Tag Archive for Faith

The Ultimate Handbook For Teen Girls

Being a teen girl living in today’s world is just not the same thing as it was even a decade ago. They face new challenges, new experiences. They face things that most adults could never even dream of. 

Years ago, I read Mirror Mirror… Am I Beautiful? by Shelley Hitz and immediately thought that it was the book I wished I would have had when I was a teen. It was like the perfect handbook for Christian girls living in the real world. It didn’t just cover the pretty Christian topics, but the real-life, nitty-gritty issues that you are faced with in high school: Insecurities. Guys. Fashion. Evolution. Faith. Sex. It was all there.

And it was about a decade too late for me.

As my own daughters approach their teen years, I didn’t want it to be too late for them. So, I partnered with Shelley to update and expand the book so it is relevant for today’s teens. I so strongly believe in the message this book holds that I am willing to literally give it away.

But I know sometimes the best books are books that you can hold in your hand.

When you buy our book, either the paperback or Kindle edition, now through Saturday, you’ll get a free coloring book and have a chance to enter to win five more true beauty books.

So what are you waiting for?

Visit www.TrueBeautyBook.com now.

An Exciting Turn of Events

In 2015 I stepped down from my position at TrainingAuthors.com because I felt like God was calling me back to ministry. I had helped build TrainingAuthors.com from the ground up, so it was really hard for me to do, and it took an entire year for me to really come to grips with it and surrender that decision completely to God. However, I am so glad that I did.

I have been working on getting back to the root of the ministry God called me to, discipling and encouraging Christian women and teen girls. I have been struggling with how best to do this online. Starting from scratch is never easy. But this week God knocked my socks off.

I received an e-mail on Sunday night from the owner of FindYourTrueBeauty.com, the ministry that published my first book in 2010. I knew God had called her to minister to a different group of people, and that ministry hadn’t been overly active for several years now, which is part of the reason I was so lost on how to move forward. But in her e-mail she wanted to know if I would be interested it taking over the ministry completely.

I was floored.

It’s exactly what God had placed in my heart. You know, one of those God sized dreams that you don’t think could ever really happen and you would never dream of actually asking for. I get teared up every time I think about it.

So, I am writing today today to tell you that I am officially the new owner/director of the ministry FindYourTrueBeauty.com. I am working hard on updating the website, our books, etc. And it will be a long process of getting everything up to speed, but I would love for you to check it out and let me know what you think.

Find Your True Beauty

2016 – Own & Embrace

In 2015 my theme for the year was “Called by Christ” – I spent the year reflecting on what God has called me to do, and it changed my life. The more I dug in, the more I realized I wasn’t leading the life He has called me to live.

One of the first things I did was resign from my position at TrainingAuthors.com. It cut me to the core but it opened me up to discover more about who God has called me to be and it allowed me the time to listen as God spoke to my heart. I won’t say that I always obeyed what I was hearing. Changing your entire life is hard. But I had to learn to let go.

That was my call for 2015, to let go. To wait. To get my feet on solid ground, before I took a leap of faith.

Moving into 2016, my theme for the year is twofold. I want to own the reality of my life. Really build a strong foundation of who I am in Christ, who He created me to be, where He has placed me, and what He has called me to do. And then I want to embrace it. I want to take who God made me and use every ounce of me to bring Him glory.

I want to live with a firm foundation that springs me into action.Own&Embrace

At the end of 2014 I was burned out and confused. I didn’t know what I wanted or really even who I was apart from my work. While I had surpassed all of my goals, my family was suffering. I needed change. I am so happy now as we approach the end of 2015 that I know my calling. I know who I am, but I want to know more. I have a hunger to develop my relationship with Jesus like never before.

I have learned a ton during the year, and I want to take it deeper. I want it to move from head knowledge to really owning and embracing the life God has in store for me.

I am still crazy passionate about helping others, which is why I will be blogging regularly throughout the year and sharing what God is teaching me. Eventually, I hope to publish a book on this topic, but I really need to walk through it first and totally immerse myself in it.

If you would like to follow my journey, I will be post blog updates monthly on CandidlyChristian.com.

I would love to hear what you are focusing on in the coming year. Do you have a theme, or a word for the year? A scripture? Do you make resolutions? Share your answers in the comments below!

I will add that in 2015, my theme verse for the year was 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” (It went really well with my theme, “Called by Christ”.) For 2016, I am going with Psalm 118:17 which has already implanted itself in my heart, “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”

Samson’s Slow Fade (and us)

Bible StudyOur Bible study yesterday was over Samson, and Beth Moore really brought it a live in a way I had never seen it before. But what I really got out of it, was a lesson on how slowly your passion for God can fade.

Samson’s Slow Fade

Samson was born into a Nazarite vow. He was set apart for God, and God’s Spirit stirred Him. Yet he slowly faded away from his vow. It started when he wanted his own way (Judges 14:3), then he broke part of his vow (14:6) and kept it a secret. And then he shared his sin with his parents without letting them know (14:9). It just began a slow fade as he broke one part of his vow after another, becoming prideful and full of conceit, until finally, he didn’t even notice when the spirit of God left him (16:20). Yet in the end, when Samson called out to God, God came back to him (16:28). And that is a powerful message.

(You can read Samson’s story in Judges 13-16.)

Samson in Us

As I was learning about Samson, I couldn’t help but think, “Not me. I would NEVER do that, say that, etc.” But even if we aren’t so blatant about our sinfulness and pride as Samson was, I do think we are just like him at the heart of it. At least I am.

I might never mock God by making a riddle out of my sin, but I do still sin.

I haven’t taken the Nazarite vow, but there are still things that I know are good for my relationship with God that I take for granted, and you probably do, too. What starts out as innocent can turn into a slow fade of our passion for Christ.

Maybe one day we wake up late and make the decision to skip our quiet time. We make it through the day okay, and get back into our routine the next day, but then it starts happening more and more often, until we look back and say, “I use to read my Bible…”

And it’s not just Bible reading. It could be with prayer, or anything really. Maybe you make a conscious decision to do something that you know God wouldn’t approve of, but you are just so mad, or excited, or whatever, that you really don’t care in the moment. The next time, it’s that much easier to do the same thing, and slowly we slip away from our great God.

One day we look back and say, “I use to be on fire for God… what happened?”

It’s a slow fade and it can happen to any of us.

Restoration

My favorite part of Samson’s story is the ending. Not the death, or his need for revenge, but the fact that when he called out to God, God heard him.

As long as we have breath, it’s not too late to call out to God.

“Draw me close to You, LORD! Fill me with Your love!”

It’s a slow fade when we lose our passion for God, but He can ignite the fire again in an instant, and we can stoke it to burn continually.

God is good.

Let’s Get Candid

I’ve been working hard behind the scenes for months on my new ministry for Christian women, CandidlyChristian.com. My goal was to create a safe place where women could be honest about their faith, failures, and forgiveness. Let’s face it, life isn’t always neat and tidy, being a Christian doesn’t change that.

Those of you who know my testimony, know that God has used the honesty of other Christian women to grow my faith more than anything else. Knowing that other Christian women don’t have it all together is a huge blessing. Knowing it’s okay to be less than perfect, what a relief!

I will never forget the first time a Christian woman admitted to me that she didn’t have it all together. She wasn’t just any Christian woman, she was our pastor’s daughter-in-law, super fit, a stay-at-home, super mom who was part of the worship team and an international missionary. I’m telling you, she was everything a good Christian should be, and she knew her Bible inside and out.

And then she confessed that she struggled with depression. That she questioned her faith because of an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness. This was super woman, and she struggled with some of the same things I did.

Another time the woman who hosted our Bible study confessed that her house wasn’t always as clean as we saw it each week. In fact, she said if we showed up unannounced at any other time during the week, that it would be a wreck.

Again, a huge burden was lifted. Not because I rejoiced in their struggles, but because it made me realize that struggling was okay.

Who knew it was okay to be less than perfect?

Her candid confession was a balm to my soul.

Many other candid confessions have followed. Some of them speak to me, others make me hurt for the women who are going through them all alone.

When I’ve shared my own candid confessions with other christian women, I usually get one of two responses.

Encouraging Support or Utter CondemnationIMG_1518

Sometimes well-meaning christian women come across the wrong way. Most of them don’t mean to, but it happens from time to time. And it happens often enough to make us scared to be honest.

If you are a Christian woman, I would love to have you join me at CandidlyChristian.com: A safe place to be open and honest about faith, failure, and forgiveness.

Let’s Get Candid!

 

 

 

 

I Shall Live

You may or may not have heard of Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team, but I’m taking part in it this year and loving it. The basis behind it is that you memorize two verses a month (on the first and fifteenth). Psalm 118:17 is my second verse for this month, and while I know I’ve read the entire Bible, I don’t remember really seeing this verse before yesterday, but it has hit me hard.

“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”
~ Psalm 118:17
(ESV – emphasis mine)

This verse stirs me in a way I can barely express through words. Before Jesus, we were dead in our transgressions, separated from God, but because of Him, we shall live. He has given us a new life (Romans 6:4), and the old has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Because of Christ, we can live not only in eternity, but we can live a full life here on earth bringing glory to our Savior. We can share about His mighty works. And not only that, but He can live through us and in us through the person of the Holy Spirit.

 John 10:10 says, “A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I (Jesus) came to give you life–life that is full and good.”

Jesus came to give us life. Not just air to breathe, but one where we actively live a life according to what He has called us to. Colossians 3:1 says, “You were raised from death with Christ. So live for what is in heaven, where Christ is sitting at the righthand of God.”

Jesus didn’t just give us life, He gave us something to live for.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

 Live

Faith Promises

I was up in the middle of the night last night with my elderly dog. And while I was waiting for him to finish his business outside, I decided to scroll through Facebook on my phone (horrible idea, I know). It just so happens that I came across two different posts that related to today’s study. They were both about faith (or a lack of faith) in the promises of God. So today, I wanted to cover some of the things God has promised us, and a few of the things He hasn’t…

5 Promises from God

1. The Holy Spirit

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,
to be with you forever…”

~ John 14:16

2. God Is Our Strength

“…they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

~ Isaiah 40:31

3. Our Needs Will Be Met

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

~ Philippians 4:19

4. Nothing Can Separate Us From The Love of God

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~ Romans 8:37-39

5. Eternal Life

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~ Romans 6:23

3 Things We Aren’t Promised

1. Everything We Ask For

Philippians 4:19 says God will supply for all of our needs, not all of our wants. James 4:3 says that when we ask and don’t receive, it’s because we ask with the wrong motives. God isn’t a magic genie. We can’t just rub the prayer lamp and have all of our wishes fulfilled. The God of the “Name it and Claim it” gospel isn’t the God of the Bible.

2. Health, Wealth, and Happiness

The prosperity Gospel is prominent in America today. Preachers tell us that God wants us to be happy, that if we give enough money, that we will be blessed beyond measure. But that isn’t found in the Bible.

Preachers will often refer to Jeremiah 29:11 where God promises the Israelites that He has a plan to prosper them. However, most prosperity preachers leave out that the people he makes that promise to all die in captivity. He had a plan to prosper their people after they died for their disobedience. It was a multigenerational promise that included 70 years of captivity.

In all actuality, God promised us that in this world we would have trouble (John 16:33), that we would face persecution (John 15:18-20), and that true riches are heavenly, not earthly (Matthew 6:19-20).

3. Works-based Salvation

Romans 6:23 promises eternal life as the gift of God. It isn’t something we can earn. There isn’t a certain threshold of sin that God tolerates before condemning someone to Hell. All sin has the same punishment, whether you tell a little white lie or go on a shooting rampage. Your only hope is the free gift of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no penance you can pay to get into Heaven. There is nothing you can avoid. None of us are good enough to get into Heaven on our own. We all need Jesus.

==> You can download this week’s study sheet here

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Faithfully Persecuted

For week seven of our study through Hebrews 11, we are looking at prophets and martyrs. While there were several Old Testament examples listed in verse 32, we don’t have to look back at all to see people being martyred for their faith. There is a mass martyrdom going on in Syria, and countless others that don’t always make the news. But being persecuted for your faith doesn’t always mean you are killed.

Here in the US, Christian businesses are being persecuted for not supplying birth control to their employees and refusing to cater to homosexual weddings. But honestly, we often don’t even need to look outside of our own lives to see persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” So if you are not seeing persecution in your life, you might want to look at why not. Below, I have listed some of the ways normal Christians (whatever that means) can see persecution in their lives.

3 Ways Christians Can Be Persecuted in Everyday Life

1. Rejection

This is the most common way Christians are persecuted in everyday life in the United States. We are rejected by our families, shunned by our friends, and often excluded by people that could be wonderful friends if they gave us a chance.

2. Slander

Christians are often misunderstood. There are blanket statements that are applied to everyone who calls themselves a Christian, that aren’t necessarily true. Some people assume that because we are Christians, that we are intolerant, self-righteous, and hateful. And many times people aren’t afraid to say these things about us, even if they don’t know us.

3. Bullying and Peer Pressure

Sometimes we feel rejected because we aren’t invited to a party or event we wouldn’t have wanted to go to anyway, but often times, that is better than the alternative. Christians often face bullying and peer pressure. It can seem like the world wants to test our faith and convictions.

 

How do you see persecution in your life?

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Faith Lessons

This week in Hebrews, we are looking at the faith of the Israelites. Specifically, we’ll be looking at the faith involved in crossing the Red Sea, bringing down the walls of Jericho, and the way faith changed the life of Rahab.

As I read about the faith involved in the lives of these people, two things stood out to me above everything else

1. God is Faithful

2 Timothy 2:13 says:

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”

Sometimes, being faithful to what God is calling us to do is scary, or it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I can’t help but wonder how many of the Israelites knew how to swim. If you have ever met someone with a fear of water, walking through the Red Sea, even on dry ground, would have terrified them. Okay, I know how to swim, and it probably would have terrified me! That gigantic wall of water on both sides. You would have had to have a lot of faith to believe that God would (and could) hold it that way until you were safely to the other side. And this was a sea – not a creek. There wouldn’t be the option to run real fast so you make it across quickly. It took some time, and a whole lot of faith (or fear).

Walking around a city for seven days probably seemed a little foolish so some. But the Israelites faithfully did it. They trusted that God knew what He was doing, and they followed through. And God did just what He promised to do, even if there were a few skeptics in the bunch.

Our God is an Awesome God

2. Faith is Powerful

Rahab is the one that I was most impressed with this week, though.  She wasn’t originally an Israelite. She was a prostitute who lived in Jericho and had heard about the LORD, and believed that He had given the Israelites the land. So she acted out of that faith and it not only saved her life, but changed her life. She became an Israelite, married Salmon, and became the father of Boaz, a forefather of Jesus.

Pretty awesome stuff, huh?

So while faith might not always be easy or make a lot of sense, it changes things and changes us.

How has faith changed your life?

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A Life of Faith

This week in Hebrews, we are look at the life of Moses. Specifically, we’ll be looking at the faith of Jochebed, Moses, and the Israelites during the Passover.

As I read about the faith involved in the lives of these people, several different things stood out to me.

4 Lessons for the Faithful

#1. God doesn’t always make life easy for those who have faith in Him.

Jochebed could have cursed God for allowing the Egyptians to kill all of the Israelite babies, but she didn’t. She had faith in Him to protect her son. She placed her hope in Him, even when the world said that was foolish.

#2. There is a right way and a wrong way to stand up for what we believe in.

I firmly believe that Moses had the best intentions when he killed the Egyptian, but that probably wasn’t the best way to handle the situation. Granted, this was before the 10 commandments were given, so I guess we can’t hold it against him.

#3. Faith doesn’t have to be blind.

Yes, Moses took God at His Word, but he also asked a lot of questions. He didn’t just say yes right off the bat, he took the time to understand his mission and his role. I wonder if we don’t get frustrated so often with our callings… okay, if I don’t get frustrated so often with what I know God is calling me to do, because I don’t stick around to get the details. I just get the first sentence and run with it.

#4. Faith doesn’t mean fearless, and it’s certainly not something you can do half-way.

When I think of the first passover, while they were sitting there in their homes with their children, I would have been terrified. I would have double and triple checked that we had followed all of God’s commandments regarding the preparation of the passover to protect my oldest son at all costs. And having the angel of death come past my door, I probably would have fainted. It would have been terrifying.

Can you imagine if one of the Israelites would have said, “Oh, God’s a good guy, surely He’ll protect us even if we don’t have our sandals on and our belts tucked in. I mean, really, who eats while they are holding their staff?!”

No. They wouldn’t have done that. Not at the risk of their children. Yet so often today, we essentially say the same thing. We say, “Oh, God’s a good guy, surely He’ll let us into heaven, even if we don’t love our neighbors as our selves. I mean, really, who prays for those who mistreat them?!”…Just something to think about.

I want to leave you with my current SSMT memory verse:

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

James 4:17 (NIV)

==> You can download this week’s study sheet here

In the comments…

Which of the four things that stood out to me in this weeks study makes the biggest impact on you? Why?

Share it in the comments below.

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