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Friday, December 17, 2010

A Prologue (December 17, 2010)


I'm going to do a bit on sunrises vs. sunsets later.


Headed out to an outdoor skating rink with a bunch of friends.
Thank the Lord for the busy weekend.
Been listening to a lot of Air 1 radio. Let me tell you, they work wonders. 



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Era

My deepest apologies for not posting the other two articles. This month has been a too crazy for me and Darby to post any articles.

In fact, I would like to inform you all that I am officially a college student! I really don't want this to focus on me, but the fact is that I won't be able to have time to keep this running as I'm in college (I'm starting a semester early. In January). So with much remorse I am sorry to say that Bonded in Christ is coming to an end. :(

However, there is some silver lining. I'm going to turn this into a more personal blog where I will chronicle my adventures into the wonderful world of books! :)

Thank you all for all your love and support. Special thanks to Lauren, Darby, and Elizabeth, who came together from opposite sides of the country to help me out. I love you girls so much! :)

In all things, may you bring glory to God

-Belle

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All From God


I’ve always wondered how atheists celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I mean, it’s a good excuse to eat lots of food, but what does that day mean for them? Do they go around in a circle saying “thank you” to nobody in particular? Austin Cline, an atheist writer for About.com, answered my question in his article “Godless Thanksgiving: Do Atheists Have Anyone to Thank?”

There's a popular belief among some American Christians that the American Thanksgiving holiday is necessarily religious. Aside from the apparent desire to turn everything into an expression of their religion, the primary reason behind this seems to be the idea that the whole point must be to give thanks to their god - not any other gods, just theirs, thus making it a Christian holiday too. If this is true, then it makes no sense for non-Christians, or at least non-theists, to celebrate Thanksgiving.
…There are many people whom we should thank because of how they help us either live at all or just live better. A common thread in these cases is precisely the fact that it is humans who are responsible for that for which we should be thankful, so it is humans whom we should be thanking. At no point are gods involved; even if they exist, gods aren't responsible for that for which we should be thankful, so there is no point in thanking them. On Thanksgiving, don't waste time with prayers, poems about gods, or empty religious rituals…
Sad, right? But I’m afraid that it’s not just atheists who feel like they have a right to the good things they enjoy, apart from any god. Many of us as Christians have started to live like we deserve to have a nice suburban life with a happy family. We have a right to a good education. We deserve to enjoy this beautiful weather. We understand that we don’t deserve heaven or salvation, but a consistent job or a warm cup of coffee is a totally different matter.
Although different than grace that brings salvation, the good things we enjoy and talk about around the Thanksgiving table are nevertheless gifts of grace. We’re here. We’re living. We’re breathing. It rains. The sun shines. Few people call that grace though, because as Jeff Hutchinson, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, succinctly put it: “So few believe in common grace, because the human heart will not admit that a world without common grace is what we deserve.”  
In Psalm 53, David writes: 
The fool says in his heart, “‘There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
All of us have said "there is no God" in our hearts or have at least lived like it, making gods out of ourselves or our things. Nobody is good. All are corrupt. Nobody seeks God. But when man wasn't interested in God, God was pursuing us. Instead of wiping us off the earth, He poured out His wrath on His Son and poured out grace on us, His enemies. What we really deserve is instant wrath. Thus everything is an undeserved gift of grace from God. The good things in my life that I enjoy are totally undeserved, because I should be getting only wrath from Him. That's grace.  
So when you enjoy beautiful weather, good food, a free country, a good education, laughter, a warm house, don’t ignorantly believe that these are simply things you deserve. Thank the God who by His grace has given you this day.
-Lauren Reavely  

The Practical Life of Thanksgiving


         Being thankful is something that I think all of us struggle with. For some of us it’s easy to say something without thinking and not really mean it. For some of us it’s easy to think things without thinking. Obviously we all do both at some point. But, what is harder for you to control? For me, it’s what I think. I’m the kind of girl that won’t say something unless I’m asked about it or if I’ve had coffee. ;) So, most people think of me as “the quite one” that always has a smile on her face. But, my mind is FULL of unthankfulness and impatience. So, what can I do to be thankful? And not only on thanksgiving day but the whole year?
            Sometimes you’ll hear someone say, “When you think something bad... just stop.” But, as I’ve found out it doesn’t always work that easily. I like to think on the positive. So, instead of thinking “stop the bad thought”... think about starting the good. Yes, many times there is a bad thing said (or thought) and you need to ask God to forgive you for and remove it from your mind. But, sometimes there’s simply a loss of a good thought in your life. If you’re in love with someone, don’t you talk about them ALL the time? Not only that... but do you think about them ALL the time? It’s the same way for God. Think about Him, how amazing He is, His extraordinary love for you - a sinner!
            Philippians 4: 4-9 (English Standard Version) says this, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
            Be thankful for the difference God has made in your life, be completely in love with Him, think on positive things. Be the girl that people look at and wonder how you could be - not only happy - but at peace with your life and contented with what God has given you. God is amazing. If you are faithful and are thankful for what He has given you, He will bless you for it. As this quote says, “Live, Laugh, Love.”
-Elizabeth Morphonious 
            

Monday, November 1, 2010

November!!!! :)

Tis the season to be thankful

I would once again like to thank my incredible "team" for being so on top of the ball with getting in the articles in. I also want them to know that I appreciate the sincerity and humility with which they right.

With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away I thought it would be good to take a look at what true thankfulness means. I know it may seem a bit cliche to be talking about thankfulness at Thanksgiving, but the Lord has blessed us more than we can ever imagine. He gives us the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the breaths we take each day. 


So I have asked the girls to write about being thankful. They can write on what they're thankful for, why it is important to be thankful, anything that they can think of. If you would like to contribute don't hesitate to send your articles to the email under "Write For Us" on the main page.

God Bless you all.


"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do; Do it all for the glory of God." -Corinthians 10:31



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Making Absolutes


Once again, great job on the articles girls. :)

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is one of my favorite books. It is based on the story of Hosea, a prophet commanded by God to marry a prostitute. After Hosea married his wife, the prostitute, ran away from him and went back to prostitution. Hosea, obeying God’s command, went after her and brought her back. The prostitute continued to run away from him and Hosea continued to bring her back. In Redeeming Love the first time Hosea brings her back he is furious with her. How could she leave him and go back to her profession after he had rescued her, and clothed, her and loved her as a wife. The biblical story was an analogy of Israel. God was showing Hosea, and those who would read His word, of Israel’s continual lust after idols of gold, silver and wood and His continual restoration.

What is the first commandment?

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; Do not have any other gods before me.” –Exodus 20:2-3

Notice how this commandment starts. “I am the Lord your God who brought you…. Out of the house of slavery.” If you think that this was just intended for the Israelites who had been rescued from Egypt I’m sorry to say you are grossly mistaken. We are all slaves to our sinful desires, and yet God has rescued us. He has brought us out of our slavery. He has saved us from eternal damnation. No wonder he commands us to serve Him alone.

So then what is an idol?

My mother and I have discussed the meaning of an idol countless times, and we were able to boil it down to two simple points.

            An Idol is either anything that you are willing to sin to get, or anything that becomes your absolute.

I believe the first point is pretty self-explanatory. Anything that becomes more important than following God’s command becomes an idol. However let me expound on the second. When something is absolute it means that it is “free from imperfection” (Webster’s dictionary). I find my worth, satisfaction, and purpose for life in something that is absolute, as I should, and as should we all. Something absolute will never let us down or hurt us. However when we place a thing or person in that position of being absolute we are now finding out worth, satisfaction, and purpose from that thing; whether it be money, food, or appearance; even a husband or wife can become an idol. As Lauren said, idols can be good things, but if we make them the most important things in our life, if we think of them as absolute, then they become our idols.

When you think of a “modern day” idol what is the first thing that comes to your head? Money? Love? Power? While all of these can be idols, I don’t believe that the objects themselves are the ultimate idols but rather, they are “surface idols.” In order to check idolatry in our life we have to rid ourselves of the “deeper idols.” Tim Keller introduced this concept of surface idols and deeper (or heart) idols in his book Counterfeit Gods. Think of it this way:

When you’re pulling weeds you don’t want to just cut off the part above the dirt, you want to dig, getting your fingers dirty, to the seed of the and pull it out by it’s roots. If you just clip the weed above the surface you are only getting rid of it for a short while.

As an example: I have made a certain guy in my life my absolute. If I try to stop thinking about him or having feelings for him in an attempt to rid myself of the idolatry, the idol will pop up in some other form; either as a different guy or as my own appearance. While this guy is the surface idol, the deeper idol is the need to be loved. God’s love isn’t enough for me; I need to find it in others. This is the heart idol that I need to deal with and fight. Again I want to stress the fact that this guy is not wrong, and my feelings for him are not wrong. Rather what’s wrong is making him absolute.

If you want to know more about the difference between deeper idols and surface idols I would highly recommend Counterfeit Gods. It is a fast read, but it is the book you can’t just read once.

We will never be able to completely rid ourselves of Idolatry in this life. It is a part of our sin nature. Back in the garden Adam and eve were willing to sin to get what they wanted and so the first seeds of idolatry were planted. However, there is hope.

“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

God has provided us a savior that has overcome every area of sin. He has died for us, and it is because of Christ, our absolute sacrifice, that we are forgiven. God gives us the strength to slowly pull up the roots of our idols. The deepest sins are always the most painful to uproot. Just like when Aslan peels back the scales on Eustace, turning him into a boy again in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so the Lord peels back the deepest layers and deepest roots of our sin, rescuing us from the bonds of slavery and enabling us to spend eternity with Him; The Only Absolute.
(Yours truly) Belle Schuler, Oregon 










Not Of Wood Or Stone

Here is my problem. I bite my tongue repeatedly. Not only does this cause a minor amount of self-inflicted pain to said appendage, but also it is proof of a significant issue in my walk with the Lord. The Bible is chock-full of verses related to idols, and how we are to treat them. I get it. Do not bow down to a stick that has been carved to vaguely resemble Buddha’s third cousin once removed. However, what we fail to realize is that it is so much more than that. Idols are defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “A representation or symbol of an object of worship.” Anything, be it something we are bowing down to physically, or merely placing on a pedestal in our head, is an idol if we put it before the Lord.


For me, one of my subtler idols is this: men’s good opinion. “Should I witness to this surfer dude sitting next to me on the plane? I think we have talked about flip flop brands long enough. Nah, he’d probably think I’m really weird.” “Should I speak up when someone says religion is a crutch? I don’t want to come across as crazy.” It goes on and on. We are far too concerned with our good name, and reputation. Jesus said “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” 


If you don’t have children of the world hating you, you’re doing something wrong. You’re not taking enough of a stand, you’re not remembering the Lord’s wonderful mercies to you. When you do catch sight of all He has done for us, serving Him and living wholeheartedly for Him will be easier. And by easier I mean you will want to do it more, not that life will be fruit loops and rainbows. We are fighting a battle, and if we lose focus of whom our worship goes to, we’re going to lose. When you go to heaven, do you want to be told “I never knew you. Depart from me, evildoer!” or “Well done, thy good and faithful servant. Enter into thy reward.”? The choice on paper is obvious, living it out is harder. But I encourage you to press on and keep the faith.


-Darby Sproul, Florida

Monday, October 18, 2010

Finding Your Identity

Hello girls, 



My sincere apologies for the delay in articles this month. I have been pretty sick the past week, and life has continued to go careening by. The final three articles are finished and I will be posting them intermittently between now and the next two weeks. 
Belle

Idolatry is one of the most subtle sins. “I go to church, am involved in ministry, work hard at school, love my family. There aren’t possibly any idols in my life!” That’s the lie of idolatry. More often than not, idolatry grows out of a love for something good. Idolatry is when we make a good thing an ultimate thing.

Tim Keller defines an idol as, "Anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give."  An idol is anything, even a good thing, that steals your heart away from being all for Jesus. This doesn’t mean that if you spend more time on something other than reading your Bible or if you think about something more than you think about God that you’ve necessarily made an idol. Maybe how you’re spending your time and where your thoughts are going is an indicator of what your idol is, but not necessarily. Let me give you an example. If I spend 5 hours on school but only 30 minutes reading my Bible and praying, that doesn’t mean that school is necessarily an idol. If I think about a project on and off for 3 hours and only think about God a few times within that hour, I haven’t necessarily made that an idol.


An idol is anything that competes for first place in your life, anything you find your identity in. Your identity is anything that makes up who you are, defines you…if you achieve or have that one thing, then you have security and supposedly satisfaction. For me, it’s easy to find my identity in doing well in my speech and debate league, in my music, in my ministry, in my family, in what people think of me, and even in my spirituality.

The problem with finding our identity in these things it that if we fail to uphold them, we are heart broken, depressed, failures. But even if we are “successful” in achieving them, we’re either proud or unsatisfied. In their book “Holding Hands and Holding Hearts”, Richard and Sharon Phillips wrote, “Idols never satisfy, but always demand increasingly more, constantly adding to the burdens of our lives and in the end giving nothing of lasting value.”

Lindsey Vonn, after winning a gold medal for the US in women’s downhill skiing, was asked how she felt at that moment, to which she replied, “This was all I wanted” or “This is the happiest moment of my life.” While I don’t doubt that she was very happy, she was finding her identity in something that would prove to disappoint. It wouldn’t sustain her through the rest of her life.

So Paul presents an alternative solution to this dilemma—a change in identity. In Philippians 3, he writes of all the things he found his value in, all his idols. And then he goes on…

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ…For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from_________ [the law] but depends on faith.”

In Jesus, I have a hope and a joy that aren’t worth trading with all the rubbish of my former identities and idols. Like Paul said in Galatians 4, “Now that you have come to know God…how can you turn back again…?”

And this, I believe, is the key to destroying the idols in our lives, namely, focusing on the gospel. The gospel is the primary place where we see God for the glorious God that He is and we see our worthless idols for what they are. Milton Vincent, in his book “A Gospel Primer” wrote:
“The gospel reveals to me the breathtaking glory and loveliness of God, and in so doing, it lures my heart away from love of self and leaves me enthralled by Him instead. The more I behold God’s glory in the gospel, the more lovely He appears to me. And the more lovely He appears, the more self fades into the background like a former love interest who can no longer compete for my affections.”

Preaching the gospel to ourselves everyday, whether by digging into God’s Word and rehearsing passages like Romans 8:31-35 to ourselves or by using tools like the Gospel Primer to remind us of the good news, is the primary way to shift our focus from ourselves and our ambitions to the glory of the true God.

One day, Jesus will come back. And when He does, all the things we’ve set up as idols, the things we’ve made ultimate in our lives, will be torn down and exposed for the pointless ambitions they are. And King Jesus will be displayed for who He really is. Zephaniah 2:11 describes this day: “The Lord will be awesome against them; for he will famish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations.” Is the thing you’re striving for and finding your identity in going to survive that last Day? Lord, reveal now the things that we’re treasuring other than You. Crucify those old passions and desires. They are but rubbish compared to the surpassing worth of knowing You.

Lauren Reavely, Oregon


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Deep Darkness

What picture comes to my mind when I think of idols is this:


            I’m focused on God. I’m thinking about Him, worshiping Him and living life in the joy of the Lord. But then it’s like a darkness comes between me and God. At first you can ignore it because it doesn’t quite block your view of God. But, slowly you stare at the darkness and can’t stop looking at it. Then it makes a barrier between you and God. You can’t see Him anymore. And, even if you can see Him, He now somehow seems uninteresting. Strange. Oh well, now you have the darkness to look at!
            Yes, that was a drawn out picture. But, this is what happens when you let idols take over your life.  1 John 5:21 says it plainly: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” That verse could seem so simple. Here is verse 20, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” It seems like these two verses aren’t really related. But, they are! Verse 20 is saying who God is! That is the key to not letting idols overcome your life. Idols come into your life when you think God isn’t enough. When I first heard someone say that I thought, “No! Of course I think God is enough for me!” But, if God is everything and you are focused on Him how could you think of anything else? You have to keep your focus on God.
            One of the many idols in my life is laziness. I let doing nothing get in the way of doing things! I easily quit and I easily don’t even try. Many times I don’t even care. I’d be completely happy to let life just pass me by. But, God is so gracious! A few years ago God gave me the desire to keep going, make a difference and live for Him! Of course, my life didn’t suddenly become wonderful that day. I had to respond to that! My laziness problem is definitely a work in progress. I still have many horrible days when all I want to do is... nothing! But, I’ve found that when I have those bad days (and also when I have good days) I pray and worship God, He gives me the strength to keep going. You can’t just stop idols from coming into your life. You have to constantly keep your eyes on God. He is more than enough!

- Elizabeth Morphonios 
North Carolina

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Idol time!!!!

Hey Girls!

I apologize for the delay in posting the October topic. It's been a very busy week for all of us. :)

I would like to once again thank Darby, Lauren, and Elizabeth for writing such winsome articles on their opinion of college. Remember, if you ever want to contribute by writing an article, or even a short summary of your thoughts don't hesitate in sending us an email.


Remember: Our email is located under the "Write For Us" tab on the website. :)

Without further ado, I'd like to introduce this month's topic:
October: When you think of idols what is the first thing that pops into your head? Gold or bronze images? Money? Power? Love? Have you ever thought about your "household" idols? The every-day things in your life that you set above spending time with Lord? What are some common idols that we as girls are sometimes unaware of? How can we combat an idol's control over our life? 
Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Love you all dearly,

God Bless

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To Glorify God

First off, I would like to thank my lovely friends for contributing to this month’s topic. This isn’t an easy subject to discuss, and I am very grateful for how graciously each girl has shared her opinions. As I read, edited, and posted each article, I realized that my personal opinion of college is a combination of all three. With that, here we go. :)

The Westminster shorter catechism asks one of the most important questions regarding the Christian life. “What is the chief end of man?” In other words, what is our purpose on earth? Why are we here? The answer is simply, and yet beautifully put: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Have you ever told yourself that? Have you ever said, “God created me solely to bring glory to Him. To enjoy Him. Forever.” We were not created to find ultimate enjoyment in money, possessions, power, acceptance, or college as evidenced by the emptiness that fills us when we try to find ultimate satisfaction in these worldly, trivial things. We were created to find complete enjoyment and ultimate satisfaction in God, and it is at this level of adoration that we glorify Him most.

While all of this is very important, it may seem a wee bit off topic, but it isn’t. :) In fact our calling to glorify God and enjoy Him forever has absolutely everything to do with deciding whether or not you should go to college. Like Lauren mentioned in “Will We Follow?” God calls different people to different areas of life. Some girls he may call to college, some he may call to stay at home. Neither decision is inherently sinful.

I think when making this decision it is important to take three things into consideration.

1.) Talk to your parents.

Proverbs 1:8 “Listen my song to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland for your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

The Lord has put parents in our lives so that we can have someone who is older and wiser than us, and who has our best interest in mind. I would strongly encourage that you talk with your parents. Be open to what they have to say,

2.) Have a reason.

“Mom, why can’t I go??? Everyone else is going” “Because, I said so. Besides, if all of your friends went and jumped off a cliff would you do it? Of course not!” “Mom! That’s different.”

As Elizabeth mentioned “don’t just go to go.” And you certainly should not do it just because everyone else is doing it. In the same way you would not jump off a cliff with your friends, don’t make your decision based on what everyone around you is doing. God has a plan that has been specifically designed for you.

3.) Have a plan


You would never go cliff jumping without a parachute, or some sort of gear. In the same way, you should not leap into college (or homemaking) without a plan. If you decide to go to college I would encourage you to find a church body and a family that will hold you accountable and keeping absorbed in the Lord. If you decide to stay home, I would strongly encourage you to set up a schedule.

i.e. A friend of mine has decided to take each “quarter” and attempt to master a form of homemaking. Her first four quarters include cooking, sewing, managing finances, and gardening. I’m not saying everyone should do this, but I think it’s important to set up a plan.

With all things considered, remember that while we may “plan our course, the Lord determines our footsteps.” One thing that I constantly have to remind myself is that I am exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment. In my personal experience when I focus on that simple truth, it encourages me to use the most of every moment and bring glory to God in whatever I can. Don’t get me wrong, I fall short all the time, but I believe that if we focus on “glorifying God and enjoying Him forever” it will make things that we may think trivial, frustrating, or even stressful a little easier to handle.

So in conclusion: Pray, talk to your parents, have a reason, have a plan, and never forget: everything that happens in our lives, whether we go to college or not, is all part of God’s master plan for each one of our lives. :)


Belle Schuler 
Oregon

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Will We Follow?


When my grandma graduated from high school, she never went off to college like most expect of us these days. She never got a degree, which may have cost her at some point, but she seemed to serve her husband and children well. One lady in my church, who homeschooled her children and also faithfully serves her husband, did decide to go to college, where she majored in accounting, learning how to manage finances well. Today, she stays at home, and one way she serves her husband is by managing their finances. (and he loves to cook! J) Obviously the decision about college is not like a hat, where the tag reads “one size fits all”. It’s not like Tylenol, the perfect pain killer for seemingly ever situation. But what should we as girls know as we make this decision? What’s best—to go to college or to stay home?
First of all, I don’t think the question of girls attending college has anything to do with whether it’s right or wrong.  Nowhere does the Bible say that girls shouldn’t go to college. And it doesn’t even explicitly say that women should be required to stay home and not have a job outside the home. In fact, in Proverbs 31, we see the example of a godly woman:
“She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands…She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household…She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard…She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle…She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
We see her both working hard and serving her household simultaneously.  A good wife is a skilled and working wife.  I’m not saying that women have to work outside the home. I would love to stay at home with my children someday; it’s a glorious calling. What I am saying is that, even if that’s your dream, that’s not in and of itself a reason to avoid college.  Here’s why:
For one, it’s wise to have a skill that you can use someday if need be, even if your initial plans are to be a stay-at-home mom.  I’ve talked to many wise people I know—parents, women in my church, friends’ parents, moms who stay home with their kids—and presented the idea of not going to college since I want to be a stay-at-home mom anyway.  Their advice has always been the same. We can’t know what God’s plans for us in the future are—when or if we’re going to get married, what kind of job our husband will have, or if we’ll always have our husband to rely on.  For these reasons, getting a degree at college can be a wise choice.
Secondly, and most importantly, going to college can equip us for ministry and make us more effective for God’s kingdom. If I go to school to learn business skills, I can use those to serve the church. I can improve my music skills to better lead people in worship. I can become a nurse and use that in missions. If I learn how to design websites, I can use that to bless various churches and ministries and spread the good news. God can use college as a tool to further His kingdom.
Maybe you’re like my grandma and feel like God isn’t calling you to go to college. That’s great! Ask Him to show you where He wants you to use the gifts you have been given. But maybe He is asking you to go to college not because society expects it of you, not because you need a better job, not even because it can be a wise choice, but because He has big plans for how He wants to use you, serving your husband, serving the church, and winning souls for Christ. That is the highest calling. Whether it leads us to the home, to college, to the church, to the mission field; Will we follow?
Lauren Reavely 
Oregon

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guidelines and Lifelines


Okay. So, first I’ll just give you some of my personal guidelines for what to do in college. Then after that, I’ll tell you what my family and I have chosen to do.
I think a few key things are this:
1) Have a reason for going to college if you go. Don’t just go to… go. I know for me, I used to think I’d go to college simply because it was the next thing to do. But, think it through! More importantly, pray.
2) If you are going away from home to attend college… I would strongly suggest that you find a Christian family there that you respect and can be accountable to. Yes, having other peers that you can be accountable to is great! And, please find those kindred spirits! But, it is such a blessing to have older and more mature Christians to help you in your walk with the Lord while at college. For many of us – especially us homeschoolers – college is a very new experience. You suddenly have all of this freedom that you didn’t have before. So, I simply want to say: Don’t think that you can do everything alone. Make sure you have others in your life that can help you.
Now for what my family and I are planning on doing after I graduate:
My father is my protector and I want to stay under his authority. So, for us that means I will be living with my family (or close to them) until – if it is God’s will – I get married. As I said, that is what it means for us. This whole issue is a household issue as my mother would say. There isn’t one right way of dealing with college. Keep that in mind.
So, my older sister (who is graduated already) and I are staying home. We both are doing college, though. My sister is doing long distance study and I’m planning on commuting to a local college. I am looking forward to learning more and growing once I start college. But, what I’m looking forward to even more – becoming a wife and mother. That is a huge part of my future! I can’t wait!
I really respect young ladies who stay at home for their single years and those who go to college. One thing I would say is don’t just sit at home bored or just go through the motions at college. Be busy in your single years! Do ministry. Be excited about your God! He is so amazing!
So, yes! Those are my thoughts! Thank you for reading. Last thought:
Pray. Think about it. Talk to your parents. Pray again. College is something every family has to decide for themselves.
Your sister in Christ,
-  Elizabeth Grace Morphonios
North Carolina

What's a Girl To Do?


As young women near the completion of their high school years, the question always arises, “What now?” Do we go off to college in preparation for a career? Do we stay at home and wait for Prince Charming to show up? As always, we should look to the Scripture for our answers.
First, naturally, we are to keep in mind that whatever path we take in our adult years, we are to strive to serve, honor, and glorify the Lord. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”~1 Corinthians 10:31
Secondly, we can examine what the Bible calls women to do. The very first woman, Eve, was created for the purpose of being Adam’s helpmeet, as he sought to take dominion over the earth. (Genesis 2:18)
What a wonderful calling! Often women in this day and age think of this calling as oppressive, but it is truly the greatest freedom we can know. If we are joyfully serving our husband at home, under his protection and guidance, submitting to him as we are commanded to in Ephesians 5, we will find that this is what the Lord has designed us for. Women often think they will find freedom, happiness, and be free from men out in the world, making their own as career women. But when a woman isn’t under the authority of one man, she is under the authority of all of them. Many women simply do not understand that serving one’s boss is just the same as serving one’s husband; only it’s not part of our God-given calling.
Do I think it’s wrong for a woman to go to college? Absolutely not.  But remember, the main purpose of education is not to learn calculus (thankfully for me), be well versed in literature, be able to spout psychology, etc. The reason we are given minds to learn is so we can grow in the knowledge and wisdom of our Lord. Forget the math. Forget the reading. Am I against those things? Again, no. As long as we remember that reading is not how we receive blessings. Obeying and serving God is.
So whatever choices a young lady makes in her adult years, I encourage her to seek out what the Lord would have her do, not seeking the approval of men, nor her own selfish desires.
Darby Sproul 
Florida

We're Back


DEAR GIRLS


September is here and school is starting! I have been praying about this website and how it can best benefit others and I have decided, due to the nature of the website that I’m going to run things a little differently.
I have asked three wonderful girls to join the “team.” Each month we will be addressing a “hot topic” so to speak. Each girl will write her opinion on the subject and then I will post those articles here! The reason I decided to set it up this way is because I want to make sure there is always new material we can discuss.
The Forum: Will still be a place to comment and share your ideas, but instead of talking about random subjects we’ll be addressing the topic of the month.
If you feel lead to share your ideas in an article type format feel free to email us.
September:
“As young women we are called to bring glory to God and serve our families. How we pursue this calling can vary depending on the circumstances, especially when it comes to education. Is it beneficial and God-glorifying for a girl to pursue a college education?”

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Call!

Calling all Christ-seeking girls.....

...to share your thoughts on godly womanhood!


1. Pick an area of godly womanhood that you feel called to share about.
2. Explain why you think that area is important and how that area brings glory to God.
3. If you would like share a personal example of how God has helped you to work in this area.


This project’s focus is to share, encourage, and evoke thought.

Sharing what God has put on your heart,
Encouraging other girls who may have needed to hear what you have to say
Evoking Thought in the minds of your fellow sisters, causing them to think about godly womanhood.

Send your article to isabelle@bondedinchrist.com 

God Bless!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss



Stepping Heavenward is the story of a girl who is growing up very quickly. At the beginning of the book she is sixteen years old, and she starts a diary. The whole book is her thoughts, what she writes in her diary. She writes down her many experiences, including birthdays, death, falling in love, losing a lover, caring for children, and more. 


But what impacted me the most was her thoughts on growing more godly. At the beginning of the book, Katherine is a two-faced girl. In public she manages to be a friendly, seemingly selfless, humble and kind girl, but at home, she is quite a different. She knows this is not right, but she doesn’t try very hard to change it.

This scene takes place in the first chapter:

I do hate to be found fault with, so I fired up in an instant. … Mother sighed a little. I wish Mother wouldn’t sigh. I would rather be called names out and out. … I hurried off, and just as I got to the door of the schoolroom, it flashed into my mind that I had not said my prayers! Well, I had no time. … When I got home, Mother called me into her room. She looked as if she had been crying. She said I gave her a great deal of pain by my self-will and ill temper and conceit. “Conceit!” I screamed out. “Oh, Mother, if you only knew how horrid I think I am!” Mother smiled a little. Then she went on with her list till she made me out the worst creature in the world. …She said my character would be essentially formed by the time I reached my twentieth year and left me to decide if I wished to be as a woman what I was now as a girl. I felt sulky and would not answer. Of course I don’t want to be always exactly what I am now.
Can you relate? I definitely could. If you’re like me and know that your character around your family is not what it should be compared to your “character” around your friends, then you should read this challenging book!

Katherine is slowly transformed through the rebuke and advice of her mother, Dr. Cabot’s questions and wisdom, her search for godliness, and Jesus’ powerful work within her! She begins to pray more, love God more by loving and serving others, and she loses her pride. I am definitely not what I want to be yet. I hope Jesus will sanctify me more completely and that he will do the same for you. I’ll end with another quote from Katherine:

I see that I have no right to live for myself and that I must live for Him. I have given myself to Him as I never did before and have entered, as it were, a new world. … I can now choose to imitate my Master, who spent His whole life in doing good. … And it sweetens every bit of work to think that I am doing it in humble, far-off, yet real imitation of Jesus. I am indeed really and truly happy.
Thanks to:
Tianna Strom (age 18)
Oregon 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Book #5

Do Hard Things
By Alex and Brett Harris

Summary:

Two brothers from Oregon have noticed that the word doesn't exactly challenge teenagers. In fact, the world seems to think of teenagers as lazy, uncaring kids who only think about themselves. Alex and Brett decide to challenge themselves to beat the low expectations this world has for them--and they take us with them with a challenge to do hard things for the glory of God.

What it Meant To Me:

This book made a HUGE difference in my life. The descriptions of real teenagers doing real hard things for the glory of God touched me deeply and inspired me to make a difference. My youth group read this as a study last year and it helped me to realize that the world isn't all about me. The more hard things you do, the better you feel because you glorify God and He fills you with His love and joy. 

Thanks to
Rachel (age 14)
Oregon 

Website is up!

WEBSITE HAS BEEN LAUNCHED!

Be sure to register for the forum, so you don't miss out any bonding opportunities.


Make sure to continue spreading the words with your sister in Christ!

Quick Note:
From now on updates on the ministry will be posted on the website, however articles and book summaries will continue to be posted here as well as on the website on the "Blog" page.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support.

God Bless

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 
- 1 Thessalonians

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Website Update

Bonded In Christ launches at:
 12:00 pm March 1st



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book #4

So Much More
  By: Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin


Summary:
Written by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, “So Much More” is not your typical “survival guide” for teenage girls. Rather, this book provides answers to difficult questions or dilemmas young women face in our culture. Questions like “How can I sustain healthy and God-honoring relationships within my family?” Anna Sofia and Elizabeth particularly address the relationship between a father and a daughter, and offer wisdom on how to help your father as he advances the kingdom of God.

What It Meant to Me:
This book has really helped me in my walk with the Lord, particularly in seeing how vital it is for young women to take a stand for Christ, and for going against what is “normal” in today’s society, because so often “normal” can be connected with sinful. It has also shown me the importance of close familial relationships, purity of heart, and purity of body. It is important not to just be able to survive in our feministic culture. We also need to be able to take rise above it and change it for the better. Anna and Elizabeth are dear friends of mine, and they have done a wonderful job in mentoring girls to become more godly women, in heart, speech, and behavior. I recommend this book to all young ladies, but especially those who struggle with defending their beliefs on godly womanhood, or those who struggle with feministic ideas and behavior.

Thanks to:
Darby (age 16)
Florida

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Updates

Just as a reminder:
Bonded in Christ launches in 5 days!


Make sure to register for the forum if you want to participate in any discussions and/or book studies. The discussions will include talking about what it means to be a godly woman, and the book studies will be aimed toward helping each other in spiritual growth and maturity.

Side Note:
I found a great book called The Modesty Handbook. A short summary of it has been posted on http://crosseyedblog.com: a blog that also serves as a webzine for christian writers. 

The writer says of the book,
Modesty is a subject people tend to avoid discussing. Genesis tells us that after the fall, Adam and Eve were ashamed of their immodesty and God clothed them with animal skins. Because of that uneasiness, modesty is an issue that is skirted and ignored. But however uncomfortable the issue makes women and men feel, more of them need to step up to the plate and start discussing it. 
The Modesty Handbook is a guide to the heart of modesty. Unlike other books on modesty we don’t give a legalistic set of rules on how low a shirt or how long a skirt should be. Instead we focus on the root of the matter – a spirit that honors and glorifies God.
This book seems to be an excellent example of what One in the Bond/Bonded in Christ is aiming towards. As a sneak peak into the upcoming website forum activity, as I said earlier we will be conducting book studies, and The Modesty Handbook will be one of the first books we tackle.

*If you want to turn in any more books as part of the February Book Bonding you have five days left to submit those*

That's all for now. :)


"Therefore encourage each other and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 
1 Thessalonians 5:11





Friday, February 19, 2010

Website Update

Great News:


The website for One in the Bond will be launched 
March 1st!

The website's official name is Bonded in Christ.

There will be a forum that you can apply to for. If you don't know how a forum works, it's kind of like a chat room. However, this will be safe as it will be monitored by both my mom and myself. I already have the first project ready to start as soon as the website launches. 

Something to Keep in Mind:
The whole point of this ministry is so that we can help and encourage each other. There will be projects and studies that we will be able to participate in as well as discussions that will address questions that may come up along the way. This is really about creating God-glorifying friendships more than anything else. I just want everyone to keep that in mind as this ministry begins to grow. 

I would like to thank everyone for their contributions and their prayers. It has really meant a lot to me.

"Therefore encourage each other and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 
1 Thessalonians 5:11