For Such a Time As This

I– like many other young women– have struggled off and on with my self-worth. Especially recently.

It’s easy to feel that way. Friends not putting in much effort into being friends. Making slow progress in school. Failing at money-making endeavors. Struggling with a mysterious illness for over a year.

At certain points, I had trouble keeping my eyes fixed on the Author and Sustainer of all life. As though God wasn’t there for me.

At certain points, I felt lazy (I couldn’t do a lot of my chores because of my illness). As though my worth was in the things I accomplished.

At certain points, I was ashamed– I hated the way I looked, acted, and felt. As though my family loved me less because of those things.

At certain points, I felt depressed. As though my life wasn’t worth living anymore.

Several times, I was to the point of breaking. In His mercy, God prevented me from doing anything rash.

He prevented me by sending me encouraging friends. By showing me that ultimately academics are nothing in light of eternity. By reminding me that He will provide for all of my needs. By giving me patience (by way of the Holy Spirit) through my illness.

God showed me that I was walking through this fire so He could refine me– could mold me more into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Peter 1:6,7). He showed me that I didn’t really believe He loves me and that I have to daily choose to believe that He does.

I was assured that not only God loves me, but my family does too. They don’t find me burdensome.

God called me beautiful when He fearfully and wonderfully made me (Psalm 139:14). And even though that beauty was tainted by sin’s curse, He has re-beautified me by the death of His Son (Psalms 149:4). I’m no longer a slave, I’m His daughter! (Galatians 4:7)

And just like Esther in the Bible, I know God has placed me on this earth “for such a time as this…” Already, God has used this trial to draw me closer to Him, and to use it as an encouragement for others who struggle.

So be encouraged! Keep your eyes on God– He began a good work in you and He won’t give up on you! (Philippians 1:6) He can use your “such a time as this” as a spring-board to draw others close to Him. Daily choose to believe He loves you!!! He has proven it so many times, and ultimately by giving up His only Son on the cross!!!

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Halloween

Something that has lain heavily upon my heart lately has been certain holidays and their true meanings, particularly the one with all of the costumes, carved pumpkins and candy. You know exactly which one I’m referring to—Halloween, of course!

Every holiday season, I ask myself, “What exactly is the history behind such and such tradition,” or “why do we celebrate such and such holiday”. I’ve personally never been able to answer such questions when it comes to Halloween.

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It’s the same every year— I see houses with fake grave yards and ghosts; and youngsters (sometimes adults too) dressed up as ghastly characters (think vampires, witches, zombies, devils, grim-reapers; you get the idea). I’ve even known people, who call themselves Christians, participating in these “festivities”. Well, you might ask me, “Why does this bother you? Just get over it.” As a Christian and follower of The Way, the Truth and the Life, I must look at these questions through Biblical ‘lenses’. And the reason I’m bothered by this holiday— I remember passages in the Bible that say things like, “The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44) and “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10)

Why are Christians ‘celebrating’ death and things pertaining to death, when our Savior (Jesus) came to abolish death (2 Timothy 1:10)? He died so we might live, and focus on things pertaining to eternal life. Those who participate in Halloween festivities are really reflecting the character of the Devil, who was a murderer and has come only to steal, kill and destroy (John 8:44; 10:10). They are living as the world lives, are being in the world and of it (John 15:18-19; 17:3-16), are being conformed to the world, not transformed from it (Romans 12:2), and are not remaining unspotted from the world (James 1:27).

So, fellow believers, what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:26)? We have died to sin and are freed from sin; let us not live in sin any longer (Romans 6:2-7, 11-23). “Let us throw off everything that hinders us, and the sin that so easily entangles us. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1,2a)

“Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.” (Acts 19:19a)

Thought Provoking Quote

A quote from “The Cost of Discipleship” (by Dietrich Bonhoeffer):

“Are you worried because you find it so hard to believe? No one should be surprised at the difficulty of faith, if there is some part of his life where he is consciously resisting or disobeying the commandment of Jesus. Is there some part of your life which you are refusing to surrender at His behest, some sinful passion, maybe, or some animosity, some hope, perhaps your ambition or your reason? If so, you must not be surprised that you have not received the Holy Spirit, that prayer is difficult, or that your request for faith remains unanswered. Go rather and be reconciled with your brother, renounce the sin which holds you fast — and then you will recover your faith! If you dismiss the word of God’s command, you will not receive His word of grace. How can you hope to enter into communion with Him when at some point in your life you are running away from Him? The man who disobeys cannot believe, for only he who obeys can believe.”

(excerpt from Chapter Two “The Call to Discipleship”)