Friday, February 17, 2012

A Crazy Roller-Coaster Ride

Maybe some of you ladies can identify with me when I say sometimes our emotions can take us on these crazy ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like you're on a seemingly endless roller-coaster that you never asked to get on in the first place.

You know, this last week I've been trying to stop this roller coaster that I'm on and get on more stable ground. God has been revealing to me how much I have been letting my emotions take the reign, and how these "roller coaster" emotions aren't just no big deal.

I think one of the easiest spots for the enemy to attack us with is our our emotions. And when we are not constantly coming to God and re-surrendering our emotions and our lives to Him our desires quickly take over and control us. They take us up and down and around so quickly, working hard for us to build our life around them. And we forsake a life of total abandonment and service to Christ for an easy life of "living in the moment", you know, "follow your heart" because our feelings and desires are telling us it’s the only way to be happy.

But we are given so many warnings to constantly be on guard: 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 1:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 1 Peter 5:8, Titus 2:12, 1 Peter 1:13, to name a few. Our life is no longer all about us. We have given Jesus Lordship in our lives, we don't share that title!

Christ said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). We must live in such a way that we are constantly bringing our heart to the Lord, asking Christ to change it, confessing your sins and asking Him to show you the secret sins of your life too. Just as David prayed to God in Psalm 19, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.

We must joyfully yield to Jesus Christ, trust His perfect will, and building your life and focus around Him rather than the pursuit of our own desires.

Our eyes must only seek the pleasures of Heaven. And we must approach every circumstance in life like Christ, knowing that our Heavenly Father is handling the situation. We need only to yield ourselves fully to Him. There is great joy in this abandoned life – so much so that we can truly come to embrace the pain and trials and unanswered question as a gift from our Father, rather than resenting them as an unwanted punishment of some sort.

I'm not saying our emotions are always a bad thing, but I am saying that we must continually bring them to Him and ask the Spirit to guide our heart and not our emotions. Keeping our eyes fixed on Christ doesn't come naturally or easily, Michelle wrote in her blog a wonderful post on Practical Ideas for Biblical Discipline that I would encourage you all to read. (Michelle is a very caring and wise young women whom I am blessed to know.)

"Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God..."(Psalm 123:2)


P.S. I probable won't be blogging near as much as usual because the laptop died and I'm left with a big, slow computer to use. So blogging doesn't seem important enough to spend that much time on! Just thought I'd tell you ahead of time, in case you wonder! =)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tag! You're It!

I've been tagged by those three wonderful Maidens of Virture! The very ones who wrote the last guest post on purity!
So, here is how this tag works:
All my readers get a chance to learn a bit more about this writer, Ashlin.
If you are tagged, post these rules and post 11 random things about yourself. Answer the questions the I (the tagger) ask you, then create 11 new questions for the people you tag, and go to their blog and let them know they've been tagged. Got it?
The questions I was given:
1. Favorite Bible character? Well, assuming Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are not included... I'm thinking Peter! But I'm not sure I have a favorite between all those amazing men of God like Abraham, Paul, Elisha, Moses...
2. Cat or dog? >'-'< I think there is no better pet than a dog that really loves you, but I'd choose a cat any day! I know that isn't logical. But my answer is a cat.
3. Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro? Mustang.
4. Would you rather explore a cave or hike a mountain? Hike a mountain!
5. Fiction or non-fiction? Fiction. Much more room for the imagination!
6. Clothing item of choice: comfortably classy or delightfully dressy? Delightfully Dressy!
7. What is your birthstone? Aquamarine. Does any body else have a March birthday?
8. Favorite board-game? I really like board-games, so it's hard for me to choose. I think I like Gestures best.
9. Favorite movie? Can I say ALL of Sherwood Pictures movies? Courageous! Fireproof! Facing The Giants! Flywheel! I love them all and could watch them all the time. I don't tire of them!
10. Algebra or Geometry? Biology or Chemistry? Easy: Algebra and Chemistry!
11. If you could travel back in time, which era would you choose? Renaissance, Western (early American), Ancient China, etc. I would choose Bible time. I know, the Bible was written over a 1400 to 1800 year period ... "Ancient China" covers a considerable amount of time too!
The Eleven fun facts about me:
1. I talk to myself so much that sometimes I argue with myself. Sadly, I'm not joking.
2. Legally, I have three sisters and two brothers. But I also have five other sisters and two brothers that I was able to be a big foster sister to. I love dearly, and will never stop loving, praying for, and hurting for them. And while whenever I'm asked how many siblings I have, I always respond, "Five" inwardly, I consider myself the big sister to more than five, and I'm sure I always will.
3. I read each one of your blogs when I get the chance, and I do my best to pray for you all. I'm blessed to have you following my blog.
4. Keith Green and Amy Carmichael are two of my heros.
5. I love dance! And I may randomly/unintentional break out in dance at any given moment. Pirouettes are most common.
6. I like to write but I didn't know that until my older sister told me I did. And that's another thing about me.
7. A few people (namely two of my sisters and my parents....Okay, maybe my cousin too =] ) know me better than I know myself. I remember having a hard time deciding between two things when my older sister said, "Well, you like this better than that, right? So just go will this." And I thought, "Oh. Yeah I do, you're right! That was easy." But, it would be pretty easy for people to know just as much about me as I do. When you read number eight that should be a little clearer.
8. I "wear my heart on my sleeve" as they say. Whomever "they" are. Well... right now "they" is me, but when "they" is others who know me, then "they" would say that too.
9. I would rather dress bold, and wear something like this:
than dress with the simple beauty of a plain skirt and shirt. Like this:

I do like both styles, and actually tend to go with more simplicity like the latter picture. But that is probably just because the former style is harder to come by... =)
10. Number ten is that I believe homeshooling is generaly the best way to go, and I am so thankful to my parents for homeshooling me. Mom, thanks!
11.I am a people person. (Writing that makes me want to sing ♪♫People... People who neeeeed people♪♪) I pretty much wish I was friends with everyone I meet.
Alright! Now I tag all of my followers! Here are my question for those who take the tag:
1. When and how did you become a Christian? (Story time)
2. How many siblings do you have and what is your "place"? i.e. Oldest, Second born, Middle, ect.
3. Do you prefer skirts/dresses or pants/shorts?
4. If you could choose from any occupation, which would you like best?
5. What Book(s) of the Bible are you currently reading in your devotions?
6. Which movie genre is your favorite?
7. Which of your birthdays is most memorable? (Again, a story is meant to be in the answer.)
8. If you could live anywhere in the world [or galaxy] where would you live and why there?
9. How many pets have you had in your lifetime?
10. Would you consider yourself an avid reader?
11. Why did you orginally decide to blog?
Thank you so much for tagging me, 3 Maidens for tagging me. I enjoyed this game of tag. And thank you all so much for being guest authors here! You are a blessing.
I hope you all enjoy being tagged!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Guest Post -by Three Sisters

Well, now that I have built up your anticipation, brought up the suspense, who is excited to read that I am giving to you the new guest post!

I am really excited about this one. It is the best one I've read so far (that could be because there are three times as many writers as there were in previous guest post), and I'm honored to be able to share it with you here.

But first, let me introduce you to these three beautiful sisters, Rhen, Catlia, and Elisera!

I have the pleasure of calling these girls friends. From the time I've known them they have shown godly character and Christ-like love. These three ladies show case their love of Jesus, their Saviour, and it is evident they strive to glorify Him in every aspect of their lives. My life has been blessed by these three maidens, and I enjoy reading their blog. Their blog Maiden's of Virtue, is one of biblical insight and encouraging posts. Catlia, Elisera, and Rhen have always done an exceptional job in their writing and this is, well, no exception!
Without further ado, their guest post:
Special thanks to Lady Ashlin for asking us to pose as guests on her blog! It was a great joy to research and study the Scriptures for this post. We hope at least one maiden will be encouraged by our answers. Blessings to the readers!

Why do you believe it is important to remain pure emotionally and physically?
pure adj. 1. free from anything that adulterates, taints, etc.; unmixed 4. faultless
5. blameless 6. virgin or chaste (Websters New World Dictionary 1984)
As Christians, we have been reconciled by Christ through His physical body so that we may be presented as "holy, faultless, and blameless before Him..." (Col. 1:22) Purity isn't just about remaining pure sexually, it is keeping oneself clean in mind (emotionally), body (physically), and spirit (spiritually). It is honorable to God. Any girl can get a purity ring, but it is just a ring if you don't obey God's commands as a single woman.
In regard to emotional purity, we believe that from birth our spirits, or souls for that matter, are impure and tainted with sin, which is the result of the Curse. Salvation, through Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, cleanses us of this sin and ultimately makes us pure and blameless. A godly maiden doesn't commit herself to romantic readings and chick flicks, or flirt with men, or dream of false fantasies. She concerns herself with the things of God and thus does not desire for the here and now, but patiently waits for God's will. The Bible says in Matthew 5:28, "But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Ladies, this includes us as well, insert "man" instead of woman. Just think, we are held accountable even for our thoughts! whether we say them or not. Our righteous Judge deems it a sin to even think in this way. Strive for emotional purity.
Physical purity: It is of the utmost importance for us, as maidens, to remain pure until our honeymoon, because, we want our man to see us on our wedding day in a beautiful white dress (the color of purity) untainted with the stains of secrets, lies, or regrets. We want him to see us as his prize, his treasure.
Because of this, we have resolved never to kiss a man (with the exception of our father or grandfathers, of course) until our wedding day.
In a devotional about the Significance of Physical Purity, Leslie Ludy of states, "To keep sex sacred, we must keep ALL expressions of sexual intimacy sacred." She goes on to quote her father when he told her and her husband, Eric Ludy, that, "Anything physically that you save for marriage will only be more beautiful and fulfilling as time goes on. Anything that you experience beforehand will eventually lose its luster."
Wow. What more can be said? After hearing the testimonies of many different women, we know this to be true.
You can read the whole post regarding physical purity here:

What does remaining emotionally pure mean to you?
It means not filling our heads with false ideas of marriage and men, but instead focusing on God's calling of us as maidens, daughters of the King. We, as women, are created to be different than men. God made us much more emotional than our male counterparts so that we may complement and complete their more physical natures. But, because of the Fall, our emotions tend to be easily excited and need controlled so we do not awaken the feelings that are to be reserved for the one man God desires us to bless.
To be emotionally pure, one must dig wholly into Scripture. Set your eye on things above.
What are some specific things you do to guard your heart and not awaken love before its time?
First, pray. Seek the King's face. Learn to be content. Our single years can be the best years of our lives. For instance, we, as single maidens, are not yet committed to a husband, family, or home of our own and can therefore be active in various church ministries, babysitting (as practice for the future), starting a full-time home business, or helping to fulfill our father's vision, which could be by doing all of the above-mentioned activities. A godly father would want to see his daughter involved in such ministries where she can be helpful and productive. An unmarried girl is under the authority of her father just as a wife is under the authority of her husband (Numbers 30:16), which means our duties in our single years are first to our fathers until marriage, where they then switch to our husbands.
Second, avoid idleness. Remember the Proverbs 31 Woman? "She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." (Prov. 31:27, NASB) Now, I know this is referring to a wife, but that goes for you single maidens, as well. Keep yourself busy!
Third, don't turn to dating. A quote I once heard says, "If you're not looking for a mate, don't date!" Sadly, and most often, dating leads pure maidens down a road of regret. It is, in a way, "a practice for divorce."
In their book, So Much More, the Botkin sisters suggest when in the presence of young men, we should "act as though our husbands might be in the room watching us. We should pray that no young men ever rob us of feelings we are saving for our husbands, and in the same way, we must not defraud other young men of what belongs to their wives, because God has chosen wives for them, too. It is almost as though they are already married, and this fact should affect the way we treat them, so that they will think of us 'as sisters, with all purity' (1 Timothy 5:2)." (So Much More, by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin; Chap. 15, pgs 226-227,
Ok, so you may ask, "Well, if dating isn't right Biblically, then how am I supposed to find my man?"
Listen, you are not to go out and search for your future husband around every corner, in every doorway, or under rocks. God has a plan for you (Jer. 29:11)! Give Him control!
As to the alternative to dating, what about courtship? (More on this in the following answer.)

If you could give the girls reading this one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Elisera: Avoid romance novels, films, TV shows, Soap Operas, etc. Yes, ladies, that definitely includes the Twilight Saga books and movies, among others. The whole genre of Romance is what gives us the fairytale thoughts of Happily Ever After. I, myself, have read some great Christian Romance novels, but even the Christian label can make you daydream of the perfect Prince Charming, a perfect house, a perfect family, a perfect marriage. Your man will not be perfect, he is just as flawed as you. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Marriage is a blessing, not a curse. It is a sacred covenant and one that should be kept for the rest of your life. But don't go into marriage thinking it will be fun and games. Once married, there will be house payments, electric bills, crying babies, late nights, long days with no sleep and so on. Know that I do not write from experience, but from what I have observed, read, and heard from my surroundings. I don't mean to depress you, but it is reality.
My advice? Look into courtship. Courting is a good way to get to know a potential suitor without the emotional drama. The Botkin sisters sum it up quite well:
"In a nutshell, the concept behind courtship is that marriage is important and permanent, and that making a good match requires discernment. Finding a mate should therefore be about purpose and not infatuation. Courtship is about working in submission to God to make a permanent marriage between two people God has prepared for each other for a special mission. Courtship means having a righteous standard and honorable intentions in every relationship, and not pursuing any romantic relationship with any person until, in God's good time, the bride and groom are both spiritually and practically ready for marriage and ready to covenant together.
"Courtship means understanding that romantic attraction can be disorienting, and that serious couples need objectivity and third-party counsel to make such an important decision as marriage. Thus, courtship means leaning on the guidance of your father and mother and heavenly Father to help you evaluate the suitors who take an interest in you." (So Much More; Chap. 16, pgs 232-233)
I agree wholeheartedly with this definition. We, as sisters, plan to pursue courtship when the time comes.

Rhen: Read It's (Not That) Complicated. But always go to the Bible first and be open with your parents, which is hard to do when you are a private person (I'm still working on that). It's truly difficult for many to open up to family. Know that they won't judge you. They want to help and be there for you, so let them.

Catlia: The one bit of advice I would like to give to my fellow sisters in Christ is simple, but it is, more often than not, easier said than done: Treasure God's word in your heart.
This is not a new concept to most of us born again Christians. However, many of us, myself included, fail to take the time to memorize and truly dwell on Scripture.
Psalm 119:11 says, "Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee." In Psalm 37:31, we find this being said of the one who trusts in the Lord: "The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip."
The definition of "treasure" in this sense is "to save up for future use, to value greatly." I believe I may confidently say there is no born again Christian who is content to continue in sin against God. When we have been made new, saved by God's grace, sin is hateful to us. It makes us ill and we despise it. We hate it when we sin against God, and we hate it when others do as well. Here, we find that "saving up" God's word "for future use" helps us to keep from sinning against God.
If you are like me, and "suffer" from an over-active imagination, perhaps you should dwell on the verses in Philippians chapter four: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
For every trial, trouble, and temptation, God has provided us with Scripture to encourage, challenge, and teach us. He has given us the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph. 6:17) But to be able to handle a sword, you have to train and practice. Likewise, to handle God's word, we have to treasure it in our hearts, we have to train with it and practice that we may take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," and "be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you." (1Corinthians 10:5 , 1 Peter 3:15)
God has graciously provided us with His very word, and it is foolish of us to not take advantage of so great a blessing.

Thanks again to Lady Ashlin!
To the special ladies out there: Cherish your single years for they are a blessing, just as marriage is. Your hearts are extremely precious to our heavenly Father and deserve to be guarded.
Books and resources of the 3Maidens: God's Word, So Much More, It's (Not That) Complicated,, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Boy Meets Girl, And The Bride Wore White,, and Preparing to be His Helpmeet.
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things."
(Philippians 4:8, HCSB)