Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 2

~ Sacred Design ~

Discovering Femininity's Blueprint for Beauty:

"The preoccupations of young women don't seem to change much from generation to generation. But in every generation there seem to be a few who make other choices."

- Elisabeth Elliot -

The Modern "Inner-Beauty" Myth

Why do we sell ourselves short, and not grasp the incredible vision of radiant, set-apart femininity that Christ so greatly desires to showcase in and through our lives? The answer is that we don't truly grasp our hopeless, sinful state. "We don't understand that apart from Him, we have nothing, we are nothing, and we can accomplish nothing." We continue to search within ourselves to find the beauty and strength that only comes from Jesus Christ.

Countless Christian books written to young ladies encourage them to find their "inner beauty".

The Christian book Captivating puts it this way: "The beauty of a woman is first a soulful beauty. And yes, as we live it out, inhabit our beauty, we do become more lovely. More alluring...We want you to hear clearly that beauty is an essence every woman carries from the moment of her creation. The only things standing in the way of our beauty are our doubts and fears and the hiding and striving we fall to as a result."

I haven't personally read the book, Captivating, but I know for sure that if I had read this paragraph on my own I probably would've thought, "Aw, how nice. It's so true!" However, Leslie says something different.

"It sounds so right. But the Bible makes it very clear that we were born into sin, to beauty. Yes, we were created in the image of God. But sin has warped and twisted all the goodness and loveliness we were originally designed to posses. As a result of sin's defilement, we no longer carry an essence of beauty from the moment of our creation - we carry an essence of sin and selfishness. Our womanly souls are no longer beautiful. They are revolting, ugly, and deformed. That's why we need to be completely and wholly redeemed and remade by the power of Christ's blood."

We need to realize our own wretchedness in order to realize the extent of our forgiveness. In order to grasp the amazing sacrifice of God and love Him for it, we need to grasp the great sin of ours that needed that sacrifice in order to be forgiven.

We do have an inward beauty, that can shine and radiate in our faces and through our actions. But that beauty is not our own. It's the beauty of Jesus Christ shining through us. It's HIM inside us that shines so brightly. Nothing of our own.

Charles Spurgeon says, "If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us."

Any beauty that we posess is only rags compared to the limitless beauty of Christ. His beauty is beyond perfection. We don't deserve it, but by His amazing grace, He desires to showcase His beauty in us! It is not our unique and special beauty that we want the world to see - it's His.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sacred Intent

Elusive Allure

According to a recent survey by Dove, only 2% of women think they're beautiful. In this day and age when beauty is at its easiest to posses (through plastic surgery and "special" diets) that women feel the worst about themselves.

"As women, the desire to be beautiful is innate. We long to be seen as attractive, appealing, and desirable. We dream of capturing the heart of a noble prince with out stunning beauty, like the princesses in our childhood fairy tales. But our longing to be loved and wooed by a heroic groom didn't originate with Cinderella - it's actually a Biblical concept...Jesus is the only one who can truly satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts. And yet, most of us turn to everything but Him in a desperate attempt to find the approval we crave. And pop culture preys upon our longing for love like a relentless vulture. They keep dangling the carrot temptingly in front of us, urging us to spend our time, money, and energy pursuing the "next great thing" that will bring us one step closer to the dream."

And too often, we fall for it. I know I have. I've bought the clothes. Read the articles. Seen the billboards. Watched the commercials (and believed that I actually could have that absolutely perfect hair just by washing my hair with the special shampoo). We may not want to admit it, but more often than not, we allow our beauty to be measured by the world.

"We've been looking for beauty in the wrong place. And our incessant search for beauty has stripped us of all that is truly beautiful."

The Guy Problem

We try to accept ourselves for who God made us to be and appreciate our own unique beauty we are, meanwhile, we are completely assaulted by the world with lies that we aren't pretty enough, alluring enough or sexy enough. And the fashion industry isn't the only one to blame. Guys are a huge part of the problem.

"Most of today's guys - even Christian ones - have bought into Hollywood's standards of beauty, drooling over sex queens and scorning all things pure, innocent and uncorrupted. And living among them, we become convinced that we must scrape and claw to be noticed by guys, to cheapen ourselves to become desirable to anything male that moves."

The Secret Source of True Beauty

According to the world, beauty is gained through diets, tanning and lots of makeup. Well-meaning, but somewhat misguided, Christian voices tell us that beauty comes from within, all we need to do is accept ourselves the way we are.

Following the world's version of beauty gives us momentary applause, but as Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting..." worldly beauty only lasts for a time. Then it's gone, leaving us empty and broken, pretty to look at for a time, but hollow and fake on the inside. "Loving ourselves" and "embracing our own beauty" tends to be more of a cover up, for our deep longings, like a band-aid covering a head ache.

"Neither the world's version of beauty nor the modern self-esteem message truly fulfills our longings to shine with enchanting grace and princess-like dignity. And neither avenue meets that deeper inner desire to radiate with feminine beauty that never fades. But there's another kind of womanly beauty - one that we don't hear much about in today's world. It's the dazzling loveliness of set-apart femininity."

Being set apart doesn't automatically enlist you into the ranks of quiet librarians with humungous glasses and a book under their arm. It's not shunning all society. Or hiding from the opposite sex.

"Set-apart femininity blends the classic womanly grace and dignity of an Audrey Hepburn with the sacrificial, poured-out-for-Christ lifestyle of an Amy Carmichael. It's true feminine beauty merged with absolute abandonment to Jesus Christ. It's the sparkling, vibrant, world-altering, Christlike version of femininity that your King created you to exude."

"What is the secret to great living? Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts."

- Amy Carmichal -

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Arise, O Patriot

by Elisa Abele

O God, have mercy on this United Nation,
Being founded on You is my one consolation.

We are all so foolish, I know this full well,
Without You our sweet haven would soon be a hell.
This “messiah” in power will begin our downward fall
America will fail, once and for all.

O Lord, would you save this country in need
If there were 10 believers in the land of the free?
We trust you, dear Jesus, we gave you our hearts,
In the home of the brave, we form a great part.

Founded on You, In God alone we trust
In our broken up schools, prayer is a must.
Your 10 commandments should stay in town halls,
We know who to blame if this great country falls.

Pride and glory, our great flag waves proudly through the air,
To stomp on our symbol, some Americans would dare!

Rise up, Patriot, Rise up Man of God,
We need you more than ever on this down-trodden sod.

Rise up Faithful women, rise and take your place.
The only hope we have is in the glory of God’s face.

Together we stand, united on that sweet hope
With our God on our side, not only will we cope,

We will fight for our King, for our rights for our Freedom.

We will fight for the honor of God’s glorious kingdom.

Arise, faithful ones, our time has finally come,
To defend this mighty nation, we will forever know as Home.