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Archive for November, 2006

Today I want to encourage you to appreciate the beauty of God in everything. What an amazing gift He has given us that we can see glimpses of Him in Creation! I often find that the times I delight most in the Lord are the times that He showers me with the spectacular aspects of His Creation. Driving to class in the morning, as the sun peeks up from a distant mountain, illuminating the trees with mantles of gold, I worship Him. I smile, laugh, and sometimes, cry out of pure joy and awe that my God would show me such wonders. I know these are just tiny, tiny glimpses of His beauty and majesty. I encourage you to take time to see the wonders of His love around you. Whether in a winter snow storm, the twinkling stars, or a sunset, praise Him for His goodness revealed in Creation. And may these “little gifts” that He gives you cause you to declare:
“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 56:11

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As John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” Are you satisfied in Him? Are you trusting in Him, knowing that His will for you is perfect and good? Are you praising Him constantly? At all times, let us delight in our awesome King!

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Candle in a Cave


Most people have heard that if you stay in a dark cave for too long with your eyes open, you will go blind. Your eyes get so weary from searching for light that they simply give up. Then, you cannot tell the difference between dark and light. Everything is dark, just like the cave.

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This same thing happens when we walk in the darkness of the world. If you seclude yourself to the dark cave of the world, pursuing fleshly desires and chasing after false joy, your spiritual eyes will be blinded. They will not be able to tell the difference between what is pure and what is evil. We need the light of God’s Word to help us see and discern.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

Immersing yourself in the culture of the world will disable you from living a life of godliness. If you are saturated by the world and its ideals and pursuits, you will lack a desire for spiritual things, for God and His Word.

I once took a long break from television. I used to think that I was fairly choosy about what I watched on television. However, even seeing glimpses of the shows I used to watch makes me shudder now. I see ungodly elements that I have never seen before in those shows. These bad elements were there before; I was just so immersed that I could not see them. I am now able to see a little of how they were influencing my worldview.

“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:12

In our culture, many Christians have become blind because they do not live by the True Light, the Word of God. When we make our own ways and plans, the result is death and despair. When we stop relying on the Word of God, we are sentencing ourselves to the dark light of the cave. We need God’s Word to direct us as we make even the smallest decisions. Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Our godless plans are futile; our hearts and minds are so corrupted that we have a hard time discerning between good and evil. The cave of the world threatens to blind our eyes. However, Jesus Christ has healed the once-blind eyes of the Christian.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:6

We cannot be only “service-attending Christians.” Nor can we act as though our parent’s faith covers us. We must be pursuing Christ and living our faith out. We cannot let our candles die out in the darkness; we must let them shine brightly for Christ. However, we must remember that we have no light of our own. We need our hearts to be “lit up” by the Giver of Light and Life that we may be able to shine light to illuminate searching eyes, guiding them to the truth. In addition, we must also remember that our lights need to point to Jesus, not ourselves. Do not use the light you have been given to direct people to follow you; use it to point people to Him! He is the only One who can give sight to the blind.

To be continued…

Also, for a very thought-provoking article, check out Of Fish and Men on Beauty from the Heart. It talks about the importance of a Biblical worldview using an incredible metaphor. Enjoy!

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Before I go on a blogging break, I want to write a brief “Wednesday Words” on quiet times during the holidays. Honestly, I used to have such a hard time with holidays because when schedule and order disappeared, so did my quiet times. Here’s my encouragement:

No matter how busy you are, try to find at least 5 or 10 minutes of time to be alone with the Lord. Read a passage or two, pray, and sit quietly. This “revival” will give you the strength to love and serve during this busy season. You might need to wake up a few minutes early or go to bed a few minutes later than usual. You may have to go outside (yes, you might freeze, but it’s worth it!) to find a quiet place. The bathroom works, too. But spending time alone with the Lord will transform your outlook and focus during the holidays. If you have anything that has helped you in this area, please comment. I really appreciate suggestions, encouragement, and stories of how God has used these times to minister to your heart.

Seeking Him,

Ella

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Well, I am taking a blogging break until after Thanksgiving break. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May it be centered on the Lord.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon
his name;
make known his deeds among the
peoples!”

I Chronicles 16:8 (you should read the rest of the passage, too!)
Your sister in Christ,

Ella

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“I Do It For You”

“They call me legalistic- “She’s gone too far”
But can I go too far in saving
My body for you?
I do it for you, my darling- I do it for you.

 

They say it’s unnecessary- “Who really cares?”
But lust is a very real struggle.
I’ll do it for my brothers-
I hope that my sisters will do it for you.
I will help you pursue purity, my dear- I do it for you.

 

Images of beauty, seductive fashions
They attract me-it would all be so easy
To give in.
Sometimes, I don’t want to stand out.
But I’ll choose the hard route for you, beloved- I do it for you.

 

They think I do it because I like to;
But how tempting the scanty clothes can look!
I want to look stunning, too!
But I’ll wait for you, my husband- I do it for you.

 

My King-
You have called me to honor You
My body has been bought with a price-
Your precious blood
So I will do it for you, Lord Jesus- I ultimately do it for you.”

 

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This poem sums up a lot of what I feel about modesty. Poetry is not my forte, but this has been on my heart for some time.

If you have a hard time with dressing modestly, if there are times you feel frustrated and ready to give up, you are not alone! Please do not give up. It does matter to Christian guys. It matters to your future husband. And mostly, it matters to Christ. We are to be set-apart, not chasing after the vain things of this world. So, I want to encourage you to continue to pursue modesty in dress and actions. It is truly worth it!

May the Lord grant us strength, humility, and wisdom as we pursue the “hard route” for Him. And may we realize that we are fully depenedent on His grace in this area, and in all areas of life!

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Maybe this should be called Thursday Thoughts because, yet again, I have posted it on Thursday. However, I am afraid that if I called it that, it would move to Friday (a day late) and I would have to call it Friday (hmmm… what’s a good word to go there?).

So, I apologize that this is late again.

Today, I want to talk about something that has helped me tremendously in my quiet times: accountability. Accountability is being held accountable by a friend, sister, mother, etc., for doing your devotions. It can be helpful to have someone that will “check-up” on you (and you can check up on her, too).

The purpose is not “devotion police”. The purpose is to encourage one another. It helps to know that someone else is doing her devotions regularly. In addition, it is great to know that someone cares. However, please do not become prideful if you are consistent and she is not!

Encourage one another with Scripture, prayer, and sharing what you have read and learned. This cements what you have learned in your mind, and it is wonderful to get someone else’s input, too. I know girls who give each other verses written on different index cards to read and meditate upon each day. This is a wonderful way to supplement your devotions! You could also do a study together on a concept, reading separately each day, and coming together later (maybe once a week) to discuss.

The main point is that you have someone to urge you to fight against fleshly desires (sleep, school-work, computer, and whatever else tempts you to neglect your time with the Lord). It is also encouraging when you go through “dry spells,” times when the Word seems dull, prayer seems meaningless, and you feel distracted and weary, to have someone who is joyful in the Word.

So, I encourage you to find someone who will help you stay consistent and faithful in your times with the Lord. May you sharpen one another in your pursuit of Christlikeness.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“Iron sharpens iron,

and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

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Today, I want to encourage you to read this article from the Boundless webzine entitled: “Silently Affecting Others.” Here’s a snippet:

It was a stunning thought for me to realize that wherever I go, I bring something with me. I can bring Christ to people, or I can bring spiritual sickness, weakness, and sin. I can walk around, casting off splashes of glory or spraying people with showers of sin. What do I want my life to leave behind?”

This article has made me think about my own life. Do I bring splashes of glory? Sadly, I realize that my selfish pride often wins out. I realize the disruption I cause in my family through my grumbling and self-serving. But there is hope!

Through the Scriptures, we see that sin has far-reaching consequences. Consider the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Sin is selfish and prideful; it is saying, “My wants and needs are more important than God.”

We are sinners. On this side of eternity, there will be marks of the Fall in our lives. Nonetheless, we have a Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, who took on flesh and lived, died, and rose again for us. We have His righteousness, and His Spirit within us, enabling us to glorify God. We are redeemed!
In the Gospels, we see our Savior Incarnate; we see God with flesh. We see more of His heart, His compassion, His love. We realize that He was tempted to be selfish, to be arrogant, and to lust, but He did not (Hebrews 4:14-16).

May we be encouraged and spurred on to greater faith as we realize the strength that He grants us to fight the attacks of Satan. May we bring splashes of glory wherever we go. May we remember that this often comes in the form of a joyful spirit that is satisfied in God. As John Piper says: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Does your life display a joyful satisfaction in Him? Or are you too busy living for yourself to acknowledge the destruction that your sin creates? May we live as redeemed sinners!

“May my words and works allure others to the highest walks of faith and love… Cause me to be a mirror of Thy grace, to show others the joy of Thy service…Help me to walk as Jesus walked, my only Savior and perfect model…Let me always esteem others better than myself, and find in true humility an heirdom to two worlds.” (From the Valley of Vision prayer: “Christlikeness”)

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