Taking Romans 12:2 as its foundation“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, you may prove the will of God, that which is good, acceptable, and perfect” the book dares readers to explore critical issues such as self-esteem, courage, honesty, and identity through the lens of scripture and experience, offering the positive message that they are valued and loved by God.
|Publisher:||Church Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)|
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Dare to Be Rare
A Christian Guide for Girls
By Kathleen Whitten
Church Publishing IncorporatedCopyright © 2007 Kathleen Whitten
All rights reserved.
Hey, Where Are You Going with That?
Giving God Your Burdens
Growing up, there were times when one of my little sisters would take something breakable or valuable of mine and wander off.
Sometimes I would catch her in the act and say, "Hey, where are you going with that? That doesn't belong to you. Give it back!" Then she would try to run away and hide.
Do you think God ever feels the way we do when someone takes His stuff? Does He ever say, "Hey, where are you going with that? That doesn't belong to you. Give it back!"
Think about this: Any situation important to us is valuable to God. Any situation worrying us could be considered breakable. And if we are His, our worries or burdens are His as well.
Do we, as Christians, ever carry off something breakable or valuable that belongs to God and wander aimlessly holding it in our hands?
Ask yourself: When I hear of a problem within my family, what do I do? When I learn of a struggle a friend is going through, what do I do? When situations arise that I don't know how to handle, what do I do?
Many Christians tend to take those burdens in their own hands and wander off with them. Sometimes we go to our rooms and bury them. We even run from God when He tries to take them!
Galatians 6:2 says to "bear one another's burdens." The word "bear" in the Greek (the original language of the New Testament) is bastazo (bas-tad'-zo), meaning "to carry, or take up."
Some people think this means they're responsible for everyone's problems and worries. But that's not what God intended.
As Christians, we are to pick up or bear the problems of others as it says in Galatians 6:2. But what we do with this burden after we pick it up is the key.
The Bible clearly says we should pick up the burden, go to God, and give it to Him. Jesus says:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. (I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.) Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne." (Matt 11:28–30, AMP)
Christ tells us in this Scripture passage to carry our burdens to God and leave them with Him. When we do this, God will take our yoke and give us His yoke.
Do you know what a "yoke" is? In this passage, the Greek word for yoke is zugos (dzoo-gos'). Zugos (yoke) has two meanings: Farmers, especially those who lived in Jesus' day, knew what a yoke is. It's a wooden instrument placed on the neck or back of oxen or cattle as a hitch so that these beasts of burden can plow the field or pull a heavy load. A yoke makes it possible for animals to do all the farmers' work. But the word yoke has a spiritual meaning, too. It can mean any burden we might carry on our backs, or any burden we carry as our responsibility. Cleaning our rooms might be our yoke, or helping a friend who's sad or angry.
But Jesus tells us not to hang on to those yokes. He says that we should carry our yokes over to Him and place them in His hands—our worries, our sins, our breakable problems. In return, He promises, He will give us back a yoke that's light and easy.
Just like my little sister, we are not to run away with God's breakables—whether they're our burdens or someone else's—or hide them away. We need to give those burdens back to the owner—God.
The next time you hear prayer requests and problems from friends or family or anyone you happen to meet, what will you do? What will you do the next time you feel sad, worried, or overwhelmed?
If you pick up all the problems and begin to wander around with them, you just might hear God say to your heart, "Hey, where are you going with that? That doesn't belong to you. Give it back!"
Lay every problem and every burden at the feet of Jesus for Him to take care of. Not only will Jesus work on the situation, but He will make your heart light as you trust in Him.
Lord, You tell us in Galatians 6:2 to bear or carry each other's burdens. But You tell us in Matthew 11:28–30 to give You those burdens (yokes) so You can give us the light and easy yoke of trust and love.
Jesus, I choose to take every care and burden to You right now: me, my family, my friends, health, future, finances, spirituality, decisions, dreams, my past, my future, today—everything!
I choose to trust You to take care of those breakable, delicate, valuable situations and people in my life, and work everything out for good according to Your excellent plan for me.
Teach me that even when I hear of huge problems or when I need big miracles, I should pick up that situation, in prayer, and take it to You.
Please forgive me for worrying and carrying a heavy yoke upon my back. I take Your light and easy yoke now because I have decided to trust You with every burden. Amen.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. (I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.) Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne" (Matt 11:28–30, AMP).
For Journaling and Reflection
1. Remember this: God is way bigger than any problem you'll ever have. So instead of letting your worries overwhelm you, ask God to remind you of five things that are going well in your life. Write them down, and then ask Him to help you think about your problems in a new way. After a few days, try to notice if you're thinking a little differently about your problems. Write down any changes you notice.
2. Have you ever watched a best friend or family member worry about something that you just knew was going to work out? That's how God feels watching you worry. You can't see the outcome, but He can. What are you carrying around that's weighing you down, distracting, or exhausting you?
3. Fill in the blanks: "I feel like I can handle everything that's going on in my life, except_______________." Now, imagine what your days would be like if you didn't have to worry about it. Say a prayer asking God to carry that burden for you, along with all the rest of your worries.
4. Have you ever gone to sleep worrying about something, then woken up in the morning and, for a moment, completely forgotten about it? How did that feel? When you let go of your cares, God takes them. How would it feel to be that free of your worries all day long?
Being a Light in a Dark World
I went to one of those giant sports stores recently to buy some tennis shoes. The salesperson held up a pair of running shoes he thought might work for me and said, "Do you ever walk in the dark?"
I asked him, "Why? Are those shoes fluorescent so they glow in the dark?"
"No," he said, "they aren't fluorescent, because they don't glow on their own. They're called 'light reflectors.' The light from cars and street lamps will reflect on the shoes so people can see you in the dark."
This made me think. What the salesperson said reminded me of Matthew 5:14, which says, "You are the light of the world...."
As Christians, we are to be the light in a world that keeps getting darker and darker. But how can we constantly shine in dark places?
Being a light to a dark world can be challenging—if not impossible—if you think you have to be fluorescent—always glowing in the dark on your own.
Why? Ask yourself these questions:
* If I'm in a group of people who don't love or respect God (or themselves, or anyone)—how can I be a light?
* If I'm tired and even sad or hopeless about something—how can I be a light?
* If I'm exhausted or burned out—how can I shine for everyone else?
* If I don't have the answers to a big problem and I'm really worried about it—how can I be a light to an already dark world?
So if you realize that you can't be a light to the world—how can Matthew 5:14 be true? That's easy: Because God never intended for us to be the light—He wants us to reflect His Light.
We're not the source of light. Our good works aren't the source of light. Our obedience isn't the source of light. Our understanding, or wisdom, or intelligence aren't the source of light either. God is the only source of light. An awesome example of a light reflector in the Old Testament is Moses: "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp" (Exod 33:11). After speaking with God—the source of light—Moses' face would reflect the light of God so strongly that the people were actually afraid: "So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him" (Exod 34:30, NKJV).
The word "shone" in this passage in Hebrew is nrq qaran (kaw-ran'). The word has lots of meanings, but the most important one is "to send out rays."
The Hebrew word shone means reflected!
As a matter of fact, Moses' face reflected God so strongly, and the people were so afraid, that Moses had to wear a veil to cover it. Now that's a light reflector: "And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face" (Exod 34:33, KJV).
A good example in the New Testament of a light reflector is John the Baptist: The Bible says in John 1:7 (NKJV) that John came to "bear witness of the Light ( Jesus), that all men through Him ( Jesus) might believe." John 1:8–9 (KJV) goes on to say, "He (John) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
Jesus is the source of light. Like John the Baptist, our job is simply to reflect the Light—Jesus—and His Word. We need to be human light reflectors!
When you look into a mirror, you see a reflection of the original you. A light reflector is kind of like that. It simply mirrors the light that's been shone on it. The light is all about the source of light—God. It's not about the reflector—us.
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'" (John 8:12). Do you know what that means? That means Jesus is the original—and only—source of light. He's the only source of truth, love, hope, goodness, and if we reflect him—if we mirror, follow, copy, and learn from Him—we don't have to walk in the darkness of depression, despair, confusion, evil, or fear.
So what do I need to do to become a light reflector? Here's a three-step guide:
1. Get near the Source. Remember my light-reflector sneakers? They only "shine" when a headlight—a light source—shines near them. So draw near to God. God promises us that when we draw near to Him, He'll draw near to us ( Jas 4:8). Talk to God. He always hears and understands, so God "the Source" will be near us. His light will shine on us—His reflectors.
2. Ask God to put you with other light reflectors. Can you imagine jogging in the dark with a group of people wearing light-reflective gear? A glowing example! Get with a group of light reflectors—the brighter the better. Share with each other ways to get near to the source: prayer, reading the Bible, going to church, and worshiping are some good examples. Go to God and ask Him to illuminate your path to show you which group of friends is the best one for you.
3. Put on your reflective gear. My reflective tennis shoes won't do me any good in the closet. If I'm outside in the dark and want some light reflection, then I have to put them on. We live in a "dark" world. There are things all around us that are dark and evil. We need to make sure we are always light reflectors, because there are so many temptations in the dark.
Sometimes there's a temptation to do or say the wrong thing. And sometimes, even if God gives us the grace to do or say the right thing, there's a temptation to believe the evil around us is so big, peer pressure is so strong, people are so dishonest, addictions are so powerful, and the world is so corrupt, that our little reflective light doesn't matter. But that's not true.
Get this picture: The darker the room, the brighter the light. If I shine a flashlight in a well-lit room, then it hardly shows up. But if I shine it in a pitch-black room? Wow! That's what the writer is talking about in the letter to the Romans: "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more" (5:20).
That means that no matter what dark situation you find yourself in, God will increase His grace to meet all your needs. No matter how bad things get "down here" on earth—God will increase His light to overcome darkness.
The darker the room—the brighter the light!
Dear Jesus, I want to reflect Your love and truth in my life. Thank You for not expecting me to be a source of light but only a reflector. Help me to learn that if I try to be my own source of light—my own source of strength, love, wisdom—then sooner or later I'll just burn out.
God, I believe You are the original and only source of light. Only You are my source of truth, love, hope, goodness, and if I reflect you—if I mirror, follow, copy, and learn from You—then I don't have to walk in darkness. You'll protect me from the darkness of depression, despair, confusion, evil, or fear.
Help me to get near Your Light through the Holy Spirit, Your Truth, Your Word, and Your people so I can reflect You more and more strongly in a world that grows darker and darker.
Psalm 23 and Isaiah 58:8 say that even during my darkest hour I will see Your light through the darkness and shadows because Your light will always be behind me, protecting me. Amen.
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, 'I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'" (John 8:12).
"You are the light of the world" (Matt 5:14).
Always remember this: You are God's light reflector.
For Journaling and Reflection
1. Was there ever a situation where you could have reflected God's light, but the darkness felt too deep and being a light reflector just felt impossible? Looking back, what could you have done differently? Try to imagine how things might have turned out if you had reflected God's light. In your notebook or journal—or in the margins of this book—write about the way that incident happened. Then write about how it might have happened if you'd been a light reflector for God. Write down a prayer asking God to help you let others see God's bright light shining through you.
2. Is there a particular situation, group, or place where it always seems hard to reflect God's light? Why? What can you do to help you make different choices?
3. We all find ourselves in situations ranging from dimly lit to pitch dark, but even when we can hardly see in front of us, God gives us ways to find His light. Maybe you have a gift for listening to a friend who's sad, or maybe you can help organize a plan when everybody else is worried and confused. Those are gifts from God that you can use to help reflect His light in dark moments. What are some special ways that you can reflect God's light? Write down some of your gifts and think about ways you can turn them into light reflectors.
4. Do you have a group of light-reflecting friends? Are there people you can think of whose shining company you can share regularly? Are there some darker situations where you're the one called to reflect God's light?
Excerpted from Dare to Be Rare by Kathleen Whitten. Copyright © 2007 Kathleen Whitten. Excerpted by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
One Hey, Where Are You Going with That? Giving God Your Burdens
Two Light Reflectors Being a Light in a Dark World
Three Mirroring Honor When Honoring Your Parents Is Difficult
Four In the Meantime Surviving the Dry Seasons of Life
Five Someone Is Watching God Sees It All
Six Is Purpose a Bad Word? Following God's Plan for Your Life
Seven If Your Heart ... Confidence Before God
Eight Selling Yourself Short Don't Underestimate Your Worth and Value
Nine Distant from God Finding Your Way Back
Ten God's Timing; God's Ways Trusting God during the Wait
Eleven Everyone Judging Anyone Freedom from Condemnation
Twelve Book of Remembrance Acknowledging God's Goodness
Thirteen Bank on It Growing Your Faith
Fourteen Where Is Your Spiritual Location? Finding Yourself in Christ
Fifteen Timing Is Everything Putting Your Life in God's Hands
Sixteen Are We a Nike Generation? Displaying the Fruit of the Spirit
Seventeen No Regrets Living a Life of Belief, Forgiveness, and Love
Eighteen Faithful Appreciating Faithfulness
Nineteen Caller ID Recognizing God's Voice
Twenty God's Kind of Love Unconditional and Unending
Twenty-one Be Still Stopping, Waiting, and Watching God Work
Twenty-two Coveting Appreciating Your Gifts
Twenty-three Giving It All Showing Love to Others
Twenty-four God Keeps His Promises Applying Scripture to Your Life
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Verygood book it shows girls how to go through junior high