Monday, 22 February 2010

True Beauty

Last week I had the privilege of reading Leslie Ludy's newest book, The Lost Art of True Beauty. As I started, I thought I was digging into a book for single girls on beauty, but what I actually had on my hands was a book about so many aspects of life that I think many girls and women could benefit from.

As a young women, it's so easy to lose focus. It takes literally no effort; it just happens. My eyes have been reopened to this by reading this book. As a young woman, we are called to reflect the glory and beauty of our Lord Jesus but it's so easy to be distracted by the things of this world and our personal desires.

In our modern world, we hear more about feminism than femininity. We are bombarded with messages about our looks, body and sex appeal but we rarely hear messages about a pure, sweet, godly and feminine beauty. Leslie brings us back to this in her book The Lost Art of True Beauty. She shows us what this means and how to live it out. It's truly a breath of fresh air.

A concept that is really promoted by our culture and the modern church is self-esteem, self-worth and feeling good about and serving yourself. Pamper yourself. You deserve it. The problem with this is the focus is on self and that's not in line with the Word of God. We are actually called to deny ourselves and pour ourselves out in love and service to the Lord and others. It not about us and our selfish desires. It's all about Him.

Social grace and etiquette are key to displaying true beauty. Leslie gets right down to good manners and intelligent conversation skills, something we lack far more often than we realize. She also speaks of being socially sensitive. Instead of being manipulative or controlling in social settings, reach out to those who are lonely or left out and treat guy friends with respect.

One thing I greatly appreciated about this book is that Leslie emphasizes balance and cautions against extremes. While she tells girls not to obsess over their looks and flaunt their bodies, she shows us that we don't have to dress in a drab, completely unfashionable manner either. She encourages readers to dress in a modest, feminine, classy, elegant and dignified manner. She provides great tips and advice concerning clothing, hair, makeup, posture and the way you carry yourself. This makes the book practical.

Leslie goes into so many different things, I couldn't possibly cover them all. She even covers homemaking and hospitality, providing again great practical tips. There's so much stuff that not only single girls, but married women would benefit from as well.

This is a Rebelutionary, do hard things kind of book that I would highly recommend to all girls. Also, check out the author on her website, May you also be blessed as I have been blessed.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Judgment for Christians

I've thought about doing a post on this subject for awhile. However, I knew I would risk some negative feedback as to my idea of what judgment for Christians will be, or rather, not be. I'm now ready to take that risk and put into words what I've been thinking through for quite some time now. I don't generally dig into doctrinal issues but this is something that's been on my mind for far too long. I'm aware that I may still be wrong. I can't push aside that possibility, but I would rather err on this side then the one I've been on for so long.

Over the past years, I've adopted a really dreadful idea of judgment. I can't point exactly to where it comes from because it certainly has come from a variety of sources. I also know that I'm not the only one with the wrong conception because I've heard other Christians speak of it the same way.

I had this idea that when I died, I would come before God and be judged for everything I had ever done. I would have to hang my head in shame and weep as every wicked thought and deed was exposed for all to know. Instead of being excited for Christ's return, it's something that I've actually often really feared, simply because of this dreadful judgment. And after all that scum and muck is revealed, I probably wouldn't even want to enter into heaven. That sounds pretty bad, doesn't it?

Now, I'm sure many people have scripture to back their idea of what judgment will be for Christians, but after thinking, studying and really grieving over this matter for awhile, I've come to the conclusion that the above idea is false. If the above idea were to be true, then Christ died in vain and I'm not really forgiven. If that's true, then all of what we believe about salvation and what Christ accomplished on the cross is just one big falsehood. We have been offered nothing more than a temporary or false pardoning only to give us the assurance of eternal life.

Why is that? Because God says so many times in His Word that our sins are forgiven, He doesn't remember them, they are as far as the east if from the west, cast to the bottom of the ocean, washed away, blotted out. If the above idea of judgment for Christians is true, then all these statements in the Bible must not be true.

Think of it this way. Say somebody has wronged or offended you. They have humbly asked for your forgiveness which you have graciously extended to them and you move on with life. At the end of his life though, you sit down across from him and say "Now let's get this straight!" at which point you begin to list off all his offenses and wrongdoings after which you say "Go in peace!"

No, no, no! That would be absolutely absurd! You don't forgive somebody and then one day pull out a huge long list of all their sins! That's why I must conclude that according to scripture and my idea of who God is and what He has done, and even just plain reason, I will not have to shamefully stand before Him one day as everything is exposed for all to see.

Now, in that I'm not saying that coming before God is any small thing. I think we may just fall down on our faces in reverence, awe, and fear of our God, Creator, Lord, Saviour and King. I don't know exactly what will happen when we come before throne of God, but I want to be able to approach in joy, not in dreadful fear. I don't want to dread the return of Christ, but rather rejoice in it. I don't want to go before Him as a judge, but as my Redeemer and Friend.

The truth is, we're going to a wedding, the marriage supper of the Lamb and Jesus Christ is eagerly awaiting the day when the Father tells Him to go and collect His bride. And I can say I'm looking forward to the day when I can see the face of God!

Saturday, 13 February 2010


Here's a video by Jonathon Acuff from Stuff Christians Like that has some really good points in it. I hope you enjoy it.

Oh, and any suggestions for posts would be great. What would you like me to write about? I'm kind of stuck.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Are You One of the Few?

Over the last few weeks, I read A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot. Amy Carmichael, lovingly known as Amma to those close to her, was a remarkable woman. It took Elisabeth Elliot near 400 pages to put her life into words so this short post will hardly do her justice, but I will try my best.

To describe or write a review on this book, I must describe Amy herself. She was born on December 16, 1867 and grew up in Ireland where she was raised in a Christian home. Even as a child, she was a girl of courage and bravery, qualities that would prove to be very beneficial in her future work. She also possessed the heart of a servant.

Her missionary work began in Ireland, primarily in Belfast, where she devoted herself to helping and ministering to the people around her, especially the lowest members of society. It also took her to Japan, Ceylon, and eventually to India. In India, her initial intention seems to have been to simply spread the Gospel. However, she soon found herself rescuing children from temples where they were raised to live lives of immorality and she established the Dohnavur Fellowship.

In the Fellowship, the children were raised, educated, taught to love and serve the Lord and Amy was, of course, their Amma (Mother). Over the years, the work grew and Dohnavur also came to include a House of Prayer and hospital, or Place of Healing, as it was called. The work of the Fellowship still continues today and is run primarily by the people of India, many of who came to Dohnavur as infants.

If Amma had to be described in one word, it would be love. Love was at the core of all that she did. Next to that there were many qualities that she valued and her life clearly displayed. Among these were loyalty, unity, commitment and service. Indeed, everyone was a servant.

Commitment was very important to her. Commitment to the work, children, workers and above all, to God was absolutely necessary for anyone who wanted to be a part of the work at Dohnavur. They had to be prepared to live for the Lord and pour themselves out in service to Him no matter what the cost.

Amy was a woman who experienced intimate communion with God and embraced the beauty of God's creation. This is best revealed in her poetry, lines filled with the beauty, wonder, and majesty of God. Everything was taken to Him in prayer and every step she made was taken in faith.

In 1931, Amy had an accident which confined her mostly to her bedroom for the rest of her life, years that were marked by much illness and pain. Even so, she kept on working, leading and directing. She maintained a personal relationship with each of the workers and children, always writing notes and letter to individuals and spending time with them. This is also when she wrote many of her books.

After almost 20 years of illness and pain, Amma went to be the Lord on January 18, 1951. Her body was humbly laid to rest in the Garden of God with a simple bird bath to mark the place of her burial. Her desire was that people would see it and look to God instead of her.

Although I'm well aware this brief summary does not do her life justice and I left many details out, I fear that many more words would still fail to adequately describe this woman of faith. I would encourage you to read this book for yourself, or better yet, some of Amy's personal works. I hope that you are also blessed, encouraged, and challenged to a deeper relationship with God and to pour out your life in service to Him.

1 Corinthians 3:12,13
Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw--
each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test which sort of work each one has done.

I like what Elisabth Elliot said in one part of the book:
"The preoccupations of seventeen-year-old girls--their looks, their clothes, their social life--do not change much from generation to generation. But in every generation there seem to be a few who make other choices. Amy was one of the few."

Are you one of the few?

Friday, 5 February 2010

Your Whole Heart

This week, I started reading in the book of Jeremiah. Now, in all honesty, I've read through the book of Jeremiah a few times and I never gleaned much from it, but this time, it's a little different. I've actually been seeing myself in it.

In the book of Jeremiah, Israel has forgotten God and turned to idols. A people that was once faithful as a young, devoted bride has turned away into backsliding and forsaken their God. Now they have defiled themselves in whoredom, but God who is merciful is calling them to repent and turn back to Him.

Now when I looked at this situation here, I thought "Do I defile myself with the things of this world? Am I faithful to God or do I go around seeking pleasure in other things?" In all honesty, yes, I often do. I seek out things that I know very well bring no true fulfillment and waste my time doing useless things all in an effort to try and find momentary joy. If I examine my life, I can see so clearly how often and easily I fall into this. I catch myself doing it, but I go on anyway. Now, just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with having fun. There are many things in this world that are good, pure, and enjoyable and it's good to enjoy them. We need that sometimes. But once it becomes a central, necessary, or controlling part of our lives, then we've run into a problem. We are giving other things and activities places in our lives which God should rightly have.

Jeremiah 4:22
"For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are 'wise'--in doing evil! But how to do good they know not."

Isn't this true of so many people? Doing evil seems to come so easily, so naturally, but doing good seems almost an impossible task for them. I mean, evil can even be so well thought out, tactfully planned, and efficiently carried out, but doing good is a whole different story. That often takes more courage than most of us can muster up.

Jeremiah 3:10
"Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD."

I've caught myself doing this far too many times: turning to God in pretense. It's as if I think I can fool God and cheat Him into giving me what I want. I actually fool myself sometimes when I do this. But God knows the innermost thoughts, intentions, and motives behind what we do. We can come to God acting as if we truly desire Him, but He knows when we are completely insincere.

So my challenge for you is turn to the Lord with your whole heart in complete sincerity, holding nothing back. It's more difficult than it sounds. I'm wrestling with it myself. A question also comes to mind: Do you remember a time when you loved God more than you do now?

Don't let your love grow cold, but may your love and desire for the Lord be always increasing. God wants your whole heart.