Labels are lousy... Yet the most natural reaction when you see someone new in any setting is to label them in your head: the popular type, the loud ones, the shy ones, the prideful types and the all-too-perfect are just a few that usually have pop into our minds first when we see a peer.
We, as Believers, are called to be "A peculiar people" - 1Peter 2:9
It's never easy looking yourself in the mirror, no matter who you are. Even the most gorgeous gal or handsome guy has that one thing they hate about themselves -- but they probably have buried it really deep and convinced themselves everything’s okay by using all of the materialist pacifiers that they can find. But materialism can’t fill their holes where God’s love is missing.
Self-esteem and being comfortable with who you are (as God made you) is so important to me, but sometimes so hard to keep a hold of. You want to know how I keep myself in check? This is how I view it:
Every person in the world has a pair of two distinct critics. I like to think of them as mirrors. The mirrors are similar, but one judges your outside physical appearance (what you wear, how your hair is cut, makeup or your eyes) and the other judges your inside personality: everything on the inside that makes you who you are: morals, sense of humor, your abilities and your interests. Both of these mirrors have the ability to make you hate yourself about anything they want to. But only if you let them.
A natural instinct when you see a mirror is to look at yourself and check how you look, even if you know you won’t like what you see. You seek that confirmation and comfort to know you're still looking good, or to check if you need to change anything.
It is absolutely certain that there will always be something you don't like about what you see when you look into either of the mirrors; That negativity is what the critics feed off of! I have issues with both of my mirrors. One says I have a funny smile and the other tells me I can't be an artist or a musician or anything I want to be because I’m not good enough or even as good as the “other people” who are talented in certain areas.
I'm my own worst critic (and so are you!) when it comes to nit-picking who we are or what we can do. But know this: God made you with an idea in mind; He knows the amazing story you can write with your life, and He is willing to help you see the big picture, too! That means we’re hand-picked by the King. All He needs is for us to trust Him when He says we can do everything He has called us to do. If we can get to a point where we’re willing to listen, He’ll tell you how truly marvelous you are, and how truly marvelously He made you. :)
He made us special for a purpose:
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
(1 Peter 2:9 KJV)
We are made not to struggle through life, but to cling to the Father and see Him reflected in our lives! Try not to focus on the “flaws” you see in yourself or your abilities. Instead, focus on what He says about you—He’ll never lie, so you can trust that He’s not just sweet-talking you. If there’s something He doesn’t like in your behavior, be willing and open to accept that, too. ;)
Love to all!
I just love it when God sets up appointments in our lives. Whether the scheduled meeting is to share a testimony with someone who needs to hear it, or to be at the right place at the right time to bless someone, God's always got a neat plan for us.
One of my favorite modern-church (the church involving the Holy Spirit's presence, after Jesus sent the Conforter/Holy Spirit to us on earth) is in the book of Acts. The appointment Philip had with the eunuch in the 8th chapter, starting at verse 27. [Acts 8:27-39]
God touched Philip's heart to reach out to this man who was reading Scripture. Though the man had read it, and was studying it in a way, he had no clue what it meant or who it spoke of! What an amazing opportunity to share about Christ; Philip showed him Jesus and got him born again!
This proves that not everyone who's heard about Jesus really knows who He is or what he offers. Always be open and willing to God's plans-- and don't judge a life by a face! Everyone needs Jesus, and we all need more of Him.
Here's an example of divine appointments in my own life: Click
Love to all,
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
~ Galatians 5:13, NLT
Time has flown! Just wanted to throw a thought out to you guys. I know this'll hit home for someone, and it might be a tough pill to swallow, but think on this.
Can a man hold fire to his chest and not be burned? Can you hold sin next to your heart and not be tainted?
-(Based off Proverbs 6:27)
Bad things happen in the world because people abuse free will. They abuse the privilege of speech by being judgmental, cruel, and potty-mouthed. They abuse sex, the Internet, and their mind. When you read or listen or watch something you know in the back of your head you shouldn't, that's when you need to remember everything is a privilege. Life is one too, and God gave it to you. Living righteously is the best way to say thank you! :) Hold Him close to your heart and be set on fire with the Holy Ghost, not set fire with the lists of this world.
Love you all!
Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
I've heard people wrongfully recite this verse; believers confess James 4:7 as "Resist the devil and he will flee", leaving the first (and most important half) of the verse behind.
When Jesus died for humanity, he did so many awesome things. He gave us grace (not to be mistaken as "freedom to sin"), hope when we fall, healing and wholeness for our physical bodies, healing from emotional disorders and distress and so much more that would take hours to write.
No, He didn't just take the beating for your sins. He did so much more–things that most Christians don't even realize He did... Did you know Jesus went to Hell? I'll write about that next. :)
James 4:7 should always be addressed with "Submit yourself to God" as the main principle. The devil isn't afraid of you. There is nothing in the world you can do alone to scare him— except for being submitted to God.
When (and ONLY when) you are submitted to God's perfect will (being righteous by Jesus, reading and meditating on His Word, etc.) can you resist the devil. Without God, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to resist the devil.
You must be born again to enter Heaven: you must be born again by Jesus. Therefor, everything you do as a born-again believer must be through Him. Jesus said "No man comes to the father except through the Son." and also told his disciples "I can do nothing by myself. I only do what the Father says."
Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit can't do anything individually by themselves— what makes you think •humanity• can do anything without •them?•
God loves family. He created everything in a perfect circle; everything is connected, and everything needs something to keep going.
Submitting yourself to God's plan is just living the life He wants for you— a healthy, sinless, righteous one. :) The devil will be less enthusiastic to bully you when God's standing behind you. :)
Love you all!
Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego or in your desires at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the people so that your actions will disprove their false opinions of Christians. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.
1 Peter 2:11-12 (Message translation paraphrase.)
As much as I'd love to tell you the Christian walk is a piece of cake, the cold hard fact is it's a bed of thorns sometimes. Not because of God or the actual walk with Him, but the action of abstaining from your carnal (sinful) nature. It's surprising how many forms sin can take!
The little things in life are usually the things that trip us up, whether we realize it or not. Something like holding unforgiveness against your sibling can be a "blessing blocker." God wants to bless us all the time, but just like a good father, He won't reward bad behavior.
Of course there's grace and mercy, but never use God's love as an excuse to mess around or keep in disobedience. Respect your parents as best as you can... if not because they "deserve" it, then because you respect God. And when you realize you disrespected your parents with some back-talk, apologize to God, then ask Him to help you forgive your parents and have the "courage" (lack of pride, which God loves) to say sorry to them.
God is all about family. He's the biggest fan of family and good relationships. Ask His help with issues in your life. He cares. (And please, ask me for help if you need answers you're not getting!! This is what I'm here for. I love you all!)
Now, to my real point... Be examples of God's love in everything you do. Be an example of his grace and mercy. Extend it to other people just like you want Him to when you mess up. You want forgiveness from Him? Give some to others. There are waayy too many people who claim they're Christians just because they mumbled a prayer, but they act like anyone else. They are venomous, rude, unkind, and careless for others or their feelings.
Everything God is to you, be to other people. And when they tell you "you're so nice!" say thanks, it's the Light of God, and I want to share it with you! : )
Hugs to you all,
-Kiana <3 : )
Ps: Wanna talk? firstname.lastname@example.org, kiana.h on Skype (send a note with the request to tell me you're from The Christian Teen), or friend me on FB @ http://Facebook.com/kiana.horst.5
Iron sharpens iron even as a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Friendship is sometimes hard to come by. For others, it's easy. For me... well... I have one close friend beside my mom and dad. But I'm alright with it.
Most of you have heard the "old saying": Quality over quantity. I keep proving it true over and over again. I've had a lot of friends in my life, and a lot more acquaintances, but a real true friend will stick closer than a brother. (Or sister.)
God designed us after His own heart, which means that He needs what we do, and we need what He does. He
wanted a Father-son/daughter relationship with us, so we were made with a need for companionship. I personally feel comfortable as a loner, and every party I've gone to with peers, I've always stuck out. Now put me in a room of adults, and I can relate. Even put me in a room of babies, children (I'm still a kid at 17, but I mean 5 and 8-year-olds) or even a room of elders. Everything's fine until... peers.
One thing to always remember is friendship knows no age.
If you and that person are mentally or spiritually on the same level, and get along, that's all that matters. The most important thing I've found about friendship is that it never comes from where you think it will. My best friend is a 13-year-old (whom I met when she was freshly turned 12) who came to us via the DCFS system. (We are a foster/safe house.)
Anyone who can talk to you about the things of God or even things you both are interested in will most likely serve as a great friend. (Especially if there's a definite show of respect on both sides. It's give and take.) And if this person is Godly, that's where the real fun starts. To talk forever about the moves of God is an awesome (and I literally mean, it can bring you to a state of awe) and it is what the Bible calls "Iron sharpening iron." If the Sword of God is the Bible, and a natural sword is sharpened usually by sliding it against another sword-like metal, then what do you think you're doing when you discuss the Holy Sword back and forth? ...You're honing your knowledge, while learning from your best friend.
God is amazing. He has someone out there like that for you!
Love you all soooo much,
-Kiana ♥ : )
If they’ve escaped from the slum of sin by
experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that
same old life again, they’re worse than if they had never left. Better not to
have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn
back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of
the proverbs, “A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads
for the mud.”
-2 Peter 2:19-22
Have you ever had a friend who you've let in so close to your heart, they feel like family? Or have you had a family member you love like a best friend? Has that person ever hurt you?
In a case like this, sometimes it feels like it would have been better if you had never even known that person. Likewise, our walk with God should be something we're committed to, not something we turn our backs on.
If you sincerely have a desire to be a friend of God, you're on the right path-- even if you still feel like a sinner, or commit sins.
So long as you have the desire to please God, and so long as you're still alive, there is hope for a strong relationship with Jesus. The important thing is that you seek light. Even if you've noticed you haven't wanted to look for it as much as you used to, it's okay.
Why do I feel this way?
A "low tide" is what I call it when you aren't feeling as "good" about your faith "relationship status". When you feel like you can't hear Him, but you aren't actually backslidden, think about what you already know. If God's given you an answer to a question once, He won't give you a new answer. He has no blan B's. So, is He being quiet because He doesn't need to add to what He's said, or are you just not listening? If you're still seeking His friendship, then don't worry. Just keep hungry for Him.
Is when you notice you aren't as close to God as you were, but you're alright with that. Backsliding is when you stop caring every time you catch yourself sinning or doing something against God's will. Backsliding is NOT when you catch yourself and feel badly for doing wrong, then make a choice to make things right. That's just called "life" and a simple "oops moment". : )
If you've truly asked yourself whether you're just in a low tide or are backslidden, think on this: The verse I mentioned in the beginning states that it would be better not to even start a walk with God if you're going to backslide. But that doesn't mean that because you've backslidden you should just give up hope and go all-out into the world. If you've CAUGHT yourself backsliding, it's not too late! The scripture reference means it's message like this-- if you backslide, and stay backslidden it's going to be harder and harder for you to live a Godly life. Not because God makes it harder, but because you give up. Don't ever give up : )
It is worth it to "fight the good fight of Faith". Trust me ; )
Much love and encouragement!!
-Kiana ; ) <3
How can they call on Him whom they have not believed? And how will they believe Him who they haven't heard of? And how will they hear without a preacher?
The verse above carves a vivid truth. Many of us (me included in this count) often assume people we run into know who Jesus is. In America, it is far more common for people to know than Africa of course, but there are still many humans who believe "in" God and Jesus and Holy Spirit, but hold a very twisted view on them.
The most common "wrong" I come across is the view that God makes everything happen in the world, good and bad. If you read my last article on what the true "Perfect Will of God" is, we know that isn't true at all. We are blessed
to hold a true and right
view of our Lord, but we can't forget the people out there that don't know God loves them.
I asked a question to my readers on The Christian Teen's Facebook page
. The question was "if you could say one sentence to an emo person, what would you say?" (For those who don't know what emos are, it is a new fad, often where teens cut their wrists. It isn't quite "goth", but something like it.)
A reader commented "you are more precious than you could ever imagine". This really touched my heart. I'm sure that if someone said that to you, this would touch your heart as well. Now think about how wonderful that would be if your life was in the wrong place?
A story I would love to share with you all happened last year in a court house. Some of you may know we take in children who come from lousy situations with their home life, (often envolving DCFS) for short-term. ("un-paid babysitters", really... but we love it because God gets all of the glory.) We had taken one of my sisters (I now have 16 "siblings" we've had come through our home in 2 years.) to the court about her DCFS case.
The room we were waiting in outside of the actual court room was divided into two halves. There were about fifty or so chairs in total, but all except ours were empty. The next group of people (appearing to be an aunt, a niece, and
the girl's two older sisters or cousins, and possibly the girl's mother) entered and sat in the other half. An officer eventually came out of the court room to quiet the aunt, who was yelling at the teenage girl. I tried not to listen in (though most of the building heard without trying) but the pieces I gathered were this; the girl of sixteen was pregnant, against her family's wishes. The aunt insisted that the girl was worthless and everything was "your fault".
I will inform you all right now (if you don't know) that I am filled with the Holy Ghost and yes, that means I speak in tongues and operate in the power of God's Holy Spirit and the authority of Jesus' precious blood rights. I also believe in prophesy and every other gift of the Holy Spirit. (read Acts 2:5, 1 Corinthians 12)
Saying that to say this. I felt a stir (or a prompt from God) telling me quietly (as He usually does) that I was going to be able to minister to the girl. So I prayed in the Spirit for a while, and when the officer had calmed them down to at
least the level of normal speech instead of yelling, I boldly (as I could muster up) approached the family, but only looked at the girl. "Are you alright?" I asked. She looked up with tear-filled eyes and a weak smiled, nodding her head.
Kneeling in front of where she was sitting, I placed my hand on her knee and looked into her eyes. The only thing that came to mind (or spirit) was four words. "You are so precious." (which her aunt snorted at) So I told her those four words repeatedly and asked if she was okay with me hugging her. So there we sat, in the middle of her family (ignoring them, actually) and hugged like old friends. (By the way, I am white as a ghost. We were in the heart of Chicago, and her family were not too warm and fuzzy to "white folk". It is amazing what doors the Holy Spirit opens! Doors that you would never think could be opened...suddenly flung wide.)
She did answer that Jesus was her Lord when I asked, but to make things clear I said "It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about you or your choices. It just matters what He thinks... and He thinks you are pure, precious, and beautiful."
I will tell you that the little we spoke (literally, the entire thing was only 5 minutes or so long before they went into the court room) she was bright, smiling, and encouraged. This is what we are placed for!
If you ever ask yourself what life is all about, it is created to be enjoyed. Your purpose is to help others enjoy it, too; to live in wonderful peace and embraced by His love. Amen?
Be encouraged. I love you all!!
-Kiana ♥ : )
What is God's perfect will? His will concerning us, warns of sins because sin can hurt. Like any good father, his will (desire) is to protect his children from harm.
When we are "in" God's will, we are being obedient and a good witness for Him. His will is for us to be separate from the rest of the world. To be pure.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
1 Peter 1:13-16
"Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, (old sinful nature) as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
"Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness cover the people: but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you."
God's will includes so many promises for us. Life in abundance (John 10:10), perfect health (1 Peter 2:24), perfect peace (Philippians 4:7), and so much more. If you don't have a good relationship with God, it's certainly worth looking into.
When you go, it shall lead you; when you sleep, it shall watch over you; and when you wake, it shall talk with you.
God desires more than just a “religious” relationship with us. More than just a “come to church, go home the same”.
A personal relationship with anyone requires work from both sides. The work He requires from our end is very little compared to what His end is. God gave us sonship through the redeeming blood of Jesus, and by His Spirit.
He guides us, protects us, loves us, teaches us, feeds us, takes care of us, and the list goes on and on. Everything a father should be, He is—and far more!
He killed Jesus (whom He loved very, very much) for us. Could you imagine the pain in His heart, seeing His own son ripped to shreds? Bleeding, with His flesh being torn from His bones. God felt that pain! But He knew the outcome would be tremendous, and would return to Him His lost sons.
(Us. We were taken out of His perfect will when Adam and Eve fell into the trap of sin. I will be writing a follow-up post on what His “Perfect Will” is and why we aren’t automatically living in it.)
Our part to play is to respect Him. 1 To love him back. 2 To keep separate from the darkness. 3 And to listen to His Spirit.4
1. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect for Your statutes continually.
2.And he answering said, ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself’.
3. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:5
4. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
A father can be a responsible parent, and your friend. Though God does correct us sometimes, He also wants to show us the good times in life. Every day is different, and every day is beautiful in its’ own way. Trust me, I’ve had bad days before. If I really really think about it, I can find at least one thing that God has made good for me that day.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your life. My Lord desires a sincere, personal relationship with you. Choose today to at the very least, accept the invitation to know Him better. =)
-Kiana ♥ :)