Monday, January 26, 2009

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 9

Sacred Ceremony


Joining the Fellowship of Set-Apart Femininity

"This sacred work demands, not lukewarm, selfish, slack souls, but hearts more finely tempered than steel, wills purer and harder than the diamond."
- Pere Henri Louis Didon

Holy Kinship


"When Amy Carmichael began her work of rescuing children from temple prostitution in India, she longed for other women to join her - women who were 'wholly devoted to Christ and separate in spirit from the world.' Not surprisingly, women like this were hard to find, and Amy labored alone for many years. But eventually, God drew seven young women to join her in fulfilling the sacred claim of the set-apart life. Amy wrote, 'These girls were seeking to live a life of unreserved devotion, a life without fences.' They formed a sacred fellowship, covenanting together to live in unity, prayer, and absolute devotion to Jesus Christ."

These women formed the fellowship called "The Sisters of the Common Life." In March of 1916 they went into the forest for a time of prayer and consecration. It was during this time that they drafted their written covenant, signed it solemnly before God and each other and committed themselves to live by its principles. Their covenant was as follows:

  • My Vow - Whatsoever Thou sayest unto me, by Thy grace I will do it

  • My Constraint - Thy love, O Christ, my Lord

  • My Confidence - Thou art able to keep that which I have committed unto Thee.

  • My Joy - To do Thy will, O God

  • My discipline - That which I would not choose, but which Thy love appoints

  • My Prayer - Conform my will to thine

  • My Motto - Love to live: Live to love

  • My Portion - The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance.
When hard times came for these women, and the world's allurements seemed to much to thwart, they remembered their sacred ceremony, and held fast to the creed they had sworn to uphold. It was an accountability before man and God that they would keep forever.

Leslie Ludy complied a Set-Apart Femininity covenant for you to sign, to remember as you face trials and to keep you accountable when tempted by the world around us.
"Remember that in signing the following confession, you aren't merely committing to the principles expressed in this book, but you are joining the ranks of set-apart women throughout history - Vibia Perpetua, Catherine Booth, Gladys Aylward, Amy Carmichael, Elizabeth Fry, Sabina Wurmbrand, Jackie Pullenger, and countless more."

"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."
Hebrews 12:1

You may be alone physically as you sign this covenant, but you are not spiritually alone. Our great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on. There is a remnant of young women in todays culture also who are signing. On top of all that, Jesus Christ is standing beside you, joyfully welcoming you to join the priveleged few who are called to be His true ambassadors of light in a dark and perverse generation.

The Creed of the Set-Apart Young Woman
Taken word-for-word from the book Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy. Emphasis added.

As a young woman submitted to the ruling grace of Jesus Christ, I acknowledge that my life is not my own. I have been purchased by the spilling of my Messiah's blood. I surrender this earthly feminine vessel unto my Lord and proclaim that He may do with my life as He sees fit in order to establish His kingdom here on earth, make ready His bride, and bring about His glory.

The Sacred Intent of Femininity:
I acknowledge the sacred intent of set-apart femininity. I acknowledge that my life is to be spent wholly on the establishment of Christ's kingdom and glory. I have been asked by the Most High God to be the bearer of His holy name, the house of His holy presence, and a demonstration of a clear, undiluted, and unmarred picture of His kingly beauty for all the people of this earth to see. I acknowledge this sacred intent and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Design of Femininity:
I acknowledge the sacred design of set-apart femininity. I understand that in and of myself, I possess no true beauty or piety, but that in covenant exchange with the Almighty, I have yielded my body unto Jesus and He desired to adorn me with His spectacular, heavenly beauty. I will no longer allow the voice of my selfish, sinful side to rule my actions and daily decisions; rather, I will submit to the voice of God's Spirit within, leaning on His enabling grace to live the radiant, victorious, supernatural existence that I could never achieve in my own strength. May He instruct me, correct me, train me, and tenderly shepherd me in the hallowed art of being set apart for His pleasure and glory. I acknowledge this sacred design and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Priority of Femininity:
I acknowledge the sacred priority of set-apart femininity. I understand that I am made to love intimately and be loved intimately. But I choose to no pervert this innate need by seeking its fulfillment from men, but rather, that I would find this hunger satisfied in the intimate embrace of Jesus Christ. I acknowledge Him as my Prince and Bridegroom, my dearest heart-friend. I claim that my life, my faith, my hope, and my love spring forth from this wellspring, this reality. And whereas God may choose to give me an earthly groom, a mere man can never and must never replace the position Christ holds within my heart. I acknowledge this sacred priority and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Decorum of Feminity
I acknowledge the sacred decorum of set-apart femininity. I understand that my body is the temple of the Most High God, not to be tainted or defiled by what is unclean. I choose this day to agree with God and to never willfully profane His truth by attempting to make it fit my self-agenda. By God's enabling grace, I will love the things that God loves and hate the things that God hates. I will not love the world or the things in the world, but will give my thoughts, time, energy, and attention to the sacred things of His kingdom rather than the profane things of pop culture. I acknowledge this sacred decorum and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Mystique of Feminity
I acknowledge the sacred mystique of set-apart femininity. I realize that there are dimensions of the feminine nature intended to be kept contained and hidden from all but Christ and my future spouse in the context of marriage. I understand that by maintaining the beautiful mystery of the "hidden person of the heart," I am demonstrating the beautiful mystery of the Gospel. I choose to allow the Almighty to hide me, quiet me, and jealously guard me in accordance with His sacred sense of dignity and mystery. I acknowledge this sacred mystique and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Ardor of Femininity
I acknowledge the sacred ardor of set-apart femininity. I understand that to truly love my future husband well, I must love Him with the very love of Christ. As Christ loved me and gave Himself for me, I will seek to sacrificially love and serve my future husband both now and after marriage. Rather than fighting for my own needs and rights, my goal will be to lay my life down on behalf of my spouse. And even if no earthly love story comes my way, it will be my supreme joy and privilege to serve others and wash their feet, doing for others what Christ has done for me. I acknowledge this sacred ardor and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Cultivtion of Feminity
I acknowledge the sacred cultivation of set-apart femininity. I realize that the work of God must progress and not stagnate within my soul. I understand that I must wrestle in prayer for the fullness of Christ's work to be made manifest in my life and in the lives of others around me. I will not accept breaches in the walls surrounding my soul, but will seek, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to place brick upon brick until every last access point in my life is sealed off for Christ's glory. I uderstand that the Almighty must prepare me for the holy work of Christ's kingdom by diminishing my flesh and cultivating His strength and spiritual authority in my life. I acknowledge this sacred cultivation and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Claim on Femininity:
I acknowledge the sacred claim on set-apart femininity. Christ's blood has purchased me and is making me whole so thatI, like my Messiah, might become broken bread and poured out wine for this world. Just as the Holy Spirit has claim on my spirit, soul, and body and is authroized to do with my life as He wills, so too the Holy Spirit has asked me to become willing to allow Him to lend "His claim over me" to the lost in the world, the poor, the orphan, the widow, the blind, the lame, the deaf, the naked, the imprisoned, the outcase, the oppressed, and the lonely - that my life might become bread and drink for them, and that through my willingness to be broken and spilled, they might see, comprehend, and place their trust in the person and glory of God. I acknowledge this sacred claim and commit, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to seek the fulfillment of this high calling.

The Sacred Ceremony
I hereby state that my body and my blood are my God's to spend and that He has both an "intent for" and a "claim on" my feminine existence. I recognize that without the enabling power of God's grace I am incapable of living out his high and holy pattern for femininity and, therefore, such a life and testimony of sacred set-apartness can only be achieved through a constant abiding in Christ's life, love, and strength. Therefore, I hereby beckon the Spirit of God to tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist me with this holiest of endeavors, that by His almighty power I might demonstrate clearly to the world His grand kingdom and His great glory.


Signiature _______________________

Date ________________



"Comrades, let us be resolute. Let us, by whatever name we are called, be Soldiers, Nazarites, Priests. Some will praise us, some will blame us; let us not care too much about either praise or blame. Let us live looking up, looking on, stading true by the grace of Him who has called us."
Amy Carmichael, 1867-1961

(A printable version of this creed is available at Leslie's website: www.setapartgirl.com)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 8

Sacred Claim


Awakening Femininity's Greatest Call

Leslie Ludy was asked by one of her readers why she constantly references Christian heroes like Amy Carmichael and Gladys Aylward. The reader wondered why Leslie never talked about normal, everyday Christians living in America. Leslie's reason? Most average American Christians are living self-serving, pleasure-seeking lives. We don't need any more average Christians. We need more Elisabeth Elliots and Amy Carmichaels.

Most of modern Christianity goes out of its way to convince us that the Christian life is all about us. And it doesn't take much for them to get us convinced, either. Here's the publisher's description of that popular woman's book Captivating. "The message of Captivating is this: Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation." What is meant by the term "your heart"? According to Captivating's author, "The heart is who we are. The real self. Me. My heart is me. The real me. Your heart is you."

So, in other words, you matter more than anything else in Creation? Is that true?

"Do you matter more than the 143 million orphans around the world, starving, scared, abandoned, and alone? Do you matter more than the millions of Latin American street children who hide in alleys and old buildings to escape the "death squads" of corrupt policemen who hunt them down for sport? Do you matter more than the millions of elementary school-aged girls kept as slave prostitutes in South America? Do you matter more than millions of starving kids who live in dumps and eat buzzard soup or dead dogs to survive? Do you matter more than the countless African boys who have seen their parents killed and been forced to rape or kill to stay alive? Do you matter more than the scores of six-year-old African girls who have been repeatedly brutalized and raped by HIV-infected men?"

I think you know the answer to those questions. We are so protected and free here in America. Especially those of us who have grown up in Christian homes. I, personally, have been SO blessed to grow up in a Christian home. Jesus Christ is a household word in our family (and not used in vain). My parent's rules (though seemingly overly strict and horrible at times ;-) ) have protected me beyond my imagination. I'll admit, sometimes (most of the time!) its hard for me to think about the starving children in Africa, when I'm having a bad day. Or even when I'm having a good day! I'm in my own world, many American Christians are. We are so wrapped up in our own little lives, our own little issues that we forget about the rest of the world. How many times have I obsessed about some sort of drama amongst my friends, and not even thought about the abused girls in the slave trade, who would do anything to have a life as good as mine.

"We do not live in a world of peace and harmony. There are urgent battles for injustice waiting to be rescued. There are millions of precious children facing unspeakable suffering."

And I sit here, thinking about my shopping trip later this afternoon, what I'm going to wear on Sunday and how I'm going to deal with a girl I don't like but have to be nice to anyway.

"And like Jackie Pullenger said, if Christ's set-apart ones do not act as His hands and feet to them...who will?"

During the Holocaust, wealthy Christians sat comfortably in their church singing hymns at the top of their lungs only to drown out the anguished cries of the thousands of Jews who passed by in cattle cars on their way to death camps.
"Most of us would be horrified at the thought of ignoring a cattle car of screaming Jews as they were hauled away to their deaths. But we do it every single day when we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the millions of destitute and dying who urgently need our help. We do it when we spend all our living on self-indulgent pleasures instead of on rescuing abandoned children. We do it when we go on luxury cruises instead of outreaches to the poor. We do it when we have movie marathons instead of prayer vigils for the oppressed. We do it ever time we make our own comforts and happiness the highest priority. We do it whenever we fall for the idea that we are the most important people in all creation."

"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24

Our hearts are not the most important thing in the world. The pattern of the gospel is to do as Christ did, to seek and save the lost.

"Our hearts are valuable to Christ, yes. He loved us to intensely that He gave up His very life to rescue us and set us free. But why does He set us free? Why does he make us whole? Why does He protect us, heal us, bless us, and provide for us? Why does He make us into strong, valiant, virtuous women? So that we can spend our lives living in selfish pleasure, comfort and ease? So that we can selfishly soak up the benefits and blessings of Christ while the rest of the world is dying?"

He sets us free so we can be like Him. He set us free so that we can be fore others as He was for us - a poured-out living sacrifice that places others' needs above our own.

"If you have chosen the set-apart path of a woman who fears the Lord, your life is not your own. The Spirit of Christ has a claim upon you. You have a call upon your life. You have a job to do. He has called you to minister His love to those in need. This sacred claim is the highest privilege we could ever receive. We can never repay what Christ did for us on the cross. But because He has made us His hands and feet to this world, we have the incredibly opportunity to give to other the very same astounding, transforming love that He gave to us."

Our act of worship is offering our bodies to Him as living sacrifices. This isn't sitting around in a church building singing about how much we love Him (though that is good, too). It is demonstrating Christ's never ending love to those who so desperately need it.




"And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."

- Jesus Christ

(P.S. Check out www.braveheartedgospel.com to learn about more opportunities to become part of an international rescue mission for orphans and enslaved chidren around the world)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 7

Sacred Ardor


Femininity that makes marriage dreams come true.

Marriage is a depressing thing these days. People marry on a whim, or because of attraction. Decide a year or so later that they really hate each other. Then get a divorce. Only to "fall in love" all over again and re-start the whole process. Even the Christian church declares "Happily Ever After" a myth. Leslie Ludy recounts in her book a time when she saw a banner hanging outside a mega-church in her area. The banner read "Divorce Recovery Seminar This Weekend!". This church was declaring that they had the same problems as the rest of the world, so much so, that they have seminars about it.

"Christian marriages should be the example to the rest of the world, demonstrating that following God's ways brings abundant life, joy, peace, and supernatural victory. Instead, we are training our young people to take dismal expectations into marriage and cautioning them not get their hopes up to high."

Make Jesus Christ your first Love

It's true that marriage isn't always perfect. Troubles come. Hard times seem never ending. Marriage will let you down, if thats where you think you'll find your true fulfillment. If you think you'll never be happy until you meet Prince Charming, then you can forget it, because one day, Prince Charming is going to fall off the pedestal you put him on, and reality will slap you in the face.
Leslie Ludy says, that as a married woman, she has a choice to make. "I could either gripe, complain, nag, and nitpick until my ideal picture of married life was finally met (which might be never), or I could turn to the true Lover of my soul, Jesus Christ, and find my happiness and fulfillment in Him alone. I chose the latter. Though it wasn't easy, I allowed Jesus Christ to be enough - to be everything I could ever want or need - even if none of my marriage dreams ever came true..."

An amazing thing happened when Leslie sought her joy, peace and fulfillment in Christ, instead of in her married "ideal". She no longer looked to her husband to meet the needs that only her Prince could fulfill in her life.
"Instead of always worrying about whether he was meeting my needs or fulfilling my romantic ideals, I was able to focus on serving him and giving to him."

Thus, she was able to start a pattern in her marriage of servanthood instead of selfishness.

"The reason our Love story thrives is because we make Jesus Christ our first love."

In the end of this chapter Leslie Ludy presents a historical account of the romance betweene Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand. Throughout their marriage, their love for Christ came first. Richard was sent to prison for 10 years (sorry, no date nights or counseling sessions for these folks). During that time the only communication they had was a single note, scribbled in Richard's distinct handwriting. With only a moment to write, Richard wrote: "Time and distance quench small love , but makes a great love grow stronger." Their hardships and trials they suffered during their marriage were enough to divorce thousands of celebrities today. And still their marriage and their love for one another thrived because it was founded on CHRIST, not themselves. I highly suggest you pick up a copy of "Set Apart Femininity" and read this amazing account. <3

"If you pour out yourself for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom shall be as the noonday. (Is 58) Here, I think, lies the answer to the barrenness of a single life, or of a life that might be otherwise selfish or lonely... You yourself will be given light in exchange for pouring yourself out, you yourself will get guidance, the satisfaction of your longings and the strength when you pour yourself out; when you make the satisfaction of somebody else's desire your own concern."

- Elisabeth Elliot

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 6, Part III

Sacred Cultivation



Unearthing Femininity's Valiant Strength

What Christ Says About Prayer:

He asks us to be relentlessly persistent.

Matthew 15:21-28 tells a story about a woman who persisted in asking Jesus for something, and was rewarded for her faithfulness.
"Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, 'Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon possessed." But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, "Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us." But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and began to bow down before Him saying, "Lord, help me!" And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from the Master's table." Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once."

Instead of rebuking the woman for pestering Him, Jesus rewarded her for her faith.
Here's what E.M. Bounds wote on this story:

"The case of the Syrophoenician woman...is a notable instance of successful importunity (persistence)... At first, Jesus appears to pay no attention to her agony, and ignores her cry for relief. He gives neither eye, nor ear, nor word. Silence, deep and childding, greets her impassioned cry. But she is not turned aside, or disheartened. She holds on. The disciples, offended at her unseemly clamor, intercede for her, but are silenced by the Lord's declaring that the woman is entirely outside the scope of His mission and ministry. But neither the failure of the disciples to gain her a hearing nor the knowledge - despairing in its very nature - that she is barred from the benefits of His mission, daunt her, and serve only to lend intensity and increased boldness to her approach to Christ. She came closer... falling at His feet, worshiping Him and making her daughter's case her own, cries, with pointed brevity, "Lord, help me!" This last cry won her case; her daughter was healed in the self-same hour. Hopeful, urgent and unwearied, she stays near the master, insisting and praying until the answer is given. What a study in importunity, in earnestness, in persistence, promoted and propelled under conditions which would have disheartened any but a heroic, constant soul."

He delights to give good gifts to His children.

Christians are often afraid to pray about the things that we need or want because we think we're praying to some scary guy in the sky, not our loving Father who longs to care for us. He wants to bless us far beyond what we could ever imagine.
We often pray, "Lord, if its your will, will you please do this or that?" However, this keeps us from being bold and specific in our prayers. Leslie relates her uncomfortableness when she first began to pray with boldness:
"To be honest, it makes me a little uncomfortable to make such bold statements about the manifold blessings of God because I have seen many professing Christians abuse this principle, asking God to give them the selfish cravings of their flesh...Scripture makes it clear that if we are living for selfish pleasure instead of for Christ, we will not receive the things we ask for."

He wants us to ask for big things - and have faith that He will answer.

"Jesus said to him, "...all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23)

God wants us to be bold enough to ask for specific things. Charles Spurgeon said, "There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed."

He asks us to pray "day and night" without ceasing.

When our spiritual lives are thriving, and our prayer becomes the foundation of our existence, every other area of our lives begins to thrive as a result. We will not only have victory in our personal lives, but we, like the virtuous women in 1 Timothy 5 and Proverbs 31, will be strong in order to pray on behalf of others.
When prayer is missing in our lives, we spend countless time nad energy trying to make our lives work in our own strength. But, as Psalm 1 says, when we meditate on the Lord day and night we become like a tree that brings forth much fruit - and everything we do just works out.
"Our time is multiplied. Our effectiveness is multiplied. Our energy is multiplied. Life becomes fruitful instead of frustrating."
I think all Christians have experienced this at one time or another. I know I have.
One time, several years ago, I was feeling very confused inside. My mind was like a bowl of spaghetti, all of my problems and issues so twisted around one another that I couldn't decipher one from the other. I decided I needed some time of quiet. I bundled up in one of my mom's coats and walked down the path to our pond. Sitting on an old stump, I sat, the wind blowing my hair, the leaves floating through the air. It was a beautiful fall day. I started pouring out my heart to God, sometimes with tears, sometimes so quiet, that only God's ears heard my words. I spent over an hour down there praying, and when I finished, it was as if my mind was completly clear. I had given all of my burdens to God, and in his majesty, he took them on himself. It was an awesome experience, because I have an awesome God.
He wants to do the same thing for me every time I have a problem. Imagine how much time and suffering I would've saved if I had gone to God when my problems first started. We are called to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thess 5:17). That isn't impossible, or a exaggeration. You can pray before you wake up, pray as you brush your teeth, as you're making and eating meals, riding in the car, during the shower, while playing music, etc. Make prayer the highest priority in your life.
"Don't get bogged down with complicated formulas. Don't wait until prayer seems convenient. And, as Corrie ten Boom said, "Don't pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it."



Monday, January 12, 2009

My Bread...


Here's the bread that I made the other day. It turned out! And with butter and my mom's homemade strawberry jam on the side - it was perfect.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Art of Breadmaking


This morning I was able to do something that I've sorely missed - bake a homemade loaf of bread. Its a wonderful art that makes me feel like a true homemaker. Nothing makes me want to care for my own home more than kneading a slab of warm bread dough and baking it into something special.

Bread making can be difficult at first, but once you learn the little details it becomes much easier. If you're really interested in making a good loaf, I highly suggest this website. Not only does it have a fabulous white bread recipe (its the one I use), it also goes through all the little details that come along with baking bread. For example, you learn about how eggs and salt affect one another in the mixing process and the order you should add ingredients to make sure that none of them incorrectly react with another ingredient.

Here's the bread I made this morning, its a great, super-easy recipe and the bread is delicious.

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread:
  • 2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tlb water
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dried milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, flour your hands and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. This kneading process is very important, sometimes 10 minutes seems like a LONG time to knead, but it will be worth it. I tried to skimp and knead for only 5 minutes or so but the bread just doesn't turn out correctly. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with a damp cloth. I found a great way to get a good rise. Put the bowl of dough in the oven with the oven turned off. Fill a baking pan with boiling water and place in the oven with your bread. Close the oven door quickly so the steam doesn't come out. This will create a little warm, damp oasis, a perfect place for your dough to rise. The directions say to let your bread rise for an hour, but you need to let it rise till its double in bulk, sometimes that can take about an hour and a half.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape it into an 8-inch log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 - inch loaf pan, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and allow bread to rise for about 30-60 minutes in an oasis oven (with boiled water in baking pan), it should rise 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the pan. Don't let it over rise. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, tenting lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. Test it for doneness by tapping the top of the loaf lightly, it should sound hollow. Remove from oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Don't let it sit too long in the pan or it will be difficult to get it out. Remove from pan and cool it on a rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
~
I'll post a picture of the bread I'm making now, if it turns out. ;-) I do love to make bread and have made some good loaves, but I still do mess up and my poor family has to eat a brick loaf.
I hope this recipe works for you!
~
Here' s a quick little article I found from the Ladies Against Feminism website.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Feminine Inspiration


(compliments of the sartorialist)

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 6, Part II

Sacred Cultivation


Unearthing Femininity's Valiant Strength

Fortification
The Impervious Christian Life

"Despite the popular notion today that it is more spiritual to remain weak, struggling, and vulnerable, God desires to build us into valiant, valorous, fortified warriors who fear none but Him alone and are vulnerable to none but Him alone... the chief word that characterizes the Proverbs 31 woman is strength."

But how do we obtain this unshakable confidence when all around us people are wallowing in their insecurities? The answer is that we must become fortified Christians.
"A fortified Christian woman has an impenetrable barrier between her and the enemy. She has put on the full armor of God and is able to resist the devil, no matter what fiery dart he tries to throw at her."

Many of us live our lives defenseless against the devil's attacks because the walls to our strongholds have been broken down and are in shambles. In order to truly be able to defend ourselves we must be made strong and secure.
"You may feel weak, frail, and vulnerable, but He is ready to make you stronger than you ever thought possible."
The strength and god-given power that we read about in scriptures is not impossible to have today. God is still the same as He was all those years ago, it is us who've changed. Take David, for example. He was a lowly shepherd boy. I imagine him as scrawny and gangly with hardly an ounce of muscle on him as he played the harp and help sheep in his arms. But God turned him into such a valiant warrior that he killed lions and bears with his are hands and slay a giant with a slingshot. What God did for David he also wants to do with you.

Fortification Step 1: Identifying Breaches

The first thing Leslie Ludy did to begin her fortification process was to pray. She asked God to show her the breaches in her spiritual wall.
"Was there anything I was allowing into my life, no matter how small, that was providing the enemy access?... Lovingly and faithfully He helped me close off all enemy access points. As my breaches were identified and dealt with, I found that my prayers were more effective, the Word of God was more alive, and my intimacy with Christ was more vibrant. Instead of constantly warding off enemy attacks, I now had two hands free to being rebuilding the wall around my spiritual life."

Some breaches in your spiritual wall might include:
Past Sins
Sinful Strongholds
Satanic Objects or Activities

Fortification Step 2: Making a Sacred List

A sacred list is a listing of all of the things in your life which don't reflect the glory and triumph of Jesus Christ. If you struggle with insecurity or self-pity, put that on your list. If you don't sleep well at night, put that on your list. If there's someone you have a difficulty getting along with, put it on your list.
When you've finished prayerfully making this list, go back over it and give these issues special attention as you read your Bible, pray or simply live your life from day to day.

Fortification Step 3: Wrestling Until Break of Day

Prayer is our secret weapon. "If we desire to be free from enemy stronghold over our lives and fully fortified to live the superhuman existences God intended us to live, then we must learn how to pray."

Chapter 6, Part III coming soon! This last section of this chapter is about the mighty power and understand of prayer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 6, Part I

Sacred Cultivation


Unearthing Femininity's Valiant Strength

"One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it and believe it."
- Leonard Ravenhill

Pain - Friend or Foe?

One of the main reasons that so many of us are burdened with our troubles is that we don't take them to Jesus. He wants to carry all of our burdens, big and little, important and fleeting. The help that Jesus gives us is not only spiritual, but practical. He doesn't just want to be our Savior, he wants to be our everything.

He is my Portion (Psalm 73:26)
my Maker, my Husband (Isaiah 54:5)
my Well-beloved (Song of Solomon 1:13)
my Savior (2 Peter 3:18)
my Hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
my Brother (Mark 3:35)
my Helper (Hebrews 13:6)
my Physician (Jeremiah 8:22)
my Healer (Luke 9:11)
my Refiner (Malachi 3:3)
my Purifier (Malachi 3:3)
my Lord, Master (John 13:13)
my Servant (Luke 12:37)
my Example (John 13:15)
my Teacher (John 3:2)
my Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
my Keeper (John 17:12)
my Feeder (Ezekiel 34:23)
my Leader (Isaiah 40:11)
my Restorer (Psalm 23:3)
my Resting-place (Jeremiah 50:6)
my Meat (John 6:55)
my Drink (John 6:55)
my Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7)
my Peace (Ephesians 2:14)
my Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30)
my Righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
my Sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30)
my Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)
and my All in All (Colossians 3:11).

~

We often claim that God is causing our troubles. He's beating down on us, making our life terrible. We think that its God's fault that our life is full of trouble, but its not God, the Bible states:
"If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me." Isaiah 54:15

Leslie shares about a time in her life when troubles seemed to come from all sides and she learned that it was the evil one and not God who was attacking her.
"As I prayed about the fierce attacks upon my life, God gently opened m eyes to realize that the hits were not coming from Him - they were coming from the enemy of my soul. God did not want me to resign myself to accepting these attacks. Rather, He wanted me to call upon His name and allow Him to come to my rescue... I hadn't been resisting the enemy's blows because I had assumed they were coming form God - or at least being allowed by God for the purpose of discipline... [However] He didn't want me to accept it. He wanted me to stand up and fight by the power of His spirit."

We need to realize the stark differences between the way God works in our lives and the way Satan works.

Light versus Darkness: First Peter 2:9 says that God calls us out of the darkness into His marvelous light. Light has distinct qualities: clear, not confused, not blurry, but instead its bright, cheerful and hopeful. If the devil is the prince of darkness, he is the prince of all things that are fearful, confused, indistinct, dim and forbidding. Therefore, remember that anything of confusion, fear or darkness is not from God.

Life versus Death: John 10:10 says that Christ came to give us life that we might have it more abundantly. The qualities of that abundant life include: happiness, health, wholeness, strength, purity, spiritual success and multiplication of blessings. Death's characteristics are disease, sickness, blindness, deafness, muteness, lameness, disorder, feebleness, erosion of strength, erosion of blessings and erosion of resources. Anything breeding these qualities of death in our lives is NOT from God.

Father of Lights versus Father of Lies: According to James 1:17 God is the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning. Scripturally, the Father of Lights is defined as the giver of good and perfect gifts, who is merciful, long-suffering, gentle, quick to forgive, strong to protect, able and eager to rescue us, and a tender deliverer from the world that is so quick to ensnare us. On the other hand, the enemy, the father of lies is a snuffer of life and hope, a condemner, a whisperer of fault, a noisome critic of the soul, a doubter of God's ability, a persecutor of the spirit, an advocate for the flesh, a constant diminisher of God's name. So, anything that causes us to lose hope or diminishes our confidence in God is not from our Lord.

Discipline versus Abuse: Hebrews 12:5-7 compares godly discipline to that of a loving, devoted father. This discipline is expressed in love. The enemy works only with abuse. "He is cruel, angry, harsh, extreme, and breathes threats of abandonment and forsaking." Satan's abuse makes one sick, breaks down the spirit and disrupts intimacy with God. Anything of an abusive nature that comes against us is not from God.

Bridegroom versus Harsh Husband: All throughout scripture Christ is referred to as our loving Bridegroom. This Bridegroom is a patient listener, affectionate, an advocate and rescuer, willing to give up his life to save and quick to respond to the needs of his bride. The enemy's ways are like a harsh husband - cold, impatient, haughty, never pleased, distant, demanding controlling, verbally and physically abusive and selfish. Anything of the nature of a harsh husband that comes against us is not from God.

This list from the book is meant to serve as a guide to distinguish attacks from the devil from God molding our lives and our character. "We are to gladly embrace any hardship that truly comes from God, while firmly resisting any difficulty that comes from the enemy."

Catherine Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) wrote in a letter, "Do not give way to lowness while you are young. Rise up on the strength of God and resolve to conquer!"

Don't let the evil acts of Satan bring you down. "Rather, we should rise up on the strength of God and resolve to conquer all that stands in the way of abundant, thriving, victorious, set-apart lives He has called us to live."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Set Apart Femininity - Chapter 5


Sacred Mystique


Femininity that Changes Men into Princes

1. Physical and Emotional Boundaries

The politics of guy friendships can be terribly confusing and even hurtful at times. Leslie has come up with an illustration, the Holy Hebrew Temple, to mirror how deep our relationships should go with different people.

Some Guidelines for Keeping Sacred Things Sacred:

The Holy of Holies: This area should never be shared with the public, even to those in your most intimate circle. This section of your life includes sexual expression, sexual touch, sexual body parts and the deepest, most personal dimensions of the heart and mind.
This most personal area of your heart, soul and body is saved for God and your spouse solely under the parameters of the holy marriage covenant.

The Holy Place: This domain also should not be shared with the public.
"Those of the most trustworthy character are allowed to share in this sacred arena. Family and intimate friends can be allowed into this holy sector if they first prove honorable and upright." The holy place includes deep personal expression (nonsexual), deeply personal touch (nonsexual) as well as deep dimensions of the heart, your hurts, vulnerabilities, fears, weaknesses, dreams, desires and longings.

The Outer Court: This section is not quite as guarded as the holy place or holy of holies, however the sacred things within this domain still deserve a good level of guardedness and protection. This includes things like friendly touch, words of specific encouragement, character endorsements, intercessory prayers, friendships with believers, the teaching and discussing of doctrine and communion.

2. Letting Guys Initiate

While you may think that your initiating a relationship with a young man is the best idea, it actually violates the pattern of our Creator's design. Our earthly relationships should mirror Christ's relationship with the Church. He is our bridegroom. 1 John 4:19 says,
"We love Him because He first loved us."
Christ initiated the relationship with us, just as earthly grooms should initiate the relationship with their bride.
"A strong, confident, heroic man who rises to the challenge of winning a woman's heart, then carefully protects and preserves his hard-won prize...this is the ultimate romantic desire of nearly every woman I have ever talked to. And yet, ironically, all too many women are actually robbing men of these very qualities, simply by their own impatience. The are in such a hurry to snag a man that they don't wait for him to initiate - they take the lead, become the pursuer instead of the pursued, and in doing so, strip their man of all the strong masculine qualities they so desire him to have."

3. Flirting

"Flirting, at its core, is based in selfishness."

Ask yourself, how your future spouse would feel if they saw you interact with the opposite sex. Proverbs 31 says that the woman of God will do her husband good and not harm all the days of her life, that includes before and after marriage. Are you doing your future husband good or harm in your conversation and manners with your guy friends?

"And remember that God is perfectly capable of bringing a relationship to you in His perfect time and way, without your using flirtatious feminine powers to manipulate the situation. If you allow Him to hold the pen and write your story, you'll be astounded at His perfect faithfulness."