Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections on 2015

2015 was a year of new experiences. It was year of some good times. It was a year of difficulties and lessons learned. 
2015 was one of those years that helped to mold and define me more as a person.

2015 showed me these things:

1. There is a lot of hate, pride, murders, and materialism in this world, but....
There were many times this year that I felt as if I were losing my faith in humanity. I would see all the things people would say or do to their fellow man. 
I also saw many of my Brothers and Sisters come together pray for a young man with cancer. They prayed for the family, friends, of a woman who had been murdered. They prayed for a little boy under that woman's care who had been kidnapped. Who, thank the Lord, was found safe. 
 I saw people pray for a family who lost their child too soon. I  saw people "paying it forward". I saw a photographer giving people's stories to the world. They helped us become more empathetic and understanding. I saw the generosity of our community to my foster sisters on Christmas. Many came together to pray and help a  world  in turmoil.
I have  to remember that the best thing I can do is pray. Pray for the people being hurt. Pray for those doing the hurting. 
Change starts with me. I need to take the opportunities to do good and speak up about the Gospel. I need to take these opportunities and not look the other way.
In 2016, one of my resolutions is to reach out and do good at every opportunity. If I want to love as Christ loved, I must to be willing to humble myself. I must become a servant.

2.     Perfection is Impossible. 
In the Jan-May semester this year, my grades were less than desirable. After the semester was over, I felt horrible. I began to doubt myself again because college has been difficult for me. I was determined to do well, and was heartbroken to hear my final grades for that semester. 

My family and friends reminded me that it was going to be OKAY. They reminded me that my grades don't define me. Sure, I messed up. But I learned what I can and can't do as a college student. As a result, my grades this past semester were ten times better. 

The only thing I can do is my best, and to keep strive to push the boundaries of what I think is my best.

In 2016, I want to stop being afraid of mistakes and embrace them. I want to use them to be better than I am now. 

3. Life is so Fragile.

So many things, including my Grandfather's passing, made me take a hard look at how I was spending my time. How much good are we doing for the world? Are we spreading the Gospel? Are we allowing fear to hold us back? What is holding us back from spending more time in prayer or in God's word? I want to stop looking for excuses why I don't have time or can't do these things. 

In 2016, let's do more good for the world. Let's love more instead of talking bad about others. Let's study God's word more and pray more. 

4. I Want Christ, not our society's Americanized version of Him.

Materialism. Obsession with politics and parties. Comfort. I want to have those removed in my daily walk with Christ. I want to look at scripture and actually see what He says without them. I want no part of this cheapened "Christianity".

In 2016,  I just want to live the way God intended-my eyes on Him. I want my first thought to be to serve Him when I wake up. I want His word to guide my steps. Not our society's mindset.

5. I Don't Want to Be Held Back by Regrets and Anger

I am sure all of us have regrets we can't seem to break away from,  and memories we can't erase.
In 2016, I don't want my focus to be on the past. I don't want it to be on everything I have done wrong. I want to keep moving forward and let these regrets go.

This year, and the past few years have taught me some difficult lessons.  I have survived another year. Lord willing, I will have another. Each year, each month, and each day is our opportunity to do good. This time is God's gift to us. Are we using it wisely? Are we really giving Him our all? 

Tonight I will bring in the New Year singing with my brothers and sisters in Christ. That is how I want to end every year, and start every year. God brought us through it, and He will be with us through another one.

May God bless you in the New Year. I also pray that you will seek Him with all your heart!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Have we Lost the True Meaning of Modesty?

What is modesty really about?
It is an important question that needs answering.  I believe that the main purpose of modesty is being pushed to the back burner. Nearly every lesson I have heard  uses this as the main argument for modest dress: “Women, if you don't dress modestly, you will make men lust!”  
First, let me emphasize that I believe in modesty. I believe it is important. However, we have made lust the forefront of the issue. Which, it actually isn't.
I do not claim to fully understand how my brothers struggle. I am also not denying that modesty helps them out some with this sin. 
Which leads me to this: the main reasons for modesty are not because of lust.
So, the big question is this: What does the bible say about it?
“…likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” (1st Timothy 2:9-10.) (emp. added.)
 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1st Peter 3:4-5.) (emp. added)
In 1st Timothy it says for clothing to be “respectable”. It is to have “modesty” and “self-control”. The Greek word for “respectable” in this verse is the word Kosmios. This word means “Orderly and virtuous”.  
I looked up definitions for “modesty” and “self-control” as well. These words are saying that our clothing doesn't need to be super flashy. Clothing can be immodest by either wearing too little, or even too much. 
God expects us to dress in a tasteful way. A way that makes sense with how you are trying to live. Modesty allows our works and hearts to speak louder than our dress and appearance. That is the biggest reason behind modesty based on scripture. 
Here is why lust is only a small part of the equation.  Even if pants aren’t tight, you can still see the shape of a woman’s legs or behind. Skirts can reveal the outline of a woman’s hips. Some skirts reveal calves. Lots of men find legs sexy, even if women are covered to the knee. Some women are so blessed up top, that no amount of coverage can make their breasts non-existent. Often times, the female form itself is just enough, no matter how well-covered. Some women have very curvy figures that are difficult to hide.  Hey, some men even find modest dress sexy. 
It is impossible for women to figure out every little thing that could make a man lust.  It varies greatly from man to man. I don't think God intended for women to bear that heavy of a burden.
Modest dress is only an aid-not the answer-to lust. That is a whole other topic in itself. We need to remember the MAIN reasons for dressing modestly: 
1. Allowing our focus to be on developing our virtue and relationship with God over appearance. 
2. To allow our works and our hearts to speak louder than our outfit.
We must be careful how we tread with this issue. Too many girls have been given the idea that their bodies are bad.When we make this issue mostly about lust, many girls begin to see their bodies as something to be ashamed of. If we aren't careful, can give them the false impression of why God wants us to be modest in the first place. 
To conclude, if you can keep those standards in mind, it should make it easier to know what God has in mind for dress.