living for eternity

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living for eternity
setapartgirl
LESLIE LUDY’S
MAGAZINE
living for eternity
Honoring Christ on the Internet,
p. 8
LIVING A LIFE OF LOVE
Understanding Legalism,
p. 34
GIVEN PHOTOGRAPHY
Giving God My Camera,
p. 62
THE COWARDICE
Of Throwing In the Towel,
p. 26
BUILDING A
GOD-WRITTEN
LOVE STORY
Keeping Christ at
the Center, p. 44
Sister of the Common Life
MEET REBEKAH, p. 74
JUL/AUG 2013
FOUNDER’S letter
Blessed is the man who walks not
in the counsel of the ungodly….but his
delight is in the law of the Lord. (Psalm 1)
Oh how easy for us to walk in the counsel
of the ungodly without even realizing it
– whether following pop-culture trends,
imitating celebrities, or catering our
convictions to what is politically correct.
But God has called us to the narrow way
of the Cross; a way that seems foolish and
extreme to the rest of the world. To keep our
eyes fixed upon Him when the rest of the
culture is chasing after shallow pleasure…
such victory requires supernatural grace.
The temptations that pull us toward the
worthless things of the world seem to
be increasing more and more in this
generation – there are pitfalls waiting for
us on the Internet, in the grocery store,
and in everyday conversations with friends
and family. My hope and prayer is that this
magazine issue will encourage you down
His narrow way! It is not the hip, trendy,
or socially correct way to live. And yet, it
is a way rich with His presence, peace,
protection, and joy! As the old hymn says,
“Nearer my God to thee; even though it
be a Cross that raises me!” May this be
the cry of our hearts each and every day!
No matter what the world may boast, we
have a treasure with which nothing can
compare!
Leslie
setapartgirl
AMELIA:
GLORIOUS DAY
by Casting Crowns
MANDY:
KNEES TO THE EARTH
by Watermark
LAUREN:
LIVE IN YOUR WORD
by Dámaris Carbaugh
ANNIE:
WHY SO HEAVY?
by Red Mountain Music
LESLIE’S PICK:
‘TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS
by Casting Crowns is a beautiful
rendition of the old hymn that has
blessed and encouraged me so many
times over. It reminds me of the simple,
child-like faith God has called me to
have as I approach Him with any care
upon my heart!
+ All of these songs can be found on iTunes!
GRACE:
SWEET ILLUMINATION
by Shane and Shane
TEAM PICKS:
PLAYLIST
IN THIS
issue
8
92
84
54
SET APART FEMININITY
Explore God’s Sacred Intent for Your Life
8 l Living for Eternity
Honoring Christ on the Internet
SET APART RELATIONSHIPS
Honoring God in Love and Romance
44 l Building a God-Written Love Story
Keeping Christ at the Center
26 l The Cowardice of Throwing In the Towel
By an Annonymous Warrior Poet
SET APART WALK
Cultivate Your Daily Romance with Christ
34 l Living a Life of Love
Understanding the Confusion of Legalism
SET APART LIFESTYLE
Applying the Gospel to Everyday Life
54 l How to Love Her
In the Battle for Life
62 l Given Photography
Giving God My Camera
26
74
4
3
44
SET APART FAMILY
Discovering God’s Heart for Home and Family
84 l Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk
62
Choosing a Christ-like Attitude in the Inconvenient Moments
92 l The Latest with the Lil’ Ludy Bunch
ineveryissue
3
setapartgirl playlist
42
Q&A
74
Sister of the Common Life
83
Leslie’s Blog
96
Recommendations
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is
taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright 2013 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.
No material from this issue may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.
about leslie
FOUNDER, setapartgirl
Leslie Ludy is a bestselling author and speaker with a
passion for reaching her generation with the hope of
Christ. She and her husband Eric have been writing
and speaking together for the past eighteen years.
Widely known for their bestselling classic, When God
Writes Your Love Story, Eric and Leslie have become
foremost voices on some of the most poignant issues
facing the Church today, such as relationships, purity,
holiness, and living a fully consecrated life for Christ.
Together, they are the authors of eighteen books that
have been translated into over a dozen languages
around the world. For more about Leslie’s books, click
here. Leslie and Eric are the founders and directors
of Ellerslie Leadership Training based in Windsor,
Colorado – an intensive discipleship training program
that prepares future leaders for world-impacting
Christian service, and draws men and women of all
ages from around the world.
TO MEET THE TEAM BEHIND THE MAGAZINE, click here.
“DON’T DIG UP IN DOUBT,
WHAT YOU’VE PLANTED IN FAITH.”
- Elisabeth Elliot
SET APART
femininity
living for
ETERNITY
HONORING CHRIST ON THE INTERNET
by LESLIE LUDY
Turn my eyes away from worthless things,
and revive me in Your way.
Psalm 119:37
A special thanks to
MANDY SAELER FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE WITH THIS ARTICLE!
f
or many years, Amy Carmichael has
been one of my spiritual heroes. As
a young Scottish girl in the early
1900’s, her life was forever changed at the
age of seventeen. She encountered the
Living God in a very real way, and that day
she shut herself in her bedroom to sort out
life’s priorities. She knew He was calling
her to complete set-apartness; asking
her to become “dead to the world and its
applause, to all the customs, fashions,
and laws of those who hate the humbling
Cross.” She responded to His call, and
decided that, from that point on in her life,
nothing would ever matter to her again
except the things that were eternal.
Amy went on to become one of the greatest
missionaries who ever lived, personally
rescuing over 1,000 children from temple
prostitution in India, and raising them as
soldiers for God’s kingdom. Her success
was not a result of her talent, funding, or
brilliance, but rather, of her inner priorities.
She disregarded the shallow, trivial things
of the world, and instead fixed her gaze
upon Jesus Christ and the things of
eternity. She wrote,
“What is the secret to great living? Entire
separation to Christ and devotion to Him.
Thus speaks every man and woman whose
life has made more than a passing flicker
in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has
no time for trifling that counts.”
These words have continued to challenge
me again and again. How easy it is to trifle
with the things of this world, and wane in
our separation to Christ and devotion to
Him!
The temptation to trifle with worldly preoccupation often sneaks in very subtly,
under the banner of “good” things; like
Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs.
I’ve noticed a temptation to quickly turn to
the Internet the moment that I need a bit
of inspiration for my role as “keeper of the
home.” There are so many helpful blogs,
beautiful Pinterest posts, and interesting
Facebook pages that specialize in just
about any area of my daily life. At the
click of a button I can be swimming in
an endless sea of amazing visual images
or motivating practical advice for raising
THE TEMPTATION TO TRIFLE WITH WORDLY
PREOCCUPATION OFTEN SNEAKS IN VERY SUBTLY,
UNDER THE BANNER OF “GOOD” THINGS...
SET APART
children, organizing my house, cooking
delicious meals, exercising, healthy eating,
party planning, photography, decorating,
gardening, cleaning, etc. Such great
inspiration seems completely healthy
and harmless at first glance. But I’ve
learned over the past few years that such
things can quickly become a morass of
distraction and compromise my complete
devotion to Jesus Christ.
IT IS THE LIFE THAT HAS
NO TIME FOR TRIFFLING
THAT COUNTS
Both in my own life and in conversing with
many young women, I’ve discovered that
the Internet is one of the primary ways
that we can lose our spiritual sharpness.
Instead of becoming dead to the world, we
become distracted and preoccupied with
the world through the things we encounter
on our computer screen.
I’ve realized that the Internet can be a huge
time-eater. If there is no guardedness to
our time online, we will quickly find that the
best hours of our day have been wasted
in a cyber-world instead of given to real
life. So many young moms find it hard to
spend meaningful time with their children
because of their addiction to Facebook or
Pinterest.
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HOW OFTEN DO WE MISS HIS HEAVENLY AGENDA
FOR OUR DAY BECAUSE OF WASTING COUNTLESS
HOURS ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND PINTEREST?
Many of us struggle to spend even twenty
minutes in prayer, but meanwhile sit in
front of our computer screen for several
hours each day, completely consumed
by the social media world. God’s Word
says that He has prepared “good works”
in advance for us to walk in. How often
do we miss His Heavenly agenda for our
day because of wasting countless hours
on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest?
Even more dangerous, when we have an
unhealthy addiction to the Internet, our
mind is influenced by worldly reasoning
and worldly priorities, instead of continually
meditating upon God’s Truth and His
agenda.
Eric recently gave a powerful message
at Ellerslie called The Christian Thought
Life. In it, he exhorted us to be on guard
against any and every thought that is not
in alignment with God’s Truth…whether
it be an obviously evil thought, or even a
“sweet little old lady” thought that is subtly
dangerous. This describes Pinterest and
Facebook quite well. Many of these
sites are not obviously evil but are subtly
worldly, sneakily pulling us farther away
from the things of eternity and turning our
eyes upon the temporal and trivial.
So, let’s explore some of the most common
pitfalls waiting for us in the Internet world,
and how we can apply God’s Truth to each
one of these areas of the cyber-world.
1. idle chatter
Facebook walls and comments, Twitter,
and even personal blogs are often
breeding grounds for idle chatter, fruitless
words, frivolous notes, showing off of wit
and personality, and exalting our own
thoughts and opinions instead of God’s
thoughts and opinions.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude
of words sin is not lacking, But he who
restrains his lips is wise.”
Second Timothy 2:16 says, “But shun
profane and vain babblings: for they will
increase unto more ungodliness” (KJV).
The term “vain babbling” here means,
“empty discussion, discussion of vain
and useless matters.” What a perfect
SET APART
description of the vast majority of modern
blogs and Facebook walls! Pointless
ramblings, emotional philosophizing,
chatter that really doesn’t have much of a
purpose other than to sound artistic and
wax eloquent about nothing in particular
– this is what is currently hip in the social
media community. But vain babbling is the
opposite of godly communication.
Romans 14:19 says, “Therefore let us
pursue the things which make for peace
and the things by which one may edify
another.” The word edify here means, “to
build someone up in their faith, to promote
another person’s growth in Christian
wisdom, piety, holiness, etc.” If we choose
to blog, our primary goal should be to edify
our readers; to build up their faith in Jesus
Christ and encourage them spiritually
through what we are sharing.
MAY WE WEIGH EACH
WORD WE SAY (AND WRITE)
IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY.
In other words, if you don’t have
something truly important, edifying, and
God-honoring to say, then don’t say it (or
post it) at all! Jesus said in Matthew 12:36,
“...every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day
of judgment” (KJV).
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May we weigh each word we say (and
write) in light of eternity.
2. idolatry
One of the most crafty and dangerous
things about Facebook, Pinterest, and
blogs is the temptation to worship and
idolize the “following” that we have.
Instead of looking to Christ alone for our
confidence, security, and fulfillment, we
become consumed with how many likes
we have on our Facebook page, or how
many subscribers we have on our blogs.
Popularity is much easier to achieve now
than it was when I was younger, thanks to
the blogging and social media community.
It used to be that in order to become one
of the “cool kids” you had to wear the
right clothes, use the right slang, and
strategically position yourself around the
in-crowd. Now, if you simply know how to
sit at your laptop and blog in a hip, trendy,
artistic, or unique way, you can become
popular, gain your own little fan club, and
get your ego stroked by the many affirming
comments that people leave on your blog
site or Facebook page.
All too many of us spend a huge amount
of time and energy “competing” to gain
more subscribers and see more comments
SET APART
posted on our blogs or Facebook walls. We
are addicted to the applause and approval
of the outside world, and this is our leading
motivation for blogging or using social
media, despite often proclaiming that our
screen time is “all about Jesus.”
If you find yourself constantly checking to
see how many new subscribers you have,
always taking a peek at the comments
people post, and feeling jealous toward
other bloggers or Facebook users who
have a bigger following than you do,
it’s sign that this area of your life has an
unhealthy hold upon your heart.
If social media or blogging has taken an
idolatrous place in your life, be willing to
completely walk away from it for a season
and focus on making Christ your First
Love, your All in all.
In light of eternity, which is more important?
3. worldly
preoccupation
Looking to celebrities for inspiration on
workouts, diets, hairstyles, and fashion
may seem harmless, but what does
God say about being influenced by the
mentalities of pop-culture? “Blessed is
the man who walks not in the counsel of
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the ungodly….but his delight is in the law
of the Lord, and in His law, He meditates
day and night.” (Psalm 1)
Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook often
encourage us to take our cues from the
world as to what we should eat, drink,
wear, and do. When we get pulled in to
celebrity inspiration and cultural trends,
we quickly begin to walk in the counsel of
the ungodly. We start meditating upon the
world’s value system instead of upon the
things of God.
WHEN WE GET PULLED IN
TO CELEBRITY INSPIRATION
AND CULTURAL TRENDS,
WE QUICKLY BEGIN TO
WALK IN THE COUNSEL OF
THE UNGOLDY. WE START
MEDITATING UPON THE
WORLD’S VALUE
SYSTEM INSTEAD OF UPON
THE THINGS OF GOD.
Christ makes it clear that we cannot love
both Him and the things that charm and
ravish this world. We cannot be dazzled by
the images of pop-culture and captivated
by the King of all kings:
Do not love the world or the things in the
world. If anyone loves the world, the love
of the Father is not in him. For all that is in
the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:15-16)
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not
know that friendship with the world is
enmity with God? Whoever therefore
wants to be a friend of the world makes
himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
If our Lord does not take delight in the
things that charm and ravish the world,
neither should we. (And if you believe
that God actually applauds the distorted
messages of pop-culture, you need to
become better acquainted with the God
of the Bible.)
IF OUR LORD DOES NOT
TAKE DELIGHT IN THE
THINGS THAT CHARM AND
RAVISH THE WORLD,
NEITHER SHOULD WE.
To be truly set-apart for our King, we
must choose the same path that Amy
Carmichael did – to become dead to the
world and its applause, to all the customs,
fashions, and laws of those who hate the
SET APART
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humbling Cross. Why should we look to
shallow, ungodly celebrities for advice,
when we can look to the King of all kings
for everything we could ever need?
May we not use the Internet to study and
imitate pop-culture and celebrity trends.
We are to imitate Christ alone.
4. disregarding
the sacred
Modern blogging, Pinterest, and Facebook
pages provide an opportunity to get all
of our feelings “out in the open” while
impressing people with your unique and
artistic philosophy skills at the same time.
It’s like having a public diary. Instead of
keeping our personal ponderings and
feelings private, social media encourages
us to publish them; to creatively market
our unique thoughts and ideas in order to
gain a following.
Many young women use their blogs to
post intimate dreams and desires about
what they want in a marriage partner, or
use their Pinterest page to display photos
of their future dreams – their ideal wedding
dress or house with a picket fence. On
the Internet, it is all too easy to broadcast
thoughts and feelings that should be kept
private.
One of my favorite Scriptures is Luke 2:19,
when Mary the mother of Jesus “kept all
these things, and pondered them in her
heart.”
As women, God tells us not to exude
merely a physical beauty, but to allow our
beauty to flow from the “hidden person”
of the heart:
If anyone had a reason to publicize her
thoughts, observations, and experiences,
it was Mary. And yet, she chose instead
to keep them and ponder them in her own
heart.
Do not let your adornment be merely
outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold,
or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be
the hidden person of the heart... (1 Peter
3:3-4)
ON THE INTERNET, IT’S
ALL TOO EASY TO
BROADCAST THOUGHTS
AND FEELINGS THAT
SHOULD BE KEPT PRIVATE.
The phrase “hidden person of the heart”
refers to the secret, intimate part of who
we are; our emotions, musings, dreams,
struggles, and ideas. When we fall into the
habit of publicizing our intimate thoughts,
we have no “hidden person of the heart”
left to protect; nearly everything we think,
...GOING PUBLIC WITH OUR THOUGHTS CAN ALL
TOO QUICKLY LEAD TO UNBIBLICAL PATTERNS
IN OUR LIVES, DESTROYING THE FEMININE
MYSTERY GOD INTENDED US TO PRESERVE.
hope, dream, fear, and feel is out there on
display for the world to see. Granted, it can
be more exciting to deposit our personal
thoughts in a public forum rather than a
private journal, especially when people
leave us nice comments and our following
grows with every post. But going public
with our thoughts can all too quickly lead to
unbiblical patterns in our lives, destroying
the feminine mystery God intended us to
preserve.
Save the personal sacred things of your
heart for your journal, prayer closet, and
your husband. Do not “cast your pearls
before swine” by allowing all eyes to see
what is meant to be kept private.
::
Remember, the Internet in itself is not an
evil thing. I truly believe that Facebook,
blogs, Pinterest (and yes, even Twitter)
can be used for the glory of God, and that
by His grace, we can navigate these areas
without falling into the traps that have been
set for us. But we must not blindly venture
into this dangerous territory. Before sitting
down in front of a screen, we must put on
the armor of God and have the mind of
Christ with every click of the mouse, every
moment in front of a screen, every tap
upon the keyboard.
I encourage you to take some to time
to prayerfully evaluate your time on the
Internet, in light of eternity. Are you
truly “dead to the world” and spending
your screen time on the things of
Heaven, and not the things of this
earth? If not, ask God’s Spirit to show
you how to reorient these areas of your
lives around His priorities. Study His
Word and apply Truth to your every
decision. Be willing to completely
walk away from anything that is pulling
you away from Jesus Christ. Be
willingly to strictly limit your time on
the Internet in order to spend the best
hours of your day in His presence. And
be willing to completely change what
you post, what you view, and what
you participate in so that He and He
alone would be glorified through your
Internet time.
Is not the Lamb that was slain worthy?
_
Leslie asks
the setapartgirl team:
HOW DO YOU SET A
GUARD OVER THIS
AREA OF YOUR LIFE
AND LIVE IN LIGHT
OF ETERNITY?
ANNIE SAYS:
I love getting my
life all organized,
decorating my home, and also giving
time to designing, photography, and
healthy cooking - all things that come
with an endless supply of inspiration on
Pinterest. But, soon after discovering
this resource, I found that if I wasn’t
guarded, I was going to lose valuable
time on trivial and fruitless things, time
that is not mine to squander.
To keep my heart and time accountable
before the Lord, I choose not to open
Pinterest unless I have something
specific I’m searching for, like finding
a recipe to make for my dinner guests or
looking for a fresh color palette for next
month’s magazine issue. Pinterest can
be a fruitful resource or a cunning thief
swallowing up what rightfully belongs to
the Lord. And it’s up to me to govern my
time with purity and purpose.
With Facebook, I keep two rules before
me. 1) Give Jesus. The world certainly
doesn’t need more of me. It doesn’t
serve anyone to know what cool thing I
just did or who I saw in the Starbucks
line. But what they do need is Jesus,
SET APART
and I can take the platform the world says
is “mine” and spend it wholly for declaring
God’s testimonies of faithfulness in my life
and sharing His words of Truth.
2) Care about the right things. Birthdays,
a friend’s baby announcement, missionary
updates, and edifying posts can be some
of the benefits of utilizing Facebook, but
I must give no access in my time to the
things that glorify the world, take the
spotlight off Christ, or tempt me with
comparison. The best way I’ve found to
guard this is to spend very little time on
Facebook, and be purposeful when I do
open it up. And more importantly, keep
my daily life saturated in the presence of
God and His Word. If holy Truth is the
reigning voice in my life, I am quick to turn
my eyes from worthless things.
_
ELSJE SAYS:
Electricity is a great
tool. It allows us to
blow dry our hair, see
in the middle of the night, it helps us keep
our food fresh, and removes the hassle
that candles created back in the olden
day. However, electricity can very quickly
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become an extremely dangerous weapon
if wielded in the wrong way. It could be
said, the greater and more helpful the
tool, the greater and more dangerous of
a weapon it becomes if it is misused and
misapplied. The exact same can be said
for the Internet. It can either be a valuable
tool in your life, or an oppressive tyrant
dictating how you spend your time and
sculpting and shaping your thoughts.
Pinterest was an especially helpful resource
when I needed some DIY decorating ideas
as we moved into a new house and when
I needed to get the nursery ready for the
little one on the way. However, I quickly
realized how easy it was to be lured onto
all kinds of bunny trails with the seemingly
thousands of lovely things to look at and
interesting tips to read about. In order to
keep Pinterest from becoming a tyrannical
time-sink in my life, I do not allow myself
to spend time aimlessly browsing every
“pin” and “picture” that captures my eyes
and and tempts my desire for creating a
beautiful home. My aim is to keep my time
on Pinterest purposeful and planned;
not as what Jane Austen would call a
“diversion.”
It didn’t take me very long, after creating
my own Facebook account, to understand
and see the dangers it carried with it.
The initial excitement of having my own
profile and connecting with all my friends,
soon faded with the discovery of the
many dangers Facebook posed to my
soul. I felt Facebook to be a temptation
to compromise in my standards of purity;
with it being the platform for so much
frivolous flirting and inappropriate guy/girl
interaction. The desire to set my affections
on things above, and use my time to draw
closer to Christ, led to the decision to
deactivate my account four years ago.
There certainly is a healthy way of utilizing
Facebook. However, by removing this
unnecessary distraction, I have found I am
able to direct my time towards heavenly
things, rather than the constant urge to
know the latest news and updates of all
those around me.
Finally, one thing we must remember
about this tool known as the Internet, is
that, since it has such a loaded capacity
for usefulness as well as frivolousness,
we must stand guard over our use of
it, refusing to fritter our time away on
those things which do not last. Our blogs,
Facebook, and other Internet browsing
should only be used to glorify God, serve
those around us, and be a testimony of
the consecrated life we are called to live.
_
MANDY SAYS:
Whether completing
ministry “computer
errands” or diving
into a personal search, my well-loved
MacBook connects me to an enormous
universe of information via the Internet.
I use the Internet every day - and I’ve
experienced it both as a “time-swallower”
and as a redeemed means of usefulness
for God’s Kingdom. As I have sought to
honor Christ in my use of the Internet,
there are a few principles that God has
worked to engrain in my heart...
Principle #1 - A Fixed Gaze
Whether looking for fresh food inspiration,
a pair of bridesmaid shoes, or a bargain
book - the internet offers more accessibility at my fingertips than ever before. And
while this is holds an exciting opportunity,
God has challenged me on this point. I’ve
found that it is far too easy to mindlessly
search the Internet for a solution to any
given need or situation - when my heavenly
Father already has all that I need and has
promised to supply. While the Internet is
a helpful resource that God is willing and
able to direct me in, I must purpose to turn
to Christ first and allow Him to meet every
need as He chooses.
SET APART
Principle #2 - A Prayerful Heart
As I walk with a prayerful heart and am
continually conscious of God’s nearness,
my time on the Internet is marked with
intentionality rather than triviality. It is
very simple, but I’ve found that when my
Internet time is cushioned with prayer,
God’s purposes and heavenly priorities
prevail. When I live in acknowledgement
of the One who owns my time and
laid down His life to purchase mine, I
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am far less likely to waste my time or
compromise the purity of my heart - via
the Internet or any other means.
Next time, as you enter the web world, I
challenge you to choose to clip the wings
of trivial browsing, mindless surfing, and
vain networking - and instead ask Him to
fill your vision with His heavenly purpose
regarding your use of the Internet. As you
set your heart to seek His smile, He will
faithfully guide you!
*
devotionals
GETTING TO THE HEART OF SET APART
DEVOTIONALS FROM LESLIE LUDY + OUR SETAPARTGIRL TEAM
GET WEEKLY
DEVOTIONALS TO
ENCOURAGE YOU
DOWN THE NARROW
ROAD OF CHRIST-FILLED
FEMININITY.
the latest online:
A SURPRISING CURE FOR DEPRESSION
by LESLIE LUDY
Jackie Pullinger, a missionary in China, tells the story of leading a fifty-year-old
prostitute to Christ. This woman had been used, abused, mistreated, and defiled
in just about every way imaginable for her entire life. “How is she ever going to
experience inner healing?” Jackie wondered. “If we have to talk and pray through
every horrible thing she’s been through, it’s going to take forever.” But then the
woman began to discover amazing joy by turning outward and helping others
in need. She went to the hospitals and washed the wounds of the injured. She
went to homes for the elderly and brushed the matted hair of the patients. “It was
serving others that healed her,” Jackie said. This woman who had been so battered,
bruised, and wounded chose to deny herself and pour out her life for the cause of
Christ. And soon, she was made new again. She gained incredible peace, joy, and
freedom. She began to sparkle with a beautiful inner glow... READ MORE
SET APART
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Cowardice
The
of Throwing In the Towel
a
An anonymous Warrior-Poet speaks up
sweet, thirteen year old girl waits
quietly in her parents’ living room, eyes
closed, nervously toying with the lace
on her new dress, imagining what in the
world her parents are up to. After a brief
absence, she hears her parents reenter
the room, and her daddy’s gentle voice
say, “dear one, you can open your eyes.”
Her breath catches as she opens them;
somehow candles and roses now grace
the room, and her loving parents sitting
across from her on the leather love seat. In
all her life, she has never had anything like
this happen to her. The new dress was the
night’s first surprise, then the trip to the
fanciest restaurant she’d ever been to, and
now, to top it all off, this fairy-tale moment.
She could see her daddy fidgeting with
what looked like–oh, could it be?–a jewelry
box. Her mom was so beautiful, her daddy
so handsome, and she had never felt so
special. Her daddy continued speaking
and – though a little stiff and not incredibly
sappy – lovingly told her how special she
was to them, and how they desired her to
walk through the coming years of her life
with purity and honor towards God as well
as her future husband, that shiny armored
knight she always dreamed of. She had
never seen her daddy get teary eyed,
but as he opened the jewelry box and
showed her a beautiful ring, she couldn’t
help bursting into a flood of overwhelming
tears. As her mom and daddy explained to
her how proud they were of her, and how
they hoped she would live to honor God
and them and her future husband, she
adamantly nodded in agreement.
That night, while drifting off to sleep, she
wondered how long it might be before
her prince charming would come. She
was convinced that until he gave her an
engagement ring, nothing would ever be
more special than this night was. She
resolved to live a life of purity, honor, and
holiness; and as sleep finally took hold of
her, and a joyful tear ran down her face,
she whispered out a prayer of gratitude to
God for such an incredible night!
I have a hunch that a large majority of young
women that grew up in the church had a
similar experience to this one. Whether it
was parents, a church, or a mentor who
championed a decision to “remain pure”
for a future spouse, many of us made a
commitment of sorts to “wait.” Especially
in the conservative wing of Christendom,
this was heralded as such a virtuous
decision, and we were ever so proud of the
decisions our young folks were making.
Many of us young men were encouraged
to “guard the hearts” of young women,
and young women were advised to not
be overly open and free with young men
lest they should “lead him on.” We talked
often about just being brothers and sisters
in Christ. Courtship became a hallowed
word. Purity rings were all the rage. We
“saved ourselves” for our future spouse.
Young men learned to be providers and
savvy entrepreneurs, and young women
learned to (I presume) knit, bake, sweep,
play an instrument, or learn Slovak. We
gobbled up all the books on how a godly
relationship ought to unfold. And now . . .
Many of my
peers who were
once zealous
advocates for
purity, restraint,
holiness, and
waiting on
God...are now
throwing in the
towel on the
whole idea.
And now – I have observed – many of my
peers who were once zealous advocates
for purity, restraint, holiness, and waiting
on God for their future spouse are now
throwing in the towel on the whole idea.
Numerous blogs have been written by
young men and women who “believed the
lie” of the whole “purity thing.” They rant
to high heaven that all the purity rings and
courtship lectures ruined their ability to
interact with the opposite sex. They cross
their arms in a teenage huff when they
hear certain relationship books or authors
SET APART
femininity
mentioned. They write blogs expounding
their angst and how they have “removed
their ring” because it was just a fuddyduddy way of dealing with sexuality, and,
with rolling eyes say, “it doesn’t work
anyhow.” They make viral youtube videos
that accentuate all the ridiculousness our
parents told us about these matters. I’ve
seen multiple blogs, videos, and books
come out in recent years that all take
aim at the whole “sexual purity” thing. It
isn’t that they are advocating impurity,
they have just had it up to here with all
the propaganda that their churches and
parents gave them (i.e. purity rings, godly
relationship conferences, and books).
They say it isn’t practical, realistic, or
healthy. They say that it ruined their ability
to have healthy guy/girl interaction.
I can empathize with many of my peers
and understand the frustration of waiting
for a godly spouse to somehow appear. I
can agree that many parents and churches
don’t do the greatest job of explaining the
reason why these things are important. I
absolutely agree that putting a purity ring
on your finger doesn’t make or keep you
“Purity thing”
SET APART
femininity
pure; or make it any easier to wait, year
upon year, for that fairy tale romance to
come true. However, does that license us
as a generation to snub our nose at our
parents and criticize them for how restrictive
and unrealistic their idealist expectations
were? Just because the advertising was
somewhat inaccurate, does that make the
product any less valuable? Let me give an
example. A preacher gives a rather pitiful
Gospel message. Yet, a hardened sinner
in the back row is broken by the Spirit of
God, sees the glory of what Christ has
done for him on the cross, and he receives
Jesus as his Lord. Now, ten years later, life
gets rough, and the man returns to a sinful
lifestyle because the preacher wasn’t the
best communicator of the Truth. Does
the messenger’s feebleness discount the
efficacy of the Truth he is endeavoring to
proclaim?
I have a hunch that what is behind all this
angst, and all this disgruntled blogging,
and all this huffiness is an attitude of selfjustification. I will be the first to declare
the life of purity, restraint, self-denial, and
holiness (not just for a future spouse, but
in every arena of life) is hard. Ok, really
Impossible
hard. Well, actually, impossible. Could
it be that like the foolish Galatians, we
have become a generation that began in
the Spirit, but are now trying to perfect
ourselves through the flesh (Gal. 3:3)?
Do not build
your life on the
shaky ground
of other’s
testimonies.
Build it upon
the solid
promise of God’s
Word.
My concern, as a Warrior-Poet in the
making, is that a whole generation of young
women will be led into a compromised and
self-justifying lifestyle that is based wholly
upon the sarcastic cynicism and bad
experiences of those around them. Why
do you think our parents and churches
desired us to live pure lives in the first
place? Is it not because there is a Higher
Authority behind even them, which they
are called to represent, which demands,
“be ye holy, as I am holy?” And is not His
law considered lovely by the Psalmist
David (Ps. 119:113)? Since when was
our behavior and lifestyle supposed to be
guided by the experiences and testimony
of those around us?
Say that everyone in your generation fails
to live a life of purity and holiness unto
God and to honor their future spouse, and
say furthermore that they have a vendetta
to spew the bad taste in their mouth out
on everyone who will listen. Does that give
you a license to not live a sacred life of
set apartness for the glory of God? Paul
thunders in Romans 3:4, “let God be true,
but every man a liar.”
Do not build your life on the shaky ground
of other’s testimonies. Build it upon the
solid promise of God’s Word. My guess is
that most people enter into a marriage and
proclaim, “I wish I had done more to honor
my spouse. They deserve so much more
than what I gave them. I should have served
them more faithfully in my single years.”
Further, do any of us really think that five
minutes into eternity we will cherish the
fact that we threw off the restrictiveness
of purity and holiness which our parents
“shoved down our throats?” Why do you
think every tear will be wiped away? Is it
not because many of us will realize how
little we gave to the Savior who gave all?
Oh, I live my life all out for Jesus, not
because He forces me to, but because
He is altogether lovely! Your future
husband will be richly blessed by
your purity ring, your journaling to
him, your restraint in relationships
with other men, your discretion
of what to post on your facebook
account, your modesty of speech
and body, your thoughtfulness of
him even before you meet him. Do
not let the Enemy encroach upon
your soul through the deceptive
power of others’ behavior and bad
experiences. Rather, stand steadfast
in the battle to see Jesus glorified
not just in your sexual and emotional
purity, but in the overarching
testimony of your life.
*
Stand
Steadfast.
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WE THINK YOU’LL LOVE THE NEW
SEARCH BY TOPIC SECTION!
Search through all the past issues,
blogs, and devotionals.
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www.setapartgirl.com
Living a l
life ofLove
Understanding The
Confusion of Legalism
by LYDIA COVEY
Legalism.
It is a simple word that strikes fear in many
Christians. Allow me to set the stage with
a little analogy:
The newlywed wife is busy preparing
dinner and waiting for her husband to
return home after his long day of work. She
looks up excitedly as he walks through
the door, holding a bouquet of beautiful
flowers. With a smile, she hurries to greet
him and sees his lovely gift. But her smile
and excitement turn to confusion and hurt
as he hands her the flowers, and with a
sigh, says, “These flowers are for you.
I’ve heard this is something a husband
is supposed to do for his wife.” Tears fall
from her eyes as she takes the flowers
from the man to whom she has given her
life and love.
It’s not hard to imagine this bride’s immense
hurt and pain. But think for a second – if
the husband is actively showing kindness
and serving his wife, why would such
a gift produce such hurt and sadness in
the young bride? Because his action is
meaningless without the foundation of
love. She needs to be served and blessed
out of her husband’s love, not simply out
of duty.
We read of people in the New Testament
whose lives reveal this same lack of love.
The lives of the Pharisees were filled with
hypocritical obedience to the law, serving
God primarily out of duty. Jesus boldly
called out their false lives of devotion and
their focus on the externals: “These people
draw near to Me with their mouth, and
honor Me with their lips, but their heart is
far from Me…Even so you also outwardly
appear righteous to men, but inside you
are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”
(Matt. 15:8; 23:28 NKJV). These men
understood their religious duties; they
obeyed in full detail everything they were
supposed to. So why did it upset, sadden,
and even anger Jesus so much? It was the
same reason why the flowers brought such
hurt to the hopeful bride: the lack of love
and falseness of the heart. The Pharisees
acted out of duty, just as the husband
gave the flowers out of duty. Both of them
in their own way took action on what they
were supposed to do – they took action
on the rules. But in such a relationship, be
it husband and wife or man and God, the
action must come out of love.
Legalism Defined
Legalism is simply defined as an adherence
to law and rules. It is clearly seen in the
lives of the Pharisees as we read of their
extreme actions and outward obedience
to laws and rules. But it is far too easy
to focus solely on outward actions when
thinking about legalism. Recently, the Lord
SET APART
has opened my eyes and understanding
to see that the state of the heart is actually
where legalism is born. Two people can
do the exact same action, but for very
different reasons – one out of duty, and
one out of love. While the husband in my
analogy gave flowers solely out of duty,
another man could offer this gift out of a
deep love for his wife and the desire to
manifest that love in an action. As I came
to understand this more clearly, I turned
my focus to the depths of my heart and
was able to see where there was legalism
in my own life.
As the Pharisees were legalistic when they
adhered to the law rather than adhering to
Jesus, I discovered I was a legalist when
walk
I focused my energy on good standards
rather than adhering myself to Jesus. I
was holding on to my choice to live a setapart Christian lifestyle rather than abiding
in Him and loving Him with all my heart,
soul, mind, and strength (see Deut. 6:5).
The branch cannot produce fruit if it is
not abiding, if it is not connected to and
living through the vine. You and I are the
branches, and no matter how hard we try,
we can only produce fruit when we adhere
ourselves to Jesus and rest in Him.
Rooted In Love
The young woman who abides in and
loves Christ obeys out of that deep
affection, passion, and obsession for her
SET APART
walk
Savior, while a legalist obeys simply out of
obligation. A legalist knows the command,
not the Commander. Deuteronomy 6:5
does not tell us to love the commands
and sacrifices, but to “love the LORD thy
God…”
As the Lord has grown me in understanding
of the life I am to live as a Christian, I see
how incredibly pivotal my love for Him is.
I’m challenged to honestly answer these
questions: What in my life, in my Christian
walk, do I do only because I know I’m
supposed to? Are my actions and choices
coming only from the knowledge of how
I should act? Or do they flow out of love
for my Lord and the sole desire to bring
Him glory? Have I chosen a set-apart life
because I have been commanded to, or
because He is my great treasure? Do I
choose standards because they make me
look and feel like a better Christian? Or
do my life and choices prove that I have
“found the one whom my heart loves”
(Song of Songs 3:4) and my life is His?
The Dread of Legalism
Sadly, a common misconception about
legalism is that any standard a person
has is considered legalistic. Anyone who
chooses a conservative lifestyle or follows
a “rule” is labeled as a legalist. Christians
are often far more worried about being
legalistic than they are about obeying and
serving the Lord out of love. We must not
throw out all standards and obedience
to the commands of God because we’re
afraid of legalism. I’ve watched many
fellow Christians allow the fear of legalism
to hold them back from living a set-apart
and holy life. But we need to know that it
is not legalism when our love for Him is
displayed in our life, in our choices, in our
standards, in our acts of service, and in
a lifestyle that is not of this world. Jesus
says in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my
commandments” (KJV). Fear of legalism
must never interfere with our love for Him
and thus keeping His commands.
The point at which my obedience ceases
to be legalism is when I see the holiness
of the Lord, and can serve Him completely
out of love. Then my love for Jesus grows
deeper and my obedience purer.
I love how Dwight L. Moody simply states
the switch from living out of duty to love:
“Before my conversion, I worked towards
the Cross, but since then I have worked
from the Cross; then I worked to be saved,
now I work because I am saved.” Working
toward the cross in our own strength
leads to self-righteousness and legalism.
But when we are saved and set free by the
precious blood of the Lamb, we now have
the honor and calling to live for the glory
due our King and Savior. When our eyes
are set on Him and the incredible new
life we have been given, no longer are we
distracted by the rules.
A key to knowing whether you’re living out
of duty or out of love is whether there is
joy in your life. Duty without love will not
produce joy in our actions. From what we
read about the Pharisees in Scripture, joy
was not abundantly present in their lives.
When we’re in the position of serving, a
lack of joy indicates a lack of respect for
the one being served. Therefore when we
treasure the Lord, obedience is not done
out of obligation but with joy, delight,
and love. The more Jesus is the object of
our heart’s affections and becomes our
supreme treasure, the more we will know
joy in serving Him.
Our focus for every action and act of
obedience must be set on the foundation,
our love relationship with the Lord.
Remember, without love, action is
meaningless. It is important to continually
test our hearts and press on hard to know
our Lord. Don’t become strictly focused
Have I chosen a set-apart life because I have
been commanded to, or because He is my
great treasure?
on the outward actions and “rules” of
Christianity. Rather, set your focus upon
loving your Lord with an upright heart.
Don’t be afraid that others might think
your actions are legalistic. When Mary
of Bethany poured out her spikenard on
Jesus’ feet, she gave her greatest and
most treasured possession – essentially
her life and future to Jesus. It was an
action that reflected her heart. When we
hear of Mary’s outpouring of love and
adoration for her Lord we would never
think of calling her legalistic. Yet if such an
action of sacrifice and total abandonment
to the Lord occurred in our Christian
culture today, it would likely be labeled
as legalism. But Mary of Bethany was not
focused on what the world around her
thought; she did not allow the criticism of
even the disciples to stop her. She was
overcome with love for Jesus and acted
upon that love by radically pouring out her
treasure - proving Him to be her one and
only Treasure.
I greatly desire to become a woman like
Mary of Bethany. But I am unable to live
with such beautiful abandonment to the
Lord if my focus is always on the action
and trying to figure out which step of
service I should take. I must continually
press hard to know my Lord and set my
energy first on simply loving Him. For He
is only truly served and glorified out of a
heart that loves and treasures Him.
This simple yet deep truth of loving the
Lord has completely changed my life and
is continually convicting me. As the Lord
revealed the ways I lived out of duty and
legalism, I realized it was not my actions
that had to change. It was not that I had
to stop obeying His commands or stop
choosing to live with standards. But it was
my heart that had to change. I had to set
my eyes on Jesus and fall more in love
with Him. And this never changes – I must
continually seek to know Him more and
fall in love with Him over and over again.
If you are struggling with legalism in your
life, don’t stop following God’s commands.
Don’t turn to the modern idea that “freedom
in Christ” gives Christians the authority to
live however they choose. Rather, turn to
the Lord; press on hard to know Him more,
The more Jesus is the object of our heart’s
affections and becomes our supreme treasure,
the more we will know joy in serving Him.
H
dwell on His perfection, and find Him as
your one True Love. Continually remember
His powerful work on the Cross and His
saving grace. Remember that He died for
you, to give life, and life everlasting. Never
stop placing Him above everything, for He
is your supreme treasure. And as you see
Him in all His glorious, holy beauty, Jesus
Christ will become more and more the
One whom your heart loves. And thus your
service, duty, actions, and obedience will
be a natural outflow of that love. Just as a
loving husband finds delight in treasuring
and serving his wife, so you will find the
deepest delight and joy in serving the
Lord. He is worthy of your life and love!
*
He is worthy of our life and love!
Q&A
with a set-apart girl
This question
came into our
ministry and
was beautifully
answered by
Mandy Saeler.
Q:
I HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING RECENTLY WITH
FEELING HYPOCRITICAL AND UNWORTHY, SO
MUCH SO THAT I FEEL LIKE I CAN’T TALK TO GOD
ABOUT MY STRUGGLES. WHAT SHOULD I DO TO STOP
FEELING SO UNWORTHY OF GOD’S HELP AND LOVE?
A:
For a long time, I lived a Christian existence with the nagging voice of
insecurity wearing away at my heart. Through those times of ache and
confusion, God faithfully brought the light of His Truth. He revealed that
the root of my insecurity was sin and compromise, which denied Christ His rightful
reign in my heart. Now, when insecurity encroaches upon my heart, I’ve learned to
flee to God’s presence for fresh examination and yield once more to my Worthy King.
My encouragement to you would be to come before God in surrender, asking Him to
examine your heart, revealing areas of sin and compromise in your life. Our God is a
gentle and loving Father and as you humbly yield to His hand, He will faithfully root
out all that hinders your pursuit of Him.
As it says in Psalm 24:3-4, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall
stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart...” Prayerfully
examine your spiritual walk in light of James 4:4-10. Go through this passage verse
by verse, praying through each point, and allowing God to test and try your heart.
Fully yield yourself to His refining, purifying work with a repentant, rejoicing heart.
As you do, walk forward with the strength and enablement of God’s Spirit to live in
simplicity and purity before God.
As we embrace Christ and the work of the Cross, the enemy no longer has the
grounds to incriminate our hearts and harass our minds with feelings of doubt and
unworthiness. As you fix the gaze of your soul steadfastly upon the Truth of God and
faithfully keep your heart pure, the nagging voice of insecurity will soon fade and you
will begin to taste heaven on earth as you live in the Presence of your King!
*
{
G
G
PART 3
RELATIONSHIP SERIES
G
{
G
with Leslie Ludy
BUILDING
a god-written
Love story
KEEPING CHRIST AT THE CENTER
OF A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP
IF
you’ve read any of my
books, you know that my message
is all about making Christ the focus
of your entire existence. This
principle isn’t just to be lived out in
theory – but in practical, day-to-day
life. I can honestly say that making
Christ my first love was the reason
that my love story with Eric worked.
Over the years I’ve seen many
young Christians attempt to build a
God-honoring relationship without
a vibrant walk with Christ backing
it up. Every time, it falls apart.
Without an active, daily, living,
breathing, passionate relationship
with Christ, it’s nothing more than
human wisdom and human effort
attempting to reach the heights of
Heavenly romance. Without the
power of Christ’s Spirit, it simply
can’t be done. When I think about
CLICK HERE FOR PART ONE,
There’s This Guy:
Responding to the
Distraction of Attraction
CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO,
Getting to Know a Guy:
In a God-Honoring Way
Falling in
L
the early days of my love story with Eric, I
don’t just remember the wonder of falling
in love and the beauty of discovering Eric’s
heart. Rather, I vividly remember falling in
love with Jesus Christ and basking in the
beauty of a romance with Him – a romance
that was enhanced, not diminished, by my
love story with Eric.
WE KNEW THAT
GOD WANTED
SOMETHING
DIFFERENT FOR US.
When my relationship with Eric began,
everyone expected us to start living out
the typical “boyfriend/girlfriend” pattern
– becoming completely preoccupied
with each other, spending every waking
moment of our spare time together,
expressing our physical affection for each
other, and letting the focus of our thoughts
and conversation be about our passionate
feelings for each other. But we knew
that God wanted something different for
us. He wanted to remain at the center of
our relationship – not just in theory, but
in reality. We realized that if we started
focusing on our feelings for each other
SET APART
relationships
Love
rather than our mutual passion for Christ,
we would push Him to the outside of our
romance. So we entrusted our emotions
to God. We asked Him to guard our hearts
and not unlock passion for each other until
the proper time.
In the meantime, we agreed to keep our
conversation, focus, and energy centered
upon Jesus Christ and not each other. To
most people, it seemed strange. Here
we were, a young couple in a serious
relationship with the intention of getting
married someday – and we didn’t even
act like we were dating. We didn’t hold
hands. We didn’t kiss. We didn’t sit
close together on the couch and whisper
into each other’s ear. We didn’t have
long, ardent phone conversations. We
didn’t talk about our feelings for each
other. We didn’t say “I love you.” People
who hadn’t been directly told that there
was something between us often didn’t
even realize we were a couple. We didn’t
spend time cuddling or gazing into each
other’s eyes.
Instead, we encouraged each other to
pursue more of Christ. We read Christian
biographies and talked about how they
impacted our lives. We shared stories of
how God was working in our lives and what
He was teaching us. We prayed for each
other. We prayed together for people in our
lives. We shared Scripture with each other.
We supported each other in the individual
ministry steps God challenged us to take.
We joined our church community and
family in doing outreaches. Eric spent
several months away at missionary school
- we talked on the phone about once
a week and wrote each other letters of
spiritual encouragement (this was before
the days of email and cell phones, if you
can believe it!)
CAREFULLY
PROTECT THE
SACRED THINGS,
NO MATTER HOW
STRANGE OR OLDFASHIONED THEY
MIGHT SEEM.
I am well aware that the way Eric and I
built our relationship seems out-dated,
restrictive and unromantic to many. But I
want to tell you unequivocally that it was
SET APART
like a dream-come-true. Just think about
what makes a Jane Austen romance so
appealing. It’s the slow, delicate process
of one heart opening to another. In oldfashioned love stories you don’t carelessly
fling your mind, emotions, and body upon
someone the moment that they say they
like you. In fairy tales, you don’t go from
zero to sixty in seconds. Rather, you
savor each conversation, carefully weigh
each word, and patiently wait months or
years before you finally win the priceless
treasure of the other person’s heart.
Modern romances are sadly lacking in
the dignity, nobility, and honor that was
prevalent in the days of “knights and fair
maidens.” The only way to gain the dignity
and nobility that our feminine hearts crave
is to carefully protect the sacred things, no
matter how strange or old-fashioned they
might seem.
Instead of spending mindless hours on the
phone with Eric every night, I waited with
eager anticipation for his once-a-week call
from the payphone outside his missionary
school. Every word was savored. We didn’t
waste time talking about meaningless
things. We cherished every moment and
counted every conversation as significant.
It was a thousand times more special and
romantic because we only talked once
a week. Instead of exchanging quick,
shallow emails every day, we took the
time to write long, thoughtful letters to
relationships
each other. I still love to look through the
box of letters that we wrote to each other
during those years. It reminds me of a
Jane Austen novel. I look at the carefully
scripted, thoughtful words and remember
the delicate way our hearts opened to
each other. It was a thousand times more
romantic and dignified than mindless
emails or text messages.
WHEN YOU
BUILD YOUR
COMMUNICATION
AND INTERACTION
AROUND THE
THINGS OF GOD,
YOUR HEARTS ARE
KNIT TOGETHER IN
HIM.
This is not to say that you can’t have
the “Jane Austen magic” if you choose
to use email or cell phones in your love
story! The principle that makes the fairytale spirit come alive is keeping sacred
things sacred. Rather than allowing your
communication with the other person to be
careless and haphazard, allow God’s Spirit
to make every conversation, letter, email,
and phone-call purposeful, thoughtful,
and Christ-centered.
Because we were committed to keeping
Jesus Christ at the center of our
conversations, phone calls, and letters,
we were able to build a strong spiritual
foundation for our relationship. All too many
love stories that start out with a spiritual
focus speedily shift to an emotion-led
whirlwind. Once you allow your emotions
to lead the way, spiritual things quickly
get squeezed into the background. But
when you build your communication and
interaction around the things of God, your
hearts are knit together in Him. As you
draw closer to Christ, you naturally draw
closer to each other – but in a healthy,
beautiful, Christ-led process rather than
a lightening-speed human-led emotional
roller coaster ride. As you make decisions
about how to build your romance, don’t
take your cues from the rest of the
world. Just because other “Christian”
relationships look a certain way doesn’t
mean yours should. As I said, when Eric
and I built our relationship, it appeared
strange, extreme, unnecessary, and even
legalistic to others. But as we followed the
lead of God’s Spirit rather than the trends
of culture, we found a taste of Heaven on
earth.
Don’t be afraid of putting physical distance
between yourself and your future husband.
People often feel a pressure to be together
on a continual basis during a blossoming
romance – thinking that it might “fall
apart” if they are not around each other
twenty-four seven. But if God wants
your relationship to stay together, it will
remain strong no matter how many miles,
months, or years separate you from each
other. I believe that being geographically
separated from Eric during the majority of
our love story was a huge factor in keeping
our focus on Christ rather than each other,
and in keeping the “magic and mystery”
alive throughout the entire process. Take
some time to prayerfully consider putting
distance between you and your significant
other in order to cultivate a Spirit-led,
Christ-focused love story. It’s a great way
to freshly surrender the relationship back
to Christ and make sure that He is always
honored above your human emotions and
desires.
WHEN WE
FOLLOWED THE
LEAD OF GOD’S
SPIRIT RATHER
THAN THE TRENDS
OF CULTURE, WE
FOUND A TASTE OF
HEAVEN ON EARTH.
SET APART
relationships
Your romance with
Christ is meant to be
theLifelong passion of
your heart and soul.
Often love stories that begin as Godscripted fairy tales can morph into
human-led emotional flings. This happens
whenever Jesus Christ is removed from His
rightful position as the first and foremost
love of your life. Be on guard against
losing your own individual relationship
with Christ as your love story is unfolding.
While it’s certainly important to think and
pray about your love story, don’t allow
all of your thoughts, journal entries, and
prayers to center around the guy you are
falling in love with. Rather, cultivate your
individual intimacy with Christ – apart from
the relationship that is forming. Meditate
upon His character, listen to His voice,
study His Word, and make plenty of time
for heartfelt worship. As young women, it’s
easy to transfer our affection for Christ onto
our future husband; to lose our spiritual
vitality as we become caught up in the
drama and emotion of a human romance.
But unless Jesus Christ remains our First
Love, we will always be looking to a mere
human to meet the deepest needs in our
heart – and we’ll always be disappointed,
because they are needs that only Christ
can meet.
Your romance with Christ is not supposed
to be a “stand in” until you finally meet the
man you’ll marry. Rather, your romance
with Christ is meant to be the lifelong
passion of your heart and soul. Your earthly
love story should pale in comparison
to your love story with Christ – not just
SET APART
relationships
during your single years, but every day for
the rest of your life. And if it ever comes
down to a choice between Christ and
your future husband – Jesus Christ must
always come first. In my book Set Apart
Femininity I wrote about one of my heroes,
Sabina Wurmbrand, who was willing to be
separated from her husband and son for
ten years, suffering unspeakable tortures
and heartache, in order to protect the
name of Christ. Sabina loved her husband
– but she loved Jesus Christ more. This is
what it means, in practical terms, to make
our King the first and foremost love of our
heart. He tells us:
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate
his father and mother, wife and children,
brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life
also, he cannot be My disciple.
A God-scripted earthy love story is a
beautiful thing. But if it ever usurps Christ’s
position in your heart and life, it becomes
an “idol” that must be removed. Nothing
is worth sacrificing our relationship with
the true Lover of our soul.
Even now, after many years of marriage
to Eric, I must constantly remember that
my husband is not to be the focal point
of my existence – Jesus Christ is. Eric is
not to be the one who brings the deepest
fulfillment, comfort, security, and joy to
my soul – Jesus Christ is. To keep our
marriage alive and beautiful – both of
us must vigilantly guard our individual
romance with Christ. When He is at the
center, everything else falls perfectly into
place.
*
(Luke 14:26)
{
G
G
PART 3
RELATIONSHIP SERIES
{
G
with Leslie Ludy
G
NOTHING
IS WORTH
SACRIFICING OUR
RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE TRUE
LOVER OF OUR
SOUL.
SET APART
How to
E
V
LO
HER
by HEATHER COFER
THERE IS A BATTLE RAGING around us in this
day and age that is literally affecting millions of people –
the battle for the unborn. Not only is it taking the precious
lives of countless babies, but it is damaging the lives of
many young women, as well as all those closest to them.
Abortion is such a difficult and intense topic, and it can
be tempting to want to stay on “neutral ground.” Yet, as
Christians, we must stand firmly for those things the Lord
has made clear in His Word, and in this case, His design
for life.
There are many of us who have the desire to enter into
this great battle, but are not sure how. And if we came
in contact with a young woman in a crisis pregnancy
situation, we do not even know what we would say, or
how we would even begin to help or comfort her. This is
the journey the Lord has begun walking me through.
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God had been gently tugging on my heart
for a couple of years with the subject of
abortion, and after several instances of
being confronted with the issue, I knew I
must take action. I knew the Lord wanted
me to enter into the fight for life, and
more specifically, the fight for the women
whose souls who were being deceived
into thinking that abortion would solve
their “problem.”
I KNEW THE LORD
WANTED ME TO
ENTER INTO THE
FIGHT FOR LIFE...
FOR THE WOMEN
WHOSE SOULS
WERE BEING
DECEIVED...
I have had the privilege of volunteering at
a pregnancy resource center for the past
year. When I started, my heart’s desire was
to have face-to-face interaction with young
women in crisis pregnancy situations, but
that didn’t happen for a while.
Before I went through the training to
become a “client advocate” or counselor, I
had a period of waiting and serving behind
the scenes – putting together bags of baby
clothes, helping with events, and praying
for all who came seeking help. It was a
wonderful time of preparation and trusting
the Lord, realizing that if this was how I
spent the rest of my time as a volunteer
and never stepped foot in a counseling
room, it was more than worth it.
Once the first training came around, I was
incredibly excited. I wanted to soak up
every bit of knowledge I could handle.
Throughout the training, the Lord began
opening my eyes to how He views these
women, and His pattern for how we are
to minister to them. I realized there were
so many misconceptions I had had about
how to help them, and I was beginning
to understand that the issue was much
deeper than “If only she knew it was a
baby…”
SET APART
What the Lord was awakening me to was
that when He brings a young woman
into our life, He wants us to show love
specifically to her. If our goal is only to
save the baby, and we don’t show the love
of Christ to the one carrying that baby,
what good have we done? So often in
the fight for the child, the woman carrying
this little life gets trampled and hurt by
the comments that are meant to try and
help her see the Truth. We turn to our
own means of trying to reason rather than
looking to Jesus to see how He desires us
to minister to her.
How did Jesus approach the Samaritan
woman at the well (John 4:1-30), or
the woman caught in adultery about to
be stoned (John 8:1-11)? Though He
confronted them about their sin, He
lifestyle
was gentle, loving, and compassionate.
People who saw their need were drawn to
Him, not pushed away by Him. He didn’t
try to reason with them or make them feel
guilty – He simply spoke the Truth in love.
And this is what we are called to as those
bearing His name. Jesus said in John
13:34, “A new commandment I give to
you, that you love one another; as I have
loved you, that you also love one another.”
First Corinthians 13:1 says, “Though I
speak with the tongues of men and of
angels, but have not love, I have become
sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” We
can speak Truth to someone all day, but
if we do not display the love of Christ to
them, it will do no good.
HE WAS GENTLE,
LOVING, AND
COMPASSIONATE.
PEOPLE WHO SAW
THEIR NEED WERE
DRAWN TO HIM, NOT
PUSHED AWAY BY HIM.
When we come in contact with a woman
considering abortion, we must be able
to understand how they are viewing their
situation. One of the things I learned
was that the mind-set of most women
considering abortion is not, “I don’t really
SET APART
lifestyle
believe this is a baby.” Actually, many will
tell you that they know it is a baby. Rather,
they are viewing the pregnancy as death
to themselves in a number of different
ways, including their education, career,
dreams, etc. So, their mind-set is more
along the lines of, “Either my life is over, or
this baby’s life is over.”
WHEN THEY STARTED
SHOWING LOVE TO
THE WOMAN, SHE
CHOSE LIFE
FOR HER BABY.
When a study was done among a group of
pro-choice women, all of them agreed that
abortion was killing, knew it was ultimately
wrong, and (if they believed in God)
believed that God would punish those
who did make that decision. However,
they also believed that He would simply
forgive them because they didn’t mean to
get pregnant, and (in their minds) had no
other choice. This mind-set is a lot harder
to deal with than just trying to convince a
woman that there is actually a baby inside
her womb; it is a distortion of the Truth.
Yes, it is true that if you are truly repentant
of your sin, God will forgive you. But there
are still major consequences that come
from this decision that so many women
don’t understand. In crisis situations, it is
difficult to think rationally, and so often they
can’t see anything but how to immediately
take care of the “problem,” not thinking of
what their actions will mean for the future.
The absolute best way to combat this is
by approaching them in the way Jesus
has established – sharing the Truth in love.
In one state, the majority of the crisis
pregnancy centers decided to change
their focus from trying to save the baby
to intentionally directing love and care
toward the women. Not surprisingly, it
became the state with the fastest dropping
abortion rates! When they started showing
love to the woman, she, in turn, chose life
for her baby. When the Lord establishes a
pattern, we can be sure that it will work.
*
Want further reading on the fight for LIFE? click here.
READ ON
for practical ways
to begin preparing
to show love to
young women in
crisis pregnancy
situations...
SET APART
lifestyle
PRACTICAL WAYS
TO SHOW LOVE TO A YOUNG
WOMAN GOING THROUGH
A CRISIS PREGNANCY
Prayer
First of all, we must be praying for the Lord to prepare us, and give us His wisdom and
insight. We cannot rush into it in our own strength, or nothing good will ultimately be
accomplished.
Humility
We must never be judgmental in our attitude toward them, but always humble. We
have to remember that the Lord has shown incredible mercy and grace to us, and
we are to show that same mercy and grace to them by our words and attitude.
Listen
We must be ready to listen, allowing them to share their story, asking them questions,
and only offering advice when we know it is the right time. Often, once they have
had the opportunity to share their situation in a safe environment, they are able to
see more clearly that abortion does not have to be their only option.
Share
Finally, we must always be ready to share the Gospel: “For the word of God is
living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
division of soul and spirit...” (Heb. 4:12). Do not force it upon them if they are not
open, but if you see they are ripe, never be afraid to give them the Truth.
OUR GREATEST DESIRE for this woman should be
that she comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus. God
desires her to be saved just as much as the baby she
is carrying within her. And may we, as we begin this
journey, bring Him much glory by directing the eyes of
those He brings into our lives to the Giver of all life, that
they too, might glorify Him.
(Much of the information in this article came from an article “Profile of a Woman
with an Unplanned Pregnancy,” the Life Choices Level 1 Volunteer Training
Manuel, 1st Edition 2012.)
(For another wonderful article on this topic, read Leslie’s article,
Standing for Life in the Jul/Aug 2011 issue - click here.)
SET APART
lifestyle
G I V E N P H O T O G R A P H Y : PA R T O N E
GIVING GOD MY CAMERA:
SHARING A FEW SNAPSHOTS FROM MY PHOTOGRAPHY STORY
by ANNIE WESCHE
As Creative Director with Set Apart Girl Ministries, I have received many
emails from young women wanting to know how I got started in photography and specifically, with orphan advocacy work. I love sharing
my story, because it is filled with accounts of God’s incredible provision
when I had absolutely nothing to offer but my willingness and faith. I
set out to see with His eyes through my camera, and the lessons I am
still learning humble and amaze me. In this first part of a three part
series, I’ll do my best to answer some of your questions. While I won’t
be diving into the technical side of photography, it is my prayer that
you will glean the encouragement to offer up your passion, skill, and
equipment for His use, and joyfully enter into the endless possibilities of
Christ-driven photography.
SET APART
lifestyle
FIRST, A STORY TO SET THE STAGE
Standing in the open courtyard of the Haitian orphanage, my eyes fell upon a
boy who looked to be about eight years old. He was staring at me from some
distance away with a stone face and watching me as I worked with the camera
in my hands. I smiled and waved, but his expression remained unchanged.
Moments later I was in front of him, talking to him, patting his head, and poking
his belly, but it was as if the boy was locked up behind a steel wall of pain. My
heart broke and I offered up a prayer, Father, how do I reach his heart?
Immediately the Lord surprised me by replying, Hand him your camera. I shook
my head and responded, I don’t think so, Lord. What if he drops it? It’s the
first day of my trip and I need this gear to do my job. But the quiet conviction
remained. Hand him your camera. After a brief and uncomfortable moment, my
resistance yeilded to surrender. I took my camera, set it into the boy’s hands,
and saw the first spark of emotion flash in his eyes as they darted up to look back
at mine. I nodded my head, reassuring him that he could hold it, and showed
him where to place his hands. Apprehensively he followed all my instructions
and with the first brilliant “click” of the shutter his eyes filled with wonder. I
directed him to look at what he had captured, and after staring for a moment at
the image, he looked up at me and revealed a heart-winning smile.
In that small moment, God began something incredibly significant in
my heart. I saw beyond my own goal of capturing powerful photos
and it was even beyond the obedience of putting my camera into
the hands of a hurting child. God was presenting before me a lifedecision about my photography. Was I willing to put my passion,
my equipment, the direction of my work, and the photos themselves
into God’s hands and allow Him to own this area of my life and
dictate its path? That day, on my first purposeful step forward with
photography, God had a question for me. Annie, will you put your
camera into My hands?
SET APART
lifestyle
Q: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED
IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
PHOTO CREDIT: Let There Be Light Photography
For me, the hobby of photography turned
into a passion when I first caught a glimpse
of how it could move people. When Eric and
Leslie’s adopted daughter, Harper, came
home from Korea, I documented her arrival
and her first few days after getting home.
The photos weren’t extraordinary, and in
fact, most of them were actually not worth
keeping at all. At the airport, I was holding a
camcorder in one hand and my Nikon in the
other, and crying so many tears of joy that I
could hardly see to operate either of them!
But it was Harper’s adoption story that was
so powerful - telling of God’s heart for each
orphan, His power to heal, the miracle of
adoption, and what happens when two
parents obey God and walk forward in faith.
After hearing everyone’s responses when
“WHATSOVER YE DO, DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD.”
I Cor. 10:31
“AND WHATSOEVER YE DO IN WORD OR DEED,
DO ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS...”
Col. 3:17
“THAT IN ALL THINGS HE MAY HAVE THE PREEMINENCE.”
Col. 1:18
the photos and story were passed around,
a desire ignited within me to advocate for
vulnerable children and communicate God’s
heart for them through photography.
I CONTINUALLY
PRAY THAT HE WILL
TRAIN MY EYES TO
SEE WHAT HE SEES...
Q: HAVE YOU GONE TO SCHOOL
FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
I haven’t. While I hope to always improve
my technical skill, the most vital thing I
depend upon is the Spirit of God to instruct
me in every photoshoot and opportunity. I
continually pray that He will train my eyes to
see what He sees, and put me in the places
and moments that need to be captured
and shared with others. And I have seen
beautiful things happen in answer to those
prayers! I’ve also learned a great deal by
evaluating other’s work - what makes it
gripping, moving, or beautiful, and then
evaluating my own work and observing
other’s responses to it. Sometimes, what
I think is a horrible photo, has actually
deeply moved someone, and other times,
what I think is a great photo, seems to be
SET APART
of little interest to others. There are a lot of
photographers out there. While I want to
shoot with excellence, my goal is not to take
the greatest photos, but to tell the greatest
story, His story, within those photos.
Q: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED
USING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
FOR ORPHAN ADVOCACY?
In my relationship with Christ, I’ve asked
the Lord to make me fully His, so the Lord
reached down and wrote “HIS” upon my
passion for photography, just as He had
done with my heart, my purity, my time, my
future, etc. And as soon as my heart was
awakened to His burden for orphans and
vulnerable children, I immediately wanted to
use my camera in that direction.
The first door to open for me came in answer
to prayer. My ministry responsibilities at the
time were such that I couldn’t be gone for
longer than a week and I had absolutely
no money for travel costs, but I yearned
to get out and offer up my camera. After
giving the matter to prayer and laying my
constraints before the Lord, He answered
in a very exciting way. An adoption agency
had seen my photos of the Ludy children
lifestyle
and asked if I would come photograph
their unmatched, waiting children at an
orphanage in Haiti. The trip would only be a
week long and they would gladly pay all my
expenses. I immediately went to the Lord
in thanksgiving for showing me His jealous
care over this newly consecrated area of my
life!
Since then, my approach has always been
the same: I ask God to open doors, to
provide all that I need to go through them,
and to bless the fruit of my hands for His
glory. One of my favorite promises in God’s
Word is in I Thess. 5:24 which says, “Faithful
is He who calls you, who also will do it.” It
is God who has given this ability and talent,
and He knows just where He wants to spend
it. If you ask, He will lead.
THE FIRST DOOR
TO OPEN...CAME IN
ANSWER TO PRAYER
Q: WHAT EQUIPMENT DO
YOU USE?
The short answer:
provided!
Whatever God has
“FAITHFUL IS HE WHO CALLS YOU, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT.”
I Thess. 5:24
SET APART
lifestyle
I’m sorely lacking technical savvy. For years
I used and loved my Nikon D40, but since its
sad departure, I’ve used a couple different
cameras that have been given to me. I’m on
the hunt for purchasing my next camera, so
I’ll have to let you know how that one turns
out! There are so many possibilities with
the equipment out there today, and there
are also many experts who can help you
navigate the decision of what equipment to
use. But from my experience, whether I’ve
shot with top of the line equipment or gone
out with my humble, slow-shutter camera, it
is the enabling grace of God that makes all
the difference!
Q: DO YOU SHOOT MOST OF
THE PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE
MAGAZINE?
Other than the orphan photography, I
have actually shot very little. Because of
the great amount of design and editorial
work that goes into every issue, I have
leaned upon others to provide our beautiful
photography, and we have been blessed
with incredible photographers on our team!
They are young women who have all offered
up their love for photography, whether long
time photographers or newbies, as an act
of worship unto the Lord. Lauren, Mandy,
and Grace are living testimonies of Christdriven photographers, and I know that it is
because of their lives being so consumed
with Jesus, that He has blessed the fruit of
their hands in this creative skill.
Q: HOW CAN I MOVE
FORWARD IN DEVELOPING
THE PASSION AND SKILL OF
PHOTOGRAPHY IN MY LIFE?
Start with laying your passion before the
Lord as an offering of worship. Give it up
to Him and declare His rulership over your
tools, time, and future work. And then
begin praying that He would lead you into
the exact training, experience, and ministry
opportunities you will need to fulfill His calling
in your life. Pursue training and excellence,
but above all keep Christ at the ruling center
of your work, and I promise, as you are
submitted to Him and seek after His glory,
He will bless your pursuit far beyond what
you ever imagined! Don’t diminish the vital
elements of dependency and prayer. Your
life belongs to the King of kings and this
area is just as much of interest to Him as
any other area, that He may use it to bring
His name glory and proclaim His message.
Trust Him to open doors and lead you. And
I promise you, He will!
*
IN THE NEXT ISSUE: LESSONS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT GIVEN PHOTOGRAPHY
“I WILL INSTRUCT YOU AND LEAD YOU IN THE WAY YOU
SHOULD GO, WITH MY EYE UPON YOU.”
Psalm 32:8
SACRED
singleness
by Leslie Ludy
take it deeper
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ARE YOU SINGLE?
Do you struggle with discontentment, impatience, and the constant
pressures of pop culture? This book will introduce you to God’s pattern
for sacred, purpose-filled, world-changing singleness. This message will
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- a romance that will satisfy the deepest desires of your soul, whether
married or single, Sacred Singleness will show you how to:
*Let God script your love story in His own time and way
*Overcome loneliness and jealousy towards friends getting married
*Triumph over the temptation to settle for less that God’s best
*Enjoy a fulfilling life before you meet your husband
*Handle the fear of being single for life
With inspiring firsthand testimonials from both modern and historical
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CommonLife
SISTER of the
MEET REBEKAH
Rebekah Scheiman | AGE 30
HERO OF THE FAITH:
DAVID BRAINERD
SIGNIFICANT LIFE VERSE:
“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye
people, from far; The LORD hath called
me from the womb; from the bowels of my
mother hath he made mention of my name.
And he hath made my mouth like a sharp
sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid
me, and made me a polished shaft; in his
quiver hath he hid me.”
(Isaiah 49:1-2 KJV)
PHOTOS BY KASEY BOATRIGHT AND EMILY BROWN
Q:
WHAT ARE SOME OF
THE BIGGEST WAYS YOUR
LIFE HAS CHANGED SINCE
CHOOSING TO LIVE SETAPART FOR THE LORD?
I really cannot remember a
time when I did not want to live
wholeheartedly for Jesus. I asked
Jesus to be my Savior at the age
of five, and even as a young child,
I remember knowing that the only
thing I wanted to do was live for
Jesus. So, I cannot point to a
specific moment when I chose
to live set-apart for the Lord, and
I cannot detail a dramatic lifechange that came with the decision.
I never felt like I made any of the
usual “sacrifices” (for instance,
giving up movies or dating or
secular music), because I never
wanted those things to begin with.
However, I can definitely point to
the change that happened when
the Lord allowed me to discover
how to live the set-apart life in His
strength rather than in the strength
of my flesh. This did cause a
dramatic difference in a lifestyle that
was already outwardly conformed
to the qualities one would expect
to find in a set-apart life. When I
reckoned myself dead to the flesh
and alive to God, I experienced
great peace, great clarity, and a
full and never-ceasing sense of His
presence. My efforts to please man
were changed into efforts to please
discovered that Christ’s indwelling
life in me was able to please God
and do His will, not because I was
suddenly “better,” but because His
grace was great enough to reach all
the way beyond my sin and scoop
me up and draw me to Himself,
empowering me to do what my
flesh could not and would not do.
Q:
YOU HAVE BEEN
SERVING IN HAITI FOR
SEVERAL MONTHS. WHAT
DOES A TYPICAL DAY
LOOK LIKE?
Jesus. My pursuit of “ministry”
ceased, and my pursuit became
Jesus alone. My life changed from
being stressed out as I constantly
invented “useful” activity, to being
full of peace and simplicity as I only
concerned myself with trusting
Jesus and obeying His commands.
And my great grief at finding myself
constantly at odds with God’s will
was transformed into great joy as I
A typical day starts with prayer. I get
up before sunrise and go to the roof
of the creche (orphanage), where I
visit with my Savior, worship Him,
ask Him for the needs of the day,
and dedicate myself anew to being
dead to the flesh and alive to Him.
All the missionaries have corporate
prayer at 7:00am, and then I get
ready for the day and prepare my
breakfast, usually oatmeal with
some cut up fruit and a little sprinkle
of cereal, which I eat while I read
CommonLife
SISTER of the
the Word. At 9:00, I ring the bell to
start school. I teach in a one-room
schoolhouse setting with about
18 students, ages 5-15, at all
different grade levels. I have also
been involved with developing the
preschool program for the younger
children. Lunchtime comes, and
I eat a plateful of beans and rice
with the kids at an outdoor picnic
table. School continues until 2:00,
at which point I rest, do chores,
and fill the afternoon with a variety
of things, such as class prep or
sewing with the girls. In the evening,
I get to cook over charcoal to make
my dinner, take a cold bucket
shower, and hopefully spare a few
extra moments for personal study
and correspondence by the light of
a kerosene lantern. On Tuesdays
and Saturdays, I walk to the local
market, where I buy local fruits and
vegetables, and on weekends, we
do fun activities with the kids such
as painting, soccer, and swimming.
Q:
WHAT ARE SOME
WAYS THE LORD HAS
GIVEN YOU TRIUMPH
IN THE MIDST OF THE
CALLENGES OF LIVING
IN HAITI (THE FOOD, THE
HEAT, THE CULTURE, THE
POVERTY, ETC.)?
One of the biggest challenges for
me in Haiti has been sickness.
I came down with malaria, and
later, cholera. This was a learning
experience in how to rejoice, how
to balance rest and work, and how
to think biblically and accurately
about what God is doing in the
midst of my illness. One of the things
He taught me was that it is much
more important for me to discover
how to access the grace and
strength that Jesus gives moment
by moment than it is for me to be
healed of my sickness. But in His
mercy and goodness, He healed
me, too, and raised me back up
for further usefulness and service.
Other challenges have come, too,
like learning how to have time to do
everything when you suddenly have
a lot of plain old hard work to do,
like drawing water for household
chores or washing clothes by hand
outdoors. This sounds to American
ears like I am making a tremendous
sacrifice, yet the average Haitian
has all this work to do on top of
additional backbreaking labor
during the day, and all most likely
on an empty stomach. So, I have
learned that there is no special
merit in enduring hardship. Other
people all over the world have
endured constant hardship that is
worse than mine. Hardship does
not make me more Christlike –
Christ makes me more Christlike.
CommonLife
SISTER of the
Q:
WHAT HAS THE
LORD SHOWN YOU
ABOUT HIS HEART
FOR THE ORPHAN, THE
HUNGRY, AND THE LOST
WHILE YOU HAVE SERVED
IN HAITI?
Coming to Haiti, I discovered to
a whole new extent that I don’t
naturally have His heart. My human
compassion is a mere shadow of
the great, grand, loving heart of
Jesus for the orphan, the hungry,
and the lost. There is no end to His
love and compassion. I am learning
that I need Him to supply this love
to me; otherwise I will encounter
the needy and be frustrated by my
lack of resources; I will encounter
the orphan and close my heart
because it hurts too much; and
I will encounter the hungry and
withhold from him lest I should
be mobbed. I am discovering that
Jesus’ heart is completely different
from my heart – not just greater
in measure, but different in focus
and approach. I am learning to not
look within my own heart for the
wherewithal to serve in Haiti, but
simply to ask Him for His heart,
and receive it. When I open my
heart in surrender and faith, He
fills it. His love flows through me.
His wisdom comes upon me. His
direction becomes clear for how
to serve the hurting and the lost.
Q:
WHAT ATTRIBUTE OF
GOD HAS BEEN MOST
ENCOURAGING AND
STRENGHTENING TO
MEDITATE UPON DURING
THIS SEASON OF YOUR
LIFE?
I have meditated a lot on the
infiniteness and inexhaustibility of
God’s power and supply, realizing
that God is more than a match for
Haiti’s poverty, corruption, and
dysfunction. When I look at the
way wealthy governments and
organizations all over the world
have tried to pour resources and
help into Haiti, and it seems like
it barely made a dent, it would be
easy to say to myself, “Who am
I to make any difference? I am
only one person.” But the living
God is with me, and He is the
one taking initiative in Haiti, not
me. His resources are unlimited.
His power is insuperable. I simply
get the privilege of being called
to participate in what He is doing,
and I have simply to look to Him
to supply everything that is needful
for me to accomplish His work.
*
CommonLife
SISTER of the
A FEW OF HER
FAVORITE THINGS
the color orange, my siblings,
the medina in Fez, Morocco,
homemade chai tea, playing
Liebestraum on the piano,
the book of Hebrews, baking
cinnamon raisin bread, tinkering
in Photoshop, sunrise hikes on
Roan Mountain, long road trips,
knitting, crocheting, and tatting,
hymn singing
Eric and Leslie believe that a thriving marriage, not just a
surviving one – should be the aim of every couple. The first few months
of a new marriage is like the “wet concrete” stage of a relationship –
the habits, both good and bad, lock into place. Roles become defined.
Communication methods settle themselves in for the long haul. Sexual
and emotional intimacy gets off to either the right or wrong start. Every
couple has a choice of how they are going to begin their proverbial
ride into the sunset. If you proactively maximize your first 90 days of
marriage, you will avoid years of heartache, disillusionment, and having
to “un-learn” all the wrong habits that were set in those early months.
Marriage is serious business. It’s intense, it’s challenging – it’s important
work. However, we hope this book will display that marriage is also romantic, fun, and full of
magical wonder.
THE FIRST 90 DAYS OF MARRIAGE
by bestselling authors ERIC & LESLIE LUDY
“This book is outstanding....Eric and Leslie start out with a bold assumption - that marriage can be great and that
people need to strive for a fairy tale marriage instead of hoping to just get by. I’d give this book to any couple who
are going to be getting married soon, it could be the most important book they read on marriage. ”
- Amazon.com review
ORDER
HERE
HARPER’S DOG
Okay I’m going to be completely honest with you…I am NOT a dog person. I have
never been moved by cute puppy dog eyes or fluffy little doggy tails wagging. I’m
not quite sure why, but even adorable little puppies do very little to melt my heart.
Dogs, to be completely honest, just seem kind of gross to me. All I can think
about is fleas, dander, and pet smells
in the carpet. (Sorry all you dog-fans
out there, I hope you are not offended!)
Despite my lack of doggy-love, I’ve
been blessed with a little daughter,
Harper Grace, who is a HUGE, and I
mean HUGE fan of all things canine.
She absolutely loves to pet, cuddle,
and nurture dogs. For about a year
she was pleading for her very own
“cozy dog” which presumably meant
a dog that she could cuddle up with
on the couch, brush, pet, and adore to
her heart’s content...
CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST
SET APART
family
don't cry over
spilled milk
CHOOSING A
CHRIST-LIKE ATTITUDE
IN THE INCONVENIENT
MOMENTS
by LESLIE LUDY
SET APART
family
last week
I spilled about
a half a container of milk on the floor of
our van. I don’t remember all the details
of how it happened, but my guess is
that I was probably unloading kids and
groceries at the same time. And as usual,
I must have been attempting to carry way
more than was humanly possible, while
simultaneously mediating a squabble
between my three- and four- year-olds
and trying to get my six-year-old to stop
decorating her white shirt with some
pink sidewalk chalk she’d discovered
on her way into the house. My scattered
attentions resulted in a large amount
of splattered milk all over the carpeted
van floor. Which resulted in the smell of
sour milk permeating our vehicle. Which
resulted in kids who were whining and
complaining about the smell every time
they got in the car. Which resulted in me
loading up all the kids the next morning
and driving thirty-minutes to the only carwash place I knew of that could shampoo
car floor mats.
I went through the tedious process of
unloading four rowdy kids into the car
wash parking lot, removing all of the car
seats, and stashing all the random toys,
books, and miscellaneous car items into a
large duffle bag so the van would be clear
for its thorough cleaning and the floor
mats would be ready for a good washing.
I hauled the kids, the car seats, and the
large bag up the crowded sidewalk into
the waiting area and got ready to pay for
the car wash, making sure to mention that
I wanted the carpets shampooed.
The sleepy college-aged guy at the
counter then informed me matter-offactly that they had decided to stop doing
carpet shampoos for the rest of the day,
so all I could get would be the basic wash
and vacuum. (I’m not entirely sure why
they chose to stop shampooing carpets
the moment I arrived, but I was convinced
that they had made the decision for the
express purpose of making my life more
difficult.)
. . . life with kids
just somehow has
a way of ushering
inefficiency into
my life.
“I just drove thirty-minutes to have you
shampoo the carpets,” I protested, “isn’t
there anything you can do to help me?”
“Well,” he said in a distinctly non-helpful
tone, “why don’t you just come back
tomorrow?”
Uh…come back tomorrow? Excuse me,
buddy. You really don’t understand my life.
It’s a huge ordeal to load up my four kids
and waste an hour out of my day to get
the van carpets shampooed. Don’t you
get it? I’m a mom of four little kids! I can’t
come back tomorrow. Tomorrow I have to
take one kid to the doctor, another kid to
speech lessons, and another one to buy
new shoes because his current pair is so
caked with mud that they have morphed
from light blue to dark brown. I also have
to fold five loads of laundry, or my kids
will be going to school in their pajamas.
And I have to go back to the grocery store
because I forgot to buy paper towels. Not
sure when I’m going to fit that in. Plus, I’m
on a deadline for a writing project. Did I
mention that I’m in full-time ministry? My
schedule is super-full. I can’t even tell
you all the things on my to-do list! Listen
guy, you just don’t get it. There’s no way
I can just drop everything and come back
tomorrow to have you shampoo my van
carpets, okay?
These were pretty much my exact
thoughts, and I’m very glad I did not voice
them out loud.
Being a perfectionist by nature, I really like
it when things flow smoothly. I am not a fan
of inefficient scenarios such as multiple
trips to the car wash in a twenty-four hour
period to clean up milk that should never
have been spilled in the first place. But
life with kids just somehow has a way of
ushering inefficiency into my life. Things
SET APART
family
don’t always go like clockwork. And all my
carefully laid plans often grow wings and
fly out the window.
One of the things God has been
teaching me in my mothering lately is
the importance of maintaining a happy
attitude when things don’t go according to
plan. Incidentally, this is one of the primary
behavioral principles I’ve been attempting
to instill in my children as well! Whenever
their backyard adventures are interrupted
by a call to come in for dinner, or when their
favorite toy suddenly runs out of battery at
a crucial moment in their playtime antics
– they can quickly get worked up into a
frenzy of emotional frustration. I discipline
them for these kinds of outbursts, and talk
to them about the importance of bringing
their emotions under God’s control. But I
realize that I often need the same kind of
talking-to about my own attitudes!
Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no
rule over his own spirit is like a city broken
down, without walls.”
Psalm 37:8 says, “Cease from anger, and
forsake wrath; Do not fret; it only causes
harm.”
When I am faced with less-than-ideal
circumstances, I must make a choice. If I
choose to let my emotions rule, I quickly
give in to the sin of fretting and frustration,
and as the Bible says, it only causes harm
– both to my own soul and to those around
me. But when I bring my emotions under
God’s control, He gives me the grace to
laugh instead of groan. When I choose
contentment over frustration, I soon realize
that having a totally predictable schedule
and a perfectly clean car isn’t the most
important thing in my life after all. Those
things are nice, but when they take priority
over a happy heart and peaceful spirit,
they gain unhealthy hold upon my soul.
Choosing to smile instead of fret in
those moments of frustration requires
supernatural grace. No amount of human
will-power can achieve the constant,
steady, unshakable peace that the
Christian life is meant to have. The secret
to an unruffled, peaceful, happy outlook is
in yielding fully to the Author of peace, on a
moment-by-moment basis throughout the
day. Isaiah 26:3 gives us an astounding
and beautiful promise: “You will keep him
in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on
You, because he trust in You.”
As Christ pointed out, we cannot change
anything by fretting and worrying! (Matthew
6:27) If we are willing to receive it, He will
give us the grace to laugh instead of worry,
to rejoice in all things, and to joyfully trust
Him no matter what.
When I bring my
emotions under
God's conrol, He
gives the grace to
laugh...
It’s really that simple. Taking my focus off
the dirty floor mats and irritating car wash
episodes, and putting it on Jesus Christ.
Shifting my gaze from the inconvenience
of my circumstances to the One who gives
me strength to live in triumphant victory –
no matter what.
*
photography by
MANDY SAELER
a merry heart
does good
like medicine
PROVERBS 17:22
THE LATEST
AND GREATEST
OF THE LIL’ LUDY BUNCH
HUDSON, Age 8
He’s been making Lego-movies using an old camera phone we gave him. He has several
short episodes about “Steve’s Adventures” and they are actually quite entertaining! “Steve” is
a Hudson-created lego character with Buzz Lightyear’s face, a yellow body and black pants.
Hudson takes photos of each frame he wants in the movie, then puts them all together on the
computer and adds music and sound effects. My favorite is the one called “Steve’s Big Day”
which begins with Steve rising from bed to the sound of a rooster crowing, eating breakfast
(which is a chicken drumstick) and then spending the day at a theme park playing games and
going on rides. The final scene of this sixty-second adventure is Steve collapsing into bed at
the end of his exciting day!
HARPER, Age 6
We went through her box of baby memories and read all about how we adopted her from
Korea. She is very excited to eat anything that is Korean, so if there is a food I really want to
get her to eat, all I have to say is “I think they eat stuff like this in Korea” and she will devour it
immediately! She saw a photo album of the foster mom who took care of her until we adopted
her, and the next day she wrote a sweet letter to her foster mom, complete with illustrations. I
told her I would take care of mailing it for her. A few days later she asked, “Did you ever mail
that letter to my Grandma?” It took me a while to realize she meant her foster mom – I guess
she’s a little mixed up on who this lady actually is!
KIPLING, Age 4
The other day he was speaking in a disrespectful tone, so I told him he’d better change his
voice. He thought about what I’d said for a minute or two, and then began talking to me in a
squeaky, high-pitched tone that made him sound like a cartoon character. “Dub, why are you
talking that way?” I asked. “Because you told me to change my voice!” was his matter-of-fact
reply.
AVONLEA, Age 4
Her giggle is contagious! Every night as we are putting her to sleep, she seems to get a major
giggle attack. The other night I warned her sternly not to giggle while I was praying for her and
tucking her in. She clapped her hands over her mouth and genuinely tried to stop, but it was no
use. She buried her face in her pillow and tried to stifle her giggles, but they just kept coming.
I was sure this was just a simple issue of getting self control, but as I was trying to lecture her
about it I suddenly found myself giggling too – I was feeling a little like those characters in
Mary Poppins who end up floating to the ceiling because they couldn’t stop laughing!
WE’LL BE FRIENDS
until forever
JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE.
WINNIE THE POOH
listen + read
recommendations from our team
Available to God
by Major Ian Thomas
MANDY SAYS: Each time I’ve listened to this sermon by Major Ian
Thomas, my soul has been riveted by the powerful reality of God’s working
through the lives of the saints! As we are fully given to the Spirit of God, we
can fully trust that He will fully use our lives for His Kingdom and glory. The truth in this sermon
sheds light on the glorious possibility of being used by the God as He has unhindered reign in
every area of our lives. As you listen to this sermon, your heart will leap with joyful anticipation
as you are challenged to become “restfully available and instantly obedient” to the movement of
God’s Spirit in your life.
FOR THE AUDIO MESSAGE, CLICK HERE
God’s Love
by Corrie ten Boom
GRACE SAYS: I was excited when I found out a few months ago
that there are recorded sermons by Corrie ten Boom. I’ve listened to a few
since then, and this one, God’s Love, ministered deeply to me. Corrie tells
stories about when she was going through the Holocaust and what it was
like in the concentration camp, but her words are filled with such joy and
Truth. There is no place for self-pity in Corrie’s life, even when, in our human terms, she would
have every right to give into such a thing. But, no! Her testimony in this sermon is one of joy, trust,
and a deep understanding of the love of God. She testifies boldly of God’s love, even through the
utter horrors and betrayals that she has lived through. God’s promises are true, and Corrie speaks
boldly of this as she testifies of how God taught her to continually see HIM all around her, even in
circumstances that were less-than-desirable.
FOR THE AUDIO MESSAGE, CLICK HERE
inthenextissue:
WHITE AS SNOW, Experiencing the full restoration of God
LESSONS FROM THE MISSION FIELD, What defines a true missionary
THE BATTLE OVER ADOPTION, Exchanging social correctness for Truth
“It is not difficult for God to guide us.
He longs to do so, and nothing is
too difficult for His omnipotence and
nothing too small for His love.”
- Corrie ten Boom

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