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    I Do Not Identify With My Religion

    Posted in Daily Life by

    I do not identify with my religion.

    Today’s version of Christianity has either become so watered down, it’s no longer effective OR the opposite. In which it’s so intolerant and hateful it makes people run as far away as they can.

    When you tell people you’re a Christian, they’re not impressed. And, who could blame them?

    In American society today, we cannot stand up for what we believe in. Sure, there’s freedom of speech and all that, but when you talk about something being sinful you’re criticized for being judgemental. So we sit. Quietly. On the sidelines we wait for that brazen Facebook post so we can click “Like”, or MAYBE “Share” it. But that’s as far as our boldness goes.

    We talk about being soldiers for Christ, but what are we fighting for? The ability to sit back and watch as our children are taught that black is white? Or worse, there’s only gray and no moral absolutes?

    Public schools teach our children “gender neutrality” and proper pronouns for those who do not identify with their biological makeup. I remember being in 5th grade and the VHS being shown needing consent. And all it did was teach girls about their puberty and boys likewise.

    I Do Not Identify With My Religion

    Now, teachers read books and have guest lecturers speaking on all kinds of subjects.

    And lately, I remember a song my Dad used to always reference (even though he didn’t care for country music):

    He’d say, “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything
    You’ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
    Never compromise what’s right and uphold your family name
    You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”

    {Emphasis mine: Lyrics courtesy AZLyrics,}

    Like much of the advice given by my parents, I didn’t really understand what this meant. As an adult, I see all too clearly. Changes happen in church attendance yearly, and the number of people not attending church or not believing in God increases. (Source: Gallup Poll).

    So when people say they do not believe in God, they do not believe in anything. And if no belief system is in place, then where do the moral lines get drawn? Or do they even exist?

    You have to have something to stand for, something you believe in, or anything that comes along will sway you. Like the people today deceived by the lie that they’re something other than what they were born. And, by the way, this is not a point I’m willing to argue. You either have 2 X chromosomes or an X and a Y, and those are in your DNA. It’s who you are.

    Stand for right, or stand for wrong, but either way, it’s not me doing the judging.

    The flip side of not taking a stand is being so hateful no one listens anyway.

    I don’t want to be “that guy”, either.

    I do not agree with all the gender neutrality. Having three sons, they have male genitalia and I will tell them they are boys. I’m raising them to be good men. Men who love their wives, are good fathers, and serve Jesus with all their hearts.

    But here’s the thing: that doesn’t mean if you disagree that I hate you. It also doesn’t mean I have to agree with your life choices, as you might not agree with mine.

    People like to reference Jesus, saying he helped the adulterous woman and ate with sinners. And those are absolutely true statements. But here’s what Jesus did NOT do: stand for wrong. Jesus didn’t help the adulterous woman because she claimed she was without sin. He didn’t socialize with the sinners who thought they were perfect. Jesus had no tolerance for hypocrites or those who thought they were without sin. Far from it.

    Jesus loves everyone, yes, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be repentance.

    It doesn’t mean you can live whatever kind of life you want and still please Him.

    If you’re already saved, it doesn’t mean you can sit back and allow Satan to control how we respond and interact with others and in the world around us.

    I do not identify with my religion.

    Why?

    Because I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines hoping someone else will make a comment I can agree with. I’m tired of singing songs like, “I’m a soldier in the army of The Lord” when I’ve not donned any uniform or weapon.

    And rather than looking down on those who don’t believe as I do, I’ll do better to show them Jesus through me, because my greatest testimony isn’t the words I use. It’s my life and the fact that if He saved me He can save anyone. And if I’m worth His love, then we all are.

    I’m tired of saying I stand for Jesus but backing down in the face of criticism.

    Hey, Facebook, I don’t watch filthy shows on Netflix and I don’t think it’s okay to watch pornography. And you might disagree. But hey, that’s fine. Me saying how wrong you are or that you’re going to hell isn’t going to draw you to my side. Not when so many people hurt because of the church.

    So I won’t back down when it comes to standing for Jesus or standing for what’s right.

    But I also won’t throw stones at you.

    Because if not for His love I’d have been stoned a long time ago. And I want the unbeliever to know there’s a better life in Jesus. So by not identifying with the watered down, American version of Christianity, I hope to show just one person that there is a God out there who truly loves you.

    January 13, 2018

    Being Sifted

    Posted in Daily Life by

    My Dad has a talent for teaching God’s word (oblivious as though he might be)

    So when I knew I was going on “maternity leave” from my blog, I asked if he’d like to write devotionals for emails or posts for me to schedule. He said he would as God laid on his heart, and when he handed me his notes and said God gave him a “little something” I was blown away.

    I knew this needed to be posted, for far more people than are on my email list.

    The title, “Being Sifted”, at first made me think of the story in the Bible where the chaff is sifted from the wheat. And of course, made me think of the “good” being sifted from the “bad”. But his take left me pondering so much more. And made me realize that while God may allow things to happen in our lives, it doesn’t mean he forgot.

    Luke 22:31-32

    When Jesus told Peter that Satan desired him to sift him as wheat, He didn’t tell him that He delivered him. Or that He rebuked him. But that he prayed for him, that his faith wouldn’t fail.

    What does this tell us?

    1. Satan pretty much doesn’t do anything without God’s knowledge and approval.
    2. God doesn’t always get us out of trials – but He always gets us through them.

    Normally wheat is sifted to separate the grain from the husks. Satan wanted to sift Peter and keep what was bad.

    Jesus foes on to tell Peter hos he will be sifted in verse 34, how he would deny The Lord 3 times before the day was done. Peter was one of the most outspoken, boisterous apostles. He was a fisherman. If you have ever known a commercial fisherman, think of Peter.

    I’m sure that denying Jesus would be the last thing on Peter’s mind, if he would cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear before the day was done (John 18:10)!

    Did Peter’s faith fail when he denied Jesus? I don’t think so, he did deny Jesus in Luke 22:61, but his faith didn’t fail. He had a temporary setback, he wept bitterly. After the resurrection (when Peter was converted) he went on to become one of the greatest witnesses for Christ the world has ever known. His shadow falling on people would cause them to be healed (Acts 15:5).

    Peter went on to be crucified upside down for his lord (he said he wasn’t worthy to be crucified like Jesus).

    So when you think that your faith has failed, remember Simon Peter, whose faith was sifted, but didn’t fail.

    December 19, 2017

    3 Reasons You Should Not Get Pureflix

    Posted in Daily Life by
    *This post contains affiliate links. This means that, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I make a commission. It does not cost you anything extra and I only recommend products I love and think you will, too!* 

    You know the drill. You just finished your current show on Netflix. So, naturally, you go to Facebook asking for suggestions on what to watch next. And even though you specifically mention you don’t want to watch anything profane, you’ll still get the suggestions for the “hilarious” show full of vulgarity. Or the one that doesn’t have much cussing, but you certainly can’t watch with your kids around because the women don’t have clothes on. We won’t even talk about what they’re doing.

    The search continues, as you start and stop no less than 5 series, to realize it’s just too much. The storyline might be amazing, but the language makes you cringe. Or the language is okay, except the nudity should really be censored. Seriously. TV-MA is really a signal for, “hey, you’ll be closing your eyes half the time”.

    3 Reasons You Should Not Get Pureflix
    Can you tell I’ve been there?

    So after seeing a lot of Facebook ads and links to something called Pureflix I decided to give it a shot. After all, it’s $10.99 per month (the same price as 2 screens of Netflix) and you get one month free. But before sharing it with you, I wanted to give it a fair shot and see 1. if I really liked it and 2. if I thought you would like it.


     

    So, I’ve come up with 3 Reasons You Should Not Get Pureflix:

    1. You’re okay with profanity.

      Not everyone is the same, and not every Christian feels the same way about this Christian walk. Philippians 2:12 reminds us that not everything is the same for everyone, we have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. And this is not meant to be condemning at all. I know some people who say they hear foul language in the workplace, so it’s nothing new to them. Others fast forward through the “bad” parts of shows and movies. But here’s what changed my mind about all that: my sons see what comes on my tv. And the roles women play and the way people talk is not the lifestyle I want to be portrayed for my children. When my 2 year old uses a word we don’t use, I know it came from the tv. I also know I’d rather him not use profanity. Especially at 2. This leads me to my second point:

    2. You don’t mind what your kids watch.

      Children are so impressionable. And just because you don’t talk a certain way doesn’t mean they won’t pick up on what’s happening on the screen. More than just violence, they pick up on the language, “adult situations” and more. We have to protect those little minds where we can. And, sure, sometimes we’re given an opportunity to discuss and start conversations about God and having a relationship with His son Jesus. But I’d rather explain creation vs. evolution than to have to explain why two people are doing… whatever it is they’re doing…

    3. You don’t have a reason for educational shows (for parents AND kids).

      Yes, other services offer educational programs. I’m going full confession here and telling you “Super Why” is how my oldest learned phonics and numbers… I can’t take credit for that. But, Pureflix offers a lot of programming geared toward homeschooling. And I like that I can walk away from the tv and not worry about censoring what the kids are seeing or being taught. They also have series by Dr. Randy Carlson who has amazing insight and advice for married couples. Christian advice, at that. Not to mention the occasional exercise program (I can’t tell you anything about those).

    Now, hear me out.

    I am NOT telling you I love every program on Pureflix. I certainly don’t. I’ve stopped a lot of them because the acting was terrible, or the editing was terrible, or the story seemed too cheesy. So I’m not saying you’re going to love everything on there. But I also know Hollywood has a lot more money to throw into their productions. And I know (not trying to go all “super Christian” here) that the enemy loves nothing more than for us to watch grimy shows with questionable content.

    But, if you’re anything like me, you’ve grown tired of having to censor so much. Of feeling conviction for watching whatever someone recommended. And while I don’t plan on canceling Netflix, I do intend to keep Pureflix.

    The user interface is not fancy, and I’d like for them to add in a “because you watched this, you might be interested in that” kind of feature. It’d save a lot of time searching through movies.

    If you’d like to try Pureflix (one month free) you can sign-up today. Cancel anytime (legit).

    Have you tried Pureflix? What did you think about it?

     

    3 Reasons You Should Not Get Pureflix

     

     

    Are you a modern day Titus 2 woman? Check out this post to see what that means!

    October 11, 2017

    Why Every Christian Woman Needs A Like-Minded Friend

    Posted in Daily Life by
    Why Every Christian Woman Needs A Like-Minded Friend

     

    Why Every Christian Woman Needs A Like-Minded Friend
    Why Every Christian Woman Needs A Like-Minded Friend
    Why Every Christian Woman Needs A Like-Minded Friend

    Today, I am excited to share with you this Guest Post from Tatiana Adurias from The Musings of Mum.

    I love this beautiful reminder that we need like-minded friends as Christian women for support and encouragement. So, read on for the reasons YOU need a like-minded friend!

    Seven years ago, for her birthday, my daughter invited a new friend to join us at an amusement park. I’d never met the girl before, much less her mother. Yet her friend’s mother decided to tag along, and I reluctantly agreed. The drive out to the amusement park was long, and introverted me, was stuck in a small car, with a very chatty stranger. It was overwhelming. Awkward. It was just what I needed.

    For years I was convinced that all I needed in my life, was my God, my husband and my children. Friendships with other women were never something I pursued, because I’ve been put-down, picked-on and ignored by other women on multiple occasions.

    Women can be mean.

    Often times, as adults, we neglect to seek out, and nurture friendships with other women, because we’ve been burned in the past. And yet, as believers we’re called to fellowship and exhortation.

    And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
    Hebrews 10:24

    Why Every Christian Woman Needs A Like-Minded Friend

    What Is a Like-Minded Friend and Why You Need One

    A like-minded friend, is one who shares your interests, passions and beliefs.

    During a period of severe rebellion against the Lord, I fell in love and married an unbeliever. Two years later, when I came back to the Lord, I began to pray for my husband’s conversion, which took nearly 10 years. For a long time, it seemed my prayers would never be answered, and what I realized was that though I had come back to the Lord, my friendships still lived in the world.

    The Bible tells us there is no fellowship between light and darkness (2 Cor. 6:14).

    Since there was no like-mindedness in either my marriage or any of my friendships my growth in knowledge of the Word of God, was stagnant. And my relationship with Christ was inconsistent.

     

    1. A Like-Minded Friend Will Hold You Accountable

    Let’s face it, sometimes we need a little reality check.

    The problem with my ‘all I need is my God, my husband, and my children‘ theory was that I had limited accountability. My husband’s and my children’s perspectives are far different, than mine.

    A like-minded female friend, is better equipped to asses the situation from a women’s perspective, and provide Biblical accountability.

    Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
    Galatians 6:1

    2. A Like-Minded Friend Will Encourage & Support You

    Women are expert players of the comparison game. We compare our homes, careers, wardrobes, children, and even our spiritual walk. And we know that what often follows comparison, is criticism.

    Why is it that we can’t see ourselves the way others do?

    Why do we focus on our faults, and fail to see the beauty within?

    A like-minded friend, builds you up (1 Thess. 5:11). She will walk with you, and lift you, when you are down.

    Two are better than one,
    Because they have a good reward for their labor.
    For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
    But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
    For he has no one to help him up.
    Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
    But how can one be warm alone?
    Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
    And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
    Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

     

    The Blessing in Vulnerability

    When we’ve been hurt, letting someone in on the private details and insecurities of our lives is challenging. Opening up, and putting our weaknesses on display is not something any of us wants to volunteer for. However there is a huge blessing in vulnerability.

    Prayer is intimate, and when we share our needs with like-minded friends and call upon the name of the Lord. We can move mountains.

    What I eventually learned, from Shirley (the chatty stranger on that long ride to the amusement park), was that not all women are mean. Many are looking for accountability, support and encouragement, just like you. Today, Shirley is one of the most important people in my life. She is my prayer partner and my cheerleader. She is the first person to point me back to scripture and remind me Jesus has my back, when I’m about to lose my head.

    Do you have a like-minded friend, who is willing to call you out and point you back to Jesus? Are you that friend?

     

    Why Every Christian Woman Needs A Like-Minded Friend

    I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did! For more about Tatiana, you can check her out here.

    September 27, 2017

    How Are You Preparing for the Storms?

    Posted in Daily Life by
    How Are You Preparing for the Storms?

    Hurricane season is no joke.

    Hurricane Harvey completely devastated Texas. People all over the nation were uniting to contribute in any way they could. Many traveled for miles with their personal vehicles and boats to help with rescue efforts.

    Then, Hurricane Irma decided to show up. At the time I’m writing this, the path is projected but it still hasn’t made landfall. Living in the panhandle of Florida, some of us are already preparing.

    We, as [lifelong] Floridians, know that when a storm is Category 5, well organized, and HUGE, it’s time to take action.

    At least a week before the storm was projected to hit, the stores were overrun with people buying water. Gas stations quickly ran out of gas. Non-perishable food items and canned meats basically flew off the shelves. Grocery stores tried to rush in delivery trucks and begged vendors to get product back in as quickly as possible.

    The Christians began praying. Because, as most of us know, that’s really what we need to do first and foremost.

    As I walked through my house gathering non-replaceable items to pack up – just in case – The Lord began to deal with about preparing for the storms. And not just the hurricane.

    How Are You Preparing for the Storms?

    Preparing for the storms – like hurricanes.

    What does that mean, exactly?

    Preparing for a hurricane is different for different people. For me, because I know my home cannot withstand the hurricane force winds, I’m preparing for me and my family to stay with someone else. We had decided to stay with my parents. They have a brick home and we felt we would be fairly safe there.

    The first thing I began to do was gather up important documents and things like pictures and keepsakes. I have a portable file tote that I keep our birth certificates, marriage license, insurance documents, etc. in. I grabbed the Bibles my children received when they were dedicated. The items that, should our home be destroyed, we cannot get back.

    My Mom and I went to the grocery store. We bought food and water. But, because we have wells and water filters, we aren’t as worried about water. We wanted to make sure we had plans for meals, as they have a gas stove and we can still cook with no electricity.

    Knowing that even if the storm doesn’t hit us directly, its sheer size could mean loss of power for where we live. From experience, we also know that tornados and high-speed winds are likely. Because of this, the windows need to be boarded up and anything in the yard that can be secured should be.

    Those with space and ability to house evacuees might need to do so. Many people in Alabama and Georgia offered their property for those with campers. Others offered to open up their homes.

    Preparing for the storms – of life.

    We, as Christians, know that our lives aren’t always sunny and 75, so to speak. Living in the Sunshine State doesn’t mean you’ll never see clouds, and being a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t face difficult times.

    Preparing for the hurricane means gathering up the important documents. As Christians, we can equate this to always having our Bibles. This is the most important document we have, and the one that brings us closer to God. We cannot neglect this vital part of our lives. The Bible cannot be replaced in our lives. And not just one specific Bible, but the word of God. We are to hide it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) so we can carry it with us wherever we go.

    Christians also have to make sure we have what sustains us. We have to read our Bible, and we have to pray. Matthew 4:4 says we need more than just bread to survive. The only way we get through life’s storms is to prepare by staying close with our Heavenly Father.

    As Christians, preparing for storms also means reaching out to those around us. Sometimes what happens was not aimed at us, but because we were near we still feel the effects. We also have to help those around us – brothers and sisters in need, as well as those who don’t know Jesus.

    How Are You Preparing for the Storms?

    The most important thing we can do in preparing for the storms is to make sure our house is built upon the rock.

    “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

    When you build your life upon Jesus, you still have to face storms. The rains still fall, the winds blow, but the house will remain.

    How are you preparing for the storms of your life?

    Matthew 7:24

    September 7, 2017

    Why You Need to Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

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    Why You Need to Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

    Do you try too hard to wrestle against flesh and blood?

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

    If not flesh, then what? We have to understand that, when the scripture says to “wrestle not against flesh and blood”, it’s also telling us the alternative. Though we do not wrestle against other men, what we really do is wrestle in a spiritual battle. So how do we do that? First, we understand that we battle. Second, we hand it to God.

    Why You Need to Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

    Ephesians 6:12 tells us we don’t wrestle flesh, then lists the things we do wrestle.

    Many scriptures reference the fact that God created everything. Also mentioned is the fact that there are “high places”. Ephesians 1:3 mentions heavenly places, and Ephesians 3:10 speaks of a realm of spiritual places. So what we need to know from this is that other realms, or places for spiritual beings to dwell, exist. Furthermore, we recognize that spiritual beings do exist.

    Principalities and powers are usually mentioned together in scripture. So it’s important that we understand this wrestling isn’t a man in his physical, flesh state. But a principality, a being in power.

    Rulers of the darkness of this world… well, that’s pretty plain. Those beings that rule are part of what we wrestle against as well. Against spiritual wickedness in high places? Well, that would refer to those beings, living in their spiritual realm, existing somewhere above the earth.

    So then how do we wrestle spirits? And things we cannot see?

    The term “wrestle” in this verse refers to hand-to-hand combat. Kind of impossible to combat a principality. So what we have to realize is that this battle cannot be done in the flesh. I know women generally tend to be less physically violent than men (unless our cubs are involved!) so this may not be our first thought anyway. But the enemy can attack our children just as he can anyone, so we need to remember where to turn and how to battle.

    First and foremost, we need to realize that Satan is defeated. Not was, not will be. He IS defeated. Jesus took care of that a long time ago, and we must understand that while he still battles, he knows he lost.

    “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)

    Doesn’t it just make you want to say, “BOOM!” I get tired of the enemy treading over Christians, and Christians allowing him to. I also get tired of us wasting our energy, fighting against others when the battle isn’t physical.

    “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

    Paul is telling the Corinthian church that while yes, we are flesh beings, we aren’t fighting in the flesh. We fight a battle of a spiritual nature, and our human weapons are useless. Jesus (having defeated Satan) brings down everything exalting itself.

    So what weapon do we use? The Bible.

    “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

    If we read and study our Bibles, then we’re able to use the word of truth. God’s word.

    When we have the Bible in our hearts and know God’s word, we can discern the physical from the spiritual. We have to remember that it’s not in us to fight these battles, and they belong to God.

    Even Michael, the archangel, didn’t address Satan in his own capacity. He simply referred him to God (Jude 9).

    The reason you need to wrestle not against flesh and blood is that it’s not your fight.

    Jesus already won, Satan is just trying to make himself elevated. But no worries, God puts him in his place soon enough. You also cannot with this battle with your fists, or with any man made object. Being spiritual, the battle can only be won with God’s weapon (the Bible) and through the blood of Jesus.

    What you do instead is to pray. Have conversation with God. Grow closer to Him by reading His word, you know, that sword that can separate bone and flesh. Because that’s his battle plan. Don’t be the weak soldier that your brothers and sisters in Christ cannot depend on.

    Part of winning the battle is knowing your enemy. The best part about ours is this: the enemy is defeated.

    Do you feel like the enemy is always at your door? Here’s my solution.

    Why You Need to Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

    Why You Need to Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood
    Why You Need to Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood
    Wrestle not Against Flesh and Blood
    September 4, 2017

    Making the Rules Up As You Go

    Posted in Daily Life by
    Making the Rules Up As You Go

    Currently, I have two sons (and boy #3 on the way. Y’all pray for me). The oldest (Jeremy) is 5, the younger (Jarrett) is 2. And while listening to them as they played one day, I realized they were playing a game. It was, of course, a game that Jeremy completely made up. A soccer ball was the center of this game, but there were no set rules. Being the older one, and making that fact known constantly, Jeremy made sure to say what the rules were, and when Jarrett did it wrong. He was making up the rules as the game went on.

    Making the Rules Up As You Go

    We, as Christians, like to make the rules up as we go.

    Don’t we?

    And it’s not just Christians of today. Back in the time of Jesus the Scribes and Pharisees liked to make up the rules. Sure, they had a basis for some of the rules. Rooted deeply in the law. But what about those things they added on?

    Churches today do this, as well. A great example is modesty. For example, some people firmly believe a woman’s dress must be at least ankle length to be considered modest. Others, however, find no problem with something above the knee.

    For the men, some believe a man must wear a suit and tie in church to be considered appropriate. Others find shorts and flip-flops to be an acceptable standard.

    Where do we find these rules?

    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;” (1 Timothy 2:9)

    This verse, for example, means different things to different people. I had one woman explain to me that “costly array” meant no longer dying her hair. To her, an $8 box of hair dye was too much money to spend on her physical appearance.

    “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28)

    For those strongly opposed to tattoos, this has become a favorite verse to quote. Mainly, the first part that says you can’t make cuttings in your flesh. I’ve also heard (and I’m sure you have, too) this rephrased as “permanent marks”.

    Many, many rules established in our Christian culture today have a scripture or two they’re based on.

    So, wait, I can’t braid my hair or have a tattoo?

    Take, for example, the 1 Timothy 2:9 verse. Look at it in context. In Bible times, the women of wealth would adorn themselves as a status symbol. Gold and pearls braided into their hair was common practice. Their objective, then, was not to worship and serve God, but to let man see their outward appearance. So when Paul addresses this problem, he’s addressing the problem of self. No man should be the focus of a worship service, rather all attention devoted to God and pleasing Him.

    The part after not making cuttings in Leviticus 19:28 says “for the dead, nor print any marks” because the Jews had grown attached to the Egyptian customs. Pagan practice was to cut oneself in honor of the dead or to show grief. This practice was considered idolatry, as the ancestors and family members passed on were in a sense worshipped.

    “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15)

    Here’s the important part: God knows your heart. He sees the intent behind what man sees. Why you do what you do, wear what you wear, say what you say. So should we be concerned with what another man says about braided hair?

    If your heart is in the right place, and your intentions are pure, God sees that. When we make up rules as we go along, we start walking a fine line of our salvation being based on our works – what we can accomplish to make us saved.

    There is nothing you can do that makes God love you any more. And nothing you can do that makes Jesus blood sacrifice any more important or valid. While certain things are concrete examples of what to do & what not to do (see the Ten Commandments), other things aren’t so clear. That’s why God gave us verses like this:

    “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

    I wasn’t sure what this meant exactly. If we all serve one God and are saved by the same sacrifice, how can we work out our own salvation? How can I do something that someone else can’t? That’s making up rules as we go, right?

    I had a youth pastor explain it to me by a couple of simple questions. He asked what math class I was currently in. As a college student (at that time) my answer was Business Calculus. He asked someone else in the group what class they were in (as a high school student). His answer was Algebra. He then asked me, “Do you think he can do the same math you’re doing?” Of course, he can’t. Should he be expected to? Absolutely not.

    God doesn’t ask more of us than what we can handle.

    More importantly, we have to understand there is nothing we can DO to make our salvation any more valid. Yes, we have to work it out. According to the path we are on. Some of us further down the path than others. Some just starting out might not have the same convictions as someone saved for 50 years.

    But the point is this: we can’t make up the rules as we go. We can’t pick a verse out of the Bible, tell someone they’re in sin, and expect them to be able to live a life made up by a man as he goes along. We have to stick to the principles set forth in God’s word and work out our salvation with HIM and what He says to be true. Things in culture change. Even from nation to nation the same standards don’t always hold true.

    The only rules you have to follow are those set by God.

    If we try to live by a set of fluid rules set by temporal man, we will never make it to glory.

    Does your skirt have to go to your ankles? I don’t think so. But I know God wants us to dress modestly, not causing another to sin by lusting after our bodies. So cover yourself appropriately.

    Will my tattoo send me to hell? Again, I don’t think so. But if the thought of getting a tattoo causes your great anguish, and you’re afraid it’ll displease God, then don’t. But you can’t call your pierced ears sinless when you think all flesh cuttings are sinful.

    Aren’t you glad for grace?

    The point is not to try to get away with as much as you can. On the contrary, rest in the fact that Jesus died for our sins, past, and present. And now, because of what He did, grace is extended to those times we fail.

    “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 5:20-21 & 6:1-2)

    The Bible tells us this: Jesus died to save us from sins. And, once saved, grace covers those moments where we slip. Does that mean we sin just because we know grace is there? Nope – actually he said, “God forbid.” But it means that we live by a standard that IS attainable. We CAN live out this Christian walk because of Jesus and His sacrifice. It also means that we don’t have to live up to a set of rules designed by fickle man.

    Of course, in Jeremy’s game, he won. And Jarrett cried.

    I am so glad for God’s rules.

    Making the Rules Up As You Go

    August 21, 2017

    A Life In Christ from My Weakness His Strength

    Posted in Daily Life by
    A Life In Christ from My Weakness His Strength

    Being new to the blogging world, I learned one way to grow your audience is to reach out to other bloggers. Connect, share, and encourage each other. I also feel like we Christian bloggers should stick together, as our message isn’t always well received. Part of connecting with others is to guest post: post your content on someone else’s blog and vice versa.

    A Life In Christ from My Weakness His Strength

    I was so nervous about sharing someone else’s content.

    Debra over at My Weakness His Strength was willing to share one of her posts. I read it, and was once again amazed at how on time God is. He knew her posts were something I’d love to share. Her transparency is rare and so appreciated.

    I’m happy to share with you her post titled “A Life in Christ”.

    You can check that out here.

    And a little more about Debra:

    My name is Debra Curto, I am a child of God, wife, mother, and now a Christian blogger. I am a Budget Analyst, I love photography, reading and crocheting. My hope is to share my testimony and the insights God gives me and to bless others as we grow in Christ.

    August 17, 2017

    Stop Being the Perfect Christian

    Posted in Daily Life by
    Stop Being the Perfect Christian

    It’s easy to let people think we’re perfect…

    Isn’t it? As Christians, others expect certain standards. Whether images of perfect in the Christian community itself or something the world expects to see in us, we try to maintain this image of perfect.

    Stop.

    The worst thing you can do for your testimony is to pretend that being saved somehow makes you perfect now. When others feel like you are better than them, or even you think you are better than them, the chance to share the gospel dissipates. When Jesus forgave others, He did not call them perfect, He called them whole.

    Stop Being the Perfect Christian

    Share your testimony…

    Revelation says we are made overcomers by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). I know a lot of people struggle with this, thinking to talk about the past gives glory to the enemy. But the truth is this: when Jesus delivered you from whatever life you lived, that’s a point for Jesus, not Satan. When you share your story you give others hope. Telling them that while yes, they live a life that is not pleasing to God and only ends in their misery, but that Jesus changed all that over 2,000 years ago gives them hope.

    Think back to before Jesus saved you. Did someone’s testimony inspire you? Even now, being saved, how much does it help you when someone talks about a battle they faced recently? Our testimony is meant to share with others. Not so we can be glorified, but so He receives ALL the glory.

    When we share our past with others, they see Jesus mends the broken. He provides strength to the weary. And He gives hope to those who feel hopeless. What we are not telling people is the Christian life means perfect, what we do tell them is we have a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). While this life never means perfect, the promise of a new one is. THAT’S what we brag about. His glory. Not ours.

     

    But don’t act like that makes you better.

    I feel like my Dad has an amazing testimony. As he tells it, God had to reach way down to get to him. His fair share of drug use and alcohol, he doesn’t miss the chance to tell people what God did for him. People who knew him back in the day cannot believe that he attends church, let alone holds any position or teaches anyone anything. But he’s not proud of it. He doesn’t find his testimony all that impressive. To him, he spent too many years living a life unpleasing to God and wishes he could change all that.

    So when someone talks to him about their bad habits or tells them they’re too much for Jesus, he can tell them from experience that’s not the case. He may look all cleaned up on the outside. He can discuss the bible with the rest of them. But he knows where he came from, and he knows the last thing he is – is better than someone else. Better than someone who walks in the very shoes he put down.

    When the apostles talk about the life of a Christian, they do not talk about their own perfection. You never read where Peter claims to be perfect. They, Jesus himself, did not reserve their time for those who seemed worthy on the outside. Jesus is better than any human can possibly even conceive, and yet He spent time with those deemed the lowest of society. Paul called himself chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

    Jesus’ blood made us whole, not perfect.

    Nothing about you makes you perfect.

    Ouch.

    Don’t worry, I said that to myself as well.

    Nothing about the perfect sacrifice of Jesus made this flesh perfect. Nothing about a recited prayer made me any better. I do nothing, can do nothing, to perfect this flesh. Even being saved, sins gone, washed away in the blood of Jesus, cannot make me perfect.

    The good news is He is perfect. And while I never will be, He did make me whole. So this broken person, this stubborn, arrogant woman with a sinful nature can be made whole again. I tell others what Jesus did for me because He went above and beyond in my case. And while nothing about me, or my life, is anything near perfect, I am made whole. I now walk knowing I am loved, no matter the circumstances.

    I tell others that the emptiness you feel gets filled when Jesus enters your life. Only because of Him. Through Him.

    None of us are perfect.

    But the good news is this: we don’t have to be. We just have to stop letting others think we are. No longer pretend something we did makes us any better than anyone else. The Bible plainly tells us that we all sin and come short of His glory (Romans 3:23) and Isaiah 64:6 is pretty clear on what God thinks of our own righteousness.

    So lay aside the facade of the perfect life. Put aside preconceived notions about someone else’s past. Quit acting like something you did places you above someone else.

    Instead, share how far you’ve come. Talk about what Jesus did for you. If nothing else, He saved your soul. Being raised in church doesn’t make you a better Christian, it makes Him a bigger God. When you break down those walls, you open the doors for others to see the light of Jesus shine in you.

    We witness to others effectively when they know we stopped being the perfect Christian.

    Everything about being a Christian points to the fact that Jesus is the be all, end all answer to this world. To my problems, frustrations, sins. He paid the price so I could live free. Nothing about that makes me better than anyone else. However, He positioned me to talk to broken women like myself. To tell you that you might not be perfect and that’s okay. Share the fact that He doesn’t want the perfect, that He actually uses those who are willing.

    I’m certainly not perfect, but Lord, I’m willing.

    Stop Being the Perfect Christian

    August 14, 2017