**Most of this blog is for girls only! Any boys, please only read the posts linked to in the "For Boys" page on the sidebar. Thank you.**

Friday, 31 May 2013

Set an example... in speech {part 3}

{More on setting an example in speech!}

I believe that there are specific areas in which we can be dignified in our speech. I also admit that I fail at every one of these often. Of course I'm not perfect, and I sure need to work on these.

  1. Carry on a good conversation. A beautifully dignified young woman does not mumble an answer to questions whilst looking at the floor. Instead, she looks the person speaking in the eye and gives a proper answer. With few exceptions, one-word replies do not count as answers. Can you see that lovely, feminine, dignified princess mumbling 'No' or 'Yes' to the nobles' questions, whilst studying the mosaic on the floor? Would she not lift her graceful head to give them a full and dignified answer?
     Also, we need to learn to pass the conversation back. Ask the person a question of your own. Don't force the other person to keep up an awkward, one-sided conversation. That is not dignified and beautiful.
  2. Use positive body language. Looking someone in the eye, listening intently, not fiddling, sitting up straight etc all convey that you appreciate and acknowledge everything that the person is saying. Looking away absently, slouching, fiddling etc all convey boredom, nervousness and lack of value for what the person is saying. Oh, and I know that as girls we find it easy to multi-task, but we need to restrain from doing so when caring on a face-to-face conversation. When we multi-task we send the message that the person speaking is not worthy of our full attention. (Please note that sometimes we don't have to drop something to have a conversation, unless it's deep or pressing. If your friend starts a conversation when you're chopping the carrots for mum, for example, you don't have to stop. But make sure you still nod or look up occasionally to show that you're listening.) Make sure that your non-verbal signals are positive. Doing so helps show dignity and love. {Taken from 'Daily Dignity: Speech {part 1}'}
  3. Ask insightful questions. These are questions that go beyond the normal "How was your day?" and trivial "What is your favourite band?" questions. Insightful questions include:  "How's your walk with God going?" "What's God been doing in, through or around you?" "How can I pray for you?" "Is there anything that you're struggling with at the moment? (coupled with a request to pray with them)" "What are you looking forward to in the next year?" "What's your favourite holiday memory?" They can be anywhere (as shown) from spiritual questions to asking how a person is really, truly going, to not-quite-as-deep-but-still-not-trivial-chit-chat questions. Of course, it's not OK to ask something that would force a person to open up their most intimate secrets and struggles with you. It's also hard (not to mention awkward!) to ask deep questions straight after the "Hi, I'm Cassie, what's your name?" But maybe after knowing the person for a while you can begin the slightly-deeper-but-still-not-trivial-chit-chat questions. And the prayer request one is often good. (You can do that one with both Christians and non-Christians.
  4. Practice elegant speech. I've talked about this in my "Coarse talk: uh-uh" post and my "Modesty in Actions" post. I reckon you guys should get the gist of it by now. If not, or if you're new (yay!), this is basically what elegant speech is: (these points are from "The Lost Art of True Beauty.")
 1) Not using crude humour or comments.
 2) Not gossiping or belittling others with your words.
 3) Not using profanity.
 4) Not overusing filler words; words like 'stuff,' 'like' and 'really.' (This one is really hard to          get out of, but it cleans up our speech.)
 5) Not mumbling. As ambassadors for Christ, we shouldn't speak as though we're ashamed.
 6) Not talking to fast or rambling on and on.
 7) Not talking so loud that everyone is forced to listen to you.
 8) Keeping your heart guarded in your speech. We should make sure that we aren't revealing  every deepest, most personal secret, fear and struggle in our common conversation. While we need to make sure to ask insightful questions etc, we still need to guard the sacred parts of our hearts. It's also wise to be more cautious with guys. I'm not saying that we can't carry on a slightly deeper conversation with them, but we shouldn't tell them everything that we tell our female friends. 

 I know that that's a lot of things to work on, but I can tell you with certainty that you will be blessed for following them, and trying to exude dignity in every area of your life.

 There's also a message that I feel God wants me to give you. It relates to the result of you seeking to obey the Lord in every area of your life. (I wrote about it a bit in this post.) With me (and others, including God himself) bringing up things that I believe that we need to work on, it's easy to get discouraged. I know I do sometimes. But I believe that God wants to remind you that He is the one doing a transforming work in us; that if we listen and follow what He tells us to do, we will see change!. God whispered to my heart, "Tell them that I love them and will honour their striving." Romans 8:31 says, "What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us!" The song "You Raise Me Up" reminds us that that God "raises us up to more than we can be." Thanks be to God! {Taken from 'Daily Dignity: Speech {part 2}'}

And that's it for speech! New topic in setting an example next week!

Cassie xoxoxo

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Set an example... in speech {part 2}

 Now we're done the negative side, we can look at what to say! First up, encouragement!


 Does God wan't us to give encouragement? OF COURSE!!! It may be hard to do at times, or seem weird, but God commands us to encourage each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (Let's hope that last bit is true!) There are stacks of other Bible verses that talk about encouragement; check out Romans 12:8, 2 Timothy 4:2 and Titus 2:15b. There are many places where the Bible talks about specific people encouraging: like Paul in Colossians 2:2, Barnabas in Acts 11:23 and Judas and Silas in Acts 15:32. Guess what? The Bible even tells us that God encourages us! (Psalm 10:17, Romans 15:5.) So does the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9:31.) God also speaks through the Scriptures to give us encouragement. (Romans 15:4; I think you've probably experienced these ideas for yourself!)

 Why encourage? Why does God command us to build each other up? Well, there's the simple fact that it makes others feel nice. You know how you feel when you're encouraged; others feel that way too when you encourage them. I've felt encouraged recently when someone took the time to tell me that they felt honoured to know me. Everyone likes a boost. 

 Then, there's the effects your encouragement can have. Check out this verse: "But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see." (Deuteronomy 3:28, emphasis mine.) Your encouragement could do something big! OK, OK, maybe not saying 'I love your shirt' (I guess, you never know... it could start that girl thinking about creating her own fashion label... :P), but some things could have a big impact. (Interrupting here: recently many people have encouraged me about my blog. God used that to get me out of my lack of motivation and start writing some posts!)
 Lastly, there's what might happen if you don't encourage someone. 2 Samuel 19:7: "Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall!" (OK, my example may be slightly exaggerated, but the concept still holds.) If you don't encourage someone, something negative could happen. Maybe if I hold back from telling the girl on my street that she looks pretty she'll grow up hating herself. (Maybe not, but who knows. My encouragement could just be the thing that pulls someone away from something bad or helps change a life course. But always remember, such encouragement - indeed, all encouragement - needs to be constant and consistent.)

 So lets rise to the challenge... and the command! Let's spread encouragement all around us! {Taken from 'Encouragement.'}

More soon!

Cassie xoxoxo

    Sunday, 19 May 2013

    Set an example... in speech {part 1}

    Sorry I didn't get one out last week!

     Most of you have probably read my other posts on speech, so I'll just basically do a re-cap here, inserting the key points of my other posts.

     By setting an example for other believers in our speech, there are both things we should and should not say. As the post would be too long if I did all my points in one post, I will break it into three parts. So here are my points on what not to say.

      "There be any obscenity, foolish talk or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (Ephesians 5:4)  Wow, pretty direct! I also love the New Life Version: "Do not be guilty of telling bad stories and of foolish talk. These things are not for you to do. Instead, you are to give thanks for what God has done for you." I think we all do these not-great things at some point. However 'harmless' they may seem, God is against them. {Taken from 'Coarse talk: uh-uh'}


     Even little, silly sentences can hurt; even something said as a joke can get someone down. I think you know what I mean. Something like "Yeh, that was so stupid. Sometimes you can be such a dope" can hurt. Even just "You're a dope" has a possibility of making someone feel bad. Now, most of the time these things and more are said jokingly. But hey, they can still get someone down!!! And if you're thinking "How silly, why would anyone take that offensively?" I can personally tell you that there are people on whom these kind words have an effect. Or even if they don't hurt, what's the point in saying them anyway? Why say something derisive at all? (Trust me, I fail at this nearly every time. It's VERY hard to master. But I believe it's worth it.)

     Now, not all critical words are said in a joking manner. We've all said something along the lines of "you're an idiot" (or nerd, or freak, or dumbo, or immature etc). In those cases, we all need to learn to control our tongue. It's really HARD, I know, but never the less, God wants us to. There are heaps of Bible verses about the tongue. Some show what the tongue is like and what it does - "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Prov 12:18) "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Prov 18:21) "Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." (James 3:5,6).
    A lot of them tell of the tongue's consequences and how it relates to us - (like two of the above and a chunk of James - for example, James 1:26 says "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.") If you look throughout the Bible at the verses on the tongue, it is clear that
    1. the tongue can do a lot of damage or build people up and
    2. God wants us to keep a close watch over what we say.
    So pray about it, and strive with God to say things that only build up and not tear down (Eph. 4:29).

     (And just in case you haven't gotten why negative words are not a good idea, James reminds us that "We praise our Lord and Father with our tongues. And we speak wrong words about people with our tongues, even though they were made like God." (James 3:9 WE translation)! How silly is that!!!? So let's strive to stop having blessings and insults coming out of the same mouth. And can I let you into a secret?: Sometimes you will mess up!! No-one is perfect! So don't feel really guilty if you fail. Just apologise to the person and God, and keep going.{Taken from '"Ouch!" Your words can hurt!'}

    So there you have it: a re-cap on all my thoughts about what not to say! More next week! Lets continue in our striving in the Lord to set an example in our speech.

    Cassie xoxoxo

    Saturday, 4 May 2013

    Set an Example

     {A while ago I had an idea for a post series on 1 Timothy 4:12b. So... this is the first one!}

    Set an example for the believers

     I know you've probably heard this verse (1 Timothy 4:12b) many many times. In fact, it's probably one of your favourites. You probably know that the context of this verse is Paul writing to Timothy, a young* minister and urging him to (a) let nobody look down on him because of his youth* and (b) to also set an example for all the believers in various things.

     Like you, I've heard, loved and understood this verse for a while. But recently I decided to do a study on it. I grabbed a concordance, Greek dictionary, study bible and commentary on 1 Timothy. I looked up the original Greek meaning of words. I read study notes. Basically I found that 1 Timothy 4:12b means just what it says in modern English... except for one word (which you will find out about later!). In other words, when we read in our bible 'set an example for the believers,' it means 'set an example for the believers.'

     Now you may read that and think, "OK... so, ah, why on earth are you writing a post on it?" Well, although I don't have that much to say on it, I thought I would still write a short post on it for 3 reasons:

    1. Just as a starter for the rest of the series. It's setting the scene.
    2. To bring it to your attention again. It truly is a great verse! We need to be reminded of it often.
    3. To point out that there's no getting around it. This verse needs to be taken seriously! Paul means what he says. As young Christian girls, we are called to set an example, a pattern of living, a visual guide that others can follow. There's no thinking "Oh, it can't really mean that. It can't mean me. It surely isn't saying that I need to be a visual model, right?" This is our marching orders! It must be obeyed!

    You sister,

    Cassie xoxoxo

    *Timothy was probably around 30. When Paul lived, it was very unusual for a man so young and 'inexperienced' to have such a profound responsibility as leading a church. The verse, however, still applies to us today: we are not to let others' opinions of our youth or their prejudice that 'teen are useless' discourage us from serving God. We are also to set an example for other believers, no matter how young we are.