You are More

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These days I’m noticing more and more just how much women are objectified. Women are viewed as pretty objects, pleasurable things to look at and toy with, something fun to use for a while until they’re temporarily satisfied or a prettier one comes along.

Before I go any further, let me get this straight: I am NOT a feminist. In fact, I feel that I’m about as far from modern “feminism” as one can possibly be without being labeled a “sexist” (like many men are wrongly accused of being these days, when actually all they’re asking for is a little respect. Funny how their cry for “equality” is always labeled as “sexist.” Shouldn’t we be calling it “masculism” and quit shoving “feminism” down their throats, because last I checked, every human has rights. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic for a whole ‘nother day). So, no — I’m not a feminist who hates men, and this post is not about how women are mistreated and we need to stand for equality, blah, blah, blahhhh. Nope, none of that nonsense here on my blog, people.

Anyway. Now that we’ve got that straightened out (and if you’ve read any of my other posts it was clearly obvious already), let me just get back to what I’m supposed to be talking about. Sorry for rambling.

As I was saying, women nowadays are severely objectified. And while I will point out that males were intentionally created to be very visual people and their brains are just wired differently than females’ — that’s how they always have been and how they always will be — it doesn’t at all mean they have a good excuse for looking at a woman and lusting at her body, or only “caring” (if I may flippantly use that word here) about her physical appearance. But y’all, there is a huge difference between attraction & admiration and lust & selfish sexual desire. A man is naturally going to be attracted to and admiring of a woman’s body — again, that was exactly God’s intention — but there is a line that must be drawn there, so that attraction doesn’t turn to lust, which can then become merely a selfish desire to be sexually satisfied. Outside of marriage, sex is not a holy thing created by God; it is a sin. And thinking of someone, who is not your spouse, in a sexual way, is lust. Because of their visual characteristic, men have to work pretty hard to control their thoughts and guard their hearts in this area in order to be pleasing and faithful to God.

But I’m not here to harp on the men. I’ve explained enough and said plenty about them up to this point, but I am obviously not a male and therefore not qualified to instruct the male population how they ought to conduct themselves (#notmyjob).

Yet, I’m also not writing here today to harp on my fellow female population, either. I just want to make a point in as few words as possible and be on my way (because I am doing such a great job being so short winded thus far — ha ha).

When I said earlier that I’ve noticed women being viewed as pretty objects and things to be used, I didn’t specifically say that we’re seen that way only by a lot of men. No, women are seeing themselves that way, too.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

Society is telling women that “you’re beautiful just the way you are” while at the same time using half naked women in advertisements in order to sell everything from underwear to books to cheeseburgers. Hypocritical much?! It’s no wonder we’re so confused!

From the beginning, when God made the first man and the first woman, He made them special. He made people in His image (Genesis 1:26) and then when He was finished creating on Day 6, He “saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). First and foremost, you were created by God in His image, and He says you are good.

And as if that wasn’t enough, He says that women specifically are very special. A virtuous woman — a woman who is good and kind — is so very valuable in this world. Proverbs 31:10 says that a good woman is worth “far above jewels.” Later on in the same chapter (verse 30), it says that charm and beauty will fade away, but what is on the inside is what’s really important: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who reverences the Lord, she shall be praised.”

We can dress up — or like so many around us, dress down — or fix our hair or wear nice jewelry, but that’s not what makes us beautiful. What matters most and what truly defines genuine beauty is our heart. Our heart is so very precious to God, and if we have a good heart, the right people will see it and it will shine so bright it makes us beautiful on the outside as well. I’ve met people I thought were gorgeous on the outside until I got to know them a little, and came to find that their heart was bad, and unfortunately that then made them ugly on the outside. Peter tells us what God thinks about the inward-to-outward beauty in I Peter 3:3-4: “Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

We can wear pretty clothes and fine accessories, but true beauty lies beneath all that. And if someone can’t see past what you have on in order to know you are beautiful, or if the only way they think you’re pretty is if you’re not wearing anything, then you’re not looking to the right person to attract. A good man values women as precious humans to be loved and cherished, not looked to as a pretty thing with only one purpose — to please them.

Paul said in Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” Ladies, if we are to be treated by our husbands as Christ treats His church, then we can know that our value is more than skin deep, and we don’t have to dress provocatively in order to be beautiful.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather dress modestly and discreetly and be respected by real men, called beautiful by my own husband, and know that I am cherished and valued by my Lord than to dress in as little as possible or show a bit of cleavage or too much of my legs in order to turn heads everywhere I go just so guys will think I’m pretty on the outside.

You are pretty on the outside, because God made only one specially perfect version of you, but don’t let that alone define you, because outward beauty is shallow and temporary. My great-grandma used to say, “Pretty is as pretty does,” and I remind myself of that often. If your heart is pretty, you’re a pretty person. Worry about being pretty on the inside, and that will shine out of you so that others will see your true beauty, inside and out. Wearing skimpy clothes doesn’t make you beautiful; it just takes away from the real you. You are more than how you look on the outside. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and that’s enough, so don’t ever tell yourself otherwise.

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand…” (Psalm 139:13-18)

Have a great day!
~Courtney Faith

Children are the Most Important Work

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“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” – Dr. John Trainer

I was reading the latest issue of the No Greater Joy magazine the other day and came across this quote in one of their articles, and it really stuck out to me. It’s something I need to remind myself of every single day, and a blatant truth I must never let myself forget.

“Our children ARE our ministry. Sometimes I think I want to go OUT and tell people about Jesus. I want to do some kind of big ministry that’s bigger than me and affects the whole world. Maybe we should go to Africa or something. But then I look at my three babies and I realize their young, thirsty souls are my ministry right now. Maybe there’s a future for us in foreign missions… I don’t know. But right now, they are what God gave me to change the world.” -Hannah Stoll

It may be easy at times to look past the daily ordinary and think we could be doing so much more for God, so many bigger things for Him out there in the world that affect so many people. Changing diapers and wiping little faces and cleaning up the living room for the hundredth time in a day can be exhausting, and can feel like we’re not doing anything huge or important. But what we need to remember is that we were given this mom life for a reason, and our kids are the huge and important things of this world.

Sure, there may be people whose calling is to get out there and teach the Gospel to thousands of people, or feed orphans and widows on the other side of the world. That may sound so much better and more world-changing than cleaning the house and soothing a screaming baby and cooking supper every single night with a kid on our hip, but if that’s where we are in this moment, then that’s where God wants us to be right now. Things may change, but right here, right now, these little people are what’s most important, and to God they mean more than anything else. He gave you this job because He knew you could do it beautifully, and He knows you can do it even on the messy days.

Those little souls we’re raising are so very important–eternally important–and we cannot afford to take our God-given responsibility lightly, by any means. They are our ministry, they are the next generation, and raising them to be lights in the world and soldiers for God is the biggest job there is.

You’re doing a great job, momma! Happy Mother’s Day. ❤

Lord, Increase Our Faith!


“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and be planted in the sea”; and it would obey you.'” (Luke 17:5-6)

George Mueller, a German follower of Christ, when asked about his ability to replace fear with faith, and to trust in God during troubling times in his life, replied, “My faith is the same faith which is found in every believer. It has been increased little by little for the last twenty-six years. Many times when I could have gone insane from worry, I was at peace because my soul believed the truth of God’s promises. God’s Word, together with the whole character of God, as He revealed Himself, settles all questions. His unchangeable love and His infinite wisdom calmed me . . . . It is written, ‘He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ ”

We all have our own personal fears each day of our lives, and we must choose to either face them or allow ourselves to be conquered by them.

I had been thinking recently about various small fears in my own heart, and the need to overcome them. Then a couple weeks ago I happened to come across an article about fearless birth in a magazine a friend had loaned to me, and it spoke specifically about the necessity of replacing fear with faith: “…eliminating fear is not impossible, for there is something that is much more powerful than the most all-consuming fear: faith.”

This can apply to any fear in one’s life, whether it be as big a thing as child birth or simply being anxious over a test or something else that may be bothering you.

Then one Wednesday recently at our mid-week Bible study, the song leader led the most appropriate song that related to what had been on my mind several days prior, and it was really exactly what I needed to hear, and a prayer that I need to be praying each and every day:

“O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink” (originally entitled, “The Power of Faith”) by William H. Bathurst, 1831 (I believe this song has its own tune, but we sang it to the tune of “I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord.”)

O for a faith that will not shrink, / Tho’ pressed by ev’ry foe,
That will not tremble on the brink / Of any earthly woe!

That will not murmur nor complain / Beneath the chastening rod,
But in the hour of grief or pain / Will lean upon its God.

A faith that shines more bright and clear / When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear, / In darkness knows no doubt.

Lord, give us such a faith as this; / And then whate’er may come,
We’ll taste, e’en here, the hallowed bliss, / Of an eternal home.

We don’t need to have fear. Instead, we need to have faith. It’s a work in progress. And little by little, as George Mueller said, we can work at increasing that faith every day for the rest of our lives.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Have a blessed day!
~Courtney Faith

In God We Trust

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Next week America will inaugurate the new President of the United States. On January 20, 2017 our country will have a new leader. Whether or not you voted for him, agree with him, or like him, he is our new man-in-charge and is to be respected as such. We voters need to start acting like the adults we are and be the upstanding citizens we are meant to be, and stop bashing our President, the one in office now or the one about to be. And non-voters need to quit complaining because they obviously opted out of this election, thus opting out of an opinion on this country’s choice of leaders.

But enough of that. I want to address everyone who gives a care about our new leader. There are many who think Mr. Trump is the most wonderful thing to happen to America, and that he’s going to fix every problem this country has. On the other hand, there are those who think he will be the ruin of our nation, and that he’s a rude, stuck up rich person.

Let me say this: Maybe he’s going to fix our problems, and maybe he isn’t. Maybe he’s a horrible person, and maybe he isn’t. But no matter what he’s like or what he does or doesn’t do to and for our country, Mr. Trump is not who we need to be looking to for the “salvation,” if you will, of this nation. We need to stop thinking that one person who’s head of our country will either make it or break it. Sure, a President of the United States has a whole lot of power over a whole lot of things and a whole lot of people, but no matter how bad or how good a leader is, he or she is not who we need to be looking to for this nation’s ruin or redemption.

The One we ought to be looking to for our help is the One whose name is in our country’s motto: “In God we trust.”

We can’t put our trust in any leader of this nation, no matter how good he or she may be. Here are some verses in the Bible that tell us in whom we must trust and those we should not rely on:

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people.” (Psalm 118:8, NLT)
“Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.” (Psalm 146:3, NLT)
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:5, NLT)

This country may get better in the next four years, it may get worse, or it may go nowhere at all. But we need to quit depending on one person to make it good or bad; we need to realize who it is we ought to be trusting in, and stop worrying so much over “powerful” people. God is the powerful One, and although it would be wonderful to have only good leaders for this country, no matter who is appointed as President in the future, God is still the same, and He is always with us, and we can forever trust in Him.

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:2, NLT)
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

~Courtney Faith

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

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This election has us all worried this year. Democrats, republicans, independents, atheists, and Christians are all anxious over this year’s crop of candidates.

Every election we worry about who will be chosen, but this year seems to be so different from the ones I remember or have read about. It seems so much worse; like no matter who wins we are still headed farther down a horrible path where it’s even harder to turn back around and get going in the right direction.

I admit, I’ve gotten scared this time around. I’m afraid for my beloved country, I’m afraid for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and I’m most afraid for my daughter and the rest of this brand new generation being born into the world. And I’m sure many other people have the same fears.

But do you want to know something? We shouldn’t be afraid. None of God’s people should fear any of the bad happenings in this world. I know it’s hard not to, but we as God’s chosen people need to remember that He’s got the whole world in His hands, and we don’t have any reason to worry.

Hasn’t He promised He will take care of His children? Has He not said He will never leave us nor forsake us? Hasn’t He told us time and time again through His word that though our bodies may be put to death, we will live with Him eternally when this physical life is over?

We should not fear people with evil intentions. We shouldn’t fear lack of freedom. We shouldn’t fear hunger, or hatred, or death. God will judge the unrighteous in His own time. In Christ we have our freedom. By Him we are fed, for He is the Bread of Life. By Him we are loved unconditionally, because God is Love. And because Jesus conquered death itself, we have the gift of true life.

Therefore, we have nothing to fear; no reason to fear at all. We have all the reason to confidently put our trust in Him, who cares greatly for us.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

Yes, these may be trying and dangerous times for our country, for us, for Christians, for the new generation. Maybe things won’t be as bad as some expect; maybe they will. But as long as we put our faith in God and not in men, no matter what comes, we will be kept safe in Him.

“…I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? …But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! …For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-27, 30, 32-34)

[All] Lives Matter

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I’ve lived in the South my entire life and have met zero people who are racist. I know there are some out there (probably those who live out in the boonies who’ve never met anyone with a different skin tone than their own), but racism is really not that common. The few white people who are/were have unfortunately given the rest of white people a bad name, especially lately.

But people seriously need to stop making such a big deal out of this whole racist thing. Yes, “black lives matter,” but there is hardly a problem with racism these days, except what we hear nowadays that’s been blown out of proportion by Media and the few loud people who get “offended” by something “unfair.”

Once again, YES, “black lives matter.” Of course they matter! But so do white lives, female lives, male lives, elderly lives, and unborn lives. We’re all made in the image of God, and that makes us all important, all of equal value, and all made to be respected for that. It doesn’t make a difference what nationality, what age, what gender … LIFE matters. And if one human being can’t respect another person for that much, then that person is the problem … not guns, not black people, not white people, not cops. It’s a heart issue, not a skin/gender/authority issue. And if we don’t start there with fixing the problem, this whole “racism” thing will never be resolved.

You don’t treat a symptom to cure the sickness; you find what’s causing the sickness and treat the root of the problem. We need to fix our own hearts and then we can start fixing what’s wrong with this country.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that, but the Bible explains it a whole lot better than anybody. 1 John is a great place to learn about how we ought to be loving others:

“…the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11)

“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:13-18)

“And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” (1 John 4:21)

We’re Too Blessed to Be Stressed

  
Life gets stressful. Days sometime seem overwhelming. Weeks go by, end on end, with hardly any relief. There is so much do be done, yet so little time to do it. So much needs done, yet you’re already doing so much and you just can’t stretch yourself anymore, you’re so stretched thin already. 

Ever had days like this? Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way every now and then. 

Sometimes life is just this one big roller coaster and I can’t find the emergency brake. Can we just slow down for one minute? Sometimes I stress myself out even though I know I have no rhyme or reason to. 

But when we have days like that, we can find comfort in these words:

“…‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.‘ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

We can’t do it all; neither are we supposed to. If we just trust in our Heavenly Father and hand it all over to Him, then we can know peace once more and have our burdened shoulders lightened yet again. 

Lord, forgive me for picking back up anything I’ve already laid down at Your feet. 

Have a blessed day!

~Courtney