because you are young [purity]


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

Purify: “to rid of impurities . . . to free from guilt, sin, etc.” – dictionary

How can we be examples for others in purity?

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

(1 Peter 3:2)

I included this verse because it speaks to purity setting an example to others; it’s not only for wives, but everyone.

 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

(Acts 15:9)

So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

(Luke 11:9)

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

(James 1:5)

God will purify our hearts if we ask and if we have faith. These people had faith, so God purified their hearts.

 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

(2 Corinthians 7:1)

We must purify ourselves when it comes to who and what we surround ourselves with, as well as resisting temptation. This means getting rid of anything that isn’t God-honouring in our lives. Although not listening to certain music (which might be “okay” but still not giving glory to God) or reading certain books or watching certain TV shows may seem a bit extreme, it will not go unnoticed by our Heavenly Father.

 It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

(Titus 2:12 – 14)

God wants to purify us for His purpose.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

(1 John 1:9)

God will purify us if we repent and ask.

No matter how hard we try, we alone cannot purify ourselves. God must purify us because only He can truly forgive sins and change our hearts. We may try to physically change our hearts by trying to think good thoughts, etc., but it will never be enough because we do not have the power to make ourselves good enough for God. Only He can make us truly pure.

Today, I challenge you to rid your life of all things that are not honouring to God. Allow God to purify your heart for His great and wonderful purpose. God can change your heart if you let Him.

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because you are young [love]


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

So far, we’ve talked about being examples to other believers in speech and life; now for the next one…love.

Why do we need love?

How do we love others?

How do we know we are loving others?

Why?

Why do we need to love others? What’s the point of loving others if you don’t really like them? Why put the effort into loving others?

 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

(John 13:34)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

(1 Peter 4:8)

We are commanded to love each other by God because love covers over sins. Love can overcome all kinds of evil. So why love each other? Well, most importantly, because God commands us to. If we are true disciples of Christ, we will want to obey Him. And second, because love covers most sins and therefore is the main way that we witness to others. Also, as Paul said:

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do nothavelove, I am nothing.

(1 Corinthians 13:2)

How?

The definition of love is found in the famous “love chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Love is sacrificing, unselfishness, patience, kindness. The qualities of love are pretty much listed in this passage.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

(Romans 12:9)

Love means nothing if it’s not sincere. Pretending to like someone or always agreeing with them is not love. To exhibit the love of Christ, we must be sincere in our love for others. You don’t need to like someone to love them with God’s love. Just because Jesus didn’t like the Pharisees doesn’t mean He didn’t die for them too. God’s love goes above man’s behavior.

How do we know?

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

(1 John 5:2)

So how do we know that we are loving others? The easiest (and perhaps most accurate) way of “checking” this is to compare ourselves to God’s love. Was Jesus hypocritical? Was He rude? Selfish? The answer to all of these is, of course, no. We need to be as close to Christ’s example as possible to be living examples of Him to the world. Another way of gauging our example of love is to check out 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 — the characteristics of love.

Of course, none of this is possible without God’s help. Lean on Him and trust Him to help you show His love to everyone.

Following God’s commands proves that you love God and others.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

(Matthew 22:37 – 40)

with one purpose


Well, I’m back. I last posted in May of this year, and I needed a break to finish the school year by getting through exams…and I also needed to get my focus back for blogging. I read a magazine article challenging why people blog, and I realized that I needed to fix a few things. The article I read “sorted” bloggers into different categories — bloggers who want to be someone they’re not, or who want to be “preachers” to others (when they may not have the wisdom, experience or ability to do so), etc. So I decided to take a break and maybe revisit blogging in a while — or maybe not.

So here I am. When I started my blog, it was to be a light for Christ in the blogging-and-cyberspace world. I started to get away from that and was posting about personal goings-on, such as school, good movies to see, books to read, etc. None of that is wrong! But that’s not why I originally started blogging, and I wanted to stick to my original focus: serving Christ.

That being said, I also started to post “devotionals” or “sermons” — whatever you want to call them — teaching people how to live their lives for God. And I really have no expertise in that area. Rather than teach, I want to challenge; make people think. I don’t want to choose an issue and pick it apart, because I have no authority to do so; nor should I pretend to have that authority.

I’ve come to realize that now, and I have decided to tentatively start blogging again, but for one reason only: to be a light for Christ, encourage, and challenge other youth in the world. I give all the glory to God right now, and in blogging, the focus will be kept on Him and Him alone.

it’s who I am


In the Christian environment that many of us experience, whether that is church, school, or work, we are encouraged to be imitators of Christ. On the other hand, the world tends to tell us two things: be perfect (fashion, etc.) and, more recently, to just “be yourself!” The world’s sense of being yourself and “standing out” include standing up for what’s right (which is great), not caring what about what anyone says about you (ignoring gossip mills — again, great), and wearing what fits your style, not anyone else’s (again…great).

So often, though, the world tells us to be different in things that don’t really matter. Media tells us that voicing our own opinions matters, that wearing what we want matters, that just…being ourselves is what matters. At a glance, this seems harmless. And if all you’re doing is wearing what you want to wear, that’s pretty harmless; there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you observe more closely what the world seems to tell everyone, you’ll realize that the world is really telling you to live for you. Wear what you want, do what you want, be who you want.

Many Christians have chosen to combine Christianity (imitators of Christ) with the world’s message of you being you (different, unique, etc.) and it looks totally okay. After all, Jesus didn’t blend in; he stood out. Jesus didn’t go with the flow. In fact, he went against the current and broke down social barriers. Which is great! God doesn’t call us to be one with the world; he actually tells us to be in the world, not of it.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

2 Corinthians 10:3

Nothing I’ve said so far is really wrong. Wearing the clothes you choose to wear, etc. is okay! There’s nothing sinful about that.

What I’m talking about is more along the lines of “this is me, everyone needs to get used to it. If they don’t like who I am, that’s their problem.”

This is not a Christian attitude. I’m talking about Christians who are rather opinionated and don’t mind letting others know. I have heard some say that it’s “just who I am.”

I know that we need to accept people for who they are, and I’m not saying that we should judge other people.

What I am saying is that being harsh in the name of Christ isn’t okay.

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

Titus 3:1 – 2

It’s one thing to stand up for what’s right, but it’s quite another to be inconsiderate of other’s feelings and be harsh with them. Let’s face it — no one is perfect, or ever will be. But we as Christians should strive to demonstrate the same loving-kindness that Jesus did in his ministry. Jesus never ran after the Pharisees yelling, “You bunch of sinners! Follow me or you’ll go to hell!” No. He instead showed the love of God to them (although he did sometimes use harsh words with them out of righteous anger at their pride, but again — he never cut them down as people but rather showed them where they were wrong kindly, in the hopes of gaining their repentance). Similarly with other people, he never sat there telling them what was wrong with them, or was inconsiderate of their feelings. He did quite the opposite, actually. He talked with people, got to know them. Showed them love.

God calls us to be loving:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

2 Peter 1:5 – 7

(Check out 1 Corinthians 13 to see what love is: patient, kind, etc.)

God calls us to be different for him; we need to be different with the intent of bringing glory to his Name. Being opinionated and harsh with others will not bring glory to him. If we truly desire to please him, we will allow the meek loving-kindness of God to shine through us, pointing to his presence in our lives. Ask God to use you and help you practice meekness and love in everything you do. He will!

double agents: the secret life of a Christian


More and more I’ve noticed how Christians act. One thing that has struck me is how Christians often live double lives.

What I mean by this is how Christians often tend to act one way at church at act another way at work or school.

When I became a Christian (when I was little!) I basically became a Christian because I wanted to go to Heaven, and I knew I had to accept Jesus into my heart in order to do so. I accepted Jesus into my heart twice (I didn’t think I was serious the first time). I struggled with doing devotions on a regular basis because I didn’t want to do them.

Despite my salvation in Jesus, I didn’t become a Christian until this year.

“Hold on. If you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart and made Him your Savior, you’re a Christian. So why weren’t you a Christian until several years after you asked Him into your heart?!”

When I became a Christian, I understood God’s end of it. I’m a sinner, so I can never go to Heaven ’cause it’s perfect and so is God. God sent His Son Jesus to Earth to die for us (John 3:16!) so that we can go to Heaven with Him when we die. In return we need to try to do what is right all the time and we learn what’s right through the Bible. When I became a Christian, I did it because it was the right thing to do. Still, I somehow never felt like a true Christian. I always knew something was missing.

But I now realize that being a Christian is so much more! It means literally giving your whole life to God. I have to not just be a good person, but I have to dedicate my whole life to God. And that goes beyond going to church and singing during worship, taking sermon notes and being involved in all the church functions.

That means getting rid of anything in my life that doesn’t give glory to God.

This means a serious self-check. All aspects of your life — music, friends, books, magazines, clothes, activities — need to be checked for Christ-compatibility. If it isn’t for God, weed it out.

I’m not saying that God is completely opposed to every secular piece of music out there. But I think that as Christians, we too often try to get by rather than to be unwilling to compromise. Our idea of doing what’s right it toeing the line instead of fleeing.

Romans 12:9 says,

Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.

*Note: anything that isn’t FOR God is AGAINST God; thus anything that isn’t completely for Him is evil because God is good.

Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.

That’s pretty much everything in your life.

Being a Christian isn’t just something you do on Sunday mornings with just your soul. It’s something that shows in every area of your life. Like an elder at my church said, “It’s easy for me to be a Christian on Sunday, in the presence of other believers; but what about the other six days of the week in the workplace or school?

One person’s testimony goes like this:

I was trying to get this kid [who wasn’t a Christian] on my basketball team to come out to church with me one Sunday morning or youth. He never wanted to go, but I kept bugging him. Finally he said to me, “Why would I want to come to church or youth? What’s so special about them? You’re no different than I am; if they’re so good, how come you’re the same as me?” This really hit home for me because I realized that even though I claimed to be a Christian and salt and light, I was really no different in my actions than anyone else at school.

If we are called to be salt and light but act the same as other non-Christians, how will they ever see the Light?

Jesus literally wants us to be different from others. At school, I don’t do anything that other kids do that goes against my faith in Jesus. My friends notice this. I’ve been called “innocent” and “perfect.” I know I’m the farthest from those but I’m happy that my friends notice a difference. I’ve chosen to take their observations as a compliment, because it shows I’m succeeding in being set apart for Christ.

If we can’t follow Jesus with everything in us, we will never be a true Christian. I had to realize this before I felt like a real Christian.

God doesn’t require just your soul, or just your heart, or just your mind, or just your Sundays, or just your Bible reading.

He requires all of you.

healing rain


I love the rain.

It’s a new life, washing us clean.

It’s the love of God, completely covering us.

It’s Jesus’ redemptive grace, falling all over us.

It’s God’s tears, for He cries when we cry and is happy when we are filled with joy.

It’s what we dance in. Sing in. Laugh in.

It’s God’s loving mercies, falling all over us to give us new life and make us His Own.

It’s healing rain.

http://www.4shared.com/audio/y27qLEmI/09_-_Michael_W_Smith_-_Healing.html

Click the play button to listen to Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith — a wonderful song, reminding us of God’s unending grace and healing!

america’s holocaust


This is a terrific movie concerning abortion in today’s North American society. I highly recommend that you watch it. Please be warned, however, that it discusses abortion, the Holocaust (WW2), and sins such as adultery, lying, etc. I would recommend ages 14+ years. Again, though, I highly recommend it. Watch it ’til the end! He shares the gospel with many people. (:

Blessings,

Emily-Sue