Our NEW fall issue is out guys! Feel free to subscribe and share hope you enjoy it!
Our NEW fall issue is out guys! Feel free to subscribe and share hope you enjoy it!
It was a gathering of many, listening to Jake Owen and Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Country Festival on October 1st.
No one saw coming the shots from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel at would leave hundreds injured and 59 people losing their lives.
No one expected a 64 year old man who had no criminal record to cause this awful crime and then to take his own life.
With all the tears shed, angry words were said to the killer and those who may be just like him. Fear continued to rise in those who didn’t their lives or those of their loved ones to be taken, too. How we make it through this tragedy with the hate around us? In the midst of a tragedy and hurt we may not understand, we must remember that God is in control of our lives, and He is the one we need to turn to.
Philippians 4:7 reminds us that peace in God surpasses our understanding so we can guard our hearts and minds. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to let go of our anger of circumstances by forgiving one another. One of the most important things we should remember is that Jesus will return and will make all things right. He will comfort the mourning, condemn the wicked, and command us to not be afraid. We may hurt now, but the pain will, one day, heal completely once we see our Creator and run into His arms.
We must continue to pray for those in Las Vegas and for the entire world for healing and coming to God for our most major hurts.
On Thursday, Sept 7th just before midnight catastrophic struck Central Mexico as an 8.1 earthquake hit turning the city into dust and debris and trapping its civilians underneath fallen buildings. Just as clean up for this earthquake began another catastrophic earthquake hit Mexico City on September 19th at 1:14 p.m. with a magnitude of 7.1. Both earthquakes happened only twelve days apart. What’s terrifying and ironic is that the earthquake on the 19th was the anniversary of another devastating earthquake in 1985. As of today there are over 200 dead with many more people injured and still trapped underneath the fallen buildings.
So why is Mexico so prone to earthquakes? Mexico is in a region called the “subduction” zone. Subduction zones are parts of the earth where slabs of the crust slowly side against the each other similarly to how to the vertebrae in the spine would be rubbing against each other if there weren’t discs to keep space between them. Over a long period of time, stress builds up because of the friction caused by the plates rubbing against each other until it releases in the form of an earthquake. Going along with my anatomy analogy, let’s say you’re a hardcore athlete. Over time the ligaments in your knee, for example, will slowly fray due to the stress of whatever sport you play. Eventually, the pressure and stress in your ligament releases in the form of a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). That’s how earthquakes happen. All the pent-up energy from the plates rubbing against each other explode, so to speak, causing an earthquake.
Now you’re all probably wondering what you can do to help Mexico. There are many organizations you can donate to such as Red Cross Mexico (cruzrojadonaciones.org), Save the Children Mexico (secure.savethechildren.org), Global Giving (globalgiving.org), and International Community Foundation (donate.icfdn.org). You can also register to be an organ donor at Organ Donor Registry (organdonor.gov) or donate blood at your local red cross chapter.
If you’re part of a ministry program at your church you might try talking to the person in charge about getting a group of people together and going to Mexico to help. It’s never too late to make a difference.
Felicity Rose is a 20 year-old blogger, stage actress, and model. She is currently a junior at Fresno Pacific University majoring in psychology with a minor in theatre. You can contact her via email at email@example.com or on Instagram @missfelicityrose/ballerinaboss_).
This has always been one of my favorite words.
I would scribble it down on paper, using it to try out new letter art. Or I would buy notebooks and wall art that read that word. It was always just a pretty expression, a beautiful string of four letters. But there was also something special about them. I knew they were meant to always help me remember: Hope is my anchor.
Yet there are times now when I look at this word and I wonder how. I wonder why.
How can you have hope when everything is crashing around you?
Why should you hold onto hope when you don’t get what you prayed for?
I don’t understand. I don’t know how I can hold onto hope when things turn upside down.
I look around at a suffering world—a world where things most certainly aren’t as I think they should be—and I ask God why. Why so much pain?
My heart aches inside as I scroll through pictures of the destruction in Texas from the recent Hurricane Harvey. I feel heavy as I look through death tolls and areas of flooding. How can we have hope in this? I question.
I flip through the TV channels and watch as everyone talks anxiously about the hurricane getting ready to hit Florida. I know people who have to evacuate and might lose their homes. I watch the TV screen as people rush to the stores to get supplies and try desperately to prepare for a storm that they can’t control. Can they find hope here?
My faith feels so small when looking at these things. These storms I can’t stop from killing innocent lives and destroying homes. What’s Your plan here, God? I want to ask.
Maybe…maybe that’s it.
We want to know His whole plan because clearly things aren’t going according to ours and we need an explanation. If He would only tell us why, we believe we will then understand. But how? For: “’My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
His ways, His thoughts, His plans…they’re all so much higher than my own. He can see the whole, grand tapestry when I can only see a small, simple piece of it.
Okay, yes, He has a plan, but…
There’s always that “but” because we so desperately want an answer when faced with such unimaginable grief.
After all: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
One of the most commonly quoted verses in the Bible. God’s plans for us include good. They include hope. But how in all of this?
I still don’t understand. And then I look at Isaiah 43:2 and it tells me, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Quickly reading it, my first thought is, “Great, so God’s telling us that those bad things won’t come near us and we won’t have to deal with them, so…why are we?”
But no. I read it again.
That’s not what He’s saying at all.
He says…when you pass through the waters…when you walk through the fire.
What? Where is the hope in this passage? What hope can all of the victims of these massive hurricanes hold onto?
And that’s when I see it.
The hope—the promise—it’s right there. It’s right there, shining beautiful in the midst of the pain…
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
There it is.
I catch my breath as it hits me. Our hope is not that bad things will not happen. Our hope is not that we will be spared from the waters or the fire—all those things that threaten to break us inside. No.
Our hope is so much greater. Our hope is that even in the bad things happening around us, He is with us. Our hope is that He will never leave us. Our hope is that God has a good, good plan for our lives and, even when we don’t understand, nothing in this world can destroy that plan. This takes my breath away. The hope God is giving us has nothing to do with outside circumstances—things that change like the tides.
The hope God is giving to us is a steadfast hope. Some of the definitions or synonyms for steadfast are: firm and unwavering, reliable, constant, steady.
This hope does not change because our God, the author of our true hope and faith, does not change. (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 12:2) He is our Hope!
And that’s when we know.
Whatever comes our way, whatever struggle or pain lies ahead, we know we will be okay. We will come out unbroken because our God stands with us. He is working good in our story—even in the pain—and even if we don’t understand the purpose until heaven.
If you are a victim of Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma, my heart aches for you. I can’t possibly understand what you’re going through, but I hope to encourage you by pointing you to the One who does understand. He understands every bit of your pain and looking at your pain, He weeps with you (John 11:33-35).
When you walk through the water or through the fire, take heart. He is with you. He will never let you go.
Hold onto your Hope, beloved.
*Florida, my prayers are with you tonight. God give you strength ♥
Isabella Morganthal (20) Is an author, blogger and writer for CCG! Check out her blog/website to find more of Isabella
One in four people in the United States suffer from a mental health disorder. Forty-one thousand, one hundred and fifty people commit suicide each year and over ninety percent of those people suffer from a mental health disorder of some kind, whether it was diagnosed or undiagnosed. Given the facts, why does society keep mental health disorders all under wraps but makes a huge noise about gay marriage? When mental health comes up in the news, it’s often when a criminal is “said” to have a certain mental health disorder but after a while it is quietly put away because society thinks people with mental health disorders need to be locked up. Mental health disorders are dangerous, debilitating and people need to be more aware of the complications that surround them.
First of all, what exactly is a mental health disorder? According to Mayo Clinic, a mental health disorder is a condition that affects a person’s mood, thinking and behavior. It covers a wide variety of diseases from Schizophrenia, to Anxiety to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, to eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia
Mental health disorders affect people in a myriad of ways. For people with Anxiety, their autonomic nervous system perceives many things as a threat, even if said thing isn’t a threat at all. The threat causes their “fight or flight” system to go into “fight” mode when it shouldn’t. This response causes vicious cycles of panic attacks. In severe cases, this can lead to phobias such as agoraphobia, or the fear to leave the house.
Sometimes people are dealing with more than one devastating mental disorder. Twenty year old Semira, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at the age of seventeeen. She grew up with stomach issues for most of her life which is what started her panic attacks in the first place. She said it’s like nothing agrees with her digestive system. Some of these cramps get so bad that she is in the restroom for hours in excruciating pain and none of the doctors she’s seen can figure out why.
Because of this she started to cut back on how much she eats as a way of avoiding the panic attacks that came along with eating. Now while this may sound like an eating disorder of some kind, Samira does not have an eating disorder according to an evaluation done by her therapist. She was finally diagnosed in August of 2016 with Gastro paresis, or paralysis of the stomach. She is now in therapy for her eating induced anxiety as well as her Gastro paresis in hopes that she can gain weight and kick these panic attacks to the curb.
As mentioned earlier, Samira also has depression. She says her depression stemmed from re-watching a medical TV show that deals with a condition that has affected her family. She said that the first few weeks after watching those episodes were very hard for her. She cried herself to sleep for a week straight and eventually she found it hard to enjoy things she loved to do. She constantly thought about how unfair it was for this person to be ripped away from her family. She thought about trying to ease the pain with alcohol but never went thought with it because it was the strength of the character on the TV show when dealing with the tragedy that got her through the depression. Almost two years later, Samira is doing a lot better. She has now decided to become a psychotherapist in hopes to save other peoples lives in the same way that this character saved hers. “Even though the depression was a dark bottomless hole, I am glad I went through that. It helped me find my purpose in life. I looked for light in a dark place and now I know I will survive whatever comes my way next.”
Along those same lines, eighteen year old Travis has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He says that it started during his early teen years. It was mild for a while but it soon spiraled out of control and became the catalyst for his depression. He kept feeling emotions that were out of place and hearing thoughts that weren’t his. Through medication and support from friends, he has overcome his OCD and depression.
On the other side of the spectrum, a mental health disorder can actually change the way a person perceives the world. For eleven year old Brianna, born with early-onset schizophrenia, has a completely different world from us.
According to the video about her story, she sees people, such as Seven, an imaginary number who commands her to do things, such as stabbing her mom with a pair of scissors. It is believed that Seven is actually a person Brianna becomes which means that she also has Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder) which is another devastating and dangerous mental health disorder in which someone has multiple personalities.
One other difficult to diagnose but dangerous mental health disorder to diagnose is psychopathy. These people are masters of disguise. They are very observant and can seem like normal people. All though they may seem to have charm, it is superficial charm and they are most likely going to manipulate you. These people can be serial killers. They have no remorse for loss of human life and no empathy for the crimes they commit. They are extremely violent and are the types of people who will go to a mall and shoot a bunch of people for enjoyment. They need stimulation, like killing people and that is why they do the horrific things we see in the news.
For example, in 2003, Gail Sands was found floating in her pool, face down along with a twenty foot ladder. It was said that she had fallen when she was trying to move the ladder in order to clear some tree branches, so it was ruled as an accident. It wasn’t until the medical examiner noticed the trauma marks on the back of her head during the autopsy that indicated that it wasn’t an accident. It was brutal murder. No one who knew the couple, would have thought that her own husband, Lionel Sands would eventually be convicted as the murderer. To most people he was an ordinary human, but to a psychologist, it was very obvious he was a psychopath. He never looked you in the eye, he kept himself very isolated and he always seemed to be observing people he met and copying what they did.
In most cases, disorders such as anxiety, depression and even psychopathy can be treated with medication as well as one on one therapy with a psychotherapist. This kind of treatment is very costly for families without health insurance because these appointments can cost anywhere between three to six hundred dollars per session. Often times, this is why most people don’t go to therapy when they need it. In 2013, a study was done amongst adults ages eighteen and over. Fifty one percent said they can’t afford mental health treatment because the cost is too high, even if they had insurance for it.
The cost of getting mediation is even higher; almost up to a thousand dollars every three months without insurance. And often times, medications don’t work, they become addictive which creates more problems in itself, or they can make the problem it’s trying to treat even worse. If we’re to take better care of ourselves, the cost of mental health care should be lower as to make it more affordable for people.
Why is mental health a public health concern? We have a growing number of people who commit suicide each year or go on a shooting rampage before ending their own life. As stated earlier, ninety percent of these people have one or more mental health disorders whether it was diagnosed or undiagnosed. Shootings like the ones at public places put everyone at danger. If we do more research into how we can save and treat people with mental health disorders, we can lower the chance of public shootings as well as the suicide rate.
Here is what we can do to help the people who want it. First, mental health care needs to be more affordable. There needs to be some sort of law, in which mental health care for everyone is either free or at very low cost. This will help people with low income get the treatment they deserve. No one deserves to have a mental health disorder and everyone who wants treatment should be able to get it. Secondly, in high schools especially, there should be a hired psychotherapist available to help students deal with their issues, whether that is being bullied to the point of suicide, or having panic attacks. In college, there are psychotherapists on staff, so why can’t high schools have it too? Most of the school shootings we see are in high school, which should be a red flag as to something that needs immediate attention. Also, all businesses should offer their employees with free mental health services with a certified psychotherapist. Maybe this would help a disgruntled employee not going on a shooting rampage.
Society in general needs to be more aware of the different types of mental disorders there are and how to treat them efficiently. Lastly, all the people interviewed in this agree that instead of more medications for people with mental health disorders, we need an understanding amongst society. We need to have courage to tell people, “What has happened to us.” not so much, “What is wrong with us.” without feeling like society will lock us up for having a mental health disorder.
Mental Health is an ongoing and increasing problem in our country unless health insurance becomes more affordable for each and every person. Only then will we see a huge improvement in our everyday lives.
Please tell us about yourself: I’m 16 and I’ve lived in California my whole life. I have two siblings and love reading, writing and acting.
Instagram: @marie.iman and @imankasabian
Please tell us about your faith journey?
I accepted Christ when I was in the first grade, but never really got to know Him and who He really was until I went through a rough spot. I discovered His mercy and grace and truly came to Him as a freshman in high school. I’m a junior now.
Favorite Bible verse(s) and why that verse speaks to you?
Proverbs 31: 25-31
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I love it because that’s the woman I want to be!
What do you think the hardest part about wanting to become a Proverbs 31 woman in today’s society?
I think society often tells us to be the opposite, especially with giving instructions with kindness because there’s always a lot of pride involved.
What’s the advice you’d give to others who wish to pursue becoming a Proverbs 31 woman?
Don’t listen to what the world tells you! It’s twisted and contradictory and confusing, so you have to rely on the truth.
What is it that you think defines a Christ Centered Girl and what makes you a Christ Centered Girl?
Well I definitely consider Christ the center of my life! Kylie (Christ Centered Girls founder) was just always a big help and encouraged me when I was going through a lot of things. She was one of the few people who reached out and prayed for me.
A major “thank you” to Iman for being our Christ Centered Girl of the month! It was a pleasure interviewing you! You are a lovely young Christian woman and may you be blessed in all that you do! ☺
BY: Isabella Morganthal
It was June 3, 2011.
Summer was just beginning and the sun was shining warm and bright. But I remember my focus that day was not on summer or the sunshine. My focus was wrapped around the neatly packaged box I had just received from UPS. My very first National Bible Bee box.
You see, for the summer of 2011 I had signed up to participate in a competition for young people, that was focused on Scripture memorization and studying the Word of God. June 3, 2011 began my first journey with the Bible Bee. Yet what I soon realized was that this competition was not really about a competition at all. It wasn’t even really about the Bible Bee, or the prizes, or making it to the national level.
I continued to compete in the Bible Bee every summer until I aged out in the fall of 2015. I walked away from the competition having never even made it to the top 5 final round or winning any cash prizes. But honestly, none of that mattered to me. The one thing that mattered to me was what the Bible Bee is all about: the Word of God.
You see, I already had my prize. The priceless and matchless Word of God in my heart was a prize greater than any earthly treasure. And when I walked away from the Bible Bee, I had a deeper love for and understanding of God’s Word.
You may never have heard of the Bible Bee, so you may be wondering how it’s possible for you to love God’s Word just as much and make time for Him over the summer. I know summer always seems to fly by and be so much busier than we hoped. But if you want to radically change your spiritual life this summer, here are my top 5 tips for falling deeper in love with God’s Word…
5. Check out the National Bible Bee! Yes, this was coming. 🙂 If you are between the ages of 7-18 and you want to grow in Jesus over the summer and you want to make reading/studying your Bible a priority, sign up for the Bible Bee! The summer study registration usually opens sometime in April each year. You won’t regret checking it out and participating in 2018. Visit their website here: http://www.biblebee.org.
Have fun growing in Jesus this summer, friends!
We so are so happy to announce that our Summer issue has finally arrived! So make sure to share it with your friends and let us know what you think!
Written by: Isabella Morganthal
All Images from We Heart It
I think just about all of us have heard, read, or maybe even memorized the verse from 1 Timothy 4:12 which says: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (NKJV)
So often we look at this verse and think it means we aren’t to let others judge us by our youth. We aren’t supposed to let others think of us as “only” teenagers or not to let others assume we can’t serve God properly because we’re young.
If you view the verse this way, you would be right. This verse is encouraging us to not let people look down on our youth but show them an example of Jesus.
However, we sometimes look past the other side to this passage too.We sometimes miss the bigger thing God is saying here. Because I think he’s telling you not to despise your youth.
You see, it’s so easy to look down on ourselves for being young. We might look at other young people who are doing big things for Jesus and being an example to others, and think, “Wow, that’s great they’re using their youth for Jesus. They’re really inspiring.” But then we turn around and look at ourselves while thinking, “I’m only a teenager. I couldn’t possibly do anything big in this world for Jesus. I’ll just have to wait until I’m older.”
For ourselves, we become apathetic with our youth and allow it to keep us in this comfortable place of not doing anything because “we’re too young anyways.” We use what the world says, “You’re only a teenager,” as backup for our own thought processes about our youth.
Then sometimes we even begin to hate being young. We wish our youth away with thoughts like, “I can’t wait until I’m an adult and I can do more things.” Or, “I wish I was older so I could do something big with my life.” But, friends, can’t you see? These thoughts are lies! And do you want the truth?
A certain age number isn’t going to change anything for you. Growing up won’t make things much different. You will still be you.
But the sad part?
You will have missed out on the amazing years of your youth that God gave you because you wasted them away, waiting to be older. Age is merely a number.
So this is my challenge for you.
Don’t you despise your youth. After all, none of us know how long we actually have on this earth. We could die tomorrow. If I died tomorrow, would I be happy knowing that I used the twenty years I was alive to make my life count for Jesus and His glory? Would you?
Make today count. Don’t view your age as a hindrance or disadvantage.
Instead, use it to allow God to do something great through you. Look at the young people in Scripture who were probably early teenagers and how God used them! People like Jeremiah, a prophet of God. David, a man after God’s own heart who defeated Goliath. Esther, who God used to save an entire people by doing the right thing. Mary, the mother of Jesus.
I’m sure each of those young people felt inadequate at times. I bet each of them wondered why God chose them, especially because they were young. But I think God chose them because they were young for a reason.
He’s chosen you too.
God has hand-picked you for a specific task right this very moment.
He isn’t waiting to choose you until you’re older or until you’re an adult. He’s already chosen you. Right now. You’re chosen.
Now go out and make your youth count for Him.
Easter is right around the corner and with these delish treats will prepare you to have the yummiest Easter Party out there! For me I always loved coming home after the church service on Easter and making lots of food for my friends and family to have! If that is already a tradition in your house then why not add some of these tasty foods to your menu, and even if it’s not a yearly thing in your house…why not make it one!? So let’s get cooking!
Easter Egg strawberry’s
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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Easter Eggs Recipe:
2 ½ cups rolled oats
3 tbsps. pb2 (or any powdered peanut butter)
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
5 tbsps. almond milk
1 tbsp. peanut butter
¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Sprinkles for decoration
Recipe Directions: In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl add maple syrup, vanilla, milk and peanut butter. Stir until mixture has been combined, add the dry ingredient to the large bowl and mix with hands. Once combined add chocolate chips and sprinkles. Place in plastic eggs and let set in the fridge for 1 hour. Once done, gently open them from the plastic eggs and decorate with sprinkles.
These are absolutely adorable deviled eggs….Remember, “Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends….Enjoy!”