Change the World

Hello, everyone!

For those of you who don’t know, about 3 years ago, God placed a calling on my heart to dedicate my life to music ministry. I came to the realization that Jesus is the only reason that I can sing, therefore I should use my gifts and talents to serve and worship Him only. I have been attending Truett- McConnell College for the past 2 years and am currently working on getting a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in Contemporary Worship. I have been studying God’s Word and honing my musical skill in order to be as effective a leader as possible. I have learned that there are many forms of worship: worship that expresses the heart, worship that transforms the mind, and a worship that requires physical action to take place. I believe that true worship of God involves all three of these aspects. Mark 12:30 even tells us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” True worship is something far greater than sitting in church, listening to a preacher, and singing songs. It is a lifestyle! As Christians, the greatest form of worship we can show is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever through every aspect of our lives.
This is what I hope to teach and demonstrate to people this summer. I have a job with World Changers as their Music Leader for the West Virginia and Virginia team. World Changers partners with NAMB and Lifeway. It “equips you with missions opportunities that meet real needs and demonstrate God’s love. The groups that attend will experience the needs and heartbeat of the city while learning about its history and culture. World Changers seeks to provide Christian youth and adults with opportunities to serve a community physically and spiritually through practical learning experiences that teach servant-hood and a personal commitment to missions.” I am so excited to get this opportunity to pour into the lives of the students and adults that attend, and I truly pray that God uses me to make a difference in their world, as they seek to make a difference in the lives of others. I am honestly a little nervous, but I’m going to trust God and what He has in store for me and my team.
If you ever think about it, your prayers and encouragement would be greatly appreciated. I will try and keep in touch as much as I can. I leave for training in Nashville tomorrow!! I can’t wait to see how my life will be changed through working this summer. 

Blessings!
Abbey

Thoughts for Graduation.

It’s that time of year when everybody graduates high school/college and starts a new chapter in this book called life. I have just been thinking a lot recently about what it will be like when I graduate college…how I will feel and what I might do.
 
So I have some thoughts that I wanna share. Just words of encouragement/words of advice. However you prefer to take it. I’m really writing this mostly for myself to look back at when I’m graduated and freaking out haha. (: 
Here are 10 things I want to say:
 
1. First and foremost- chase after God. Don’t neglect your time spent in His word and always trust where He is leading you.
2. Don’t be afraid! God has placed you exactly where you are for a reason. He will protect you and provide for you.
3. Believe in your calling. No matter how rough things get, don’t ever doubt what God has called you to do.
4. Stay close with your family. Whether your church family or biological family- they will always be there for you.
5. Keep your prayer life consistent.  For those of you going into ministry- this is especially important. You will be able to minister most effectively when you are in communication with the Lord and your life will be an overflow of what He is doing in you heart. The Lord wants to fill you up!
6. Except the challenges that life throws at you. As a teacher once asked me- How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
7. Have fun! Life is supposed to be filled with God given joy and happiness. Enjoy the little things in life. 
8. Make time to have friends. You may think you’re OK on your own, but friends will allow you to have that special time of fellowship. 
9. Be patient. God will provide opportunities for you to do His work in His own timing. Don’t rush Him. It won’t work. 
10. Love people. The world will know us by our love. Don’t ever be too busy to love others. 

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your 
own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He 
will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Purity: What It Is, and How to Obtain It

I’ve given this speech at various locations and events and felt like sharing on here. Enjoy ❤
 
 

How many Evangelical young adults have had sex before marriage? The answer is- Almost everyone.

 
According to an analysis of a study on sexual activity by Tyler Charles, “As many as 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults have had sex” Of those 80 percent of Christians who said they have had sex before marriage, 64 percent have done so within the last year and 42 percent are in a current sexual relationship” 
It is because of statistics like this that I have decided to write about what the Bible has to say about purity, what purity is, and how to obtain it. 
I have done several studies on this topic over the years and felt like sharing some of the things I have learned. 
I’m gonna talk about 4 of the 6 definitions of purity given in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. The common thing in all of these is that they have biblical principles that are applicable even in today’s culture. 
But before I tell you what the definitions are, there is something you have to know about purity. In order to have purity you must be willing to give up what your flesh and sinful nature wants and be ready to make a commitment to God’s standard.  Because we are Christians, we don’t have to be controlled by our sinful nature or flesh. We are controlled by the spirit of God living in us, which will overcome our flesh. Because we overcome our flesh, we are able to commit to God’s standard. 
 
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the 4 definitions of purity.
The first one is 
 

Freedom from foreign admixture or heterogeneous matter 

 
This definition implies that the way to achieve and maintain purity is to separate yourself from foreign or outside influences. The fact of the matter is that-
 we become like those we spend time with. 
 
 If you are a Christian you are set apart or sanctified for God and His purpose. In the Old Testament of the Bible, God told the Jews not to intermingle with those who were of pagan religions. The purpose in that was that He wanted his people to remain pure and not be overcome by the false teachings of others. 
In the New Testament, we see this verse-
2 Corinthians 6:14 (New Living Translation)
  Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?
 
Looking back at the definition; the heterogeneous or different matters that are conflicting are- light and darkness. As children of God- we are the light of the world. Those who do not love God are living in darkness. Therefore the two will never mix.
 
While God does call us to be witnesses for Him, we should never compromise in our intimate friendships and relationships. He has called us to be holy as He is holy. If we can filter out the influence of our friends and environment, then our spiritual conflicts will drastically decrease.
We should walk confidently in knowing that we can be in the world and not of the world.
Having a standard for holiness not only applies friendships but it also applies to the movies we watch, in the magazines that we read, and the music that we listen to.
Which brings us to our second definition of purity-

       Cleanness; freedom from foulness or dirt. 

We need to understand that temptation always starts in our minds. We live in a very media driven society. We let garbage fill our minds through the books, video games, internet and television. And we don’t give any regard to what is being imprinted into our brains. We will watch and listen to almost anything regardless of how perverted it is without changing channels or getting up and leaving.  
In Psalm 101:3 David says “I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.”
David is consciously making a decision not to look upon things that are not pure or gratifying. The key to being clean from the foulness of the media, is that you have a fixed set of guidelines in your mind before you are presented with the opportunity to sin. Before you go on the internet, before you meet your friends to go see a movie, before you play video games, know what your holy standard is and do not compromise.
The third description of purity is one that many young adults struggle with and find themselves compromising on. It is-
 

       Chastity; freedom from contamination by illicit sexual connection. 

 
This area of purity is critical for us to understand because of the sexuality of our culture. It is impossible to escape. Kay Arthur in her book Return to the Garden says the following about chastity, “Too many people today consider virginity as outdated. People are looking for love in all the wrong places, and sex is viewed as the door to love. In reality, according to the Bible, love and marriage open the door to sex.” 
 
The Bible never pictures sex as sinful, distasteful, or dirty. 
Here is an analogy- Fire has been a great benefit to mankind, however when it is out of control or used improperly, it can bring death and havoc. This is the same in regard to sex. It can be a great blessing within the confines of marriage, but can ruin lives when it is impulsively or prematurely used. 
 
Unfortunately, because of our age and maturity level, most college student’s relationships are body to body, concentrating on fulfilling our lusts. Biblically, this is not a relationship- this is adultery. 
 
Do we as young adults even know what a relationship is? The truth of the matter is that- a relationship is person to person. It encompasses the whole being of the person- intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and psychologically.  
One person put it this way and said- “You are ready to be in a relationship when you are willing to take responsibility for the other person’s soul.” 
Before we enter into a relationship, we need to make sure that we are in God’s will and that we know exactly what He expects of us in other areas of our lives and that we live them out. 
 
Here’s what we have to do in order to maintain sexual purity- we must deny ourselves fleshly pleasures and avoid sexual temptations. 
 
The reason we are to reject these pleasures, is explained by Paul in 
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 
God commands us to run from these areas that we are tempted in. You know your own weaknesses. Be HONEST with yourself. Determine in your heart not to let your standard be compromised. 
This brings me to the last definition of purity which is described as     

  Innocence: as purity of heart or life. Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin.

 
The first half of this definition discusses purity of heart or life
In order to have a pure heart we must seek and chase after faith love and peace. We need to eliminate passivity and laziness in our lives.
When we are being attacked by lustful thoughts, we should raise up our hearts to God in prayer and ask Him to remove those desires from our minds. In Ephesians 4:22-24 the Bible says,”throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy.” 
This verse is clearly telling us that we need to refocus our lives and replace our old behavior with the new behavior. When we turn away from our old ways we need to turn towards the Lord. 
The second half of this definition of purity talks about having freedom from guilt or defilement of sin. 
Psalm 32:5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And He forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
In closing I would like to say this; All 4 of these definitions of purity talk about the freedom that we can have from our impurity. We can find that freedom in Christ. 
 He is waiting to forgive, cleanse, and restore us. Even if we set godly standards for ourselves, because we are human we’re going to fall short. But we should not be defeated. We can’t allow ourselves to think that it’s impossible to live a pure life. We are not in this alone. 
Of course it’s going to be impossible if we try to do this in our own strength! 
But 1 Corinthians 10:13 says this- “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 

I am a nobody.

In the world we live in….image is everything. How people view us determines our worth. Weakness is never an option. We have to push forward and be stronger than we were yesterday. We cannot fail. We cannot make mistakes. What people think about us determines who we are. It guides the choices we make in life and gauges our success. People are searching. They are looking everywhere for that one thing that makes them feel like they have it all together. That one thing that makes them feel strong. That one thing that makes them feel accepted. That one thing that makes them truly feel loved.

 

But what if it we just don’t have it all together? What if we wake up one day and realize that the facade is over? What happens when we’re at the breaking point and we have no where else to run? Nothing else to seek after. Nothing else to dedicate our lives to. No one to ease our emptiness inside. Now what?

 

Why is it so hard to admit that we are weak…that we fail? Why is it not OK to not be OK? Why do we feel this enormous pressure to make something of ourselves? To be someone.

 

I have decided that I am going to be a nobody. In the eyes of the world I am choosing to not be the image of success. I am sick of the charades of life-sick of chasing after things that are temporal. I want to seek after what is eternal. I am choosing to be weak so that God may be my strength. I do not have it all together. But He does. For the sake of Christ- I am content to be nothing. I don’t want to live for myself. I’m getting rid of my own agenda. The only thing/person that is worth seeking after, is the Lord. Everything else is vain. You can strive for all of the strength, power, and success in this world…and still feel empty. You can search for things to fill the longing in your heart for acceptance and love, but you will never find it apart from truly dedicating your life to Christ. No matter what happens in our lives..no matter how many times we mess up..He will never fail. He will always be there to guide us, every step of our lives. We just have to let Him. Let us be a people who walk by faith- a people that let the love of Christ control our thoughts, decisions, and actions. Let us trust. May our very lives make known the grace of God.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

 I am a nobody.

Not much of a writer…but I figure it’s worth a try.

Last summer I read through the book of Pslams. One of the things that really stood out to me was that no matter what David was going through in his life, he always found a way to praise God. A couple of years ago I attended a worship leader conference and sat in on a song writing class. The speaker said that the key to writing songs that worship and lift God up is to not write about how we feel about Him, but rather what we know to be true. Our feelings and perception of God will change, therefore what we write about Him will vary according to our state of mind at the time. But when we write about the truths of God, about who He is, we will still be able to exalt Him during the difficult times.
 
That’s what I tried to do when I wrote this quote/story. Hope it encourages you! 😉 God bless ❤
 
“I’m spinning into His control. Trusting He won’t let me go. My enemies have surrounded me. I am broken and weary. Yet in the raging chaos it’s His voice I hear penetrating the walls I’ve built. He picks me up from my position- I’m sprawled out in defeat. When I take His hand I see clearly that I am no one and He is everything- I’m filled with courage to daily fight. Not against flesh and blood. But rebelling against the powers of this world that cause us to fall. God is the only reason I can make it out alive. In the realization of my weakness- He is made strong. He looks into my heart and says- you are my beloved. I told you there would be persecution. I never said it would be easy. There is no one on this earth that can ever want you as much as I do. Give me your whole heart. Don’t care what everyone will think. You are obeying my command- not because I force you, but because you want to. Either live unhindered, unashamed, sold out, on fire for Me- or not at all. I don’t need talk- I need action. Now is the time. Not tomorrow. Not 5 weeks from now. TODAY.
I close my eyes and say- yes Lord. I will follow you. Wherever You lead me. Have it be what You want, not what I have planned. You are the reason I’m breathing. Why should I not live every day for the cause of Christ? I am an ambassador for You. I want to shine Your light to the world.  I will give all my praise to You. In the hard times and the easy.  I want to be an instrument for You to play. I want to never cease to lift Your name to the heavens in great exaltation. I want to live for You from my inside out.”