Sunday, December 23, 2012

Freedom from Beauty: Day 22

Twenty-two days has gone surprisingly quick. Christmas is almost here and though my fast is coming to a close, the lessons I've learned from it will always remain. Most of what I learned was revealed within the first few days and has already been shared on this blog, but here are a few other things:
  • What we do matters. I think all to often we justify this and tell ourselves that it doesn't matter, no one is paying attention, people shouldn't judge us anyway, and so we can do what we want. This is simply just not the truth. I think of my daughter who is watching absolutely everything I do. She is watching everyone around her and taking it all in. I'll notice her imitating things I didn't even realize she saw, much less understood. She's like a sponge. She's been stealing my make-up and proudly trying to put it on herself since she was a year old. How she knew that the eye shadow was to be applied near the eyes is beyond me. If I'm doing it, she likely will be as well. I don't care if she wears make-up when she's older. I do care if she thinks that she is only beautiful with it on and if she draws value and worth from it. That's not the message I want to send her or anyone else who might be watching what I do and how I act.
  • There's more about this issue than can be learned in twenty-something days. It would be a shame to just get through these days and then shut my mind and heart off to anything else God may choose to reveal to me at another time. I want to always be open and listening to what the Lord might be speaking to me. 
  • It's helpful to have accountability and someone nearby to encourage you when things get a little tough. My husband and sister had to remind me why I was doing this whenever I began to lose focus or get frustrated at the situation. They have also been helpful in choosing modesty by letting me know if something wasn't very appropriate to wear. This is helpful since my radar isn't very refined or objective in that area and I'll likely need some extra guidance and insight into the subject for a while. 
  • Whenever there's doubt, it's always a good idea to seek God and godly counsel. He wants us to learn and grow, but if we don't seek Him in our endeavors, how can we expect to be growing in Him? If I just cut out make-up and switched up my clothes for a while and didn't seek God during this time, of what value would it really be? But, if I commit that time to seeking Gods heart in a particular issue, He delights in showing me His truths. 
I'll continue to seek God in all things and to make sure He is first in my life. That certainly includes these areas of beauty and modesty. I'll try and be a good steward of how I spend the time He's given me each day. I'm thankful for all He's shown me thus far and am looking forward to applying those things and letting Him transform my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Freedom from Beauty: Day 9

There's one fairly predictable, but nonetheless beneficial, plus side to not wearing make-up or getting all dolled up before leaving to go somewhere. I have so much more time. I was never one to put loads of make-up on every day and usually I would just darken my eyebrows, but there were still a good amount of days which I would apply more make-up, take the extra time to fix my hair, and try outfit after outfit on. 

Well, now I can get ready in a lot less time. And lets be honest, we could all use more time. Unless God stops the clock again as in the days of Joshua 10, the day will always be 24 hours long. What you spend your time doing says a lot about who you are and what you value. The time I've saved by not putting on make-up or fretting over clothing and hair has been spent with God in quiet time or spent with my family. I can't think of anything better to spend my time doing.  

So, here are some of my thoughts about the whole make-up thing:
  • If you don't have time to do those things which matter most to you, but do have time to spend making yourself up, then you need to think about re-prioritizing
  • I, for one, can't think of much else more vain than putting on make-up. It doesn't even last one day (at least not in my case). There's no good excuse for the amount of time spent in front of a mirror. It isn't an investment and it doesn't last but must be continually re-applied. It can cause discontentment and stress when seen without it on (see below) and takes away valuable time. 
  • If make-up is causing unnecessary stress, you need a make-up cleanse. Give it up for a time, or even forever minus those special occasions. How do you know when it's causing unnecessary stress? If you can't go swimming, can't cry, or can't be seem without it on, that's when. You don't need to have that split second of fear while driving somewhere thinking, "Wait, did I forget to fix my eyebrows?!". 
Oh, and one more thing that's noteworthy. This past weekend my husbands family all got together to take family photos to send out on his parents Christmas cards. My mother in law printed 80 cards to send out. So, on top of the entire immediate family all seeing me make-up free, there will be approximately 80 households seeing my make-up free face on their Christmas cards. And you know what, no one is going to care, and what's even better is that I don't have to, either. That makes me smile. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Do You Know Him?

Do you know Christ, I mean really, really know Him? Intimately, passionately, scripturally?  

Do you find it difficult to commit yourself to Christ and endure through the trials and tribulations of life? Is it difficult for you to trust this Man whom you worship in church, but sometimes struggle to find Him in the day to day? 

I spent some time this morning reading in 2 Timothy. Paul is writing his final words to Timothy. Paul knows his earthly death is soon and that he would be executed shortly thereafter. What is it about Christ that causes a man to give up his life for Him? To endure, even with death looking you in the eye? How can someone be that persuaded and faithful?

Well, in 2 Timothy we get an insight to these matters as Paul exhorts Timothy to follow in his footsteps confidently. Paul is basically telling Timothy that he, too, may be called to give up his life for Christ, and to do so with faith, hope, and joy. Paul then shares one reason that he endures all kinds of sufferings, even to the point of death. 

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
~2 Timothy 1:12~

For I know whom I have believed...Wow. If you find yourself struggling to endure, ashamed of the Gospel, unable to understand the sufferings that you go through, then maybe it's time you really get to know that Man that you say you trust in. I'm convinced that the more we seek and find Him, the more astonished we would find ourselves. He was not just a man. He was the savior of the world. He didn't just die. He arose from death. Angels bow down to Him, demons fear Him; we would be smart to do likewise. 

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"
~Matthew 7:21-23~

We can know about God, we can even call upon His mighty name and work miracles through Him, but it won't mean anything unless we really know Him. Even the demons know Jesus:

"And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you."
~Acts 19:15~

Knowing Jesus' name and knowing Him personally are different, and, as seen in Acts 19, the demons recognized that as well when sons of a Jewish chief priest and Jewish exorcists tried using the name of Christ to banish evil spirits, and the spirits saw right through it. They knew these people didn't know Jesus themselves, they only knew His name was power and they wanted to use it.  

So, how can we be sure we know Him? The Bible says that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13-14). The apostle John says in 1 John the following:

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him', and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."
~1 John 2:3-6~

Seek God. Read His word. Pray. Obey His commands. He is faithful and when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). While we seek to know Him more fully, let us remember and take comfort in how He knows us. 

"Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His', and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'"
~2 Timothy 2:19~

How we know God is not to even be compared to how God knows us, but we trust even the more so because of that. The following verse sums it up pretty well for me. 

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
~1 Corinthians 13:11-13~


I sometimes find it helpful and more meaningful when I learn the root words and meanings in the original languages of the Scripture. If you are interested in going a little deeper on your own, refer to Blue Letter Bible. Here are some notes from my studies in relation to the above verses:

The greek translation for "know" in 2 Timothy 1:12 is eidō. It means to perceive, to see, to pay attention to, to discern. This is the word Paul used to explain how he knew God and how his faith in God in knowing Him helped Paul to endure. 

If you continue to read in 2 Timothy, you will come across 2 Timothy 2:19. The greek translation for "know" in 2:19 is ginōskō which also means to understand, to perceive, to have knowledge of, but it also is a Jewish idiom for knowing someone as intimately as a husband and wife do in the marriage act. This is how God knows us. For those that commit their life to God, He will know them deeply and intimately and place His seal upon them. 

In Acts 19:15, the greek translation for "know" in regards to the evil spirit knowing Jesus Christ is also ginōskō. How the evil spirit knows Paul, the root word is different for "know", it is epistamai which means to be acquainted with, to understand. 

In 1 Corinthians 13:11-13, the first "knowing in part" has the root word ginōskō (so right now we can only know partially the way Christ knows us), whereas the following "shall know just as I also am known" contains a similar root word but slightly different and expanded, epiginōskō, which means to know accurately, to know well. Christ knows us fully, accurately, and intimately.

See Blue Letter Bible for more in depth studies of the Scriptures. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Freedom from Beauty: Day 4

Day 4: There's been a lot of learning in just four days. I'm excited to share what the simple act of giving up love of fashion, immodest clothing, and all forms of make-up has taught me thus far. 

First I want to note that you can be fashionable and modest at the same time, although it is a difficult task that requires both mindful and intentional dressing. While I believe the calling of modesty is for all women, I don't think being modestly fashionable is a sin, however it can be if it becomes a source of security for you. That is what I want to write about today. 

Security. What is it? Where does it come from? Can you live without it? These are all great questions regarding the things that we feel comforted in and safe in. If placed in anything other than God, it is false security and is foolishness. Feeling secure and being secure are different. You might feel secure with something, but it may not truly offer you any security whatsoever. 

There are many, many things that can make us feel secure, and Satan can use these things to derail us from the true security found in Christ alone. Money, a career, a home, clothing, food, good health, beauty, a car, nice stuff, and relationships are just a few of the things that we can begin to feel a false security in. Most of these things are usually not bad in and of themselves, but to grow so fond of them that without them you feel a little lost, well that isn't good. Having freedom in Christ is being able to live without these things being a priority or of importance in our lives. True freedom is found when they aren't. As I've given up two of them, clothing and beauty, I've found more freedom than I've felt in a while. 

When it comes right down to it, false security can be found in anything that isn't eternal. The root of the security is that we find some kind of value in it. In the Bible, Jesus says:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
~Matthew 6:19-21~ 

What you value is where your heart is, and where your heart is, well there is your reward. Is your reward only as good as the temporary things you trust in, or do you trust in God and have reward with Him? You cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and when we begin to feel secure in things other than God, those things begin to be forms of security and without them we are incomplete. I do not want to feel incomplete without make-up or stylish clothes on, but I do want to feel incomplete without Christ because I am incomplete without Him.

Fashion, clothing, and beauty were beginning to take precedence in my life and it was only when I took them away that I realized the value I placed in them. It's sad, but I'm so grateful that God has revealed this to me now instead of on the day of Judgement. I would rather stand corrected now than stand guilty then. I still have a lot to learn and a long ways to go, but I am strengthened knowing that my value and worth is placed in a God who is eternal, and not in a something as fleeting as beauty and fashion.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"
~Matthew 6:25-27~

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Freedom from Beauty: Day 1

This post is the first of many where I will share my 4 week journey into the realm of modesty, simplicity, and without make-up. I'm going to fast, if you will, from adorning and perfecting my outward appearance and focus solely on beauty on the inside. On this journey, my prayer is that God would reveal to me His will in three primary areas:

  1. That I will gain freedom from the somewhat obsessive need to be and feel beautiful.
  2. That God would reveal to me what true modesty and beauty is in His eyes. 
  3. That I would learn what kind of role fashion and beauty should have in my daily life.

So, I will be giving up all make-up and not wearing anything tight, potentially revealing, or anything that draws attention to my body as well as not focusing on fashion, but instead being simple in my attire. Let me share a little background story as to what lead to this inevitable decision, albeit a bit of a drastic one (for me anyway).

It's been a long time in the coming. Years, really, but culminating these past couple of months. Two specific events recently had a lot of impact on this final decision, so I'll just share those. 
  • It was the first week of the RCIA program at the Catholic Church, and I had just gotten some new heeled booties which I naturally was excited to wear. I wore them with tights, shorts, and long sleeve shirt with scarf. I asked my husband, Jason, if the outfit was modest enough since he has a great conscience regarding modesty and materialism in general. He has no fashion sense, and I'm realizing that's kind of a good thing. He approved my outfit, although a little apprehensively as he didn't understand why the tights with the shorts during winter. The shorts are long enough though so it passed his approval. Before going out the door to church, I grabbed my black trench coat that extends right above the knee (but past my shorts). When my husband saw it, he wasn't too happy. He argued it looked too risque with black tights, boots, and a coat. He couldn't tell if I was wearing anything underneath the coat since it was longer than my shorts, and that it brings the wrong kind of attention. While style and fashion aren't his forté, he tried to persuade me to ponder why certain things are "in style" and fashionable. Why is much of the modern clothing for women and girls tight, form fitting, low cut, and the like? So, that being said, the message that day in church was about Mark 10:17-29. A rich man who diligently followed the law and teachings of God came to Jesus and asked what he must do to inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus, seeing his heart, told him to sell everything he had and follow Jesus. It said the man walked away sad, because he had great possessions and couldn't do it. They were more valuable to him than God. The message spoke to me, and I wondered what might God be asking me to give up to follow Him more fully. I knew that the thought of modesty was and is difficult for me because in my eyes, what I was wearing was fine. It was within my guidelines of modesty and I loved the outfit. I wanted to wear it, even though my husband didn't like it. He felt it drew negative attention to myself, and that at church in the very least I shouldn't be drawing attention to myself which might distract some people from God. I didn't think too much into it for fear of what God might be trying to tell me through it.
  • My husband has two sisters, one is 11 and the other just turned 14. I consider them both sisters and friends and deeply care for them. The oldest has recently been seeking my advice in some fairly difficult and complex issues of faith and life, and it's challenging me as well as I delve into the answers. Last night, on her birthday, she asked me if I think waxing eyebrows is vain. I was taken aback a little, because of all the issues of vanity that she could ask, it has to be about the eyebrows. I'm an eyebrow fanatic and I'm extremely self conscious about my own. They are too light. So, I've been darkening them for about 13 years now and have only gone out in public without first doing so once or twice during that time. Sad, I know. For her birthday, with permission from her mother, I gave her some mascara she had been wanting, two cases of eye shadow, and a small makeup bag. She wanted me to do her makeup with her new gifts and I was excited to bond with her in this way. For fun, I gave her a dark, smokey eye. Needless to say, the look may have been a little mature for her and her mother was not too happy about it. I found myself feeling defensive, frustrated and spiritually attacked that evening. Truth be told, I didn't see the issue with the make-up. My dear husband once again tried to persuade me to ponder why women wear make-up. It's unnatural and is rooted in discontentment. It's a difficult fact to accept and is challenging to say the least. Make-up in and of itself isn't evil, but the heart of the matter might very well be.
So, as mentioned above, I felt very spiritually attacked last night. I wanted to give up. I didn't want to go to church anymore, I didn't want to interact with my husbands family anymore and I didn't want to be a role model to his sisters for fear of failing. I questioned Gods judgement in giving me a daughter, who am I to teach her godliness and Christian character? I felt defensive, but deep down knew that it was rooted in pride. There are many times in my past when I've felt similar emotions and sadly reacted to them in a negative way by withdrawing from God and those that I love to continue in my own selfish way. To wear what I want to wear and act how I want to act and be who I want to be. It was all about me. Well, thankfully last night I decided that through Christ He has given us freedom and power to fight the enemy's attacks. So I am fighting back. My counter attack is to not give in to those temptations to give up and continue in my ways, but to give all to Christ. To die to myself and, in prayer, devotion, and fasting, take up my cross and follow Him. It isn't easy, but it's not supposed to be. Do you think it was easy for Christ to submit to His Father and die, though undeserving in every way? If He could do that, I can certainly do this, which is nothing in comparison.   

Day 1: Today was my first day in this almost 4 week journey (for the season of advent-a time of preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ). I cried. It was so hard to leave my house without make up on (especially my dearly loved darkened eyebrows) and my clothes were, to be honest, kind of butt ugly. Maybe something akin to what my grandmother would have worn. I'm beginning this journey with the expectation that God will reveal things to me that would have been too difficult for me to see while in bondage under those comforts of make-up and cute clothes. Today I've learned two things:

  1. Knowing and acting upon what you know are two different things. I knew that both make-up and clothing were materialistic and not what really matters in life by a long shot, but giving it up entirely has turned out to be so painful it made me cry. So, my actions tell me that it held more importance to me than what my knowledge and words would have admitted.
  2. It requires me to rely on Gods strength. I wouldn't be able to give up beauty, something so important in worldly standards, if it wasn't for God and realizing that in Him alone is worth found. Not in work, beauty, relationships, money, health, etc. Only in God. This is a challenge to make sure my priorities are His priorities. 

This is just the beginning. I'm excited to learn what else God will teach me about Himself, why He created me, and what He can do through me as I submit and give Him authority over this area of true beauty and modesty. I don't want to be a slave to materialism and false gods. I only want to serve Him, and if that's truly the case, then I should be willing to give up anything and everything He may ask of me.    

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rejoice Always

I just read through the short old testament prophetic book of Habakkuk. To be honest, I haven't read the book in its entirety before, but am glad that I finally have. In the book, Habakkuk is trying to understand why so much violence and injustice is permissible, and for how long will God allow the evil to reign? It's a question we've all thought at least at one time or another, isn't it? Why does God allow murder, hate, violence, and war? Isn't God sovereign and supposed to be good? Well, God answers Habakkuk. God assures him that there is an appointed time for judgement and we must wait faithfully for it, knowing that when that time comes it will not tarry and by faith the just will live (Habakkuk 2:3-4). The same is true today, and I love the last few verses in the last chapter as Habakkuk submits to Gods plan:

"Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
~Habakkuk 3:17-18~ 

Whatever surrounds us, whether it be triumph or trial, we can rejoice in the Lord, for we are saved by Him. As sure as injustice reigns now, justice will reign then, and there is much hope in that. So wait for it, wait for Him, all the while rejoicing in the God of our salvation. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Never Forsaken

While lying in my bed last night I was considering God's closeness. As I've been dealing with this miscarriage, I have felt such divine closeness to the Lord and an outpouring of His Spirit, strength, and hope. It's truly a blessing. I felt Him reminding me last night of His promise to us that He will never forsake us, never leave us. This promise is found in multiple passages throughout scripture. 

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
~Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5~

Reflecting on this sweet promise, I thought about some of the Biblical examples of God remaining near to His people even amidst struggles and grim circumstances. I thought of how He was near to Daniels' friends in the furnace (Daniel 3) and to Daniel in the lions den (Daniel 6); to Mary and Martha as they grieved the death of Lazarus (John 11); to Noah as he built and lived in the ark (Genesis 6-9); to Stephen as he was being stoned to death (Acts 6-8); to David as he fought the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17); to Mary the mother of Jesus, even as she watched her son be put to death, He was near her and gave her His disciple, John to care for her (John 19:25-27). 

While these stories are comforting and reassuring, what's even more comforting is when I feel God near me or my loved ones during times of suffering and hardship, during times where we can experience the fulfillment of His promises firsthand. He has promised to not forsake us nor leave us no matter how dire the circumstances seem. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, through sicknesses and terminal illnesses, through verbal and physical persecutions, through bullying and abuse, through the weariness of long days, through disabilities and handicaps, through EVERYTHING. 

As I thought of all these things last night, my mind suddenly began to question: How is this all possible? Why is God so gracious to us that He has made a promise to those who trust in Him that He will NEVER abandon them?

Then as quickly as the questions entered my mind, the answer filled its place. 

"My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"
~Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46~

He can promise us this not because of anything we've done, but because of everything Christ did. He took our sin, our mistakes and our sufferings, upon Himself so that we could have a hope and a future with Him. To know how deep, how wide, how long, and how high the Fathers love for us is (Ephesians 3:18). We deserve to be abandoned and forsaken, yet Christ bore our transgressions and was forsaken from His Father for 3 days before being risen again into perfect Glory, and all for us

He was forsaken so we wouldn't have to be. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. 

Whatever you are going through right now, wait on the Lord and pour out your hearts to Him. He cares for you and won't leave you in your pain. Instead He will edify you and bring you closer to Himself. The sufferings of this world won't last forever, He is coming again to raise us up with Him on the last day. So persevere and press into God, trusting in His promise that He is near and with you. He will strengthen you and uphold you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Choosing Life in Miscarriage

We knew there was little chance for life in the womb at this point. It was only a few days earlier that we sat in the doctors’ office hearing the diagnosis from our midwife that we had most likely miscarried or even that the pregnancy may be ectopic since they couldn't find anything in the uterus via ultrasound. Pregnancy hormone level blood tests confirmed something was wrong since although they were rising, they were rising too slowly. A few days later I was worried when I had some unusual abdominal pain and more spotting so we drove to the ER. Another set of doctors confirmed the absence of life in the womb and the high probability of a tubal pregnancy. Fearful that my tube had already begun to rupture, the recommendation was laparoscopy, a surgical procedure in which incisions are made in my abdomen and a small camera then looks around at the organs, in this case the tubes, ovaries, and uterus, in search of a baby located outside the womb. **

During those hours in the ER at the hospital my husband and I looked to the Lord for comfort. Prior to going into surgery, we opened Gods word to the Psalms. Out of all the Psalms I read, it was Psalm 63 that I identified so closely with. Preparation for the surgery included fasting from food and even water for at least 6 hours. By the time the surgery began it was just after midnight and we had been at the hospital for nearly 9 hours at that point. Our time in the hospital spanned from the late hours of night to the earliest hours of morning. These are just a few of the reasons this Psalm spoke both words of comfort and encouragement. 

"O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; 
My flesh longs for You, in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water, 
Therefore I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 
Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 
Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, 
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. 

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. 
Because You have been my help, 
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. But those who seek my life, to destroy it, Shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword; 
They shall be a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; 
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory; But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped."
~Psalm 63~

Because your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you” (Psalm 63:3). Here we were, dealing with the loss of life of our little baby, yet Gods loving-kindness is BETTER THAN LIFE. If it’s better than life, it’s surely better than death, and so our lips will praise Him. So we remember Him, what He has done. The death HE endured for the life WE can receive. It’s because of His sacrifice we have this hope to meet this baby of ours in Heaven, and for that we definitely rejoice!

Satan seeks our life. He wants to destroy us. We need to remember to have perspective. This earthly life is temporary, but God is greater than life, He surpasses it and even conquered it! Satan wants to destroy more than our earthly life; he wants to take our eternal life as well. So while the loss of our baby is tragic and feels terrible, we must press on in the hope of His Glory. We must praise Him while we live (Psalm 63:4). He will give us the strength we need to carry on, of this I am certain.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
~Romans 8:18~

So we choose life. We won’t team up with Satan in a journey of despair, sorrow, grief, and hopelessness. We’re on Gods team and join Him in a journey to victory. We look past the sufferings of this life and toward the glorious redemption of our souls and a life with Christ forever.

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."
~Romans 8:12-17~

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
 ~Romans 8:37-39~

**Note: After surgery we were pleased to find out that I did not have an ectopic pregnancy as suspected. We were thankful for this news, yet still knew that miscarriage would most likely take place soon. A few days later, sure enough natural miscarriage began.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Inhabitants of the Land and in Life

"But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them."
~Numbers 33:55-56~

In the verses leading up to this passage, God is revealing to the Israelites the land which He has purposed for them to inhabit in the land of Canaan. Up until this point, they had been wandering in the dessert for 40 years. Yet God had a plan for them in the land of Canaan; a promise to fulfill; blessings to bestow. 

For them to live in the land He called them to, there were necessary actions for them to take. First of all, they needed to drive out those living in the land at the time. Then, since those people were not a people of God, the Israelites were commanded to destroy the inhabitants' deities and places of worship. Afterward, they were free to divide the land up according to family and enjoy the blessings and provision of the God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, where they lived in bondage, and into a land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 33:52-54). 

God had great things in store for His people, but if the land which they dwelt in was not rid of the darkness and sin from the former inhabitants, He could not pour out His blessings upon His people. He knew that the former inhabitants would become a hinderance, an irritant, a thorn. The Israelites would become enslaved to another people. They would begin to worship other gods. They would no longer be a clean and holy people before the Lord. They would become like those that God loathed. This would separate them from God. 

Sin has always and will always separate us from God. If we allow even a small amount of sin into our lives, it will become a hinderance, an irritant, a thorn in our side. God calls us to live a life holy and pleasing to Him. We must be a diligent and prayerful people. We cannot have tolerance for sin. It will only take us away from the marvelous plans which He has for us. 

Much like the land in which He had for the Israelites, He has gone to prepare a land for those that are His children and believe in His Son, Jesus. This land, too, is filled with milk and honey. It is free of all sin, hurt, and tears. He made it possible through Jesus for us to become inhabitants of His land, but similarly, if there remains sin in us, we cannot enter. There is grace and forgiveness, certainly. However, if we allow sin to live within us and be a part of us, we will become like those that do not believe. It separates us from God. We must live holy lives. We must live in such a way as to win the prize He has for us. Diligent. Prayerful. 

Are there any inhabitants in your life that need driving out and destroyed? Is there anything that is keeping you from the plans God has for you? Christ died so that we can live in freedom from the bondage of sin. Take hold of the power we have through Christ Jesus and through His blood that rids and cleans us of our sin and live a life pleasing to Him, because the promises He has for those who believe are worth it all.