1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. - 1 Peter 3:3,4

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Societies Silly Standards

Hi everyone! Hope you are all having a great week. Today I will post about the standards of society these days and how they keep dropping.

In 1732 a boy called George was born in northern Virginia to a middle-class family. When he was eleven years old he lost his father. Even though his peers never considered him very bright, he applied himself to his studies and mastered geometry, trigonometry an surveying (think calculus and algebra) by the time he was sixteen.
At seventeen years old, George had the chance to put his studies to use at his first job. Official surveyor of Culpeper Country, Virginia. This wasn't a boys job. For the next 3 years he endured hardships of frontier life as he measured and recorded previously unmapped territories. His measuring tools were heavy logs and chains.
After 3 years as a surveyor in Virginia, the governor appointed George to the state militia as a major, a very high rank. Then when word came that the French were entering Ohio Territory, George was ordered to lead a midwinter expedition over hundreds of miles to assess their strength and to warn them to leave - which he successfully did.
By age 22 he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel, and by age 23 he was commander in chief of the entire Virginia militia. After 20 years he became the commander in chief of the Continental army in the Revolutionary War, and eventually he became the first president of the United States - George Washington. (Do Hard Things - Alex & Brett Harris, pg31 and 55]

Mr Washington's actions and decisions in his teenage years affected his whole life. Today teenagers are hardly expected to make their bed, let alone become a surveyor of the Culpeper Country. Expectations have drifted from where they should be. And unfortunately it doesn't make us teenagers, look good. The normal behaviour for teenagers these days is to party, not have many responsibilities, have very little respect for ourselves and others, to mouth off at people when we're mad, the list goes on. I am sure than majority of you reading this can think of a few people who relate to this. This last week I have been reading a book called Do Hard Things by two teenagers, Alex & Brett Harris. It is an amazingly moving book that has really got me doing some soul-searching. Anyone who has the means to get a copy of this book, I encourage you to go to the ends of the earth to get it. It will change your life and change this generation for the better.
"God sets His standards high so that there is ALWAYS room for improvement."
- Unfortunately I don't know who said this, but it has been a huge motivator for me.

Teenagers around the world today aren't trying to reach their full potential and be the best they can be. Instead they look around and say, 'Well I'm a much better person than her!'. And we compare ourselves to others. We can't improve if we are always comparing to others, we need to compare to ourselves TO OURSELVES, and try to match what God expects of us. That's the only way we are able to see an improvement, and motivate ourselves to be better. We are all sinner's and deserve the death penalty. We should try to  improve the worlds standards rather than settle for the world's standards.

Challenge yourselves and try to identify the worlds standards and then see what God has to say about them.

God bless,
Taleisha & Meggie.

The One Move That Changed My Life (Part Two)

When I was about 12 years old I went through a major time of doubting God. I was thinking, 'As a Christian I think that Islamic people believe in a myth, and that Atheists think there's no God, Buddhists believe in reincarnation and Buddha. But if I put myself in their shoes and look at Christianity, I would think it's as a myth as well!' I was really confused and found it really hard to see the proof that God was real. I though that if all the other religions were myths then who's to say that Christianity isn't as well? Every religion can't be true, so which is the correct one? How could I be sure that what I have been brought up believing, isn't false? This was an area that Meggie really helped me. I would meet up with her once a week at cell group and discuss it with her, after youth group and also every week at church. She understood my point of view, knew exactly what I was going to say and had responses and bible verses ready. The main thing that she kept telling me was that I needed to have faith. We can't physically see God so that's why we need to exercise our trust and faith in Him. We need to have faith that He is there and trust that He will help us through everything. Sometime during my doubting period I heard Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" This was the verse that got me through, the verse I hung on to. The next few months everything at church, school, youth group and even at home, seemed to be about trust and faith. One day my dad said a really good quote, 'You can always trust a unknown future to a known God'. Unfortunately I don't know who said it but it has stuck with me over the years and is an assurance that gets me through every time I have those little doubts.
The next few years I tried to live the best Christian life I could. Of course I still sinned and listened to temptations, but during this time I learned the true meaning of God's forgiveness and discovered the full extent of His love for me. 

In September 2010 my parents went to a Destiny Rescue (an organisation that rescues sexually abused girls)dinner and heard that there were voluntary missionary positions in Mozambique and Cambodia. We have had lots of involvement in Africa in the past, I have 3 African brothers that we adopted into our family. So their first thoughts were that if we went anywhere we would go to Mozambique. They both prayed that night and for some reason, they both felt that Cambodia was the place God wanted us. They shared it with me, my brothers and sisters and we all started praying about it. One morning in prayer I got a vision. I had no idea what it meant, but here's what I saw. There were 3 large, blue, satin scrolls spread out evenly next to each other. Spread out across all 3 scrolls was a massive silver platter piled to the brim and about 2 feet high with fresh fruit. How random is that! In prayer that same morning my sister had the recurring thought about Joseph and how he was the interpreter of dreams. So my dad put two and two together and I drew what I saw on paper, and while I was at school she would try to interpret what it all meant. And she did. Each scroll represented a time or period in our life overseas - hence why they were all blue like the ocean. And the plate of fruit meant that our time in these places is going to be fruitful. We knew that Cambodia was the first scroll. So in April 2011 we moved to Cambodia!!! I was worried about moving to a third world country that no one in my family had been to. I was very grounded on the Sunshine Coast. I had never moved houses, or schools, or churches and had the same group of friends for the past 4 or 5 years. AND my oldest sister wouldn't be coming with us! This was one of the hardest things about moving to the other side of the world, but since she has been able to visit us twice!! I can definitely, without a doubt tell you that the last 13 months in Cambodia have been  more than fruitful. God has kept us safe, and protected us, guided our decisions and is using my family to help these girls. Listening to God's calling is so rewarding. Sometimes we think, 'Oh I can't do that God, I don't have the strength, the courage, the resources etc.'. We make excuses, but God will never call you to do something that you aren't ready for, or something that He won't equip you for.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
- Jeremiah 29:11

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
-Philippians 4:13

God bless you all!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Taleisha's Testimony (Part One)

Well, where should I begin? I have always dreaded telling my testimony for as long as I can remember. I always saw it as so insignificant, like it wasn't a great story and who would even want to hear it. But my perception on it changed about 19 months ago, and now I am excited to have the privilege to share it with all of you.
I have grown up in a Christian home my entire life. I have been to the same church my whole life, gone to a Christian school my whole life, the same house my whole life and had basically the same circle of friends my whole life. Right up until the age of nine I had always just tagged along to church and done whatever my family did, because that's what just seemed normal to me. But in early September 2005 my parents sat down with me and told me that it was important that I didn't just go with the flow because it was 'the norm', but that I lived a Christian life because I wanted to, because I personally loved God and wanted to please Him. I realised then that I could never please God or get to Heaven because my parents loved and obeyed Him, but that the only way that I could, was if I personally accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and started to live the Christian life for myself, instead of just following my parents.

"Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
- John 14:6

I needed to be the one who believed. On September eighteen I was baptised. At first I was pumped and so excited because I thought that I was going to hear God's voice, He would tell me to do something and I would do it. But that wasn't the case, and it took me a while to realise that it probably wasn't going to happen just like that. The next few years God was still in my life but I was guilty of putting other things before Him. In fact, the only time He was still in my life was on Sunday's in the morning church service, other than that I hardly spoke to Him or even recognised He was there.

It was 2008 when my aunty's cancer had returned to her body, and this time it was attacking her brain. This changed me around. It was like someone had flicked a switch on inside me that had been off for a very long time. I was constantly praying for her, day and night. She lived a few hours away so the time I got to spend with her are some of my most precious moments. Our family would get together and pray on occasions or I would talk to Meggie about how I was feeling, and often she would pray for me. We all wanted her to be healed, especially my mum. She hated watching her sister go through the pain. So in March 2009 my entire family of seven participated in the World's Greatest Shave. We all shaved our heads down to the skin so that we could raise money and donate it towards finding a cure for cancer. Together our family raised nearly nine thousand dollars. Unfortunately later that year she died. It only occurred to us after that she did get healed, God did answer our prayers. She got the ultimate healing she, and everyone praying for her, could have asked for. The healing of Jesus Christ...

There was one bible verse in particular that helped me deal with everything that followed next.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
- Jeremiah 29:11

Part two, the exciting part of my testimony, will be posted next week.
God bless!
Taleisha .

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Beauty Beneath

In a few weeks, Meggie and Taleisha will be talking about everything related to beauty: make-up, clothing, shoes, your hair, and how we should look at those things as Christians. Is it wrong to wear care about what you wear? How do you feel like your beautiful when all you can think is 'ugly'? Meggie and Taleisha will both be sharing there struggles to show how they have felt beautiful and what seems to be helpful in that.
There are no hard and fast rules, your lives wont be changed forever. We are just going to share our struggles and how we have been getting through them daily and maybe that will help you.

There is beauty on the inside, but it comes from Jesus.

Meggie and Taleisha

Friday, May 4, 2012

Where is God?

Part 3 of Meggies testimony.

“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” – C. S. Lewis.

I am now sixteen. At the beginning of this year, I had not felt Gods presence in months. I could not hear His voice when I read His word, everything was devoid of feeling.
I had been standing on a rug of good feelings; basing my faith on feeling.
God was pulling out that rug from underneath me, because He did not want my faith based on feelings, emotions, and happy thoughts.
I kept on, week after week at youth group, putting up my hands in worship, because I hoped that if I did, the old feelings would wash over me again. I prayed and prayed and prayed. God please, let me feel your presence. I felt so dry, and I was ready to give up on God so many times through that.
I started reading a book, ‘The Normal Christian Life’ by Watchman Nee, and ‘A Mary Spirit in a Martha World’ by Johanna Weaver. I started to realize that faith isn’t based on what you feel, but real faith is based on the promises of God. When I realized the whole truth of the fact that God is with me, even though I don’t feel Him, I felt happy. In my devotions when I felt like turning back on God, I would say to myself, ‘No, God is yet with me. He loves me. He is giving me the strength.’ Being thankful was my best weapon.

I wrote this during that time on my blog:

How do I know He is even real in such times?... This is the time, when I must hold my head high, remember what I have in Christ- and take His promises for myself. I cannot feel His strength within me, but I will declare that I have it. I do not see Him protecting me, but I will tell the world that He is- that He is even [now] with me.
I cant feel Him, I cant see Him- but I love Him!
Bring on the world, I’ll fight them with a hand behind my back. – Feelings versus Faith article on, Inkdrips.

When I stated those promises to myself and believed them in spite of what I felt, I was set free. I prayed, ‘God, I understand now, can I please have Your presence back?’. I prayed He would touch me at Church that next Sunday, He didn’t.
He didn’t show up.
 I almost hated Him for it. But I kept going. It was Gods final test, that He didn’t let me feel His presence, that really put it firmly in place, that I was basing my faith on feelings again.
I had said, ‘I understand’, but I didn’t. When I was disappointed, and then decided that even if I never felt His presence again, I would still follow Him, that’s when it happened.
That next Sunday He blew my mind away. I wasn’t expecting it, but everything that I had hoped for came true, but it did not matter. My faith isn’t based on emotions anymore. Its based on true fact. God is with me!
Praise God!

I kept slipping and falling, and I am going to keep getting trials, but every time I get back up and come out of a trial, I am so much stronger than before.

~ Meggie

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feelings versus Faith

Meggies Testimony part 2

I was fourteen, I had started going to youth group, having fun and being so challenged that I grew weekly in my faith. I read the book ‘Do Hard Things’ by Alex and Brett Harris, which really challenged me not to just talk about my faith, but to live it out in actions. Showing it.
I had my first worship encounter that year at two different places, one that broke the thought that ‘worship was just for Mum and Dad’ and the second, which had me fully participating in it.
Then God challenged me, that if I was serious, I would get baptised. I was still a little shy, it really freaked me out, the thought of sharing my testimony in front of the whole church, and then have them all watch me as I was baptised. I did it, it took a lot of courage just to ask my Mum to be baptised, but I did it, with no power of my own.
When Taleisha went through a patch of doubting God, she asked me so many questions, and I read the Bible and heaps of articles on the internet so that I could answer her and help her know that God was real; funny that, a few months later, I started doubting God as well, and started asking the exact same questions. How do I know for sure He exists? How do I know the Bible is real and not just made up? From that moment on, God started teaching me not to rely upon my feelings. When I felt like a lost sinner, that I could never get back to God, I was just as much forgiven and loved as when I was worshipping and I could feel that forgiveness and love. When I felt like God wasn’t listening to me, and that He wasn’t anywhere close, He actually was right by my side helping me through it.

And I can’t feel You, but I  have learned to reach out just the same
And I cant hear You, I know You still hear every word I pray
And I want You, more than I wanna live another day
And as I wait for You, maybe I’m made more, faithful.  – Faithful, written and sung by Brooke Fraser.

I came out of doubting God when I talked to my Mum about what I was going through, and I realized that God was actually there, and I was pretending He wasn’t because I didn’t want to do what He had asked me, give up my whole life for Him. I said to Him, “God, I’ll take the step, and do what you have asked me, but I cannot do it on my own. You need to be there.” I think it was God testing me, like He did to Abraham when He told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. God was testing me to see if I could walk in obedience.
Then, the year I was fifteen, I went through another trial. I wasn’t sure where God was leading me, what He would have me do, I had an idea, and so I went after it. I got frustrated, nothing seemed to be working, but I knew that was where God wanted me, then why wasn’t anything happening? Why wasn’t God changing lives?
I realized after ten months, that actually it wasn’t what God wanted of me, but what I wanted for me. I wanted to be a great, out-there Christian, but God was asking me just to be obedient to whatever He said. Again I trusted my feelings, my feelings said, ‘Go for it! This is a good thing to do, so God will be with you.’ But God was saying, ‘Sit down in silence and listen to the plans I have for you, take a moment to listen to what I would have you doing.’
But I still didn’t get it, that I should trust God, not what I feel.
After a few months, I fell into another test.

 Tomorrow, the last part of my testimony: Where is God?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Conquering Loneliness, part one of my testimony

This is part one of Meggies Testimony.

I’ve known the name of ‘Jesus’ ever since I can remember. Everyone I knew personally knew Him as well. I asked Jesus into my heart a number of times when I was very young; but I did it more because I felt like a ‘should’.
I heard stories of healings, great courageous bible stories and miracles. I knew these people had a good thing worth fighting for, so I knew that I wanted to get it too, but that was the extent of my Christianity.
Fast-forward to when I was eleven and twelve. We moved house, not just down the street but hours away from our old church and our old friends. I didn’t get the chance of making friends at school, my parents had decided to home school my sisters and I when I was in Grade 2. I was shy, and scared of my own shadow.
Mum took us to gatherings with other homeschoolers; most of the girls were years younger, but there were two or three sometimes that were my age. And I sat, behind my Mum, to scared to introduce myself, too shy to even show my face. My Mum tried to force me, I laugh to myself now how many times she almost dragged me over to those girls to say hello.
But I stayed were I was.
Do you know what it’s like not to have a girlfriend to tell your worry’s, fears, or goof around with? That year of complete lonliness, of having no one, I started having regular devotions (reading my bible and praying) in the mornings, because I had no one to tell my secrets to, and so my secrets and feelings went to God and my diary. I grew closer to God then I ever did. It was really that year that God became my God, and not just the God my family believed in. Because He became my friend.
But I still didnt have any friends. I was stubborn.
They should be coming over and talking to me, I thought.
God came onboard when I was so desperate for someone, anyone. I cried out to God. Before we had moved I had gone through a stage where I was doing a lot of stuff behind my parents backs, and I was trying to be ‘good’, but it wasn’t working for me. I could not no  matter how hard I tried, become good. When I got desperate, I did the only thing I could think of, I asked God to help me.
He came through for me then. So now, I asked God to help me talk to those girls.
It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  I felt like I was going to stop breathing every time I went up to those girls again and again. They held me at arms length. I kept trying, kept pushing. God slowly changed me.
He came through for me again.
After that prayer, friendships snuck up on me from all sides. At first they were only acquaintances, then they became friends, and after about three years, they became good friends, and one of them became a best friend.
Now, my friends cannot believe I was shy once, God changed me from a shy, secretive girl to an outgoing, friendly person.


Stay tuned for part two, where from fourteen till now I have been going through trials, doubted God and started learning that feelings arent everything.