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Appalled!

Appalling: Adjective – awful or terrible.  Synonyms — frightful, disgraceful, lamentable, hopeless, shocking, outrageous …

 

The other day I happened to catch a showing of a new “reality” television show.  I continued to watch in increasing horror the idea of a new show, called, “The Sex Box.”  From the clip I saw on Entertainment Tonight, the show has a panel of sex experts.  Couples come to the sex experts, and openly talk about their private lives and answer questions.  The therapists then introduce them to the “box.”  It’s is a “room” on the stage, which supposedly is sound proof,  has no camera access, and is filled with anything needed to help a couple.  The couple then goes into the box, and has sex!  And, there is an audience!

I watched in disbelief!  The show is promoted to help couples with their sex lives.  The disturbing thing is, that the bedroom should be reserved and private.  In seeking help, couples should seek a Christian counselor who practices and models discreetness and Biblical principles.  I found it hard to believe that couples just sit in an audience and want to hear of other couples experiences and troubles!  Then, what in the world do they do while the couple spends whatever time wanted in the other room?  They might not be able to see the couple, or hear them — but they are there, waiting to hear how it went, imagining what is happening.  This saddens me greatly!

Just today I picked up a little booklet entitled Cultivating a Pure Heart: Becoming a Woman of Discretion in a Sensual World by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have read it before, and tucked it away.  But I opened it again, and again I pray that I learn to become a Godly woman.  I recently read another book called, The Feminist Mistake by Mary Kassian.  It’s heavy, but an excellent insight into how the feminism movement of the 60’s is impacting us today.  Oh ladies, may you and I go before God and plead with Him to show us femininity according to His Word! I encourage both of these books.  But listen to what Nancy writes in her booklet, and see how it shows what is wrong about a show such as “The Sex Box.”

“… it is so important to guard our steps and our choices in the ‘little things.’ The places we go, the books and magazines we read, the music we listen to, the entertainment we watch — these things either fuel our flesh or they nurture our spirit.”

“We need to tech young women that there are things you don’t talk about in mixed company.  Indeed, there are personal matters between husbands and wives that should not be discussed even with other women.”

Perhaps you are like me, a little naive with the happenings on TV or in the world of Hollywood.  Regardless, when we learn of shows or thinking that directly go against Biblical ways, we need to be cautious and even appalled.  We need to become women who know the whole counsel of the whole Bible… not just for ourselves but for the sake of the next generation of women.  We impact the next generation in ways we don’t even know!

Oh, may we be women of Godliness!  I copy a part of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s prayer at the end of her book: “Raise up in our day a new breed of women — holy women, women who trust in You; wise women…”

Press on sisters, and let’s continue to be appalled at the things of this world that should appall us greatly!

 

Poor Representation

I’m sick of watching something that portrays men and women poorly.  Let me explain.  I turn on the tv, flip to the latest sitcoms or popular shows, and watch for a while.  Within a sitcom I might find the men to be lazy, mediocre, having poor work ethics, disinterested in anything other than sports or sex, and they are often crude.  However, the women are likely beautiful, capable, strong, carrying the workload, and extremely controlling. But maybe the portrayal that bothers me the most is the very attractive woman who carries a gun, is strong and tough, or punches and kicks down a villain as well as (or better than) the male co-actors.

Further, the other month I happened to catch a showing of a popular television show geared towards teenage girls.  I mentally made a list of the traits these teenage girls portrayed: lying, aggressive, angry, bitter, jealous, deceptive, seductive, secretive, manipulative, flirtatious, impeccably (although immodestly) dressed, popular, catty, and did I mention gorgeous? Is that the profile you’d like?  How about for your future daughter or daughter in law?  Because that’s what’s being sold through media today. And I’m sick of it.

I wasn’t one of those girls. Compared to the 14-year-old girls in this popular show I was boring, poorly dressed, uninteresting, naive, and supremely not cool.  Sigh.  Of course there were really pretty girls in high school, and I’m sure there were groups of girls who acted in the ways described above.  But looking back, I think I was much better off.  God calls us to put off the ways of the world.  God wants a woman’s inner beauty to radiate from within … it’s only then that an attractive outfit or face are truly complete! And don’t get me wrong, I love to dress up and put on makeup!

Oh, and by the way, I’m not all against women heroines.  I do enjoy an occasional episode of Wonder Woman. She is the main star of the show, and she is the one who most often catches the bad guy.  She does kick, fight, and throw a pretty good lasso.  I admit. She also is a fictional, immortal super- heroine.  Yes, she does have powers.  I agree.  She does wear a little bathing suit type outfit.  All true.  The show, therefore, does include some feminist aspects.  I will agree.  However, the show as a whole, has not robbed her of femininity, grace, or womanliness.

I recently read The Feminist Mystique Mistake by Mary Kassian. It is an excellent, although a little heavy, read.  She discusses the waves of feminism that have rolled into our society since the early 1960’s. She quoted an interviewer who interviewed young women; women who did not grow up in the 60’s and 70’s, but rather in the following generations.   “The women had neither adopted nor rejected feminism.  Rather, it had seeped into their minds like intravenous saline into the arm of an unconscious patient.  They were feminists without knowing it.” (p. 279, The Feminist Mistake).

Perhaps this generation of women, portrayed by popular shows, are so seeped into the concept of feminism that we have forgotten what femininity really is. However, I’m glad to say that God is working to conform me to His image that I might properly represent femininity.  I rarely to never watch tv.  Magazines are another thing I try to stay away from.  I’m afraid my self image can’t handle the rejection!  Just kidding — actually, when I look to the Bible and find that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting (Prov. 31:30), or that inner beauty is of great worth to God (1 Peter 3:4), I know that media and the world’s representation of girls and women sadden the heart of God. It especially grieves His heart because some ladies believe that these women are what they want to be. Oh, let us not conform to the world, but may we be gracious, loving, Spirit-filled woman who radiate a beauty that the watching world can not help but notice! Press on, dear sisters, to be the women God has made you to be!

Prude Saint

A couple of years ago I went on a date with a guy, and after talking for a few minutes he exclaimed, “My you are pure aren’t you!” (I didn’t drink, smoke, and had never had sex.)  There was a mixture of delight (you know… sweet girl next door ideology), as well as annoyance in his voice.  I certainly wouldn’t be doing most of what he did, or letting him do what he wanted that night!  Likely from that moment he knew this was the first and last date!  I certainly knew it!

And again, shortly after that, I was telling a girlfriend about my life, beliefs, and walk with Christ up to this point.  We talked quite a bit.  I learned that she’d had several sexual partners before coming to Christ.  She looked at me in shock at one point in the conversation and said, “Wait a minute!  You’re telling me you’ve never had it!  You’re how old?!”  After a few seconds of complete amazement she reiterated, “I don’t think I’ve ever met any virgins as old as you.  I wish I would have that testimony!” (Side note:  I was in my mid-twenties and I didn’t like feeling old or inexperienced! I didn’t like the whisper of satan, the subtle voice saying, “See everyone else is doing it Mary Ann… no big deal.”  However, the admission of this girl that if she could do it over again, and do it my way, made me realize again the truth that the ways of God bring far greater reward than the ways of the world.  Take that satan!)

So it seems I come off as either a prude or a saint.  I’d like to state right out front that I also sometimes find myself placing myself into one of these two categories.  Yet, for the record, I am neither.  Oh I know God’s Word describes believers as saints.  I’m not disputing that.  Rather, I am saying that when it comes to what I do or don’t do, I can be labeled by those around me or even myself.

It fuels my determination to live a holy life when I’m admired.  It burns my desire to live for God when I’m ridiculed. And the truth is, in this world there will be both on a regular basis if you chose to stand for God, regardless of the issue at stake.  This is why one must make a firm decision in their minds, and choose for this day whom they will serve.  I have decided to serve God, to follow after Him, to be an abnormal girl in a world saturated with sex. It is hard sometimes. Yet the reward of God’s way is great.  I choose to believe that God’s standard is right, and I want His blessings in marriage.

Oh ladies, as we are labeled and defined by others, let’s not let them deter us from a Godly standard for living.  His path to holiness is narrow, sometimes not as “fun” as our worldly friend’s ways, and oftentimes feels prudish.  However, walking an upright life draws us closer into God’s righteous kingdom, and that is right where we need to be to live in freedom, purity, and joy!

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law  and obey it with all my heart. Psalm 119:33-34

Sugar and spice and everything nice!

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.

Do you know this little poem?  It’s cute and catchy, and written long ago.  If you spend any time around children it is abundantly clear that little boys and little girls are intrinsically different.  They play different, they act different, they look different!  I’m a huge fan of the differences between men and women!  What a creative God we have!  I love being a woman and delight that God made me a woman.  But I love the difference in men and admire qualities that God gave them. I believe the words, “male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1). Amen!
However our children are in danger.  Why?  Because just as families and marriages are under attack, so is masculinity and femininity. Satan is subtly and brutally pushing the lie that gender doesn’t matter.  In essence, he whispers into hearts, “did God really say that men and women were created different?”  Our children are reaping the seeds of dissatisfaction and lies.  It saddens me actually.  How does a little girl or little boy learn to feel that they would be better as the opposite sex?  If you need proof, read this news article published this last May: http://newsone.com/2502449/children-gender-change/   — It’s disturbing to me.
Yet this is the society our children are growing into.  The other month I was catching up with a friend whom I haven’t seen in almost 8 years.  We had decided on a picnic, in order to fully enjoy the perfect weather outside, and happily sat talking on a blanket by the lake. There was a couple a few feet ahead of us.  They turned around and interacted with us briefly.  They were obviously a couple.  They held hands, kissed, flirted in the water, sat close together, and talked.  My friend and I shared a blanked, sat on opposite sides, and talked normally about life and what had happened since college.  This couple ahead of us turned around and talked to us again, idle chit-chat about a dog.  Then, out of the blue, the lady questioned, “are you two married?”  I stared.  My friend laughed and said, “oh no, we’re both very single!”  I was honestly shocked.
What?  They asked if we were a couple?  All we were doing was innocently enjoying the gift of friendship, in a public place.  There was no inappropriate conversation, touch, looks.  Nothing about us suggested that we were together.  I’ve walked down the street and seen couples holding hands (both heterosexual and homosexual) – this gives instance to reason that the couple is together.  Talking and sitting next to someone (regardless of sex) does not determine the relationship they have.
Oh, but it makes my heart sad!  While I believe that God loves all people and longs to call each to Himself,  I believe that as Christians it is not judging, but rather truth speaking, to say that this lifestyle is not what the Bible clearly states as the natural created order by Him, and in God’s mind it is a sin.  Is it any more of a sin than some of our hidden sins? (Pride, greed, or lust for example.)  I don’t think so.  But I agree with Kay Arthur who states that if our Designer tells us that it is wrong, then it can’t be genetic (He created our genes!) Think of all the problems that arise from boys and girls changing their gender.  Think of the future of sexuality – how do you explain two daddies, or explain why you can’t have children to your spouse?
Oh the very precious difference between little boys and little girls!  I’ve begun to pray for my sweet little niece, who I love so much.  This is the society she’ll come of age in, this is the society  in which she’ll have to make choices regarding her own beliefs.  I’m already praying for her.  What am I praying?  I’m not exactly sure.  But mostly that she’d come to love God and know Him, to know the Bible as true and trustworthy, to trust that when God says He created males and females there is truth in that.  I pray she knows always that she was created by God in her mother’s womb, that she’d know the love of God who knows the number of hairs on her head, as well as the number of days she’ll live. I pray she grows into a woman who loves God with all her heart.  And, I pray that she’d take a stand for femininity.  I pray she loves all those different than her with God’s unique love.  But oh how I pray she knows how precious she is, created as a little girl.  She delights me.   Just this morning I wondered why I am praying already, and on the radio was a little clip about a teacher who was reprimanded for saying “good boy” and “good girl” to two of her kindergarten students, because they didn’t understand the choice of gender yet. 
Oh God – look down with mercy on this world, yet may those of us who know You stand firmly on Your Word!  Give us love for all people, and a heart to see them come to know you fully.  Lord, I thank you for little girls, and little boys.  I thank you that in Your wisdom you made us male and female.  Oh God, protect us from satan’s lies.  Help our government to make wise decisions, and above all give us all repentant hearts to see where each of us falls short of you.  Give our church leaders wisdom and insight in dealing with this. Give Christian mothers and fathers backbone to stand against the tide and teach their children your truths, despite criticism and angry friends.  And God, give women who love you the encouragement needed to model healthy femininity and sexuality to a watching, needy world.

Heidi Montag and Twisted Theology

I have to admit that I really do not follow celebrities.  I am beyond unaware of pop culture, and actresses and their lives do not capture my attention – for the most part.  However, like most of you I do catch the occasional gossip through tabloids, bulletin boards, friends conversations, and the like.  Normally I tune these things out and get on with my life.

However, a couple years ago, while working at the hospital, I picked up a tabloid magazine, and read the cover story inside. It was titled: Heidi Montag Obsessed with Being Perfect.  “We all want to feel attractive, so who is anyone to judge me?” Heidi was quoted as saying.  Interesting article.  For those of you like me, who don’t follow these magazines, don’t watch gossip television, or who just are not aware, let me fill you in on this young woman’s story.

Heidi Montag is a 20-something celebrity.  When she was 23 she had plastic surgery from head to toe with at least ten things being done to her.  This was her second bout with cosmetic surgery, as she’d already had breast implants and a nose job in earlier surgeries.

I know, I know.  A lot of celebrities have cosmetic surgery or procedures.  Why is this one unique?  Well, it happens to be one story I actually read, but I’m sure she is not alone among celebrities.   For starters, I’m saddened as she is a 23 year old.  Have you looked around?  Those in their teens and twenties are typically in the prime of life physically.  She stated she wanted to feel perfect and confident.  Her insecurities run deep. She stated in the article interview, “I’m competing against the Britney Spears of this world…it was her sex appeal that sold.  Obviously, looks matter; its’ a superficial industry.” Later she noted, “Sex appeal is really important and it’s not saying that you’re only sexy if you have big boobs.  That’s not true at all, and honestly [when I got my husband,] I’d had no surgery.  It was my inner beauty that he loved.”

But what got me the most, and caused the idea for this posting, came from her response to the interviewer asking, “Your faith is very important to you.  Did you struggle at all with changing what God gave you?”  To which she replied, “I prayed about it for a long time and said, ‘God if it’s wrong, then I won’t do it.’  But I never got that feeling.  My body is just a shell;  God doesn’t care.  It’s what’s inside that God cares about.”

Twisted theology mixed with Satan’s lies.  Let me explore this with you a little bit.  This shows perfectly how the whole counsel of the Bible must be taken together, and that verses can’t be taken out of context.  You see, Heidi is right to an extent.  Yet the subtlety of the lies she’s believing are also just as dangerous to you and I.

God does indeed say that man looks at outward appearance and He looks inward, that the heart matters more to Him than physical appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).  But in context, this is saying that those we think should be chosen of God due to looks are not necessarily who God chooses to do His work.  God also does say that inner beauty is pleasing to Him (1 Peter 3:4).  Thus, it seems Heidi Montag might be correct on first glance. However, in context again, this verse demonstrates that purely physical beauty is not what God is after.  Beautiful women abound, but those who are just physically stunning are lacking a component of true beauty.  Remember the verse, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion” (Proverbs 11:22)?  Again, go back to the Bible yourself and check what I’m saying against it.  Do you think my opinion lines up with God’s truth?  If not, it is only my opinion.  Beauty is a gift from the Creator of Beauty.  Women are beautiful to men.  Those are facts. However, I think the subtle lie that is coming through is that it is ok to act like the world in regard to beauty and sexuality.

Like gold in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.  According to the dictionary this word discretion means, “The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.” Do the quotes I’ve mentioned suggest discretion?   The image of gold in a pig’s nose in my mind is a ridiculous image.  Who would do such a thing? However, it seems that our society abounds in a lack of discretion.  The lies I see in this article are that we can have it all, that beauty we buy at a price (her surgeries could have cost upward of $30,000) is not wrong, that flaunting our sexuality (lack of modesty in both speech and dress) is acceptable behavior for Christians, and that God doesn’t care what we do with our bodies. These all reflect a religious mindset rather than a relationship with Christ.

Read the whole Bible, and you’ll see that God cares about the heart immensely.  Yet Luke 6:45 suggests that what comes out of our mouths (and I would include how we live our lives) stems from what is in the heart.  Let me suggest, dear sisters, that if our hearts are focused on loving God with everything within us, obeying His commands, desiring purity and modestly, and surrendering everything including finances and selfishness, then our bodies will display God’s glory in both beauty and discretion!

I’m not saying spending any money on beauty is wrong.  I like to dye my hair, and buy a flattering shirt, or a fun accessory.  Also, I too am working through my own insecurities related to physical beauty. However, Satan is the master of disguise and lies.  In him is no truth, because he is a liar (John 8:44).  I happen to think that Heidi Montag may not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ;  a relationship that puts everything into perspective, not just the idea that God doesn’t care what we do to our bodies.  Because if a child of God surrenders their very life to God, then God does actually care what we do to our bodies, as we are told to offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).  A final question which helps me to identify idols that are subtle (beauty for instance) comes from Leslie Ludy.  She asks about whatever something is, can you imagine giving it up or living without?  If not, you might have an idol in your life.

Heidi Montag stated, “I’m already planning my next surgery. […] As you get older, there are so many different treatments…Let’s just say there’s a lot of maintenance.  Nobody ages perfectly, so I plan to keep using surgery to make me as perfect as I can be.”  Idol?  Maybe?

Hmm.  Oh subtle deceiving lies of Satan!  If we want to live as daughters of the King in this world, we must saturate ourselves with God’s truths, so that we can discern the lies around us!  (The article I’m quoting from is found in People Magazine, January 25, 2010.  Vol. 73 No. 3)