Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What do you Cherish?

Instead of surviving relationships, why not cherish them?

I had the pleasure of reading Cherish by Vicki Courtney and 3 other contributing authors, Pam Gibbs, Susie Davis, and Whitney Prosperi

The book is written to primarily teen girls, but I found myself checking my own habits and thoughts on matters that she wrote about.

If you are the parent of a teen girl, you need this book!

Vicki separates the content into 5 categories and is written in a magazine style with great quizzes, quotes and pictures to keep you engaged.

All of the chapters are laced with scripture references and always directing the reader back to their own relationship with the Lord Jesus. 
The chapter on God has wonderful titles such as “What do you believe”, “Can you call something wrong?”, “Submitting to authorities”, and “Why are you here?”.

Vicki also includes a section in the back with scriptures to lead someone to Christ.

Along with relational help with friends, family, your world, guys and God she focuses on spiritual health and growth as the reader adopts the new patterns of relating, coping and cherishing the people in their lives.

Vicki weaves throughout the book the standard of scripture as the utmost guide on how to cherish earthly relationships as well as placing Christ on the throne of your heart.

I especially liked how the authors wrote about the relevant social issues our kids face such as attention seeking selfie-takers, gossipy girl drama, and blended family relationships. They also created charts, quizzes and lists to identify ways to recognize when others need help, cultivating relationships within the family walls, and who God says you are.

There is such great content and advice in this book and can be used as a reference guide for chartering the waters of teen years and into young adulthood as well. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

The voices in my head…..

How many voices are speaking to you right now? What’s pulling on you?

-How many views or likes you get on your social media posts?

-What your bank account looks like?

-Maybe its relational voices like peer influences in your life giving you advice and direction?

-Advertisements and sales.

-All of us are influenced by music. How many lyrics have you easily memorized over the years?

-Perhaps the voices that are loud to you right now are political or news worthy.

-Maybe…the voice is you. The self-talk we do in our heads. Be it strong and prideful or lowly and degrading,… or constantly comparing, we all have self-talk.

John 10:1-10 Jesus tells the story of the sheep and Shepherd. In verse 27 he says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me”. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His followers are the 
sheep in the story.

Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? Could you pick it out among all the other voices swirling around like a hurricane? What does it sound like?

In John 14:6 Jesus says that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

This means that our Shepherd’s voice is the voice of Truth.
      Absolute Truth.

Not truth for you and truth for me, and we blow whatever way the wind blows and adapt and change and evolve. Absolute, 100% truth for life, for living and for all direction, the only standard!

So when you juggle all of the voices in your head from the world and from your own ideas and thoughts, where does Truth fit in?

Are you measuring all of your decisions and basing your thoughts about yourself off of what the world tells you or what absolute Truth tells you?

How do you know the voice of Truth and distinguish 
it from the others?
It is Scripture.

God’s Word is the living and active breath of God! It is just as relevant and applicable as it’s ever been, and the best thing about it is that it never changes!

God’s Word is Truth. John 1:1 says that Jesus himself is the Word. The spoken Word, the prophesied Word, the fulfilled Word and living Word!

In order to know the Word of Truth, you need to know scripture. Read it. It’s the only way you’ll ever distinguish God’s voice of Truth from all the other voices around you vying for your attention. They are not truth, they are a poor substitute, telling what you want to here and swaying you away from God’s Truth.

You’ll begin to know the difference because they clash, they are sometimes quite opposite from what we feel compelled to do.

~ We say I’ll hurt you because you hurt me….God’s Word says love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt 5:44)

~ We say It’s what everyone watches on TV or listens to on the radio….. God’s Word says do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom. 12:1)

~ We say that admiration of someone turns to lust and we speak about how “hot” or “sexy” they are….God’s Word says that if you look after someone in lust you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. (Matt 5:28)

~ We say share online all the wonderful deeds you dovolunteering, giving to the poor, service work in other countries…just to “share” so others can see what you are up to….God’s Word says to do your charitable deeds in private or you will receive no reward from them. (Matt 6:1)

~ We say you should spend most of your life earning. Storing up wealth, using your money for you personally, making a fat retirement for yourself one day…God’s Word says Do not store up treasures on earth but rather treasures in heaven, For where your treasure is there your heart will be also!. (Matt 6:19-21)

~ We are so quick to judge! We speak about someone’s choices or behavior and execute judgement as though we have some right….God’s Word says that what measure you judge others that same measurement will be used on you…that we are to remove the plank from our own eye before trying to point out the speck in someone else’s. (Matt 7:1-5)

These are just some of the Truths you can find in scripture. I pulled most of them from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5-7.

As you can see we’ve wandered so far from the Shepherds voice of Truth, I’m not sure we could pick it out in a silent room because of all the influence in our own heads.

We pay such close attention to all the other voices and brush off like a crumb the voice of Truth.

It’s not popular, it’s not easy, and it’s so different from everyone else.

CORRECT! As I mentioned the verse above, Romans 12:2 says do not be conformed to this world. 

This means if you look like everyone else…You’re doing it wrong. 

Romans goes on to say that you need to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Time to put off the worlds voices and search out the voice of Truth.
Time to stand and be who we are called to be!

Lights in a dark world because we listen to THE voice of Truth!