Pure Hearted

by Nancy Bentz

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." ~ the prayer of David in Psalm 51:10 ~

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
~ the prayer of David in Psalm 51:10 ~

What shames, my heart?

Say not that smog shall forever be the air you breathe;

Pray Holy Spirit’s gale-wind breath upon you once again.

What ails, my heart?

Recite not all your troubled ills in hopelessness of soul;

Forget not all His benefits for they are daily.

What shadows, my heart?

Believe not that sorrow and mourning shall never flee away;

Surely the light of dawn chases the dark of night.

 What tempts, my heart?

Resistance is not futile when you are guarded;

See the enemy flee at the sight of God’s gleaming armor.

What soils, my heart?

Not for naught did His blood spill its cleansing power;

Settle the matter with the Lord your God: see red like scarlet become white as snow.

Take heart, my heart!

The One who first created you remains Creator still.

Creating again where what once was, now is not;

Renewing what remains, from feebleness to strength.

Pure hearted, my heart!

Washed by Love, now transparent, clean and clear;

You shall see God.

Scripture references: Acts 2:2; Psa. 103:2; Isa. 51:11; I Cor. 10:13; Ecc. 4:12; Prov. 4:23; Eph. 6:13; James 4:7; Isa. 1:18; Matt. 5:8

Nanc

photo credit: Jo Christian Oterhals /flickr.com/photos/oter/5299825175

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Praying for the Love of Your Life

praying for your future husbandBy Emily Miller

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I want to discuss the topic of how teen girls can pray for their future husbands.

I can remember when I was younger, making Valentine’s Day cards for my family and friends. It was so much fun to hand them out, and get them back in return. I can also remember dreaming about who my Mr. Right would be…..

What would he look like? What would his name be? How many children would we have?

From a very young age, I have also prayed for, “the love of my life”.

Some may think that it’s too young for teenagers to even begin to think of marriage. However, if it’s approached with the right frame of mind and our thoughts, wishes, and hopes are taken to the Lord in prayer, it can be beneficial to everyone.

The following is a list of ways that you can start to pray for the love of your life.

  • First off, when a teenager prays for her future husband, she should not pray with the expectation that she will absolutely be married in the future. No one but the Lord knows what our future holds. “Not my will, but yours,” is a great statement to include when one prays for her husband, as well as for anything and anyone else. This keeps us in the mindset that God is ultimately in control in our lives, and that it is up to him to decide if we are to eventually marry or remain single.
  • Secondly, we can pray for our future husband’s purity. When we do this it can ultimately help keep us pure mentally and physically as well. When we pray for our future husband’s purity, we can also be praying for our own as well. This can help keep us spiritually and personally motivated to save ourselves for our wedding night. With all the temptations out in the world today when it comes to purity, it can be hard to really be dedicated to staying pure for the person you eventually marry. Having a little extra motivation and assistance through prayer can really help.
  • Thirdly, you can pray that God will mold both you and your future husband into the people he wants you to be for each other and for Him. Marriage was designed to provide humans with companionship as well as to further His kingdom. However, in order for this to be accomplished, we must allow God to mold us and shape us. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (NIV).
  • We can also pray for our future Mr. Right’s spirituality. It is increasingly becoming harder and harder to be a Christian in the world today. It can be really hard to lose sight of God and question our faith with all the lies Satan is spreading. Because of this, our future husband, as well as ourselves, can use all the prayer we can get.
  • Finally, we can pray for our future partner’s health and well-being. We really don’t know what he could be facing as we pray for him. When you finally do get married, you may just discover that you were praying for God to protect your husband physically right when he was going through a difficult time in his life.

There are so many ways we can pray for our future husband. God intended marriage to be Christ-centered, pure and holy. The main way we can keep marriage like this is to pray for our future husbands, as well as ourselves, in the key areas listed above.

All for Him,

Emily

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Saying NO to the Little Things Makes It Easier to Say NO to the Big Things

By Angie Ryg

The eighth graders were just getting back from the ski trip.

“How did it go?” I asked them, including my daughter who was on the trip.

“It was awesome!” “It was so fun!” “It was cold!” “The snow was so pretty!” The replies came with happiness and excitement.

“Did you guys go on the Black Diamonds?”

All the boys answered yes, but Cade.  Cade was a confident boy who was well liked and kind.

I looked over at him and asked, “Did you go on the blue ones?”

He shrugged his shoulders a little and said, “Yeah, I told them I didn’t want to go on the Black Diamonds because I didn’t want to get hurt.”

Saying NO to the Little Things Makes It Easier to Say NO to the Big ThingsDriving home in the car, I asked my daughter if any of the boys were teasing Cade because he didn’t try to do the Black Diamonds.

 

 

She said the other boys did a little, but then they stopped and ended up joining him.

“We all had fun together,” she said.

And in that moment, I was able to share how the simple act of one person not wanting to “follow the crowd” brought the others all back together.

Now, it wouldn’t have mattered if Cade went on the hard hills.  He probably would have been fine, but that fact that he could stand up to his peers and tell them “no” was great practice for a situation that might come in the future when the activity is not one that is good for him – drinking, drugs, vandalism, cheating, gossiping, and any other sin that the enemy will tempt us with.

There will be many harmful things that we will need to say “No” to in this life:

“No” to making fun of a friend who dresses differently

“No” to talking about someone who is not as good at something as we are

“No” to posting that comment that might hurt someone

“No” to dressing in immodest ways

“No” to thinking that what we want is so much more important than others’ feelings

When we say “No” to these things, we are also saying “Yes” to following Jesus.  I pray that my life and my daughter’s life will be an example that others will see, so that they want to come along on the hill with us and follow Jesus.

Has there been a time when you remember saying “No,” and it kept you from harm?  Please share that time to encourage others in this journey of staying the course for Jesus.

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Daring to be Truthful (part 1)

By Shannon Ethridge

Truth or dare. You’ve probably played this game with girlfriends at a slumber party, or perhaps been warned by your parents not to play it at all. It’s a game where you agree to do anything another player dares you to do, regardless of how embarrassing or disgusting it may be, or else to tell the absolute truth in response to a particular question, regardless of how private or humiliating your answer may be.

As a young girl, I usually chose the dare because I didn’t want to answer the questions they’d ask, such as: Who do you think is the cutest boy in school? How many boys have you ever kissed? How far have you ever gone with a boy?

Sometimes the truth hurts, and it’s much easier if we can keep it hidden. As a matter of fact, sometimes the secrets we harbor are so painful that we don’t want to face them at all. We assume that these secrets will go away if we don’t think or talk about them with anyone. But the opposite is true. Shameful secrets fester like a splinter in a finger, and it’s much better to name the secret and to let someone help us remove it from our lives so the wound will heal.

Let me tell you about a few girls who are finding this out the hard way…

Molly’s Private War

Molly’s secret struggle began when she stumbled upon a pornographic website and later chose to stumble onto it again…and again…and again.

I feel so bad, not just because of what I’ve looked at, but also because I exposed two of my very best friends. I’ve tried very hard to forget what I saw, but I feel dirty and guilty, and I’m sure they do too.  I don’t want anyone else to find out, because I know that they would be disgusted and disappointed in me.

 

If Molly had known how addicting pornography can be, I’m sure she would have avoided it altogether. If the temptation to look at pornography has become a problem in your life, know that you can break free by simply starving your appetite for it.  Whatever you feed grows.  Whatever you starve dies. 

Lauren’s Personal Battle

Lauren attended a sexuality conference when she was in junior high and made a pledge to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. Now in high school, she is disheartened by the choices her friends are making and can’t help but wonder if it’s realistic for her to maintain her pledge.

I went to a dance at my school and most of my friends were freak dancing, moving around like they were having sex with their clothes on, and doing nasty stuff with each other—girls with guys, girls with girls, anything goes. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun, and they kept telling me to lighten up and join the party. The girls who don’t seem to have a problem with it are really popular with the guys. I try to remind myself that they are popular for the wrong reasons, but sometimes I wonder if I’m being too prudish and am missing out on all the fun it seems that everyone else is having.

Like Lauren, you may feel all alone in your desire to live a life of purity, and perhaps you are wondering if it’s even possible. Don’t be discouraged. It is possible, but only with God’s help and a heart of surrender to Him.

Emma’s Secret Struggles

Emma felt very insecure in her early teens and believed something was wrong with her because guys never seemed attracted to her. Even though she had good relationships with her parents, she wanted to be pursued by a young man. In order to make herself look more like the popular girls at school, she started dieting and exercising feverishly to lose weight.

It didn’t take long for my weight loss obsession to turn into a serious eating disorder. I felt desperate for boys to notice my slender body, and I craved compliments like crazy. When a guy did compliment me, it puffed me up with pride and I felt like I was really something. I would hang around him more as some sort of “payment” for the attention he gave me as well as a “security deposit” so that he’d keep the compliments coming.

Over the next three years I got into a couple of relationships that I thought were serious, but the guys weren’t so serious. I gave these guys all I had, including my body, but eventually I got dumped for the next girl. Every time I experienced another breakup, I wondered what was wrong with me. Why didn’t he want me anymore? Was I not attractive enough? Was I still too fat? Abusing my body and giving it away was how I tried to get the attention and affirmation I wanted from a guy, but what I got was never enough.

The battle to be thin enough, as well as the battle to get your emotional needs met by any boyfriend, can seem like a never-ending one. If you’ve found yourself craving a relationship so much that you engage in behaviors you are not proud of, I’m glad you’ve chosen to visit this blog.  In my coming posts, I’ll try to help you gain a healthy balance between your natural, God-given desires to be loved and your ability to avoid sexually tempting situations.

(to be continued…)

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s BattleEvery Young Woman’s Battle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just Move Forward!

By Ginger Ciminello

Confession: One of my biggest fears for as long as I can remember has been making a decision outside of God’s will. I think it paralyzed me for years. Sometimes it still does. I have prayer journals filled with the like:

Lord, I am asking for you to speak clearly about the direction of my steps. My life is moving after you… wherever I am. Please show me the steps I should take. But what if I can’t hear you? I feel like I can’t hear!! I’m afraid of staying, but I’m questioning my motives for going. What do you want from me? I want that answer. Show me where I should go… India, Uganda, Bolivia, Peru, Texas, Right here? Housing situation? Roommate? Stay put? Plan for the future? Prepare for transition?

Can you hear the desperation and fear in my requests? Although I was coming to God in prayer, I was still terrified that somehow I would miss Him. Rather than moving forward (here or there) in confidence, I clung to my square of carpet and declared, “I’m not going unless you tell me specifically where and when to move forward.”

God used my dear friend Adrianne to challenge me in my moment of fear. She wrote this to me in an e-mail: God is drawing all things together under Christ, and our part is to pursue holiness and blamelessness in the midst. Ministry will happen in your life because you have already declared Christ as Lord and you live towards that end… so choose! God will close doors if he doesn’t want you there, but move forward.

Just Move Forward! by Ginger CiminelloI had forgotten that our God is constantly pushing us forward. Or as C.S. Lewis reminded us through Narnia, “Aslan is on the move!” 

Our God is moving and we would be wise to step in and join Him. The truth is that either God is powerful enough to direct and guide your steps . . . or He isn’t. I choose to believe that all power is His. So now my prayers have turned from the fearful, terrified fumbling to something more concrete.

Lord, I’m going to choose to step forward in this direction, believing that I’m joining you. If I’m wrong, please quickly hit me over the head with a frying pan of truth… whatever it takes for me to get the message!

It’s not poetic and it certainly won’t make it into a book of prayers any time soon, but it reminds me to keep the right perspective when I pray. God is greater than all of our fears.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

He can’t wait to hear from you.

Following,

Ginger

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