To The Girl Who Feels Discouraged And Beaten Down

To The Girl Who Feels Discouraged And Beaten Down

Some encouragement and advice from a girl who's been there.

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Dear sister, I see you hurting and I acknowledge your pain. I don't know what causes it, but I know it's there, and I know it's not just you because I see a lot of posts in my news feed that hint that 2018 was rough on many of us and we are praying for prosperity in 2019.

Maybe you just became a mother this year and are unexpectedly raising that child alone. Maybe you lost the person you thought was the love of your life. Maybe you are struggling with depression. Maybe your husband cheated on you. Maybe you have cancer. Whatever it may be, you clicked on this article because you need hope for the future.

If this resonates with you, please listen to me, so that you will not be disillusioned: Speaking prosperity and wealth over your life in Jesus name will not guarantee that your circumstances improve. If that is all you think Jesus does, you're exchanging a diamond for a pebble, and you may not even get your pebble.

Good karma and good vibes are not what you need in 2019, sister.

Being better and making resolutions won't get you where you want to be.

Your anxiety, your laziness, your addictions, your insecurity, and your guilt will not leave themselves in 2018, and yet you are not strong enough alone.

What is it that will truly satisfy you and make 2019 your most radiant, joyful year yet?

It's Jesus, honey. But to avail yourself, you can't just share vague religious platitudes on Facebook and leave it at that. Here is what you should do instead:

1. You must be forgiven of your sins through Jesus’ sacrifice.

You, my sister, are an image-bearer of the King of kings. Your purpose for which you were created is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and none of us will be happy living outside of our purpose. You cannot by definition be peaceful while living in rebellion to your Creator.
You are also living in a world wracked and bending under the weight of ghastly sin, the sin which is committed when humans commit murders, genocides, rapes, thefts, lies. It is humans which cause this and humans who bear the blame. And it is my unfortunate job to tell you with love that you, as lovely and image-bearing as you are, are part of the problem.
Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".
But praise be to our Father, who grows roses from ashes, He made a way for you to be reconciled through Himself taking your punishment. Please do not, dear feminine soul, miss the love in this. What you desire is unfailing love (Proverbs 19:22) and here it is: "He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) His punishment brought you peace--reach out and take it!
"Then he called for a light, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 'Sirs,' he said 'what must I do to be saved?' They said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.' " Acts 16:31-32

2. Find a church.

In order to facilitate your spiritual growth, provide you with friendship, instruct you in Scripture, serve your needs, and give you an opportunity to use your gifts to serve others, God has given us the gift of local churches. (It has been my personal experience that Reformed Baptist churches fill these purposes best, in case you're looking for a recommendation.)

Humans were not meant to live in solitude and execute the affairs of life without help (if you are a single mom, you may have a great appreciation of this fact.) I do not recommend that you attempt the Christian life alone. It isn't effective to expect spiritual growth by claiming membership in the "universal church" any more than you'd expect physical fitness by being part of the "universal gym."

3. Know what following Christ means.

A word of caution: Do not become a Christian in hopes of ironing out your life circumstances and achieving your best life now. You cannot expect health, wealth, and prosperity when you take up the cross of the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3.) The servant is not greater than her master (John 15:20) and our Master has forewarned us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). But I didn't lie to you at the beginning; in fact, the last part of the last verse says "but take heart, for I have overcome the world."

All the money and possessions this world can offer cannot satisfy a heart that was made for another world. True happiness comes from being loved perfectly and from glorifying God, which require no particular life circumstances.

With that said, the holy Christian lifestyle discourages and steers away from the life circumstances which result from sin and spread misery, such as broken homes, sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, and poverty. In Christ, you have the strength, and in the church, you have the support system to break addictions, budget responsibly, and learn the skills required to build a Christ-centered marriage and family, no matter where you are in life. Whoever you are, whatever you've done, it's not too late. I pray that you will take hold of Christ and find the same peace and joy that I have.

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40 Bible Verses For Your Holy Week

Read, reflect, respond.
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We are in Holy Week, which means Easter is only a few days away. Many have spent the past 40 days of Lent giving something up or doing some time of sacrifice or alms in preparation for Easter. Here are 40 days of Bible verses to read through and reflect on, not only for Lent but at any time.

1- Deuteronomy 13:5 “The LORD, your God, shall you follow, and him shall you fear; his commandment shall you observe, and his voice shall you heed, serving him and holding fast to him alone.”

2- Philippians 1: 27-29 “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel, not intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is proof to them of destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing. For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in Him but also suffer for Him.”

3- Sirach 31: 21-25 “Do not give into sadness, torment not yourself with brooding; Gladness of heart is the very life of man, cheerfulness prolongs his days.”

4- Proverbs 12: 9 “Better a lowly man who supports himself than one of assumed importance who lacks bread.”

5- Colossians 3:12-15 “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.”

6- Isaiah 35:4 “Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’”

7- Revelation 19:1-2 “After this I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a great multitude in heaving saying "Alleluia! Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her harlotry. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

8- Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

9- Ecclesiastes 5:18 “Any man to whom God gives riches and property, and grants power to partake of them, so that he receives his lot and finds joy in the fruits of his toil, has a gift from God.”

10- 1 Peter 2:19-20 “For whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace. But what credit is there if you are patient when beaten for doing wrong? But if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God.”

11- Baruch 5:3-4 “For God will show all the earth your splendor: you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God's worship.”

12- Jeremiah 20:11 “But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail.”

13- Zechariah 14:9 “And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”

14- Daniel 6:23 “My God has sent his angel and closed the lions' mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither to you have I done any harm, O king!”

15- Jeremiah 14:20 “We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you.”

16- Psalm 119: 28My soul is depressed; lift me up according to your word.”

17- Psalm 56: 9- 10 “My wanderings you have noted; are my tears not stored in your vial, recorded in your book? My foes turn back when I call on you. This I know: God is on my side.”

18- Proverbs 19: 11 “It is good sense in a man to be slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

19- Ezra 9: 8 “Mercy came to us from the LORD who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude.”

20- Luke 10:27 “He said in reply, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’”

21- Job 28: 13 “Man knows nothing to equal it, nor is it to be had in the land of the living.”

22- Jonah 2:6-7 “The waters swirled about me, threatening my life; the abyss enveloped me; seaweed clung about my head. Down I went to the roots of the mountains; the bars of the nether world were closing behind me forever, but you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD, my God.”

23- Proverbs 4: 20-23 “My son, to my words be attentive, to my sayings incline your ear; Let them not slip out of your sight, keep them within your heart; For they are life to those who find them, to man's whole being they are health. With closest custody, guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life.”

24- Mark 9: 23 “Jesus said to him, "'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

25- Acts 2:21 “and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.”

26- 1 Corinthians 2: 16 “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?" But we have the mind of Christ.”

27- Jude 20-21 “But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

28- 2 Maccabees 6:16 “He never withdraws his mercy from us. Although he disciplines us with misfortunes, he does not abandon his own people.”

29- Hebrews 12:12 “Do strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.”

30- 1 Peter 2:1-3 “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander; like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

31- 2 Corinthians 4: 8-10 “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.”

32- Titus 2: 3-5 “Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.”

33- Micah 2:13 “With a leader to break the path they shall burst open the gate and go out through it; Their king shall go through before them, and the LORD at their head.”

34- Ephesians 6: 10-11 “Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.”

35- Romans 12:9 “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.”

36- Psalms 46:3-4 “Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea, though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging.”

37- 3 John 1:11 “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does what is good is of God; whoever does what is evil has never seen God.”

38- Jonah 3:10 “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.”

39- Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

40- Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holy_bible_book.jpg

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I'll Always Appreciate Growing Up Catholic

Peace be with you!

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I was baptized into the Catholic church before I turned 1-year-old so for as long as I can remember I have been a part of the church. Throughout my life, I have gotten a lot of questions and judgment for my faith but it has always stayed strong. I've learned a lot of things by growing up Catholic, things that still stick with me today. I am very appreciative that not only did I learn about how to worship and about Jesus's love, being Catholic has also taught me skills that I can use while at school, work, or in any type of social situation.

One of the major things that were instilled in me growing up in the Church is reading comprehension skills. I can remember being young, probably five or six, and being put in Sunday school. At the time, I hate having to go to school early in the morning on Sundays but during my time in Sunday school, we learned about Jesus and we wrote and drew pictures of things we were learning about. I believe this class helped me better my literacy especially because I was getting extra practice and some of the other kids in my class weren't getting.

Also, during mass, we sing hymns and songs from sheets that they hand out before the service starts. I can remember being next to my dad while he pointed at the words on the paper helped me follow along with the lyrics. This both helped me to be able to read music and to learn new words.

Another thing that I learned growing up in the Church was not to judge others. One of the major things that I was taught through the scriptures and homilies was that Jesus loves everyone, no matter the vices they may have. I was taught at a young age that one of the most important values that one can have is to respect and love others, especially if they don't have the same beliefs as you.

One unexpected thing I learned growing up Catholic was that people can be cruel towards you if they don't like what you believe in. For the most part, people are very respecting of me and my beliefs however, there have been times where people have been very rude to me because of my faith. One time in high school I was having a very innocent conversation with my neighbor, who was one of my closest friends and was also Mormon, about the differences in practices between our two faiths when a girl sitting in front of us (who was not part of the conversation) turned around and started to argue with me about the way in which Catholics practice religion and whether or not it was right.

To say I was angry would be an understatement, but I calmly explained to her my views and experience in the Church. Eventually, one of my other close friends, who was sitting next to her, yelled at her to stop being insensitive towards me.

Not only did this experience help me to stand up for myself and my beliefs, but it also showed me who would be in my corner if I needed them to be. I was extremely grateful for my two friends who stood up for me, they still are two of my closest friends to this day.

Overall, it hasn't been easy to be Catholic, especially with all the abuse of power within the hierarchy of the Church but it is my honest opinion that those men do not define what it means to be Catholic. There are so much love and respect that goes on behind the scenes that many people don't see and I wouldn't change that for the world.

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