People or God and Do We Have to Choose

I recently found a quote that went like this:

If you’ve reached a point where you only attend a church because of the relationships you’ve built there and not because of the sound doctrine/teaching that’s actually feeding your soul, then maybe it’s time to evaluate whether you’re attending a sound biblical church.

Well isn’t that just a snap in z formation to the face if I ever read one.

Where to even begin on this topic but what I do want to start with is the intention behind this post. It isn’t to call out any one person or church in particular. There are many people I cherish from past churches and while I have every intention of sharing truth here, it is never my intention to bring hurt or pain. What I do want to bring are accountability and awareness. In fact, the reason my posts have morphed over the past two years is that I have realized there is no time to become complacent or “seeker-friendly” with what I have to share. If what I share from scripture offends anyone, it isn’t me you need to come to terms with. It’s the Lord. He wrote those words through faithful believers.

There is so much that I have compromised for the sake of not offending others or to be “known”. I have lost opportunities to be bold all for the sake of being afraid to lose friendships. Historically, I embraced the “seeker-friendly” mindset that so many churches do. What do I mean by “seeker-friendly”? These are churches, or ministries – not all but most – that are more focused on bringing new people, mostly unbelievers or the curious, into the church. They are adamant about communicating that they want to provide an atmosphere that is welcoming to all. The sermons don’t get too serious or in-depth but are just enough to skim truth in such a way that is “understandable”. Worship trends toward produced and carefully curated for the purpose of not being a distraction or hindrance for others.

When I was ripe in giving my life to the Lord, I loved and appreciated how easy it was to get connected and volunteer. Many will hear the story of how my mentor interviewed me for teaching Sunday School and essentially told me I was the right one for the position immediately. It was only five minutes into our conversation and she just knew. I remember walking out the door feeling empowered, excited, and nervous all at the same time. The notion that I would be volunteering with like-minded, believers in the Lord had me so excited. But, I was also nervous because I didn’t feel equipped enough to teach these young kiddos. Thankfully, everything was scripted and it was super easy to teach the lessons. It was mostly just helping the kiddos pay attention and diffuse little spats.

As the years went by, I would become more and more involved in different ministries including choir, worship team, international missions, and the after-service prayer team. It was incredible to feel needed, known, and, at times, sought after. Friendships were blooming and I just loved that these friends were fellow believers.

In my mid-30’s I moved to Chicago and wanted to find a church similar to the one I had “grown-up” in spiritually. I found one! Or so I thought. At first, it was wonderful. The teaching seemed to be the kind I related to and the worship was pretty amazing and well-curated. The production was what I was used to, if not a little better because hey… we’re in Chicago folks! I have shared in past posts how things started to change for me when I realized how naive I had become when it came to assuming all Christians would agree on various social issues and sin. To me, these were all pretty clear in scripture but my eyes were opened to the fact that not all who called themselves Christians thought the same thing. At the time, I didn’t know how to refute or debate or find the scripture to support what I believed. So, I ignored and justified it all because there were so many other things I wasn’t willing to give up – like the relationships.

Fast forward to April 2022. Two years have gone by since the shutdowns prompted by the “C”. (Yep, I’m speaking in code on purpose. You know what I’m talking about though!) Up until this point, I had gotten really good at avoiding the things that were bothering me when it came to the church I was so committed to. I LOVED and ADORED the people I served with and I hated the thought of what would happen if I spoke up. I shouldn’t put past tense on those two words “loved” and “adored” because I currently love and adore these same people. And it is because of that love I am so desperate to share what I do via this blog and any other written forms. I’m not going to hold back for fear of what others think of me. And man is that hard because, in the past, all my decisions were filtered through what others thought of me.

The only One I am attempting to please is my Lord and Savior. As it should be for you dear sister in Christ. I truly believe we are at a place in time where it is even more important to stand firm in the Word and not to conform to the ways of this world. Arm yourself by reading scripture and digging deep. If your current church does not go deep into the Bible, find one that does. Pray for discernment and wisdom in your conversations that will likely happen. When relationships end, lean on the Lord for what those relationships provided. He will supply more than you could ever ask or imagine! Be prepared to celebrate when those same people reach out for reconciliation.

The important thing to remember is to never compromise the Word of God, simply to win people to church or to maintain relationships. Scripture tells us that many will have itching ears to hear words that conform to their own ideas and thinking. (2 Timothy 4:3). I love how the Amplified Bible states this verse:

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold.

2 Timothy 4:3 (AMP)

This permeates into the leadership of the church as well and influences the mindset I mentioned earlier when it comes to “seeker-friendly”. If the church you attend skips over scripture or skirts around important issues in order to not create “controversy” or to avoid appearing in the newspaper for offending, it’s time to find a new church. If there is no accountability or elders, it’s time to find a new church. If you are a leader or attend this type of church, seek God’s wisdom and direction in what you should do. If He is calling you to speak up, trust that He will guide your words and be your source of all you need. If He is calling you away, pray for the discernment needed in finding a new church and also remember His faithfulness.

For me, I had to come to terms with multiple things. I was comfortable. I loved being known. And I adored the friendships I had. I am sad to say some have decided to part ways for various reasons. It was not easy at all but, ultimately, knowing that God is the One I serve and aim to please has helped. I am currently working on a blog series focused on how to navigate through the muddy waters of relationship management, especially when it comes to changing your place of worship. It may not seem like a topic big enough to focus on but, it really is. I know I’m not alone in what I have gone through and it is SO important that we remember where to place our focus. 100% on Jesus.

Some may say that being relational is still important. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely is.

Allow me to use this illustration – do you have a favorite pair of sunglasses? I do! Not only do they do an excellent job protecting my eyes from the UV rays but they are also very stylish. They are the lens I look through so that I’m not squinting. We have different lenses in life to look through as well. Each lens gives us perspective. If we choose only to look through the relational lens, every word, action, and decision we make will be based on being relational. The risk with that is compromising scripture and God’s clear direction given to us for how to live. It’s well-meaning. It’s not entirely bad. In fact, one could find plenty of verses in the Bible to support being relational. However, if we are only doing this through the relational lens, we are out of context.

With the lens of scripture and God’s truth, being relational and loving looks much, much different. Love according to the world’s standard is to bend in order to accept no matter what. And in order to accept, we don’t bring up anything that could offend. The lens of God’s truth shows us we are depraved sinners who deserve the wrath of God. It shows the good news of what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and taking on our sin. It shows the teachings of Jesus leading up to His death where He held nothing back because He loved us too much not to. By His example, we also should not be holding anything back because we love others too much. We yearn for others to know Him and to accept Jesus as their Savior. We want to show them what the Bible says is sin so they know what to turn away from. Even if it offends. Even if it hurts. Even if it downright stinks because the sin one may need to turn away from is one that seems impossible to give up.

Sister friend, may I give you some sound advice?

Pray. Read your Bible. Pray. Live in Godly boldness. Pray. Read your Bible. Pray. Rinse and repeat.

The road is not easy but wow, what a glorious and wonderful opportunity to fully rely on Jesus. You may not see the “fruit” at first but you will. He will show you.

Some of you may now be thinking, “Melissa, how do I find a sound/biblical church?”

It’s a good and important question and the best answer I can give you is this: Visit churches. If you find one that could be “the one”, reach out to the Pastor and church council. Ask questions and be direct with them. Ask to see the mission, vision, values, and doctrinal statement. A sound/biblical church will be more than willing to share all of this with you! Pray. Ask for the discernment and wisdom from God as you search. Trust that He is faithful because He is!

Thy Will Be Done

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Luke 22:42 ESV

Near the end of September 2010, I remember a moment when I was on my knees crying out to God to save a little baby boy named Ewan. A good friend of mine had given birth to a baby with a very broken heart. The optimist in me wanted to believe that this child would be one of the few who would survive and live to tell all about it. In that time of prayer, as tears streamed down my face, I begged God to save this precious child. The words that spilled out of my mouth declared that if I believed what I was praying – if I had faith – that God would answer! As I took deep breaths, I would say the words, “Lord, I believe. I have faith. I know you will save this baby boy because of that faith! Because if I believe it, you will do it!”

After all, isn’t this what Matthew 21:22 says?

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

Matthew 21:22 ESV

Unfortunately, my faith and belief did not save sweet little Ewan. He flew to heaven on October 4, 2010.

Have you prayed a prayer with this same thought? If you believe, you will receive! So, if He doesn’t answer your prayer the way you want Him to, that means you didn’t have enough faith. Does this sound familiar at all? This is just one of the many battles I have had over the years as a Christian. Over and over, I would hear about answered prayers and read blogs or books affirming my assumption that I just didn’t have enough faith and that is why Ewan did not live.

But what about all the other people praying along with me? Did they also not have enough faith?

What about you, dear sister, have you prayed and prayed; believing with all your heart that because you have faith God is going to answer you but He didn’t? Does this mean that your faith is weak? How about in this present moment – is there something you are praying for? Perhaps there is a friend with a terminal illness and you are praying with faith that God will heal her. Or perhaps you lost your job and there is a possibility on the horizon so you pray and pray believing because if you believe, you will receive! How about those bills that are piling up and your money is non-existent – but if you pray with BOLD FAITH, you will receive! Some rich uncle will call you tomorrow with the money that you need!

Is this what Matthew 21:22 actually means though? And what about that first verse I shared from Luke where Jesus is praying in the garden the night that he was to be taken in as a prisoner? Have you ever been in a place like I had been where you sit back, face in the palm of your hands, wondering what you did wrong because a prayer you prayed was not answered? How much more confusing can this get, right? I mean, it seems that scripture is telling us two different things!

Well, let’s do some peeling back and look at both of these verses in context. 1 John 5:14 helps gives us some clarity on Matthew 21:22:

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will he hears us.

1 John 5:14 ESV (emphasis mine)

This verse doesn’t mean that we need to figure out the future for what God has planned for us. What it does mean is that what we ask for must be part of God’s will. Unfortunately, I found myself in a place of viewing God as a magic genie. If I pray and believe, He will grant me my wishes! Oh what a tangled web of frustration and confusion this can lead us into.

So, what does this mean? Should we stop praying altogether?

Absolutely not! God wants us to pray. Jesus even taught us how to pray. (Matthew 6:9-13). We need to pray. If we heed the instructions of the Lords’ Prayer, praying should remind us Who is sovereign over all. The prayer begins with God being treated with the highest honor and set apart as holy. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (v.9) Then it continues with these words:

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10 ESV (emphasis mine)

Your will be done.

There was a time when those four words would have invoked fear in me.

No Lord. I want control! If you could just listen to my words and act according to my plans, that would be great! And if you don’t, then that means you don’t love me and all this faith and belief I have poured into my prayers is for nothing.

When Ewan died, these are the words I could have easily uttered. Yes, it was sad and awful. However, God doesn’t promise us that things will be easy (John 16:33) but He does promise to be faithful. Do a quick search in your Bible about the faithfulness of God. You will be blown away, I promise! Also, God’s will is perfect. He knows far more than we could ever know. We learn this in the Old Testament:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

It is comforting and good to know how faithful, gracious and merciful our Lord is. He is sovereign in all He does. When we don’t quite understand the heartache or prayers that were not answered in the way we requested, we do know that God is in control over all and He knows best. This is the sovereign will of God. We see this so clearly in the prayer that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane.

He knew what was coming. The reason He came to earth was about to be fulfilled and He still requested that the cup be taken from Him nevertheless, “not my will, but yours, be done”.

What if we approached our prayers from this same place as Jesus? Using the Lords’ prayer as our guide, what would happen if we submitted our request to the Lord and ended with “nevertheless Sovereign Lord, not my will, but yours, be done”.

Our prayers would then place God where He belongs – seated on the throne.

I love what John Piper says about God’s sovereign will:

“On the one hand, we need the assurance that God is in control and therefore is able to work all of my pain and loss together for my good and the good of all who love Him. On the other hand, we need to know that God empathizes with us and does not delight in sin or pain in and of themselves.”

From Desiring God blog by John Piper

Unfortunately, we do not have a crystal ball or a magic lamp. There is no way to know the future. But one thing is for sure, when we pray, pray with faith. Pray with belief. Because God will answer our prayers according to HIS will and in so doing, He will remain where He belongs – high and lifted up, sovereign over the heavens and the earth, all glory and power be unto Him and Him alone.

This is where faith comes in. When we pray, we submit our requests and then we trust in His will. No matter the outcome, we will know that He is still in control and we can have faith in His plans even when it is difficult. We rejoice in knowing that God is faithful and just through it all.

While I wish that God would have given us Ewan for much longer than He did, I trust in His plan. During Ewan’s short life on earth, God was doing everything according to His sovereign plan. Sometimes I still wonder why but, oh! What comfort it brings to know my Heavenly Father knows so much more than I do and is faithful through it all.


Thy will be done.

Theology & Doxology: Why Words Matter

There is a very popular song that is heard on Christian radio stations and is sung in many churches that declares God’s love is reckless. I’m sure you know which one I speak of immediately and probably have sung it. Well, I’m on a quest to pop your worship music bubble!

I’m kidding.

Kind of.

Musical worship (doxology) has been a huge part of my Christian life for as long as I can remember. The bible hasn’t always held the same influence as it does for me today and I would run to my radio or CD case to pop in some good worship tunes. The best kind were the ones full of emotion, the perfect bridge and an exceptional melody that either pared well with my voice or I could rock out some sweet harmonies. The more modern the better. The more room for some spontaneous wersh, the better.

When I was given the opportunity lead worship in my church, the need to replicate what I heard on the radio and my CD’s was very important. I wanted the same crescendos, bass lick, electric guitar melody and… oh! … Throw in some strings while we are at it! For the most part, my vision didn’t quite equal reality when the actual worship service began but, that was okay. While what I was desiring for the worship service wasn’t right, I knew deep down that God would move via the Holy Spirit. My prayer would often include words like, “may I be transparent and people see you Lord!” Because I knew in my sinful nature, what I was wanting put me in the spotlight.

Leading worship was a dangerous ministry for me to be part of. Why? Because I have always been someone who loves to be the center of attention. Being part of the worship ministry brought on so many stumbling blocks like comparison, attention, and competition. The other complicated component of being part of this ministry was the song selection. My song choices were melody-driven more than they were lyric-driven. I could justify the lyrics because I knew they were written by other sinners. So, it was okay if sometimes the lyrics didn’t quite fit theologically. Besides, if I were to concentrate on that too much, in my mind it would make me no better than the Pharisees.

“Don’t be legalistic Melissa. God knows our hearts!”

You know what? Lyrics do matter. It is not being legalistic when you are acknowledging God’s discerning words in scripture.

First, I want to address the comparison of someone who is so focused on Biblically-sound lyrics to that of the Pharisees. Yes, the Pharisees were way too law-driven. It was clear they didn’t understand what the consequences were with Jesus coming to earth. They were still focused on the path of seeking forgiveness for their sins that they were missing the fact that Jesus was the very Messiah that was prophesied about. The Pharisees enjoyed control and the prestige that came with their title so when Jesus came along to teach why He was there and how that effects the path of salvation, they didn’t like it. There is so much more to this topic but I have to address this because it has come up multiple times as I have shared how important lyrics are to our worship.

Second, I need to address the topic of legalistic thinking. Listen, wanting to ensure the words I’m singing during worship align with the Word of God is not being legalistic. The word legalistic means of, relating to, or exhibiting strict adherence to the law. (Collins English Dictionary, 2012 digital edition.) In this case, I would use this word with someone saying you can only worship in church with an organ and not a guitar or full band. The type of instrument does not change the words we are singing to our Lord.

So, let’s revisit the song I referred to at the beginning of this post. While most of the words are theologically sound and do have a Biblical foundation, this word ‘reckless’ is completely wrong in describing God. I appreciate what the song writer shares when explaining the word choice but, at the end of the day, we should be able to look to scripture to find if this word is, indeed, somewhere in there. It’s not! Now, some may say we shouldn’t hold to the literal and strict definition of the word reckless. My response is this: why even make it an option for people? Why not, from the start, use a word that is truth and leaves no room for interpretation? My pastor has shared that he would use the word ‘sovereign’ in replace of reckless and I happen to agree. What a beautiful word that leaves no room for extra interpretation. Scripture is saturated with the sovereign nature of our Lord!

How about another song that begins so well. I was in with this song until a line that insinuates that God didn’t want heaven without us. While I love the rest of the lyrics, this line has never rested well with me. I appreciate what The Berean Test says about this phrase and goes in deeper with this song. For the sake of not plagiarizing and following copyright laws, I will link you to the article here: The Berean Test

If you read the full post, you will see that the writer does give the artist the benefit of the doubt but acknowledges the twist on words isn’t quite correct. While it’s nice to think that God didn’t want to be without us, His sovereign love is known in ways that still should bring HIM all the glory. He doesn’t need us. He does love us. So, is this getting too nitpicky about words again? I’ll let you decide but, for me, this is a line I can skip.

I could share more examples of worship songs but, I think you get the idea.

So, this conclusion will probably be the place where you are waiting for the catch for me to launch into a full on legalistic, critical approach to these songs. I promise you this is not where I am going. The great thing is these songs are not a means to salvation. However, it would behoove us to really listen to the words we are singing and digging into the word of God before you fully latch on to that beautiful melody and the emotionally-driven lyrics.

Scripture is pretty clear about being alert to incorrect teaching and that teaching can come through a song. A quick search on the internet for “false teaching” will lend you many verses about being aware of false prophets, teachers and apostles. And perhaps one of the best verses that has been relevant since the day it was written:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

Be on the alert Christian sister. This isn’t just teaching that will come from the pulpit, book or blog. It will come in the form of our worship music as well. My encouragement to you is to prayerfully consider what you are singing. Really listen to the words and the theology. If it doesn’t align with scripture, then it is okay to pass it by no matter how awesome that bridge is. Scripture should shape and influence the doxology we are singing – not the other way around.

As Deep As The Ocean

Sometimes I know exactly what to share when I sit down to write. Many times, I’ve already gone over the words in my head prior to sitting down at my computer. Then there are times when I know I need to write but the words fail me. Then I wonder, “should I just start to write and see what happens?” Worry sinks in shortly after that because I don’t want my readers to be put off by my blabbering. Today is one of those days where I know I need to write but I’m not 100% for sure and for certain about what.

It is hard to pick one topic to write about because many are relevant to the stage of life I’m in. One moment I will focus on one and dig into it only to hit a wall. So, then I focus on the other the same thing happens. The next thought to cross my mind was, I’ll just write about all of them! But, that can’t be good either because you, my dear poor reader, will probably get whiplash from hopping from one topic to the next.

As I sit here, thinking through the various topics I could address – friendships, grief, identity, being a woman – there is one constant that comes up every single time. No, I’m not going to draw this out nor leave you with a cliffhanger. The constant is the sovereignty of God.

Each time I tip-tap on the keys and lookup scripture, I am continually pointed towards this foundational truth of God’s character: He is Sovereign.

But even that truth is HUGE. How does one hone in on something so magnificent and wonderous and not have this turn into a 15000-word dissertation? How do I make this relevant and relational? How does this topic fit in with being a woman of courage?

My response is to run to scripture which is always the best choice. It is so tempting to read what our favorite author or theologian would say but you can be 100% assured you will receive the truth when you run to scripture. When I did, I came across a most beautiful Psalm that captures so much truth that is relevant to any situation we are faced with here on earth.

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The voice of the LORDS breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice the LORD makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29 ESV

According to the notes in my ESV Study Bible, this psalm is a hymn of praise to God for His awesome power. The thunderstorm gives us incredible visual symbolism of God’s majestic voice. This makes sense as baal was called the storm-god and was widely worshipped in Syria-Palestine. Of course this hymn would be a reminder of Who created that thunderstorm. God created nature and nature serves HIS purposes, and demonstrates HIS power, wisdom, glory and faithfulness.

Have you ever been near an ocean beach? Not just a bay that is part of the ocean but actually the place where no islands are in view and the water seems to go on for infinity. What I always notice is the waves. My hometown is nestled in the corner where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Juan Islands. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to go down to the water and while so very beautiful, there is just something about the powerful waves that wash ashore on the ocean beaches. Every time I am near one, I have to take it all in and be reminded of how symbolic they are to God’s sovereign power.

I love these words from Psalm 36:

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgements are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 36:5-7 ESV

The word ‘judgement’ is from the Hebrew mishpâṭ which literally means judgement and also includes its synonyms like justice or ordinance. How sovereign is our God? Like the great depths of the sea. And who knows how deep the sea actually is? No one actually knows. There are estimates to its depth at 36,200 feet but nothing is concrete.

So, when I stand at the edge of the ocean, I am reminded not only by God’s sovereign power in the waves but His justice that is deeper than the deepest part of the ocean.

In Psalm 29, we are given more imagery to the sovereignty of God through thunder, how it breaks the cedar trees, and how He sits over all things. I am so thankful for scripture that reminds me of how powerful and majestic our God is. When I make time to sit with these words of truth, I am small. I am weak. I am unworthy. But God… He is big. He is strong. And He “makes the deer give birth and strips the forest bare and in His temple, all cry ‘Glory!'”

May you rest in His sovereign power. No matter what stage of life you are in my dear sister – know His power and let His voice give strength and peace to you.

Through the Hymns: Blessed Assurance

I just love the hymns.

While I have nothing against a new worship song, there is something so rich and wonderful about a hymn. Oftentimes, the lyrics are straight from scripture and are filled with deep truth. I know some may find them “old-fashioned” but, as far as I’m concerned, the Bible will never be “old-fashioned” and neither will a hymn. To kick things off, I wanted to explore my most favorite hymn – Blessed Assurance.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21 ESV

Blessed Assurance was written in 1873 by Fanny Crosby, a hymn writer, who happened to be blind. There is no deep and tragic story that accompanies this hymn, as some do have, but this was a moment when Fanny was visiting her friend Phoebe Knapp. Phoebe played a melody on her piano and asked Fanny what she heard.

Fanny’s answer?

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.”

How beautiful are those words? So matter of fact, so simple and yet drenched in Biblical truth.

While I want to focus on what this hymn says, I thought it just as intriguing to learn more about Fanny. What I learned was a treasure trove of a woman who loved the Lord and for to live “is Christ, and to die is gain.” While she was still an infant, she was diagnosed as blind due to an illness that caused inflammation of her eyes. Doctors thought she may have already been born blind but nobody knows for sure. Her father passed away when she was just six months old and was raised by her mother and paternal grandmother. These two women would become integral in her spiritual growth and Christian faith. At the age of eight she wrote her first poem that described her sight condition.

It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”

Fanny Crosby

Through out Fanny’s growing up, she was surrounded by women who continually pointed her toward Jesus. By the age of 10, with the encouragement of her grandmother, she had memorized all four gospels, the Pentateuch, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms. She learned to play the piano, organ, harp, and guitar, and became a good soprano singer.

After college, Fanny joined a group of lobbyists in Washington D.C. to advocate support for the blind. She was the first woman to speak in the U.S. Senate when she read a poem. While still advocating for the blind, she became an instructor at the New York Institute for the Blind. While there, she befriended future president Grover Cleveland who would dictate some of her poems.

Throughout her Christian faith she was very active in her church as a missionary, deaconess, lay preacher and she wrote hymns with her minister Robert Lowry. From May to November of 1849, Fanny helped care the sick during the cholera epidemic in New York City. One person noted that Fanny seemed to become worn and languid and even depressed. According to Bernard Ruffin: “In this atmosphere of death and gloom, Fanny became increasingly introspective over her soul’s welfare. She began to realize that something was lacking in her spiritual life. She knew she had gotten wrapped up in social, political, and educational reform, and did not have a true love for God in her heart.”

Wow! As I write this, we are still in a pandemic. While my faith is as strong as ever, I can so relate to getting wrapped up on societal and political issues and lose site of that foundational faith. It is so easy to do!

So, Fanny did what many of us do, she searched for a church. She actually attended several and was a fellow traveler of the Wesleyan holiness movement where she met Phoebe Knapp who is the composer of Blessed Assurance.

There is so much more to Fanny’s story that I could just write about her but, as the title of this post indicates, this is about her hymn Blessed Assurance. Knowing about her though definitely helps set up the background for this hymn. When I sing a hymn or worship song, a goal of mine is to pay attention the words. It’s not just a melody. The words we sing should be truth, reflect scripture and honor the Lord. In many ways, we are singing a prayer to the Lord and I don’t want to just be frivolous with my words. I’m just going to go the one reference that is unwavering and filled with truth – the Bible. With each portion of the song, I will share scripture to support.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine; o what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:19-23 ESV

Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 7:9-12 ESV

Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
My adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
One thing I ask of the LORD, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.
For He is my shelter in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me under the cover of His tent;
He will lift me high upon a rock….
….I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Psalm 27:1-5 and 13-14 ESV

My Gift To You

Please enjoy this free printable. Simply save to your computer. It is designed to print as an 8×10.

Women in Ministry: Choosing Gospel over the Latest Trend

A couple of years ago, I took it upon myself to inspire other women in leadership roles within the church. As I look back to that time, there is so much I wish I would have known and come to terms with but every opportunity is a learning opportunity. It is a chance for God to correct, to teach and guide us on His path. I don’t regret my years in leadership. And I am revisiting this blog series with some fresh perspective and Biblical insight. Some of it you may not agree with but, I hope as we dive into scripture, you will be awakened to what I have learned this past year.

For as long as I can remember, leading and taking control has come easily for me. Some of my need for control has come from an unhealthy place but that is for another post. So, it has made sense that, over the years, I have held roles of leadership. From youth group president to school project leader to small group leader to ministry leader. If the role wasn’t assigned to me, I eventually slid into the role naturally. In my younger years, being in a leadership role came from that unhealthy place of needing control. I didn’t trust others to make the right decisions and I didn’t like the unknown. Again, details behind that will be saved for another day but, I find it important to make the distinction between leading in my younger years and leading in my later years to now.

My history of leading and realizing it could be a gift led me to be in a leadership role at a church I attended for many years. It was an exciting season as I was learning how faithful God is and how I can trust in His plan, His wiring of me, and His guidance. One phrase I repeated over and over was “God doesn’t call the qualified, He equips the called.” I came into the role of leading not because I had an education to go with it or a degree in theology but because it was clear that the Lord opened the door to serve in that capacity. Leading came naturally and it was exciting to be supported and encouraged to lead.

For about five years, I served as the Women’s Ministry Director at a church I once attended and while that may not seem like enough years of experience to shower you with wisdom, it was enough to be able to share what I’m about to.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Psalm 115:1 ESV

Only One God Deserves Praise.

As stated earlier, a mantra I embraced while being a ministry leader was “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”. In Exodus 4, we get to see this demonstrated in the conversation between Moses and God. Moses expresses his concerns and hesitation in giving the signs God is instructing him to do. Throughout the dialogue, God makes it clear to Moses that He will equip him, He will do the tasks for him and He will send help (Aaron).

God does the same for us. So, I began my role as the women’s ministry leader with this thought in mind. Because I certainly did not have the education or experience to be in this role. Had it been a paid position for which I needed to interview, I highly doubt I would have gotten in. Instead, it is an open door and a very God-timed situation. When I began leading, I had these grand visions of what the ministry could look like. Taking into consideration the conferences and Bible Studies I had attended at other churches, I had ideas and vision!

Over the five years, there were some amazing highs and some frustrating lows. It was amazing to see women embrace their faith and step out of a place of comfort and into a place of courage. I was constantly in awe of how God would put me in situations that I had never been before; situations that scared me but I knew, deep down, that God gave me a “helper” – the Holy Spirit, to do what He was calling me to do.

The lows were no fun! Are they ever? But, they are learning gold mines. The lows can be rich opportunities for the Lord to humble us and remind us Who is in charge and Who is in control. From relational drama to hardly anyone showing up to something I had prepared so hard for to women not connecting in a way I had dreamed about – the lows were very real. Leading a ministry can be a very lonely place too. As an extrovert, this was an extremely challenging component in that, oftentimes, I wondered if others assumed I was fine and was busy with my friends. In reality, I spent many nights alone or uninvited to gatherings and the like. Thankfully, I did have some wonderful close friends who were also leading ministries or in unique positions within the church that had them feeling similar things. It was life-giving to be able to relate to one another in our roles.

The real challenge came when March 2020 came around and everything shut down. Our church chose to remain closed and so we had to conduct any type of gathering online. This just doesn’t do it for me, at all, and I will save that for another post as well. I will pause for a moment and say that yes, I do believe the illness is real and everyone was uncertain and trying to make the best decisions that they knew to make. Everyone was scrambling and trying to be creative with ways to keep people connected. It was no different with women’s ministry. I don’t blame anyone for easily becoming disconnected. It’s so easy to do when there is no personal connection happening and I found it very easy to disengage as well.

My time leading women’s ministry ended in August 2020. One could blame the shutdown but, if I am going to be honest, the shutdown just provided the opportunity to make a decision that I knew had been coming for quite some time already. It was easy to avoid with all the distractions but, when you can’t go anywhere or do what you usually do, the distractions are gone and you are forced to face what God has been patiently waiting for you to reckon with. I had felt the burnout creeping in and I thought it was just God pulling me away from ministry because of His plan for me to return to school. That was a component but, after over a year out of the ministry, I have gained so much more clarity.

I shared earlier that when I began leading the ministry, I came with ideas and visions based on other conferences and studies I attended at other churches. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does become one when you get caught up in the fads and “cool” ways of doing things. The further away I have gotten from vocational ministry, the more I am seeing the big picture of what was happening. Instead of tapping into what God was wanting, and instead of getting into His word, I was more concerned with what the latest cool thing was for ministry. What were other churches doing? How were they decorating for events? What was “on trend”? I wanted to be current and relevant. There is a difference between mimicking and wanting to be like other ministries and using what other ministries do as a learning opportunity. Because it is Biblical to learn, to be mentored, to seek wise counsel, etc.

One of my mantras throughout leading was “we’ve got to move from a place of comfort to a place of courage!” Again, not a bad thing – at all. But what was I really after with that phrase? Yes, my prayer was for women to be engaged and not let fear hinder them from doing whatever God was leading them to do. But there was something else that I was fighting and it was the answer to these questions – “Where are all my women at like the other ministries and churches seem to have? Why don’t I have women running to serve with me or be engaged the way that I would like them to be?”

I was dancing in some dangerous waters here. Was I practicing what I so often preached? Who am I serving here and who am I aiming to please? It wasn’t God. My ministry measurement stick was comparing my ministry with other ones in the area, and beyond. As I read through these sentences, I’m not seeing God’s name very much. Most of the direction is towards me. And boy did He remind me so well Who deserves the glory, honor, and praise. It’s not Melissa.

The sad part of all this is that nobody knew I was struggling. My pride took over and, if you ask anyone, I’m sure they would not have had a clue this was a battle. While that battle was going on there was another one deep within me that I knew had to be between myself and the Lord. It took a ton of humility and repentance on my part and a whole lotta grace on His part. Through the breaking down of my pride, the Lord revealed it was time to let it go. Man, I’m so thankful for a God who is gracious and merciful to His children.

I could sit here and list a million regrets from all those years of leading a ministry. There was confession time with the Lord but I know that there were also some very sweet, amazing Holy Spirit-led moments. Women grew in their faith, relationships were formed, discipleship and community happened and women embraced courage over comfort and fear. That was all the Lord’s doing because this imperfect, prideful human woman couldn’t have done all that on her own.

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
He does all that He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.

Psalm 115:2-4 ESV

May all that I do be pleasing to the Lord.

Silver and gold are beautiful. But, as the Psalm goes on to say, these idols have all the body parts but not the functions of the God-created body parts. And when one becomes infatuated with the idols, they become like them. The event decorations, trendy music, and special effects, the latest worship or activity fad can be attractive. But if it is not honoring God, it might as well be dust.

I want to be more like Jesus.

Forget the fads and trendy activities.

Let’s focus on the Bible. Every single word of it and study it. Hunger for it. And not waver from the truth within it. We’ve been gifted with the Living Word of God and it is the only manual, inspiration, and directive we should be receiving from. I love the church I call home now. Every Sunday I sit with my Bible wide open and every Sunday I notice my hunger to learn and read becomes more intense. As I read, the more my focus is directed towards my Heavenly Father and away from myself. He is sovereign. I am not. It’s not to myself but to Him be all the glory and honor and praise forever and ever.


So, does this mean there shouldn’t be a women’s ministry with cute décor and fun activities? Absolutely not. But, instead of going to Pinterest and social media to gain ideas and see what the latest trends are, let’s go to the Bible for inspiration and dive deep into those holy, ancient words that are so very relevant and important for today.

Is God Enough?

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV

Have you ever strolled through the self help section of a bookstore? There are all kinds of books that claim to assist you with answering the question, “am I enough?” I browsed a popular bookstores website and typed “I am enough” into the search bar just to see what would pop up. A total of about 200 books came up that ranged in wanting to provide advice for single people to helping someone overcome the feeling of inadequacy. I started to count the number of books that had some version of You Are Enough as the title and lost track. Sprinkled into the mix were two or three books that eluded to God being enough. That was encouraging but… only two or three???

So, why so many books on this topic? What is it about the need to validate oneself as being enough? Why is there a yearning to hear these three words and where did it all begin?

I did a quick survey online and learned some things about the phrase “I Am Enough” and what it means to those who embrace it. While I will be writing in first person, this is not me saying these words but quoting what I learned from what others shared.

I am enough just as I am. By accepting that I’m good enough the way that I am then the need to spend my energy trying to be more than what I’m capable of is taken off my shoulders. It’s no longer a burden. I can now spend my time giving and receiving what I deserve.

I am enough means I am me and not someone else. So I don’t need to compare myself with others when it comes to getting a gauge on my self-worth or how I measure up against another woman’s life. It’s about who I am meant to be and not who I should be because of what someone else is doing or accomplishing.

I am enough means I’m in the right place for such a time as this. This is my time and place and that is enough. I don’t go by other people’s clock or what life status society tells me I should be at on their timeline.

While all of these reasons aren’t horrible, there is an underlying theme with each of these and that is the focus on which the reasons are placed: self. Do you notice the number of “I’s” and “me’s” and “my’s” scattered for each of these reasons?

In a world that is all about self-esteem and self-confidence, it makes sense that these statements are focused on self. But, is that where God wants our focus? Is there some place in scripture that tells us we are the truth, the life and the way? When we say “I am enough”, the focus is taken off of the Lord and placed on us. It says that by our own strength, talents, and design, we are good enough. There is nothing else we need.

Do you see why this is so very contrary to what the word of God says?

No, we are not enough. We were never created to be enough on our own. Instead of me telling you all this, let’s dig into the Word of God.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:4-5 ESV

“For apart from me you can do nothing.” This doesn’t mean nothing at all because for the unbeliever they can carry on with their ordinary activities and recite the mantra “I am enough” but these activities are apart from Christ and, therefore, have no eternal value.

This passage from John tells us that HE is the vine and we are the branches. Without His presence, nourishment, guidance, discipline and the source of everything we could possibly need. So, why do we want to say “I am enough” when, in fact, we are not and it is the best thing ever. Each day with Jesus is more than enough because HE is enough. In fact, He is much more than that and far surpasses all that we could ever ask or imagine.

So, let’s revisit the reasons above and see how they compare when we say JESUS is more than enough:

He is enough, just as HE is. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 You being able to carry a burden has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with HIM and His invitation to us.

He is enough which means I know Whose I am. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16 He knew us before we even knew ourselves. These verses are powerful in that they showcase just how sovereign and all knowing our God is. He knew us. He knows us. He will always know us because He created us and we belong to Him. Yes, we are unique and God has called us to different ministries of the church body but we are not our own. Or do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 While the context of these verses are about sexual immorality, the foundation of this truth that we are not our own is the cornerstone of this other truth – we are not enough.

He is enough because His timing is perfect. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 The context of this verse is in reference to the Lords’ returning. It is also a wonderful reminder of His perfect timing. From the moment when Esther entered the room to speak with the King to Saul being blinded and converted to Paul, each moment is with purpose and under God’s sovereign plan. It is true to say we do not go by other people’s clock. In fact, we do not even go by our own clock as a believer in Jesus because HIS timing is perfect. The other beautiful truth to go with this is He is patient with us. He wants all His children to come to Him and declare He is Lord over their lives. Isn’t that incredible?

At the beginning of this post I shared a couple of verses from 2 Peter 1. Let’s revisit those.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV

When we say GOD is enough, we are agreeing that through His divine power, He has accomplished something we never could – the means of salvation. He will continue to provide everything for the Christian in every thing pertaining to life. Through His promises, we as Christian women, will daily be transformed as we become more and more like Him. But, not in the way of supplying our own needs or being enough. No, we will constantly be in need of Him. We become more like Him in our morals and what we value as we let go of the world’s corruption and focus on God’s sovereignty.

God. Is. Enough.

The Great Cultivation | Part Two

It all began with a conversation in the green room at church.

At this point in time, I had been deeply involved with the church I had been attending since 1997. Over the years, I had chosen to give my life to Jesus, was baptized by immersion, interned with an amazing woman of God and continued to grow in my faith. Many friendships were formed and it was an incredible time as I was driven by purpose and believed God had defined that purpose for me.

I also came with the belief that if someone professed to be a believer and served at the same church I did, we all held the same Biblical views. It was never a question. My pastor had preached on topics that I appreciated and I just loved how our focus was outward. 

It’s important to know these things because on this beautiful Spring day in 2008, in the green room, my world would be rocked a bit. 

California had just legalized same-sex marriage and boy was it a hot topic. So far, conversations I had had with fellow God-fearing friends was mutual. We were both saddened, somewhat in shock and also not entirely surprised by the decision that was made in that state. While there are many sins, this one was popular on the quickly growing social media site that rhymes with bakefook. 

There was a very interesting emotional and mental convergence happening my mind – disbelief that society was normalizing homosexuality and also understanding that it shouldn’t be all too surprising as prophecy tells us that the world was going to get worse before Jesus came back.

So, when someone brought it up in the green room – which, by the way, is what we called the room the worship team used in between services – I was ready for a like minded and somber conversation. When the leader brought it up, I was bout to share my thoughts when someone else would say some words that would leave me tense. They were words in support of this topic and hoped that our state would soon follow. This was then followed by the leader, and several other team members, agreeing and stating how much they support their homosexual brothers and sisters with their choice.

Disappointment. Shock. Confusion. Three words that easily described my state of mind in that moment. Questions began to bubble up like – “How can they believe this is a good thing?” “Doesn’t the Bible say homosexuality is a sin?” “Maybe I read it wrong! Who can I go ask?” The following weeks and months would show me that these were not the only people in my church that felt this way. And it wasn’t just regular attenders – these were people who were leading, serving and had influence in others spiritual walks. I would spend hours in my Bible reading what it says about homosexuality. I would also be searching online to see what other Biblical scholars and churches said about it. What I found was more confusion because the churches that welcomed homosexuality had, what appeared to be, a decent argument according to scripture. However, this never settled well with me.

As the years went by, I found myself just sweeping this under the rug. After all, did it really matter? I believe it as a sin but, wasn’t sharing the gospel more important than arguing over what is sin and what isn’t? Oh how naive I was in my faith!

What happened in the green room would set me up for learning that just because someone professes to be a Christian, serves in a church or even pastors a church, that doesn’t mean they hold the Bible in the same light as I do. I didn’t know what to label this kind of thought towards scripture at the time but, I have learned since that this is a form of progressive christianity – one that embraces social norms and acceptance versus what the Holy Word of God says. 

Let’s be clear – the word of God does give direction on homosexuality being a sin. 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women are were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:26-27

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination…

Lamentations 18:22

I won’t get too deep into the theology of this topic as it would warrant an entire blogging series. The arguments to this understanding that homosexuality is included in the list of sin, is that some people are born homosexual and have no control over it. Others have justified the relationships being okay as long as they are in a committed relationship. The problem with these ideologies is that we are, in fact, all born sinners. We all have desires that are contrary to the Bible. However, that doesn’t mean we enable the behavior. Human nature is to sin and that is why Jesus died on the cross for us – to save us from God’s wrath because of our sinful nature. 

As I fast forward to 2021 and ponder the experiences I have had in previous churches – there is an urgent thought –

We cannot compromise what scripture says with what the world says.

It is so clear how the enemy has infiltrated our churches and Christian communities because of the deceit and lies that have spread throughout; causing confusion, misinterpretation and acceptance of sin. This is dangerous church! 

The year 2020 has certainly been a time of revealing and refinement in the church. There will come a day when we stand before God and give an account for our life on earth. What will yours be? What will the church’s be?  

The Great Cultivation | Part One

We are in a time when people have closed their ears, eyes and hearts to the truth of the Word of God. They would rather listen to “feel good” messages, read “self-care” books and teach on topics that do not offend. Fear and virtue signaling rules in the decision making when it comes to sharing the gospel. A darkness has slowly crept it’s way into many churches and we have allowed the enemy to have free reign. Instead of armoring up, running towards the Word of God and trusting His call to be light bearers, we have succumbed to tolerance and wishy washy Christianity. This approach has leaders seeing God through the lens of social justice and cultural norms, instead of through His Holy, historically accurate, Word – also known as the Bible. 

This is progressive Christianity and it is filled with evil. I also like to refer to it as “selective christianity” as, when the Bible is actually used, only certain parts of scripture are pulled to help support ideologies, opinions, etc. Scripture is taken out of context to support these ideals instead of ideals being formed by scripture. Of course, the enemy is convincing enough to have many think this is the gospel filled with love. “Selective christianity” is exactly as it applies – it means that leaders, learners and the like are selective of what parts of scripture they choose to focus on. The parts that don’t feel good, or could turn people away or offend are avoided. Because, heaven forbid we preach truth and risk people denying God.  

While we definitely do want to share the Good News, we also need to share all that scripture states and some of it is harsh, uncomfortable and, while I choose to disagree with this description, some may even say it’s offensive.. When we have shared truth, the Living Word, and the foundation of how to live life as written by God, we have done our part. Sometimes it’s not going to be “popular” or “cool” or “trendy”. We continue to go out into the world doing what Jesus commanded us to do through the Great Commission but, we do so with faith and assurance that, as we share TRUTH, He will do the rest. 

A watered down gospel only benefits the sharer. And, truthfully, the benefits are about as beneficial as a bubble floating through the air. It looks cool for a minute but it eventually pops. 

I spent several months wondering how in the world we got here. How is it that a church I was part of for years fell victim to this progressive christianity? Well, here is a thought for you – do you believe that the enemy can be so very convincing that one doesn’t even know they are falling into this trap until it is too late? I sure do. We see it all over scripture, including at the very beginning. Remember Eve? All the serpent had to do was twist some words around to have her questioning what God actually said to her. That’s all it took to have her take the first bite. 

We have what Eve didn’t have back then – the Bible. Although, let’s remember that while she didn’t have the Bible, she had a personal relationship with God that we don’t have – and she still fell into temptation. The Holy Bible does not contain any errors. It gives us truth, wisdom, direction and a glimpse into the mystery of our sovereign God. What an incredible gift He has given us! And, yet, even with the Bible in our hands, the enemy still attempts to twist things around. He takes things out of context and relates them to current societal norms and culture. 

Timothy warned us about what was coming… 2 Timothy 4:3 says For a time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. Sometimes hearing the truth is hard. It hurts. It forces us to give up habits we don’t want to give up. And so, many of us have made the decision to only pay attention to the things that don’t bring that discomfort. We want to believe in God, and that He sent Jesus to die for us and that His love covers all sin – which is very true – but it ends there. Because we don’t want to change our ideology, opinions, lifestyles, etc. 
Some of us want to stay in our bubble and ignore the reality of this world. We mask it by saying, “I just want to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust He has it all under control.” 

Let me pause for a moment – keeping our eyes on Jesus and trusting He has it all under control is a good thing. But when we use that as our reason to not be obedient to His beckoning us to speak truth when necessary, it becomes sin. There is a time for absolutely sit back and watch Jesus work and then there is a time when He is calling us to the front lines. Many will choose to say that this time is one where we be patient and these same many will mistakenly label the action of taking risks and speaking out as someone taking control of the situation and not “letting Jesus”. 

I am excited to continue in this topic of all God has been overturning and exposing in His church – His people, etc. There is so much to navigate through, learn, cultivate and grow. Scripture is rich with any insight we could ever want when it comes to God’s people, His church and the life we should be living for Him and Him alone.

Even When it Gets Uncomfortable

You will find many websites, books, and blogs, geared toward women, that will tell you how amazing you are, that you are enough and will fill you with affirmation after affirmation. This is great if you are self-seeking, inward thinking and driven by the influence of society. Following the latest and hippest influencer is exciting for many and makes one feel like they are part of the “in-crowd”.

But is that really what should be our focus?

Following Jesus can be a lonely place. Especially when the world is going another direction and we see other women following the popularity driven “christianity” (I hesitate calling it that) instead of historical Biblical Christianity. Morals and values become skewed because it doesn’t sound awful anymore. Sins seem not so sinful and become acceptable and to not accept the sin means you are filled with hate. Listen friend, love doesn’t always feel warm and fuzzy. Love can be painful but only for our betterment. Love isn’t always what we want to hear. Love is nails driven through flesh on a cross. Love can be risky.

Conversations, blog posts and motivational speaking events that end with a pretty bow on top and have pretty graphics or trendy aesthetics are not what will win people to Jesus. I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase, “all that glitters is not gold”. In fact, a lot of what looks so appealing is equivalent to fools gold. It would behoove us all, dear Christian women, to put on the armor of discernment in a world that is filled with manipulation and deceit.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8-11 (ESV)

What can you expect from this blog and my writing? My prayer is that, by Holy Spirit’s interceding, what is shared will be filled with grace, love and truth. I will not avoid the uncomfortable topics and I will not dance around what the truth. All glory will be given to God as I go head on with the tough and avoided topics while exposing His truth. Because, Christian woman, you are NOT enough… but HE is! Welcome to The Profound Brunette – pursuing God even when it gets uncomfortable.