After 6 years out of the classroom, I enrolled in an exercise class at our local community college this semester. Last Monday, I got to experience all the excitement of a “first day of school” again.
This shouldn’t mean much to a 28 year old momma of toddlers. However, after hanging out all summer with some adventurous middle- and high-school aged girls, I caught the first-day-of-school energy.
I got up, got dressed, prepped the twins to spend lunch time with their daddy (so much fun), and even got to class EARLY (big difference between 18 year old me and 28 year old me). I was ready to embrace all that God had for my first day of school.
Unfortunately, all that positive energy shriveled away when I walked into the classroom. Replacing it was a familiar sense of feeling intimidated, self-conscious, and oddly uncomfortable in my own skin.
As many of us would, I found a coping mechanism to deal with my anxiety: comparison.
I scanned the room and found her: someone who appeared less fit, less stylish, less something than I was hoping to appear. My superficial superiority gave me artificial confidence about my own impressiveness.
I did not ask this girl about her day. I did not compliment her cute hair or comment on her tenacity in the class. To be honest, her courage to be there inspired me, but I kept that to myself.
I missed a beautiful opportunity to get to know a lovely image-bearer of the most high God because I was too concerned with my own status.
The irony is, I had consciously chosen to “dress down” to appear less-than-concerned with my appearance that morning (insert dramatic eye roll here).
I spent more time in that class in comparison trap than in SYMOTA (setting your mind on things above). My concern for self-preservation was out-shining my passion to share God’s love. The biggest stranger I encountered in that room was myself.
Had I set my mind on the way God sees me, and my classmates for that matter, I would have recalled this verse that I had once memorized:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Friend, I suspect you have had a similar experience. Whether you are a freshman in high school or a fresh new mommy at a park play-date, you have probably faced a similar temptation on your first day. It’s great to appear confident, cool, collected, but it’s not ok to leverage other people’s flaws to do so.
Ironically, at the foundation of compassion for others is a settled and confident spirit. I don’t think one can show compassion without confidence. Rather than putting others down to appear that we have it all together, what if we dealt with our insecurities through Jesus Christ’s faithful love for us? This kind of love fills every void and bubbles over into compassion for others.
What if we lived with a readiness to beselfless instead of self-conscious?
What if we focused on the impact we could make on others instead of whether or not they make us feel good about ourselves?
What if we dressed to bless, instead of dressing to impress?
Whether you face your first day of class, work, cross-fit, or the senior center, I challenge you to learn from my embarrassing first day blunders. Let’s make room for some Christlike compassion in our concern for great first impressions.
P.S. I am profoundly grateful for 20+ weeks of class to see how Gods grace provides a do-over for compassion.
Engage 24 is a worldwide event designed for college students, yet applicable to everyone. On October 15, 2015, students will answer the call to engage their campuses and local environment for a full 24 hours with the gospel. Through prayer, intentional gospel sharing, and bold discipleship, these students plan to consecrate this day to embody God’s heart for the lost.
As you know, my husband and I are blessed directors of a local college ministry. To prepare for 10/15/15, I plan to share a few tips that have greatly helped my journey to understand my faith in Christ, and share it better with the world. First up: the Timeline of a Christian’s Journey.
A few years ago, a gentleman in Ohio gave me a picture that was revolutionary to how I understood my faith. It redefined how I saw evangelism and discipleship, and equipped me to do both better. I wish I could remember the source he mentioned for this concept (if any of my readers recognize it, please let me know!).
The following is my representation of the timeline of a person’s journey to becoming a mature, flourishing Christian.
The CROSS represents salvation. This is the moment the individual accepts Christ as his or her savior.
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
Every point before the “cross” represents a person’s life before Christ. The farthest point could symbolize the time before an individual had ever heard about God and His love for us. As a person hears the gospel, grows in curiosity, seeks answers by the leading of the Holy Spirit, he is stepping closer to that moment of salvation.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15
Of course, in our unbelief before Christ, we go back and forth in our desire to know more about God. Our willingness to seek Him and our attention to His call in our lives can be spotty at best. Some go through seasons where someone is constantly praying for and inviting the individual to learn about faith in Jesus. Other times are characterized by the lack of spiritual intervention by loved ones. Obviously, this is not a linear process. Remember, the timeline pictures is simply a tool, not a definition, to understand a Christian’s journey.
You will seekme and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
For some of us, the moment of salvation came very soon after hearing about Jesus for the first time. Whether we were 7 or 27, that moment is still just as significant for each person. For many of us, we understand the full depth of salvation some time after we become Christians. That is just a part of the Holy Spirit walking with us to grow in our faith.
The points after the cross symbolize the sanctification process: becoming more like Jesus. At salvation, a person’s identity has changed:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
The Holy Spirit now helps the individual’s lifestyle, thoughts, actions, hopes and dreams to change. That is sanctification:
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
This sanctification is the “growing us up” into maturity:
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14
As with any living organism, we reach maturity when we are able to “reproduce.” In other words, the ultimate goal of the Holy Spirit is not just to make us Christians, but to make us Disciple-makers, like Christ was.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Once a person is able to “feed himself” spiritually, and begin to feed others, he or she can continue running the race with perseverance till the day God calls us home:
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. Philippians 3:10-15
This “timeline” will be a helpful tool as we explore the difference between evangelism and discipleship, the importance of prayer, and what it truly means to be a Christian. Engage 24 is right around the corner. Prepare yourself with greater understanding of the above Scriptures, to impact your sphere of influence for Christ.
Use #engage24bootcamp to share this post and connect with others who are gearing up for 10/15/15!
So often, I am crippled by fear of failing. I want to do the right thing so bad, but sometimes I don’t know what that “right thing” is. Days like these, I think if all the college students I’ve ever mentored could gather in a room, sit me down, and tell me everything I’ve ever passed onto them, it would be extremely beneficial.
Case in point: I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked, “what is God’s will for _________.”
Should I get a summer job or go on a missions trip?
Should I go to this university or that one?
What major should I choose?
In college, everyone want’s to know what God’s will is for their life. And you know what? There is honor in that! I am so proud of every young woman who sits down over coffee with me, agonizing over the potential choices in her life. Because she (usually) wants to do the right thing. She just can’t discern between the choices in front of her.
Last month, I felt the exact same way. I needed to make a decision about the birth of our twins: to induce or wait and have a c-section. Neither of these options were a part of the plan for these babies. I visualized going into labor spontaneously during my 37 week. It’s what we prayed for. It’s what the doctors said needed to happen, in order to avoid induction.
It didn’t happen. I wasn’t not surprised, because God isn’t required to answer my prayers. I trusted there was a reason none of my natural induction methods worked.
At that point, I was the one sitting down over coffee asking, “what is God’s will for this birth?”
If my college-ladies were there, they would have told me exactly what I’ve told them for 4 years: “It really doesn’t matter. Just whatever you choose to do, do it for the glory of God.” (Colossians 3:17)
In other words, as long as neither option is an outright sin, you have some freedom to make your own decision. What you choose is not going to thwart the ultimate will of Godin your life. I believe God has all power and will, but I also believe He gives us freedom to make choices. In those choices, He works out His best for us: to sanctify us (cleanse and shape us) to look more like His Son. We cannot fail when the main goal is to honor God in the choice, not make the best choice.
So if our decision leads us through an easy, joy-filled route–God will use it. If the choice drags us down a path of exhausting, patience-inducing hardship (unrelated to any personal sin), God will use that too. We don’t know what’s behind door #1 vs. Door #2, but we can know that God will use whatever it is to glorify himself and make us more like Him. (Romans 8:28)
What choices are you facing today? Like the ladies I am so blessed to mentor, are you sorting through life-goals to define your major? Or, like me, are you contemplating your options for parenting, sleep-training, discipline, and to child-care/not to child-care? Do you have 2 job offers, 3 roommate applicants, 4 weeks free in the summer, or a nice guy who charged through your at-last-I’m-content-being-single life?
Let’s commit to honoring God with these potential paths in life by
Not worrying about them (and thus idolizing them) (Phil. 4:6a)
Asking for the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance (Phil. 4:6b)
Making the choice (Col. 3:23)
Following through with all we’ve got, to God’s glory. (Col. 3:17)
Being flexible: 1/2 way down the road, the Holy Spirit could still lead us down a different road (Rom. 8:26-27)
Guarding against bitterness about “wasted time,” failures, or regrets. Remember: God will use the time/effort/money spent on said choice to shape us if we keep our focus on worshipping Him through it. (Phil 4:4)
Being grateful for the blessing of choices. Many people don’t even get the luxury of choosing what shoes they will wear each day. (Colossians 3:17)
What choice have you made or will make that you can wholeheartedly do to the glory of God?
These past few weeks have been consumed with “when will the babies come?” Shane and I have engaged this intense waiting season with vigor (to hopefully make it shorter) and patience (more on Shane’s part than mine). For people around us though, it seems to be the only thing that exists.
Don’t misunderstand me; I am more than thrilled of this huge life change and new members of the Rosty family. But, as a book I’ve been reading puts it, I’d like to be perceived as more than a “walking uterus.”
I’m sure many women can relate. As a young adult, you are just a “future bride” to everyone: “When are you going to settle down and get married?” If you ever got that checked off the list, the commentators follow through with, “when are you going to start a family?”
These well meaning individuals are worse than the paparazzi. Those of you who did become mothers might identify with the “lost-identity” now that everything is about the kids. The future-bride turned future-baby-maker, then walking-uterus turned mother-hen can’t catch a break.
To be honest, I must confess to being such an annoying commentator myself… to my shame (and I apologize to anyone’s identity I reduced from daughter of the King of kings to just another stage of life).
Even though I sometimes resent all the comments about my new identity, I have wholeheartedly jumped into it. I stop blogging about anything but the babies. I spend my days priming my home and body for the new humans. I gravitate to conversations about parenting and birth and breast-feeding. I change my profile picture on Facebook to celebrate my bulging belly. Then all of a sudden, I sensed the discontent in my heart and wish someone would ask me how my ukulele skills are coming or what new combination I am testing this week on my scones (it is marachino-cherry-chocolate, by the way). I realize I feel disconnected and frustrated, not because of the commentators’ perception of my identity, but my own.
Thankfully, God is shaping me through this “walking-uterus” season. In fact, He has been working on my understanding of my identity since I was a little girl:
Figure-Skates and Crutches:
I spent many of my growing-up years inside the ice arena. My sisters and I learned to figure skate at a young age and loved sport. When I was 14, I was starting to progress in my skills and grace as a figure skater. But more importantly, I was growing spiritually. I began to see the gliding and spinning as a way to worship my Creator. I had always enjoyed singing worship in church, but realizing I could worship God through movement gave me a whole new way to express my love for Him. My identity was skater-for-Jesus and I was flourishing.
Then I broke my ankle. During the dress rehearsal for the Christmas show, I sailed across the ice to take a practice bow, stepped down and *snap!*
Five months off the ice meant my newfound love to worship God was again limited. As I hobbled around on crutches, my identity required a bit of reshuffling. I wanted to be grumpy, but I felt God call me to worship Him.
It was not graceful gliding. It wasn’t choreographed to beautiful music. Limping my way around for months hardly felt like worship. But I learned to make it so. I put on a smile and held on to gratitude. I became “gimp-for-Jesus” and, you know what, I flourished in that too.
Colossians says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Col. 3:23-24)
Through figure-skates and crutches, God taught me how to offer a joyful sacrifice of praise to Him in all circumstances. Today, I am remembering to offer that same praise from the bottom of my heart… right next to my expanding uterus. A part of me wants to be free of the seemingly all-consuming identity I am diving into. I want to be more than “walking-uterus.” But just like that 14-year old girl learned to worship on crutches, I am learning how my waddling through the panty-liner aisle at Walmart can be worship too.
I want my pregnancy to worship God. I am striving for a birth that honors His heart. I want to parent in a way that exalts His name. I just need to remind myself that I’m not just a “walking-uterus”, but I am a “walking-uterus-for-Jesus!” And I am flourishing.
So bring on the questions and comments about pregnancy and motherhood. If I’m perceiving my identity in Christ correctly, I’ll tell you all about God’s goodness through it all.
How about you?
What season of life have you found yourself in? Do you find it easy to worship God through this identity, or do you resent being in such a season?
Congratulations! If you are following my “Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding“, it probably means you are engaged (or would like to be). I am adding a few posts to this series to look at the engagement time! Brace yourself for our first (and potentially button-pushing) topic: why Christians should save sex for marriage.
Does the Bible really say “no sex before marriage”?
Yes, the Bible forbids it in several places. Here are 3:
Exodus 20:14 “You must not commit adultery.” (part of the 10 commandments)
A person who is married and has voluntary* sex with someone other than his/her spouse, is committing adultery.
A single person who has voluntary sex with a married person is also committing adultery.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (NASB)
A single person having voluntary sex** with another single person is committing “fornication” or is being sexually immoral.
Dictionary.com defines “fornication” as “voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.”
So anytime we see the words “fornicator” or “sexually immoral,” we know the Bible is referring to voluntary sex before marriage.
Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (ESV)
*From now on, let us assume the sexual-acts-before-marriage I will refer to are voluntary. (If you have experienced involuntary sexual acts done against you [rape, groping, sexual harassment], please know you have not committed a sin. God will judge the individual who has sinned against you. However, these experiences can still affect your perception of purity and wholeness. I am praying for healing and restoration in your heart.)
**Also, I am taking the liberty to define “sex before marriage” as any sexually arousing, physical activity, alone or with your fiancé, that does not bring honor to God.
Now that we’ve clarified God’s expectations in the Bible, I’d like to uncover 4 myths regarding sex before marriage, according to what I’ve been studying in 1 Corinthians 5-7, Galatians 5, and Ephesians 5:
Myth 1: Christians who have sex outside of marriage are “bad”
For most of us, it’s just a given “rule” of Christianity: “Those who save sex for marriage are good Christians, and those who don’t are bad.” I don’t agree with this mentality at all.
Truth: all Christians are pure in Christ
I do not believe a person who “does the deed” outside of marriage is a bad Christian. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you are covered in the grace and righteousness of our perfect Jesus. Whether you gossiped about your co-worker or had sex with your boyfriend, you are still pure in Christ.
“Some of you were once like that [immoral]. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11
However, there are still earthly consequences to sin.When a person has sex with someone other than the spouse she is married to, she is breaking God’s commandment. The consequence of sin is death: either yours or Christ’s. Again, if you have trusted Christ as your Savior, He paid the penalty for you. Although eternal separation from God is no longer a consequence, we risk several other consequences when we choose to sin:
losing intimate closeness with God today
experiencing less than God’s best for our bodies, purpose, and relationships
Feelings of guilt, insecurity, loss of self-respect
Loss of trust with one’s fiancé, resentment, jealousy
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Loss of trust with our families/church (see 1 Corinthians 5:6-9)
Unplanned pregnancy (which is an unparalleled joy, but also meant to be experienced within marriage)
Thankfully, there is healing and restoration in store for all sin! (See the tips below)
Myth 2: Sex (in general) is bad
Have you ever heard this verse and assumed it means God thinks sex is bad?
“Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations.” 1 Cor. 7:1
I used to believe it meant sex is bad… or somehow for “lesser Christians” (as if we are on a scale of good, better, best? NOT). We MUST understand the context of the Corinthian-culture that Paul, the author, was writing to. I just watched the film Gladiator, and I think it portrays a good example of the culture at the time: full of lust, free-sexuality, and thirst for entertainment. When people became Christ-followers, they didn’t have a model-behavior blueprint to follow. So they kept doing what they did before: visiting prostitutes, “swapping spouses”, etc. The Corinthians must have written Paul to ask about what changes should be made on the outside, now that Jesus changed them on the inside. Paul responds with a large portion of his letter (all of chapter 7) giving helpful guidelines.
But does this mean God thinks sex is bad? Um… no.
Truth: Sex rocks!
God created sex! And everything God created, he labeled “good” (when enjoyed as intended).
God celebrates sex in an entire book devoted to married romance and sexual pleasure (Song of Solomon).
God encourages married couples to have sex regularly in 1 Corinthians 7:5.
Myth 3: God doesn’t want us to have any fun.
Many people have a perception of God that doesn’t match what God says about Himself in the Bible. Did you know the word Fun is actually in the Bible?
Hollywood tends to glorify romance, sexual tension, and love-making outside of marriage. When I think of movies about married couples… healthy and romantic sex is rarely a factor. Having fun in the bedroom was a pre-marriage activity. Since movies, books, and TV often shape our perceived reality, it can be easy to see sex-before-marriage as normal.
Because of these cultural norms, God’s boundaries can appear to be fun-suckers when we don’t understand them.
Truth: God want’s your marriage to be so secure, that the fun lasts till you’re 80 and beyond!
Paul clarifies this well:
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. (1 Cor. 6:12)
First of all, sex is great; but it is not good for us outside of God’s design of marriage. Some engaged couples reason that “we are going to marry each other anyway, so it’s not really that bad.” In addition to the consequences listed above, another reason sex-outside-of-marriage is not good for us is the potential loss of trust. If you or your fiancé is willing to have sex outside of marriage now (fornication), how difficult will it be to say no to sex outside of your own marriage later, with someone else (adultery)? Not having sex before the wedding is good practice for KEEPING sex within marriage after the wedding.
God’s plan is for His people to exercise self-control regarding sex before marriage. Our relationship with God is self-evident when we produce the fruit of the Spirit, one being self-control. When we are not walking by the Spirit, our default “fruit” will be immorality, the fruit of the flesh. (See Galatians 5)
Secondly, Christ-followers must remember that God created fun. Therefore, He knows how to have the MOST, the BEST, the LONGEST-LASTING fun! Christians should be the most trusting of God’s design for sex, because we KNOW it is going to provide the greatest joy. A person who falls into sex before marriage might believe that God is holding out on him/her. I would advise that individual to get to know the God of the Bible, not just the God of your own personal perception.
I realize the above truths are not extensive. More importantly, I would like to equip you with a few helpful resources to guard your purity and maintain God’s standard of saving sex (and sexual acts!) until you celebrate your wedding day:
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there…” Galatians 5:24
If you have already engaged in sexual activity that doesn’t honor God, confess it to your Savior.
Don’t just live with the secret. Confess your sin to a trustworthy Christian mentor or friend:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16
Set up a plan, not just to STOP engaging in sexual activity, but more importantly to run in the other direction (see step 2)
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13
If you are living with your fiancé, move out. (more on this in the next post)
I have met so many couples who agree with God, that sex outside of marriage is not honorable, but they don’t stop.
No excuse (money, living situations, “the wedding is so close”) is worth true repentance and freedom from sin.
2. Walk in step with God.
“…Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:25
Study your Bible
Pray (talk to God and listen to Him)
Worship your way out of temptation: instead of trying to have less sexual encounters, try having MORE Jesus encounters. Make much of Jesus, and your temptation to sin will become less.
Feed your heart and mind with Biblical perceptions of marriage and sex, and avoid consuming worldly ideas that become distractions from God’s plan.
3. Spend time with other Christ-followers
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24
Boldly ask for someone you trust to be your accountability partner
Generate a godly perspective of marriage by spending time with married couples who are following Christ
Mentor someone younger than you. Chances are, if you are encouraging that person to be pure, you will want to lead by example.
4. Talk with your fiancé
Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2
Set up clear verbal and maybe even written boundaries regarding physical touch
Be cautious with these “talks” as conversation can lead to curiosity and arousal.
Pray with your fiancé
If your fiancé is the “fool” in Proverbs 18:2 above, and doesn’t want to change, I encourage you to pursue godly counsel regarding continuing your engagement to this individual.
For the Support Team:
We should be eager to encourage our fellow Christ-following friends to stay sexually pure. 1 Corinthians gives us permission to be adamant about maintaining purity within the church. However, we should not expect the same integrity from someone who does not know Christ:
“I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people.” (verses 10-11)
Christians should pursue friendships with people who don’t know Christ, in order to facilitate an introduction to Jesus, not to “fix the impure behaviors.” Jesus is in charge of that job.
Press the follow button to get more posts on Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding (and Engagement). Or follow my Pinterest board, Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding, here.
The end of the semester is approaching fast, and with it, final’s week. So we’ve provided a list of quick tips for studying… your Bible! Don’t forget to engage in some much needed time with God in the next few weeks. Here are a few good reasons why, according to Psalm 119:
1. To finish strong, you will try to study well, avoid opportunities to cheat, and make the most of your last weeks as a student:
“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” Verse 9
2. Unfortunately, there will still be moments you might feel like a complete failure:
“I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.” V. 25
3. Because finals week can lead to some crazy emotions:
“I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.” V. 28
4. And there are far too many negative activities to tempt you during a study break, which will only tear you down and distract you further:
“Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.” V. 37
5. Snacking on unhealthy foods while studying can lead to an unhelpful sugar crash.:
“How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” V. 103
6. When you can’t memorize the standard deviation formula for your Statistic’s final, remember:
“The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.” V. 130
7. More than likely, you’re going to pull an all-nighter. Lucky for you:
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” V. 105
8. Or, you inherited masochists for group project partners, and they all decided to meet at 6AM to finish the project:
“I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.” V 147
9. In the end, you may have to question an unfair grade, or a professor that overlooked your effort. Do not be discouraged. Remember that sometimes….
“…Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.” V. 161
10. When it is all over, you’ll want to party like it’s 2000 and Y2K fell through. Remember to give credit to God who helped you through it all:
“I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.” V. 162
Keep your Bible handy these next few weeks. Try reading a section of Psalm 119 every few hours during your study time (there are 22 stanzas, one for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet). You may find the insight and encouragement to be just the right perspective for all the stress and deadlines of finals week.
Ok, I don’t have a bunch of fun tips to update your swimwear for an upcoming beach vaca…
but, I do have a little quiz for you:
Q. What do Power Rangers, Audrey Hepburn, and your favorite Pinterest swimsuits have in common?
A. Jessica Ray!
Former Power Ranger (the white one)
Swimsuit designer (you’ve probably seen her designs on Pinterest)
Author and inspirational speaker (Her book is called Decent Exposure)
This lady is worth 9 1/2 minutes of your time. She is fascinating, beautiful, and has a meaningful message.
I am committed to finding great fashion along side my quest for modesty. Jessica Rey puts into words exactly what I believe about our bodies. God created us (yes women too) in His image. That image should not be “hidden” per say, but rather displayed with dignity, confidence, and to the glory of God. I was very intrigued by the information she presents in her talk “The Evolution of the Swimsuit.” In fact, I couldn’t say it better myself.
I also had so much fun looking at her design line! With vacation season right around the corner, you might like to update your swimming suit options. Shop for an ADORABLE swimsuit at Rey Swimwear, where each piece is inspired by the various characters of the gorgeous and graceful, Audrey Hepburn.
My favorite is definitely “Jo” ($49.00) inspired by “Funny Face” (watch the preview for this “s’marvelous” film, here).
I am not affiliated with Rey Swimwear, but I am happy to promote a woman and business with an encouraging perspective of women and fashion.
After unpacking how to Give-as-you-go, I realize there is another important quality we can practice from the book of Ruth: gleaning.
As I mentioned before, gleaning is the “gathering of extra.” One of my college ladies pointed out that Ruth had an incredible attitude as she was gleaning. She was grateful, kind, confident, and unselfish. (Read Ruth 2 for more).
One way or another, we are all gleaning from someone. Have you ever received
someone paying for your meal or coffee?
When someone tries to offer me this, I tend to be unreceptive. Depending on the gift, I end up in one of these categories:
Self-entitled (well I deserved that anyway). I tend to do this with good grades or positive critiques on my hard work.
Reluctant (I don’t want to impose). When someone offers to open the door, or help carry my groceries, I hesitate.
Prideful (I don’t need your “charity”). My self-reliance rears its ugly head when it comes to paying for a meal.
Snobbish (that gift wasn’t all that super). I don’t often receive a sermon, teaching, or study material that I don’t connect with. I think, “I’ve heard better,” and dismiss the entire content.
I am very ashamed to admit all of these. Sure, I can be good at giving my stuff, time, money, and space… but I need to learn to receive well. Ruth was grateful, not demanding or pushy. She didn’t reject Boaz’s gift. Nor did she put it all aside for someone less fortunate (though she did save some for her mother-in-law).
My goal is to glean with the right heart. I want to have a teachable spirit when I listen to a sermon. I want to have a grateful heart when someone offers to pay for my meal. I would like to be graceful and respectful when a person holds the door for me. My humility should shine, like Ruth’s, when God uses others to care for me.
I cannot think of a better way to describe Ruth’s heart, and the one I hope to have, than this quote (by former basketball player John Wooden):
There you have it. Give-as-you-go, and glean-with-a-grateful-heart. That’s how I am asking God to grow me this season. How about you?
Hi ladies! Check out my post from BCMofSC.wordpress.com, our ministry website. I hope it encourages you greatly as you also pursue deeper knowledge in the Word of God.
Congratulations! Like Bilbo, you are stepping out your door into a great adventure to pursue a deeper knowledge of God. Though you wont encounter a fierce dragon, you may feel like you are fighting a fierce dragon to keep going. That dragon has many scales, including lack of motivation, exhaustion, boredom, confusion, frustration, discouragement, busyness, conviction, and ignorance. You will be tempted to turn back, find your comfort zone again, with doilies and your mother’s dishes.
Be like Biblo. Sign the contract. Go on an adventure. Discover God’s word for yourself! Grab a few smelly, irritating dwarves (we call them other Christians), and pursue a greater practice of studying the Bible together.
Know that we are praying for you:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [n]forever and ever. Amen.”
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