The Seductive Lie of Immodesty, and Re-Claiming Your Identity in Christ

by Marie Notcheva  from Grace and Truth – Comments

The Seductive Lie of Immodesty and Re-Claiming Your Identity in Christ

This is not another article on Matthew 5:28, hem lengths, or the horrors of uncovered shoulders. Today I’m writing more as the concerned mother of a teenage girl than as a biblical counselor. I want to take an unflinching look with young people of both sexes at the reality behind immodest dress; the desire to be desired; and where it can lead.

Sixteen-year-old “Vanya” was raised in a Christian family. A former AWANA protégé, she is a superb student and overall good-girl. When she started high school and began social networking, however, she noticed “sexier” girls wearing the fashions her parents forbid. She became dissatisfied with her own looks, associating beauty with short, tight, and low-cut.

On Facebook, pictures of teen girls with cleavage and entire legs showing would receive hundreds of “Likes” within hours. When Vanya posted pictures of herself fully-clothed, few people would “Like” them. She began to change her style….subtly at first; then more openly. Her makeup became heavier; her shirts more revealing; her jeans tighter…until her parents confronted her. Was this “love of fashion,” as she claimed, or a desire for male attention—at any cost?

Her “mature” look attracted the attention of 28-year old family friend George. Texts and phone calls turned romantic, all behind the backs of Vanya’s parents. She snuck out of the house to meet the man—for a long walk in the woods. When caught, she tearfully confessed, “He was the only guy who I could really talk to! He understood me and cared about me…we were going to wait until I was 18 and then get married!”

By the grace of God, Vanya’s parents discovered and stopped the situation before anything more serious happened, but Vanya was devastated. Vanya was seeking emotional intimacy and George seemed to provide it. (Whether George was seeking easy sex is open to speculation, but 28-year-old men do not seek emotional intimacy with 16-year-old girls.) Despite being raised in church by believing parents, Vanya was deceived by the lie that dressing and acting seductively will secure the kind of approval (and intimacy) she longed for.

Like all Christian mothers, I want my daughters to dress in a way that reflects love for Jesus. (This is a real challenge when current fashion involves wearing one’s underwear on the outside.) Wanting to avoid ‘legalism,’ I’ve often said that if we have the Holy Spirit within us, guiding us in purity, it is not necessary to carry a tape measure into the dressing room. Attempting to give some Christian liberty backfired in the name of “fashion” and “fitting in.” This battle for purity is one of the biggest reasons American evangelicals choose to homeschool, a choice I respect. However, my husband and I have decided to fight the battle by preparing our children to be on the front lines—living in this world, and ultimately responsible for their own choices.

As a woman who has counseled, parented, and evangelized teenage girls for years (on two continents), I can say with certainty that sensuality is the most common reason teenage girls who profess faith sometimes fall away. In simple terms, when they ‘count the cost’ of following Christ, they decide purity is too high. Of course, few would confess bluntly to such a decision, but the reality plays out in their lives. In school; with their friends; online—being seen as “sexy” becomes more important than being seen as a daughter of the King.

The natural, God-given desire to be beautiful and loved has been perverted, a cross-cultural phenomenon to which Christian girls are not immune. A British friend wrote, “There needs to be more teaching for the young people on honouring God in all areas of their life. There are some girls who are expressing faith, yet still wearing short dresses, striking provocative poses.”

Girls as young as 13 post pictures of themselves in dresses that cover no more than towels, sporting the infamous “duckface” pout (is that supposed to be sexy?). The social-media gamble for attention is a double-edged sword. Girls compete with one another to be the most “attractive” (equating sex appeal with beauty); guys pay attention and encourage. The same girls then jealously destroy each other’s reputations.

We cannot blame the media or ‘the world’ for the lure of immodesty, or for the lie that it promises love. The blame lies in our own sin-deceived hearts. While the world offers an evil and corrupt moral code, there is no getting around the fact that each one of us is responsible before God for our own sin (Ezekiel 18).

Young ladies, you were created to glorify God. You are made in His image. Your true beauty, which comes from your union with Him, is of great worth to your Heavenly Father (1 Peter 3:4). Stop objectifying yourselves and live out your position in Christ. Young men who truly love you will care far more about your holiness than the shape of your legs.

Young Christian men, 1 Timothy 5:2 applies to you whether you are involved in ministry or not. I am not going to lecture you on the dangers of lust; your pastors have already done that. Rather, I appeal to you as an older sister in Christ and a mother. Your Christian sisters are looking to you for approval, and they are just that—your sisters. Every time you hang a poster, wear a T-shirt, or “Like” a picture of an immodestly-dressed woman, you are celebrating impurity. You are also sending young women a dangerous message— their worth lies primarily in being physically attractive.

Stop it!

Tell them you value their friendship; appreciate their intelligence; admire their devotion to Christ. See the beauty in their smiles and the joy in their eyes; not the size of their chests or the daringly-short skirt.

Glorifying immodesty is a symptom of a deeper problem—the belief that sensuality attracts love; which will lead to lasting satisfaction. It reveals a heart that screams “Look at me!” rather than “Look to Jesus.” Ankle-length skirts and denim jumpers do not eliminate the heart issue of impurity, but embracing the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” is a good place to start.

Join the Conversation

As an adult, how do you work with your own children or with youth in your church to help them to develop a Christ-centered life of purity?

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Can We Finally Start Talking About The Global Persecution Of Christians?

Can We Finally Start Talking About The Global Persecution Of Christians?

 

Read at

http://thefederalist.com/2013/09/25/can-we-finally-start-talking-about-the-global-persecution-of-christians/

“All Religions are the same!”

If you watched the video by Koukl earlier

(https://llamapacker.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/video-how-to-defend-the-faith-without-sounding-defensive-by-greg-koukl/) you will better understand this blog by Pastor Matt on his blogsite.

DEFENDING THE FAITH: “ALL RELIGIONS ARE THE SAME!”

I read an interview with the great actor Anthony Hopkins in which he stated it wasn’t up to him to judge the truth and falsity of any religion and, after all, they’re all really the same anyway.  What I wouldn’t give to have been there to subject Sir Anthony to “The Columbo Method.”  If you are unfamiliar with the method, it is a series of three simple questions inspired by the fictional detective and created by apologist Greg Koukl in his book Tactics (Zondervan 2009).  The questions are: “What do you mean by that?”, “How did you come to that conclusion?” and “Have you ever considered…?”

This method works especially well for statements like the one made by Hopkins because, frankly, people who say such things haven’t studied religions very carefully because they differ radically!  For example, the Dali Lama stated, “Buddhists do not accept a creator.”

Philosopher Paul Copan writes, “By definition, truth excludes something—error or falsehood. Christians and Buddhists can’t both be right on this matter; either God exists or he doesn’t. Muslims and Christians can’t both be right about Jesus’ death. Certain Hindus hold to reincarnation followed by ultimate personal extinction; by contrast, the Christian’s view of the afterlife involves death, judgment, and then union with (or separation from) God.” True for You but Not For Me (Bethany House 2009).  Other religions may contain certain truths (e.g., meditation can be helpful)  but they all can’t lead to God. In fact, most claim absolute exclusivity.

Consider Acts 10:1-48.  It records Peter being sent to visit the Gentile Roman soldier Cornelius.   The solder was a good man, even respected by the Jews and was generous with the poor BUT he still needed to hear the Gospel!  Christianity doesn’t teach you just to be “a good person” but to a follower of Christ who worships Him and Him alone.

Many in western culture know little about different religions and they assume they all teach a person to love.  They don’t (classic Buddhism teaches escape) but even if they did why should their similarities count more than their differences?

Moreover, there is a real arrogance in saying all religions are the same for it assumes a God like stance where you have objectively and perfectly analyzed the various faiths and see what none of their adherents can…that the paths all lead to the same place.

In the end, Christianity is the only religion that can be successfully verified historically and satisfy a person existentially.  In fact, if we examine ourselves and the teachings of Christianity, we see that we are made for the faith!  We all feel the need for forgiveness, belonging, meaning and security and Christianity is the only religion that provides it!  Other religions expect you to do the work to earn salvation or enlightenment but Christianity doesn’t depend on your efforts but the effort of Jesus Christ on your behalf.  By simply placing faith in Jesus, your punishment for all wrongs you have ever committed are paid for on the cross.  Moreover, Christ imputes, or gives, His perfect life to you so that you are judged by it instead of your own.  This is why Christians call it “good news.”  After placing your faith, it is just a matter of living a Spirit led life of saying, “Thank you” and “I love you” to our saving Lord.

There is nothing else like it.

A Prayer about the Joy and Pain of Accepting Change

Heavenward by Scotty Smith  –  Comments

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb. 13:8

Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t like change. I like newness, excitement and adventure; but, when it’s all said and done, I love to come home to the predictable and manageable—to my favorite chair and comfortable routines. So I need fresh grace to accept change, because there’s so much change going on everywhere I look.

Another freshly planted “For Sale” sign confirms old friends are moving away. A favorite tree, whose leaves gave the relief of shade and a vibrant tapestry of fall color, is taken down by a storm. The restaurant which served great food, rich conversation, and the ambiance of perpetual welcome had to close. I don’t like it, Jesus. Job changes, health changes, relationship changes, season changes; change is disruptive. Precious things just don’t become vintage things overnight.

How thankful we are that there’s one part of our lives that will never change, and that’s you, Lord Jesus. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. That certainly doesn’t make you predictable, and even less so manageable. But it does mean that we can trust you without any reservations whatsoever. In fact, it’s only in knowing you that change is put into perspective.

The one change we should welcome, like a best friend, is our need is to become more like you, Jesus; and that process is the most disruptive and painful change we will ever go through. Yet with the knowledge that one Day we’ll be as lovely and as loving as you, we gladly surrender to the work of the gospel in our lives. Grace frees us to pray, “Lord, may it hurt so good, if growth will reveal your beauty and glory in my life.”

Likewise, Jesus, the better we know you, the more we come alive to your promise to make all things new. Change has no sovereignty; only you are Lord. Nothing is random in this world. Nothing catches you off guard. The scary becomes the sacred when we’re wearing the lens of the gospel.

Jesus, help each of us see and accept changes as part of a far better story than we could ever hope to write. You are making all things new, right now—right before our very eyes, if we have eyes to see and a heart to accept it. Because of your life, death, and resurrection, we’re heading towards a place, family, and eternity in which it will all make sense and everything will be the way it’s supposed to be. Hasten that magnificent Day!

Until then, Jesus, may we love you with abandon, serve you without question, and order our lives after your delights. So very Amen we pray, in your merciful and matchless name.

Amazing Grace

from Truthbomb Apologetics

Video: “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin


Note: The movie scenes in the video are from the movie Amazing Grace that tells the story of William Wilberforce and his battle to end the slave trade in the British Empire.  The movie is highly recommended.

Further, William Wilberforce’s book Real Christianity is also highly recommended!

Charles Stanley quotes

Logostalk brings us 10 Compelling Charles Stanley Quotes:

”God has a master plan for your life, and that master plan does not change either. It is a plan designed specifically for you. It is a plan that God intends for you to live out fully, beginning at the moment of your birth and never ending until the moment of your death.” (Discover Your Destiny)
“If we walk in the Spirit daily, surrendered to His power, we have the right to expect anything we need to hear from God.” (How to Listen to God)
“You may go through difficulty, hardship, or trial—but as long as you are anchored to Him, you will have hope.” (In Touch with God)
“After brokenness, our lives can be more fruitful, more purposeful, and more joyful. A genuine blessing can come in the wake of being broken.” (Developing Inner Strength)
“Apart from Jesus, there is no peace—not within a human heart, and not among human beings or nations. With Jesus, we can experience peace that passes our rational minds and settles deep within (Phil. 4:7).” (Preparing for Christ’s Return)
“If God can gain glory for Himself from the unjustified murder of His Son, can we not trust Him to somehow glorify Himself in and through the things we struggle with on a daily basis?” (How to Handle Adversity
“Jesus wants you to lean on Him and hand over your burdens, all of them. When you do, you’ll experience a lightness of spirit that knows no bounds.” (Seeking His Face: A Daily Devotional)
“Forgiveness is based on the atoning work of the Cross, and not on anything we do. God’s forgiveness does not depend on our confession, nor does His fellowship. Confession is a means for releasing us from the tension and bondage of a guilty conscience.” (The Gift of Forgiveness)
“As you confront your problems rather than avoid them, your faith is nurtured and stretched. Your confidence grows; your fears subside.” (Enter His Gates)
“From the world’s perspective, there are many places you can go to find comfort. But there is only one place you will find a hand to catch your tears and a heart to listen to your every longing. True peace comes only from God.” (Into His Presence)

Faithful to the end: An interview with Eugene Peterson

This is about a friend of my close friend. They ran together while attending Seattle Pacific university (way bak in the Dark Ages). I like his writings, and, although I am aware of the disputes over The Message, I still find it helpful at times. His other writings are also very good.

Peterson

 Show caption

One of America’s best known Christian theologians, Eugene Peterson, reflects on 81 years of life and ministry.

Eugene Peterson is one of the best known theologians of our time. Most famous for penning The Message, a contemporary rendering of the Bible, he is also author of many popular books such as A Long Obedience in the Same DirectionWith the release of his memoir, The PastorPeterson has begun reflecting on life and the ways in which Jesus-followers can respond to God’s call. Here, we discuss his unlikely call to ministry, the work of a pastor and what, if anything, he wishes he could change about The Message.

JM: In The Pastor, you describe your journey into ministry. How did you first sense God calling you into service?

EP: Well, I never really thought I’d be a pastor because I had so many pastors I didn’t respect. I just assumed I would be in academic work, so I started doing that—I went to seminary and graduate school to be a professor. And then I became a professor at the seminary in New York City where I graduated. But they didn’t pay me very much. Greek and Hebrew professors aren’t very high on the pay scale. So I got a part-time job in a church, because I had been ordained but just to be a professor. I’d never been around a pastor who was a man of God, to tell you the truth.

I was teaching Greek and Hebrew on Tuesdays and Thursdays and after awhile I did this for three years. But after the second year I thought, “Wow, the church is a lot more interesting than the classroom. There’s no ambiguity to Greek and Hebrew. It’s just right or wrong.” And in the church everything was going every which way all the time—dying, being born, divorces, kids running away. I suddenly realized that this is where I really got a sense of being involved and not just sitting on the sidelines as a spectator but being in the game. So I gradually reshaped my sense of what I was doing and became a pastor.

JM: With your experience in both the church and the academy, I wonder what advice you would give to young seminary students today. If you were asked by one to describe what is at the heart of the work of pastoring and shepherding, what would you say?

EP: I’d tell them that pastoring is not a very glamorous job. It’s a very taking-out-the-laundry and changing-the-diapers kind of job. And I think I would try to disabuse them of any romantic ideas of what it is. As a pastor, you’ve got to be willing to take people as they are. And live with them where they are. And not impose your will on them. Because God has different ways of being with people, and you don’t always know what they are.

The one thing I think is at the root of a lot of pastors’ restlessness and dissatisfaction is impatience. They think if they get the right system, the right programs, the right place, the right location, the right demographics, it’ll be a snap. And for some people it is: if you’re a good actor, if you have a big smile, if you are an extrovert. In some ways, a religious crowd is the easiest crowd to gather in the world. Our country’s full of examples of that. But for most, pastoring is a very ordinary way to live. And it is difficult in many ways because your time is not your own, for the most part, and the whole culture is against you. This consumer culture, people grow up determining what they want to do by what they can consume. And the Christian gospel is just quite the opposite of that. And people don’t know that. And pastors don’t know that when they start out. We’ve got a whole culture that is programmed to please people, telling them what they want.  And if you do that, you might end up with a big church, but you won’t be a pastor.

JM: You’ve written dozens of books over your career. Which one do you consider to be your magnum opus, and why?

EP: You know, I didn’t know it was when I was doing it, but I suppose The Message could be that book. The odd thing is when people ask me, “What do you like of what you’ve done?” I never think of The Message. Because I never felt like it was my book. You know, a writer likes to write really well. And you like to really have your own things. I was always second place to Isaiah, and coming in second to Mark, and to Paul. I never was writing what I was proud of. I was just pleased I was able to get into their life and do it in my way. But I really never even think of The Message as being my book.

When I finished my work at Regent College, I’d been teaching there for six years. And I’d written all these books on pastoral life and lay life. But I didn’t have any structure in mind. I just wrote these kind of as they came to me, and what I was doing and thinking about and reacting to. But I thought, the whole world of Christian life, spiritual theology, is not really very healthy. It’s mostly about being yourself in charge of things. There are a lot of really good scholarly books which are profound, but I’m thinking about pastors most of the time. And so I thought I’d like to gather up everything I’ve done in a sequential and comprehensive way. So I got the idea of writing five books—Jan calls it the “Peterson Pentateuch”—to see if I could get the whole world of Christian life, in this society, in this culture, and have it deeply biblically-oriented, with a Trinitarian structure and everything, and do it in language that people could understand. And so I did five books. I call them Conversations in Spiritual Theologyand I really feel satisfied with those books. I think I said best what I’ve been saying all my life, but I’ve done it in an organized and sequential and comprehensive way.

Peterson's "The Message" has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.

Peterson’s “The Message” has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.

JM: You mentioned The Message, your paraphrase of the Scriptures, which has been such a blessing to so many and an international bestseller. When you read it now, are you pleased with it or are there passages you wish you could go back and render differently?

EP: I’m a little hesitant to say this, but when I was doing that—maybe I should say that I could never have done that without being a pastor. I knew the languages really well, but I focused on getting into the idiom of the congregation as I was writing the translation, which took me 12 years. I always had the sense that I was working out of something I didn’t know much about: the metaphors. And it just kind of flowed. So I learned that language by listening to people from my congregation, and I guess I had a sense that there was something going on besides me. It never ever really dawned on me to do a translation of the Bible, so when the publishers approached me, I said “no” immediately. And then they kept talking and calling and I started praying and I thought, “Well, maybe this is my work now.” I’d been a pastor for 30 years in one church, and I was 60 years old. I thought, “Well, maybe this is it.” So, I did. And I’m really glad I did. But to tell you the truth, I don’t read it much. Every once in awhile I pick it up and start reading and think, “How did I think of that? I never knew that before.” I’d say I’m mostly pleased with it.

JM: Your book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, has become something of a Christian classic since it was released more than thirty years ago. How have you seen discipleship change over the last three decades and what advice would you offer people who want to live that long obedience in the midst of an instant society?

EP: I hate to be pessimistic, but it’s declined. At this point the world is making a bigger impact on people than discipleship is. And so I think you end up working with small starts and long finishes. I can’t believe A Long Obedience has had as long of a life as it has. Another thing that’s hard for me to believe—you know I’ve not written for a popular audience—I’ve written 35 books and they’re all still in print. Well, not all of them, but 35 of them! That’s almost unheard of these days. So there are people who are reading my books who I wouldn’t have guessed. It pleases me that some people are listening to something, which I think is biblical and Trinitarian and in some ways anti-cultural.

JM: I heard A Long Obedience was almost not A Long Obedience

EP: A Long Obedience had been rejected by 20 or so publishers. And InterVarsity said yes. So I went to Chicago, to the press, and they said, “It’s a great book but you can’t use that title—its is not a lively title. ‘Obedience’ is not a word that makes people jump up and down.”

So I said, “Look, it’s not my title, it’s Nietzche’s title. And it’s in iambic pentameter. It’s a piece of poetry. And wouldn’t you just love it if we got that title and Nietzeche came back from the grave and saw that and thought, ‘Wow, somebody used this great sentence of mine for a book.’ And then he looks at it, and he realizes it’s about God. Who he thought he’d buried a hundred years ago. And so this grin goes off his face.” Anyway, I’m glad I disappointed him.

JM: In November, you’ll turn 81 years old. What has the aging process taught you about life and how to be faithful to the end?

EP: It’s kind of nice, to tell you the truth. Last November, I was 80 and I thought, “I’ve been under writing deadlines all my adult life.” I loved writing—I didn’t really like the deadlines—but now I don’t have to do that anymore, so I decided I wouldn’t. So my wife, Jan, and I just called it “quits” to traveling. I don’t really enjoy travel; it’s really a lot of work these days. So I’m done with that. And I’ve had this huge sense of spaciousness as a result—I didn’t know you could live this way! The only difficulty is that I don’t have very much energy to enjoy it as I used to. We’re in a lovely place: our children are doing well, our grandchildren are a lot of fun. And I have friends all over the world.

JM: Eighty-one years is a long time. As you enter your final season of life, what would you like to say to younger Christians who are itchy for a deeper and more authentic discipleship? What’s your word to them? 

EP: Go to the nearest smallest church and commit yourself to being there for 6 months. If it doesn’t work out, find somewhere else. But don’t look for programs, don’t look for entertainment, and don’t look for a great preacher. A Christian congregation is not a glamorous place, not a romantic place. That’s what I always told people. If people were leaving my congregation to go to another place of work, I’d say, “The smallest church, the closest church, and stay there for 6 months.” Sometimes it doesn’t work. Some pastors are just incompetent. And some are flat out bad. So I don’t think that’s the answer to everything, but it’s a better place to start than going to the one with all the programs, the glitz, all that stuff.

JM: I know I speak for millions when I say, “Thank you for being faithful. Faithful to the end.”

– See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/09/27/faithful-end-interview-eugene-peterson/#sthash.YfzXaPNQ.dpuf