“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” Peter 1:3 (NIV)
Recently, while doing volunteer work in my town’s Literacy Center, I was blessed to meet a girl with a learning disability which made it difficult for her to read. After completing an English and grammar lesson we had some time left over at the end of our session. I asked her if there was anything in particular she wanted me to help her with.
In that moment a giant grin swept over the little girl’s face and she pulled out a children’s Bible from her book bag. She was very excited to tell me she had been reading one of the stories all day, and was almost done. She did not want me to read it to her or even help her read it. She told me just to “sit back and relax” as she read it to me.
I realized I was supposed to be helping this girl but in more ways than one, she was helping me. I watched the excitement in her eyes and saw her struggle with one word to the next, fighting through her disability, just to share the message of God with me. Watching the girl’s determination to read the story made me question why I don’t read the Bible more often.
I have no disability that would prevent me from reading the bible, and yet nights go by when I find myself indulging in television, talking on the phone or scrolling through Facebook rather than reading the word of God. As Easter approaches we are reminded God gave His only son, Jesus Christ, for our sins.
If you find you’re like me and leafing through magazines to read about Snookie’s latest gossip, or watching The Office because you’ve found some spare time, maybe take a moment to remember what the Easter season is really about. It’s not dyed eggs, pastel colored bunnies, or flower shaped chocolates, but rather it’s about Jesus paying our debts in full on the cross.
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and then was raised to life to put us right with God.” Romans 4:25 (NIV)
“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:28 (NIV)
Lately, I’ve noticed a trend taking place with a lot of teens. A trend I’m not too particularly fond of. In fact, I am completely against the idea all together. I think it shouldn’t even be considered if you accept God and understand what He means in the things He says. I can vouch for the ones who don’t understand because I am still learning myself, but to ruin your body with things you think are meaningful, I just don’t understand the intent.
Tattoos ruin the pureness of your blood and God’s direction on tattoos is very clear. As a teen or a young adult we follow trends of our role models or just basically do what everyone else is doing. Many times we express ourselves based on what someone else does not fully knowing what God has to say about it, and I believe this is the case with putting tattoos on our bodies.
God wants to spread the word but not by using our bodies as a billboard. Instead, change someone’s day by sharing a Bible verse or letting them see Jesus through your actions, don’t just have it on your body. Tattoos really don’t help them understand the true meaning of what God has for them.
Instead of tattooing the Bible verse, carry it around in your pocket; put it on a keychain, a binder, or a necklace, just not on your body. I understand this is a very controversial topic and some may even argue cutting your hair is a sin and we all ignore it because it is acceptable in today’s society. Tattoos are becoming more and more a thing everyone has, but it shouldn’t be the way of expressing your love for God. There are plenty of other ways to express your love for Him.
A song I hear almost every day says: “So let my life be the proof, The proof of Your love. Let my love look like You and what You’re made of. How You lived, how You died. Love is sacrifice. So let my life be the proof, The proof of Your love.” The Proof of your Love by for King and Country.
Practice what you preach, don’t just tattoo a Bible verse on your body because it’s following the latest trend. Share your favorite verse. Share the word. It will do a whole lot more than you think.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” Peter 5:7 (NIV)
I remember my very first day of high school. I was so nervous. I didn’t know really where I was going and many of my friends had been zoned to a different school. I slugged to each of my classes wearing last season’s clothes and carrying all my books because we didn’t have our lockers yet. I was trying with failure, to desperately make friends. Most of the people in my classes already knew someone and it didn’t take long for me to realize it was going to be a very long day.
Finally, after a grueling first, second and third period it was time to go to lunch. The cafeteria was jam packed with every grade level. I was so anxious, I didn’t know anyone, and with brown bag lunch in hand, I walked over to a table of girls who looked about my age, and sat down. I was mortified when one of the girls asked me what I thought I was doing sitting with them. Quickly, I got my stuff together and moved to an empty table in the corner.
Embarrassed, lonely and with no appetite I opened my lunch and said a prayer thanking God for my food and asking Him to please help me in some way. Just then I heard a voice behind me.
“Is anyone sitting here?” Another freshman was standing behind me holding her lunch tray. As she took a seat she told me she was new to town and didn’t know anyone in the school, either. Quickly we became very good friends and to this day still remain in contact and meet for lunch dates every week or so to catch up.
God works in mysterious ways; that was the day I met one of my best friends. Just when you think your day couldn’t possibly get any worse, simply say a prayer and express what you’re feelings to God. God is always with you, there to listen when you’re feeling down, and with Him you are never alone. Take comfort in the knowledge He always will provide what you need and has only your best interests in mind. Nothing is stronger than the power of prayer.
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22 (NIV)
Ephesians 5:1-4 says to do away with immorality.
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (NIV)
For a while there were certain things I didn’t want to give to God because I was self-focused and not Kingdom-focused. I would rationalize by saying things like, at least I don’t sleep around, or at least I don’t do drugs, or at least I’m not getting wasted, but at least translated to me living to the least of my capabilities. Let’s be kingdom-focused, my dear sisters, and live out our potential in Christ to its fullest. Let’s stop settling for at least and aim for the most we can do for God’s purpose in our lives.
Matthew 10:39 says “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (NIV)
Believe it or not, we are happiest when we’re living to please God and not ourselves. I know I am. This is what it means to find our lives by losing it. Give up those things that can only lead to temporary happiness for permanent happiness in God. When we’re able to deny ourselves for God’s sake, it’s then we gain the best life He has for us. The life He put us on earth to live.
Have a Kingdom-focused day!
<3, Arista Michelle
“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20
Last Saturday I talked about the miracle of life, specifically my daughter. I love her with the depths of my soul but I don’t recommend purposefully getting pregnant in teenage years to feel the blessing of a child. I hope none of you interpreted it in this manner.
There were so many things leading up to me becoming pregnant. I surrounded myself with a wide range of different people after I started doing drugs, most of them didn’t believe in the Most High. Over time I began to adopt their attitudes and fell into peer pressure. Through these people and during the course of my physical and spiritual rebellion, I met the father of my daughter.
Sadly, an unbelieving crowd looks at life through eyes of the flesh. This is exactly what I began to do. Pleasures of this life became more important to me. Money, getting high, having fun with friends, the rush of being what some think is free, plus dishonoring my parents and pleasing my boyfriend instead of pleasing my Heavenly Father. Rejecting the morals, salvation, laws and grace of the Most High and His son Christ, turned me cold and hardened my heart. The more wicked things I did, the less my conscious cared.
The miracle of my baby girl plus the guidance of the Word, my church, and my beautiful and virtuous Mama, led me back to the Most High. Not everyone who chooses the journey I took finds their way back. Please, whether you’re pregnant, have a child, or are just a normal teen, correct yourself now. Fill your cup with the righteousness of the Word and pray with unwavering faith!
It’s no joke a child requires great responsibility. Those of you who may be carrying a child or who are already raising one, you know from experience a bad crowd and a precious innocent life doesn’t mix. Pray to the Most High and He will help you. It may seem hard at first because habits are hard to break but it’s so important to get life right. You only live once and can only raise a child once, so the fight is worth it.
I hope this gives you a little bit of insight about having unhealthy relationships with people who over time may change you. Teach and lead the people who are lost but don’t be one of them.
I have no blame for the people I once chose to surround myself for my pregnancy. What I’m trying to say is instead of taking heed to the temptations of the world and the people it offers, I should have taken heed to the Word and the Most High. If you feel it’s too late to turn around, I want you to know it is never too late! I got pregnant outside of marriage while on probation. And now look at me, I have the most beautiful well-mannered little girl and I’m a wonderful mother girded in the armor of Ephesians 6:13-18.
I thought about it for a couple minutes and decided to make the call so I called the main hospital where he worked and they transferred me to him. What happened next is kind of not what you’d want to hear. I remember ever single word of those awkward few minutes.
Me: “Hi is this, Jim?” (name changed) “My name is Susan.”
Him: “Yes, this is him, who am I speaking with?”
Me: “Do you have a daughter in Houston?”
Him: “No, I do not. Who is this again?”
My heart stopped. He doesn’t have a daughter? Is this really happening? I felt like such a fool.
Me: “Are you sure you don’t have a daughter?”
Him: “What did you say your name was again?”
This conversation changed my entire life. I had grown up without a father, without a manly figure in my life, and there he was sitting in an office across the country without any knowledge of his sixteen year old daughter.
I couldn’t blame him. I mean it wasn’t all of his fault, but a daughter without a father? A little girl is supposed to have her father’s love. He’s the one who is supposed to show her all about growing into a young woman just as much as a Mother is.
This is how the next couple of months went. At first I felt like I should’ve gotten my own TV news story or even my own reality TV show. I mean you can’t make this stuff up. Reality set in and even though it’s tough coming from a single parent home, my mom did everything right because today I am a very focused and driven young woman, and I know I’m going to get far in life.
I’m proud to share my story with you. If you ever feel less than because your father isn’t in your life or you feel like you’ll never get past the way you’re living now, take a look back at all you’ve been through. Look how far you’ve come. No one has the same story as me but I bet there are others out there who don’t have the relationship with their father they would desire. Please don’t let this part of your life define your life. Cling to those who do love you and want to spend time with you.
“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” 1 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
I am going to take the month of February to focus on teen pregnancy, the causes, and the many different things that come with it both spiritual and worldly.
Being a teen mom poses problems, sure, but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done with my life thus far. My daughter has changed my life completely. Through the whole pregnancy I came closer and closer to the Most High, and began to look at my future with new eyes. When she was born and I held her it was like all the hardness in my heart from past decisions melted away. An unmovable love formed and a strong need and desire to lead her to the Most High completely engulfed me.
I think this is one of the reasons scripture tells us a woman will be saved in childbearing. We know according to scripture our soul is always crying out to the Most High and seeking him whether we’re in the flesh or not, so while our soul is reaching and trembling for him while at the same time the conceiving of a child and the miracle of a child is moving our hearts, something very divine happens I cannot explain in words. I believe this is a huge reason we should keep virginity a scared treasure set up in heaven until marriage.
If only this would have happened while I was married and financially stable. None the less the Most High chose my daughter specifically for me even in my sin, so I am honored and very grateful. I have repented deeply for my fornication outside of marriage and plan to put action to repentance by glorifying the Most High through my daughter, and if the Most High is willing, she will stay on the narrow path of righteousness.
Some young woman may have abortion as a thought running circles through their heads. I plead with you not to do it! If you are frightened of family reactions or feel you cannot raise your child I have points for both worries:
1. I was scared to tell my parents so I waited two months. When it all came out, they were disappointed but still willing to reach out to me and treated it like the miracle it was. Some families may not treat it like mine did so what I have to say to that is; who cares? You are not here to work according to your family’s will, you are here to work the Most High’s will.
2. If you are not financially stable or you feel you’re completely unable mentally to raise a baby then adoption is always an option. There are many, many couples who cannot conceive but still want to add a member to their family.
For those of you who don’t have help from family, there are always people out there who will help you so just pray and do your research and the Most High will lead you. He blessed your womb with a child, now he will guide you through life with that child.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves breakthrough and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” St. Matthew 6:19-21(KJV)