the only thing that will ever remain

A shot I took of my dear friend’s hands after serving a summer in Haiti

I’ve been studying Beth Moore’s David A Heart Like His study. Following David’s journey through all the turmoil that pre-existed his reign, how God chose him, and His actual reign is BEYOND challenging. It’s funny how God shows up as I’m studying. I don’t know if any of you have felt this way, but sometimes I’m curious if I’m doing what God wants for me at every moment. Specifically, what to study in my quiet times. I have not had that question at all while studying this. For example, today I was reading 1 Samuel 19:9-18, which is all about Saul’s jealousy and anger toward David. Basically David was in God’s will completely. He was victorious in his battles and well..the dude had joy! Saul’s son Jonathan was right there with David, guarding him from Saul and keeping David safe. Saul’s anger boiled over to him trying to kill David. Jonathan loved David so much and was so in tune with him he constantly attempted to save David from his father, Saul. I like to think that Jonathan was an angel figure. Not literally…but the Spirit of the Lord was so strong in him he was constantly protecting David from harm.

Jonathan had the love of the Father in him. He constantly risked his life by telling David the secrets of Saul. Jon didn’t care at all, David was his soul  brother.

1 Samuel 18:1 “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”

I mean soul brother, literally. The love of the Father was in Him so fully, he risked his life. At the end of the insert written by Beth Moore she shared John 15:13. I looked up the full passage and the words I read blew me away.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:12-18

Let’s see how Christ loved..for starters, he bore the slurs and profanity that the people yelled at him while on the cross. He gave up his rights for the world’s freedom’s sake. He held back any harsh and cutting words as the very ones he was dying for tortured him. He saved the sinner that was next to him on the cross. He obeyed his Father. Challenging right? As I was thinking on all of these things, the song “One Thing Remains” begins to play on my iTunes. I love when God does that. It’s a little piece of assurance that this is reading this very passage learning about His very love.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me
On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

Praise you, Father.

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my take

One of the hardest things to discuss with fellow ladies is the issue of modesty. Where does the line get drawn? How extreme do you take it? What makes v-necks a no-no to wear?

All of these questions begin flooding in my mind when that topic has come up in conversations. I have never had an issue with modesty due to being a little chunky while I was growing up. Mamma never let me out of the house if I wasn’t wearing decent clothing. I never wore a bikini until high school and even then I covered my body as much as I could with shorts and coverups. I had this image and insecurity of my body from the get go. When I saw other girls who were dressed less than the amount of clothing I had on, immediately I would think negative things toward them. Recently, my mind set has been challenged by different conversations and several blog posts that I have read.

As a Christian lady, I do not want to cause ANYONE to stumble. Not just guys. Notice that i’m not saying only guys stumble from a girl’s lack of modesty. Girls stumble in that area too. Maybe not them specifically lusting after other girls, but we lust in ways that make us look down upon our body. Pride begins to build up because a female’s self-confidence plummets and all she can think about is how terrible she thinks she looks next to the girl wearing clothing that reveals more than needs be. With that being said, there is a thin line for a person think walk when thinking about what to wear. No, you obviously would not want to wear clothing that makes you booty hang out and boobs spill over, but you also should not hide yourself because you look down upon your body as ugly and sinful. You are a creation of God. He created your body beautifully no matter the size or color. You should feel comfortable in your body and in what you are wearing. If you feel most comfortable wearing long sleeves and jeans every day, not showing an inch of skin, by all means DO IT!! But do it because you want to not because you have a negative image about yourself due to years of wounds.

It’s tough to talk about where I stand because I am as modest as all get out. I do not leave my apartment without some sort of cover up on my upper body and leggings or jeans on my lower body. I love being covered up, but not necessarily for the right reasons. I love covering up because the less I show the less you can find wrong with me. See how terrible that mind set is? It is not healthy for me and has caused me a lot of hurt mentally. I should be able to walk out and be comfortable with wearing a v-neck or a razor back tank top. I should be comfortable wearing shorts in the summer and not be afraid of running around in them.

I’ve tried to think of a balanced perspective but it’s hard to make rules with modesty unless I just use scripture. Let’s use the v-neck for example. What makes a v-neck wrong to wear? Is it the v cut? is it the tightness of it? Is it the length of the shirt itself? I don’t understand it. What makes the length of a v-neck any different than a regular tank top? It’s a complete generalization. A v-neck does not fit the same on a girl who has size A boobs versus a girl who has size D boobs. I can wear a v-neck and reveal nothing where as other girls cannot. So does that mean I should not wear them just because they are seen as immodest? Absolutely not. If leggings/jeggings are not okay to wear what makes skinny jeans okay to wear? Either way the woman’s figure is being shown. There are double standards. Which by the way let me just say jeggings are never okay to wear. :) Just don’t do it.

I am pro-modesty. Don’t get it twisted. But I am also pro security in Christ. I struggle with insecurity on a weekly basis, but God is pulling me through it. He is breaking me of so many warped rules that have been programmed in my head. He is showing me that women are beautiful and are meant to know that. It is not okay for guys or girls to reveal too much in front of their peers/brother and sisters in Christ. All i’m trying to get at is check your dress with scripture. For all you know, your face could be a stumbling block to someone. If you go around constantly fearing that people are sinning because of you, you will live in bondage of their sin. Christ calls us in freedom, not freedom to go wild but freedom from the law and the ways of the world.

Lift your brothers and sisters up, If you notice that their eyes are wandering even if you feel you are being modest in dress call them up to a higher standard. Don’t let them fall into sin, but also realize you are not the reason they are sinning. It’s the sin within each of us that we give in to.

As a Christian, I am called to live up to a higher standard. I am supposed to be different from the world. That may mean the way I live my life, the way I spend money, or the way I dress, but that doesn’t mean I should be ashamed and burdened by the body Christ gave me. I should glorify Him in how I present it or treat it. Whether that means wearing a v-neck and shorts or a turtle neck and jeans.

I hope this post is clear and uplifting. I would like to know what you think. What’s your take on it?

gotta have faith

instagram of the day!

What a beautiful day it was today. I started it out with a morning browsing and sampling at the Farmer’s Market with a dear friend. We ate crepes that were to..drool..for. If you know me, you probably already know that I chose the peanut butter, nutella, and banana crepe. You guys it was amazing. That breakfast should have been illegal it was so good. I wanted to stay outside all day so I opted to run the lake, plus those crepes were sitting quite heavily on these hips. I haven’t run the lake in several weeks. I get in workout fads then get bored with them easily. I’ve been doing to elliptical machine for 40 minutes while reading a book. Yeah, I said reading a book; it helps me concentrate!

To switch things up I chose to run today. It’s funny because I always pray before I run..during I run..and usually end the run in me walking in circles and expressing a charismatic thanks to Him (it’s actually quite comical). I dislike running and I’m surprised every time I actually finish running. It hurts my hips and thighs and makes all kinds of things transfer from my nose to my mouth..then to the ground. There is one thing I love though, crisp cold LA air. Weather like today doesn’t come around very often so I took advantage of it. I ran the 4 mile lake in about 35 minutes. Towards the last stretch of pavement, I started freaking out in my head and I wanted to stop. I began rapping whatever Lecrae song I was listening to but I still felt slow. I said a quick “Come on God push me” prayer. Immediately, my volume somehow jumped to full blast. It scared the mess out of me I jerked my arms forward and skipped a few steps. I looked totally spastic. Especially because nobody knew what had just happened. To the outsider I had just experienced the worst twitch of my life. I began laughing hysterically out of embarrassment and the irony of the situation. The jolt of adrenaline sent by that little prank God played on me allowed me to finish my run. When I finally reached my finish mark, I realized a runner and her three-legged dog were following me. Let me just say, If I would have stopped and a three-legged dog would have passed me up, I would totally veto the lake from my life. I would have felt like a total tool! If a three-legged dog can run 4 miles so can this two-legged human!

It’s funny because the lesson I learned today went right along with a passage I read for my quiet time. It comes out of James 1:2-4.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Endurance is key in almost anything in life. I would have stopped running because I felt slow or tired I would be jipping myself. I would have allowed myself to be a slave to my body. I don’t know what your view on running is but this girls counts it as trouble coming my way. It takes so much out of me just to walk out the door and get myself going. I know the pain and sweat, mentally and physically, that I have to go through, but I also remember how refreshing it is in the end. I feel like I’ve conquered the world. It shows my how faithful He is in the small things. He shows me such a powerful truth through such an everyday thing. I love it.

I hope you give yourself the chance to endure life’s troubles.

I am nothing

Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. That promise is found in John 15:4. I was going over it in Bible study tonight when God revealed that truth to me even more than before. I was repeating it to the girls over and over, emphasizing the words so that the promise could sink in. As I was doing that, I felt the Spirit say to me, “Speak to your self.”

Has God ever pointed the mirror back at you while in the middle of leading a Bible study? If not, it’s crazy! Can you imagine sitting there, all eyes on you, speaking John 15:4, then the Spirit slams you back with it. He showed me that I should take the advice i’m dishing out and ABIDE in Him. The promise of Him remaining in me if I remain in Him is huge. The scripture doesn’t say “Do this, this, and this, then maybe I will remain in you”. The scripture clearly says “REMAIN in me and I WILL remain in you.” Period. There is no working my way up to a standard that God would hopefully approve of, it’s just being in Him.

I find myself praying for specific fruits of the Spirit. Maybe one week I feel like I’m lacking in patience or love so I pray “God allow me to have more patience with ____.” Wrong way of going about it right there. Instead, I should be praying “God draw me closer to you.” When I am in God, His fruit will come out of me. Just like if I listening to music degrading women, my thought process will start to lean towards that. I will start degrading myself and striving to bring myself the standard the world desires.

Whatever goes in has to come out. There is no getting around that fact. Yet God is so faithful to his promise of pouring out His Spirit when we soak Him in. I am so thankful tonight for that tonight. There are so many days where I try to do work on my strength and only crap comes out. There is nothing good without Him. It all points back to me and then fades away after the short-term glory disappears.

Without Him, I am nothing.

Waging War

I wasn’t supposed to post today..or for a while, but I posted this on my Tumblr last night and it’s easy to copy and paste so technically I’m not working too hard on this post:) Here are my thoughts from last night/today:

I hear so many Christians murmuring about their imperfections and their failures and their addictions and their short-comings, And I see so little war! ‘Murmur, murmur, murmur… Why am I this way?’ MAKE WAR! ~ John Piper

The Christian walk is tough guys. It’s not supposed to be easy. As Christians, we are battling two forces, the flesh and the spirit. The world is throwing stuff at us everyday and spiritual warfare is constantly going on as well. Keep these verses in mind, and keep fighting the good fight. Remember who has already owns the victory.

Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:11

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5

God is always faithful. Push your faith past the moment of giving up hope and forgetting what this life is for. Ultimately, this life..your life..the life Christ has given you..is to glorify Him.

xo,

Kristen