Be Slow to Anger

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. -James 1:20

Imagine an experience in your life where you reached the boiling point of your anger.  Someone may have provoked your anger by saying something that you didn’t agree with, or by doing something that you didn’t like.  Someone may have purposely acted in a way that would elicit a negative reaction from you, or you may have been mad at yourself for not performing an action to a certain caliber.  Whatever the reason, you were ticked off to the extreme.  You may have expressed your anger by saying hateful things, cursing, resorting to physical violence or kicking/hitting objects around you.  Whatever method of expression you chose, ask yourself the question:  Did my actions during that moment honor God?

As the verse above states, the wrath, or anger, of man does not present the righteousness of our Heavenly Father.  Therefore, when we are prompted to show our tempers, we should contemplate on how we should handle the situation in a way that honors God.

How Should Christians Handle Their Anger?

“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
-Proverbs 29:11

The book of Proverbs provides us with a fantastic piece of advice when it comes to the subject of anger with the verse above.  According to God’s Word, people who are wise in the ways of the Lord will work to maintain their composure when they are angry in order to not cause a scene, while foolish people will be quick to throw a temper tantrum for all to see.  Conversely, it is easier to preach this verse than it is to put it into practice.  Sometimes people or circumstances will cause you to become furious beyond control, and your emotions will get the best of you; however, we should remember to focus on God and let Him handle the situation, for our anger will not make the matter better.  A great method that can help us focus on God while we are angry is to immediately turn to Him in prayer.  You don’t even have to bow your head or close your eyes; simply allow yourself a few minutes alone to utter a prayer, or even think of the prayer within your head.  Either way, as long as you seek God’s guidance, He will hear you, and will be pleased that you turned to Him instead of wrath.

How Should Christians Practice Holding Back Their Anger?

“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”
-Proverbs 19:11

The key to extinguishing our hate fire so to speak is to practice discretion whenever we become angry.  Discretion can be defined as choosing what to do in a certain situation, or behaving in such a way that will not offend anyone or reveal personal information.  For Christians, practicing discretion can mean that we choose to approach our anger with a method that reflects the righteousness of God rather than making a public display of ourselves.  For example, one may use prayer as a first resort when anger strikes. Whenever we react to a situation in a way that honors God, bystanders will notice that we have acquired a peaceful spirit due to our love for Christ.  For all you know, anytime that you remain calm during a situation where your anger has been kindled, you may be witnessing to a non-Christian about the peace of mind that comes with following Jesus.  To expand further upon the chance of a witnessing opportunity, consider Ephesians 4:26-27, “‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Yes, we can be angry, but we must deal with it in a way that does not honor Satan.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
-James 1:19

So, fellow Christians, let’s work to abide by God’s advisement in James 1:19.  When we take the time to listen to all sides of an argument or perceive options from all angles of a situation, we are able to consider the rationale of those who may have offended us or discover alternative methods of solving the problem.  When we consider our words before we speak, we are able to monitor our words so that we do not let vile or hateful words spew out and further contaminate our situation.  Lastly, when we are slow to wrath, we will have a peaceful mindset overall.  When we are slow to anger, we demonstrate our love for Jesus to others.  When we hold back temper tantrums, we will be happier in the long run.

Good day and God bless!

-Allyson 😀

 

 

 

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Featured image attributed to: Sobriety By The Grace of God ©

Drop the Double-Mindedness

Double-Mindedness: The Hannah Montana Syndrome of Christians

(I really don’t know why I keep referencing Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana in this blog, but hey, there’s a point to this.)

If you’re a Christian, then you won’t have the best of both worlds if you’re living a life where there is a constant clash between the spirit and the flesh.  In other words, if your spiritual life (your relationship with God) is vastly different from your normal life, eventually you’re going to run into some trouble.  Whether the trouble arrives in the form of guilt or a consequence for your actions, it’s God’s way of showing you that a change has to be made: ditch the double-mindedness and worship Him in all that you do, not just when you feel like it.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

-James 4:8

If you’re feeling like your relationship with God is struggling, consider how you have got your priorities lined up in your life.  It’s easy to say that God is your “number one”, but are you really living your life as if He is?  I’m as guilty as anyone, and I really have to work at continually focusing on God instead of giving in to everyday temptations.  Sometimes we’re going to give into temptations, because we’re merely human and will inevitably mess up from time to time; however, we can’t make teeter-tottering between sin and righteousness a habit.  Salvation isn’t a “I kinda believe in Jesus” thing.  Salvation is granted when you fully accept that Jesus died for your sins, and you actively work to turn from your old ways.  Therefore, if we are living with a double-mind, spirit versus flesh, it’s as if we’re walking on a tightrope where we’re trying to appease both God and our own sinful desires, and you can’t serve two masters.

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

-James 1:8

If we’re waking on a tightrope between God and sin, eventually we’re going to trip and fall.  Most likely we’re going to land in the land of sin, due to the fact that we were not making God our main priority from the beginning.  As the verse above states, a double minded person is unstable in all of their ways, meaning that they are going to make a mess of themselves if they don’t pinpoint their focus to the only One who can help them out:  God.  Remember, one step towards sin will lead you closer to sin.  On the other hand, one step towards God can cleanse you from your sinful past, and as long as you continually make an effort to run to His arms with each passing day, you can avoid the tightrope for good.  You won’t fall as long as you let God catch you.

Good day and God bless!

-Allyson 😀

The Non-Hippie Way of Finding Peace

Why should I worry?

Why should I care?

I don’t know if many of you know this, but I’m a Disnerd.  For those of you who don’t know what that means, I become a huge nerd when I start talking about anything Disney related.  I have at least a dozen favorite Disney movies, ranging from oldies like The Sword in the Stone to newer films like Tangled and Lilo and Stitch.  A side-effect of my obsession with the wonderful world of Disney is that I fall in love with the soundtracks as well.  One of my all-time favorite Disney songs comes from the adorable 1988 movie, Oliver & Company, where a street-savvy dog named Dodger (played by Billy Joel), dances around New York City singing a song entitled “Why Should I Worry?”.

 

As you can see, the scene above is pretty epic; however, we as humans cannot find peace through obtaining street savoir-faire like Dodger.  So, how can we possibly obtain peace in this chaotic world?

Jesus Christ

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
-John 14:27

Jesus tells us plainly in the book of John that He gives us peace, and that we shouldn’t feel worried or afraid of the things to come.  We obtain peace through Jesus Christ by accepting Him as our Savior.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He washes away our sins, and we stand as a new person before Him.  Peace is ultimately found by continually seeking Jesus, reading God’s word, and praying.  Nevertheless, those things are easier said than done if we are going through perilous times or hardships.  So, when we’re in a desperate situation where there seems as if there is no hope, how can we clear our minds of anxiety?

Faith

Yes, faith.  It’s one simple little word bursting at the seams with meaning.  The truth is, a lot of the time we’re not going to look to Jesus or God for help as our first instinct.  Society tells us that we are to act independently, and that we should not rely on faith in our “mythical father in the sky” (insert eye-roll here at that vastly overused description) to get us through hard times.  As Christians, we have to train ourselves to seek God’s guidance in everything that we do, because we are dead-set on trying to fix everything on our own.  But we can’t.  Some things are just out of our control, and we need something or someone bigger than ourselves to solve our problem.  The only being that has the ability to solve the seemingly unsolvable is God.  The only way to rid yourself of overpowering anxiety for the unknown outcome is through faith.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
-Romans 5:1-5

 

So then there’s the question:

“How can we show our faith in God?”

Simple, old chaps.  We talk to Him through prayer.  We read our Bibles.  We obey His commandments.  I probably sound like a broken record as I know I’ve repeated these three instructions like a mantra in previous blog posts, but this is what He calls us to do.  Most importantly however, we have to put our faith to the test.  When something comes our way that makes us question our reliance on God, that’s when we must rise up to the occasion, pushing our faith to extreme lengths.  God doesn’t help people who doubt Him, nor does He help people who choose to not acknowledge the blessings He has in store for us. God rewards people who have faith in Him, that’s it.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
-Hebrews 11:6

Whether you’re worrying about a tough exam coming up, a difficult game where your teammates are relying on you to perform well, or a terminal disease, having faith in God will give you peace.  As Romans 16:20 states, the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  Whatever Satan is throwing at you can never be bad enough that God won’t be able to fix it.  Life is not going to be easy, for worldly people nor Christians. Christians don’t live in a bubble that protects them from hardships; we go through tough times just like everyone else.  The main aspect that sets Christians apart from the rest of the world is that we rely on God to solve our problems.  Reliance, or faith, in God and His promise through Jesus Christ is the only thing that keeps me going, and the only source true source of peace.  Worrying for the world is petty, whereas maintaining faith in God is freeing.

 

Be free in faith my friends!

-Allyson 😀

 

 

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Image attributed to: @littlethingsaboutgod

We’re Not Called to be Perfect

As much as I don’t care for Miley Cyrus,
I have to give her credit for the song “Nobody’s Perfect”…

There are currently an estimated 7+ billion people on Earth.  Out of those 7+ billion, in addition to everyone that has passed away since the beginning of mankind, only one person could truly be called perfect.  That perfect person was not Mother Theresa, the Pope, or Beyonce (yeah, there are people that actually think that XD ).  Those people, even added to the possible thousands of others who have been considered perfect, cannot live up to the one and only perfect standard that is Jesus Christ.

“…because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth…”
-1 Peter 2:21-22

As Christians, we are supposed to model our behavior after Jesus,  but how can we do so when Jesus is  flawless?  The truth is, we can’t.  Humans, and yes, that includes Christians, are flawed.  Even people who are born again through the salvation of Jesus Christ are going to backtrack, tread through the muddy waters of sin, and wallow in the aftermath of those actions.  It’s absolutely impossible for any mortal being to live a pristine life without sin from the time of their birth until the time God calls them home; however, that’s not what He has called us to do.  God calls us to be like Jesus, but not Jesus.

We can’t be perfect, but we can do our best to follow God’s guidelines 🙂

God’s Guidelines, straight from the Guidebook itself:

  • “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” -Colossians 3:12-14
  • “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” -Ephesians 4:32
  • “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:19-21
  • The Ten Commandments: (Exodus 20)
    1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
    3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
    4.  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
    6. Thou shalt not kill.
    7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    8. Thou shalt not steal.
    9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    10. Thou shalt not covet any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

These are just a few examples of the guidelines God has provided for us to live by; the Bible features many more instances of instructions that are meant to guide our Christian walk with God.  Additionally, I know how hard it can be to attempt to live according to these standards, due to the fact that the world we live in is becoming more accepting of sin with each passing day.  Nevertheless, we are called to live according to the true teachings of God, not the world’s interpretation of them.   Therefore, if we truly want to please God and model our behavior after the perfect example of Jesus, we need to abide by God’s teachings rather than care what the world expects of us.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” -James 1:22-25

We’re going to slip up, we’re going to sin.  We’re going to question our faithfulness to God.  We’re going to beg God for forgiveness.  God’s going to forgive us, as long as we do our absolute best to model our future behavior after His teachings and turn away from our sin.  Be doers of the word, and turn away from the old man or woman you were that reveled in sin.  We’re not going to live perfectly, but we can do our best to strengthen our relationship with God and our Christian walk.

Sorry this post was a day late by the way! XD

God bless,

-Allyson 😀

 

 

 

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Featured Image accredited to: 2become on tumblr

Tales of Youth Group Discrimination

Alright guys, today we’re going to have story time!

Brace yourselves… it’s about to get real up in here…

 

Once upon a time, I was an awkward teen.  More accurately, I was a shy, insecure, awkward teen who was apart of my (now former) church’s youth group.  I attended youth group regularly during Sunday school hours and on Wednesday nights, participated in the studies, and helped out with a few fundraisers.  Our youth group was pretty small, with about ten kids at the most, if I’m remembering correctly.  Nevertheless, though our youth group was of little population, it did not prevent cliques from forming.  And naturally, as a result of said cliques, there was an unspoken “coolness” factor that we had to live up to; one, I might add, of which I did not meet the standards.  So, what did the coolness factor consist of?

The Coolness Factor:

  • Attending church camp
  • Attending youth events
  • Attending CCM concerts
  • Being apart of the praise and worship team
  • Listening to all of the contemporary Christian bands

It has already been mentioned that I was a shy, insecure, awkward teen.  I’ve also always been a homebody.  All of those ingredients coupled with the fact that I was never exactly “friends” per say with my fellow youth groupers due to the intimidation factor of the cliques caused me to not participate in most of the youth group outings.  From the time I was old enough to attend church camp, I was afraid of going because (this is going to sound absolutely pathetic, I know) I didn’t know if I could handle things without my parents for an extended period of time.  As for the youth events, though I eventually went to a Winter Jam concert and an event about purity, I was around 16 years old and my sister had since then aged up to join the youth group.  I was never apart of the praise and worship team because, let’s be honest, I can’t sing, and I wasn’t about to pretend like I could.  And, though I do listen to a few CCM artists these days, I hadn’t grown up listening to contemporary Christian music (my family prefers more traditional gospel music).  Therefore, I didn’t know why I should have to start then just to fit in at youth group.

So, what was so wrong with the cliques?

I could have talked to the kids in the youth group if I had really wanted.  The thing was, I didn’t feel welcomed.  Ironically, I had been a member of that particular church longer than the majority of my fellow youth group members, and I was the one who felt completely out-of-the-loop.  All it took was for one youth leader to notice my lack of participation in the youth events to create a bias against me.  This youth leader would constantly interrogate me in front of the others as to why I couldn’t/didn’t want to go to the events, sometimes rendering me speechless.  The kids eventually began to treat me differently; hardly anyone talked to me, while some of the more popular members made fun of me.  The preacher eventually caught on and played favorites with the kids who participated in all of the events, letting them basically do anything they wanted. In hindsight, both I and the other church members were at fault for creating a communication barrier of sorts, going completely against the teachings of the following verse:

 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous…” -1 Peter 3:8

All in all however, my main problem with the cliques (or youth group discrimination in general), was that though the youth group spent all this time and effort going places to worship outside of the church we attended, we hardly ever spent time studying God’s word during our biweekly meetings.  When I look back at the six years I spent in youth group, the most vivid memories I have involved planning out the details for Vacation Bible School, gathering ideas together for fundraisers, or listening to the rest of the youth group talk about sports teams.  For the most part, our study books and Bibles remained untouched.

The root of the problem with youth group discrimination, as well as all types of discrimination within the church, can be narrowed down to one obvious factor:  if we begin to leave God out, we’ll begin to leave everyone else out too.  Notice before how I said that the youth group I attended rarely ever dug into the Word of God.  I can honestly say that I had no spiritual growth whatsoever during those six years, due to the fact that I grew up within a church that glorified self while setting the Bibles on a shelf somewhere.  You see, there is a distinction between Christians and church members:  Christians will study the Word of God and approach all people in a Christlike manner, whereas church members just seek to perform actions of the church.  Now, I’m not saying that you are not a true Christian if you are an actively involved church member; however, if the actions you perform within the church don’t point to Christ, I’m calling you out dude.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” -1 John 1:7

Any reason we can conjure up for discriminating against someone within the church is a direct reflection of our need to turn our attention back to God.  As Stacy L. Sanchez puts it, “We aren’t called to be like other Christians; We are called to be like Christ.” Therefore, just as we shouldn’t have to conform to the world’s view of what a perfect Christian (which does not exist, by the way) acts like, we shouldn’t discriminate against other Christians who do not act exactly like us.  God created each and every one of us in our own unique way, and as long as we believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, do our best to abide by God’s commandments, and seek to do His Will instead of our own, there should be no room or desire for our own prejudices to take effect.

So, talk to that quiet kid in youth group.  Act as a brother or sister in Christ to the new couple at church.  Actively seek out fellow Christians, and build eachother up instead of building walls.

Goodnight and God bless!

-Allyson 😀

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