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Pressing On

FaithJessica Scheks2 Comments

press on For several weeks it seems like the topic of "pressing on" to touch Jesus keeps appearing in my life. It shows up in songs, messages given in church, and social media.

I just love how much faith this woman had. For twelve long years she suffered with this illness; she tried all sorts of treatments with physicians, she spent all of her money, and not only did she see no improvement, she actually got worse. It had to have been so incredibly discouraging. I imagine that towards the end of those twelve years she was left with little hope. However, little did she know, in the Bible the number twelve often represents completeness.

I think this woman was at the point of discouragement where she was willing to try anything because it seemed like there was nothing left to try. And right as she was getting to this point in her life she heard about Jesus. There were many mixed viewpoints about him during that time, but this woman was at the point where she had nothing left -- no money, no hope. But when she heard that a healer was on his way I imagine her heart bursting with hope once more. I like to think that she was giddy with excitement like a child on Christmas Eve.

I would love to have the faith that this woman had; I hope someday I do. When I first started coming to church it took me several months to begin to have a desire for the Lord in my life. But I think that's because my life was very comfortable; my family never had financial struggles, I had a car, I had good friends, I had never really seen any hardships so I wasn't really looking to be saved out of the life I was living.

But this woman in Mark 5 was desperately seeking a way to hold onto her health. More than anything she wanted to be healed. So to hear that there was a man who could give her exactly what she had been longing for was all she needed. And suddenly there was nothing more in life that she wanted than to find this man. I'm sure it wasn't hard to find Jesus since large crowds followed him.

When that woman finally found Jesus I wonder if she got discouraged for a moment when she saw how busy he was. But she didn't let that be an excuse. She didn't think that maybe other people deserved a healing more. She didn't tell herself that she'd just come back tomorrow. She didn't give up; she pressed through that crowd! And it was still so congested that all she could do was touch his garment. I imagine that many people brushed against Jesus' garment that day and throughout his ministry, but none of the others were desperate enough and filled with enough faith for it to do anything for them.

But this precious woman knew that all she had to do was touch Jesus' garment and she'd be healed. And as soon as she touched it she was healed! And Jesus felt it, he felt virtue leaving his body that he hadn't directed to leave. And so he asked who touched his clothes and his disciples thought he was a little crazy for asking due to the fact that it was so busy, of course someone was bound to accidentally touch him. But Jesus knew better; he knew something miraculous had happened!

And eventually that sweet woman came forward and told him what had happened, and in Mark 5:34, Jesus said, "...Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague."

After twelve excruciating years she was made complete; made whole. If you're in a trying season of life right now look to this woman for encouragement! While her plague did last quite a while, it didn't last forever. God never wastes our pain! When we are going through something, there is a reason for it, we are meant to be learning something, and God wants us to draw closer to Him!

In Jesus name keep pressing on! Press on through heartbreak, hurt feelings, physical illnesses, mental illnesses, and any other discouraging trial you may go through. Because as long as you can still grasp his garment, you will be made whole. That's a promise! Whether you're made whole on this earth or the new earth to come, you will be made whole!

 

This is day 14 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

You Worship What You Listen To

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

I realize that this is a hot topic to talk about and I'm not trying to push any buttons, but it's also too amazing and important not to share. For several years I've felt the guilt of conviction when I listen to worldly music, and now I know why... Music has much more power over us than we give it credit and that is because God created it! So please watch the video before you form your opinions about this post. At the end of this post I've listed some of my favorite quotes from the video as well as a list of my favorite resources for Christian music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pHigLSbvWc

FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE VIDEO: all emphasis added by me

  • "The devil has always used music as a cue to bow."
  • "Music is the only element on the planet that was not made on the planet; music is the only thing in the earth that wasn't made in the earth. Music was made in heaven! It wasn't made here. Everything else we do and manipulate is all earth-made, all earth-formed. Everything you see was made here; the lights, the sheet rock. Everything you see was made here. Music wasn't made here, it was made on a different level; a different plane, and so it operates on a different plane."
  • "God forms the most powerful element on the planet, in music, and God give it one strategic design ... Music only has one function! And that is worship."
  • "How can you separate music from its original intent and design? ... Music is always about worship. Always! The only thing that changes is the content and what you worship."
  • "Whatever the lyrics say is what you worship."
  • "There's a hospital in Toronto right now. They perform one of the most painful surgeries known to mankind and it's a surgery on the femur. Well, in order to give a patient anesthesia for this surgery, the anesthesia almost kills the patient. So in finding a way to get around this, they brought in some scientists and the scientists said, 'You know what we'll do? We'll let the patient listen to fifteen minutes of rock classical music. And after the patient listens to fifteen minutes of classical music, they only require half of the anesthesia.'"
  • "It is scientifically impossible to only listen to the beat! You ingest the words."
  • "We wonder why we can't get behind the preacher when he preaches is because you've allowed the world to preach to you through your earbuds for thirty hours this week. And you expect the preacher to get through to you in an hour? The problem is we're spending more time worshiping the devil, and his thoughts, and ideas, and plans. And we've worshiped the culture all week long through our iPods and our iPhones and our iTunes. And we've worshiped and worshiped and worshiped and then we come in [the church] and we sing songs about Christ and we can't lift our hands and we're wondering, 'Why can't I have freedom of worship?' Because you've given out all of your worship. You've worshiped all week long."
  • "Jay-Z starts his concerts by saying, 'Put your hands up! I'm the J to the E to the H to the O to the V to the A to the H.' Jehovah; he calls himself Jehovah. And he says, 'Put your hands up!' And they do it."
  • "When you hear the sound of music you bow down."
  • "Turn the music off and you won't bow!"
  • "Get you some Jesus music and worship him all week long!"

 

FAVORITE CHRISTIAN MUSIC:

 

This is day 13 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

The Power of the Cross

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

{I had a super busy weekend and was unable to post for day 9, 10, and 11 of #Write31Days. My church hosted a youth meeting and I kept 6 people in our tiny apartment. It was an amazing weekend but also extremely exhausting!}

So enough excuses. Today I'm sharing about the most miraculous salvation story I've ever heard! My friend Christa told me about it over the weekend. This is going to be a pretty short post, but you will finish reading it with no doubt in your mind that God is REAL! So here is the story...

A man was on a swim team and one of his teammates often talked about becoming a Christian to him but he just had no interest. I'm not sure how long this went on but it sounds like his friend was pretty persistent.

So after hearing about Jesus for however long, this young man went to practice diving one evening at the pool. He was all alone and the moonlight shining in through the windows provided enough light that he didn't turn on the lights. He was going to do a backwards dive and as he raised both hands up to prepare to dive he saw that his shadow formed a cross and suddenly he had an overwhelming feeling to get down on his knees and pray!

This man gave his life to God on that diving board! Soon after a janitor walked in and asked what he was doing. Unbeknownst to this young man, the pool had been drained earlier that day. If he would've dove off that board he most likely would have died. And he realized even more how REAL God is!

This story just gives me chills and is such an amazing reminder that God is always there. He always knows where we are. If we reach up to Him He will always reach down to us. He is never going to leave us hanging without an answer. HE IS SO GOOD!

This is day 12 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

Love One Another

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

  heart leaves LOVE one anotherRecently my pastor said that "one another" is a principle in the Bible. So I searched that phrase in my Bible and it's all over the place and I thought I'd do a little study on it!

First off, when you search the phrase "one another" in the KJV Bible, you get 53 results, 39 of which are in the New Testament. Some verses are telling you how to treat one another while others are describing how not to treat one another. For now I think I'll just focus on ways we are called to treat one another.

O N E  A N O T H E R Listed below are 19 verses that contain the phrase "one another." Since the KJV Bible uses language that is sometimes hard to understand, I've added in notes, definitions, and some of my thoughts while reading!

"If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet." -John 3:14 We are to be like Jesus and he washed his disciples' feet. To me, this shows a sign of respect and also forces us to have humility. I once heard that the servant who was designated to wash the feet had the lowliest job, and yet Jesus chose to do it. He chose to do something that no one expected him to do. And that's another aspect of this verse; we need to do things for each other that are unexpected. Don't just do what is asked; but go out of your way to show your brother or sister in Christ that you love and respect them.

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;" -Romans 12:10 Philostorgos is the Greek word that was originally used  for "affectioned," and interestingly it was the only time this word was ever used in the Bible. It means: tenderly loving, kindly affectionate to. It's the devoted kind of love that family members share; the special affection shared between members of God's family – people who are born again (divinely adopted) and serving the same (heavenly) Father.

In the second part of the verse, we are told to "prefer" one another. The original word used means to be a leader. We are called to set good examples to our family (and to the world), always exhibiting proper behavior. I've also heard someone interpret this verse to mean that we should prefer our brothers and sisters over ourselves.

"Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." -Romans 14:13 The first part of this verse is seemingly straightforward: Don't judge because you are incapable of righteously judging someone. Instead of judging, worry about yourself -- make sure you aren't causing your brother or sister to fall by encouraging them to sin or involving them in your own sin.

"Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God." -Romans 15:7 To receive our brother or sister in Christ means to welcome them. And not just a weak welcome, but showing personal interest and letting them know that you truly care and are glad they are a part of your life. Make it personal; don't just be generic. Christ couldn't have made it any more personal for us when he died on the cross. He sacrificed himself. Sometimes we have to sacrifice ourselves. Personally, I am often shy, sometimes I click really well with someone I've just met, but it's usually slightly uncomfortable for me. However, I am called to receive my brothers and sisters, so I need to lay aside my fears and be welcoming. We are called to treat each other just as Jesus treated people. How do you think Jesus received people?

"And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." -Romans 15:14 To admonish means to warn, counsel, or exhort. We are never supposed to judge and condemn people, but we should always be discerning for the truth. When you genuinely see that a brother or sister is doing something you believe is causing harm to them you can start by praying for them and eventually, if needed, you can gently pull them aside to discuss how you're worried about them.

"Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you." -Romans 16:16 "All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss." -1 Corinthians 16:20 "Greet one another with an holy kiss." -2 Corinthians 13:12 "Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen." -1 Peter 5:14 To salute means to welcome and greet one another or to pay respect to someone. This seems pretty general, but to me, it reminds me to be friendly. The joy of Christ should be overflowing so that others can see we are different. People will be attracted to Christ only to the extent that they see Christ in us. As far as the kiss goes, it's not common anymore, but at the time this was written it was a way to show brotherly affection as you were coming and going. However it is a holy kiss, it was not romantic. Holy means to be set apart, sacred, and of God. When we greet each other today, we don't have to kiss because honestly that just freaks me out a little bit, but we can still greet each other in a holy way - the Christ in me should be mingling with the Christ in others.

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." -Galatians 5:13 I love this scripture because without knowing the context and understanding who Jesus is and what he did for us, it sounds very contradictory. The beginning of the verse says we've been called unto liberty. Liberty means freedom, the Greek word originally used was often used to describe freedom from slavery. We are free from being a slave to sin, however now we have the privilege to serve one another or be each other's slaves. The Greek word originally used was doulos, which means to be a bondservant to Jesus Christ. Knowing what Christ did for us should humble us enough to want to serve each other out of love.

For more about this topic of serving, check out a series Nancy Leigh DeMoss did on the Revive Our Hearts radio program. It's called "Serving Like the Savior" and it truly transformed the way I view serving my brothers and sisters!

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2 To "bear" means to carry or take away and a burden is a weight that carries personal and eternal significance. We often see our brothers and sisters going through trials that we can't imagine having to go through ourselves and many times they truly look like they are being weighed down by something. It is our duty to raise their arms and earnestly and fervently pray for that individual to help lift some of the burden. Christ bore all of our burdens on the cross and now we must bear the burdens of others if we are to be Christ-like.

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;" -Ephesians 4:2 Lowliness: humility, modesty Meekness: mildness, gentleness, kindness Longsuffering: patience, forbearance Forbearing: endure, bear with, have patience with, suffer, admit, persist

This verse is packed with instruction. When we forbear our brothers and sisters and help bear their burdens, we must enter into that carefully. We can't come in to help thinking we're better and more experienced, therefore qualified to help. We also can't come in feeling sorry for ourselves or angry with someone. We have to be humble; aware that it's Christ in us seeking to do good and not our own works. A gentle and patient approach is needed as well. Think about how patient God is with us as we continually fail each day!

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." -Ephesians 4:32 To be tenderhearted means that you're merciful and compassionate, which is exactly what's needed in order to truly forgive.

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." -Colossians 3:13 When we forbear one another we have patience with one another. A quarrel is any fault or complaint you may have towards someone, but we are called to forbear one another and have patience, suffer a little bit for your brother or sister's sake and forgive them.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." -Colossians 3:16 To let the word of Christ dwell in you richly means it dwells in you abundantly and that means it is plentiful or a large portion! It is to take up most of our being. And it's not just memorized words, it is words that bring life and motivate you to live like Christ. The more we allow Christ's word to dwell in us the more easily we can teach and admonish (warn, counsel, exhort) one another. Singing spiritual songs is needed, but I think if you go a little deeper it's also saying that we are to tune our hearts to God's and His will for us.

"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." -1 Thessalonians 4:18 What words? The 18th verse is the last verse in the chapter so you have to read at least all of 1 Thessalonians 4 (or even the entire book) to understand the context. Beginning at 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Paul began to describe the return of Jesus. He was reminding the church of the Thessalonians to not get too upset about death because we have a hope! Jesus will return to take his Bride away. We can use these words today to comfort our brothers and sisters who are struggling and discouraged.

Sometimes I wish that Christians talked about this more openly because this is one of the main reasons we are always able to have joy! There is nothing better to think about than Jesus coming back for us, not only does it comfort us to think about, but it encourages us to keep striving towards holiness so that we can be a Bride member.

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." -1 Thessalonians 5:11 The Greek word originally used for "edify" was oikodomeó, which translates to: to build a house. I love that definition because we are called to build each other up. When I think of building a house there are so many different and specific aspects to it. There are the big things like foundation and structure, and in general we are called to be kind to one another and have a good foundation of friendship. But there are also tons of little things, like picking out the hardware for your kitchen cabinets -- we are also called to do little things to edify each other. Going out of your way to do something nice for a friend. As the saying goes, sometimes it's the little things. Getting an encouraging card at the right time didn't take much time or effort for the person to send, but the person who received it might remember it forever because it was exactly what they needed to get through that time in their life. And finally, when building a house, things are bound to go wrong, and sometimes we have to go back and fix and repair things. In order to continue to edify one another we have to constantly evaluate the relationship, if you want to grow a relationship you have to build the foundation, if your friend seems down you try to uplift them, if you've offended them you have to ask for forgiveness.

"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." -Hebrews 3:13 The Greek word originally used for "exhort" is parakaleó, which means to send for, summon, invite, entreat, encourage, comfort, and console. And the thing that really jumps out at me in this verse is the word daily. It's not just when you feel like it; we are to do this every single day. Don't put things off for another day; if you are thinking of someone then get in touch with them today, don't wait for tomorrow. When you reach out to others it can be humbling, but in the end it always makes you feel good. I'm not sure I've ever heard someone say they regret reaching out to someone; even if their efforts were not well-received, they usually still feel good about it because they feel as if they've done their part.

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." -Hebrews 10:24-25 We must carefully consider and discern our brothers and sisters. How are my actions affecting those around me? Are my actions provoking my friends to do good things? The first thing that comes to my mind about this is gossiping or bragging. Talking about others to a friend and getting them to talk negatively with you is the opposite of this verse. Having a self-righteous spirit or bragging about your accomplishments can also provoke your friend to some not-so-good works, or at least thoughts. Even just bringing up something that is upsetting to them, such as talking about having children to a woman who can't is something we need to constantly be thinking about and considering.

When we come together in church or in fellowship we should be exhorting each other! As I mentioned earlier, it's the Christ in me fellowshipping with the Christ in you. I feel so refreshed after a church meeting or hanging out with friends and having spiritually encouraging conversations. It truly refreshes my soul! And as the world waxes worse and worse our souls will begin to crave this more and more.

L O V E   O N E   A N O T H E R Things of significance are repeated in the Bible and the phrase "love one another" is used 11 times alone! While the 19 verses listed above do not directly say to love one another, they are giving us specific ways to show love one toward another! Christ loved us by dying for us; we must die to ourselves to show love to our brothers and sisters.

  • "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." -John 13:34 "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." -John 15:12
  • "These things I command you, that ye love one another." -John 15:17
  • "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." -Romans 13:8
  • "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." -1 Thessalonians 4:9
  • "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart." -1 Peter 1:22
  • "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." -1 John 3:11
  • "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." -1 John 3:23
  • "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." -1 John 4:7
  • "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." -1 John 4:11-12
  • "And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another." -2 John 1:5

 

This is day 8 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

kat lee So this is definitely not my original idea. But I heard Kat Lee talking about this amazing research she's done in Episode 27 of The Happy Hour podcast with Jamie Ivey and I had to share it today. In this episode Kat Lee was the guest and spoke about how fearfully and wonderfully made we all are. 

She began by talking about the Strengthsfinder test. I was going to take it but it costs $15 and I didn't really feel like paying that much to take a test. I found a free version here, but it says that your results may not match up to what they'd be on the actual Strengthsfinder test, so keep that in mind. However I took it and here are my top five strengths in case you care:

  1. Group Relations People who are with the Group Relations talent enjoy close relationships with others; finding deep satisfaction in working hard together with friends to achieve a goal.
  2. Integrator People with the Integrator talent are accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out, and make efforts to include them.
  3. Potential Cultivator People with the Potential Cultivator talent recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They can spot and get satisfaction with the signs of small improvement.
  4. Believing People with the Believing talent have certain core values that are unchanging. From these values emerges a defined purpose in life.
  5. Understand Others People with the Understand Others talent can sense feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or situations.

When I first read my top five strengths I wasn't so sure, but after reading the description of each strength I realized it seemed to decently accurate. They aren't all strengths I would have necessarily attributed to myself, but I can see it. The whole point of the test is to identify your strengths so that you can cultivate them and make them stronger.

{Before you go any further I suggest you take the time to take the real $15 test or the free fake test to find out what your dominant talents are! The free fake test is still pretty awesome. I can't tell you how it compares to the real $15 test since I've never taken it, but it's over 100 questions where you have to rate yourself. Then the results are very comprehensive; if you click on "view detailed report" it will tell you how your talents rank in the 34 possible areas. Each talent is described and you can even watch a video describing each one.}

So back to the podcast, Kat Lee was talking about this test and the statistics behind it. I have a feeling that Kat is really smart because I can't imagine doing all of this research myself just to know.

But essentially, for anyone to have the same top five strengths as you, the odds are something like one in 300,000. Then the odds of anyone having the same top five in the same order are one in 33 million. So then the odds of anyone having all 34 strengths the same in the same order is a number with like 36 zeroes behind it.

She then went on to say that approximately 107 billion people have ever existed on the earth. And according to scientists, earth is well past its half life because eventually the earth will be too warm for human inhabitants. So theoretically, since earth is past its half life, there will never be more than approximately 200 billion people alive on earth. And 200 billion is a fraction of that number with 36 zeroes behind it.

So basically that means, that when God created YOU [insert your name], He created ONLY you to fulfill a very specific person that no one in the history of time could ever do it the way you do it. No one who is ever to come could fulfill this thing the way that He very specifically and uniquely made you to do it. -Kat Lee

Kat is just so inspirational, you should definitely check out her website! She founded Inspired to Action and had this to say about living intentionally: "God made us on purpose so I want to live on purpose. And if I'm going to live on purpose I want to start my day on purpose and I need to know what that purpose is so I need to spend time with God. And then I want my day to reflect my purpose so I plan my day and I want the energy to fulfill my purpose, so I want to make healthy choices."

So. Good. Hopefully you find this post to be as inspiring as I did!

 

This is day 7 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

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.

I'm So Thankful

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

The following is a testimony I wrote out several years ago on February 10, 2013: image

This morning while I was getting ready for church I kept getting frustrated: I tried on at least four different outfits and every time I looked in the mirror my hair was sticking up again. By the time I got in my car I was running late and just annoyed. Then I was stopped at a red light, and as usual, a homeless person was holding a sign on the corner. I saw the car stopped next to her roll down their window and hand her some cash and a bag from McDonalds. The homeless woman sat down and couldn't seem to open her bag of food quickly enough and then she inhaled the breakfast sandwich. She might have even finished it by the time the light turned green. But I realized right away that God was putting me in check; I was upset this morning because I couldn't find an outfit because I have too much to choose from. I was upset with my hair even though I am able to wash it everyday and buy endless products to use on it. BUT I wasn't hungry, and I have NEVER been hungry because I couldn't find anything to eat; I've never had absolutely nothing in my fridge. When I say, "I'm hungry and there's nothing to eat," it's because I'm being picky and choose not to eat what I have. And the entire way to church I just kept thanking God for all that I have! There has never been something I truly needed like water, food, warm clothes, or shelter that wasn't given to me. Once you really start to think about all of the blessings in your life, the list grows exponentially. We need to be thankful 100% of the time! We are all so blessed. It is so easy to become discontented with your life, but there are people who are much worse off. Right now, there are most likely people praying for something that you already have. And I just thanked the Lord for everything i could think of. Because at least for me, I know I sometimes jump into the things that I need when I pray, and I don't really take time to thank Him. I couldn't go an hour without Jesus. Sometimes when we pray we focus on the negatives. We need healed from this and strength for that. But God also sees the good in us; He did purchase us after all!

I still remember this day pretty vividly. For quite some time I've been meaning to type it out and post it because it was such an experience for me at the time. I remember feeling so bad for being so upset over such ridiculous things that just don't matter.

Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!

 

This post is part of the #Write31Days challenge I'm participating in for the month of October in 2015. Click here to find a list of every post!

Binge Listening to The Happy Hour Podcast

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

This is day 3 of the #Write31Days challenge. To read previous posts in the challenge you can go here. Do you listen to podcasts? If not you definitely need to start! I've only every listened to faith-based podcasts, but I've been hearing about all types of genres that I want to eventually give a shot. I'm not really sure how common this is, but once I find a podcast I like, I "binge listen" to it. And currently I am binge listening to Jamie Ivey's podcast, The Happy Hour! Jamie is just so real and I honestly feel like we're friends... sometimes I have to remind myself that she has no idea that I exist. And she is the reason that I'm participating in this writing challenge because she is doing a 31 day series on podcasting currently.

I only found her podcast about two or three weeks ago, but I'm already on episode number 27! I literally find myself laughing out loud while listening, I've also cried as her guests often share deeply moving and personal thoughts, and I always feel inspired after listening to an episode (or three).

I thought I'd share one of my favorite moments from The Happy Hour so far:

Episode 23 with Becca Harris & Maris Bush. This is the episode I've cried the hardest in. Like ugly cry. Both Becca and Maris are involved in the foster care system and have adopted children through that system.

First off I want to touch on the fact that before listening to this episode I clearly didn't know much about foster care. The number one and most important thing I didn't know about foster care is that the primary goal of foster care is reunification. I had never taken the time to really think about foster care, so I'm not even sure what I used to think, I was just simply unaware.

I feel like many people equate foster care with adoption and with terrible parents. But both Becca and Maris said otherwise; many of the parents are great people who unfortunately hit a rough patch but are working like crazy to get their children back. And while you do fall in love with the kids you are fostering, your prayer is that they can be reunited with their family, as heartbreaking as that can be for you.

Also let me preface this by saying that before I began listening to The Happy Hour I had never been challenged to really consider adoption. Pretty early on, one of the guests or perhaps Jamie herself described how badly she wanted to adopt but her husband wasn't on board yet. BUT GOD, in His perfect timing, gave her husband an experience one day allowing him to feel what it was like to be an orphan. For a moment or two it was like God let him experience how heartbreaking it is to be an orphan. I'm sitting in a Panera right now typing this trying not to cry because when that was shared I didn't think much of it, but while listening to Becca and Maris, it finally hit me. And that's when the ugly cry started.

Maris was talking about two little girls that she fostered and just fell in love with. She only had them for forty days, but she could barely keep it together on the podcast as she recounted the experiences she had with those girls who had been reunited with their family ten days prior to recording the podcast. Jamie asked Maris what it was like the day they had to give the girls back so they could go home because Maris and her husband were a representation of the gospel that day to the family of these little girls.

I just wanted [the family] to know that they were loved, that they were absolutely loved like crazy from the moment they stepped in our [lives]. And wouldn't you want that for your kids, to know that a family loved your kids when they've been in a really tough spot? And so they were extremely grateful and they saw the pain that we had sending them back . . . I'm like how many tears do I have in me? Like how long can I keep doing this? But that's a time where we can go back to scripture, and Isaiah 58 says that He will meet us in our scorched places, and right now there are parts of my heart that feel scorched because I have literally poured myself out for these kids and they are gone and I'll probably never see them again. But I have to believe that when we do those things, when we love kids in hard places, He is going to bring peace to our hearts, we'll be like a well-watered garden when we pour ourselves out for these kids who need these things and most days I'm fine, and can look in the mirror and be like 'I'm okay I'm really okay, I'm fine.' I do cry some but I'm okay, and wasn't it worth it to pour myself out for these kids and love these kids? I'm an adult, I'm fine and can do this. I just have to believe that God's gonna keep restoring me when I am stepping out there and doing things for the gospel. I have to really believe that He's going to restore me in that.

I'm sorry for such a long quote but I just LOVE it! Jamie went on to talk about having our perspective on eternity; we're only here for approximately 80 short years. That's barely a noticeable blip on the radar. Do we just want to live an easy life and gain nothing from it? If you lose your life on earth, you'll gain eternal life. And you definitely have to lose some things when you foster children. You lose time, money, you suddenly have to have certified baby sitters, but in the end it's SO worth it.

I have no idea what is in my future. I just know that I want to pour my life out for the Lord! I want to feel like I gave everything I had to give in the areas where God called me when I get to the end of my life!

Be sure to come back tomorrow! I'll be talking about my never-ending journey to get closer to the cross!

#Write31Days Challenge - Getting Closer to the Cross

FaithJessica Scheks14 Comments

I am excited to share that I will be participating in #Write31Days for the month of October! If you look back on my past blog posts you'll see that I've always posted very sporadically, so this is definitely going to be a challenge for me!

closer to the cross

I have chosen to link up to the Inspiration & Faith category and already have several ideas in the works that I hope you'll enjoy! I've titled this series "getting closer to the cross" because that is the journey I am on right now and will be for the rest of my life. Some topics I plan to write about are some details about a devotional I'm designing, dressing modestly, ways I am intentionally getting closer to the cross, and more of my own personal testimony. I also have some lighter topics I might share, and while they aren't spiritual yet I've found that almost all of my posts end up becoming spiritual in some way or another, and the majority of my posts will be very faith-based! If there's a topic you're interested in or you have a question for me, please comment below and it may just inspire a future post!

I love writing about things that inspire me and that I'm passionate about. I'm so excited to push myself to write everyday this month! I know it's going to be hard; I've never done anything like this... but at the same time I think it will be very inspiring for me and hopefully for you, too!

Day 02: Soaking in the Word Day 03: Binge Listening to The Happy Hour Podcast Day 04: I'm So Thankful Day 05: Being Modest Before God Day 06: Why I Wear Skirts Day 07: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Day 08: Love One Another Day 12: The Power of the Cross Day 13: You Worship What You Listen To Day 14: Day 15: Day 16: Day 17: Day 18: Day 19: Day 20: Day 21: Day 22: Day 23: Day 24: Day 25: Day 26: Day 27: Day 28: Day 29: Day 30: Day 31:

My [Modest] Story

FaithJessica Scheks5 Comments

The first thing you need to know is that I married my high school sweetheart on March 22, 2014. We met back in sixth grade {and we both had a crush on each other} but we didn't begin dating until the very end of our sophomore year. formal

And this is where the real story begins.

When I was younger, my family went to a Presbyterian church. My parents became “burnt out” after several years of attending and being asked to do more and more and feeling like they were getting nothing in return spiritually. So we stopped going and never went to another church consistently after that. Around the age of 14 or 15 I started to develop a desire to have a home church; somewhere where I felt comfortable, got to know the people, and could deepen my relationship with God and His Son. Not to mention I would feel embarrassed anytime my friends from school would talk about church when I would have to explain that my family didn't attend a church. But I was pretty young and the rest of my family did not have that desire so what could I really do?But long story short, as soon as my now husband, Michael, and I began talking he told me how important his church was to him and that I had to visit before we actually started dating. I felt like I had hit the jackpot! Michael never cursed, had no desire to drink alcohol or "party," and was just a nice guy - hard to find in high school sophomores. So I started attending church with him and quickly learned that while his church {which is now my church} states that they are nondenominational, they lean very closely towards Pentecostal. And every single woman wore skirts {to church, not all have the conviction in their lives to wear them everyday}.At first I hated it, I’d grown up wearing pants and I couldn't imagine wearing skirts full time, let alone to every church event. But as you could guess, the Holy Spirit began working in my life and gradually I became okay with the fact that we had to wear skirts to church. Then I kind of started to like wearing skirts to church. And finally, I felt like I could see myself wearing skirts as a lifestyle. But I was a senior in high school at this point and the thought of starting to wear skirts was way too intimidating to me – my friends would've thought I was crazy! So I didn't But then it came time for college. I moved into a dorm at a nearby university and I was starting to feel more and more guilty about not wearing skirts. {Side note: When you’re feeling guilty it’s often the Holy Spirit convicting you}. But none of the girls in my youth group, besides maybe one or two, wore skirts all the time. So I kept quiet.Then one day, my friend mentioned to me that she was starting to feel like she should wear skirts and I felt like a big boulder had been lifted off of my shoulders. Another friend heard us excitedly talking and asked us what we were discussing, so we told her. And with a big sigh of relief, she explained how she had been feeling the exact same way. But that wasn't the end, we didn't just throw every pair of pants away that we owned never looking back.Deciding to wear skirts everyday is a very hard, life changing decision, and I wish I could say it happened over night. But it was a struggle for all of us. For about a month we wrestled with it, not exactly sure if it was what we were being called to do, coming up with ridiculously lame excuses to justify ourselves, questioning God, and complaining. We prayed about it, too, of course. But I secretly hoped the answer would be what I wanted, not the Lord’s will. After praying for about a month, we heard the testimony of a girl from our sister church in Des Moines, Iowa. She described how she felt like she was at a spiritual plateau several years earlier, and knew that she needed to make some lifestyle changes starting with the way she dressed. She felt very convicted about it. I was convicted, but I either didn't realize I was or didn't care to admit that I was. And she said this simple statement,

If you don’t have a conviction, pray for one.

Especially if you know it’s something you should be doing, pray for a conviction! That statement, for some reason, settled it for me. I realized that it didn't matter what I wanted, or if wearing skirts everyday made me feel slightly uncomfortable. Because it’s not about what I want, it’s about what God wants!

Several other things that really helped to sway me came from my cousin-in-law, Abby, who grew up in an Apostolic church and has always worn skirts. As my friends and I were complaining that it’s unfair that girls are the ones who have to be uncomfortable and wear skirts, yet guys get to wear pants, she said that she found it to be a “privilege.” We get to wear skirts. I had never viewed it that way, but she went on to explain that as women, we have the privilege to shine our light just through our outward appearance. Men don’t have that privilege quite as often. So slowly, I began to feel honored that God had called me to change my lifestyle to ultimately glorify Him.

It’s been almost four years since I decided to wear skirts, and now I can’t imagine my life any other way. I have truly been blessed for following the calling the Lord put in my life! However that does NOT mean I think any differently towards women who do not dress the way I do. I have many friends who wear pants or shorts, and I’m not here to judge (remember, I’ve worn pants the majority of my life). So yes, my lifestyle may be different from yours. But that is what I love about blogging. I get to know women who have passions for different things, and understand why their passions exist. My hope for this blog is to share my passions and inspire you to do the same.