Attention!

I was listening to the TED Talk the other day, and the topic was on attention and some of the consequences that come with attention-seeking behavior. Now, as someone who studied psychology in school, I had heard things like this before, but what I didn’t expect was the point they made about social media and the success of big media companies like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. They said that these social media companies were successful because they sold us on the need for attention. We made their success happen, because we believed that we need the attention they told us we needed. That blew my mind!

The topic of attention got me thinking and in studying brought me to a passage in Matthew 6.

Matthew 6:1-8 (NKJV) 1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. 5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who [is] in the secret [place;] and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do.] For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

That was a lot of scripture, so to simplify and sum it up, verse one is saying don’t do charitable deeds to be seen doing good things- don’t make a scene because you did something right so you can get attention and appreciation from people around you, do it modestly and humbly because that is what God will reward. Then it goes on to talk about how we should not be worshipping God or praying at the altar to look cool to everyone else, to look more righteous than everyone else- do it only for the attention of the one who you worship.

This topic also reminded me of something that was spoken on at one of the NAYC 2019 Hyphen sessions, this session was convicting, to say the least, to myself and those in this social media driven generation. She spoke about how we are all kingdom minded, but whose kingdom– God’s or our own; how the promotion of our own kingdoms on Social Media is killing the kingdom we are supposed to be promoting; how comparing ourselves amongst ourselves is dangerous and she reminded us that the Kingdom of God is not predicated by how we look to others.

There is a passage in Luke 20 about the Pharisees and how they would go through the streets drawing attention to themselves. When I researched who the Pharisees were, because let’s be honest, we hear about them often in preaching or Bible studies but we might not know who they necessarily are; well it turns out the Pharisees were a social movement and school of thought in Israel, they were highly esteemed theologians who thought they were ‘hot stuff’ and they paraded through the streets to make sure the people took notice of their superiority.

Luke 20:45-47 (NKJV) 45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 “who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Along this topic, I saw this scripture:

Mark 1:17 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

I was reading through this scripture, trying to simplify it a little bit, and something stuck out to me- the words follow me. Now, how many people have we met and said Hey, follow me on instagram so you guys can keep up with each other. But let me ask you this- did you hit the follow back button for Jesus. He is commanding us to follow him, right? We should be giving our time and attention firstly to Jesus, because he will give us everything we need- the reward that we want, the attention- because the ultimate reward is spending eternity with him anyways.

Let me summarize with this, attention-seeking behavior is not the behavior we need to have. The attention that we should be seeking is the attention of the one who created us with a purpose. When the world gives you attention, redirect it to the one who truly deserves it, because as much as you put effort into your successes, you could not have done it without Jesus- he brought you there, he gave you what you needed- so redirect the attention to him.

My prayer for us Apostolic Girls is that we will recognize who we are giving our attention to and that we will find our worth and turn our attention to the one who saved us.

Sabrina Hope Bio

Apostolic Girl – Witnessing Guide

There is so much more to being an Apostolic Girl than just skirts, long hair, and absence of jewelry. Sometimes, that can seem to be all the world notices. But, our outer appearance is meant to be the reflection of an internal purity, kindness, and consecration to Christ.  Please remember that should take priority. But, as you grow in your walk with God and discover more of His Word, you start to see that outer holiness is important to Him as well. He has called us to be separate inside and outside!

I have gone to public school all my life (shout out to Chiles High!) and have worked with the public since the age of 17, Chick-Fil-A being the first of my many jobs. I’ve lost count of how many times I was asked by peers and coworkers why I didn’t cut my hair, or why I always wore a skirt- even in the winter or when playing sports, or why I didn’t wear jewelry or heavy makeup. I won’t lie- as a young teenager, I was embarrassed to answer and didn’t even really know how to answer.

If you find yourself in the same predicament as a young lady who has taken a stance on standards- fear no longer! Here are simple, effective, and sufficient ways to answer those tricky questions for those who don’t understand. Remember, most of the time people are not making-fun. They are truly interested and it’s a great way to start a conversation about God and your beliefs! I encourage you to memorize these answers and scriptural references (kinda hard to google scripture in the middle of talking to someone).

Hair

Q: Why don’t you cut/trim your hair?

A: In the Bible, it says that uncut hair on a woman is an anointing and covering of submission; that it is a shame to cut a woman’s hair. This is not a salvation issue, but something I choose to do because it’s in the Word of God!

-1 Corinthians 11: 5-6, 15

“But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.” 6 “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.”

15 “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

Pants

Q: Why don’t you wear pants?

A: In the Bible, there are moral laws such as the Ten Commandments that apply to us today even though it is found in the Old Testament. One of the moral laws is for men to dress like men and women to dress like women. Although there are “women’s” pants and shorts, dresses and skirts are strictly feminine in most societies. You don’t typically see men in dresses, do you? (Unless they’re a drag-queen trying to look like a woman!). So, I choose to wear nothing but dresses and skirts! And if we want to get real technical, women in America did not start wearing pants until around WWII when they had to work in factories and take over “men’s” jobs.

-Deuteronomy 22:5

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”

Jewelry/Makeup

Q: Why don’t you wear jewelry? Why don’t you wear makeup?

A: In the Bible, it says not to adorn ourselves with costly or flashy apparel. Jewelry is meant to draw attention. So, I only wear things such as an engagement ring or a watch- things that serve a purpose. I try to avoid costly or flashy looking adornments!

-1 Peter 3:3

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;”

-1 Timothy 2:9

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”

A: In the Bible, Jezebel was an evil woman who would paint her face with bright colors and bold lines to tempt and seduce prophets. Every time makeup is mentioned in the Bible, it is in a negative light because it was used for seductive/vain reasons. I want to keep from a vain spirit when it comes to my appearance and always have a natural look- because I am proud of the way God made me!

-2 Kings 9:30

“And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.”

-Jeremiah 4:30

“And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.”

Well, I hope that this has helped you when found in the intimidating but exciting situation of talking to someone about your beliefs and why we do what we do. I encourage you to study scripture for yourself and do some research. You may find a better way of wording it for yourself! But, these are the responses that have gotten me through the years.

I am proud to be an Apostolic Pentecostal Woman! It is the best life and I enjoy living in His Word. I have learned to get excited when asked about holiness standards and strongly believe it is the representation of an internal work.

#AGJoinTheMovement

AG Blogger (1)

Bloom & Boom

When you plant a seed, whatever plant it may be, it grows with the right natural elements such as sunlight and water. You can also buy things to help like Miracle-Gro. Put a seed in the right soil and it will just grow and keep growing till it is fully grown. But, if you try and plant something in a drought without watering it because you are waiting on rain, it won’t grow. It will just die with the potential of what it could have grown up to be.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Psalms 1:3 KJV

If you feel like you can’t grow where you’re at, it’s because you are trying to grow something without nurturing it and eventually you are robbing yourself of that blessing or calling. God plants you in places on purpose. You are where you are at for a certain reason. You cannot sit in a drought and expect God to grow you. You have to nurture your calling in that season of doubt or fear or whatever you’re going through. If you feel like you’re not good enough, pray about it because you can grow from that feeling if you pray through it. Like the old saying goes, “You grow through what you go through”. And it’s the truth. If you feel stuck in where you’re at, just keep praying for growth. Keep practicing if you’re a musician. Keep praying for wisdom if you want to be a speaker or a writer in His kingdom. Keep serving humbly no matter what you want to do. Because that is what you have to do in your season of drought or else you will be left with a seed that had so much potential, but unfortunately died. Nurture your faith. Nurture what God gave you or you’re left with less than what you started with. If you can’t appreciate what you have to nurture, how will you appreciate more?

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,”

1 Peter 2:1-4 KJV

Instead of letting sin and evil things grow in your dry season, let love and the fact that God chose you to serve Him grow. If we forget the feel of His presence, sin can come in and grow just as quick as blessings. We often let this feeling of being lost from His presence keep us from feeling Him in the midst of our chaos. When all along He is right there. Just reach out and say His name. You are precious in His sight and you only need Him to grow.

Daily prayer and reading your bible repeatedly isn’t just good for your spiritual growth. It is also good to keep you planted in what good works He has brought you to. If He has called you to do something for His kingdom, you need to know more about Him before He can use you. It’s kind of like turning in a resume to a company you have never heard of and don’t know anything about the position you are applying for. If you don’t know where to grow, let God plant you. And just bloom where you are. That’s all it takes.

Chelsea Hockensmith Bio

His Promise Still Stands

There is a pattern to the life of faith that often follows a sequence of promise –> excitement –> waiting –> doubting –> testing –> refining –> reinforcement and –> eventual fulfillment.  This is essential to grasp if we ever hope to serve God as mature  women in the faith.

Instant gratification and impatience have become hallmarks of our society. We only have to “tolerate” 5-15 seconds of advertising before getting to a Youtube video. We are promised “instant weight loss,” “instant success,” and “3 Easy Steps…” to achieve just about anything.

Waiting, enduring, and learning patience, exercises of the will and character that have been integral to Biblical faith for thousands of years are not exactly hot topics in an age where we can scroll through our boredom at the rate of 13 Instagram pictures a second.

For now, I just want to highlight 3 appropriate responses to God during a season of waiting, waiting….and maybe even waiting some more:

1)     Gratitude for God’s Abundant Mercy

When God asks you to wait for His perfect timing you have to recognize that this is actually a form of His mercy to you.  By forcing us to wait, God protects us from becoming spoiled children and develops our character.  We will never be effective servants of the King if we are too much like the spoiled rich girl who has Daddy wrapped around her finger and always gets what she wants, right when she wants it.

He wants us to be people of character who recognize that the world does not revolve around us.  So He often asks us to wait and learn patience.  You should thank Him for this, because when God asks you to wait, He is actually doing you a favor.

As Paul says, when we are waiting on God,

“we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.”  (Romans 5:3)

2)     Hope in God’s Anticipated Action  

Although this is one of the more counter-intuitive aspects of our walk with God, it is actually the case that the longer God makes you wait for something He has promised the more your faith and expectation in the fulfillment of His Word should grow.

The longer you wait, the closer He is getting to fulfilling His word and the more that reality should propel you to even more faith and hope in what is about to come to pass.

Even as you are waiting on God don’t miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He is about to do.

For “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Rom 13:11).

Even though seasons of waiting can tend to wear us down, forcing us to face our own doubts, fears, and insecurities, always remember to praise the Lord in the midst of your waiting.

3)     Surrender to God’s Perfect Purposes

We all start out in our relationship with God wanting to be more or less in control of the operation. This is called idolatry.

Yes we want God, but we kind of want Him on our own terms.  We want a God we can fashion and shape, a God who will serve our needs and our agenda.  It is especially in the moments of waiting on God to do things His own way, in His own time, that reveal to us just how deeply entrenched the idolatry truly is within our hearts.

Part of why God is making us wait, is for us to fully let go of our own will.

And in that surrender you will find a comfort in knowing that God is God, that He does not need your advice, that His ways are higher and better than your ways, and that He is good to the deepest core of His being.

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). 

And the Joy of Fulfillment is coming…

Whether you are currently waiting on a personal promise God has given to you specifically, or are simply longing for the promise of eternal salvation and deliverance that we all share as followers of Jesus, always remember that no waiting on God is in vain.

He never forgets, He never goes back on His Word, and the joy you will experience on the day of your vindication will be that much greater simply because you waited well.

“And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.  This is the LORD for whom we have waited.  Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.  As surely as the sun rises He will appear.  And He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hosea 6:3).

Francesca Vitug Bio

10 Truths To Tell Yourself

1. Your worth is not determined by what just anyone tells you.
“Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging
others for scraps of love.” -Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited

2. You are loved unconditionally.
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that
he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in
the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1.
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that
loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to
him.” -John 14:21.

3. You are never, ever alone.
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy
God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
“And the LORD, He [is] the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not
leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

4. You are forgiven.
“When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” -Luke 5:20

5. You are beautiful.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And [that] my soul knows very well.” -Psalms 139:14

6. You were given a promise that is un-breakable.
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as
the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:39
“For all the promises of God in Him [are] Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God
through us.” -2 Corinthians 1:20

7. You are protected.
“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.” -2 Samuel 22:3

8. You are blessed.
“Behold, I have received [a command] to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse
it.” -Numbers 23:20
“Blessings [are] on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the
wicked.” -Proverbs 10:6

9. You are going to be okay, even if you don’t feel okay right now. (And if you do, it’s gonna stay that way!)
“Cast all your care on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

10. You have a purpose.
“Upon your inception you, yes you, were given a very specific purpose that only you
can accomplish. You were placed into a certain region of the world, into a certain family, into a certain culture that only you are capable of reaching.” -Nicole Soto, Worth It

Sabrina Hope

Humility

I don’t want you all to think I am up here on a high horse, preaching at you. I myself struggle with being humble, I have to check myself often. I hope you all do too, it is so important that we are thinking about our actions and our words throughout our days.

Let’s look at some scriptures that tell us the importance of humility, because the Bible does mention being humble or humility often.

1 Peter 5:5-7 (NKJV) 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to [your] elders. Yes, all of [you] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”] 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

This scripture states that we are to submit ourselves, what does that mean? Some
synonyms of submission are complaint, obedient, meek, and yielding.
So this scripture is telling us to be obedient and compliant to our elders and to be humble, because why?

Because it says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
I want God’s grace, and more importantly I NEED God’s grace. So I am going to do
what He says, I am going to submit to my authority and my peers, I am going to clothe myself in humility, I am going to cast all of my cares on Him because He can care for me better than anyone else.

Micah 6:7-8 (NKJV) 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn [for] my transgression, The fruit of my body [for] the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

In this passage, someone is asking what the Lord will be pleased with- will God be pleased with thousands of rams, what about ten thousand rivers of oil, what about if I sacrifice my child for my sins.. but the answer is much more simple than that. It says that the Lord requires you to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. The Lord requires this of us.

Luke 14:11 (NKJV) “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”.

This verse is pretty cut and dry, not a lot of room for interpretation. It says that if you
exalt yourself, meaning you think about yourself in a position of greatness, you will be humbled. It says that if you humble yourself, you will be exalted, meaning raised to a position of greatness in God.
I don’t know about you, but I do not want God to have to humble me. Being humbled
hurts. I want to check myself, and humble myself, so that God doesn’t have to.
But you know what, if He has to do it, I would rather be humbled by Jesus, then not be pleasing to Him, and not be with Him for eternity.

Philippians 2:5-8 (NKJV) 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, [and] coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to [the point of] death, even the death of the cross.

When I read this verse, it hit me hard.

I want you guys to really grasp what this verse is explaining to us- it is telling us that Jesus, who is the form of God and equal with Him, came in the likeness of us; He did not come as a millionaire like He could have, He did not come as a King like He could have, He came as an ordinary baby, an ordinary man. He humbled himself, and wrapped Himself in flesh. He humbled himself and was obedient- even to the point of death. Think about that. Jesus humbled Himself, and was obedient enough to say okay to dying on the cross for us. And all He is asking us to do, is to follow His Word, to humble ourselves. He isn’t asking us to be tortured and nailed to a cross, He already did that for us.

We have established the importance of humility- but what is it really?

Most of us understand that pride is the opposite of humility. What is pride? Pride is when you focus on who is right and your own glory, it reveals your character. Humility is when you focus on what is right and God’s glory, it reveals God’s character.

Maybe you are not prideful on purpose, and you don’t understand how pridefulness comes into your daily life. Let me give you some examples of how it happens- pride comes in when you compare, when we think we are owed something. Pride comes in when you pity yourself, and only focus on your weaknesses. Pride comes in when you are self reliant, when we think that we have our acts together. Pride comes in when we want recognition or when we expect others to acknowledge us.

Humility is, like a quote which I recently read, not necessarily when we think less of ourselves, but it is when think about ourselves less. True humility can be understood like this:

H-honoring God above yourself

U-understanding your need for grace

M-mourning over your sin

I-illuminating God’s glory

L-looking for ways to serve others

I-ignoring your pride

T-trusting God’s plan over your own

Y-yearning to worship

The Bible says that Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). So I want to challenge us to strive to be humble, be more aware of our actions and attitudes, and check ourselves and make sure we are pleasing to God.

Sabrina Hope