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Can You Hear Me Now?

How often in your life have you made this statement, “Where is God, I feel so alone, why are You so silent?” Let me pose this question though, “Is He really silent or are we just not listening?”

I think we have all asked that question one time or another. It’s a question I pondered today, not because I felt as if God had abandoned me but because I realized how much distraction there is in this world that can mute out God’s voice and leading as He is speaking to us. Do we really take time in silence and allow God to move in our hearts? How do we expect to hear from the Lord if the TV is on all the time, among other things, that distract us away from His still small voice? We live in such a technology savvy, fast paced, noisy society that often times we whine (yes I said whine) at God because we feel as if we feel He is nowhere to be found and He isn’t offering us direction for our lives. It’s almost as if we are afraid of quietness. But when was the last time you went a day just being with the Lord? Don’t get me wrong, I freely admit I’m probably one of the worst at doing this however (uh newly convicted girl writing this blog!) God is showing me that I need to have more days like this. Starting my day with a prayer, “God meet me here today and show me more of You. Open up my eyes to the world around me and give me a burden for those who are lost, for those who are hurting. Let this day be about You and You alone. I’m listening Lord, speak to me today.” And LISTEN!

I really don’t think that God enjoys screaming at us while we have our fingers in our ears or are distracted by the chaos around us, saying “Can You Hear Me Now?”. He’d much rather you just turn off the noise in your life and just LISTEN to Him. Sound a little strange? Yeah it maybe a little awkward at first but think of it this way; you are spending time with a God who loves you so much that He wants to be in communication with you. He wants to break down those barriers that invade our heart and that deafen us to His voice in our lives. So will you take the challenge? Quiet down, slow down, be attentive, pray, get in your Bible and let God speak to You.  Don’t make God say to you, “Can You Hear Me Now?” And don’t ask God, “Can YOU hear me now?” when you aren’t doing your part.

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Just Do It

Have you ever had someone tell you that you were stubborn? I’ve always known that I had a tendency toward stubbornness, however God brought to my attention that my stubbornness at times wears a bit of a disguise. Stubbornness, disguised or not, can keep us from being obedient to the Lord in what He has called us to do. Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed about something that you knew God wanted you to do? Yeah, maybe he didn’t speak audibly to you, saying “You shall do _______” and list off specific things. It seems we often try to force God into making our desires come to fruition instead of saying “Thy Will be Done” it’s “My Will Be Done”. Out of stubbornness we try to change the mind of God through prayer knowing full well that the specific thing we are seeking His guidance on, He has already told us to do. God never intended for prayer to be a stalling tactic but I know in my life I have used it as one and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. We let our excuses, fear and feeling of inadequacy run rampant in an attempt to make sure we let God know that we aren’t the right person for the job. So now we know more than the God who created us? I think not! He knows what we are capable of and incapable of and He also knows that by ourselves, we don’t have anything to offer, but with Him living through us and in His strength we have everything to offer a broken, fallen world and He wants to use us for His glory. 

I looked up the word stubborn and one definition popped out at me, “unyielding”. Often times we let our stubbornness rule over us which causes us to be unyielding to God. We in essence say, “I know better than God” and we fail to listen and surrender to His Lordship. When we think we know best, and we fail to surrender to the Lord, maybe not outright, maybe it’s disguised but we say “No” to God by our actions. At the root of stubbornness is pride – trusting and loving myself more than I fear (respect/reverence) and trust in the Lord.

I know in my life I have used the stalling tactic of “God I really don’t know what your will is? Please tell me.”  And then the Lord says “Well haven’t you read my Word lately, I’ve laid it all out in their for you. If you know my Word, you’ll know my will” In my mind I come up with all these reasons why I shouldn’t serve the Lord in a certain capacity, when after months of “praying and meditating” on it like a “good Christian”, I realize that I’ve been dragging my feet out of fear and unyielding stubbornness to God’s plan because doing so would cause me to have to step out in faith, to surrender to the Lord, and to go out of my comfort zone. I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek God’s guidance but so often we know exactly what God wants out of us and yet we use stall tactics, one of them being prayer. I at times find myself saying to the Lord, “I’ll serve you in this way because it’s easier. It requires less time and energy, it’s more comfortable for me. It doesn’t challenge me. I don’t want to do what you want me to do, I want to do things my way.” But is that really doing as the Lord commanded us to do in 1 Samuel 12:24, “But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”  With that mentality am I really fearing the Lord, am I serving the Lord with all my heart. Am I really bringing Him glory by just serving Him because it’s convenient and requires little of me.

I see myself a lot in the character of Moses. After the Lord laid out for Him exactly what He was to do, he said to the Lord in Exodus 3-4(my paraphrase), “God you must be out of your mind, can’t you find someone who is more capable? You have to know I’m not good with words. I’ll be humiliated. What if they don’t listen to me?” Excuse after excuse.

So how about you? Are you throwing at God all the excuses in the book of why you can’t do what He is telling you to do? Are you plugging your ears while God is talking and/or talking over Him with selfish prayers with an agenda to have your own way? Are you letting your fears rule over you instead of letting God rule over you?

I challenge you. Be dangerously surrendered to the Lord. Lay self aside and go all out for God. Trust Him with your insecurity and uncertainty and like the Nike slogan says “Just do it!” Stop stalling. Get there and start living a life of wholehearted service for Him remembering that it might not be easy, it’s gonna take work, but also realizing it’s not about you! It’s for God’s kingdom and glory.

when someone who self-injures comes to you What do you do when someone tells you they are self-injuring? Most just want you to be there to listen, but realize that more often than not, they may share their story gradually. They’ll test the waters, see if they can trust you, but also if they can trust themselves to handle telling the story. Doing so may be difficult, painful, or shameful for them. For some, the anxiety they feel while even speaking about their struggle could trigger the co … Read More

via Jan Kern

This blog is a reflection of a song by Chris Tomlin. Marzani has an important message to share as she gives her testimony of how this song has touched her life in a special way. She gives her insights and challenges us to live a life basking in the glory of God. I hope this post will be a blessing to you today and a challenge to you as well.

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And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”

These two lines keep repeating in my head, and maybe a few months ago, that’s where it would stop, but this morning it’s moved to my heart, deeper, more meaningful…freeing…so deep that every word touch my soul. These two lines of an ordinary song-to most-is what I made my life-rope today. Yes, ordinary song –the foundation that I CHOOSE for how I’m going to live today…for EVER!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us…?
To me this first 7 words holds the biggest ‘power’ ever given to us…well in my heart I would change the word ‘power’ to ‘life’, but to see it we would have to know who God is, and NO I don’t mean know about church, the ten Commandments, I’m not even talking about Christianity ! If I would hide your Bible and ask you, “Who is God to you?” what would you answer…? Easy Question…maybe, but it’s the question with the most dangerous answer, cause how you see God determines how you live, it determines your Happiness, Success, Significance, Fulfillment, Satisfaction, Security, Peace and Fun. If you can’t answer, ALL these things will be messed up in your life…short lived, meaningless, empty!

Growing up in church, with a Pastor for a Dad ,made me think of God as the One who made the earth, send us His one and only Son to die for our sins on the cross, raised up from death after three days and went back to heaven to prepare a place for His children and He will come back again one day to get all who believed in Him…for 17 years that was my answer to the question, “who is God?” I mean come on, I’ve heard it for 17 years!! So I ‘knew’ who God is, and yea He was ‘for’ me, but wow how many things ‘stopped’ me!! Things, people ‘stopped’ me to the point that I hated this God who was suppose to be ‘for’ me, yes . I didn’t want to have ANYTHING to do with Him!!! People lied to me enough, hurt and ripped apart I didn’t need a God lying to me too!! So I let go, I let go of the ‘wonderful bedtime story’ (as I saw it) told in church about a God who died for me and for my sins, cause wasn’t lying a sin? And if so then how could a God that lie, forgive sin.” Yes, that was my thoughts for 6 years, and maybe I could keep on pretending being the “perfect pastor’s daughter’ but I can’t cause I’ve ‘met’ God and He renewed my life, when God is your life, you can’t hide behind a mask no more, you can’t go on being fake, cause while being fake at least 20 THOUSAND people over the world die each day, not knowing God!!

So did God lie, maybe many people would want me answering ‘yes’ to this, cause then letting go is easy, but NO , NO GOD DID NOT LIE!!! GOD is WITHOUT SIN, but then again it wasn’t always mentioned in the ‘church story’, friends share just to get to the next topic on shoes or boyfriends. So if God didn’t lie, and He is for us all who believe in Him, and NOTHING can get us down, what did I do wrong? Or maybe you ask yourself “what am I doing wrong? Why does sooo many things get me down, why am all my dreams, happiness, fun, peace so easily ‘stopped’? WHERE is this GOD who is for me?”

Well He is WITH YOU, UNDER You, BEHIND you, ABOVE you, and if you accepted Him into your life , He lives IN you!! the question is not “where is God’ It is, “Does I understand or at least seek WHO God is?” all that I believed for 17 years , heard in church, it is not WHO GOD IS!!! it’s WHAT GOD HAD DONE…! The wonderful truth about how God send His one and only Son to die on a cross , raised from the death and coming again, that is what God has done and promise to do, cause of WHO God is!!

When you starts to seek WHO God is, you can truly have a relationship with Him, He becomes your best friend, healer, counselor, Dad, guide, King…I believe, have found and declares that when you begin to seek God for who He is, when you begin to know how God sees YOU, I can PROMISE you that NOTHING, NO ONE can stop you, and when you work on your relationship with God , WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HIM, just like you would ‘study’ a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife’s dislikes, likes , dreams , hopes , I promise you’ll see that God really is with you in every breath you take, and you’ll find NOTHING, NO ONE could stand against you!

I wondered, “what’s the toughest thing God ever tried to do?” What do you think was the toughest thing God ever tried to do?

Maybe this answer given by a 10 year old boy is right… “In science class at school, I thought maybe the toughest thing God had to do was create the world. Then in Sunday school we got to talking about miracles, and I thought maybe the Resurrection of Jesus was the toughest thing. But then I started thinking, and I decided no one knows God really well. So now I think the toughest thing God ever tried to do, is to get us to understand who He is and that He loves us…And it took God’s Son to do it…”

God let His son be nailed to a cross not only to forgive us our sin, not only so that when we are hurt, God can whisper, “I understand” but God let Jesus be nailed to a cross to open a way for us to get to know the LOVE God has for everyone of us, He let Jesus die, to open a way for us , so that we could learn WHO God really is …Jesus died for you, He was bruised, bled, killed to help you get to know His Father…would you really turn this ‘died-for’ opportunity down…?

I pray that you will start today to seek who God really is, get to know Him yourself, learn how much He loves you, cares for you… I dare you to open the Bible, get on your knees and let God introduce Himself to you…

“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”

Pretend you are sitting in a seminary class for Introduction to Biblical Theology. Pretend you are discussing a great deal about sharing/teaching transformation to an individual or un-believer. Pretend not only does this class teach you about the growth of transformation in others but it’s a great deal about making sure YOUR transformation is unique, big, glorious and very image filled in Christ.

Now watch as the Professor tells you to look down around your chair and imagine a white circle outlining a chair.  I imagined right away the chalk line around a dead body.  That was my reality because I know what a dead life without looks like without transformation in Christ, I know it ALL too well.  The Professor says, “Who’s responsible for the person inside the circle? Stop being the victim and blaming others due to yourself!”

 There was no pretending in this statement, this was happening in my reality.  Although it was a statement to the entire room, I really thought he was talking directly to me.  How many times recently have I said that it’s someone else’s fault because of something crappy happening to me or it’s not my attitude or behavior at fault for how I’m treated?  More times than I care to recall.  I seem to be putting a frown to unfairness instead of stepping up and fighting for who I am and what I am as a Christian.  Instead of taking on my armor I am keeping my armor in my purse and not wearing it, heck most times I leave it at home and become the victim!  A person needs both freedom from sin and freedom for righteous and just behavior!  I need to get rid of the sin because there is so much more growing for me to do, sin is fun, oh yes it is, but freedom is amazing, oh yes it is!!!!!!!!  It takes ongoing everyday sacrifice. I know I keep crawling off the altar, I’m human in this broken world, I know it.  And yet I keep stepping off the altar, it’s a jump, hop, skip type deal.  Some days I’m sure I sneak off the altar, thinking God won’t notice.  

 My life is only going to get under control with a relationship with God. Guard that relationship!  I want to act justly as a reflection of God.  Loving God and loving man is the process I am under.  My intention is to be open to what God brings, to be open to the Holy Spirits activity. 

 What do you want God to do with you?   

 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Titus 2:11-14 (New International Version)

This blog was written by a friend of mine, Tiffany. She speaks of how she has found hope and purpose in her life. I pray that her blog ministers to your heart. If you’d like to speak with someone about finding hope and purpose in your life through Jesus Christ, please visit the site below and contact me.

-Stephanie Lampman (www.restoredbyloveministries.org)

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Did you ever push someone away, putting yourself first? See someone hurting but just walked away? Plan to get together with someone but decided to make other plans? Be a listening ear? Be a friend? Flip out on someone without realizing their feelings to your reaction? Joke with someone but have the person take it seriously?

No one is perfect. We are all broken. We all make mistakes. We are all searching for something more.

Did you ever feel alone? Broken? Lost? Worthless? Hopeless? Unloved? Like no one cared? Did you ever just feel that you had no worth to even continue living your life anymore? That you actually tried to hurt yourself to feel alive. That maybe this will help numb the pain. Maybe if I cut myself, someone will notice me. Or maybe if I go get high and smoke pot I can drowned out everything. Or maybe you’ve even considered taking your own life or even tried too.

I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. You have worth. You are loved. You have purpose. And I care about you. I have walked in these footsteps times & times again. I struggled with cutting, depression, & even tried to take my own life 3 different times. I know what it’s like to feel alone; like no one understands what you’re going thru. I know what it’s like to feel broken; like everything around you is falling apart. I know what it’s like to feel lost; like no one even wants you around. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless; like there is no hope in the world for you. I know what it’s like to feel unloved; like everyone hates you. I know what it’s like to feel like no one even cares; like no one ever has any time for you. I know what it feels like to be depressed; like you don’t want to live another day. Lastly I know what it’s like to feel worthless; like the only way to escape the pain is to take your own life. I know because I’ve been there. But there is hope. There is healing. There is love.

You might be thinking, but Tiff how did you come out of this? How did you find worth? Hope? Healing? Love? Purpose? My answer to your questions is Jesus Christ. Jesus brought me hope, worth, healing, love, & purpose. You might be thinking; well Jesus might have saved you but He can’t save me. No one can. But don’t believe that lie for one second. Jesus can save you & I have proof.

Did you know that you are forgiven? 

When God sent His One & Only Son into the world to die for you, Jesus took your sins too: everything you would ever do wrong. He took it because Jesus didn’t want you to be destroyed. God sent His Son so that after we die we could spend eternal with Him in Heaven. Jesus didn’t want to see you punished for your sins so instead Jesus took that punishment for you when He was hung on the cross to die for you. But just because He died doesn’t mean you automatically go Heaven. This is want you have to do to be saved:

A: Admit that you haved sinned & be willing to turn from your sins.

B: Believe that Jesus in God’s Son who died for you & was raised from the dead. This isn’t just believing with your head but trusting Jesus for forgiveness of your sins.

C: Call on the Lord, confess your sins, & committ your life to Him. This is the willingness to turn from your sins & to turn to Christ as your Savior & Lord.

 Here are 2 verses from the bible to sum this up in Truth:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”-John 3:16-18

“Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off—and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man. Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.”-Isaiah 53:1-10

So this is how I found worth, hope, love, purpose, & so on; Jesus is the answer. If it weren’t for Jesus saving me from myself I honestly would not be here today. But because of what He did I am. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank Jesus.

But I don’t know where your at in life. Maybe tonight your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you? Maybe you are so stressed out with school that you can’t take it anymore. Maybe your parents just got divorced? Maybe you just found out your pregnant? Maybe you just got busted for drugs? Maybe you’ve been abused? Maybe you feel like giving up? Or Maybe you are at the end of your rope & feel suicide is the only way out?

But please hold on. There is help & treatment available for you. Rescue is possible. Suicide is not the answer.—“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”-Revelation 21:4-6

I love you so much; but most importantly Jesus loves you. But tonight I watched a movie called “To Save A Life.” This movie has changed me from the inside out. I have a different outlook on life. God has showed to me thru this movie a hurting world that needs Him. I felt lead to write this tonight. I felt a tug on my heart from God telling me to take action. So I started writing. I really hope that after you have read this that it gives you some hope & positive encouragement. I pray you would take action too. You can take this or leave it where it’s at. But I know there is a hurting world out there that needs me; that needs Jesus; that needs you. If someone don’t take action, then who will. The last thing I want to hear is that one of my friends took their life. This world needs us. I can’t do this alone. But if we come together as one in Jesus name we can make a difference. We can save a life if we are willing to help others before ourselves. At the time you’re helping someone else, you are helping yourself as well.

You matter to me. You matter to someone. You most importantly matter to Jesus.

On Grace by Dawn

Below you will find Dawn’s testimony of God’s grace displayed in her life through her struggle and freedom from an eating disorder. I hope that you will find hope in her story and peace in knowing that God’s grace is most assuredly sufficient for YOU!
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God Loves me so much that he sent his son Jesus that I may live… now and always by grace. How can I not sit back and look at my life and not just wonder, in shock, at what God has done and continues to do? I am so thankful that at the end of the day no situation or challenge can change the goodness of the Lord.

For three years I have walked with Him. Three years ago He held the end of the rope that pulled me out of the pit of death and into His shadow of light.  My testimony is posted on a website and this is part of a comment that someone left…. Like the “dawning of a new day” – your testimony heralds the beauty – the sheer wonder of being new in Christ – the old is past; behold all things become new – Oh what a blessing – may the LORD your King continue to use you mightily like a trumpet, to compel all to “Come, dance with our King!”

Use you …Use me….Hear I am, Lord….How many times have I said that to my Daddy? I’m always asking Him to use this Freedom Walker, to use this girl now three years out of brokenness and three years into the light. This past year has been different than the first two years, there were more days, than I have ever admitted to anyone, that I really didn’t want Freedom anymore, that I wanted to throw it all away and seek the guise of thinness. I know the answer to how all these thoughts started? Something so simple….busyness. I got so busy that I didn’t make even small moments of time to spend with my Daddy, He got pushed to the wayside and when the overwhelming feelings of life came I didn’t have the Truth to stand on to fight. Instead I decided I wanted to fight myself and fight my body for control over what I felt like was an out-of-control life. And let’s just say that putting my walls down to seek out the Truth, in the words of wise counsel, was really, really hard. But I had to do it. I had left that struggle in the past.

But hear me….it is a choice. In my life I had to change that I was Supposed to walk in Freedom to Wanting to walk in Freedom. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). That’s what he wants for each of us. But we have to embrace the truth, so instead of fighting my body I wake each morning choosing to walk in Victory. Walk out my Freedom! I will not let the mirror or the world define me, but I shall speak the Truth of God’s Word. I WILL LOVE ME; I will surrender myself into the hands of my Father, who will equip me for battle. Too often I, still more than I want to admit, measure my beauty by a number. He has already declared me BEAUTIFUL, His chosen and beloved daughter, the one He intimately wants to know and love me beyond any love that I can seek here on earth. I will continue to fight the lies that tie up my thoughts, I know the TRUTH, and I can speak it! The real battle is making sure my Truth doesn’t fall on my own deaf ears and understand that it isn’t always about those around me hearing the Truth but I need to make sure I’m still hearing it myself.

“If you hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble.” Psalm 91:14, The Message.

Dear Father,

What a journey this has been and I am truly in awe of all you are continually doing in me. One day with you is better then a thousand elsewhere. I know you are good and that knowing you intimately has transformed my life. Give me the faith to walk in freedom and victory.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

I am totally blog stealing but I couldn’t help it after reading about this idea. I was recently reading this blog about the song by Taylor Swift called “Fifteen”. Do you ever wonder what you wished you knew at 15 that you sure didn’t know!? Well I decided to make my own little list of what I didn’t know at 15 that I wish I did.

When all you wanted was to be wanted. Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now.

•That foolishness can be overcome.
•That your past can be redeemed and God will transform your past into the most beautiful future.
•That worrying about the size of your thighs will never get you a job but sure can make you lose your job.
•That I’m a Princess.
•That beauty is lending a helping hand.
•That my heart is sensitive and that it will serve me and others well.
•That being single is a gift.
•That being shy makes you wise counsel.
•That Freedom is the best thing ever and I will well up in tears every time I share my story.
•That time really does heal.
•That God would mend my broken heart and reside in all the pieces.
•That I was made for so much more.
•That friendship comes in seasons.
•That my future is already planned out, I just have to walk through it.
•That I’m loved more than I can even comprehend.
•That being approved by man means nothing, I’m already approved by God.
•That embarrassment doesn’t ever end my day.
•That I’m writing my legacy every single second I spend in the presence of my Father.
•That people really don’t notice how much I weigh.
•That people notice what’s in my heart.
•That my broken life can be made beautiful, there’s beauty in the breaking.
•That God has me written on His palm.
•That while I was searching for who I was, God already knew.
•That I am special and there is only one of me.

And the number one thing I wish I knew was…..

that Jesus is my best friend.

“Greater love has no man than this, than he lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13

Jesus Christ laid down His life for you and wants desperately for you to accept His offer of friendship. He is a friend who never leaves us or forsakes us.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Luke 4:8-10

“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.” Romans 5:10 (NLT)

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 (NIV)

(This blog is written by Dawn, mentor with Restored by Love Ministries and was edited by Stephanie Lampman, Founder of Restored by Love Ministries)

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27

So you want to wear all the name brand clothes, do the things your friends are doing, look the best and be the best? You don’t want to stand out or maybe you do and wear the brightest colors available and have your own unique style.  What if we turned away from the thoughts of flaunting the latest fashions and put on a little Beauty by God? Now this beauty will require that we are willing to be different and it will require many to step out of their comfort zones. I will warn you that many don’t think the Beauty by God clothing line is fashionable, but don’t let that discourage you, God is the best designer around! He is top notch! What does the Beauty by God wardrobe have to offer, you ask? There are many articles of clothing available in this special clothing line and to cover them all in this article is not my intent, but I do want to discuss two of them here.

Let’s see, first let’s look at the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14). Belts are so important, without them let’s just say that we might find ourselves in a nasty predicament, we wouldn’t at times be able to keep our clothes intact! What does the belt of truth look like? How do we know what truth is? We go to God’s Word.  In John 1:14, we see that “the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory of the only begotten from the Father, FULL of grace and TRUTH.” We must first recognize where we can be sure truth is (John 14:6); where we can get this belt of truth. Now that we’ve discovered we get our belts of truth from God’s Word, what are we going to do with the belt. When you go to the shopping and purchase the cutest dress, do you just let it sit in your closet, no, of course not, we put it on.  We need to do the same with the belt of truth in God’s clothing line. God’s truth keeps our lives intact. It is His truth that we need to base everything in our lives on. Our thoughts, our actions, our motivations, our decisions, ect. Truth is absolute. If truth isn’t truth, it’s untruth. There are no grey areas. When we understand God’s Word as being purely truth and put on our belts of truth, we can rest assured we will have the most beautiful Beauty by God clothing on because our lives will shine with the light of Christ. (John 8:32)

Let’s look back to the Ephesians passage (Ephesians 6:14), what other articles of clothing are in the Beauty by God clothing line? What about being clothed with the breastplate of righteousness? What does the breastplate do? It guards our hearts. It is when we are putting on the righteousness of God and living that out in our lives that our hearts are protected from this sin filled world and the immoral temptations that we go up against every day. What is righteousness? It is living God’s way instead of our own selfish immoral living; it is putting on the beauty of the righteousness of Almighty God. For some examples and to dig deeper into this thought of putting on righteousness check out these scriptures:

Isaiah 61:10, 1 Thess. 5:8, Job 27:6, Psalm 5:8, Psalm 17:15, Psalm 37:6, Psalm 40:10

God’s Word says in 2 Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

So you want to be beautiful? The world’s definition of beauty will only lead to bondage and an ugly heart. Girls, let’s strap on those belts of truth and protect our hearts with righteousness!  With Beauty by God, you are sure to win!

“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel  16:7

Unleashed

I went on a retreat with the youth from my church this past weekend. The theme for the retreat was “Unleashed.” Going into the retreat I had no idea what that meant and I was wondering to myself why they were calling it Unleashed. I soon found out what that really meant.

You see we have things in our lives that keep us in bondage, things we place before our relationship with Christ. These can be anything– internet, phone, television, video games, boys, texting, cell phones, self harm, obsessive focus on weight, eating, and exercise, beauty, money, caring to much about what people might think, you name it. There are so many things in this world that we get hooked on and tied down to. We tend to put these things first in our lives when what really needs to be first is our relationship with God. We were reminded this weekend that we need to be unleashed of these things that are holding us back from being our best in Christ. One of the youth leaders on the trip unleashed from the notion that she had to wear makeup so she didn’t wear any make-up during the retreat. We all have things that we need to let go of and give to Christ, things we need to be unleashed from. It’s when we are truly become unleashed from those things that we find lasting freedom in Christ.

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:15-19)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

So I ask you this….what do you need to be unleashed from? What is holding you back from your relationship with God? What is keeping you enslaved?