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“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)
The bell rang. And as all the ‘normal’ people scampered past me I heard Stephanie’s voice like a dagger’s death blow whisper, “Loser.”
I turned and saw my one confidant. My one friend. My one secret holder being welcomed into the popular girl’s circle. Her public rejection of me was her ticket in to the crowd we’d secretly loathed together. Together.
I sank down beside the stupid trashcan where the stupid poster slowly untwisted on the ground in front of me. Loser.
I remembered this recently as I sat in front of a group of high school students. Girls who vulnerably shared how hard peer relationships can be. They described tangled relationships and feelings of loneliness so consuming they sometimes wished the world would open up and swallow them whole.I understood their feelings all too well. I have felt the sting of loneliness. I felt it in the flat chested stage of middle school. I have felt it in the sagging chested stage of adulthood. Relationships can be hard no matter what age you are. And here’s the real kicker.
I always thought my ticket to acceptance would have come had I won that school election. Not so. For I’ve discovered on the other side of achievements if you were lonely before you win, you’ll be lonely after you win. No amount of outward success can give you inward acceptance.
I’ve only been able to find that in the comfort of one who will never reject me. The One who knows what it feels like to be rejected though he should have been the most accepted. The One who will sit with me and remind me rejection from man doesn’t equal rejection from God. The One who whispers to the girl sitting at the foot of the locker, “Who are they to put a label on you? The label can only stick if you let it.”
Hebrews reminds me of a lot I need to remember…
Hebrews 2:v. 14- He (Jesus) shared in their humanity (He has personally felt what you feel)
v. 15- and freed those who all their lives were held in slavery (He can conquer this tough situation)
v. 18- Because He Himself suffered when he was tempted (He perfectly comforts those suffering)
v. 18 b- He is able to help those who are being tempted (and is able to show you what to do)
Hebrews 3:1, ” … fix your thoughts on Jesus,” (Don’t get consumed with the situation, rather consume your thoughts with His perspective, His truth, and His certain victory for you.)
Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we many receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
And of course I have to throw in a little 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, “God is just; He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled…”
And all the Jesus girls who have ever sat crying at the foot of trashcan said, “Amen! And Amen!”
Jesus, thank You that when others mistreat me and call me names, I know You feel differently about me. You accept me and love me just the way I am. Help me grow more like You whenever I face trials and mistreatment in life, and help me listen to and remember Your truth about myself. In Your name, Amen.
So I don’t know about you, but I’m a routine kinda gal! I always catch myself following the same patterns throughout my day, taking the same steps over and over again to complete my day to day. But there is one part of my daily routine that I can’t quite seem to get a handle on. Yes, I know all you girls know what I am talking about: our worrisome, wandering minds.
If any of you know me, you would know that I am not really the dancer type. Ok…..I’m horrible at dancing! But I will tell you that my brain has become quite the dancer. Through my adolescence, my teenage years, and now my young adult years, my mind has become accustomed to dancing and prancing from one topic to the next. There seems to be a choreographed flow and rhythm to it sometimes as I contemplate my life. It sways and moves from one plan to the next and dips and bows with the worries of this world, and the fears and doubts that have also become a part of my routine.
The mind can be a tricky place and as young girls even more tricky, sticky, complicated and so many other things. This world we live in and the places and things that we find ourselves surrounded by are only making it more difficult to keep our strength up and our minds focused on what is really important and Who really has the power to turn our tricky, sticky mess of a brain into something that is good, powerful and capable of changing this world we live in. That is Jesus Christ.
Here are some verses that really stick out to me concerning the problem we face with our female minds!
– “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
– “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 )
If you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts and confused by all that is around you, find rest and shelter in theses verses and in who God is. We don’t need to spend or waste anymore time, or anymore of our daily routine thinking negative thoughts, worrying about what tomorrow will bring or focusing on the things we just can’t figure out. God has it all under control and if we give our minds over to him he will renew us with an overwhelming sense of peace and the power to live our lives focused on Him and all that he wants for us!
As young women we have the chance to use our intelligent, beautiful minds to share God’s peace with so many people that could sure use a little extra stillness as part of their daily routine!
So, now, What are you going to change in your routine?
Taken from Girltalk.com
Joshua Harris Answers a Question
| by Carolyn Mahaney
Also this past Sunday, our senior pastor, Joshua Harris preached a powerful message entitled, “What it Costs to Follow Christ,” derived from Luke 14:25-35. At one point during his sermon, he addressed a question he commonly receives: “Is my relationship with this non-Christian guy OK?” We’ve been asked this question as well, so we have transcribed his wise answer for you here:
“Because of the topics that I’ve taught on in the past and the books that I’ve written, there have been so many occasions when I have encountered young men and women who are in a relationship with a person that is not a believer in Jesus Christ. And this seems to be in particular young women who will come, and they’ll talk about their desire to live for Jesus and to give their life to Him. But there’s this guy in the picture. And there is a relationship that has been formed, and there are affections, and there is a growing love for this person. But this person is going in the opposite direction from their Savior. And they’re often confused, and they’re often distraught and they often don’t know what to do. And when you quote the passage about not being ‘unequally yoked’–this kind of picture from agriculture and cows and stuff, just really isn’t doing anything for them. ‘Yoke. Cows. What? He’s so cute–what does that have to do with a cow, you know?’ And they’ll often have a desire to try to care for this guy. They don’t want to hurt his feelings. They think they can reach him with the gospel, and they’ll just stay in this relationship.”
“And what I say each and every time is: ‘You’re facing a choice. If you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, then you must choose Jesus and you must turn your back on that guy. In fact, if you have a desire for him to see the reality of Jesus Christ, the most loving thing that you can do is show him that you are more committed to Jesus than you are to him. If you want to show that guy that God is real, then obey the God who is real and choose Him over this relationship –with a person that doesn’t know Him, doesn’t follow Him, doesn’t obey Him. Those are hard words, but those are the words of Jesus.’”
Whether you are a new believer or a seasoned Christian, I would encourage you to listen to Josh’s whole sermon. You will experience fresh encouragement and provocation as you follow Christ.
Happy Spring Break! ~-JM
Have you ever felt like the world was against you? You wake up and your best friend suddenly isn’t, or people you hardly know are making it there life’s goal to make you miserable for no apparent reason? Are you sitting back waiting for the situation to change, but making no effort to bring on the change? Let me tell you, no matter what your age or situation in life, this doesn’t change. But the way you react to it can, and it can make a huge impact on your relationship with them, and your relationship with Christ.
I was in a season not too long ago, where I felt like I had many enemies that I had to face daily. I knew God had brought me to this place for a reason, and I could not understand why I had to be under such attack? My first instinct was to attack back. But instead, I asked God what He wanted me to do. Through His Word, wise Christ centered counsel, and through Christian teachings, I heard loud and clear, He wanted me to love the unlovable.
As people were scowling at me and mocking me (some to my face, and some behind my back), I had to smile and pray for them. People were tearing me down so they would look better. The more this happened, the more practice I got, until it became a little more of a natural response. Loving our enemies is not natural for us. We cannot do it on our own power, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I think that one of the most over looked Commandments in the Bible is the commandment to LOVE one another, even the ugly.We have kind of gotten into a “Love Rut”. We think love is a feeling, an emotion we only have to show when we “feel” like it, or we only have to show to those that love us. That is one of the greatest lies we are being fed.
Jesus showed His love for us by being brutally tortured to His death on the Cross for the sins that we committed. Love is a sacrifice; it is not just a feeling. You can make a conscious decision to love the unlovable. You can make a choice that you will practice LOVE and ask for the Lords help.
You have heard that it was said ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…….If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mathew 5:43-48 NIV)
As I began to pray for those who persecuted me, a couple things happened. One thing that happened was that God opened doors for them; He opened doors for them that took them away from me. He also opened my eyes to their hurt, their pain. Some of these people were being nasty to push me away, and when I stood firm (through Christ’s strength) and loved them anyway, they really opened up and we became close.
The best part was that as I started praying for my persecutors, instead of them having a negative affect over me, those who wished to hurt me were bringing me closer and closer to the Lord. Their harmful intentions were bringing me into the presence of my maker.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18)