Are You Ready To Be A Burning Bush?

“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.’ When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.'” –Exodus 3:2-4 (NIV)

A friend and I decided to read through the whole Bible this year. We meet once a week and discuss what we read and what we personally are learning through it. We just keep each other accountable. A few weeks ago, we were discussing that week’s reading in Exodus, and my friend pointed out something that I had never thought of before. She was talking about the story of Moses in the desert when God spoke to him through the burning bush. You see, we tend to focus on many important parts of the story when we read it- Moses, God, holiness, or even obedience. My friend said that when she was reading it this time, however, it was the bush that caught her attention. As we discussed it, we realized that there were actually quite a lot of lessons we could learn from the bush. Who’d have thought? 😉

What was the bush’s part in this story? Not much, at first glance. It was simply there on fire for God…and God spoke through it.

Wait a second! Isn’t that what we are supposed to be? Simply on fire with God’s fire and available for God to speak through us? Who knew a bush could be such an example!

I got to thinking, though. The bush sure spent a lot of time (comparatively… for its life span, at least) sitting around on a mountain by itself, unnoticed and waiting. All it was supposed to do was grow slowly and simply just “be there.” I mean, the Bible says it was a ‘bush,’ not a seedling. So, I’m just assuming it was regular bush-sized. Have you ever hiked up a mountain? If you have, and you’re like me, while you may notice the occasional interesting plant or tree, you probably are more focused on the mountain itself: the views and the beauty. You’re not focusing on a random bush.

To me, this is just like us. God has us spend a lot of time in life waiting. Preparing. Unnoticed by the world. Guess what? That’s okay! God knows what He is doing! The question is, will you be ready when He lights you on fire and speaks through you? Will you be willing to let Him do that? Are you ready to be a burning bush? Are you ready to wait, but then to also come out of the waiting and allow His plans to unfold?

Your sister in Christ,

Sara

A Fresh Perspective

“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?” -Malachi 1:6

Imagine the scene: you’re summoned to come before a great and mighty king, and you’re terrified! He is a kind but just king- there is a gentle fire that burns in his eyes. This ruler has the power of life and death in his hands…if you show the slightest sign of disrespect, it could be the end. He has conquered nation after nation and is known far and wide as the wealthiest and most powerful man on earth. His palace is beautiful and ornate.

How would you approach this ruler? How would I?

I highly doubt I would confidently strut into the room. The awe I would experience would be coupled with an incredible sense of fear.

And yet, everything goes ok. In fact, I get invited back time and time again. After a while, I loosen up a bit…I realize I can get away with sitting down instead of kneeling in respect. I gradually learn that I can come in with a drink in my hand and talk to him with food in my mouth without any immediate consequence. Eventually, when the king calls me, I start to ignore him every once in a while…after all, I have a lot going on- no time for the king today!

Is it possible that this is what we’ve done with God? Have the awe and fear worn off? When…if…we go before the Lord, do we bring our second or third best? Continue reading

When “Yes, Lord” Means A Trial

*Today, we are pleased to publish a guest post by another one of our good friends!*

Natalie! Please! Make it stop, it hurts too much!” my phone read as the screen illuminated, thus throwing shadows against my wall and near my bed. Still awake, my eyes struggled to focus on the text notification in my blackened bedroom. After a few minutes of talking to my friend, I had given the best encouragement I could and was virtually holding her until my body crashed for the night and I had fallen asleep. Never before had I felt heart break over my friend…..“Why her? God, what is your plan with this pain she’s in?” As these questions repeated themselves in my mind, I was hit with one answer…..”Why not?”

After waking up a few hours later and rereading our conversation, I sat there. Pondering on that answer, I thought back over the “Series of Unfortunate Events” that have happened in my life in the past few years. Now, I know that my life is far from perfect and is not free of struggles by any means…from the loss of two grandparents back to back, to my own health struggles, there was always something every year that my family was hit with. And at times, these events made me wonder where I stood in my faith. But I was reminded of James’ letter to the early church. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NASB)

Joy? I gave Jesus my life in total surrender to Him in order to share the good news of His coming, not to be affected by trials. Joy?

Yes. Joy. You see, when Jesus first gave the Great Commission to the disciples, he also told them that the servant wouldn’t be greater than his master. Therefore, if Jesus was tested and tried during his three year ministry, so would we for our Christian faith. The difference between us and the rest of the world is that we know the trials or “tests” that we find ourselves in are temporary. Therefore, there’s an end to them at some point. But we also need to let God work with us and through us while we are in those trials because they are the only ones that we personally can bear. I think of the Wall of Faith in Hebrews 11: yes, God used those men and women because they were ordinary, but He also used them because of their faith in God and in what He had planned.

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  Or as my friend and I both know, when “Yes, Lord” means a trial.

~Natalie

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How to Get Rid of Haters

As teenagers, we receive a lot of flack from the world. We’re horribly stereotyped. Teenagers are the rambunctious (+10 points for spelling, er, autocorrect), disrespectful, good-for-nothing people in our society. Those who have gone before us may not have been exactly “good” kids, so we’re naturally placed in a category that may or may not describe us, but is what they saw other teenagers were like when they grew up. And that’s just from the adults!

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For the Girls: Responding to Chivalry

Recently, there has been a guy in my life who has completely taken me by surprise. You see, he has demonstrated chivalry to me and the girls around me. But, he isn’t flirting. Isn’t it sad, though, that that was the first thing I have to clarify? Isn’t it sad that I am so utterly surprised and confused by it that I don’t know how to react? You see, it’s simply because acts of chivalry are so rare- as young women, we don’t get much experience on how to respond to it!

I was expressing my confusion to some friends, and one explained a similar situation and how she handled it. She said she had made sure to thank the guy. He replied, thanking her for noticing…turns out no one had ever thanked him before! How sad! So, with that in mind…

To the guys: Thank you! If you are a guy who exhibits chivalry, thank you! We girls do notice. Do not grow weary in doing good! (Galatians 6:9)

To the girls: Ladies, are you confused, like I am, on how to react to chivalrous guys? Well, let me share with y’all a few things I have learned.

  1. First of all, our response to chivalry should be thanks! A friend did point out, though, that we don’t want to totally embarrass the guy… don’t make it too big of a deal in front everyone. Use discretion!
  2. Know the difference between flirting and chivalry. We should definitely encourage the guys around us when they are chivalrous! But it’s totally okay to remove yourself from flirting.
  3. Don’t be afraid to accept chivalry. It feels good to be strong and capable. I can definitely understand this, especially since there was a period in my life when I was physically incapable of simply doing the dishes. I now truly take joy in carrying a heavy grocery bag or taking out the trash. And that is okay! At the same time, it’s good to keep in mind that if a guy is truly showing you chivalry, he isn’t doing it because he think you are weak or that he is superior. Our culture has ingrained into us the view that it is impossible for guys to offer us a service without him possessing this mindset. But isn’t it okay for us to be females? Isn’t it okay for him to show us honor and respect? It’s simply a gift! Nothing sinister! 🙂 Another point- just be aware. It is rarely on my radar because chivalry is difficult to find in guys around me. As a result, I don’t even think about it and quickly brush off any offer of chivalry from my dad, brother, or any guy in my life. Don’t do that! 🙂 Give them an opportunity to be gentlemen if they choose to.

So there you go! That was chivalry with Sara. 😉 A few more articles I’d suggest on chivalry are at this link. 😀 Enjoy!

Your sister in Christ,

Sara

Search

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” –Psalm 139:23-24

I once heard it said that sometimes it is comforting to know that God knows everything…and sometimes it isn’t so great. A few years ago, I did a Bible study by Kristen Sauder called The God Seeker. In it, she wrote, “My Heavenly Father is the one friend who has seen it all: my gross, embarrassing, addictive sins; the messes that I’ve chosen (against His advice) to dive into; tear swollen eyes, throbbing head, broken heart. My husband knows me well, but only my God knows me fully… many times your own heart will keep secrets. You may think you’ve opened every door for the Master’s entrance, but Jeremiah 17:9 teaches otherwise.”

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thelastdance

The Last Dance

Pandemonium. Horror. Fear. Those are words not normally associated with a dance, but when Jesus comes back, those nouns take on a whole new meaning.

The Lamb has finally returned, but now as a lion. The despised and rejected Lord has come back as a righteous and judgmental King. He came and went in a blink of an eye, and in that brief moment, hundreds of millions of people went with Him. The disappearances will never be forgotten. The chaos that followed will never be equaled. Most will be searching for answers, but some already know what happened. The hearers of the “Good News” have the explanation: the Saints are “caught up in the clouds.” The Christians are finally with their Savior for eternity. The hearers, but not the believers, know that their Christian friends have gone home. This is the last dance.

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