7/21/16

Importance of Christian Friendship



After joining Young Life, I started to realize the difference & impact people have on your life when you share the same faith with them. It's easier to live peacefully per say, when you have someone who can relate to you on a totally different level and can be there for you and able to encourage you. I collaborated with a few bloggers to give you different insights on the importance on  having friends who share the same faith as you in your circle/daily life, to show really how important it is.

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Mikayla from A Seersucker State of Mind:

The significance on surrounding yourselves with Christ lovers is so valuable. Oh darling, I could go on a rant about this. I was actually writing a few letters about this to a few of the girls who I lead in my middle school small group about this. You have heard it once, and I am going to tell you again -- you conform into the people you surround yourself with. You decide who you become by choosing who you are with. Does that make sense? For a Biblical example -- Timothy.He chose to stay close to Paul whom loved the Lord with all his heart. He chose to be discipled by Paul. We see many of the same attributes of Paul in Timothy. As Christians, we are called to make friendships that are uplifting. Make friendships that are encouraging-- encouraging growth in your walk with Christ. We cannot walk this past alone -- in fact, God does not want us to. We are called to consider each other -- consider each other's relationship with God and help each other with that (Hebrews 10:24). Your bond with your brothers and sisters in Christ is so treasured. It is so necessary to have people to do life with and flourish with.

Destiny from Destiny Hope Rose (more in depth)

No matter what stage in your faith you stand, you have a call. Raised in a Christian home your whole life but you’re just now accepting salvation for your individual self? There is a call on your life. Lived as an atheist until God radically transformed you? There is a call on your life. Still trying to figure out this whole “Christian thing?” There is a call on your life. Living out a Christ-like life daily? There is a call on your life. We each have a specific call in order to fulfill the ultimate goal- that others will come to know the same Christ who loves us unconditionally and be with Him for eternity.

Although we each have a specific calling, we cannot walk in that calling alone. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul writes about the body of the church and how it is directly parallel with the human body. Each body part is important and necessary and must work together to function! We cannot live alone. Walking out life with fellow believers is not just encouraged; it is vital! In Proverbs 27:17, it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Being close friends with other believers makes you better! You don’t have to worry if you’re “good” iron or not. Iron sharpens iron no matter what, so find some strong Christian friends that you can walk alongside- bumping into one another intentionally and making each of you stronger every day. Ecclesiastes 4: 12 says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Why walk alone and be defeated when you can walk in joyful friendship and work together to attack the evil in your life?

In order to foster good character, we must surround ourselves with good company (1 Corinthians 15:33). However, sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between normal friendships and “Christian” friendships. A Christian friendship should be full of these three things:

1. Encouragement

We have to build each other up! The bible covers this over and over and over again! 1 Peter 4:8 tells us to love deeply because “love covers over a multitude of sins.” Ephesians 4:29 commands that “no corrupting talk” come out of our mouths but to build each other up. 1 Thessalonians straight up says to encourage one another! Who doesn’t like being encouraged? Be that friend for others and seek out those who do the same.

2. Intentional

This is a big one. I think this is what stands out the most when comparing a worldly friendship to a Godly one. Being intentional shows love, selflessness, and genuine care. Philippians 2:6-8 talks about how God made himself nothing and became a human just to show us that he loves us! If we want to be like God and we want to love people, we have to put others above ourselves. We have to realize that we are not more significant. In humbling ourselves and serving others, we become more like God everyday. Good friendships come out of genuinely caring for others in the good times and especially in the bad times.

3. Honesty

Compliments are nice. Having someone who always agrees with you makes you feel good. But what kind of person will that make you? You don’t grow from that. Good friends aren’t always going to boost your ego and flatter you. That is not the calling of a good friend. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” A wound will not kill you. Hitting your high self-esteem won’t kill you. Being wrong won’t kill you. Sometimes you just need to be set straight. With that being said, all honesty should be presented with the love of Christ.

Being a friend means to encourage others in their transformation of becoming like Jesus. Every aspect of our lives- especially the people in our lives- should point us to Jesus. Sometimes it can be hard to find fellow believers in your circle, but I beg of you to search harder, press into God in prayer, and put yourself in a place where you can make Christian friends. If my words and the verses I mentioned are not enough reason to have Christian friendships, then look at Jesus. Can you imagine if during his three years of ministry, he didn’t have his friends? 1) It would be extremely lonely. 2) He wouldn’t accurately represent the heart of God. 3) He probably would not have had as much fun!

Let me leave you with this. In John 15:12-14, Jesus says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Love one another deeply. Encourage each other. Be intentional. Be honest. Walk together. Have fun.


Alison from Beauty & Blazers

As someone who comes from a family that was never very involved in the church, I cannot stress enough the importance of having Christ-like relationships. It has helped me so much in my walk with Christ to know that I have people I can rely on for encouragement and help, especially because they are my main source of spiritual advice. Being able to have substantial, important conversations with these people has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I was brought to the church through my best friend of 10 years, which is why I want to stress that where your closest church friends provide you with the spiritual nourishment you need, you should provide that same blessing to someone else - it could absolutely change someone's life, just like my friend did for me. 

Jada from The Classy Redhead

This past year I made a big life transition from high school to college. This transition would not have been possible without my closest of friends. These friends were so important to me because of the amazing connections we all have with each other through Christ. I think that having friendships like these are so important because you know that they are always going to be there and remind you of all the amazing things that Christ has in store for you when college or even life gets too much to handle.
However, it is ok if not all of the people you interact with or are even friends with have the same relationship with Christ as you do. What matters is that your actions reflect those of Christ. This is important because that is what we are called to do.
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”- Ephesians 6:7
I hope this helped you see the actual importance of having people who share the same faith in your daily life/ circle. Have a blessed one.
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7/13/16

A Story Worth Telling: Mary Paul Hunt


Today on the blog I will be collaborating with a dear friend of mine, Mary. I met Mary after being invited to Young Life, and she is literally one of the sweetest people ever. After I discovered that she was a blogger and read her story, I had to collaborate with her. So here I present Mary Paul Hunt from Incomparable Glory.

- What has God been teaching you lately? 

Recently, the Lord has been teaching me to be present and seek His face in the mundane of everyday life. I leave in 15 days for Oregon (I've never been on a plane before- ah!) to serve on Young Life work crew at Washington Family Ranch Creekside, and I am so excited that I just want to rush through these next few weeks so that I can finally just be there. I realized that once I get back in August, I will only have 7 days left until my senior year begins, and I don't want to wish my summer away. The Lord has been tenderly whispering into my heart in the past week or so for me to be still and open my eyes to see all of the beauty that He has for me HERE and NOW, and I sure don't want to miss out on what He has for me. Nothing good ever comes out of thinking too much about the future, and Jesus put a lot of emphasis on seeking first the Kingdom of God, and then all of the things that we need (and worry about for the future) will be added to us and will fall into place as He knows whats best for us in His perfect timing. 


- Life Mantra? 

My life mantra is "even if not." It is taken from Daniel 3 in the Bible in the story where there men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship a golden image, directly disobeying King Nebuchadnezzar's orders and as a result, they were going to be killed. They were given one more chance to live if they would bow down to the idol, but they responded by saying,  "King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But EVEN IF HE DOES NOT we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18) Those three words have been so precious in my walk with the Lord because as I have experienced suffering and trials, I have learned (and I am still learning) how to sing this over my life - Even if He does not heal me of my post concussion syndrome, He is still good. This mantra has taught me that the goodness of God is not dependent on my circumstances, that His love for me in never changing throughout the rollercoaster of ups and downs that make up my life, and that my heart's desire must be for His will to be done above mine. Jesus Himself uses this mantra before His death (Luke 22:42) when He says, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours, be done."

- Favorite Verse? I don't necessarily have one favorite verse that far surpasses all others, but this is one of my favorites:

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:15-18

- Style? 

I am honestly not intentional about having a certain style in the way that I dress. I love clothes that are cute, but modest, and definitely comfortable. My go-to outfit this time of year is my ripped jean shorts/ ripped jeans and a flowy tee with my birkenstocks (which are SO mind-blowingly comfortable). 

- What's one thing you want to be remembered for when you leave this world?

 All I want to be remembered for is for loving Jesus. I know that in a couple of years my name will quickly be forgotten, but if my legacy is Jesus, it will last forever. 

- Share your story!

I grew up in a Christian home with great parents and friends, and I really never experienced hard things, so life was good. My favorite thing in the entire world was playing soccer, and the majority of my time and energy was consumed by this sport until 2014.  When I was 5 years old I "accepted Jesus into my heart," but honestly, it was more of a formality because I just wanted to go up to the front of the church and then get to go downstairs for breakfast in the fellowship hall before everyone else. At the same time, I remember understanding that there was something horribly wrong with my heart called sin and that I was in desperate need of Jesus, the only one who could fix it. However, I lived my life from that point on no different that before, for the most part. In middle school and the beginning of high school, I would go through phases (particularly after youth conferences and such) where I was really seeking to follow Jesus and be a light for Him, but because my foundation was weak (I didn't really understand what it meant to follow Jesus and I preferred living for my own happiness anyhow), these phases were short-lived, and I would soon return to living just like everyone else. In October of 2014, I was playing soccer in Wilmington, North Carolina, and my coach had previously changed my position so that i could be more versatile to play in college (because I was confident that I would. That was my biggest dream since the time I could walk.) During that game, I went up to head the soccer ball with another girl, and as soon as my head hit the ball, her head hit mine. I fell to my knees and my world flipped upside down for the first time ever. Long story short, that injury sent me into a period, that I now refer to as my "winter", of the deepest and darkest depression, anxiety, loneliness, and pain that I have ever known. From that October until the following May/June, I furiously questioned God, who claimed to be good and a healer, who seemed to sit by and watch as my world fell apart. That following spring, I was in a state of such desperation that I was even willing to approach God once more and question if maybe He was using this for my good all along, and I began to ponder what it would look like to count this suffering as pure joy (James 1:2). As my relationship with Him grew and I spent more time seeking Him in His Word, I began to realize that suffering is such a sweet gift because Jesus Himself suffered and so my enduring it we can know Him better than ever. I also truly grasped that future glory for a follower of Jesus in eternity with Him far far FAR surpasses any of our present, light and momentary afflictions, and that is how my blog incomparable glory was born. By blogging and beginning to go out in public and interact with others again, I began to share my story and watch in awe and wonder of all that the Lord was doing in making so much beauty of the ashes of my life. While daily, I still have headaches and struggle with the sorrow of living with chronic pain, the joy that the Lord gives me is the strength that I have to endure. He is so good. 

Keep up with Mary on social media & her blog:
Instagram
Twitter
Incomparable Glory
have a story to share? email me, direct message me, or comment on an Instagram to be featured.
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7/11/16

Breathe Series: Out of the Woods



It's been a while since I did one of these. I know, as you read this and put pieces together you could slowly figure what's been going on with my MIA series. But here's a short tale for your day. Enjoy.
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Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. {Proverbs 10:17}

Here's a tale of a girl. A girl who was always on fire for God that became astray. She was lost at sea, she was what the bible called lukewarm, and then she became plain cold. She went from loving church services, sharing the gospel, listening to calming Christian every morning, coffee with friends sharing the word, and being on fire for God to doing things she would soon be completely ashamed of. Thinking things she never thought she'd think. She threw away jewel and everything she was taught for cheap, tainted lies of the enemy. The good bubbly Christian girl was gone. She became depressed, had rapid mood swings, feel back into old habits. She lost all her fire and drive for Jesus. She felt she was stray, like she was wondering. But she felt she was lacking something in her life, and that thing was Jesus.But she felt she had ran back to old habits so many times, that God wouldn't forgive her or trust her anymore, like he'd given up on her. She also failed to realize some of her wrong. But as wise woman once said, "He can't cleanse you, if you keep denying you are dirty." So she laid and bed one night and cried out to the man upstairs.

That girl was me. Enfiniti' Jones, the good girl. I had fallen between the cracks. But there was something in me. Determination. That fire that had been gone had suddenly found it's way back. I was determined to get back on track after my wrong. See I knew in my heart that God forgave, but his presence was missing. he was silent. So I began doubting, and I was then for sure God had taken his hand off me. But I said no, not so, it can't be. So I prayed more and cried more with determination in my heart and cry. God felt sooo  distant, but I was determined. I soon realize God wasn't ignoring me. He still loved me. He was testing me, putting me in a place to focus solely on him. So I turned off social media to focus solely on him. To get my peace, joy, and happy state of mind back. I really needed to stop and focus on Jesus. Se in this period of silence I have to prove to God that he can trust me and that I fully trust him and have faith in him. Silence is hard, you feel like you're not putting in enough and sometimes a little unworthy, or like you are going nowhere. But in an essence you are growing and learning. I am determined to become fully devoted again and live my life for Christ to the fullest. I did at one point think that God didn't love me, but Ephesians 2:4-5* says otherwise. The silence is teaching me to trust him, about faith and about endurance. 

If you ever feel lost or distant. First know that God loves you, and this is only a test that you can pass even if you feel like you can't. Pray, meditate, and trust in him. Refraining from social media helps. It allows you to just sit, listen, and meditate. Worship and adore him even when he seems absent. Know that always God is your refuge, it's never to late to try again. And again God LOVES you always, even in your mess or when you can't seem to look at yourself in the mirror.


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