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Purity is way more than abstinence.

Hey friends!

Today I’m going to be tackling the topic of purity. It’s a topic that holds a lot of meaning to me, and it’s been on my mind for awhile. Hang tight with me as I dive in and tackle this topic.

Purity-Rings

 

The Christian church today has capitalized off of this whole idea that purity has to do with abstinence. You must buy this book, buy this purity ring, attend this conference, etc. I can’t tell you the amount of friends that I’ve had that have bought the purity rings, and devotional books dedicated to the topic of abstinence. For years even I thought that in order for me to be sexually pure, or abstain from sex until marriage that it was “required” that I wear one of these. “If I don’t wear a purity ring, how will people know I’m striving to live a life devoted to purity?” I would often think to myself……

We’ve turned purity into a checklist that we need to follow.

We’ve gone and told young girls and boys that in order to stay “pure” they must abstain from sex. We’ve gone and told them that their “reward” for being “sexually clean” is to find that perfect spouse that God has planned out for them. Because of this way of thinking, we have men and women out there who remain sexually pure because they think that in doing so they are going to be rewarded one day with a spouse.

I’ve sat with many women who through tears and sobbing have asked me, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not married yet?”. And honestly, at some point or another I’ve been one of those women who have cried and sobbed my heart out on some other persons shoulder, asking the same old question. “I’m waiting, I’m trying to do everything right. How come nothing’s going right? Where’s my reward?”.

What are we supposed to say to these people who have been sexually pure for their whole lives and watched friends and family who have only been pure for a few days, weeks, months or years and are already getting married?

………hold on here for a second………

I think we may be missing something…
What about Jesus Christ?

I can be as “sexually pure” as I want, and practice abstinence until marriage and buy the purity ring and follow all the correct steps, but at the same time, I can be so dirt stained from my sin unless I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and been transformed and renewed by the gospel. 

All abstinence is is a habit that we have simply attached to mean purity.
Purity is a lifestyle.
It is living our lives in such a way that God originally had planned out for us.

Don’t get me wrong guys……
We are absolutely called to sexual abstinence, but that’s not what defines our purity.

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ and allow the gospel to transform and renew us, we allow God to create in us a pure heart and cleanse us.

Let’s stop telling people that purity is the key to marriage and start telling them that it’s a lifestyle.
Let’s stop telling people that being, “sexually clean” is the answer to purity and let’s start pointing people to Jesus as an example of what purity looks like.

 

 

 

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Shhh! Don’t say the “S” word

submission.

This word carries a lot of baggage with it.
often the weight of the word makes it scary and seem like it’s towering over us ready to pounce

as a teenager when I first started attending youth groups and Bible studies within the church, I would often hear that women were to submit themselves to men.

and honestly? It made me shiver. More so because of the context of how I was viewing submission.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary submission can be defined as:

  1. To yield oneself to the authority or will of another.
  2. To permit oneself to be subjected to something 

When you are submitting yourself to another person you are basically allowing them to have authority over you.

For the longest time I viewed submission as letting men control me or I saw it as giving up my voice and making myself weak. how wrong I was.

 Nonetheless it’s scary, right? To give someone that much power in your life….

Let’s look at Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Notice that last part friend, “as you do to the Lord“.

We are to submit ourselves to our husbands as we do to the Lord. We submit ourselves to God’s will daily. We ask Him to have His will be done in our lives. 

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 

Yes, we are called to submit to our husbands out of love and respect for them, but husbands are called to love their wives as Christ does. 

Submission is not a reason to allow someone to ever abuse you or hurt you. Submission doesn’t mean you are any less valued or treasured. 

For the longest time I was really scared and I didn’t like the thought of having to submit myself to men. It made me feel inferior or like I had no worth. So dear friend, I understand if you are struggling with that.

My prayer for you is that you see submission not in negative light but as something that you do out of love and respect for that person. I pray that most of all we learn to submit ourselves to Christ daily so that His will may be done in our lives.

-Elizabeth Louise 

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In Jesus we have a safe place

whether you are feeling alone, scared, struggling to find worth, hopeless and worn out, dealing with depression or anxiety.

I want to remind you. Jesus is for you.

He is standing on the sideline even when you’ve given up. He is your biggest fan encouraging you to not give up. He is your biggest fan even when you make mistakes. 

there will be times when you face trials and moments that will try and tear you down. there will be people that you come across that will be against you.

Jesus is with us through it all. Never leaving our side even when we leave His

Continue to look to Jesus for direction and comfort. In Jesus we will always find a safe place. In Jesus we find hope for our weary souls. In Jesus there is peace. In Jesus, all of our fears are washed away.

The next time you become overwhelmed by guilt, fear, hopelessness, worry, and  loneliness, etc 

breathe.

and remember these truths. Remember to cling to Jesus. 

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God doesn’t need you.

One of my absolute favorite books to go through is Exodus. There is so much truth to soak up. I remember leading a Bible study that did an in depth study of Exodus.

In Exodus 3:7-12 God and Moses are having a conversation after Moses has come across a burning bush. 

So I’m going to paraphrase the interaction, but I want to encourage you all to read these verses. So God is telling Moses, “Look, I’ve seen the pain and suffering of my people and I’m going to take them out of Egypt and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. I’m going to use you and send you to ask Pharoah for freedom”. 

Moses is listening to all this and his question to God ends up being found in vs. 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” And I LOVE the response God gives in vs 12. He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Who is Moses that God should use him?

Who
am I that God should use me?

Who
are you that God should use you?

Nobody.

We are like ants compared to the magnitude of who God is and what He can do.
We are here one minute and the next we are gone.
Even the most well known person on the planet right now, I can guarantee there are people in villages with no internet or phones who know of them.
We can be so well known but in the end we cease to exist, and someone else comes along.

See. God doesn’t need us in order to do great things… If you say no to Him, God can still make His plan happen without you.

The thing is though. 

  1. HE. Loves. You. 
  2. HE. Desires. You.
  3. HE. Is. Constantly. Pursuing. You

I don’t know what you are struggling with today. If it’s feeling so alone like nobody is there or like nobody wants you.

I don’t know if you are looking to drugs, or alcohol or porn or money to solve your problems or to find happiness.

Or maybe your anxiety and depression are telling you that you aren’t worth it.

I’ve been there. I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights feeling so alone and doubting my worth. I’ve looked for answers in places, people and things that only God could ever solve or answer for me.

If there is something that I can leave you with right now it’s that, you are so loved by the Creator of the universe, world, and every single plant, person and animal. 

The Creator of the Universe even created you. He knew you before you were born and has given you immense worth.

So yeah, compared to God we are ants on the spectrum. Ants with immense worth and value and who God desires to love so intimately.

-Elizabeth Louise 

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Viewing God like we view a sunset. 

The other night I was sitting downtown Annapolis journaling and writing a new chapter in my upcoming book.

The water has always been a place of calm for me, something about sitting on the docks staring off into that blue water always bring me such peace.

I was fortunate enough to catch the sunset, and boy these photos don’t do it justice. Our God makes magnificent sunsets.

Staring at the sunset, it made me think, “What if we looked at God the way we do when we see a sunset?”

You know how captivating those sunsets can be, all those beautiful pink and orange colors in the sky, it leaves you in wonder. Just think of how many times you’ve just had to stop and Snapchat or Instagram a sunset because “it’s the most magnificent thing you’ve ever seen”. Almost as great as chocolate chip cookies and puppies. Am I right?

We look at sunsets with stillness and adoration the way we should look at God. What if we began to look at God the way we stop to look at sunsets? How would this look? 

Being still with God is something we all struggle with. Just being in the moment with God without texting, being side tracked by our hobbies or even our family and friends. Yes, finding complete stillness in God is often hard. Because sometimes even when we aren’t on our phones or with friends, our minds are racing with errands we still need to finish, whether or not we got that job we wanted. If we were to be completely still with God we would be like a young toddler soaking up the magnificence and wonder of God. We would be like still water in a river, calm and at peace. We would be so in wonder of WHO God is that we would silence ourselves just to be in the very presence of God. 

This ties in with adoration. Adoration is a type of affection, a type of love you have for someone. “I adore you so much!” you may say to a significant other or a friend. Adoration leaves you looking at a person in wonder and lovingly. If we were to look at God with adoration we would be so captivated by the very character of God. We would be so breathtakingly in love with the mere though of just sitting in the presence of God!

Guys.

I don’t know about you but I want to daily see God in stillness and adoration. I know sometimes it’s a struggle for me. Sometimes I’m not still in the Lord. Sometimes I don’t even look at God with adoration. Sometimes I rush through my devotional because I have such a big list of “To do’s” for that day. I know I’m a terrible person…..

My prayer for us is this:

Lord,

Sometimes I may rush or I may forget to go spend quality time with you. You still pursue me and love me. You hold nothing against me and I am constantly amazed by your love and grace. Lord, I pray that I will be so in love with you that I will look at you so adoringly that my heart will be calm and still. I pray that I never stop looking at you with adoration. That just by being in your presence I will be completely still. 

Amen 


Ease and grace,
Elizabeth Louise 

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Prayer in midst of disagreement

Recently the news was headlined with “Kathy Griffin beheading Donald Trump in a shocking photo shoot” in which she appeared holding a bloody head of Donald Trump…..

Before a start this. Man, that was disgusting and disturbing.

We all have our differences. We may be Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian. And it’s okay to belong to a different political party than your next door neighbor or cousin does.

You can still follow Jesus and be a Democrat just as much as you can follow Jesus and be a Republican.

Two things I want to touch on today:

  1. God has created each and every one of us: Psalm 139: 13-14 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. If we are to read this verse one can safely understand that God knew us in the womb and even formed us while we were in there. So God knew us before we even exited the womb. 
  2. We are all sinners and struggle with sinful nature: Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Did you catch that? Some? Nope. All. We all fall short of the glory of God. We all have sinned. 

Donald Trump is far from perfect. But which one of you can say that you are perfect? Yes, he may act like a child tweeting and complaining at 2 am. And yes, he’s said questionable statements regarding women. But we fall short and mess up just as much as he does.

Whether you are gay, straight, Muslim or follow Jesus. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian. Whether you are white or black. Whatever differences you have with him, whatever you disagree with him on. 

Lift him up in prayer

He is leading a nation full of people who are sinners-whether they know Jesus, or don’t. He leads a country where some people agree with him, some people don’t. He is leading a country while he himself is a sinner. 

Guys….we should be praying and lifting him up. Praying that he seeks guidance and insight from God. Not wishing death on someone whom God has created and formed so uniquely. 

Grace and ease,
Elizabeth Louise 

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Establishing that Giant-like Faith with God

We all experience fear.

We all experience doubt.

Maybe we doubt that we know all the answers to that final exam despite having crammed for it for a week. Maybe we fear and worry what our parents will say about our report card.

Or maybe we doubt God is truly there and listening and we begin to stress and worry about what will happen.

Recently I was reading the story of David and Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17: 38-40 Saul pits armor on David to go into battle but what happens next??

David takes off the armor because he hadn’t worn it before. He’s about to go into battle…….and he rids himself of the armor. WOW!

I don’t think I’d go into battle with no armor. Anyone else agree? 

David TRUSTED God completely. He trusted God enough to into battle with just a staff, stones and a sling. Meanwhile Goliath is decked out with a sword and a spear. 

But is David scared? No way! In fact he gets up to Goliath and starts BOASTING in the Lord. He trusts that God will be by his side, so David is just trash talking. He’s going, “Oh yeah? Well my God is on my side and He will strike you down”

Guys? What if we did this when we did to experience worry, fear and doubt?

What if we BOASTED in God. 

What exactly would this look like?

It would mean we have such enormous faith and trust in the character of God and who God is that we don’t worry as much.

It would mean our first response would be to remind ourselves how BIG God is instead of how big our small problems may seem.

It would mean going into prayer first, rather as a last resort. 

It would mean having giant-like faith in God just as David did.

Friends, I pray whatever you are dealing with today, that you begin to establish that giant-like faith with God. Know that God is who HE says He is. Know that God is faithful, everlasting and constant. I pray that you begin to seek God in moments of fear and doubt. I pray that you lean on God and establish giant-like faith with God.

Amen.


As always,

Grace and ease,
Elizabeth Louise