26 January 2016

Does Jesus Care?

(Lessons from Martha)
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. Luke 10:38-40

Martha questioned whether Jesus cared. Her question also sounds accusing. Don't you care?
Do you ever question whether God cares about you and your problems?
A few month ago I asked God the same question. Our baby was in hospital in intensive care connected to oxygen, tubes and monitors and we didn't know how long she would be there for. Our 3 other little children were 5 hours away and I hadn't seen them for about 5 days. We had made a plan so that they could come and stay with us, but then we realized that plan might not work. So I didn't know when I would see them again. When you're a mother, you'll understand what that feels like! I felt so miserable as I cried out to God, "Where are You? Why is this happening? Why can't I even look after my own children? What good can possibly come out of this?"
Thankfully it did work out for our children to come!
I had to give our children over to God and trust that He would work it together for good as He has promised. And God showed me so many times that He does care. That night I met another lady in the NICU who had little children that she was a long way away from and she had hardly seen them in the last month. Although she hated it, she had accepted it and knew her children would be fine. Talking to her really helped me, and I knew that God used her to confirm to me that my children would be fine. Often during those weeks of being in hospital, when I was feeling really down, God would show me He cared through some person or in some other way.
Do you have the same question? Does Jesus care?
Jesus knows everything you are going through. He knows your past, your family situation, your problems, and your pain.
He understands.
God created women so he understands how you think and act! He understands exactly how you feel.
Others may not understand, but God does.
He doesn't just know and understand. He cares.
There are many stories in the Bible that show us how God cares. The Prodigal Son and the Lost Sheep are 2 examples.
You will still go through hard times, but God will help you through them if you cry out to Him. I can say from experience that when you are going through a hard time, experiencing God's care is very special! I don't know how to put it into words. It's bittersweet. The hard times hurt, but God becomes very close and real.

23 January 2016

Nevertheless Even Him...

"Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin." Nehemiah 13:26
Nehemiah said this to Jews who were marrying outside the Jewish faith. He was warning them to listen and obey God about who they should marry.
A Biblical principle is for Christians to marry Christians. It's just common sense really! Listen to this warning. Solomon was the wisest king, and yet he married women who didn't love God and as this verse says, they caused him to sin. Notice he didn't win them. They won him. That's often the way it is. If the wisest king on earth could be led astray by having wrong relationships, how much more could you?
Listen to God's advice and stay away from close relationships with those who don't love God. Don't start a relationship with someone who doesn't know God. Instead of being close friends with girls who will be a bad influence, look for friends who will help and encourage you to do what's right. Pray for God to bring good godly friends into your life if there are none around you.
Pray for a godly husband.
No matter how strong you are, you could make big mistakes just by having bad friends or being in a wrong relationship.
No one is strong enough!
Learn from Solomon's mistake rather than learning the hard way!

14 January 2016

13 Bible Reading Tips

 1)Have a Plan
Make a Bible Reading plan that will work for you and stick to it.
Lately I haven't been reading in a particular place in my Bible and it's not the best! Although God can use any verse in the Bible to speak to you, it's definitely better to follow some kind of a plan rather than trying to decide what to read every time you open your Bible.
I decided to use a plan in the back of my Bible which reads through the Bible in two years. So that means 2 chapters every day, one in the Old Testament and one in the New.
But there are different ideas:
Book by book
Bible Characters
Proverbs--1 chapter per day, as there's 31 chapters
A chapter in the Old and one in the New
'Read the Bible in a Year' plans

2) Make a specific time and place
Find a time that will work best for you. It's nice to do it first thing in the morning, but if you're more awake at night than in the morning maybe the evening would be better. What time do you concentrate best?

3) Use a journal
Have some type of book that you can write down things you learn, verses that speak to you or a passage that stands out. It will help you remember.

4) Keep track of what you're reading
You could write down which chapters you've read in your journal so you remember where you're up to. Or else use bookmarks.

5) Pray first
Before you start reading, pray for God's help. There is a prayer in the psalms that says "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Psalms 119:18 That's a good prayer to pray.

6) Ask questions as you read.
Here are some ideas:
What does this passage teach me about God? and about myself?
Is there a command, promise, warning or fact/truth in here? What can I apply to my life and how?

If reading a story about someone, you can ask...
What can I learn from this person?
What did they do right?
What did they do wrong?
What consequences did they get for their sin or what reward did they get for doing right?

7) Underline verses that speak to you.
I have found this really helpful. It makes the Bible more personal for me. It helps me concentrate and it helps me to find verses that I know.

8) Write down a prayer in response
In your journal you could write a short prayer as a response to what you've read. A prayer that is somehow appropriate to something you've just read.

9) Mix the hard with the easy
If you're not familiar with the Bible, it would be best to just start somewhere easy, like Genesis or Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
But if you're more familiar...if you read a difficult took, read an easier book at the same time so you don't get discouraged and give up.
I remember hearing an Israeli telling my mum he had started reading the New Testament for the first time. He was reading Revelation! Mum told him that Revelation isn't a good book to start with. He replied, "What's wrong with it?" Mum explained that there is nothing wrong with it, but it's just a very difficult book!"

10) If possible, read aloud.
You have to concentrate when you're reading aloud!

11) If you have time, read it twice.
Sometimes you can miss things when you only read it once.

12) Read a paraphrase/easy version/ or commentary alongside your regular version.
I have the Living Bible which is a paraphrase. My regular Bible is a KJV, so I sometimes find it handy to read the chapter I've just read in my Bible in the Living Bible, especially if what I'm reading is difficult to understand. There are some verses I never understood until I read them in there. Now I know what those verses are talking about!

13) Listen to the Bible being read.
My Dad isn't a very good reader, so ever since he's been a Christian, he's listened to the Bible on tape. Now he can listen to it on his phone. It's also quite handy if you're doing something quiet, like scrapbooking or cleaning. You can listen at the same time!

I have just downloaded the whole audio Bible from http://www.bible.is/download/audio It's free and I got the dramatized one which is good if you don't concentrate very well when listening, like me! You can choose which version and language you want. It's quite amazing really!

11 January 2016

Why You Should Read Your Bible

I was looking through my Bible the other day wondering what to read. Should i go through the book of John again? No. Oh! How about trying to finish Jeremiah this time? (15 min later…) I don’t think this is what God wants me to read right now… I feel like this is what many of us go through while we are trying to read our Bibles. Maybe you don’t like to read your bible,  or you don’t really even know where to start. Whatever you’re reasoning is, admit it, we all sometimes procrastinate when it comes to reading our Bibles at some point in our lives. It doesn’t have to be that way though! Reading your Bible can be fun! There are actually a lot of stories about people in the Bible who were teenagers just like you! For instance Leah, she battled depression and insincerity because she didn’t feel like she measured up to anyone. Sadly how many teens feel today.She is the girl who has a crush on a boy but he wants someone else. Rachel was the girl everyone wanted, she can be recognized as your school or youth groups “it” girl. She battled with pride her entire life witch was not in her favor. David was a young teen who was always overlooked and considered too young to make an impact on the world. Since he decided to follow God whole heartily and not look back, he proved everyone wrong and is one of the most famous people in the Bible. Miriam’s quick thinking saved her brother’s life and a whole nation. She is the girl who never freezes in an emergency. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers yet choose to forgive them. He would be the boy outcasted by his friends at your school. So do you see how many teens are in the Bible? Most of them with life changing stories that we can compare to some of today’s teenagers. that’s not all though, the more we read our Bibles the more we can learn about God and how to fight the enemy. You see the enemy doesn’t want you to read your Bible, Oh no…he would much rather you catch up on your favorite TV show. The reason he likes to distract us is because he knows we can use it as a weapon. The Bible is one of the #1 ways to fight the enemy. The more you read your Bible the closer you are to God and we both know Satan cant have that. Are you ready now? Have you finally realized why it is so important to read the Bible? It stands for Biblical Instructions Before Leaving Earth. B-I-B-L-E. So why would Satan want you to read it!?!?!? The Bible is your guild to surviving this place! A ticket to a better night sleep as sleep train would say! This is how you can make an impact on people’s lives! By reading your Bible you may memorize a verse that your friend Kara could really use today. That verse may have changed her whole day! By reading your Bible you can strengthen your relationship with the Lord. By reading your Bible you can fight the enemy. By reading your Bible you can share the good news. This is why you should read your Bible. Do you understand now? How important it is? If not I challenge you. I challenge you to read your Bible for two weeks straight. At least one chapter a day, it will take you five minutes.  If you accept…you not be able to stop:)…If you have trouble finding places to read, start with the teens of the Bible I listed earlier.
Leah and Rachel- Genesis 29:1-30
David- 1 and 2 Samuel
Miriam- Numbers 12
Joseph- Genesis 37
These are good places to start.:) Let’s all make a point to STOP procrastinating and START reading our Bibles.  Comment below if you are taking the challenge!:) Has it changed you yet? Tell me what you think! Are you going to stand up and start reading?
Kylie Jacobs enjoys being outside doing active activities such as riding horses, surfing, going for hikes, and more! her favorite dessert is ice cream and she loves ministering and mentoring teen girls! Check out her blog at http://christcenteredgirls.blog.com/ If you have any questions email her at christcenteredteengirls@gmail.com

8 January 2016

A Little Thought on Modesty

We all know pornography is wrong, right?
For guys, looking at pornography is a temptation.
But what about girls?
For girls, the temptation is to be the pornography.
I know that sounds terrible, but I simply mean that girls are tempted to draw guys attention to themselves by how (immodestly) they dress.
It's good to dress attractively. You don't need to put guys off you!! But if your clothes are skimpy (short and revealing) or tight enough to make you a temptation to guys, guess what?  Your actions are no better than someone who views pornography. That's a bit of a scary thought!
Be an attraction not a temptation!

4 January 2016

9 Reasons Why I Discourage Dating

(By dating, I mean having relationships with guys you have no intention of marrying--Dating for the fun of it. It's different when your purpose is marriage)

1)It's a waste of time
The time spent going on dates could be spent doing something profitable—serving God. Maybe you will learn lessons from broken relationships, but you don't have to learn the hard way! What's the purpose of dating anyway? Is it really using your time wisely?

2)It can lead to doing things you will regret.
Dating can lead to sin.
3) Most guys will become someone else's husband.
If you could choose between a guy whose been out with tons of girls and a guy who has waited for the right one, which one would you choose? Which type of girl do you think a good Christian guy would prefer? Do you really want to go out with someone else's future husband?

4) It doesn't prepare you for marriage.
God only has One person for you. If you are used to having lots of relationships before marriage, it will be harder for you to stay faithful to your One man after marriage. What will stop you from leaving when/if you don't feel like loving him anymore? Keep your heart for the one person God has for you.

5)It's really not necessary.
You don't have to date in order to find a husband. God is much bigger than that.
I have never dated anyone other than my husband! It's possible for you to find the right man without going on a single date with anyone else.
Ask God to bring the right person across your path at the right time, and get busy living for God and making the most of your single years.
6)It can bring a lot of hurt.
You might really like someone you date, but that person may not be serious about you and start dating someone else. Surely broken relationships must hurt!
7)It's more difficult to stay pure.
Going on dates bring temptation that could be avoided.

8) Once you are married, you will have the rest of your life to date!
You will be able to date your special man as much as you like! Why not wait for that special one?

 A recent date--celebrating our 6th year Wedding Anniversary
9)God created marriage not dating.
God created a wife for Adam not a girlfriend! And He only created one! The right one. The idea of dating many different people is not Biblical. But marriage is.