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Why I Wear Skirts

FaithJessica Scheks3 Comments

reading book falllModesty is such a passionately debated topic among Christians. I haven't always dressed modestly and I wanted to share the journey that got me to where I am now. I know that every Christian's walk with God is different, and I don't expect everyone to be the same as me. Contrary to popular belief, I am not offended in the slightest if a girl, whether she's a Christian or not, chooses to wear skirts and dresses on a daily basis. That is between her and the Lord. I became a Christian after I started going to church with Michael (who's now my husband) when I was sixteen years old. I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into! I quickly noticed that every woman wore a skirt or a dress to church that at least came to the knees. I wasn't bothered by it but at the same time I could never see myself wearing skirts for the rest of my life and I hoped it was something that would die with an older generation.

I want this post to be a voice for women who wear skirts -- we're not scary, we don't hate you (we love you), we don't care if you wear pants or a tank top, we don't mind talking about our way of dressing if you ask in a genuine manner! Below are a mixture of reasons that I choose to dress modestly as well as common misconceptions:

NO ONE IS FORCING ME My pastor never forces women to wear skirts. I feel like being forced to wear long skirts is a very common misconception, however at my church my pastor wanted us to get our own conviction. If you don't have an experience from the Lord it can be hard to explain to others why you choose to dress the way you do and to have the strength to keep wearing skirts during trying seasons of your life. I'm sure there are some places where the women feel like they have no option, but that's not how it is in my life.

CHANGING FROM WITHIN As the Lord began to work in my heart I slowly had the desire to cover up more of my body. I no longer wanted to wear a bikini or short shorts. For awhile I always wore pants that at least came to my knees. Around this time I was a senior in high school and the Lord was definitely dealing with me. However I was keeping Him at a distance because I didn't altogether want to hear what He had to say to me about modesty quite yet. And to be honest, I was scared to hear what He had to say. Choosing to dress modestly is a lifelong commitment and since my family did not go to church with me it was really hard to make changes in my life that they didn't necessarily agree with.

Choosing the dress modestly is a lifelong commitment...

But once I moved away to college I felt God telling me to dress modestly stronger than ever before. It was something I could no longer ignore. And I went through every excuse in the book. But eventually it came down to one question: For some reason I kept picturing myself in a group of people lined up (like when the police have a witness look at a lineup of possible criminals) and telling someone to point out the Christian in the group. Based on appearance alone, the only way they'd be able to tell is if I was dressed extremely modestly. And I know that the Lord is not calling everyone to minister to the world in that way. But this is how He worked with me individually. It really scared me to think that if I dressed of the world, people would have no way to tell that I was a Christian if they saw me walk by.

THE INSIDE REFLECTS THE OUTSIDE This kind of goes along with the previous section. But true modesty isn't simply how you dress on the outside. It's a reflection of what's on the inside. As I mentioned above, the closer I got to the Lord the more I wanted to change! I wanted people to know that I was different and I felt different in the best way possible! I didn't want to blend in with the dark world. I wanted the glory of the Lord to shine through my clothing! I also liked to think how I would feel in whatever outfit I had on for the day if Jesus walked in and saw me.

TIGHT ENOUGH TO SHOW YOU'RE A WOMAN; LOOSE ENOUGH TO SHOW YOU'RE A LADY When I first started to think about dressing modestly, all I thought about was coverage. But eventually the Lord showed me that just because I'm covered doesn't mean I'm being modest. Wearing a super tight shirt or skirt that shows every curve leaves less to the imagination than I would like. In yesterday's post I talked about the fig leaves of the world -- fig leaves are a false covering that man has made to cover and justify his or her own sin. Sometimes as women, especially when something is cute or it accentuates parts of our body that we know will bring us attention from men, we try to tell ourselves that it's fine. But we are not seeking man's (or woman's) approval! When you are getting dressed for the day don't think about pleasing man, think about pleasing the Lord!

DRESS CODES I'm not here to tell you what the dress code for Christianity is, but I am here to remind you that places with authority and dignity in the world require people to dress differently. The armed forces, police, hospitals, office buildings, and even Target all require their employees to dress a certain way. When you need help and you're at Target you just look for a red shirt. I want people to identify me as a Christian if they're looking for spiritual help! And I'm sure this isn't going to be something that happens on a regular basis, but I have heard multiple testimonies from people who knew that a girl was different based on how she dressed. And it intrigued them enough to find out why she was different. If that happened just one time in my life, it'd be worth it to me.

IT'S A SACRIFICE When I first began to wear skirts all of the time it was truly a sacrifice. I was sacrificing my pride, my comfort, my happiness, my desire to fit in, my desire for approval from peers, as well as many others I'm sure. But looking back, all of those "sacrifices" don't even seem like sacrifices anymore. Yes, it was really hard at the time, but it was all temporary! While I momentarily sacrificed my pride and happiness, I eternally gained joy. And while I temporarily sacrificed my desires to fit in and for approval from peers, I gained new Godly desires that have completely erased and replaced my previous carnal desires!

"IT'S NOT PRACTICAL" I hear this most often in the winter. Someone will see me walk by and exclaim, "Aren't you freezing?!" And I always tell them that I'm probably warmer than they are. In the winter I wear a skirt, tights or leggings, warm socks, and boots. Therefore I have at least two layers covering my legs. When people just wear jeans they only have one layer on their thighs! I can tell you that I do not suffer in the winter at all from being cold.

AVOIDING CONFUSION As the world gets more and more off-center I want to keep my eyes on Christ. Gender confusion is becoming so much more prevalent in the world today. I think that when women are feminine it brings glory to God because that is who He created us to be! As women of God I think we need to start becoming more conscious that we don't cross over too many lines and wear things meant for men. Gender neutral used to be deemed as okay, but I think that if we're going to take a stand and rise against the confusion in the world we can start by the way we dress. I realize that defining what it means to be feminine is very subjective. For me, I choose to wear skirts. However you define it, I encourage every woman to seek the Lord in this matter; thank Him for purposely creating you as a woman and ask Him to show you how to dress and act like a woman of God!

I'm sure there are many more reasons I could have listed today. But for now I will stop. Do you wear skirts? Do you not wear skirts? How has the Lord worked in your life in terms of dressing modestly? Comment below, I'd LOVE to hear from you!

 

This is day 6 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges clickhere. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

Being Modest Before God

FaithJessica Scheks2 Comments

  As someone who dresses modestly, I love clicking on blog posts and watching YouTube videos of why other women choose to dress modestly. And I absolutely love finding an explanation that I haven't heard before! We tend to hear the same reasons over and over again but recently in church my pastor brought out a new explanation from Genesis that I had never thought of or heard before! In the first few chapters of the entire Bible I think you can find a very solid argument of why it is important to dress modestly before God.

leaves quote

To begin, my pastor was explaining how man always tries to concoct their own ways to try and cover up their sin - it's been happening since Adam and Eve's time. Genesis 3:7 says, "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." The key to this scripture is that Adam and Eve made their own coverings; they didn't look to God. It really wouldn't have mattered how covered they were physically because it wasn't God's way.

Adam and Eve were trying to hide their sin from God. They thought they could keep the omniscient, amazing, all-sufficient, eternal God from finding out what they had done. And as a result they were ashamed and felt guilty and tried to hide from Him.

BUT GOD, in His amazing and ever loving kindness sought after them. And in Genesis 3:21, it says:

"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."

Those "coats of skins" covered up much more than fig leaves did! Even when we make mistakes, God still wants us to come to Him and He will help us.

God wants us to be modest before Him! I realize that this block of scripture also applies to the spiritual covering that we often are trying to build ourselves as well. But I truly believe that aside from the importance of being spiritually covered, God simply wants us to be physically covered. He didn't think Adam and Eve were covered enough in fig leaves, and people are wearing a lot less than fig leaves these days. I know that people interpret how to dress modestly very differently, but I encourage you to pray and earnestly seek God about how to dress so that you are wearing His "coat of skins" made just for you, and not the world's fig leaves.

 

This is day 5 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

Bless the Lord at ALL Times

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.| P s a l m  3 4 : 1 - 3 |

psalm 34

This is what has been on my heart lately. I've been learning that when you are doing what the Lord has called you to do in that particular moment and season, then you are worshiping Him! Even if it seems like a mundane task, if it is where He has called you to be, then you are in the center of His will.

Recently I've really been focusing on our marriage - praying for it, praying for my husband, praying for myself, and intentionally doing things to strengthen it. I'll admit that sometimes I "keep score" in our marriage (which is a big no-no!) Usually it's about the amount of household chores I've done compared to Michael. And the Lord has been slowly reshaping the way I feel about that. Generally I believe that the woman is supposed to do more of the cooking, cleaning, housework, etc. until I apply it to my own marriage. It sounds like a great, biblical idea when I think about it in general terms, but it's hard to practice what I preach in this case.

The first thing the Lord did in this area of my life was to just slightly shift my view of my husband. Literally one moment I was thinking about him and all of a sudden I was overcome with emotion about how he's such a hard worker to provide for us.To the point where I had to tell him how thankful I was right then and there. So I texted him, how much more romantic could it get? Michael truly works so hard at his job. He often works twelve, fourteen, or even sixteen hour shifts at the country club where he's been employed for nine years. And it's very physical -- running up and down steps all day long, constantly on his feet, lifting heavy things, and carrying huge trays of food. So when he comes home, he's exhausted. The thought of standing at the sink to do dishes, put away laundry, or take out the trash is probably much more miserable to him than I imagine it to be.

I used to think he was just lazy. But the truth is that he's tired in every sense of the word. He has to deal with demanding people all day, his boss is constantly criticizing him and causing issues throughout the day, and he literally doesn't sit down. So when he comes home, he wants a little peace and quiet and to just lay there for an hour or two. When I stop to really put myself in his shoes, I get it. And I don't blame him one bit.

So as the Lord was in the midst of trying to show me all of these things, Michael and I were preparing to go out of town for about a week to an "old fashioned camp meeting" at church. Just like every other week, he was working like crazy, he didn't have much time to prepare for the trip, and there was a lot to do! I kept reminding him to pick out shirts he wanted to take and to iron them. Fun fact: I loathe ironing men's dress shirts. So as the day we were scheduled to leave got closer and closer, it still wasn't happening. And I was biting my tongue about it, because who wants to be that naggy wife?

Well out of nowhere, the Lord popped a thought into my head. And I know it was Him, because I never would've come up with it by myself. Why don't I iron every single one of Michael's dress shirts?! I was out driving somewhere when the thought occurred and I literally got so excited about it! I couldn't wait to get home to iron his shirts. I was so ecstatic to surprise him when he came home from work to all of his shirts ironed so he could pick from an assortment of shirts of which ones to take with him on our trip. You'd have thought it was my first good idea ever.

I'm a perfectionist and Michael has a lot of dress shirts. So it took me over two hours, but as I was starting on the first shirt I felt so joyful! I felt like I was worshiping. And I realized that I was worshiping! It was a mundane task, but it was a mundane task that God called me to do, and I was doing it joyfully. So I listened to gospel music while I ironed for half of an eternity and I had to laugh to myself because there I was doing what I hate doing but loving it.

Sometimes God just works in the cutest ways!

Psalm 51:12

FaithJessica Scheks2 Comments

psalm 5112This verse hit me like a ton of bricks a couple weekends ago. It's something that has been on my heart for months and I'm sure I have read this block of scripture countless times. But the part that always stood out to me was two verses prior: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." I still love that verse. But the power of verse 12 had never really resonated with me until a minister from Lancaster, CA brought it out and spoke on restoring the zeal that many "new" Christians have upon being saved. It's something that has been bothering me because I feel like I don't have as much joy as I should considering I am SAVED from eternal death because Jesus Christ died for me despite being perfect himself.

It's almost like it's such a big concept that it's hard for me to put my small human mind around and fully grasp; like it's too good to be true -- but I want to grasp it more. I want to be noticeably joyful in every moment of my life because Jesus died for all of our moments whether they are good or bad. I want to be in absolute awe + wonder when I think of Jesus. I want the thought of salvation to bring me to joy-filled tears. I want to feel even more unworthy than I already do because I come to more of a realization of what Jesus did for me everyday of my life. I not only want the joy I had to be restored to me, I want more of that joy! I just want MORE Jesus.

Getting more of Jesus is so simply laid out for us in the Bible, yet it is so hard for us to attain. John 3:30 states it plainly:  "He must increase, but I must decrease." I wish it were that simple! Dying to self is arguably the hardest thing that we will face as humans on this side of glory. BUT, it is how we will get to glory. So it's not an option but it's still hard. So I've been praying and asking the Lord a lot lately to restore that joy, to put me in my place and show me how AWEsome He is, and to show me ways that I can get to where I need to be. And the answers I feel like I've gotten back so far have been pretty simple. I NEED MORE JESUS! In every way possible, I need more of him. And just as John 3:30 states, to get more of him, there must be less of me.

I can't just pray and ask for more of Jesus without doing anything on my end. I have to empty myself to make more room for him. I am praying for a pure + clean heart with the knowledge that my heart is divided. This concept became so real to me after hearing a minister describe that the opposite of a pure heart is a divided heart. I suddenly had this image of my heart:

divided heart

I envisioned a pie chart in the form of a heart with all of the things that I sometimes, even if it's just momentarily, allow to take priority over my relationship with Jesus. I need to empty my heart of my desire for those things over Jesus. I can still enjoy them, but I have to be so careful that they don't begin to override the importance of Jesus in my life! I'm reminded of the quote I blogged about several weeks ago: "Anything you are unwilling to let go of becomes an idol." ANYTHING. Something as simple and innocent as coffee could become an idol if you refused to give it up for the Lord. I don't feel like He's asking me to give up coffee, but if He were just for the sake of testing my faith, I better be able to give it up! So I'm trying to prepare my heart, because I want it to look like this:

pure heart

I want my heart to be ALL FOR JESUS! I don't even want it to momentarily beat for something other than my Savior, Lord, and King!

So in case you hadn't noticed, I changed the name of my blog! It was originally just my name because I couldn't think of anything that was catchy enough and hadn't already been taken. I also wanted my blog name to be meaningful. And upon hearing this scripture I knew it would be my blog name, and my {future} Etsy shop name {RestoringTheJoy}, and my Instagram username {@restoringthejoy}. So this post gave you all of the insight into the name change!

An Endlessly Misinterpreted Scripture

FaithJessica Scheks3 Comments

About a week or so ago I read this post by Lori over at Always Learning. She was talking about contentment and spending less because materials goods have no value -- eternally speaking. She mentioned a verse that I constantly see on Pinterest, that is sometimes posted on Facebook when someone is going through a trial, and is quoted by many in the Christian world. The problem is that people always quote the NIV {this post is not intended to debate which version is the best} instead of the KJV. I've always been taught that the KJV is closer to the original translation and I often use the Strong's KJV concordance while studying to really help me understand a verse better since some of the vocabulary is rarely used anymore or used differently in this day and age.

The verse is Jeremiah 29:11 -- you have probably heard it quoted this way many times:

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'"

However Lori quoted it from the KJV Bible and it takes on an entirely different feeling and meaning:

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

{I'm sure I've read this scripture a dozen or so times in the KJV Bible, but it never really struck me until today.}

Now I didn't mean to be super harsh by crossing out the first version of this scripture, but the world tends to interpret this verse very incorrectly when read from this version. They believe that God has a very specific plan for them filled with only good things; they will never be harmed and no matter what they will always have a hope for eternity.

First off -- this scripture is about the Israelites as a whole, it's definitely not directed towards one specific individual, but rather a large nation. People today take it is a promise that God will specifically make sure no harm comes their way as an individual. But by reading more of the Bible we know that trials are going to come our way. Just because we are going through a trial does not mean God has forsaken us! Psalm 34:19 tells us that "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them ALL!" {Emphasis mine.}

I feel like to continue this post I'm going to have to mention the concept of predestination >> Personally I believe that God predestines certain events, certain jobs for certain people, etc. But I do not believe that He predestines every aspect of every person's life. If He did it seems to me that we would not have free will, or the ability to make choices. My two main "arguments" are that first of all, God has given us the ability to make choices because we have the ability to sin. But if God predestined every single decision we made, then when we did sin would it be God's fault? I think we know the answer. It definitely would not be God's fault. Secondly, if God knew the outcome of everything then praying would be pointless. In Mark 7:25-30, the Syrophoenician Woman changed the mind of God by asking Jesus a second question in order to have the demon driven out of her daughter. If it were predestined that Jesus would not heal her daughter, then her asking a second question and persisting that her daughter be healed wouldn't have changed anything.

Something else that we need to consider is the fall of mankind -- we failed. Therefore we have a curse on this earth which explains much of the evil and sickness that we must endure. If we had not fallen, death would not be a fear of humans because we were not made to die. But mankind decided to sin; it was a decision, and now we have to live with the consequences.

Taking all of this into consideration will tell you that, yes, Christians along with everyone else in the world will go through trials and suffer at some point, but we also have a hope that the rest of the world doesn't have -- That if we continue to walk with God while we're being tested we will come forth as gold! (Job 23:10)

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" // Romans 8:1-3

Jesus made us free! He suffered to make us free. He suffered. He sinlessly suffered to make sinners free. {There is no greater love!} But this means we will also suffer, but we will suffer for Christ's sake! Suffering for Jesus seems like the least I could do since he did everything for me and yet I feel unworthy even to suffer in his name let alone be blessed.

And even though this scripture doesn't mean what so many believers think it means, it doesn't take any of the glory from our God! He does know you personally, after all He created you. He formed you. He is YOUR {personal, loving, all-knowing, amazing, graceful, merciful} GOD!

 

Simplifying and Glorifying

FaithJessica Scheks2 Comments

"Anything you are unwilling to let go of [in life] becomes an idol."

This quote by Lisa Vischer {Wife of Phil Vischer who is one of the creators of Veggie Tales} really resonated with me when I heard her interviewed on Moody Radio last week. Like many Christians I've made the goal of reading my Bible through for the year 2015. But I'm reading the Bible prayerfully this year. I'm not going in any order -- just making sure I read at least four chapters a day. And so far I've seen some themes in my reading that I think God is using to show me ways I need to change in order to glorify Him more and more. You can tell God is trying to get a hold of you when you've just had too many experiences to consider it a coincidence. And through all of this, I think God has given me a couple of "themes" for 2015:

C  O  N  T  E  N  T  M  E  N  T

It's something I never gave too much thought. I knew that I shouldn't be blowing my whole paycheck at Target and that I should be thankful for what I had as opposed to bitter for what I didn't have yet still wanted. But this year the Lord keeps placing experiences across my path and daily scriptures and blog posts to read about being content//not being materialistic//being a minimalist//not spending unnecessary money//etc. I am really coming to realize how unimportant it is to buy things.

I have always been a shopper, which is surprising because my mom is definitely not and never has been-- so where did I get it from? But lately {and thankfully} I get that naggy feeling of guilt when I buy things that are not truly needed. I'm pretty sure that naggy feeling of guilt is conviction. As I've done my daily Bible reading so far this year, I've come across so many verses about being content and not wanting more. Perhaps it's because contentment is a big topic of the Bible anyways so it's mentioned quite frequently? But nonetheless, it's really sticking out to me this year and impacting me and the way I want to live.

Along with contentment I need to mention another word. It's like a sister word to contentment. And that word is:

S  I  M  P  L  I  C  I  T  Y

I have had a growing desire this year to really simplify my life. To get rid of clutter, purge out my closet, to keep things tidy, and to eliminate distractions. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I just really want to be intentional in every aspect of my life. And this hasn't been the easiest journey so far. It's hard for a lifelong hoarder of things to get rid of all of her things. But here is what I've done so far:

  • Michael and I did the Daniel Fast at the beginning of January to pray for family in desperate need of prayer and to start off on a clean slate for the year.
  • "Cleaned" out my closet - I'll have to go through it again because I came up with a lot of excuses for items that I probably should have donated.
  • My Gold Card anniversary at Starbucks sort of snuck up on me this year - since we were fasting for most of January I was unable to get Starbucks. I needed 20 stars in less than 15 days.. I tried at first. But I realized it wasn't going to happen and I'm okay. I feel like this is God telling me that this "award" is pointless in eternity and unnecessary on this earth.
  • I've kept our apartment much cleaner than I have in the past.
  • I deleted my Facebook app from my phone because I was spending way too much time on it. WAY too much time. And I've loved it - I feel like my mind feels less cluttered because there's so much less clutter from other people's lives filling up my brain.
  • I rearranged the apps on my phone -- My home page is now blank. The second page only has necessary apps {i.e. alarm, calendar, weather, settings, etc} along with my Bible and music apps {which I only use for spiritual music}. The next page has utility apps and other things I occasionally use, and the last page is where you will find my social media apps (Gmail, Instagram, Pinterest, FB Messenger, Buzzfeed, and Timehop) and my games. I purposely made them less accessible. I've found that when my Instagram app isn't glaring at me, vying for my attention as soon as I unlock my phone, I tend to use it less.
  • I have tried to wake up early to spend time with God. I am terrible at this. I love my sleep and I feel so cozy when I wake up that this has by far been the biggest struggle I've had while trying to simplify my life.
  • I've tried to limit my intake of media in general, including TV. Especially TV that doesn't glorify the Lord. I feel like this helps to simplify my mind. My mind is not a trash can, therefore I'm not filling it with trash.

And there have been many scriptures that have convicted me as well, here are just some of them:

  • Job 1:21 "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
  • Psalm 49:17 "For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him."
  • Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
  • Psalm 62:10 "...if riches increase, set not your heart upon them."
  • Psalm 101:3 "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me."
  • Ecclesiastes 3:6 "A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;"
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10 "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity."
  • Ecclesiastes 5:15 "As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand."
  • Daniel 1:8, 15 "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself...And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat."
  • Daniel 6:27 "He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."
  • Ephesians 5:16 "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
  • Colossians 3:2 "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
  • Colossians 3:23 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;"
  • 1 Timothy 2: 9-10 "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But {which becometh women professing godliness} with good works."
  • 1 Timothy 6:6-8 "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
  • 2 Timothy 2:16 "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness."
  • 2 Peter 2:7-9 "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of the temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"

That's a lot of scriptures for one blog post - but the overarching theme from them all is that God always provides! You don't need to worry about anything if you have food and clothes. And to keep your mind pure, which means staying away from impure things.

Going back to the quote from the beginning of my post, it really made me think about what I hold near and dear in my life and if I'd be able to get rid of them if I felt led by the Lord. Some of those things include Starbucks, Target and Marshall's shopping trips, Panera Bread, Parenthood, my iPhone, cute clothes, makeup, and the list could go on and on. I don't think these things are bad, and definitely do not consider them to be a sin -- but I had never thought about the things I loved before in this way. They would all become a sin if I chose them over the Lord because I would be unwilling to give them up even though He asked me to. And it makes it even more clear to me that nothing on this earth matters except for the people. I have to be willing to give up any of these things for the Lord, and even if I had to, it would seem like a couple seconds of my life once I got to eternity. It would no longer seem like a burden or even something worth thinking about once I'm standing in front of my Lord on the other side <3

It's only the beginning of February, I have eleven months to go. But I am really trying to "redeem the time" and to be intentional about every part of my day so that I can make the most of it.

We Are Not Above Anyone's Sin

FaithJessica Scheks3 Comments

A couple weeks ago I was driving home listening to Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. The topic immediately caught my interest as it was sort of a taboo topic to discuss in the Christian world and I had also just finished reading the novel And The Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers. (Which I highly recommend!)

{First let me preface this post by saying that this topic did not appeal to me because it is something I've gone through or have watched someone else go through. However, it is very intriguing to hear how other Christians have gotten through something so terrible.}

The topic was marital affairs. Jill Savage and her husband were on the show discussing the experience they endured and the steps they had taken to save their marriage afterwards. You can read their story here if you'd like, but I'm not going into too much detail about it in this post.

What left a lasting impression in my mind after listening to the program was something a caller had said. A woman called in to share her experience: Her husband had cheated on her, she was a Christian and he was a "Christian" (aka: He didn't walk the walk, but said he believed in God sort of thing). When she found out about the affair she was shocked and completely distraught; feeling like her world was caving in. Thankfully she had a solid group of Christian women who went through the experience with her - listening when she needed to talk and giving advice when she asked for it. She said the one piece of advice that helped her decide to try and fight for her marriage was short and simple, but it made a big enough of an impact on her that she chose to stay and work things out. Her friend simply told her:

"You are not above his sin." 

When she took that advice to heart and applied it to her marriage, it didn't mean that things instantly turned around. It was a huge struggle for her. But thankfully, upon being found out, her husband turned to Christ more than he ever had in the past. He turned his life over to God and repented and had a deep sorrow for what he had done to his wife. I can't imagine how much harder it would have been for her had he not.

But then she went on to say that she is now the thankful one that her husband stuck by her side because for two years she wasn't the easiest person to live with. She made life very hard for her husband, and looking back she couldn't believe he stayed through it all - which shows that he had a true salvation experience! It just amazed me to hear that as her and her husband started to get on the other side of this trial and she looked back over the experience, she began to realize how blessed she was that he stayed for the way she treated him on a daily basis.

Many callers also said that looking back, they wouldn't change what they had gone through now that they had mostly gotten past it... Which is a pretty powerful thing to say because no one would wish for an affair in their marriage.

The message I got from listening to this radio segment has really stuck in my mind the past few days as I interact with others. There hasn't been huge fights or drama-filled conversations, but even the little things that annoy me or when someone close to me does something I find to be extremely irritating, I have to remember that I AM NOT ABOVE THEIR SIN. The mere fact that I get so annoyed and irritated shows that I'm definitely not above their sin. And it's amazing how quickly you can forget that fact in the midst of something -- Lord help me not to forget! Fill my heart with love for those around me so that I can respond with compassion and glorify You in all that I do. I am reminded of the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians when I reflect on all of this because charity is so important; if I don't have charity I have nothing.

love//My photo was edited on VRSLY//

So even if an affair is not something you are going through, I would still encourage you to read Jill Savage's blog posts about how her and her husband worked to save their marriage. They just recently did a series titled "No More Perfect Marriages" where her and her husband took turns sharing about their experiences before, during, and after the affair they endured. I feel like it's a lesson to all Christians despite whether or not they've had to deal with an affair because it's very hard to love someone at their absolute worst -- especially when they've done something so painful towards you.

The Modesty Struggle

FaithJessica ScheksComment

MODESTY

I saw this quote on Pinterest today and it really resonated with me. It made me think back to the times where I struggled with dressing modestly and how frustrated I would become when all I wanted to do was slip on a pair of my old jeans on a freezing Ohio winter day.

I only gave into the "desires of my flesh" twice. We were at my grandma's for Christmas in 2010, so only several months since I had decided to always wear skirts or dresses, and there was a lot of family cramped into a tiny house. I was getting a little overheated in my knee-length jean skirt and for some reason I had it in my head that I would really cool off if I changed into the pair of jeans I had brought with me. So I changed. I can't remember how changing affected my temperature, but I remember feeling like a fake. And I just felt depleted; sort of like how you feel when you vow to yourself that you're not going to commit a certain sin in your life, but then you find yourself giving in. And afterwards you have none of the pleasure you thought that decision would bring you.

That feeling I had after changing into jeans at my grandma's was enough to give me motivation to resolve to never do that again. But sometime within the next year or so, I found myself in another situation. I lived in co-ed dorms (but we each had a private bathroom, so it wasn't as sketchy as it sounds) and I had the mindset that the dormitory building was like my house, so wearing  sweatpants around was acceptable. But this time I had to run to the little market directly behind my dorm to get a snack. It was late - I'd already showered and changed into comfy clothes and I fought with myself over whether or not I should go down in sweatpants.

Even though I felt like I shouldn't, I told myself that I'd be really fast, so it didn't matter. So down I went- when I reached the ground floor I went to turn the corner and was stopped with the vision of who I thought was my friend Christa walking by in a floor length jean skirt. She had a green coat on (just like Christa) and brown hair that was cut (just like Christa and rules out many Pentecostal women who do not cut their hair). It was past 9:00 and I was so startled to see her that at first I jumped back behind a wall because I felt ashamed. But then I thought to myself, "It's Christa! She won't care..." So I started walking again and called out her name. She didn't turn around so then I grew very curious of who this skirt wearing person was. I really had to quicken my pace to catch up with her but she walked out the doors before I could. When I walked out I didn't see her anywhere (and you can only turn left or right). Then I felt really convicted.

I am definitely not saying that I saw an angel, or had a vision from the Lord. Maybe I did... I guess I won't know that for awhile. But whoever it was, angelic or not, was enough to convict me for good. Now I know that the desire to dress immodestly at times is not worth how I will feel afterwards. Generally my desire stems from laziness; I just want to wear sweatpants or jeans. But occasionally when I see a girl in real life or on Pinterest with leggings on, the cutest tunic-y top I've ever seen, super cute booties, an infinity scarf, and an adorable vest... I become a little jealous because I know that the outfit could not be pulled off with a knee-length (or longer) skirt.

So this quote captures my feelings to a T! And I'm here to tell you that dressing modestly is sometimes a struggle for me, just like any sin or temptation I have to deal with is. It was not a "one and done" type of decision for me when I decided to dress more modestly. For awhile it was a pretty constant struggle. When I first decided that I was going to wear skirts I felt sick - it was a scary choice to make. And I made the choice publicly so it felt like there was no turning back...was it something I'd regret in a couple years? Could I really see myself for the rest of my life wearing skirts?

To clarify, I am definitely NOT saying that if you are a woman and wear pants that you are sinning. Dressing modestly requires very personal decisions and interpretations that is only between you and God. It is a decision that I think should only be made based on inspiration you find from the Lord. It shouldn't be something that you do to please others, and it should be a personal belief that you hold in your heart. But it isn't something you should ignore altogether, either. I think it is something you should take to the Lord and ask Him what He wants from you. Ask the Lord to guide you and to show you what pleases Him. Even if you have a certain pair of pants or a shirt that you sometimes question yourself when you wear it, ask God.

>> A word of advice, though, I have found that if you are already questioning it, you've kind of answered the question for yourself. And sometimes you have to give something up and say to yourself, "This struggle/question I have just isn't worth it when it comes to eternity." And leave it at that.

So with my "disclaimer" that you just read, I would now like to say something that some may find to be a bit controversial. But I'm going to say it anyways. And really, this is only for those who have already made a decision in their life to dress more modestly than they have in the past.

Choosing to dress modestly is just like choosing to wait to be intimate in marriage, or choosing not to gossip. It's not a one time decision, but one that you have to make over and over again. Especially towards the beginning of your modest journey. If you feel the Lord telling you in your life to dress modestly that's a pretty serious thing. If you vowed to the Lord that you would dress modestly for Him, that's a pretty serious thing. I have felt that calling on my life, I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say it's a "commandment" in my walk with God, but I'm also not going to say that it isn't. I feel very convicted to dress modestly - and to not do what the Lord is telling me to do sounds like sin to me.

>>If you have genuinely sought the Lord about dressing modestly and you have found that you still feel like it's okay for you to wear pants then I think you've done your job (but revisit the subject from time to time - don't dismiss it for life).

It is only sin if you feel or even know that you should be dressing more modestly and don't.

Sometimes modesty has to start on the outside, which means that your thoughts aren't always modest - You hunger for a comfortable pair of jeans or for some comfy yoga pants on a lazy day. But I can tell you from experience, that eventually your thoughts begin to change. You begin to realize how good it feels to dress modestly and please the Lord. And as your thoughts change, that means your heart is changing and your thoughts and mind are being clothed in modesty as well.

If modesty started purely on the inside for you, then you should be praising the Lord. If you just had a desire to give up dressing worldly and were happy to do it, then you should be praising the Lord! Because for me (and for my friends) it was not that easy. It was kind of like we had one foot standing in the world, and one foot standing in the Kingdom; we wanted to please God and we had an inkling that dressing modestly was what we should do... but it was hard to give up. And you kind of have to go cold turkey - you can't wear "worldly patches" to help you wean off immodest articles of clothing, you just have to give it up. It's a sacrifice. You are giving your temple to the Lord to use for His glory, and you should be giving it cheerfully, not begrudgingly!

This October it will be FIVE years of dressing modestly for me! As you have read, it wasn't always easy or fun. Sometimes it was a decision - just like deciding you aren't going to share that really juicy piece of gossip you overheard with your best friend. It can be a hard decision at times, but I have found again and again that there is not one article of clothing on this earth that could possibly come close to compensating for how modesty feels.

Spiritually Closing Avenues

FaithJessica ScheksComment

In the past few months, possibly even a year, I've become increasingly convicted about what I watch and listen to. There were certain shows I had become addicted to that were slightly crude, however I justified watching it because it was funny or the main actor seemed to be like a good person off the screen. Or secular music I listened to that I told myself was okay because it was catchy and the lyrics weren't that bad. But I found myself feeling more and more guilty. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.I had already decided to stay away from R-rated movies, which I think is a pretty common preference among Christians for obvious reasons. But I was feeling the need to purge the things I let enter into my mind even further. I find it really hard to promise myself that I'm going to stop watching a show or listening to a catchy song. So I realized that I had to promise God. In case you were wondering, the show I am specifically referring to is "New Girl" with Zooey Deschanel. The show is hilarious. But there is a lot of sexual content as well as the use of profane language. This show was like my guilty pleasure, but the more I watched, the guiltier I felt.

And based on past experiences in my life, when I'm feeling guilty it's really the Lord working on my heart and convicting me in areas of my life that I need to change in order to glorify Him.

It was a sacrifice to give up that show. But the thought that finally convicted me enough to tell God that I was done with the show was that those ideas and words wouldn't be in my mind if I weren't letting them enter in. Have you ever found yourself repeating a curse word in your mind? Or thinking a thought that you wished had never entered your mind? That's where I found myself. (Side note: New Girl was not the only show I gave up, it was just my favorite, the one I watched the most, and consequently the hardest to give up.) I absolutely hate when words I would never say, or thoughts I hate thinking seem to be on repeat on my mind because I heard it somewhere else. And I realized I was doing it to myself. I was letting it happen.

I personally believe that having these thoughts and words circulating in my mind is just as bad as saying them out loud in God's eyes. The Bible says that if you murder someone in your heart, it's just as bad as murdering them in real life. And if a man is considered to have committed adultery just by looking at a woman and lusting after her, then I'd say thinking a word in my mind is just as bad as saying it out loud.

I have to close the avenues that the devil can use to enter into my life.
I found myself praying and asking God to purify my heart. But how can He do that if I am letting impure thoughts, images, and words enter into my mind? He can't. That part is up to me. So I took a leap of faith, knowing that God would bless me for making that sacrifice, and gave up all R-rated movies, crude or inappropriate shows, secular music, books, et cetera. I am trying to close the avenues, or the paths, that the devil uses to try to get into my life and distract me.
Here is a statement recently made in our Sunday School class at church that I thought was worth sharing: 
You can't help it if a bird flies over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.
At first I was like, "huh?" But then it was explained to me. When bad thoughts enter your mind, you can't help it unfortunately. Sometimes they just pop up, offending your own self that you would even have such a thought. But you do have the power to decide whether you are going to feed and nurture that thought, or if you're going to shoo it away. I think that allowing media of any kind that contains thoughts I wouldn't want to think of myself, is feeding and nurturing those thoughts. I'm inviting them to come build a home in my mind. And if I let those things make their home in my mind and heart, there's less room for God and His Son to have a place because they are being overcrowded. And competing with God is a very scary thing.Choosing not to watch or listen to certain shows, movies, or music is like telling those thoughts that this road is closed; they can't travel down this avenue.
I heard a statement several years ago that has stayed in the back of my mind ever since. It has sort of become my "WWJD" statement in my own life. In a youth class at our church in Louisville, KY, a man said that everything you do should have something to do with eternity. If it doesn't, it's not worth it. That statement alone has guided so many decisions in my life the past couple of years. One little sentence has convicted me on multiple occasions. I ask myself all of the time, does this benefit me? Does this glorify God? Does this please Jesus? Does this have anything to do with eternity?
There are so many things that I find myself getting caught up in, whether it's a TV show, a game on my phone, or browsing Facebook and Instagram for way too long, and then that thought enters my mind.What does this have to do with eternity? I rarely have to answer the question, because if I have to ask the question in the first place that's not a good sign. And once I do, if the answer is nothing to do with eternity, I have that sinking feeling of guilt which answers the question for me. And the sad thing is that sometimes I ignore that feeling and just give into whatever the guilty pleasure is. But when I don't give in, and I stop what I'm doing and open up my Bible, or begin to pray, or pop in a church DVD, or listen to a recording of a Bible study, I NEVER regret it!