Reflections on a quote by Hudson Taylor

“A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in a little thing is a great thing.” -J. Hudson Taylor

What impact might it have on our lives if we saw each task, whether great or small, as an opportunity to worship our Lord?

As I was working on school assignments today, I was told to convert eight temperatures from one temperature scale to another. Although the textbook didn’t specify, I knew that I was expected to convert them manually using an equation. Yet, if I asked the internet to convert it for me, the work would take at least half the time. I initially gave in to the temptation and used the internet to do my work for me. My conscience nagged at me for a while, until I decided to go back and redo them the proper way. I was surprisingly pleased with my decision to redo the problems, even though I was the only one who would know the difference. “Why?”, I asked myself. Was it simply a matter of “doing the right thing”?

The way in which we do mundane tasks tells something about our character. Though we may not realize it, we all have underlying principles that govern our actions. How we perform in small tasks affects how we will perform in other areas of life. You likely know the wise proverb of Luke 16:10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” It is crucial that we develop a strong worth ethic while we are yet young, or else we will struggle later on in life.

I often fall prey the false mindset that one math problem is simply one math problem, one dirty dish is simply one dirty dish, one basket of laundry is simply one basket of laundry, and one day of music practice is simply one day of music practice. Inwardly, though, I know that if I choose not to work out one math problem, put one dirty dish in the dishwasher, wash one basket of laundry, or practice music for the day, then I’ll continue to fail to do these things, and the result will be a low GPA, a dirty house, no clothes to wear, and the waste of thousands of dollars on music lessons.

Besides the long-term implications of my actions, there is yet a better reason for which I must to choose to be faithful in the mundane. God sees all of my actions, and he is either pleased or displeased with each of them. He is my Lord and Savior, and I am commanded to glorify him in all that I do. I should be grieved at the thought of displeasing my Father, the one who willingly became a sacrificial lamb led to the slaughter for my sake. Do I yet refuse to give honor to him in the smallest of actions, though he gave his entire life for me?

1 Corinthians 10:31- So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Does “Scars to Your Beautiful” have a truly hopeful and positive message?

Hello, friends, followers and passerby! Every Monday, starting today, I’ll be talking about songs. They may be pop, contemporary Christian, hymns, country; basically there’s no limit as to what genre, although I’m not likely to review songs that are heavy death-metal 😉 Today we’ll be looking at a very popular pop song: “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara.

Here’s a link to the lyrics, and here’s the audio version on Youtube.

Statement by Alessia Cara:
“Often times, the world both directly and indirectly tells us that we shouldn’t be happy with ourselves if we don’t fit certain beauty standards. Scars to your beautiful is a reminder that beauty isn’t only one look, shape, size, or colour. It isn’t even always tangible. It comes in an endless amount of forms and we need to recognize that.”


The overall message of this song seems to be a proclamation of self-worth and a redefinition of beauty. It’s a message of inner beauty. Alessia wants to tell people that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of you. “You don’t have to change a thing, the world can change it’s heart”, and “No better you than the you that you are” are the main lines of the song, explicitly pointing out the main theme of “Be yourself, not what the world wants you to be”.

This song is surprisingly clean- no language issues, and no inappropriate themes.

For someone struggling with depression and identity issues, this song might temporarily comfort them. For that reason, I see some good to it. However, there is no backing for Alessia’s claims. She repeatedly tells us about this hope that’s waiting for us and this inherent beauty, but what is that hope, and where did that inherent beauty come from? It’s all a bit vague, and it’s shallow because Alessia provides no grounds for her statements.

A large bit of this song actually does align with Biblical principles. It is true that we aren’t supposed to conform to what the world wants of us. It’s also true that we have inherent worth. But the other part, about being who we are, being stars, not changing, and already being the best we can be, isn’t true. The Bible offers clarity to this vague “hope waiting for you”, while correcting the “Be Yourself” ideology.

We have the hope of Christ. We have inherent worth because we were made in his image.

He calls us not to conform to the world, but to let him transform us. The ugly truth of the matter is that in and of ourselves, we’re pretty awful messed up people. Yet Jesus took all of that awful messy sin upon himself and paid for it once for all. He has taken away our scars and made us beautiful. He cleansed us and made us holy and pure in God’s eyes (this is justification, being made right with God). Yet we still sin and mess up. There is a better you than the you that you are right now, a you in the future that will be perfected and holy when God is done working in you. But that you isn’t here yet. In order to get to being that you, you have to put effort to grow in Christ-likeness as he works in you (this is sanctification, becoming more like Christ).

I like the musical aspect of this song, and there is a bit of truth in it. But when it comes down to what really matters, a message of inner beauty with no grounding is not enough to save us, and not enough to provide true hope. 

Why the local church matters in spite of its flaws

My local church has helped me to grow through the ministry of the Word. I have learned much through sermons, Bible for Life classes, and Wednesday night youth Bible studies. My youth pastor, Bible for Life teachers, and other adult volunteers genuinely care about all of the 50 or so youth in our church as evidenced by how they give of their time and energy. There are many things I appreciate about our church, yet there are flaws and issues as well.

Because of the wide range of where church members live as well as many other factors, there isn’t a close sense of community. In such a big church, it’s hard to get to know people. I’ve felt that there’s an inner circle of families that mine isn’t a part of, and therefore I’ve never experienced close friendships. Instead, I’ve experienced loneliness while yet surrounded by so many people. I don’t see the common bond of Christ uniting my fellow teenagers.

I have found a taste of true Christian fellowship in the form of an online group of people called Revive. Revive is a group of young people, who are united by their love for Christ, encouraging one another and spurring one another on to good works while praying for one another. Revive has provided the sense of Christian community that the local church has failed to foster. Containing people from many different nationalities and backgrounds, It has provided for me a taste of the big picture of the universal church.

I think Revive has helped me see the potential value of the local church. It has also temporarily filled in for what the church has lacked. However, it’s important to realize that nothing should take the place of the local church. Online communities can be encouraging, beneficial, and glorifying to God, but they aren’t a suitable substitute for the church body.

The local church isn’t just an organization that somebody made up. It is part of the plan that God has established for the universal church. When the local church fails to live up to what it’s meant to be, it’s tempting to forsake the idea of “church” in general. You can leave a local church, but you never have an excuse for turning your back on the worldwide Church. If you love Christ, you should naturally love the body of Christ (AKA fellow Christians, members of the worldwide church). As a result, you should want to fellowship with and serve other Christians in a local church.

Remember, no human is perfect. Even Christians still sin and make mistakes sometimes. Be patient with your fellow church members, and use whatever influence you may have to try to guide your church in the right direction and work to fix the flaws. For me, that means intentionally making friendships with people I don’t know too well and hoping that that will spark a pattern to break the cliques. For you, it may mean something different.

The local church does not exist for the purpose of pleasing you. The church exists for the glory of God. Every member should be actively serving in the church with the intent of glorifying God as one unified group of believers, united in Christ.


Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Be Kind Today

Hey guys! My latest article can be found here on The Rebelution:
http://therebelution.com/blog/2016/11/get-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-be-kind-today/

This one is particularly special to me because it is my heart poured out onto paper. I’ve been the lonely kid sitting in the corner, and I’ve been the one wasting opportunities to be kind to the other kids sitting in the corner. This article is a cry for compassion. I hope that it will will be beneficial to you 🙂

Romans 1:8-15

(8) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. (9) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you (10) always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. (11) For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— (12) that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (13) I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. (14) I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. (15) So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Today we’re going to be talking about Paul’s relationship with his fellow Christians, and how we can use that as a model for our relationships with other Christians. Remember that the epistles were letters to various churches. Verses 1-7 were a formal greeting with some theological stuff packed in. This next group of verses we’re studying is more informal and personal; it is Paul talking about himself and his desire to see the people he is writing to, so we are going to study it in a slightly different manner. Then next week we get to jump right into the theology starting in verse 16! 

The word Gentile means a person who is not a Jew. Paul was called to be the minister to take the gospel to the Gentiles so that they too might be saved. Barbarians were people who were not either Greek or part of the Roman Empire.

Paul states that he thanks God for the faith of the Roman Christians. News of their faith has spread fast across the ancient world. (The ancient world was mostly made up of what is now North-East Africa, the Middle-East, and Europe. Places far out east in Asia and the Americas were pretty much isolated from the rest of the world at that time.) Keep in mind that Rome was the basically the most important city in the world, so the controversy going on in this area because of the Christians was a pretty big deal. Christianity was receiving a lot of publicity. Paul was very thankful for those who were standing for Christ in Rome.

Here’s a brief summary of what these verses say. Paul prays constantly for the Roman Christians that by God’s will he would be able to come and visit them. He longs to go see them so that they would be encouraged by each other’s faith. He wants them to know that he has tried many times to come to the them so that he could help them grow in faith, but hasn’t had the opportunity. He is already committed to preaching the gospel to the Greeks and non-Greeks, to the educated and to the uneducated, and he is eager to teach the Romans as well.

There are four points here that I want to talk about.

First, Paul cared deeply for his fellow believers. I think it’s obvious by his longing to see them; Paul loved these people. And he hadn’t even met them! How could that be possible? Look at the beginning of most of the epistles and you’ll see a pattern of the love and compassion that the Christians had for one another. This is actually something that all Christians should have. We all share the fact that we are God’s children, so we should all love each other accordingly. When we, as Christians, draw closer to God, we will be drawing closer to each other as well. As we grow in our faith and our love for God, we will start to experience more of the love that Paul felt for other Christians as well as his eagerness to share the gospel.


Secondly, Paul prayed for the people he was ministering to; for his brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayer is huge, guys! Paul had a lot of people he was ministering to, and yet from what he says in his letter, he seemed to be taking the time to pray for all of these churches and specific people in them. Doesn’t that make you think that prayer is pretty important? We should be praying for each other.

Thirdly, Paul wanted to meet with the people for the purpose of encouraging one another and strengthening each other’s faith. This should be our purpose in all of our relationships, “that we would be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith”. If a friendship does not do that, than it is not a good friendship.


Something that I noticed here is that Paul was greatly encouraging the church of Romans and personally cared about them, even though he had never had the opportunity to meet them in person until after he had written this letter. This makes me think of us in blogland. I know at least for me, I’ve found my best friends on here and developed a couple really cool relationships, so it’s cool to me to think that Paul had long distance friends too!

Fourthly, Paul believes that it is his duty to reap a harvest among both Jews and gentiles. He is committed to the work of the gospel. Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. What’s a harvest? A harvest is the gathering of crops. The Bible uses harvest as a metaphor for people who have believed the “seed” of the gospel that has been “planted” into their hearts, and having accepted it,
grow and flourish in that faith in the gospel that was planted in their hearts. Paul wants to reap a harvest among these people; to plant the seed of the gospel in their hearts and to help them grow in faith.

So to summarize:
~We should care for our fellow believers.

~We should pray for our fellow believers.

~We should build our friendships in such a way that we are helping one another grow in Christ.

~We may not all be called to spread the gospel in foreign countries, but we are all called to pray for the work of the gospel, that it would be spread and received, and for missionaries who are carrying out that work. Of course, we are also called to share Christ with the people around us, too.

A study of Romans 1:1-7

Romans 1:1-7 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (2) which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, (3) concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh (4) and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (5) through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, (6) including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, (7) To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

So here’s what we’re going to do with this passage. First we’re going to look at the context. Then we’re going to break it up and study every phrase of every verse. Lastly, we’re going to think about applications. Sound good?

Context
Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome about 57 years after Jesus was born. Most people think that Jesus was around thirty something years old when he was crucified, so assuming that that’s write, we can guess that this book was written about 20-30 years after Jesus left the earth. We know from verses 8-15 that Paul was not the one who brought the gospel to the Romans. By this time, the gospel had already spread there and several churches had been established in Rome. Paul has apparently heard of the faith of the churches in Rome and is sending this letter to them to give a clear explanation of the need for justification by faith because of sin, the results of justification by faith, and how the gospel was or wasn’t received by the his fellow Israelites and the significance of that. I don’t know that much more about the context, so that’s all for now.

~Observations~
Paul. What do we know about Paul? Most of you know that Paul, previously known as Saul, had an amazing conversion story. He was a zealous Jew who persecuted Christians. He was travelling to the city of Damascus to go arrest more Christians when he saw a great light that blinded him and heard Jesus say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” Jesus replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”, and gave him directions on what to do to regain his sight. From then on, Saul was a changed man. Paul, the new Saul, was called to be the apostle to the gentiles. His job was to share the gospel with the people who weren’t Jews. No longer was he the one persecuting Christians; now he was the Christian being persecuted. Paul suffered many thing, but he remained faithful to Jesus and continued the work of the gospel. He wrote most of the books in the New Testament.

“For the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures”
What is the gospel of God? The gospel of God is that God would send his son to suffer and die, to pay the penalty for our sin in our place, and to rise again, proving his power of death and therefore defeating Satan. God did indeed promise that these things would happen through prophecies which are recorded in the old testament.
Why is it significant that these things were prophesied beforehand? There are many reasons why the prophecies are important, one being that they verify the legitimacy and truth of the Bible and the gospel. We know that the Bible must be true, because many times, it makes predictions that can be historically verified to have come true. Whether or not that is the particular reason why Paul mentioned it that way, I’m not sure.

“Concerning his son”
I think it’s very important to note that the whole Bible is about God’s son, even the parts in the Old Testament about the history of Israel, or the parts of the epistles that were instructions for how Christians should live. One really helpful thing that I’ve learned which not everybody realizes is that the Bible, though made of many smaller parts, is really one big story of God’s plan of redemption through Christ for the world that he has created. It’s all about Jesus and how he brought redemption to the world. In different ways, each book of the Bible either gives the background information that we need to know in order to make sense of the gospel (Genesis and the other books of the Bible about Israel’s history), predicts the gospel (Books of the prophets), describes the gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John which are the gospel books), or tells us how to respond to the gospel (The rest of the New Testament). Even in these individual books, certain chapters or sections might fit into different categories. For example, the section we are studying today both describes the gospel by telling us things about it and also tells us how to react to the gospel by showing how Paul reacted to the gospel. See? I hope I didn’t make that too confusing :/ Moving on!


“[Jesus] was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.”
Whew, this is a long sentence (especially since that’s not even all of it!). Jesus was descended from David according to the flesh. On earth, Jesus was considered to be the son of Joseph, since Joseph was his earthly father. Joseph was a descendant of King David. Therefore, Jesus was a descendant of King David. So according to the flesh, according to his physical ancestry, he was of the line of David. According to the Spirit however, he was declared to be the Son of God, since he had risen from the dead. I might not be completely correct on this, but I take “according to the Spirit” to mean that through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts we are able to see by his power in rising from the dead, and understand and declare, that he truly is the Son of God.

“Through him we received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
It is through Jesus that Paul has received grace. It is also through Jesus that he has received the apostleship to bring the gospel to other nations, so that the people would obey God by placing their faith in Jesus and following him. The Roman Christians to whom Paul is writing are included in this group of people who have received the gospel through the work of those who brought the gospel to other places like Paul did.

Finally, we reach the last verse of the greeting of chapter 1, “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. Paul is simply stating that this letter is to the Christians in Rome, reminding them that they are loved by God and were called to be saints, and greeting them. (When the word “saint” is mentioned in the Bible, it means someone who has been made holy through faith in the righteous blood of Christ. All Christians are saints, in the Biblical sense of the word. It’s important to not confuse this with the way Catholics use the word saint.)

~Application~
Woah! I’ve finally got through all of the verses! You didn’t think I’d ever finish, did you? Now for the less technical stuff: application! I just have two points of application for you today, although I’m sure there are many others that we could think of too. 🙂

-We need to be studying the whole Bible. We can’t understand the prophecies about Jesus and why they’re important if we don’t even read them! If we skip over all the Old Testament books describing Israel’s history, not only do we miss out on a huge chunk of God’s story, a lot of analogies mentioned in the gospels like Jesus being the “Lamb of God” won’t make any sense, and neither will the book of Hebrews. Yes, I realize that it’s a lot harder to study these parts since they aren’t as easily applicable. I’ve failed on this a lot too. But we really need to be reading the whole Bible and watching how it fits together instead of just picking out the parts we like best.

-When we do read the Bible, we need to think about how what we are reading tells us about God/Jesus and his character. Part of our human nature is a desire to think about ourselves. It’s really easy to start reading the Bible with just the mindset of “What’s in here that’ll make me feel good? What parts are about me?”. But that’s not really how it’s supposed to be. Application is obviously an important part studying the Bible, but it’s equally important, or maybe even more important, to learn more about the greatness of God. Because after all, it’s God’s story, and he is the hero of his own story.

 

Just a Monday Morning…

It’s a normal Monday morning. I woke up to the sound of my two alarm clocks beeping at me. I was so sleepy… Fast forward half an hour. I open my eyes to see darkness outside. “Oh, it must be really early, I can sleep some more” I think. “But then again, maybe I should just check my clock to make sure… 6:03!” Then I remembered, vaguely, hearing my alarms at 5:30 already that day and having fallen back asleep. “Well, guess I better get up and start reading my Bible, and just hope I’ll be able to keep my eyes open.”

It’s 8:34 am right now. What I didn’t expect, when I woke up for the second time this morning, was that God was teaching me something. In the next hour after that, I had a good, fruitful, time with God, learning more about him and thinking about his grace presented in the gospel to me. When I went downstairs to have breakfast, a beautiful thought occurred to me. While I was sitting there, grumpy and groggy that I had to get out of bed, the God who created and sustains the universe had decided to wake me up again so that he could spend some time with me.

When God’s Plan Doesn’t Look Perfect

For the past few days I’ve been struggling with why women aren’t allowed to become pastors. I feel fairly certain that I would choose to go that route- if it weren’t for my being a girl. I know that, although there may not be a verse that outright says it, women are not supposed to be leaders in the church. I believe that this is true, but it’s a little bit hard for me to swallow. I truly feel like I could do a much better job as a pastor than most boys could. Yet I know that that’s not the way God set it up to be. Men are to be leaders; women are to be followers. It’s a result of Eve’s sin, but it’s also part of God’s plan.

Today in my Bible I was reading through laws in Leviticus. In the same way that I had been thinking about women not being pastors, I started to wonder “Why did God make it this way? How could it be right for a just and loving God to make a bunch of silly phony baloney rules that made life miserable with no clear purpose? So the poor Israelite girls had to go through all the natural biological annoyances and discomfort of being a woman, but to add to that they actually had to offer SIN offerings to pay for their “uncleanness” too… as if it was their own fault? Wasn’t it punishment enough, God, for women to have to deal with all that junk without having to feel guilty about it?!?”

Oh, if I only stopped more often to think. The great God who created the whole universe, sustained it, then came down from his seat in heaven to die to save it… I’m getting mad at this God for having rules and for doing things according to his will and plan instead of my will and plan, for doing what is right in his eyes instead of what is right in my eyes? When I just take the time to think about it… I’m blown away. God knows best. He’s not making me endure anything more than I deserve; no, he bore all the punishment I deserve, and he gave me all the good things that I didn’t deserve. If his perfect plan for me included being a pastor, he would have made me a boy. But he didn’t. He made me the introverted, perceptive, artful, girl that I am, because he knew what was just right for me. He loves me with a love so deep I cannot fathom it. He never holds back anything good from me. He calls me his daughter.

When we begin to be upset with God, we need to take a time-out. There is absolutely NO good reason to feel mad or disappointed at him. We should feel eternally grateful for what he has done for us. We should stand in awe of his perfect plans. We need to realize that we won’t always understand why things are the way that they are. God’s ways are not the same as ours. He sees the whole picture, the picture that he himself has painted just the way he wants it to be, while we only see tiny bits and pieces. Trust him.

Reasons to be joyful in a dark world

I think we’ve all had a time in our lives when all we can do is to cry, “Why, God; why?” In a world full of sin, bad things happen. Things don’t go the way we want them to. Innocent people are punished for things they didn’t do. Wicked people go unpunished. Sin is twisted so that it looks harmless and pleasant. People who follow their convictions instead of applauding sinful relationships or actions are mocked or called bigots, as I’ve witnessed with my own eyes. Wickedness seems to prevail. David thought some of the same things.

 

Psalm 93:1-4

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

 

That’s not all that David says, though. Take a look at the last two verses.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

 

What did he just say?!? Let’s get this straight: David was just crying out in desperation about how terrible his life is, but he decides to rejoice and sing about it? Believe it or not, there are many reasons that we can choose to react in the same way that David did.

 

Because God wants you to be thankful regardless of the circumstance.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

 

Because we should be content in knowing that he will give us all that we need.

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

 

Because just as God promised to the Israelites, he will never leave or forsake us.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Because through him, we can endure all things.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”  

(If you want to know why I said “endure” when the verse says “do”, look at this video by John Piper! It’s super short) http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-secret-in-every-circumstance

 

Because God has rescued us from the darkness of the world,

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

 

So that we would be a light to the darkness of the world.

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

 

Because everything in the life of a Christian, even things that appear to be bad, will be used by God for our good.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

 

Because your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

 

Because we will be rewarded when we stand firm despite persecution.

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

Because all of this is part of God’s plan. He is the one in control, working all things for good. Romans 2:4 tells us that God puts up with sin for a while out of his grace, so that some would come to repentance. This doesn’t mean that God will put off judgement forever. When the time comes, God will punish the wicked and reward those who have turned to him.

 

Will you praise God today through all circumstances like David did? How can you be a light to the dark world?

Where do you find your worth?

What do phrases like “follow your heart” and “Be Yourself”, pop music, feminism, and selfies have in common? Well, first of all, they’re very popular among girls. Second of all, I don’t like them. Third of all, they’re all self-centered and self-glorifying, which is the reason for why I don’t like them. Ok, maybe taking a picture of yourself once in awhile is ok, but don’t overdo it.

Turn on just about any pop song, and you’ll hear the message that we girls are great, independent, and strong. Look around at all the little girls wearing shirts that say “Follow your heart!” or “Be-you-tiful!” Look at the “big girls”, the adults supposedly standing for equal rights for women to the point where they seem to wish guys didn’t exist. Check your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and look at all the pictures of girls posing to make it look as if their life is perfect.

And yet underneath all this show of self-confidence stand girls, women, and teenagers who are insecure and wonder about their worth. They think that they have to prove their worth in meaningless sayings, makeup and Instagram filters, or by embracing the message of feminism and claiming that they can do anything guys can do. They hope that somehow, all this will make them have more worth.

But I’m a Christian. I don’t need to prove my worth; my worth is in Christ, not myself. I know that I’m “good enough”, not because of who I am, but because Jesus paid for my sin and I’m free from it. Since Jesus took my place, not only did he pay for my sin, but he also made me righteous. Since I’m justified, I have the same worth that I would have if I had never done anything wrong in my life. So, nothing I do can change my worth. Ultimately, it’s not even about me. My whole purpose in life is to glorify God, so there’s no point in me focusing on my worth.

All that to say:

Don’t follow your heart, for “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Don’t focus on how wonderful, strong, and independent you are, because we are completely dependent on God’s grace.

And as for feminism, that’s a whole other topic that Bethany Baird and Kristin Clark at the Girl Defined movie can explain a lot better than I can, so I’m not even going to try.

 

Acts 20:24 “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”