Monday, July 27, 2015

Women of God #2

In the past couple of months some amazing women of God have breathed their last breaths on this earthly plain and have woke up in their heavenly home, face to face with their Reward and Lover of their souls!  These women were for me some of the "older women", women who lived their lives as His, loved His word, and were bold in their speaking, teaching, and modeling of God's word to those around them.  They were women who God used to deposit truth into my life.  They took the command for older women to teach the younger women seriously and although they could exegete any passage of scripture, teach, and or write on any theological subject, they never diverted from being a woman of God and the need to teach other women to be women of God.  "3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.[a] Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,[b] to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God." Titus 2:3-5

Since the fall in the garden of Eden, women have desired to answer the question, Who am I? When God created us, He created us male and female, both made in the image of God.  We were created equal in dignity and  essence, and given different roles to function in. Through these roles male and female would reflect and respond to God and to those around them. When sin entered into the human condition, it broke everything, it broke man, it broke woman, it broke how we related to God, and it broke how we responded to one another.  At that point, life for man and woman became self-oriented instead of God-oriented.  Sin also caused a rebellion against God the Designer and the very design He desired for us to live in. His design being that of, a man being a man, a woman being a woman, both under the authority of God, and functioning in their God-designed roles for the purpose of reflecting and responding to and for God. Ultimately, to bring God glory and to tell His story of relationship and redemption to a watching world.   We still live in the consequences of that original sin, and that is evident in our culture today.  Men and women are still rebelling against Designer God.  Looking for fulfillment in their own identity, or being able to define their role for themselves.  This should not be the status of those of us who call ourselves followers of God. Our lives have been redeemed.  God, Himself lives in us, to overcome our weaknesses with His strength, and to live His life and design through us. The question for us should be not, who am I, but Whose am I?  Even in Christian circles and our church culture we still want to find our identity in what we do, in our abilities, in our titles, or in us being superior than someone else.  This causes us to always desire significance and power outside of God and His design.

To know what it means to be a woman we must look to the One who made us, to the One who designed us, and seek to live in His design. This is what brings Him glory.  For my single girlfriends, there is a beauty in singleness. Those of you who approach each day as God as your husband and apply the truths of scripture in how you live your lives. This beauty causes the watching world to take notice to your God-oriented and gospel centered lives..  For those of us who are married to a man of earth, to be a woman of God's design we must look to His word and not to our culture to tell us how to live. The truth we find goes against what our culture tells us.  Culture has dictated and spoke so loudly for so long, that even those of us who desire to follow find ourselves squirming at some of the words we find.  We want to regulate them to no longer relevant, or culture sensitive to the time they were written, and or think there are more important things of scripture for us to concentrate on.  To be faithful to the word of God, and to those amazing women who have passed on the baton of the older women teaching the younger women, there are some God-designs for us as married women that we must know.

1. A married woman of God is to be a well suited helper. (Genesis 2:18, 20)
The very first description we see in scripture for a married woman is that of a helper.  In our cultural context we think of the role of a helper to be subservient, but the same word of help or helper is used to describe God! (psalm 10:14, 28:7, 54:3-4, 72:12, 86:17, John 14:26, Hebrews 13:6)  so it can't mean a lesser role to play! It carries the meaning of being on the same team, having an essential part to play. Man or woman alone could not accomplish what God intended, both genders are necessary to fill the earth with God's image.  The opposite of helper is competitor.  A competitor is always striving or fighting to win something for themselves.  One who exposes gaps and exploits them to gain the upper hand and go for the win.  A woman who is not willing to live in her God-given design of helper will tear her house down with her own hands.  Because it will always be a competition between her and her husband.

2. A married woman of God is to be submissive to her own husband. (1 Peter 3:1-7, Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19)
The word submission to many is a dirty word!  Many in the church have regulated the word submission to a "woman's word" in scripture, which is a distortion.  Submission is a biblical word.  The thought of submitting to anyone is repulsive in this self-oriented culture.   Yet, Christ submitted to God, we are to submit to God, and we are to submit to one another.  Submission in scripture is a picture of humility and beauty.  We are uncomfortable with the word because we don't have a biblical understanding of it.  Glad submission in scripture is a response to loving authority.  Authority that has been God-given and used of God to bring order and a picture of relationship.  We also have a distorted understanding of authority, thinking that authority is given to one to be domineering, in charge, and wielding HIS own wants and desires.  Loving authority is submitted as well, to God and God's desires and wants. For years I have heard much teaching to women on glad submission but have heard very little teaching on loving authority to men.  My prayer is that we would as men and women of God, know God's ways and God's word, and with His help and power seek to live it.  Ephesians 5 is not a marriage passage, it is a church passage!  Paul is wanting a God-centered marriage that possesses loving authority and glad submission to paint the picture of what relationship is to look like and what Christ and the church is to look like to the world!  What picture are we portraying?

3. A married woman of God is to be an overseer of her home. (Titus 2: 3-5)
So much in these three verses I have already talked about, but clearly the mandate for us as women is to watch and care for our homes.  If we grapple with these verses it is usually because we value something more over our home.  Possibly work or even ministry can take a more important place for us.  Our homes are to be valued by us as women of God, they are the most powerful sphere of influence we have.  We should view this responsibility as a high honor.  When our family life reveals that we value outward success more than our families, we discredit what the Bible says.  For my own daughters and all of the young women in my life, you are doing the most important thing there is to do as a woman, when you are about creating a home that reflects God and by raising your littles to know and love God.  So many women speak and act like they are just biding their time with their children until they can get out and do something really important with their lives, or even more disheartening is when they speak as if they will be able to do something great for God once they get pass these days of diapers, meal preparation, and or school. Our homes are places that can be refuges that reflect God our Refuge.  Our homes are places that can be peaceful that reflect the Prince of Peace.  Or, our homes can be places of disorder and chaos that reflect our culture.  This has nothing to do with the amount of money you make or how many things you have, this has everything to do with the woman of God who is overseeing her home.

4.  A married woman of God is a competent woman. (Proverbs 31)
This entire proverb is a celebration of a woman who belongs to God.  It is not one day in the life of this woman but the commentary of her life.  This scripture values women and celebrates a woman's competence.  She is a hard worker, she makes wise business decisions, she is strong, she is generous, she anticipates the future, she makes those around her better, she is brave, she is wise, she is more than a pretty face, God expects those that know her, will praise her for all that He has equipped her to do.  Never let someone tell you that God's ways or His word devalues women!  And, please do not think that women in scripture are subservient wimps!  I am drawn to the prophet Deborah who as described in scripture was a wife, a prophet, and willingly went to battle.

God desires for us as women is to have our confidence sunk in Him and to live out His design.  The cultural pressures are great.  They want to conform us.  For us to live as God's women we will have to stand up against our culture and even the church culture in some settings.  It's not popular, it's not the newest and hottest topic, but it IS God's word.  I wish I could tell you that I have done this perfectly for 32 years of marriage, but I can't.  I am a flawed and sinful woman that, just like you, needs God's grace everyday to live and practice His truth and live in His design.  I also know that there are many of you that are struggling in your marriage and the words that you have read are hard.   I have sat across a table from many of you or read your emails.  For many, there are deep and hurtful issues in marriages that will not change with a change of behavior or you doing a list of things. Whole books have been written on the scriptural mandates that are briefly listed above and there are many women who are teaching them and holding them high, for that I am thankful. My desire for those of  you reading and for the community of young women I live in, is that we as women of God will take in the whole counsel of God, not just the parts we like, or the parts that are not controversial. Study for ourselves and lay our lives down on God's truth instead of  what  our culture is so loudly speaking to us as women.
Whose are you?
Who designed you?
Who gets to tell you how to live?

Still learning to abide,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Women of God #1

Let's BE women of God!  Let's be women who, though walking through this world of blurred lines and lessening absolutes, actually stand for God.  Women who look to God and His word to define us and tell us how to live instead of allowing our culture to tell us. Women who are women of theology and biblical principle. Then let us confront our lives and our culture with our theology and principles.  It is time for us to stop confusing passivity for a gentle and quiet spirit. It's time for us who call ourselves women of God to be just that, of God;  One who is attached to, coming from, receiving our source from Him, and Him alone.  It is my belief that many women in the church are teachable and truly desire to be of God and to follow.  Unfortunately, the church at large has in many aspects conformed to the culture around it.  There isn't enough honest conversation and discipleship on how to apply biblical principles and live in the culture without it conforming us to it. Women are then left to do what they think is best in their own eyes, or model what they see in women around them.  My fear is that the culture is forming women in our churches today more than the word of God.

I believe it is time for us as women of God to bring everything under the submission of God and His word.  What am I talking about?  I'm talking about everything; our lives, our time, our marriages, our singleness, our families, our homes, our dress, our talk, our churches, our communities, and how we reach out to those around us.  EVERYTHING!  It will be costly.  I'm not sure where we began believing that following Jesus would not cost us anything.  If we are going to live counter culturally it will cost us much.  It might cost you relationships, or promotions, or the connection to that group that you think is so hip.  For sure it will cost you of your time and convenience. What is your relationship with Jesus costing you?  What are we willing to count as loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ? (Philippians 3:7-12)  These are valid questions for those of us who call ourselves followers.

While so much of the church is screaming about the moral decline in our country, and to be sure it is shocking where we find ourselves as a society.  Sexual perversion, abortion, and the devaluing of God-breathed human life through murder and addictions, permeate the moral fiber of the human condition.  Yet, I believe that condition has been true of us as humans since sin entered in and broke everything.  God has always been about rescuing and redeeming a people for Himself to show that there is another way.  His way.  I do believe we are to stand up and speak up for what God says is right and for those that have no voice of their own.  But, I do not believe our culture will reflect God, until the people of God reflect Him.  His plan has always been His people, His church.

"You will be to Me a kingdom of priest and a holy nation.  You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God.  You are a chosen generation a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  You will be named the priests of the Lord they will call you the servants of our God.  Priests of God and of Christ.  Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.  By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God,that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. The temple of God is holy, which temple you are. "
(Ex.19:6,Rev.5:9-10,1 Pet 2:9,Isa.61:6,Rev.20:6,Heb.3:1,Heb.13:15,Eph2:10,1Cor.3:17)
From Exodus to Revelation, His plan reveals that He has been calling a people out to be His,to be set apart for Him, to show Him, and His story to the world.

It begs the question, are we?  Are we living as His?  Is our following reflected in everything from our time, to our families, to our churches, and those around us?

I'm urging women, by the mercies of God, to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices, acceptable to God which is  our spiritual service of worship.  I'm calling on us as women to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect! (Romans 12:1-2)

Living counter culturally must start by us saying yes, and presenting ourselves to surrender to God's ways instead of our own, or what our culture says, or even our church culture says is acceptable.  It is what God says is good and acceptable and perfect that we are after.  Then we MUST  renew our minds.  That only comes through the study of God's word.  Please do not hear condemnation in my words, I'm a woman, I have raised littles, and I have had many plates spinning at the same time and questioned where I was going to fit in time to study! But as gently as I can, I want to say I understand, but I must also say this is not an option.  We don't get on to being women of God any other way except through renewing our minds. The consuming of God's word is not reading a devotional or what others have said about a particular verse.  This time is marked by consuming the word of God, looking into it like a mirror, looking up words that you don't understand, looking at other scripture with the same thought, and then knowing how to apply what you are studying.  We will never be able to be women of the word and possess the ability to confront our lives and our culture with theology if we don't know Him and His word more and more.  If I could encourage you with anything it would be to ask God to give you a love and hunger for His word.  Ask for help.  If you lack understanding on how to study ask someone who you know studies God's word to help you.  I would love to send you tools and resources to aid you in the study of God's word! (Just ask!)

One more thing I want to ask you to pray.  Would you ask God to show you how much He loves you and would you ask Him to show you how to love Him more?  You see we can do many things out of obligation and because we think it's the "Christian" thing to do, but that's not what our Father is after.  He has loved us with an everlasting love, drawn us into a relationship with Himself through the completed work of Jesus, and called us His. (Isaiah 43:1)  He wants us to learn to live in that love relationship.  "Any obedience that isn't motivated by His great love is nothing more than penance." Elyse Fitzpatrick (in Because He Loves Me)

One of the most used women theologians in my life came in a little 4'10" package, riddled with arthritis, and always dressed to the nines. She never taught a bible class, or led a retreat, or wrote a blog, or a book.   Her name was Miss Naomi and she was in her late 80's when her life intersected with mine. Miss Naomi came faithfully to a small group that my shepherd husband led when we were so very young and "wet behind the ears". I am convinced she came to love and encourage us in our following of Jesus.  Every week when it was time to pray, she would take her arthritic body and bring it to her knees in front of her chair, when it was her turn to pray she would utter two simple sentences, "Lord Jesus, let me know you more today than I did yesterday . And, oh Lord show me how to love you more." That's it!  She knew Him, she studied His book, and she faced her life and her culture with what she knew to be truth.

Stand up women of God and let's let the word of God form us, instead of letting our culture conform us.

I'm walking this out just like you.

Still learning to abide,

P.S.  Through the years that I have been teaching bible study, I have always seen those women that it doesn't seem to stick with them.  There is some kind of disconnect.  The quote from Elyse Fitzpatrick above I believe addresses the disconnect.  The word of God is not being approached out of love but duty.  If you have never read any of Elyse's books I encourage you to do so, she is one of my favorites!  I have also linked a link to an article written by Jen Wilkins that also addresses the disconnect in approaching the word of God and why it doesn't transform us.  It resonates with my soul, I pray it does with yours as well!
Jen Wilkins has many free bible studies on line and has written a new book called, Women of the Word.  It's on my reading list for this fall! Email me if you would like some tools and resources to study God's word.

Monday, July 13, 2015


You don't have to have lived many years to know hurt.  It comes in a multitude of packages.
From little hurts, like an unkind word spoken, or the friend that won't return your phone call for some unknown reason. Even though little, they still scrape us and we need to give them attention so that they don't become infected.  Much like a child's scraped knee, we can clean them, put a little ointment on them, and be on our way.  Then there are those other hurts, the hurts that inflict wounds. They are not surface scrapes that can be dealt with in a matter of moments.  These wounds leave holes in us, sometimes deep into our souls. Betrayal, abuse, manipulation, violation, loss, lost trust, and lies leave gaping holes.  Even if we receive healing and become healthy again we are never the same. Yet, in God's economy, He somehow takes these wounds, these things that seem ruined, and makes something beautiful out of them.  When forgiveness can flow through the ruin and the beauty He reveals Himself.

Forgiveness is a beautiful word when we are thinking about Christ and His forgiveness of our sins.  It becomes a very hard word when we are in the position of needing to forgive someone's sin against us. We assume that if we forgive our offenders they will be not be held responsible for their actions and we will be the only one suffering.  Or we think if we forgive them that means that we will have to go back to the relationship the way it was.  Both are not true statements.  God is the one who gets to hold people accountable for their actions....NOT ME!  He makes that clear in His word.  Although God asks us to forgive others as He has forgiven us, He never told us to keep trusting someone who has violated us or to keep pretending like nothing happened.

Forgiveness is an action.  Ephesians 4:32 says; " be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."  If we were practicing the first part of this verse, the "being kind and tender-hearted" part, we probably would never get to the having to forgive part.  Forgiveness towards those that have scraped us or wounded us is not a option.  It is a command and a choice of obedience.  Based upon one glorious truth, I have been forgiven.  There is no way to measure the forgiveness of my Lord towards my life, it is limitless, and free flowing.  So should mine be....

Forgiveness is a process.  He asks me to make the choice, take the action, and forgive.  Because He knows that I am but flesh and blood, He then walks me through the process.    As I recognize the hurt, I must consciously release it to His hands of love and justice.  I know this is a process and not an event because it must happen over and over.  In the process He teaches me how to more fully abide in Him and not in the hurt.  As abiding takes place His life produces the fruit which is that beauty from ashes thing that only He can do.

Forgiveness is a practice.  It is how we are to treat one another.   Forgiveness is like so many other qualities that God desires to press into our lives, like humility and patience,  but these qualities don't just somehow appear.  As we participate with the Spirit, He gives us His ability to see and respond.  I don't have the ability to forgive, but because He is the Forgiver, and living in me, He gives everything that is needed for me to extend forgiveness to someone.  Then, I must walk in it... Practice it.

Oh it's hard!  I want justice.  I want validation, I want someone to recognize and be sorry for the hurt.  I want someone else to hurt.  But each time that my fingers are peeled away from the hurt that I'm desperately trying to hang on to, (because I have found some kind of identification with the wound) and I place it in the hand of the only One who can do anything about it, "IT",the offense, the person, the wound, the hurt with all of it's oozing poison releases it's grip on me.  It's in running the thing to Him and entrusting it to His hand that I find freedom and know Him more.

And... In some way that my human mind or limited vocabulary can not express or understand...
It. Is. Worth. It.  I didn't say that on day one or two, or possibly day 456! But it did come. Because he came, He came right into the middle of  the yuck, the putrid, and oozing thing!  Have you asked Him in friend?  Or, are you trying to pretend? Or, trying to keep everything all together? Thinking that if you ignore the wound it will somehow heal on it's own?  It won't...  He knows about it, and He sees you and "IT", and He is waiting for you to be ready to release it to Him. Ruin only turns to beauty when He has a hold of it and forgiveness flows through it.

 When I was a young woman with 2 little babies, a very wise and older woman said these words to me and a room of young women and they have stuck to my soul, "whatever gets you to Jesus will be worth it".  She was right.  Loss, trial, relationships, hurt, and wounds get me to Jesus, and it has been worth it.

Still learning to abide,

Ephesians 4:1-3, 4:32 and Colossians 3:12-13

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sticky Rice Days

I call days like today, "sticky rice days".  Days that are filled with thinking about Asian faces and places.  Faces and places that have found such a home in my heart that they will never depart. God in His beautiful goodness still lets me eat sticky rice and put my feet on Asian soil several times a year. My heart is not discontent, just longing....  This longing keeps my face towards the ground and prayers going upward.  In these days of walking Oklahoma soil I often feel torn, my physical feet walking among people I love and know, with opportunity for gospel and discipleship, and the feet of my heart walking through prayer among the masses of people in urban cities and rural villages of Asia.

On this "sticky rice day", God surprised me with such a gift.  I went to the trail to walk much later than usual.  There were no other walkers or runners.  I put my headphones in and had Matt Papa singing about the nations and it's all for His glory loudly rang in my ears.  I began to talk to Father about the nations, the lostness, and the need for the gospel.  My words went to Thailand, China, Japan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam....but most of the time we talked about India and much about Nepal. As I was looking down the trail, I saw what looked like a woman in an amber colored sari walking towards me.  My heart began to beat fast, secretly I thought perhaps I was seeing a vision.  Sari wearing women don't walk down the streets or the walking trails in Enid, Oklahoma!  As we got closer, it was indeed an elderly Indian woman in a beautiful amber sari.  I took my earphones out, after all why listen to songs about the nations or talk about them when you can engage them?! (something most of us should think about) I put my hands together and timidly said, "namasta" (which is the only Hindi word I know, and I'm sure I didn't say it correctly in my Okie accent)  She smiled and greeted me in return.  With my no Hindi ability and her limited English we struggled, but the struggle is always worth it when we engage the nations. We shared our names, she told me where she was staying, I told her where I lived, and she told me the state she was from in India.  There was one point when all language barriers dissolved and we spoke on a level that was heart, woman to woman, mother to mother.  She said her daughter lived here and it was so far from her.  I replied that my daughter lives there, in India,  and it is so far from me.  No words needed to be spoken, we connected as her eyes met mine and understanding flooded the space between us.

God in His bigness once again reminded me that He is able!  Able to reconcile physical feet and heart feet.  Able to bridge miles and prayers.  Able to take me to the nations or bring the nations to me.  Our responsibility is to be His gospel bearers to all nations.  Mission is the state of our heart, not something we do.

Please pray for the nations and  Go to the nations.  Never forget that millions have still never heard the name Jesus, let alone that He has come to give them salvation! A thought that is hard for many in the West to conceive, but true.  "How will they call upon Him who they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him who they have not heard? And how will they hear without someone telling them? And how will they tell them unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of the those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15

My feet and my heart will be walking soon on Asian soil, but until then, He is able!

Still learning,

Of course my new friend and I took a selfie!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Melting Soul

After days of bitter cold, ice, snow, and darkness, this morning the sun has peeked out from behind the clouds and what do I hear? Birds!  They have been non-existent for days, hiding somewhere. Yet with one glimmer of the sun's warmth, they begin to sing their song.  It seems to me even louder than a few days ago.  How often my soul is in that place of winter's hold; where it seems to me that my very being has frozen and is held in a place of winter stillness. These moments are usually because of my own selfishness, sin, and or the barrage of hardness that lies around me.  And yet, in Father's economy He uses even my cold condition to remind me of warmer days.  I begin to long for those moments of sunshine.  He brings to my remembrance sweet moments in His presence; with melting soul and sweet song, because of being with Him.  His remembrance is not only in things behind but serves as a prompter to engage me in what lies ahead, and urges me to leave the frozen soul tundra.

Where are you friend?  Sometimes we need people to ask us, where we are! Is your soul like frozen ground?  Are the days that you are walking in difficult and causing your soul to grow cold?  He whispers to us... COME.  That's all, just come.  Come into His presence.  Come to a place of melting.  That is always His invitation to us.  There are no other conditions and no expiration date on His invitation.  It could be five minutes or five hours.  The stilling of one's self, tipping your head toward heaven, and saying; "You asked me to come, here I am, and I know I need You."

His presence, like the sun, will breakthrough.  And, like the birds, the warmth will cause you and me to sing. Oh maybe just inside of you at first, then you might begin to hum.  But with enough exposure to His light and warmth you will begin to sing.  That will look different on all of us, but your soul's response to His touch is to praise Him.

The snow and ice lie all around me, but it's me that has been changed.  Just like tomorrow will not borrow sunshine from today.  We must not live on borrowed Son-shine, always learning to sit long and often.  The mark of a mature woman of God is not that she gets it or that she has arrived at a place revelation.  No, a mature woman sees her need more quickly and runs more swiftly to her source, the One who says, "COME".  This is a lifetime pursuit.

There is much in my life that lies around me as snow and ice; those situations that seem to be held frozen and unyielding.  Those that have not been warmed by the Redeemer's...Healer's...or The Truth's touch.  I'm learning to recognize faster when those cold winds begin to blow against my soul and run to the invitation of; "COME".  Like a cozy fire, or a heavy quilt, or a hot cup of something delicious, the invitation is like an outstretch hand that is so inviting it compels me to draw near.  And, I begin to know my soul is melting and loosening itself from the grips of things that pale in comparison to the warmth that is found in Him.

His invitation to come; Matthew 11:25-30, Isaiah 55:1-2, Psalm 73:28
Still learning,

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love is not Grey

It's everywhere!  This 50 Shades of Grey...

Commercials, talk shows, blogs, and facebook.  I really don't want to add to the barrage but there are a few things that have been burning in my heart regarding this phenom book and movie that I would like to talk about.

The most disturbing comments that I have read are the ones that say, "it's just fantasy" or the one that completely blew my mind, "it is a fictional book and a movie, it's not real, why is everyone getting so upset."  While at face value those statements are true, they are not reality.

I have sat in a brothel sharing the gospel with the women who prostitute themselves for their lively hood. I have seen the "fantasy rooms".  Trust me when I say, the sixteen year old that had to lead a man back to that room, it was not a fantasy to her.   I have stood outside a construction site and viewed two small shacks that were about the size of a 8X8 square, watching as man after man came and left.  These shacks were where the "kept" women lived.  The women that stay in them are slaves. They were sold to the man who runs the construction site for the sole purpose to keep the men happy. The women are used, abused, and usually killed.  Then they are discarded like trash, only for another to take her place.

Please forgive me for being so brash.  My southern girl inside of me is screaming that the words I have already typed are so harsh... graphic.... that I need to soften it or just be quiet.

But, the tears rolling down my face say, I can not.

What might seem like fantasy to you is very much a reality around the world.  Women being kept and used for sexual pleasure is not a harmless, fictional book or movie, it is a fact.  So that is why there are so many questions in my mind regarding  50 Shades of Grey. Questions that I think any responsible woman must ask herself;

Do I/you have to actually see the act of sex for it to be pornographic?
Can a movie/song/ or anything, lead me/ you to a place in our minds that can cause us can finish the story?
Why would any woman endorse another woman being tracked, kept, and hurt for sexual pleasure, no matter the setting?

Fact: 50 Shades of Grey contains a man tracking a woman because she is his possession,  bondage, dominance, forced sexual and emotional submission, sadism and masochism.

I have also read the comments by Christian women that have said that they are free in Christ to watch anything they want and that there should be no judgment or condemnation for their choice.

 My concern with statements like that is that they are really a scapegoat for us to further feed our flesh.  But those types of statements are wrapped so neatly in passionate and spiritual lingo, who can disagree. Everyone of us have desires and appetites in us that we want to feed, but does that mean we do? And then say, no one better judge me for it because I'm "free" to do whatever I want?
We are ask us to come out and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17) and to not use our freedom as an opportunity for our flesh. (Galatians 5:13)

Fact: I have no power to pass ultimate judgement on anyone and God help anyone who thinks they can condemn another.

As a woman who is always talking to other women, I'm concerned with the damage that is done to women and their souls by this world we live in. I really want to ask you to ask yourself the questions above.  And then I want you to guard your heart and soul, my dear Christian sister.  We talk so little in the church about personal holiness, it's fact it's way past time. God forgive us!  Let's start talking about being women who are marked by a relationship with Jesus.  Women who think from a gospel-centered perspective.  Not women who are marked by what we do or don't do!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Falling Down

It's a brand new year!  I've read so many blog entries about "to be or not to be" a resolution maker. So this entry will not be about resolutions, but about what I pray takes place MORE in my life in the year 2015.

 As I was reading through the Christmas story this year something caught my attention and caused me to ponder and look further.  I was reading from all the gospels the story of how God wrapped Himself in human flesh to dwell among us and came to the part about the wise men.  They traveled far, following a star, believing it was directing them to the King of the Jews.  When they found Him, in the place that the star directed, they came into the house and saw the Child.  This Child, the one that they had been seeking, was with His mommy because He was only a toddling two year old or younger.  Scripture says when they saw Him, they fell down and worshiped.  Fell down!  When one bows, falls down, places themselves lower, it is because there is recognition of one who is greater, one who is in authority, one who deserves more attention and respect than self.

The wise men didn't just fall down and worship, they left something on the floor that day.  They left their treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Falling down requires leaving something on the floor.  On the floor and at the feet of Jesus.

Over and over in scripture Jesus encountered those who were broken, sin ridden, and self saturated.  When they saw Him and recognized Him, they fell down, they left something on the floor, and they were changed.  Recognition is the key isn't it?  So many saw and heard but only a few recognized.

The wise men fell down and left their earthly treasures on the floor, their wealth, and their prized possessions. A leper came to Jesus, fell down, and left his disease and the loneliness that the disease inflicted on the floor.  A demoniac came to Jesus, fell down and left his demons and bondage on the floor.  Jarius, a synagogue official, came and fell down and left religious trappings on the floor. A woman with an issue of blood came and fell down and left her affliction and exhaustion on the floor.  Mary of Bethany came and fell down three times and left on the floor what other's thought, her own expectations, cultural norms, and what the world says is of worth.  The woman at the well fell down when she submitted and served a drink of water to Jesus, she left her hiding, relational idols, and her identity on the floor.

They recognized Him as King, Healer, and Sovereign.  They saw Him as the One who fills.  They saw Him as the One who is worth leaving worldly possessions, other's opinions and acceptance, and religious and cultural norms for.  Because they recognized Him it compelled them to come and then to fall down.  Do I? Do you?

Asking for eyes to see and recognize more of Him, for more falling down, and for much more to be left on the floor in this coming year.

Happy 2015!  I pray your year is filled with More of Him!

Still learning,