Tag Archives: Bible

Patience, Prayer, and Paris

patience prayer parisI woke up this morning to see alerts all over social media about how Paris had been attacked, tens of people had already been confirmed dead, and how other large cities were on alert for possible threats. I see people posting hotlines and messages telling residents of Paris to stay inside and to stay safe. My first thought after being informed of the tragedy was ‘not again.’ News alerts of innocent lives being taken occur much too often, and it’s hard to see something like this happen over and over.

My second thought was helplessness. What do I have that can help these people? I have no power or influence to change this situation, and I don’t even know anybody in Paris that I could check up on. I come to the conclusion that all I could do was pray.

Confession time: I hate when I am unable to do something about a situation. I’m not a ‘control freak’ for sure, I’m actually extremely go-with-the-flow and flexible – maybe even too much. But when there’s a situation like this or even something like an upset friend, I absolutely hate not being able to make a change. I want to do something tangible, something that will have an immediate effect on the people who need help. Of course, this is the real word, I’m not super(wo)man, and a reality check is necessary sometimes. I can’t do everything, that’s for sure. And that’s okay.

This is where I come back to my conclusion that ‘all I could do was pray.’ It’s easy to forget just how powerful prayer can be. It’s not a last resort, a thing we do because we can’t do anything else. Prayer IS tangible. Prayer CAN and DOES have an immediate effect on people who need help. Prayer DOES make a change. Prayer protects. Prayer saves. When you’re antsy about a situation like me, it can be hard to be patient and let God work, but when we do, He does amazing things.

In Jeremiah 29:12, God says “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” God is listening to our prayers, we just need to have faith. It’s so important to keep the people of Paris in our prayers. Keep in mind the families and friends of those who lost their lives, and ask that they will somehow come to know Him and find peace amidst this tragedy. Remember just how powerful our God is, and be reminded that he is in control of everything – even the situations that may seem hopeless.

-Anika H.

Bible Study Tips

bible study tips“Sometimes I have trouble staying focused when I am reading the Bible. What are some ways I can stay focused more easily?”

I’m pretty sure everyone struggles with this at times, I know I do!  One thing that I like to do is to take notes. Write down how you feel about certain things, sections that you like, things you want to remember, etc. Even write down the things you don’t understand. Get a multi-colored pen or some highlighters to make it fun! I find that this really helps me stay focused on what I’m reading.  Another thing to try is to start reading little bits of the Bible at a time, going over it several times to understand the meaning better, instead of reading long sections! Even if you only read a verse or two, it’s a lot better than reading a long section and not understanding it!  Remember to pray before you start, and ask Him to help you focus and to understand what you’re reading.

What are some of your bible study tips? Let us know down in the comments below! Also, if you have any questions you want our team to answer, let us know by submitting a question here!

-Anika H.

Being a Woman of God

woman of godWhat exactly does being a woman of God mean? Well, I believe that a woman of God is a woman who has God as the first interest in her life. She lives to serve Him, and does everything to bring glory to Him. Let’s take a look at a few verses in the Bible to see what God has to say about being a woman of God.

Let’s start with Proverbs 31:25-26: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” A woman of God is a woman who is strong. That doesn’t necessarily mean that she has physical strength, but she has spiritual strength. She has dignity, a seriousness, or a self-control. Dignity means that she is worthy of honor and respect. She has this dignity because she is right with God. She is someone who is mature in her relationship with Him, and people can look up to her because of this. What Proverbs means by “she can laugh at the days to come”, is that she doesn’t have to worry about the future, because she knows that God will protect her and her family, and when she trusts in Him, there is nothing to be afraid of. A woman of God has wisdom. Because she is mature in her relationship with God, she is able to understand and discern things that may be hard for someone who isn’t in a right relationship with God to understand. She is able to teach others and help guide them on their path in life.

Skipping ahead to Proverbs 31:30b – “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” When she is honoring the Lord and has a reverent fear of Him, people will look up to her. They see that her relationship with God is something desirable and worth trying to attain.

I recommend looking at 1 Peter 3:1-6 as well as reading the whole of Proverbs 31. They are both excellent examples of what a woman of God should be. These pieces of Scripture are such an encouragement to me when I am having trouble knowing what to do or how to act in certain situations. These are some of my favorite verses in the Bible, because they give me an outline of how to live. Always remember to have God first in your life, and everything else will fall into place.

 

What passages in the Bible are important to you? How do you think God is telling you to live out your life? Let us know in the comments below!

-Michaela W.

Loving Yourself

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image16390712What do you see when you look in the mirror? What are the thoughts that spring to your mind when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a window? I would hope that you smile to yourself, think “I look good today!” and go on with your day, but the sad truth is that most likely you spend hours in front of the mirror picking out every single zit, scar or rash, then attempting to cover them with makeup.

I used to be really into “beauty gurus,” as they’re called, on YouTube. These girls, most likely between fifteen and twenty-five, shared their favorite makeup products each month, did hauls where they showed off their recent purchases, made tutorials on hairstyles and makeup looks, and filmed look books showing off the latest styles. I don’t know why I got so into them, I mean, I live in Japan where we have hardly any of the stores mentioned in their videos, my hair is really thick and never stays curled or straightened (I’m serious, it’s the worst. Help me out??), the most “makeup” I’ll wear is maybe some lip balm, and I’m a self-proclaimed “Not a girly-girl” who wears jeans every day and wouldn’t be caught dead in a skirt. Not your typical demographic.

Anyways, one of the things I noticed while watching these videos was that these girls would talk about “covering up your imperfections” while covering their faces with the latest concealer or blemish-eliminating cream. Hearing this always made me wonder. I mean, I get it, you want your face to look perfect, but you have an unwanted mark appear, therefore making it an “imperfection.” I always hated when they would say that, as it made me wonder if my blemishes or freckles or spots defined whether I was perfect or not. And maybe I’m reading too much into it, I know they don’t literally mean that you’re not perfect, but it always bothered me.

You may already know this, but I want to remind you that God doesn’t look at your outer appearance and your so-called “imperfections” that apparently need to be concealed by eight layers of makeup. He looks at your heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) Those who follow, obey, and love God with all their hearts are already extremely beautiful to Him without mascara, blush, and lipstick.

God made you in HIS image, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each person is unique in the best way possible, and everyone’s a little bit different from each other. Isn’t that amazing? I’m sure you’ve heard this analogy before, but each person is like a snowflake-there’s none that are exactly the same. Your exceptional features are what make you yourself, so why do we try so hard to conform to one specific standard of beauty that society has constructed? Be yourself, because everybody else is already taken.

I read this a few years ago in a book that I cannot for the life of me remember, but one piece of advice that stuck to me was to stamp your thumbprint to a mirror you’ll look into daily, and remind yourself each time you see it that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God thinks you’re beautiful. It’ll give you a more positive outlook on the day, I promise. Another piece of advice that I would give you is to smile at yourself each time you look into the mirror. Often when we see ourselves in the reflection we take it as an opportunity to pick out all of our “imperfections.” Instead, pick out a couple of things you like about yourself that day, and give a big smile. It’s amazing how much more happy and positive this makes you. Shine in the outside, and it will reflect on the outside and in how people see you.  And who cares about these “imperfections” anyway? I rather like freckles.

Anika H.

Shoot Me, Please.

booksA guide on surviving school by Kiale P.

 

Anxiety. Stress. Tests. Shoot me now. Ah, the joys of that wonderful establishment called school. Yes, I am one of that overwhelming crowd of students. School. Stress. School again. There. My life in a nutshell. But what on earth are we supposed to do with it? Freak out? Ask our classmate to shoot us? Ignore it and procrastinate?

Let us start with step one. Identify your stress and the reason for it.
You shouldn’t be stressed, especially when it’s for a bad reason. If it’s a test, you’ve got to realize why school is important. As a student, I know how hard that is. I’ll be blunt. Often, school is a pain. But you’ve got to realize why school is so burdensome. For some, it’s laziness, for some it’s an interest in other things. But in every case, the problem originates with you and your approach.
We can be troubled about a ton of things, but Christ Himself has said that all our needs are nothing compared to the greatest need of all. As Luke writes in Luke 10:41-42, “And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” ”

Step 2: Consider the author of your play: God.
How can we think he would ever stop caring for our every need?
Matthew 6: 25-34 tells us,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

A good dad will never let his child go uncared for, so how could the greatest Father in history ignore his? Even the smallest things like tests are under His control. Your Dad up in heaven wants you to talk to Him because he will always answer. Philippians 4:6-7 exhorts us,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The only way to get peace is to trust your Dad and rely on His help.

Step 3: Read.
Yes, read. Read Scripture. You just groaned. Admit it. I should know how hard those two words are, me being one of a couple million teens in the world and all. The Bible is hard. It can be boring and hard to understand. But again, this is all because of how you approach it. Try your best to read it anyway. It helps. I don’t know how, but God’s word is just as comforting as some tea and a book if you really try to understand it.

Psalm 94:19 says, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comfort delights my soul.”
Oftentimes, we have a billion different thoughts running around in our heads, but the Psalms tell us to turn to our Dad’s words for comfort. Let them comfort you and stop being a stubborn teenager who refuses to listen to her father.
Next time you feel the need to shoot yourself, try trusting Dad.

We’d love to talk to you! Leave a comment down below telling us your favorite and least favorite part of school!

Kiale P.