Archives for September 2008

Phone Photos

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”

Photos were taken with the camera phone of Michelle Jane.

Click on photos to enlarge.


“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Anger is probably something we are all so used to dealing with that we don’t even give it a second thought. It seems in our society that anger and rage have taken over almost everything. Sometimes the way we deal with our anger, and the anger of others, only makes the situations worse.

First we must understand what makes us angry. I can tell you now that the number one thing that makes me angry is traffic. I say a prayer every time I run into traffic for God to give me patience until I get out of it. I never really had a huge problem with it until I moved to a bigger city. After the first few times stuck in traffic, I began to think of why I let myself get so worked up over it. I realized that it was mostly because the traffic was caused by people not paying attention.

I know that there are specific reasons why we get angry, but I think that for all of them, there are sinful, basic reasons––selfishness, impatience––all of which are discussed in the Bible, and none of which God excuses. Having a good reason does not excuse our anger. We must overcome that anger. But what could I do to change the situation? I can’t force the cars to move. I can’t drive on the side of the road to get to my exit. So, I just have to get over it. Whatever your situation, once you have found the source of your anger, you have to figure out what you can do about it. Is it something you can change? If it is, then fix the situation so that it doesn’t tempt you to get angry anymore. Most importantly, pray for God to change your heart, and be aware that by dwelling on anger, you are sinning. If there isn’t a way to fix the situation then you have to learn to deal with what you are given. No matter what, you need to take care of it immediately. “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).

Sometimes, you may just want to deal with the problem on your own. Sometimes anger can be personal, and we need to prayerfully work it out with ourselves. Other times it helps to talk about your anger or frustrations with a friend who can hold you accountable. If you are struggling with a problem, don’t be afraid to talk it out. A good friend usually doesn’t mind hearing you discuss your struggles. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with a friend, then talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor. Sometimes when you think it is a situation you can’t change, another person will give you a completely different perspective and just might have the answer you have been searching for.  Be careful, however, If your anger involves someone else; only confide in one trustworthy person and guard your words, or you may fall into the trap of gossiping (Proverbs 20:19).

We all get angry for various reasons. Usually it is at others or circumstances, but sometimes it is even at ourselves. The important thing to remember is that we cannot let our angry control us. Anger can be hurtful and it can take over if it goes unaddressed. If left unchecked, anger can turn into violence and can lead to a lot of trouble that could have been avoided if only we had addressed the issue at the root of our anger.

As Christians, remember that you are never alone. You can always turn to Jesus. Pray about it. Pray that God will help you let go of your anger. Always trust that God will hear your prayer. You may not always get the answer you want when you want it, but rest assured you will get an answer. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). We have the opportunity to show the world that we have the choice to make something good come out of an otherwise bad situation.

By Sarah J. Ancheta

Do You Know?

Do you know. . .

  • the books of the Old and New Testaments by heart?
  • what one must do to be saved, along with the scriptures to support it?
  • the structure of the church?
  • how God wants us to worship Him?
  • the meaning of the parables?

We should want to study the Bible because. . .

  • it is the Word of God
  • it is the only way to salvation
  • it is the only way to prove all things
  • it is the only way to be approved by God
  • it is the only way to detect error
  • it is the only way to know what to teach others
  • it is the best way to gain spiritual knowledge
  • it is the best way to grow spiritually

Studying takes time and dedication to learn what God has told us and persistence to apply it to our lives. The list above is based on the book How to Study the Bible by Kevin W. Rhodes.

The attitude in which we study is also important.

“As the Deer Panteth for the Water” by Martin Nystrom

As the deer panteth for the water,
So my soul longeth after thee:
You alone are my heart’s desire,
And I long to worship thee.

You’re my friend and You are my brother
Even though You are a King.
I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything.

I want You more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To you alone may my spirit yield;
You alone are my heart’s desire,
And I long to worship thee.

This is my favorite song, and I think that it gives the attitude that we should have in our lives about God and studying His word.

Let’s make the decision to spend time studying His word each day, starting right now. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

By Megan Skinner

Tales of Mary – Episode 4

Click on image to enlarge.

Remembering Grandparent’s Day

Shortly after I was married, several important people in my life divorced, including my parents. These divorces completely shattered my faith in marriage. I started to think that couples could never love each other forever and that anyone who stays married their entire life only puts on a happy front. I felt insecure in my own marriage, thinking that it was only a matter of time before my husband and I became dissatisfied with one another.

I began spending more time at my grandparents’ house, clinging to one of the only things that had been the same since my childhood. The time I spent there gave me hope again. My grandparents are not only still married after 60 years, but they are obviously still in love!

When my grandpa had knee surgery, my grandma took care of him around the clock. After my grandma had her stroke, my grandpa, still recovering from his own surgery, got rides from family members to the hospital and sat in a chair by her bedside until she made him go home to get some rest. One day while Grandpa and I were both visiting her, I was deep in thought, worrying about my grandma. I glanced over to her hospital bed and saw her and my grandpa holding hands, both with peacefully contented looks on their faces. At that moment, I realized love really can last forever. My grandparents are proof.

My grandparents have taught me, through example, how to hope, love, and most importantly, fully trust God with my life, future, and marriage. Thank you, God, for choosing Gaylord and Mary Gardner to be my grandparents.

By Davonne Parks

This article first appeared in the September/ October 2008 issue of Christian Woman magazine. To request an issue, or to subscribe to the magazine, go here.

Boyfriend Study

Do soul mates exist? What does the Bible say about love? Is there just one perfect person for everyone? How can I find someone who’s right for me?

Let’s study His Word together to find out!

Soul Mates: Fact or Fiction?

What exactly is a soul mate? Some people have different definitions for soul mates, but for the sake of this article, we’ll define a soul mate as this: An individual who is perfect for another person. Without their other half, neither one would be complete.

What does the Bible say about soul mates? Let’s look it up. Open your Bible and look in the concordance in the back of the Bible for “soul mate.” Now turn to…wait, what, you can’t find it? You won’t. There is no term “soul mate” in the Bible.

If the Bible doesn’t talk about soul mates, then where did the idea come from? The concept of soul mates derived from Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, it is believed that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces. The god Zeus was afraid humans would become stronger than him and overcome him, so he split everyone in half. Doing this would make the humans spend their lives searching for their other half so they could become one complete person together. Since they would be concentrating on finding their other half, they would forget about their desire to overcome Zeus, and he wouldn’t lose his place as the most powerful Greek god.

Is it just me, or does that sound bizarre? There’s a reason Greek mythology has the word “mythology” in it––it’s a myth!. It’s not true and it didn’t really happen! I choose not to base my beliefs on a myth. I choose what to believe based on fact; so when I want to know the truth about something, I turn to the Bible for answers.

Love: Feeling or Action?

If the idea of soul mates isn’t a Biblical concept, then what does the Bible say about love? First Corinthians 13:4-8a is one of the most well known sections about love in the Bible. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” Read that again. Does any of it sound like, “Love is looking for the one person to complete you so you will have a perfect life” or “Love is when your Prince Charming comes and sweeps you off your feet with a bouquet of your favorite flowers”? Those things don’t sound like the Biblical description of love to me!

What else does the Bible say about love? Genesis 29:18, 20 gives an example of love in action. “Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said [to Rachel’s father], ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” Jacob loved Rachel so much that he served her father for seven full years just so he could marry her.

Is that all? If you read verses 21-30 you’ll find that Rachel’s father, Laban, tricked Jacob. It was their custom that the oldest daughter should marry before the younger daughters, so Laban gave Leah to him on their wedding day instead of Rachel. Jacob didn’t find out that he’d been tricked until the next morning. What did he do? Did Jacob divorce Leah and run off with Rachel? No. He went to her father and said he’d work another seven years if he could marry Rachel! It was customary in this time for men to have multiple wives, so he ended up marrying both of Laban’s daughters, serving Laban for a total of fourteen years because he loved Rachel so much. Now, that’s commitment!

So what about the feeling of love? The Bible talks about loving God with all of our heart (Mark 12:30), but there are no verses in the Bible that talk about love and marriage being about a fuzzy, warm feeling in the pit of our stomachs. According to the Bible, love is about commitment, putting the other person first, and dedication.

Does this mean we shouldn’t have romantic feelings toward other people? Not at all! In Song of Solomon, there are many examples of how enamored King Solomon and his wife were for each other. The romantic part is fun, but it’s just a very small portion of a much bigger picture.

Are you saying that one person can’t be completely perfect for one other person? In order for two people to be absolutely perfect for each other, they’d first have to be absolutely perfect. Since nobody is perfect, nobody can possibly be completely perfect for another human being.

Relationships: Perfection or Compatibility?

But there’s someone who’s perfect for me, right? Someone who completes me? Absolutely. Read Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” God gives us peace, and He alone can fill the void in our hearts. If we rely on a person to do that, we will always be disappointed. We need to become a complete person ourselves, and have God as the center of our lives before we can ever be completely happy with someone else. I repeat: relying on another person for our complete happiness will only end in disappointment. Only God, through Christ, can complete us.

If there is no such thing as a soul mate, if love isn’t all about the romance, and if only God can complete us, then why even have a relationship with another person? We are told in Genesis 1:26-28 that we were created in the image of God, and are to reproduce, or multiply, after we’re married. Genesis 2:18-24 explains that we are to be helpers to our husband.  We are also to respect them, and husbands are to cherish and love their wives. Ephesians 5:33: “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”

Apply It

Does this actually work in real life? Yes. Problems arise in my marriage if I do not help my husband with what he needs, or if I do not respect a decision he makes. Problems also happen if he chooses to make a decision that does not put the good of the family before his own desires. Nobody is perfect, so these things will occasionally happen in most marriages, but if those poor attitudes were to become a common occurrence, we would both be very unhappy together! God knew this, which is why He told us to help and respect our husbands, and it’s why He told husbands to love their wives. God doesn’t tell us to do things for fun; He tells us for our own protection.

Does this mean that it doesn’t matter who I marry since there’s no such thing as a soul mate? Absolutely not. I was once told to marry someone with whom I could do more for Christ together than either of us could do alone. That is the biggest thing I looked for in a potential spouse! We need to choose to marry someone who we will be able to help and respect, and who will love us. We should choose to marry someone with whom we can work to accomplish worthwhile goals, and who we can also have fun with. I suggest writing a list of what’s important to you. Your list may be completely different from everyone else’s list, and that’s okay. The first and most important item on your list should be that he’s a genuine, faithful Christian, but other than that, the list is up to you!

How long do I have to wait to find this type of person? That answer is different for everyone. Just learn to be complete in God and serve Him, be confident with who you are, develop your own personality, and love life today! God knows when you will be ready, and He’ll send someone who fits what you need when His time is right. It may be tomorrow, or it may be several years from now. Just concentrate on being Miss Wonderfully-Made-By-God, and before you know it, Mr. Right will cross your path and ask you to become his Mrs. Right. Just make sure that, together, you’re both right with God.

Davonne Parks

Davonne Parks

Handling Disagreements

One of the things I have realized since high school is that it always seemed as though girls were in the most arguments. Usually, it seemed to be over petty things. I can’t even begin to tell you the subjects of the many disagreements I had with my friends. And it seems as if the primary instigator of arguments in high school has to do in some way with boys.

As teenage girls, we have a lot going on within ourselves. With hormones and physical changes, plus juggling school and homework, it can all be a bit overwhelming. But let me assure you, ladies, any guy worth having is not going to be flattered by you fighting over him. He may be flattered that you like him, but physically or verbally fighting with someone you are suppose to be friends with is only going to make him question your character. I have to say, I don’t recall ever fighting with my friend over a boy. Now, we argued over whether or not the guy was right for us, but never about which one of us liked him first, or about whether we were taking the other friend’s “man.”

Another huge issue is physical violence. I am sure most of us have heard about the videos posted on the internet of girls fighting. Why would they fight? Why would they stoop to violence? Sometimes the reason given was simply that they didn’t like the other person. There will be plenty of people in life that we will not like and will not get along with. But that is no reason to hit anyone. Walk away. Don’t waste your time or energy on someone who “pushes your buttons.” Remember, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and those who persecute us. Them hitting you first is not a reason to fight. As Christians we need to be godly people and be willing to walk away. Matthew 5:38-39 tells us: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Remember, there is a line between fighting and self defense. Usually if you walk away, the most someone is going to do is call you names. But, if you fight with them, one or both of you could end up hurt. As Christians, we should be different from the rest of the world. Fighting and arguing only makes us blend in with the world.

Even during an argument, a true friend would not hit you. That is part of the respect gained by the friendship. I don’t have to worry about being hit in response to anything I say to my friend, because I know she would never hit me, even if it was something she didn’t like. I am the same way with her. In high school, we occasionally said things we didn’t mean about the other. But that never led us to hitting each other.

Many times fights are escalated because instead of talking to the person involved, we talk to other people about the issue. This happened many times with my friend. I can see now how wrong we were. We both usually felt like if we talked it out with others, then we would not say something we didn’t mean to the other. But, in the end, the story usually got turned into gossip and words were put into each of our mouths. I can assure you, the best thing to do when you argue with your friend is to talk to her about it first. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother” (Matthew 18:15). We should also never fail to ask for the forgiveness of those whom we have hurt. This is an important step in clearing up arguments and disagreements and should not be overlooked.

There are many ways to handle different disagreements. Usually the solution depends on the exact situation. If you feel as though you and your friend need help working out a disagreement, ask a parent, counselor, or teacher. Sometimes an outside party can see a solution to the problem that you are both overlooking. Don’t let it get out of hand. It is always good to remember that as Christians, we should always strive to be an example in any situation. By studying God’s word and letting His light shine through us, we can show others what a true friendship should be.

By Sarah J. Ancheta


“My boyfriend and I are struggling with sexual temptation. What can I do to help him keep his mind pure?”

It is a good thing that you have the desire to improve your relationship and keep things peaceful. That is an essential quality when you are a wife and mother, and it is a godly characteristic. In fact, that is the way God designed you. However, when it comes to romantic relationships, that quality should be mostly reserved until you’re married. If you try to make every relationship in your life “the one,” then you will be hurt and exhausted. Don’t use that quality trying to save something that is not working. You will know that a relationship is worth fighting for when both of you respect each other.

All the way up until the wedding day couples are essentially negotiating a contract that determines their role in the relationship. But it is not like bargaining in a street market where you are trying to get as much as you can for as little as possible. You are negotiating for mutual respect and equality. Unfortunately, when it is treated like bargaining, the focus is often who “wears the pants,” who spends their time in the kitchen, who has the final say, who gives in, and how far you will go physically. There is still negotiation once you are married, of course, but the wedding is the time that the contract is signed, literally. So, make sure to read the fine print while you are dating.

Thus far in your relationship you have negotiated terms. With some couples it might be like this: boy agrees to change his Facebook status to “in a relationship” and girl agrees put her heart in boys hands and be sexually active with him. It does not seem fair but that is often the extent of the agreement. The way that your question is worded implies that you may have both agreed that those terms will include “messing around” to some extent. Fortunately, you are in a relationship that you can get out of. There are two choices before marriage; either stay together or break up. I hope you would agree that you should not stay together under the current circumstances, which leaves only one choice. But I am also trying to emphasize the difficulty of trying to build up a new relationship on top of one that is already falling down; in other words, a break up is often the only solution.

There are many good reasons to remain pure, even in the midst of sexual temptation; think about what you will avoid: STDs, pregnancy, loss of self respect, loss of peer respect, and a broken heart. Furthermore, and most importantly, it is contrary to what the Bible teaches. Here is a short list to research: I Thessalonians 4:3-5 directly states God’s plan to avoid sexual immorality; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:34 assumes that any unmarried person is a virgin; and Deuteronomy 22:13-21 best illustrates the Old Testament reverence for sexual purity. Have any of those good reasons been enough to keep the two of you sexually pure? If they have not, then actually changing things will require something more painful. Ask yourself if you are strong enough to suffer a little bit now by breaking up so that you will not have to suffer more later. This is the challenge you have to embrace.

Pay attention to happily married people (who are not still in the “honeymoon” phase). Notice that much of their time is spent just being in each other’s presence, not necessarily doing anything, often not even talking. My point is that your boyfriend has to care about you in that time, the time where there is no talking, no staring into each other’s eyes, no laughing, and no physical contact. If it is not enough to just be there with you, it will never be enough when you include “messing around.” Love the essence of a person, not just the perks that come along with them.

There is an order to a godly relationship, and the physical aspect is way down on the divine list; however, it is at the top of the human list. I have read Song of Solomon, and I know that it is sensual, but I have also noticed that it takes up only a few pages in the Bible. God intended for sex to be a good thing shared between a man and a woman after marriage. It was never intended to be an addiction that we cannot live without. Once it becomes a major focus of a relationship there will be problems. If you are not married and your relationship has gotten physical, it is nearly impossible to put it in reverse without making some major changes and decisions. These changes are not made with your boyfriend; they are changes that you make on your own. If you were not reading between the lines, I am suggesting that you break up with your boyfriend. This does not mean that you cannot be in a relationship later, but it does mean that you need to shake him up and let him know that you are putting your foot down and your morals first. By doing this you are looking out for him, but you are primarily looking out for yourself. Proverbs 4:23 says “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Remember that the heart has an amazing ability to heal and God can restore anything, but there is no sense in putting it to the test. So, guard your heart now while you are young and deciding what you like, and later when you have made a commitment through marriage it will be an amazing gift.

– Mitch Ebie

Poster Verse

Several girls made a poster of their favorite Bible verse, and this month we’d like to share them with you.  If you feel inspired to create a poster of your own, please e-mail us a photo of the finished product!  Click on the photos to enlarge.

Alexia Hammonds

Alexia Hammonds

Michelle Jane and Davonne Parks

Michelle Jane and Davonne Parks

Anna Parks

Anna Parks

Rachel Conley

Rachel Conley

Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown

Davonne Parks

Davonne Parks

Tori Gambill

Tori Gambill