Waiting for God’s Will

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This summer, I’ve learned about trusting God with my present and future situations.  This has been very good for my relationship with God and kept me from stressing out too much; however, I oftentimes still wish that their was a magic formula to show me God’s will for my life.  I’m sure that there are many others like me, since I’ve read a couple other blog posts and articles about finding God’s will.

The truth is, I believe that God does know what will happen in each person’s life and that he gives us certain abilities and insights to help us make life choices.  The first most obvious choice is salvation, which is when a person first surrenders his or her life to God.  After that, our job as believers is to spread the gospel and glorify God.  Though this may sound vague, it really isn’t.  Finally, I think the most important thing to do when trying to figure out what God’s will for the future is, is to step back and invest in the present.  This advice was given by an older friend in my school’s yearbook, but I did not follow it until this summer.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do after high school, but I know that I have a desire to get married and have children.  I also want to do the best I can as a high school student, sister, daughter, and friend right now.  Just because someone may be worried about the future doesn’t mean that they can’t focus on the present.  In fact, I believe that it is more important to invest in the present than to plan the future.  As I’ve learned, plans do not always go the way we want them to.  There are so many things that I thought I’d be doing by now and there are so many things that I’m doing now that I never knew I’d be doing.

I actually started blogging because I was tired of things happening without my input, specifically political things.  I have a passion for writing and a talent for it, so I started a blog.  I thought I would be doing a lot of writing about political and social events, but instead, God has turned my focus in a more spiritual direction and has revealed the desire to pour into other’s lives as a mentor and counselor.  This is an example of how investing in the present can impact one’s future.

 

I still do not know for sure what I want to do after high school, but I know that I will most likely go to college and major in communications.  I definitely have more ideas about jobs that I want now than I did at the beginning of the summer.  Thus, trusting God was a good idea, because it allowed me to take a step back from worrying about the future and focus on investing in the present.

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A Lesson From the Smokies

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My family recently when on vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  While there, we went on a hike in Smoky Mountain National Park.  It was a beautiful hike, and on the way up, I thought about how similar the hike was to the spiritual walk of a Christian.  I am not the only one who has made this sort of comparison.  Paul did in Hebrews 12, when he says “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”(ESV).

The mountain itself could be considered time and life, so hiking up the mountain would be walking through life.  The steep upward trails represent the hard times and the trials, which make the level and downward paths so much sweeter.  Furthermore, with a backpack to carry, it makes the upward hike so much harder.  The backpack could represent a struggle or spiritual burden, weighing down the believer to the point of exhaustion.  When a friend carries that burden with you, through prayer and fellowship, it makes the climb so much easier.

One could be so focused on climbing up the trail and making it to the top, that he or she might not stop to see the beautiful view.  Just because we have to go through life, which takes work, does not mean we cannot stop for a minute and look at the big picture.  In fact, if one does not stop to see the big picture, the distant mountain which reflects the one which he is climbing, one would become frustrated by the difficulty of the climb and would be tempted to give up.

One might also be tempted to give up if one hikes up the mountain alone.  Without encouragement from others, a person would feel lonely and have no one to share struggles with, or to lean on when he gets tired.

The climb is tiring and difficult, but it is worth it.  At the top of the trail, our party sat at a beautiful waterfall, a place of rest.  From there, we could see the other mountains.  This place of peace could represent the end of life, as a believer slips from this life into the arms of Jesus.  He is the one who gives his children energy to climb the mountain and the perseverance to finish the hike.  Without the struggles, his people would not realize how sweet rest with him is.  This is why he lets them go through struggles and hard times, for it draws them closer to him.

This is the lesson that I learned while hiking in the mountains, to persevere through trouble, for at the end of this troublesome life is perfect rest.

Emma 

Too Modest?

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I once asked a few of my girl friends, “Can you be too modest?”  All the girls agreed that yes, one can be too modest.  They thought that one could be too modest by being covered up from head to toe.  This, they explained, was too modest because at that point a girl is drawing attention to herself, at least in American culture, by being so covered up.  However, by drawing attention to herself, is a girl being truly modest? I disagreed with my friends, I believe that one can never be too modest.

Dictionary.com defines modesty as, “the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.”  The definition that I want to focus on is “freedom from vanity.”  True modesty is humility. Typically when people think of modesty, they think about girls who wear full-length, hideous dresses.  This is sad because it distracts from the fact that true modesty is undenyingly beautiful. Modesty is beautiful first in a person’s heart.

The only human being who was truly modest was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Though no other human beings are perfect, when a Christian is following hard after Christ, he or she can lose herself and be humble. When that Christ-like humility flows out of one’s heart and into one’s words and actions, people notice.  When a boy or girl talks to others in a humble manner, others are attracted to Christ.  Denying oneself for someone else is another expression of that modesty.

Finally, our clothing should be modest.  If a person is truly humble, he or she will want to glorify God in his or her dress.  This means dressing beautifully and modestly.  Do not sell yourself short, but do not purposely dress to impress either.  Think of your brothers and sisters in Christ when you dress, because honoring Christ should be your first thought and honoring your Christian brothers and sisters your second.

There is my opinion on modesty, hope it made you think!

Emma

Time to Talk About Us

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Many Christian girls who write blogs like to list husband requirements or encourage the Christian men they see around them. They say things like, “We need more men like you who devote their whole lives to God,” or “I’m glad there are young men like you for girls like us.” The question is, who is “us?”  Are we the girls whose lives are completely devoted to God?  Are we the ones who just really want to marry godly young men?  What kind of attributes do we have?

In order for “us” to find the young men we are looking for, we have to be godly young women.  We must go above and beyond cultural standards.  We should be asking God to constantly refine us until we reflect Christ and no other.  This process is not going to be easy, in fact, it’s going to be very hard.  To push against the culture takes courage.  To submit to God’s will takes humility.  To get through this life takes perseverance.

Through the teaching I have received in young life, the lessons that I have learned, and the knowledge I have acquired, I hope to encourage young women like me.  Girls who want to love Christ, stand out, and impact others.  I definitely do not have all the answers, only God has those, but I have read the Bible and have many godly women in my life.

In the next weeks, I hope to cover topics which concern Biblical womanhood.  These topics would include attitude, modesty, and character, as well as any other issues which concern young women.

Emma 

A Time to Be Thankful

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What is the first word one might think of when he hears, “Thanksgiving?”  Turkey and sweetpotatoes?  Family gathering?  Men wearing funny black hats with buckles?  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?  Whatever one might think, it probably has to do with his or her typical thanksgiving tradition.

Those who know the history of this day know that Thanksgiving was first a celebration of God’s provision.  The Pilgrims, who had come to America looking for freedom to practice Puritan Christianity, and met many hardships in the new land.  An Indian named Squanto showed them how to farm the land.  After a hard winter, the Pilgrims, or Puritans, wanted to celebrate the fact that their colony had survived.  Thus, they invited an Indian tribe to join them in feasting to celebrate God’s protection and provision.  Not until Lincoln was president did Thanksgiving become a national holiday.  From that time on, families have celebrated this day with food and tradition.  In the process of celebrating, have Americans forgotten what Thanksgiving is all about?

I hear people complaining about their lives all the time, whether directly or indirectly.  It gets tiring, especially since I live in the richest nation in the world, the United States of America.  It is especially annoying to hear Christians complaining, since they have the most to be thankful for!  I think God must be disappointed with us if we complain most of the time when he has given us so much.

This holiday, we should thank God for all he has given us.  If you don’t know where to start, look to the Constitution.  We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and many other rights, including freedom from tyranny.  This year, I made a list of things that I am thankful for, numbering each thing.  When I had finished, I saw over 120 things to be thankful for, and could still add more to the list.  This Thanksgiving, if you do not do it already, set aside time to thank God for all he has given you and your family, even if the list seems small.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

-Psalm 100:4

Groans of the World

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Some days, it seems like the world is falling apart.  Friends abandon friends, people change for the worse, bullying happens.  Natural disasters devastate communities.  More than ever, teenagers are falling into depression and committing suicide.  Life hurts.  Some days, we want to ask, “Where is the hope?” 

Since man fell, the world has been deteriorating.  Nations have been built and destroyed.  Lives have been created and lost.  Together, man and nature groans for relief.

Recently, I felt very discouraged with my life and the world.  There were many factors contributing to this.  I was near tears thinking about all that had happened.  Then, I remembered the Bible passage my youth group has been going through this Autumn, Romans 8.  This past Sunday, we studied verses 22 through 25.  It says that creation and we ourselves have been groaning, as though in the pain of childbirth, as we wait for Christ to come back.  When that time comes, our bodies will be fully renewed, and there will be no more pain.  We suffer as we wait, as a mother goes through pain before the joy of seeing her newborn child.

How I wait for the day of Christ, a day when I will fully experience my salvation!  Until then, I hope, and I wait patiently, watching and praying with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 

Keep Saving Me

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I really like listening to music, it helps me focus while I work.  Right now I’m listening to a Pandora station, and the song that came up was Saviour, Please, by Josh Wilson.  The chorus goes:

I try to be so tough, but I’m just not strong enough.  I can’t do this alone, God I need You to hold onto me.  I try to be good enough, but I’m nothing without Your love.   Saviour please, keep saving me. 

I really like this song and can identify with its message.  As a Christian, I have been saved from condemnation by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  When Jesus arose from the grave after being buried for three days, he conquered the two things that all men have been trapped by for all of time, sin and death.  Those who have trusted in Jesus’ sacrifice are no longer trapped by sin and death.  This is a beautiful reality.

Although I know I have life in Christ, I struggle all the time.  Sin shows up in my life that I am just ready to be done with.  There are days when I cannot wait for heaven, a place where there is no sin, and no pain.  There are days when I feel like I have nothing left.  Then, when I feel like giving up, something happens that refreshes me and reminds me of where my hope is.  A sermon, song, or passage from the scriptures reminds me of how great God is, and how much he loves me.  On the hard days, I cry out to Jesus to save me.  He has already saved me from the ultimate evil, but I daily need his grace.

I believe that the hard times are fundamental to spiritual growth, they are times when we glorify God through our weakness.  If Christians never had hard times, times of struggle, they would not feel the need to rely on God.  They would not cry out for the Holy Spirit’s help.

That is why I love Josh Wilson’s song, it addresses reality.  We cannot win this fight on our own.  We need Jesus to keep saving us.

Savior please, keep saving me.  I need you.