Category Archives: Believe

Praise and Wonder for an Almighty Father Creator

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At our book club we just finished studying “Becoming a Women of the Word” by Karol Ladd – a great book by the way! There were so many text references to look up during the study that I thought it would be a great thing to do in the holidays to go over some as I never managed to cover them all before. The one I started with was to look up Psalm 12, 96, 98, 99, 100 and notice all the times they speak of Worship and God’s Attributes. I have taken to writing out the whole Psalm and marking all the Worship and Attribute references. This helps me remember it better and as I write I find I have good focus to meditate on the words. Today reading Psalm 96 and 98 I had some thoughts to share:

These Psalms (96 & 98) are so full of praise, particularly praise to God who created the heavens and the earth. The Psalmist is bursting with admiration over creation: ‘The seas resound, the rivers clap, the fields are jubilant, the trees will sing, the mountains will sing…’

This really brought my thoughts to how much God’s awesome power and incomprehensible wisdom is displayed in creation. I often marvel at lifecycles, the ocean, the huge trees, the tiniest little creatures and the big blue sky. Just in my own yard I marvel at so much – a tiny seed given some water and soil sprouts into a beautiful healthy plant; the most beautiful birds in every colour coming to eat at the birdfeeder, and each breed takes it’s turn according to who seems to have most authority – it’s so interesting to watch; even the broody chook I have at the moment….she is created to do what she is doing. She will sit on those eggs, starving herself and forsaking all her own needs to protect her eggs. Even her call, her sounds are different than normal because that’s the voice she would use for her chicks. Then there are all the different plants and trees all flowering and blooming in their season. I recently heard that when the wind has finally blown all the flowers of the peppermint trees is when we can expect summer to really begin. And that’s just in my own yard! God has it all designed to work, to fit together, in harmony. It’s all good. He spoke and it was there. A scientist can study all his life to discover just some of the intricacies of creation and God….He spoke and it was.

And He continues to govern and uphold it. The plants, animals, weather patterns, tides, everything works perfectly and according to His Plan. These Psalms, along with many more, words full of praise and wonder go to the One who Created all things. Words of wonder for God who allows the Psalmist to see and enjoy it. It’s such a beautiful reminder for me that my praise and wonder too must go to our Awesome, Creator, God Almighty.

When watching nature shows I’m always in awe of the things I learn from those who have studied and captured close footage for us to see amazing details and facts of nature. I’m very quick to add while watching that it’s so sad they miss the Creator of it all, the One who should receive the Praise and glory – they miss the most beautiful thing. Yet I can see I’m guilty of not always properly acknowledging this either. In my admiration of nature I of course know that my God has all this in His hands but I could do so much more by stopping and truly Praising Him for it. If I take the time to admire and behold the beauty is one thing, but to acknowledge and give Praise to the Creator is so pleasing for Him to hear. He loves to hear the words off my lips expressing my amazement and awe as I sit on the beach in full admiration, or as I collect eggs from the chooks whose bodies are so incredibly created, or as I watch my plants grow so rapidly as they enjoy the water and sunshine, or as I sit outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun. I often think about how I can improve my prayer life in the way of spending more time praising and adoring my God and less time asking for things. After my readings and time in thought today I have just been encouraged and inspired how to do this.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name in all the earth.

Psalm 8:1.

Cathy V

Believe :: The good reminder of 1 Peter 3:4

 

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The world we live in places such a big emphasis on beauty as being what we see on the outside; our appearance. What we as God’s children need to remember is that He looks at what’s inside us: our hearts [1 Samuel 16]. This is where true beauty comes from. A previous post on Girls of Grace by Lillian  focused more on this topic so I would like to talk more about the second part of this text.

Paul says that “…a gentle and quiet spirit are pleasing to God” [1 Peter 3:4] Well, I know for myself this can be hard. Having an outgoing and some (most) times boisterous personality, I need this text as a good reminder for myself to remember what is important. It’s not important to be the one who everyone remembers as ‘talkative’ or ‘energetic’, or even as ‘funny’ and ‘exciting’.

a gentle and quiet spirit are pleasing to God.. 1 Peter 3:4

All these things aren’t necessarily bad, but what should be most important is that people remember us as being devoted to God and that they can see this in us. We are temples of His Spirit [1 Corinthians 6:19] and so should reflect this by showing fruits of His Spirit [Galatians 5:22]. As girls, we might often think of ways to ‘get noticed’ by guys. But really, if these guys are worthy and suitable Christian partners, they will be looking for a young lady who is in line with what Paul says here in 1 Peter!

Beauty as the world defines it doesn’t last. The makeup will wear off, the curls will fall out (or the straight hair will turn back to frizz in my case), and the clothes will need to be updated with the changing fashions. But the beauty Paul describes in 1 Peter 3:4 is ‘unfading’. Let’s not forget that!

x Renée

Truly Beautiful

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Dear Girls of Grace,

When you think of your own appearance, what are the first three words that come to mind? What is the first thing you notice when you look at yourself in the mirror?

For many of us, a typical day might go something like this… (I use the name Amber as an example, not referring to any specific person!)

The first thing Amber does when she wakes up in the morning is to look in the mirror at her reflection. She notices the lumps and bumps in places where they shouldn’t be, the splotchy skin, the dull hair and the cellulite. Every time she is reminded of these physical flaws Amber feels disheartened.

When Amber goes out, she finds herself comparing her own appearance to other girls around her. She notices one girl with an enviable figure, another with silky long hair and yet another with perfect skin and a lovely smile. She immediately feels inadequate and jealousy rises up within her. Her discontentment often leads her to feel unhappy…

Can you resonate with Amber? Is there anything about her story that reminds you of your own? I would be surprised (and incredibly happy for you!) if your answer to this question is no. We girls seem to have it in our nature to be unhappy with our own appearance and jealous of each other’s. It’s one aspect of our lives in which we can never seem to find contentment…

Being a Christian girl in a society that is so strongly focused on outward beauty is hard, and it’s incredibly challenging to not get swept up in ‘wordly’ ways of thinking. We all want to be beautiful and deep down many of us believe that if we were just that little bit more attractive we would be more lovable, accepted and just generally happier. We are often willing to work very hard to achieve the look we desire so badly; restrictive diets, excessive exercising, always needing to wear the latest fashion, wearing a lot of make-up… sound familiar?

Our negative thoughts and feelings about our appearance can become so frequent that they start to seem normal, but let me tell you that this is not how God intended it to be! Let me remind you of something very important, something that happened quite a long time ago and that should be the basis of every thought you have about the way you look: God created you in HIS image (Genesis 1:27). Do you know what God sees when He looks at you? He sees a creature He designed intricately and uniquely, with care, love and for a very specific purpose. When God looks at you, He sees a reflection of Himself! And that is exactly what our task is here on this earth, to be a living reflection of who God is (Ephesians 5:1). That means that we should be striving for a very different kind of beauty than the one I’ve been describing. The true beauty we should long for is not outward beauty that attracts other people to us, but inward beauty that attracts other people to God!

Inward beauty is shown through kindness, generosity, humbleness, a loving heart, peace, faithfulness, wisdom, patience, joy etc. These are the attributes that God (and other people) look for in you. God has given some of them to you as part of your personality and others may require a little more work with the help of the Holy Spirit. They make you a beautiful person, and they have far more meaning to our lives as Christian women than any physical attribute we may desire to have.

When we strive for outward beauty, we never find true happiness and fulfilment. There will always be something about our appearance that we’re not happy with, or someone who is more beautiful than us, and society’s ever changing and highly demanding standards can just never be met. At the end of the day we will find ourselves worn out and empty. Instead of striving to be loved by people, we can be assured that God’s love comes at no cost to us.

God loves you exactly how you are, and if He, the Almighty Creator of the entire Universe can do so, then what excuse do you have not to?! One of my favourite passages from scripture comes from Psalm 139:13-14. These verses perfectly sum up the message I want to share with you through this blogpost: “For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

I encourage you all to pray yourself and for each other. Pray that God will help you to see yourself in the way that He sees you! Pray for peace and contentment. It is not until you realise that you are exactly how God wants you to be, that you can begin to live a life that radiates inward beauty.

So next time you look in the mirror I hope the three words that come to mind are very different… I hope that you remember your Creator, and that you are a reflection of His image.

Loved, Worthy, Beautiful.

Lillian x

Believe :: Filling our Minds

What consumes our mind

I was doing my routine check of Pinterest during my coffee break and this little quote came up on my feed. It was something I needed to hear but something so simple that put everything into perspective for me.

How often do we let out minds be consumed with anything but God? How often do we think of the future, our worries, our questions and our fears; or even just thinking about unholy things, watching movies or shows that are not wholesome or reading things that don’t honour God? I will often be thinking and questioning why I am single, why I am struggling to find work as a designer, why I struggle with anxiety. But by doing this I am allowing my mind to be consumed by my desires and my worries instead of filling it with love and passion for God. We quickly get caught up in life; filling our time with daily tasks, going to bed so tired that devotions seem futile, barely making time all day to spend quality time with God. And then we question why we feel like we are lacking spiritually or are not feel growth in faith and knowledge. We wonder why we feel distant from God or have less joy in our lives.

But I can tell you this, if we spend our days thinking of God, talking about Him, talking to Him and doing our tasks for Him, we will feel our faith grow and we will feel closer to Him. We will feel less anxious and more willing to accept what God has set on our path. So I encourage you today and every day to think positively and to consume your mind with God.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

Roslyn x

Tears :: God’s Gift

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Over the last year I have cried many tears, to the point that sometimes I can’t imagine there could be any more.

I’ve at times been embarrassed as I seem to be crying ‘yet again’. However, recently I read something which made me realise my tears are a gift from God!  

We can have tears of anger, hurt, grief, and mercifully: also tears of joy at times. Amazingly, studies have shown tears may be the body’s mechanism for flushing away harmful chemicals produced during stress. I’m not sure on the validity,  but I do know there is therapeutic value in having a ‘good old cry’! You don’t have to just grin and bear it!

Tears are God’s gift to us, His children. When we cry, we allow our bodies to function according to God’s design and it is one of the ‘perks’ He offers to relieve our stress.

It has been said that God will accept a broken heart, but He must have all the pieces. As he stitches those pieces together the moisture of tears softens and makes flexible his strong thread of healing in our lives. Sometimes people who weep unashamedly are the same ones who live and love with their whole heart and soul.

Some may find it hard to feel happy or sad, perhaps needing to remain ‘stoic’. Sometimes letting yourself cry is the scariest thing you’ll ever do. And the bravest. It takes courage to face the facts, stare loss in the face, bare your heart and let it bleed. But it can help cleanse your wounds and prepare them for healing. God will take care of the rest.  Tears can create streams in our deserts. Yes, its okay to cry!

Those who sow in tears, shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth in weeping, bearing seed for sowing. Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing.  Psalm 126:5,6

Anonymous x

Hymn 48 :: Our guide to feeling at peace

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Have you looked at Hymn 48 lately? Have you sung it? It is truly an eye opening song, with a lot of comfort and grace poured into it. It is such a good reminder to us daily, and I challenge you to pick up your Book of Praise and have a look at it. Take in those words and take it upon yourself to heed the advice given.

I am an anxious person, it is something that I have come to realize and work on constantly to trust more in God. But this hymn, especially verse 2, highlights why we must not be anxious; why we would be far better off if we stop our worrying and instead trust in God. When was the last time you felt more calm when you were anxious? See what I mean, anxiousness is the opposite of calm, so how could it make you feel better to worry? But if we put our worries aside and have faith in Him, God will comfort and calm us for He “will never those disown who put their trust in Him alone.” (Hymn 48:4)

Let go of your worries, and trust God and His plan for you.

Love Roslyn x

Believe :: Psalm Sixty Two

Find Rest

A sermon on Psalm 62 was exactly what I needed to hear last Sunday morning.

With our lives often caught up in worry, stress and busyness we forget to find rest in God alone. We might struggle to be at peace when we are worried about what the next step is in our lives, when we are struggling with sickness, or when our lives become too busy to just stop and think. But we can find this rest if we trust in God alone. To overcome stress and worry and to find true rest we need to pour out our hearts to God in prayer. He wants to hear our fears, our worries, our troubles and our struggles. It doesn’t mean the fears or struggles will go away, it just means we are putting our full trust in God so we have the strength to deal with them. When our hearts are centered on God and when we trust only in Him our souls will be at rest.

Larissa x