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Marriage is great, but can I go home now?

So, ya, I know this is probably not the article you were expecting when I said I was going to be talking about marriage, but this is the one I’m going to write because well, I’m real like that. You’re welcome.

When I was single, I was talking to one of my friends who had recently gotten married and she told me that sometimes she just wanted to go home. Well, I laughed a little at the time, but I obviously thought she was crazy, or maybe she had problems with her husband or something. I just thought it was so sad that she had what so many other girls were looking and longing for, and she wasn’t as happy as she had ever been in her entire life.

……and then I got married.

Don’t get me wrong. There has not been one day or night that I have regretted marrying my husband. He is THE BEST guy I have ever met, and treats me so much better than most of the time I deserve. I love him with all my heart, and wouldn’t trade our life for the world, but if I’m honest, there have been times when I have woken up, or gone to bed, and thought to myself, “this marriage thing is really great and all, but can I go home now?”

-2
See, being married means you’re like basically an adult. You have to pay all your bills, and clean your house, and cook dinner, and go to work, and your husband has to do the same. It’s building a home and a life and that life is big and comes with many responsibilities; and being that I was a newlywed, it was all very new for me.

Home was established. Home was comforting. Home I was taken care of. Home I didn’t have to pay the electric bill or go grocery shopping. Our life together was just getting started, I was learning and my new husband was learning how to take care of our responsibilities and how to take care of each other. We were excited to do it! But our life and our home was not firmly rooted yet as the homes we came from. Our home together was just a baby seedling needing lots of time and care and attention- all of which we were only just learning how to give.

I have learned a lot in my first year and a half of marriage, if only just that I still have a lot to learn, and that God gives us the grace we need to learn and grow in every new chapter of life. This season has required me to be a stronger, more dependent, more independent, more understanding, more forgiving, more apologetic, more open and honest, more of me than I have ever been, but I am learning. We both are, and as we learn and as we grow, we get better at being home for one another, and this life is getting more wonderful every day.

Soon, my hallways will be filled with the sounds of our little girl, and I will have to grow again and learn again, and I can’t wait. I can’t wait for us to be a family, and for us to have put a whole new level of joy on the home we are building together, and for this house and this man and my family to feel that much more like home- my home, our home, the home we have made together with our love, sweat, and tears.

If you are getting married soon, or have been married recently, take encouragement from this post that maybe you aren’t alone in feeling a tad overwhelmed, maybe a little homesick at times, and vastly unprepared for what is unfolding before you. God will grow you into the person you need to be, God will grow your husband into the person he needs to be, and you will find your home to be as wonderful as the two of you make it together.

If you’re still single, and marriage is not in the immediate plan, tuck this one away in your heart for future reference, and expect marriage to be not only wonderful, but also a little difficult at first, as I imagine it is for everyone.

And if you have been married for a while, maybe look back and laugh, and thank God for how far you have come, and, while you’re talking to Him, say a prayer that in all of our homes, new and old, we will live in ways that bring glory to our God.

:)

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So you think you’re ready for a long distance relationship?

So you think you're ready for a long distance relationship? thefulltimegirl.com

I have gotten several emails from girls asking about long distance relationships so I wanted to take some time to talk about them here. As most of you know, I have been in a long distance relationship with my soon to be husband for the past year and a half, but what you don’t know…
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10

Is all Guilt from God?

tftg

“You’re a sinner.” “You’re not good enough.” “You’re too far gone.” “You’re too damaged.” “God can’t forgive you.” “Remember that one time?” These little reminders wear us down every day. They keep us discouraged. They keep us “broken.” They keep us from serving God, and taking the victory in our Christian walk. They keep our…
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5

Let Hope Arise: an open letter to the families of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary

To the families of the children of Sandy Hook, 

As I sit on Monday morning and listen to the many sounds of my own school building where I teach, I think about what it must have been like on Friday morning just a few miles away at Sandy Hook Elementary. Just a normal day in a small town elementary school with teachers and students starting their daily routine. With such a broken heart, it is hard to bear to imagine the events that unfolded that morning upon those innocent lives- the evil that manifested itself in the most tragic and devastating way possible in the most vulnerable of places in our community. When I look at the faces of my students, the innocent faces we love and would die to protect, I see the faces of your children. We have hugged and cried and grieved for your losses. I cannot pretend to imagine the depth of your pain, and the love that you hold for your dear little children. However, I do know someone who loves those babies far more than you ever could, and I do know He is holding them in His arms right now.

God loves your little children. Through Jesus’ life, we see that little children are especially close to the heart of God. As you weep as grieving parents, and as we weep with you as your neighbors, we can expect that God Himself has wept too over what has been done- how one man used the god given gift of free will for evil instead of for good. He feels the pain in your heart. He alone can understand and bear the burdens you will bear forever. The very arms that hold your children close right now are available to you as well.

Jesus calls us all. As children of this world, we can know nothing but sorrow. Nothing but pain and grief are available outside of His Hand. We can mask it or numb it, but I promise you this: healing is available only at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Sin has made its dark mark on this world long before December 14. Since the very first man and woman chose to sin, we have all transgressed the holiness of God. Together, we have broken every one of God’s laws and, as a result, we deserve nothing but death and hell; but God in His incredible, merciful love did what no one else could. He sent his only son to take our punishment, and bear the burden of every evil done in this world- past, present, and future. Jesus was crushed under the weight of His Father’s wrath so that we might never have to taste eternal punishment for our sin. Every evil ever done was borne by Jesus and paid for by Jesus so that we, the sinners, might be made free. He asks us to lay our sin aside and turn to Him, and, in return, he offers mercy, forgiveness, healing, hope, and peace.

You and I could never be good enough to outdo the sacrificial death of Jesus. We have broken God’s laws and are too filthy to stand before the good, righteous, holy God and be pardoned on our own. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6

The dear children you lost are now children of God, and the Bible gives proof that little children who leave this world without being able to fully understand the choice between Heaven and Hell are immediately taken to heaven. God may have even taken their little souls right before they were hit because He is loving and able to do anything. We don’t know. All we know is that they are with Him now, and these beautiful children long to see you again forever.

The only Hope and the only way to go to them is through Jesus.

He has paid the price of our deserved judgement so that we might be free. He calls us all. All who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him for rest- to cast our sin and our pain and our burdens at His feet so that he can hold us up, and that we might see the beauty of Heaven and walk the streets hand in hand with those who have gone before us.

The loss of these innocent children is devastating, but Jesus offers peace and comfort and grace to hurting hearts if you only will come to His feet. Try as we may as your friends and neighbors, we can never offer the comfort that God can so He is what we offer to you. The healing of Jesus’ nail-scarred hand is far better than a thousand tears we could cry for your children, the peace of a home in heaven is far better than any hug, and the comfort of His arms is greater than any word of consolation we could ever offer.

This is what we give to you, not of ourselves, but it is what God offers to any man or woman who will come and ask. He promises that they will receive love, grace, mercy, peace, comfort, healing, forgiveness, joy, and a home in heaven with God and those who are already there. As we grieve the losses of your children and celebrate their lives, know that your families have touched the hearts of so many in our community, our country, and around the world. Our prayer is that through their tragic loss, you will come to know our Jesus, and that, together, we can be the love and light of hope that our dark world desperately needs.

With deepest sympathy and love and prayers,

Lauren DeMoss

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1
Please share and feel free to comment with your love and support for the families. 
4

The Best-kept Beauty Secret

The world says the secrets to beauty are in diet pills, tanning booths, breast augmentations, wrinkle creams, and liposuction.  We, of course, know this is untrue, but a lot of times as women {even christian women}, although we know this in our heads, we allow ourselves to be deceived by the lies of the world and Satan. Satan is bombarding us with the lie that we are simply not good enough. Whether “not good enough” means, not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough, not funny enough. Whatever it might be, Satan wants us to believe that we are not good enough to be loved.

Where can we as women take our definition of beauty from?

1. Media– tv, magazines, internet, etc.
2. Friends– there are always prettier, skinnier, funnier, lovelier girls.
3. Men– our fathers, or boyfriends, or husbands. We can take our definitions from these men. Whether they are good or bad, girls, if we take our definitions from them, we will be an emotional mess. If they are nice to us, we feel good and worthy; but, when they treat us badly, it can have devastating results. So many women give themselves away to men expecting love in return, and then the men turn around and leave and the women are left with nothing.

4. Ourselves– pressure to be perfect, do things always right, so we can measure up. How many have thought, “I’m such an idiot.. or a loser.. or an outsider?” We all have.

5. OR we can take our definitions from the positive aspects in you life. See, the world ascribes MORE value if you are beautiful and have a perfect body, but, ladies, it is just as evil and misguided for you to be defined by, “I’m pretty, I’m smart. I’m wealthy…” as it is to be defined by the opposite. Not that is evil to BE those things, we all want to be our best selves, but it IS wrong for these things to define you.

So how can we change this deceptive perception?

We have to throw off the definitions of the world. God never meant for us to sit at home and feel horrible about ourselves. He also never meant for us to place our worth is a hollow propped up sense of worthiness. Remember it is just as incorrect for your definition to be, “I am pretty or smart.” as it is for it to say, “I am ugly and unworthy of love.”

Let’s talk about the “Inner Beauty” myth.

Despite the impossible standard of beauty coming from the world, the world constantly tells us that, “Your real beauty comes from within. Just learn to love yourself the way you are. Then, you can love others. Look deep inside you for your own special and unique beauty.”

Well, today I’m going to tell you that they are wrong.

Because not only do we have to remember that we are not what the world tells us, but let’s really remember that we are nothing without Christ. We do not possess anything beautiful or worth in and of ourselves. You might be thinking, “That’s a little harsh.” Yes, but it is the truth.

Any thing we can muster up within ourselves is propped up and hollow. We can not look within ourselves for our beauty and strength we must look to Jesus.

In Ezekiel 16, God is speaking to the nation of Israel but also each of us as individuals.

Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. Ezekiel 16:1-5

The Bible makes it very clear we are born into Sin, not beauty. We are born into ugliness and thrown out into an open field in filth and blood- the blood of shame and guilt-and deserving of death. As a result of sin, the essence of beauty we were originally supposed to be born with is warped and twisted. Our womanly souls are no longer beautiful, but warped and ugly, and deformed.

And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel 16:6-14

He gave us a major makeover, My Fair Lady style, and handed to us a beauty that is NOT our own at all. There we were lying naked in our own blood and shame, and Jesus called us to life. Against all reason and comprehension, Christ had compassion on us. Not because we were attractive to him or beautiful, but because HE is unbelievable beautiful love. While we were yet sinners, He rescued us, and made us His own, and gave us hope and worth and beauty, because we now belong to Him.

Everything good about us is from the hands of Christ. Jesus Christ is so beautiful, and when we find our identity in Him alone, we are defined with HIS beauty. What an special special honor and privilege to leave a mark of Christ’s beauty on this world.

Charles Spurgeon said it perfectly, “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”

I am not special because of me– who I am, what I look like, my personality, or my performance in my job, school, or sports, my ministry or something deep inside myself that is beautiful or unique or lovely; BUT I am special because of Jesus– because of all the wonderful things that HE is, and because He lives inside of me and has complete control of my heart, and He has clothed me in His beauty to showcase to the world.

The world says embrace your beauty. The Bible says lay it aside. The world says those who are alive to themselves are beautiful, the Bible says those who are dead to themselves are truly beautiful.

Ian Thomas, “The Christian life can be explained ONLY in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you- your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything- then although you maybe have the Christian life, you are not yet living it.”

We are not called to showcase our own “special unique” beauty to the world because really without God we have none. We are called to point people to Jesus Christ. We are called to showcase HIS stunning and captivating beauty. Isn’t that the whole point of the gospel message?

For whosever shall lose His life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. Mark 8:35

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24–25

As christian women we are so concerned with ourselves so many times. It is all about “me” and how “I feel.” We think, “Well.. enough about what the world thinks about me and what I think of me…what does God say about me??”

Do you want to know what God says?

God says, “Give it up!! Its not about you at all! It’s about Me and MY glory. NOT YOURS. You are supposed to die to yourself and be alive unto ME.”

There is a thread of history, and on this huge long timeline, there is a Main Character and it is NOT you or I. We are nothing more than a speck, and 50 years or a 100 years or 1,000 years down the road, it is not going to matter how you FEEL about yourself today.

Only what we do to impact eternity for Christ and the gospel.. THAT matters. We are not called and sanctified and set apart by God so that we can “feel good about ourselves.” We are called to be warriors for Christ. We are called to be his hands and feet in a world and a generation that desperately needs HIM. We are called to be Proverbs 31 women. Women who bravely carry out the beauty of the gospel. Women who are so busy doing God’s work and shining God’s light they do not have time to sit at home and fret about themselves.

Of course we are lovely, beautiful, confident daughters of God, but how do we become those things? Not by telling ourselves how special we are every day, not by mustering up something in ourselves, but by focusing on Christ and HIS beauty and working towards His glory.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Galatians 5:24

We can not be focused on ourselves and make an impact on eternity for the gospel.

Think of all the women down through history who have made an impact on the world for Christ. It was NOT because they “loved themselves.” They changed their world because they really didn’t think of themselves at all!! The gave up themselves and were consumed with Christ.

Amy Carmichael once wrote about her frustrating search for set-apart women to join her in her ministry of rescuing Indian Children from being sold into prostitution. “I wrote to all the pastors in the region, asking if they had any women wholly devoted to our Lord and separate in spirit from the world who were likely to be free for this work.” The pastors replied, “Not only have we NO women like this, but we do not know of even one woman of the kind you want.”

Sadly, girls, this is true. “Christian” women are everywhere, but to find a woman who is wholly devoted to Christ and separated from the world is very very rare. So many women go to church and claim to have a relationship with God, and even maybe do serve in the church somehow; yet, have selfish, sinful, self or world-loving natures. It is so much easier to build our lives around worldly applause and selfish pleasure and fit Christ in somewhere than to radically pour out our lives in sacrificial devotion to Him.

“What is the secret to great living? Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts.” Amy Carmichael

True and real and soul-deep beauty is found through absolute abandonment to the Author of all beauty. The real “beauty secret” is found by exchanging a life consumed with self {negatively OR positively} for a life consumed with Jesus Christ, by trading the desire to be attractive to those around us for the longing to be attractive to Jesus Christ alone.

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What is “Christian love” though?

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say. -Martin Luther

“Love” has become sort of a “pet-virtue” of American Christian society. “Christians are supposed to love” has become a term used to bully Christians who actually stand up for Christ into shutting their mouths in the name of “Christian love.”

In talking about love, our generations pet-virtue, Fred Rogers said, “It is an active noun, like ‘struggle.'”

I liked that. Because, all too often, our definition of “love” is too close to the world’s definition of “tolerance” or “respect.” Dictionary.com defined “tolerance” as “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry; a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.”

This is the definition people have adopted for “Christian love”, and it is NOT Biblical love. Are we really called to have “a permissive attitude toward” sinful lifestyles that differ from the Bible? Are we called to keep our mouths shut and “don’t judge”? The world says, “You can have your Jesus and your religion, but don’t force it on me…” Is that what the Bible says we are supposed to do?

Let’s talk about it.

So Jesus loved, right? Yes. More than anyone who has or will ever live. He loved. He loved us so much that He left the splendor of heaven to come to our crummy sin-filled earth and live 33 years. In that 33 years, he did all things for God’s glory. No matter the opinion of man, He loved us enough to openly rebuke sin. He loved us enough to tell us the way we were living was wrong. He loved us enough to extend grace and mercy when it was warranted and speak the stinging truth when it was called for. He loved us enough to tell us God’s way is not only better, but best. He loved us enough to make people so mad with what He was telling them that they tried to kill him {more than once}. Then He loved us enough endure hatred, betrayal, lying, beating, spitting, whipping, crucifixion, the weight of sin, and the wrath of God all so that we could come to know His father. He sacrificed his life and perfect communion with God so that we do not have to spend an eternity in hell, but in heaven with God.

Jesus Christ had a LOVE that moved Him to ACT without FEAR on behalf of TRUTH. This is the love we are called to have.

Too many Christians in America today sit in their homes, go and sing in their churches, and live their lives without EVER experiencing real soul-stirring Biblical love for another person. Love that puts another person above themselves. Love that holds no reservations when speaking the truth about the gospel and what it contains. Love that puts the eternal soul of another person above all the mockery and offense from the world. Love that SPEAKS out for God and what He is really all about.

You see, Christianity starts with tolerance. Jesus says, “Come as you are, but then, I’m going to change you.” If we never call people to repentance, if we never say “The way you’re thinking is wrong, the way you’re acting is wrong, the lifestyle you’ve chosen, the identity you’ve embraced, the actions that you celebrate are ones you should be mourning,” then we’re no longer Christians. We’re no longer faithful. We’re no longer loving.

This tolerant “Christian love” that American Christianity wants to claim today teaches that Jesus was always in love with everyone and never got angry and walked around patting children on the head all the time. And as a result, we have raised a generation of Christians who will not even stand up for themselves, let alone stand up for God and the right. We teach them to give up their backbone in fear of man… and this mystical “nice-guy” Jesus. That’s not my Jesus or the Jesus of the Bible.

R. C. Sproul says, ‘When I became a Christian, I understood that Jesus took my sin away. What I never heard from Him was that He intended to take my backbone away.”

“Tolerance” can’t confront this world’s sources of pain. “Niceness” makes people agreeable, not good. Somehow we have mistaken niceness for righteousness.

“I’ve learned through the years that seekers are not impressed with spinelessness. Most of the time, seekers respect and admire Christians who aren’t afraid to take a stand. Seekers have little respect for weak Christians. Deep down they’re looking for somebody–anybody–to step up and PROCLAIM the truth and then to LIVE it boldly.” Bill Hybels

The love that the Bible commands us to have is a love that motivates us to act without fear on behalf of truth. It calls us to be like our Savior who is full of grace AND truth. As in Ephesians where Paul instructs the church leaders who were passionate against perversion of truth, but were not motivated by Biblical love of God and man.

Good people are both gentle and rugged. Jesus was the embodiment of both qualities depending on the circumstance.

Love does not call for “no offense.” It IS power to overcome the fear of offending.

God the father doesn’t mince words. There is nothing mealy in his mouth. He isn’t touchy, and he doesn’t make us walk on eggshells. Because God is good, he is solid and firm, so you don’t have to guess what he thinks. That is the exact opposite of cowardly, fake “loving” people.

We should thank God that rather than being nice, he is holy. We should be grateful that we are not the descendants of fearful men, but of spiritual fathers who were unafraid, to speak, to write, and to defend causes that then, just as now, were ridiculed.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Read the gospels and get to know the real Jesus without the “gentle” cultural bias, and you will discover He portrayed very little of this fake virtue we have come to call “Christian love.” He was sarcastic and rough and unconventional and courageous and confrontational and good. In most churches today, if they were honest, they would say, absurdly, Christ is not a “Christian.” He brought division and conflict to a world that desperately needed it, and He was motivated by the righteousness and love and glory of His father.

People want a guilt-free life. They don’t want the mockery from our Don’t-judge-me generation. They don’t want to stand up for God because they don’t want to face criticism from the world. Think of how pleasing the illusion of a conflict free life is. Who can confront you with criticism if you never do anything noticeable?

God says the righteous are as bold as a lion standing up for injustice and fighting against what they know to be untrue.

Realize that what we often call valorous modern-day “Christian love” has nothing to do with the virtue of being kind or loving, and has everything to do with cowardly passivity in disguise.

Sadly, this cowardly passivity is hurting the cause of Christ. It is turning men into mice, and Christians into closed-mouthed cowards- too afraid to really say what Bible says about sin and hell and call people to repentance- too afraid of “offending”- too afraid to step on anyone’s toes, and it is sending people to hell.

We can not keep hiding what the Bible says or the world will go to hell. The Bible does not need us to protect it. Our calling is to PREACH it.

Charles Spurgeon put it this way,

“It is absolutely necessary to the preaching of the gospel of Christ that men be warned as to what will happen if they continue in their sins. Ho, ho, sir surgeon, you are too delicate to tell the man that he is ill! You hope to heal the sick without their knowing it. You therefore flatter them, and what happens? They laugh at you; they dance upon their own graves. At last they die! Your delicacy is cruelty; your flatteries are poisons; you are a murderer. Shall we keep men in a fool’s paradise? Shall we lull them into soft slumbers from which they will awake in Hell? Are we to become helpers of their damnation by our smooth speeches? In the name of God, we will not.”

Wake up! We wouldn’t refrain from running into our neighbor’s house engulfed in flames because we were afraid to “offend them,” would we? No! And there is a fire much worse and an eternity of suffering awaiting those who do not know, and we are going to claim that not telling them is “Christian love?” Really?

That is loving no one but ourselves.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Romans 13:11

“God’s justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity. The vague and tenuous hope that God is ‘too kind’ to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity, while death draws everyday nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded. As responsible moral beings, we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.” – A. W. Tozer

We are called to be bold. We are called to have the love that Jesus had– A love that motivated us to act without fear on behalf of truth. 

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

There is no time for us to be cowardly. There is no time for us to keep our mouths shut. People are condemned to hell already. It is time to get up and fight. It is time to open our mouths. We have to warn them that without Christ’s covering over their sins, they will undoubtedly go to an eternal hell.

We have to stop thinking of ourselves, and being afraid to take a stand. We have to be motivated by a real love that moves us to action just as our spiritual fathers long before us fought to see the souls of men snatched from the fire. Just as every martyr down through history gave their very lives preaching the TRUTH of God’s word to a sinful, dying world. We have got to be moved by a REAL LOVE to speak out for God. This is the Love of Jesus Christ. Thank God that He loved us enough to act.

 

2

Save your sympathy.

It’s Sunday. You’re sitting in church. You’re watching a missionary presentation. You’re eyes are glued to the screen. You’re ears have tuned out all sound except for that of the presentation.You see the images of those who live in a place where this is no church or ministry reaching the people. You hear the statistics. You feel your heart began to race; your breathing begin to deepen. You are captivated in almost a romantic way. You know you’ve got to do something to help. Maybe you’ll never actually physically go to where the people in the presentation are, but you know you can give something…do something…do ANYTHING. You have to. It’s what the cause of the Christ and his Kingdom demands.

Church is dismissed. The images and sounds of the presentation are still fresh in your heart and mind. You’re determined. You’re going to do more–more than you’ve ever done before to get the gospel to those who need it–to those who have never heard it. Today, you’re committed to changing for the better. Today, you’ve made the choice to be more compassionate.

It’s Monday. You’ve got errands to run. You walk out of your house and see your neighbor of 5 years–a neighbor you haven’t invited to church in a while; a neighbor you’ve never taken time to share the gospel with. You wave, and say hi. You hop into your car and drive to your favorite store. The parking lot is full of people. The moment you see them, all you can think is, “I can not WAIT to get out of this place.” You’re now on a mission–get in and out without as little human contact as possible. You walk through the packed parking lot with your eyes forward, ducking and dodging anybody who even looks like they’ve got something to say. You’re simply too busy today. You’ve got a lot to do. You’re not a mean person by any means. You’ve just got a limited amount of time and a long list of priorities.

You get into the store, and your new mission goes into code red. There are people–people everywhere. You pull out your shopping list and start to execute your master plan. Just as soon as you get going, you bump into an old classmate. You’re glad to see them. You hug them. You both share a few details about how things are going. Nothing too deep. Just the basics. Then you’re on your way. There was no mention of the Savior. There was no mention of YOUR Savior.

You continue walking through the store. Aisle after aisle, person after person, soul after soul. Men, women, boys, and girls. All of them in need of the truth that you have–the truth that will remain unshared today. You’ve been given the cure for the sin of all men, but you’ve kept it to yourself. A cure that is unadministered is nothing more than a death sentence. Your silence is not golden. You silence is crimson. For your silence is what will stain your hands with the blood of those you did not share the precious gospel of Christ with.

On Sunday, you said you’d do more. You said you’d BE more–be more compassionate. Yet on Monday, when given the chance to do just that, you did the exact opposite. Why? Because you were not moved with compassion. You were filled with emotion. You were filled with sympathy.

Now before you get me wrong, I’m not here to condemn anybody by any means at all. I’m guilty of being the person in the above example. This really isn’t so much a blog post as it is a soliloquy. Again, I am not here to tear down my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am here to speak the truth in love, and the simple fact is that sometimes, the truth hurts. We need it though. We need to be confronted and challenged at times. We need to be pushed outside of the 4 walls of our Christian comfort zone. That’s my motive for writing this post–to push myself and others out of the place of complacency and into a place of real, Christ-like compassion. Not just for those around the world, but for the souls in our own cities and towns right here at home.

“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34

The word compassion comes from the Latin phrase meaning “co-suffering”. When Christ saw the multitudes in this passage of the Bible, He did not merely sympathize with their pain. He felt it. He identified with it. he took it upon himself, not just to feel their pain, but to DO something about it. Most Believers today feel a great deal of sympathy in regards to the people of the world, but many of us do not love them with a Godly, Christ-like compassion.

Today, the world tells us that true love and compassion equals tolerance. This is plainly not true. True love–true compassion does not tolerate sin. True love and compassion does something ABOUT it. God did not look down from heaven, see our sinful condition, and just feel sorry for us. He took action and sent His only Son, in the fullness of time, to save us (John 3:16; Galations 4:4-5). Christ did not come to earth to tolerate our sin. He came to do something about it. He came to free us from it. Like John the Baptist said,

“Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.”

So true love and true compassion have nothing to do with tolerating the problem and everything to do with DOING something about the problem.

In verse 35 of Mark chapter 6, you read,

“And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:”

One verse prior, we see the Savior moved with compassion. But in this verse we see his disciples with a completely different perspective. There were multitudes of people all around them. People from all over the place just wanting to catch a glimpse of the Savior, and yet the disciples did not see the great opportunity that they had been given. They were apparently more concerned about how late in the day it was. How often is that the perspective we have? Scores upon scores of people around us and we’re too busy looking at our circumstances to see their souls. We love the watch the videos of people in foreign places, but when it comes to the people right outside of our homes, we don’t think twice. That’s not compassion.

Now, I have nothing against supporting foreign missions. I think every church and every Christian should. But we cannot go on neglecting the mission fields that we’re already on. Your job. Your college campus. Your neighborhood. The local mall or super market. All of these places have one thing in common…THEY ARE FILLED WITH PEOPLE. And those people have souls–souls that Christ wants to save. God tells us that He’s not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2nd Peter 2:9). We’ve all heard and read that verse, but do we really get it? If we did, I think we’d be a lot more concerned about the people in our hometowns.

In Acts chapter 1, the first century Believers were commanded to reach, by the power of God through the Holy Spirit, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. How were to to accomplish this? More importantly, how are WE to accomplish this task today? It’s simple. We need to be willing to GIVE to support missions internationally, and we need to be willing to GO and support missions locally. Most of us find it easy to support missions work in other places. But if we were really compassionate like Christ was, we’d be more willing to go into the “highways and hedges” of our own cities and towns and compel people to come meet the Savior (Luke 14:23).

I know I haven’t shared anything new or previously unheard, but that’s just the thing. I think that maybe we’ve heard these kinds of things from the Scriptures so many times without really taking them to heart that we’ve become complacent, and ,in some cases, down-right cold. Sure, we get that sinking feeling in our guts whenever we see images of people in a missionaries video presentation, or hear statistics about how many people who have not heard the gospel message, but sitting around getting caught up in our feelings is NOT what Christ called us to do. That can not and will not fulfil the Great Commission. Go. Ye. That’s what’s going to get the job done.

As nice as I know how to say it, Dear Christian, save your sympathy, because your sympathy is not going to save a dying world. Only a Christ-like compassion that moves you to take action will.

– Ben Sebrell

About the Author:
Hi. I’m Ben Sebrell. To put it simply, I’m basically a dude with a laptop and a Bible. I got saved when I was 13 years old, and since then I’ve seen God do some amazing things in my life. I’m blessed in ways I will never be able to articulate. I am currently serving as the music/worship leader at my local church (Hampton Roads Independent Baptist Church) under my father, Roger Sebrell, who is the pastor. I surrendered to preach in the summer of 2010 and Lord willing, I’ll be able to start Bible college in January of next year.
I’m seriously honored and humbled to have been asked to write a post for TheFullTimeGirl. I do not take opportunities like this one lightly. My prayer is that those who read this post will be changed, challenged, and better equipped to to serve the Savior.

More Posts by Ben

Visit Ben’s Website

16

Making peace with Proverbs 31

The Proverbs 31 woman is slightly daunting for the modern woman. A woman who gets up early only to have her entire life revolve around sewing, cooking, cleaning, and bearing children? To be honest, it doesn’t sound very appealing. And, how am I supposed to be a Proverbs 31 woman if I don’t even have a family yet??

Not unlike the world’s false standards of “beauty” that we fall short of, God seems to have provided for us yet another impossible standard that we could never measure up to. Why even bother to try??

We find ourselves picking only the verses we like, and leaving out the rest. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future.” Hmm. I see this quoted a lot. Who doesn’t want to be clothed with strength and dignity? This girl seems fashionable and fun! Why not be that girl and leave the rest?

Because God’s word is not a menu for us to pick and choose from. It is all or nothing.

Let’s see what this woman is really all about…

Who can find a virtuous woman?

What does that even mean? The word for “virtuous” here actually means, “strength, might, valor, and power.” It is the same word used to describe David when God had chosen Him to be king. This Proverbs 31 woman is to have the heroic strength that led David to kill lions and bears, and lead armies into the battles of the Lord to destroy the Lord’s enemies. She is to let nothing stand in the way of God’s purposes in her life. She possesses the strength of God in all she does, and claims His victory over the world.

“God made me a girl. And He did that on purpose. But He asks me to become the kind of girl who is actually useful to His kingdom purposes. I need to become the sort of girl who is unafraid to poke my head into the battle of the ages and cry out, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who is blaspheming the armies of the living God?” God wants me to wrestle. God wants to stick grit in my girliness. He wants me to be prepared to tangle, to interlock my soul in this eternal combat—- not with other girls, not with sweaty boys, but with Him, and with the otherworldly powers of darkness. He wants me to wrestle in prayer, to grab ahold of His great and precious promises and fight to see them unfurled in living reality on this Earth.” -Leslie Ludy

So the Proverbs 31 woman does more than cook dinner on time and keep a spotless house? She is busy serving the Lord. She does her work with her hands unto the Lord, and not unto men. She serves the Lord to the best of her ability in every capacity that she is called. She has compassion on others, seeks to help others, and is kind in all she does. Others are proud to know her and honored by her friendship.

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry, and her clothing is silk and purple.

This girl takes care of herself, and presents herself with grace and dignity for her Lord. She does not neglect her appearance in the name of “spirituality,” nor does she draw attention to herself with her body. She possesses the set-apart femininity that God has cultivated inside of her, and dresses accordingly to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. We can literally get up, get dressed, put our makeup on to the glory of the Lord, and to present ourselves with grace and dignity to others in His name.

Strength and honor are her clothing.

There is that word again, STRENGTH. As women, we often feel as though we are supposed to be quiet and controlled by everyone around us. We feel constantly “Shhh’d.” The Bible says we are supposed to be of a “meek and quiet spirit.”

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4

That does not mean that we are to have NO personality, and we are supposed keep our heads down and not speak to people. That would be the opposite of honoring to God. It simply means that we are to adorn ourselves on the inside and place value on that above all else. We are to have a graceful, selfless attitude so that we do not draw vain attention to ourselves so that others will constantly see the beauty of Jesus Christ in our lives, and speech, and actions. It is possible to have a friendly, outgoing personality AND the gentle, selfless spirit that God considers of great price.

“When He [God] talks of their losing their selves, He means only abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.” -C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

She will rejoice in time to come.

God has given us so many promises to take care of those who walk uprightly and seek to please Him in all that they do. When we are looking to Him to fulfill His promises we can walk in His peace and His strength. The strength that the Proverbs 31 woman exudes is not in and of herself. It is from the mighty hands of God. Because of our trust in His strength and not our own, we can attempt to live lives that other women would not even attempt. So often, we expect far too little of our great and mighty God.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phillipians 4:13

Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

When people think of this woman, they think of Jesus. She is praised not because of her own beauty, but because she is clothed with HIS beauty and HIS strength and HIS honor. When God is given His rightful place in our lives, then He can transform our personalities and everything He made in us to reflect His beauty and grace.

We are not called to live holy lives on our own. We could never do it. We are called to live in His strength though so that the world can look at us and say, “There is no way that she is doing all that in her own strength.” When we show the world His strength instead of trying to measure up on our own, we can draw attention to Him through our lives.

Her price is far above rubies.

The Proverbs 31 woman remembers the price that was paid for her- a price far above the most costly vanities of earth. Jesus Christ bought and paid for her with His precious blood. He did not pay this price only for her salvation. He bought her very soul. She belongs to God, and through this transaction, she is enabled to live a valiant, virtuous life through the strength of Jesus. When she is completely abandoned to her Savior, she can showcase not her own, but HIS strength, and beauty, and grace.

It is time that we stop shying away from things that seem too hard or too big to measure up to. It is time we embrace the strength of our Savior so that we may can be marked with the valor of Proverbs 31. It is time that we as women embrace the example of Proverbs 31, and live a life in the strength and dignity of our Savior for His glory.

**
 

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

10

Stop waiting. Start living.

Growing up, I had always dreamed of finding the guy of my dreams, falling in love, getting married, and living happily ever after. That was the goal. That is when my life would begin.

Well, the years went by with still no luck in relationships, and I started to think, I am in my 20’s….. and I may not be married till I am in my 30’s, and I am waiting to “begin my life” until my wedding day. Will I someday look back on my younger years and think that I wasted them? Wasted them wishing for a guy to come save me…wishing for a life someone else had… wishing for my fairytale ending?

No. Not me. I will not waste these days, because I will not get them back. There are things I can do, and focus on, and strive for right now that I would not get to do if I was married with children. God has a plan for this time, and I will not miss it, by wishing my life away or feeling bad for myself when I am right where God wants me.

This life is not about me.

I am not promised tomorrow. I could die before I ever get married…. or I may possibly never get married. It may just not be in God’s plan. Could I be content with my life if that happened?

It is all about Him. The end. Not getting the stuff we want out of serving Him.

Everyone wants it. That perfect relationship. The one where he calls you beautiful, and special, and his. The one where everything reminds you of that person. The one where when you spend time together, you are completely happy and at peace. The one where you just know…. you just know that you were meant for each other.

He is my perfect forever relationship. I have found who I was meant for… and, here is the cool part, you are meant for Him too. Each and every one of us were meant for God. You and God were literally made for each other.

No, really and seriously, you were made FOR God, and made to be with Him. He made you for Himself.

I can not tell you the freedom came when I realized that God is my other half…. and not just until someone better comes along. It is not about getting what we want out of God, It is about being completely His.

You were created to bring Him pleasure with your fellowship, with your singing, with your beauty, with your praise, with your love.

He is the One for you. He is our true love, our fulfillment, and our joy.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1a

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:10

So many of us are searching for that person here on earth. We are waiting for a somebody to come along and fill the void. We look for a completer piece to an emptiness in our hearts that was meant for God alone to fill, and until we discover this, we will not be whole, relationship or not.

You were made perfectly by God with everything you need to bring Him joy and glory. He made your face exactly how he loves it. He gave you the perfect hair, skin, and teeth to bring a smile to his face. Your personality is just right for Him. When He looks at you, He is enthralled with your beauty. He is always there to listen and give the best and most perfect answer.

Out of all of God’s creations, you are one of His very favorites.

He longs to have a relationship with you. He longs for you to know His love. He longs to fill your heart, and give you peace and satisfaction with His promises and comforts found in His word. It pleases Him to be number one in our hearts, and to obey His words out of a heart of love.

He loves you more than anyone you have ever known on earth with a love you could not even imagine. He is your other half. Fall in love with Jesus. That’s it. He offers so much more than anyone in this world ever could give, and it is a relationship better than any you will ever know.

A human being on earth can never fulfill what was meant to be filled by the one you were made for, and it will destroy your relationships if you expect them to. You will have a miserable life and marriage if that relationship is where you find your identity….. even if it hasn’t happened yet.

God will never leave you or forsake you. He comforts, and restores. He leads you and guides you. He is your best friend, and your closest ally. He knows you the best and loves you the most.

The LORD has appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3

God is the end. He is our happy ending. Christ is our goal. A husband is great and a blessing from God, and there is nothing wrong with getting married. I certainly still want to… but, if God has chosen to keep me for Himself, and to be completely and solely His for a while longer…. or even forever, I can be content with that. It even makes me feel special. Because I am made whole, filled up, and complete… and in love with Him. Because, even after marriage, no one will complete me and fulfill me like Jesus does.

There will be a wedding one day, more beautiful than we could ever imagine, when our Prince will come. When a nail-scarred hand will reach out and take ours, and lead us through the gates of heaven to forever be with our Bride-groom. This is the wedding day that is our goal.. that is the happy ending, and that day is only the beginning. This is the day that should give us butterflies in our stomachs, and this is the day we should be preparing ourselves for.

So… Stop waiting, and start living. Start living for the One who loves you. Start falling more in love with Him everyday. Start finding your everything in His arms. Stop wasting your days pining over whats not in God’s plan yet. Stop waiting to give your everything to someone else. Fall in love with Jesus, and give your everything to Him.

Your life is now.

******************

This song by Casting Crowns is amazing. It tells of this the day we will meet our Bride-groom. I wanted to share it with you…I can not wait for this day.