Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Are the Bands Up Too? ~ Rachel Melillo

Tobymac – Having recently returned from a ten-day tour in Europe, Tobymac is performing in various cities in the United States and in Canada a few times. Also, if you haven't gotten his latest CD Tonight or bought his book City On Our Knees, make sure you pick up a copy at your closest Christian retail store or at his website. Check out his website—www.tobymac.com –for more details.

Chris Tomlin – He'll be visiting the East Coast for a couple of music festivals in August, taking a break for September, and then in October he'll be touring around the mid-west and then heading south to Texas, Florida, and Arkansas. He has a new worship song out, “I Lift My Hands.” Check it out and see his website for more details on what he's been up to.

Skillet – Right now they're on the West coast and they'll be making their way across the country to the East coast before zipping back over to the west again! They have a new song out, so be sure and check it out. Also, head over to their website for featured videos and more news to come. Www.skillet.com

Peter Furler – Former vocalist for the hit Christian band “Newsboys”, Peter Furler has recently released a solo album. Not only is Peter pursuing a solo career in music, he's also venturing in a different artistic direction—painting! See his website for hand painted drum top paintings and canvas paintings. Www.peterfurler.com

Group 1 Crew – They're on their summer tour and are hitting cities in Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Florida, Indiana, and more. Check out their website to see if they'll be near you. And while you're there, check out their gear, blog updates, new music and videos.
As you're heading back to school, note that many bands are having 'back-to-school' sales! As you're thinking of what you want to add to your clothing section, consider getting a new t-shirt, bag, or bracelet from your favorite band.

Did you know that Rachel is physically incapably of sleeping past 8?!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quiet Heart~ By Becky

Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still and know that I am God."

Hmm. Surely that doesn't mean "sit still and know that I am God." On the contrary, I believe it means a stillness of spirit, of the heart.
In our society today, it's hard to be still in spirit. We're constantly bombarded with books, movies, music, television, the internet, and cell phones (not to mention real time spent with our friends instead of talking to them) to keep our thoughts occupied every second of every day. Why? Because we don't want to think. We are afraid of being alone with our thoughts. However, a Christian desperately needs that quiet time to think and worship the Lord. Have you ever sat down to read your Bible but were unable to focus because song lyrics pop into your head or your phone beeps with a text from a friend? It's happened to me before, and it frustrates me!
So if having such a busy heart is a problem... how do we fix it?
Here are three practical ways to start.

  1. Turn it off. Decide on a set time to be done with electronics for the night. For instance, I turn my phone of at 9 pm, and I don't turn it back on in the morning till after I've had my quiet time. It's a lot less tempting to "check it really quick" if you know it has to start up first.
  2. Tune it out. Purpose to listen only to worship music for a week or even a month. Your heart will be more focused on worship.
  3. Memorize. This is probably the most helpful one! Memorize scripture to fill your mind. I like to memorize words of Jesus from the gospels. When I think of them, it's like Jesus speaking right to me! It helps you relax, too.
Hope those easy ideas help to cultivate a calm, more focused heart.

In Christ,
Becky

This article was taken from iheart Ministry.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Spiritual Depression~ Lea Sadler

Abandonment, rejection, failure, hopelessness, loneliness... do any of these words hit home? For me, all of them (and more) are all too real. Some of them stare me right in the face, threatening to break through the barriers once again and send me into deathly turmoil. Some of them actually do every once in a while.

I could give you my whole life story, my long testimony about how I came to Jesus and how He snatched me from the pits of Hell and surrounded me with love and comfort. But that would most likely bore you to death with the facts of how I was before, so I'll just share the highlights. I'm going to get real with you, because you deserve it. Ready for it? Here it is: I still doubt God's love for me.

That's it. Luckily, I have enough faith to hold me by a thread from completely falling away from Him. I go through stages where God seems so genuine, so loving, like He's sitting right next to me with his protecting arm around me and whispering His promises for my life. But at times, He is just a character in a book that people keep shoving down my throat. Satan really knows my weak spots, and he does NOT give up without a hard fight.

As a Christian, I know that God is holding me, telling me everything is going to be all right, telling me that every horrible thing I've been through is part of His awesome plan for my life. As a teenager, I think I know better. As a kid, I feel like "If God really loved me then... blah blah blah." But as a human, I'm just confused. And those last three, are where Satan chooses to ambush. Those, are his pathways to leading you away from your Father.

I struggled with depression after my life started it's turning point from "happy family, what could go wrong?" to "broken family with a moody teenager, when does life end?" I became suicidal, I wanted to die. I remember telling God one time, "If You love me then let me come home!" I was tired of life, life was tired of me. That was years ago, and I'm still in the healing and recovery process. There are a few crucial points that I've realized and learned over those years:

When it seems like God's saying, "No," He's actually saying, "I can do better." When I prayed to God to take my life, He said, "I can do better," and He brought my counselor to me. He made me enjoy life again. My best friend prayed that the guy she liked was the one. God said, "I can do better," and now she's dating a wonderful Christian guy who treats her like a Princess. As stubborn humans, we always think we know everything. We think we know what's best for us, what will really make us happy, and what's fair. Newsflash: WE DON'T. Truth is, if God gave us everything we asked for this world would be total disaster (well... even more than it is now.) Think about it this way: When you were little you wanted to see what was on top of the stove. But you were too short so you couldn't unless you could reach up and grab whatever was up there. But your parents told you not to. Why? Because they knew something you didn't. They knew that if they let you reach up for what you wanted, you'd only get burnt in the end. God knows what we don't. He Sees what we can’t. He knows that if He gives us everything we ask for, we'll only be hurt by some of it. Read Ephesians 3:20-21.

Everything that happens fits into God's amazing plan. A bible verse that really got me through the worst stage of depression was Jeremiah 29:11 which says, " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.' " God takes every "bad" thing in your life and uses it for good. Proof? Wanting my life to end (bad) --> experienced enough to help others who feel the same way (good). I've had friends who were so worn down, like me, that they could barely force themselves out of bed every morning to take on the day. But God used my experience and made me an excellent listener and now they come to me whenever they need to vent or need some verses from the bible to pull them through. Everything is used later.
"This too shall pass." No matter what you're going through, it doesn't last forever. Did a family member die recently? Your mourning will turn to content and even happiness as you slowly come to realize that they are in Heaven. Did your boyfriend break up with you? Those feelings will move on as life does, and you'll meet whoever God has in store for you. Does life just generally suck and you don't know why? It gets better. That's just something you have to trust God with. That's something that pulled me through too, the faith that life gets better. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which expresses that there is a time for everything.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Even though my life was horrible a few years ago, I wouldn't give my experiences back for anything. They made me who I am. They're the reason why it's so easy for my friends to talk to me when they're hurting: I understand them. They showed me and proved to me God's existence. And best of all, they allowed me to feel His presence. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

So what's the bottom line? Through everything that you may experience, I can promise you that if you look to God, pray for strength, and trust that you will make it through with His help, you will. And not only will you just make it through, but you'll come out with some valuable lessons, stronger relationships, and you will be one step closer to truly understanding God's love for you.

Did you know that, every morning, Lea listens to 'Life is a Highway' by Rascal Flatts?!

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Alyssa Dannettel.

Friday, August 26, 2011

21 By Adele~ Music Review by Michelle Pell


Usually I will stick to reviewing christian artists and their albums but Adele has been getting such hype lately I decided to check it out and see what all the excitement is about. Here are my thoughts:

Adele currently has two albums out. One named 19 and the other 21, each getting their name sake from how old she was when she recorded them. Her latest album is soulful, full of songs of love, and of love lost. Her sound is very new and fresh, which I think is very important with all the popular music lately sounding all the same. Adele has a strong, breathy, soulful voice and her music has a oldies flair while still keeping it modern.
This album is very clean with no language and no mention of drugs, alcohol, or sex. The only thing I didn't like was that every song seemed to be one of love lost, or bitterness. I think those are okay in moderation though, as long as you mindset doesn't become one that thinks that every man is like that and there is no true prince. As long as you do it the right way, all will be well. All in all, I really like Adele and her style of music and I hope to see more albums from her in the future.

Did you know that Michelle LOVES vintage clothing?!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Praying Before the Storm~ by Haylie Gregory


I have always loved a good thunder storm. Living in Florida, I get to enjoy those rainy days more than most people. I love to watch the rain pouring from the sky, watering my poor, tomato plant that I never seem to water. I enjoy watching the lightening bounce from cloud to cloud, lighting up the dark, clouded sky. My favorite part of a storm is the thunder. It is so powerful it shakes the windows! I have always heard it said that thunder was God bowling, but personally, I always thought it was a giant cat purring. Then again, I could of been tricked by my cat, Jake, who tends to sit on my chest during storms.



You can always tell when a thunder storm is about to roll in. The sky will get dark, the temperature will drop and the weather man will tell you if rain is in the forecast or not. We always seem to heed thunder storm warnings. I mean, you would not plan to go to the beach if there was an 80 percent chance of rain that day, would you?



Whenever we are in the middle of a spiritual storm, we always tend to say, “Man, I wish I could have had some type of warning.” Did you know that you can? When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said to his disciples, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41) Jesus also said in Luke 22:40, “Pray that ye enter not into temptation.” Jesus knew what was coming, but He wanted His disciples to pray too. They were about to face something they would not understand. They were about to face a storm. We are to pray to God, asking Him to help us not fall into temptation. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…” How comforting is that? J  



Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” This verse is saying that, if you pray for God’s guidance, the Holy Spirit will warn you if a storm is coming. No, the Spirit will not come out and say, “Your friends are going to talk bad about you to everyone this Friday”, but it will intercede on your behalf.



This is why our prayer life is so important! The Holy Spirit was given to us to guide us through our life. When we do not pray, we are more likely to fall into temptation. James 1:14 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”  A prayer life is important! It not only strengthens our relationship with God, it helps strengthen us in our everyday lives.



When you are in a storm, remember to learn from it. Storms mean that God is trying to teach you a lesson. He is trying to make you stronger spiritually. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”  Storms come and go, but salvation (the crown of life) is forever. God is forever. Stay with Him and He will not leave your side.



1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God is not going to put you in a situation that you can not handle. God knows how much you can take. He will not give you more than that. He has also given you a way out of the storm, but that is something you will have to learn during the storm. My suggestion, read your Bible and pray.



So the next time you think a storm is coming, pray about it. Ask God to help you be prepared for whatever storm is ahead of you. Start praying now. Ask God to equip you with what you need to face this storm.


Did you know that Haylie has eaten over 10 pounds of Twizzlers this summer?!?!

 Photographer property of 'Lilies Among Thorns Magazine'. Photographer taken by Jess Mc.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dear Nadia

Dear Nadia,

At the church I go to, most of the girls there dress fashionably and immodestly. I love to wear dresses and skirts to Mass, (I'm Catholic), but I feel so different from the girls there. The outfits I put together at home seem beautiful and modest at home, but when I get to church, I feel old-fashioned and just so different. I try not to care about the other girls' clothes, but I feel weird and out of place. What should I do?
Feeling Different



Dear Feeling Different,

I totally admire your desire to be modest and beautifully-dressed for Mass! It's such an honor and blessing to the Lord! I know how you feel - it kind of seems like modesty is a dying art, even in the churches that preach it! I want to just encourage you to continue doing what you're doing. You are shining as a brilliant light for the Lord, and He says: 'Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.' (Romans 12:2) Offer all of this up to Him. There isn't much we can offer to God, but this sacrifice of choosing to dress nicely, even if you feel awkward and out of place, gives Him so much joy. Keep it up, beautiful girl!
God Bless!

Nadia

Did you know that Nadia is horrible at ping pong?!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Down East Basics~ Store Review by Madeline Hunt

I love Down East Basics! They are a modest clothing company- that is super cute! I wish I could buy up the whole store. Feminine styles and unexpected touches of extra beauty make every item unique. Think Anthropoligie yet way cheaper! This outfit is perfect for going out for dinner, going to church or even hanging with your friends!






I love this shirt. It's green color blends perfectly with that of the skirt. The flower detailing on the side adds an extra touch without overpowering the skirt. A basic v-neck is a great addition to your closet! You will probably need to wear a tank top with this top to keep it modest and cute! You can pick it up for $24.99.








 
Okay, I'm a skirt girl! You will probably find me in a skirt most of the time in the summer! I love this one though- it's a print that's not so crazy, but perfect for the girl who wants to look feminine and beautiful! I wish I could talk myself into buying, but my budget does not allow it. So you buy it and wear it and I will be satisfied that someone got to wear the cute skirt. Okay? This pretty addition to your closet will cost you $32.99
Womens Montego Bay ClubPopstar Embellished Gladiator Sandal
A flat sandal is a must for the girl who wants to be comfortable yet cute. I love the little details on this pair. The style will most likely be in next year to and $16.99 is a great price for shoes! Since Down East Basics does not carry shoes, I found this pair from Payless Shoe Source.

I would add some pretty dangle earrings and a simple necklace to balance out the outfit. Or if you don't have your ears pierced you could wear a cute flower headband!
Please don't use this post or my words to justify wearing something that goes against your modesty standards or the ones your parents have set in place! The clothes from Down East Basics may or may not be modest on you depending on your body type.

Did you know that Madeline has a Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera? Did you know that Haylie is very jealous of that?!

Monday, August 22, 2011

10 Ways to be Prepared for School~ Heather Young

As the school year approaches, helpful tips are always useful to get you ready for yet another ten months of grueling mind labor. No worries, though! God—and this list—are ready to assist you through the last few precious weeks of summer.
1. Pray. Before you embark on this great adventure, take time to ask for help. Preparing for school can be stressful and extremely exhausting—and God is here when you need Him (which is all the time). “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
2. Plan ahead. One way to make things harder on yourself is to wait until the last minute. Procrastinating will only leave you with left over school supplies and backpacks that no one else wanted. Also, making “to do” lists will help you stay focused and organized.
3. Take inventory. Go through your leftover supplies from last year and see what you still need to buy. Clothes are also an important element. As in step 2, you want to make sure you plan ahead; in February you don’t want to be out shopping for a sweatshirt when bathing suits are just coming out.
4. Sell stuff you don’t need. The Internet and yard sales are great places to sell old school supplies that you don’t need, but are still in pretty good shape. Selling your used stuff is also beneficial because you earn money to buy new stuff. Even if you can’t find a buyer, consignment shops will give you money for lightly used items. Things can also be donated to thrift stores.
5. Organize. No one wants to come home from school with a workload and find their room impossible to study in! Cleaning and organizing your room BEFORE school starts is smart because you won’t have to add that task to hours of homework. Designate a place for doing schoolwork, and make an effort to keep that spot clean and orderly throughput the school year.
6. Go shopping. In my opinion, early August is the best time to shop for school supplies because there are worthwhile deals that many people have not taken advantage of yet. Even at yard sales you can find good supplies for cheap. This year at a yard sale I found a dusty, yet working binder, for free!
7. Get your brain ready. Instead of kicking off the school year feeling groggy and out of it, why not prepare your brain to take on the mental work? This doesn’t mean giving your brain a really strenuous workout. After doing a few math problems in the shower, reviewing grammar terms while washing dishes, and trying to remember the idioms from your language class, you’ll be ready to go!
8. Read your Bible. We should all read our Bibles as often as we can. For me it seems like summer has flown by, and I’ve had hardly enough time to read much. Especially as we prepare for school, God shouldn’t become second in our lives. Reading our Bibles will help us to stay closer to God not just at the beginning of the school year, but until June and beyond.
9. Get your heart ready. This step kind of coincides with steps 8 and 10. Preparing your heart involves not only getting closer to God, but also getting closer to the heart of God. “And behold a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’” Luke 10:25-28 (NKJ) Loving others is so important that it’s a command. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

10. Pray. Prayer is right up there with reading our Bibles. Both help us grow closer to God. Ask God to prepare your heart and help you to love others like He loves us (John 13:34). Ask Him to give you a pure heart and the right attitude about school. Ask Him to guide you to make right decisions and be respectful to your teachers and others. God answers prayer in great ways. “Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)
Did you know that Heather LOVES horses?!

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Alyssa Dannettel.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Prom~ A Movie Review by Kari Willinger

Prom is about all of the drama surrounding that one night of dancing and fun. When high achieving, do-everything, class president Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) loses all of her prom decorations in a terrible shed fire, everything takes a turn for the worst. Her boyfriend, sho had suggested carpooling to prom, backs out at the last minute; the school principal decides to create a new prom committee which includes, the badboy of the movie, a motorcycle riding, brooding, guy named Jesse (Thomas Mcdonell). Then there are all of the other couples and singles having troubles with their dates and every finding dates. Will the prom turn into a success. Or will it fail epically?
Prom was rated PG, There is no sex in Prom. The worst it gets is couples kiss. There are also short dresses and skirts throughout the film. H*** is said once and there are 6 misues of Gods name like 'OMG'.
Did you know that Kari loves 80's movies, like 'Pretty in Pink'?!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Shall Serve~ by Rachel Allen

My master kneeled down before me holding a damp washcloth in his hands. He reached out to touch me, but I stopped him. "Are you going to wash my feet?" I asked, astounded.

He replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

I stood hastily and exclaimed, ""No, you shall never wash my feet!" Did he not understand that I was just a lowly servant? He was my master, my king, and he wanted to serve me? I did not deserve it.
"Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

My heart leapt into my throat. I could not allow him to desert me only because I refused him. "Then, Lord, not just my feet buy my hands and my head as well!" If he saw fit to cleanse me, why shouldn't he cleanse all of me? He wished to wash me, so be it.

"A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean." I understood his position. The streets of Israel were dusty and dry, and our sandals were not ample protection against the dirt of the roads. "And you are clean, though not everyone of you." My eyes flicked up to the other around the table. What was he talking about? I sat, confused and confounded as my King knelt before me and washed my feet. Should I not be washing his? I did not deserve his service, though he had every right to mine. One by one, our King went around the table, washing the feet of every one of his followers. Were they as astounded as I was?

When he was finished, our master stood before us and spoke. "Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Not that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet."

And then I understood. I saw what our teacher was trying to teach us. I saw what out master wanted us to learn from him. If our Master, our Savior, our Teacher, our Shepherd; If the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Beginning, the End; if the Son of GOD could service us and get down on his knees to serve others... why couldn't we?

Did you know that Rachel only like Wintergreen Tic Tac?!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Compassion International~ Emily Ciszewski

I’ve chosen Compassion for this month’s organization for a very special and personal reason - that reason? Well, to put it bluntly; Sibomana.
As of July 23, 2011, Sibomana is now my sponsored child through Compassion International! I’ve signed the forms and now I have a 10 year old friend in Rwanda, Africa! It’s so exciting - and the coolest thing? We get to write letters to each other - from over seven thousand miles (I googled it!) of Ocean, trees, grass, mud, sand…you get it I’m sure (I know - it’s modern postal service, but still…)!

This awesome ministry all started with God lover Everett Swanson. Reverend Everett was on a preaching tour in South Korea, while he was there he was moved with…well - compassion, when he saw the poor orphans on the streets. They were hungry, forgotten and lonely - and Everett new he had to do something for them. Check out Matt. 15:32 - the verse that pushed Everett to go the mile;

“Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said “I have compassion on the multitude because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way”. “
(Matt. 15:32 KJV)

It all started with 35 children, but since then God has worked thousands of miracles through Compassion - 1.2 million children have been helped since 1952 when Everett started his small mission - love and compassion has reached 26 countries to be exact!
What can you do?
It takes 38 dollars a month to sponsor a child for a year, that’s $456.00 (for you non-math people like me!). And if you think about it, your parents spend about 100 every month to feed you alone! (Roughly.)
I know 456.00 seems like a lot to people like me with only a summer or a part time job, but this is something that you can do with prayer! It took a lot of prayer for me to get Sibomana!

You can work with children in so many areas! You can sponsor a 3 year old little boy in the Philippines! A 12 year old girl in Ghana, you can even sponsor a college student and help pay his way! For example - you can help 20 year old ‘Luis’ by sending $300.00 a month so that he can become an engineer!

You can even be apart of helping mothers and their children - by send $20.00 a month, you can choose a country and help mothers feed their hungry children.

Compassion doesn’t discriminate against any race or religion, as many people believe. Either way, Compassion sponsors non Christians and allows non Christians to sponsor.

Maybe you’ve heard their statement; “Releasing children from poverty in Jesus name.”

Compassion believes in working through community. They build schools and churches - they teach parents to teach their children the love of God.

Compassion’s mission statement?
“In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.”
There are about 10 ways for you to give through Compassion, want to check out their website?
Go to


http://www.compassion.com !

And maybe - with some prayer - you’ll end up helping your own Sibomana!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School Fashion~ By Renee Arnold

None of us want to think about getting up at 6:00 AM and heading out the door to school, but the reality is, we have about a month left until our alarms will be going off much too early once again! Picking the perfect outfit for school each day is most likely important to you, here is your guide to 3 back to school fashion trends that are stylish and modest.


Trend #1: Cropped Tops
Probably this summer you have seen a girl wearing a cropped top without a cami underneath, exposing her stomach, but this is only one part of the cropped top trend. These short cut shirts also look great exposing less skin like the one shown below. I would advise picking out a cropped top and then going to find a few colored cami's that would look great underneath. This way, you can be in style, mix up your look and still be modest!


Trend #2: Floral Print
Flowers and more flowers are in style yet again for the girly girls out there! This trend is very diverse and ranges from skirts to tank tops so I'm sure you'll find something floral you love! If it is a t-shirt or tank top, make sure it's not too low that you're exposing cleavage or too high showing off you're stomach. If you choose a skirt, make sure you're upper thighs and butt are covered, possible about fingertip length depending on your body type. If you're in doubt, put it back on the shelf or ask for a second opinion to be safe!


Trend #3: Leopard Print
America is once again borrowing fashion idea's from the wild! Animal prints, especially leopard are going to be very popular! Again, make sure it is modest and not exposing too much which should be easy to do considering there are so many options out there!


Good luck at back to school! Have a very successful year and remember that God is there with you every step of the way. Please, don't take any of my suggestions as excuses to wear something you feel convicted not to wear or your parents don't think is right. Pray about your wardrobe with God and he'll come through for you.


Did you know that Renee LOVES apples, but HATES apple juice??

Monday, August 15, 2011

Be IN Church, Not AT Church~ Rachel Melillo

In my life, I mostly see two types of people: the ones that sit at church in a pew because they feel obligated, and the people who involve themselves so much in so many ministries that they forget the point.
What does the word 'church' mean to you? Does it mean a place where you go and sit in an uncomfortable pew every week to listen to a pastor bore you with a half-hour sermon? Or perhaps it's just a place where you get to talk to you friends.
So much, I find that Christians are the most apathetic people I've ever met when it comes to church. In my life, I find there are mostly two types of Christians: the crazy ones (involved in everything they can get their hands on) and the ones content to sit in a pew and stare at a pulpit for one morning a week.
Neither is helpful nor profitable. For it's hard for God to use a heart so focused on doing that it misses the reason for which one is doing such things, and it's also difficult for God to use one who refuses to do anything at all.
So the first thing that we must do is acknowledge which person we are. If you're the one that sits in the pew, find a way that you can serve God and His bride, the church. Get involved. Perhaps that means joining the sound team, worship team, outreach committee, or writing for the church newsletter. Romans 12:4-5 says, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” As a member of the body of Christ—the church—we're obligated to help each other out and get involved.
However, if you're the one that spends all their time doing, it's time for a break. I challenge anyone who feels that they fall into this category to take a month-long break (at least) and spend that time focusing on God and what He teaches you through your pastor. Then, choose certain ministries to devote yourself to instead of giving bits and pieces of yourself to so many things that you miss the point and the reason. 1st Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” However we're involved in church, we must do it for the glory of God, and when we're obsessed with doing, we lose focus of that.
I particularly like Matt Redman's “Heart of Worship” when considering this issue. When I hear this song, I instantly begin to review my life and determine if I'm involving myself in too much.




Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Jess Mc.

Did you know that Jess hates odd socks?!
Did you know that Rachel dislikes digital clocks, even though they are convenient?!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Christy by Catherine Marshall~ Review by Michelle Pell

My Rating: 5 out of 5

If you are reading this and are between the ages of 16 and 19, imagine leaving your home and all you are familiar with, and moving to a mission house in the primitive community, to teach school to the children in the area. Add the fact that you grew up in a privileged home and are now going to a place with barely enough food to pass around, plus no indoor plumbing.
That's exactly the story of Christy Huddleston. At 19 she felt God calling her to leave her home in Asheville, NC to teach school in the Smoky Mountains. During her time there, she learns to understand and love the mountain people with their poverty stricken lives, superstitions, and yearnings for hope and love.
Become a part of Christy's struggle to find out why exactly God sent her to this place. Also, as she witnesses terrible tragedies, why He, a God of love, could allow such hurt.
Christy also finds her heart torn between two men. One seems like the obvious choice, but Christy finds herself strangely drawn to the other. Will Christy listen to the reasonings in her mind, or find the strength to follow her heart?

This book was also made into a major television series series, starring Kellie Martin and Tyne Daily. Click here (http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?v=NatoNFjrOqE) to watch a teaser for the show.

Did you know that Michelle broke her collarbone when she was two? She tried walking down the stairs in her walker!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Alive~ Lea Sadler

Soft whispers in my head of elegant content
Grow vines of wisdom from heaven sent
As ancient lyrics of old songs sung
Chime the bells on one once rung.
Sweet scents of sorrow fill the lungs while
Bitter words of loss weigh down the tongue.
Your hands of comfort grip all pain
And destroy all regrets, finally slain.
Walking through the darkness, stumbling on every stone
You lift the feet and assuage the soul with a soothing tone.
Cursed with affliction and trapped in agony
Your presence is the only thing that brings forth the key
To a happy life filled to find
This sincere peace of mind.
Free of sin, free of death
Life inhaled with every breath.
I’m alive.


Did you know that Lea is 25% Korean?!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Q&A with Haley!

Hello Readers!

As you may remember, last month I ask girls to send me some of your questions about guys and dating! Here are your answers!

Dear Haley, My best friend and I like the same guy and now she won't talk to me. I liked him first but she said that she did. What should I do?

Torn

Dear Torn,

This one is hard, but a boy is NEVER worth loosing a best friend. I say PRAY PRAY PRAY then sit down with your bff, tell her this is not worth losing her over. If she still wants the boy, then let her have the boy. Stand up and don't let this relationship fail just because of a boy. Maybe even pray together, who knows, this crush could and most likely will pass. So just hold in there!

~Haley

Dear Haley, I don't have a boyfriend but all of my friends do. They keep saying that I need a boyfriend because I'm a senior and it's part of the 'senior experience'. What do you think?

Senior and Single

Dear S&S,

Don't give into the pressure to date just because your friends say it's the thing to do. There is so much more to the 'senior experience' than landing a guy. You have your whole life to worry about finding "Mr. Right", if you haven't found him yet then God hasn't given him to you yet!   Enjoy these single years and look forward to your future, and maybe even pray for your future husband! Don't give into the pushing to date just any guy, wait for the one who proves himself worthy of a woman like you!
~Haley                                                                       

Dear Haley, My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years. We are both are 18 and we are already talking about marriage. My parents think we are to young, but I don't think so. What should I do? Should I wait until my parents are okay with it, or just follow my heart?

Waiting

Dear Waiting,

I know the feeling of wanting to marry young, I go though it every day! But you have to think about this, do either of you make enough money to support a whole months rent, plus food and other bills? Are you even out of highschool, cause I'm 18 and I'm not. I say wait a year or two more, get through some college and wait for your parents approval. Cause the last thing you want to do is go into a new marriage and have problems with your parents. If you guys feel the need that you MUST get married make it a long engagment. But my opinion is to just sit back and wait alittle while longer and pray about it!

~Haley

Dear Haley, I think my boyfriend is cheating on me. When I ask him, he gets all defencive and yells. What do you think I should do?

The Cheated

Dear Cheated,

This is a hard one, I delt with being cheated on for a long time and it's never easy! I say back off him for alittle bit and just seek God on this, and once you feel strong and calm enough confront him one last time asking for an honest answer, look into his eyes and try to not let him change the subject or point it back at you. After that, really this is up to you. You're the one who's gonna be able to tell if he is really cheating and lying about it or not. But if you really think he is let him go. Last thing you need to be putting up with is a cheater, they don't love you and won't help you in the long run.

~Haley

Dear Haley, What are some things you can go do on a date that are completely safe to do? Things where you are not tempted to do anything?
Safe Date

Dear Safe Date,

I love that you want somewhere to go where you won't be tempted to do wrong things! There's a whole world of things you can do that are cheap yet fun to do!

1. Fancy dinner for two at Mcdonalds (Or any other cheap fast food) dress up in your best dress and go out with your man to Mcdonalds! You'll get a kick out of the looks you'll get from people and it's a good time and place to sit and get to know eachother over a good Big Mac!

2. The roller rink or ice skating rink! This one's always fun and normaly cheap. Besides the sometimes awkward couples dance, this is a great way to have fun and get to watch eachother act like fools skatting around and falling on your butts! (I know I would be!)

3. Work out date, take your sweety to the gym to get alittle sweaty! Jog together or swim together, there's nothing like burning fat with someone you enjoy!

4. I always enjoy window shopping with my boyfriend (Even though he sometimes gets tired of it!) find a mall or a strip of shops that you enjoy. Go from store to store talking about what each of you like and don't like. It's a great way of finding more out about eachother!

5. Going to a concert you both enjoy is a great time too! But don't expect to be able to talk much until the ride home.

6. The zoo, every zoo always has a free day. So keep a eye out for those days cause a zoo can be a fun way to act like kids again together. It can bring up memories from when you were a kid to share with your date too!

7. Local flea markets or famers markets. Those always have something good to buy and something fun to do! A great time all together!

8. Play house: Dress up in your most serious grownup outfit to visit some open houses.(I honestly have to try out this one!) Spend the day arguing over where you would put the love seat, discussing the difference between eggshell and ecru paint, and giggling over strangers' hideous decorating choices. This could be fun if you don't take any of it seriously. Just have it be a fun goofy date. Most open houses are on Saturday's and Sunday's.

9. Bowling is a good way to to spend some good time together. Even if both of you totally suck at it, it's fun to watch eachother suck! You could put silly names up on the score bored, or dance around on the floor. Act like fools, who honestly  cares?!

10.Appeal to his inner child (it shouldn't be too hard to tap into) and buy tickets for a carnival,county fair or state fair. Embrace the cheesiness — share cotton candy, let him try to win you a prize, and ride the Ferris wheel until you get nauseous. It's a great way to get to know each other if you've just started dating and will serve as a reminder of how much fun you can have together if you've been dating for awhile.

Hope those helped!
~Haley
 

Did you know that Haley HATES rollercoasters?!
 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bad Hair Day?~ Madeline Hunt

All of us sometimes have what we affectionately call "Bad Hair Days" and "Good Hair Days". We all have times when we love our hair and when we wish that we could just be bald because our hair is so annoying!

Let me tell you: There is No such thing as a Bad Hair Day!!!
The gift that God blessed our head with (Our Hair) is beautiful. Weather those curls turn into a mountain of frizz or your straight locks look like limp strings.
Now I know your saying "Madeline, are you kidding??" Nope. I have wrestled with this a lot obsessing over my hair. But there is hope even if you don't think I'm right. :D

Here are some easy ways to hide those so called "bad" hair days:

Wear a cute hat: (If your school has rules about hat wearing be sure to follow them)
There are a wide variety of cute hats that won't break the bank at stores like Target, Claire's, Walmart, etc. A hat can also jazz up and otherwise boring outfit! If you think Hats don't work for your head think again. There are styles that work for any face shape and personal sense of style.

Put it up in a messy bun.
No one will ever know that your hair and you are not on the best of terms! This hair style will work for hair that is shoulder length or below and remember: It is supposed to look messy! That is  what adds the flair!

Wear it down with a smile
I know what your thinking- but embrace the hair that God gave you I have gotten lots of compliments on my hair when I though it looked horrible! Never underestimate the power of a smile! Remember what the little orphan Annie said " Your never fully dressed without a Smile"

Add a cute outfit
"Bad" hair can look cuter with the right outfit!

Try Braids
One on the side, One down the back, One on each side. French, fishtail, regular. Loose, or Tight. The possibilities are endless!


How do you cover up a "bad" hair day?

Did you know that Madeline LOVES skirts?!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Romans 12:2~ By Heather Young

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:2
Following the instructions this verse gives is kind of like being a butterfly going through metamorphosis:

1. Do not be conformed to this world.
(caterpillar eating leaves so it can get stronger and bigger;
Christian reading God’s Word so they can grow in knowledge of Him)

2. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
(caterpillar in cocoon turning into a butterfly;
God changing their heart so that they can begin to see things through His eyes)

3. Prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
(butterfly free and flying around with the help of its new wings;
God giving them strength to face trials and pressures of the world)
I believe that this verse is very applicable to today’s culture. Worldly things get in the way of God a lot. “Oh, I’m too busy to read my Bible; I have to finish this video game.” “How do you expect me to pray now? I’m too exhausted from my busy day.” I’m sure we have all had times like that. Times when we seem too busy with the fast pace of this world to involve God in our lives. Times when it seems like we have everything under control, so why would we need God if we can do it ourselves? Truth is, we can’t do anything in our own strength, but we “can do everything through Christ who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13).
“…do not be conformed to this world…”
“Conform: vi. 1. to be or become similar. 2. to be in agreement. 3. to act in accordance with accepted rules, customs, etc…” I think we can agree that the first and third definitions are the most relevant to the content of this verse. Romans 12:2 says to not be conformed to this world. To not become like the world. To not act with accepted customs. So even though there is pressure compelling us every day to go with the flow with everyone else around us, we need to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10).



 
Photograph Property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Tara Willinger.

“…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
“Transform: vt. 1. to change the form or appearance of. 2. to change the condition, nature, or function of.” The second definition is the meaning of transform in this passage. When Paul says, “be transformed”, he is not saying your outward appearance, as the first definition suggests, but a transformation “by the renewing of your mind”, from the inside out. When you change your mindset, you will change your heart; and once you change on the inside, the change won’t stand not to show through.
“…that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Once you change your mind and heart, your actions will begin to change. You will prove, or uphold, the perfect will of God. What could be more important in than being committed to following God?
In conclusion, if we get caught up in the whirlwind of life, and fail to keep our focus on God, we will get lost in the current of the secular culture. But, if we keep God in the center of our lives, and strive to follow His will, He will help us find our way in this frenzied manner of existence. So, let’s be caterpillars for the Lord!

Did you know that Heather's favorite color is teal blue?!?!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Smurfs~ Movie Review by Kari Willinger

Okay now, lets be honest. Who here does not like the Smurfs. I know we are all older and no longer watch them on T.V. (if you do, hoorah for you), but who doesn't just love those cute little blue people? I know I do, I am so excited for when they hit the theatres. I can remember coming home from school and racing to the living room so I don't miss the Smurfs. They were some of my favorite cartoons.
For those of you who dont know who the Smurfs are (tsk! tsk!) let me fill you in. The Smufs are little blue people from the middle ages. There they have this cute little village where they all live. Until one day the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Zaria, Night of the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian) runs the Smurfs into the woods and out of their village. The Smurfs go into a portal in the woods and magically find themselves falling through the portal and landing in the middle of Central Park, New York. The Smurfs have to hurry and find a way back to their village before Gargamel gets them. Watch the Smurfs and their daring adventure. The Smurfs Movie is rated PG there is nothing bad in this movie (cussing, sex, etc.)
The Smurfs are...
Papa Smurf- Jonathan Winters
Smurfette- Katy Perry
Clumsy Smurf- Anton Yelchin
Gutsy Smurf- Alan Cumming (This Smurf was not in the Cartoon he was made especially for the Smurfs Movie)
Grouchy Smurf- George Lopez
Brainy Smurf- Fred Armisen
Handy Smurf- Jeff Foxworthy
Jokey Smurf- Paul Reubens
Hefty Smurf- Gary Basaraba
Vanity Smurf- John Oliver
Greedy Smurf- Keenan Thompson
Baker Smurf- B. J. Novak
Chef Smurf- Wolfgang Puck
Panicky Smurf- Adam Wylie (This Smurf was not in the Cartoon he was made especially for the Smurfs Movie)
Did you know that Kari never goes to bed before 2 in the morning?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Coffee Shop~ by Rachel Allen

People have done something special for you, right? Maybe they've given you an amazing gift. Maybe they took you out for lunch. Or maybe they just helped you through a difficult time. But didn't you want to do something in return? Didn't you feel like saying "Thank you" just wasn't enough?
Now imagine: You're walking down a busy city street, and you're crossing the traffic-jammed avenue. Imagine that you're not paying attention. Imagine that somebody, someone you didn't know, maybe someone you've never seen before in your life, jumps in front of a speeding taxi cab to keep you from getting hit. And imagine that the person died. How would you feel? What could you do for them? For their friends? For their family?
Now imagine that it's a few months later, or just a few days, or maybe even a few years, you're walking down the street. You've moved on with your life, but you've never forgotten the stranger that saved your life. Imagine that you go to your favorite coffee shop, a little family place on the corner, just like you do every day. Imagine that you go to get your usual, and all of a sudden, you see the stranger that gave his life for yours. (I know what you're thinking: "But he's DEAD." "Last time I saw him, he was six feet under." "But... but... but... but..." But once you get PAST all of that...) What do you say? What could you possibly do for the man that paid the ultimate price for you? Now, I know what you wouldn't do. I KNOW that you are not going to walk out of the coffee shop and move on. You wouldn't just forget about him and go on with your life without a second thought. You wouldn't leave behind the perfect opportunity to properly thank the man that sacrificed himself for you. But you couldn't just walk up to him and say, "Hey, weren't you that guy that ducked in front of that cab? Yeah, sorry about that. That probably hurt, right? So, thanks. See you around, okay?" You couldn't just buy him coffee and leave it at that. The only words that might even come close to doing justice might be, "Thank you for saving my bloody LIFE and for SACRIFICING YOURSELF and for PAYING THE ULTIMATE PRICE for a complete stranger that you've never even seen before and suffering for them when you didn't even know their name and for allowing that stranger to keep their life by giving yours. Because, yes, that stranger was me." And that's STILLnot enough. You beg them, "Take me, use me. Whatever you need, whatever you want, ask of me. Your word is my command."
And somehow, no matter how impossible it may seem, it's still not enough. It will NEVERbe enough, because the stranger that lived was you, and the stranger that saved your life by giving theirs was Jesus Christ.
So, what are you doing? Are you serving him whole-heartedly? Or are you buying him coffee? Are you begging him to take you and use you for good? Or are you passing up the perfect opportunity to sacrifice yourself to the PerfectSacrifice, the Son of God, the Savior? Think about. And don't walk out of the coffee shop.

Did you know that Rachel absolutely LOVES messenger bags?!

Photograph Property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Tara Willinger.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shy? I Know the Feeling~ By Hogan Stevens

For as long as I can remember, I have always been painfully shy. When I was much younger, if any of my parents’ friends tried to talk to me, I would hide behind my mom or dad’s legs and refuse to speak one word. I’m sure some people were a little confused by this behavior, but I couldn’t help it; I was--and still am--naturally bashful. Now I’m nearly seventeen and I’m coming to realize that I can no longer refuse to talk to people even though I’m so terribly shy. And I guess I’m too big to be hiding behind my parents anymore. Snap.
Around family, or at least my closest family, I can talk and joke without worrying about being self-conscious. But when I’m around a lot of people I don’t know all that well, especially teenagers, I clam up, unable to think of a way to get myself out there.
Do you have the same problem?
If so, you’ll know that, for shy people, school is one of the worst things invented. There are all these people around you talking and laughing with one another like it’s the easiest thing in the world, and then there’s you--the quiet, composed girl that isn’t sure how to go about making friends.
And you know what’s weird? I’ve been told a few times that people take me as being stuck up and intimidating, since I don’t really talk to anyone. It’s funny to me, because I definitely do not think that I am in any way better than anyone. I’m just naturally quiet! So, after hearing this a while back, I decided to make myself more approachable. I’m still working on it but I’m already seeing improvements.
One thing that really makes a difference is a smile. Yes, that might sound a little cliché, but it’s so true. By just smiling at someone, you make them feel more relaxed and welcome with you. It makes it that much easier to ease the tension and help you get out of your shell. I actually started working at this little restaurant a couple of months ago, and I’ve made it a goal of mine to smile at everyone I see come in. And it really pays off. I have lots of customers that seem genuinely happy whenever they see that I’m waiting on them.
You also need to be able to be friendly. I know you may be thinking, “But I’m nice!” and I’m sure you’re right! But as quiet people, we often get mistaken for being unfriendly and uninterested. But there’s an easy solution for that. Just make sure that people can tell you’re interested in what they have to say. If someone says, “Hey! How are you?” while you’re walking from one class to the next, respond with, “I’m great! How are you?”. A smile helps too (Nope, I’m not going to let go of that!). Don’t simply mutter, “Good” and keep on walking. Always make sure to acknowledge the other person so that they feel appreciated.
I’m sure some of this just sounds like common sense, but believe me: This is sometimes hard to do, especially if you’re not used to being social. I know I wasn’t ever the talkative, bubbly girl in school. I mostly kept to myself because I was afraid to talk to anyone.
In middle school, the thought of starting a conversation myself would have made me a mess of nerves. I’ll let you in on a secret, though: It still does. But I choose to not let it bother me, because I know my fear is irrational. I mean, come on, who’s going to judge you if you try to break the ice by saying, “Sure is hot outside today, isn’t it?”. Granted, you had probably better say that when it is hot outside, else I’m sure some people would look at you funny.
You see, I’m actually home schooled now. This is my fourth year, and I absolutely love it. Most people we meet tend to ask how I stay socialized but, really, I have more friends than I did when I went to public school. And that probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve started trying to become a little more outgoing, to show everyone that I actually can talk and that I love to joke around. I’m still working on being talkative, though. This is probably evidenced by the fact that I had someone ask me the other day, “Why don’t you ever talk?”. Yeah. Sort of a shocker for me, because I thought I’d been doing so much better at the conversing thing. I guess it’s a work in progress.
I’m not telling you to try to become someone you’re not, of course. If you’re naturally quiet and reserved like me, then don’t think you have to be some bubbly, loud girl so you can make friends. That’s not the way to go. Just be yourself. I promise, it works! Show others your kindness. Let them see that you have Jesus inside you by being that lovely, interesting girl that He created.
And that’s the thing: He created you just the way you are. Don’t be afraid to show that person to others; you are truly beautiful and you shouldn’t have to worry about what others think of you.
So, for all you shy girls, I wish you good luck! I hope the new year starts out well for you and that you start to discover how to truly become yourself around others. I know I’ll be working on it!

Did you know that Hogan is a master of falling down the stairs? Just asked her bruised loegs!!

Photographers property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photographer taken by Alyssa Dannettel.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jesus Thinks You're Beautiful~ By Renee Arnold


We've probably all heard at some point in our lives that God thinks we're beautiful and valuable, but maybe you don't truly believe it in your heart. Here are some bible verses that will help you in your journey to find inner beauty through Jesus Christ and his word!
1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a women who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Song of Solomon 4:7 You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.
2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
1 Samuel 16:7 God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
Rest in the peace and knowledge that Jesus thinks you're beautiful, even on your worst hair day or your make-up doesn't turn out quite right.He knows your heart, trust in he fact that he thinks you're worth more then rubies and diamonds and he will forever cherishes his relationship with you.
To all our beautiful readers,
Renee Arnold <3


Did you know that Renee has a recurring dream about an alligator?

Did you know that Jess LOVES the different American accents?!



Monday, August 1, 2011

Sorting Through the Issues~ Abby Massung

Once upon a time, it wasn’t really a choice most people had to face. These days, however, it seems like it’s about as common of an option as what clothes you want to wear. Unfortunately, being homosexual is rising in popularity because being that way is becoming a statement to stand out among teens. This topic is an especially difficult one for Christian teens. Homosexuality is wrong, but how are we to treat them? Should we shun them, should we talk to them? I hope this article will help you with these confusing questions.

A Brief Glance at Some Questions…
  A common belief gaining more and more popularity is that homosexuality isn’t a choice. Many homosexuals are now declaring they were born that way. The truth? It goes against nature to be homosexual (note that God calls it unnatural). Although one might argue that man is now born sinful so they could be born homosexual, it is my personal belief this isn’t the case. Besides, even if a man (or woman) is born inclined to that, they must learn to control wrong impulses just as we all must.
  If you’re thinking the choices of others to be homosexual doesn’t affect us, think again! A good example of this can be found in the TV series Supernatural. Dean and Sam Winchester are brothers who travel around the country fighting demons and monsters. They have no home besides their car, so they frequently stay in motels, and more than once the owners of the hotels have suspected the brothers are truly a homosexual couple looking for a room for the night. This isn’t fiction guys, this is reality. It used to be perfectly acceptable for a couple of girls or a couple of guys to travel together and share rooms and etc., but those days are quickly disappearing thanks to the question of homosexuality. Just as suspicion surrounds men and women, suspicion surrounds women and women or men and men. Now, for a pair of girls to share an apartment together and not be dating guys looks bad (trust me, my older sister got in this position). Whether anyone will admit it or not, homosexuals have affected the rest of us.


Close to Home…
  A couple of years ago, I was attending classes set up especially for home school kids, most of which were Christians. So when I saw my closest friend’s Myspace page announcing she was a lesbian, I was floored. After all, this same girl had chosen to read a series of Bible verses for her reading in speech class (where we’d met). How could that very same girl turn around and declare herself to be a lesbian? It didn’t make any sense.
  Followed closely on the heels of that discovery was learning that another close friend had decided she was bi. Now this didn’t throw me off quite as much since she was from a family of atheists and leaned towards more masculine styles. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how my seemingly normal friends could end up deciding they were anything but straight. I remained their friends, but it was hard to really know how to act about the whole thing when there never seemed to be any middle-ground according to anything I was hearing. We all fell out of touch after some time, but the question still remained. What was the right reaction to this issue?
  I finally started to really think about this several months ago when I became interested in a guy, only to find out he was gay. He was a really nice guy from what I could tell. He didn’t overact being gay in public like so many do, and he had a huge bright smile for everyone.
   
  What the Bible Says…
  Ok, first, let’s start in Genesis. You know, where God laid out the foundation of how things were meant to be. After explain how Eve came into being and God brought her to Adam, Adam declares how together they were one and calls her woman. After that, this statement is made:

  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and they will become flesh.” ~Genesis 2:24

  Note that God doesn’t make a guy and a girl for Adam and says “Now pick which one you’d rather have.” No. Instead, He created a perfect match for Adam to have for a partner, and in doing so, laid down the foundation of a Biblical marriage for His creations.
  Next we will head over to Leviticus for a moment. The entire 18th chapter of this book goes into great detail about what is not acceptable in the area of sexual relations. Among this list God gave the Israelites was this:

  “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” ~Leviticus 18:22

  So even back in the beginnings of the Old Testament God proclaimed choosing to be a homosexual was wrong. So what does the New Testament have to say about it?

  “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received within themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” ~Romans 1: 26-27
  (note: I would strongly recommend reading Romans 1:18-32. It explains how these people came to such a low point of immorality. Interestingly enough, it sounds like it perfectly describes America today).

  This makes it perfectly clear that even after God’s covenant with Israel was complete, He still saw homosexuality as being perverse and unnatural.

So What Do You DO?
  Be careful you don’t judge others for being a homosexual. The Bible is filled with warnings about judging others. The reality is, we’re no better than they are. Sin is sin. Our own personal sins maybe be different, but to God, they’re all equally wrong and in need of repentance and forgiveness.
  This doesn’t mean however, that we ought to accept them into our churches as equal Christians (though if they are interested in attending we shouldn’t discourage them as long as they aren’t preforming indecent acts within the church). If you have friends declaring themselves to be Christians and homosexual in the same breath, you need to point out the contradiction to them kindly yet firmly.
 
  “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage –with great patience and careful instruction.” ~2 Timothy 4:2

  “So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” ~Luke 17:3

  “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, and idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not eat.” ~1 Corinthians 5:9-11

  This doesn’t necessarily mean to completely shun them, but it does mean you ought to maintain your distance and try to win them back over to the faith. Although you don’t need to preach to them every day about how wrong they are to be thinking they can be homosexual and Christian, you do need to make it clear to them that it goes against the Bible and try to help them see that whenever an opportune moment presents itself or you feel called to.

  For those who aren’t professing themselves to be Christians, we should attempt to lovingly point them in the right direction. As is obvious to anyone paying attention to what’s going on with this issue in our country, yelling at them and being cruel doesn’t help anything. Besides that, it’s unbiblical. Of course, sitting back and accepting is equally wrong.

 “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these things but also approve of those who practice them.” ~Romans 1: 32

    “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you.’” ~1 Corinthians 5:12-13

   In the end, we can witness to them, pray for them, and try to bring them to God. We also need to pray for ourselves, that we do not come to accept the sin of the world as something that is okay. Guard your heart. Guard your soul. Guard your Mind.

Did you know that Abby plays both piano and guitar?!