and check it out. What she sees is a ship shooting off fireworks. As she gets closer, she notices a rather handsome young man who is celebrating his birthday. At this, she falls in love at first sight, and ends up saving him later that night after a storm sinks the ship.

When her father finds out, he becomes furious and destroys all of her artifacts. She then decides that she has to see that young man again, one way or another.

Her love for him (what the movie describes as love) made her decide that she was going to put him above everything else.

Okay, I’m not saying to abandon your families to run off after some handsome stranger. But there is something to be learned from Ariel’s determination.

As Christian girls I think we have a tendency to forget where our priorities lie. God is supposed to be our everything, and too often, I feel that we let our standards drop for things that really aren’t that important.
Ariel decided that she would do just about anything-even give up her voice and family-to be with the one she loved. Are we that way with God? Are we truly committed to him to the point that we would give up even our friends and maybe even family if we had to?

If your family and friends start tormenting you for your faith, and threaten to disown you, would you denounce your faith or decide to stay with God? When it comes down to it, if you really love God above everything else, you’d sacrifice staying with your friends or family (Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:27, John 12:25).
Think about it in terms of material things as well. Do you allow material possessions or entertainment to get in the way of your walk with God? Is there anything you entertain yourself with that you know that God would not approve of?

If something is truly important to someone, it will show up in their actions. Let’s say there’s someone who never goes to church, watches trashy entertainment, and curses. Then, they turn around say that they’re Christians. Would you believe them? We need to constantly be examining ourselves to see if there’s anything we need to remove or put further down the priorities list.

As God’s daughters, God should be the absolute priority in our lives. He should be the very One that we try to please every day. The rest of the world needs to be able to see that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Attributes of the Christian Girl, Part Six: She Puts Others Needs Ahead of her Own

When Mulan learned that her crippled father had to go to war, she was heartbroken. She knew for certain that if he went, he wouldn’t come back alive. She loves her family dearly and wants what is best for them. She’d do anything for them.

So, she decides that the only option is to disguise herself as a soldier and take his place.

She realizes that by doing this she could very well get herself killed. One, she could be killed in battle. Two, since it’s against the law for women to join the army, she could be put to death if found out.

Yet, the love she has for her father is greater than her fear of being killed or harmed.

Would any of us have the guts to put ourselves into such a situation for someone else? Even if it was someone we loved, would we put ourselves on the line like that?

In Romans 5:7 it says: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die-yet, perhaps for just a good man would one dare to die.”

Paul, the writer of Romans, was definitely right. We might say that we would give our life for someone else if we had to; but if we really were pushed into that situation, would we actually do it?

We can see that Mulan definitely was very strong in heart. What she lacked in grace that was so desired in women of her culture, she made up for in love for her family. That takes a lot of love to do that for either a family member or even a close friend (John 15:13).

Even if we don’t ever get into that situation where we would have to jeopardize our lives, would we be able to do what’s best for someone else? If you were in a relationship with a guy that you loved, and you knew that you weren’t right for him, would you have the courage to do the right thing? If your friend started showing signs that she might commit suicide, would you say something to help her? If some kids at school are bullying another kid, would you stick up for him?

It’s easy to say that you’d do something, but we must be develop courage to do the right things. We must constantly ask God to give us courage in all situations that arise. It may not be the most popular thing to do, but if it will help someone else, it is worth it. Having the courage to do what’s best for others is something that all of us should develop.