Book Review: Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

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Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating by Marshall Segal

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars

Another thought-provoking resource on dating and singleness for the masses. You all who are not yet married, I recommend reading Marshall Segal’s Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating! This author knows the struggles, and perks, of singleness, and also the mission and joy of a godly marriage. And he writes for John Piper’s ministry, Desiring God, which I really enjoy following.

Not Yet Married is one of the few books on dating and marriage from the Christian nonfiction market that digs super deep and challenges the norm within even the Church. It actually made me think of the book, Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach by Gerald Hiestand and Jay S. Thomas, which I recently read.

When people in the world are expecting less and less of each other in dating, God isn’t. ~ Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

Marshall Segal exhorts the life of the single Christian while also highlighting the spectacular picture that a lifelong, Christ-like marriage is. He makes us take a long look at dating, why we desire it, and how we go about it … Does the Bible talk about dating? What does God say about how we should journey toward marriage? Are we thinking about loving God and people through our dating life?

Regardless of the believer you marry, you will likely find out soon enough that you do not feel as “compatible” as you once did, but hopefully you will marvel more at God’s love for you in Jesus and the amazing privilege it is to live out that love together, especially in light of your differences and inadequacies. ~ Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

The first section of the book, THE NOT-YET-MARRIED LIFE, talks about all things singleness. How we are complete and fully loved in Christ, as we are: unmarried. How our lives have purpose and meaning right now – and that God is possibly even calling us to big tasks that would be harder to accomplish if we were married. How singleness is not an excuse for laziness, self-pity, lack of commitment, addiction, or a lack of spiritual growth.

When everyone else your age refuses to be tied down and resists being accountable, submit yourself to a body of believers. Drive a stake into the ground and say to the whole world that you belong to Jesus, that your life is His, and that you’re willing to have others hold you to that. Tell them Christianity is not a tiny corner of your life; it is your life. ~ Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

WHEN THE NOT YET MARRIED MEET, part two of the book, talks about dating, romance, clarity, intimacy, commitment, marriage, and more. Marshall Segal shares some about his own love story and how he got there.

There were a few things here and there in this book that I’m not sure what I think about. Some bits seemed hard or almost contradictory to other parts. But, overall, it’s a superb read and points one to Christ and to a higher view of marriage. And a fuller life as an unmarried, but surely blessed, individual!

While married people provide an important perspective and example, you also need people in your life who are experiencing the same feelings, longings, and temptations you are. You should find and invest in people who are asking the same questions as you and also seeking to make the most of this unique season of singleness for Jesus’ sake. Think about it: though he was single, Paul did most of his ministry with someone. … Following Christ was never meant to be done alone, even when you’re not yet married. Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

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Book Review: The Sword by Bryan M. Litfin

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The Sword {Chiveis Trilogy #1} by Bryan M. Litfin

My Personal Review ~ 4 stars

The Sword is the first book in a long time that gripped me from the very first page! I’d been wanting to give Bryan M. Litfin’s work a try, and am I ever glad I did! This book is a fascinating dystopian novel set in a medieval-type world. The modern world has been destroyed and left behind in history. Filled with swords, knights, fair maidens, and old-fashioned kingdoms, Book One in the CHIVEIS TRILOGY explores Christianity anew as the character forsake their foul gods to riskily seek the One True God of the Ancients. I don’t think I’ve ever read something quite like it!

The author’s writing style is drawing. I was kept hungrily turning pages. Anastasia, a Chiveisian farm girl, and Teofil, a guardsman and scholar, are great characters to follow, and I enjoyed meeting many secondary characters and being drawn into their journeys as well. There was an abundance of actions, and many twists and turns. A fair amount of violence and battles, though I didn’t find it over the top. (I would recommend to adults or at least older teens because of that and some other mature themes). From bear hunting, to tournaments, to exploring the Ancient’s temples, to secret religious meetings, The Sword takes us on a wild, exhilarating, dangerous ride.

Toward the end, there were a couple things that I’m not sure I appreciate. An unmarried couple sharing a bed (non-sexually). A woman being very vulnerable and close with a man that she knows to be making bad choices and has not chosen to follow her God. And some things having to do with the faith theme and how the characters respond to persecution and such. I’m interested to see how the second book, The Gift addresses these situations.

But overall, such a unique, adventurous, poignant tale! I love how deeply Bryan M. Litfin explores faith issues and following God in this dystopian story! Just the kind of book I like to immerse myself in. I can hardly wait to delve into Book Two!

Book Review: Protecting Your Child from Predators by Beth Robinson & Latayne C. Scott

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Protecting Your Child from Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger by Beth Robinson and Latayne C. Scott

About the Book

Even good parents often underestimate the dangers their children face. Research indicates that one in four females and one in six males are sexually abused before age eighteen. In most cases, the enemy is not a faceless stranger; it’s someone you know and trust – a neighbor, a coach, or even a family member.

This book provides practical steps to ensure you’re doing all you can to reduce the risks of abuse. But since you cannot be with your children 24/7, it goes beyond what you can do as a parent to teach you how to increase your child’s own awareness and strategies in the face of potential dangers – without making them fearful.

Dr. Robinson, whose decades-long practice focuses on abused and endangered children, calls on her own case studies to show age-appropriate conversation starters for parents, teaching them how to ask the right questions and provide the right boundaries.

This book will help you move from fear to confidence on this heavy topic that is just too important to ignore.

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars

Protecting Your Child From Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger is a great resource for parents concerning the subjects of sexuality, sexual abuse, and how to protect their children in this area. I found this book very informational, and I plan on referencing it in the future if I have children of my own. And even just as an older sister and someone who works with children, it’s helpful to know things to look for and be aware of.

The fact is, we live in a fallen world. Because of sin, God’s beautiful, perfect design for our sexuality and sexual intimacy is sometimes perverted in awful ways. Too often, we hear heartbreaking stories of sexual abuse and harm. Protecting Your Child From Predators takes a serious, faith-based approach and helps you understand how to talk with your young children to teenagers about sexuality, God’s good plan, and what is a safe or unsafe touch, etc.

Beth Robinson, a licensed professional counselor, and Latayne C. Scott talk about the dangers of the internet and the sexual predators who infiltrate this realm. As well as date rape and being aware of those who seek to lure young teens into sex trafficking. But they also make it clear that sexual abuse often happens where we thought there was safety … such as in church or at the hands of family members or long-time family friends.

We must not live in fear, but the authors stress that being aware and having knowledge about these things are vital. As parents, you should be taking practical steps to keep your children safe. Just talking to them and making them aware of their value as a human created in God’s image and the sacredness of their sexuality is huge! This book talks about the boundaries that children should know that “safe adults” have … and if any adult oversteps that, your child has the right to say “no!”.

Protecting Your Child from Predators is a book I would recommend highly. I feel it turns our gaze to Christ and takes a practical approach instead of filling the reader with fear. Yes, there are dangers in this world. We should do our part to protect those entrusted into our care. But then we entrust them into God’s hands and care. And know that there is healing and hope, even in the case of sexual abuse! Our Father is a great healer.

I received a copy of Protecting Your Child from Predators from Bethany House Publishers. This review is honest and all my own.

Book Review: Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller

Hello, friends! I’m going to start reviewing some fiction on this blog, since I’m stepping back from my book blog – Between the Pages of This Bookish Life. Hope you enjoy!

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Underestimating Miss Cecilia {Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley #2} by Carolyn Miller

My Review ~ 4 stars

A sweet read! If you know me, you know that I’m a big fan of historical fiction. The Regency era is an especially lovely time to read about, what with the proper courtships, gentlemen and ladies, and dances in abundance. Carolyn Miller has definitely become a favorite when it comes to this genre. The way that she weaves faith into her romance stories is something that I really appreciate and admire. Her characters experience genuine walks with God – there are soul deep conversions, intense moments of surrender, prayers and seeking, and lots about righteousness and justice. Pretty much faith permeates this novel; it’s not just something that’s carelessly added in so it can be marketed as Christian fiction.

Underestimating Miss Cecilia is the second book in the REGENCY BRIDES: DAUGHTERS OF AYNSLEY series. Cecilia is the second eldest of three sisters, and has long since had a crush on Ned Amherst, who lives on the estate next to hers. With her older sister, Caroline, recently married, and their younger sister, Verity, always causing trouble, Cecilia struggles to keep the peace in the home she shares with her unbelieving parents. They just want her married off to a suitable man, and acting like a normal young English lady. But Cecilia longs for them to understand her intimate faith with Christ and her deep sense of justice for the gypsies and other lower class people.

I enjoyed Cecy’s story! It was fun and had exciting twists. It was also bittersweet, with depth. I loved seeing this quiet young woman’s journey of growing closer to God and surrendering all her desires and dreams to Him. Sometimes I saw myself in her! I truly appreciate reading about characters that I relate to. It can make a novel quite meaningful!

Underestimating Miss Cecilia was really a thoughtful story. The romance was tender and sweet and clean. There were a lot of serious ideas and teachable moments. I feel like this author writes with purpose, and I look forward to picking up Misleading Miss Verity when it releases!

I received a complimentary copy of Underestimating Miss Cecilia from Kregel Publications. This review is honest and all my own.

 

So Much More

Hello, dear readers. I might not know you. I might not be aware of the struggles you deal with and the trials in your life. But here’s what I do know … a whole lot of people are searching for purpose that they just can’t seem to grasp a hold of.

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I want to both challenge and encourage you today. Your life could be so much more than what it is – than what you’ve decided you’ll just have to accept. God beautifully made you for so much more. For your good, and their good. And all of this magnifies His glorious name. And it is good. It is life-changing.

Perhaps you’re like: “What is she even going on about?”

Purpose.

I’m talking about purpose. Listen, the world’s idea of success isn’t going to cut it. That great career. That nice house. That swoony guy. More stuff. More degrees. More Instagram likes and Facebook friends. A flawless body. The perfect wardrobe. Another exciting vacation. The coveted applause and idolized fame.

Do you know how many people who have “had it all” and found themselves as desperate as ever for more?

Think Marilyn Monroe. Most beautiful or sexiest woman, or whatever she was voted. She had the body all the women envied. She had the beauty. The guys. The fame. The money. The career. The dream. And yet, as I understand it, she ended her own life.

So if all of that can’t satisfy, fix, or fulfill us after all, what can?

What’s the more that we need?

Simple answer: Marilyn Monroe needed purpose. Identity. And lasting purpose and identity is found in Christ.

We need Jesus Christ. Not just for our eternal salvation, but for our everyday salvation.

Our Creator said that the enemy comes to “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy”. But that He has come so that we may have life more abundantly!

So …

1) You need your Creator. The one who created you in the first place. Without Jesus, you really have nothing. Give it some thought.

Colossians 1:16-18

All things were created through Him and for Him17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

If you are a Christian, you need 2) to be actively pursuing the One whom you call Lord, and who He uniquely designed you to be.

So stop running headlong after all the world has to offer. Their definition of success and happiness hasn’t proven itself. Stop and ask God what He wants for you.

Colossians 3:17

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

What gifts and talents has He given you? What passions and interests has He knitted into your heart? What doors is He opening for you to serve Him and mankind?

I think we can agree that the world can be a dark place. We are needing you to push back against that darkness. God has a specific role He is calling you to fill. A unique purpose. He has places and people and jobs that are perfect for you.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The question is, are you going to embrace your Lord and join in the kingdom work He gives His children, or are you going to follow yourself and remain as empty as ever?

Even if you are a Christian, living for yourself instead of God is going to only help spread the devastating darkness and hurt more people than you ever help.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in ChristI fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

As I enter the sanctuary of my church, or sit in a Sunday school or Bible study class, or as I see all my friends posting Bible verses and selfies, I sometimes wonder … How many of us self-proclaimed Christ-followers are actually following Christ and doing what He calls us to? Collectively and individually? And what would it look like – our churches, friend groups, homes, communities – if we did? What would the impact be? How much brokenness that we see now could be healed if we were actually doing what we are created for … living with purpose. Living for God.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

I wonder, how many Christian boys and men aren’t stepping up and doing what God has put on their heart because of a secret struggle with pornography? How many girls and women are cowering in their own little bubble of life because of insecurity? And vice-versa.

Why have we, beloved children of God, let sin entangle us and lies define us so much so that we simply warm a seat on Sundays, quote a Bible verse every so often, and talk about our “past” like it’s not actually who we still are on the inside?

Brothers and sisters, Christ came to pave the way for not just change, but radical change! Not just life, but abundant life!

Are you really content with your life story reading: work, sleep, eat, 45-min. sermon on Sundays, and Netflix? Maybe an evening at the bar. Maybe some sensual music with lyrics that make your mind stray to places that you know dishonor God. Maybe a summer fling with that hot guy or girl. Maybe some movies with questionable content. Maybe many, many moments spent complaining, gossiping, saying hurtful things, and aimlessly scrolling on social media.

But it’s not like it’s that bad! You’re a good Christian and you won’t do the stuff you fill your eyes, ears, and mind with continually.

Maybe not. But neither will you do the things that you could have, should have, would have if you’d been pursuing the Christ you claim instead of the world.

Hebrews 5:12-14

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is,those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

At the end of your life … minutes away from meeting Jesus … do you think that kind of life story is going to give you a good feeling?

And do you really think it’s going to satisfy you now?

Dear soul, you are made for so much more than Netflix, your smart phone, and flirting with sin!

Look, try something new. What do you have to lose? Really. In light of eternity, what do you have to lose?

Proverbs 19:21

21 There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.

Try surrendering and falling into Jesus’ arms.

Try making much of His name.

Try serving others.

Want to talk about purpose? Satisfaction? Joy? Delight?

Yes. This.

An intimate relationship with your Creator God is a divine sweetness you won’t find elsewhere. A close-knit community of believers is joy overflowing. Serving and loving others with your gifts is satisfaction and hope that fills deeply.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

What do you love to do? Write, dance, sing, play an instrument, paint, travel? Do you have a heart for women? Teens? Children? Sick individuals? Orphans? Confused Christians? Third-world countries? Try opening your hands and saying, “Lord, use these. Use me.” Do it to make much of God’s name. Use the things you love to love on others.

Romans 12:6-8

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:24-26

But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

I look around my Sunday school class … what if each of us single adults reached out to a younger brother or sister in faith?

Y’all, we all need someone to disciple us, guide us, and show us how to mature in and follow the Lord.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

I see siblings and cousins and young people in my community who have so much potential and are in desperate need of a big brother or sister in Christ to come alongside them! To show them that they care. To guide them.

But how can we guide them if we don’t even know where we’re going in life? If we don’t have grown-up faith yet? If we are bogged down with the same old sin and insecurities that we’ve had since we were kids?

And the generation before mine … your work isn’t done yet. We need you.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

So, listen. There is kingdom work to be done. Purpose can be found. Look up and find yourself in Christ. And then look around and find all the unique, exciting roles that He’s calling you to!

Some of the roles I’ve been called to are … SISTER. My eyes are being opened to all the opportunities for thoughtful conversations, honest confession, good example, speaking life, and showing love to the precious people that God has placed smack-dab in my life in this season of life.

DISCIPLE-MAKER. I’ve long had a heart to minister to women and girls. And I’m passionate about God’s design for womanhood, manhood, marriage, and the like. God has opened doors for me to start a book study on “Girl Defined” by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird with some young ladies and it has brought me such purpose and joy already!

EXAMPLE. Regardless of my age or whatever, I am to shine light. At times, I realize that I’m called to be a Christ-like example to those older than me … or in situations where it seems like they should be teaching me. It can be tempting to step back in fear or insecurity. But what is my Lord calling me to do? Walk in purity, maturity, holiness, and love so that they might see Him.

1 Timothy 4:12-16

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

FRIEND. Love. Encourage. Uplift. Sharpen. Spur on. Praise Jesus, some of my most painful experiences can now be used to help precious friends who He puts in my life. (Suffering is not in vain. Ask God how He can use it in a way that will make beauty bloom out of ashes.) It’s very good to do life together. Spend quality time with brothers & sisters in Christ. Laugh together. Pray together. Pursue God together. Serve together. Have fun together.

So what purpose-filled roles might be waiting for you to step into them?

So much more!

Beloved reader, if you are struggling with passivity, hopelessness, or meaninglessness, know that I am believing in faith for you that God is leading you to so much more!

Romans 8:28-34

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 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? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Fall into His waiting arms. Let His hand guide you. I know you might be afraid, but you can do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only in His strength.

There is so much more.

There is so much more for you.

Step out.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Be a Man

What does it mean to be a man?

How can I, as a woman, encourage my brothers in Christ toward godly masculinity?

What qualities should I look for in a future husband?

These questions roll around in my head. …Because doesn’t it feel like, in this day and age, that true manliness and chivalry are fading away before our very eyes?

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I recently read a scene from a book that nearly took my breath away.

A boy, on the cusp of manhood, stepping in between a girl and the lash. He stepped behind her, shielding her with his body … and when the blows drove him to his knees, he pulled her down with him and covered her.

With tears welling up in my eyes, I thought: Now this is true manhood in all its strength and beauty.

EPHESIANS 5:25-28

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 

Does that scene remind you of something? Perhaps of Christ stepping in for you? Shielding you from wrath with His Body? Letting His blood be spilled in place of yours?

And what is true manhood but a reflection of Jesus Christ?

I don’t often feel deserving of the chivalrous acts of men, but it is a stunningly beautiful reminder to me of God’s lavish and grace-filled love for me. For I did not deserve His mercy and blessing, but He gave it anyway.

So, my friends, though it may seem elusive, chivalry is not dead. It is not outdated, old-fashioned, or unneeded. It is not a silly practice of medieval days.

1 CORINTHIANS 16:13-14

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Chivalry is more important than you know! It is desired. It is beautiful and wonderful.

Even the small acts of opening a door or offering a polite smile and nod, these are meaningful to women.

…That is to say, to women who embrace their womanhood.

Despite what the feminist culture wants to tell us, most women innately desire to be treated as feminine creatures, worthy of honor, protection, kindness, and gentleness. They want strong men. They long to see chivalrous acts from the men around them.

We are women! And healthy women naturally want to feel feminine, womanly, and beautiful. They want to be cherished, respected, and protected by good men.

EPHESIANS 5:28-29

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

In today’s world, we don’t get that very often.

There have been times that I’ve been walking through the store and had to really make an effort to move out of the path of a man barreling my way. It’s left me a little unsettled, the way he stares, like, “Move out of my way or I’m gonna run you over, woman.”

Another time, my coat tie got stuck on the rail in an elevator. Everyone emptied out quickly, and the one guy who noticed my plight laughed sheepishly and started to leave as well. The words: Can you help me? died on my lips. I managed to figure out where I was stuck and free myself. And lest you think the guy was a completely unscrupulous sort, he did hold the elevator door open when he saw that I freed myself.

But such encounters leave me feeling unprotected deep down inside. Do young men feel no natural protective instinct or honor toward women these days? Do they no longer jump into action when a woman is in need? Or nod kindly and step out of the way, like a gentleman, when they meet a lady on the path?

Even if they don’t know if a woman needs help, if it appears that she might, a simple: Hey, do you need a hand? might provide some relief.

This is not to say that I can’t step out of the way, or that I’m incapable of taking care of myself under minor distress – like I was in the elevator.

But I think it’s important for men to daily live out their masculinity in small ways in order to develop Christ-like chivalry that will flow into bigger, more dire situations.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:11

11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

1 TIMOTHY 5:1-2

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Men must have a higher view of women. Not because we are better, but because we are different.

We are not just another “guy friend”. We are unique from men, and should be treated differently. With gentleness. Tenderness. Thoughtful honor and respect.

The Word of God calls for men to give honor to the woman, for she is the weaker vessel. And no, this doesn’t mean that she is less intelligent, inferior, or of less worth.

1 PETER 3:7-9

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing,

But think about it. On average, men are bigger and stronger than women. Usually they can build muscle mass faster and bulkier than women. Over the centuries, men have been the ones willing and ready to fight for their families and country, and take the jobs of policemen, firemen, etc. Even today, there aren’t a whole lot of women who are wanting, or even think they’re physically and/or emotionally capable of going to war and such.

By divine design, men are more inclined to take the difficult and gritty roles of protecting, providing, and hard physical, or emotionally tough, work.

With more strength comes more responsibility.

1 TIMOTHY 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I don’t see myself as any less than men, but I do see myself as made for a vastly different role than men. And honestly, I know that I’m weaker … at the very least, physically.

It’s sensible to assume that at 5’5″ … and more slender than strong … not many men would have a problem overpowering me physically. Perhaps knowing this makes me crave, even more, gentleness and honor from men – especially those in my life. It gives me a general sense of security and well-being.

As for emotionally … I’d say that in most ways, I’m the stereotypical woman. I’m emotional, and very relational, and all that. And sometimes women are flattered and manipulated by unsavory men. Though, by growing in maturity and in my walk with the Lord, it becomes easier to recognize and avoid these men, I do believe that God made women to be under the covering of a man – such as her father. A man who will look out for her and hold any suitors to a high standard. For the young woman’s well-being, honor, and happiness!

Though I am weaker, if I know that a man highly esteems me and would never use his strength against me – but rather to protect and cherish me – then my weakness doesn’t matter.

Versus if a man uses his strength to harm me in some ways, then I am insecure and my weakness frightens me. I might feel the need to harden myself. I might want to prove myself to men so that they won’t take advantage of me anymore. I might despise my femininity. My nurturing, gentle spirit. My womanhood.

I feel like this is what happened with some of the women in the feminist movement. They were hurt, perhaps emotionally, by men. And now they want to protect themselves. To prove themselves. To make everything “fair” and equal and same. But in this mad rush to give evidence that they are just as good as men, they often trash their femininity and the unique qualities and roles that make them women.

PROVERBS 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

And also, with their brash, hardened, spiteful behavior, they squelch chivalry in men.

But again … chivalry and godly masculinity are for women’s good!

Not just in the big things, but in the small things. There are some things that I could manage on my own, or grit my teeth and bear. But when a man steps in and offers his help, I feel highly honored. And thankful.

When I’m walking on unsteady ground, I can probably get to my destination without too many mishaps. But if there’s a man nearby and he offers a hand to steady me, it’s an appreciated kindness.

I can put gasoline in my car in the winter and just manage to bear the cold (I hate cold, haha!), but if a guy offers to do it for me, I’ll quite gratefully accept and let him live out his masculinity – bear the cold for me!

Not only does a truly manly man reflect Christ, but men being masculine helps women live out their femininity as God designed. There is a reason that God created us as

male and female

masculine and feminine

with divine purpose

with different roles

with distinct, unique strengths …

It is to wholly reflect Him and radiantly glorify Him!

And it is for our good.

Oh, let me tell you, dear people, it is so good to be unashamedly, freely, beautifully, uniquely, femininely, divinely … a woman. Just exactly who God created me to be. How glorious. How good. How purpose-filled. How exciting. How adventurous. How delightful!

GENESIS 1:27-28

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

We cheat ourselves out of many a good thing when we stray from God’s design for womanhood and manhood. We cheapen ourselves when we push for today’s culture’s definition of feminism, liberation, and sexuality.

Only when we go back to the Bible will we find our true selves. As Christ-like women. And Christ-like men.

Femininity and chivalry are essential.

So men … pursue God. And be unashamedly men.

2 TIMOTHY 1:7

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Book Review: A Love Letter Life by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff

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A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. by Jeremy & Audrey Roloff

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars

A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. was a really great read! I’d seen it around on social media – from Jinger Vuolo, “Marriage After God”, and Dale & Veronica Partridge, I think – and became intrigued. Although I’ve never watched the TV reality show that Jeremy Roloff is a part of (Little People, Big World), I thoroughly enjoyed his and Audrey’s book! It was an easy read; interesting, fun, and thoughtful.

So basically it tells the story of Jeremy and Audrey. Little bits of their individual lives, and a lot of how they became friends, fell in love, and eventually joined lives in marriage! I thought it was awesome how they emphasized the importance of friendship first, and also being intentional and faithful about getting to know, understanding, and caring for one another. There were some hot topics discussed! Such as physical purity and close friendships with the opposite sex after you’re married. I appreciated how honest Jeremy and Audrey were about their relationship, purity, and where they failed … and the fact that they wrote it as a warning: Make boundaries! Have accountability partners. Don’t make the same mistakes that we did.

I loved the few pages of pictures near the center of the book. It’s so fun to see snippets of what you’re reading about! Absolutely lovely.

And the love letters they wrote each other? Absolutely precious! I love this idea – especially for dating couples! ^_^

This romance definitely wasn’t perfect. It had it’s ups and downs. It’s bumps and break-ups. But no love story is perfect. What makes the difference is how you pursue. How intentional you are. How faithful you are. Are you willing to fight for this person, despite the setbacks? And, once married, are you willing to cling to each other until death parts you … regardless if you “fall out of love” someday? Most importantly, are you actively putting Christ at the center? It’s wonderful to see a fun couple like Jeremy and Audrey pursuing God’s design for a man and his wife. Fighting for each other. Promoting a healthy marriage relationship that doesn’t give up.

This book talks about how to creatively love your special person, work through baggage from the past and/or generational sin, understand each other’s personality, respect each other, be intentional in a long distance relationship, and so on.

Jeremy and Audrey have a sweet story of coming together, and, overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book! I recommend to those who like learning about the real-life romances of Christian couples!

I received a copy of A Love Letter Life from Book Look Boggers Program. This review is honest and all my own.

 

**Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on May 25th, 2019**

Book Review: Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal

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Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars

Another phenomenal read and awesome resource from sisters, Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal! I had the privilege of being on the launch team for Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, and let me tell you, it is not a book that you want to miss! I was stunned and blessed. This is a message I’m so excited for! It is simply, beautifully another tool in helping us women discover the freedom of living out our sexuality God’s way.

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I think one of the reasons I was so excited to read Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is because we as the Church don’t talk much about lust being a girl’s problem … or about our sexuality in general! And as a result, I believe Satan has a foothold in many a woman’s life. Our idea of sex is twisted and we struggle with fear, shame, and secret sexual sin.

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Kristen and Bethany don’t shy away from the raw, tough questions and shameful topics. They dive right in. They share their own stories of sexual sin and of finding forgiveness and freedom. They share hope. They get to the heart of the issue, and give practical tips to avoid temptation.

Reading this book could seriously be life-changing for some girl. I read a book that tackled the topic of sexual sin (Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge) when I was a young teen, and it changed the course of my life. And I believe Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is an even more precious book on this topic because it is so centered on Christ, and it is so personal, honest, hopeful, and empathetic.

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And holistic, if that’s the right word. We’re not just talking about how to avoid sexual sin. We’re talking about our design as human beings … how God created us as sexual beings in the beginning. And how that sexuality is good! How our sexual design can point us to God. Yes, sexual intimacy was created exclusively for marriage, but we are sexual beings whether we’re married or not, and so understanding God’s design for our sexuality is vital. It is an intricate part of our lives!

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Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart talks about the universal sexual brokenness. It talks about same-sex attraction, and the truth that male, female, and marriage were created specifically and purposefully by God. It speaks on being made for intimacy, imperfect purity, battling temptation, and real freedom. Again and again, we are reminded that our sexual longings point to an even deeper need – the need for Jesus Christ. He can truly satisfy our souls.

Something that I enjoyed about this book was how it quoted renowned Christian authors and speakers such as John Piper, Dannah Gresh, Dr. Juli Slattery, Jackie Hill Perry, Joshua Harris, and more. And, of course, the Holy Bible! Scripture is what we must always line up our ideas against and see if they match. Because God’s Word is our absolute truth.

I love reading about God’s design for marriage and sex. It is truly beautiful! And the way it points to Christ and the Church … the Creator and our relationship with Him … is magnificent. When we realize the amazing design and purpose of sex, we dare not tarnish its beauty. It is too good to fool around with!

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I hope you all will give this book a chance, even if you don’t normally read nonfiction. It flows along well and is easy to read. Kristen and Bethany help us to recognize God’s awesome design for sex and intimacy as laid out in the holy Scriptures. They show that the hold that sexual sin has on you can be broken! You can find forgiveness, new beginnings, and glorious beauty as you turn to Him and use your sexuality as God designed!

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Our brilliant, loving Creator’s plan for sexuality is obviously the very best. It was His design in the first place! We can trust that. We don’t have to live in sexual brokenness and depravity. By His strength, we can rise up to beautiful heights of purity, holiness, blissful joy, and freedom.

I’m so glad this book was written! Dear women, read this book. I think it will help you to understand your sexuality and the desires that come with that. It will help you to honor marriage and sexual intimacy. And find your deepest satisfaction and hope in Christ!

This book includes discussion questions at the back of the book for each chapter. I can’t wait to go through it with a group of women!

I received a complimentary copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart from Baker Books Publishers and the authors. This review is honest and all my own.

 

***Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on April 30th, 2019***

“Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart” Book Talk!

Hello, my lovely readers! I’m so sorry that I haven’t been posting regularly. I’m not sure what happened … *looks bewildered*

Anyway, there is a new book releasing that I want you all to know about. Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality is Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal’s third book! Their ministry, @GirlDefined, has really impacted my life. I love their books. And I so truly want you to read them! These sisters are passionate about helping women find their identity in Christ and live out His design in freedom and joy! ❤

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Find Kristen and Bethany on their website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Bethany, and her husband, Dav, also have a fun Youtube channel: Dav and Bethy.

So, this book is releasing the 30th of this month, April! I’m so excited! I’m praying for God to work mightily in the lives of the women who read this book. I’m part of the launch team, so I received an early copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. It has been phenomenal! Look for my personal book review soon! And watch my unboxing video on Youtube!

If you pre-order by the 29th, you will receive some FREE, special bonuses such as an adult coloring book, an audiobook, and a private Q&A with the authors + their husbands!

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I hope you all will give this book a chance … even if you don’t normally read nonfiction. Kristen and Bethany help us to recognize God’s awesome design for sex and intimacy as laid out in the holy Scriptures. They show that you can truly find freedom from sexual sin! You can find forgiveness, new beginnings, and glorious beauty as you turn to Him and use your sexuality as God designed!

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Kristen and Bethany don’t shy away from the tough questions and shameful topics. They get to the heart of the issue.

Our brilliant, loving Creator designed us all as sexual beings, and obviously, His plan for that sexuality is the very best. We don’t have to live in sexual immorality. By His strength we can rise up to beautiful heights of purity and holiness and freedom. Our sexuality has very intricate purpose in our lives.

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So yes, I highly encourage you to read this book, fellow women! And read Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity and Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships, if you haven’t yet!

Read this book. Do a book study on it with your girl friends. We are all sexually broken. But we can find wholeness in Christ. Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is simply, beautifully another tool to help us discover that … and the beauty of living out our sexuality God’s way.

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Called to be a Disciple-Maker

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It’s been about three months since I went to the C.R.O.S.S.19 conference! Ah, that was such a mountaintop experience for me. I treasure the memories and am still pondering some of the lessons I learned. (I really want to find time to go back and listen to all the sessions! So good!!)

C.R.O.S.S. is a conference for 18-25-year-olds dedicated to talking about missions. I’ve never felt particularly called to be a missionary, but often worried: should I feel called? Do I need to pack up and move to Uganda? Is that what you want of me, Lord?

But something that they kept going back to at this conference is that there are goers and there are senders.

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“Some go. Some stay. All rejoice. All pray.” was a quote from the website. But we are ALL called to make disciples. Me. You. Every Christ-follower. Regardless of whether we go on missions trips a lot. Move to Africa to be a full-time missionary. Or never step foot out of the United States.

We are all missionaries.

We are all called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ!

// The Life of a Disciple-Maker – David Platt //

If the love of God has changed your life, you need to tell somebody about it! If you believe in the reality of heaven and hell, you need to talk about that with your community! If Jesus means all that much to you, you should want others to be able to experience that!

See, there are lost people in the USA, too. Lost people in my state, in my town. People who are broken. Hurting. Trapped in darkness. People who desperately need to know the saving power of Christ!

Romans 10:9-15

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

I don’t feel called to be an overseas missionary. I don’t even really feel called to go on overseas mission trips right now. I don’t know. Maybe that will change as I continue to walk with God. Maybe God will call me tomorrow. Next year. In ten years.

I read Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors not too long ago, and it made me want to up and move … be a full-fledged missionary. But I think it had more to do with longing for purpose, different, adventure, and meaning in life than it was a genuine calling to the mission field.

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// I Think I’m a Sender?? – David Platt //

The fact is, not everyone is called to move to a third-world country. Sometimes we get the idea that being an overseas missionary is how you are super holy Christian. And sometimes it sounds exciting and we figure we should jump on board. But I think we need to consider it more seriously. Maybe it is a calling. Are you called? Or are you just starving for purpose and adventure and you feel this might be the way to satisfy that?

See, in a third-world country, perhaps it’s easy for you to share the gospel and the people are eager to hear what you have to say. Whereas, in the United States, you feel awkward and fearful about talking about Jesus because, well … people look so put together and not like they need you and they might laugh in your face.

At home, maybe it’s hard for you to pursue God and be passionate about your faith. I mean, you could pray … or you could binge-watch that exciting TV show. We have so much. We are so entertained. Sometimes it’s so easy to lose sight of what should be our focus as Christians. Jesus Christ. His Kingdom.

I one-hundred percent believe that Katie Davis Majors was called to be a missionary in Uganda. To adopt fourteen beautiful Ugandan girls, and marry a missionary man there. But I also believe that other people are called to stay in their home country. There is a mission field here that God has called them to. Whether it’s in an inner city, a sick church, or a broken family.

Luke 8:38-39

38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

1 Peter 4:10-11

10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

So be serious about discerning your calling. Maybe God is calling you to Uganda, China, or Iran. Or maybe He is calling you to stay right where you are. And you need to press deeper into Him and pray daily that He will help you stay on track and give you a deeper passion for His will.

But I do want to note here: if you don’t feel called to overseas missions, that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to do with them. You should see yourself as a sender. I should see myself as a sender.

This is perhaps one of the important reasons to be involved in a local church! So that you can support missionaries and missions through your church. Specifically support, pray for, and encourage! And perhaps pastors and deacons should be vigilant about calling out missionaries in their congregation and sending them on their way. As the Body of Christ, we all need to be doing our unique work in God’s kingdom and helping each other along the way!

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

So here are a few important things to note:

If you are a Christian, you are called to share the gospel and make disciples.

You should care about overseas missions – whether you are a missionary or not.

You can be praying regularly for unreached people groups.

You can be praying regularly for missionaries you know.

You can support missionaries and missions through giving money.

You can support missionaries and missions by giving of your time and your talents – from home!

You can reach out in needy situations in your home town! Being the hands and feet of Jesus is a good way to shine His light and open doors to share about Him!

Matthew 25:37-40

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 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.’

You should be involved in a healthy church and making disciples there! Find a younger person to mentor. Lead a small group. Start a Bible study in your home. Reach out to one person who seems to be struggling.

Talk to your co-workers and friends and people you randomly start a conversation with in town. Tell them about Jesus Christ and what He has done in your life. (I know this is hard for some people … like myself! How do you bring up your faith in a light conversation? I’m reading a book right now called Turning Everyday Conversations Into Gospel Conversations that is helping me. Pray and ask God to open doors for faith conversations, and for joy and boldness to share!)

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Sometimes life is hard and you feel ill-equipped to share Jesus and make disciples when you’re struggling so. Hang in there, friend. Find a godly older person to mentor you! Often we need our big brothers and sisters in the Lord to come around us and strengthen & encourage us, and help us to grow and be obedient!

// The Significance of the Church – Trip Lee //

Why are missions important? Why is it so vital to be sharing about Jesus in our everyday life and making sure the gospel reaches the ends of the earth?

Because as Christ-followers, God is our Savior, Lord, Father, and Friend, and our hearts should yearn to glorify Him!

Psalm 96:1-3

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

Because we should have a deep love that desires for all people to experience the love of Jesus that has brought us out of our brokenness and darkness.

Because we should have compassion that drives us to warn all people that they might come to a saving knowledge of Christ and have eternal life, and not experience the just wrath of God.

So, go. Spread the good news of Jesus Christ. And also, realize that this is not all up to you and me. It never was. The Holy Spirit will do His work with or without you! But do you want God to be glorified in and through your life, or in spite of you?

// The Power of the Spirit – Conrad Mbewe //

Live to glorify Jesus Christ, friends. In whatever you do. Whether you are a goer or a sender. Whether you go on frequent mission trips or you don’t. Whether you are a writer, teacher, nurse, dancer, blogger, wife & mom, college student, long-term missionary in Africa, or working at JC Pennys.

1 Corinthians 10:31

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Surrender your life to Him and tell Him you will go wherever He leads.

Then rest in Him.

Lean into Him.

And let His love overflow out of your heart and onto all the people around you.

Love people. Because God loves people.

And make much of His great name.

// The Urgency of Eternity – David Platt //

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.