Transformed Not Conformed

**phew!** Where has the time gone?! It’s been since JULY since I was able to sit down, type out, get internet, and post here on my little blog—and so  many things have transpired since then! I have some things to share in the very near future, but this post is going to be a little different!
As some of you may already know, and for those of you who currently do not, you’re about to J **winks**, I am the co-leader of an online ladies writers group, called Writing for God’s Glory! We recently had our first contest on “Being Transformed, Not Conformed”, and the winner(s)’ entries were to be posted on my and Bekah’s (the other leader! J) personal blogs!
This is the First Place winning entry, submitted by Miss Ashley L. I hope you enjoy her short story as immensely as I did, and I also hope that it stirs your heart and inspires you to share the love of Christ and to be Transformed by the constant renewing of your mind through reading the Word, and to be Conformed to the image of Jesus Christ!!


Transformed Not Conformed
  "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 

  By: Ashley L. Lichtenberg
        “Hhhhh…this will never do. No one’s ever going to take one of these tracts,” Leandra moaned to herself. She flung herself onto a nearby park bench and gazed into the deep blue, cloudless sky. The air was crisp; and brilliant red and orange leaves danced in the cool, autumn breeze. Leandra pulled her woolen skirt around her ankles and hugged her knees to her chest. Earlier she had been attempting to hand out tracts to people who were strolling through the park. However, every single person had turned her down. “No thank you, Miss. I must be going now,” is what they all had seemed to say.
Now, Leandra was feeling extremely discouraged, and she felt like giving up. “Oh, Lord,” she prayed, “please grant me the courage and confidence to press on. Please help me to be able to witness to at least one person today.” Feeling her zeal renewed, Leandra stood up and began to walk through the park once more.
  After she had been walking for a while, Leandra suddenly heard laughing and loud talking. She looked around, hoping that this would be her opportunity to witness. Finally, she spotted the little group of teenage girls who hushed their voices the moment they saw her. Leandra thought for a moment, “Maybe I’ll try a different approach with these girls.”
The girls began to whisper and point fingers in her direction, but froze when she approached them. “Hello there! My name is Leandra. Would any of you be interested in taking a small survey?” All of the girls just eyed her long dark hair and the skirt that was sweeping the toes of her boots, quite the contrast to their attire.
Finally, one girl asked, “What kind of survey is it?”
Leandra was getting excited, “Well it’s a kind of spiritual survey. I’ll ask you some questions about Christianity.”
A couple of the girls sneered, “If you want to talk about religion, then we’re the wrong people to ask.” Leandra sighed with discouragement, but just as she was about to leave, one of the girls placed her hand on Leandra’s shoulder. The girl gave a nervous glance towards her friends before speaking, “Wait, Leandra. I’m interested in taking your survey.”
Leandra smiled at her, “You are? Great! Okay, here’s the first question. How many of the ten commandments can you name?”
The girl thought for a moment, “Um…let me see. Thou shalt not kill… thou shalt not steal…um…thou shalt not commit adultery…um…I can’t remember any more.”
Her friends jeered at her, “Too bad for you, Tina! You’re just falling right into a trap! You’re making a fool of yourself, Tina, come with us.” Tina watched as her friends disappeared down the path.
Leandra put her hand on Tina’s shoulder, “Don’t worry about what they think, Tina. They’re lost and blinded to the truth. They can’t see what you see. Now, are you ready for the next question or are you going to follow them?”
Tina shook her head and stated firmly, “No. I will not go with them. I have to find out more about this Christianity. I’m ready for the next question.”
Leandra breathed a grateful prayer to God before continuing. “Alright, Tina, here is the next question: Do you believe that the whole Bible is true or just parts of it?”
Tina’s brow wrinkled in concentration, “Well if only parts of the Bible were true, than how would we know which parts were true? So, would it be that the whole Bible is true?”
Leandra was glowing with pleasure, “Absolutely, Tina! You’re right on! Now for question number three: Is eternal life a gift or do you have to earn it?”
Tina grinned, “That’s easy! You have to earn it, of course!”
Leandra pounced on the chance to explain the wonderful gift of salvation. “No, Tina, eternal life is a gift. You see, God loved us so much that He wanted to make a way for us to go to heaven to be with Him. Here, read this verse in my Bible.”
Leandra drew her little Gideon’s ® New Testament from her pocket and turned to John 3:16. She handed it to Tina, who read the verse aloud. “‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ Wow that’s amazing!”
Leandra nodded enthusiastically, “I know, isn’t it? Here, now put your name in where it says ‘the world’ and ‘whoever’.”
Tina looked a little surprised, “Uh…well…if you’re sure. ‘ For God so loved [Tina] that He gave His only begotten Son, that [if Tina] believes in Him [she] should not perish but have everlasting life.’” Tears began to flow down Tina’s face. “That can’t be true! I’ve done way too many bad things for God to love me,” she exclaimed sorrowfully.
  Leandra put a comforting arm around Tina’s shoulder. “Tina, listen to me. Did you know that there are stories of people in the Bible who have done terrible things? And some of them turned out to be very strong Christians.”
Tina looked slightly hopeful, “Really? Like who?”
Leandra thought for a moment, “Well, a very good example is the apostle Paul. Before he became a Christian, his name was Saul. He persecuted the early Christians by throwing them into jail and even killing some of them. One day, when he was on his way to Damascus, he was blinded by a bright light. He heard a voice say, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ The voice was Jesus, and it’s kind of a long story, but Saul ended up receiving Jesus as his Savior and walking in obedience to Him. After his conversion, God changed Saul’s name to Paul. Paul turned out to be one of the most amazing apostles and he traveled to many places, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Tina looked very thoughtful, “Hmm…so Paul was a murderer..., and God forgave him and became his Savior?”
Leandra nodded, “Exactly; and He wants to forgive you too. Do you want to accept His gift of salvation, Tina?”
Tina pondered Leandra’s question only for a moment; then she answered confidently, “I do want to accept Jesus as my Savior. I know that I can’t get to heaven without Him, because of my sin.”
Leandra was so thrilled watching God’s hand at work in Tina’s heart. “You want to, Tina, but are you going to? Do want me to pray with you right now?”
Tina nodded vigorously, “I do, Leandra. Let’s pray right now! What do I say?”
Leandra tilted her head thoughtfully, “Well, just tell Him that you realize how wrong your sin is. Also, ask Him to come into your heart, help you to follow Him, and make Him Lord of your life. The Holy Spirit will give you the specific words to say.”
  The two girls bowed their heads, and Tina began to pray. “Dear Jesus, I’ve done lots of wrong things; and I don’t deserve to be forgiven. But Leandra says that you’ll forgive me no matter what. I know that I can’t get into heaven without You because of the wrong things that I’ve done. Please come into my heart and clean up my life I want to live for You from now on. I want You to be the Lord of my life. Amen.”
When she had finished praying, Tina looked at Leandra with shining eyes. “Leandra, I feel so good inside! I feel happy and free! I feel like my heart is bubbling with joy!”
Leandra wiped joyful tears from her own eyes, “Tina, isn’t that so special? You’re a child of God now! Now you need to live your life for Him!”
Tina looked confused, “Yeah, I know that I need to live for Him; but, how do I know what to do?”
Leandra recalled her memory verse for that week. “Well the Bible tells us in Romans chapter twelve verse two, ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ That means that we need to live separately from the world. For example, it’s important for us to honor our parents by obeying and respecting them. It’s also important for us dress modestly, and we must be careful about whom we choose to be our friends.”
Tina nodded, “I see; I’ll try to remember that. Could you be my friend and help me as I learn how to follow Jesus?”
Leandra gave Tina a hug, “Of course I will, Tina! Why don’t you come over to my house once a week and we’ll have a Bible study together! Would Wednesdays work well for you?”
Tina looked excited, “That would be great, Leandra! Could you say that verse for me again? I’d like to learn it too.”
Leandra smiled, “Sure! It is a very good reminder to all of us as Christians. ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ There’s a flower blooming in your heart, Tina. Keep it well-watered with God’s word so that it will continue to grow.”                                                                                                                       
The two girls, silhouetted by the sun, were a part of a beautiful picture as they walked hand-in-hand down the path together.
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Searching Out the Matter

Dear sister warriors in Christ,
This morning during my devotions the Lord spoke to me in a specific and special way about something I had been praying about last night, and I felt that He also prompted me to share this battle plan with you all!

In (Proverbs 25:2) we read, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”

In my Student’s Dictionary, “glory” is defined as “praise given to (S)omeone who has accomplished something extraordinary”. So it is to God’s glory for Him to “conceal a thing”; or according to (Romans 11:33,34-36) and (Isaiah 55:8-9), our God’s wisdom and knowledge, His judgments and His ways, His mind—they are all past our human, earthly and mortal understanding! They are too deep, too rich, for us to be able to swallow or comprehend! Indeed, even though we may study all of our lives on simply one of His many attributes (such as of His love or grace), indeed, when we get right down to it, in reality, we have only begun to truly scratch the surface in understanding all that He is!! His thoughts and ways are higher than ours! Yet, according to verse 2 of Proverbs 25, this is for His glory!!! BUT! The verse does not end there! J Yes, it is to the glory of our Savior that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts; but it the “…honour of kings is to search out a matter.” Now, I realize that it is speaking of kings or rulers specifically in this verse, but let us apply this to our lives as Daughters of the King, who are also enlisted in His Service! In (Job 29:16b) Job indicates, “… the cause which I knew not I searched out.” When there was a question or a doubt or perhaps a little confusion about something or concerning a certain topic in Job’s life, he made it his mission to “search that matter out”, or to learn all he could about this, and what God had to say about it, so as to clear away his confusion, doubts, and questions about it. it is like my little sister who is (at least last I knew lol) planning on starting school for this year today. She isn’t going to be able on her first day of school to take her Algebra 1 test right away—in order for her to understand it and to clear away all confusion and questions she may have so that in the future she can act with firm resolve and confidence, she must first learn the material! She must apply herself and study all she can about equations, exponents, graphs, algebraic formulas, positive and negative numbers, factoring, fractions, and ratios… before she can put them to work and be able to solve them!

And so it is with us in our Christian walk and the daily battles with the enemy that arise!! Sure, the knowledge of our Lord is deep… yet it is an honor for us to search out the things that we may be unsure of! It is a thing “to {be held} in high respect” (a Student’s Dictionary) for us to daily dig into the Love Letter, the Battle Plans, that our Lord has written for us, to learn more about Him, and to discover His thoughts, wisdom, commands, and statements in regard to specific concerns, doubts, and questions we may have! God wants us to delve into His Word when we are confused about something, and to see what He says about it, and to base our convictions and standards according to His very own!!

God used this specific Passage to speak to me this morning because lately there have been a few topics broached or that I’ve read about or been dealing with, that quite frankly, I don’t know where I stand on them. I’ve even thought several times during the last week, “You know, I really ought to study that out in the Bible and see what God says about it…” I realize that I should do this, instead of just floundering around and having no idea where I stand... “…For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed…A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.(James 1:6b & 8) (Also see Romans 14:22-23). Last night I was feeling very unsettled concerning a couple of these subjects so I talked to God about them, and then this morning, low and behold, He gave me these verses. It was as though He was telling me that, sure, I didn’t know where I stood Biblically on these subjects, but He wanted me to search His Word to find out where He wanted/wants me to! I intend to search either all or most of the places in the Bible where the “causes I know not” are mentioned, and study them out, in an effort to seek the mind of Christ concerning them and where He would have me stand.

What about YOU, dear sister in Christ?? ©©©© Are there any “causes that YOU know not”? Are there any doubts, concerns, questions in your mind concerning a certain topic, worldview, or doctrine? Have you been struggling with knowing where you stand on something lately? Maybe someone has recently asked your opinion on something and you realized that you didn’t have one! J If the answer is yes, I sincerely encourage you to take to heart the message of Proverbs 25:2 and to “search out that matter”!!! Study God’s Word concerning the topic, worldview, or doctrine in question and find out for yourself what God has to say about it! This will enable you to, with joy, and determined confidence in your obedience to Christ, form Godly standards, opinions, and act on them without doubt! Remember, it is an honor to search out the Scriptures! Also, in doing this, we gain experience and much needed skill in using our offensive weapon against the enemy—the SWORD of the SPIRIT—the WORD of GOD!! (Ephesians 6:17). The better you know your weapon, and how it works, the better you can fight with it!


“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”  (Proverbs 25:2)

Will you join me, dear sisters?

Press On!

Dear sisters in Christ!

I realize that I have been away from my blog for a while! **Hangs head in shame and embarrassment** I have been extremely busy as of late, but also I was struggling with some things in my walk with Jesus, and I felt unworthy to post anything at the time; or I would truly feel as though the Lord would have me to share something I had learned from the Word with you all, but as I sat down to write, or even as I had the opportunity to post something, I would feel overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. I would feel the icy talons of the devil clinging to my shoulder and hear his whisper in my ear, “You can’t post that, you little hypocrite! I mean, look at what a mess you made of your life today! Oh, and do you remember what you said yesterday, and then how you treated your mother the day before that… and what about that one time with your little sister last week? Oh! And then there’s the fact that you prayed for a whopping three minutes after spending only a little bit more time than that in the Word this morning. Seriously! Who do you think you are to be sharing your thoughts on God’s Holy Word when you are anything but holy? You’d better not even bother… you’re a hopeless case and there’s no point to what it anyway…”
But as I shared these tumultuous thoughts and my daily struggles with a dear friend of mine, she encouraged me to share my thoughts anyway. She reminded me that nobody is perfect and that we all struggle! And that if we all gave in to the devil’s lies (like those above) that no one would ever do anything for the God who they serve and Who so desperately loves them anyway—even when they’re making a mess of their life! Of course, we must not use God’s unchanging love toward us as a license to sin (1st Peter 2:16) , but if we are honest with the Lord and ourselves, and are truly trying to serve the Lord, we must not allow ourselves to become discouraged!
So I just have a few things I’d like to share with you today that the Lord has been so gently (and oh so patiently!!) and graciously teaching me as of late. Not all of them have to do with the other— some, in fact, are quite random!—and they are in no particular order. I simply hope and pray that one of you reading this may benefit and be encouraged by what the Lord allows me to say!

A few months ago, I used to spend many hours of unhindered time with my Savior. I was so in love with Him and so on fire for Him! I wanted to do everything and great things for Him! I would talk to Him in prayer forever and spend time literally dissecting every portion of whatever Scripture I was reading until I had squeezed it dry. I mean, I was on fire for Christ!!  I would get so excited and worked up over some of the wonderful things that He revealed to me in my quiet time with Him. Then suddenly, I was hit, all at once it seemed like, with a ton of tiny little problems that of their own accord, would be rather insignificant. But being hit with them all at once seemed as though I was suddenly lugging around this insurmountable weight of trials. And at the same time that this freight train seemed to hit, I also felt as though this wall had rose up in between me and my Savior and that for some reason (some sin that I had committed without maybe knowing it) that He was mad at me. I found myself in a spiritual valley, something I had actually really never experienced to the degree I now found myself experiencing. I found myself going through some physical issues that made me apprehensive and worried. Add a few other little emotional fears caused by the spiritual and physical aspects, and I had quite a little “trial cocktail” going on! What was worse was that the spiritual walked on the tail end of the emotional, and the emotional walked on the tail end of the physical, and then that in turn walked on the tail of the spiritual and I was going around in a pathetic circle. I felt so lost, spiritually dry, and frantic at the same time. Confusion overwhelmed many moments of my day.
Knowing that earlier trying circumstances in the life of my family had brought me so close to God to begin with, I did not figure that this new face of suffering would draw me away… but I was sadly mistaken. My once treasured time with Jesus became shorter and shorter, and I became more and more discouraged. What was the blessed point of reading my Bible if I couldn’t seem to get anything out of it, or be able to apply it to my life, I thought?! Everything was so dry! I knew in my head that I ought to daily read It, but my heart became distraught. Praying became so very hard. There were days when all I did was cry to God to ease the pain, relieve the whole mess. When He didn’t, deeper into discouragement I went. Soon, my attitude became, ‘why bother?’ and my once precious time with Jesus became a dreaded chore and burden. And while, by only God’s grace, I did not stop completely, I really let things slide. L
But because I knew in my head and heart that my devotional life wasn’t where it should be, I became plagued with guilt and shame for not doing it… and for not wanting to! L Each day that burden of guilt became heavier and heavier, until I thought I would be crushed by it.
No one seemed to understand.
It seemed that no one else in the entire world knew what I was going through
There didn’t seem to be a point to anything—especially trying.
And for the love of Peter Cartwright, what was wrong with me?!?! How had I suddenly gotten here?!
And what about all these other stupid little problems?! What did I do to cause those? How did I fix them? When would they go away?
The only logical thing that I could come up with in answer to these (and many, many more) questions, was that I the devil was on the attack against me. But I figured and allowed myself to believe that this could not possibly be the case, because even though I wanted to do great things for God and impact the world for Him, I was no threat to the devil because instead of being out in the world I wanted to impact, I was a graduated daughter, staying at home all day long, day in and day out, doing nothing but helping her mother with (endless!) dishes, laundry, ironing, cooking, dishes, cleaning, dishes, helping my siblings with their schoolwork and gee… I feel like I left out dishes! J And the only time I wasn’t at home doing these things, I was at church. But all I did there besides listening to my (phenomenal) Pastor preach was the occasional offertory and special music and help out with our little Junior Church class. It wasn’t like I was teaching a Sunday school class full of passionate for Christ girls that were going to go out and make an impact for Christ, therefore making the devil desperate. The only people I had any influence for Christ on, so to speak, were my little siblings (and still is!! J). I felt that I was hardly making a dent for Christ where I was and with what I was doing…
     So why would satan try to discourage me?!!?!?!?
I decided that somehow I was the problem—that there was something wrong I had done that was separating me from my Jesus, or making Him furious with me. I became afraid to do anything for fear of doing it wrong, and I felt very discouraged.
But our Wonderful Savoir, Whose mercy reaches higher than the heavens, slowly began revealing some things to me through the guidance of my amazing parents, and the endearing love of some close, Godly friends. My purpose in sharing a few of these is to perhaps encourage those of you who may perhaps be struggling in any one (or maybe even a few) of these trials.
First of all, you do not have to be “out in the world” doing some great, magnificent, earth-shattering thing to serve God for the devil to attack you, or try to slow you down. The only place you need to be is the CENTER of GOD’S WILL! I think that so many of us believe that if we are “stuck serving at home” not out there “in the world”, with the Lost in and day out, that we are not able to be or being a shining light for Christ. But this is NOT TRUE!!!!!  The Lord has been teaching me lately that I can greatly impact the world for Him, by simply being the hands and feet of Jesus to my family, and by serving my little siblings! If you are there, in the center of God’s will for you as a daughter, or are working towards it, no matter how big the impact you seem to be or feel you are making really is, Satan will try to hinder you and bring you down.
So, as ‘not encouraging’ as this sounds, if you’re striving to serve Christ to the best of your ability, and you’re being hit with missiles of opposition, you are actually doing something right!
I exhort you dear sister, to please remember the Words of Christ, spoken in Mark 9:41 that “whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, … he shall not lose his reward.” Anything you do in the Name of Christ, if it brings Him glory, is of the greatest importance! Being a missionary in China is in no wise greater than doing the dishes! Working in a rescue mission is no more important than ironing a stack of your father’s hankies while listening to your little brother tell you how big his “muscles” are! J As long as you are doing God’s will for you at this exact moment of your life, you are doing a GREAT work for Him! Nothing is too big or too little in the sight of God! So even if you feel that you are not doing (or perhaps may be unable) to do great and mountain moving things for God, if you are truly seeking Him and doing His will, DON’T BE DISCOURAGED! God is taking joy in your obedience to Him! And think of it this way… perhaps you’re not in college learning the behaviors, culture, and language of a third world country in preparation to travel there and be a missionary, but what if God stirs the tender heart of that little brother who is doing his reading homework to you (while you fold a mountain of clean socks) to go out and win souls for His kingdom through the lessons he is learning from his older sister’s obedience to Christ and your parents???? Don’t allow the devil to feed you the lie that you are doing nothing for God just because you aren’t “doing much”—for little is much when GOD is in it!!!
*****Also, dear sister Warrior in Christ, PLEASE whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE INTO THE LIE THAT WHAT YOU ARE DOING WHERE YOU ARE FOR CHRIST IS ‘NOT IMPORTANT’ OR ‘NOT WORTH IT’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing in this world will make you more discouraged. I believe Satan loves to feed this lie to us as women to especially discourage us. Believing this causes us to become frustrated in doing, dissatisfied with, or completely abandon the work that God has called us to do, whether it’s to encourage the underground church, or explain to Elizabeth for the 6th time how to reduce fractions, all the while realizing that you’re going to explain it to her all over again tomorrow! J

Whenever I used to read 1st Peter 5:8-9, I tended to be discouraged and maybe even a bit (gulp) annoyed. I had a hard time believing that anyone else in the entire world had ever gone through or dealt with what I was, or may be dealing with at that time. Sure, perhaps someone had gone through the general context, but no one could know what it was like to go through something that seemed such a “tailor made trial”—this left me feeling utterly alone. I remember once, a few months ago, sitting alone in the van after church crying out to God, “Has anyone ever gone through this Lord?! Does anyone else know how much this hurts?! How confused I am!? Is there anyone whom I can talk to and who could truly understand my heart and give me Godly counsel that actually applies to my circumstance?!”. I thought the answer was no. But in His own perfect timing, the Lord (once again! Praise be to Him!!) showed me that His plans for me are perfect, and that His Word is True. He brought into my life a very special friend who understood and was able to douse me with Scriptural truth about one of my trials—because she had been there! He then allowed me to spend a long time with another special sister in Him, who I one night found was in the exact spot I was! It slowly dawned on me how much I had been doubting Him. My heart broke. I had allowed myself to slip away—God hadn’t gone anywhere! I was the one who was wandering! And He completely understood how I felt! This reinforced a truth in me—no matter what our feelings may be, or what we may be feeling at the time, GOD’S WORD IS ALWAYS TRUE! And he knows how you feel! Not only are there others out there, going through the same things you may be dealing with right now, but JESUS HIMSELF has suffered them! Hebrews 4:15 tells us that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are…” He knows your fears and pain! He bore it all! (Isaiah 53) So don’t be discouraged! Rather, pour your heart out to the One who knows! (and can actually do something about it!)

Lastly, please take to heart, weary warrior, that without Christ we CAN DO NOTHING. (John 15:5)  But with Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (Matthew 19:26) (Mark 9:23) (Mark 10:27) (Mark 14:36) and in His strength we can do ALL things (Philippians 4:13) (1 Peter 4:11)!!! I know you’re thinking “yeah, yeah, yeah… I hear this all the time” or (as my little brother Nathan loves to inform me as of late lol) “I know, I know, I know!!!” But, dear sister—SERIOUSLY! The Lord has really been showing this to me lately. I can do nothing in my own supposed ‘strength’. I must daily ask Him to strip me of my strength and strengthen myself in Him. It is only by His grace that you are where you are spiritually! Don’t allow yourself to become lifted up with pride (even accidentally or unawares!) at what/who/where you are spiritually, because if it were not for the Grace of God enabling you, you could very likely be somewhere very dark and different. I know this from experience. L I’m ashamed to admit, and I didn’t really realize it, but I kind of had the mentality that because I was doing so much right that I would never fall or slip backwards or loose ground. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) It took exactly that for me to realize, that it is nothing short of a miracle, not to mention excruciatingly humbling, that God would use a pathetic sinner like me to accomplish anything for Him! It was through no merit of my own that I had grown so close to Him—that was His doing! In 1 Corinthians 15:9a-10, Paul states, “For I am the least of the apostles…But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Hallelujah! It is only by the enabling grace of God and through the power of His might that we are ever able to do anything for Him! And how could I ever hope to discern anything without His wisdom?! But what a comfort to know that “If any…lack wisdom,” we can simplyask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Ever bug your dad for something you wanted over and over again and he “upbraided” you? J Well, if we persistently ask our Heavenly Father for wisdom, not only will He give us wisdom, but He it makes Him happy! (or course, technically speaking, if I was always begging my Daddy for wisdom, I doubt he’d yell at me J). I encourage you, dear sisters, “Delight thyself…in the LORD”! Ask Him daily to strengthen and guide you—to fill you with His grace and power to be able to do the things He wants you to! “He shall give thee the desires of thine heart”! Evangelist Todd Allen once said to “Let Grace be your teacher—By His grace, God shows us what things we need to deny in our daily lives, but in the same way He shows us what to develop.” Another evangelist, Jason Kendrick, said that without the power of God, we can do NOTHING! (Okay, so he didn’t say it, he more or less screamed it lolJ) Ask Him to make you a willing vessel and to use you for His honor and glory.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)

One last thing before I quit for today J During the past few months when I was really struggling, God would give me little precious gifts of encouragement that were like balms to my soul. One of them I’d like to share with you was something a pastor’s wife (with an incredible testimony!!) said at a ladies seminar:

©© “We’re His daughters— He’s not going to forget His {little} girls!” ©©
~Mrs. Becky Calvert~

Cling to This!

Just a passage or two that I wanted to share today.

(Isaiah 38:14) 
Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.

(Psalms 71:19-24
 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.  My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.

(Isaiah 38:17)
  Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.

Psalms 34 and New Design...!

This morning during my time with Jesus, I came across this verse and it was a blessing to me and I wanted to share it with you all!

“The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.”
(Psalms 34:22)

This verse tells us that even though sometimes we feel “desolate and afflicted(Psalms 25:16), God never has and never will “leave us nor forsake” us (Hebrews 13:5). This verse in Psalms 34 cross-references with 1st Kings 1: 29. In this verse, a dying King David looks back over his adventurous but very hard and trial filled life and realizes that even though it may not have felt like it at the time (for remember, he was also the one who penned the words of Psalms 34:22 at another time in his life) the LORD his GOD redeemed and delivered his soul out of ALL of its/his troubles and distresses! ALL of them! So take a moment to “greatly rejoice” and “sing” unto the LORD with all your soul, which HE has redeemed! (Psalms 71:23)  And for those of you dear sisters who are struggling in some way—“trust in Him!” He shall NOT leave you desolate! He’s holding you in the palm of His mighty hand! Trust in the One who redeemeth the souls of all His servants out of ALL their distresses! I am praying for you dear sisters! Stand strong in the battle!

Also, you may have noticed that my blog has recently undergone a makeover! A sweet sister in Christ and fellow blogger from Ladies of Virtue so generously gave of her time and extreme talent to make it the way it is now!!! J She added several new features to it as well! His Princess Warrior now has a button!! There's also a handy feature she added that I'm excited about-- I tend to list alot of Scripture that I don't quote, so now, if you rest your mouse/cursor over the Scripture it will come up and enable you to read it! I am SO thrilled with the new design, and I hope you all enjoy it as well!! I'd love to hear what ya'll think about! But I'd like to say "thankyou SO MUCH" to Ruth from Ladies of Virtue!! I greatly appreciate the awesome work you did! 

Who Is On the LORD's Side...? (Part Two)

 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me…”
(Exodus 32:26) 

I know it’s been a while since I promised this post L!! I apologize and thank you for graciously bearing with me. But without these extra weeks, I don’t know if I would have been ready to convey to you what I hope to. The Lord had some things He wanted me to learn or grasp before I began writing this. And the fact that I am writing this now is not to say that I have these lessons learned and have “arrived” to the place where I aught to be—oh no! Far from that! In fact, applying the points I hope to convey to you, dear sisters in Christ, has become a daily struggle and almost constant battle in my life recently. But I am trying to work on them and I believe I understand, a little more fully, though still with my finite mind, about what it means to “be on the LORD’s side” with the illustration I’d like to apply to it in this study. 

What Does It Mean to be On the LORD’s Side??

Part Two

About a month ago (**grimaces**) as I read these words during my quiet time with my Savior, it made me wonder what it really meant to “be on the Lord’s side” and what all it entailed. How did that apply to me, as a Christian young woman striving to serve my Lord at home and in my church? How did and does it apply to me personally in my walk with Christ? I say I’m on the “Lord’s side”, but do I truly live in such a way as to portray it?

Since it’s been so long since part one, let’s review!! J

#1. If someone is on “someone’s side”, it generally implies two “sides”—two differing groups contesting each other. Everyone is either in one group or the other. Only one of these groups will emerge the victor. In the Christian life, the two contesting “sides” are that of the Lord’s side and Satan’s side.
#2. Although when I read this, it brought to mind three different scenarios, each one has three distinct things in common:
1.)    Each of them is under the leadership of one
2.)    In each case, the “sides” are in opposition to or competition with the other
3.)    In every instance, the main objective to win!!
#3. In general, “being on the Lord’s side” means that
1.)    I’m not on the devil’s side,
Which places me in
2.)    Opposition to the devil’s side/position,
Which means I’m
3.)    Fighting (actively) against the devil’s side

Seeing then that as saved individuals are on the “Lord’s side”, we need to live, act, behave in such a way that aids His cause and bares a good testimony of Him to others!!

The question we are trying to answer is “How can we, as Christian young ladies, do this?

Last time we tried answering this question, we came at it from the angle of being part of a sports team. (Who Is On The LORD’s Side…? Part One). This time, let’s approach it from the DEBATE angle (an argument, or college debate team, a simple fight on the playground, politics or even a court of law…), and see what important truths we can glean!

When you were a little kid, and there was an argument or a fight on the playground, you took sides with your best friend—sided with them—whether they were right or not. J And you would have argued their point or position to the death if necessary! (Or at least we thoughts so in our 8 or 9 year old logicJ) Well, Jesus is (or can be!)our Best Friend and we aught to side with Him on every issue against the playground bullies (that would be the devil and his demons and all who represent him)!! The perk in doing so here is that we will always know we are right!! J

But if we are to take sides with Jesus, our Best Friend, the (right) Candidate, our Debate Team Leader, there are a few things that we as Christian young ladies aught to be doing to ensure that we can effectively oppose the enemy in this ever ongoing debate!
  1. Know what you believe
  2. Know why you believe it
  3. Apply it!

Knowing What We Believe and Why We Believe It

When you are “on someone’s side”, you are usually on it because you believe what they believe; you have the same principles and goals; you abide by the same standards. Often when there is a situation of “choosing sides”, it is because there’s an argument and/or disagreement and you choose which side to be on or identify yourself with based on whose take or side of the argument you agree with or know to be true based on the facts. If we base our standards on the Bible, the Word of God, we will always be “on the Lord’s side”—always “take His side of the argument.

As I sat down to write this post, I thought back on what I’ve been learning lately and how I could apply being on the LORD’s side to a debate perspective.
In a debate, the person or persons involved are ready to “go at it”. They are extremely well prepared. A political candidate is briefed on the problem then (hopefullyJ) begins to develop a way in which he believes it would best be solved. Often they are coached in voicing that opinion. In the instance of a debate team, the study for months in advance! They learn all they can and then memorize every little detail concerning their side of the argument they will be presenting (they also learn a little about the opposing argument and try to decide with what arguments they will use against them, in order to form strong answers to counter the attack). Each team member— not just one of them! (MINI BUNNY TRAIL: The pastor isn’t the only one responsible or expected to carry and/or have all the Biblical knowledge for everyone else—they must study out the Scriptures for themselves!) After they have learned all of this information and are sure they understand it all very thoroughly, they take what they have learned and begin to apply it to the argument for the good of their proposition. They take all this information they KNOW and begin APPLYING it to the situation. The same is pretty much true in the sense of a legal case as well. Not only the amount of knowledge they posses, but also the way they apply that knowledge and present it helps them to win the argument for their “side”.
This can apply to us as Christian young ladies in several different ways, one of which is to know what we believe and why we believe it.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Just as that debate team member or lawyer or candidate learns as much as possible about the subject at hand, I am—we are—as Christian young ladies, to diligently search the Scriptures to learn all there is to know about the God we serve and the Captain we fight for! Just as Jesus commands His disciples to “search the Scriptures” in John 5:39, He calls us to do the same! We are to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom (Colossians 3:16) so that we are/ can be ready to give an answer to those who ask us why we believe the Bible is the Word of God, or why we dress the way we do, why we do this or why we don’t do that, why we behave and respond to circumstances the way we do. If we are not in God’s Word, daily searching the Scriptures for the ways He wants us to live, behave, speak, dress, believe… how can we answer the curious or gently disarm the scorner? Also, if we do not know why we believe what we believe, or even simply what we do believe, in those times when the enemy dishes out the “secret weapon” knowledge for the opposing argument, how can we wisely retaliate? And what about the recess in the debate, when the opposing team member comes up softly behind us and begins planting doubt in our minds by hissing, “You don’t really believe that, do you?” (Genesis 3:1) “Oh, that’s not really true!” “I know you’ve always thought of it this way, but have you ever considered it from this angle?” “Your argument’s wrong and you know it!” “You’re on the losing team!” “You’re worthless as a member!” “You’re not saying this right, or presenting your argument in the proper way.”? If we are not sure of our Leader and His truth, if we have no real studied out knowledge of why we believe what we believe, we begin to falter! We begin to waver! (James 1:6) (Romans At the very least it causes us to DOUBT and plants fear into our hearts. And then we begin to question whether or not what we know and believe is actually true to begin with!
I am finding that this is true with meL. I’ve been blessed to grown up in a Christian home and in a good church that preached the Gospel, and I’ve been taught from day one what was right and what was wrong, according to God’s Word. I knew the “what” I believed, but why did I believe it?
Because that’s what I’ve always heard in church?
Because that’s what I always learned at school? (Yep—I went to a Christian school every year of my schooling experience, expect for the year that we moved, and attended the public school nearest our home. My parents always made sure I received a Godly education, even when my daddy lost his job for a long while and it would have been much easier taking us out of Christian school and putting us in the much cheaper public school! They are wonderful and I love them so much and praise God—who always provided every penny of school payment, by the way—for them and their sacrifice! But, I digress. J)
Did I believe it simply because it was what I had always known?
Because it was what worked for others?
Because it was what the Bible said?
Because Pastor preached it from the pulpit?
Because it was what was taught in Sunday school and screamed from the hearts of wonderful evangelists at summer camp??
And what about those certain topics I didn’t (don’t) even really know where I stood? Why do I believe what I believe?
 The Lord has been showing me lately the importance of searching the Scriptures for myself, to see “whether those things [are] so(Acts 17:11), of seeking God’s opinion concerning the issues that I am yet uncertain of where exactly I stand, and to be always be ready to give an answer of the hope that lies within me, even if it is just to myself as the devil, the leader of the opposing team, tries to discourage me and take my eyes off my Leader—my Jesus. For if he can get me to waver and take my eyes off of God, he causes me to sin (Romans 14:22-23) and miss out on the blessings I could otherwise be receiving from Christ if I would simply trust Him (James 1:5-8)!! Ladies, may I remind you that there is a battle going on! And if you are saved and part of the Lord’s army, “on His side”, Satan is still going to do everything in his power to make sure that you’re not living for Christ!

Apply It!
But, not only are we supposed to learn and know—we are TO APPLY what the Lord is gracious and faithful to reveal to us and teach us through His Word! It is not enough just to have a “head knowledge”! That knowledge must be applied! It isn’t enough to know how to shoot a gun when a lion is charging right for us! It does us no good to stand there and piously say, “Well! I know how to shoot this gun! In fact, I know several ways how to do it!” NO!
And the same is true with the devil—the leader of the opposing argument, the bully on the playground—our adversary who “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8)
Sure, we may know all the weapons of warfare to use against him, but it is not enough simply to know how to use them. We must actually and actively use them against him as he constantly and daily bombards us with doubts and guilt and temptation to sin.
We know that we can counteract the devil’s argument by quoting Scripture at him.
            But have we memorized Scripture concerning the areas we know we most often struggle with so we can?-(Matthew 4:7) (Luke 4:12) (Ps 119:11)
We know that when he flings at us that our argument is no good, and tries to bog us down with sadness or steal our joy, that praising God for His goodness and/or singing and making melody in our hearts or verbally is a wonderful way to answer back and restore our joy. Also, thankfulness is a good one.
            But do we sing and praise and give thanks…when we don’t feel the song?- (Ps 77:6) (Job 35:10) (Ac 16:25) (Ps 69:30) (Ps100:4) (Ps147:7)
We know that our Leader will forgive us for the (NUMEROUS!!!!!!!!!!!!) slip ups we make in every debate we face—we know because He has told us-promised us! (1st John 1:9) and He CANNOT LIE! (Titus 1:2) (Nu 23:19) (1Sa 15:29)
But during the fifteen-minute recess, when Satan sneaks up behind us and is reminding us of how bad we just blew it, do we have faith and trust in God’s Word?-(Col 1:23) (Eph 6:16)

And again, dear sister warriors, this is an area in which I daily struggle! Okay… more like moment by moment! I’ve had to during the actual typing out of this post! L But I am trying by God’s grace and with His help and for His glory to apply this to my life.
My reason for writing this is to encourage you to as well!

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
(Philippians 3:12-16)

In Quick Review…

Do you know what you believe? If so, do you know why you believe it? If not, I encourage you, dear sister, look up as many verses as you can about the topic and study it out from the Word of God! Pick up a Godly book on the subject and learn the truths within! Talk to your parents about it! Ask their advice and help! Talk to your pastor, his wife, or another Godly influence God has placed in your life!
And then, dear warriors, if you have this knowledge, are you applying it do your daily walk with Christ? When He speaks to you from His Word, is that as far as it goes, or do you actively try to put it into practice from that moment on?

I know that I have hit you with a truckload, dear sisters. But this has been on my heart for some time now, and surely will continue to be for some time J. I’d love to hear your thoughts on and concerning this! And I pray that God continues to lead and guide each one of you day by day, moment by moment, in and according to His perfect will.