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Friday, August 11, 2006

Green and Golden-Brown

In the vps fxpro golden days of summer, we frequently have a lack of rain here in Michigan. Our grass begins to wither and it turns a dusty shade of golden brown. It is imperative that the grass gets watered so it can be green and lush again.

Last year, we had quite a "drought" (which probably isn't considered a drought for those of you in Texas) and the thought struck me so abruptly like a sudden rainstorm (how coincidental).

Without God, we can be the same way. We can be reading His Word and we are lush, green grass. But without it, we are golden-brown and all dried up. Now, I don't control the weather department so I can't make the rain come pouring down, but I can read the Bible and become lush plants again. Psalms 1:3-4 illustrates my point:

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. ~Psalm 1:3

This Scripture goes along great and so does the following verse:

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind fxpro live spreads blows away.

It's easy as Christians to become like dry grass. We read our Bibles here and there, we attend services weekly just to maintain our "Christian" status, but in essence, we're all dried up. I sure don't want to be blown away by the wind. I can envision myself as a large oak tree that's been here for ages, next to a stream flowing quietly in the countryside. Now that's what I want to be.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Note from Kristin

Dear Readers,

Kristin posted a few weeks ago regarding her illness. Since then, she has become even more ill and has been going to and from doctor's appointments, trying to find out what is wrong. So far, the doctors that she has visited have been unable to pinpoint the problem. She has undergone tests today and hopes to have the results soon.

Kristin is grateful for your prayers on her behalf, but asks that you continue praying for healing and peace. Thank you!

In Christ,
Hannah (for Kristin)

EDIT: Thank you so very, very much for your fxpro metatrader 4 download prayers! Kristin received her test results today, and she is doing much better!

Your Epidermis is Showing!

(Part 2)


"Ten minutes until we leave for church, everyone!" Emma Jones heard the voice of her dad down the hallway from her bedroom. She heaved a sigh as she held up a skirt to the mirror. It was her favorite blue skirt, but she had not worn it since last summer. She had been delighted to find it in the back of the closet that morning, but disappointed when she tried it on.

Emma had grown several inches taller since she had last worn the skirt, making the skirt several inches above her knee. Standing up, it still appeared to be modest, but sitting down, she knew that it showed too much.

Still, she fought with the idea of not wearing it. Short skirts were in style, and this one was particularly flattering. Besides, she would be seeing Nathan Davis at church. His family had recently joined Emma's church, and ever since he came the girls had been flocking around him. Every time Emma was around the group, she felt painfully "un-cool."

Staring into the mirror, Emma asked herself aloud, "Why not?"

____________

As I hope I established in my last post, immodesty is rampant among young women of the world. This is not unexpected. After all, John 15:19 clearly states that the world hates things of God, and will act contrary to His teachings: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

Unfortunately, many Christians have chosen to be like the rest of the world in their opinions on modesty. I remember when a professing Christian woman said, upon being confronted concerning her and her daughter's clothing choices, "We just don't do the modesty thing." But as young ladies who are daughters of the Most High King, we have been called to something greater than the world. We have been called to be set apart as the pure and blameless Bride of Christ. We are called "to dress modestly, with decency and propriety." (1 Timothy 2:9) We have been called to "do the modesty thing."

Some argue that modesty is a prudish behavior adopted only by legalistic Christians and conflicts with the liberty found in Christ. But Christian liberty is clearly not a viable excuse for leading others into temptation. As it says in 1 Corinthians 8:9, "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak."

Dressing provocatively does just what the word suggests--it provokes sexual temptation and lust. For Christian men who are dedicated to pleasing Christ, immodest clothing can be an assault on the eyes. Although it is the responsibility of Christian men to guard their eyes from temptation, we, as Christian ladies should not make it difficult for them. If we love our brothers in Christ the way that Philippians tells us to love, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, and looking not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3,4) then would we dress immodestly? Would we dress in a way that might lead our brothers in Christ into temptation, and in lure them to draw away from Christ? If our goal is to please Christ, we should dress in a way that is considerate of others, even at the expense of being in style.

You may have wondered what Emma Jones chose to wear to church, but I am not sure. You see, Emma Jones is not only a made-up character. She is every one of us, faced with the choice of what to wear. We can each shrug off the decision as "what everyone is doing" or we can choose to honor our Savior with quiet obedience.

The choice is yours.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Being an Elizabeth in a Lydia World


(Part 1)

I am not a shopper. Unlike certain friends and family members who relish every opportunity to scrutinize products and price tags, I was never given the NSA (Natural Shopping Ability) at birth. In spite of my natural aversion to shopping, I recently broke with the precedent and went on one of those rare trips to the mall with a friend.

My observations at the end of the day were depressing, to say the least. Skirts as transparent as windows and shirts with sleeves that were nonexistent summarize the “selection” of the women’s clothing departments that my friend and I visited. This caused me to wonder, has modesty become a lost virtue? Has our culture forgotten what modesty is? Have Christians forgotten the definition of modesty and how it should be applied?

Modesty is the special combination of unpretentiousness and discretion; it is a desire not to draw undue attention to one’s self. Originating from an inward humility, the term “modesty” can not only be applied to a person’s choice of clothing, but the way they behave. Webster’s 1828 has a good deal to say concerning modesty:

“…modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others are all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require….In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle.”

A clear contrast between modesty and immodesty can be found in the timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice: Lydia Bennett is the youngest of the Bennett daughters, and is also the shame of her family. At only sixteen years of age, she attends balls and parties along with her adult sisters. Lydia makes a reputation for herself by loud boisterousness and flirtatious behavior around all the young men in her proximity. Is Lydia admirable example of modesty? I think not.

Her elder sister, Elizabeth, on the other hand, is characterized by her wisdom and propriety. Although Elizabeth has many faults, immodesty is not one of them. She prefers courteous conversation to her sister’s boisterousness, and feels a sense of shame at Lydia’s conduct. If modesty was important to Elizabeth Bennett and the real-life women of her time, how much more should it be important to women of our day who profess to know Christ!

These are only my initial thoughts. Part 2 is coming soon. Until then, I’ll leave these questions for discussion. (And guys, although Beauty from the Heart is essentially for girls, we do know that you have opinions on this topic too. You are welcome to join in this discussion, if you wish.)

  • In your opinion, is modesty a “lost virtue” in the world today? Why/why not?
  • Is modesty important to you?
  • If modesty has not always been important to you, what caused your opinion about it to change?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Reflections in the Mirror

Look into a mirror. What do you see? You, of course!

Have someone else look at you. What do they see ? They see you, that much is obvious. But that's not what I'm getting at. Who do they really see? Do they see Christ?

As Christian young ladies, we should reflect our King - Jesus Christ. Does our clothing, hairstyle, jewelry reflect God's glory? Do our actions, words and attitudes reflect God's heart? In a culture where most young ladies trash themselves both inwardly and outwardly, we are called to be set apart for Christ and to be a witness to them. That doesn't mean conforming to their ways in order to reach them.

If it were possible for us to step outside ourselves and catch a glimpse for another perspective, what message would you get? Would you be attracted to Christ or distracted by the glitz and glamor of the latest styles and trends?

It's not just the outward dress, it's the inward person of the heart. Have we spent as much time "preparing" our heart to meet the public as we have our physical appearance? It's easy to leave the house in a hurry, with a bad attitude. Perhaps we're more interested in getting our errands done before traffic gets heavy or the stores start to get crowded. I too have fallen guilty of this before! While it seem ridiculous at times, I have ardently tried to leave the house with a cheerful attitude and countenance because the way I look will reflect on who I am. Sure I can say I'm a Christian, but my attitude may say something quite the opposite.

In the same way, we reflect Christ we are also a reflection of our earthly fathers. Have you ever said something disrespectful or had a sour attitude towards your own father? Regret usually follows, but unlike computers there is no handy "undo" button to just delete the wrong until we confess and seek reconciliation.

We are daughters of Christ - we are His ambassadors to the world! Just like we bear the family name, whether it be Smith, Jones or Braun (yes, even me!), we also bear Christ's name - and we should care deeply about how we reflect our Heavenly Father and our earthly father.

What is your reflection in the mirror?

On another note, Regenerate Our Culture has come out with Issue 10 - with a theme on writing. There are several articles on this topic, including an interview by yours truly which I had fun putting together. But aside from that, make sure you check out the entire issue!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ni Hao! (I Have Returned...)

Wow! What can I say? Visiting China was an amazing experience!
After leaving the airport when I first arrived in Kunming, our taxi was in a fender bender and we had to drag my luggage across the interstate. What a way to kick off the trip!
(The Yangtze River and Jade Dragon Mountain)

A few nights later, there was an earthquake that killed nineteen people. Thankfully, the family I was staying with and I were unhurt, and there was little damage in our area.

Every day involved stepping outside of my comfort zone (not an easy thing for me to do) but God was faithful, as always.(On the right is my friend, Nicole, and on the left is me.)

Perhaps the most touching part of the trip was the visit to a leprosy colony. I traveled with a doctor and his family to a village inhabited only by lepers. Outcasts of society, these people have been cured from leprosy for many years, but because of the general public's extreme fear of the disease, have been unable to return to normal living. Children and grandchildren of the former-lepers are also confined to the village, where they live off the land and have very limited contact with the outside world. Visitors to the village are few and far between, so when we arrived, the whole town congregated to see us.

As I watched the lepers interact with the doctor and his family, I was reminded of Christ. These people--some missing a nose or legs or unable to close their eyes--are beloved of Him. The reminder that He came from heaven in order heal lepers and even more so--those with the spiritual disease of sin--was a piercing thought. (A Tibetan woman in a valley)

Thank you so much for praying for me! I'm glad to be back!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sick!

A few days ago when I posted several prayer requests, little did I know that I few days later that I'd be posting my own! Unfortunately, I have contracted a sinus infection that has taken a lot out of me - this is another reason I haven't posted much. I also have a swollen lymph node - and the doctor is very concerned about. Apparently, the lymph node problem has nothing to do with the sinus infection. Your prayers would be appreciated that I would recover quickly and that nothing serious would be wrong with me. Thank you!

While I'm "away", here's an article at Crosswalk.com by Carolyn McCulley (who also blogs at Solo Femininity). The article, What to do in the meantime, deals with a question that I've asked so many times myself. Here's a peek,

QUESTION: My nineteen-year-old daughter has graduated high school and is attending the local college. She wants to get married and have children. My question is this: what is she supposed to do with her time? Does she pursue a degree? Get a job? We've prayed and so far are not getting much direction. We've raised her to believe her role is to be a wife and mother but what if that's not where she ends up or what if it's not for ten years? Does she stay at home with us? At what time does she strike out on her own? She is our oldest child so this is uncharted territory for us! Just as a side note we have gone the courtship route and she has not found anyone yet.

ANSWER: A question like this requires a balancing act of tact and faith from my end. As an older never-married woman, I’m certainly glad I pursued an education as well as professional and personal interests. Though God has not (yet) answered my prayers for marriage and children, I have led an interesting, varied and full life serving others in the church and on the job.

Continue reading Carolyn's column here.

What are your thoughts on Carolyn's column?

Update: Jennifer at Jennifer's Musings posted on why she is thankful for her father's authority. This post is outstanding and I agree with her completely. I'd encourage every young lady to read it!

Related posts: Homeward Bound and Let's Talk

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Comfort Zones and Evangelism

I have a problem. Actually, I have lots of problems. My real problem is that I can't conquer my first problem. Yes, I definitely have quite a problem, wouldn't you say so?

So what is this problem? I don't want to come out of my comfort zone when I want to evangelize. It's not that I don't want to tell others about the gospel, it just has to be within my comfort zone. Really, I'm actually afraid that I'll be laughed at and scorned when I tell others about Christ. But that shouldn't matter. Jesus was laughed at when He was dying on the cross. Should I, a sinner, be willing to do a few things for HIM? Like spreading the gospel? I would think so. Jesus sure went out His comfort zone for me when He died on the cross.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Matthew 28:18 - 20:

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

God specifically commands us to take His Word and share it with others. When we procrastinate (something I can be good at) we're not obeying Him. While Jesus was here on earth, I don't think He procrastinated and said that He, a perfect man, couldn't eat with a sinner and share the Gospel. I don't think so. Jesus opened His arms to those who were lost. Why can't I?

I've been challenged lately to come out of my comfort zone and be a light to others. I babysit quite frequently and interact with children on a daily basis. I love to get down on their level and see life from their perspective and more than once, these opportunities to share my faith hace come up. I've just never been willing. It's sad when you think about it. Really it is. I am denying someone a chance to know Christ because I'm and can't come out of my comfort zone. How selfish.

I have been reading a lot about missions as well. I would love to take a missions trip one of these days. But I think God has been holding me back until I come out of my little zone and share Christ with those around me. Matthew 25:21 has encouraged me to be faithful with the small things:

'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.

Over the years, God has taught me quite a bit....and I'm excited. I just have to keep my eyes on Christ and remember that He is the one I should follow. He's my example. The more I focus on Him, the better I'll be.

From the archives of Spunky Jr.

Contributors:

Kristin, Hannah, Lindsey & Stephanie

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