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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

I have read many articles about Christian dating.

Believe me, I am a hopeless romantic. I have lost count how many times I have watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and I still become giddy when Emma Woodhouse finally realizes she loves Mr. John Knightly.

Just this morning I was reading another article about Christian dating and you know what came to mind? I reflected on some of the best dating advice I have ever received. It went something like Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The best dating advice I have ever received:

FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS.

 

My Mom deserves a shout out here. There have been many times when I go to someone else instead of my Mom because I know she isn’t going to gush with me about the young men I meet. Rather, she is going to genuinely point me back to Jesus. Even though I roll my eyes, my Mom counsels me in the most loving way I could ever be advised. Thanks Mom! ❤

The older I become, God’s grace becomes sweeter. The outpouring of His lovingkindness is incomprehensible. His light shines in the darkness. And yet, I still turn the other cheek, turning away from Christ’s adventurous pursuit for my heart. I ignore, hide, and distract myself until I become a teary-eyed pity party of self-centeredness. It’s super attractive, I know (sarcasm added).

PRAISE THE LORD that even in our mess, He loves us. Because of the blood of Jesus, God the Father compassionately looks at you and me sympathizing in our weakness (Hebrews 4:15).

 

All that to say, as a young single woman who has committed her life to Jesus, please do not tell me anymore stories about how your granddaughter snatched up that nice Christian man once she became content in her singleness.

I need you to tell me about Jesus. I need you to remind me about the Lord’s faithfulness. I need you to listen, rather than continue preaching cliché Christian dating tips. Pray with us when we feel inadequate and lost in the unknowns of young adulthood. In humble vulnerability, I need you to share with me that marriage is beautiful, but it isn’t always a sunny walk in the park. I need you to lovingly remind me that our marriage status doesn’t define our identity. I need you to share your life with me in authenticity, including some of the times when you and your spouse fail each other. I need you to encourage me in my unique gifting’s, reminding me about the multitudes that yearn to hear the name of Jesus. I need you to pray that I will taste and see the Lord’s goodness. I need you to encourage me in the Truth of the Gospel.

I need you to tell me to fix my eyes on Jesus.

In some circles, a godly marriage with three kids in the suburbs has subtlety become idolized as a church body, bringing distress to Christian singles… “I’ve tried the dating thing, am I not worthy enough? Am I not adequate unless I am married?”

I may just be speaking for a select group of singles, but I also know I am not alone in this response. Please, for the sake of Christ’s name and His love for you and me, talk to us about Jesus, not about this “perfect” person you met at your church last week.

On the other hand, I also believe the Lord uses people in our lives to bring about a marriage between two people who love the Lord. Just also know, I do not want to marry a “nice, Christian man”. If the man you want to set me up with isn’t absolutely passionate about the Gospel and the nations coming to know the gracious love of our Savior, he isn’t worth my time.

When it comes down to it, yes, I long to be married. But, by God’s grace, I have also experienced the unfathomable riches of His love. And through the Holy Spirit’s supernatural work in my heart, I want Jesus more than marriage. There are people starving and thirsting to hear about the Gospel. Encourage me in that pursuit, and let us do life together fighting for Jesus’ Name to be made known.

Hugs,

Naomi Rose

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Sitting in simple seated, I looked at the mirror in front of me. Frowning, I stared at the awkward place where the waistband of my yoga pants landed on my belly.

It took me a couple minutes in this space to realize the lies I was believing about myself. It began with accusing myself of looking frumpy, spiraling down to a space of falsehood comparing myself to women on Instagram. This spiraled even further into believing the lie that I’m never going to be enough for any man.

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Recently in a Matt Chandler sermon, he shared the following from a Brené  Brown TED Talk…

“Brené Brown is a researcher at the University of Houston…She says men and women experience the pressure of achievement in very different ways. Here’s how she says women experience an achievement-based culture:
‘[Women are] expected (and sometimes desire) to be perfect, yet we’re not allowed to look as if we’re working for it. We want it to just materialize somehow. Everything should be effortless. The expectation is to be natural beauties, natural mothers, natural leaders, and naturally good parents, and we want to belong to naturally fabulous families.’ Brené goes on to argue in an achievement culture with perfection as the standard, a woman is forced into impossible either-ors. Here’s her list.
‘Be perfect, but don’t make a fuss about it, and don’t take time away from anything, like your family or your partner or your work, to achieve your perfection. If you’re really good, perfection should be easy.
Don’t upset anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings, but say what’s on your mind.
Dial the sexuality way up (after the kids are down, the dog is walked, and the house is clean), but dial it way down at the PTA meeting. And, geez, whatever you do, don’t confuse the two.
Just be yourself, but not if it means being shy or unsure.
Don’t make people feel uncomfortable, but be honest.
Don’t get too emotional, but don’t be too detached either. Too emotional and you’re hysterical. Too detached and you’re a cold hearted [witch].’
She uses different language, but she’s a researcher, and I’m a pastor, so I edited that quote. This is what Brené Brown says women feel in an achievement-based culture. ‘You have to do… You have to be…’ They feel the weight of perfection, that they have to be perfect. Not only do they have to be perfect, but in that perfection it has to look like they’re not working at it.
Ladies, does anybody feel any of this?”

 

As I sat on my yoga mat looking at my reflection, various statements of the following came to mind: “Naomi, you are only beautiful and desirable if you have a flat stomach, voluminous hair, flawless skin and perfectly shaped eyebrows.”

Y’all, I have to laugh at how self-centered, petty and ridiculous that sounds!

Seriously, those lies are crap.

We live in a society that has distorted God’s definition of beauty and where we find our identity.

Thankfully, God’s Word says otherwise.

~ “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

~ “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7

~ “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” Psalm 8:3-5

~ “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5

~ “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139: 13-14

~ “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” Proverbs 31:25

~ “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

~ “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

~ “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10

~ “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” Philippians 3:20

~ “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” Colossians 3:12

 ~ “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8

~ “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are…” 1 John 3:1

 

How easily it is to be deceived by the lies of our culture.

Darling, please hear me.

You are intelligent.

You are strong.

You are capable.

You are enough.

You are desirable.

You are captivating.

You are chosen.

You are loved.

Next time you find yourself in a place of unbelief and feeling confused by the lies of our culture, remember what your Creator says about you.

You have a Father in Heaven who is the King of Kings. He gently holds you in His fond embrace,  lovingly looks into your eyes and says, “I chose you. You are mine. And you are loved.”

 

 

 

 

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You know I love talking about the desires I believe God has laid on my heart. The Dreamer within me will have days when I am productive in nothing else except producing up twenty new ideas about how to minister to teenage girls.

It has been a very long year and a half. However, for the first time in a long time, I have begun to feel as though I have some direction again.

Just last month I completed my training to became a Certified Holy Yoga Instructor. This included 225 hours of  intense, online training for 9 weeks and a week of hardcore training in the mountains of Arizona.

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The gorgeous ladies in my cabin at our Holy Yoga retreat!!

If you would have asked me in high school where I thought I would be at twenty-two years old, a certified yoga instructor would not have even made it in the list of possibilities. God does have a sense of humor.

What to know something even more ridiculous?

I am about to begin six more months of online Holy Yoga training.

Some may not understand why I’m so surprised about where I am in life, but I am. And the only way to explain it, is by giving credit to the Holy Spirit, guiding me on this map-less journey, taking me the road less traveled (Robert Frost).

I am one of those people you could sit down with over coffee and I could clearly describe to you who I am. My interests, passions, quirks, fears, pet peeves, strengths, even list out all of my weaknesses. But, I cannot give you any logical explanation about why I became a Holy Yoga instructor other than the fact that I know this was a step of obedience into God’s grace.

If I had said no, it would have been out of fear. And in Christ’s love, there is no fear (1 John 4).

Henri Nouwen writes, “Over the years we have developed the idea that being present to people in all their needs is our greatest and primary vocation. The Bible does not seem to support this. Jesus’ primary concern was to be obedient to his Father, to live constantly in his presence. Only then did it become clear to him what his task was in his relationship with people.” 

For a few years now, I have consistently repeated to my Mom, “I do not care about a college degree. All I want to do is love God and love people.” In the midst of the darkness that filled my life last year, God answered the prayer I did not even know I had been praying.

Please let this be an encouragement to you. I have NO IDEA where I am going to be in years to come. But, I believe in the faithfulness of the Father who created you and me.

We serve a mighty God. He knows us deeply and intimately, and yearns for us to turn to Him with revered obedience.

In what area of your life is God asking for obedience? Where is He pursuing you?

God has created you specifically with purpose and beautiful intention.

What is it? Do you know? Why don’t you ask Him?

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There are random moments during my days of clinical depression when I suddenly feel  almost normal again. The dreamer inside of me comes back to life, and my imagination soars with possibility. During these moments of feeling almost normal, I am reminded of some of my deepest dreams. One of which is to share with women how deeply beautiful and unique they are.

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Women who have also experienced clinical depression will understand when I say my self esteem has reached levels below the zero on the number line. Confidence in the individual beauty that God gave me has been forgotten. Yes, the inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is eternal (2 Peter 3:3-4). However, God reflects His beauty in woman. He has given women the desire to feel and deeply know they are beautiful in their own skin.

“Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch…She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill. Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, ‘The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith in me.'” (For more information, check out John and Stasi Eldredge’s eye opening book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul)

No other woman has your exact eyebrows, eye shape, legs, arms, lips, ears, hair, nose, etc…In Psalm 139, David points to our individuality from God our Creator.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

(Insert your name here), do you believe that?

I am currently asking myself the same question. Do I believe that?

I, Naomi, am fearfully and wonderfully made. Really?

I was born with a heart defect, resulting in open heart surgery. Even with my scar, do I believe I am fearfully and wonderfully made? Do I believe I am beautiful? The days I wish my straight hair was curly and voluminous, do I believe I am beautiful? The days when my eyebrows are in desperate need of an eyebrow wax, do I believe I am beautiful? The days I feel my height is too tall, do I believe I am beautiful? The days when I trace my nose and cringe when I feel the bone that brings a slight curve to my nose shape, do I believe I am beautiful? The days when my legs do not look as toned as I noticed on the other woman while I was out shopping, do I believe I am beautiful?

God, our Creator, our Father, thinks the world of us.

He rejoices in us and He rejoices in His creation of woman.

You, (insert your name here), are made in the image of God.

You, (insert your name here), reflect the magnificent beauty of God.

You, (insert your name here), are BEAUTIFUL. 

Now quit reading this and go do something that brings a smile to your beautiful face!

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“Barrett, do you know how to do the monkey bars?” I asked the four-year old boy.

“Mhmm…” he responded.

“Here, I will help you.”

I hold his lower half as he swiftly swings his arms from bar to bar.

Barrett reaches the end of the monkey bars, which is attached to the wooden play fortress.

I let go of him as he insists to climb over the outside of the fortress all by himself. He tries and tries, but isn’t able to climb over it.

“I can’t do it. I’m stuck.” Barrett yells down to me.

“Barret, let go, I will catch you.”

He hesitates.

“Barrett, trust me.”

He lets go and I gently lower him to the ground.

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Dried snot.

Dirty clothes.

Sandy bodies.

Poopy diapers.

Bubble baths.

Smiling faces.

Unending laughter.

No matter how old we are, we are all like little children.

We are incapable to do life by ourselves. We try, but to no avail.

We are unable to care for ourselves. We are grimy and covered in muck.

We need someone to give us a bubble bath.

We need someone to make us clean.

Through Jesus Christ we are white as snow.

Through all of the dirtiness of life, we can still smile, because He has already won the battle.

Children, let us laugh all through the day.

When we are stuck, let us cry out to God.

Let us not hesitate.

He is speaking to us all the time.

“Beloved, trust Me.”

Let us fall into His loving arms.

Let us become like children, because our Father sent His only Son, to save us from the muck.

The Gospel is simple.

Trust Him.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

He called a child, had him stand among them, and said,

‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven!

Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”

Matthew 18:1-4 9 (NET)

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A few recent comments from “my” boys…

Colton (2):

“Malk. Chocla Malk.”

“Nomi Baff.”

Barrett (4):

“When you become a grandma, you can’t swing. Grandma’s are too big.”

“When you throw the sand like this, it looks like a tornado!”

“Charlee (puppy) peed on the floor.”

Hudson (6):

“Where is heaven?”

“Where do bad guys go?”

“How do you get to heaven?”

“There will be lots and lots of chocolate in heaven!”

“Naomi, can you read some of the Bible to me?”

“God, I pray you take care of Naomi as she drives home and let mom have a fun birthday.”

These boys absolutely melt my heart. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you ever think about what that statement really means? Is Jesus really with us every day? What does that look like?

Whenever I meet up with my mentor, she will laugh and say we need to pull up a chair for Jesus.

We laugh, and with a serious expression she says, “No really, Naomi, Jesus is with us. He is sitting with us right here, right now.”

There are so many things on our mind daily.

Procrastinated essays, broken friendships, kids needing your constant attention, that specific boy/girl always on your mind, all the what if’s, the dream job you’re applying for, your parents are hurting, bitterness harboring in your heart, you need to work out more, etc….

Big /small, good/bad they are there, in our minds, keeping us busy from remembering who walks besides us.

A couple weeks ago I was praying and the latter part of Matthew 28:20 came to mind.

…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Jesus just finished telling His disciples to preach to all nations, baptize them, and encouraged believers to follow what He has commanded of His followers. Jesus concludes reminding His disciples (and all readers) that He will always be with us.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Again, I do not know about you, but currently many things cloud my mind. I have questions, worries, comments, opinions, concerns, hopes, and dreams. I do not have answers.

I do know that Jesus is the IT. He is what everyone is unceasingly searching for, though they may not even know it themselves.

I do know that He is always with us. I know and I believe He is always walking with us.

So today, take time and acknowledge His sovereignty.

Walk with Him. He is already walking with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you know me, then you must know how dearly I adore photos. Not merely simple iPhone selfies, but I’m talking the real deal.

Clear, sharp, beautiful photographs that tell a story.

The other day two friends of mine happily adventured with me on a photo shoot escapade.

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Afterwards we drove to our favorite Denton coffee shop, lounged on the couch, and laughed giggles while viewing our precedent photo shoot.

As we were scrolling through the photos comments were spoken out loud from all three of us…

“I look funny.”

“My hair needs a trim real bad.”

“Why does my face look like that?”

“My pants look funny from that angle.”

And so forth.

I began thinking in my head how silly we sound. Not only silly, but how human. (And girly, we sounded pretty girly…)

All three of us know that we are created in God’s glorious image. Yet, our comments sounded doubtful.

The world has this ideal beauty — male and female.

Males are suppose to look one way, females are suppose to look another way.

And if we somehow do not match up to this ideal, we tend to feel deficient. Our confidence levels seem to disappear, and we dream away our days wishing and hoping for an ideal that is not ourselves.

Magazines, celebrities, plastic surgeons, and photo shop all tell us one thing.
Thankfully, God tells us differently.

Psalm 139:13-14, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”

Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

You are most likely familiar with those verses. We have been reminded of them over and over and over again.

But, have you ever let them sink in? Truly, genuinely, whole-heartedly let them sink into your heart, soul, and mind?

Pause, close your eyes, and think for a moment.

YOU. God created YOU in His image.

This is not only referring to physically. This refers to your compassion, humility, wisdom, love and other traits which He refines and reshapes while making us new.

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Now get this!

Psalm 96:4-6, “For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”

Close your eyes a second time.

Imagine a grand throne room. The king and queen stand in front of their thrones smiling, looking out towards their kingdom. The king, mighty in strength, handsome, with long, plush majestic robes flowing about him. He holds an intricate, golden scepter in his hand. The queen smiles with her eyes, her beauty is the talk of the town. Her hair is delicately donned up with various braids and curls sweeping across the back of her head. The gown she wears is the envy of every maiden.

Think of how beautiful those two royals must be. Not only does their outward appearance reflect power, but it reflects character from deep within. Character their kingdom can trust and serve.

God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is unfathomably more beautiful than that.

If we are created in His image, why do we doubt the beauty of our individual uniqueness?

Recently Proverbs 31:30 has given me a fresh perspective.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vainBut a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

You could use so many different words to define this decaying world we live in.
Outward appearance has always been a constant threat to our contentment.

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Yes, it is wonderful to shower and dress nicely (I love wearing make-up).

But when we, male and female both, begin to define ourselves by the way we look on the outside — we set ourselves up for something that does not exist.

In the end, it will destroy us. (Oscar Wilde writes this theme well in his novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”)

Philippians 3:18-21, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

Beauty at its finest, deepest level reflects a heart and soul of character thirsting for Christ. He has promised to make us new.

He has promised to transform our bodies into something glorious.

Quit striving for youthful, outward appearance to define who you are.

Begin thirsting for the One who will make you new.

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