Modern Day Idolatry 

If you’ve grown up in the church or have been a Christian for a while, you have certainly heard the verse (its one of the 10 Commandments), Exodus 20:4, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind of an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.”  Idolatry was a huge issue in the Old Testament, you can basically pick any story and it will have some form of idolatry mentioned in it. 

Idols are still just as big of an issue in today’s society as it was thousands of years ago. 

Now, most of us don’t deal with idols of false gods and goddesses and having statues of them that we pray to, but we definitely still have idols. Some idols we have today are: 

•money

•fame

•sex

•boyfriends/girlfriends

•outward beauty/praise

•OURSELVES

•religion

•marriage/family

You might be confused at the last two points. However people can put so much focus on the tradition or the proper way to do things in religion that their focus is no longer on Christ. That’s what idolatry really is! Taking our focus off of God & putting it somewhere else. 

Now for marriage and family. So many people (especially women) place their value and focus their entire life for the purpose of being married and having children. And being a wife (or husband) and having kids isn’t a bad thing (it’s wonderful & great!) however, ITS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING! Our life goal should be to serve and honor God. So in a sense, people do make an idol of marriage and family. 

These modern day idols are very tempting, I know! Francis Chan said, “I have one good reason why you should walk away from temptation right now. One reason: GOD. IS. BETTER.” 

Everything in that list above isn’t bad under the right circumstances. It’s when we place our focus and dedicate our lives to those things instead of God that it becomes a problem. 

I challenge you to pray and ask God to reveal any idols you may have in your life. Ask Him to help you overcome them and put your life focus back on Jesus Christ. 

We need to stop placing our focus on meaningless and/or less important things & truly, wholeheartedly focus on Jesus Christ.

Micah 4:5 says, “Though the nations around us follow their idols, we will follow the Lord our God forever & ever.” 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this post! -Maddie💛

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Apathy & Christianity

The dictionary definition of the word apathy is “a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.” But a better definition is “people just not giving a damn.” Apathy is one of the great evils in this world and its terrifying how many people live in this life of just not caring.

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” -Albert Einstein. The first version of apathy is: Apathy toward the world. An example of this is someone not caring for injustices that are hurting the world and the people around us. Or when people don’t bother to help those in need either because they don’t care, or they say it doesn’t affect them. The people who usually read my blog are Christians so I’m going to assume the person reading this is familiar with the Bible and the stories of Jesus. Think about every story in the gospels when Jesus is there. The LAST thing Jesus would ever be is apathetic toward the people around Him. “The greatest cruelty is our casual blindness to the despair of others.” -Anonymous

There is a second version of apathy I want to talk to you about and it is just as bad-if not worse- than the first one. It is: Apathy towards God. What does that look like? Well it can come in many forms from not caring about having a relationship with Christ, to not having the want to share the Gospel. The most common form of apathy towards God from Christians is not caring about God’s mission or purpose for the world or us. Jesus spoke to His disciples in John 21:16-17 saying, “16Jesus repeated he question: ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter said, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then take care of my sheep,’ Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep.’” I think it is pretty clear what God’s mission is for us. To care for others, to share the Gospel, and to love others.

Here’s the thing, there really isn’t two versions of apathy. They are intertwined and go together. By truly seeking God and caring about His mission for the world, then you definitely won’t be apathetic toward the world, considering Christ’s mission is ABOUT THE WORLD! The greatest commandment in the entire Bible is to love one another, and if you love one another, you will have an interest, enthusiasm, and concern for the world- you won’t be apathetic towards it. “If your theology doesn’t lead you to love people more, you should question your theology.” I am sure many of you have heard the term “Christian Activists” before. There shouldn’t be people labeled “Christian Activists”! For we should all be Christian activists! We should be active Christians. Active in exemplifying the character of God and seeking justice for the world. Here is a link to a speech made by Charlie Chaplin. I highly encourage you to watch it because it is so moving & is still relevant today. My favorite quote from it is, “We think to much, and feel too little, more than machinery, we need humanity, more that cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

I challenge you to evaluate your life and see if you are an apathetic Christian. Because it is easier than you think to slip into the selfish world of apathy- of not caring. This is exactly what Satan wants. He wants a bunch of Christians sitting on their butts NOT caring, NOT proclaiming Christ, NOT striving for justice, NOT bettering the world, NOT being on fire for God. So I beg you, don’t fall into that trap

Compromises

Psalms 119:3 says, “They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths.” Most people like to view themselves as upright, good, moral people. We try our best to live our lives according to the will of God. However, as humans, it is very easy to compromise our faith for worldly desires. People do not like to think of themselves as fallible or with the ability to do wrong, but everyone is, even Christians. In scripture, there are so many examples of people who are thought of as heroes and amazing people who compromised their faith for worldly reasons. It should be the goal of believers in Christ to look at these examples and use it to help keep on the right path of following God.

2 Samuel 11 is a very familiar story. It tells of the sins David and Bathsheba. First, David slept with Bathsheba while she was married, and when he found out that she was pregnant with his child, he committed another sin. David sent Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, off to be killed in war. David compromised his faith and relationship with God for lust, sexual immorality, and murder. Colossians 3:5 says, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for the greedy person is an idolater, worshipping the things of this world.

Abram, or as he was later known, Abraham, was elderly and childless. In Genesis 16 it tells the story of how Abram and his wife Sarai were promised a son by God. However, Abram soon grew impatient and began to doubt God and His promise. Abram then took the situation into his own hands and had a child with another woman, who was not his wife. This caused an abundance of conflict later. Not too long later, Abram’s wife became pregnant and gave birth to a son. God had a plan for Abram’s life, however, Abram chose to take control because he didn’t trust God and was lacking in faith. Proverbs 3:5 quotes, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

After the people of Israel were delivered from Egypt by the almighty God, a lot of things happened. Numbers 13 goes into detail about how the Israelites were coming to the promise land and they sent twelve spies into Canaan to see the land. Two of the scouts had faith while the other ten let fear compromise their faith. Because of this, the Israelites wandered for forty more years and all of them but the two faithful spies died. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

A large majority of people stumble in their faith and compromise where they know they shouldn’t have. And as you can see, they have many reasons for it. The only way to keep pure and focused on God is by committing to Him and by continually seeking Christ in all that is done. Worldly desires can be very tempting, but compromising a relationship God isn’t worth it. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you by changing the way you think. Then you will learn what God’s will is for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Don’t Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart” We have all heard that phrase many times. We see it all over Pinterest and Instagram. We are constantly surrounded by people telling us to “Follow our heart”. If I could only give someone one piece of advice, it would be: “DON’T FOLLOW YOUR HEART!”  Let’s look at Jeremiah 17:9- “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”  Notice it says ‘the heart is deceitful’. Our hearts can betray us. Our hearts are emotional, we need wisdom as well.

      As Christians, we shouldn’t be following our heart, we should be following the convictions of the Holy Spirit.  

1 Chronicles 16:11 says,  “Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” 

This is saying that we do not belong to ourselves, therefore we should be following God’s heart, not our own. For God has more wisdom than anyone can imagine.     

 Most teenagers hate depending on people. They don’t like the idea of not being able to do things themselves (me included!) They want to be independent and make their own decisions. Read this quote by John Bevere, “When we invite the Holy Spirit into our decision making processes, He will ALWAYS bear witness through the peace of Christ Jesus.”  While the overall first impression of following our heart sounds okay, it’s not. Here’s the tough truth: 

When you follow your own heart, it’s saying that your priorities and what you want in life is higher than God’s priorities and His will for you. 

Ouch. That kinda stings, but we often do just that, often without meaning to! Continuing off of that, By following our heart, we are turning against God and living a life self-focused instead of Christ-focused.

 Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Now this is not saying that God is a Genie and will grant you any wish you want. No, this verse is saying that if we truly delight in the Lord, what we will want is what God desires and wants for our lives.

 John 16:13 has a great message, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

When you place your trust in God, the Holy Spirit will guide you and help you with discernment and wisdom. 

 I feel very strongly on the topic of fully surrendering yourself to God and His wisdom so I want to help others understand the best I can. William Booth said this, “The greatness of a man’s power is in the measure of his surrender.” 

Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When we live by the convictions of the Holy Spirit and strive to do the will of God, IT WILL SHOW! Acts 1:8 stated that when we have the Holy Spirit we will be witnesses to the people around us. And as followers of Christ (not our own hearts and desires) being examples and living a life as a testimony to God is something we should all strive to do. Your life is your ministry.

-Maddie💛

There is No Greater Call

There is no greater call than giving you my all” 

This was a line in a song I recently sang at Extravaganza at Southern Nazarene University. During worship one evening, “Have It All” by Bethel Music (Brian Johnson) played and I had never heard it before. I was singing along, enjoying the song then that line was sung. Man it hit me hard. 
Think about it, what calling could be greater than serving the everlasting God?! What could be more fulfilling than giving Jesus Christ your life? We often don’t think about how amazing God is and the privilege it is to glorify Him.

 “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.”‭‭ {Philippians‬ ‭1:21-22‬}

In this verse, Paul is saying that if he lives it will be worth it only to serve and work for Christ. 

But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being.” {Galatians‬ ‭1:15-16‬}

Paul is saying that God called him and it PLEASED him. We should be pleased when God calls us to serve him. I’m not saying it will be easy, but we should be pleased and willing. 

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” {Acts 20:24‬}

Luke says that his life is worth NOTHING if it’s not used for serving Christ. 

Guys! Surrendering it all the Christ is the greatest call ever imaginable! Don’t take that lightly! Look at this quote from Brian Houston: 

I encourage you to think about what it means to serve Jesus and what it means to you. Do you believe the statement, “There is no greater call than giving You my all.”? 

I have one desire now: to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy & strength into it.” -Elisabeth Elliot

*I hope you enjoyed! Check in on Saturday for a new post😄*-Madison

Pray for Pastors 

As Christians, I think we can all agree that pastors & those in ministry leadership roles have a HUGE part in our lives. They teach us, mentor us, pray for us, invest their lives into us, and do anything they can to help us further our growth in God. Because pastors are leaders we seem to think of them as perfect or that they have their lives all put together and have no troubles in life. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Pastors are human. They have feelings and in fact, statistics say most pastors suffer with depression. Pastors deal with hate, stress, criticism, and so much pressure & expectations from others. Just because they are pastors doesn’t mean they don’t have issues and hardships. Pastors live hard, difficult lives. Ask any person you know in ministry if it is an easy job. I guarantee you that NONE of them will say that it is. Because of all this, I believe it is vitally important and necessary to be actively praying for pastors. Ones you know personally, and those you don’t know. I challenge you to pray for every aspect of their lives, not just the part you see. Here’s a picture I found that has some guidelines of good things to pray for:

In 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:25 Paul asks the people to pray for him and the other church leaders: “Brothers and sisters, pray for us.”

‭‭‬ Ephesians‬ ‭6:19 “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,”

‭‭‬ Guys, pastors need our prayers! They do SO MUCH for us, and have had such great impacts on our lives. Please pray for your pastors and show them love and encouragement 
-Maddie💛

Encouragement 

We so often underestimate how a simple phrase or sentence can impact someone’s day or even life. Most people are so hard on themselves and have so many difficult things going on in their lives; and by saying something encouraging you might be the person helping them through it. This happened COUNTLESS time with me when I was dealing with chronic pain and depression. One person would say something that gave me the strength to get through the day. It was a miracle and life saving. Recently I was texting with a youth pastor on my church district. I was talking to him about my call to youth ministry and he sent a message saying, “Oh Madison, you are going to be amazing!” And that right there impacted me so much and gave me so much confidence, excitement, and joy for the future. It was just a simple text but it made such an impact. Don’t think your words won’t have an effect. Say encouraging things to people, even if it’s not the most comfortable thing for you. Because trust me, it makes all the difference. We need more positivity and love in this world. It can start with you and a simple word of encouragement. 
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
‭‭{1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬}

National Poetry Day

Happy National Poetry Day!! For those of you who don’t know, I absolutely love poetry. I read it all the time and even write poems (although I rarely show them to other people). In honor of National Poetry Day, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite poets & poems.

Erin Hanson: is probably my all time favorite poet. She is a 21 year old writer from Australia. She writes deep, moving poems. Here are some links where you can find her works:

http://thepoeticunderground.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thepoeticunderground/?hl=en

Megan McEuen: Megan is one of my personal friends. She loves poetry as well and has a twitter and tumblr where she posts haikus. She is very talented and I highly suggest you check out her work:

http://haikulizard.tumblr.com/

IMG_7166I own a really old book titled, “A Selection From The Great English Poets” by Sherwin Cody, and it has some amazing poems in it. This book helped me discover my love for Shakespearean Sonnets. Some of my favorite sonnets are pictured here:

FullSizeRender (5)FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRender (4)

If you are looking for a longer, story style poem, I highly recommend “Adonias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. He also has a great poem titled, “The Cloud“. My favorite poem by him is titled, “Love’s Philosophy”

FullSizeRender

I’ve just recently read some poems by William Blake. A poem I really enjoyed is called “Song1” FullSizeRender (1)

Of course there are so many more poems and poets I love, however these are the ones i chose to highlight in this post. I hope you enjoyed it! I have a Pinterest board where I pin poems i find and love. I have another Pinterest board just for Erin Hanson poetry. If you have any favorite poems or poets you think I might like, feel free to share! Thanks so much for reading!

-Madison

Prom 2017❤

Hey Guys! So last weekend was my first prom😁 I attended the Texas Christian Homeschool Prom and it was absolutely amazing! It was one of the best times I’ve ever had and I got to spend it with my two best friends and my wonderful boyfriend. They played pretty much any type of music you can think of, but one of my favorites was when they played “Can I Have This Dance” from High School Musical 3. It brought back so many memories😂 It was so much fun and I’m so thankful to everyone who was involved in putting it on! Here are some pictures from the evening: 

My dress was purchased at David’s Bridal. 

My amazing date😍❤

A random person took this picture of us slow dancing😂

My dad’s favorite picture😂 

My corsage was gorgeous! I loved it! 

Photo Booth Fun😜

I photobombed her picture.

Harley, Ashley, and Me. Love these girls and our friendship❤ plus, they looked absolutely stunning & gorgeous…as always😍

Shout out to one of my friends, Amanda, for doing my hair for prom. She did a great job and it lasted over 13 hours of craziness. Here are some close up pics of my hair: 

Here’s Amanda & me (with a front view of my hair) 

I did my own makeup for prom. That morning I had a little disaster with my contour and had to redo part of my makeup which stressed me out but in the end it turned out just the way I wanted. Here are two pictures of my makeup for those who are interested: 

This was before I put on my lipstick. Yes, I am wearing fake eyelashes😂

Here’s with my lipstick which I absolutely love! I’ve worn it so many times this past week since prom. 💄

Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. Check in Tuesday for a new blog post. 

-Madison💖

The Kindness Project Week 3

Hey Guys! Sorry I took such a long break from this series. I’m back and will be doing The Kindness Project weekly😄 

Weekly Kindness Challenge: 

Write an encouraging note (it can be short and only a sentence long if you want). It could even be a nice quote or Bible verse. Put it in a random book at a library, bookstore, or a book at school. This will hopefully encourage and bring a smile to a random persons face this week. As always, feel free to do more than just one note if you would like. Take the challenge and choose how it would work best for you. 

Weekly Kindness Quote:

“Be silly, Be Honest, Be Kind.” -Ralph Waldo Emmerson

I hope this encourages you and helps you through this week in our endeavor to “make kindess trending again”

The Kindness Project:

Introduction

Week One

Week Two 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. I hope you have a blessed day -Madison💛