Monday, January 5, 2015

maybe you're trying too hard.

I try too hard, I do. I’m hard on myself probably 23 out of 24 hours of the day, and rarely hesitate to demean myself until I feel it is justified. I have the capacity to hurt myself far deeper and wider than others could even imagine doing. If you're reading this, maybe you're the same way. People may know you as "driven", "Type A personality", or "an over-achiever". You want everyone to always like you and support everything you do. I get it. But it all comes with the same dangerous message. 

“Try harder. Do more. Be more.”
Essentially, if you’re not good enough, do what it takes to be good enough.
Oh he doesn't like your short haircut? Get extensions.
She says you've gained a little pudgy weight? Force yourself to work out twice a day.
He doesn't think you’ll make a good wife? Buy every book about godly marriages
She says you try too hard? You keep. trying. harder.
And the cycle continues.

Why does the trait that so severely plagues us personify this world’s method to success? We prize the person who pushes themselves beyond every mental boundary to reach their goal, but at what price does all that pushing come? At what point does that person cross the line from being driven, to being driven crazy by their own desire for perfection?

If you ask a perfectionist, that line is blurry
I’m not going to tell you to stop trying too hard, because that’s not the answer. If you and I already try to take every action possible to fix one problem, then all that extra work will only expand the original issue. I don’t even have the professional expertise to offer you the solution, but I’ll give you what I do know: we belong to God, which means everything we are- yes, everything- is His. He loves us just the same, and nothing we do or don’t do will ever stop that love.

We can start with resting. We can start with silencing the lethal, condemning words we say to ourselves. We can start with breathing again.  

Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Cor. 12:9

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Just google it"

Do any of y'all remember those V-8 commercials about getting "bop"-ed on the head when you were missing the point about eating your veggies? They used to crack me up because it was such a "duh" moment for the person being "bop"ed, and you just found yourself saying, "Ya dummy, just eat your vegetables like a normal person!" 

I just found myself getting (lovingly) "bop"-ed on the head from Jesus, and over a topic quite personal to me: my consistent thirst for knowledge from Google, instead of from His Word. 

Google has been my best and worst friend throughout the years. I look forward in anticipation to the creative logo design each day, especially those animated ones, and my heart races out of excitement for the endless possibilities of what's in store for my sometimes ridiculous questions. No matter what I've thrown its way, Google rarely lets me down.
"what do you do to stop your dishwasher from overflowing?"


"Questions to ask potential employers during interviews"


"how to not be scared of cockroaches"
Okay, so Google let me down on that one: it said that they're not harmful, "just like a ladybug or a butterfly!!" Uh, I'm sorry, but whoever wrote that should enjoy some quality time big pool with those suckers. THEN, I'd like to hear them tell me once again they're just like ladybugs or butterflies. 

Truly though, as times get tougher and the future grows in excitement and mystery, my desire for instant knowledge often surpasses my desire to seek Christ. That scares me, and it should for you too. In a society where the world is seemingly at our fingertips, we face the persistent battle of choosing to find instant relief to our answers, or have faith in those dimmer, more confusing moments. I am not bashing seeking counsel from outside God's Word. The Lord continuously gives us practical resources for us to use, ranging from mentors, friends, families, books, to even the good ole World Wide Web. I'm instead advocating for giving the Bible more credit than it is often due, in the realm of seeking advice. 

Life is scary. It's messy- like brushing your teeth with one hand while doing four other tasks simultaneously. But FAITH conquers life in one swipe, through Jesus and His strength. I read an incredible quote today about faith that flew off the pages from a book I'm reading called The Sacred Search (Thank you, Lizzie and Josh!)

'You won't know what the future holds as you progress in your marriage throughout life, but what you will know is the character of your spouse walking by your side.'

Although this author was talking about preparing for our earthly marriages, the main Author of life talks about our heavenly marriage all the time. We don't know what life will bring our way, but we know the character of Christ. We trust Him for who He is, what He's done, and what He will do. 

By knowing who He is, we are set free from the worries of tomorrow, or the desperate need to once again, have it all figured out. If Christ is who He says He is, I can read His word with peace and faith, knowing He will light the way for my feet while I trust Him evermore.
His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Psalm 119:105. 

Let's move forward with perseverance and strength, even when the troubles of life aren't clear. He'll provide the answers and the way. 
Trust in that, trust in Him.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

You don't have to have it all together.

This summer has been that of incredible struggle and joy, all wrapped in one big, messy bundle. As I begin my final year in college, I'm fighting that daily, internal battle of "I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE COLLEGE!" versus "Get me out of here so the real world can begin". Both sides are wrong though, because I think true joy comes from finding contentment in the present moment, not in our futures.

The uncertainty of the future has led to anxiety, mood swings, and some days, depression, because for the first time in my life, I feel like I really don't have it together. I used to be the girl with a plan for everything. I spent most of my life telling God MY plans, refusing to follow through when I felt Him nudging me a different direction in certain categories- like my career plans. The hilarious thing is I never hesitated to move when He would nudge me away from a relationship- I used that God card way too much in my early days of dating (guilty). But for some reason, I held my career plans so closely to myself that it took God prying them away from me to let me see that He has something better for me. I just don't know what it is yet, and that's the challenging part.

It's okay to feel scared, nervous, even a little anxious about the future. 

Stick with me here, you Christians who protest, " You shouldn't feel that way!! Fear isn't from the Lord!!" You're right- it's not. It's from our flesh.  What we miss though is the simple concept that we are human. We are broken. We're not perfect and won't be until we reach the feet of Jesus in heaven. Stop thinking that because you battle with human struggles you're suddenly ill-equipped to do something great in life. Personally, I'll beat myself up for days when I feel powerless, scared, without a plan, or depressed, because I tend to tell myself, "You're a believer. You shouldn't be feeling this way." This is the IMMEDIATE consequence from believing Satan's continuous lies that we have to have it together, all the time.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Jesus loved you before "you had it together", and loves you just as much now, no matter what's going on in your life. Although He came to this earth and never sinned, let's not forget His struggles. He was " despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). He faced heartbreak, defeat, betrayal, and death. He faced those battles head on by first acknowledging them before the Lord, and letting God's power move through Him to conquer those struggles.

Hear this-  God has an incredible plan for your life, He loves you to pieces, and He will provide a way for you to grow amidst whatever you're going through. Most importantly though, He sees and loves you in your pain and confusion. What a love.

Our mistake as a Christian culture is refusing to acknowledge the low moments within the body of Christ. We instantly throw encouragement verses about strength and perseverance, instead of taking that opportunity to love each other in our weaknesses by listening and acknowledging the pain! A beautiful thing happens in the hearts of many when the words, "I feel and understand your pain", are spoken. After that precious moment, bring on the encouragement. Send those verses! Write those "strength letters!" But never forget to first have compassion- love each other well.

 In 2 Corinthians, Paul talked about having a "thorn in his flesh", which lead to one of his most vulnerable, empowering encouragements to the early church:

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 

Some theologians speculate that Paul's "thorn in his flesh" was his depression and anxiety. The beauty behind it is what God DID with Paul's thorn- He took Paul's weakness and made him strong for the Kingdom by allowing him to persevere through beatings, persecution, and prison all because He was spreading the word about Jesus! This same power from God applies for us today- His power hasn't diminished through the ages!! He has equipped those in Christ with a strength equally matched to Jesus, which allows us to do greater things through Christ than we could imagine.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father." John 14:12 

Don't mistake your moments of failure, fear, imperfection for truth. Give yourself a break that you have to have it all together, because you really don't. Your strength should not come from what you can do, but what God can do through you. You have the power of Christ flowing through your veins, supporting you each step of the way, and His Grace is sufficient for you. Sounds like church talk, but do you know what that means? It means his sacrifice on the Cross covered ALL OF THIS pain, defeat, heartache, trials and tribulations, persecution. Every bit of it.

We didn't deserve His rescuing love, but because He gave it to us, it gives us freedom to be real with each other and most importantly, with Him. If you are in Christ, you don't need to fear His condemnation for anything you're going through.

So here's what you do. Bring them to His feet in prayer. Let Him hold you. Then let Him empower you through scripture, encouragement from others, and through your own story.

 Be real- He can work with that.

If y'all want to reach me, feel free to comment below or e-mail me at I mean that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So you've got trust issues... who doesn't?

                                                         MercyMe's "You Are I Am"

Trust: how do you even begin to define it? We hear it everywhere- "you need to be more trusting", "trust me", "trust the ones you love", "don't trust them, you'll only get hurt", the list goes on. Trust has the ability to bless or abuse us depending on where, or whom, we place it. Trust the wrong person, you increase your potential for hurt. Trust the right person, you give and receive love. Trust the wrong company, you lose your assets. Trust the right company, you grow in success.

But then we come to God.
 There's only one God, and He is good and perfect. No wrong exists in Him. So why is it that we have trust issues with the Creator who made us?

I'll tell you first hand that my lack of writing in months stemmed from my distrust in Him. Being open about it is the first step I suppose, but it's the honest truth. Trust makes any relationships flourish, but a lack of trust severs all growth, love, and depth between two people, and that's how I've felt with my walk. Each day I grew more frustrated with the secrecy behind the times we don't trust Christ with our lives. I grew angry towards those who consistently pretend they are 100% on board with Jesus. I grew bitter towards those who pushed others away from God because they thought they had to be perfect. Coming from the girl who lived her life that way for 12 years, I understand. Christians are too fearful to come out in the open and say, "Hey... I don't have a lot of trust in who God is right now. I believe He's the mighty Creator and Savior who died for my sins. But I don't trust Him enough to carry me right now."

 I'm telling you firsthand that my months of not trusting Christ with my future, or even my day to day struggles, have resulted in a more beautiful, abundant relationship than if I had coasted or faked my way through our relationship. Our walks with Jesus aren't imaginary, dear friends:  it was designed to be genuine, authentic, and flourish through communication and trust. I believe that if we spent more time looking at our relationships with Jesus the way we look at our relationships with our significant others, friends, families, co-workers, we would grow in appreciation for who He is, and hopefully grow in trust. But just like we falter in our daily relationships, there will be hard times with Jesus. The hope is that He is unfailing. His love is perfect, unconditional, and worthy of our trust. {Isaiah 51:12-13, Psalm 139, Psalm 31-32}.

If you're struggling with trusting Him, don't criticize yourself for it to a point where you feel unworthy of even approaching Him with your concerns. Your times of distrust are not abnormal, and don't disqualify you from His love. Christ desperately desires the love of His people, and His sacrifice on the cross proved it.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
Psalm 51:17 says He will not turn away a broken and contrite heart, in fact, He loves when you pour out everything to Him, no matter the issue. I believe that if we as Christians spend more time being real with those around us, and real with Christ, we will reflect the grace of God in a more practical, and genuine way than if we walk around pretending everything is fine. And maybe, just maybe, people can understand why we trust in Jesus.

He is worthy of our trust and praise! You can begin by seeking out His promises in the Bible- start with Psalms, Isaiah, and move to the New Testament (that always helps me!). Finally, pour out your heart to Him and lay it all down at His feet in prayer. It's okay to be honest, He loves you all the same, but this should break down barriers in your heart that will be replaced by His strength to walk boldly.

As always, you can e-mail me with questions, comments, or prayer requests. We're a community for a reason!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Buying into the lies.

You...are too much.

You...are not worthy.

You...are not enough.

You.. are not beautiful.

You...are too far gone for Christ's grace.

Do these haunting words sound all too familiar to anyone else but me? At some point in every one of our lives, we are plagued by these perpetual lies, sometimes in just a nagging, annoying manner, other times incessantly. Somehow, someway, these lies enter our minds, flood down to our hearts, and infect our spirit.

Baking is one of my outlets for creativity, and this past December I got crafty by starting to decorate cupcakes in a more...professional way than just slopping it on there like I usually do. I was trying to make the perfect red buttercream frosting for these candy cane cookies, but it involved adding red food coloring. Loads of it. As clumsy as I am, I just had this tiny feeling that red food coloring was going to end up everywhere BUT the frosting, and goodness was I right. Without fail, I got distracted (shocker) and spilled the bottle all over my hands and apron. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, but that dye wasn't going anywhere. My hands were stained, my apron permanently emblazoned with my mistake. Now, this may not sound like a big deal to some of you, but for the bakers out there, getting dye off your hands can be a pain in the neck. Oh, and you wasted half a bottle of food coloring, throwing money down the drain. Good one.

I think we all have to handle some form of "red food dye" in our lives. For me, the red food dye is the lies that Satan relishes whispering to me. I cannot avoid the lies, they're going to come...but I can handle them carefully, by handing them over to Christ. His hands are steady, where mine are shaky. His eyes are set, where mine wander. His focus is centered, where mine is scattered.  We are perfectly inadequate without Christ, yet time and time again we think we can handle the ingredients of our lives on our own.
"We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort...For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."  Philippians 3:3, 4:12
Part of giving Christ the power to handle our lives involves trust, which stems from faith in who He is. How often we forget not just how powerful He is, but how much He wants to fight for us. Ephesians 6 talks about how we can tap into His power-

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."

I don't know about you, but I'm so sick of giving Satan false victory over my heart, soul, and life. "Anyone that belongs to Christ has become a new person- the old life has gone, the new has begun." (2  Cor. 5:17).  The battle has already been WON for you by Christ dying on the cross, and being raised to life just three days later. If He can have victory over death, He will have victory over your struggles. It starts with us giving Him the chance to have victory though. It starts with prayer, just talking to Him and learning more about who He is, His power, His grace, and His perfect love. And it starts with handing Him the bottle of red dye and saying, "Lord, I trust you to handle this."

It's a continual work in progress, but I'm learning to appreciate that moving forward is better than staying still.

Prayerfully trusting,

"Don't worry about anything, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Daughters of God...

This month's blog posting is a guest blog from my great friend and brother in Christ, Brian Ellis. He has continually proved to be a solid spiritual example in his walk with the Lord, and never fails to speak Truth! Feel free to check out his blog "Abiding in Him", and as always, post any comments or questions you have! 

My dear sisters in Christ, 
You are the pinnacle of creation. You are daughters of God, Daddy's baby girls, His beloved. In view of His love for you, and as your brother in Christ, I wish to encourage you and share with you some things that have been on my heart in order to spur you on towards honoring the Lord with your spirit, body, and life. 

Prepare yourself to be a good wife.
Proverbs 31:10-"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies" versus Proverbs 21:9-"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife."  A good wife is more valuable than jewels, she comes from the Lord. A bad wife is a curse. Many of the proverbs are only repeated once, there are only a few which are repeated many times; one of which has to do with wives. Work towards developing qualities in the areas of: 

  • having a gentle and quiet spirit, 
  • being submissive
  • offering your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord
  • having a servant's heart.
Choose who you date carefully.
The man you marry will be your leader. He will lead you as Christ leads him. He will also have an unbelievable influence over your children, especially in regards to spiritual matters. This being said, it is imperative that you choose wisely who you date towards marriage. Notice how I said towards marriage: you're either brother and sister in Christ, moving towards marriage, or married. 
Here are some tips:
  • Proverbs 31:30 can apply for men too! 
"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a man who fears the LORD is to be praised." Don't date a man because he is charming; it's deceitful, it disappoints and betrays. You won't get what you expect. Beauty is fleeting...find the most attractive man alive today and then look at him in 100 years. He will look grotesque. It's here today, gone tomorrow. Rather than seeking a man who is charming and handsome, seek FIRST a man who gains favor from the Lord."
  • If you find a man who esteems you higher than he esteems the Lord, run from him like the plague.  
  • Look at the way a man treats others, not you! Look at the way he treats people in inferior situations, his boss, those who can do him no good. IN THE BEGINNING OF RELATIONSHIPS A MAN WILL PUT HIS BEST FOOT FORWARD, BUT WHAT YOU SEE ISN'T ALWAYS WHAT YOU GET. You don't want a performer. Spend time and get to know the true him. What's his reputation? If he doesn't respect his mother, doesn't respect women, he won't respect you when he gets your heart. Look for a man who can lead when you're married, who will be a good husband and father. Ask his closest friends about him, see what people say about him. Seek wise counsel. Look for spiritual fruit developing in his life (Galatians 5:22-23). If you don't, you're making your own bed and you will sleep in it.
Be like Ruth.
Many women are encouraged by Ruth, as you should be. She was a loyal, compassionate, God-fearing woman who exhibited the fullness of the beauty and majesty of womanhood. You can learn a lot from her, especially in terms of relationships. Read this passage from Ruth:
“Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4) 
The man's duty is to pursue the woman; he make the moves, he initiates. Boaz was the kinsman-redeemer (meaning he married the relative's widow to redeem the inheritance). He had to pursue Ruth. But the woman has a job as well: to show the man that there is something to be pursued. Ruth showed Boaz that there was something to be pursued, that he had a job as the kinsman-redeemer that should be honored. Ruth's reputation had also preceded her, as Boaz already knew she was a woman of noble character. If a girl tries to show she isn't interested, but she truly is, it will throw the guy off. Don't play hard to get. No guy in his right mind will pursue a girl who doesn't show an openness to being pursued. Be like Ruth and present yourself in a manner that shows you are open to being pursued. You don't have to say "I want you to pursue me," but you can drop those little hints in the way you act that convey that you like him and are interested. Actions speak louder than words!

Your BOYFRIEND is NOT your spiritual leader. Your HUSBAND is.
I've noticed something in dating relationships: boyfriends begin to think it's their duty to lead their girlfriends, and girls think it's their duty to submit to their boyfriends. Where does Scripture say "girlfriends, submit to your boyfriends as unto the Lord?" Where does it say "the boyfriend is the head of the girlfriend as Christ is the head of the church?" Is that the King John Version translation? Is that in the book of 1 Matthew?
When in a relationship, it's important to see if a man has the capability to lead. But he is not your leader until you are married; he is not responsible for the development of your spiritual maturity until marriage. In the same way, you should learn how to be submissive, but you do not submit to the man until you are married. A husband leads his wife as Christ leads the church; he leads her as Christ leads him. If you aren't married, Christ is your leader; you have not yet been given to marriage, you are His. You should, however, encourage one another towards Christ and the pursuit of godliness while you are dating (the same way you do with your brothers and sisters in Christ, which you both still are until you become one flesh), there is just no leading/submission. Woe to the man who tries to be your spiritual leader before you are married-God is a jealous Father who cares for His children...He is a protective Daddy and He has not yet given His daughter in marriage. 

Wait on God to give you away in marriage to your husband.
I know that you've probably heard it a million times. But it carries truth. In almost every society, fathers give their daughters away in marriage. God gave Eve to Adam. In the same way, our heavenly Father gives His daughters away in marriage and He will give you away when He's ready. Until then, delight in Him and wait on Him...His timing is perfect! Dance with God and He'll allow one of His sons to cut in.


View yourself as God does; Let your beauty come from your inner self.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of godly jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:2-3. 
In society, we put great value in our outer beauty; in Scripture, 
Jesus said "...what is valued among men is detestable in God's sight" Luke 16:15. 
"Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at things people look at: people look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" 1 Samuel 16:7. 
In God's eyes, physical beauty is vain, meaningless, futile, and empty...but a good spirit is of great worth in His sight. Notice how in 1 Peter 3:3 it says unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit and in Proverbs 31:30 it says beauty (physical) is fleeting, but spiritual beauty is eternal. No matter your physical beauty, there will come a day when godly women will shine in the Kingdom of the Lord like the sun- they will shine with a glory and beauty this world has never dared to imagine. Beauty here is fleeting, there it's forever and you can see hints of this true beauty in your inner being, not outer. Plus, beauty is defined differently depending on what culture you live in: American beauty values thinness, while in Nigeria fuller figured women are viewed as beautiful. The view of beauty to the world changes, but the view of beauty to God never changes, because He never changes. Jesus Himself is the perfect example of true beauty! The Bible says that physically, Jesus had no attributes that drew people to Him...He just wasn't an attractive guy. Now spiritually, He was the most beautiful person who ever walked this earth. Compare Him to Satan, who Scripture says was physically the most beautiful angel...but his spirit was rotten. As we seek to follow Jesus and become like Him, we should begin to let our beauty come from our inner self. 

Monitor the amount of social media you intake. Most of it will point you away from Christ.
We live in a society that strives for certain things, and if you don't have these these things they tell you you're not good enough and you need to change. The world encourages us to find our identity in what you wear, what you drive, how you look, how wealthy you are, etc. You shouldn't look to magazines and tv commercials to find your identity, you should look to the cross. Your identity is found in Christ and your beauty is found in the work He has done/is doing in you. You are the workmanship of God, like His masterpiece:
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
I urge you to remember that, sister! Love the way you are, remember the One who made you makes beautiful things and He took special care in making you!


Address the heart, and then the hemline. 
Any biblical discussion of modesty begins by addressing the heart. This is because dressing modestly is fruit of the transforming power of the Gospel. Modest dress is centered around the Gospel because a modest heart precedes modest dress; it's the fruit of a godly, regenerate heart. Read this excerpt from John McArthur on addressing the heart, not the hemline:
“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?…. Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her…beauty?  Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.”
Read this too:
 Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.”
You see what he's trying to say? A modest, humble heart will lead to modest dress. Immodest dress is an expression of arrogance, it reveals the absence of humility. Proverbs 11:22 says "like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." Discretion=prudence, discreetness, gumption...polar opposites of immodesty. A gold ring in a pig's snout is something nice in an extremely ugly setting. Can I remind you that this is Scripture; this is Holy Spirit inspired. God is speaking through Solomon. Can I also remind you that back in the Old Testament, the pig was the most unclean animal. He relates a beautiful woman who shows no discretion to the most unclean animal. 

Therefore I urge you sisters, show discretion in the way you dress. Remember, YOU ARE A SAINT, A PART OF A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. Discern what you wear and the message it conveys, and make the way you dress an act of worship. Let your clothes highlight your face, not your body. What is most catching about you? Your clothes? Your body? Or your character? Remember, a tree that bears good fruit pleases God and He prunes it to be more fruitful.

Most fashion advice today encourages sensuality. The more revealing it is, the more sexual it is, the better. You should discern who is making these fashion trends: are they people who fear God and are devoted to Him? Or are they unregenerate and of the world? God still loves them and Jesus died for those people, so you should still love them and not judge them...but you should not be ok with their fashion choices if the fashion is sinful. 

Dress in a way that won't cause your brothers to stumble.
Before I begin, I want to say we are all accountable for our own sin. A man makes a choice in his own heart to lust. But a woman may make it harder for a man to keep a pure thought life. Some of the things women wear are extremely revealing (yoga pants, leggings, tight running shorts) and can literally be the match that ignites the flames of burning passion within a man's heart. I understand that those articles of clothing are comfortable, but when has dressing comfortably been an excuse to dress revealingly? How is that putting the needs of others before your own? How does that honor God? Dressing revealingly promotes sensuality, which God hates and we should too. One reason you should not promote/provoke sensuality, lust, or sexuality is because...
"Young ladies can be ignorant of the war with lust men confront daily. No women will truly completely know the struggle with lust that a man has. They are often ignorant of the effect of their bodies on the eyes and hearts of men. They are often ignorant that men are visually stimulated. But after this message no one can claim ignorance."
Ladies, there is serious spiritual warfare going on in the hearts of men. Now that you are aware of this, will you be a stumbling block to your brothers or will you link arms with us as we make war with lust?

Daughters of God, I hope the Lord has touched your heart through this blog post. I want to encourage you that godly men are on your side and want to spur you on in your pursuit of godliness; you are not in this alone. Continue to live in a way where the world can see the purity and reverence of your life, your utmost devotion to the King! I want to finish this post with something I've read in 1 John:

"Dear friends, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known."-3:2 
"If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."-3:20
No matter the distance you see between who you are today and who God is making you into, don't reject the truth that you are a child of God and He loves you! We are becoming, and we cannot see the end result right now! But know that God IS continuing the good work He began in you. Don't condemn yourself because of this distance either; your heart may try and condemn you but He is greater than your feelings, and our feelings aren't always capable of telling us the truth of who we are in Christ! Fact(truth), Faith, Feeling...never put feelings first! No matter how much you fail to live up to the title of a Daughter of God, a Proverbs 31 woman, a Heiress of the Kingdom of God, turn your feelings of guilt, failure, etc over to the one who knows you better than you know yourself and is at work in you!

Much Love,

Brian A. Ellis

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Victory in Surrendering

I woke up this morning to this stunning sunrise. This picture doesn't have a fun Instagram filter on it either... it was just that beautiful. Gahh, You never fail to surprise me, Lord. 

Not even within five minutes of going outside and enjoying his beauty, then coming back inside, I felt a war on my mind.  I started getting frustrated over little details, rude things someone said to me, and truly, stupid things that had no right to steal my joy in that beautiful moment with Christ. I believe war can occur on the soul, heart and spirit, so a war on the mind is nothing surprising (Ephesians 6:10-18). It is Satan's way of trying to steal God's glory, like a jealous peer sneering from the corner while the star of the show performs.

"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8

In that moment, I had to surrender everything to Christ, all over again, just like I have to do daily, hourly, (not a word. moving on). Our thoughts control every move we make, biologically speaking. 2 Corinthians talks about "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" and that's exactly what we have to do. 

We as Christians must be prepared to fight the good fight against all that seeks to negatively control us, that being Satan. He has no power. He holds no victory over Christ. OUR KING is mighty though, OUR KING is victorious, and OUR KING is strong. (Psalm 24:8).

Don't be discouraged when you feel like everything in life is warring against you. Surrender it over to Christ, let Him fight for you.
"The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." Exodus 14:14 

In His strength,