Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Monday, December 19, 2016

Why You're Unmarried

Spiritual Lessons

Why You're Unmarried

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Recently on a roadtrip to Portland, my siblings and I chanced upon a Christian program where the speaker and his wife were addressing the epidemic of unmarried youth. They blamed the selfishness of the modern generation. And while I agree that my generation is certainly selfish, I think the root stems from something much more complex and deeper.

Every unmarried Christian young woman I know desires marriage. In fact, most Christian young woman I know desired marriage and motherhood since they were five years old. For most of us it was one of our biggest aspirations. Something we played at as children, and something we dreamed of as adults.

So why so many unmarried today?

While there are many factors, my brother and I came to a startling realization that I thought worthy of sharing. We believe that the lack of marriage in Christian circles comes from the widespread attack on manhood.

Today, “Christianity” advocates the taming of men. Spirituality for men is chalked up to a list of “don'ts”. Don't drink, don't cuss, don't smoke...etc. Society backs that up. Give us passive, hairless, manicured robots. Individuality is spurned; and the church goes a-long with it. Conformity is labeled “unity”. Anger, hatred, aggression are taboo. Sit in your pew and be nice men – that's spiritual.

And what has the religious circles made of romance? It too has become a list of “don'ts”. Don't touch, don't look, don't be friends. Women are not something to be won, wooed, pursued or conquered. They aren't a mystery or an adventure. You want to get to know her? You'd better be ready for a commitment for the rest of your life.

Am I advocating no boundaries? Absolutely not. Men without boundaries are men without respect or decorum. Boundaries are absolutely necessary, but outside of not touching a woman, God has given men very little instruction on how they are to treat womankind.

We know the world has it wrong, simply by looking at the hurt and grief and degradation they produce. Women aren't objects and we are meant to be used. So what is the appropriate response of men?

Just as the spiritual life is not suburbia, friendship with the opposite sex is a wild frontier. Unfortunately we've taken the soul out of every experience because we're afraid of “the flesh”. We can't be trusted, so we exterminate all we call wild and unpredictable. “Better safe than sorry” is the motto of conventional Christianity. But is that true? Are we better off safe than sorry? When it comes to living – that motto will bring a secure, cramped, narrow, predictable life. When it comes to relationships – that motto will either create a predictable, souless, cramped friendships, or it might just lead to an epidemic of unmarried people.

Now is marriage our ultimate goal? Should we strive for it? Is it our fulfillment? Our purpose? No. But marriage is good. Man was not meant to be alone. Women were created to be helpmeets. And as far as striving for it – there's a balance. I don't know think we need to go on a head hunt. BUT – I do think we need to realize that “waiting on the Lord” for our spouse does not mean we should wait for an audible voice from heaven and a blinking neon sign. But that's another topic for another time.

Every man is meant to take a quest. To fulfill a purpose. To dominate. Now, it's damaging to make woman the quest, because we cannot possibly fulfill that deep need. But we can be part of the adventure. We're meant to be.

Life is meant to be so much more than “getting your ducks in a row”. Men want to know who they are, what they're made of, and what they're meant to achieve. And the answer can't be found in living the stereotype. And it certainly won't be found in conforming to the box that religion tries to stuff men into. Men aren't meant to be “good boys”. Think about it! What boy grew up wanting to be “nice”? What girl grew up wanting to marry a passive Prince Charming? No – give us dragon slayers.

But look in the sanctuaries and you won't find many dragon slayers. You'll find tamed, bored, dutiful, nice guys. Domesticated, sanitized and suited. Apathetic. There's no battle to fight, let alone a damsel to rescue. You sit in your pew and “amen” your shepherd... sit; stay; good boy. Where are the warriors? Where are the fierce men? Where's the stonewall Jacksons? The solders from Iwo Jima? The King Arthur's? The heroes?

Men are embarrassed to act like men. But deep down they crave it. Look at the movies men watch. Braveheart. Saving Private Ryan. Gladiator. The church though has produced sluggards and the world has produced wolves. Why do you think porn is rampant? In every man there is a desire to appreciate beauty and to win it. But men are no longer required or expected to battle for the heart of woman. Porn is the safe and easy way.

In almost every story ever told there's a hero and his lady. A Juliet for every Romeo. Men desire to be a hero TO someone. FOR someone. And conveniently, we women yearn to be fought for. We want to be needed. We crave to be rescued. Cherished, pursued, won. It's a built-in nature for a reason. (Though the church may tell us we've fulfilled our lives by spending every ounce of energy in ministry, I guarantee you – there's more to womanhood than running Sunday school, volunteering for nursery and cleaning toilets.) We are meant to be part of man's adventure! We want to be beautiful. We want to reveal ourselves. We want to be lovely. Some of us were the stereotypical princess in lacy dress who paraded about the living room. Others shyly shared ourselves through writing.

My mom remembers as a little girl, being overwhelmed one holiday when many family members came and she sneaked away to some other room. And waited. She remembers thinking how it would be nice if someone missed her, and came looking for her. I think every girl has had one of these (if not many) moments where we realized we were waiting to be wanted. It's natural. We aren't meant to simply be “good girls” either. To be “good servants”. There IS a grand adventure. We are beautiful. We do have something to offer. We are worth fighting for. It's just that men have forgotten how to fight. They've been duped and told that the extent of their spirituality is Sunday pew sitting and nodding. That to be a man, they'd better get that number in the bank account, buy the car, get the steady job. Get life under control – that's the plan. A model Christian man is safe, sensitive, and certain. But to attain such perfection means forfeiting the soul. For God has made man in HIS own image. And God is dangerous, unpredictable, a King. God isn't safe. Certainly Christ is romantic and caring – but He is the Son of God. Men of old used to present themselves with their name followed by their fathers name. They were the son of “so-and-so”. There's power in knowing who you are. And there was power in being the son of a noble man. Christ is the Son of the highest authority. The King of kings. And so is every man of God. You are the Son of the Lion of Judah.

Christ is the heavenly Braveheart. He has led captivity captive and won freedom for mankind. And men are meant to be just like Him.

I've always laughed to myself when the men I know express the spontaneous desire to simply leave. They threaten to drop everything and explore the states for a year or two. Or maybe take off for the middle east. Join the military. They'll spend all day exploring a ridge of some mountain. Stake their lives on one business venture. They'll talk of absurd impossibilities. A “good time” involves risk, danger and absolute craziness. A challenge to the law of physics. I finally get it. It's a result of being a man. And it's good.

God risked everything when he gave us free-will. And love is one of our greatest opportunities to practice being Christ-like. Loving someone involves high risk. When a man pursues a woman he is offering his strength. He is saying – this is who I am, will you be part of my adventure? And when a woman loves – she is vulnerably exposing her tender heart and willingly sharing who she is. She is saying – this is who I am, here is all of me. This is partly why marriage is such a perfect image of God. God has risked all to offer Himself. God also wants to be loved. He wants to be chosen. He waits to be wanted. But He also pursues. He's also woos.

God gave man deserts, jungles, icelands and oceans to explore and conquer. And God also gave man, woman. Women are meant to be explored. Albeit, there must be boundaries. But morality and decorum does not look like ignoring woman. Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you can't be a friend to the opposite gender. Now what this looks like practically is left to personal convictions. And I'm not about to say being a friend to the opposite sex is easy or simple. But if men weren't scared of being men, their relationship with women might become more balanced.

The gospel needs men like you. We women need men like you. Life's a battle and an adventure – and we are willing to follow you into it, as sisters, as friends, and even, if God wills, as wives.

And it is not coincidence that the desires of man match the yearnings of woman. And yes, Adam and Eve failed – and we have too, as a whole and even individually – but we don't have to. Ladies, we do not have to give up our dream of a Knight in shining armor. They aren't fairy tales, their just rare. Simply because godly men are rare. We are meant to be cherished and fought for. Don't compromise.

And men – you're meant for greatness. You are meant to win and conquer. The world will sneer at you and the church may find your scandalous – but for your sakes, for our sakes – please be wild. Please be dangerous. Please unchain your minds. Please risk being men.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Quote of the day

"In seeking the will of God, I risk everything that is safe and secure about my world. But in doing the will of God, I find an even greater security."

-Charles Ringma

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Spiritual Correctness

Spiritual Lessons

Spiritual Correctness
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Society encourages a new image for manhood. A hairless, manicured and tamed servant. The world blurs the lines of gender differences, praising the modern man for coming in touch with his sensitive side.

Is it any wonder that a passive Christian is now culturally expected? We are allowed to say “love”, “peace”, “joy”; we're even allowed to ask “What would Jesus Do?” But when it comes to acting like Jesus would – now that's unacceptable.

Society is diseased with political correctness. What political correctness means today is: being nice. Or what has been labeled “nice”. Extreme measures to restrict the potentially offensive person. No radical opinions. No sure convictions or absolutes, or calling bad “bad”, or good “good”. Only appropriate nice words. And for those who are too rough and rude: Sensitivity training. You ask conservatives why political correctness is rampant today, and they will tell you that political correctness is shutting people up. People have been bullied, shamed and silenced. To represent a dissenting view is primeval, ignorant and offensive.

Political correctness oppresses by redefining. Look at what is considered politically correct and see the twisting lies. Tolerance is now acceptance of evil. Diversity is now segregation. Free speech means I can infringe on your rights, choice means I can plan to murder my baby. Those who can see pass the subterfuge are repulsed. Political correctness only reigns because of our compliance. People would rather set up their fortress and hide there. It's safer. They soothe their conscience with mental dissent to what goes on about them. The world's atrocities are easily bemoaned at the dinner table.

Why bring up Political correctness? Because a similar epidemic has spread inside the church. We're diseased with Spiritual correctness.

Spiritual correctness oppresses by redefining. Good works: flesh. Warning of judgment: condemnation. Obedience to God: Self righteousness. Non-conformity: Disunity. Disobedience to limited authority: rebellion.

It has pressed Christians into a tiny box of acceptable worship. A check list Christianity. It's a broken system. Someone recently asked me if we can find a good church and be okay in sticking with the system? Of course. God can use anything. He could use a tyrant to bring about good things: but does that make tyranny a good system? Of course not! And does that mean we should do nothing against tyranny just because it's potentially useful? No.

Western Churchianity has created groupies instead of disciples. Blind Yes-men, instead of a body of individual members. It has tamed Christianity into predictable acts, set apart for a certain time in a certain building. Christians are now the “nice guys”. A sensitive servant with all the nice vocabulary and motivational cliches.

The all-so-often-ignored truth is that Jesus was not only meek, but also a non-conformist; unafraid of confrontation, he called men what they were. And someday He is coming back as a lion, with the tongue of a two-edged sword. So many talk of a gentle Jesus. Was He gentle? People today confuse meekness, compassion, and love with weakness, softness, gentleness. “Be like Jesus” and you're not going to become the passive pew potato that conventional “Christianity” manufactures today. It's a feel-good Christianity. Even in our self-denial we worship feelings, because in our “death to self” we now feel spiritual.

We give homage to traditions because we've never taken the initiative to discover the difference between biblical practice and man's expectation. Spiritual correctness touts “peace at all cost” and promotes compromise.

Once upon a time, Christians were lights on the hill. Now churches are trying to mimic the dark to appeal to the world. The church has failed to BE the church because they are obsessed with GOING to church. It has become a community of hidden lights. The Christian now condones national disobedience – sin that will bring about the judgment of God. Apathy empowers and condones evil. We can't really be called soldiers of Christ when we act like non-confrontational incrementalists. “Onward Christian soldier” while standing by as our neighbors are massacred? Spiritual correctness has idolized “Love” to the point of redefining Him into another god altogether.

Comparing conventional Christianity to tyranny is not that off the mark. Spiritual correctness has tyrannically bullied it's captives with threats of God. Our way or: you're out of God's will. You don't conform to the system and you're an outcast. Suddenly somehow Satan is gaining victory in your life. Comply or be excommunicated. Opinion is rebellion if it isn't the authority's opinion. You're against God if you don't agree with Pastor So-and-So. Tyranny.
Evil prevails when good men do nothing. We will make little difference in our culture if the majority of us are silent. Our society has a sin problem way beyond petitions or the ballot box. The laborers are few. The church is stunted by spiritual correctness. Satan has us fractured, distracted and enslaved – and it looks and feels so spiritual.

Church – I will do what's right, even if it means it's only me. But I will not stand by and accept your tolerance, you're apathy, your hardheartedness, your disobedience, your spiritual correctness. Why? Because I care about you. I was once there not so very long ago. You are a slave and I would show you freedom. And because God wouldn't want me to stand by. He meant for us to exhort and rebuke one another. I'm praying that you will join the harvest. Because your collective disobedience is hastening on God's judgment on a nation filled with lost souls. And because I will not give-in to spiritual correctness. I will not be the "nice person" at the cost of freedom. Even your freedom. Repent Church. Stand up Church. Let's conquer some giants!

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Quote of the Day

"Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love....It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap: He does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with another may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"God never promises to soothe every pain, resolve every difficulty, heal every heartache, and fill every void in our lives. The unresolved issues in our lives become the opportunity for us to pray, persevere, adjust, and grow to become more open, caring, patient, and giving. And when there is no resolution, the delicate plant of hope can grow."

- Charles Ringma

Friday, December 2, 2016

Guys and Girls

Spiritual Lessons

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Girls and Guys 

 "Is it alright to text guys?"

"What do you think about holding hands during courtship?"

"Can I be a guy's friend?"

"What does submission really look like in this circumstance?"

Thankfully I'm not doing a post to answer these questions.  In fact I think these questions have to be answered on an individual basis.  The older I get the more gray areas I realize there truly are.

But what I do intend to share in this post is what I've been learning on what men and women are meant to be to each other...and what they are not.

Men can be our best friend, our protectors, providers, leaders, supporters. But they are not meant to be our source of strength, confidence, self-worth – or even our source of love.

Likewise, we aren't meant to be men's affirmation. We cannot “make” a man. We are not his source of masculinity – we were never created to be. We aren't supposed to be the “center of his universe”. We can be their best friend, an inspiration, supporters, co-laborers, followers – but we cannot be their mission any more than then can be our emotional security.

We ask men to be God when we rely on them as the validation of our worth. And we present a stumbling block to manhood when we offer ourselves as the answer to a man's quest. Men need a vision, a purpose, an answer to who they are. And only God can supply them with that.

This isn't to say that our beauty isn't to be appreciated and we have nothing to offer. And I'm not saying we have to shy away from what men have to offer us. We just have to be diligent not to depend on these things as our validation. And why not? Because people fail. Because we could hurt them. And because our true source is God. We set ourselves to fall hard when we rely on men to be our everything.

Jesus is meant to be our knight in shining armor. He is our pursuer. He gives us our worth. He no longer sees a deceitfully wicked heart – as a child of God He sees you how you're meant to be. He sees who He created. He is captivated by you. Don't believe me? Go and ask Him yourself. Ask Him to show you – you'll be blown away. He is the source of your confidence. His love inspires femininity in our hearts.

Men can make the mistake of turning to us. We emanate God's mercy and comfort as women. Men have wounds just as deep as ours, and they too need to be shown forgiveness and assurance. But we'd be liars if we said we were meant to be this for men. We know better. This isn't to say we should cut off being merciful and comforting. I'm simply saying we shouldn't advocate ourselves as being our men's sources of these things. Whether they be our husbands, fathers, brothers, or our friends. Men search for beauty, for ecstasy, a goal – and if we play damsel in distress we can be a tempting trade-off for what God actually intended. God is the only one that can truly fulfill these needs.

Here comes yet another disclaimer: We are worth winning. God gave us the nature to meet needs, to encourage and inspire with our beauty. We are meant to be captivating. And we are meant to be wooed and pursued. It's good that men strive to be warriors. They are meant to be protectors and pursuers. And men and women can meet each others' needs on a certain level. We're meant to! Women were created to be helpmeets. Men were created to be leaders.

What I've seen though, is a tendency to twist this duty into something beyond that. We kind-of take God out of the equation. Especially when it comes to falling in love with someone. And this is where we will certainly fail, disappoint and grieve one another.

But when God is the wellspring that we turn to for all our needs, suddenly we can have a healthy relationship with the opposite gender.

Men can be confident in their manhood, pursue us and invite us to share their journey – instead of expecting us to be it. (We won't have to worry about being a short-lived disappointing journey! We'll get to be part of something much bigger than ourselves.).

And we women can be confident in our womanhood. Secure in Someone who never changes. And suddenly we legitimately have something to offer that stems from an everlasting Vine. We are neither the needy woman who sucks life out of men with our high expectations, or the cold unfeeling woman who has determined never to hurt again.

Like always – God is the answer. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Broken Roof

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A Broken Roof

“ In the second chapter of Mark we read the interesting and instructive story of four men who brought a paralytic to the Lord Jesus Christ by breaking the roof of a house. Jesus had been teaching in a home in Capernaum. A great crowd soon assembled until they filled the house, and were crowded around the outside, making it impossible for anyone to get near the door to see and hear Him. But in Capernaum there was a man who, because of a sinful life, was afflicted with a dreadful disease. He was humanly speaking, hopeless. He could not walk. He had no means of getting to the Lord Jesus, but he did have four friends who were interested in him. The other folk had all flocked to hear the Lord Jesus for themselves, and had forgotten about the poor man who had no way of enjoying the same blessing. I fear that in these days there are many similar situations. There are many people who are so busy learning theology and feeding upon the blessed truth of the Lord Jesus Christ that they forget their duty toward the poor sinners round about who have never gazed in faith upon His blessed face.

Can you not see them coming down the dusty road? They had made an improvised ambulance, probably similar to a stretcher, and on this the poor fellow lay. But, as they came to the house, they found so many folk crowded around the Lord Jesus that there was no room to bring the poor sinner to Him. What a tragedy! There were so many people who wanted to hear teaching that there was no room for a poor sinner to come to Christ! We are living in a day similar to that, I fear. Amid all the divisions and separations among believers, both in and out of the denominations, we are so busy defending the Book and discussing fine points of doctrine that we have forgotten the greatest desire and commission of the Lord Jesus. That this interpretation is not incorrect is clearly borne out by the fact that Jesus immediately stopped teaching the crowd and applied Himself to the more important business of saving and healing this poor paralytic. Again the story emphasizes the need of our bringing men to Christ if they are ever going to come. The Lord has so ordered the plan of salvation that men and women are saved only as we bring them to the Lord. Man by nature is not sick. He is dead! He is impotent and as unable to find Christ without help as a dead man is to come forth from the grave. 

Because four men were more interested in this poor man than they were in hearing Jesus, this fellow was saved. Humanly speaking, the poor man would have died in his sin and disease were it not for the interest these four men had in his condition. 

God can make a bumper crop of wheat grow on the pavement of Fifth Avenue in New York City without help from man, but He has never done it, and He never will. God’s way of raising a crop of wheat depends upon man. It is only as the farmer plows and drags and sows and cares for his acre that the Lord gives the increase, though He is omnipotent and needs no help from man. So, too, it is in the spiritual realm. God could save every human being without the help or aid of His children, without a tract, a dollar or a missionary. But God does not do things that way. It is God’s plan that man will be saved only through the instrumentality of others. His commission is ‘Go ye, go ye, and preach the Gospel.’ ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ God has given us the commission and placed at our disposal the only two necessities for soul-winning: the Word and the Holy Spirit, and if men are not saved, it will not be His fault, but ours, and our alone.

A broken roof was the only means of getting this man to the Lord Jesus. These men were in earnest. The matter was not a side issue with them; they forgot everything else in their eagerness to help the man. They could not get through the door. Evidently a window was not available, either. What could they do? Necessity is the mother of invention, so these men made their way to the roof and the friend was lifted; then they began to break the roof. Can you imagine the effect on the crowd? Can you no hear a grumbler demand that someone make ‘that bunch of maniacs quit disturbing the meeting’? But not a word from the Lord. He must have been pleased. Notice the conduct of Jesus. Not a word of surprise. Not a rebuke for breaking up a Bible class to save a soul. Not a word because the decorum of the meeting had been disturbed. But Mark tells us: ‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.’ (Mark 2:5) Two words need special consideration here: ‘Their faith’. Not the sick man’s faith, but their faith. I know that men are saved by their own personal faith in Jesus Christ, and that you cannot be saved by my believing, and yet it is true as well that men and women are being lost because of our lack of faith. It is equally true that men do find Jesus through the faith of others. Men are perishing because we have not faith. 

Oh, God, make us dead in earnest! Set us on fire! Help us to break up our homes if need be to bring this paralyzed, dying word to Christ. Many of us have pleasant roofs over our heads. With much labor we have made a comfortable place for ourselves while the world is perishing for lack of Christ. Oh, for a zeal that will make us willing to ‘tear up the roof’ and forget all false propriety and selfish endeavor to bring the message to those who never heard it! Think of Christ. It was He who said, ‘This is my body, which is broken for you.’ He had a home in heaven, but He left it all and came and dwelt as a man despised and rejected, a friend of sinners, and went all the way to Calvary to die that you might live.
Here is what is wrong with the Church. We have lost our vision of the reality of the terribleness of the condition of lost man. Sin is real! Hell is real! The danger is real! Yet too often we are more concerned about the roof over our heads than the foundation under our feet.

Oh, God, help us to break the roof of materialism and worldly interest and open up the house to heaven until the answer comes down! We are not in earnest as we should be. Oh, God, break our hearts for Thee! Grant us visions of Thy compassion for the souls of men!
How richly these men were repaid. While some might have thought that Jesus would surely reprimand them for their clumsiness, He honored their faith and not only forgave the man’s sin but healed his body. When the Church of Jesus Christ gets so dead in earnest that it is willing to leave its beautiful self-made ritual and refinements of architecture and external worship and stop its quibbling about doctrine and let the ‘zeal of the house eat it up,’ we shall have the greatest revival the Church has ever seen.”

-M. R. DeHaan (“Broken Things” p. 61-66)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Quote of the Day

“It is not, however, as though God allows us to see what may look to us like 'good reasons' for his letting things turn out as they did. Sometimes, of course, he does. But we must beware of insisting on some 'justification' or vindication that satisfies US. God has never promised any such vindication here in this life. He is under no obligation whatever to explain himself. He did not answer Job's questions. He does not answer all of ours. It is faith and faith alone that can believe things fit into a pattern for good. The human evidence points in the other direction.

For some, the death of five men at the hands of Auca Indians was “justified” by the salvation of some of the Aucas. ...Such attempts to figure out out why things happen, to allay our own fears and shore up our crumbling defenses, are not the response of faith. Where reasons are given, we don't need faith. Where only darkness surrounds us, we have no means for seeing except by faith.

There was no human explanation offered me for my husband's death that adequately covered the data. Nothing satisfied me except the absolute conviction that God was in perfect control. It did no look as though he was. It looked like chaos. Faith alone enabled me to believe in that pattern for good.”

- Elizabeth Elliot 

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quote of the Day

"In the end, there are only two possibilities of encountering Jesus: either man must die or he kills Jesus."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, November 4, 2016


Spiritual Lessons


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I was recently asked what my greatest fear is.

I had to think for a moment; and there it was, burning ashamedly in my heart. I fear being inept.

Is that a strange fear? I'm not sure. But it's mine. At work, at the ski resort, in my relationships, in school, or even when I walk into a room – that is my fear. I'm not smart enough, I can't master that skill, I'm not faithful enough, I can't figure it out, I'm not good enough, I'm not pretty enough: I can't. I'm inept. Incapable. Incompetent.

It occurred to me recently that my fear isn't necessarily grounded on past experience; I've always had it. And this led me to wonder if this fear isn't embedded into the heart of every human being in some shape or form.

I could be totally off. But I watch my own siblings, or other children and it seems confirmed. Little boys want to be men, and more importantly they want to prove that they are men. They want to be enough – to have what it takes.

And little girls. Whether we wanted to be Cinderella or Joan of Arc, we yearned to be beautiful and brave. At four we waltzed into the room in our pretty dress and mom's high heels. As young women we dream of someday being captivating to one young man. As middle-aged women we hope to be good wives and mothers. And someday Grandmas. Beautiful, strong, needed, appreciated. And most importantly, we want to be beautiful and strong enough FOR someone. Needed and appreciated BY someone.

One of the hardest pills of reality to swallow for a girl is that she really isn't that beautiful. Who wants to admit that they are mediocre in their looks? Those who are model-worthy are kept straining away to maintain perfection. To prove our worth by how we look.

Those of us not given incredible beauty (and that's a lot of us) strain at what we do feel we have a shot at. Our intelligence. We will give our all in studies and academically accomplish all we felt we failed to do in cosmetics. Or in our strength. We will have a sport that we give 100% to so we might prove we're enough in the area we know we can win. We become the best at something so we can ignore the fact we're inept in another area. Yet outside our safe arena those fears haunt us.

I wanted to encourage you.

Ladies – I get it. I understand the fear and wounds in your heart. Here's the encouragement:

Your worth has nothing to do with how you look or what you can achieve. So go ahead and do yourself a favor and stop comparing yourself. We don't have to work our way into being captivating. We don't have to wait for a beau in order to find worth or to be special to someone, or to be charming.

I am 100% certain being a spouse will be wonderful. I know it will be lovely to have a man singularly delight in me. We want to walk into the room and be noticed and appreciated. We want someone to appreciate spending quality time with us. Someone who enjoys our presence. Someone who remembers our idiosyncrasies; laughs when we laugh, cries when we hurt. Someone who enjoys giving instead of only taking. Someone to rescue us when we are in need. Someone who thinks about us. Someone who needs us. Someone to share an adventure with.

It's really no wonder why we dream of someday “falling in love”. Because it's the perfect scenario for all our deepest desires to be potentially fulfilled.

Recently I wondered how a single girl, such as myself, could find fulfillment without being in a relationship with a guy. I mean, are we supposed to be left desiring and yearning until that magical day? What if we never marry? Or what if “he” doesn't ask me until I'm 35? Am I to be kept incomplete? Am I supposed to have this gaping hole? Are my desires really just my “flesh” – something I should deny and ignore?

I don't think God left us desperate until our wedding day. I have begun to see little ways in which He planned on meeting my desires. Not because I deserve them, but simply because he delights in me. Jesus delights in me. I come before Him and he is excited to share and fellowship. He notices when I am hurt. He cares. He enjoys my presence. He knows everything about me. He laughs when I laugh, cries when I hurt. He knows every step of grief I've ever taken. He creates sunrises just for me. He is patient when I am distracted. He knows how much I enjoy certain little things and he arranges them just for me. He rescues me when I'm lost. He needs my love. He loves that I am part of His adventure. He gives me friends who appreciate me and remind me of goodness and grace.

Stereotypical Christian answer to singlehood's woes, eh? God! He's your lover. Yeah, I understand. Sometimes we want flesh and blood to come and hug us. We want to feel him. God doesn't text us when we're down, or bring us flowers, or audibly say “I love you” or physically dry our tears. I get that. That may be what we want, but He has provided what we need. Perfectly.

He desires these things too. It's His image we're made in. He understands our yearnings better than anyone else. And he lovingly has provided a solution for our needs. He didn't make us imperfect – or he'd be imperfect. God is vulnerable. God needs. God desires. So do we. We aren't meant to be left desperate. We are meant to find fulfillment through Him. That way it doesn't matter if we are single for the rest of our lives – we have Him already! If we can recognize our need to simply be a display of God's own character, we might be less apt to condemn ourselves, and more readily apt to run to the One who eagerly waits to meet our need.

So why are we valuable? Because we are made in the image of God and He says so. No stipulations or conditions.

No-one is meant to completely fulfill that void in our hearts, ladies. Not our parents, not our siblings not our girlfriends. And later in life – not our boyfriend, not our husbands, not our children. God is so good as to give us people in our life who display affection, affirmation, security, love, support, etc. Those relationships are blessings! But they aren't meant to meet our needs entirely. Only Jesus can fulfill us 100%. It's dangerous of us to seek and expect fulfillment from the wrong sources.

This is a glorious fact, girls! God doesn't put worth on us because of our merit. And we don't need to wait until that perfect relationship – whether that's a Dad who will start loving us, that big brother we never had – a Prince charming – we don't have to wait. We have a father who unconditionally loves us and protects us. We have a friend closer than a brother. The Son of God pursues us already!

Not to belittle earthly relationships – but so often we seek and yearn and cry when He is already there, longing to be our everything. We don't have to get fit before we're lovely. We don't have to catch someone's eye before we're captivating. We don't have to prove anything.

I hope this somehow reminds you to run hard to Him. I forget too. I allow my fears to run away with me. But we don't have to. Relish the fact He loves you. Tell Him so – and watch those fears melt away. You ARE captivating.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Quote of the Day

“Work should never become so all-consuming that no time is left for prayer. Prayer should not draw us away from the reality of life so that we no longer fulfill our duties and responsibilities. Prayer should no alienate us from the world. Work should not draw us away from God. Our prayer should result in work and our work should be sustained by prayer. Work without prayer can become a worldly activity. Prayer without work may become mere piety.”

Charles Ringma

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Yes, We're Different

Spiritual Lessons

Yes, We're Different

 Image result for moon and sun

Putting on make-up and wearing a dress does not make me a woman; scientifically, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Men putting on women's clothing and make-up doesn't make them a woman anymore than it does us, either. It is an insult to womanhood to pretend it does. We were created with a different genetic code, different emotions, different body. These different attributes is in no way a slam to either gender. It's fact, and it is beautiful, and it's right.

Acknowledging the difference between the sun and moon is not ignorant, insensitive or offensive. The moon's light IS less than the sun's. Does saying so indicate the moon is less valuable? Of course not! Women ARE weaker. Don't be offended. Women are valuable. And why? Because our worth has nothing to do with our strength, our looks, our efforts. Thank goodness! Because most of us women cannot achieve men's physical strength. (The exception proves the rule – too all feminists who want to jump up and shout out their heroine). Beauty fades. Our abilities often dim. It's not what we do, but who we are. Human beings made in the image of God.

Men are the image of God in fierceness and passion. He is conquer, a lion, a champion, a victor.

Women are God's image of beauty, vulnerability, the desire to loved. We embody Christ's nurturing and gentleness. We desire to be delighted in – a characteristic of God. A.W. Tozer once said, “God waits to be wanted”. Isn't this the dream of every little girl? To be wanted, appreciated, part of someone's adventure? God also wants to be wanted, appreciated and part of our lives. He desires to unveil His majesty.

The world muddys the distinction between woman and man. Society demands men to be soft, and woman to be fierce. The Church requires men to be “good” and women to be servants.

But God already instilled in each of us the desire and ability to be who He created us to be. Men are meant to be masculine. They are meant to battle and conquer. They are meant to live an adventure. To rescue. To lead.

We women are meant to nurture. To inspire. To support. To add beauty. To be guardians.

Does that mean we aren't supposed to be strong as women? Or that it's wrong for men to be gentle? No, of course not. But a woman who is only fierce and not feminine, and a man who only can be gentle but has no back-bone – there is something wrong.

As women, we should be unashamed in our calling. We should embrace our femininity – it is our unique, God-given identity. And we should encourage our men to be men. Appreciate the wildness in our men! Be a cheerful partner in their adventure. Love their passion. Love the man who spends himself in a worthy cause. Cheer him on, and fight next to him. Admire the failure who dared to try – because he is a man, not a puppet, not a conformist, not a coward.

The next time we sigh because our brothers are being “boys” or when we are tempted to critique something in our Dad we can't relate to, when our man wants to venture on some crazy notion – maybe then would be a good time to be acknowledge our differences and be thankful for them. What would the world look like with just women? Or if all mankind was emasculated? Certainly not the world God desires.

We haven't been gypped. We too have an adventure to live, a life to conquer, a gauntlet to run. We too have passions. We also are asked to be lion-hearted. We don't have to give in to the idea that our life is to be ruled by romance novels, make-up, shopping and materialism. Being a woman of God means we are allowed to be who we were created to be, women warriors, faithful daughters, inspirations – guardians of our homes – warrior raisers. Hollywood depicts woman as the subplot where she is conquered and the adventure is over. Instead, we are to be won, but then that is only part of the story. Because then we get to start another adventure but with our dearest friend as our companion.

Embrace the difference. It's supposed to be this way. And God called it good.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Modesty -- Again.

Spiritual Lessons

This was such a good post on modesty, I had to share here.  I don't know Summer White personally, but loved what she had to say on this topic.


One time, my best friend and I decided we were going to do a podcast together. Our target audience would be women, and we made a blood oath never to discuss three things: [name redacted], modesty, and [topic redacted]. I figure this isn’t our podcast, so she’ll forgive me. And mostly, I’m only writing this because twenty-four people have inboxed me in the last two weeks and ask that we touch on the subject.

The entirety of my thoughts on modesty is this: be modest.

I know, it’s disappointing. Joy and I started Sheologians in the first place because we are convicted that there’s just so much out there, too much nuance in things that don’t require nuance, so much talk about things that don’t require half as much talk as they get. It’s simple.

But of course we’re a podcast for women! So people want us to talk about….clothes?

It’s funny, you know, how women so often want a seat at the theological table, or feel as if they aren’t even offered one to begin with, and then two women get microphones and the requests for a discussion about clothing come rolling in. Now, lest you think that I find this a lowly request, it’s not that my feelings are negative regarding the topic per se, I just can’t miss a chance to point out the irony. Further, the topic has been discussed and dissected ad nauseam. Brilliant theologians and wonderful, godly women have had much to say on the topic that is well-worth reading, thinking about, and living out. There is no gap for me to fill.

My ultimate conviction about modesty is that—and I’m willing to bet on this—the majority of women who are concerned with glorifying God in all aspects of their lives are already dressing modestly. I’m willing to cast a vote that says that women who have bothered themselves with studying, say, the Trinity, are convicted of Reformed theology, have an idea what they believe regarding eschatology, have taken the time to study baptism, can define the atonement, etc., you get the idea, are probably not the ones that feel lost when it comes to whether or not they should dress a certain way. That’s not to say that they are without flaw, but that one thing typically follows the other.

Knowing how to dress modestly is not the result of theological gymnastics or drawing a clear line from a text of Scripture. Dressing modestly is the outpouring of an understanding and commitment to honoring God. So many fudge on this topic, or feel uncomfortable with it, sometimes (or often?) because they have a bone to pick with sisters that don’t meet their personal standards or because they grew up in a setting where modesty was how many inches their skirt went past their fingertips. Frankly, if you think that’s what modesty is, then you are a part of the modesty problem in the church. If you think that modesty is only about the amount of skin you cover, even if you’re covered by today’s standards, the Puritans would still be blushing.

But we don’t like that, do we? We’re perfectly happy as Reformed folk to affirm the doctrine of the Trinity, even though the word “trinity” never appears in Scripture. We’re perfectly comfortable with plenty of systems of belief that aren’t spelled out for us in simple formulas, because the whole of Scripture testifies to their truth, but suddenly we have to determine from the whole of Scripture how we should dress and we’re lost. Some of us then do the worst thing possible, which is create our own personal standards and hold others to them—only in our heads though, because we would never walk up to a lady at church and let her know that her legging/tunic combo is unbiblical. We’ll just think it and be so thankful that at least we understand what qualifies as “respectable apparel” in 1 Timothy 2:9.

This is where you must indulge this old gal a moment to reminisce. I went to a private school once, and I distinctly remember the first time I witnessed a teacher approach a female student with a ruler. She made the student stand still while she measured how many inches were between the hem of the girl’s skirt and her knee. Now, I’m all for rules, and in case you’re unsure I am absolutely of the conviction that Christian women have a duty to dress modestly, but this student was a few centimeters short of the “two inch rule”, and she was sent to the office. I can’t help but wonder what she learned about holiness that day.

Maybe it seems a bit heavy handed to bring up serious, first-order doctrine in a discussion about clothing, but I am unsure how they can’t be related. Show me the woman who is serious about doctrine and I’ll bet she’s dressing modestly. Not all of us will like her style of dress. Maybe she has one too many ankle-length jean skirts in her closet or maybe she has a penchant for dying her hair a color you’re not a fan of. Maybe she wears too much makeup for your taste or maybe she doesn’t wear makeup at all and you’re unsure if you should have calmed down on the highlighting and contouring before you showed up to her birthday party. I don’t know. None of that matters. This woman that has honored God with her time by studying Scripture, by being a servant in her church, by loving her husband and children, by working to the glory of God, she’s not confused about her closet. Sure, she probably has moments like the rest of us when she’s frustrated at the store, because nothing seems to fit well and the way they cut clothes for women nowadays is appalling. But she’ll figure it out. Her goal will be to dress attractively, but not seductively. She’ll cover up without being frumpy (that’s the hardest part, isn’t it?).

I’m sympathetic. I’m a female, too, and yes, choosing clothes at the store can be difficult. But let’s not over-complicate the matter. Love God, love neighbor. Does that skirt you’re wearing bring honor to God? Wear it. Can you wear that shirt and love your neighbor? Wear it.

More than anything, let’s lay down our rolling pins the next time we see a sister whose clothing style we aren’t fans of. You want to encourage a sister in dressing modestly? Teach her how to love God. Come alongside her and talk about holiness. Study the Word with her. Focus on discipleship. You’ll be amazed to see just how quickly those first-order issues trickle down in to the smaller details of her life.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Quote of the Day

"There is much we can and should do for each other: encourage, challenge, support, and serve. But we cannot and should not do everything for others. This will only breed dependence. What we can always do, however, is to pray that God will bring hope, help, grace, and courage to those for whom we share concern. And it is our prayerful concern for others which may well lead us to practical actions based on discernment rather than a compulsive need to rescue others."

-Charles Ringma

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jesus, Deliverer of my Soul

Satan's attempt to devour, while Jesus delivered my soul

A personal testimony

Image result for in a lion's mouth

Satan is a roaring lion SEEKING whom he may DEVOUR. That's what 1 Peter 5:8 says, but I don't think we really believe it. At least, not until we've been targeted. What does the Bible tell us to do? To submit ourselves. To God. (James 4:7) To others. (1 Peter 5: 5-9) To humble ourselves. To resist. To standfast. To cast all our care upon Him. To be sober. To be vigilant.

Our hearts are so deceitfully wicked. We can be so self deceived as to where we are at, why we do things, and what we need. It's truly scary when you realize it. And our only hope is Christ Jesus.

If I could describe the past few months of my life... I could probably sum it up by saying that Satan had me in his mouth and was running full speed with me. Seriously. He wanted me isolated and alone. I'm not trying to exaggerate to scare anyone. But what the Bible says about Satan and about spiritual warfare is real. It's serious. It isn't to be taken lightly. I felt like I was being devoured from the outside in. And the worst part is, I had no idea. I knew something was wrong. I knew I wasn't happy. I knew I had lost my peace. I knew I needed help. I just didn't know where to turn to. But for the grace of God!

I feel like David in Psalm 40:2, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Or Psalm 18:5-7,16-17: "The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me, In my distress I called upon the LORD, and I cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy...."

What can a fierce lion do compared to the strength of my great Saviour? Nothing. All the ability Satan has to work or devour us, we give him willingly or unknowingly.

I just wanted to publicly thank and praise Him. He is good to the children of men. He is good to me. A burden has fallen away, and a load has been lifted. I can physically feel it, even though not much of my life circumstances have changed. :There's peace again. There's grace for others. There's love. I can say with assurance, "nothing between my soul and the Saviour". What a blessing it is! And I'd encourage you also, Christian, to keep submitting yourself and humbling yourself before God. That's when He works. That's when He delights to deliver us. That's when Satan flees. He's waiting to restore us again.

Also, I'm thankful for faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. Where would we be without the Church? Who pray fervently. Who follow the leading of God. Who love unconditionally. Who are willing to speak truth into my life. Who are willing to just "be there", whose example is encouraging even when they don't know what words to say.

"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me." (Psalm 142:7)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

“People shouldn't be ambivalent themselves just because everything else is, yet one constantly meets the view that, because we've been born into a world of contradictions, we must defer to it. Oddly enough, this thoroughly un-Christian attitude is especially common among self-styled Christians.

If it were so, how could one expect fate to make a just cause prevail when so few people unwaveringly sacrifice themselves for a just cause?” 

Image result for sophie schollSofie Scholl