Thursday, September 27, 2012

Of Struggles & Growing

We all go through struggles....they are things we simply cannot go through life without.

   But although struggles (trials, tribulations, tests, etc.) are hard to go through, as their name implies, they are for our benefit. We would never grow in the Lord if we weren't tested. Some aren't too hard, some are rather tough, and some are so hard that through them, you come to the end of yourself and God fights for you.

   Recently, I went through a hard time. I have dealt with a particular struggle for many years and it had evolved into a stronghold for me. What my flesh wanted was SO very strong, but I knew what my carnality wanted was not what my Lord and my God wanted for me. I let the stronghold grow stronger and stronger until I felt I couldn't fight it anymore.
   My Spirit struggled against my flesh, but my flesh had become so strong that I was to the point that I knew that if I was offered what my flesh wanted, I would give in, despite the protests of my conscience and the Holy Spirit.
    When the stronghold came to the climax, I cried passionately in my room for what I wanted, wishing desperately for what I knew I couldn't have - for God wouldn't let me have it. One moment I was thinking in the flesh - one moment I was thinking in the Spirit. The battle had for sure and for certain climaxed, and I simply couldn't fight my flesh.

But, God wouldn't let me stay there...............

   A few days later, as my family and I were listening to a Bible teaching,  and one of the speaker's main points was, "Are you following after the lust of your eyes? Or following God?" I was rocked to my core, and the tears started flowing. I realized then that I had been telling myself that my struggle with the stronghold that held me was one thing, but it was really something deeper, and it was a much more critical issue that had to be solved. In reality, it was hard to face what I was really wanting, what was really holding me in "chains". 
   I hid the fact that I was crying until after the teaching was over, then I followed my mom into her room and burst into hysterical weeping. I told her everything. She and I talked for awhile, and coincidentally - no, not coincidentally, God-incidentally - my mom said she faced the same type of thing when she was younger.
   Talking with her helped, as it always does, and I felt better and more encouraged to fight it. But I knew I couldn't fight it mostly by myself as I had been doing. I knew I needed God to fight for me. To break the chains of the stronghold that held me.

   Through all of this, I had come to the end of myself, and knew that only God could help me through.

And He has!!!

   All this to say, [well, besides praising God for His goodness!] although we don't like going through the fires of struggles and the pain of overcoming strongholds through Christ, they are necessary parts of life. Without them, we wouldn't grow very strong in our faith.
   Through all trials, the Lord watches over His Children! He will never leave nor forsake you! You will not be tested more than you can bear! He is with you always!

   If your going through a tough trial, or trying to overcome a stronghold in your life right now, be encouraged! The Lord is with you! Ask His help, and believe! The Lord is a strong tower for his Children!

   I hope this post has blessed you today =) Know that I didn't write about my struggle of late for anyone to feel sorry for me - NO - but for all to see how great and mighty our God is! He rescues and He protects!

He alone can help us in our darkest hours!

Thanks for reading, & have a blessed day!

*** I will not be available to post or reply to comments
until the 2nd week in October. 
BUT, please, comment all you want on my blogs, (and vote on my polls!!) and know that I will be sure to respond to your comments as soon as I can!***

Friday, September 21, 2012

Modesty - An Issue of the Heart + Survey

Modesty, an issue of the heart.

   Just the other day, I was reading a book and came across this verse: Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come." (emphasis mine)
   And it hit me - this is a great verse about why we should be modest! Not only in dress, but also words, actions, everything! I know there are those who think, "I dress this way because I like it, and it's semi modest anyways. If boys can't control themselves and stumble because of it - that's their problem." But it isn't! This verse says that for all of us, temptations will come (^things that cause people to sin^), but woe (grief, distress, lamentation, trouble) to the person through which the temptation comes!

   I don't know about you, but to me, this verse is scary! This is a warning to us young ladies to watch the way we dress. If we dress modestly, then it is not "woe to us", but, on the other hand, if we choose to dress borderline immodest or just blatant immodest, this verse says "woe to us"! Dear me!!

   I pray none of us ever play the part of the "one through whom temptation comes" - especially for our dear brothers in Christ! They need us help them - not be a stumbling block and a hindrance! 

   I want to share the link to The Modesty Survey that was done back in 2007. It was quite eye-opening, even for me, a young lady whose parents have taught modesty to for years! My younger brother and I looked at it together earlier this year and while I sat amazed at some of the results (though many I expected), my brother was just sitting there nodding his head (of course). 
   In the survey, Christian girls submitted questions, and Christian guys of diverse ages answered. Please take a look - it might just change your perspective on modesty =)

Thanks for reading! Please comment if you checked out the Modesty Survey & tell me your thoughts. 

   ***Oh, and if you haven't yet voted on my poll, please, please do! I am trying to get an idea of what sort of post topics would be most helpful and encouraging to you! Thanks ;-)***
~ ~ ~
Also, I want to thank all my new followers! From 10 to 20 in less than 2 weeks! Thanks - you gals are awesome! I hope you are blessed, helped, & encouraged by what you read here!

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 2012 Guest Post

This month's guest post is by Rachel. 

   Rachel blogs at Peculiar Treasures, Tehilla Magazine, & Girls With Curves.

   This is the last guest post on Contentment for the time being. The next 3 month's Guest Post Topic is not set quite yet.

   So, without further adieu, Rachel:

What is Contentment?

What is contentment? The definition of contentment is "A state of happiness and satisfaction". The world and media whispers in our ears every day that in order to be content you have to have the perfect physical appearance, you have to buy this new item, you have to wear the latest fashion and you have to have a boyfriend or you're not 'normal'. But all these messages are directed to everything on the outside. Not once do you get an article in a magazine like Teen Zone telling you how to be a better sister, friend, and daughter. But rather it focuses on criticizing other people because of what they're wearing or gossiping about what's happening in their lives.
So how do we become content in a world like this? I read a quote once that said, 'Contentment is the realization of what you already have'.
Contentment is not looking at other people and envying a part of their life or wishing and wondering what your life would be like if 'this' was different! This has been a long journey for me. I used to fall into a deep pit of envy, jealousy and discontentment almost every time I walked out the door, read a book or watched a movie. Because you walk out the door and there are all these women out there with these seemingly perfect bodies, you read a book about someone's perfect life or you watch a movie about things that don't really happen. The love story in movies can make it look like a fairy tale and these stories don't really show the hard reality of it all, then you become discontent because you want a romance like that one that looks perfect on the big screen, then you become dissatisfied with what you already have.
I can either become discontent about living like a gypsy and not having a set place to call home or I can be content about having a roof over my head and food on the table.
I can either be discontent and angry that my parents got divorced or I can be grateful that God has brought a man into my mom's life who truly makes her happy.
I can be discontent about not having friends to hang out with on the weekends or I can be content about the very special few friends that I have even though they're either on the Internet or I can't see them often.
I can be discontent about not having an earthly father giving me love and protection or I can be content that I have a heavenly Father that trumps any earthly father no matter how perfect they seem.
It's all about perspective. You can see the good or you can see the bad. It's your choice. Paul was happy and content even when he was in prison. He could easily have been miserable and complained to God asking why this is happening to him but ... instead he saw it as a way of furthering the Kingdom of God.
"But I would that you should understand, brethren, that the things which happened to me have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places." Philippians 1:12 & 13

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13
So what will you choose?

   Thank you for writing such a great post on contentment, Rachel!

   I hope you all were blessed by Rachel's words of wisdom today ;-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On Witnessing...

Mark 16:15 ~Then he said to them, "As you go throughout the world, proclaim the Good News to all creation."

   For the past year or so, the Lord has been impressing upon my heart something that I've always been hesitant to do - share my faith. To date, I have only done it twice in my life, once to my cousin, and once to some random lady when I was 12 - but I was with a small group of people, so I don't even think that counts.
   I've always been nervous about the subject of witnessing because I hate it when people are offended and get angry. I like everything to be peaceful. But now I've realized that when and if those I witness to become irritated - it's not with me - it is with the message I present. I have no power whatsoever to change how they feel towards the message of Truth, but I can speak with love, kindness, and genuine care. And, sad as it may be, if people choose to reject the Truth - I must let them go and let God deal with them.

   There have been nights this year that I've cried out to God on behalf of the many, many lost souls in the world. I feel so terribly about the magnitude of the souls that will be separated from God for eternity. But then, what am I doing about it? True, I am praying, praying hard, but, I know God wants me to do something; for He has given me some distinct signs this year.
   First, though I had read it before, I felt impressed to re-read Mark Cahill's book, One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven.
   Second, after reading it again, I felt inspired, but I wanted to read more on the subject. Then in July at a home-school book fair I saw Grace Mally's new book, Will Our Generation Speak [about witnessing] & I thought, 'Wow, God must be trying to tell me something'.
   Third, when I talked to my dad about how I was feeling - he was in total agreement! [ironic, isn't it, that God says a matter is confirmed by 2-3 witnesses?!?!?]

   So, I have my purse prepared with tracts [ice breakers], and all I need now is more courage. Writing that, I feel kind of silly - but I am, after all, an introvert. This proves to make witnessing a bit difficult indeed.

   You see, when I was little, I was paranoid about strangers. I thought many of the people I walked by were bad guys, kidnappers, and not to mention that I thought by getting close to certain strangers I would in all probability catch some disease. [no joke, and I even held my breath at times as we passed certain "suspicious" people and counted a few seconds afterward to ensure I wouldn't contract anything.]
  I know, silly little me - watched too many movies. [let that be a warning to all you younger ones ;-) kidding] 
   So, needless to say, I avoided as much contact with strangers as possible. =)

   But, now, I know what God expects of me, and I am preparing to do it. [and no, I do not still think every passerby is out to get me!] One of the most comforting verses is Philippians 4:13 ~ "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengths me."

  I truly believe there is not much time left for the lost to come to Christ in repentance, and that is quite sobering. The road we follow which leads to life is so narrow in comparison to the broad road that leads to destruction. It is hard not to cry when I really ponder this sad fact. 
  I want to have the mind of God in this [in everything really!] - and I know in His word [2 Peter 3:9] He states, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

   Now that is love - the sincere love of a Creator for His creation. I know there are many people who do many terrible thigns, but I don't want anyone to perish! To perish in the since of the verse above is something so terrible it's unfathomable! To wish that on anyone would be - evil. 

   When I think on these things, I become really, really, sad. I know I cannot save anyone, cannot change  people's minds, cannot make them see the Truth. And that while many are called, few (very few) are chosen. 

   And I have to ask myself - is my fear of what people will think of me or of what people may do/say to me so great that the fear "clobbers my faith" so that I do not follow my Lord's command or His leading in this matter? It shouldn't be.

  Well, this has been a quite interesting [if I do say so myself] post wherein I have somehow managed to mix my thoughts, life, prayers, and deep feelings into a large rambling of sorts. This is the first time I have posted in this queer fashion - and I hope I haven't managed to confuse you ;-)

   What are your thoughts on witnessing? Has the Lord impressed it upon your heart?

*Sorry it's been so long since my last post. For the first time ever, I had trouble picking a topic!*
I hope you are all doing great & feeling blessed ;-)