Monday, January 29, 2007

The God I Love

The Pool of Bethesda...a place of hope, where Jesus healed many who were sick and crippled. In Joni Eareckson Tada's book, The God I Love, she describes a trip with her husband to that pool. For many years, she had dreamed of traveling to see this very pool. She also petitioned God for many years to heal her paralysis inflicted body. But God had other ideas for her life.
"I leaned on my arm against the guardrail. I whispered, "And now...after thirty years...I'm here...I made it. Jesus didn't pass me by. He didn't overlook me. He came my way and answered my prayer - He said no.

"Lord, your no answer to physical healing meant yes to a deeper healing - a better one. Your answer has bound me to other believers and taught me so much about myself. It's purged sin from my life, it's strengthened my commitment to you, forced me to depend on your grace. Your wiser, deeper answer has stretched my hope, refined my faith, and helped me to know you better. And you are good. You are so good."
Reading about Joni Earekson Tada's saga has greatly encouraged and inspired me. While I'm not wheelchair-bound, I do suffer from a chronic illness that robs me of energy and many physical activities. Because of this, I am often pleading with God to remove this illness from me and make me well. So far, He has yet to do that. I have two ways I can react to His reply: I can grow bitter and angry towards God and become upset that He hasn't healed me or I can look at it the way Joni does. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I can clearly see that God is healing me in various ways. Sure, my healing may not come in a physical form but in a spiritual sense.

In reality, Joni's principle is true for all of us. Most of you may not suffer from a chronic illness or be paralyzed, but all of us have petitions we send upward to the throne of God. Sometimes God chooses to answer those, sometimes He doesn't. Oftentimes we relate an answer to prayer with something happening in the physical realm, but God's healing is often unseen by our natural eye and sensed only by our spirit. Psalm 66:20 says,
"Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!"
God knows exactly what we need to live. He knows the number of the hairs on our heads, He calls the sparrows by name, and His love for us is as wide as the sky and as deep as the oceans. The next time you offer a prayer up to Heaven and things aren't going according to your prayer or your plan, I challenge you to look deeper and see if God is doing something bigger and greater in your heart.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Driven By Eternity

“Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” ~ Sean O'Casey

We are but vapors in the wind. We are all flowers quickly fading. We are only pilgrims passing through earth’s time into another realm. Time here is zero compared to all of eternity. What is our goal? What is our mission?

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

Most of you have probably seen the movie Beauty and the Beast, which depicts a story of a handsome prince who becomes a ferocious beast because of a lack of love. The beast’s time clock is an enchanted rose, of which he has to pay great heed. His mission is to fall in love before the last petal falls. If he fails, the curse will never be broken.

Now, think of our lives as a beautiful elegant rose. Job 14:2 says, “We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.” Each soft petal that wilts and falls to the ground is every year that slips through our fingers. And our assignment, unlike the beast, is to seek to please the Lord in everything we do, say, and think. 2 Corinthians 4:18—"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." We are challenged in the Scriptures to embrace an eternal mindset. What we do on this earth will be revealed in full at the judgment seat. We have to make every moment count. We have to live our lives in perspective of time without end. Our finite minds cannot seek to wrap themselves around such a mind-blowing concept!

We, as Christians, can leave an impact on someone that will either drive them to the cross or from the cross. Whether it is the result of an arrogant attitude, or from an act of unconditional love, we have the capacity to leave a lasting impression. Whatever the case may be, we have the power to bring life or death in any situation.

Deuteronomy 30:19: This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Thus, I encourage you to allow yourself to be driven by eternity, to look at your life through rose colored glasses, to remember that your life is but a flower quickly fading. I urge you, dear ones, to consent to being propelled by the love and fear of the Lord. Love, protecting you from the pit of legalism, and fear, protecting you from the pit of lawlessness. Our journey is a straight and narrow path. Make it your mission to run with endurance, to pace yourself with patience, and to complete your race with perseverance. Make it your goal to run and not give up!

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." Hebrews 10:36

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

By Stephanie


Monday, January 15, 2007

An Unsaved Princess

Once upon a time, a girl named Rapunzel was held captive in a tall stone tower. She then lived happily ever after. The end.

Yes, it is a pathetic story. I doubt you will ever find it on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Honestly, who cares about Rapunzel without rescuer? Who would be interested in a Cinderella with no prince to find her glass slipper? No one ever cares about stories involving princesses and frogs, unless of course the frog turns into a prince…now that story has possibilities.

An article from the Seattle Weekly reported that the “Unsaved Princess” syndrome has slipped into real life as well:
“I did a careful reading of the fall issues of the following publications: Cosmo Girl, Jump, Seventeen, and YM (Young and Modern.) The conclusion I came to was this: The boy-crazy American Girl is alive and well. She's never felt better….Girls need boys, boys are the be-all and end-all, and mind-numbing boy craziness is a natural state….Throughout these pages girls engage in the old game of he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not. They moon around about prom night. They crave Prince Charming so deeply it's making them psycho. A headline in Cosmo Girl reads 'No Guys Ever Like Me, So Now What?'"

Even in circles in which dating is not the focus, often unless the ring finger is no longer bare, life has not yet begun. A girl does not live until Prince Charming sweeps her off her feet. But as the clock ticks on, one must wonder if God has something in mind for modern day Rapunzels besides twiddling their thumbs.

Ephesians 5:25-30, 32 lets us in on a secret:

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the Church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it....This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church."
Husbands and wives are but echoes of Jesus' love for the Church. As a husband is commanded to love his wife as his own body, Jesus loved us by giving His body over to death for us.

Marriage reflects love. Jesus defined it.

As the modern Rapunzel's thoughts dwell around her coming prince, she may miss the One, True King of her soul. He stands at this moment, beckoning for her to come away with Him. He cares for her with a unconditional, selfless love that no other prince could rival.

Days pass to months, and the clock ticks on. Rapunzel is still in her tower, but she is no longer wasting time. She is falling in love, not with the prince who has yet to save her, but with the King who has already saved her soul. She is living today, not waiting for "someday."

May it be the same for us. As C.H. Spurgeon wrote, "The truest lengthening of life is to live while we live, wasting no time but using every hour for the highest ends. So be it this day."

Article. Emily White, "Girls who love boys," Seattle Weekly, August 23, 2000
Spurgeon quote from Faith's Checkbook entry for June 22

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Friday, January 12, 2007

New Sunrise, New Mercies

For once, I woke up early. I hadn't planned on watching the sunrise, but it captured my attention immediately after opening my eyes. As the golden light emerged, I watched the soft blue-gray hues cascade into majestic rays of red and pink above the rooftops. Simple colors blended together, yet I found it beautifully complete. And despite the chilly winter temperatures, this sunrise brought tremendous warmth to the day and my thoughts.

Not only am I grateful to see the sun, but to me, a sunrise speaks volumes. It speaks of Him, a single Source of light that transforms the vast emptiness into something brilliant.

Every time the sun rises, it marks a new day - a new beginning. Faithfully, God has given us another day to live for Him, filled with His mercy. Each sunrise presents another chance for us to be a ray of light in His day. As we shine with the love of Jesus, we don't know how far our rays will extend or what colors will blend together, but the Lord knows. Our lives, blended together, are His palette to paint a majestic sunrise each day. A single Source that transforms the vast emptiness into something brilliant.

The hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness came immediately to mind (emphasis mine).

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Silently, I began to rejoice. He has given me, a poor sinner, another chance - another sunrise.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. -Psalm 8:1
And God so gently but firmly said, "I have given you another day, join the sunrise and proclaim My name in all the earth."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Launched: The Modesty Survey

Discreet or dastardly? Benign or beserk? Modest get the picture.
The much-anticipated project of joined forces Alex and Brett Harris, Sarah Harris, Candace Perry, David Boskovic, and Katrina Rowe has launched.

The Survey is open today.

Guys, don't forget to submit your two cents. Girls, in the meantime, stay tuned to The Rebelution. When the survey is complete the results will be released for you to puruse.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Prayer Request

Please be in prayer for Danielle whose mother who went to be with Jesus on Friday morning.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." -Matthew 5:4

"I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer." -Psalm 17:6

Monday, January 01, 2007

(Don't) Save Me

Dear Beauty from the Heart,

I was wondering, what is your perspective is on chivalry? The reason I ask is, at the beginning of the year I began courting a young man, with the expectation that we would discover whether or not God intended for us to become more than friends. Along the way, I discovered that I was very highly irritated by his 'gentlemanly behavior'. He would go very much out of his way to open doors for me, take something out of my hands if I were carrying it, and pull out seats for me. It sounds like a dream, doesn't it? But he became offended if I offered to carry anything for him, or open a door before he got there first. I was very confused, because my personality loves helping others and my one strength (among a myriad of weaknesses) is putting others before myself. I began to feel disrespected, as if my offers of courtesy were not valid or proper. At times, I felt as though I were his property, and by offering my services I was robbing him of some right. For many other reasons, chiefly God showing us that we were both too immature (spiritually, for me) to be considering serious relationships, our courtship was ended at the beginning of summer, but the issue has continued to plague me. What is the Biblical basis for chivalry? Is it acceptable for women to open doors for themselves, or offer to carry something if a man's hands are full? Am I being rebellious in some way by wanting to open doors when I arrive at them, instead of waiting for a man who may be a step behind me?


"A Damsel in Distress"

Dear Damsel,

It's good to hear from you! You have asked several interesting questions. I've consulted my parents and God's Word and we're going to try to answer you to the best of our ability. However, if you have not already done so, I would encourage you to discuss this with your parents. They are the people God has given to guide you, and I'm sure they are more than willing to give advice.

It's true. Modern knights in shining armor have it tough these days. The damsels in distress who in medieval times would clasp their hands and shriek "Save me!" now proclaim "I can do it myself!" Is this wrong? After all, the word "chivalry" never appears in the Bible. In fact, from what I can find, the word first appeared in about 1300 AD in medieval France. But does this mean that chivalry is unbiblical?

Perhaps….but let's take a closer look.

When you hear the word "chivalry" what comes to mind? For me, I think of a man opening the door or giving up his chair for a lady. Are these acts of kindness just that—simple acts of kindness that should be offered by both sexes? Should men treat women with such differential respect for merely being women?

According to 1 Peter 3:7, women are to be treated differently by their husbands. It says, "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel..." What does the term "weaker vessel" mean? I posted once an analogy I heard on this subject:

A pastor once explained in his sermon the differences between men and women, and what it meant to be a "weaker vessel." He showed to the congregation two pitchers. One was a plastic water pitcher. He explained: "Men are like this pitcher. It is strong, heavy-duty and designed for a unique purpose." Then, the pastor revealed a delicate, porcelain teapot to the congregation. "Women," he said as he gently upheld the fragile pitcher, "are like this teapot. It too is made for a unique purpose...but it is the weaker vessel. If I dropped it, it would shatter. If I dropped the plastic pitcher, it would not shatter. But the value of the teapot is not diminished by its delicateness. We treasure and protect teapots."

Although 1 Peter 3:7 is directed to husbands, this verse does recognize the differences between the sexes and that they should be respected, not ignored. We can see other instances in Scripture which women have been treasured and treated with deference, such as in the Song of Solomon, where a group of brothers announce that they will protect their little sister:

"If she is a wall,

we will build towers of silver on her.

If she is a door,

we will enclose her with panels of cedar."

(Song of Solomon 8:9)

You see, chivalry is really a mindset. It's about embracing the role that God has given men: to serve and protect women. It stems from an attitude in the heart that wants to honor God, by putting the needs and comforts of women above their own.

Does this mean that chivalry is limited only to men? Well, yes-- and no. The word “chivalry” is used only regarding the way a man treats a lady. But Bible is clear that we are all to be servants of one another (1 Peter 4:10, Matthew 20:26-28). It is certainly not wrong for you to desire to serve others by putting their needs before your own, even when this involves offering to carry something for someone else. In fact, it's wonderful that God has given you such a meek, serving spirit!

Nonetheless, there are many opportunities for you to serve that are unique to girls. For instance, if I am cooking dinner, I am not insulted by my brother's lack of chivalry if he does not offer to help cook. Cooking is not his strong point. (Actually, it is not mine either, but I am the person training to be a keeper of the home, and he is not!) He is perfectly capable of learning to cook, but as a girl training to be a wife and mother, I want to serve him in this way! Even chivalrous guys must need help from time to time, and should be humble enough to appreciate your willing aid.

Just the same, there needs to be humility on both sides. In order for men to be chivalrous, damsels must be willing to accept and support their actions. I know that it is sometimes difficult to make a conscious effort to allow guys to do things. At times in the past, I have insisted on carrying a heavy table myself when guys have offered to do it for me. I can handle carrying tables (most of the time) but I must step back and allow the guy to express his respect for my femininity by doing the work himself.

Thank you for writing, Damsel. I hope this helps!

God bless!

Hannah (for Kristin, Lindsey and Stephanie)

P.S. If you would like to investigate this topic more in-depth, I recommend checking out these posts on chivalry.

"The Modern Day Gentleman" (Part One of a five post series)
"Chivalry in a Modern World"

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Kristin, Hannah & Lindsey

A blog by three young ladies who have a desire to serve the Lord and encourage other young women around them.

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