**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.**

Thursday, 30 July 2015

How to Compliment the Other Gender

(Above pics from Messy Mondays' videos. I do not claim any credit for these images.)

Hey guys! I had the privilege of writing a blog post for my beautiful friend Lauren, over at Defying Depravity. It's about How to Compliment the Other Gender (who doesn't get frustrated about that sometimes!?) so go check it out! And I'd really encourage you to look around her blog too, she's an awesome writer with a knack of challenging and inspiring in every post. :)

Cassie xoxoxo

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Dear Future Husband: I don't love you

Photo credit: martinak15

"Dear darling,
 I don't love you."

That's how I started my latest letter to my future husband. (I hope he has a good shock when he reads it. That would be funny. :P)

It's OK, I'm really not as heartless as this might seem. I clarified that I didn't mean I didn't love him 'now' as in when he reads it, but 'now' as in as I write it. 

You see, I recently read a great blog post. It was a young woman's letter to her future husband. And in it, she professes multiple times that she loves him already. (Which, as you continue to read, please note that I do not wish to discredit this in the slightest.) "Aww," I thought, "that's so sweet an romantic. I should write something like that." 

But something deep inside me squirmed at the idea. And I realised, it's because I cannot say with honesty "I love you now" to my future husband. 

Not if you define love how I define love. To me, love is sacrificial. It's selfless. It's Christ-like. It's humble. It will seek the good of my future husband. And none of that describes me well right now. I'm selfish. I hate sacrifice. I have a long way to go with being Christ-like. I'm ridiculously prideful. Yes, I'm saving myself for my future husband, but if I can't seek the good of my family and friends, what makes me think I'd seek his good continually? Do I love him now? No way.

But I'm getting there. This isn't the end. The story still goes on. I'm learning. Always will be. And God willing, by the time a guy reads those letters, I will be able to say "yes, I love you." 

Cassie xoxoxo

P.S. Yes, I am well aware that God's plan for me might be singleness. I am not taking for granted that I will have a husband. But if I do get married, I think these letters will be very special. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

How Boring

Photo credit: Yasser Alghofily

I was sitting it church when it hit me.

I don't remember what could have triggered the thought. I don't remember what the pastor was saying at the time (it's OK, I still remember the message of the sermon!). I just remember it coming crashing down out of nowhere.

My goodness, how boring it would be to be a non-Christian!

See, pretty much the majority of my day, something it going around my head that God is using to teach me. Be it not yelling at my siblings, working hard, or fighting off a crush, God is consistently, persistently, teaching me something. Like, all the time. And even when I'm aware I've kinda got a 'breather' in between bigger lessons, there's always day-to-day principals to learn to follow. Not to mention talking to God often...

What do non-Christians do with no constant learning, training, connection? No wonder so many think they have nothing to live for! I wouldn't give up those for anything! To have boring, menial, futile thoughts all day every day instead of constantly growing, being moulded? No thank you! 

Thank You, God, for such an awesome, exciting journey! With You, life is never boring! To be under your loving instruction so often is a treasure greater than I can comprehend. May I help others come to know it too. 

Cassie xoxoxo

P.S. Please note I am not saying the non-Christians themselves are boring. But I think it's far more exciting to be a Christian!

Monday, 20 July 2015

A magnificent poem

I did not write this. A friend of mine, fellow Rebelutionary teen Samuel G, wrote it. Isn't it just glorious?!

From the depths of shallow feelings,
From the highs that leave you low, 
From the dullness of excitement 
And the facelessness of show; 
From the poverty of riches, 
The obscurity of fame,
From the anguish of a "happiness" 
That glories in its shame; 
From the narrow-minded "tolerance" 
That knows no deeper truth, 
From the childishness of old age 
And the tiredness of youth,
From the foolishness of "wisdom" 
And the depths of "higher thought", 
From the dark of the "enlightenment" 
May your own mind be brought. 

May you find God's joy in sadness 
And His life within your pain;
Crucify yourself to selfishness 
And, dying, live again; 
May you choose the "harder" path
(The yoke that's easy and that's light),
May you love your enemies, and find 
True peace within your fight; 
May your treasure be in jars of clay –
O greatest, be the least! – 
May your strength be in your weakness 
And on God's word may you feast. 

So reject your knowing ignorance, 
Humiliated pride –
And follow in the life He lived 
And trust the death He died;
For, much higher than the heavens 
And much deeper than the sea 
Is the love He gives to sinners 
Such as you, and such as me.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A Note on Guilt

Photo credit: anna gutermuth

Yeh, I realised that in my 5 Minute Devotions post I'd mentioned that I'd say something about guilt regarding devotions. And I never did. Oops. Oh well, here it is now. :)

I'm sure you know the feeling. You slept in instead of waking up to have a QT. The day was crazy. You told yourself you'd have one at lunch time... after dinner... before bed... And then you crash into bed, and as you're about to drift off to sleep, you realise. You never had a quiet time. And you feel guilty. You let God down. He missed you. You aren't a good Christian. Etc.

Now, that guilty feeling can be good. It reminds you that QTs are important.

But it's also not so great. Because Satan can use it to plague us, and make us feel worth less than God sees us. When we beat ourselves up over missing a QT, that is Satan's work. When we tell ourselves we're not good Christians because we missed it, that's him too. It's all lies. And the wrong sort of guilt.

You see, there are two kinds of guilt. The first is conviction guilt. It's the Holy Spirit using our conscience to tell us that we've erred, and need to repent or act differently. That’s what happens, on a small scale, when we miss a quiet time (at least for not-quite-legitimate reasons). It’s conviction – we shouldn't have brushed it aside. Fair enough. We know we have to act differently. It’s constructive.

Then there’s destructive guilt. That’s when we've been convicted, repented, and determined, with God’s help, to act differently, but we still feel guilty. That’s not right. God says that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9.) Any further guilt is no longer for conviction, but is Satan trying to tear us down. So after being convicted about QTs, we should not continue to feel guilty. If we do, we should pray that God will make His truth clear in our hearts.

Here endeth my not on guilt. *firm nod* :) 

Cassie xoxoxo

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Of a beautiful moment in LOTR

To LOTR fans, yes, I know this picture isn't of the sceneI describe below, but I think it represents it well enough.

**Warning: if you have not read/watched LOTR, this is a bit of a spoiler. Not crucial or central to the main conflict, but a spoiler none the less.**

I was reading The Lord of the Rings yesterday (for the second time; I don't think I'll ever tire of that book). And I saw something that I had never really noticed before. Something that brought me to tears.

If you've read/watched all of LOTR, you'll know that Éowyn eventually marries Faramir. She realises that she really only loved Aragorn because of his nobility and valiance, and the chance he could have given her to rise above the drudgery of court life and win renown. As Aragorn says to Éomer, "In me she loves only a shadow and a thought: a hope of glory and great deeds, and lands far from the fields of Rohan."

Anyway, after wrestling through pain over her love for Aragorn, and realising finally what her heart really desires, she falls in love with and marries Faramir. In the scene where their wedding is announced, Tolkien writes this:

"Then Éowyn looked in the eyes of Aragorn, and she said: 'Wish me joy, my liege-lord and healer!'
And he answered: 'I have wished you joy ever since first I saw thee. It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss.' "

At this, I willingly admit I burst into tears. Why? Because this beautiful, beautiful scene is very similar to something that has happened in my life, and I would guess in the lives of many other girls.

You see, I once loved an Aragorn.

OK, not loved. Liked. My first crush. While I did know him fairly well, I think I at least in part liked "in him only a shadow and a thought." And do we not do this often? Don't we construct an image of the 'perfect husband' or 'dreamy boyfriend' and then when we find a guy slightly like that, we paste his face onto our image and 'like him,' when we don't really like him for him, we just like the image we have put his face on? And so we wrestle with a crush, and through pain.

And then we get over it. Which is what happened to me. (You can read a bit more about that here.) And we move on, and learn, and years down the track we realise how much we've learnt from that experience. Which is what happened to me.

Near the start of this year, I had a scene somewhat similar to the one above. Different, but in essence the same. I saw that guy I'd had a crush on over 6 years ago. He's still awesome. And as we talked, inside, I was just looking at him and marvelling. Marvelling over how much God taught me through this one boy. As far as I know, he still doesn't know it, but my crush on him is what started all this. This learning curve. My new convictions. This blog.

And (I'm going to start crying again) just as Éowyn looked into Aragorn's eyes and knew that her heart was healed, the past was the past, a new journey had begun, and she could say with freedom and without hesitation "Wish me joy!" so I suddenly realised that I could look into this boys eyes with clear vision, a whole heart, on a new journey, and with freedom and without hesitation say "I love you as a brother, God has used you in my life mightily, an I am so very, very thankful." (I didn't say it out loud, but my heart knew it.)

Oh, God be thanked for that moment, and for those moments you have experienced! God shows up in them. Suddenly the veil is rent and we see His work, His perfect timing, His abundant grace, his never-failing love.

I'm not going to turn this into a post with a lesson. I know it's not as elegant or as tightly connected as I might like. Honestly, it is just flowing from the joy in my heart. Those two lines in LOTR made me wonder afresh and literally cry for joy at the almighty sovereignty and grace and love of our Lord.

Cassie xoxoxo

Friday, 3 July 2015

How to change the '5-Minute-Devotions' attitude

**If you didn't read my last post, you probably should, because this one will make a bit more sense afterwards.**

So if we want to change our God-only-deserves-5-minutes-of-my-time (or something along those lines) attitudes, we need to do two things: tackle the root, and change our behaviour.

First, let's address the root. (Note: yes, I did not say anything about this in my last post. Why? I forgot about it, and only re-learnt this concept a few days ago (thank you Lord!).) As with any sin or wrong attitude, we can change behaviour all we like, but if the heart-root remains, we will slip back into wrong behaviours and attitudes. So we need to ask ourselves, "What is the heart-root of this problem? What lie am I believing about myself or God that is giving rise to these behaviours?" I'm not going to directly answer that for you, but (hint!) it's pretty clear. My last post pretty much described it, and it's easy to find with a quick heart-search. Bring it before God, confess it, ask Him to heal you from it, and replace it with Biblical truth.

ONLY after that is dealt with do we move on to behaviour. Here's some tips for changing the behaviour:

1) Deliberately set aside a longer time for quiet times (QTs). When I was first challenged to get serious about QTs, I committed to half an hour, and I found that a good amount. Now I find it isn't enough. Whatever your case, if you feel that the time you've put aside now fosters an attitude of selfishness instead of worship, extend it a bit. Sacrifice. That'll look different for different people. Don't fall into the trap of trying to 'beat' someone else's commitment, or feeling guilty because you only brought your time up 10 minutes instead of 20. This is NOT about earning God's pleasure. It's about doing what it takes to tackle a selfish attitude, and seeking to place our priorities correctly.

2) Set a specific time of day. This habit reduces the temptation of procrastination. Set a time, and stick to it. I heartily recommend first thing in the morning.

3) Seek some accountability. Let a trusted friend or family member know that you're trying to keep time with God as a top priority, and ask them to keep you accountable.

4) If you find yourself rushing your QT, pause, and just take those few extra minutes. Slow down and choose to prioritise.

5) Pray. Ask God to help you! Prayer is powerful, and praying will also remind you to carry out your intentions.

Do you have any more thoughts on how we can work at destroying the '5-Minute Devotions' attitude?

Cassie xoxoxo