“Finding Him”…One More Thing

One more thing about Rebekah Colley’s new book “Finding Him”. It’s truly great preparation for baptism for your 11-13 year olds. I’m not presumptuous enough to assume that you do not know when your girls are mature enough for that step that takes them from the world and into the kingdom of Christ. But, as someone who lived through that precarious time in my kids’ lives, I know we are thankful for every tool that helps us and, most of all, helps our children to know when obedience to the gospel is truly obedience, rather than the fulfillment of a parental expectation, a conformity to a group of peers or an emotional response that’s largely void of understanding.

This book is about the foundational appreciation for the sacrifice of our God and the building of a real relationship with Him that is the construct of true devotion that lasts a lifetime. It’s not too lofty for your 11-year-old, though.

Maybe best of all is the availability of a chatroom where girls can discuss any questions and concerns with the author. She is studied and, best of all, has the eternal interests of your daughters in her soul. She is unassuming and humble. She just wants girls to know, in her words, “what she wishes she had fully appreciated, at their ages.” Her degree is in Bible, but, more importantly, her heart is in that great Book and in its exposure to as many as will listen in her lifetime. I’m glad she is ours, but even if she wasn’t, I’d recommend this material. It can make a difference for good that the devil just cannot unravel.  I hope she’ll write the sequel soon. I think that’s the plan.

I hope there will be a small legion (at least) of girls who get the whole series in their teen years (as well as “GIFTS” and “Pure on Purpose” and “Seeking Spiritual Beauty” and “Everyday Princess”.) I think their families and congregations in the year 2030 will be stronger and better for it. It’s just a little part of a parental insurance plan for a future that doesn’t end. I know that’s forward thinking, but moms have to be about that!

I’m finding that the market is not saturated with truly good materials for teen girls and even less saturated with those materials for boys, though The Colley House is trying to remedy that.  I’m happy to see new and sound books for those who still have the important decisions, for the most part, in front of them. Let’s help them “find HIM”  before they go about finding that other “him”. 

Sister to Sister: William Rotty was NOT his Real Name…

But it was close….

I remember in the fourth grade when Valentine’s day held an embarrassing kind of surprise for me as we all went to the blackboard tray to retrieve our little brown decorated bags full of tiny brightly colored paper cliche’ poems…the egg ones with the word “egg-cited” in them,”…the turtle ones that were all about “SLOWLY falling for you”…the elephant ones that were about “never forgetting my favorite valentine,”…and the ever- popular “nuts about you” ones. This year there was candy and a big regular store-shelf kind of card in my bag… from William Rotty.  Now William Rotty was older than everyone else because he’d failed a grade or two and I think he failed because he was too busy being obnoxious and thinking of devious ways to be disrespectful. It was the worst day of the fourth grade to have that big candy heart sticking up out of the top of my bag and have the whole class (including me) excitedly waiting for the revelation of its origin…only to find out that it was from William Rotty.

Some love letters are like that…the tender little expressions of relationships that are never meant to be. And we all got over the awkwardness of the moments that came in decorated class Valentine bags in the sixties. I got over the good and the bad of William Rotty, Jeff McCaleb, Mark Wolfe, Steve Cicero, Jimmy Hood, and Robert Bowman–all little boys from whom I, at one time or another, in elementary school received “special” Valentines.

And then we grew up. And so did our love letters. And so did the pain and the angst. And sometimes the awkwardness got really big and the ending of relationships was so much more traumatic than if they’d only involved a big red candy box sticking out of a brown bag taped to a black board tray.

And you know…whether you court or date, whether you live in a Christian home or not, I think there will be relationships that will change you, mature you, help to make you the woman, the mother and wife, after you finally make it to the altar of marriage, that you will be.

One day you will be telling your little girls about Valentines, about dress-up dates, about awkward moments and situations that made you laugh and cry through the dating years. That’s why I’m about dating purity. That’s why I wanted to help my daughter, in tangible ways, make it down the aisle as a woman who could give her husband the wonderful gift of exclusivity. I know what marriage can be like if there are no sexual comparisons (comparing my partner to someone else with whom I’ve been intimate or vice-versa) on the part of either partner–ever. I wanted that for her and I want it for you. It solves a lot of potential problems, not the least of which is guilt over sexual sin…a ghost that, because of His forgiveness, is sometimes not even real; but it still haunts in ways that are painful and sometimes destructive.

I may not know all the reasons for God’s very strong fences around the sexual relationship of marriage, but I do know that He is very serious about abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage. And I know that it’s because He wants what’s ultimately going to fill our lives with contentment and give us eternity with Him. He gives us His very best when we purposefully do life His way.

I recognize that abstinence and purity through the teen years is a purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. It takes the development of a relationship with God that makes a young heart pliable and submissive. It takes the rare ability, in a world of instant gratification, to wait for the time and circumstance when I can have the best He has to offer (and His best is THE best!). It takes an amazing amount of “turning down” the influences around you and “turning up” the influence of the Word. It even takes a lot of wisdom to decipher through a lot of psycho-theo-babble today from some youth ministers and religious leaders who would try and convince you to “not worry so much about keeping lists of dos and don’ts and worry just about loving God.” (Of course, loving God is about keeping his list of commandments[John 14:15; John 15:10]. The works of the flesh are listed…LISTED…in Galatians 5.) It takes, in short, your steel will to do His real will in a world that’s forsaken Him and His system of morality. Today, for the most part, you cannot look to your peers, your teachers at school, those who are touted as “good” in the media or the leader of the free world on Pennsylvania Avenue as any sort of moral compass. Some of you cannot look to parents and some cannot even look to religious leaders.

But you can look to God. Your relationship with Him is not contingent on your family situation, your educational circumstance, or the spiritual veracity of your elders or youth group. Your relationship with Him is settled in your willingness to get into His Word and apply it, to the best of your ability, in every relationship and decision. There is great power, beyond what you have asked or imagined, when you let the power of His Word live in you(Eph. 3:20)!

May I encourage you to help yourself to happiness? There are some teen materials at www.thecolleyhouse.org that might help you as you try to be light in a dark world through the teen years. Let me know if you need them, will use them, and can’t afford them.

That’s all for now. Except here’s my short list of practical tools for your walk in purity through the teen years. Some of these sound terribly old-fashioned for those influenced by 2017 culture. But I believe this list in strongly influenced by examples and statutes from the Word.

  1. Decide now that you will not be truly alone for long periods of time with any other young person of the opposite sex. This will, unfortunately, automatically mark lots of guys off your radar.
  2. Decide now that you will choose movies and television and music and internet sites that you’d be comfortable enjoying if Jesus were physically in your presence. This will significantly narrow your scope of entertainment, so keep in mind that entertainment is not all the world makes it out to be.
  3. Decide now that you will abstain from alcohol and drugs and from being present when others are drinking or doing drugs. This will be prohibitive of many parties.
  4. Decide now that you will never dress in a way that might be provocative or cause others to think sexual thoughts. Remember, especially for guys, the struggle is real. If this involves a wardrobe re-do, get on that. This decision will also automatically mark some extra-curricular activities off your list.
  5. Decide now which areas of your body are off-limits to the hands of others and never, ever compromise that promise to yourself and God. This will prohibit some activities that are a part of the 2017 teen world.
  6. Decide now that you will get in the word and spend some time in prayer every day. Every day. Ask for His help to be pure in your heart, dress, words and actions. This will open up some unbelievable doors of opportunity for you.
  7. Memorize Philippians 4:8 and decide now to let it saturate every decision and purpose. This will bring contentment and peace as the context of the verse clearly states.
  8. Decide now what you are looking for in a marriage partner. Make a list off “must-haves”, a list of “would-likes” and a list of “can’t-handles” based a lot in the Word and a little in your own tastes and then just stick with the list. Be patient.
  9. Decide now that, once you marry, you’re all in…forever. This should prompt some very careful thought and meticulous elimination of people who can’t be spiritual leaders. Believe me, you WANT a spiritual leader.
  10. Pay particular attention to the word “now” in all of the above. It’s the most important word. (If  past decisions have already messed up your “now”  you can still fix your eternal future. You will, almost always, face negative consequences to sinful past actions. But “now” is still the operative word.) Start now to be what He wants you to be and you will be surprised how He can work through His will in your life to give you victory and heaven!

 

Looking Backward at Upward

13040922_10153452694836384_6312331184777460742_oDuring the last week, I’ve left my purse in a cart (or as my northern friends make fun of me for saying, I left it in a “buggy”) at Walmart, my father’s walker on his patio as I got him in the car during a near-monsoon, a traffic stop having been unable to produce evidence of insurance, the men’s room quickly when I realized I was in the wrong restroom and, quite obviously, my mind in some undisclosed location. It hasn’t been a pretty week, especially in view of the fact that I’ve been spending it trying to give my nonagenarian father short term memory tips, like coconut oil and making lists. It’s been the blind leading the blind. 

Maybe I could blame it on the fact that I can get pretty distracted from what I am doing by angry mothers and/or grandmothers…I mean when they become pretty irate (in their writing) with me because they think I should not try and discourage our sweet young girls from…say, going to dances, as I did in last Monday’s blog post. 

But also during the past week, I’ve been in deep conversation with a lovely young lady who is facing persecution in a university class because she calmly stands, but still stands with Romans one and other passages from the Word about homosexuality.  I’ve hosted in our home another university student who has, unlike her non-Christian parents, made the decision that she is serious about spiritual things and is planning to pursue a degree in Bible and devote her life to the spread of the gospel in whatever venue she can find. I’ve spoken with two sweet teens who, through the tears that the pain of an unfaithful loved one causes, have recommitted to doing whatever it takes to try and lovingly lead a sibling back to the Way. I spoke with some teen girls who traveled fourteen hours this weekend to be at a spiritually-building youth event. They did this while it was prom-weekend in their hometown. Here is a statement from one of those precious hearts: “They (the lessons heard at the youth event) have really impacted my life and I really needed to hear what (was said). I was ashamed of who I am (a Christian) at school, but now, tomorrow I will boldly go to school and not be ashamed to stand out.” I spoke with a millennial who is in a deep study of worship with a young man who is defending the use of instruments in our music in worship. I discussed with excited teens in Ohio the possibility of their hosting a purity event for teens in their area of the state. I’m working with a young millennial who, because she wants to be the best wife she can be, has humbly made tough decisions to be submissive in areas that have previously been very challenging for her. 

What I’m trying to say is this: My paragraph about young people who want to do the right thing is much longer than my paragraph about old people who want to discourage sweet millennials and the kids of Generation Z from staying out of the path of worldliness and relativism. While I realize that the world doesn’t turn around the lengths of my paragraphs and my own personal experiences, I find great comfort in seeing that the teens and twenty-somethings of many churches today are out-seeking, out-praying and out-teaching those who should be their mentors. It portends a stronger church in the next twenty years and it gives me a peace to know that these young people will be mentoring my grandchildren, who are babies now. I’m humbled and challenged by the faith I routinely see in God’s younger generation!

I needed the event that I attended this weekend. It was Upward and it was produced by and for teens in the church. The kids who hosted it are found online here: http://www.tomorrowschurchtoday.com. The site about the event itself is here: http://www.upwardteens.com. The take-homes of encouragement and zeal were not just for teens. This girls’ speaker was maybe the most blessed person there (and that’s saying a lot, because there were some pretty happy people there). The singing alone was phenomenal. If you want to really embolden and inspire some teens to serve out of conviction and not convenience, you should look into this program, for them, for next year. 

I’m really glad for great young people. After all, there are two millennials who will be choosing a nursing home soon for this distracted (…a kind way to put it) old woman. Kids, If you can’t find my insurance cards when that day comes, check the service desk at Walmart. They’ve been there more than once.

From the Archives: The Appropriate Dress…REALLY?!

 clarisse-prom-dress-2838-40

I was speaking recently at a seminar in another state, when a mom came up to me and began a conversation. In the middle of our talk, she mentioned that she had attended a purity seminar at a church with her teenage daughter in which a part of the program was about  “choosing appropriate dresses to wear to the dances.”

Well, now I’ve heard it all. I have spoken in many places about the absurdity of parents promoting the dimming of the lights in a gymnasium and the playing of seductive music while encouraging 15-year-olds (whose hormones are running their lives) to move their bodies to said music while touching those of the opposite sex. Many times during my forthright discussion of this modern-day phenomenon in most public high schools, I have seen looks of surprise—even disgust– in the rolling eyes of some young girls. But this was a first. I have never heard of adults planning a purity day in which we help girls decide what’s appropriate to wear to such a worldly event. Really??

Help me with this if you can. Help me to understand the reasoning behind accepting the sin and then helping them plan how to dress as they participate in it. I know I’m old-fashioned, but it is not the Bible that has changed in the past fifty years, since that time when Christians took it for granted that dancing promotes lust. It’s the culture.

Again: Here is a portion of Thayer’s definition of  “lasciviousness.” Remember as per Galatians 5:19-21, it is a work of the flesh. It is one of the items in a list of things we cannot do if we want to inherit the kingdom of heaven. So read Thayer and weep for the state of many women who are going to reap grave consequences for the encouragement of this sin:

“indecent bodily movements; unchaste handling between males and females”

Let’s not pick the right outfit to travel the path of temptation. That’s kind of like when your grandmother wanted you to wear nice underwear in case you were in a wreck! (Only, in this scenario, the spiritual wreck is much more likely.) Let’s eliminate the spiritually damaging activity and then we won’t have to worry about what to wear.  Let’s flee fornication (I Cor. 6:18). Let’s determine to abstain from the appearance of evil (I Thess. 5:22).

Sister to Sister: Guest Writer–Hannah Colley Giselbach

…Because, frankly, every teen girl should read. So should her mom, who’s struggling, second-guessing and praying– a lot!

 

A Letter to my Teenage Self

 

SI ExifDear Hannah,

You’re probably struggling to figure out that geometry or talking on your purple sparkly landline phone or waiting for the Internet to dial-up so you can sign on to AOL instant messenger or singing loudly into your hairbrush. Or maybe you’re cuddling with Baxter—guess what! You’re still going to be cuddling with Baxter when you’re 28! And even cooler—your SON likes to cuddle with him too! Yes, I said your SON! In a few short years, you’ll go to Freed Hardeman and have the time of your life, and while you’re there, you’ll learn a ton of hard life lessons and meet the man you’re going to marry. You’ll marry him when you’re 24 years old, and shortly after you turn 27, you’ll be having a baby. He’ll be the very best thing about you. Get excited. Oh, and when you’re 28, you’ll find out you’re having another baby! Listen girl, soak up this happy-go-lucky, very-few-responsibilities time, because it’s about to get busy fast. There will be days when you wish you could go back and be able to lay on your bed, jam out to your favorite CD’s, and read a book while someone else cooks for you and does all your laundry. 🙂

But here’s the real reason I’m writing you. There are some things I know now about your parents that I didn’t know then. You should know these things—every teenager with Christian parents should know these things. So if today is one of those days you’re super mad at Mom and Dad, turn down the Evanescence for a second and listen up.

Here are some thoughts I know might be going through your head right now:

They don’t know anything about what it’s like to be my age.

What I know now: Actually, they do. They know a lot more than you think they do. Whenever you feel like they are so out of touch with reality and they don’t remember what it’s like to feel like a teenager—to feel insecure and unsure and passionate and inspired and hormonal and frustrated and exhilarated and confused and scared and lonely all at the same time…remind yourself of these words—they know more and remember more than you think they do. There will come a day when you’ll realize that so much of what they said, so much of what they wouldn’t let you do, so much of what they made you do, was all for an important reason that won’t make sense to you now but will one day. One day, I promise you will wish you had listened and paid attention more, for perhaps it could have saved you a lot of frustration and even some heartache.

They are so strict about what I wear. They don’t want me to ever look cute.

What I know now: Let me tell you something you don’t realize—all the modesty rules your parents are giving you are not because they never want you to have a boyfriend. They know good and well all that business is about to start, and soon. See, your parents know (and yes, remember) what a struggle it is to keep your thoughts and actions pure when you’re a teenager—especially when you’re a teenage guy who constantly struggles with the temptation of lust. They understand sexual temptation more than you do, because, hello—they’re married, and they can do the stuff you’ve vowed not to do until you’re married, too. (I know you don’t like to think about this because ew, they’re your parents, but…it’s important). One day, when you’re married too, you’ll understand the way a man’s mind works, and you’ll understand just how very MUCH we as girls can affect the hearts and minds of the men around us, simply by the way we dress. So whenever Dad makes you turn around in a circle before you go out and he tells you to go back to your room and change because your Mudd jeans are too tight, just do it. Trust that he knows what he’s talking about—remember whose name you’re professing, and trust that your Dad really does just want what’s best for you, and what’s best for your peers, who are paying attention to you (and everyone else their age—because let’s be honest—you and all your friends are influenced way more by each other than by anyone else). Dress modestly, and don’t argue with your parents when they help you (or coerce you, whichever way is necessary) to do that. One day, you’ll be glad you were careful about this.

Why are they always all up in my business? Can’t I have a little privacy?

Actually, as much as you’re going to hate me for saying it, while you’re still living under their roof rent-free, your business IS their business. Any instant message, text message, phone call, date, or whatever else they let you do without their involvement and attention is gift of grace and an expression of trust. They have a right to any and all of your information and belongings. A little over a decade from now, when you have a child of your own, you will totally understand their constant desire to protect you and know what’s happening with you all the time. It’s because they love you more than life and they want to do whatever it takes to protect you from physical and emotional harm, and most importantly, spiritual harm. So when they ask questions about your friends, your text messages, your instant messages, and the boy that’s been calling you lately, that’s not just them being nosy—it’s love. They want to give you the benefit of the doubt by asking you personally rather than snooping around in your stuff to find answers about how you spend your time—which, by the way, they’re not above doing if you’re not willing to open up to them. This seems infuriating now, but one day, you’ll know exactly why, because you’ll feel the same way about your children.

Why do they care if my room stays clean all the time? IT’S MY ROOM, after all. 

Once again, all of your stuff is also their stuff. It’s not your room—they’re just letting you use it until you move out. (Warning: Enjoy your purple Paris bedroom while you can—in a few short years, you’ll come home and it will suddenly be Mom’s sewing room. SEWING ROOM.) I know you don’t realize this now, but they’re not just making you clean your room so the whole house can stay presentable, they’re making you do it because they’re teaching you responsibility. One day soon, you’ll have a husband and a family of your own, and the sole person in charge of keeping the house clean (yes, the whole house—not just “your room”) will be you. Any cleaning your parents make you do now will be a gift you’ll be able to open again and again when you don’t have to learn how to clean because you already know and are in the habit. (Psst…this one never really stuck with you like it should…so put a little extra effort in this department okay? Your future self—I—will be ever so grateful if cleaning the bathroom wasn’t such a miserable chore. K thanks!).

Why can’t they just be my friends? Why do they always have to act like dictators? 

One day, when you move out and have your own home, you will be amazed at how your relationship with your parents will change, and for the better. Those people who were always your controlling, bossy dictators will morph into your very best friends one day. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but someday, you’ll be able to laugh with them and cry with them and when they talk you will want to listen because you will know that they really do know what they’re talking about. They will one day be the first people you call when you need advice. But right now, their job isn’t to be your friends. Right now, their job is to be your parents. Parents (or dictators, whatever you wish to call them) are exactly what you need during this super impressionable, vulnerable time of your life when you’re still being molded into the person you’re going to become. They have such a short window to shape you into a Godly, responsible, happy adult. They take that responsibility so very seriously. So, be okay with them not being your friends right now. You have plenty of friends. You don’t need more friends. What you need are parents who love you enough to be nosy and yes, bossy. Appreciate them for what they are right now, and know that one day, if you play your cards right and truly live for God, they really will be your best friends one day, but it will only be because of THIS time in your relationship with them that that can happen.

They think everybody I like is bad… Just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t meet up and get to know this guy…

Once again, they remember more than you think they do. If they don’t trust a guy you’re wanting to go out with, there’s probably a very good reason for that. They see right through your friends who are fake and your friends who are hiding something. They know exactly when that guy you think is so cute is putting on a show and won’t really treat you like a lady. They can tell when a guy likes you for all the wrong reasons. If they don’t want you to go out with someone, it’s going to hurt, but if you’re too chicken to turn him down yourself, just tell the guy your parents said no and he can be mad at them instead of you. Trust me, your parents are okay with this. They love you too much to care a whole lot about what your high school crushes think of them. One day, when you’re married to a Godly, righteous man who loves you and respects you for all the right reasons, you’ll wonder why you were ever interested in that guy in the first place. Just be patient.

They don’t trust my judgment.

Well…I hate to admit it, but you’re right about this one, teenage Hannah. They don’t trust your judgment about a lot of things, and for good reason. You haven’t lived long enough to even know what sound judgment really is. Right now, you’re at a stage in your life when you actually believe that 16-year-olds know more about life and love and the world as a whole than any other people on the planet. One day you’ll see how scary that is. You have to earn your parents’ trust—do your best to show them that you’re wise enough to make right decisions, and I promise they’ll let you make more of them on your own without their input (but it’s still true that, one day…you’ll covet their input…I promise).

Do they seriously have to have a say even in how I do my make up?! How much make up I wear should be up to me at this age.

There’s something you should know. It’s going to be painful. It’s going to be unpleasant. But in the name of all that is good and lovely, someone has to say it. At age 16, when you let yourself do whatever you want with your makeup, you leave the house looking like a cross between a prostitute and a circus clown. One day, you’ll look back at pictures of yourself in that hot pink lipstick, that sparkly purple eyeshadow and that eyeliner that went halfway to your eyebrows and you will shake your head and laugh. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you. When your parents tell you to wash your face and try again with that eyeliner, it’s not because they don’t want you to look pretty (which is what you’re thinking, I know), it’s because they don’t want you to publically embarrass yourself unnecessarily. They want you to be able to hold on to whatever dignity a 16-year-old is capable of possessing so that people don’t actually think you’re a mentally challenged clown-faced woman of the night.

Sorry. Someone needed to say it.

I’m a good kid. I don’t drink or do drugs. I don’t steal. I don’t cheat. I don’t make fun of handicapped people. It just seems like they should appreciate me more and respect me more instead of always hounding on me about things like keeping my room clean, getting homework done, texting and driving, and cleaning out the cat litter. I mean, come on…there are a lot of worse things I could do.

Give yourself a pat on the back, girlfriend, because your future self can look back and confidently say that yes, you are a good kid. You have a pure heart and you truly want to do the right thing all the time. One day, I promise it will all be worth it—the struggle to remain pure, to season your speech with salt, to dress modestly, to be kind to those who need it most, to sacrifice popularity in order to make righteous choices. You will be so very thankful you chose this path one day. I thank you.

But just because you were mostly “a good kid,” doesn’t mean you don’t have some things you need to work on and improve. Remember that your parents just have this one short window of time—just 18 years to try and help you become the very best human you can be. So just because you feel unappreciated for the good decisions you’re making doesn’t mean that your parents are not thankful for that—they are. One day you’ll see that more clearly. What they’re doing is taking advantage of every moment they have with you to truly love you and care for you—and right now, that means they will be paying attention to the details of how you’re living your life. I know it’s hard, but try not to wish the moments away. Even though you are positive there’s more to life than keeping your room clean, one day, you will miss these days.

I wish you could actually read this letter. I wish I could really show up in your room, have a seat with you on your Eiffel Tower bed, and have a little chat with you at 16 years old. Maybe I could convince you to love and appreciate your parents more—to trust that they really are much wiser than you are. But I can’t do that. What’s happened has happened, and for better or worse, I am what I am (wait, that’s Popeye). But I’m writing this anyway, because maybe there will be one single teen girl of 2016 who will read this and take it to heart. If one single girl could read this and be convinced that Godly parents are a blessing like none other, this toddler naptime I’ve spent writing will be worth every second.

Anyone who is blessed with Christian parents who love God has been given a precious gift. Don’t take it for granted. It’s frustrating being a teenager, but I promise you, it’s just a few short years and once they’re in the past, you won’t be able to believe how fast they slipped away. Next time you want to talk back and argue with your parents, take a deep breath, bite your tongue and ask yourself if your parents are actually trying to ruin your life, or if what they’re saying is really because they love you and want to help you. Next time you want to roll your eyes at them, remind yourself that they actually do know a lot more than you do about the important things that will affect your entire life and yes, your eternity.

And if you’re smart enough to have a humble spirit about all this, go give your Christian parents a hug. Write them a letter and thank them for loving you. Thank God for them right now and ask Him to help you to obey and honor them. Because you see, I’ve given you lots of reasons why you should listen to your parents, but none of them are the MOST important reason. This particular reason far outshines any other reason why you should honor your parents: God commanded it.

 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

 

Sister to Sister: Guest Writer–Seventeen and Sanctified

1459053_1056971667657927_2195731218135519110_nRecently, while visiting a congregation in Memphis, Tennessee, I met (or even re-met, I think) Kaleigh Barringer. Keleigh has a lot of renewable energy about the gospel, about putting the Lord first, about the challenges of coming nose-to-nose with the temptations to sin in ways that are so accepted in our modern teen culture that they make teen life in the Lord seem an everyday exercise in extremism. Kaleigh submitted this to “Bless Your Heart”. It did bless mine.
Seventeen and Saved : The Challenges of Sanctification When Everybody Just Wants To Have Fun.     
Picture this! You’re on a chair or table and your friend is on the ground. You reach your hand out to pull her up, but it’s easier for her to pull you down, than for your friend to pull you up.                           
It’s hard sometimes being a Christian when we have people around us who party all the time, curse, and go against everything thing we believe. Often we call these people our friends.
We want to try to be good influences on our friends because we love them. Sometimes, though, if you don’t agree with what they’re doing, they’ll say you’re not being very loving or say “Judge Not”, or maybe just stop being friends with you all together. It’s important to know that all you can do is plant the seed.
” Dear friend we stand here
After a life of friendship as deep as the sea
But As I stand here at His throne, I wonder
Why you never mentioned Him to me.
You held this knowledge in your heart
You knew I was lost in sin;
And as I ask you why you said nothing
You say you were afraid you would offend.
You kept this saving secret
Of love beyond compare.
If only I had known…
If only I had been aware…
You could have told me something;
Could have shared this gift.
You watched my every mistake
Maybe you didn’t realize how life could so quickly drift.
“I never knew you” is what He said to me;
But I never knew Him either;
You never mentioned Him to me.
As I look back on my life
I wish I would have seen
How different my life would have been
If I knew He was my king.
I wish you would have taught me.
I wish I had lived differently.
I thought you were my friend
But you never mentioned Him to me.
Now that life is over
And He has sealed my fate,
Maybe you thought about telling me
But now it’s much too late.”-S.E.L.
Being a Christian may not be the most popular thing, but in the long run, it’ll be worth it.