White As Snow

Experiencing God’s Restoration from Sexual Sin and Abuse 

Hi friends, I wanted to share this post with you by Leslie Ludy. I’m sure after reading, many of you can relate. You’ve probably said or done things that have lead you to ask yourself “how far is too far?”, “how much further can i go?”….without getting caught, until i can’t feel the sting of the Holy Spirit pulling me from sin. The reality is, the further you go the harder it is…but just know, no matter how steeped you are in that situation it’s never too late to be restored and made new by Christ’s amazing cleansing blood …it’s never too late to be made as White as Snow.
God bless you ~Yan

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
Luke 7:47

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.
Mark 2:17

When Eric and I were first married, a Christian leader took notice of the fact that we had “wisdom beyond our years” about spiritual things.  He felt that the reason we had been blessed with unusual spiritual insight was because we’d protected the purity of our relationship prior to marriage.  We’d listened to God’s Spirit above our own fleshly desires, and as a result we had cultivated the ability to hear His voice without the cloudiness and confusion that sexual compromise so often brings.  Honoring and protecting purity did so much more than merely enhance the romance in our marriage relationship.  It strengthened our relationship with Jesus Christ and laid the foundation for our marriage to be built upon His amazing strength.

But our lives hadn’t always been marked with sexual set-apartness.  In light of the physical purity that marked my relationship with Eric, it may seem hard to believe that we both came from very impure backgrounds.  Eric and I grew up in Christian homes and went to youth group, but like most Christian young people today we approached purity from a selfish vantage point.  We constantly asked, “how far is too far?” rather than “how far can I possibly go to please God and honor my future spouse?”  And as a result, our lives were full of sin, selfishness, and compromise.  Both of us gave our heart, mind, emotions, and bodies carelessly away in temporary flings, even though we “technically” kept our virginity.  For most of our young adult lives, saving a kiss until our wedding day would have been the last thing either of us would have considered doing.

By the time I caught a vision for the amazing purity and breathtaking beauty that marked a Christ-centered love story, I honestly felt like it was too late for me to ever experience it.  Sure, I’d technically kept my abstinence commitment, but my purity had been forsaken long ago.  I’d allowed the treasure of my heart, emotions, and body to be trampled time and time again.  I knew I was unworthy of a God-written love story.

But then, in His gentle, tender, patient way, my King began to show me that I could be completely washed clean, restored, and made new.  If I was willing toimages-3 repent and receive His forgiveness, I could be set free from all the baggage of the past, cleansed from all the impurity I’d allowed into my life.  And I could experience the fullness of a brilliantly pure, God-scripted love story, through the power of His redemption.  It seemed almost too good to be true, but it was exactly what He promised.

God-scripted love stories are not just for those who have never compromised.  In fact, the very reason that Christ sacrificed everything for us was to offer us the chance to be restored, washed clean, and given a hope and future.  Just look at this amazing picture of Christ’s heart toward those of us who have sinned:

And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

If you feel that you’ve “gone too far” to experience a truly pure and beautiful God-scripted love story, let me assure you that it’s never too late to be restored and made new by His amazing cleansing blood.

images

Repentance means turning and walking the other direction.  Once you awaken to the fact that you are heading over a cliff, stop, turn, ask God’s forgiveness, and then, by His grace, head in the other direction.  There is no reason to look back or second-guess your position as His child.  You should not expect a second-rate version of romance.  Once you have been restored by Him, you are clothed in His righteousness.  You are entitled to all the benefits of His amazing Kingdom.  Your forgiveness is complete.  Your sin is removed as far from you as the east is from the west.  It is finished.

We only need to read the Gospels to be assured that He did pay the price for our sin—once and for all. Let us not cheapen His amazing sacrifice by questioning whether His work on the cross was truly enough. 

We are either ignorant or arrogant if we believe that Christ’s death was not enough to cover our sin. At the moment Christ gave up His life for us, He proclaimed, “It is accomplished.” (see John 19:30) The price had been paid. The power of sin had been conquered. It was done. It was final. It was absolute. He left no room for us to question it. 

Don’t try to add to His sacrifice by improving yourself before you fall at His feet in repentance. Simply come to Him, in all of your sin and weakness, let Him wash you clean, and make you completely new.  Don’t focus on your unworthiness. Rather, fix your eyes on the awesome power of His conquering, redeeming, transforming blood, shed on your behalf.

(Additionally, if God brings a Christ-built man into your life, He will give that man the grace to forgive the same way that God has forgiven you – fully, completely, wholly.  Eric and I have never struggled with hurt or anger over each other’s “pasts”, because we have allowed God’s grace to equip us with a heart of complete forgiveness.)

If sexual compromise has entered your life, I’d like to offer some Biblical advice that can lead to complete restoration and healing.

1. Repent & Turn

Christ said,

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)

Our King tells us that once we awaken to the fact that we’ve allowed sin in our lives, we are not to continue doing the things that led to our stumbling.  That means if you were an alcoholic, you should no longer hang out in bars sipping beer.  If yoimages-1u were addicted to Internet porn, you should no longer spend hours alone, surfing the Internet.  An
d if you stumbled sexually, you shouldn’t remain in intense, close contact with the one you compromised with.  You need to “cut off” the thing that caused you to sin – namely, the relationship you are in.  This isn’t to say that God can’t heal, restore, and cleanse an impure relationship and rebuild it upon a foundation of purity.  But there needs to be a re-calibration; new patterns need to be established, Christ needs to claim the throne in your life once again, and purity needs to govern your every action and thought.

When you are in the heat of an intense, emotional relationship with someone, you aren’t able to truly allow Christ to renew and re-train your habits.  You become distracted by your feelings for the other person, and it’s all too easy to fall right back into the same sin over and over again.  Even though it mi
ght be difficult, honor Christ by taking a step back from the relationship, surrendering it afresh to Him, and letting Him re-build it only after a long season of healing, renewal, re-training, and restoration has been established.

Whatever the “compromise triggers” are in your life – whether an impure relationship or impure habits – ask God forimages the grace to turn and walk the other direction.  Do whatever you must do in order to cut temptation out of your life, even if it means stepping away from an ungodly relationship, getting rid of your computer, withdrawing from unhealthy friendships, or throwing away ungodly movies.  Remember, nothing is more important that your relationship with Jesus Christ.  And if you put Him first, He will fulfill your soul far more than any unhealthy relationship or habit ever could.

2. Receive His Forgiveness

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn He came back to the temple, and all the people came to Him. Just as He sat down to teach, the scribes and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in the middle of everyone.

“Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman has been caught in the very act of committing adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded to stone this kind of woman. What do You say?”…

But Jesus knelt and wrote down something on the ground. As they continued questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “The one among you who is without sin, let him throw the first stone at her.”

Again, He knelt and wrote down something on the ground. Those who heard left one at a time, beginning with the older ones first, leaving Jesus alone with the woman. (John 8:4-11)

The angry mob wanted to humiliate, expose, and destroy the woman who had been caught in sin. But Jesus – the only One who had the power to judge and condemn her – chose a completely different response.  Forgiveness.  Full, complete, perfect forgiveness.

Just as Jesus knew the sins of each person in that crowd, He knows every sin we have ever committed from the day we were born. It is pointless to try to keep our sins hidden from Him. Yet when we come to Him, truly broken over what we have done, filled with the soul-wrenching regret of realizing how far we have fallen, and look into His eyes, He smiles tenderly. He lifts our chin with His nail-scarred hand. And He gently says, “I don’t condemn you. Now go, and stop sinning.”

When we are washed in Jesus’ blood, we become completely clean. When He looks at us, He doesn’t see our failures and mistakes, He sees a new creation—a child of God – resorted and made white as snow, not by our own merit, but by His.

And if we truly receive His amazing forgiveness, He can take the sin that our enemy meant to use to destroy us, and use it for His glory. He can take a shattered heart and life and script a beautiful tale of His perfect love.  As it says in Psalm 103:2-5:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies; who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

About fifteen years ago I sat down at the piano and attempted to express the heart of this amazing forgiveness through a simple song called White as Snow:

Alone and confused, your heart is bruised from sin; 
Your joy is gone from love gone wrong
And you’re longing to start again.
I know that you’ve been hurt, and you don’t know who to trust;
I won’t pretend I understand your pain.
But I can see repentance in your eyes, and I know it’s not too late;
I hear Him calling your name…

White as snow, He has made 
you white as snow;  
The moment you confessed, 
His heart forgave. 
You might think you’ve ruined all the 
plans He had for you,
But it’s for that very reason 
Jesus saves.

White as snow, He has made
you white as snow; 

Pure and innocent like a dove, 
Though you have done nothing to 
deserve His pardoning, 
You’ve been purified by Jesus’ blood—
White as snow.

The guilt and the shame, 
keeping you chained,
Not wanting to let you go;
It’s not how you dreamed,
not how you planned,
And you can’t see that still
there is hope.

Receive His healing for your bruises;
Receive His riches for your rags.
You cannot imagine all the plans
He has for you,
So take His hand, and don’t look back.

Thanks to Leslie Ludy https://setapartgirl.com/magazine/article/09-1-13/white-snow

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Modesty…for Men?

Now the name of this blog is Establish Her but believe me, Men you also play an important role in establishing godly women, sisters, friends.

When it comes to modesty, people almost immediately think about women wearing skirts and dresses, and clothing that covers the neck up to the ankles. While it is important for women to practice Godliness in the way we dress, the bible does tell us this in 1 Timothy 2:8-10:

 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

Notice in verse 9, the word “ALSO”. Women should ALSO dress modestly. Men are taught to practice modesty, and ALSO the women. Clearly, this verse does not only pertain to clothing but also the lifestyle that every Christian should have.

This week, we will focus on modesty in Men. After all, women can also fall into sin when looking at a man. We found this interesting article from CBN.com that talks about this issue. Read on and feel free to let us know your thoughts on the comments section!

Google the phrase “modesty for guys” and thousands of sites pop up, and yet none of them address young men. Informative sites invite you to carefully read biblical and practical advice for girls. It tells them how to dress, how to live with purity, as well as tips to keep a guy’s thought life untainted.

But is modesty a girl-only issue?

Ladies only

I quizzed several guys from my youth group about this topic. Most of them simply wore puzzled expressions as they contemplated the question. After a few moments, one college student shared his thoughts. “Guys usually don’t think about modesty for themselves. If they are showing underwear or skin, it’s because it’s comfortable or it’s an accident. It’s not like you see normal guys wearing Speedos at the beach.”

Youth pastor, Jason Fullerton, agreed. “As far as guys and modesty, in my opinion its all about comfort. I don’t think any girls get ‘turned on’ by looking at a guy’s hairy legs.”

thinkingWhich brought me back to the question: is modesty for guys a non-issue?

For most teen boys, clothing serves three purposes: covering, protection, and identification. Many times those lines are blurred as clothing serves both comfort and culture. For example, sagging pants that reveal hiked up boxers is a fashion trend that’s been around for a while. This trend was first identified with the hip-hop culture and represented a lifestyle that delved deeper than just music. It was symbolic of the urban life. In recent years it crossed over from urban gear to every day comfort for the average guy. Belts have become officially uncool.

Most guys wear long shirts, or slip on a pair of basketball shorts underneath their pants so that you have two pairs of shorts hiked up instead of one, so modesty is very rarely the real issue. You may just hate thimagee style.

Wearing pants two sizes too big might not make sense to you, but wearing tight pants that hug your waistline is just as confusing to teen guys.

So here we are again. Back to square one. How do you address the issue of modesty for guys? Is it relevant?

Pastor Fullerton says that it is, but that we must focus on the deeper issues. “Instead of teaching a student to be modest, I try to teach every student to be pure. Modesty is focused on clothing, where purity is more of a mindset.  I believe that we must teach kids to have a higher self-esteem, not just to dress appropriately.”

I can’t agree more. I attend conferences as a speaker and am dismayed when the topic of modesty is wrapped exclusively around outerwear. Though this is a needed topic, if it’s not balanced teens may leave with an idea of how to fill their closet with appropriate clothes, but miss the opportunity to have a real dialogue about modesty of the heart.

Recently my daughter and I strolled through the mall. I glanced into an apparel store. A well-built older teen stood inside the doorway. He was bare-chested and wore low-slung pants. His thumb was hitched in the belt loop to reveal a glimpse of boxers and more skin. The hired model smiled at us, crossing his arms in a “you can’t resist this” invitation. Behind him was a sign advertising the jeans that he was wearing.

I didn’t see any other guys walking through the mall with skin exposed. This was clearly a cultural message and an advertising ploy. Rather than advertise a great pair of jeans, the message was that “these things can make me cool; they define my self-image; they sex me up; you can have this too.”

Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood, said in a Boston Globe Interview on 12/15/04, that, “Today’s kids aren’t just being marketed products. They are marketed values.”

When discussing modesty, our challenge as parents is to balance cultural messages about values. Modesty for guys and girls begins first as a heart issue.

In Proverbs 23:7, it says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” The message of youth culture says that value is based upon superficial or external appearances. Our goal is to teach our young men (and women) who they are from the inside out.

Having a modest heart is expecting and showing character and integrity. It’s demonstrating and expecting a gentle and faith-filled attitude. It’s balancing the cultural message of external value with the truth of the benefits of living as a godly young man.

But what about the low-slung pants?

What do we do about those?

saggy-pants
Pick, choose or refuse

Every week I watch guys walk through the church door wearing all kinds of clothing. Most are amazing young men who love God with a passion—even those showing their underwear. If you hate the low-slung pants and hiked up shorts, you have options. Wait and the style will change, or go shopping together and find a style that suits both of you.

But if we’re going to talk about modesty and guys, it’s important to take a look below the surface. Examine the heartbeat of your son. Does he love God? Is he a productive person in your family and in his community and church? Does he care for others? Does he treat others with respect?

Those are the real issues, and long after he has abandoned the over sized shirts, waist three-sizes-too-big pants, and pulled down ball cap, those are the attitude issues that will carve him into the man God called him to be from the very beginning.

Thanks to Sources:  http://apostolicclothing.com/blog/news/modesty-for-men

http://www1.cbn.com/family/modesty-…-for-guys%3F

Credits to T. Suzanne Eller, originally posted in Dabbling Mum on March 2005.

http://projects.nyujournalism.org/nyuprecollege2016/2016/08/11/whats-deal-low-slung-pants/