Because youâ€™re worth it
Inside your 2012 issue Bruised but not broken The pitfalls of social media Gaining freedom and keeping it The G Jones Interview with cover girl Precious
& Lots more
In association with Eden Christian Centre
Girl Talk - Because you’re worth it Inside this issue: A Word from the Editor
Stop Complaining & Start Gaining
Read all about it! The Woman of Samaria
It’s out there now! The Pitfalls of Social Media
The G Jones interview with GT 2012 Cover Girl Precious
Catch up with The Inner City Prosecutor
Up Close & Personal
You can make it with Valda
Who was Abigail
Get the Pen out - it’s a Crossword!
Bruised but not Broken
Because You’re Worth it
Let’s Talk About Sex
Thought for the Year
What’s That? GOSSIP Troublemakers listen to troublemakers. Proverbs 17:4 The moment somebody begins to gossip stop them and ask, 'Why do I need to know this? Have you talked to the person you're talking about?' Wise up; people who gossip can't be trusted! The Bible says that when you listen to gossip you are a troublemaker: 'Troublemakers listen to troublemakers.' And Jude adds: 'These are the people who divide you, people whose thoughts are only of this world' (Jude v.19 NCV). Those are serious charges. And the Internet has only made the problem worse because now you can spread gossip faster and wider, and remain anonymous while you are doing it. Paul speaks about those who 'devour one another...[and your whole fellowship]' (Gal 5:15 AMP). He says they should be avoided and disciplined. When was the last time you saw that happen in church? Solomon said, 'A gossip reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a babbler' (Pr 20:19 NRS). In other words, 'keep clear of them.' The quickest way to end gossip is to confront those who are spreading it. The church is not a 'tell all' television show where we expose people and hang out their dirty linen for all the world to see. Quite the opposite: 'Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and tensions disappear when gossip stops' (Pr 26:20 TLB). Jesus taught us how to deal with personal difficulties when they arise: (1) 'Work it out between the two of you.' (2) 'If he (she) won't listen, take one or two others along.' (3) 'If he (she) still won't listen, tell the church [leadership]' (Mt 18:15-17 TM). That's Christ's way, and it must be our way too Girl Talk 2012 Eden Christian Centre, Connaught Road, Ilford IG1 1RN Tel: 020 8478 4765 Email: email@example.com In association with Eden Christian Centre & EdenWoman
A Word from the Editor It really does not seem a year since our last Girl Talk event and here we are again, almost 12 months to the day - Fabulous!! God has been really good—yeh! all the time! I know I may sound like a broken record, but we are so pleased to be in our fourth year of running this event — we feel blessed; - even as facilitators, there are always exciting topics to talk about, peoples testimonies that inspire us, more amazing things to discover and find out about God and so many more ways of learning how we as women can be effective Christians in the world we live in today. Our society is fast paced; technology over the past couple of decades has moved on at a remarkable pace and dictates that we feel we cannot live without the latest gadgets such as mobile phones, ipads, ipods computers – how did our parents manage not so many years ago!! We have seen a significant increase in the phenomenon - social networking sites – a great invention for communication, it makes our lives so much easier (even though I think there’s an element of nosiness) However, the super highway can also a dangerous place, luring young women—and men into dangerous situations they would never have otherwise found themselves in. How many of you have attended a party and acted the opposite of what God expects of you – hello! He can see you – and now so can we!! Once that information or that picture hits the internet it can be very difficult to get it removed. Teneeka James looks at the ‘pitfalls of social media’ and you can read her account on page 7 They may not have had the internet in the days of Jesus but they had another social tool ‘GOSSIP’ On page 6, Pastor’s wife Christine Jones looks at the story of the Woman of Samaria . Check out our new writer Aphrodite Poullos on page 20, she gives us a real account of how it is as a young woman to Fight Temptation and we get Up Close and Personal with Zalika Henry on page 12 Our GT cover girl this year is the fabulous and stylish Precious, (she’s a designer, I need a new dress!) you can catch her interview with Georgina Jones on page 9 Please make use of the email address firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear from you and we will always endeavour to make ourselves available to talk or answer any queries you may have. Our motto for the year is ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me—Philippians Ch4 v13 see page 27 Thank you to everyone who has taken the time out to write their articles, I know it takes time and dedication and your input really is appreciated. Thanks again to the GT Team, it’s the working together that really makes this possible – I love you – you’re fabulous. God bless you all. Bev Jones-Joseph Editor 3
Stop Complaining and Start Gaining! Do everything without complaining... Philippians 2:14 Two groups of psychology students were wired for recording purposes, and assigned a period to socialise freely. One group knew the experiment would measure the level of complaining in normal conversation; the other group did not. Afterwards, both groups were shocked by how frequently they complained. The group in the know complained almost as much as the group unaware of what the experiment was aiming to achieve. It's the oldest response in the book - literally! Confronted with our choices and actions, we spontaneously start complaining: 'It was their fault, not mine; If they hadn't... I wouldn't have.' Adam needed no lessons in the art of complaining. Caught red-handed, he told God, '..."The woman whom You gave... me, she gave me... and I ate." ...the woman [Eve]... said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" ' (Genesis 3:12-13 ). Neither accepted responsibility for their choices. And since God doesn't help people who won't be responsible, He threw the complainers out of Paradise. If they ever subsequently 'got it' regarding complaining, they didn't transmit it to their offspring, Israel: 'Now the people complained... in the hearing of the Lord... his anger was aroused. Then fire... consumed... the outskirts of the camp' (Numbers 11:1 NIV). Notice, all complaining is 'in the hearing of the Lord', and He clearly doesn't want to hear it! Paul writes, 'Do not complain as some of them did; they were killed by the angel that destroys. The things that happened to those people are examples... written down to teach us...' (1 Corinthians 10:10-11 NCV). Clean up your verbal act! Decide to detect, reject and eject all complaining from your vocabulary.
Complaining is toxic. It contaminates both the complainer and everyone within earshot. Sometimes we think we're helping by complaining. We maintain, 'If somebody doesn't say something, nothing's ever going to change!' - as though positive change can come from negative words. We imagine we've contributed something worthwhile by our complaint. But complaining is what we do to avoid facing, dealing with and solving the problem. It's what we do instead of contributing to constructive change, and it makes us part of the problem instead of the solution. The more you complain the more problem-focused you become, and the more problemfocused you become the more you complain. Ultimately, your complaining affects you more than anyone else. The Psalmist said, '...I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed...' (Psalm 77:3 NKJV). If no one else pays attention to your words, you do. Before you say them you think them: '...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks' (Matthew 12:34 NKJV). And when you say them, you hear them and believe them just as you would the words of a trusted authority. Every time you repeat them you reinforce their power over you until eventually you make yourself the victim of your own complaints! Your spirit (attitude) will be overwhelmed, not by the problems and difficulties people bring to you, but as the self-inflicted product of your own complaints. So, 'Do all things without complaining... that you may become blameless and harmless... without fault in... a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world' (Philippians 2:14-15 Isnâ€™t complaining really just about words? No, it's much more than that! First, complaining hands your 4
power over to the people and circumstances you complain about, making you feel like their victim. It diminishes your ability to think of solutions, conditions your mind negatively, and blunts your ability to receive creative ideas from God. Positive outcomes don't grow in negative soil! You can't complain and create simultaneously. 'Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring... can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?...' (James 3:11-12 NIV). Complaints are verbal expressions of negative beliefs. They cancel positive intentions and confessions, rendering you powerless to reap the gains God offers. Complaining focuses on a past you can't change. It keeps you scavenging in yesterday's debris, searching for evidence about 'who did what' and 'when' and 'why', while your present slips fruitlessly away. Second, complaining is toxic to your relationships: '...Do you not know... a little leaven leavens the whole lump?' (1 Corinthians 5:6 NKJV). Complaining invites others to complain. Injected poison toxifies every part of the body. Subtly, your relationship, your family, your workplace, your church and your environment become polluted. Complaining polarises relationships. People who don't like stress, anxiety and negativity begin to distance themselves from you. 'The tongue has the power of life and death...' (Proverbs 18:21 NIV) - your life and death, and the life and death of others. So pray, 'Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord...' (Psalm 141:3 NIV); help me to avoid complaining You say , 'But isn't it possible my complaint might be legitimate?' Yes. Injustice, abuse, betrayal, robbery, gossip, libel, prejudice, physical harm against you or your family, and so on, are legitimate causes. 'And if I donâ€™t do some PTO
Thing about these, won't I be failing everybody. It feels right, justified, in my responsibility?' Right again! and even therapeutic. Well-meaning You are called to be salt and light in friends will encourage it, and even this world, resolving problems that help you publicise it. 'You'll feel betarise by practising spiritual princi- ter when you've got it off your ples in your daily life. To do nothing chest,' they'll say. But God's Word at such times makes you irresponsi- condemns handling complaints that ble and disobedient to God. But way! Do it, and you add insult to complaining about it is not doing your own injury by disobeying God something, not by God's definition. and you can't expect Him to cooperYou say, 'All right, since God is ate with you while you violate His against complaining, how do I han- Word. 'If your brother sins against dle legitimate complaints?' First, t do nothing until no Iâ€™m ning Youâ€™re just a g you've talked with mo sayin being t God. You'll make jus mean the right moves if you take time to get the right counsel. Prayer clarifies your options and adjusts your perspectives. It defuses your anger, restoring you to objectivity and This is ridiculous! rational thinking. Your second move is more likely to succeed if your first move is to seek God for wisdom: '...he should ask God...' (James 1:5 NIV). Second, you, go and show him his fault, just before you say or do anything, carry between the two of you. If he listens out an attitude check. Stop and ask to you, you have won your brother yourself, 'What's my real agenda over' (Matthew 18:15 NIV). Courage, here? Is it to show them that I'm humility and wisdom are required to right and they're wrong? Is it to face your offender privately, but it's come away looking good while I God's way. It contains the conflict, make them look bad? Is it to win a minimises embarrassment and inpersonal victory or to solve the creases the likelihood of resolution problem in a way that glorifies and restoration, which is God's real God?' Before you speak, check concern. Then, speak in love, not in what's in your heart: '...For the words meant to hurt. Let your mouth speaks out of that which fills words be gracious, conciliatory and the heart' (Matthew 12:34 NAS). aimed at solution, not 'oneWhen your heart attitude pleases upmanship'. The Bible counsels, God, you're ready to handle any le- 'Instead, speaking the truth in love, gitimate complaint. we will... grow up...' (Ephesians 4:15 NIV). Your growth in Christ is the When your complaint is legitimate, end; speaking truth in love is the first talk to the person with whom means. Tell the offender your goal is you have the issue. When you're not to humiliate them or to get upset, your temptation will be to tell revenge, but rather to resolve your 5
differences, strengthen your relationship, and honour God. Instead of making an adversary who'll oppose you, you'll be inviting an ally to join you in a mutually beneficial, God-glorifying mission. Here are three final thoughts on complaining. First, don't make a complaint, make a request. However legitimate your gripe, you'll be heard as complaining - greatly reducing the likelihood of a good outcome. Whatever the cause, you're more likely to get what you ask for graciously, than you are to cure what you're complaining about. Asking, 'Would you be willing to do this [a preferred specific behaviour] rather than that [the old behaviour]?' is respectful, clear, avoids argument over past issues that can't be changed, and always brings a better result. Second, -al right, you've said it, now let God work. Changing people is God's job, so back off, be patient and give Him a chance. 'But doesn't somebody need to supervise them to be sure they change?' Unless they're behind bars and you're their prison guard, the answer is no! Get out of God's way and let Him do what you can't. He has ways and means you never dreamed of. When He's allowed to take over the job it gets done properly! Third, what should you do while waiting for God to work? Well, you could sit around ruminating, resenting and rehashing the past, or you could take lessons from Joseph. He'd every reason to complain about his family's treatment and to take revenge when the tables turned in his favour. Instead he conscientiously and skilfully did what he had to do, watching for the strategic moments every problem offers, when he could align himself to become part of the solution. He did, his family was reunited, and God promoted him to even greater blessing. Learn from Him UCB 2010
Read all about it! Daily Bible News -The Woman of Samaria Christine Jones Every era has had its fair share of what could be constituted as social media problems and the period that Jesus lived on the earth was no different. This is a story about a woman who found herself living at the mercy of her own reputation. There is no name for her in the Bible; she is simply known as the woman from Samaria.
and asked her for a drink; the woman was astonished and confused and must have thought to herself, this man, a Jew, must have made a mistake, how can anyone ask me for water, everyone knows who I am.
The woman from Samaria was no ‘angel’ She had been married five times and was living in sin with a man who was not her husband. How she came to be in that situation noone knows, but she must have endured endless gossip about her inappropriate lifestyle, called whatever the ‘slapper’ name was at the time, spat at in the street and definitely shunned by males and females alike.
“Go and call your husband and come back”
Jesus then said to her
Her heart must have sank, she was going to have to reveal, “I do not have a husband” Jesus said “you’re right when you say you do not have a husband as you have had five and the man you are living with is not your husband”. The woman of Samaria must have thought how does this man know about me?, she said, “I know the messiah is coming who is called Christ”
In Samaria no-one ventured out at noon, because it was the hottest time of the day; everyone would have been taking a siesta, waiting for the sun to go down before they continued with the rest of the daily work.
The woman was given the opportunity to be forgiven, she believed that Jesus was really the messiah she confessed her sins and repented.
The fetching of water was a role for the women, it was an arduous task made even more difficult because of the heat from the rays of the sun and because of her status, the woman of Samaria had no choice but to collect water at that time of day, however, for her it was worth it as it meant she would not have to tolerate the gossiping and the wagging of fingers.
The woman went back to the town and told all her family, friends and neighbours, she said “come see a man who told me everything about my life He could not have known, could this be the messiah?” Because of her testimony about the way Jesus changed her life everyone in the town went to see Jesus. The lowest of the low brought a whole town into the knowledge of Christ.
Jews did not normally travel on roads that were considered the property of the Samaritans, there was a history of contention between them. However, on this particular day, Jesus was out and about and was thirsty and tired; he decided to make a stop for refreshment and rest which meant he would have to go through Samaria. Upon arriving at the well Jesus observed the woman
Jesus meets us where we are and forgives our sin, he helps us to see our weaknesses, leads us to recognise him and invites us to leave our sins behind and bear testimony of him to others. It doesn’t matter how bruised and broken you may be, Jesus will not reject you, Jesus is willing to accept you and change you and give you eternal life.
Samarian Woman gets set free
“I am He” Jesus said.
The Pitfalls of Social Media Teneeka James We have all come across the term social media, but what is it, what does it mean? Essentially, social media is online technology with methods through which people can share content, personal opinions, swap different perspectives and insights. Social media websites content can come in many shapes and forms: Text - text is often used to put across opinions or write blog posts. Images - images and photos can display anything from holiday photos to shots by professional photographers. Audio - social media lets you create podcasts for users to download. Video - video sites mean that you'll be able to record a video of your child's birthday for friends all over the world to see. The most popular type of social media websites are classed as Social networking. These are websites that allow you to create a personal profile about yourself then chat, discuss and share information with others such as friends and family. Prime examples of social networking sites are MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. The internet has become the most efficient and one of the most powerful communication tools over the past decade. Today we have kids from the age of 10 with Facebook accounts and the BlackBerry BBM service. The statistics are alarming; more than half a billion 500,000,000 people worldwide have used a social network site and all of them could potentially be viewing your profile! Users Face Book 900,000,000 Windows Live 330,000,000 Twitter 140,000,000
Skype 145,000,000 Badoo 151,000,000 Bebo 117,000,000
A great invention, yes, but it’s not all good. Building and re-building relationships online makes it easy for "people" to misrepresent themselves. I could be talking to handsome Tom who is the same age as me and has a genuine interest, but unfortunately I am oblivious to the fact that he is infatuated by my photos and is actually about 15 years older than me – you never know who is on the other side of your ISDN line. We need to be informed, more vigilant and less ignorant to the wider community. We have all heard the term as children ‘do not talk to strangers’ a quote still reiterated by parents of every generation; however, is this message strong enough; I know of 13 year olds ‘talking’ to people or so-called friends of friends they have never met; they pass around their personal pin numbers like the postman delivers letters – into any door and not knowing the content! This is a worrying world-wide trend and as we have seen from stories in the news, it can have terrible consequences on those that fall prey to predators. Clothing tells a Story! Images we post of ourselves tell a story. Retailers and fashion designers dictate what the current trends are; attempting to limit our ability to look beautiful without looking like we’re selling ourselves. We misrepresent ourselves because we fail to understand what we are actually saying about ourselves to the public. Professors and Psychologists will debate and say young women expose themselves to the dangers because of their up-bringing, selfesteem, external influences and peer pressure. As young women, Christian or not we should all be mindful of being moderate in what we wear. The Bible says “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) 7
clothed with strength and dignity”. This ideal woman is praised for what she does and who she is rather than what she looks like but her clothes still do reflect this. Who we are on the inside should be reflected on the outside through our whole attire Why would we post such things on social networking sites? People viewing our profiles make assumptions of who we are from what we upload, raving and party images, sexually enticing photos; yes we know that will get the guys hollering! However, I dare you to experiment, take down those photos, post plenty of Christian representing images and see the difference. You’ll soon feel very lonely! You attract what you sell! Recognise any of these people? Are you thinking there’s nothing wrong with what these girls are wearing? Hope not! Let us look at what the Bible says.
Your body is a beautiful creation designed by God so let us honour him with it and save this wonderful sight for our husbands for the Bible says (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body”.
The Bible talks about physical appearance and how what a woman wears can have an effect on the opposite sex.
Bruised but not broken
Judah and Tamar are perhaps one of the first instances in the Bible where a person put on some clothing and it was shown to have meaning. Tamar used clothing to trick Jacob into honouring his promise. Clothing indicated to him that she was sexually available.
It’s important to think and be careful; some of us like myself have already fallen into the trap of information sharing. If you were to search TNEEK in Google, there is some content that does not represent who I am today and a number of these I cannot remove. Knowing what you know now – what are you going to do about it?
Joab had a woman dress in sackcloth to come and see David to try to change his mind about Absalom and to cheer him up. She used clothing in a deceitful way so as to influence David.
Consider what you post online, what you say, what you wear, how you behave. Unfortunately, sometimes regardless of where you have moved on to in your life, the past has a way of creeping up on you.
Esther, when she wanted to show her authority and position when she was risking her life before the king, dressed in her royal robes. They did not save her from the law, but they made her easily identifiable, and therefore pardonable.
I encourage you to be one step ahead and think do I really need to show the world this? What am I selling and do I REALLY want to attract that kind of attention? Is this pleasing to God? If the answer to these questions is no, then you know what to do.
The Priests in the Book of Ezra wore specific apparel to carry out their ministry. It set them apart as someone special. Mordecai was given the king’s clothes to wear as he was paraded down the street. This signified the amount of thankfulness the king had for what Mordecai had done for him in saving his life. The clothing showed status.
We may have made some mistakes and even be bruised by some of the decisions we have made in the past but remember the Bible says (Romans 8:1) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit” however, if you are not living as Christian then you will be condemned. Also, John 8:36 says “So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. So go and live that freedom in Christ, let no one judge you but be responsible and accountable for what you post and more so wear…we don’t want to be misrepresented!
The Bible clearly shows us that what we wear sends a message. The Ideal Woman Proverbs 31:10-31 is not just a good place to find out how to be a virtuous wife but it also informs us as to what young Christian woman should aspire to be like – the model woman (biblically). The most important part of this passage relevant to us is Proverbs 31:22 and 25 “she is clothed in fine linen and purple” and “She is 8
Georgina: When did you first come to Christ? But I will always love vintage! My wardrobe is like 50% Precious: I was brought up in a Christian home - so I've vintage, 40% self-made and 10% high street. I think I always kind of knew the story of Jesus Christ, I gave my love vintage because it never gets old - it's all classic garlife and got baptised ments that can be worn when I was 15 but wasn't year in year out. I've got really living the lifestyle. stuff I bought like 5 years So I SERIOUSLY turned to ago and still looks good. with Cover Girl Christ about 2 years ago. I'm really fussy when it comes to buying high G: Why did you decide to street clothing because I become a Christian? look at the price tag and P: I'm not sure - it think why buy that when I seemed fun! Lol. I gave my life can make it. So I make a lot of my at a youth camp in Dover and I clothes too. thought wow, that seems like what all the other youth were G: What are the trends do you doing so I did to! Also coming to think we should look out for this Eden when I was about 14 gave summer? me a realisation that going to P: This has always been a trend church and being a Christian I've represented. But this summer wasn't as boring as I thought it there's a lot of tribal/African print was after growing up in it - it clothing on the high street. You gave me a new, interesting will see the prints on anything viewpoint of what Christianity from dresses to shoes. Also was about (it was definitely pleats, and light flowy chiffon 'Church, but not as I know it'). pieces...they're everywhere! Eden was different to other churches I had grown up in. G: I also know that you love to
The G. Jones Interview Precious Oshungbure
sing. When did you know you had the gift of singing? P: Not until I started coming to Eden! Which was when I was 14. My mum told Pastor John (former pastor) and I think Daniel that I like to sing and they encouraged me to join the praise and worship team so By chance I began operating in a gift I didn't know I had, at the time the praise and worship team was really small so it was the right time too. So I suppose you can say it was Gods plan
G: You've just finished uni, congrats! What did you enjoy most about uni? P: Thanks!! :) Errrmm I'm trying to think back to when I first started that's when I enjoyed it most lol. I liked the fact it was in Central London and surrounded by all the shops in Oxford Street - it was the new, exciting city experience that I was drawn to! G: What did you dislike most about uni? P: Being in London! Staying at home had it's ups and downs. I didn't receive the full uni experience other people got! And I would literally go into uni then go home! It was slightly less social than other unis, with less events and extra curricular events going on
G: Who are your favourite artists at the moment? P: Oooh! Artists. I'm loving Jessica Reedys album, I love Jesus Culture aswell. Oh and I've had old skool Comissioned on repeat non-stop. I love 80s music (especially gospel).
G: I know you want to go into the fashion industry. What do you love most about fashion?
G: What's your plans for the rest of 2012? P:To accomplish my to do list for 2012. There are so many things I want to try and do this year. Top of my list is to drive!
P: I love that with clothes you have the ability to express yourself and create various looks with what you're wearing. The fact that we don't all have to look the same - we have freedom in the clothing we wear, being able to wear what we want.
G: Thanks Precious! Well, that's it from for another year! I hope you enjoy Girl Talk 2012 and leave feeling fulfilled and prepared to take on anything that comes your way. Until next year, this is G Jones signing out!
G: What's your favourite label/brand and why? P: I'm not sure I have one. It's literally always changing. 9
People go to extraordinary lengths to get out of prison. When people are freed from prison they often struggle with addictions to alcohol and drugs. They follow the same crowd and fall back into the same habits that led them into prison in the first place. The end result is often a swift return back to the place they have tried to escape from. This can then become a pattern and cycle of behaviour leading people in and out of prison. Prison over the years has changed completely. Before it used to just be a place where people went after they have been convicted of a crime. The state just kept people locked up for about 23 hours out of 24 hours in a day. Times have changed. Some prisons look like a modern flat, with prisoners having their own television, computers games, even pet budgies and a selection of at least 5 menu options per meal. You can also get open prisons where if you are considered less dangerous you live at home during the day but go to prison for the evenings to sleep. Prisons may have become more hospitable over the years however this does not change the fact that they are still prisons. Thank God that we have an escape, Jesus. He is the key to our freedom. God tells us in John 8: 36. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. Living a life of freedom in Christ is living the life that God has called us to live. Free to worship God, free to praise Him, free to serve Him and free to live a life of freedom in Him. Jesus went to the cross so that we would not end up in hell. He made a way so that we could be reconciled back to God. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and saviour we become changed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. We are no longer our own. We have been brought with a precious price. 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone
The Inner City Prosecutor Gaining Freedom and keeping it Sophia Olatubosun is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. We therefore have to honour God with everything that we have, our body, mind and soul. In Christ we have become a new creation. This means we should not be living a life of bondage.
Exodus 14:10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness”
God never does things by half measures. When He sets us free He does so permanently. Unfortunately sometimes we take the prison key and instead of leaving, we lock ourselves up (or allow others to do so) in a physical and emotional prison. We try to be one way in church and a different person outside of church. The bible tells us that we should be hot for God. That is serving him with our The “prison” that they were in began to look attractive. They had whole heart. forgotten the battles that God had Revelation 3:15 I know your works, won for them. They wallowed in that you are neither cold nor hot. I self pity. We can be that way if we could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So think that a life before or without then, because you are lukewarm, and Christ is better. A life without Christ neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you is spiritual death. out of My mouth. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, could wish you were cold or hot. and see the salvation of the Lord, God calls us to be free indeed, not which He will accomplish for you just when we praise him on a Sunday today. For the Egyptians whom you or when we are with Christian brothsee today, you shall see again no ers and sisters. We must live a life of more forever. 14 The Lord will fight freedom in Christ 24-7. for you, and you shall hold your Some people do not realise that their peace.” behaviour has put them in a prison of We have to put our faith in God. He their own making. It is amazing what has delivered us. He will fight for us tricks the mind can play on peoif we only obey Him and put our ple. We often adapt to our situation trust in Him. God has won the batand get comfortable. Take the chiltle against the enemy. He has sedren of Israel. They went on a jourcured our freedom in Him. 2 ney which should have taken them a Chronicles 7:14 if My people who number of days. It ended up taking are called by My name will humble them 40 years. Throughout that jourthemselves, and pray and seek My ney their clothes did not wear out, face, and turn from their their shoes did not wear out, God pro wicked .ways, then I will hear from provided food for them, ,manna from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heaven and quails. They complained. heal their land 10
I work in the area of Criminal Law. Around Christmas time you often hear of people committing crimes just to get a bed in prison. Some people become so institutionalised that they cannot cope without prison. We need to maintain our freedom and not be like those prisoners who want what appears to be an easy life and willingly put themselves back in prison. A gold cage is still a cage.
Philippians 2 :12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Often people are free but they believe the lies of the devil. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind. The only true freedom a person can experience is freedom in Christ. The world has a false perception of what it means to be a follower of Christ. They see Christianity as just rules and regulations. Freedom is viewed as doing whatever you want whenever you want. We have all heard the slogans. “Just do it, Let yourself go, As long as no one gets hurt it’s ok”. The list goes on. Doing what ever you want whenever you want is not freedom in the truth sense, it is a form of bondage. It is being a slave to self and means that you see yourself as your own god. God is viewed as someone with a big stick waiting to use it. How wrong can they be. Those who think that their wealth or looks will mean they are free are living in a trap. Those things will fade away, but God will never change, never fail, he is an immortal God. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we would gravitate towards our sinful nature. We cannot serve two masters we are either serving God or we are serving the devil.
A vine needs to be pruned. Just like a garden, we need to be fed/watered (by God). This means reading his word, having a relationship with God, praying to God and allowing Him to have His way in our lives. We need to allow God to uproot the weeds (sin and negative thinking/influences) or they take over the whole garden. Sometimes this can be a painful process. If we cut weeds off only when they appear on the surface and not at the root, the weeds easily grow back. That means that God is moulding us on a daily basis if we let Him. This is an everyday thing. Everyday we need guidance from God. No one is perfect ! There are some people who do not want to be free. Their bondage can become their identity. This is what they put up with.
There are certain behaviours that can hold us in captivity and prevent us from living the life that God has called us to do, for example addictions. There are some people who are superstitious. They do not walk on the cracks of the pavements. Some people suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), where they may wash their hands until they bleed or tidy up the same area hundreds of time in a day. Others consult mediums and read horoscopes to find out every step of their future, rather than look to God. God calls mediums etc. an abomination. There are other addictions, to sex, to gossip, to drugs. These things are shackles to a child of God. We need to be set free by the power
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. We cannot maintain our freedom by doing things our way. We need to remain in Christ. Follow him not just in actions but serve him in spirit and in truth. The bible tells us that each person is responsible for his or her own salvation. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
of Christ. Willpower is not enough to maintain freedom from addiction. God’s word says be free. If seems like a contradiction that to obtain freedom in Christ we need to surrender to God’s will. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Our attitudes are very important, that is why the bible tells us that we should not be conformed to the ways of this world but that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We do this by reading and meditating on God’s word, praying worshiping God, giving testimony of his faithfulness, and serving God in whatever way we can. Whatever we do we must to as unto the Lord. God is looking for true worshippers and they that worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. We are not living in freedom when we try to be someone else. God has given each and every one of us talents. He expects us to use them wisely. There is nothing wrong with being inspired. We must all live the life God has called us to live. We must run the race set before us by running in your own lane. In athletics if you try to run a race by running into someone else’s’ lane you get disqualified. Even the energy it takes to look at your competitors on the track will detract from the time it takes to run your own race. God has created each and every one of us as unique. It is for freedom that Christ came. He came to set the captives free. There are some battles that you cannot fight alone. We all need God’s help. If you are living a life of bondage and turmoil, please know that it is not God’s will for your life. Jesus came to set the captives free. We must trust that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. When we look to God and his promises we will find it easier to walk in his ways. We have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us. He will lead us into all truth.
Up Close & Personal Zalika Henry Hello, let me start by introducing myself, I am Zalika Henry. I am 23 years of age and have been born again in Christ for 2 years. Some of you may know me as part of the praise and worship team, but I’ll like to tell you a little more about my life, what I do, what I hope to do and how I wish to achieve it, remember we can all achieve our dreams if they are aligned with Gods will.
bottom of and performing that I was the per- former. I
I have always been a lover of the arts; fashion, design, but mostly the performing arts (acting and directing and singing). From a young age I made it clear to everyone around me including my parents that I wanted to get into performing arts, if it wasn’t making up shows to perform at the the garden to my parents then it was writing songs at primary school them at home to my sisters. Everyone in my family has always known really do thank God for the gift and talents he instils in us from a young age.
Through primary school I attended a weekend drama school, which I loved and became very involved in, you could say I was popular, no one knew how little minute zalika could belt out notes as big as myself and act so in character like I became the role. This I believe was the start of my passion. On a Wider scale throughout all of my accomplishments as a child I never thought about God and the reason he was doing this, but now I can say that he was preparing my heart and my passion for a very long time, giving me that burning desire to pursue a career in theatre and the arts and music. As the time for university came, so did one of the crux’s of my testimony. I was quite troubled as a teenager and was a victim of bullying and isolation at secondary school, which was a catalyst for the enemy to infuse early signs of depression, without knowing fully going on I was excited to hit university, no more of my mother nagging in my ear, and our bruised relationship wouldn’t affect me so much that I wasn’t there. I was doing a course I believed I would love, and was ready to be a ‘woman’. As the terms went by I enjoyed my course (Contemporary Theatre and Performance), I thought to myself, yes this is what I have always dreamed of, rehearsals, performing, dance studios, creative people all in one place; so much so that I passed my first year with a 1 st and commendation from the dean of the university! That was short lived. The next term I came to the realisation that my passion was acting and I really wanted to leave, but everything was stopping me. I can say now that God wanted me there as part of his plan for my life, but at the time I grew weary; I couldn’t find the correct transfer course and somehow always missed the deadlines of entry. With this frustration came a distancing in my classes, I lived for the university lifestyle, rather than focusing on getting a good degree. I started getting involved with guys. Which was a major distraction to my focus in life as well as my focus in university, along with this guy in particular came the addiction to Marijuana, it was part of his lifestyle and being quite young and naïve, it became part of mine, smoking nearly every day until all hours of the morning, then waking up late for lectures, running for the bus each morning. What people don’t know is that in university drugs are so accessible, more accessible than toilet paper! So with that in mind, harder drugs came into play, ecstasy, MDMA, and other tripping pills. The thing is I was so casual with my addiction, it wasn’t that evident that I was addicted, I never made it known to anyone outside of my circle of friends, plus we were all doing it I thought, and so where was the harm. It’s what you did at uni right? Experiment? No. I have to say that God and his grace got me through my second year, the amount of drugs I took and the lifestyle I lived would have resulted in death or deep spiral of depression, it really is by his grace that I was able to pass 2nd year with a 2.2 not a third. 12
My last year at university started off the same as the end of second year, not wanting to stay but thinking there must be a reason I was there, so something inside of me told me to start working harder, start listening more, start thinking about entering a career in the arts properly. Suffice to say I still smoked weed took pills and partied with friends and was involved with Guys. So my head still wasn’t where it should have been. But yet again by God’s grace he kept me and his mercy fell on me and carried me through, my grades were looking up and my life was looking up, I was in a better relationship with my mother and I had an idea about the future. My friends and I on my course decided that after university we would set up a theatre company, performing plays that we would make ourselves. We would fund it ourselves with any money we could get from parents or jobs we had, and this would be our livelihood. University finished and I got a 2.2 I was not happy with my grade at all, thinking I had worked hard enough for a 2.1 I was 2 marks away! This was so unfair, but I can now say that the grade was deserved, with the amount of time I spent doing other things with other people. I deserved that grade. However at the time I felt lost, confused, depressed and dumbfounded. I thought that the three years I worked and paid for were wasted. My outlook on my future was dismal and dark. In speaking to my sisters and cousins and family, they would try and comfort me, but nothing filled this big hole inside of me, my mother would direct me to bible scriptures and my little sister who was recently born again in Christ would give me words of wisdom and encouragement. I knew for myself that I needed to find a way out of this feeling. I tried talking to the friends I had made at university and the theatre company, but they never understood. My grades made me distant from the theatre company project, I knew that all of the members received 2.1’s and I felt really out of place, but I know now that the feelings I felt were God pulling me back to him. One youth service Sunday I rededicated my life to Christ. He forgave me of my sins of sexual immorality, abusing my body with drugs and avoiding his kindness and love for years. He gave me a new outlook on my life. A new mind a new heart and a new everything. I was elated. I was ecstatic and humbled and loved. The hole inside was now filled with Gods plan for my life. It was hard in telling my friends that I have given my life to Christ, they never knew how and why I wanted to change. It took a while for me to break away from the lifestyle I lived. But I knew that I had to end things for God to bring me to the other side, the plan he had for me. I knew that I wanted to start a career in the arts, but wasn’t entirely sure what, I loved film, and media also as I studied those subjects in 6th form, and tried to see if I could break into that sector, but set back after setback came. I then thought maybe I will dedicate my time to the theatre company. However my heart was not in it anymore so I left, which was hard because the company were my close friends so it felt like in a way I was leaving them. Time moved on and I still didn’t have a clear picture as to what I should do. I went to auditions for west end shows and didn’t get them. I was in a state of limbo. So I prayed and prayed and prayed, asking God to direct me in my purpose for my life. Shortly after that some friends of mine in church and I formed a gospel group. H.I.S. This I knew was from God because I had a desire to start singing and move forward in his kingdom and that is exactly what we are about. But I still had a desire to direct and act and perform. So I prayed and prayed and prayed! God gave me the desire to set up my own theatre and film production company, for Christian film, made by myself. Thank you lord Jesus, throughout all of this, all of my seeking, all of my trials, times of not believing that I could even get a simple job, you showed me that you have the power to do exceedingly, abundantly that we ask or think. From that time of revelation, God has been opening doors for me to gain experience, I have been on an internship for 8 months at an arts organisation, here I am gaining skills on how to run an arts business and what it involves, he has been directing me to people who will benefit me in this dream. So ladies, I know it’s hard I have been there, when you have this dream and this desire to do something. Don’t let anything silence these dreams, ask God to direct you in his purpose, ask him “lord what is it that you want me to be? What is my ministry and what the purpose you have for me is” and he will lead you and direct you and help you. Know that if you do not get the grades you hoped for in education God has a better plan for you than paper and ink and embellished writing has. He has your certificate already in the purpose he has for you, you just have to make sure you seek him for it. (Mathew 6:33) but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you
With Valda Bernard -Jones Ingredients 2lbs lamb mince 1 box Paxo Sage and Onion Stuffing mix (small) 1 large onion (diced) 1 egg 1 tbsp lamb seasoning 1 tbsp all purpose seasoning 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped) ½ scotch bonnet pepper (finely chopped) 1 tsp coarse black pepper 2 tbsp plain flour Ingredients for sauce 1 tsp lamb seasoning 1 tsp all purpose seasoning 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped) 1 tsp coarse black pepper 1 tin chopped tomatoes 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce ½ scotch bonnet (finely chopped) 1 tbsp tomato puree 1 maggi cube
Place the lamb mince into a seasoning bowl adding half the diced onions, sage and onion stuffing mix the finely chopped garlic and chopped scotch bonnet pepper. Also add lamb seasoning, all purpose and coarse black pepper. Using your hands, mix the contents of the bowl together and add 1 egg and plain flour to bind together. Using a soup spoon shape into approximately 20 meatballs and place on baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/Gas 4 for approximately 25 minutes. Placing a pan on the hob empty out an entire tin of chopped tomatoes, add onions, garlic, scotch bonnet, tomato puree, sweet chilli sauce and seasonings and stir together. Add a Maggie cube and a cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked meatballs and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti for 2-3 minutes until tender, but still firm to the bite. Serve the meatballs and sauce on a bed of spaghetti, garnished with grated cheese.
Vinegar a sour-tasting liquid which is one of nature’s most diverse products, providing an economical and eco- friendly alternative to expensive chemical based substances. Nail Fungus Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are effective in the eradication of fungal infections from toenails or fingernails. The most common method is daily foot baths in a solution made from equal parts vinegar and water. Alternate between warm and cold baths, ensuring that you soak your feet for at least 30 minutes. For the successful treatment of fungal infections, it is recommended that you have 3 baths a day, morning noon and evening. You can also apply 2 drops of vinegar directly on the base of the nail twice a day. However, you must make sure that the vinegar will remain in place long enough to benefit from its action.
This is the story of a woman named Abigail. She was beautiful, bold, brave and bright. Abigail was a woman who was bruised, but not broken. Let me invite you into her world.
Abigail, lived in a time in which women had little rights, their view was not accepted. They didn’t even have the right to choose who they would like to marry. They were chosen and forced to accept. As we know this still happens today. Some women have to marry a man they don’t love, someone they don’t find attractive and in some cases they don’t like. Those are the ‘lucky’ ones. In Abigail’s case she had to marry a man who she didn’t like, who was abusive and to make matters worse his name was fool and trust me; he lived up to his name. (1 Samuel 25:25) Nabal was a wealthy man; however it doesn’t seem as if he used his money wisely because he was a drunkard. (1 Samuel 25: 36). He was a horrible man in name and character (1 Samuel25:3), yet Abigail stayed loyal and faithful to her husband.
Considering the man she was married to, I can imagine that Abigail was in an abusive relationship. I envisage her being verbally abused when Nabal was drunk. I can also visualize Nabal harming Abigail physically while under the influence of alcohol. I can only imagine the anguish Abigail was in and how she must had longed for God to come and save her from her marriage. Being a woman of God, Abigail waited patiently for God to liberate her from the trap she was in. So God liberated Abigail in an unusual way, the manner in which it all unfolded had no indication that there would be a happy ever after. Abigail’s husband had gotten himself into trouble yet again, however this time he had disrespected David. The favoured future King of Israel. David was a strong and Godly man who took no nonsense. So when Nabal mocked him and accused him of being a slave posing as a master; David decided to kill Nabal and his entire household. Abigail’s servant heard of the news that David was getting ready to kill anyone in reach of Nabal. The servant explained their demise to Abigail. The bible says that ‘Abigail wasted no time’. Abigail gathered all the food and animals she could to give to David and his men. She told a few servants to follow her and they went to find David and his men. Abigail’s heart must have been racing as she went to salvage the mess her husband had made. For she had no idea what she would meet; she could have been riding into a war. Yet Abigail acted out of love and loyalty. She wasted no time to panic, to nag her husband, or to feel for sorry for herself. All she did was gather all that she needed and went to face the problem. This part of Abigail’s story implies that Abigail was a woman who was constantly in the presence of God and who possessed the spirit of discernment. For Abigail acted quickly and efficiently, knowing exactly what she had to do. We can imagine she had a moment with God before she loaded the food and animals onto her donkey; asking him to direct her. When Abigail reached David, she honoured him by bowing down to him. Abigail spoke with grace, she apologised on her husbands behalf and presented her gifts to David and his men. Her brief encounter with David was enough for David to fall in love. However, David didn’t only fall in love with Abigail’s beauty. He fell in love with her boldness; her ability to apply God in a bad situation and turn it around. He admired her honesty and her love and honour for God. (1 Samuel 25:23-31) Abigail loosed her household from the threat of death by being led my God alone. She did not lean upon her own understanding of the situation, she trusted in God. Although Abigail had met the Godly man of her dreams she loyally and dutifully went back home to her husband Nabal. She waited upon God until it was the right time to tell her husband what had happened. I can imagine that Abigail must have been frightened to tell Nabal that she had sorted out an issue he created because of how Nabal may have reacted. However when Abigail did tell Nabal ,his heart went hard and froze. He didn’t react. He was frozen, paralysed with shame and ten days later he died. Abigail’s heart must have been broken; although her husband did not treat her correctly we can imagine she was saddened by what had happened. Abigail was now a lonely widow, but God in the time of adversity and mourning gave Abigail her hearts desire. He blessed her with David as her husband. Abigail was bruised by the marriage she shared with Nabal. However, no matter how bad things got with her husband she never allowed her self to be broken, she held onto God’s hand in trails and tribulation. She delighted her15 self in God and gave He gave her the desires of her heart.
45 49 52
55 National Association for the advancement of coloured people 58 You are the ____ of the earth 61 Canoe Propellers 63 Dress edge 65 South American Country 67 Game piece 70 Against 71 Mutt 72 Where Noah's ark landed 72 landed 73 Financial obligation 74 Flightless bird 75 Sacred building 76 Brand of sandwich cookie 77 Drain
13 Scarlet 21 Less colourful 25 Cooking measurement 26 Zeus wife 28 ___ matter 29 Very large truck 30 Bluish green 32 Boy 34 Baseball player Ty 37 Blessed are the ___ 39 Holiday drink 40 Take unawares 41 OT book of history 42 Jesus turned into wine here 43 Canines 45 Caesars Three 48 BB Association 53 Gravies 54 Injury 56 Cheep 57 Punitive 59 Type of gun 60 Group of related families 62 Pancake need 64 Speck of wood 66 Do ___ others 67 Digital audio tape 68 Miners goal 69 Mayan 70 Hoopla
Across 1 Gossip 3 Ice Sheet 8 Assistant 14 Bullfight cheer 15 After bath wear 16 Fly 17 Wing 18 Son of Adam & Eve 19 Group of 4 20 A Spiritual gift 22 Be incorrect 23 Toss 24 Cains brother 27 Bread leavening 31 Make tight 33 Part of a min. 35 Downwind 26 Root vegetable 38 For 39 Austin Novel 40 Broke away 44 A wife of David 46 Russian Ruler 47 Long long time 49 Vast 50 Vase 51 Soviet secret police 52 Institution (abbr)
Down 1 Parable of the sheep and ___ 2 Metes 3 Tiny hat 4 Herrâ€™s wife 5 Ear parts 6 Heavy set 7 Conger 8 Opp of love 9 Each 10 Cubic decimetre 11 Average work performance 12 Terminal abbr 16
Bruised but not Broken - Bev Jones-Joseph I’m hurting so much – I feel depressed – No-one understands - I just want out!
aftermath of pain: God often uses the very thing that harmed you to heal you?
You’ve heard those phrases, right? Even said them yourself? ok
We have all had to deal with being bruised and I am no exception – however, it wasn’t until God pointed out the kind of person I was that I began to acknowledge my issues and deal with them.
There are so many events that can happen in our lives which can leave us feeling bruised and battered. We typically associate the term bruising with the physical, but we are more likely to be emotionally and mentally bruised and battered from the things we experience day in and day out. Often in meeting people, I hear so many stories of hurt and pain, some people have experienced the most heart rending circumstances. Some work through them; others don’t. As Christians, the ones that don’t tend to stagnate in their growth. You hear statements like “I would be ok if it wasn’t for that one hurting me or I am in this state because of him; others build walls around their hearts making it very difficult for them to begin to process that they can actually be free. The list of wrong doing against our person can be endless and can stem from broken relationships, broken friendships, abuse of any kind, family fallouts; in fact we can find anything negative and use it as a hurt, a bruise that if pressed brings tears to our eyes. Hurt is not a feel good emotion, it can invade every part of your being and have an impact on your thinking and behaviour. What kind of bruised person are you? Do you hold onto your pain because you don’t feel justified? Are you afraid to face the truth, or are you the girl who pretends everything is a-okay but cries every night into your pillow about rejection? Did you know that sometimes in the
As a young woman, I was a fiery character, a hard knock, I would beat you up before you beat me; my bravado was due in part to the girls I hung around with and it wasn’t until I was older that I appreciated the fact that my parents constantly ‘preached’ about the friends that would get you into trouble – my thinking was, “I can make up my own mind, thank you!” Jackie wasn’t really my friend; she was the pal of someone I knew, she was older than me; they all were, but I loved the excitement of hanging around with them – it made me seem like a ‘big woman’ too. I’d heard stories about Jackie – that she was rich, but no-one knew where her money came from. She constantly had new clothes, owned her own home and drove a flashy sports car. One of her bedrooms was piled from top to bottom with the most beautiful material, but it never crossed my mind that Jackie wasn’t into needlework. On a dull Autumn day Jackie decided she was going to go shopping for a 17
few bits and pieces for her newly decorated living room, and “why don’t I come along – I’ll treat you” – how often do you hear that! – of course I went, she was rich, or so I thought - I wasn’t. I followed her into the department store like a closed eye sheep and found myself watching and listening in amazement as she told lies about herself to obtain goods; she bought a stereo, a camera and a portable television. She sat and laughed and joked with the shop manager, as I sat cross legged and cross eyed unable to believe what I was hearing; was this for real? – I was a fighter not a thief! She laughed until she realised she’d been rumbled. The Police were called.. Jackie was an ace credit card thief. I was a member of the world and in ‘world’ speak I wanted to put her six feet under; how dare she put me in such a compromising situation. I was hurt that she thought I was an easy target, a silly little pushover, a no sense fool – a naïve stupid idiot; all these thoughts swirled around in my head, I felt fit to burst with anger; the thought that I had been taken advantage of crushed me, my whole being was severely bruised. As I sat in the back of the Police van, I began to plot vengeance, I wanted her to feel the pain whether it be emotionally or physically; she was now my enemy and I needed to take steps to ensure she felt the way I felt; I began to think what traps I could lay for her that would ensure
they didn’t lead back to me; how was I going to make her pay dearly for me getting arrested? To me revenge would be sweet and if I didn’t satisfy that urge, then, the score for me would never be settled. That small experience, even though it stirred up those feelings of hurt is nothing in comparison to what some of you may have experienced; there is the emotional fall-out from rape, sexual and physical abuse, but while it’s wrong what others have done to you, it’s just as wrong to cling to the hurt and pain – it eventually turns to bitterness. We have to be brave women, entrusting our hearts first to God, then, letting Him lead us down paths of healing. Holding onto your bruises can stir up a whole host of emotions – the nasty ones, like, spite and unforgiveness that hangs around and turns you into something God did not have in mind for you. So, how do we get those bruises to heal? Forgiveness You may say – what has forgiveness got to do with the way I feel? – I haven’t done anything to anyone; I’m the victim here!! Colossians Ch3 v13. says: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. That’s hard - God is asking you to forgive those that have done you wrong – Lord how do I forgive a rapist, a child abuser? Un-forgiveness is like a debilitating disease? It can eat away at who you are as a person and have a profound negative effect on your physical and spiritual life, breeding anger, negativity, resentment and bitterness. Are you making the statement I’ll never forgive them because of what
they’ve done? There is no justification for not forgiving, regardless of the wrong committed against you; hard to understand I know, but unforgiveness is a sin and by not doing so, you are perpetually in a state of sin, living out of the purpose and will of God for your life – it’s as bad as that. How terrible would it be if God never forgave us for the sins we commit against Him; those we know about and those we forget about – what if we were unable to even make that connection with God whenever we wanted to ask for forgiveness of our sin. The Bible is very clear on what God says about forgiving; Mathew Chapter 6 v14 it states; For, if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. God instructs us to live according to His word. I began to realise that my bruises would never heal if I held onto the past and didn’t embrace the future. It meant trusting God enough with my heart; I realised that I couldn’t totally get rid of them without the help of Christ. I realised that He understood the sting of rejection, he understood the sneers, He understood the physical and emotional pain On the cross Jesus took every sin we ever committed; girls; that includes the sins of those rapists, murderers, child abusers, anyone who truly repents they are forgiven too. It can be hard to comprehend – we may even ask, why should God forgive them after what they’ve done? God treats us the same – why because he created all of us – and loves us whether we’re good or bad. With the love of God we can progress – He can replace that hurt with the Holy Spirit's fruit of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, 18
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:2223). Begin a meaningful prayer, Jesus was always in constant communion with His Father and often got up early in the morning to talk with God. Mark 1:35 says, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." When was the last time you brought a troubling situation to God and waited for him to bring it to a conclusion, or do you think you know the best way to deal with your issues? Take some time; do you have bruises that are covered up from years of trying to hide them? Do you think there is no way out from the hurt you have experienced, or are you thinking I’m so broken I can never get fixed. It’s time to understand the truth, Jesus was severely bruised and rejected of men but He gave His life so that we can spend an eternity in heaven. He provided His life - the ultimate sacrifice of His life - as a free gift to all who will believe, 1 John 2:2 says, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." Wow, Jesus did that for us, so that we, however bruised we believe we are, can understand that we’re not broken and our bruises can be healed.
closely with Social Services and the police as well as parents and carers. Over the past few years, I have noticed a steady increase in the number of female offenders. I have observed an increase in violent offences and Robberies committed by girls. One of the main reoccurring issues among girls and young women is low self esteem. Many of the girls that I work with are struggling with their own identity and feel that they are not worthy of love. For God gave us a sprit not of fear but of power and love and self-control’ 2 Timothy 1:7 Statistic show that an alarming number of girls are turning to destructive action when feeling insecure, and girls with low self-esteem are three times more likely to participate in dangerous behaviors during these times
Because You’re Worth it Anne Marie Koroma
* 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative and potentially harmful activities, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking or drinking, when feeling badly about themselves -- compared with 25 percent of girls with high self-esteem.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13 There are currently approximately 85,300 young people aged 10-17 being supervised by Youth Offending Services in England and Wales. 18,941 of these are girls. Although crimes committed by girls have always been much lower than boys, the number has increased over the years. Many studies focusing on ‘why women offend’ have been carried out and a number of issues have been highlighted such as a change in the role of women, equal rights and the consumption of alcohol. Studies show that traumatic life experiences are high among people that offend. Abuse and mental health problems have been identified as main issues amongst a high percentage of girls that commit crimes. In April 2012, there were 111 girls aged 12-17 in a secure training Centre, prison for females compared to 1,700 males.
* 61 percent of teen girls with low self-esteem admit to talking badly about themselves. (Compared to 15 percent of girls with high self-esteem.) * 25 percent of teen girls with low self-esteem resort to injuring themselves on purpose or cutting when feeling badly about themselves. (Compared to 4 percent of girls with high self-esteem.) * 25 percent of teen girls with low self-esteem practice disordered eating, such as starving themselves, refusing to eat, or over-eating and throwing up, when feeling badly about themselves.(Compared to 7 percent of girls with high self-esteem.)
As a Youth Offending Service (YOS) Officer, it is my job to supervise young people that have been convicted or have been accused of committing offences. Each young person completes work around the areas of their life that are related to their offending behaviour. For example, if a young person commits robberies for money, work will focus on their employment and education needs as well as their thinking skills, victim awareness, consequential thinking and future plans. The list can go on and may be different for each young person. As a YOS officer, I am required to work within the youth Courts, complete reports to assist Judges and Magistrates with sentencing and complete assessments about the young persons risks to others and to themselves. Many of the girls that I assess have ‘high’ vulnerability needs. This is often due to concerns including sexual exploitation, domestic violence by a boyfriend, alcohol use, self harming and suicidal thoughts. These are complex needs and in order to ensure that we are doing everything to protect the young person, we work
What does the Bible Say The bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God’s love for you does not depend on what you look like or what you’re good at. He made you after all! If God can love and accept you as you are, why should you feel inadequate. We all make mistakes in life which cause us hurt or pain. However, we are Bruised but not Broken and like all bruises, we will heal if we allow ourselves the time to. If you’re self esteem is low or you need to hear words of encouragement, try to find at least one responsible person that you can confide in and who you can trust to give you good advise be it a parent, friend, aunt, uncle or church leader. Remember, God has given us his Word on which we can stand. You can find many Bible verses with God’s standards for us! "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many spar19
Fighting Temptation In these modern times it seems almost incredulous that anyone should be chaste anymore, right? With the media constantly portraying images of unmarried couples, dysfunctional relationships and sex, there is no wonder why we as young women are continually tempted to go along the much easier and seductive path. Despite being eighteen I have come across my share of sexual temptation; so let’s not be so coy about this! Sex and horrible relationships could plague anyone no matter their background or age; it is continually an uphill battle. As young women, I believe we all try so hard at times to find that perfect guy, that once we find someone who is remotely similar, but who is maybe - not a Christian, we think okay ‘leggo!’ he is good enough – I can change that ‘little’ issue on a later date. Okay, don’t get me wrong, in some extreme circumstances he might actually be the guy- but woah, hold on I mean in a, ‘He’s just not that into you *movie+’- you are the ‘exception’ scenario, so refrain from using this as some way to give you permission to go out with that guy who is ‘sort’ve the perfect guy’! Instead of accepting this, we tend to omit it and believe ignorantly that he will change- that you can change him even though going into this relationship he had already expressed his disregard for Christianity or even worse he is from a different religion and this has suddenly turned into some Romeo and Juliet love story and everything has become a whole load more exciting and excruciatingly more trickier. This happened to me. I went out with a guy who was a Muslim who assured me that he was not really a Muslim but it was his families ‘thing’ he just went along with it; this for some reason, gave me hope which I latched unto. But as time went on this began to bug me, I asked him on several occasions to come to church and he said he would yet before this we had discussed our ‘religions’ being an issue and he asked if I would give up mine and I said no
and I asked and he said no—and really that should have been the wakeup call! But once again I thought God will deliver him! Well, it was only by the strength of God did I break off that dead end relationship, it took me three times to officially break up with him and two weeks after this to realise I never really liked him anyways! I suppose this is a small example to show that despite the fact that I may have wanted to stay in a relationship, it still doesn’t negate from the fact that if I had continued to date him, I could have gone down a very damaging road. This is evident in most unequally yoked relationships; we get caught up with the thrill of it and eventually rue the day we even bothered in the first place, it was clear tome that we were not on the same wave length as each other, so why did we force it?! Why do we, instead of waiting for that amazing guythat Godly relationship, we settle? I have come to loathe that word, ‘settle’. It is something that we should never and I mean NEVER apply to our lives because that is not what God wants for us, as we allow ourselves to settle, our standards lower and any guy can sliver his way through. As we condone settling we start settling for lustful eyes in a club instead of loving ones across a table in some beautiful restaurant, as we accept settling, we accept that in order to get noticed we must wear something more revealing and much less flattering, we begin settling for our settling self- I hope you are getting this! To settle is such a dangerous action.
Fresher’s Fresh meat Let’s set the scene; sticky emotions, the vibe is buzzing, the lights are low, the music is very seductive and the dancing even more so, alcohol surrounds you and you’re about to be besieged by all your senses You wake up the next morning full of regret- knowing that you’ve made a massive error in judgement, sleeping 20
Fighting Temptation cont.. with a man who looked so good in his shirt. He won’t remember your name and you will not remember that night. As young people it is evident that the seductive lights of university, ‘freshers’ and clubbing sways us from reality. Everything is so new that we feel as though we must try it in order to know it is a mistake. If you’re in a restaurant and the waiter warns you that you should not touch your plate because it is boiling, despite what you have been told you go ahead and touch it*queue in girly scream+ and you’re like “hot darn it, I shouldn’t have touched it” (minus the western slang). Isn’t this essentially how it always is in university? We see something- we want it right now despite knowing that it is wrong and will lead us into temptation, but we go ahead and we get burnt. It happens so many times that sometimes it is not even worth talking about because the whole secret about the university lifestyle has been sussed out, so now we must ask ourselves how do we avoid these “ouch!” moments, because guess what, we can fight temptation, it is all about discipline and all about getting back into the word. We must get rid of the whole-‘I am going to convince myself that this is right in order to not feel so bad later’, sorry to be so blunt but we cannot keep making excuses! In the bible it says by knowing the truth, it shall set us free! So how can we then, knowing the truth, return back to our school, college, university or workplace and do the same thing? This time we will be truly disobeying God- so do not put your fingers in your ears, you have heard it now! It is by no means easy, but removing yourself from situations in which you know you are not strong enough to handle is a step forward.
For example; thinking about the places you go to, is a step, don’t go drinking in bars then you won’t fall into the arms of a lookalike prince charming, that’s a step, not dressing so alluringly in hopes of attracting admirers (who are by the way looking at your body and not your beautiful face) is a step, deleting the numbers of the guys who you want for one thing is a step, breaking up with a guy who is obviously not right for you is a massive step and finding someone in which you can share your slip ups with and who will encourage you is important too. All these steps as well as prayer will eventually lead you out of a messy maze and back onto God’s holy path. Take pleasure in being the unusual woman who does not follow the typical path of today; men will wonder why you are so different and women will consider behaving the way you do. Excuse my cheesiness, but it will be a small step for woman and [eventually] a large step for womankind, I can assure you.
I’m not changing to please! In a discussion about university with one of my guy friends, I remember our conversation slowly shifting from our prospects for university to the lifestyle of it, in which I told him that I planned to stay a virgin until I get married. The look on his face was comical, but there was also a sense of respect when he replied and he said “there are not many people who do that anymore”. Do not get me wrong if you are not a virgin at this point, that does by no way mean you are less of anything, God still loves us no matter what, he is a God of second chances but we must constantly try to learn from every sticky situation God removes us from otherwise it will be pointless and we will allow ourselves to repeat our mistakes over and over again. 21
What are we hiding from? Distressing past experiences, typically sexual abuse can affect relationships. Personally for me, having gone through this, it seemed almost too cliché how each relationship I approached was distorted and did not end well. I will not go into this too much, but it is safe to say that it is something that I have to deal with frequently, though it is not always at the front of my mind nevertheless in some situations it still limits me. One friend in which had gone through a similar experience began a relationship with a man late last year, she promised herself to not get sexually involved and about less than a year of being together I find that she is pregnant. Temptation took over, not helped by the fact that if you don’t seek help to deal with the past spiritually as well as practically it can become destructive and as young women with so much stress as there is we often become overwhelmed and go the opposite direction, because we just don’t want to deal with it. I suppose we like the idea of having someone to protect us and to comfort us- someone we can run to and hide in when the going gets tough, so we seek and rely on man instead of God. Many young women associate comfort with sex; something to release stress, pain and even anger? Women who have struggled with sexual abuse often opt for a warm body lying next to them instead of facing issues at hand. It is going to take a lot of gumption- I like that word, it emphasises how tough it is, because it really is! It takes guts to admit to some of the things we struggle with daily, but once we do, there is so much freedom that what we used to take part in, in order to stop us thinking of our painful
Fighting Temptation cont.. history, will seem totally ridiculous and even heart-breaking.
The Persuasion Society’s perception of sex and relationships has differed so much since AD. Sex has become a casual experience shared with anyone who looks good in a tight shirt and jeans. Programmes such as Sex and the City has made it easier to think of sex being the premise to a relationship, yet in the bible it states that sex is something shared between a husband and a wife, so we do we feel that it’s not worth it anymore? It is evident that the media affects the way we think; movies, music and TV shows are becoming more and more sexualised as soon as six hits; it becomes sex o’clock. I cannot even think of a programme that I have watched that doesn’t have a little sex in it- sex sells unfortunately and unfruitful relationships are everywhere. Ultimately, sex is a discussion for women that comes up more than we let on, it is not just guys that do this. What we see are the likes of Carrie Bradshaw- the women in Sex in the City paving the way to some sort of ‘sexual liberation’, where women can be as explicit with sex as men are. I will be straight, I have seen some episodes, and while you watch it you first realise, jeez sex does come up a lot; graphically (in which I change the channel as quickly possible!) and this just translates into their lifestyle, it is built around it. Their relationships are so dysfunctional it is actually laughable. Yes, relationships do get complicated, if you allow it to be. I will use Sex in the City as an example again; Carrie Bradshaw sleeps with a man named, ‘Big’ (no idea why he is called that), due to this encounter all she does after this is to obsess over him, she can never truly get away from him-yes that is the clever script writing from Sex in the City, but in a spiritual sense that
could also suggest soul ties, once you have slept with someone and you think you’re okay, you think you have moved on- chances are, especially for someone like Ms. Bradshaw herself, you kinda haven’t.
Confusing danger with ‘love’ An experience in which truly exemplifies the struggles and trappings of young women today (well in my opinion, but of course I am biased), is one in which I had gone through and got over a year ago. It all began when I met a guy whom I can say I had very strong PG feelings for and we both felt the same. However, he failed to mention that he had a current relationship with a girl who was actually sisters with one of my supposedly close friends, but by this time I was already besotted by him! Well, he was never truly affectionate with her - how do I know this, let’s just say I can truly be detectivelike! Anyways I clung unto this as hope, that in fact he did not love her and that he would eventually break up with her for me- so I naively still pursued him- I know what you’re thinking! Moreover, if it wasn’t that he was unavailable that didn’t send an alarm right through me, it was also that he was continually confused; he never really knew what he wanted! Though, we did not sleep together or even kiss, I was still blamed for getting involved with him emotionally, so cutting this long long story short, I was accused of pulling him away from her, which I cannot dispute and I admit still pursuing him was wrong, but I know prior to this I had allowed him to lead me on and take advantage of my feelings for him and that was the massive mistake. I am not saying have a very pessimistic view towards all men, I am just emphasising to not SETTLE for someone who you know once again is wrong for you! Well, somewhere down the line he ended up breaking up with his girl22
friend, I will not lie -I was quite happy about this, but at the same time it had taken me two almost three years to try and get over this guy and that feeling that he was on the ‘lose’ scared me! And I had reason to be wary; because no sooner said than done, he ended up reeling me in again. However, this time his feelings were physical rather than emotional and what he wanted was not a relationship and I quote “I’ve been in one for so long I just need a break”, but what he meant by break was ‘friends with benefits’- aka sex buddies (I am pretty sure he got this from the show F.R.I.E.N.D.S!), furious that he would even suggest this, I said no, but seeing him flirt with other girls only angered me and I slowly allowed myself to be controlled by him, again. He would tell me that he would make my first time special for me- but there are two people in this act? I eventually decided to meet up with him- and we did so twice and twice we failed to do anything because there was something inside of me which screamed “NO!” Instead we watched Scooby Doo? My friends questioned me on why I didn’t kiss this guy who I had really liked for such a long time, what they called closure; I knew it to be a trap, it was obvious that it would lead to more temptation and a whole load of regret. I don’t regret not kissing him, not one single moment. After some time of people thinking of me as a relationship ‘ruin-er’, eventually people started talking about how much of a “man-whore” this guy was, that he was an all-round cheater and that he really hurt a lot of girls, so instead of those looks of, “oh look she’s not so innocent, relationship mess-er”, it turned to. “Oh, I didn’t know”. So even though things got bad, God had a way of getting me out of those sticky situations.
Fighting Temptation cont.. Really, the only relationship we should be working on is our one with God, I know for some of you that is not what you want to hear- and to be honest neither do I. You keep thinking “but God if I keep looking towards you I won’t ever see my guy- he could literally pass me by today and I will not see him!” Or, “God this is not fair! I have been seeking your face about this for a month now and nothing has happened I just want a husband, and I just want to be happy! *insert crying here+”. Stop with the “but but God”, and the incessant crying. If we keep doing this, then are we not just saying that we do not believe in what has been in said in the bible and then in turn we are concluding that the bible is not truth? (which makes Satan so very happy) and that God does not work and then we have convinced ourselves that none of this is working and that we are fed up and heading to a bar in central to find something more instant!? Woah, slow down there Sally. God has someone for us, but how can we be in a relationship with a man, when we can barely be in a relationship with God? He wants to first perfect us before he presents us as perfection to our perfect guy. It sounds just all so perfect doesn’t it? Though, it may seem that I may not be as experienced as some, still the fact remains that I just don’t have enough space or time to even ponder every mistake! What I will say that this is an issue which cannot be solved in just one day, but continually think positive and look forward, always because guess what, I was there about a year ago and I can safely say that since truly accepting God I haven’t turned back, it will be most definitely hard; but I am still standing! Remember that though you may be bruised, but you are not broken, let no man, no person, take that away from you. If there is anything in this article that affects you and you would like to talk confidentially, please email email@example.com
When Tempted, Change your Focus !! Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee... James 4:7 Pastor Jon Walker writes: 'When Tolstoy was a boy he started "The White Polar Bear Club". To become a member you had to stand for 30 minutes and not think of a white polar bear. Have you ever intentionally tried not to think about something? It's almost impossible! We often handle temptation in a similar fashion. We think we can stand near it, and if we don't think about it we'll have the victory. The problem is, the more we try not to concentrate on it the more it becomes the centre of our focus... the longer we think about not submitting the more likely it is that we will. The Bible says: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7 NIV). We quote the latter half of the verse, but if all you're doing is focusing on the devil you're still focusing on the temptation. I'm not suggesting... you shouldn't say, "Get thee behind me, satan." I'm saying you can't do it in your own strength; you do it by humbling yourself before God, recognising that He's your strength... When you keep your eyes on Him the Devil will flee because you're resisting him by embracing God. Be humble enough to seek help. A sure sign you're about to fall is when you think, "I can handle this on my own." See this as an urgent alarm to submit to God and say, "Lord, I need your strength and wisdom. Lead me not into temptation." Then walk away from the temptation. And if you need to, call a friend for prayer and accountability. 23
and spiritual struggles that come out of that experience.
Let’s talk about
Sex and Love – What is the difference? Sex is an act Love is an emotion In the correct relationship i.e. marriage – they are meant to complement each other. You should never feel like you have to have sex with someone just because you want to show them you love them. There are plenty of non-sexual ways to show your love to someone.
Sex is a Minor Sin Pre-marital sex is sin. Sin is sin girlfriends!
There are no grades of sin, in God’s eyes fornicating is as bad as lying or murder! If you think other wise, that’s dangerous, because it can put you in a frame of mind to make bad choices. Sexual sin is still a defiance of God, and no sin is acceptable to God. Yes, you can be forgiven, but you will have to live with the sin you have committed, which can be difficult if you are not prepared to deal with sex emotionally
Wherever we go, questions will be asked, statements will be made, girls will giggle in corridors, boys will look at magazines and lies will be told to get around young people being involved in pre-marital sex.
Whether you are at school, college, university or work you will not have escaped the sex word. Some of you – the majority, I guess - will know exactly what it means – although I guess a vast majority of you will have got love and sex mixed up - Love and Sex is not the same thing.
Third base, also known as "heavy petting," i.e putting hands where they are not supposed to go – is a big deal, because it can lead to other things. Not only is it a form of sexual action, but it can lead to sexual intercourse. It is very easy for Christian to get caught up in the moment and forget about any desire to stay abstinent. Sin is very tempting, and it does not always come with warning or stop signs. Meddling around with Third Base is a danger zone.
Have you noticed how talk of sex is everywhere, magazines, television, newspapers any form of media and advertising outlet, even the petrol station! – whether it be by the world’s standard of education i.e. Channel 4’s teen life or pornography – it just seems to be in our faces everywhere; now more than ever we are being subjected to an ideal that sex for everyone regardless of marital status is a rite of passage – NO IT IS NOT!
If you’ve already has sex – don’t think of yourself as a bad person – you’re not
Everybody Does It
Having sex is not the end of ‘your’ world. God is very forgiving, and He smiles at those who return to Him – but as mentioned before the emotional and spiritual strain is best avoided. While the temptation for someone who has had sex can be even stronger than the virgin, it can be overcome with God's help. God is waiting to welcome you with open arms.
No they are not! Doing something just because everyone else is doing it is just giving into peer pressure
What the Bible Says About Sex
Christians need to have a different attitude toward dating. However, even among Christians there are differences as to whether you should or should not date. Christians need to know God’s perspective on dating.
The Bible actually has a lot to say about the subject. You may think, with all the warnings about not having sex before marriage, that sex is bad, the Bible says
It's No Big Deal Sex is a big deal. Ask any Christian teen who struggles with having had sex before. There are a lot of emotions 24
something quite contrary to that. Sex is biblical, if looked at from a Godly perspective. So what does the Bible have to say about sex?
justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.” Romans 1:24 – “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”
God created sex. He created man and woman to create babies. The Bible says that sex is a way for a husband and wife to express their love for one another. Yes, “husband and wife.” God did create sex to be a beautiful and enjoyable expression of love, but only between a man and wife. Genesis 2:24 – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” 1 Corinthians 6:13 – “The body is not meant for sexual
It’s So Tempting! As a Christian you fight off temptation every day. Being tempted is not the sin, but giving into the temptation is. So how do you fight off the temptation? The desire to have sex can be very strong, especially if you have already had sex. It is only by relying on God for strength that you can truly fight off the temptation to have sex.
immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under
So, Sex is Good, but Premarital Sex is Not? Right. There is a lot of talk going on around you about sex. Sex is in just about every magazine, newspaper, television show, and movie. It is the point of a lot of music. Our world has gotten lax about sex, making it seem like premarital sex is okay because it feels good, but the Bible does not agree. God calls us all to control our passions and wait for marriage.
It takes a stronger person, or a person backed up by the strength of God, to resist temptation. When you stand up to peer pressure you are actually saving yourself from committing sin while being a good Christian witness to others around you. The influence of sex is all around us; we recently have heard stories in the news about the sexualisation of young girls’ clothing, it’s currently controversial, but it won’t be long until the idea of the horror of it is made silent. We have a responsibility to encourage each other not to fall into the traps
1 Corinthians 7:2-3 – “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 – “It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own bodyi n a way that is holy and honourable” Everyone falls to sin in some area or another. If your area happens to be sex, there is always hope. While you cannot become a virgin again, you can obtain God’s forgiveness. You just have to ask for it and try not to sin that way again. What truly angers God is wilful sin, when you know you are sinning and keep on participating in that sin. While giving up sex may be difficult, God calls us to remain sexually pure until marriage.
that can leave us scarred. The Bible is clear about what God expects of us There’s no rush, be like Esther—learn to be patient and wait. You have plenty of time to experience what God created for man and woman within the confines of a loving marriage.
Acts 13:38-39 – “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is 25
OMG - IT’S A FACT!
The UK's Health Protection Agency attribute the rise in STD diagnoses in recent years to increased rates of testing, improved diagnostic methods, and an increase in unsafe sexual behaviour among young people
Between 2005 and 2006 the largest increases in new diagnoses of genital herpes were among men aged 3544 (15%) and 45-64 (18%) and among women aged 1619 (16%) and 20-24 (11%). London had the highest rates of diagnoses per 100,000 population, followed by the North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber. In 2008 a record number of people (28,957) were diagnosed with genital herpes in GUM clinics in the UK.8 Just over 60 percent of these diagnoses were among women.
In the UK young people aged 16-24 years are most at risk of being diagnosed with an STD. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease and genital warts is the most common viral STD.
Chlamydia Since 1999 the number of annual cases of chlamydia has more than doubled. In 2008 there were 123,018 new diagnoses of chlamydia in GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinics – a record number. Chlamydia can have serious side effects, one of which is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can lead to infertility in women. Chlamydia can have no symptoms and therefore many people do not come forward for testing, even though the infection can be easily diagnosed and effectively treated.
Genital warts The number of new diagnoses of genital warts in GUM clinics in the UK has increased by almost 30 percent since 1999. Genital warts are the most common viral STD diagnosed in the UK: in 2008 there were 92,525 diagnoses of genital warts in UK GUM clinics. The highest rates of diagnoses were among women aged 16-19 and men aged 20-24. Genital warts are caused by some types of HPV (human papillomavirus). In 2008 the NHS launched a vaccination programme for girls aged 12 to 13 years and 17 to 18 years. The vaccination programme will offer new hope in reducing the number of diagnoses of genital warts among young people. In December 2008 it was announced that all girls born on or after 1st September 1990 could receive the vaccine, due to the success of the programmes.
In 2003 the Department of Health set up the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP). Since then the NCSP has expanded the number of places offering chlamydia screening to include more non-GUM health centres. Between 2008 and 2009 an estimated 16 percent of young people aged 15-24 in England were tested for chlamydia at a community setting (outside of GUM clinics). By 2009 an estimated 1.5 million chlamydia tests had been performed under the programme. However, the Department of Health has received criticism for the delivery of the programme, which has allegedly not demonstrated value for money.
Syphilis The number of diagnoses of syphilis has risen substantially in the past decade in the UK. In 2008 there were 11 times the number of primary and secondary diagnoses in GUM clinics, than 1999. This rise has been attributed to a number of local outbreaks, the largest of which was in London between 2001 and 2004. The UK’s syphilis epidemic is largely concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM), and to a lesser extent, heterosexual men and women. Between 2007 and 2008 there was a slight decline in diagnoses in the UK. Syphilis still remains one of the less common STDs in the UK.
Gonorrhea Cases of gonorrhea rose steadily from 1999 and peaked in 2002. Since then, the number of new cases has declined. Diagnoses are high among specific groups, such as black ethnic populations and men who have sex with men (MSM). The highest rates of diagnoses are among men aged 20-24 years and women aged 16-19 years. There is concern about the increasing number of cases of gonorrhea found in the UK that are resistant to certain drugs used to treat it. This is particularly worrying as resistance can lead to a greater chance of treatment failure and will increase the length of time a person is infectious.
HIV During 2008, 7,298 people were diagnosed with HIV in the UK. Although this represents a decline from the previous three years, the number of new diagnoses has more than doubled since 1999. 26
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phil Ch4 v13 Ama Ofeibea Amponsah
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Not a thing, not some things, but ALL things. That much is clear. I can remember first hearing this verse as a child. Not only is it usually one of the first verses you have to memorise at Sunday school but also a retort from parents when faced with a whiny “but I caaaannnt do it mum” from their little ones. The truth is, growing up, I have remembered this verse often. Whether I fully grasped and understood it’s magnitude then and even now is a different issue altogether. Often times, we treat verses like this almost like good luck charms, a positive recital just before we tackle something we feel we may not be able to bare. It’s that instance where we are practically telling God to keep out, we have our own plans, can manage our own day to day affairs – but if things get a little too much, then it’s “I need your strength now Lord – come back!”. This should not be the case – God’s word is truth, so if it says we can do ALL things through Him, submission becomes important because we are now in a position where we should not be relying on our own strength. The bible says in Proverbs 3:6 that we are to acknowledge Him in all our ways and he shall direct our path. Just before that in proverbs 3:5, we are to trust in the lord with ALL of our heart and lean not to our own understanding. Also, lets not forget one of the greatest commandments to ‘Love the Lord your god with ALL of your heart and your soul (Luke 10:27). That's all things, in all our ways, with all our heart. A clear message emerges and draws my attention to the fact that God is a God of totality. We are not to love Him or trust Him partially, so that he can bless and strengthen us partially. God wants all. He needs us to give our all. Sometimes it can be easier to believe that God will help us with the things that are ‘too big’ for us. After all, it is the same God who spoke the world into existence, parted the seas, and conquered death (to name just a few). Our challenge lies in allowing God to strengthen us in the ‘little’ things too ; the things we feel we can handle by ourselves. We almost forget these things when we think about surrendering all to the Lord, however God IS interested in details. The very hairs on our heads are numbered, and with each precious breath, He knows our heart – how much more can this incredible God know about us as individuals? Let us remember that though submission and surrender may sometimes be difficult, this word is an encouragement that reminds us we don't have to do things on our own. When Christ strengthens us, it also means the glory is not ours. We have nothing to boast of but rather we then become living testimonies of an able God. Lets challenge ourselves to really think about our lives, our plans and our actions. How much of it really is powered by God’s might and not our own? Think about just how much better plans would work out if we truly put them in the hands of the only one who knows beginning from end.
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