Where the Insecurities Hide

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Over the Thanksgiving break, I was able to go up north and visit my mother’s side of the family. Some of these folks I haven’t seen in person since I was ten years old, and our contact has been limited to Facebook updates. Some of these people also are very openly critical of and even oppose Christianity. And by oppose, I mean strongly oppose. From making a mockery of it to taking every opposing political stance in hopes of limiting it… They have everything to lose if Christianity were true, so it cannot and will not be true in their book.

I was so nervous while I was there. Like bologna-ring-pit-stain nervous. I felt like I had something major to prove the entire time I was there. That I’m funny. That I’m down to earth. That I’m wise and also book smart. That I’m clever. That I’m humble. That I care about the lives of others. That I am kind and compassionate. That I’m beautiful. That I’m a good mom, despite my age. That I’m making a difference. That I’m a person worth knowing and talking to.

So.

Much.

PRESSURE!

I felt pressure to show them that a Christian is a real person worth knowing. I felt pressure to be living proof that Jesus is more than a religious belief, but a fulfilling relationship that gives purpose, meaning, joy, and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Important side note: my face had broken out severely, and no amount of makeup could cover it up.

Well, when I finally left, I felt entirely defeated. I felt like not only had I not represented the Lord like I’d hoped due to my overwhelming nerves, but I also wasn’t physically beautiful, so I didn’t have that going for me either. No matter how much time I tried to cover up those pesky flaws, both big and small, I couldn’t. I felt self-conscious the entire time. Inside and out.

Huh… Inside and out…

Inside…

I had this realization on the 4 hour drive home once my daughter had fallen into a peaceful sleep in the back seat and I had real time to process.

I realized that I’ve been focusing a lot on my physical appearance lately. Before the skin breakout, I was watching makeup tutorials and putting more and more time into my morning routine, and less and less time into the Word until it dwindled down to none. After the breakout I spent more time fixing the flaws on the face rather than examining the ones in my heart. I spent more time gazing into the mirror than gazing at the Lord.

So with my physical beauty out of the picture, I felt insecure in every way. I had no confidence in my flesh to hide behind, which revealed an insecure heart.

When I do not spend enough time seeking the Lord, I lose touch with who I am because my true identity comes through Him. Without Him, I start to look to the left or right or into a mirror to find myself. When I lose touch with Him, I also lose touch with myself.

At the end of the day, no matter how much time, effort, or money you spend on your physical appearance, if you do not know who you are at the core of your being, you will feel insecure.

Putting effort into your appearance is not wrong, it is simply celebrating God’s beautiful creation in my book, and even being creative ourselves! It’s when our priorities shift from our identity in Christ to our physical bodies that gets us into trouble.

Beauty fades with time, but who we are should not. Physical beauty is not guaranteed, but our identity and worth, which is determined by the Lord, is constant. It is in the beauty of our hearts that our testimony holds power and truth. No amount of physical beauty can portray the love of Christ. No amount of physical beauty can lead a person to healing, or freedom from addiction, or joy even in hardship, but Christ sure can. And that love of Christ is the most beautiful gift we can give to people.

UPDATE:

The night I wrote this, I got into bed at about 12:04am. I wanted to read the Word so badly but my husband was ready to sleep. So I dimmed my phone and went into my Bible Gateway app and I couldn’t believe what the verse of the day was.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

– John 15:5

It spoke deep to my heart. I read the rest of the chapter and the next few chapters after that and the Lord revealed Himself in so many ways. He convicted me, opened my eyes, and reconnected me to my identity in Him. It amazes me that the Lord loves us enough to pursue us, even when we have strayed for the thousandth time. He is faithful, gracious, and merciful.

Question: Suicidal and I Just Hate Myself

An amazing response to an authentic cry for help. Please read the article below by J.S. Park if you struggle with suicide, depression, or self harm.

When that broken record starts to play in your head (“I hate myself” I’m so stupid” “I don’t deserve happiness” “I’m so ugly” OR “you’re so ugly” “you’re so messed up” “you’re not worth saving”) try speaking the Word OUT LOUD. Stand on the truth of the Word. Find scripture that directly combats the lies you struggle with most and put satan in his place! It’s awkward at first, but that’s one way Jesus handled it (in the desert), so this is how we can fight too.

Love this video of Joyce Meyer – “How do you talk back to the devil?”

J.S. Park

Anonymous asked:

There are times where I just want to die, sometimes I just want to hurt myself, sometimes I curse myself, sometimes I cannot look straight in the mirror because I hate how i look, sometimes I call myself names so that I would never feel good about myself. I am a Christian and I tried so hard to tell this to my churchmates but no one really cared.

Dear beloved friend,

I totally applaud your bravery and honesty in writing this. As much as you might not hear this right now, please know you are loved, we care about you, and many of us have struggled with the same exact self-doubts. You are NOT alone, and I will pray for you. I am praying for you now and I did before writing this.

To feel this way does NOT make you a bad person. You have a worth…

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6 Ways to Become a Submissive & Respectful Wife

I have pondered a great deal on what it means to be a submissive wife. Ever since I gave my life to the Lord and began preparing my heart for my husband, I wondered at the concept. Now I’m well into the thick of marriage (over one year!) and God told me it’s time to stop wondering and start doing the work.

My husband and I have finally started learning afresh what God’s design is for the dynamic between a husband & wife, why He designed it that way, and how to live it out. I have relied on revelations from the Lord to show me how to take on this challenge of renewing my mind on these roles day by day. Both of our mothers grew up in broken, abusive homes, where their mothers lead out of necessity more than anything, so neither me, nor my husband, grew up seeing an example what this looks like.

Keep in mind as you embark on this journey – sometimes revelations come before mistakes are made, sometimes after. Be patient and keep one ear up to the Lord through it all and be sure to deal out plenty of grace!

Let’s start with scripture.

I had heard this one at least one million times, but it only sank in very recently:

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5:22-24

Yeah, yeah. Read it before, give me something new... Right? That’s what I would’ve thought!

6 ways to be a submissive and respectful wife2

But let me rephrase and begin with the first strategy:


ONE: Submit your life daily to the Lord and you will be a submissive wife.

God designed marriage, therefore He wants you to be a submissive wife. If you seek the Lord first, He will prompt you on HOW to be a submissive wife. Let the creator coach you! Consider asking Him some questions throughout your day. Like: “What can I do to make my husband feel honored today?” “What can I do to show respect to my husband?” “How can I serve my husband right now?” “What does my husband need from me right now?”

It was also extremely helpful for me to think of it in these terms because it gives me something more tangible to go off of, something that I do have experience with, having been a believer for years now. I have been practicing submitting my life to the Lord since that first day I surrendered! So I ask myself, “What does my submission to the Lord look like?”

  1. I ask Him what He wants me to do. After He tells me, obedience is the submissive way.
  2. I trust Him with scary decisions, that He knows my heart’s desires, and that He knows what is best. Then, once again, obedience to His will is the submissive way.
  3. I trust Him with small decisions and trust that He cares when I ask.
  4. I lean on Him when I feel drained, confused, or too weak to continue on my own.
  5. I am honest with Him about my mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Then I seek wisdom from Him on how I can fix it.
  6. I try to bring Him honor and glory with my actions and words.
  7. I try to honor him with my body and my sexuality.

Now, just as the scripture says, let’s apply these things to my husband.

  1. I ask him what he needs from me – that day or bigger picture. “Is there anything you would like me to get done around the house today?” “How can I be a better wife for you?” “How are we doing?” “What would you like to do today?”
  2. I trust him with big-decision situations. If I disagree with him, I will lovingly and respectfully share my concerns, trust that he hears them, and trust that he is taking them into consideration because of his love for me and our family. After he decides what is best, I respect his decision by supporting him in it. If it goes wrong, I will not gloat or belittle him, but continue to show him respect and give him encouragement and, most importantly, grace.
  3. If he is asks me, “How are you?” or “What’s the matter?” I will answer honestly in a respectful way. If he has upset me, I will answer without casting blame or condemnation for something he has done wrong, but share openly how I feel. I will confide in him so that our conversations can be real, authentic, and relationship building.
  4. I will let him know when I need him. I will ask him for help and swallow my pride. Men need to feel needed. I will honor my husband by asking him to step in and be my knight in shining armor.
  5. I will admit my mistakes and genuinely ask him for his forgiveness. I will honor him by accepting it and promising him that I will work on that part of my flesh.
  6. When I speak of my husband to others, it will be words of respect and admiration. My words will honor my husband in that they will speak life over him to others so that they have no reason to look at him in a negative light. I will speak of his good qualities or hold my tongue. I will not give into temptation when surrounded by other women complaining about their husbands. I have realized this is incredibly important, but not a commonly shared belief in the world. As a wife, you will see his deep-rooted character flaws, and he will see yours. Just because those truths are found does not give you permission to speak of them publicly. If you need to vent, I encourage you to go to the Lord before anybody else. He is an amazing listener. There have been countless days where He has completely satisfied my need to talk about some struggle in my marriage.
  7. I put effort into my appearance out of love and respect for my husband. I dress in a beautiful, modest way when in public. I dress sexy for him at home. I show interest in sex with my husband, and even initiate intimacy. I try to keep my eyes and thoughts for him and him alone.

How do you submit to the Lord? Write it out and use that as a guideline for some tangible ways on how to submit to your husband!

Notice that all of the ways one can submit to the Lord (see above) are closely tied to an act of obedience. Which brings me to…


TWO: Be obedient to the Lord and you will be a submissive wife.

Scary or difficult though it may be at times to be obedient to the Lord, it always bears fruit. Whether the Lord is telling me to drop the subject, not say anything at all (because it’s not a big deal), do the dishes, or put more effort into my appearance, if you are obedient to the Lord, your actions will honor your husband.

“God, do I keep fighting for my way or let him make the choice?”“God, I don’t feel like he’s listening to me, do I keep pushing or back off?” “God, how can I submit to him when I think he’s making the wrong choice?” “God, what do you want me to do, right now, in this moment, to be a submissive wife?”

Don’t be afraid to be honest with the Lord about how you’re feeling. There have been many moments where I feel intensely upset, because I feel like my feelings are being swept under the rug. I told God exactly how I felt in that moment, how frustrated I was, how I felt like I had to stick up for myself to be heard, then asked the Lord what He thinks. In most cases, he told me I was the one not listening, that I was actually being selfish, to trust Him with it and let it go, etc. Then I would find out later on that the Lord was working on my husbands heart in amazing ways behind the scenes the whole time.

God knows what He is doing!!

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Sometimes, your husband will make mistakes. Sometimes, if you are being obedient and prayerful in those moments of do-i-submit-or-do-I-fight, God will ask you to let him make those mistakes. I know I certainly learn from my mistakes! Remember – he is on his own journey with the Lord, too!

If, however, your husband is asking you to do something that is morally wrong or something that the Lord is pressing on your heart as wrong, remember that you are to submit to the Lord first, before your husband. That means that you choose to please the Lord before your husband. Always.


THREE: Have a servant’s heart.

You need to be ready and willing to serve the Lord to serve your husband (see scripture above). A lot of days, there aren’t any family decisions that need to be made, so how best do I show that love and respect to my husband then?

A lot of the time, the Lord will put tasks on my heart. A lot of times, they’re menial – tasks that can wait till tomorrow and tasks that I don’t often feel like taking care of. Sometimes they are tasks that are cumbersome, highly inconvenient, or force me out of my comfort zone. That’s where obedience comes back into play.

Selfishness is my greatest enemy in my quest to be a servant and a submissive wife. Oh, how many times I think “later” or “tomorrow” or “wow, I really don’t feel like doing that right now… I’d rather just blah blah blah.” So we have to choose whether we are going to obey the Lord or obey our flesh.

Also, these “menial” tasks mean so much to our family. My husband has texted me multiple times in the last month saying how much he appreciates that when he gets home, he doesn’t have to worry about dishes or picking up, and that he loves that I take care of the home for our family. (Granted, I am working part time, so I can’t speak into this too much for full-time workers, but that is all the more reason to explore this with the Lord, and what serving looks like for you in your home!)

Don’t get me wrong, there have been tasks that I’ve completed that I never got verbal appreciation for – that’s okay! I was obedient and submissive to the Lord. He saw and He appreciates it.


FOUR: Keep your husband’s role in perspective.

God’s design for marriage is for the husband to be the head of the household. He is responsible for the well-being of the family.

It is his job to lead with a servant’s heart, to make decisions out of love and consideration for his family over himself, to be deferential to his family, to protect with his life, to raise his family in the Lord, to show his wife that she is loved and cherished and beautiful, and more, as is explained in the rest of Ephesians 5.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are all members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5: 25-33

As one of my mentors told me: “At the end of the day, it’s his head on the chopping block. Everybody will hold him responsible for a lot of what happens to your family. That’s a lot of pressure!” It is a truly noble and difficult role – one God designed men to shoulder for His perfect reasons.

Ask God to renew your mind about what your husband’s role truly looks like.


FIVE: The only part of your marriage you can work on is you. SUBMIT the rest to God.

If you feel your husband is not doing one or any of those jobs listed in the previous strategy correctly/whole-heartedly/at all, that is something you need to submit to the Lord. Give it to Him to work on, pray for your husband, and then do your part. Just because your husband is not leading the way you would like does not give you the go-ahead to not be a submissive wife.

In “Captivating” by Stasi Elderedge, it talks about how the sin tendency of women is to control, and the sin tendency of men is to become passive. You don’t want to live a life being deceived by the enemy that you have to run the home for it to be done well or correctly. Dig into that with the Lord.

The more I’ve submitted to the Lord, and therefore my husband, the healthier our relationship has been, and the more my husband’s leadership role has developed and strengthened. Trust that whatever steps God asks you to take, He knows your heart, He hears your needs, and He is working on it in ways that you cannot see. So focus on your part and what God is asking you to do, give your husband grace, pray for him, and watch God work!


SIX: Work on unconditionally respecting your husband.

Whoa, wait. What?

In the book “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs, it talks about how a woman’s greatest desire is to be loved, and a man’s greatest desire is to be respected. It also talks about how women expect their husbands to love them unconditionally, but laughed when asked if they could unconditionally respect their husbands. They said that respect was something to be earned by them, and that they often did not earn it.

Ironic, isn’t it? When I read this, my jaw dropped. I had never thought about how unbalanced I was in my expectations from my husband vs. my output to my husband.

We expect our husbands to speak to us in a loving way during disagreements – even when they think we are wrong or when they are upset or hurt. They deserve to be spoken to with respect in that same situation.

We expect our husbands to love us after a heated fight. They deserve to be treated with respect and honor after a heated fight.

We expect our husbands to talk about us to others with love in his words and voice. Our husbands deserve for us to talk about them with respect and honor to others. That means you speak life over each other or you hold your tongue.

We should try to unconditionally respect our husbands, just like we want them to try to unconditionally love us.


It’s been about a month now, and the Lord has already begun to change my heart and behaviors in major ways. He has shed light on my tone of voice, my argumentative attitude that would flare up, my struggle with procrastination, our sex life, letting my anger get to the point of a digging comment, being slow to anger in general, trying to protect my husband by asking him to not do dangerous things, where I struggle most with selfishness, and on, and on, and on… It has been truly an amazing transformation already. Because of all these things, my relationship with my husband has drastically improved, and he has noticed and thanked me for it. We argue far less, he feels more loved, respected, and appreciated, there is less stress in our home, our marriage is healthier than ever, I am feeling closer to and more in love with him, I am bringing glory to the Lord and strengthening my relationship with Jesus, I am becoming more and more the woman he designed me to be, and on, and on, and on… The benefits are endless!

Though embarking on this journey was intimidating, scary at times, and occasionally overwhelming, I am overcome with excitement about it. I am seeing God’s transformative and redemptive power in a whole new way! I am witnessing Him working daily in my relationship with my husband and in our family dynamic. And, I’m overjoyed to say, because my mother found Christ and because she did the work to get healing from her past through Jesus, I can now explore this new concept with her, and I get to witness the fruit of this labor in a marriage outside of my own, that I have observed my whole life. This journey has greatly strengthened my faith and brought me closer to the Lord! I’m so thankful to serve a God that cares so deeply about every one of us, our husbands, our marriages, and the legacies we are creating for our families. Praise God, who gives wisdom generously and freely to those that seek Him!!

Good Guilt vs. Bad Guilt

The idea of a good, god-glorifying guilt has been a truth in my heart for years now, but it has gone against what I hear a lot of my Christian community saying, leaving me confused. They say, “Guilt is not from God, but from the enemy.” I feel like the word “guilt” has acquired a taboo-like feel in the Christian community because of this view, when by definition it is “the fact of having committed a specified or applied offense or crime.”

Don’t get me wrong, I agree 100% that it is also used by the enemy – he is, after all, a liar with a limited bag of tricks. It only makes sense that he would take something God intended to use for good and pervert it in order to confuse and condemn those that aren’t watchful of his schemes. See below for more details.

But a part of me has always known that guilt has been a necessary part of my transformation. Without guilt or remorse, I would not have changed by sinful behaviors. I felt guilt when I knowingly stepped out of God’s will, therefore hurting myself, the Lord, and sometimes others. That feeling is what spurred me to repent, turn from those actions, get myself right with the Lord, and turn a new leaf. Had I not felt this guilt, I would not have felt that what I had done was wrong. That feeling was the clearest way the Spirit chastised me in those moments, and I was grateful for it!

Let’s check it out in scripture.

Context: Paul had written a letter to the church of Corinth, calling them out on sinful behavior. The letter he wrote has a reputation for being severe. He was concerned about how they would react. Then Titus brought him the news that they reacted with “godly sorrow,” rather than anger, resentment, rebellion, ect. Though Paul was sad to have caused them pain, he was joyful that they received the truths he stated in the letter.

2 Corinthians 7: 9-13

“…yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.  So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged.”

I know it doesn’t spell out “guilt” in this verse, but in my Bible, right next to these verses, it explores this idea and what they are referring to when they say “godly sorrow.”

Godly guilt is an emotional and spiritual weight. It’s the sorrow you feel when the Lord has shed light on a sin and has made it clear that it is just that – and therefore something you need to confess, repent, and ask forgiveness for. It really can be seen as a gift! It is the Lord disciplining us as His children, molding us to be more like Christ.

“Christ taught that the acknowledgment of our true guilt is the door through which we can experience the cleansing and renewal of being forgiven,” which He talks about in 1 John 1.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claimed we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word is not in us.”

So you see, this chastising, this disciplining, this method of correcting is necessary to be in fellowship with the Lord. We all sin, and because of that, we all have room to grow and be molded. We all have stuff to confess, repent, and ask forgiveness for. Godly-guilt is what keeps us on that path of growth and keeps us from the rut of sin.

Well then, what does bad guilt look like?

Let me write out a list of questions for you to explore with the Lord.

Do you struggle with the feeling that you have nothing to offer?

Do you struggle with the feeling that you are not as ________________ as somebody else?

Do you struggle with feeling worthless?

Is there something in your past that you have not forgiven yourself for? 

Is there something in your past that you have never spoken to the Lord about because of shame?

Is there something in your past that you have not accepted the Lord’s forgiveness for?

Is there something you feel like you’ve done that does not deserve forgiveness?

I have found that the enemy’s version of guilt goes hand in hand with shame and condemnation. Shame, by definition, is “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Shame keeps a child from the Lord. Shame causes us to run and hide from Him, like Adam and Eve did in Genesis. Shame is a feeling so painful that it often leads to a feeling of condemnation.

Condemnation by definition is “the expression of very strong disapproval; censure.” It is the feeling that you are unworthy of God’s grace. That you should feel shame and you should feel like you are beyond saving or healing. That you are nothing special. Unimportant, with nothing to offer. Sometimes, it’s even the feeling that the death of Jesus was not meant for you.

Those are LIES. The Lord intentionally created you with purpose. The sacrifice Jesus made was not only for the people that have “little sins,” but also for the murderer hanging on the cross beside him. It covers EVERYTHING. Do not live a life of deception thinking you are something you’re not – you are NOT worthless, or unworthy, or unsalvageable, or too broken, or too hateful, or too far gone. God sees you as His child in need of healing. Accept what God did for you. Accept the loving sacrifice He made for your sins, to conquer these feelings and these wounds. He did all this knowing that not everybody would accept what Jesus did, because God needs to be chosen, too. Forced love is not real love, God designed it to be a choice.

Think of it a different way. Think of it as somebody you care about giving you a heart-felt gift out of the blue. They got it for you to bring you joy. You may want to say “Aw, you shouldn’t have!”  But ultimately, they got it for you, so you accept it. That is the same as the selfless act that Jesus did for you, only on a much smaller scale. Don’t deny God the blessing of the gift of Jesus because it was unwarranted. Jesus is the pinnacle of God’s grace! And God’s grace cannot be earned. So it doesn’t matter how far you’ve strayed or how bad your past is. Jesus is enough!!

Haters Gon’ Hate

It’s always a strange feeling, reading through comments.

It brings me so much joy to read some of your comments.  Comments saying  that God is speaking to you.  It brings me so much joy to hear how real He is and how much He is moving…  How many people He is reaching out to… How much you love Him… The personal testimonies I have read have been truly inspiring and amazing to me.  I thank God for each one I read.  He knows how much joy and encouragement they bring me.

Then I get to the not so joyful comments.  Comments from people I’ve offended.  Comments from people who think purity is the most ridiculous notion spoken of.  Emails from people who call me a monster for encouraging women to pursue purity.  Comments from enraged “feminists.”  Even comments from other brothers and sisters in Christ who have an opposing opinion, which is fine (I have plenty of those myself), but who chose to insult, persecute, blame, and shame.  You name it.

In conclusion: Haters Gon’ Hate, and Haters come in all sorts of packages.

What does God have to say about that?  How should we handle it?

Lemme tell you what – sometimes, my heart beats out of my chest and my hands shake so hard I can’t type.  Sometimes out of stress.  Sometimes out of rage.  Sometimes out of deep sadness.  I used to be brought to tears by the ugly words of some, which makes me so grateful that God has recently started speaking to me about it, and pressing it on my heart to share it.

I am doing the Beth Moore study called “Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit.”  Day 1 you read Acts 13 and 14, where you basically learn how much of a beast Paul was for Christ (I mean that in a good way).  He was literally unstoppable.  Check this out:

Acts 13:43 – “When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

v. 45 – “When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy.  They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.

v. 49-52 – “The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.  But the Jewish leaders incited (or stirred up) the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city.  They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.  So they shook the dust of their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium.  And the diciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 14:5-7 – “There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them.  But they found out about it and fled…where they continued to preach the gospel.

v. 19-20 – “Then some Jews came from Antiocha and Iconium and won the crowd over.  They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.  But after the disciples had gather around him, he got up and went back into the city.  The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”

Holy beast mode.  Paul was stoned to near-death, then went BACK to the very people that nearly murdered him.  Not only that, but he went back THAT SAME DAY it sounds like.  Wow.  If Paul can rush back into ministry after facing death, how much more we can continue in ours, whatever that ministry may look like, when we face hateful words or actions.

I’m realizing that God is opening my heart and eyes to the sufferings of others, whether they are in my home or across the world.  I cannot imagine the pain and horror the Christians in Iraq are facing, along with other religious and ethnic groups being persecuted, tortured, murdered, and martyred over there.  If they are fighting for the gospel, if Paul kept fighting, then so can we.

I read Galatians 1 this morning (I strongly encourage you to read it, it’s amazing).  Day 2 in the Beth Moore study, she highlights the following verse:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (v. 10)

Paul wrote that to the Galatians.  And referring back to Acts 13 and 14, it is even more powerful, because we get a glimpse of the hardship that he faced when he was out sharing the Gospel and what God taught him in his own personal testimony.

There will always be haters.  There will always be people who are quick to anger and slow to tame their tongue.  Don’t let them stop you on your mission.  Haters are always gon’ hate.  But we don’t have to let them win.  We can keep spreading God’s Word and love, even when met with resistance.

Tempted but Fighting the 50 Shades Craze

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I came across an incredible article this morning, and it has so much great insight and truth into why we need to keep fighting the temptation and curiosity to see and/or read “50 Shades of Grey.”

It was so encouraging for me to read.  It reminded me why I am fighting the temptation to watch/read it and so many other things.  Read this article!! >> 50 Shades of Lemonade

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.”

– 2 Timothy 1: 6-9