Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Dwelling in Peace

"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes"  
-Psalm 37:3-7
 One thing above all has enabled me to dwell at peace in the midst of trial: looking to the Lord, focusing my eyes entirely upon God and His wisdom, and love.
True freedom from our troubles is achieved when we follow the steps laid out for us in Psalm 37, when we deliberately set our emotions to delight in the Lord and give our reputation and our future entirely to Him.

As I seek to fill my mind--through Scripture, sermons, and songs--with thoughts of the Lord and who He is and what He has done and what He promises to do, I have been able to experience freedom, peace, and even joy in the midst of trials. This however, doesn't mean the pain or difficulty has gone, but that is not the main focus of my attention. It is the Lord. To Him will I look.

                                                         ~Grace~

What if, sometimes...


"What if, sometimes, there are mists and fogs so thick that I cannot see the path? ‘Tis enough that You hold my hand, and guide me in the darkness; for walking with You in the gloom–is far sweeter and safer than walking alone in the sunlight!
Dear Lord, give me grace to trust You wholly, whatever may befall; yielding myself up to Your leading, and leaning hard on You when “dangers are in the path.” Your way for me has been marked out from all eternity, and it leads directly to Yourself and home!" -Susannah Spurgeon

                                                                         ~Grace~


Real Beauity


This is me after a long, cold and miserable photo shoot. Society's beauty costs my friends! ... I think it took three cups of tea to warm me back up again.


I can conclude that almost every woman, everywhere, wants and yearns to be beautiful. And every day you’ll hear voices telling you how. “Buy these clothes! Try this diet! New creams guaranteed to make you look younger! Three easy steps to look like this season’s top actress!” 
And when you reach your goal of becoming beautiful, the voices say, you’ll be happy. Popular. Successful. Loved by everyone. But is this really what physical beauty delivers?

God delights in beauty, and he wants us to cultivate the most fulfilling and genuine kind.
 
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you"-1 Peter 1:3–4

"I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God" - 1 Timothy 2:9–10, 

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." - 1 Peter 3:3-4

                                            ~Grace~

Monday, 19 December 2011

Romance

"Perhaps, after all, romance does not come into ones life with pomp and flair, like a joyful knight riding down. Perhaps it crept to ones side like an old friend through quiet ways. Perhaps it reveals itself in seeming purpose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung outward it's pages, betrayed the rhythm and the music. Perhaps...Perhaps love unfolds naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from it's green sheath."  -Anne of Green Gables
"Growing in romance should only take place only when friendship and fellowship are deepening." - Josh Harris
The essence of pure romance is a pursuit - a man revealing through his care, affection and sincere love for a woman and the woman responding in kind. 
-While romance is not the first priority in a relationship, it's still important, romantic feelings and the pure non-physical expression of those feelings are an essential part of this time in a relationship. If God is confirming the wisdom and rightness of the relationship, romantic feelings should be viewed as a good thing and a gift from God.
-Our goal during "courtship" is not to stifle our feelings of affection and love, but to submit them to God and grow in and guard them.

                                            ~Grace~

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Reflections on C.S. Lewis



C.S Lewis is one of the rarest kind of Christian apologist: both atheists and believers read his material with delight. Part of his appeal comes from the great modesty he beheld. He was not, after all, very impressed with himself. A great deal lies within his clear impatience with routine hypocrisy among Christians and his disgust with lingering Puritanism. Lewis was known to describe himself  as a "converted pagan living among apostate Puritans". Recognized as a man of great knowledge, wit, and formidable logic. Lewis has exercised a profound influence on the quality of contemporary Christian belief.  Here are a few quotes from his greatest works:

'Welcome, child,' he said.
'Alsan,' said Lucy, 'you're bigger.'
'That is because you are older, little one,' answered he.
'Not because you are?'
'I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.' 
- Prince Caspian, ch.10

"Precisely because we cannot predict the moment. we must be ready at all moments. Our Lord repeated this practical conclusion again and again; as if the promise of the Return had been made for the sake of this conclusion alone. Watch, watch, is the burden of his advice. I shall come like a thief. You will not, I most solemnly assure you, you will not, see me approaching...The point is surely simple enough. The schoolboy does not know which part of his Virgil lesson he will be made to translate: that is why he must be prepared to translate any passage. The sentry does not know what what time an enemy will attach, or an officer inspect, his post; that is why he must keep awake all the time...
Women sometimes have the problem of trying to judge by artificial light how a dress will look by daylight. That is very like the problem of all of us to dress out souls not for the electric lights of the present world but for the daylight of the next. The good dress is the one that will face that light. For that light will last longer"
- Ibid

"There is one vice of which no man in the world if free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves...The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind...
If I am a proud man, that, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer and I, he is my rival and my enemy...
As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you...
The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether."
- Mere Christianity, bk 3, ch.8

"I am inclined to think a Christian would be wise to avoid, where he decently can, any meeting with people who are bullies, lascivious, cruel, dishonest, spiteful and so forth. Not because we are 'too good' for them. In a sense because we are not good enough. We are not good enough to cope with all the temptations, nor clever enough to cope with all the problems, which an evening spent in such society produces." 
- Reflections on the Psalms, ch.7

"Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."
- Mere Christianity, bk 3, ch.9 

"The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong with sexual pleasure, any more that about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more that you ought to try ti get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again."
- Mere Christianity, bk. 3, ch.5

"We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship."
- Transpositions and Other Addresses, ch.3

Resources: A mind awake: An anthology of C.S. Lewis, Edited by Chyde S. Kilby


                                                                    ~Grace~

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Rejoice

 "Though the fig tree does not bud
   and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
   and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
   and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

This is not a mere fading away of some pleasant scene that Habakkuk is referring to. What's in view for him is complete destruction of his peoples land and livelihood. The circumstances he envisions are horrifying. That was his reality, and still his response? "Yet I will rejoice"

            ~Grace~

What True Love Is - Part 2


How, exactly is true love defined?

Agape Love:
-Unconditional Love
-An act of the will, not dependent on the attractiveness or merit of the one loved.

True Love = Commitment 

ACTION not FEELING
SELFLESS not SELFISH 

What is the difference between romantic and love affection? 

True love is lasting because it is not based on just seeing then doing. It is based on a commitment of the will. The idea of "Prefect Chemistry" emphasizes emotions over the will. Think of this like building your house on jello, your foundation cannot be strong.

~Grace~

What True Love Is - Part 1


Part 1
 True Love is NOT -

Eros: Self seeking affection 

Physical Attraction:
A: Looking
B: Doing
C: Fantasizing

Infatuation:
A: Puppy Love
B: Fickle
C:Different Head Space

Emotional Gratification:
-Jealousy
-Habit
-Ego
-Reputation
-Insincerity
-Filling a void 
-Guilt or pity
-Fantasy Gratification / Satisfaction 

Storge Love
-Protective
-Instinctive
-Family

Phileo Love: 
-A fond affection based on mutual attraction, brotherly love.

Physical / Hormonal:
-Emotional bonding 
-Trauma Bonding
-Adventure Bonding
-Rescue Bonding
-Spiritual Bonding 

                                              
~Grace~

Red Hot Prayer

  Charles Spurgeon wrote this commentary inspired by Jude's phrase, "Pray in the Holy Spirit", from Jude 1:20:

"Praying in the Holy Ghost is praying in fervency. Cold prayers ask the Lord not to hear them. Those who do not plead with fervency, plead not at all. One may as well speak of lukewarm fire as of lukewarm prayer  - it is essential that it be red hot. It is praying perseveringly. The true suppliant gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent when God delays to answer.....Beautiful if God's sight is tearful, agonizing, unconquerable, importunity....we shall never sing "Gloria in Excelsis" except we pray to God "De Profundis": Out of the depths must we cry, or we shall never behold glory in the highest." - Charles Spergeon


       ~Grace~

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Possibilities of Guy-Girl Friendships

  
       Although some have fallen in their efforts to walk the narrow line between friendship and romance in this area, I believe guys and girls can have life-enriching, non-romantic friendships. Actually, it's important that we do. Paul the apostle instructs Timothy to treat younger woman "As sisters with absolute purity" (1 Timothy 5:2) Paul assumes that Timothy interacts with woman daily, and because of this assumption, he encourages Timothy to pursue a Godly and pure attitude. We should follow and pursue these things as well. Guy-girl friendships can be pure, inspiring and educational. While interacting with male friends I've gained information on their perspective on life, learning valuable things I would have missed in my narrow minded female view.

                                                                   ~Grace~

Thursday, 27 October 2011

God's Will


Countless people spend many years of their lives wondering what God's will for their life is. Little do they know that God's will is just one verse away. Here it is: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."   
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I never really realized how much of a blessing prayer is. It's our constant, unbroken communication with God. We can consistently talk with him about everything. I do believe that God loves to hear us, when we are joyful, in terrible pain, and when we have questions. We can turn to him.

           ~Grace~

Your Passion




"Nothing great has ever been accomplished without passion" -George Hegel
Playing piano, giving someone encouragement, writing; there's nothing more satisfying than the feeling I get when I do the things God created me to do. I feel alive, all the fears that previously held me captive are concealed and I am free to be who God intended me to be. This what it feels like to belong, but it's finding purpose to our passion that keeps the fire lit. The key is realizing that it's not about us, It's about Him. It shouldn't be about what we wish to do with our passions but be willing and open to submit under his will above all. Even when it requires going against everything that we yearn and desire for. He is the one who will stand beside us and say "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
                   

                                             ~Grace~

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Daydreaming


 Often I will find my thoughts gliding far away from God and prayer. This can be frustrating and discouraging. When my thoughts used to wander I would say "Oh, forgive me Lord, I wish my mind wouldn't wander like that. Please help me not to........" and then off I would go into another daydream. The causes of this are many, fatigue being the most common. I have no way of avoiding them except praying on your knees.....It could be possible that this keeps your mind more alert. Face it, lying in bed is the perfect place to daydream, not so much on your knees. Nevertheless, it is important to react rightly when you realize what you are doing. What is it, do you think, that brings you back to the point of prayer? Or better, who is it? When I discover myself daydreaming my response now is, "Thank you Lord. Thank you for rescuing me again. I would spend countless times daydreaming if it weren't for you." I no longer wast time in self condemnation or discouragement. But I rejoice in the forever patience of God who never gives up and who calls me constantly back to himself.  

                                                ~Grace~ 

Brotherly Love


Being just friends with the opposite gender does not happen on accident. We have to fight for our friendships and guard them. We are all aware that like magnets men and women are attracted to each other. My belief is that we were designed that way. However, until we are ready to be "Friends for Life" (If you know what I mean) we should at all costs avoid premature intimacy. But how do we do this? Be accepting the limits of guy-girl friendships.
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:10-11
What is our relationship to each other? We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We should treat each other with honor and respect. Whats the secret to our Zeal and devotion? Service - side by side for God's glory. Being guided by this choice of attitude, being just friends can be just plain awesome!  

                                              ~Grace~

                   

The Right Thing at the Wrong Time



As people of today's culture, we don't exactly accept the idea of delayed gratification. Our world teaches us that if we want something we should look to enjoy it immediately. So we microwave our food, e-mail our letters, and express mail our packages. We do our best to say goodbye to the restrictions of time by hurrying our schedules and doing whatever it takes to beat the clock. You most likely know how I feel. How do you respond when you have to wait in line? Do you patiently wait your turn, or do you tap your toe and try to rush the experience? This "Do it right NOW" mentality has greatly affected the timing of today's relationships. May it be dating, friendship or what have you, It is being changed by this. Why do we all insist on living this way? I think we receive the immediate gratification idea because we have forgotten the biblical principle of seasons. 
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace" Ecclesiastes 3:1-8  
Josh Harris has said: "Just as springs roll is different from that of fall, so each of the seasons of our lives has a different emphasis, focus, and beauty. One is not better that the other; each season yields it's own unique treasures. We cannot skip ahead to experience the riches of another life season any more than a farmer can rush the spring. Each season builds on the one before it."
Thus I can firmly state: The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong time and meant for another life season. 

                                               ~Grace~ 

A Teenagers Prayer

                  God, here I am in a "chaotic state"
                  seeking some way to do "something great"...
                  I want to be someone who contributes to 
                  make a less violent world for everyone's sake...
                  but who can I go to and who can I trust,
                 who'll show me the difference between love and lust?
                 I'm willing to listen, I'm will to do,
                 whatever it takes to make this world "new"...
                 but in the confusion and the noise all around
                 where can the answer to my question be found?
                 Dear God in heaven, hear a teenagers plea-
                 show me somewhere what you want me to be!
                     By Helen Steiner Rice 

                                          ~Grace~

What Matters at Fifty


I was reading something of Josh Harris the other day and at first it quite freaked me out, however, after thinking on it, I believe it could be rather profound. Here's what he said:
"How many times have I made a complete fool of myself by falling head over heels for someone simply because of her charm and beauty? Too many times. To cure this tendency, I've created a little game. When I meet a beautiful girl and I'm tempted to be overly impressed by her external features, I try to imagine what this girl will look like when she is fifty years old. (If this girls mother is with her it doesn't take too much imagination.) This girl may be young and pretty now, but what happens when the beauty fades? Does anything within her beauty beckon me? Is it her character that radiates and draws me toward her, or is it just the fact that her summer dress shows off a little too much of her tan? So what if her feminine out line captures my eye today? When pregnancies add stretch marks and the years add extra pounds, will something in this girls soul attract me?" - Josh Harris

~Grace~

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Guarding Your Heart

 Proverbs 4:20-27
"My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; say on the safe path. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil." (N.I.V)
-There's not much, if anything one can add to God's word. Especially in such a clear straight forward passage. However, I did realize one very specific point: Guard your heart! In conclusion to this I'll just say this- A girls heart should be so wrapped up in the Lord that a guy should have to seek Him to find her. 
                                                ~Grace~

Jesus = True son of God


 C.S Lewis famously said that Jesus is either the true Son of God, a demon, or else a man man. The everything or nothing essence of that statement always gives me chills. Jesus is either who he claims to be- the God-man who came and redeemed humanity- or he's a complete nutcase, even mentally sick. You can't have it somewhere in the middle. He could not be a wise teacher and a great moral example while at the same time a deceitful liar. He can't be a trusted source of spiritual guidance and at the same time be wrong about his identity. This seems to be a sealed argument to me, but numerous people find some sort of way to wiggle out of it. They still grasp on to Jesus in some form, but they deny that he is the Son of God who should be obeyed and praised. Frances Chan has greatly quoted:"The intellectual gymnastics required for this reminds me of pictures of people doing yoga who are able to wrap both feet around their heads and tie them in a knot. I don't know why they would want to do that, and it looks painful." 
                                                                    ~Grace~

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

True Love

By my own admission, I am, a hopeless romantic. If such a thing could be possible, I am in love with love. There's nothing quite like it, and if you've ever experienced it you know what I'm talking about. Being in love is patchwork of one thousand indescribable moments. You spend every waking moment thinking of that special person, you lose interest in the dull chores of eating, sleeping and thinking with any rational motive. It's as though someone has removed blinders from your eyes and you now see the world full of mystery, wonder and hope. Oh, I can tell you all about the warm fuzzy side of love, however, that's only a small part of "True Love". I can plunge myself into romance with all the passion of Romeo and Juliet but as Josh Harris once quoted: "In God's school of true love I'm still in kindergarten. We've been playing in the sandbox but God want's to take us to the beach." This statement is so true, because there is so much more to love than just romance (although, I think
we'd all agree that love notes and roses are still a contributor). God seeks to give us a larger view of what love really is, he wants to give depth to our understanding.

~Grace~