Archive | September, 2013

Eating, Body Image, and the Gospel|Find Your True Beauty in Christ

27 Sep

scale

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” –2 Corinthians 5:17

According to Womenshealth, more than 60% of American women are overweight. The publication further estimates as many as 10 million women nationwide suffer from some type of eating disorder. A positive body image can be difficult to cultivate when the prevailing world view, particularly in the United States and other Western cultures, emphasizes an impossible to achieve ideal. Photo shop, air brushing, celebrity weight gain and loss and of course the ridiculous measurements of Barbie all perpetuate a love hate obsession with food. Never mind that Barbie, were she a flesh and blood female,  “…would be 5’9″ tall, have a 39″ bust, an 18″ waist, 33” hips and a size 3 shoe; she’d weigh about 110 pounds with a BMI of 16.24 which is considered underweight/anorexic (CBS). Many women have developed a love/hate relationship with food accompanied by feelings of guilt and shame. To compensate they attempt to gain mastery over their sustenance, exercise, and ultimately physicality itself by becoming more regimented. This continued struggle impedes the ability to die to self occluding the reflection of Christ. Adjusting focus from what is seen in the mirror or the number on a scale and fixing eyes on Jesus is the first step towards a Biblical body image rooted in the joy of the cross. 

Eating, Body Image, and the Gospel

Two months into my freshmen year of college, I was forced to admit something had gone terribly wrong with the way I related to food. I’d gained 30 pounds in that short time, double the stereotypical “Freshman 15” some students gain over the course of an entire school year. Deep down I knew my weight gain wasn’t only the result of unhealthy cafeteria food or insufficient exercise. I was eating constantly and compulsively for reasons I didn’t understand—and I couldn’t stop. I felt completely condemned and paralyzed with embarrassment, which I knew wasn’t helpful or biblical, but I had no idea how to think otherwise. I was stuck.

Read on: Eating, Body Image, and the Gospel – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

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Super Woman Is Not God’s Goal for You |How The Pursuit of Omni-competence Obscures God’s Grace

25 Sep

superwoman2

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” –2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Why is it so difficult to acknowledge our own weakness? God’s grace is so powerfully magnified when our strength is diminished. Feigning perfection obscures God’s grace; the grace we need to fully die to ourselves and live for Him. From “The Pressure to Pretend” in Christianity Today Courtney Reissig writes, “…we have to be okay with not getting to everything our to-do lists because Christians know that only God has a perfect record when it comes to “having it all” and “doing it all. As Christian women, let us remember that our strength to have anything of value comes not from our own capacity, but from the strength that only God can supply.” That is such an important concept for us to hold onto especially when our attentions wander and we narrowly focus on trying to live up to some perceived ideal or try to become more like a fictional woman in the media, Martha Stewart, or someone we know who seems to have achieved that mythical super hero woman status. We have to learn to carry the load that we are able and recognize that everyone possesses different strengths and we have to have to willing to acknowledge that it is impossible to be perfect. Turn to Him for strength and do all things for His glory.

Super Woman Is Not God’s Goal for You

by Hannah Lannigan.

Do you find yourself striving to be perfect? A June Cleaver, your favorite Christian speaker, and Martha Stewart all rolled into one? Maybe you’re OCD (or, in alphabetical order, CDO). Or maybe you simply desire to be a “well-rounded person.”

But have you paused to ask yourself Why? Why are you OCD? Why are you a perfectionist? Why do you want to be a well-rounded person?

Personally, I wanted to be the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect woman because I wanted everyone to like me and no one to be able to find fault with me.

But I discovered…

  • that perfect woman doesn’t exist!
  • that’s not God”s goal for me. His goal is not that I become this self-made perfect woman in whom no one can find fault and has no need for grace. His goal is that I become like Jesus—and not everyone thought well of Jesus . . .

Ultimately, I was trying to create glory for myself by:

  • having a perfectly clean house (ha!)
  • raising a perfectly behaved son (No temper tantrums in the grocery store for my son. Yeah, right.)
  • being “Super Woman” (I thought I would prove myself on par or superior to my peers by making dinner from scratch every night, discipling students from my church, and creating my own “Martha Stewart” projects.)

But what is worse is that I was trying to steal God’s place and erase His picture of grace in my life. Because with the perfect image of self as my god, there was no room for grace. My definition of failure equaled “not perfect.” So literally, the mantra of failure, failure, failure rather than grace, grace, grace washed over my heart daily.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, I encourage you to join me at the cross and make this prayer your own:

Father, thank You that You are a God of grace. I’m sorry for stealing Your glory and trying to erase my need for Your grace. I repent. I want to walk with You and become like Jesus—even if that means not everyone approves of me or understands me. Please help me accept Your grace with worship and gratitude. And help me accurately display Your glorious grace each moment of the day to those around me. Help me to hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection.

From:True Woman | Super Woman Is Not God’s Goal for You.

 

Give Me a Quiet Mind and A Gentle Spirit

19 Sep

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” –1 Peter 3:3-4

“Some people mistakenly think that a gentle and quiet spirit is displayed when a woman never speaks. This has concerned some of the outgoing personalities because they don’t know how to be a silent lump. This is merely looking at externals. Certainly sometimes a quiet spirit will be exhibited by silence, but not always. And a quiet person can be all worked up on the inside. This is missing the point. A heart that is resting in the faithfulness of God is gentle and quiet; it is not stirred up with worry and anxiety. This gentle and quiet spirit is a calm, peaceful spirit. It is a tame spirit, a gentled spirit. I have often compared this kind of spirit to a glassy lake, not turbulent or troubled, but hardly showing a ripple. In contrast, the anxious spirit is like a stormy sea with whitecaps whipping along the shore. This of course brings to mind our Lord calming the troubled Sea of Galilee. Likewise, He can calm our troubled spirits when we look to Him.” –Nancy Wilson

Spend time in the Word and get to know and love the Lord. Trust in Him and let the inner beauty of your heart shine.

GIVE ME A QUIET MIND

When winds are blowing, waves are rising, falling
And all the air is full of dust and spray;
When voices, like to sea birds’ plaintive calling,
Confuse my day;

Then, then I know Thee, Lord of highest heaven
In newborn need discover Thee, and find
Nought can discomfort him to whom is given
A quiet mind.

When hopes have failed, and heavy sadness crusheth,
And doubt and fear would weave their deadly spell,
Then thought of Thee my troubled spirit husheth;
And all is well.

In midnight hours when weariness ignoreth
Heaven’s starry host, and battle wounds are mine,
Then Thy right hand uplifteth and outpoureth
Love’s oil and wine.

O Blessed Lord, beyond the moment’s sorrow
I see above, beaneath, before, behind–
Eternal Love. Give me today, tomorrow,
A quiet mind.

(From the collected poems of Amy Carmichael)

Adapted From: Give Me a Quiet Mind : Girls Gone Wise.

The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood| Do Not Shy Away from Theology

17 Sep

dusty-bible-600x345“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” –Matthew 7: 24-27

“Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them” –Psalm 111:2

Immerse yourself in His Word that you may know Him and build not upon the shifting unpredictable sand but on the rock solid granite foundation of truth. The more you learn about Him the more you will love Him and know why you believe what you believe. The more you learn the more solid your theology becomes and standing unshakably in His truth takes on a new meaning. The more you discover about His character the more you understand why He allows trials, suffering, discouragement, and temptation. The more you read the more you grasp His sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The more you grasp the better you understand how to glorify God. Sit at the feet of your redeemer Jesus Christ; dive into the meat of the Bible and glean sustenance, joy, meaning, understanding, gratitude, and a love so deep it is immeasurable. 

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women.

I don’t like wimpy women. I didn’t marry one. With Noel, I’m trying to raise Talitha, who turns 13 on Saturday, not to be one. The opposite of a wimpy woman is not a brash, pushy, loud, controlling, sassy, uppity, arrogant Amazon.

Marie Durant

The opposite of a wimpy woman is 14-year-old Marie Durant when in the 17th century in France was arrested for being a Protestant, put in prison, and told, “You may get out for one phrase: I abjure.” She wrote on the wall of her cell, “I resist,” and stayed there 38 years until she was dead doing just that (Karl Olsson, Passion, [New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963], 116-117). That’s the opposite of a wimpy woman.

Gladys and Esther Staines

Another opposite of a wimpy woman is Gladys Staines. In 1999, remember the story? After serving for three decades with her husband Graham in India, to the lepers, heard one day that her husband Graham and little Phillip (10) and Timothy (6) had been set on fire, burned alive in the back of their car. She said to the newspapers, “I have only one message for the people of India. I am not bitter, neither am I angry. Let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”

The opposite of a wimpy woman is her daughter, well named, Esther. When asked by the reporters, “How do you feel about your father’s murder?” She said (she was 13), “I praise the Lord that He found my father worthy to die for Him.”

Krista and Vicki

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Krista and Vicki who together, in my church, have had 65 surgeries for so-called birth defects from Apert Syndrome and Hypertelorism. They write, “I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know them right well (Psalm 139:14).” Krista says, “Even though my life has been difficult, I know that God loves me and created me just the way I am. He has taught me to persevere and trust Him more than anything.”

Joni Eareckson Tada

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Joni Eareckson Tada, who would give her right arm to be with you. After forty-one years in the wheelchair she prays, “Oh thank You, thank You for this wheelchair. By tasting Hell in this life, I have been driven to think seriously about what faces me in the next. This paralysis is my greatest mercy.” (Christianity Today, January, 2004, 50)..

Suzie

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Suzie. Four years ago her husband (59) was taken, then a month later she found she had breast cancer, and then her mom died, and then a miracle happened. She wrote to me, “Now I see that I have been crying for the wrong kind of help. I now see that my worse suffering is my sin-my sin of self-centeredness and self-pity. I know that with His grace, His lovingkindness, and His merciful help, my thoughts can be reformed and my life conformed to be more like His Son.”

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women. That’s my assumption as I begin this message.

Wimpy theology does not give a woman a god big enough, strong enough, wise enough, good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that enables her to magnify Him and His Son all the time. He’s not big enough.

Wimpy theology is plagued by woman-centeredness, or as we usually call it, man-centeredness.

Wimpy theology doesn’t have a granite foundation of God’s sovereignty underneath. It doesn’t have the steel structure of a great God-centered purpose for all of human existence, including the worst of it.

Excerpted from: True Woman | Pastor John Piper.

Secret Sisters

11 Sep

secretSecret Sisters Kickoff Sunday September 22, 2:30 PM at Laura Brislawn’s house.

Secret Sisters offers the opportunity for women to come alongside each other; supporting and encouraging one another through prayer and with small gifts, notes, and cards. Becoming a secret prayer partner and silent encourager enables you to learn more about your Sister and her needs while at the same time, someone is praying for, encouraging, and learning more about you.

Lots of fun social events provide fellowship and the chance to get to know women in your church family.

Questions?? Contact Laura Brislawn or Cindy Bobo or stop by the women’s ministries cart on Sunday for more information.

Superwoman to Kingdom Woman|Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word

10 Sep

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness”

–Colossians 2:6-7

 super

This world we live in emphasizes some unattainable standard that moms should aspire to achieve in order to earn their superwoman cape. It is an ideal comprised of distractions designed to keep women rooted in the world rather than in Christ.

Refocus on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy…” (Philippians 4:8) instead of the world’s yardstick. Clothe yourself with Jesus (Romans 13:14and immerse yourself in the Word.

The following article provides realistic suggestions for busy women (not only moms) desiring to spend time with the Lord.

Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word

by Courtney Joseph

Fall is almost here, and for most moms this is the beginning of the busiest season of the year. Back-to-school to-do lists lead right into Thanksgiving and Christmas to-do lists, and we will not find rest again until January 2nd. And while God’s word sits on our shelves waiting for us to get a slow moment, the world bids us to keep busy. Get those kids signed up for soccer, piano, gymnastics, basketball, football, and the list keeps going. You just name it, everybody else is doing it.

The world tells us to get our calendars full and stay on the move. If you don’t, your kids might miss out, or they won’t be cool, or they won’t learn important life lessons, or they won’t be socialized, or they won’t, won’t, won’t. “Get busy and keep busy” is how the unspoken mantra goes.

The world says this chaotic running around is what the good moms do.

But the truth is that we need slow moments.

It’s in the slow moments that God speaks to us through his word and we speak to him in prayer. This is when we step away from all the busyness in order to fellowship with our heavenly Father. This is when we come to his word for the precious purpose of drinking from the living well — Jesus Christ.

Here is a simple guide for busy moms who want to build more of these slow moments into their everyday — moments to stop and drink deeply from the living well.

1. Choose one passage of Scripture for the week. My favorite passages for meditating on come from Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Epistles.

2. Write the passage on a note card, and slip it in your pocket or beside your computer. Pull it out periodically, and read over it. Keep it in your purse all week long, and pull it out at convenient times and read through it.

3. Read the passage first thing in the morning. Read the passage as soon as you get out of bed, so it’s the first thing on your mind that morning.

4. Open your Bible to that passage, and place it on the kitchen counter. All day long, when you walk through the kitchen, pause, read the passage, and then move on.

5. Read the passage out loud. Read it to yourself, and read it to your children during mealtime and at bedtime.

6. Reread the passage before you go to bed at night. Bookend your days with the reading of this passage of Scripture.

7. Write the passage at the top of your to-do list. This way, every time you look over your to-do list, you can review the Scripture passage.

via Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word – Desiring God.

Everything Family|For All Seasons of Life

5 Sep

Everything_FamilyStarting Sunday September 8 TACC will be focusing on all things related to family life. From dating to marriage, parenting to grandparenting, each season of life has its own unique challenges and benefits. Here at TACC we want to come along side one another as the family of God to help each other in the various stages of family life and seek biblical teaching to guide us.

Join TACC Sundays for 

10:30 AM Sermon Topics

  • 9/8 Manhood
  • 9/15 Womanhood
  • 9/22 Dating
  • 9/29 Marriage
  • 10/6 Parenting
  • 10/13 Singleness
  • 10/20 Divorce
  • 10/27 Homosexuality

6:00 PM Seminars*

  • 9/8 Tips for Parenting Preschoolers
  • 9/15 Honor and Respect
  • 9/22 Safe House: How to Respond to Emergency Situations in the Home
  • 9/29 Discipline
  • 10/6 Lying, Cheating, Biting, and Stealing
  • 10/13 Siblings
  • 10/20 Parenting Teenagers

*Childcare will be provided during all seminars

+Additional seminars will be held at Children’s House 9/10, 10/1, 10/8, and 10/22 for families unable to attend Sundays

For more information click here to access TACC website

 

Will You Be a Believer Tomorrow Morning?

3 Sep

Perseverance“in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” –Proverbs 3:6

 “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” –Jude 1:20-21

 Endure in faith–wholly dependent on God, trusting in Him, standing in His power and grace, walking with Him, immersed in His word, sustained by Christ.

“Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen” –Oswald Chambers

by John Piper | August 20, 2013

Christian, how do you know you will still be a believer when you wake up in the morning? And every morning till you meet Jesus?

The biblical answer is: God will see to it.

Are you okay with that? Does this make you uneasy, admitting it depends decisively on God? I hope it is your joy and song. It really does have huge implications to believe this. Let God’s word shape your mind on it.

For the remainder of this article: Will You Be a Believer Tomorrow Morning? – Desiring God.

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