The Art Of Christian Living

Exploring & Sharing Life | Lessons | Experiences

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

It was Spring break and many students had already left, but Gina and Samantha decided to stay and make some money. On her way home from work, Gina learned that she was among a group of students whose scholarship was revoked.

She ran to her dorm room and shut the door. ‘No this can’t be happening. Why now, God? Please help me!”

Samantha had seen Gina rush in without saying hi.

“I’m sure something is going on with Gina, she’s not her usual self at all. I must check on her.”

Courage & Strength to Endure

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She found Gina sitting on the floor surrounded by darkness with only a tiny glimpse of light from the window. After 30 minutes of silence, Gina managed to say,

“My scholarship was revoked. I’m in my final semester, where will I get the money.  I just want to be able to support my poor mother after college but now all that seems impossible. “
Samantha hugged her, look, Gina, God did not bring you this far just abandon you.


Gina came from a hard-working low-income family. She is very passionate about social justice and moral values.

“Justice for Hailey”, “Right to Life”, “We want a Faith Counselor”

A few months ago, Gina and Samantha organized a peaceful protest on behalf of their classmate, Hailey, holding up signs in front of the university President’s building. Hailey was very depressed, and barely functioning after being mistreated by the counselors at the university.

Two days later, Gina received a warning letter from school administrators to stop causing a disturbance on campus. It was their right to demonstrate peacefully, though, so they continued for two weeks.  The president was so upset about the media attention that he threatened to pull their scholarships.

Courage to Stand still

After a couple of hours, Samantha called her dad who was a lawyer, and explained everything to him. Gina and Samantha gathered as much evidence they could get hold of along with other members of the protest.

Samantha’s dad, Mr. Jones, met with the college President to ask him to consider his decision. Yet, he refused to change his decision because he warned them before taking action.


They decided to meet with local newspapers and Gina narrated the whole story. The newspaper published the article, and students received much support around the state.

The administration reconsidered their decision. Gina and others got back their scholarship.

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The Moral of the Story

Life won’t always be easy just because you’re justified. When you persevere through it, God will show up. No situation or circumstance is ever out God’s reach. If God took notice of the sparrows how much more will be do for his beloved children. He will always fight for you through thick and thin, and no darkness is ever too dark for his mercy to reach.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Another lesson we can learn from the story is the need to stand up for others when we see them suffering and unable to fight for themselves. Gina, Samantha, and the rest of the members did not know that their actions could cost them scholarships, and other dreams. Yet, they stood for a person in need. If you fight for others, God will fight for you, too. No sacrifice is ever wasted, and the reward will come at the appropriate time.

Live your life courageously and remember you have a savior who knows even your deepest thoughts. Yet, he loves you and will do anything for your good. He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:33.

He also promised to be there for you until eternity. Therefore, be strong and take courage no matter your circumstances and situation. Your God is faithful and his promises are yes and amen.

Prayer

I pray that God will see you through from the valley to the mountain top. Just like he did for Gina, he will do it for you, too. Hold on to faith and fight the good fight. May God strengthen you and equip you for battle, and may you have the faith to entrust him with your battle.

Thank you for reading, and may God give you the courage to live a life that brings Him glory. Stay Blessed Always!

Related Posts

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/05/15/stay-courageous/



“A word after a word after a word is power.”–Margaret Atwood

A writer brings words to life, and those words have the power to elevate another life. A reader is invited into the writer’s world – familiar, comforting, inspiring, or encouraging. That power is why a Christian writer ought to pray and reflect upon his/her content to cause or create a Godly influence for his/her reader

According to John Piper “If you’re not praying that what you write will influence people it is because you don’t believe in what about you’re writing”

Indeed, Christian writers should seek to influence readers by pointing them to God. It is only God who can turn a word into a seed, and have it germinate to produce fruits. Yet often you find yourself in a dilemma.

For example, when I believe in a promise that hasn’t yet born fruit for me, I tend to find myself wondering “What if I convince someone to believe this promise and it does not come to pass as I say?”

But listening to this message from John Piper gave me a very insightful perspective on being a Christian writer. I never set out to become a Christian writer, but life is full of surprises and you never know what ‘life, dream, gift, calling, etc, is in store until you venture out.

It is not your duty to make it happen, but your influence can lead to strengthening another’s relationship with God or reassuring them of the promises of God.

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Qualities of Christian Writers – According John Piper

Whenever you write, highlight that God is better than anything else in the world, the path of sin is worse than anything else in the world, and make the path of righteousness look beautiful in spite of all the difficulties that the path of obedience might bring.

  • Writers should love people and have good intentions towards their readers
  • Writers should seek to glorify God in their writing by winning them over to God.
  • Writers should seek to show readers the goodness and love of God.
  • Awaken their readers’ souls to hunger for God and delight in Him.

If you discover a cure for a deadly disease will you hide it from loved ones in need or will you gladly share with them?  God is much more appealing than the cure because He is the creator of life itself. Therefore, a writer needs to seek, desire, and pray to influence his/her readers.

Words: Why Write

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  • You write for personal edification, to bring clarity to murky thoughts or situations.
  • To help universalize human nature and human struggle. When you express your experience a reader can find themselves in your story. Of course, that can either be good or not so good.
  • “You can make anything by writing.” –C.S. Lewis. Writing is a tool for creation and peacemaking.
  • Since writing is an extension of living, writing gives you a chance to live a full life by bringing the inside out and making an intangible tangible

Thinking Backwards as a Writer – John Piper

And when you start at the end, you think backward into other questions:

  • What does that mean for the kinds of words I use?
  • The kinds of sentences I use?
  • The paragraphs I use?
  • The lengths of things I write?
  •  The cultural illustrations I employ?

“Writers should utilize their influences carefully, while allowing the process of writing to open their own eyes, and shape their own souls”

As you begin to ponder upon these questions or implications, it is sobering to realize that you are on this planet to influence people. Everyone is an influence, so be conscious of what kind of influence you have on your readers. Pray for that influence and keep writing. Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this message inspiring to encourage to keep writing no matter what, whether you publish or let your writing showcase God’s glory. Stay Blessed Always!

Related Post

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/09/09/a-writers-influence/

Writing amplifies living
To live means to love people
And give God glory, the creator of all
Write to edify your soul, and bare the truth
See and feel what you’re saying
Let God’s glory be revealed in the midst
Arousing curiosity for His goodness
Meaning in life and the atonement for sin
Luring humans to discover the beauty of a righteous life
Though filled with many difficulties Yet, satisfies the heart’s void
That’s the power of your writing
Given to you for personal edification and encouragement of others
To bring growth, and development
And to cause spiritual awakening in the soul of a believer
Or stir the lost soul to find a loving savior and wonderful friend
Therefore, write without ceasing
But, let your writing be coated with prayers
And seasoned with grains of grace
In order to influence people for the greater good
So that earth may mirror the splendor of his majesty
To God be the glory, for great things he has done

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The Influence of a Writer

A writer’s influence is such an empowering tool can a writer can use for the greater good of humanity.

Prayer:  I pray that God will enlighten every writer to know that their purpose for writing should be love for others and giving God the glory. Paul encourages believers “Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 and also, “Do it all for the glory of God.” Amen.

Thank you for reading. Happy Wellness Wednesday. Happy writing to every writer out there, your writing has comforted many souls and encouraged despairing hearts without your knowledge. Keep writing to influence your readers and for personal edification, and growth. In my next post, I will write about “The Importance of a Writer’s influence” inspired by John Piper’s message. Stay Blessed Always.

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/08/28/a-glimpse-of-glory/

As a therapist in the making, I love helping people with mental health and I also understand the stigmatization, yet I do not post more about “How to overcome or to deal with such and such mental health often” because I care about the wellbeing of those that read my blogs. I feel responsible should their situation gets worse. It is a great dilemma that I face every day. How do I help people without contributing to the self-medication society? That’s why I love to use common themes such as “Love, Hope, Rejection, Encouragement, Perseverance, Faith, etc’ to instill hope in people to hold on and not give up, because everything that has a beginning also has an ending.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That being said, having tips alongside professional help can go a long way. Being proactive is a great spirit to have when dealing with emotional or mental health matters.

Stay strong and avoid self-medication as much as possible. It is a hard and long process, and no one can truly imagine what you’re going through because they’re not in your shoes. But their empathy and compassion can help you cope better.


Mental Health: Practical Help

Meditation: It is important because it can change your brain

Loved Ones: Surround yourself with loved ones, and encourage them to better understand you in your journey through psychoeducation

Music: Listening to music can help a great deal but be careful of your choice of music

Reading: Sometimes it is hard to focus when dealing with emotional or mental health problems but reading can help. Maybe 10 to 15 minutes per session spread through your day or week

Writing/Poetry: Expressing feelings and thoughts can be very useful. You don’t need to share, but take it out of your head instead of ruminating on it 

Exercise: Long-distance walking or running can help release natural dopamine. You don’t always have to go to the gym

Cooking: Preparing a simple meal boosts your confidence, which is very important when dealing with emotional and/or mental health matters. Sometimes doing something with immediate results is essential

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There are many more mindfulness and breathing exercises but you don’t have to overwhelm yourself activities. Do what makes you feel relaxed or calm without depending too much on self-medication because it causes more harm than good and doesn’t tackle the root causes.

Stay safe, and have hope that the best is yet to come, and God is always on your side no matter what.

Thank you for reading. Happy Wellness Wednesday. Stay Blessed Always!

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/06/23/devotion-rejection-does-not-define-you/

Reference

Harris, K. M., & Edlund, M. J. (2005). Self-Medication of Mental Health Problems: New Evidence from a National Survey. Health Services Research, 40(1), 117–134. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2005.00345.x

The things we take or do to diminish bad feelings actually increase them in the long run, or even in the not-so-long run. Marc Lewis Ph.D.

Awareness of emotional and/or mental health can be traumatizing in itself. You hardly have enough words to describe what’s inside your head or how you’re feeling. It is a very humbling situation, but remember you’re not alone.

If you carefully read the Psalms you’ll realize emotional or mental health problems aren’t new at all.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior, and my God. Psalm 43:5

Another truth about mental health is that neither your religion, social-economic status, nor even your educational background matter. Many suffer in silence and turn to self-medication to hide from the stigma or simply because they cannot afford professional care.

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Mental Health & Self-Medication

The term self-medicating is used when substances, drugs, or alcohol, are abused to mask symptoms of a mental health issue. American Addiction Centers

There are many more prevalent forms of self-medication such as eating disorder, sexual addiction, social media addiction, exercise, tv, etc. It’s important not to judge someone else’s addiction, but to understand them and get them help, because self-medication rarely deals with the root cause.

You can’t heal a wound without opening and cleaning it. You can apply all the bandages or medications you want but it won’t matter unless you dig deeper and clean it out.

We have tons of information on how to deal with different types of mental health disorders at our fingertips. Yet, why do so many people still suffer?  It is because there’s no one size fits all solution, and the root causes are not dealt with.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Stay safe, and have hope that the best is yet to come, and God is always on your side no matter what.

Thank you for reading. Happy Wellness Wednesday. Stay Blessed Always!

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/05/18/blogging-the-purpose-in-the-process/

Reference

Harris, K. M., & Edlund, M. J. (2005). Self-Medication of Mental Health Problems: New Evidence from a National Survey. Health Services Research, 40(1), 117–134. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2005.00345.x

I hope you’re all doing well
Life hasn’t been easy in many ways
It has been months of trials and tribulations
Hard to come by any piece of good news per se
Abnormal things becomes normal
And things we used to take for granted becomes luxurious
We heard many mixed feelings because of the information we received
From the different authorities
We’re performing a play except the director doesn’t say much
Directing our actions, emotions, and thoughts
Wondering when all this will be over
Even though we know that things will no longer be the same
Yet, a little sense of certainty is all we need


Amazingly enough you’re still pushing through
Just like the apostle Paul said
You’re being persecuted, yet, still stronger
Struck down, with many pains and discomforts but not destroyed
Embracing the resplendent spirit
Not giving up, and holding on to faith
Spreading love, and encouraging one another
That you’ll get through it because you’re more than conquerors

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash


I just wanted to check with all of you, and remind you that I’m always praying for each of you. Your emotional and mental health matters a lot. Stay connected to your source of life. Let’s recharge and refill, and keep pressing on.

Holding Up: Scriptures to Comfort you

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Thank you for reading. Stay Blessed Always!

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/07/21/devotion-comfort-in-times-of-trouble/

The world of imagination deep as humanity
Experience with words, art, painting and singing
Recreated with magical fingers
By co-makers rendering it to the naked human eyes
With poetic words, creative arts, and eloquent speeches
Showcasing the glorious display of the creator
Done not for purposes merely utilitarian or pragmatic
But with the sense of moving us into deeper wonder
And awakening our souls with amazement
That there’s more to life than food and drinks
Praise God for such an unfathomable world

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Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord. Psalm 150

Thank you for reading. Keep creating as you draw from the world of imagination. It is endless and God’s supply never runs out. As creators, we are co-makers with God. Happy creating, and Stay Blessed Always!

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2019/05/29/self-care-helpful-tips-that-can-lead-change-part-5/

Reflecting on the importance of approaching life with a spirit of Humility You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13 NIV

Once in a while, it is important to reflect on the importance of humility. Approaching life with a spirit of humility brings you closer to those around you and with God, who appreciates and exalts humbleness from his children.

Recently, I have been doing my daily devotional on humility, and I love this simple definition –“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis

A prideful heart cannot serve God because you cannot look down on others and up to God at the same time. Pride makes you exalt yourself above others, and even belittle them. His commandment says love your neighbor as yourself

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

Stop and simply ask God to help you live a humble life – “Heavenly father humble me”



Pride can hider you from being present in the presence of God – Drew Dickens

Reflect: What (feelings of) pride are you experiencing at this moment?
Consider how easily you talk about yourself?
Do you often think you’re better than others or are supposed to have accomplished more – There is a small difference between ambition and being prideful when experiencing such feelings. Pray that God will give us the wisdom to discern between moderate or harmless ambition and pride.

Humility: Breathing Exercise

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Take a slow, deep belly breath and ask your heavenly father to humble you

Be aware of each breath and allow it to remind you how little control you have. Each unique breath is given by God

The greatest among you will be your servant (Matthew 26:11)

People who lift themselves up be humble and people who humble themselves shall be lifted up (Matthew 23:12)


Refection: How did God Challenge in that reading

I was challenged by his unique approach to life, and greatness. In order for me to become a leader I must be willing to serve, to have a servant’s heart.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. John 13:14 NIV


How to Live a Humble Life: By Mother Theresa (The Joy in loving)

  • Speak as little as possible of yourself
  • Mind your own business and not other people’s affairs
  • Accept corrections, insults, injuries cheerfully
  • Accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked
  • Pass over the mistakes of others
  • Be kind and gentle even under propagation
  • Always choose the hard part

In conclusion, remember that we are God’s children, and his delight is for us to love, encourage, and admonish one another as we wait for the coming of Christ. Having a spirit of humility is important as well as striving for a successful life under God’s guidance. Let’s pray that God will teach how to balance ambition and spiritual growth as children of God. Remember that it is a process or marathon, and not a quick fix or sprint

Thank you for reading. This was inspired by Drew Dickens, the founder of ‘Encounter’. May God guide us in our journey of living a humble lifestyle, and loving others as we love ourselves. Stay Blessed Always!

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/06/01/mindful-ways-of-controlling-your-thoughts/ https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/17419-humbling-yourself-before-god

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Photo by Maximilien T. Scharner on Unsplash

Jerry and Jil were friends since childhood and lived in a small countryside town. One day they came across an elderly man in the woods. He lost one of his sheep and was anxiously looking for it.

Jerry, asked, “Hey, you seemed terrified, is there anything we can do to help you?” Mr. Cold replied, “I lost one of my precious sheep and it is my granddaughter’s favorite. I don’t know how to tell her… so, I’m worried, tired,”

Jil, saw Mr. Cold breathing heavily, and ran to help him sit on a log, offering him some water to drink.

The two friends went on to look for the sheep and found it wandering around the lake. Mr. Cold was very happy.

He thanked the boys and invited them over to his house for dinner with his visiting family. Jerry, and Jil accepted the invitation and this was the beginning of a new relationship. The boys became close with Mr. Cold and helped him out with his farm and animals.


Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

When Kindness Pays Off

One day, after their usual routine, Mr. Cold came to the boys and handed them the keys to his farm, and house.

It is all yours, I’m blessed to have you two in my life for the past two years. I am 92 years old, and I do not know the hour or day of my departure that’s why I wanted to do this today.

Speechless, yet full of excitement, Jerry and Jil gave Mr. Cold a group hug. Mr. Cold brimmed with joyful tears and thanked the Lord for bringing these two boys into his life.


The Moral of the Story

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Never underestimate what kindness can yield in return. I know that should not be our motivation for doing good, yet it is important to keep in mind. The world is on lockdown but it is still busy in some ways. We are all dealing with the current situation in the best ways we know, nevertheless, it is our duty as Christians to help out others in any way we can.

Jerry and Jil never knew that their act of kindness would replay them in such a way. They were just willing to help out, instead of exploring the woods. They gave up their own comfort to help someone in need.

Let’s not be buried in our circumstances and situations but remember to bless others with our words of kindness, encouragement, and hope. Many among us look strong and look like we do not need anything but undeath that façade many are crying for help and no one really knows. Be the champion and bless others. The best success in life is being there for others when they needed you. Of course, material possessions are an important blessing for we all know that not everyone can afford three meals a day even in America. The bottom line – do whatever you can to bless others “Because It Is More Blessed To Give Than Receive”

Thank you for reading, and be the blessing that you’re. Stay Blessed Always!

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2019/08/12/dont-ever-give-up-hang-unto-hope/

She only wishes to stands out
But bends to validation
All she desires is human applause
She grinds from sun down to sun up  
Just to receive the stamp

She was crowned with clout  
Received relentless admiration
From public squares with no flaws
Any challenge begun, she won the cup
They archived her feats as a champ

Now that she lost her route
The cheers ceased without hesitation
Her presence invites critical claws
She hears whispers cut off abrupt
She became the taboo of her camp

Her soul woke her out of doubt
And opened her eyes to her Maker’s vindication
Look, you’re qualified and condemned by no man’s laws
Don’t live by the standard of men, and be less corrupt
If humans validate you, you’ll find your bed in the swamp

But, take heart his blood already vindicated you

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

We Understand, yet we fall for it


No human validation is worth living for, yet we find ourselves craving it. Logic warns, but our emotions live for it.

Each day we stand before the court of man and present ourselves; did we dress well today, is our hair in style, do we sound normal, did we say right words, is it okay to pursue such and such dreams, etc. The list goes on and on.


Validation Steals


It takes from us more than it ever delivers. The constant urges to keep up and maintain approval eats up our emotional health and well being.

Not only that, but our dreams and goals also suffer in the process. For example, a social media influencer creates a persona they are expected to exhibit and any changes may risk the brand.

You hear some say, “she changed a lot and I don’t think I like her content anymore.” But life evolves and because of the validation we get from our created brands or personas we tend to fear to venture out and seek other opportunities that might be waiting for us. We risk stagnating if we avoid growth.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com


Your Validation Comes From God Only

No one has the power to stop you from becoming what you’re destined to become as long as you play your part. There’s always a part to play. Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). Action is between your belief and your receiving.

That’s why other people’s validation does not matter at all. Trust me, it is very hard not to seek or desire it. It satisfies the flesh and we are pleasure-seeking beings, but we need to remember the fruit of ‘ Self Control,’ Galatians 2:22

Work hard, trust God’s leading, and follow his instructions; then you’ll find good success. Lack of validation from people cannot stop you. You’re already blessed and highly favored by God.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1

Thank you for reading. Stay Blessed Always!

https://theartofchristianliving.blog/2020/07/22/growth-lonely-places/