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.

Magic Mike from an unashamed man-loving, christian female

I cannot deny the fact I was quite intrigued when I first saw previews for the newly released Magic Mike. Not for the buff Channing Tatum, but for the perfectly age Matthew McConaughey. I do not think anyone can deny he is a good-looking Southern man. The more I saw the pre-movie previews of this Magic Mike, the more my heart began to realize I should not be delighting in this..at all. This didn’t come without conviction. My eyes wanted to look at Channing and Matthew shaking what their mothers gave them..sure I’m a female, I like guys…But my heart was tugging at my eyes and challenging them to close and forget the shaking I had just delighted in.

As a young Christian woman, I should desire everything opposite of this fantasied movie.  I am not just bucking up against Hollywood because the Bible tells me so. There are a lot of things the Bible says I shouldn’t do, but in my flesh I do. I am choosing to talk down upon this movie because I am held to a higher standard. The Bible states several times, that I am called to be in the world but NOT of it. I do not have to entertain the industries of the world just because I am of the demographic they are trying to reach and because Channing has a nice bod. I want to guard my heart and mind so that it can be pure for who I am dating and in the long run when I become a wife. Out of respect for him, I choose to refuse garbage like Magic Mike. If the tables were turned, I would feel disrespected and insufficient as a female if a boyfriend of mine did that to me. The first question that would pop in my head is “why would he want to see that garbage?”

I have been trying to find the perfect verse to back up the conviction I have felt toward this movie and last night one was brought to my attention.

Jesus states in Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Switch up the pronouns and nouns and Jesus is saying “anyone who looks at a man lustfully has already committed adultery with him in her heart.” WOW. So when I lust after any celebrity or guy I see, I’m committing adultery? No way Jesus..that can’t be what you mean. Reality check to Kristen, that’s exactly what He is saying.

If I base what I watch or drool over on this verse, then I am committing adultery everyday. Thank God for His grace and mercy because without it I would consider myself completely doomed.

I am sure Magic Mike has a great story line..sure. He is trying to get out of stripping and get a job dancing..awesome Channing! Keep on trying. The fact is the movie is based on guys stripping and girls throwing money at them. It’s sad and unfortunate that as women we would even entertain that. I guarantee when the next stripper movie comes out and it’s based on a female, we will all be throwing hissy fits. The reason Hollywood makes these types of movies is because it’s supported..by a large demographic. If it stops being supported maybe money worthy films will come out. We should want to be respected as women. My encouragement to myself and to you reading is that you respect your mind and body by not allowing crap to pour into it. Prove Hollywood wrong and refuse to give your money away to them.

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?

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.

daily bread

It’s hard to be satisfied in Him. It’s hard to be full in Christ, especially when I quench my Spirit. I allow myself to be distracted away from the love He wants to pour onto me. Do you, as a Christian, ever feel drained and ready to give up? Isn’t that a crazy thought? I’m guilty of having it though. It’s crazy to think I would be drained from this amazing gift of grace He freely gave me. How selfish does that make me? I had to have a reality check and realize “sister, it’s not because of the Christian life that i’m drained, it’s because of the lack of life, i’m drained.” The moment I step out from underneath is love, my Spirit is quenched. I’m holding back all oxygen and life from it. Before going to sleep last night, I open Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free”. The chapter I left off of just so happened to be titled The Fullness of Unfailing Love. I knew before even reading the intro. this would be a wake up call from the big man above. I’m not going to lie my first thought was “awwwwe mannnn…” It’s not fun getting a wake up call from God. Partially because He’s not like my earthly father. I can’t cutesy my way out of it. The entire chapter was about finding satisfaction in Him. Coincidence? I think not! She opened up her key points with this prayer from Paul:

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21

This prayer wasn’t new to me. I discovered it in Prague through a sermon on Love by Francis Chan. That sermon resonated with me so much. Being overseas for a long amount of time starts to get at you. I was away from comforts, family, and my closest friends. The one thing I wasn’t away from was Christ and His love. Seeing Paul’s heart through his prayer challenged me. I began to pray that same prayer for my team and my family. I wanted to know understand His love and I wanted others to experience it. After making that my prayer for the rest of the summer, I tangibly felt a change. I was still ready see my family, but I was content in Him.

I’ve said all that to say this, fullness in Him comes from His love. I’ve got to learn to wake up with vigor and freedom. There is no condemnation in Christ so when I have thoughts of giving up I can’t be ashamed. I have to boast in my weaknesses and allow Him to do His job. The moment I quench my Spirit I give voice to Satan. This doesn’t mean his is victorious over Christ. It means that i’ve allowed Him to enter my mind and feed my thoughts.

Each morning, I’m challenging myself to pray Paul’s prayer of God’s love. I challenge you to do the same and take note of the love and fullness He pours on you.

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Psalm 94:10