Ab·i·gail (b-gl): Joy Of The Father

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Meaning and Memories: Christmas Traditions

Christmas is upon us. As I write this, I believe it is only 11 days away. Christmas is absolutely one of my favorite times of year (even though I don't particularly like the cold). One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the individual traditions that each family has. They are all different, but they all hold with them meaning and memories. For example, a few of our family's traditions are decorating the tree together, buying and wrapping gifts for one another, cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, and having the family over on Christmas day. I love the Christmas traditions that my family has, and I look forward to someday starting my own traditions (as well as keeping some of the old ones) with my own family. One of the best parts of Christmas is that it brings back that much-needed element of family to this world that seems to have forgotten it. What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? I hope that you are able to celebrate them with your family this year!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Making Work More Enjoyable

Recently, I found a very good way to get work done that I would like to share with you. Sometimes work is just not very fun! But we have to do it anyway-so find a way to make it fun. While I am doing school, I will put in a CD of classical music-I prefer William Joseph or Tchaikovsky. Then I light a couple of candles. It makes doing my school so much more relaxing and enjoyable. I suggest you try this with any task that you find less-than-enjoyable. :)


Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Story of Scoliosis

Today I am going to share a story with you-my story. Even though it's mostly a story about physical problems, if you look closely, it is also a story about God's provision and grace.
When I was 10 years old I was diagnosed with idiopathic juvenile scoliosis. Basically, I was growing so fast that my spine couldn't keep up, and as a result it was ending up curved instead of straight. Obviously, this can cause some pretty serious problems if not treated. My parents decided to have my treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, even though it was a 2-1/2-hour drive. (By the way, I loved Mayo Clinic.)
At my first appointment, we found out from the x-rays that I had a 27 degree curve. The doctor recommended bracing me. He normally wouldn't recommend that on the first visit, but my scoliosis was already progressed enough that bracing was needed immediately. So I was fitted for my first back brace. I wore a back brace for the next 4 years. It was not easy! I had to wear the brace for 20-23 hours a day, taking it off for bathing or sports, and/or an hour or so break a day. I was able to take it off myself, but had to have someone to help me put it on.
Having a brace was hard. I could do normal things when it was off, but after having it off for too long, my back got extremely sore. It was hard for me to go to sleepovers or summer camp. And because of the design of my brace, my posture was always crooked with 1 shoulder higher than the other-something that didn't look very nice in pictures.
Wearing the brace was sometimes painful, especially during the adjustment period. There was an initial adjustment period, when I adjusted to wearing the brace. There were also 2 other adjustment periods when I had to adjust to a new brace after outgrowing the one I was in. Even though a long undershirt is worn under the brace, sometimes sores can still develop on the skin. So we had rub my skin with rubbing alcohol to toughen it up. We were told that the first 2 weeks would probably be the worst-because of the adjustment period. Remarkably, those first 2 weeks were really not bad at all. I know it is because I had so many people praying for me. My diagnosis was quite a surprise to my family, so our church family was remembering us in prayer.
The hardest time for me was adjusting from my first to my second brace. It was extremely painful. That second brace continued to give me problems-it had not been formed right, so it ended up applying pressure to the wrong spots, creating some bad sore spots. Eventually we had to have a third brace that was formed correctly, but I was left with 2 scars (a small one on my upper back, and a much larger and worse one on my lower back) that I still have to this day.
But in the end, God worked it all out to his glory. You will remember my original x-ray showed a curve of 27 degrees. Now, bracing is not meant to correct a curve, only to keep it from getting worse. A very good brace wearer may, at best, correct their curve by 1 or 2 degrees. But after 4 years, my final x-rays showed a curve of only 11 degrees! I know that through so many people's prayers, God had decided to work a miracle. He had basically healed my scoliosis, as a curve is not even considered scoliosis unless it is higher than 10 degrees. The doctors were amazed and pleased.
After I was done wearing the brace I still had some things to work through. My back was weak after so many years of being supported by a brace. I had some physical therapy exercises to strengthen it. But through exercises, my karate classes, and God's healing, I now do not have those problems.
Today, even though it was extremely painful and difficult, I am so thankful that God gave me scoliosis and used me to show how he can do anything. Don't ever doubt Him! I am a living testimony that he answers prayers.
~Brooke Reninger

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Teacher Training

My brother and I.
Today I would like to write to the stay-at-home-daughters (SAHD). This is officially my first year as a SAHD, as I just graduated in December. But as I am doing an online school course, I still feel like somewhat of a student. I am looking forward to graduating, when I will have more time to devote to things for training to be a stay-at-home-mother. But I am doing what I can now. This year in homeschooling, my mother is letting me teach my younger brother spelling. It is going pretty well so far-spelling is one of my stronger points, and my brother is a pretty good speller. ;) I am enjoying it and learning a lot-about my teaching style, changes to make when the curriculum needs some improving, etc. If you are a homeschooled SAHD with younger siblings, I would highly encourage you to try teaching a subject-with help and supervision from your mother. In most cases, she has been homeschooling for many years, and can offer an amazing amount of advice. It will give you wonderful training for the future when you may be homeschooling your own children. Also, start out small. This year I am only teaching spelling. But maybe next year I will teach 2 subjects. I would also suggest to teach not only with your strengths but your weaknesses as well. (I guess that means I should take science or math next year... oh dear!) As a SAHD you have a wonderful opportunity to learn and train at home, and get a "jump-start" for when you have your own family. Take advantage of this opportunity!

~Brooke Reninger

Monday, September 20, 2010

Facing the Opposition

I have told you in the past about the group I have on Facebook. Recently our fan numbers have skyrocketed to over 5,000. Unfortunately this has also brought with it quite a lot of horrible posts containing inappropriate content and language. Of course, I delete these posts as soon as possible, but I was finding it very discouraging. But then someone will put an encouraging post on the page. I have had more than one husband say something such as, "My wife and have been married for such and such years, and I wish I had saved my first kiss for her. It would have made it so special. Stay strong in your convictions!" I have had more than one mother write, "My children are all saving their first kiss for marriage." These sort of posts are so encouraging to me, and make me believe, once again, that the page is doing some good. And recently someone wrote something that encouraged me the most, "When you are doing the right thing, you are probably going to meet some opposition." So I hope to encourage all of you as well - if you are meeting a lot of opposition, maybe you are doing it right! Stay strong with the strength of the Lord and never give up. =)

P.S. Let's celebrate - this is our 30th post! ;)

~Brooke Reninger

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hate Posts

A few months ago, I created a fan page on Facebook called "Saving Your First Kiss for Marriage." The
intentions of this group were to unite people who had similar beliefs and convictions for the purpose of encouragement, and also that we might be able to get the word out to other people about this philosophy. I was surprised at how quickly it spread! We currently have over 300 fans- in only a few months. Through this page I have learned of so many people who share my beliefs, while in "real life", the number of people I know who believe in saving their first kiss for marriage can be counted on one hand. This has been such a blessing to me, and I hope to others as well. (If you would like to become a part of this group, there is a link at the bottom right of this blog page.)
But recently I have been getting a lot of "hate posts" on the page. People who don't agree with this way of thinking have been going on and sharing their feelings, sometimes to the point of inappropriate material. Obviously this can become very discouraging. But it has done just the opposite for the group! The opposition has spurred the members of the group on- our numbers are increasing every day, and people have been posting on why one should support the belief. There have been so many scriptures and good Biblical, spiritual, mature conversations lately. In face of opposition, the group members have stood up for what they believe in- in a very convincing way! It is very encouraging to see.
One member put it very well when they said that hate posts will not discourage us. It will only make us that more passionate about what we believe, and it will cause us to pray for those who find it necessary to post those hateful comments.
I have chosen not to delete comments only because the commenter does not agree with our viewpoints. That sort of discussion is good and healthy, and do not expect everyone to agree! I do, however, delete comments that contain any inappropriate content. I will continue to keep the page as pure as possible, while still promoting godly discussion.
The members of this group inspire me- I hope that in the future I will remember the lesson they have given me: When faced with opposition, stand strong! No one will sway me from my beliefs! Pray, and never lose heart.

~Brooke Reninger

Sunday, August 1, 2010

For Such a Time as This

The other day, I was considering a verse in one of my favorite books in the Bible. "And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" -Esther 4:14. I have always liked this verse. Mordecai was encouraging Esther to have the courage to stand up for her people, telling her that perhaps that was the very reason God had placed her in her position as queen- so that she might deliver the Jewish people.

But then I began to think about how this verse can be applied to our lives today. If we really think about it, as daughters of Christ, that makes us princesses. We, therefore, are in a royal position. What does the verse tell us? That perhaps God has placed us in our royal positions for such a time as this. He doesn't expect us to just sit around in our princess-ship, he expects us to use that power for his good and his glory. This can also be applied to the specific places we are currently in in our lives. God has placed us there for a reason. Whether it seems a royal position or not, who is to say he has not placed us there for such a time as this?

~Brooke Reninger

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fabulous Articles for Unmarried Women

These are MUST READ articles especially for unmarried ladies.  I thought I would post the link to them here.  Always wait on the Lord. Enjoy!

How to Pray for a Husband

Is It My Fault That I'm Not Married?

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Giveaway!!!

Hello everybody, Brooke here. I am excited to announce a giveaway! My good friend Hannah, over at A Homemaker's Daughter, is celebrating her 100th post! How exciting! Congratulations Hannah!

Hannah and I recently became acquainted through our blogs and the Stay at Home Daughters Network. I am excited for her success in her blog, and thankful for her friendship. She is giving away some beautiful handmade cards. Hop over to her blog to enter the giveaway.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Songs We Listen To

~ By Tahirah

This morning my Bible reading came from the book of Amos.  I had one of those moments where I saw something I never noticed before.  In chapter 6 God says,

4"Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory
    and stretch themselves out on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock
   and calves from the midst of the stall,
5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp
   and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
6 who drink wine in bowls
   and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
   but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
7 Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,
   and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away." ESV

All day long I thought about the first part of verse 5.  It made me consider the type of music to which I listen.  I mostly listen to the local Christian radio station but every so often I get on YouTube and check out a video from an artist whose focus is anything but Christ.  While I do not believe in setting up a "doctrine" of acceptable music, I believe this verse asks us to consider our choices of "entertainment" especially in light of our fallen world.  In today's world we can substitute many other idle pass-times  for "idle songs".  We often watch "idle television/movies", play "idle games", and surf "idle websites".  James says in chapter 4 that our lives are like a mist that is here for a little while and then vanishes, and they really are.  On the side of the road I see memorial crosses to young teens and men and women who were killed in car accidents.  It seems weekly there is a death of a celebrity and of course we all know of loved ones and others who have passed on.  We do not have long on this earth, what activities would be acceptable to the Lord?  When we meet the Father will we be ashamed of all the time He gave us that we wasted on pursuits contrary to Him?  Will He say we were more concerned with the latest idle pursuit than with the lost and dying world?  I pray He will change my heart to be more motivated to be about His business, and not wasting His time He gave me pursuing idle songs.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Titus 2 Class Notes: Having a Biblical Worldview

It's here! The highly anticipated (maybe), long awaited Titus 2 Class notes! :) These are some of the notes that I took from the class, along with some of the teachers' notes. Obviously it's not as good as actually being in the class, but I hope that you enjoy them.

Date of class: June 12, 2010
Teacher: Brenda Reninger
Topic: Having a Biblical Worldview

Key verses for this topic: Romans 12:2, Colossians 2:6-8, Romans 1:18-23, Psalm 127:4, Proverbs 22:6.

Important points:
  • The class was about having a proper worldview and the importance of instilling that worldview in our children. Each student was given a sample worldview test, based on the Worldview Weekend Worldview Test. You can look into this further at: worldviewweekend.com. The Nehemiah Institute also offers similar tests.
  • Categories that make a worldview: Theology, philosophy, biology, psychology, ethics, sociology, law, politics, economics, and history.
  • Worldview is defined as: "How I see the world."
  • The question was asked, "Why are all the young people leaving the church?" Answer for yourself, but we discussed how, perhaps, we are not instilling in them a truly biblical worldview.

Interesting quotes:
  • "Nothing is secular- you must look at everything as sacred."
  • "Look at the world through God, don't look at God through the world."
  • "Ideas rule the world. Ideas have consequences."

Some eye-opening statistics:
  • 70-88% of students from "Christian" homes deny their faith before graduation from college. (barna.org)
  • Only 9% of Evangelicals have a biblical worldview. (barna.org)
  • Instead of preparing their children for life, the vast majority of parents are waiting for social institutions to train their kids. (barna.org)
  • Only 9% of young people under age 24 base their moral choices on the Bible. (barna.org)
  • In 2006, 91% of Evangelical kids said, "There is no truth apart from myself"- that's up from 52% in 1994. (barna.org)
  • Only 33% of churched youth say the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home. (Josh McDowell, 2006)
  • In the 1970's only 5% of 15-year-old girls had sexual intercourse; by 1997 it was 38%. (Columbia University Report, 1997.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To Read or Not to Read?: The Twilight Dilemma

Hi everyone, it's Brooke here. If you are anything like me, I'm sure you've noticed our culture's most recent epidemic. Of course I'm talking about Twilight. First the books, now the movies; it seems everyone is talking about it. But, as Christian girls committed to purity, we wonder if we should actually read them.

I have read a few different Christian articles concerning Twilight, but recently found one by Jasmine Baucham that I thought was really good. You can read this article here: http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/for-the-unmarried/eclipse-an-ideal-romance/.

Personally, I have chosen to stay away from the Twilight series. I have not read the books or seen the movies. So I cannot from experience say that they should be avoided. But I do know that the reason most people are attracted to this series seems to be one thing: sex appeal. Because of this, I do not think it would be in my best interest to follow the Twilight series. As young (and even older) Christian women devoted to living pure lives, I do not think watching or reading the Twilight saga is wise, or in our best interest.

"'Everything is permissible for me' -but not everything is beneficial."1 Corinthians 6:12

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Same Old Lie - by Kelly Crawford

Becoming Abigail appreciates the following article because we have witnessed first-hand the lies even our fellow Christians believe and have felt their deadly effects.  This is a great "wake-up" call to us all.
Name-calling, insults, slander–if you are a disciple of Christ, you have probably shared in some of His bad reputation. (They accused Jesus of being demon-possessed.)  In fact, the Bible says that you can be sure of it.
And should we be surprised at a culture who continues to be deceived by the very same lie Satan fed Eve in the garden?
Think about it…”Has God indeed said?” That was the deceiving question that stumbled all of humanity, and continues to today. “Does God’s Word really mean that?”
Eve thought it was a question worthy of consideration, and the offer Satan gave her was too delicious to resist. “You can become like God.” She fell for one thing…..POWER.
It’s the same thing that still draws us. “I can be strong on my own…doing my thing…interpreting truth to stroke my feelings.”

You can read this article in it's entirety at LAF http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/foundations-of-truth/the-same-old-lie/  You can also visit Kelly's Website at http://www.generationcedar.com/main/

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Canvas

 The Canvas

I shall not direct my own way
but rather follow what you say.

I shall not take the steps I choose
but rather the ones You want me to use.

My life does not belong to me
I am a canvas, this I see.

You are the author of my life
through all the good and all the strife.
I know my way is not my own
I lay my life before your throne.

I give up all I wish to do
and submit myself fully to You.

Use me according to Your plan,
this is my one and only demand.

Written by Brooke Reninger

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Love My Father

Fathers' day is only 3 days away. So of course, this is the time that most of us think of our fathers. I just want to say- I love my father! He is an amazing Christian man, and has taught me so much about God and living a godly life. I am so thankful for his guidance, involvement, and love in my life. I am thankful that he is committed to families, homeschooling, and serving the Lord. He truly does inspire me; his love is a wonderful reflection of the love my heavenly Father has for me. I hope that I can be his Abigail- his joy. I thank God for my father- I love you Daddy!
~ Brooke Reninger

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coming Soon... Titus 2 Class Notes

Recently at our church, we have started a Titus 2 Women's Bible class. It is taught by the older women/elders' wives in an effort to pass knowledge from the older women to the younger (see Titus chapter 2). We had our first class on Sunday, and it went really well. I am excited to see God work through this class. I am going to post my notes from each class here on the blog, so you can see some of what we are talking about. I hope to start that soon, so keep a lookout!
~Brooke Reninger

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What Our Country Needs

This is a wonderful poem that a friend of mine had on her blog a few days ago. I have been reading So Much More, and this poem really brought out some of the things that book talks about.
             What Our Country Needs 

What does our country need? Not armies standing 
With sabres gleaming ready for a fight; 
Not Increased navies, skillful and commanding,
                                         To bound the waters with an iron might;
                                            Not haughty men with glutted purses trying
                                             To purchase souls, and keep the power of place;
                                             Not jeweled dolls with one another vying
                                           For psalms of beauty, elegance, and grace.
                                             But we want women, strong of soul, yet lowly
                                           With that rare meekness, born of gentleness;
                                                   Women whose lives are pure and clean and holy,
                                        The women whom all little children bless;
                                                          Brave, earnest women, helpful to each other,
                                                           With finest scorn for all things low and mean;
                                                  Women who hold the names of wife and mother
                                       Far nobler than the title of queen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Grandmother's Legacy

Many of you know how I love to write poetry. A few years ago, I found out that my grandmother had also written poetry. I decided to share some of her poetry with you today, in a tribute to her. You see, she passed away last night after battling cancer.

My grandmother was a very talented woman. She was a wonderful cook and baker, and a talented seamstress. She passed these talents on to her daughters. She believed in the family. She came from a family of 13 children, and with the help of her husband, raised 7 children of her own.

My grandmother made a very special gift for each of her granddaughters. A bride doll, with a handmade dress and veil. (See attached picture.) I am her youngest granddaughter, and will be the last one to get married. I believe that my grandmother had a vision- a vision of a family for each of us, that we would each continue the family that she helped to start. I believe in her vision as well, and when God sends me my husband, I will remember her vision. I am thankful for the legacy that my grandmother passed down to her children and grandchildren- that of faith and family.
Brooke Reninger

Here is a poem that she wrote to her own mother:
Dear Mother

From your deep and peaceful sleep,
You climbed the stairs; Or Lord to meet.
And as they dressed you in a long white gown,
Just a soft sigh, but not a sound;
A tiny tear touches your face,
As they pin your wings in place.
And above your beautiful soft white hair,
A halo shines in all its glory there.
A glorious walk down that golden street,
Your husband and all your friends to meet.
To express your many joys and gladness.
No more sorrows, worries or sadness,
Where love, faith and hope is the key.
what a beautiful, wonderful place to be.
You take your chair on the righthand of the Lord.
"So children, look at me,
An angel, I am to be."
So cry no more and dry your tears,
For to me you shall come through the years;
So continue to have patience and strong love,
Someday we shall meet in our heaven above.

Your Loving Daughter,
Doris Ruth

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Law of Love

Our good friend and sister in Christ wrote this essay and gave us permission to repost it. She is aptly named because she displays Charity in the most difficult of situations. 

I Corinthians 10:23 

An Essay 
By Charity Pearce 

"All things are lawful for me." First Corinthians 10:23 is a verse which has intrigued and puzzled me for many years. On the one hand, it is liberating to believe that ALL things are lawful for me. On the other hand, it seems directly contrary to so much that is in Scripture. How to Scripturally justify the God of the Ten Commandments with a God for whom all things, it would seem, are lawful? This is the question. It is my contention that all things are lawful for one who is washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ and for whom love is the primary motivator. Not that there is no law, but that those living by the Spirit are being held to a higher standard; the perfect law that gives liberty. Nobody who truly loves and trusts God would want to live in a state of lawlessness. 

Consider those of us who live in a "free" country. We live in a society in which most reasonable decisions, we are free to make without interference from government. At least that is the idea. To a more or lesser degree, I believe based in large part on how much we buy into the ideals of the society we live in; we don't necessarily need to legislate much. As a citizen of a place we love, we care for the land and the people in our society without legislation. We just need education on how best to carry out that task. There are always a few lawbreakers who need laws and penalties to do what those of us who truly care about our environment do of our own accord. But love, as opposed to fear, will always be the best incentive. 

First Corinthians 10:23, as quoted from the New American Standard Bible says: "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." It has been said that this verse is a misguided belief or quote of the Corinthians of the day. This is a possibility, but it would necessitate assumption as there is no direct evidence that this is the case. It is not Scripturally stated as such. Furthermore, it isn't necessary to interpret the verse in this way in order to justify it with the rest of Scripture. 

The Greek word translated "all things" in this passage is the word "Panta" - which does mean "all, everything, the whole". This quickly eliminates the probability that it is referencing only the fact that all foods are lawful, although the direct reference is whether food sacrificed to idols was lawful for Corinthians to eat. If Paul had wanted to state that all foods were lawful, he could easily have said "all foods are lawful for me" and not confused us with the word "panta". So, if all things are lawful, how does this fit with commands from other areas of Scripture, including the verses directly preceding and following?

In what way are all things lawful? 

The argument had apparently been made that it was unlawful to eat meat sacrificed to idols. This command had been given by the Apostles in Acts 15 and in Acts 21 in regard to what the Gentiles who believed were required to do. Traditionally, we would then consider it a relevant command even to us today, and the validity of this Scripture in I Corinthians would then be in question. If we dig deeper into the meaning of this verse, though, we will see that a profound truth, relevant throughout Scripture, is being taught again here. 

The profundity is found in reading on to the end of this verse and to verse 24: "but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor." Paul is not advocating a state of lawlessness, but rather a higher standard for us. An ideology of systematic law keeping wasn't the goal that God set for us. He had greater things in mind. Consider Romans 13:8: "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." And verse 10: "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." The Law had been fulfilled by love. 

This is not a new truth. Throughout Scripture, God makes clear to His people that His greatest commands for them involve loving one another and loving Him. From Deuteronomy 6:5 on, it is clear that God desires love more than anything else. Our obedience proves our love, trust and faith in Him. It isn't, nor has it ever been the agent of our salvation. 

Over and over, the New Testament teaches that Christ was the end (or fulfillment) of the Law. (Romans 10:4, Matthew 5:17). For a clear picture of this, reference Romans 5:20-13:10. To abbreviate: Law came so that transgression would increase, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. When we are buried with Christ in baptism, we are raised to walk in newness of life. Our old self is done away with, and so we consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ. The law only has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives, and as Christians, our death came when we were baptized. Therefore, when we die to ourselves and are buried with Christ, we are joined to another, that is to Christ. Our joining Christ, at baptism, also fills us with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) and Galatians 5 tells us that if we walk by the Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of the flesh. We no longer need the Law except as a tutor (Galatians 5). 

We are now under the perfect law - the law that gives liberty (James 1:22-27). Our citizenship in God's Kingdom (Philippians 3:20) and our love for the King of this heavenly Kingdom will inspire us to want to please the King, and the citizens of the Kingdom. Legislation is no longer necessary. James teaches in chapter two that we are to fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, to love our neighbor as ourselves. We will be judged by this law, which will be merciless to one who shows no mercy as mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:13). 

"Not all things edify." Obviously, God who designed and created us, knows what edifies (or builds up) so if a choice we are making isn't Scriptural it wouldn't edify ourselves or others. But even if by the letter of the law, I am acting Scripturally, if I insist on my rights and I damage a weaker brother, then I would, in the spirit of the law, not be building that brother or sister up (I Corinthians 8:7-13). Thus I would be wrong, no matter how much I might argue my Scriptural soundness. The higher law - the law of love and grace takes effect. 

So, to those of us who walk by the Spirit, all things are lawful. No other law but love is needed. And if we don't walk by the Spirit, it doesn't matter how closely we follow the law, we won't be citizens of the heavenly Kingdom. I Corinthians 8:1 states it simply. "Knowledge puffs up (or makes arrogant), but love builds up (edifies)." I Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build one another up. And Peter addresses this issue in I Peter 2:16 when he says: "Act as free men, but don't use your freedom as a covering for evil but as bond-slaves of God." And how is a bond-slave of God to serve and please his Master? I Corinthians 13 - "if I give all my possessions to feed the poor and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." We are to love. Love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength. And love our neighbors as ourselves. "Upon these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:40. 

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." ~Micah 6:8 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Total Purity

Purity. It's a word that most of us are familiar with. But did you know there is more than one type of purity? There are at least 3: purity of body, purity of mind, and purity of heart.

Purity of body: For example, dressing modestly, saving yourself for your spouse, etc. Purity of body is a wonderful thing, but unless it is accompanied by purity of mind and heart, it is hard to stay committed to bodily purity.

Purity of mind: Are your thoughts pure? The things that you spend time thinking about- are they pure? If they are not, stop, pray, and strive to set your mind on pure things. See Philippians 4:8.

Purity of heart: What are your intentions? Are your motives pure? Why do you want to do that certain thing? Is it because it is the right choice for someone living a life of purity, or are you wanting others to notice you? We must work towards having pure motives and intentions.

All of these types of purity work together in a person to transform them into a beautiful creature. If one is missing, the others will fail. If we are searching for total purity, we must have pure minds, hearts, and bodies.
Written by Brooke Reninger

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Out of Thin Air

God’s timing is perfect. Sometimes we might not think so, but it always is. It can be hard to wait- whether it is for a husband, a child, or anything else. We don’t like to be patient. We think we need it now, or at least in our own time frame. But the truth is, the world operates on God’s time frame. Which, by the way, is much better than anything we could come up with. Again and again he has demonstrated his perfect timing.
I was about 14 or 15 years old. I had very few friends, was rejected by kids at church because of my beliefs, and felt very alone. Then one day, almost out of thin air, God sent me a friend. She lived in a totally different state, but we became close friends through email. He actually provided me with 2 close friends- at the very time I needed it most. His perfect timing.
Sometimes I wonder where God is going to find a husband for me. Will he just pull one out of thin air? He could. He provided friends for me seemingly out of thin air. Why not a husband? This is the God who made the world in 6 days- out of thin air. He saved me through his grace and mercy. He planned out the salvation of the world. Do I really think he can’t plan out my very small life? I must trust him. Trust that his will, his plan, and his timing are perfect. Because they are.
And once I truly trust him, he will make things happen in his time. Even if he has to pull someone out of thin air.
Written by Brooke Reninger.