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***

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“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.

Book Review: Grown-Up Faith by Kevin Myers

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Grown-Up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life by Kevin Myers (with Charlie Wetzel)

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars

This was a super fabulous read! Grown-Up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life by Kevin Myers is one of those books that I feel like giving out to everyone. It talks about the basics of Christianity and the Bible, faith, and going deeper with God. All in all, I just feel like it’s a great read for Christ-followers, and also those who are young in the faith, struggling, or unsure if they believe at all. So yes, I very much recommend this book!

Spiritual maturity comes not from merely knowing about God, but rather from experiencing God with an intimacy that has emotion and affection. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 18)

Mature followers of Christ seek to be holy as He is holy. That require obedience to Him. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 20)

Grown-Up Faith is engaging, clear, and informative. Overall, an easy read … even though I took a little longer to finish it. I really enjoyed it. There were discussions that I’m already familiar with, and profound thoughts that deepened my understanding.

This is not merely a punishment; it’s a principle. When we disobey God’s life principles, the consequence is death. Why? Because by doing so, we disconnect ourselves from the source of life. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 53)

Everyone grows old, but not everyone grows up. Those who don’t grow up get stuck blaming others. They get stuck being a victim. Or worse, they become blind to their chosen victimhood … (Grown-Up Faith pg. 58)

Kevin Myers talks about reading and understanding the Bible correctly. It is one big story that points to Jesus Christ! He quotes a few great Christian authors and speakers. He talks about some of the tough questions that people ask about God, and shares thought-provoking scenarios to help bring understanding. He discusses our real purpose as Christians. He shares poignant and humorous stories and snippets from his own life. It was all very interesting, and I left this book feeling more passionate about living for God! Knowing Him and doing all for His glory is what I’m made for.

It’s less about being reformed and more about being transformed. This needs to occur from the inside out. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 175)

By obeying God, we become more like Christ and less like everyone else in the world. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 190)

If you are a Christian, this is a great book for you to read. If you are not a Christian, this is also a great book for you to read! I’m so glad I picked up Grown-Up Faith and am excited it’s now part of my Christian Living book collection.

I received a complimentary copy of Grown-Up Faith through BookLookBloggers program. This review is honest and all my own.

Book Review: Freedom by Jennifer Renee Watson

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Freedom! : The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It by Jennifer Renee Watson

My Personal Review ~ 3.75 stars

I picked up Freedom!: The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It by Jennifer Renee Watson because I’m tired of me telling myself that I’m broken and I can’t move beyond it. (And, to be honest, the cover is quite gorgeous!) I enjoyed it, and, overall, feel like it had a truly great message!

God is not the voice in your head shaming you, saying you are not enough. God is telling you that He is enough. That He is the great I AM. Who He is inside of you is more than enough to take care of whatever you are facing today or what you will face in the future. Jesus is not tired of you. Jesus is waiting and unafraid of your questions. (Freedom! pg. 66)

For real, a lot of us Christians … perhaps especially women … willingly live in brokenness. We take on the victim mentality and try to survive each day and do the right thing and please all the people. Freedom! is here to tell you that it’s time to pursue freedom! In Christ, we can move into deeper freedom than we ever thought possible. We can stop listening to that negative, nagging, dark voice in our head that tells us we’ll never be good enough. This book hit on some important topics and gave me another boost in my journey of freedom & wholeness in Christ.

A couple things. For some reason or another, this book wasn’t as easy of a read as some. Some chapters took me awhile to get through. Also, there was just a bit of that You Deserve It!You’re a Strong, Kick-Butt Heroine stuff mixed into the message. And that tends to rub me a little wrong. But it wasn’t overpowering, because the biggest thing I got from this book was that I don’t have to stay broken, and Jesus Christ is my everything – He will help me break through.

Your safe person is always Jesus. He alone can mend and do what no person or soul sister can do. (Freedom! pg. 96)

Your grateful soul was what motivated you to service. You were too busy pleasing God to concern yourself with pleasing others. (Freedom! pg. 151)

So, Freedom! wasn’t a five-star read for me. But it still had some really, really good points in it. Paragraphs and prayers that brought just a little more healing to my heart. God is so good. Thank you, Jennifer Renee Watson, for writing this book. I look forward to growing in freedom and grace together, even though we may never meet. God bless you!

I received a complimentary copy of Freedom! from Bethany House Publishers. This review is honest and completely my own.

 

**Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on March 17th, 2019**

Sexy Christians

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As a Christian, how would you describe purity?

If we are image-bearers and adopted children of an absolutely pure God, how should purity manifest itself in our own hearts and lives?

We all know that pornography is a major issue for men … and increasingly so even within the Church. Something we may not realize is how big of an issue it is for women. Lately, it seems I’ve been coming across a lot of women giving testimonies of their struggle with porn and lust.

And it’s opening my eyes to the impurity that we as Christians have slowly allowed to saturate our lives.

I’m here to discuss entertainment and social media. Movies. TV shows. Books. Magazines. Blogs. Instagram. Particularly, faith-based entertainment. Christian movies aren’t as much of a problem, but women’s Christian literature is too often filled with sensuality.

Christian fiction.

It’s just a romance novel, you may say, It’s not pornography! It’s not like I’m looking at inappropriate images.

But if that scene is bringing up images in your head that you’re fantasizing over, how is it different from visiting a porn site? (And I know some women visit porn sites as well. But I just want to focus mostly on books in this post.)

There’s a different between reading about a sweet love story, and consuming a scene saturated with sensual imagery that stimulates a sexual reaction.

Christian authors, since when is it okay to write in a way that stirs up feelings that are only meant to be experienced between a husband and wife?

Married or unmarried, you should not be watching movies or reading books that awaken sexual feelings in you … That should come exclusively from your spouse! Not from peering into the private relationship of an imaginary couple on a screen or within the pages of a book. Why has this become acceptable?

Even if the books you read aren’t graphic or extremely explicit (most Christian books aren’t), would you watch your neighbor do what this fictional couple is doing? Why do we need to feel what she’s feeling when he kisses her? I know we want to feel like we are the character when we read a novel, but some things are better experienced in real life with the person you marry (married)!

Song of Solomon 2:7

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.

If you are going to romance books, Christian or otherwise, to awaken that type of sexual feelings, you have an unhealthy addiction. A sin problem. And even if you aren’t searching for that type of content, if you keep coming across books that are exposing you to an intimacy and awakening of feelings reserved for a different time, I would caution you.

And I caution authors. Be careful of what you write and send out to the public!

Dear sisters in Christ, your purity is precious and valuable. Guard it. Go above and beyond to honor God with your body. Think of how beautiful and exciting it would be to come to your husband as a new bride and let him awaken true and pure love in you … unencumbered by worldly expectations, confusion, shame, guilt, impure experience, and addiction!

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I am increasingly bewildered and upset by what Christian authors are selling us. Some of it is none other than a trap for young women. An endangerment to purity. An unexpectedly captivating luring into sexual temptation and sin.

An intriguing adventure and rich historical setting. Flawless writing and authentic characters. …And a scene of our main characters making out that goes on for pages. They never actually go all the way. Of course not. That would never do for a Christian novel! But I think I’m correct in saying that pages of describing sexual feelings and scenes is inappropriate and bound to cause many a Christian woman to struggle.

God created us as sexual beings. But it was not meant for us to be exposed to some of the things that we are. Like when a man is bombarded with sexy, half-dressed women on billboards, it naturally awakens feelings and causes a reaction. But this is not acting on one’s sexuality purely, and such feelings & following thoughts must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

The Bible says that marriage is honorable among all. And the marriage bed is undefiled. It is a devastating thing that Christian literature may be defiling the sexual relationship that you have, or will have, with your spouse.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

I want us to take note of this. Seriously consider it.

More and more Christian authors are coming out with books whose covers portray a sexy woman with a low neckline and sensual gaze. And many have scenes I feel are wholly inappropriate and uncalled for. Most of the novels in the Christian market have kissing scenes. “Scene” meaning it’s described in some detail. I’m not trying to make too big of a deal over kissing. Romance is a beautiful thing, and my heart always flutters when I watch a genuine, godly relationship unfold. But Christian authors, I just want to implore you to be careful. Crossing the line when it comes to sexual impurity is sometimes a very easy thing to do.

// Read my previous blog post on the subject of sensual content in Christian fiction – Does What I Read Honor God? //

If you’re writing a romance, be diligent in godliness. Pray and think. Ponder over the scenes you’re writing. Ask God for His imput.

Adding edgy details. Writing a glorified account of the past affair between two now-godly characters. Penning those swoon-worthy kissing scenes…

What is your motive? Is it glorifying to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Psalm 119:9-13

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.

Why, writers and readers … Christians in general … has sensuality become so normal that we have Christian women flaunting their bodies on Instagram and even in church, reading edgy romance novels, and watching sex scenes in movies like it’s no big deal? Normal and acceptable?

What happened to the call to holiness? And let’s be practical about this. We are called to be different from the world. And we can be. We have the power of Christ at work in us. We can be holy – set apart.

There is no such thing as sexy Christians.

We are called to absolute purity – no room for compromise!

Ephesians 5:1-7

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Colossians 3:5-7

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

So be careful about the books you’re reading, the movies you’re watching, the songs you’re listening to … all the things you’re filling your mind with. As an unmarried, Christian person, there is no room to be indulging in sexual gratification. And as a married, Christian person, there is only room to experience sexual gratification with your spouse. No exceptions. God created sexual feelings and such for a man and his wife. The end.

To experience sexual pleasure anywhere else is to pervert God’s beautiful, flawless design. And it is a grievous thing, indeed.

Now, this is not to say that young women mustn’t know anything about sexuality, or romance, or read books on this subject. In fact, I think it is important to get a healthy view of God’s design for sex before the world exposes you to its twisted, yucky version.

With that, here are a few Christian books on sexuality & romance that I recommend:

Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird

Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal (haven’t actually read this one yet, but pretty sure I’m going to recommend it!)

Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control by Elisabeth Elliot

Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Every Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn

Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge

And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity by Dannah Gresh

Answering the Guy Questions: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Relating to the Opposite Sex by Leslie Ludy

When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write by Eric & Leslie Ludy

Sex and the Single Girl by Juli Slattery

***

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

God and Your Health

I think it’s time to have a conversation about health.

God and Your Health

I know it’s a craze and you might get irritated by all the talk about natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, no MSG, essential oils, sugar-free, and so on and so forth.

Some people like to say: “I have Jesus. All I need to know is that He loves me.” But if you are using that as an excuse to be lazy about theology, I want to remind you that Christ is not a sparkly accessory to add to your life. He is Master.

He is master in every area of life. So He is master when it comes to health. Have you surrendered this area of your life over to God?

When you think of God, do you think of an obese, ignorant, slovenly dressed man with a careless attitude?

I didn’t think so.

So the question is, why do we, as His children – His representatives on this earth – think that we can be gluttonous, slovenly dressed, lazy, ignorant, and careless?

Ephesians 5:17-18

17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

I believe that God wants us to be healthy. In body, mind, and soul. This life isn’t for our pleasure, but for His glory! And heaven isn’t some dreamy, hazy realm. We’re going to live. So we better start learning how to live right now. Here on earth. Do your research. Study. Be wise. Be responsible. Be Christ-like.

No, you can’t eat whatever you want. For one, the Bible expressly says that gluttony is a sin. And two, your body is God’s temple! I think that’s a very good reason to be serious about taking care of your body and eating good, wholesome foods!

1 Corinthians 6:12-13 & 19-20

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Philippians 3:18-19

18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 

Have you thought about what you’re putting into that temple?

What are you putting into your mouth? High fructose corn syrup? MSG? Sugar? Palm oil? Tobacco? Have you considered whether these things are affecting your ability to do the kingdom work God has called you to? Whether you’re fighting fatigue, stomach aches, obesity, depression, headaches, irritability, frequent flus, or lung cancer, are you thinking about God’s glory when you eat, or only your pleasure?

If you can’t give up certain foods for the sake of your health – for the sake of the temple of your God – then it appears you have erected an idol.

Yes, food can be an idol. And I, in fact, believe that food is a very big idol to many Americans.

It is a sin to choose food over kingdom work. Food over submission to God. Food over kindness and sacrificing for your neighbor.

Proverbs 3:7-8

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Eating unhealthy food can affect our ability to love God and love people well.

And don’t just consider your current state of health, consider the future. Do you know the ingredients of the things you’re consuming? Have you looked into how they affect your body? Will they have a negative effect on you ten years down the road?

Proverbs 31:17

17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.

What about what you’re putting on your body? Shampoo? Lotion? Soap? Hand sanitizer? Perfume? I’ve heard so many stories of women who were really struggling with health issues and things, and after getting rid of shampoo with parabens or some such in them, they were healed.

How about vaccines? Have you looked up what’s in them? Do you know that a large chunk of vaccines have aborted baby parts in them? Are you doing your due research, or are you blindly trusting your health (perhaps your children’s health) to doctors who may or may not know what’s in the vaccines they are giving out? And may or may not care?

These are truly important things to think about! What if vaccines do cause down syndrome, chronic migraines, SIDS, etc.? What if the junk in many shampoos and perfumes (and plastics) do lead to female problems, infertility, and inability to maintain a pregnancy? What if all the artificial stuff put in processed food does make the risk of cancer higher?

I believe a wise Christian cares about these things. We make wise, mature choices, and then trust the rest to God. Yes, we may die tomrorow. Or we might live to a ripe, old age.  Only God knows and He is in control. But it is our responsibility to make good choices concerning health.

Saying: “I’ll eat what I want, smoke, drink, and do whatever I want with my body … and when I die, I’ll be with Jesus! Don’t you want to be with God?” is just an immature way of declaring: “I don’t want to be disciplined and obedient. I want to do what I want, regardless of the consequences or what God has to say.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

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

1 Corinthians 15:30-34

30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

No, we are not going to just do what we want because we’re going to die anyway. We have something to live for! Christ! Our precious Lord and Heavenly Father! And our dear brothers and sisters in Him! We do not have to live in ignorance. We have a choice. We can either sleep in ignorance and shame, or we can awake to righteousness and truth. We can seek Him. We can make a choice to consciously make life decisions – big and small – for His glory.

It is to God’s glory that we take care of the bodies He intricately wove together in our mother’s womb.

This is not about being paranoid or obsessed. To me, being healthy does not mean obsessing about my weight, having a hot “beach body”, or saving myself from death and destruction. It means making choices about how I eat & live that are honorable to my Creator God! It means living to bring glory to Him – in the little things and the big things! It means being passionate about His kingdom and my part in it.

So what are you going to choose?

Perhaps God wants you to serve Him faithfully for a hundred years. So you better get in shape, and give up those dounuts and cigarettes, friend!

Pray. Study the Word. Love on people. Laugh! Move your body. Go on a walk. Work out. Limit your screen time. Read some good books. Try some new recipes. Limit sugar. Cook wholesome foods. Go to the chiropractor – get your spine all in order so that your body can signal and function properly. Research vaccines, parabens, microwaving food in plastic bowls, fake sugar, and the like. Get wisdom. Make informed decisions. God gave you a beautiful, complex brain … use it for the sake of your health! For the sake of the Kingdom. For the sake of Truth. For the sake of His glory!

3 John 1:2-3

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Politics, the Medical World, and More

Hello, dear readers. I recently watched a Youtube video that inspired me. It inspired me to get real. So, just briefly, I want to talk about those touchy topics that some of us like to avoid – politics, the medical world, and more.

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President Donald Trump

Building a Wall

Voting

War

Illegal Immigrants

Racism

White Privilege

Sexism

Toxic Masculinity

Feminism

#MeToo

Rape Culture

LGBT Community

Hate Speech

Socialism

Police Brutality

Pay Gap

Gun Control

Abortion

Birth Control

Vaccines

Antibiotics

New Age

Harry Potter and Witchcraft

What do you think about all these subjects?

The world can be a confusing place. We have passionate, vehement opinions being thrown at us from every direction. The media shows us terrifying or horrifying stories that make us inclined to believe this or that.

But, before you make up your mind on something, I want to encourage you to stop. Stop and research. Stop and think.

As Christians we are called to be in the world, but not of it.

John 17:14-18

14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

So yes, I believe we should have an opinion about the world, our culture, and the practices around us. We should be involved in politics and social issues. But no, we should not look like the majority of the people around us.

If you are following all the ideas and movements that the secular world is, I would plead with you to stop and examine your life and your beliefs.

You should not look like the world.

Don’t blindly follow or agree with something because it sounds good and that’s what the rest of the people are rallying behind.

That is being ignorant, passive, selfish, and careless.

And I don’t think any of those four adjectives should describe a Christ-follower, at least in a general sense.

Acts 5:29

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

We should be wise. Knowledgeable. Strong. Set-apart. Loving. Caring. Informed. Compassionate. Vigilant. Steadfast. Faithful. Truth-seeking. Passionate. Bold. Hopeful. Selfless. Hardworking. Courageous. Different. Godly. Biblical.

Matthew 10:16

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

Stop buying into everything the media says and the culture tells you, and start digging into God’s Word. And I don’t mean surface-level digging … “Oh, Jesus ate bread, so gluten-free stuff is just a bunch of nonsense.” Whether or not the gluten-free lifestyle is a bunch of nonsense (I’m gf because of allergies, so I’m not saying it is!), that is just a very lazy way to approach things.

I mean dig deep. Study the Word. Study God’s character. Study science and biology. How did God create your body to work? What does God say about caring for our bodies? Study the food you eat, the shots you get, the products you use and figure out what exactly you’re putting into your body. Study history, politics, and economics. What logically makes sense if we look at the patterns and rise and fall of nations? What does God say about government, justice, and our part in it?

We need to stop thinking that our lives are just peachy and start learning about the world we live in instead escaping into other worlds by binge-watching TV shows.

This is not a game.

As Christians, we are called to live with purpose. Live intentionally. Take action. Make a difference. Love fearlessly. Fight for righteousness, justice, and truth.

We should not sit back and let wicked men dictate what our society looks like … Even going along with it because, oh, it sounds pleasant, peaceful, and safe. It sounds right and good.

What if you found out that some of the movements you’re supporting were really destroying people instead of helping them like you thought?

  • Abortion is about fighting for women’s rights!

But millions of babies are being ruthlessly slaughtered in the process. What about their rights? They are humans and this is murder.

  • We need to love everyone! Support gay pride and the LGBT community!

But such lifestyles are actually harmful and destructive – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – to the individual. There are studies showing that people who get transgender surgeries feel even more empty, depressed, and desperate than before – oftentimes committing suicide. How is it loving to push them – especially children! – into this? While God loves these people, their sin is bringing His just wrath. It is unloving of you to support their lifestyle.

  • Police brutality! We have too many bad policemen!

But don’t you understand how many good policemen we have? And how they put their lives on the line daily for your protection and comfort; they’re the first one you go to when in an emergency; they see horrible things you’d never want to see, etc. … and that your careless slander may encourage criminals to carelessly take policemen’s lives? Do you know how many police are murdered, and that they might actually need your support and prayers for protection??

  • #MeToo! Always believe the woman!

But do you know that sometimes the man is innocent (shocking, right??), and his reputation, career, and life is sent into upheaval because we want to cater to vicious and vindictive women?

  • People who are anti-vaccine are murders! They care nothing for their children! They are pure evil!

But have you ever talked to these people personally? Have you studied vaccines, health, the medical world, and our bodies in depth like they have? Do you know that some of the vaccine industries support abortion in the most awful of ways by putting pieces of aborted babies in their vaccines? (Can you be radically, truly pro-life and also pro-vaccine? Something that I think we, as Christians, need to seriously ponder.) Do you know about the anti-vaccine people’s concerns that vaccines are actually dangerous for their children, whom they love fiercely and want to be healthy and protected?

We need to wake up. Know what’s really going on in our community, country, and world. We need to be a bright, healing light by the way we’re involved in politics and social issues.

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

So I would encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this video, and check out the other Youtube channels I mention below.

I’m not saying that Republican equals Christian. I’m not saying patriot before Christ-follower. I’m not saying my views are all for sure right. I’m not saying that these Youtube channels are spot-on and have everything together. But they give you something to think about. Something counter-cultural. Something radical. Something intriguing and honest and raw and real and hopeful. Something against the norm.

(Just for your information, not all of these channels are Christian (but probably the majority of them come from self-proclaimed Christians), some of them do contain some language, and I have certainly not watched all the videos! So I’m not saying that I agree with everything presented in these channels. But they’re a way to do some research beyond what the media is telling us!)

Faith and Politics (Christianity and Politics)

***

Answers in Genesis

The Bible Project

Tipping Point With Liz Wheeler on OAN

The Patriot Nurse

PragerU

The Daily Wire

Brandon Tatum

Brittany Pettibone

Dr. Dale Brown

Genesis Apologetics

Zach Hing

Candace Owens

Hoover Institution

Patricia Dickson

Dr. Josh Axe

Students For Life

***

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

Book Review: The Whole Christ by Sinclair B. Ferguson

The Whole Christ

The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance – Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters by Sinclair B. Ferguson

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

Truly an exceptional read. I’m not even sure how to put this book into words. The Whole Christ is a nonfiction book that I highly recommend that every Christian read! I didn’t expect to love this book so much, but it was fascinating! Packed with truth and hope, it really dug deep, and took apart and explored the idea of grace. There was some history concerning Thomas Boston, the Marrow Controversy, and other theologians. There were some startling truths revealed about legalism. There were Biblical truths presented that I hadn’t quite grasped before. It is a study on the gospel – and that cannot be studied enough!

For it [the gospel] reveals that behind and manifested in the coming of Christ and His death for us is the love of a Father who gives us everything He has; first His Son to die for us and then His Spirit to live within us. ~ The Whole Christ by Sinclair B. Ferguson

It’s a bit of a deep read … some paragraphs I had to reread a couple times … but still, so good, it kept me reading. Even if you aren’t a big reader, I would give it a try. Maybe listen to it on audiobook. It is such a needful message for the Church. Why? Because I think we all, as Christians, struggle with understanding grace – and accepting that there is nothing we can do to earn it. It’s is all Christ. And the love of God! Understanding the love of God! Ah, The Whole Christ presented such precious truths.

It was interesting, deep, informational, compassionate, heartfelt, and soul-stirring. A great book for all of us Christ-followers to add to our collection … especially pastors! The Whole Christ is geared, somewhat, toward pastors. It speaks very plainly, but also with gentleness and great encouragement.

A truly worthwhile read! I’m so glad I picked it up, even though I was nervous about reading such a intimidating-looking book. (I’ve not read many deep, theological books). The Whole Christ made me marvel about the greatness of my God. It encouraged me. And it helped open my eyes even more to the basic, fundamental truths about the Christian faith – about Jesus Christ, grace, and truth.

There is only one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ Himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God, which He now mediates to us in the gospel. ~ The Whole Christ by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Movie Releases 2018-2019 I’m Interested in Watching

Happy Tuesday, friends! Another day of sharing some things I’m looking forward to. I promise, I do have more of my usual blog posts coming … I actually have several articles started, but none finished yet!

So, for now, here are a few movies I’m interested in watching. Do let me know if you’re looking forward to any of these! Or, if you have some titles that aren’t listed, comment below what they are! 🙂

Indivisible – 2018

Indivisible

Run the Race – 2018

run the race

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – 2018

the nutcracker and the four realsm

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – 2018

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Play the Flute – 2019

play the flute

Unplanned – 2019

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Overcomer – 2019

Overcomer MOVIE

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 2019

how to train your dragon

Frozen II – 2019

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