Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Are What You Say...

Sorry it's been so long since did a blog thing! I've been crazy busy, but I'm on a Thanksgiving/Fall/Christmas combined break so I have alot more time. Now, first and foremost, I want to tell whoever's reading that this is a MAJOR weakness of mine. Ok, I don't want you to think that I just sit here all day thinking of stuff to write about that OTHER people battle. I really struggle with my words. This little shpeal (I think that is how you spell it) has 5 different components that cover the importance of watching what you say. Those 5 things are gossip (behind the back), insults/criticism (to the face), honesty, the cuss words, and keeping your word. Now, these are not the ONLY things involved in watching what you say! There are others, but I consider these to be very important. If anyone has one that I just blatantly forgot about, leave it in the comment box. (if you want to)

A) Gossip. Uuuhh ok this is where I want to just scream at myself. I am so horrible about this, I could do it in my sleep, which is NOT a good thing. It is so hard to choose not to listen to stuff being said about someone else (Especially if you're not too keen on that person) and to not partake in the bashfest. It can be so damaging to a person's self-esteem. You know, sure, they don't hear you NOW. As much as you and I want to tell ourselves otherwise, it's gonna get to that person eventually and it's gonna hurt them. It could be as laidback as commenting on their clothing choice for the day, to as harsh and cruel as discussing their flaws and hating on their personality. Besides the fact that we wouldn't want it spread about us, God says not to do it! It hurts people, so why are we even doing it? We're just inviting people to gossip about how much we gossip. We do it to try to make ourselves feel better, but in truth, (for me anyway) I always feel worse about myself, cuz I know that I failed. I did what God says not to do, and that makes me feel worse.

B) Insults/Criticism. I'm not going to spend as much time on this, because alot is covered above when it comes to hurting others with our words. Whether it be directly to their face or behind their back, we are hurting others. I know alot of people who struggle with being mean to peoples' faces. Not to sound like I'm all goody-goody, but I don't struggle this is as much, so its harder to relate. I'm worse about "being nice" to someone's face and then ranting about them when they aren't around. The long and the short of it: There's no point to it. It can't make you feel good to know that you are mean when someone isn't around. It makes me feel bad anyway...

C) Honesty. Oh dear, I struggle with this too. My worst is deceiving or twisting the truth. It's a tad different than lying, but not much. If my parents ask me something, I will give a vague answer that IS true but not the way THEY perceive it. Does that make sense? Ok, example: My parents tell me I have to take my phone with me when I go to lunch with my friend, so they can reach me if they need to. I forget. My parents ask if I took my phone. If I pick up my phone and put it down again, I technically had my phone (for 2 seconds) and so I say "Yeah, I had my phone!" I am such a liar. My parents think I mean when I went with my friend, but I know that I only had it for 2 seconds but I HAD my phone. I wish I could give some advice to you fellow deceivers, but I'm in the same boat. The only thing I can do is say "Praying!" I could use some prayer in this area, but I have no idea how to fix it.

D) Cussing. Oh this is so hard too. Stupid mouths and our brains that control them. I am not as bad about just outright CUSSING about...I don't know, that grass over there, or that [expletive] pencil sharpener, etc. I am worse about accidental cussing or when I'm mad at someone. For instance, *toe hits wall and crunching noise is hard* As my face contorts in pain, I glare and just let the wall have it. Often if there is profanity in a joke, I just ignore it which isn't right!  It's really hard to not cuss sometimes to sound cool, but I started realizing that I just sound kinda dumb when I cuss. I'm so cool, I just said [expletive]. Look at me! I just [!@#$]! It's actually more fun to come up with creative words that express my frustration without messing up my witness for God. I still struggle, but its more fun to think of other things. For instance, words such as pickle, crackers, junk, mess, flippin, ham, etc. It throws people off, but they recognize that you are not cussing. I encourage you to do the same! It's fun and not dishonoring!

E) Keeping Promises. This is a toughie. I don't think she'll ever read this, but Abbie Storch (amazing girrrl) had really helped me with my promise keeping. I started realizing just how important it is, if someone asks to keep someting confidential, they mean it. Who am I to go off telling others stuff that isn't any of my business and not my place to do so? If people can't trust us, what's the point? We don't have much to our name, except our word. If we lie, break our word, or gossip, people won't trust us! Then we have no friends, and no one to fellowship with. Then you're all alone, (except for Jesus, of course) with a bad rep that we can't get rid of, cuz no one will talk to us. I don't know about you, but if someone won't tell me a secret they heard, I think its cool. Sure, I may be curious but I know that I can trust that person later.

Basically, I think that it will definitely be a struggle. However, there is absolutely no reason that we can't put up a fight with the world, who tears people down at the flip of a switch on magazines, tv, etc. It's just more fulfilling to ENJOY people, instead of nitpicking their minor faults and harboring hatred. There is a way to resolve conflicts without being mean to someone. They may not like what you have to say, but if you are nice about it, there is nothing else you can do. I'll end with this: Be the person that you expect your friends to be. If you want your friends to keep confidentialites to themselves, to tell you the truth no matter what, etc, then do the same for them. Challenge: Say only encouraging words for a day. You'll be on cloud 9!That's my.....5 cents (haha)

Proverbs 16:24 (all time favorite)
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Matthew 12:36
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blowing Fuses...

Have you ever been mad? I'm talking blow-a-FUSE furious? How about just a little ticked off? Frustrated? Moderately agitated? Irked? Fuming? There are hundreds of synonyms in any random thesaurus that describe this human emotion. Anger. Gotta love it. However, I have a thought question for you. Have you ever thought, I mean really thought, about WHY you get angry? I'm not talking about what your brother or sister did to your carpet, or what your best friend said about you behind you back, or what that one person did to you that one time at that party a while back, or whatever your circumstance. I'm talking about your motivation. Have an answer yet? I do. Frankly, whatever your reason or excuse, you got mad because things didn't go your way. A person did something or something happened and it wasn't how you wanted that particular thing to turn out. I want you to think about what I just said (or typed) because I don't want you to get mad at what I'm saying. I want you to really dig deep, because that's the whole point of this blog. To provoke you to be the best person that you can be for the Lord. OUR Lord.

Your brother or sister messed up that carpet, and you didn't WANT that carpet messed up. So you get mad, because that messed up carpet wasn't in your plans. Now you have to spend money to fix it, but you don't want to spend YOUR money. That money was going to that new Ab-chair work out thing you wanted. So that you could have nice abs, so that people would think you're pretty. (or handsome, for you men out there.) Your best friend said something mean about you and you didn't WANT that to be spread about you, so you get mad. Sure, they shouldn't have said anything but it's either true or not true. If it was true, you should never have done that thing in the first place. If it's NOT true, then you're being vain because you don't want your reputation messed up. For whatever the reason, you are mad because whatever it was that happened wasn't on your agenda for the day. You forget, that it was in GOD'S agenda. That person did that thing at that place and that's not how you wanted it. It's all about YOU. Y-O-U. You, you, you, you, you. It should be about God. Am I judging or hating on you? Nope, absolutely not. I do it all the time. I'm just trying to bring a NEW area of understanding into our idea of selfish. Besides the fact that 1 Corinthians says that love is slow to anger, it also says that love is never selfish. Ouch. That hits pretty hard. In order to obey God fully we need to examine our motivations.

I should probably add that there is one kind of anger that is not selfish. I'm sure you are sitting here thinking Wait...Didn't JESUS get mad? I thought He never sinned....I'm confused. Jesus got angry at the mistreatment of the House of God. That was definitely not selfish, because it was entirely for something else, and not for his own selfish gain. Jesus never sinned and I want to make sure you don't mistake my meaning. Just like if someone got angry because someone else was being hurt or teased, so did Jesus get upset for the Temple being used for the selfish ambition of merchants. Just thought I'd clarify...

These motivations are not necessarily limited to just anger. In every aspect of our lives, there are issues and struggles with where our priorities lie. Well, it's something I struggle with, but I'm not you.  Every day, I wake up and the first thing I want to do is get on facebook. I want to make sure I'm hip and cool, or have posted the funniest status so that everyone will laugh and think I'm funny. I'm about to go to the gym or to work and I make sure my hair and make-up look good in case there are any cute guys. It just comes down to what we consider important, where we rank these important things, and what happens when these things don't go our way. We sulk, pout, whine, and get mad because we can't have our way. I don't know about you, but  that makes me mad, because that's not what I want. I WANT to be an obedient child of the King that delights in Him and doesn't think of myself constantly. Asking God for help when it comes to things I struggle with is a comfort to me. Maybe you should try it!

Proverbs 29:11
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hanging Out...Literally

Ok, you knew this was coming at some point. This blog is directed at the ladies. Now, being a woman, I can fully relate to how difficult it is to buy modest clothes for teenagers that don't resemble a sack or other bag-like containers. But God calls us to help our brothers in Christ by not dressing in a manner that could cause them to fall into sin. I know, you're thinking "Have you SEEN the clothes that are being sold at any women's clothing store?!" They are not what I would call modest, by any stretch of the definition. So what is the definition you ask? The dictionary defines modesty as "Not extravant; Having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, and dress; Humble." Ouch. I always thought that dressing in a modest manner meant no "hanging out" or no spandex (and other tight articles of clothing, of course). According to this definition, things that call attention to myself, in general, are considered to be immodest. Would that include clothes with lots of sequins, super bright colors, words written on the parts of clothing that are supposed to cover my tush, or anything else that calls attention to what I'm wearing? I don't know about you, but I never thought of that. I may be wrong, but I've really begun to think that wearing modest clothes means not exalting myself by wearing clothes that make me stand out, like really flashy clothes (in every sense of the word, ladies. No flashing.) You definitely don't have to agree with me and you are free to think that I finally fell off the rocker. It's just that when I think of a humble person, I think of someone doing what the Lord wants them to, but not in a way that everyone else can see. The same goes for clothes, in my humble opinion. I'll leave it at that.

I hear alot of girls say, and I quote, "Um, like its not my problem if some guy can't keep his mind out of the gutter. I can wear like whatever I want to and it is his problem if he thinks bad stuff about my body." Or worse, I have even heard "Um God GAVE it to me, so I am going to flaunt it, duh." There are definitely some exceptions, but there aren't many things that frustrate more than hearing these arguments. Girls, imagine if one of your teachers came in one day with this huge bag of hershey kisses. (or whatever your favorite candy is.) Suppose he or she put some of that candy right on your desk, directly in front of your face. Then she told you not to look at it, touch it, think about it, think about looking at it, think about touching it, or think about thinking about it. Can you honestly tell me you would not even glance at or think about it? I mean, honestly? I don't think I need to explain this example much further, because you get my point. As for the second argument, yeah He gave it to you. For the man you will someday marry, NOT every man who has two eyeballs! (or one, for that matter...) The Bible compares an immodest woman with a ring in a ping's NOSE. Gross. Why would you want guys giving you the wrong kind of attention? Don't you want a guy to show interest in you for your personality and not for you body? I rest my case.

Now, I understand how difficult it is to find clothing that glorifies God. It is so difficult. But if you make an effort by to obey Him, by searching through all those short shorts and low-cut shirts, He will bless you. You will be able to find stuff, I promise! You will be showing respect for yourself and guys will respect you for that too. I have one word for you: Camisole. They will be your best friend. Ladies, cover yourselves up for God. There's my two cents...

Proverb's 22:11
Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Smelling the Roses...

The coolest thing happened at work tonight. I work at Chick-fil-a, for those of you who don't know that already, and I was working at the window. This meant a redundant, repetitive, cheerful but fake greeting, the exchange of their money for our food, a cheerful but fake good bye, over and over. You know how the drive thru routine goes.

This one particular man drove up and paid for his meal just like any other customer. Then, however, he asked how much the meal of the man behind him cost. (It was $7.77 by the way, I thought that was cool...) He silently paid for that meal too, smiled to himself, and asked me to tell the man behind him to "Have a blessed day and a blessed meal, because the Lord will always provide." Then he drove away. No exalting himself, or acting like he was all that and a bag of chips, or trying to get attention, or watching the reaction of the man behind him, or anything. I got the pleasure of telling that next customer that his meal had been covered by the driver before him. I got to witness his reaction. The man was so taken aback by this random act of kindness, that he offered to pay for the person behind him. This little chain lasted for 4 cars. It was so incredible to watch these people be wowed, surprised, and just loved on! That first man was such a great example of storing up treasures in heaven and being a humble servant of God. Not only did he bless other people, but I think that I benefited from him too, because I saw firsthand how uncommon it is nowadays to just bless someone with nothing in it for the giver. We get so caught up in life, in general, and our busy schedules. I'm alive and a child of God! How can I not be jumping up and down? Now, I am SO determined to do this at the next drive thru restaurant or sit down restaurant I go to, because I want to show God's love to someone too, just like that mystery man.

This really got me thinking about the little things in life mean that do mean so little to us. We take so many things for granted in our busy lives and we never stop to "smell the roses" or just enjoy the little things that God allows in our lives that are meant to just bless us. We eat food because we need it to live. We don't always sit down to taste and appreciate the different flavors, textures, colors, health benefits. (or lack thereof) This may seem odd, but take blood as another example. To us, it can be such a nuisance, getting all over the place when we scrape ourselves. Do we ever stop to think that if we didn't have blood we would DIE? Blood does so much to keep our bodies going, and all we do is gripe when we have to go scrummage in the cabinet for a band-aid.

All I'm saying is stop and smell the roses, remembering that these "smells" come from God. There's tons of different "smells" and plenty more where they came from! Anyway, there's my two cents...

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Blog?

I am going to go ahead and tell you I'll probably be bad at this. I am really bad about being consistent and I am very spur of the moment. So while the purpose of this blog will be to share powerful moments, random thoughts, and just try to be a good influence on people, with anyone who even cares to read, I cannot guarantee organization. I created this blog because I recently read a couple friends' blogs and it really hit me. A blog that is used for good (as opposed to an evil blog of course, haha) can really make a difference in someone's life. Let me explain. I was surfing facebook, which should definitely be one of the 7 deadly sins by now because of the time it consumes, when I saw a friend had posted the link to his blog. I was bored and I decided to check it out. He was really honest and he posted a question for thought. It completely affected the rest of my day. I immediately wanted to do that for other people! The thought of possibly encouraging someone if they weren't feeling so hot, or planting a little seed of inspiration in someone's heart to try and live their life for God's glory really made me excited! So, this little blog was born.

Before I go, I guess I will explain the title of this entire blog. I named it "The Ninth Hour" because the Bible says that it was the hour when Jesus gave His life for us. We mean the world to Him and He went through indescribable pain so that we can be made clean every time we sin. I don't know about you, but I sin a HECK of alot. It's mind blowing to me and I know that I can't even begin to comprehend His love. My youth pastor, Will, actually came up with that title for our youth group and I love it! Anyways, I know I don't always word my thoughts in the most graceful manner, but there's my two

Mark 15:34
And at The Ninth Hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"