veil

the veil was torn

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:51-54

Those verses always give me the chills no matter how many times I read them.

I have been reading in Leviticus lately, which I must admit is not easy and downright boring sometimes, but it can also be really interesting when you read it along with the New Testament. Seeing the law, all the thousands of tiny regulations and rules. (have I ever mentioned that I can’t stand rules?) The Israelites had to constantly be aware to not make themselves unclean, to look over their day and wonder if they needed to make another sacrifice. They had to be careful not to touch someone who was unclean and keep track of the hours to know how long that uncleanness would last.

If you were a Priest you had to be even more careful and when it was time to offer a sacrifice or enter the Holy Place or the Holy of Holies it was with fear and trembling wondering if you had taken the proper steps and if God would accept you.

But then Jesus came. He was the spotless perfect lamb, the lamb that wouldn’t just cover our sins but would destroy them. And the veil was torn.

Solomon’s temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull the veil apart. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. (read more)

The thick veil that separated us from God for about four thousand years. The veil that only could be crossed by one specific person once a year and always with fear and trembling was demolished. Now we can go directly to God without Priests or any human mediator. Jesus is our mediator. His blood washes us clean of even the worst sins.

Can you imagine the sound the veil would have made when it was torn? It definitely wouldn’t have been quiet, it would have left your ears ringing. Did it cause the earthquake that shook Jerusalem (it certainly shook the world in a non-literal sense so it would be fitting for it to have been the cause of the literal earthquake), was it like the the volcano Krakatoa that was heard all over the world?

It is pretty amazing to think about everything that changed in that moment, nothing would ever be the same. Now instead of rules and fear we can enter boldly into the presence of God knowing that when he looks at us He sees His beloved Son.

Does that give you chills too?

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thetwo

the two and the 2.4 million

Twelve spies. Ten said, “We can’t. It is impossible.” Two said, “We can! We have God.” Everyone believed the Ten.

I think when we read stories like the one of Joshua and Caleb we (or at least I) tend to see ourselves as being on Joshua’s team. We tell ourselves that we would have had faith, we would never have chosen to go back to Egypt and slavery. We would have trusted God, put on our battle sandals, picked up our swords and prepared for the battle ahead conquering the land.

Would we? Why do we believe this when the evidence in our lives is so often just the opposite? We don’t trust God. We worry. We worry about our kids, about the war in the middle east. We worry about terrorists and riding in planes. We worry about thieves and bullies and not succeeding in life. We worry about health and cancer. We worry about how much we worry.

Six hundred thousand men left Egypt, that isn’t including the women or children. Assuming there was one woman for every man and that each couple had two children that is about 2,400,000 (that is probably a low estimate since there was no such thing as reliable birth control at that time.) Two and a half million people believed that it was impossible and that there was no way. Two people believed that God was big enough and would keep his word.

I heard a quote from Jen Haymaker yesterday. I had heard it before but yesterday it really stood out.  “We live out God’s kingdom to the same fullness that we believe it.” 

How much do we believe it? Do we just believe it when it is easy? When everyone is healthy? When someone we love is sick but the odds are still in our favour? What about when everything we hoped for or ever loved goes up in flames? Do we want to turn back when things get hard and scary?

Most of us do. We run from the scary and messy. We don’t want to suffer or be persecuted. The thought of moving somewhere like the middle east to share the love of Christ would never even cross our minds because the risk is just too great.  We are the 2.4 million, we admire the 2 and we fool ourselves into thinking that we would stand with them but often we just don’t. Our faith hasn’t been tried for real. We haven’t faced the things that our brothers and sisters in places like Somalia, Iran and Afghanistan face every day. They risk and often lose everything when they chose to follow Christ and yet they do with a passion we can’t even understand. They are the two. The two are those who don’t shy away from the really hard stuff, who don’t lose faith when the mountain of worry or trouble seems so big it could crush them. Who stand up no matter the cost, and most especially when the cost will be great, and lead those around them to Christ. The two are the people who follow God’s leading even when it seems beyond impossible. 

Luckily for the rest of us, the 2.4 million, there is so much grace. We don’t have to wander the wilderness anymore, His grace is new every morning for us. The disciples were doubters just like us and Jesus still chose them and used them and loved them. Being faithful doesn’t mean that we will never be afraid, that we won’t battle worry everyday; it means that we choose to give that worry over to the Lord little by little even if we just ever so slowly one by one pry open each of our clenched fingers that hold each fear. It doesn’t mean that fear will be gone for good, we might have to battle those clenched fingers again tomorrow and the next day and the next, but the faithful just keep right on battling little by little.

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rest1

finding rest

I have been having a hard time finding words to write lately, my mind has been so scattered. Weddings, travels, events, distractions all keeping my mind and soul from the real rest that it needs. I’ve had the physical rest that my body needs but have neglected the rest my spirit needs, the rest that is hard to come by in this crazy world of action and having the world at our fingertips even in the middle of night. I love action, I am a doer, a let’s start up something new person, a drop everything and have an adventure person. I like to watch or read about adventure when my body is resting. Real soul rest isn’t easy for me.

I was standing on the stage yesterday morning between songs and my mind suddenly went back to a verse God put in my mind a few years ago when our small church was going through a very dark time. Exodus 14:14. The Lord will fight; for you; you need only to be still. Wow I suck at that. I like the fight, I like the action of it, strategizing, acting, calling others to action, that is what I do. Being still is not easy. It is even harder to be still if something big is going on and you need to “fix it”.

The kind of being still we are asked to do isn’t a passive stillness. Passive stillness just lays around and lounges, it doesn’t renew your Soul. Active stillness is the kind of stillness that gives us real Soul rest. Active stillness gives us the eyes to see Him fighting for us. Active stillness comes from time with the Lord, dwelling on his words, talking with him and thinking about him. It doesn’t just happen, we have to seek it out with purpose. It requires time and quiet but it leads to the kind of change I think we all long for, real world change that I can’t force no matter how hard I “do”.

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Killing Christians | a book review

Wow.

I don’t even know what words to use to describe this book. It has challenged my thinking on so many levels and reinforced then importance of praying for the persecuted church.

Killing Christians is a modern day Foxes Book of Martyrs, it tells the story of believers who are living through intense persecution today in different countries under Muslim leadership. Each chapters shares the story of a different person in a different country.

This book is heavy but also so inspiring! I give it the highest recommendation of any book I have read this year (2014 included), and I have read some great ones. I highly recommend this book to all believers, it gives a view of life in other areas of the world that we don’t see or hear about very often and I think that is so important. Despite being comparable to Foxes Book of Martyrs (or Jesus Freak) many of the people written about do not die so don’t be scared away by the title thinking it will be depressing. There are many stories of lost loved ones and it is heavy at times but overall it is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I think I can even say it has changed my life and inspired multiple blog posts and discussions.

It is so neat to read about the things God is doing amidst such darkness. In such uncertain times, the courage of the men and women in this book are a beautiful picture of faith and hope for Heaven.

Please consider reading this book, you are really missing out if you don’t!

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Sorcerers, magicians and plagues

I am sitting here giggling to myself as I read the story of the plaques. That might seem a bit weird, I know some of them aren’t funny at all and I am not laughing about those. What I do find amusing is the beginning of the story, with Pharaoh’s magicians.

Geniuses these guys were.

So we start off with the water changing to blood which is pretty nauseating really. But wait, Pharaoh has his own magical peeps who are gonna help out…oh wait, nope, they are just going to make even more blood…. Hmmm.

Ok, the blood was gross and no good since people didn’t have clean water to drink but that one is over now. Unsurprisingly this fickle ruler goes back on his word immediately though so God has a new plague for him. Frogs. (I must admit, I love frogs so I have always thought this was the mildest of all the plagues, although the thought of stepping on them on accident or finding dead frogs everywhere is pretty nasty.) Billions of frogs everywhere, in bed with you, in the bath with you, in the ovens, in the jars of food, in your shoes, in your underwear drawer. Croaking all night long, ribbit, ribbit. (Ok, I find this all really funny since I like frogs and am in a weird mood)

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It is ok though! Pharaoh’s guys can handle this! They have magic too!
“Come on guys fix this for me!”
“No problem, boss! We got this!”
And they do! No….wait…..they just made even more frogs. Hmmmm. This seems counter productive to me. God must have been chuckling to himself at least a little bit.

Ok, so Pharaoh realizes his sorcerers are pretty much useless so he begs Moses to pray that the frogs will go away and promises to be nicer and let them go worship. He picks the day and Moses agrees to pray. Moses cries out to God and the frogs die.

Now it gets nasty and there are dead frogs absolutely everywhere and they stink so bad and everyone has to clean them up and pile them up and…..gross, the whole of Egypt reeks of rotting frogs.

Surprise! Pharaoh changed his mind again. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Ok so time for another plague, this time gnats, all the dust turned into them so that is pretty horrible to think about. Normal springtime black fly population around here is bad enough without them being as numerous as the dust! Biting, swarming, flying up your nose, mouth, ears, take some time to think about everywhere you find dust after being in the desert or at the beach, now replace that mentally with gnats… Ok stop now, that is just disgusting.

Enter magicians,
“Don’t worry boss! We can do that too! Just a watch…”
They strain, they sweat, they start to freak out a bit because failing the Pharaoh was no small thing. They tried again and again.
Nope, can’t copy this one.
Honestly why they would even want to is beyond me!

Hey got a bug problem? Call Little Egypt Termite & Pest Control they can double your pest population! (Yes that is a real business I found on Google, no, I don’t think they actually have a “bring in more bugs” package.)

Ya, not sure what these guys were thinking but they failed and realized, why this guy isn’t just a magician like us, this is actually God.

It seems like, at this point, Pharaoh either quit bothering to call the magicians, maybe did something unkind to them, or they just gave up coming because it doesn’t seem like they tried replicating the other plagues. Probably a good thing, I don’t think trying to create more boils would have been smart….

“Don’t worry Pharaoh, Moses can give you painful boils? Well check out the ones we can give you!” Can’t see that ending well….

The rest of the story isn’t very funny at all, Pharaoh keeps hardening his heart, going back on his word and ends up losing his son and the first born sons of all his people. Pretty sad actually considering how differently things could have gone if he had humbled himself from the start and apologized and made am amends to the Jewish people.

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Images here and here

faith and job

Where were you?

Life seems pretty heavy these days. I am not really going through anything heavy personally, but some friends are going through unimaginable things right now. So much hurt in my little circle . Around the world, so much hurt. Children being trafficked, crucified, starving. Christians being persecuted even to the point of death, imprisoned. Families torn apart. Disease, violence, hatred, devastation. I feel it. The weight of it all presses in as my heart tries desperately to love and remember and intercede for them all.

It is pretty easy to have faith when you have even the hope of the answer being yes but when the answer is no it is a different story. When you fast and pray and still God says “no”. My head knows that he has a plan, and faith doesn’t mean we can see when the plan is we just have to trust that he does, but when the prayer is for something as obviously good as keeping a child out of an abusive situation and still the answer seems to be “no” it is so hard to trust that maybe he has a different plan.

When your heart is breaking for a great mom who is desperately trying to protect her babies and those who should be her allies hate her. Those are the moments when I understand the desperate cries for justice in the Old Testament. When the ones who are supposed to uphold justice in this country, in this world, fail so miserably and purposely. It is easy to imagine that God is asleep at the wheel even while knowing that he isn’t, to wonder “Where are you God?”.

With all of this heavy if my mind I went back to Job (not purposely looking for this passage, just as part of the planned reading I had fallen behind in) just in time to read God’s response to Job, his response to me and all of my cries for justice and action.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
“Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,

Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
Everything under heaven belongs to me.

He goes on and on for about four chapters with many questions/statements that remind us how small and insignificant we are and how big he is. Reminders that I need often because I forget and get caught up in my own ideas of justice and freedom fighting and what God should be doing when.

Faith doesn’t mean I get to see the whole picture, it doesn’t mean that I won’t have doubts, anxieties, and fears or wonder what will happen. It is the assurance that the God who laid the earths foundation and spoke everything into existence is capable of caring for those I love and those He loves.

I can’t imagine the picture, it makes no sense to me but I don’t have my glasses on and the portion in my view is so small. He can see perfectly and his view is clear and wide enough to see it all as He paints it.

There is something so beautiful about the book of Job, it is heavy and full of sorrow, but in the end God speaks to him, and when Job remains faithful through it all he is blessed far beyond what he lost. He is given many children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, vast riches and a long happy life, it is really neat to see after 41 chapters of pain and sorrow. God had a plan and it was far more than Job could imagine. Even if this weren’t the case though, God would still be good.

When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.

 So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch.  In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers.

Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.

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Runaway Radical | a great new book

There is always this feeling when you finish a good book, like a metaphorical sigh, sadness it over but satisfaction with the way it ended. Like the feeling after a good meal you anticipated all day while smelling it cook.

I had mixed feelings as I read through this book, one moment I was in agreement and the next I was conflicted and slightly suspicious, not sure where they were going with some ideas. I think the conflicting feelings only added to the feeling of enjoyment in the end.

Runaway Radical is the story of a young man whose life was changed by a short missions trip to Honduras during high school. He saw for the first time what real poverty is and desperately wanted to do something. He spent the next couple of years planning and saving for a longer trip while doing what he could to help the homeless and friendless around his own city. When he finally made it to Africa for a planned year long trip he found himself in a completely different situation that he could have ever imagined. The trip left him severely depressed and possibly suffering PTSD. When he returned, instead of encouraging him and aiding in his recovery, his home church covered up the abuse he had endured, hid all traces and tried to silence him and his family.

Runaway Radical is story of rediscovering his love for Jesus after being badly hurt by the church and Christians. A story that reminds me to be so careful with challenges to make a difference in the world because when misunderstood (as I believe Jonathan misunderstood some of what he read in what he calls the “radical movement”) it can come across as earning God’s favour or love or even as legalism. I highly recommend this book especially if you are associated with missions in any way or involved with churches in North America. This is a story we all need to learn from, learn to protect ourselves and our children, learn to check out missions and charity organizations very carefully before trusting them and most especially learning how to love hurting family and friends instead of hurting them more.

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PS I personally am a huge fan of David Platt and his book Radical and am not sure if this book is one that they refer to many times in this book or not. I do believe that David is not suggesting a legalistic view of faith and service at all.

* I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it, however these are my honest opinions and I would never recommend a book that I didn’t really want to recommend.

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how to be a friend to the hurting

I was reminded of something a couple nights ago as I was reading Job, something that first came to mind about a year ago while reading the beginning of Ruth.

In the beginning of Ruth, right after she loses her husband and both sons, Naomi seems to be doing really well. She thinks through her future and decides that it is time to go back to her people and homeland. She packs her belongings, comforts and cares for her daughter-in-laws. She seems to be coping quite well, even sending the girls – the only family she had left- away (or trying to) knowing that it will be so hard to say goodbye but that it is the safest choice for them.

This first bit of grieving after a loss seems to be the time when people are around a lot. They bring meals, they sit with you and listen. They expect you to cry, to hurt and are very sensitive to that. If you aren’t acting the way they think your should they assume you are healing quickly or coping really well. We can see it in Naomi, and I have seen in several women around me that sometimes during this stage people actually seem to do really well, they are grieving but they are coping, keeping busy.

Later, when most people stop coming around, stop bring meals and stop asking how you are doing is when reality sinks in and the struggle becomes more intense. We can see that with Naomi, once she makes it to Israel, her journey is finished and she can rest, this is when she falls apart.

The passage in Job is a little different but similar. Job has lost everything, all he has left is his wife who isn’t much help (remember she is grieving the loss of her children so cut her some slack), and is in agony sitting on a heap of trash. His three friends come and for several days they just sit with him. They are great friends at first, they are maybe quietly praying for him as they sit there or maybe just being there. After a few days though they decide that Job has grieved for long enough and they open their mouths and start saying some pretty stupid things that sound good and wise in their own ears but are so far off in reality.

Both of these passages made me think about how I can pray for and be a friend to the hurting people around me. To not stop caring for them if they seem ok at first. That often the best thing you can do is just sit quietly and say nothing. That I can pray and ask God to give me the words if there are words to say and to stop my mouth if there are no helpful words (in my overly vocal life this is crucial). To not leave after the first bit or be among the many who don’t want to be a bother so they don’t come around or don’t call.

It is less than a month now from the one year anniversary of a precious little girl leaving this earth to go home. It is just past the 8th anniversary of the day my dear friend lost her parents. Later this year will be the second anniversary of a baby girl who touched my heart so deeply, though I only met her in person once, that I will never be the same.  So many others. So much loss in this world. So many grieving friends come to mind as I read these passages. Time passes and the hurt lessens but it never goes away completely.

Keep praying, keep being there, keep being Jesus to the hurting people around you. If you can’t think of any just ask Him to bring them to mind and help you to not forget them. He is pretty good at that.

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imperfect

the “perfect church” myth

A lot of us are or at one time have found ourselves searching for it, convinces it is out there somewhere; maybe it even lives in a memory where all the struggles or annoyances are glossed over and all we can remember was how great it was as we strive to find something that matches our muddy memory.

The perfect church.

Why do we, such imperfect humans, seem to keep thinking that it is even possible for a group of us to somehow come together and form something perfect? Are we foolish enough to think that our imperfections all combined will somehow melt away or not infect the group?

I have attended quite a few churches in my life because I have moved a decent amount of times. I have walked through huge traumas that broke churches apart completely, I have seen the slow decay of a church with an amazing heritage but sin crept in decades ago and it never recovered, I have seen thriving mega churches and small town “big” churches and been a part of each one and more. Each has their strengths each had their weaknesses. None was perfect (even the one with a famous musician leading worship). It is impossible for any to be perfect because not one person attending is perfect.

I hear the complaints all the time:
–   “We don’t like the teaching style.”
–   “We don’t like the worship style.”
–   “Our youth is too small.”
–   “Our youth is too big”
–   “Our group is so small are we really having an impact?”
–   “Our church is so big it is hard to know if we are really having an impact when you can’t get to know more than a few people.”
–   “Our church has no vision.”
–   “Our church has too much vision, we do too much.”

The list goes on and on because we are all different people and a lot of us are believing the lie that somewhere out there is a perfect church, one that fits us exactly and is what we have always been looking for.

It is just that, a lie. A really good one actually.

It is similar to the lies that separates us and lead to animosity between denominations that have only minor belief differences.

We are all the body, we represent Christ on this world. To many of our neighbours we are the only glimpse of Christ they might ever have and we are NOT representing him well when all we do is complain about what is wrong with our church.

I don’t know about you but I don’t see any places in Scripture where Jesus is complaining about music or preaching styles or what people were wearing or any of the things that we so often complain about. We do see him get quite angry (rightly so and without sin) when the Jews turned the Gentiles place of worship into a 3 ring circus selling animals and changing money in a crazy scam where they decided that only temple money could be used in the temple. He turns over tables and chaces them out with a whip but he doesn’t set the animals free, in all the display he never ruined anything He kept control. This is a little different from the general complains about churches though, I haven’t seen (in any of the churches I have been a part of) people loudly selling animals or “rights to worship” or generally disrupting worship so that people can’t worship at all. (The occasional loud child does not count.)

We are human, we know that. Most of us have a lot of grace for ourselves when we mess up or let our weakness show. Why can’t we show the same grace for the church? For our Pastors and Elders? For the imperfect people who serve us in so many ways through the Church, ways we can see and ways we don’t see if we aren’t really looking hard.

Let’s get it in our heads that the perfect church does not currently exist. One day it will and that will be awesome, but that won’t be until we have all stood before the Lord and been given new perfect bodies.

What is wrong with the church today? I am. You are. Each of us is. But the awesome thing is that despite how much we all suck God loved us so much that he sent his Son to redeem us. We are a pretty scratched up murky picture of Christ most days but little by little as He works in our lives and we spend time with Him, He wipes away a little bit more of the grime and the picture become a bit more clear.

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If we can understand this and accept that there is no perfect church maybe we can learn to focus on the things our church does well and show grace for the ways in which we can improve.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. — 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

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modesty

modesty and grace

There have been a lot of posts lately about modesty. It probably is nothing new really just suddenly these posts are getting a lot of attention. There are the posts about “why i will never wear leggings again” and the rebuttals. The Facebook trolls who go on and on about both sides because they have a certain opinion and refuse to even listen to someone else. There were the girls who kicked up and huge stink about not being allowed to show their bra straps in school or  whatever the latest so-called inconvenience is. In all the posts I have yet to see one that really reflects my thoughts or the thoughts I have heard from a couple of my friends (in long text conversations) So here are my thoughts on modesty, men’s thoughts and girls attitudes.

First, we women need to just accept that men are wired way differently than we are. They are not just girl brains in male bodies. Not at all. We couldn’t be more different in the way we think. That doesn’t make them perverts or gross it just means that God created them differently than he created us. Not better, not worse just different.

Second, I am NOT the type of girl who believes women shouldn’t wear pants, I kinda hate wearing dresses most of the time actually. (Maxi dresses and skirts kinds won me over a bit but only sometimes) I grew up semi conservative and for a little while attended a very conservative school  and HATED the dress code – my mom wasn’t allowed to step out of the car when she picked us up unless she was wearing a dress or culottes…this was Florida so think hot and muggy.

Ok, now that we have that straight lets talk about us.

We have already heard enough about what we should or shouldn’t wear. I don’t want to talk about that. I don’t want to give more lists of rules because no one would follow them and more importantly we are under grace.

What I do want to talk about is our attitude. What is going through your mind when you choose your outfit? Are you thinking about how hot you will look and how “[insert name] won’t be able to keep his eyes off of me” or “this will make him drool”? Do you know deep down that your cute outfit is going to cause some guy to think things about you that he shouldn’t think?

I know that at this point some of you are already getting riled up thinking something like “I am not responsible for his thoughts!”

While yes, that is true, he is the only one who is responsible for his thoughts. You are forgetting that, if you are a believer you are part of the body of Christ. You represent Christ. Ask yourself if Jesus would get all riled up about his rights? Do you think that He would be more concerned with how comfortable or hot his clothes were or about how it might affect others?

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. – 1 Corinthians 8:9

I am not and never would make excuse for any perverted guy (I refuse to use the word man in this context) who is purposely trying to look at a woman who isn’t his wife, or who would think of hurting a woman. That is not excusable in any way and is in no way a woman’s fault. Whether she is dressed in a full burka or is working the streets in barely more than her underwear – a woman is never asking for it and there is never an excuse. 

Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters. – 1 Timothy 5:2

My concern is for the guy who is trying to keep his mind clean. Maybe he is not married yet but wants to treat the women around him with purity even in his mind. Maybe he is married and loves his wife and wants to keep keep his eyes and thoughts only for her. 

Last year I was at Pitch and Praise (a fun event for about 2000 youth group kids, they have speakers (who were awesome last year), bands, talent shows all sorts of stuff. It was especially fun because my “little” brother was there as a missionary rep and had a lot of free time so he hung out with our youth kids a lot.  I will never forget what he said to me while we were there, he said that it was hard to be there because everywhere he looked there were 14-year-old girls in skin-tight leggings (or similar clothes) and he was afraid to look around because he shouldn’t see that much of these young girls. He loves his wife. He is very committed to her and to keeping his mind clean for her and treating other girls like sisters. He is honourable but it is hard for any guy who is trying live a pure life when every curve is on display around them.  He wondered if these girls knew that it wasn’t just that hot guy that was thinking about them in less than honourable ways, it is also that creepy old guy and about 7 others. 

So that is it. I am not leaving you with any rules, Context is King, as I learned in Bible School. In this case it means that I wouldn’t wear to church what I would wear to the beach…. Obviously. It would be a bit funny if I did though…for a minute at least then it would just be really awkward.

I don’t think that the Bible really gives us hard rules about this because, again, we are under grace.The most important thing about modesty our relationship with Jesus. If we aren’t living for him it doesn’t matter what we wear and if we are living for him we will be growing more like him and that means putting others ahead of ourselves.

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