7.29.2007

Gracious Me!

"A gracious woman retains honor . . ." Proverbs 11:16

Have you ever seen a celebrity or wealthy heir who spent her time in the lime-light, yet didn't seem to have the foggiest idea how to act in public? They snubbed those who didn't live as they did, carried around grudges toward those who bested them, and demanded attention until they had turned into a childish, selfish brat. Beautiful on the outside, for sure, but about as lovely as a muddied, trampled flower on the inside. What are they missing? Grace.

Webster's defines gracious as "having or showing kindness, courtesy, charm, etc; merciful, compassionate; indulgent or polite to those held to be as inferiors." Seen much of that in Hollywood lately? I sure haven't. I see quite the opposite, in fact, and all because of a lack of the fear of God, the author of grace.

A gracious woman will stand out in the crowd. Perhaps they won't draw as much of attention with their boisterous antics at first, but in the end, the camera will move in their direction. Why? Because God promises to reward the outward beauty of grace that comes from a pure heart. Proverbs 11:16 says that a "gracious woman retains honor." If you're a gracious young woman, you'll hold in your constant possession honor from God and honor from others. Slander will be far less likely to find it's way into your home. You'll stand before great men and women who're looking for the principles you live by. Success will find you because you've put God first in your life. You may even attract people from the world because you're so fascinating in your opposite and constant gracious behavior. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she will be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)

Lately I have seen some very ungracious behavior from young women who are so famous that they could have amazing influence on those around them - for good. Instead, they flaunt their outward beauty, wealth, and allure to set a bad example. Purity in speech and actions is lost. I see they're lives fall apart as their marriages end, their money is wasted, and their names are stamped with "foolish." Their is nothing beautiful about it, no matter how much attention they receive.

There's just something so lovely about taking a gift to an elderly lady down the street. Or holding your peace when someone reviles you unjustly. Or spending your time in the heat of summer doing church work - even when the newspaper reporter is nowhere to be seen. I don't know about you, but I want these gracious characteristics to describe me. It's a process of letting grace beautify our lives and the lives of those around us. Let "gracious me!" be more than an exclamation of surprise; let it be your goal as a daughter of the God of Grace!

Ciao!

Christa



7.04.2007

When Passion Meets Purity #2

When we think of purity, we automatically think of actions and lifestyles. But according to God, it's so much more than just acting right - it's believing and thinking right. Everything we do comes from what's on the inside of us. Your desire to act on something is birthed somewhere, and that somewhere it your heart! That's why Jesus says in Matthew 12:35, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil things." The way you think will always determine how you act, make decisions, and live. Without question, the saying "garbage in, garbage out" is so true!

If we're going to live pure, we must first start by cleaning up the way we think. Proverbs 4:23 gives sound instruction to any Christian: "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the issues of life . . . " Your first step is to see the necessity of walking in purity - in every area of life. Look at it through God's eyes. You're a born again Christian with the nature of God on the inside of you, so living pure is a by-product of who you are. God sees you as a Pure Princess! Anything less is going against God's standards (that's called sin). So once you've committed to following Jesus, purity is not an option. From there you have the responsibility to "keep your heart." "Keep" means to protect, guard, and maintain. It's a constant, day-by-day thing. When I think of something being guarded, I picture a great city with high walls and armed soldiers standing above, keeping watch for potential invaders. Your heart is like that: a great city filled with treasure that requires the watch of God's Word and His Spirit to keep out anything that might harm it. Your duty is to keep God's Word and the Holy Spirit employed at your walls at all times. Washing your mind with God's Word, staying filled with the Holy Spirit, and being very picky about what comes through your eyes and ears is what's going to keep that wall strong. If your heart is protected from outside invasion so no foreign thoughts and desires are allowed in, it's easy to keep your fleshly passions under control. If there's no exposure to sin, and no tempting pictures to feed on, there's no room for ungodly passion to grow!

Here's your challenge, Princess. Look at your heart as something precious - something given to you by God with His purity inside. Feed it with things from Him, not things from this world. When a wrong thought comes, cast it down. Don't allow it to mature inside until it turns into action. Stay away from situations that would tempt you to stray. This is your position of offense against the enemy who would try to steal your innocence.

Purity is becoming a lost art. But you aren't of this world; you're a child of the most high God! Pressures may be hard, but you've got all the power you need to be different from those around you. The rewards of waiting in purity are great - far more beautiful than the temporary pleasure satisfying your desire now. Keep your mind and body beautiful - because beautiful is what you are.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

Love,
Christa