Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 3

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I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C. S. Lewis

I have a lot of favorite quotes-some by classic authors, some by modern writers, and some by well known public figures. Nonetheless, I have decided that for today’s post, I’m going to write about the above quote by C.S. Lewis. I love his metaphors used and the meaning behind the quote.

Plus, C.S. Lewis is just awesome.

In this post, Lewis makes the point that our faith determines our actions; how we think inevitably affects the way that we live. If we believe that there is no God, that means that there is no such thing as absolute truth and by default, no absolute meaning to life. Nonetheless, if we do believe in God, we’re called to live in a way that honors Him and make our lives here count. The earth we live in isn’t all there is, but the decisions that we make have eternal consequences (e.g.. To follow God or not follow Him).

Our beliefs shape how we see the world; this is called our worldview. It is the shining light that guides our thoughts, words, and actions. When a person is truly committed to their faith, it is bound to show in their life. The personal testimonies of those around us provide some of the strongest evidence for God’s existence. What else could change a hardcore drug addict to a committed Christian? What else could give that young single mother hope to keep going and raise her child? What else could drive the bar-hopper from the local club to the local church?

As amazed as we are when we hear stories like these, simple stories of faithfulness can be just as moving.

The timid person who finds the courage to speak up about their faith.

The person who battles temptation but finds the strength and courage to resist.

The person who has seen less-than-perfect-attitudes in fellow believers, but continues to have faith in God and their brothers and sisters in Christ. 

How we live our lives doesn’t just affect how people see us, but how they see God. We all have stories that have affected our lives, and we’re called to be a living testimony for those around us. 2 Corinthians 5:20 even goes so far as to call us Christ’s ambassadors. We cannot see the full picture of our lives on this earth, but God does. Through our relationships, work, and calling, God wants to reveal His love for the world. We all have different talents, personalities, and situations, but if we believe in Jesus and accept Him into our heart, we’re all part of one giant spiritual family. We are called to keep adding to this family. We are called to be salt and light. We are called to show the world who God is through our lives and actions. We may not be able to see God, but we can see His presence in the lives of others and in our own lives. Though we are currently earth-bound, we can feel rays of the sun from above, signaling it’s presence in our lives. And, we are called to share that light in the midst of the dark around us.

I’d love to hear your stories in the comments! How has the faith of another person helped you grow in your own faith? 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 1

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Big news everyone…I have joined the challenge! Both my friend Mfon from Dainty M. and my friend from Papberry have done blogging challenges, so I have decided to try one myself! Today’s post is about my blog’s name, 1timothy412girl.

I started my blog a little over a year ago, after discovering that a good friend of mine had a blog. I chose the name 1timothy412girl after the Bible verse 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.I’ve always loved this verse because it is a reminder that even though I’m fairly young, I can still make a difference.

Recently, I added the tagline “Striving to live confidently in Christ.My goal on this blog is to inspire fellow believers, no matter how young or old, to live as an example and find their identity in God. I remember during my freshman year of high school I wanted so much to be confident, but I looked inward so much that I neglected to look upward. It can be so easy to try to form our identity around academics, hobbies, or our appearance, but God tells us to “Seek first the kingdom of God” in Matthew 6:33.

I soon found that once I made my faith a priority, I began to grow more confident. Today, I feel that I have a pretty firm grasp of who I am, and more importantly, who I am in Christ. 

To conclude, I’m very excited to take on this challenge and I hope you guys will journey with me on my longest series yet!

So What About Feminism? (Part Two)

Perhaps one of the most volatile discussions surrounding Christian feminism is “Should Christian women be allowed to teach in the church?” There are faithful, goodhearted Christians on both ends who strive to uphold Biblical doctrine.

Most people have good reasons and intent in their beliefs, but a conversation that determines the fate of women who feel called to ministry is bound to get messy. As previously stated, I hold an egalitarian view of scripture, and thus, support the notion of women in ministry. I have done extensive research on this topic and believe that scriptures support women in ministry. In this blog post, I’m going to lay out my case for women teaching in the church, and give passages to support my stance.

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  1. The Greek words used are gender inclusive. To quote Charisma magazine “1 Corinthians 14:26 gives a list of things that everyone is expected to participate in.When you come together, every one of you has…” The Greek word for every one, hekastos, is a word that encompasses both genders. This list includes teaching. Several times in chapter 14, the word “all” is used. Verses 24 and 31 both say that all may prophesy, and we know from Paul’s teaching in chapter 11 that this includes women.”
  1. We need to understand the context of Biblical passages. Most often, knowing why the Bible says something is as important as knowing what is says. For instance, we know that the Bible talks about slavery, but we should by no means believe that it supports the unbiblical practice of owning slaves. In fact, I believe that the Bible set the very framework for abolishing slavery, particularly in the book of Philemon, where Paul urges Philemon to think of his former slave as a brother. Similarly, many understand passages like 1 Timothy 2:12 to be a command to a particular context, rather than one that should be applied universally. An article in Christianity Today says “Because women in Ephesus at this time were uneducated and secluded, Paul was warning that they could be misled by the false teachers trying to lure new Christians away from the church Paul wanted to establish.” Paul’s job, first and foremost, was to protect Biblical doctrine so that all might be saved. If the women in this particular church did not have a stable foundation for their faith, it would have been necessary to forbid them from teaching for the greater good. This does not mean that he was forbidding every women in every context from teaching.
  2. If women were not allowed to teach, it would literally handicap the body of Christ. More and more each day, Bible-believing Christians are becoming a minority in society. It is estimated, according to Washington Times in 2012, that thirty-two-percent of people in the world are Christians. This is literally less than half of the world’s population. Numbers are bound to be lower if we exclude women (Half of the world’s population) from the percentile. There are thousands of people out there who don’t know Christ, and by limiting women from leadership, we’re making it harder for people to hear the Gospel. I do not believe this is what God wants for His children, especially in light of The Great Commission, which instructs every believer to “go and make disciples of every nation.”

To conclude, I believe that God is calling both genders to work in His kingdom. We are all His creation and though there are some obvious differences in men and women, both genders are equally loved by our Lord and Savior. He died for both men and women and I believe that He is calling both genders to spread the news of His glorious resurrection. I believe that equality in leadership is one of many ways that He is using His people to be a light, redeem the world, and spread the awesome love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”* Galatians 3:28 

*This verse in context is referring to salvation, but I believe that it can also be applied to ministry and leadership. 

 

Only Jesus

“I lost Jesus in there. It seemed one could be a Christian without being a disciple of Jesus.”-Sarah Bessey, Out of Sorts; Making Peace With An Evolving Faith.

Celebrity scandal. Wars. Gun control. Religious freedom. Republicans vs. Democrats. The 2016 election. Chaos. Crime. The economy. 

With so many issues in the world, distraction has become one of our most accessible vices. Even on Christian websites, the top news stories are drenched with current events and political jibber-jabber. The nightly news, like an addiction, pulls us in and threatens to keep us there.

I’m as guilty of it as anyone. People and current events fascinate me, and I’ve spent my share of time online, trying to figure out my stances on various issues. I love finding new information and sharing what I’ve learned with others, and I believe that learning about people and their unique places and journeys of life can help us to become more caring and compassionate human beings.

An interest in new information is not a bad thing. God wants us to be able to reason and think critically about different matters. Half the book of Proverbs is about wisdom, and the importance of it. Not to mention that God created our brains with unbelievable complexity to process life—both the present and eternity—with.

The problem comes when we become so consumed with the news, life, and viewpoints that we completely miss Jesus. Sometimes, it even gets so out of hand that we end up waging wars with those-who-disagree-with-us-on-topic-XYZ. I’ve seen this happen a lot during this point in history. Somehow, as a Christian culture we’ve reduced our faith to politics, rules, and religion, completely missing the amazing otherworldly story that God is writing in our lives. In the name of “being right”, we’ve turned to lecturing, shouting at, and hurting those who we’re called to love.

Suddenly, the story of the two sisters from the Bible comes to life, and we live as Marthas instead of Marys. We’re worried about many things, but we forget the one big thing.

A vibrant, feeling-alive-I-can-touch-the-sky relationship with Jesus. Living as a poem rather than an instruction manual. Loving vibrantly, the way Jesus did. Sinking into God’s peace when the world feels chaotic. Breathing a sigh of relief and realizing that we don’t have it all together, but knowing that Jesus does.

Sometimes, we need to let go of the worries, let go of the troubles, and look up instead of looking around. The world will always be crazy, but we serve a Savior who calmed the waters and walked on them. He can calm storms and raise the dead, and continues to calm the storms inside of us, making us come alive when we feel dead.

Only one person is big enough to do that, for you, for me, and for all of Creation, and that person is our friend, Lord, Savior, and redeemer, Jesus Christ; who bled on a cross so that we could have live forever. The things of this world may not be big enough to calm our seas, but Jesus always is. No matter how menacing the clouds and no matter how loud the storm, Jesus can always calm it. And, He always has been, and always will be, more than enough. ❤️

Stewardship

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.” 1 Peter 4:10

Stewardship is a concept that has been around for years. It’s earliest origins trace all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when God placed humans as stewards over the land. Many churches have taught courses by Dave Ramsey and Larry Burkett and if you’ve been in church long enough, you’ve heard the “tithe talk”. But, is stewardship only limited to finances?

I used to see it that way. Admittedly, the past, when I’ve heard the word “stewardship” I’ve let out a bit of an internal exhale. As an extreme right-brain-creative-people-person, things that pertain money and numbers tend to make my brain feel like it’s going to spill out of my ears. I have a lot of respect for people who are interested in finances (after all, without them, we’d all be in trouble) but for me personally, financial terms tend to sound a lot like gibberish.

But, recently, God has helped me realize something: stewardship isn’t just a financial word. It relates to every single thing in our lives. Even if we’re young enough to not have much of an income, we can still be good stewards of our resources.

Our time? Stewardship.

Our relationships? Stewardship.

Our spiritual gifts? Stewardship. 

Our dreams? Stewardship.

Stewardship, in short, is basically offering everything we have back to God as a gift. Psalm 24:1 says “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” If your best friend asks you to look after her dog while she’s out of town, you’re going to take good care of that dog; you’ll feed him, take him outside, and make sure he doesn’t escape. This is what God wants us to do with everything that He’s entrusted us to.

Use our time well.

Invest in our relationships.

Share our talents for his glory.

Chase our dreams in a way that points back to God. 

God calls each of us, from the wealthiest to the poorest, to be a steward.

We are each called to steward different things, just as Jesus teaches through his Parable of The Talents, but we all have gifts that God wants us to steward. Stewardship, in short, is a call to obedience and wisdom. A call to wisely let our blessings overflow in a way that blesses others. A call to live, love, and give to the fullest.

How can we, in each of our unique places of life, steward our relationships, our dreams, our talents, and our time in a way that points back to the Creator of all of these things?

So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship.” Romans 12:1. ❤️

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1 Timothy 4:12 Girl Mission Statement

I have been blogging for a while now, and one of my hopes for this blog is that it is each thread of writing is a piece that inspires.

I’ve read many bloggers and authors who have inspired me in my own faith, including but not limited to Emily P. Freeman, Neta Jackson, and Sarah Bessey. These authors all focus on the beauty of living into God’s best, and that is a theme that I try to emphasis on 1timothy412girl.

Each one of us, regardless of are callings, backgrounds, and life situations are called to something beautiful by the God and Creator of the universe. This may look different for everyone, as we live in an incredibly diverse world of various callings and vocations, but I believe that whatever God’s plan is for our lives, it is bound to be out-of-this-world, which brings me to my next point…

I believe that we are living a story, and God is our author. We all have individual stories, but they are all connected, which is why I try to highlight different testimonies on this blog by posting links to the experiences of fellow believers. When I address different social issues on my blog, I try to take in account real-life stories that correlate to the topic. In one blog entry, I posted a link about a girl who overcame cancer. In another, I posted a story of a guy who found incredible friendship and community in college. Most of the time, I try to focus on positive accounts, but at times, I have linked to more downtempo stories to raise awareness for situations that I don’t believe are being handled well.

In many of my topic-centered-posts, I’ve chosen to focus on topics of faith, staying true to ourselves, and following our dreams, as those are all topics that are very important to me. We are all called to shine for Jesus through both our unique shades of personality and through our hopes and dreams. Thus, this is also a point that I have emphasized throughout my time blogging.

Ultimately, in each post and each letter, I try to glorify God. I try to follow where I believe that He’s leading and make my blog a song that sings to my Creator.

I look forward to continuing my blog and would love any suggestions that you have for future blog-entries. Feel free to post your ideas in the comments section! 😊

Role Models

A couple of months ago, I did a two part blog about being a role model; and lately, I’ve been thinking about something closely related.

Having role models. 

Speaking from my own life, I can testify that God has put many people in my life to help me grow. Some of have been friends, others have been teachers/leaders, while still others public figures who I’ve never met in person. At a time when I was struggling in my faith after a particular incident at my old church, God brought fellow Christians who became like a mini-church into my life. More recently, I’ve been inspired by authors like Emily P. Freeman, whose books shine in authenticity, and Karen Kingsbury, who managed to be super -successful in the humble genre of realistic-Christian-fiction.

I’m sure that if you looked to your own life, you can find similar examples of role models and friends who have helped shape the person you’ve become. Maybe it was a teacher, friend, or writer. Regardless of who it was, I believe that we all have crossed paths with people who have impacted our lives profoundly.

Since role models are people who influence us, I believe it’s important to pay attention to who we’re looking up to. From my own readings of Scripture and my own life, I’ve found that there are a couple of important things to keep in mind.

  1. When you look to a person for guidance and wisdom, make sure that person is looking to God-Hebrews 13:7 says “Remember your leaders who spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out.” It’s super important to have role models who share our faith. By having Christian role models, we get the chance to see what living out our faith looks like ten, twenty, and thirty years from now. It can also help us stay on the straight-and-narrow path.
  2. Make sure the person is wise, and known for making good choices.-1 Corinthians 15:33 says “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.“” Though no one is perfect, it’s important to find role models/friends who are committed to making good choices and following Biblical standards. As we set guidelines for ourselves of what we will and won’t do in life, it’s important to find others committed to similar patterns of living.
  3. Be sure that the people who you consider role models have good character-Galatians 5:22-23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” This one is similar to the last one, but focuses on the character qualities of the person, or the “fruit of the Spirit” As Christians, we’re called to live out this fruit, and thus, the people we look up to should also share in these traits.
  4. Above all, always remember to ultimately follow in the footsteps of Jesus-John 8:12 says “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” Lastly, our ultimate role model should be Jesus, who calls us to a radical kind of grace. He taught to turn the other cheek in a world filled with violence, to love our enemy, and pray for those who persecute us. He is and always will be the best role model a person can have.

Who has impact your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!