Friday, May 29, 2009

Modest Check Part 2

Yesterday I shared the first portion of a brochure called Modesty Check written by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw.  Today I share the remaining portion for your encouragement and challenge:

Before you leave the house, do a modesty check. (What are some things you should look for as you stand in front of your mirror?)

Starting at the top...
* When I am wearing a loose-fitting blouse or scoop-neck, can I see anything when I lean over? If so, I need to remember to place my hand against my neckline when I bend down.
* If I am wearing a button-down top, I need to turn sideways and move around to see if there are any gaping holes that expose my chest. If there are, I've got to grab the sewing box and pin between the buttons.
* The same check is needed if I am wearing sleeveless. When I move around, can I see my bra? If I do, I need the pins again.
* Am I wearing spaghetti-strap, halter-top or see-through blouse? Not even pins will fix this problem! Most guys find these a hindrance in their struggle with lust. It's time to go back to the closet.
* Can I see the lace or seam of my bra through my shirt? In this case, seamless bras are a better option.
* More key questions: Does it reveal any part of my cleavage? Does my midriff show when I raise my hands above my head? Is my shirt just plain too tight? If the answer is "yes" to any one of these questions, then I need to change my outfit.

Moving on down...
* Does my midriff (or underwear) show when I bend over or lift my hands? If so, is it because my skirt or my pants are too low?  Either my shirt needs to be longer or I need to find a skirt or pants that sit higher.
* I also have to turn around to see if what I'm wearing is too tight around my derriere, or if the outline of my underwear shows.  If so, I know what I have to do! 
* And for my shorts - I can't just check them standing up. I need to see how much they reveal when I sit down. If I see too much leg, I need a longer pair.
* The "sit-down" check applies to my skirt or dress as well. And I must remember to keep my skirt pulled down and my knees together when I'm seated.
* And speaking of skirts, watch out for those slits! Does it reveal too much when I walk?  Pins are helpful here.
* Before I leave, I need to give my skirt a "sunlight check." Is it see-through?  If so, I need a slip.
* Finally, I must remember to do this modesty check with my shoes on. High-heels make my dress or skirt appear shorter.
* And don't forget - this all applies to formal wear as well.
* A note on swimwear: It's not easy but you can still strive to be modest at the pool or beach. Look for one-piece bathing suits that aren't cut high on the leg or and don't have a low neckline.

This is part two of a two part series from the Modesty Check (c) Sovereign Grace Ministries
Republished in Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Carolyn Mahaney, and Nicole Whitacre (Crossway Books)~~ used with permission.

If you are interested, the Modest Heart Check brochure can be found in PDF form as a free download at:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Modest Check Part 1

I found this Modesty Heart Check brochure very insightful and helpful. I pass it along in two parts for your consideration and edification:

Modesty Heart Check 
By Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, Janelle Bradshaw

"...Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness-with good works." 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Start with a heart check...

"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 worshipping God? or is it to call attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshipping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance." John MacArthur  [Emphasis added]

* What statement do my clothes make about my heart?
* In choosing what clothes to wear today, whose attention do I desire and whose approval do I crave?  Am I seeking to please God or impress others?
* Is what I wear consistent with biblical values of modesty, self-control and respectable apparel, or does my dress reveal an inordinate identification and fascination with sinful cultural values?
* Who am I trying to identify with through my dress? Is the Word of God my standard or is it the latest fashion? 
* Have I asked other godly individuals to evaluate my wardrobe?
* Does my clothing reveal an allegiance to the gospel or is there any contradiction between my profession of faith and my practice of godliness?

This is part one of a two part series from the Modesty Check (c) Sovereign Grace Ministries
Republished in Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Carolyn Mahaney, and Nicole Whitacre (Crossway Books)~~ used with permission.

If you are interested, the Modest Heart Check brochure can be found in PDF form as a free download at:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Get dressed intentionally

Steph once made the statement that "people get dressed intentionally." 

If you do not think you dress intentionally perhaps it is time to start dressing intentionally to the glory of God.  Many girls/women dress intending to turn a head, to draw the eye of a particular man, or men in general.  A woman can feel a sense of excitement from getting a positive reaction from a member of the opposite sex.  My theory is that this sense of excitement is the female form of lust.  Lust is defined as personal inclination or intense desire (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). For men, lust is an issue of the heart but is typically enticed through the eyes. For women, I would say the same is true with a significant variation. For women, lust is an issue of the heart but is typically enticed through the eyes LOOKING AT HER.  For men, lust is passive in the sense that it is fanned into flame through what he takes in from outside of himself, what he sees or looks at and then mulls over in his mind. For women, lust is active in the sense that it is fanned into flame through what she sends out from inside herself, how she dresses, sits, or moves her body which results in a reaction from a man.  The power to entice and the intense longing for attention can cause women to dress in a sensual way.

The styles today can create a problem simply because of the fabric they are made with.  I know a lot of women who do not wear slips.  Sometimes that can create a less than desirable result.  I saw a woman recently in a cute modest dress but she wasn't wearing a slip and that dress clung in all the wrong places, and I doubt she was even aware of it.  

Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

I only see two options:  either we will present ourselves to God as an instrument of righteousness and dress to glorify Him, or we will present ourselves as an instrument of unrighteousness and dress to glorify self.  Not choosing to dress intentionally to glorify God will, by default, result in dressing to glorify self.  Which do you choose today?


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Some Cold Hard Facts

Yesterday I shared about the attitude of our hearts regarding the battle the enemy has mounted in the area of lust and sexual immorality.  I believe he is gaining ground. Lest you think I'm wrong consider these pornography statistics 1 

The United States ranks 4th in the world in revenue made on pornography 
The United States is ranked #1 in pornographic video production
Each day there are 68,000,000 pornographic search engine requests
Each day there are 2.5 Billion pornographic emails
42.7% of all internet users view pornography
35% of all internet downloads are pornographic
The average age of internet pornography exposure 11 years old
26 children's character names linked to thousands of pornography links
72% of visitors to pornographic websites are male; 28 % female
17% of women reported having a pornography addiction
53% of Promise Keeper men reported having viewed pornography in the past week 

Here are two Hunt statistics:  We are 100% responsible for where our eyes go and hearts linger.  We are 100% responsible for our choice to be women of modesty, purity and dignity.  

Women, will you step up and join the battle against evil by dressing intentionally to the Glory of God?


1 (accessed 5 22 08)

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Attitude of the Heart

Another year has passed already.  This is the week for the past 3 years that I have shared a series on modesty and purity.  Memorial Day typically kicks off the summer with warmer temperatures and sticky humidity and people wear lighter and less clothing.  As I write this we are in a week of rain, rain and more rain and I wonder if summer will come at all. It is not that modesty is only an issue in the summer, it is God's desire for us all 365 days of the year.  However, I doubt anyone would argue that it becomes a more evident issue with the warmer weather.  The beaches and pools are packed to overflowing, and the amusement parks and ice cream stands have long lines.  People are out and about.  

It is disheartening when I see young women (and some not-so-young) wearing attire that would have only appeared in pornographic magazines 30 or 40 years ago.   If it is catching my attention, you can be sure it is turning almost every male's head.  Sure there are men out there intentionally looking, ogling anything female, but I would venture to guess that they are not the majority.  I think the majority are men with wives and families and daughters who are accosted with sensually and scantly dressed girls and women everywhere they go.  I wish I could say they could just flee to the church but, sadly, it is not safe even in the churches.  

Women of God, it is time to stand up and battle the enemy as he is gaining ground in the hearts and lives of the men of our churches, our husbands, our sons, our brothers, our pastors.  We need a new attitude of compassion and support rather than condemnation and irritation.  

Please hear my heart.  I am not blaming scantly dressed women for any man's sinful attitudes or actions!  Each man is 100% responsible for where he allows his eyes and heart to linger.  I would also say each woman is 100% responsible for her own attire and her attitude towards this whole area of struggle for her male counterpart.   It is a cop-out to chalk it up to being "his problem." More than that, it is short-sighted, superficial and flat out sinful.  

Which one of us would sit in the foxhole painting our nails when our fellow soldier was waging war against our enemy who appeared to be gaining the upper hand? NOT A ONE!  I believe every one of us would jump to the aid of another in our company doing battle alongside them rather than against them.  Let's carry this word picture into the modesty, lust and purity battle.  Can you see how God calls us alongside rather than against our brothers in Christ?  

How do your wardrobe choices reflect love for Jesus Christ?  How does your attire reflect love for your brothers in Christ?  How does the way you dress reflect your heart?

Romans 13:10 "Love does no harm to a neighbor..."

Luke 10:27 "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'"


Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK, Biblical Counselor, Conference and retreat speaker, Victory Call writer/editor, wife, mother, grandmother, and nut, and not necessarily in that order.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tarry Until Something Happens II

So here I sit with every intention of having a nice uninterrupted devotional time. It's early in the morning, and the house is quiet because everyone else is still counting z's. I have my Bible, my journal, my coffee, my tissues, (I don't even want an all-of-a-sudden runny nose to interfere with my God-time). I have my pens, high-lighters, etc. I'm ready to commence and nothing is going to stop me. The one thing I didn't factor in or anticipate was my flesh. I had no idea how opposed it would be to my desire to go deeper, and God...

The opposition would begin the moment I opened my Bible. Even though it's first thing in the morning and my mind hasn't even fully revived for the day, I find it racing around at a crazy pace. So much so that it's difficult, very difficult, for me to focus on the words I'm attempting to read. I'm keenly aware of myself having to read the same words over and over again and the reason I'm doing that is simple. I've determined that my time with God is not going to ever be reduced to something I merely check off of my daily "to-do" list.

So, as I am determined not to let my flesh win this particular battle, there I sit reading and rereading the set of verses.  Day after day, I found myself in this same battle. Initially, I wasn't even sure what was happening but as time passed the Holy Spirit began to make me aware of something.  If I pressed on, my mind (my flesh) would begin to slow itself down and settle into what I was telling it to do. On average this process takes 15-20 minutes. What I'm learning is that it takes that long for my flesh to submit to what my spirit is longing for. But I have to. I must get through, press through, battle through those first several minutes. It occurs to me, that if I am only allowing myself 15-20 minutes each day, then all I will know is the battle and not the refreshing fruit and bounty of grace.  

Sometimes, if I've waited until the end of my day, the process takes longer because I've accumulated a lot of "stuff" in the course of a day and it's all in there, churning and twirling and begging for some attention.  However, if I want to feed my soul and receive spiritual manna, I have to/we have to, press on and press in.  We have to tarry until something happens.

I have experienced and tasted the fruit on this laboring and nothing the flesh has to offer is worth skipping my time with God. I grieve myself and the spirit when I neglect my time with Him and therefore miss the blessing I'll only receive as I tarry.

Today's encouragement/exhortation:
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 
~~James 4:7-10~~

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. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
~~ Jeremiah 29:11-14


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tarry Until Something Happens I

These past 2 days of VC are just what the Holy Spirit wants us to hear right now today. He wants us to pause long enough to "get it," or in other words, to GET WITH HIM and to do that we have to tarry until...

A few weeks ago Di and I were talking, and what I shared with her is one of those thoughts which I believe is straight from the heart of God to this plain thinking brain of mine. (I love that God speaks the language of every soul on the planet. Is that cool or what?!)

For a long, long time I've known the extreme value and importance that time with God -which we can also call devotions - is tantamount to health and well-being, not just for the body, but for the soul.

In the past few weeks and months I have had a renewed longing for more and more and more of my God. In fact, one of the things that God used to stir up my stagnant soul water was an online study, "90-Day Jump Start to a New You," which went along with a book by Donna Partow titled, "Becoming the Woman God Wants You to Be (A 90-Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life)."

From the beginning she challenged us to create a place in our homes where we would regularly meet with God. I already had a place that I'd created for myself a couple of years ago.  I'm proud to say, I kept it clean and dust free. However, I'm not so proud to say that my meeting place with Him was sorely neglected. Why? The answer in a word is the FLESH: my flesh.

So, as this study was about to commence, my decision was to make undistracted time with God a priority. Making the decision was and is the easy part and most of the women I speak with make this choice fully intending to follow through, only to discover that they can't do it for more than a few minutes. Why? Well, this is what the Holy Spirit showed me as I began a few weeks ago to press in to God.

The Holy Spirit showed me that my flesh is not in the business of thinking about God, let alone making it easy for me to spend time with Him. The flesh wants what it wants and it will pull every trick in its arsenal to keep my heart from turning toward home; from turning toward the One who made me, chose me and saved me; the One who justifies, sanctifies, keeps, sustains and has filled me with dynamite power from on High. 

So here I sit with every intention of having a nice uninterrupted devotional time. It's early in the morning, and the house is quiet because everyone else is still counting z's. I have my Bible, my journal, my coffee, my tissues, (I don't even want an all-of-a-sudden runny nose to interfere with my God-time). I have my pens, high-lighters, etc. I'm ready to commence and nothing is going to stop me. The one thing I didn't factor in or anticipate was my flesh. I had no idea how opposed it would be to my desire to go deeper, and God was about to show me something, that one simple little thing that would make my flesh sit down and shut up. But it wouldn't be without a fight. Until tomorrow...


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When the flesh is big... two

"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Romans 7:18-24 
We all understand in our own experience exactly what Paul is speaking of in this verse from Romans. Doesn't it seem difficult, if not impossible, to seek and savor, to delight in, to worship and meditate on Jesus Christ though we really desire to so?  I appreciated this quote from a book I have been reading. It's sad but true. 
"You can feel the hostility of the flesh whenever you approach God - it makes real love for him into work: Digging around the Bible to find a juicy new insight to impress your small group is like sailing the Caribbean, but poring over the Scriptures to find the Lover of your soul is like skiing up Mount Everest. Conjuring up a happy mood with some music you don't even know the words to is like solving 2+2 with a calculator. But savoring the glory of Christ and his tender love until your heart is softened toward him is like using mental math to calculate pi to the thousandth place. And giving a birthday present to your best friend is like forcing down some double-fudge brownies. But giving up your extra bedroom to a homeless person in the name of Jesus is like eating the Rockies for Breakfast." (The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin ~ by Kris Lundgaard)

Understanding the power of our flesh is not to destroy all hope but rather bring clarity and great hope.  If we don't know the poison we can't take the proper antidote.  Please hang in there with me.  This is life transforming truth.  

Tomorrow, Stephanie will share some thoughts about the battle of the flesh that I found genuinely honest, transparent and personally inspiring.  Her thoughts added one more piece to the puzzle and I asked her to write them down for this series on the flesh.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When flesh is big....

       "Which is easier: to sit with a bucket of butter-soaked popcorn and watch Tom Cruise on the big screen for two hours, or kneel and pray for five minutes? Tom Cruise wins hands down, because there is literally no competition. What the flesh hates is God, so it resists anything that smacks of God-especially communion with Him.  The flesh can curl up by your side and watch mindless movies all night long. But let even the barest thought of meditations flutter into your mind, the flesh goes to Red Alert. Before you get past "Our Father," your eyes, which were glued to the screen, now sag in sleepiness, and your attention, which was so fixed on the plot, now zips around the universe faster than the Starship Enterprise.

"The flesh's hatred of God explains a lot." (The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin~ by Kris Lundgaard).  

Does this ring a bell?  When I read this a while back I began, perhaps for the first time, to realize that my flesh has it out for me.  Literally.  It is in self-protect mode.  It is very creative in finding ways to get its own way and all this time I was fairly oblivious to it.  Oh, I knew that I overeat, and doze off in prayer and wander hither and yon in my mind when I am trying to read the Bible, but I thought I was somehow different from most people I know.  I have been battling this for a long time and I am beginning to realize why I am seemingly losing the battle. MY FLESH.  Is it winning?  It seems to be.  Does it win? No.  Am I crucified with Christ? Yes.  My flesh didn't get the memo.  

My spirit desires God, my flesh resists God.
My spirit seeks God, my flesh avoids God.
My spirit wants to read the Bible, my flesh does not.
My spirit yearns for prayer, my flesh dozes off.
My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak.  

"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

I cry out with Paul, "Wretched (wo)man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Romans 7:24 () mine

I am going to sign off for now, but do not be discouraged.  There truly is victory in Jesus Christ and clarity and understanding is a necessary step to experiencing that victory.  "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

Tune in tomorrow.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Taking God at His Word

The opposite of unbelief is faith.  Faith is taking God at His word.  There is a children's song that says "God said it, I believe it, and that's good enough for me."  Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  This does not mean that we hope that it is true but rather a hope of anxious expectation.

Hebrews 11-the great faith hall of fame.  Let me share just of few brief examples.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command...By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than faith Enoch was taken from this life...By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark... By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went...By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-and Sarah herself was barren-was enabled to become a father ...By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice...By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future... By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons...By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instruction about his bones 

We can hold God to His promises, and stand firm there.  We must be careful that we are not claiming promises that God never made to us.  We can become very disappointed if we claim a promise that is not a promise and therefore fails to be fulfilled.  Make sure you stand firmly on HIS promises.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What you know vs. what you believe

      I once heard a counseling friend of mine say that the majority of the cases she deals with are rooted in the sin of unbelief.  I am not talking about refusal to come to Jesus for salvation.  That carries a set of very serious problems all its own.  No, I am speaking of born-again, saved believers who sin through unbelief.  It seems to be an oxymoron to say unbelieving believers, but that is precisely what is evidenced in the lives of many Christians today. 

Let's look at an example.  Deut. 7:9 says "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands."  Deut 32:4 says, "A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he."   Psalm 25:10 "All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of the covenant." Psalm 33:4 "For the word of the Lord is right and true, he is faithful in all he does."   Those are just 4 verses that speak of God's faithfulness.  So the question is "Is God trustworthy?" Can you trust God?  If the answer is yes, then why do you worry?  Why do you live with fear?  Why do you get depressed when you consider your circumstances? In other words, if you KNOW that God is trustworthy, but live with fear, anxiety, depression, or worry, you are saying by your very actions that you do NOT BELIEVE that God is what He says He is, that is trustworthy.  That is evidenced over and over among Christians today. 

      I am by no means claiming that I am free from this sin myself.  I personally was challenged in this regard many years ago.  When I was asked how trustworthy God was, I immediately began to respond with my quick and ready answer when my friend stopped me.  She said, "You are answering me from your head, I want you to answer me from your heart."  So I sat and pondered the question at length.  I realized that my very actions denied my belief that God was trustworthy.  That was a real eye-opening experience for me.  When we fail to live in truth we deny its validity in our lives.  We essentially live as if it were not true. 

John 8:32 "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The God who is...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

A few years back I taught a Bible study from "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby and Claude King.  In Appendix A on pg. 220, he records the following Names, Titles, and Descriptions of God: "a faithful God who does no wrong, a forgiving God, a fortress of salvation, a glorious crown, a jealous and avenging God, a Master in heaven, a refuge for his people, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge for the poor, a sanctuary, a shade from the heat, a shelter from the storm, a source of strength, a stronghold in times of trouble, an ever present help in trouble, architect and builder, builder of everything, commander of the Lord's army, Creator of heaven and earth, defender of widows, eternal King, Father, Father of compassion, Father of our spirits, Father of the heavenly lights, father to the fatherless, God, God Almighty (El Sabaoth), God Almighty (El Shaddai), God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, God Most High, God my Maker, God my Rock, God my Savior, God my stronghold, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; God of all comfort, God of all mankind, God of glory, God of gods, God of grace, God of hope, God of love and peace, God of retribution, God of the living, God of the spirits of all mankind, God of truth, God our Father, God our strength, God over all the kingdoms of the earth, God the Father, God who avenges me, God who gives endurance and encouragement, God who relents from sending calamity, great and awesome God, great and powerful God, great, mighty and awesome God, ..." and 100+ other names of God.

Today, pick one, any one, and savor it all day long.  

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower;the righteous man runs into it and is safe.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One magnificant obsession

What has captured your attention today?  Of the 1440 minutes today, how many will you spend contemplating your Maker?  

"Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.  It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God." J.I. Packer "Knowing God" pg. 23

If you are going to be obsessed today with anything let it be your contemplation of the One True God, creator and sustainer of the universe.  Psalm 145:5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

One Pure and Holy Passion (by Watermark)
Give me one pure and holy passion 
Give me one magnificent obsession 
Give me one glorious ambition for my life 
To know and follow hard after You 

Jesus, this is my prayer.  


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Glories of the Person of Christ 2

The fourth question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism is "What is God?" The following Answer is given: "God is Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth."  Broken down into its component parts we get a better feel for the richness of its meaning. God is Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being.  God is Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His wisdom.  God is Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His power.  God is Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His holiness.  God is Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His justice.  God is Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His goodness.  God is Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His truth.  If we were to break it down even further we would see that God is Spirit in His being.  God is infinite in His being.  God is eternal in His being. God is unchangeable in His being.  I think the two that really expand my mind and draw me to worship are God's infinitude and eternality.  In every attribute of His character, every aspect, He is infinite (without bounds, limitless) and eternal (without beginning or end).  His wisdom is infinite and eternal.  His power is infinite and eternal.  His holiness is infinite and eternal.  His justice is infinite and eternal.  His goodness is infinite and eternal.  His truth is infinite and eternal.  

Let that stretch your mind and draw you to contemplate the awesome majesty of God. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things." Phil 4:8


Monday, May 11, 2009

The Glories of the Person of Christ

I love this time of year (more when it doesn't rain quite so much).  The trees are just so magnificent as they are coming into bloom.  It never ceases to amaze me that God has not only created such beauty, but that He blesses us with the ability to appreciate it.  He could have created such beauty but made us dull to it.  

Several years ago at a staff retreat, Pastor Tim Shorey shared the thought that God did not create us because He needed us, or that He was somehow lacking.  Rather, God so delighted in Himself, His glory, His perfection, His happiness that He has lived eternally in perfect bliss.  He created us to share that bliss with Him.  Now I know what you're thinking. Bliss?  I don't get it.  Bliss?  I don't see it.  Bliss? You have got to be kidding because my life is anything but bliss.   I hear you. Let me encourage you.  Pastor Shorey also made this statement which encapsulates my philosophy of ministry: "Perhaps the single greatest means of gaining victory over sin, of breaking the grip of addictions, of escaping the pit of depression, of shattering the chains of lust, envy and anger, is a practiced, sustained, holy and expanding contemplation of the being of God." 

Healing, your healing and mine, is rooted deeply and firmly in the very person of Jesus Christ.  Victory over addiction, or any other sin, will come only when we love Jesus more than we love ourselves, more than peace and calm, more than  being in control, more than power, more than status, more than acceptance, more than  drugs, drink, porn, or gambling.

    How do we love Jesus more?  Get to know Him personally.  Does that mean beginning a new, personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Yes, if you have not already done so!! For those of you who are already not just believers but followers of Jesus, getting to know Jesus goes way beyond the salvation experience.  It goes beyond asking for things.  It goes beyond praising God for all the things He has done, for His works.  It goes beyond memorizing Scripture.  All of these disciplines are excellent.  Learning to love Jesus more requires that we contemplate, meditate, and set our minds upon the very person of God, upon His character.  It is a fruitful, mind stretching experience.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Hostile to the Gospel

Recently I was sitting in the waiting room with my husband. We were the 2nd to arrive at 6:30 am. There was one other couple that arrived at the same time we did, but they entered first.  I was pleasantly surprised that the office had the TV on so early but also that it was tuned in on a channel with a Christian talk show on.  Very quickly after arriving I heard the other man say to his wife, "you better change it before it's too late."  She didn't move.  Probably another minute or two passed but it was obvious that he was irritated from him shifting in his seat and his 'hrumphing and sounds of exasperation.  

A second time he said, "I'm going to change it, I can't take it."  So he proceeded to get up and change the channel.  

Have you noticed that people are often not neutral to the gospel?  They can be quite hostile to the gospel, and Scripture indicates it is going to get worse.  Our culture teaches/preaches tolerance but what they seem to mean is tolerance of any thing and every thing OTHER than Christianity.  I heard a radio speaker this week referring to legislation regarding hate speech, which would make it illegal to teach that Jesus Christ is the only way, basically because it would be "hateful" to all the other ways.  

Why are we surprised?  Jesus warned us.  

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

In spite of all these hostilities, never forget: in the end we win because Jesus has overcome the world.  


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Watching Our Words -(3)

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 NASB

Then there's the last phrase, "...that it may give grace to those who hear." This is what the Lord used to really impact me that day many years ago, concerning my speech and the use of my words. And I'm often reminded of this verse from time to time and cautioned.

As I read those words, the Holy Spirit gave my the mental picture of being in conversation with someone about another person, and not only using my words but also the inflection of my voice, the body language, the rolling of my eyes, and facial expression to get my point across. Not only was I gossiping, but also slandering the person, and claiming that I was the one who was right in the situation. I was convicted not only of these unwholesome words, but of the fact that they would not be edifying to the person I was speaking to or anyone else passing by who heard me speak; nor did they in any way express grace to every one of those people who observed my tone as well as my words. Thus, tears came to my eyes and confession to my lips; repenting, I asked God's forgiveness. 

How easy it is to be deceived into not "watching our words," then falling into sin by not using our words to bring glory and praise to the Lord. Let us be diligent about honoring Him with every word that comes from our mouths, so that the motive and intent of our words might be pure and edifying to all who hear.

As we continue the practice of Watching Our Words, I trust that the following scriptures will be helpful:

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Matthew 12:34b "For out to the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."
Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep a watch over the door of my lips."
Proverbs 13:3 "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."
Proverbs 21:23 "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."
Psalm 19:14 "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock, and my Redeemer."

Let's pray that others will be drawn to the Lord by the expression of the Fruit of His Spirit evidenced in our lives as we are prayerfully "Watching Our Words."

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5: 22, 23


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Watching Our Words -(2)

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 NASB

Next let's consider the words, "...only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment,..."

How often are my words those that "edify" or build up others? It's so easy to criticize, be judgemental, or speak with a negative attitude, to gossip, or discourage someone by what I say. Those words would then be considered to be "unwholesome," "corrupt," and even "rotten." But here we are instructed to be using our words for the good of those around us to build them up in the Lord, edifying them "according to the need of the moment." As we observe those we meet along the way each day, how can this Scripture be applied in our home, at our workplace, in the grocery store, at the post office, in our neighborhood, at the doctor's office, or while shopping at the mall? I need to ask myself, "Am I aware of 'the need of the moment' of those around me, or is my focus just on myself, and the things that I have to do?"

An encouraging word, an act of kindness, a smile, a word of affirmation can express the love, joy, and peace of the Lord to someone who may be having a difficult day. The Lord has been teaching me to be resting in Him in the details of my life, trusting Him for His timing and direction moment by moment. Perhaps this is so that I can observe "the needs of the moment" in the lives of those I come in contact with and share Jesus' caring love with them. 

Philippians 4:4-8 "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers (sisters), whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable - if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise - dwell on these things." CSB ( ) mine

"Watching Our Words" will be continued...


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Watching Our Words

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 NASB

When I first became truly aware of the words in this verse, about 20 years ago, it brought tears to my eyes. Now, I wasn't one to use "bad language," swear words, or even a lot of "slang" words, but the Lord used something about this verse to speak to me in a very deep way that day. I will address that more further along, but first some other issues about our words and the application of this verse. Other Scripture translations read "corrupt communication"(KJV), "corrupt word"(NKJV), "unwholesome talk"(NIV), "rotten talk"(CSB). Perhaps you are like me and never have considered your words to be "unwholesome," "corrupt" or "rotten," but how often are there some words we might use in place of those that we seek to never let pass over our lips. Such as "darn" or "drat," "heck" or "gads," "gees" or "fudge," and others, expressed with the same intent. They are a habitual response and that tends to come out of our month when we are frustrated or irritated or angry. Perhaps there have been other times when we have muttered them under our breath, not really aloud for anyone to hear! I was convicted of this even more years ago by these verses from the book of James, chapter 3:9-12, addressing the use of the tongue. "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men...Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers (sisters), this should not be." NIV ( ) mine

Another thing that I've become more and more aware of in recent years is the use of God's name by those in the Christian community in an exclamatory way ~~ "God!" or "My God!" or "Oh, my God!". While teaching the Ten Commandments to my Kindergarten class (also a number of years ago), and wanting to impress on them what was meant by "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain...", we talked about how we would use God's Name "in vain." Understanding "in vain" to mean "misuse" or "for no reason," we concluded that God's Name should not be used just casually or at anytime other than in praying to Him or praising Him. The Jewish people considered God's Name too holy to even speak it. "Yahweh is the promised name of God. This name of God which (by Jewish tradition) is too holy to voice, is actually spelled "YHWH" without vowels....During the third century A.D., the Jewish people stopped saying this name in fear of contravening the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" (Exd 20:7)."1 

"Watching Our Words" will be continued....


Monday, May 04, 2009

Fact-centered faith

So often we fall into the trap of basing our faith on what feels true rather than what IS true. Faith is much less related to feelings than to fact. Genuine faith is believing what is true.  How do you know if you believe something?  When you sit in church and the Pastor makes a statement you have not heard before, do you ask yourself - Do I believe that? Or How do I feel about that?  OR Is that true?  We are told to test the spirits - check the Word.  

How can we have fact-centered faith*? Only by checking and knowing the facts. Where or how do we get the facts? Through the reading, studying and meditating on the Word and knowing the living Word, Jesus Christ.  Faith is not a feeling, a philosophy, a theory, a sense, or some ethereal good feeling.  Biblical faith is grounded in the Person of truth.
Knowing the facts without faith is not belief.

Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

Having faith without facts is misplaced belief. 

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

So let our faith be rooted and secure in truth, in the facts of the Word.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17


*"Fact-centered faith" is a phrase gleaned from Miles Standford's book: The Complete Green Letters.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Stop It! Stop It! Stop It!

I do it. You do it. We all do it, and we all need to stop it. We need to stop it in ourselves and we need to love each other enough to step out of our comfort space and exhort one another to STOP IT!

Of course by now you are wondering what the IT is that I am writing about today.  Well, let me state it as succinctly and authoritatively as possible by telling you what Jesus said about IT.

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. ~~ Matthew 7:1-51

In other words, stop being so critical and judgemental. Just stop it. Of all the things that we do as believers, as called out ones, that is lethal and toxic to the body of Christ, this is surely close to the top of the list right under arrogant, self-righteous and prideful. 

In my favorite devotional book, "My Utmost For His Highest" Oswald Chambers writes: 
"The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known."2

Why do you suppose he wrote that? Because it's true and if we are honest with ourselves about ourselves, we know it is true. I know when it's true of me and I'm sick of it. I long to be holy as God is holy and I thank Him now and every day for conviction and for the power of His Holy Spirit to change me as I surrender myself to Him. There is freedom in Christ from all manner of sin and silliness, trial and trouble. 

Let's go before Him today and confess the sin of pride and surrender our right to be and stay critical, self-righteous, judgmental and full of pride. In its place let's put on the fruit of the spirit, empowered by the Spirit at work in us and seek to do no harm with our tongues.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. ~~ Galatians 5:22-26