28 January 2015

Wisdom for Difficult Times

 (Lessons from the Two Harlots)
Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.
And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. 
 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. 1Ki 3:16-22

What a predicament for Solomon! There was no proof either way with the two women. There were no husbands on the scene. Newborn babies look alike--especially to men! They must have both been boy babies. It was a very tough problem to solve. Too hard for most people. But nothing is too hard for God. And since Solomon got his wisdom from God, he was able to solve the difficult problem. God gave him the wisdom to know just what to do.
Are you facing any difficult problems at the moment? Difficult decisions---how are you supposed to know what to do? Difficult people—how do you deal with them? Difficult circumstances—how do you know how to act?
Before this story, God asked Solomon what he wanted. Solomon answer was, “Wisdom.” That's why Solomon knew how to solve this problem.

In James 1:5-6 God promises us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
 But let him ask in faith...”

God promises wisdom to those who'll ask for it in faith. He can give you the wisdom to know the answers to the questions you have.

27 January 2015

Let Me Not Wander

Recently, for a Bible reading project, I read through Psalm 119 and wrote out all the prayer requests that are in there. It was quite neat as it gives me good ideas on how to pray. I thought I would share a few of them over the next few weeks.
"O let me not wander from thy commandments." Psalm 119:10b
In another words, he is praying, Keep me close to God's Word. We need to pray this prayer too.  The Bible is so important, and when we wander away from it we are in danger. We are capable of anything. God's commands are for our good.
When I talk about staying close to God's Word, I don't mean just reading it out of habit. You can read it every day and be miles away from God. I am talking about reading it to get to know God better and to spend time with Him.
Why is God's Word so important?
God's Word is like...
 ...a mirror--that shows us what we are really like and what needs changing in our lives.
...a map-- that gives directions
...food-- that gives us strength spiritually and satisfies us.
...a light-- that shows us what's right and wrong.
...a sword--that we can use as a weapon against Satan.
Do you ever wonder how in the world a Christian could do what they did? Like David with Bathsheba? The answer is "They wandered away from God's Word." Of course, in some cases the person might not be saved. But in other cases, like David, it's just because the person is not walking with God. That's scary!
I heard a man preaching who had met with some Christian men who had all done wrong things. The preacher said to them, "I don't even need to ask what went wrong. You neglected time with God and that's why you are here today."
Make it your prayer, "O let me not wander from thy commandments."

20 January 2015

When You Have Everything, but...

(Big lessons from a Little Maid)
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. 2Kings 5:1

Naaman had everything going for him. He was a very important man. But... he had a BIG problem. In spite of all that he was, he wasn't happy. He was a leper! He had the dreaded disease—leprosy.

Why was leprosy so bad?
Leprosy makes you unclean.
Leprosy makes you look horrible.
Leprosy begins small but always spreads.
Leprosy defiles everything that it touches.
Leprosy isolates you.
Leprosy eventually kills you.
No wonder Naaman wasn't happy! What good does it do you to have everything in the world if you're a leper?
Did you know that you have a problem similar to Naaman? You may have everything, you may be popular, you may be pretty, you may be talented, but you're still not happy. You're not happy because you're a sinner. You have the dreaded disease—sin! Not a skin disease but a soul disease.
Sin does the same damage that leprosy does.
Sin makes you unclean in God's sight.
Sin makes you into a horrible person.
Sin has never made a person more attractive. Sin is ugly and it makes you ugly.
Sin starts off small, but always spreads. 
There is no sin that will satisfy you. Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Sin spreads.
Sin ruins everything that it touches.
It ruins relationships, marriages, families, purity, reputations, dreams, careers etc.
Sin isolates.
Sin separates us from God. But it can also bring us loneliness. Remember the story of the prodigal son? When he had lots of money, he had lots of friends, but when his money ran out, his friends disappeared.
Sin kills.
It's because of sin that we have to die physically. Its sin that takes us to hell.

No wonder we're not happy! No matter what we have or who we are, we can never be truly happy while we have this dreadful disease.
There was only one hope for Naaman and there is only one hope for us—God.
Though only God could heal him, he still had to do something. He had to go find the prophet and he had to obey the prophet's command. He had to seek and obey. It didn't happen while he was sitting at home moaning and groaning about his leprosy. And even though only God can save us, there is something we need to do. The Bible teaches us to “Seek the Lord.” We need to look for the answers and then we need to believe and obey the answers that God gives us.
What Naaman had to do was very simple—wash in the river 7 times. What we have to do is simple—repent and believe the gospel.
What Naaman had to do was humilating! That's why he refused to do it at first. And salvation for us is humbling, too! We have to face the fact that we are sinners and that our ways are wrong and God's ways are right. We have to face the fact that we cannot save ourself.
Naaman became a changed man.
His ugly skin became like the skin of a little child—brand new. He also started to worship God instead of idols. And so, when we are saved, we are made clean! We don't become perfect but we begin to love God and follow Him. The Bible says,
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 
Naaman became a thankful man.
He went back to the prophet's house to thank Him. The prophet told him to thank God, since it was God who healed him. When we are saved, we should never stop thanking God! Never forget that it was Him who saved you! Without Him you had no hope.

13 January 2015

Tips on Modesty

One young guy said “To me modesty is anything that doesn't distract me from looking at a girls eyes.”
That says it all in one sentence!
But the question is, what distracts guys from looking at a girl's eyes? They think differently from us, remember?

Here are a few things I've heard and read that has influenced the way I think about clothes. It also gives you a little bit of an idea how guys think. I've added a few tips and principles that I use for myself and find helpful. We all have different styles and tastes and we don't have to dress exactly the same. I am not saying that you need to dress like me. I am a tomboyish person and like what's comfortable, simple and practical. I dislike dressing up!
We are all different, but we should all want to please God in the way we dress and not be a stumblingblock to any guy. Right??

This is what I read about Joni Erickson Tada's husband.
This is the man who could come home from a day of teaching at school, and if some girl in his class had a plunging neckline, he would tell Joni about it. He would say, “I looked, Joni. I'm so sorry I did. I feel badly about it.”
Guys shouldn't look, of course. But how are they supposed to talk to you without looking at you? And sometimes the only places for them to look is the floor or the ceiling!
Some tips about tops!
If your top is low, you can always wear a high singlet underneath. High singlets aren't always easy to find, so some girls buy boys singlets! :) Otherwise you can buy small thin t-shirts and cut out the sleeves. That's what I've done a few times. If I'm unsure whether my top is too tight or not, I ask my husband. When I lived at home I asked my mum. If my top is see through I wear a singlet. If you have a dress with no material up the top, you can always buy a little jacket to cover your shoulders etc. Make sure your straps are covered. If you buy a top with writing, make sure it's appropriate and not suggestive. I bought a hoody awhile back and when I got home I realized that I hadn't read the writing on it. I had to take it back!! Also be very careful when you bend over!

I was watching a video of Ray Comfort trying to show a man that he had broken the Ten Commandments. He explained how lusting after a person is the same as adultery in God's eyes. He asked the man if he had ever looked at a woman with lust. The man's reply was, “Of course, you only need to walk down the beach.” What does that tell us?
I also heard another man, at a course I was at, say something that implied his thoughts are not pure at the beach. Why at the beach?? Because that's a place where modesty doesn't matter for most girls.
In the video called “The evolution of the swimsuit” the girl who is talking explains how when a guy sees a girl in a bikini his brain sees her as an object not a person. That's scary! She also said that when the bikini first came out, the only person who would wear it was a stripper. Isn't it sad that today it's normal for Christians to wear them?
If a bikini is modest, what isn't??
A tip about togs!
In my country at least, it's easy to find nice board shorts and swimsuit tops for swimming. You can still be covered without looking odd. I don't like swimming myself, so I don't have to worry about this one! :) Also there are websites around that sell modest swimwear.
I read this quote in a book about some missionaries to the Philippines. (The wife was worried when she heard of other American men in the Philippines being unfaithful to their wives and she mentioned her fears to her husband)
“It's true, I'm tempted, darling,” he admitted gently, “I'm a man, not a stone. Every time a girl in a miniskirt walks by, I have to choose to avert my eyes. Adulterous thoughts want to take root in my mind.” For a wife, that's scary stuff! (He then went on to tell her that she needed to pray that He would stay close to God as that was the only thing that could keep their marriage safe.)
A tip about skirts/dresses
Be careful your skirts aren't too short, tight or that the splits aren't too high. (These principles apply to shorts and trousers, too) Otherwise the purpose of wearing a skirt will be defeated! Also, be careful when you sit! It's the others who see how you look when you're sitting, not yourself! I personally prefer to wear three quarter length skirts because then I don't have to worry about sitting too carefully! (Well, that's one reason!) If your skirt is see-through, you can always wear a good old petticoat!

To me modesty is anything that doesn't distract me from looking at a girls eyes."

10 January 2015

Why bother with modesty?

To be honest, this is a subject I'd rather stay off! But we live in a world that is gradually getting worse in this way. So someone needs to speak up sometimes!
It's one thing to know you should be modest, but it definitely helps if you know why. So this post answers the question "Why?"
I plan to write another post soon with some practical tips on "How?" Dressing modestly doesn't mean we have to look strange, drab or out of date.

1) God says so.
This is all that really matters, isn't it? God said it, that settles it! It's a command from God.
  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, 1Timothy 2:9

2) Guys think differently than girls.
My husband has told me I will never understand how guys think! He's right! But I do know a little bit.
Guys are visual. They are attracted/tempted by what they see.
Remember David with Bathsheba? If it had been the other way around, would Bathsheba have been tempted? I doubt it!! Girls aren't attracted to guys that way, right? It's just not a temptation! For me, at least! Girls are more tempted by touch.
Guys are different. So if we aren't modestly covered, we are a temptation for them to think sinful thoughts etc. Do you want to be a stumbling block to guys?

3) Safety.
So many bad things happen to girls because of the way they are dressed. I heard of some tourist girls in our country who were raped/attacked. In the newspaper report someone said something like, "The way they were dressed explained it." Of course guys are responsible for their sinful actions, but we shouldn't put temptation in front of them, otherwise we're just as guilty. I met a lady who is a missionary to the Aborigines in Australia. She reckoned that where she lived, there weren't so many rapes etc. because females don't wear tight and revealing clothes like they do here. If all girls dressed modestly, there would be a lot less problems in this world!

4) Clothes are supposed to be a covering.
Clothes are supposed to cover, aren't they? Not uncover!! Today clothes are designed to uncover.

5) You are an example to younger girls.
Girls around you are watching how you dress.  How you dress will affect how they dress. Are you a good role model?

6) It's honoring to God.
The Bible teaches us that whatever we do, we should do to the glory of God. That includes the way we dress. When is the last time you thought, 'Do these clothes honour God?'
Or do we dress to draw attention to ourselves? Do we dress to be like the world?

7) Dressing modestly will attract the right kind of guy!
If you don't dress modestly, you will attract attention, but not from a godly guy! Godly guys will have to look the other way. You want a guy who likes you for who you are--not for your body, right?

8)The way you dress reflects your heart.
I know that you can dress modestly and have a sinful heart. But if you have a heart that wants to please God, then it will affect the way you dress. If your heart is pure, you'll want to dress in a way that is pure.

9) It gives you dignity.
In the Bible in Proverbs there is a story about the strange lady. It says she is dressed like a harlot (prostitute). How do you think a harlot would dress?? I can guess! Why do they dress like that? To try and get attention to themselves. Does the way you dress make you look like a harlot?? There is no dignity in that.
I listened to a sermon where the preacher explained the difference between beauty and sensuality. God created beauty. Beauty isn't wrong.
But sensuality is different. It brings attention to your body in a sinful way. Like a harlot. Sensuality is wrong. It's not beauty.
If you're not for sale, don't advertise!

Some thoughts to challenge you!

8 January 2015

Does Your Word Mean Something?

(Lessons from The Little Maid)
And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
2Kings 5:4-5

When you say something, do people take you seriously?
Does your word mean something?
The little maid's word meant something to Naaman and his wife. Why?
If she was a lazy, unreliable and dishonest worker, would her word have meant anything? If she had lived in a way that brought dishonor to God, would her words about God have meant something? If she had lived as though God wasn't real, would they have believed that her God could heal Naaman?
She must have had a good reputation. She must have lived a life that backed up her words.
Two people may say the same thing, and yet you believe only one of them. How they act or live may disagree with what they say.
My husband and I met someone who was always full of big ideas and promises of things that he would do. After awhile I realized that it was only words. What he said he would do, he never did. So then when he would come out with a new idea, I would just think, “Yeah, whatever!” His word meant nothing to me because I knew his word was only words.
What about you? If you had been the little maid, would they have listened to you? Or would they have thought, “Yeah, whatever.” “She can't really mean that.”
People have to choose whether or not to believe you, but you should live in a way that gives them no good reason not to.
If you tell people about God, do they have reason to take you seriously? Has He made a difference to your life? Has he made you a better person? Is there any reason they should want what you have?
When you make a promise, do people believe you? Do you keep your promises? Are you reliable?
When you say, "I love you", do people have reason to believe you? Do you show love by your actions?
Do your words mean something?

28 December 2014

Lessons from a Thermal Park

During our last holiday we visited a thermal park. The park is full of danger—big pits and boiling mud. I couldn't help noticing all the warnings posted around the park.    Some places were fenced well, but some places only had very little fences or no fence at all. We walked on a path right through the middle of a lake.  It was up to us to listen to the warnings and stick to the safe path. If we hadn't obeyed the warnings, we would have gotten very burnt.

As we walked through the park I couldn't help but think of how similar it is to life. Living life is like walking through a thermal park. The boiling mud represents sin.
Sin is dangerous! Sin burns! Sin hurts! Sin gives scars for life! Sin brings death! Sin brings eternal punishment in hell.
But thankfully, there are also warnings. God has given us the Bible which is full of warnings. We not only have the Bible, we have parents, church, a pastor,and people who have scars already that we can learn from.
Do you have parents who warn you about sin? About making wrong choices? About what friends you should have? About how should dress? Do you have parents who have rules? If you do, you should be so thankful! They are wise and they care about you. They don't want you to get burnt. When I was a teenager I didn't always appreciate my parent's warnings and the fences they built to keep me safe. I didn't see the dangers that they saw. But now that I am older and can see the reasons behind their rules, I am so thankful! My life could have been so ruined if they hadn't made the rules that they did. And my life could have been scarred if I had ignored the warnings and gone off the right path.
Even though your parents may give you lots of warnings and have rules to keep you safe, there will be plenty of times that you will  have to make your own choices. The older you get--the less fences. It's up to you to listen to the warnings you are given and take them seriously.
 Listen to those who have already been burnt by sin--People who have gone off the right path and are full of regrets.
There are also those who have stayed on the right path but have seen others get burnt. Listen to the warnings they give you.
 Stay on the safe path—listening and obeying God.
When you read the Bible, look out for the warnings. Here are a few that I've found but there are many more. What are the warnings in these verses? How do they apply to your life?

1Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. A warning about friends. They rub off on us. We need to choose good friends.

2Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? A warning about who we should marry. Marrying a nonChristian won't work.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. A warning about pride. If you are proud, you will be embarrassed.

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. A warning about our actions. Our actions have consequences. We can either sow good seeds or bad seeds (good or bad actions). But whatever we sow is what we will reap.

Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. A warning about holding on to what we want in life. When we give our life to God and give up what we want, then God gives us His very best.

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Another warning about friends or the people we hang around. If we want to turn out well, we must choose good people to be around.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
A warning about  trying to hide our sin. If we don't face up to the fact that what we are doing is wrong and confess it, we won't be forgiven and we won't be helped.

Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. A warning about laziness. If you want to do well in school or work, you must work hard at it.
Listen to God's Warnings!