Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How's your glass lookin'?

We're all prone to a "glass half full" or "glass half empty" tendency, aren't we?


Neither is necessarily right or wrong in itself. There truly requires a balance. Constant negativity (or as I like to call it, the Eeyore personality!) isn't much fun to be around. But neither is the eternally optimistic "Pollyanna". Sometimes, we just need a friend to sympathize and say "You're right! That totally sucks!" And other times we need a friend to encourage us and say "It's really not that bad."

Instead of leaning to either extreme, we should strive to keep the TRUE perspective - meaning, God's perspective. It's always right, no matter the situation.

Consider this:

When Goliath came against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, "He's so big we can never kill him." David looked at the same giant and thought, "He's so big I can't miss." 

And this:

A shoe manufacturer who decided to open the Congo market sent two salesmen to the undeveloped territory. One salesman cabled back: "Prospect here nil. No one wears shoes." The other salesman reported enthusiastically, "Market potential terrific! Everyone is barefooted."

And this:

During WWII General Creighton Abrams found himself and his troops surrounded on all sides. With characteristic optimism, he told his officers, "For the first time in the history of this campaign, we are now in a position to attack the enemy in any direction."

See what I mean? Perspective.

God doesn't call us to be naïve and constantly stuck in denial. But neither does He call us to run around screaming "the sky is falling!"

He calls us to trust in Him when we see giants and impossible situations. Trust in Him when we see a bleak future or failure or lack of opportunity. Trust in Him when our resources run dry and our creativity is gone and our hearts are broken. Trust in Him when we can't see in front of our face, much less the big picture.

Philippians 4:6 Fret not about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.

He sees it all. I promise. And He cares. He has a plan and a purpose for your future. And it's for GOOD and for His glory. Even when all you see are giants with really big swords.

So don't worry about whether the glass is half full or half empty or if you even have a glass in the first place.

Trust in Him and His 20/20 vision :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Why Sexual Activity is Physically, Emotionally, and Socially Dangerous!


No one doubts that sexual activity is physically, emotionally, and socially dangerous.

What are the risks? Here is . . .

The Top 10 List

10. The risk of death. More than 600,000 cases of AIDS have been reported in the United States since 1981, and as many as 900,000 Americans may be infected with HIV.


1 Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."

9. The risk of lost relationships. When you choose to develop a sexual relationship with someone, you've immediately changed the definition of the relationship. There is no such thing as casual sex. Once you have developed a sexual relationship, that relationship turns a critical corner. After the relationship ends, you and your partner will experience that guilt and pain of promises broken.

Hebrews 12:16 says, "See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son."

8. Risks of incurable disease. Imagine that you have found that one special person with whom you want to share your life ... and now you are forced to break the news that you have an incurable disease. Even though such diseases like herpes are generally not considered life threatening, there are no cures. Not only is it incurable, it fills a life with worries, awkward revelations, and continuous need for medication.

1 Corinthians 6:13 says, "The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body."

7. The risk of damaging the destiny of your future marriage. There is no way that premarital sex of any kind could be a positive thing for your future marriage. (Just ask my husband how he feels "knowing" about my past.) It only causes suspicion, mistrust, and regret.

Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

6. The risk of permanently damaging your testimony as a Christian. You'll never be able to honestly say, "I was a virgin before I was married." You'll never be able to live as an example of committed purity.

Ephesians 5:3 says, "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."

5. The risk of depression. Those who participate in premarital sex experience emotional damage that may lead to an increased chance of mental depression and emotional despair.

2 Corinthians 12:21 says, "I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged."

4. The risk of placing your future children in spiritual harm's way. The Bible clearly speaks of the concept of generational sin. What you sow (plant) spiritually may be reaped in the life of your children. Remain pure before God and you'll be tenaciously guarding the future of the next generation.

Proverbs 20:7 says, "The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him."

3. The risk of sexual dysfunction. People spend millions of dollars to correct sexual dysfunction through drugs and psychotherapy. Why? Because they entered marriage with unresolved sexual issues. For example, a man may think that he will be free from the curse of pornography once he gets married, only to find that the problems are even more noticeable and controlling. Sexual purity before marriage is the first step to incredible sexual fulfillment after marriage.

Mark 7:21 says, "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,"

2. The risk of shame. Premarital sex imputes a spiritual state of shame that becomes a major weapon for our enemy. God forgives you, but you will still be vulnerable to Satan's whispering accusations on your worth.

1 Corinthians 5:1-2 says, "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you . . . Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief?"

1. The risk of disobeying God and letting Satan get a foothold. The Bible, time after time tells us to flee sexual sins. Why? Because it is a major strategy of the devil to sabotage God's work on Earth. How can God work through you, when you aren't living up to His standards?

1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality."

So, what do you think?

Friday, April 19, 2013

What Am I So Nervous About?

Today, I feel like this guy. Okay, so I'm not bald or nearly this round, and I'm not frowning, but I do feel like a giant cliche butterfly is flitting around in my stomach. What are you so nervous about, you might want to know. Can I pray for you?

Fine, I'll tell you, but you need to promise not to laugh.

Deep breath. Let it out. One more. There you go. Just say it. 

I'm going to Girls Night Out this evening---my first major women's event at a new church. 

So, you're probably saying to yourself. I fail to see the fear factor here. Girls Night Out sounds like fun, and I thought you were making friends at your new church. 

Told you it was silly. I am actually excited about it, and I am going with a great friend who is taking me to pre-event get-together so I can meet even more friends. But this morning I went into the first-day-of-high-school panic mode.  You probably know the drill:

What if no one talks to me except the friend who brought me?
What if I say something stupid?
I have nothing to wear!

Back in Reno, I rarely missed a social event at church. But I also knew everyone and what to expect once I arrived. I was often leading worship, performing in a skit or leading a mixer, or contributing in some other way. Back in Reno, I went to events like this with a purpose, a "place."

But as I let my sister paint my toenails and help me choose an outfit (As it turned out, I did have something to wear, and it's pretty cute too.), I reminded myself that this is part of the process of starting over in a new home, and why I signed up for Girls Night Out in the first place. As I learned when I accepted my cousin/friend's invitation to Bible study a couple months ago, making friends and getting to the place where I feel at ease means putting myself out there. It means attending events as a stranger at first. It means letting people get to know me and making an effort to get to know them. It means walking out the door even when the butterflies feel like a swarm of bats and focusing on how fun the evening is going to be and how glad I will be for going. Starting over means remembering that socializing won't always feel like the first day at a new school. I have plenty of memories from my life in Reno to prove it.

When have you felt like this? How easy or difficult is it for you to meet new people or feel confident in a new environment? What are you nervous about today?       

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How do you see...YOU?

I am my own worst enemy at times...most girls are. But I think we have enough enemies already.

We have a world that tells us our value depends on the size of our clothes
We have schools that tell us our grades and test scores measure who we are.
We have peers who tease and bully us about our looks.
We have an enemy who wants nothing more that to DESTROY us.

I am no stranger to bullying. I was the "new kid" 14 times by the time I reached the 8th grade. New kids struggle to find their place in each new world they live in.

In first grade, I was punched in the stomach at the bus stop. I don't remember why.

In third grade, neighborhood boys tormented me.

In fourth grade I was slapped across the face by the popular girl because she didn't like the way I walked.

In fifth grade, I was terrified of being beaten up in my neighborhood.

In sixth grade, I was teased for being a good student - a teacher's pet.

In every grade, I felt fat and ugly. My dad never let a day go by without making fun of me.

By 8th grade...I suppose I gave up.

By 8th grade, I hated myself as much as I thought everyone else did.

At some point, other people stop being the bullies and we bully ourselves instead.

I have been guilty of that. It has taken years of drinking in the Word of God to crawl out of that place of self-loathing and begin - just begin - to see myself as God sees me.

Precious.

Valuable.

Loved.

Beautiful.

And you are all those things. too. You are precious, valuable, loved and beautiful. The only definition we should accept of ourselves is the one God uses. That's why we need to keep digging into His word. Finding Him and His truth.

And this - this is why I wrote today. I needed to see this - and I bet you do too.

Watch it - and let me know what you think.

With love,

Sarah


Sarah's new book is Me & My Invisible Guy!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tired of doing good...

I've always loved this verse:

Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


But what happens when we do?

What do we do on those days when we're tired of being good, tired of doing the right thing, tired of hoping? Tired of keeping the faith, tired of not giving up?

What about those days when we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel and we're exhausted from groping blindly in the darkness? What about those days when we feel forgotten and like our struggle is in vain?

Where do we go when we lose the ability or the urge to keep fighting?
When we just want to give in. Give up. Be like everyone else because it's easier. Or think like everyone else because what's the point anyway?

There's only two choices of where to go.

Either back to the source - or into the pit.

If we chose the source, then I mean, of course, the source of our light, our hope, our faith. The source of our heart.

Jesus.

If we really do give up, give in and quit, we go into a pit.

And we just thought we had problems before!

As lonely as "doing good" can feel at times, trust me, the pit is lonelier. The pit is consuming and unforgiving and heart-stealing. There is no life there.

But Jesus came to give us life abundantly. Which means He wants a pit-free life for us.

What will you choose when you are weary?

I think the problem that tempts us away from doing good is we don't see results. We want that harvest now, yet most of the time, God calls us to wait. Our microwave generation wants it all right away. We live in a "yesterday is too late" type of mentality and it's so damaging.

This verse really digs into the root of that issue in our hearts.

Whose timetable do you ultimately trust the most? Yours or God's? Will you keep doing good even when you don't see results right away?

The key factor here in this verse is "at the proper time".

Hard to swallow, but truth usually is. Because truth isn't always what we want to hear. In fact, truth is usually exactly what we do NOT want to hear :)

But it's still true. And another truth is that God's way and timing is better than ours. Ours is, in fact, usually wrong.

Tired of doing good? It's okay. I think this verse is here to let us know this is normal. This is all right, this is even expected. It's okay to be tired.

But it's not okay to give up.

Step away from the pit of defeat. Give up on the microwave answer. And trust God's timing.

I'm going to try. Will you?

Monday, April 08, 2013

Don't Give Up Waiting for "That Guy" . . . Because He's Waiting for "That Girl"


Young women, do you wonder if the guy of your dreams is out there? Do you think that even if you find him there are too many bad choices that he'll look away, walk away?

In God's Word we read, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" Matthew 6:33 (NLT).

As you wait, seek God. Give your heart to Him, and He will help prepare it for your future husband!

I talk about how God brought me the man of my dreams as a single mom of a son in my book Praying for Your Future Husband. You can find out more about it here.

God has a good plan for you, too! Remember that!

Don't give up. Trust that the right guy will come in the right time. Trust that God is already preparing his heart for yours.

Below is a song that my oldest son wrote as he waited for his future bride. Less than one year later he was engaged to her! Now, almost four years later they're married with a son and another baby on the way.

Right now pray and ask God to help you be "that girl" for a wonderful guy some day.


That Girl
written by Cory Goyer, April 2009

That girl
I don't know her hair color
I don't know her smile
I don't know her laugh
I don't know the color of her eyes
Or her favorite song
I don't know her passions
I don't know the thing she hates
I don't know her face
I don't know where she likes to hide
Or the twinkle in her eye
I don't know if I know her
But I know she is that girl

I would give my life for that girl
I would give up everything for that girl
I would die for that girl
I would live for that girl
I would love that girl
I would care for that girl
I would take care of that girl
All for that girl

I know she is beautiful
I know she is smart
I know she is wonderful
I know she is funny
I know she is amazing
I know she is mine
I know she is that girl

She may not know it yet
For I surely don't
She may mat not love me yet
But I know she will
Because I know I will love her
With all that I have
She may not even know me yet
But she will know me more than anyone

She may have a past
Wrong things
Regrets
Sorrows
But I will not see these things
I will wipe away her sorrows
I will not remember her wrong doings
I will not regret
Because if everything
She has ever done
Will lead her to me
Then I thank her past

So God I pray
I pray for that girl
I pray you let me wait

Friday, April 05, 2013

Friends We Will Love Forever




In my last post, I was getting ready to attend a writer’s conference where a special friend would be missing. I felt her absence as soon as I arrived, but God allowed some sweet moments with other writer friends who missed Ethel as much as I did. I know a small group of us will always treasure the impromptu time of sharing memories of our precious mentor after dinner on the first night. Once we got past the sadness, we did what we knew Ethel would want us to do—we began enjoying what God had for us at the conference, including time with old and new friends. 

You might recognize one new friend that I made. That’s right; Ashley Mays and I met in person for the first time. We had a great time getting to know each other, worshipping together, and being part of the same group during a fun ice-breaker game involving Play Doh. 

Instead of being a sad time, the conference was an incredible five days, and a huge part of it included enjoying the unique bond that we have a Christians. Isn’t it amazing how we can only see certain people once a year and still feel like family, or meet a sister in Christ for the first time and feel a connection right away? Why do you think this is? Maybe this bond comes from the reality that we will be spending eternity together. 

Today, take some time to thank God for the friends that you truly will love forever, and for those you are still waiting to meet in person.  


Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
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