Founder, Author, Speaker, Entertainer

Founder, Author, Speaker, Entertainer
Woman Beautiful, Amanda Schwab ~ Founder, Author, Speaker, Entertainer - Helping you fight the good fight of faith as you embrace the woman you are created to be!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Lopsided Church

Everyone is looking for something to believe in. Something to give substance to life. Something to clarify the reason why we're all here.
     In recent headline news we have watched cemeteries being desecrated, innocent people being brutally tortured and killed, unsuspecting victims loosing limbs and life due to bombings; men, women and children falling prey to human trafficking, protesters vandalizing property and people simply because their candidate didn't win the presidency and other such travesties. What has this world come to? Why the insanity? By taking a look at the lopsided church, I believe we can find the answer. 
     A friend, who was a long-time school counselor in our small southwest Kansas town, once told me that "gang members aren't looking for something to live for, they are looking for something to die for." Gang members want to be so sold out to something that they would die for it if need be. This thought has plagued my mind many, many times since our conversation several years ago.  Teenage boys (and girls) look for meaning, purpose, comradery, and family in groups that promise it, even though this promise comes with a very high price. In a nutshell, they look for a place of belonging.
     Isn't this what we all want? A place to call our own; a place with purpose, appreciation, acceptance and love. Don't we all fit quite comfortably into our own little gangs? As I live out this life, I watch people struggle with their identity. These are people who are simply trying to find out who they really are, and why they are really here. I, like you, have witnessed everything from the bi-sexual revolution, to divorce without cause, to job hopping, partner hopping and church hopping. I've watched the family and the church take on a whole new (and not so appealing) look. What is the problem!?
     I dare to say that lazy, misinformed, carnal and religious Christians have created what I call the "lopsided church" and the lopsided church has played a major role in creating confusion and causing a lack of interest in  the things of God, especially for the GenXers. Let me explain this statement: 
 1) divorce, child abuse, gossip, bankruptcy, adultery, addiction, drunkenness, obesity, profanity, and other issues look no different in the lopsided church than they do in the world,
 2) prayer, Bible study and talking about God, are reserved for Sunday mornings in the lopsided church rather than as a daily lifestyle,
 3) church is a social gathering that takes place in a facility that looks more like a bar than a house of worship in the lopsided church, and
 4) although discipleship is trying to make a comeback through small groups, in many instances in the lopsided church it is dictated by how many rules and regulations are interjected and whether or not they meet the attendee's personal whims. For example, does it accommodate one's behavior; does it justify one's choices; does it approve of one's lifestyle; does it appeal to one's senses?
     Everyday we read blogs, watch videos and listen to podcasts that tell us it is okay to live life the way we want because we are all human and "it is what it is." This beloved, could not be further from the truth. This claim is in direct contradiction to the Word of God, the Bible. The Truth is that we have all been created for relationship and for purpose. We all have something inside of us that makes us want to push on in this difficult walk of life. The key to understanding that something is found in knowing God intimately and wholly.
     John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life." God sent His Son to die for you in order that you could become part of His family. Do you know of any greater love?
     Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." You have needs, God is so aware of this; these needs include everything from relational connectedness to financial breakthrough. If you will seek Him first, above everything else, He will meet those needs.
     Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to help you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." By slowing down briefly, waiting on God, and seeking Him and His will for your life, you will know those plans; plans that are custom designed for you and nobody else.
     And, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "And My people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn form their wicked (self-centered & sinful) ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins and will heal their land." Beloved, your land is your purpose. It is the reason why God put you here in the earth. If you are not living life abundantly, then your land needs healing.  
     Going through life bouncing from partner to partner, job to job, church to church, while striving to find something that is real and fulfilling can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He has loved you with an everlasting love, He gave His life for you, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father always speaking to God about you, for you. You have great purpose, you have a clear and chosen identity -- God has designed you to make a difference in the world. This purpose is to impact individual lives with such an impact that will last through eternity.
     Let me apologize for the confusion and frustration that has been needlessly inflicted upon a couple of generations of people. Taking the lopsidedness out of church is not going to happen over night, but it will happen. We as believers in Christ have been called to look differently than those who do not know or believe in Jesus. We are to be accepting, forgiving, pure in speech and lifestyle; we should be careful of what we say, what we watch and what we listen to, and we should be careful not to condemn. We should live lifestyles that are consistent with the character of Christ. There is a way to speak truth without being ugly. There is a way to live wholesomely without being holier-than-thou, and there is a way to let the hurting know that we have been down similar painful paths without revisiting them. Knowing God's purpose for your life is a process. It is a journey that is not easy. It is a path that is narrow and one that few people walk. In fact, at times it will feel as if you are walking it alone. And, it is a family relationship, a belonging, that is worth dying for if need be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made to make a difference for such a time as this. 
     We at Woman Beautiful delight in the opportunity to pray for you and to encourage you. Go to the website, http://www.womanbeautiful.org and share your thoughts and needs with us. We can help you find real answers for real help that lead to real abundant and purposeful living.         
    
Father, thank you for the people you have loved so well by your Son, Jesus Christ. Open their eyes that they will see you clearly; open their ears that they will learn your voice; open their hearts that they will be transformed by you and open their minds that they will desire the things of God. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen, amen!      
         

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Today's Religion

I love what the late founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, Bill Bright said, "We should live our life in such a way that when we crossover into heaven God has very little changing to do." This truth is so timely for 2016. We have been inundated with today's religion that calls evil good and good evil. Christians cuss, drink to the point of drunkenness, carouse, live in jealously, and create strife with those around them. And rather than being ashamed of their behavior and grieved because of sin, they simply say, "I'm just being real." Jesus didn't die a brutal death, spend time in hell and endure the pain of having His Father turn His back on Him just so Christians could be "real" by glorifying their sin! In my opinion these Christians suffer from one of two problems: they are either lazy, rebellious and unappreciative or they are ignorant. It takes hard work, faith, and selflessness to try to live a life that grows less and less sinful each day. Jesus never once said, "It's okay, I'll heal you and I'll provide all of your needs. You just go ahead and keep sinning. Do what you want. Pay no attention to Me." No! Quite the contrary! When Jesus healed anyone, when Jesus spoke to anyone, when Jesus supped with anyone, when Jesus provided a need, He always, without exception, told them to "sin no more" or He encouraged them to obey the commands of God. 
Romans 13:12 says, "The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts (sin)." We are to put off the wicked deeds of sin, which go rampant at night, and live holy (set apart, different, righteous, pure) just as God is holy. Without the powerful help of Holy Spirit, we are incapable of living righteously. Our reliance must rest in Him because we are met each day with people who are hurt, angry, and controlling; people, who in their misery want to make others miserable too. We are afforded opportunity after opportunity to act like prodigals and without God's help we cannot keep from giving into that pressure. We also make decisions, all by ourselves, that prevent us from living lives that are glorifying to God. Because of discontentment and jealously we think that someone else's life is more appealing than our own. Perhaps their spouse is better looking than our's or seems to be more sexually assertive. Maybe they drive a nicer car or live in a bigger house. Or, could it be that they have a better paying or more prestigious job. What we don't realize is that they have problems, hardships and frustrations too. After walking in the shoes of your neighbor's for awhile, I promise you, before too long, you would want your shoes back. These attitudes, or perhaps fears, motivate us to do things that are sin according to Scripture. Many people have affairs, leave their spouses, quit their jobs, party hardy, neglect their children, lie, cheat and anything else to look better, feel better and promote themselves. People fool themselves, believing the lie that says to look cool, be cool, and measure up, you have to act like the world. So Not true.  
James 4:17 says, "Therefore, to the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." I remember the Lord ministering to me one morning in my personal quiet time. I was frustrated by the way Christians behave. I mean lets face it, when a person uses profanity most of them have to deliberately speak it. Granted for some, cussing is their native language, just like lying is satan's native language, but it is probably safe to say that these people really do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and in this blog we are talking about people who know Jesus...Christians. As God and I were conversing, He said, "They don't know, you (and other Christians) have to tell them. So here I am, for the many of you who simply do not know, I am telling you. God expects you to "put off the old man and all of his evil deeds and put on the new man who is alive in Christ." Scripture shows us over and over what sin looks like. It also shows us what a believer in Christ looks like. We are to get rid of filthy communication, gossip, slander, drunkenness, jealousy, carousing, hate, pride, greed, lying and the sin list goes on. 
If you are Christian, a true follower of Christ, one who is a disciple of Christ, then you are to strive for a sinless life. A life that pleases God. Large religious entities are telling us that "God accepts us just they way we are. Go ahead, do what you want, you are already forgiven." That is a half-truth! And a half-truth is a whole lie. Salvation and the forgiveness of sins, past, present and future are not to be used as a license to sin. We are free in Christ, but Galatians 5:13 tells us to "not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh." In Scripture, "flesh" is to be carnal and carnality is to have an animalistic appetite for the world. If you would like, picture dogs that smell a female in heat. God loves us too much to let us stay the way we are when we first trusted in Him as Lord and Savior. We are to be a shinning light in a dark and pain riddled world. A world that is desperate for the love and forgiveness of Holy God. 
I can say like Paul, because I understand where he was coming from when it came to a life once embedded in sin, "I am the chiefest of sinners." I struggle everyday between doing the right thing and the easy thing. It would be so much easier to give into the pressures of being foolish. Acting ugly. Demanding my own way. Getting drunk when I'm angry or hurt. (Well, I don't really struggle with wanting to get drunk, but many of you do.) Looking for a better, more rewarding life...for all the self-satisfying, gratifying, and edifying reasons. Actually, my life is very good. Yet, am I ever reaching for more, knowing full well that God has more for me everyday? Yes! Still, I wouldn't want to walk in anyone else's shoes, but trying them on might be fun for 30 minutes -- that is until their reality sets in. The hard road is the high road. It is the road less traveled. The road that says, "I'm going to do the right thing because it is the right thing. It will glorify God, and hopefully, it will be a consistent and good witness to others. I want to encourage you today to be a believer that God delights in. One who strives to live a wholly, holy and pure life. We have sugar coated sin and discipleship with toxic waste. Don't believe the lie! God does love us; He does accept us; He does dance over us; He does forgives us, but He also wants His children to be holy and pure and righteous, because He is holy and pure and righteous. Is it hard? You bet it is! But Holy Spirit enables the children of God to do, be, achieve and become all that God intends for His kids to. And, He does it without added unnecessary and ungodly behavior. Woman Beautiful and Mighty Man of God, change your attitude toward your walk with and witness for Jesus Christ. Change your world! Be a positive witness for the Kingdom of God. Help them know that with God, all things are new, different, better. And be reminded of this, in the words of the Apostle John, 1 John 2:1-2, "My little children, (a term of endearment) I am writing these things that you may not sin. And IF anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins (the One who keeps us in God's favor, because He paid the ultimate price for our sins); and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." The Bible doesn't say, "when" we sin, it says, "if" we sin. Strive for holiness. You are redeemed, bought and paid for in full, with the precious blood and life of Jesus Christ. 

Love and Sweet Blessings to you, Amanda  

(For holy and righteous Christlike living see the book of Colossians, the Holy Bible)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rest...Revive, Rejuvenate, Replenish!

“And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” (Mark 6:31)

Life is full! So full sometimes, that we don’t even have time to eat. This is how it was at this particular time in Jesus’ ministry. There were so many people coming and going with the need of being ministered to, both physically and spiritually, that He and His disciples had not taken the time to eat. Jesus implored them to “Come away by themselves to a lonely place to rest for a while.”

Doesn’t that sound marvelous ¾ rest for a while? How many of you hard working career women, wives, and mothers can relate to not taking the time to eat because you just have to much to do? As a young wife and mom I didn’t need a break very often, but an hour or two a week did wonders for me. As a wife and mother of teenagers, I still didn’t need a break very often, but a couple hours a month certainly helped my attitude. As a wife and mother of young adults, and with many grandchildren and my own aging mother, I still don’t need much time away but a few hours every couple of months is quite nice.

It is no wonder the Lord commanded us to “keep the Sabbath holy,” setting it apart for worship and rest. That one day each week, if managed properly, is enough to rejuvenate us, making us mentally and physically ready for the coming week. Rest…sweet rest. Too many of us think that a golf game on Sunday afternoon is rest, or that driving to a neighboring town for lunch with friends and community group after church is rest. Or perhaps spending the afternoon near the pool playing with family and friends is rest. The reality is, those things are recreation and are not intended to refresh us. In fact, most of us say that we are more tired or just as tired on Monday as we were on Friday at 6 o’clock when the work week was complete. (Or at 6:00 on Saturday depending on the length of your work week.) It is because we didn’t take at least one day where all we did was rest.

Many men use Sunday afternoon to get their yard work done. Reality is, if they would work until dark one or two nights a week in order to get the yard work done and then rest on Sunday, they would indeed be refreshed, replenished and rejuvenated for the coming week. Therefore, accomplishing more the next work week with a well rested mind and body then they would have. I was the typical wife and mom who worked everyday of the week. There was just always so much to do at home. And on the occasions when I worked part time, my work load at home still had to be completed. After our kids were all grown and living on their own, I announced to my husband, “I’m not doing anything on Sunday. Nothing. Not one thing. I’m not cooking. I’m not cleaning. Nothing.” He gestured with a grunt and said, “Okay?” I simply told him that the Lord commanded us to take a day of rest and I was going to. After all, I figured if He worked six days and then rested on the seventh day, then there must be something to that command. No more would I be working on Sunday. It is one of the best decisions, for myself, that I have ever made. A decision I wish I would have made many, many years ago. Like you, I work very hard. I used to work hard seven days a week. Now I only work hard six days a week.

Rest, doing nothing, but relaxing; thinking of nothing except that which brings peace and releases stress is what replenishes us. I want to encourage you to do what is necessary to take Sunday off…completely. Doing no “work.” This might mean preparing Sunday’s meals on Saturday and using paper plates and cups and plastic forks for your Sunday meals. It might mean saying “no” to a few unnecessary things throughout the week. And, it might mean letting go of a some unrealistic expectations, especially those you hold for yourself. Leaving one load of laundry to fold on Monday, does not make you a bad woman. But, God’s guaranteed promise to replenish you, by worshiping Him and then resting on Sunday, will definitely make you a better one.

In order to be most effective for God, family, career, or ministry, you must rest regularly. You are Woman Beautiful…you can do it!
 
Love and blessings to you,
Amanda

Beauty Tip: Look at your schedule for next week. Make necessary changes in order to be able to make Sunday a day of rest. Do this every week. Until it becomes natural for you to rest on Sunday. (Or whatever day of the week you have available.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Love Slave

February is the month of expressing love. What a fun opportunity we have to tell that very special someone in our lives just how much we really care. Hard as it may be, we try to find the just right gift and card that says "I love you, I am committed to you, you are all I want and need." And, "I really appreciate you!"

          I found that card a little while back, at the Senior Citizens Center nonetheless, while having lunch with my 74 year old mother. For reals, as today's young people would say. We were in the food line and I decided to pick through the card rack while we waited. There it was! It had all the right colors (even though it didn't mention Valentine's Day), a bouquet of roses (my husband's favorite flower) and some pretty fun words that included "hitting the thack and doing it til we're thore." (A very important expression of love and respect.) Did I mention there was a duck on the front?

          I have a tendency to be way to serious, especially in my writing. Lightening up is something that I have to work hard at. Although living for Jesus is what life is all about, I'm sure you all would like to have a few more practical applications to life's situations and circumstances. Because after all, practical application is of God. The book of Proverbs is mostly, quite nearly, just about totally nothing but practical application. So for February's Beauty Tip you get to see a little bit of me that struggles to come out.

          Feb's Beauty Tip consists of a month's worth of love expressions for your mate. I want you to have fun with the one you love. Pray that God would enable you to live, laugh and love in new ways; really enjoying each other. And remember, your Valentine celebration does not have to be on Valentine's Day. Be flexible.

          I've listed several love expressions that are inexpensive, practical and shout out, "Hey Babe, I'm glad you're mine!" If you don't find a few that will fit your relationship, then perhaps these listed will at the very least get you thinking about ways that you can say, "I love you."

  • Write your spouse a playful note. (If it is sexual, be sure to follow through).
  • Make his/her favorite dessert. If there is no expressed favorite, chocolate anything is usually good.
  • Light some candles at bedtime; this always says, "I'm ready."  
  • Prepare a romantic Valentine meal for the two of you. It doesn't necessarily have to be what you eat as much as the mood that you set.
  • Buy a new nightie and give it to him as his Valentine gift. And then be sure to put it on!
  • Spray your pillows with a fragrance he/she loves.
  • Watch a favorite movie of his/hers together.
  • Leave a special message on the bathroom mirror. (Lipstick,  melted chocolate or window chalk work great. When it is time to clean the mirror, you be sure to be the one to clean it.  
  • Hire a babysitter (or recruit a family member or friend) and go out. Even one hour makes a big difference in a marriage.
  • Give your sweetie some sweets. Kisses, Hot Tamales, Slow Pokes (ha ha, pun intended).
  • Do something together that is very special to the other. (Go for a walk, read a book out loud, sit side-by-side, sit face-to-face, say the other's name followed by "I love you", lay on the couch together and do nothing.
  • Find a good book that gives 101 ways to say I love you. Tell your significant other to pick out ten of those expressions and then get creative in your execution of them.
  • Speak kindly, be supportive of, and refuse to complain.
  • Offer to do a chore for the other; make dinner, empty the trash for a week, give the dog a bath.
  • Find some good 70's love songs and dance in the kitchen together.
  • Hold hands.
  • Engage in conversation.
  • Refuse to be offended.
  • Laugh with your mate. People enjoy laughter; it works like good medicine for the soul.
          Throughout Scripture we are commanded to love: love God, love others. Valentine's Day is a day set aside for the express purpose of showing love. But what many of us miss is that we need to express love everyday; selfless, unconditional love. If we're waiting to say "I love you" on February fourteenth then we have missed the meaning of love. We should become love slaves; servicing those we love with perseverance, passion and purpose. Never giving up, no matter how our love is received or perceived and never giving in to the ever taunting demand of self. A pure heart with pure motives will always reap a great reward if it does not give up.

          I hope that you will put this Beauty Tip into practice. Use the month of February to say "I love you," in very special ways all month long.

Sweet blessings to you and your God given, significant other,
Amanda

Monday, January 20, 2014

Please, Would You Quit Screaming Negative At Me!

We live in a society that holds nothing back when it comes to negative or hurtful comments. It doesn't matter the age, skin color, religion, or social status. No one is immune to the negative verbiage that so easily spews from the mouths of many.

          Home consists of aggravated parents who holler obscenities at their children: hurt fathers tell their boys that they will never amount to anything, they're incompetent, stupid, incapable of being a man; little girls are told by their mothers that they are fat, ugly, dumb, undeserving of love. As if coming from home isn't enough, school often tells them the same. The work place demands perfection, yet the conversation among coworkers is back-biting and manipulative; the boss ridicules, belittles, and demeans. Church, the one place that should be a safe-haven for all consists of gossips, verbal manipulation, clicks, competition, and betrayal. Negative communication has become the accepted norm in America's society. 

          Michael, a man in his mid 50s told me that his dad told him regularly that he was stupid, called him an idiot -- told him he would never amount to anything. Today, he struggles with his own worth. He drinks excessively; he is in and out of relationships. His wounds have festered and ooze with the stench of hurt that his dad inflicted on him so many years ago. 

          When Darla's youngest [daughter] was in fifth grade, [her] teacher became frustrated with [her] when she found [her] working on a "chant" rather than doing the assigned Math work. Unknown by the teacher, Darla's daughter had completed the Math assignment and was quietly working on a "clap and pat" ditty [she] would teach a few classmates during recess. (The teacher didn't bother to inquire about [her] Math work.) She took the paper [she] was writing on, read it to the class, and had them all laugh and clap and tell [her] what a great job [she] had done writing the little song. She then placed it on the bulletin board in the hall with a note attached. The note talked down the daughter and let the whole school know that [she] had gotten into trouble for writing the song during Math time. Darla's daughter was absolutely humiliated. When Darla confronted the teacher, she told her that she fully intended to humiliate the [student]. Darla was outraged! When she took her before the principal, the teacher very proudly admitted the deliberate intent to humiliate. The principals mouth dropped at the teacher's prideful response. You might be wondering what her motivation was concerning the treatment of Darla's daughter? She replied, "My parents used to embarrass me to make me quit doing things, I thought I would use that tactic on my students too." Sadly, thirty years later the teacher still hurt from her own childhood ridicule, dysfunction and abuse, now caused others to hurt along with her.

          Robert, the owner of a local business, buddies-up with certain employees. Showing them favor, giving them bonuses, talking about the inadequacies of the other employees. He claims its okay because some employees make him money while other employees cost him money. His talk instills distrust, disunity, and discouragement. It creates conflict within his own organization, and it causes undue stress in the hearts and minds of his employees, which is often times carried home.

          Andi recounted a conversation she had with a fellow member at her church. She, Andi, had addressed the problem the church had of gossiping. The other woman replied, "Yeah, we are a gossiping church, it's just how it is." She was appalled. Andi could hardly believe her ears. Was the church not a place of help, hope and healing? Why would anyone want to attend there if they knew that they would be talked about? She could join local social clubs if she wanted to be gossiped about. Why was this sin "okay"? Would all sins be accepted in this church? What about adultery? Manipulation? Greed? Bribery? Fornication? Thievery? Gluttony? Pornography? Would they be tolerated or would they be addressed in lovingkindness?

          Why the backlash of negative talk? It's my opinion that hurt breeds hurt; dysfunction breeds dysfunction. Unless properly dealt with, the hurt we carry into adulthood from childhood will, indeed, flow freely from our mouths and actions to all those around us; in every situation, every circumstance.

          So what's the remedy? I can think of only one permanent, effectual remedy: change the equation. Yes, change the equation. Hurt plus hurt equals more hurt. Dysfunction plus dysfunction equals more dysfunction. But, hurt plus Jesus equals healing. Dysfunction plus Jesus equals wholeness. The only way to make necessary permanent changes is to come into relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the only person who can deliver any man or woman from the bondage of childhood which so many of us are entrapped. A person can read books, set goals, make resolutions, and vow never to speak or act a certain way again, but the reality is, without a heart change nothing will change permanently.

            A good friend recently shared a bit of her story with me. A bit she didn't realize had penetrated my heart. She said, "I grew up a good little church going girl and now I am trying to do this thing called grace." What my friend said in a nut shell was that she had grown up practicing the religion of Jesus and church, but now she had come into relationship with Jesus Christ and it was a whole new (different) ballgame. She didn't know that in that moment I had full understanding of my friend a few years back and my friend today. Once she was easily offended and seemed to easily offend others. Really, she was just being who she was with all of the religious baggage that so many of us who have grown up in church have. Compile that with the unavoidable dysfunction that every home has in some degree and you get negative response, negative feedback, negative attitude, negative, negative, negative! We all have [it]; in varying levels, but we all have the ability to be negative. My friends heart had been changed and she rightfully attributed it to grace. God's amazing grace that comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

          GRACE: God's love and sweet forgiveness extended to every (wo)man and child; receiving from Him what we don't deserve: forgiveness, unconditional love, everlasting life. It causes a person to want to do better, be better, act better, speak better. Once the heart has been changed then the mind can be changed; both the heart and mind can be shaped into a beautiful life giving muscle that speaks words that edify, heal, restore, encourage and deliver.
         
          I know that many people think that "on our own" we can be sufficient; accomplishing all that needs to be accomplished. The reality is we are all incapable of becoming what we were created to be apart from our Creator. The Word says, "God created man in His own image. Male and female  He created them." (See Genesis 1:27.) Man is divinely created to be as God is in character...he is to be holy: different, set apart for exploits of great magnitude on earth yet with Heavenly purposes. Every man's purpose originated in Heaven by God Himself. Apart from Him, one might do great things but they will not compare to what he or she would have done with God.

          Man can change his conduct to a degree but he cannot change his condition. This condition is that of not being able to save himself. The Bible calls it lostness, being unsaved, destined for an eternity spent in hell. This my Friend, can only be done through Jesus.

           I hope you will dump the negative and embrace the positive. You can learn to be positive but you cannot learn to extend grace until you have received grace. God's grace is given freely to you today. It comes by surrendering your life to Him. Won't you pray this prayer; Jesus wants to deliver you from the hurt and dysfunction and give to you a life of wholeness, saturated in His sweet grace. 

God in heaven, you alone are good. Thank you for your son Jesus. Thank you for giving him to die for my sins. Please forgive me of my sins and come into my heart. Would you, Jesus, be my Lord and Savior. Baptize me with your Holy Spirit. I want to live wholly for you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. 

          If you prayed this prayer, please contact us at www.womanbeautiful.us  We want to pray for you and give you additional tools for your walk with God.                    
                       
         
         
                    

 

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Lifestyle of Abundance -- 2012 Goals

It doesn't seem as though it has been that many years ago that we were bracing for the year 2000; being uncertain at what might happen in the realm of technology and society as we knew it. Now we are in 2012 and technology and the Internet are more vital today than Bill Gates ever thought they would be. As the story goes, Bill Gates thought that the "Internet" would never be a big deal and he really didn't want to pursue its possibilities, but his team thought differently. Yea for the team! We all need a team...those who will help us see and believe the things that we cannot. As I share a few of my goals for 2012 with you, it is with the evidence of things not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1). Goal number 1: I want to thoroughly clean every room in my house; this sounds like it should be an easy task but...I want my cleaning to include closets, drawers, boxes, under the beds, in the corners and etc. Leaving nothing unturned, moving every piece of furniture, cleaning windows, ceilings, baseboards and walls. I want to get rid of everything that I do not use or decorate with. This will also include the garage. Goal number 2: I want to finish two books that I've been working on for the past three years. Goal number 3: I want to become completely debt free. Goal number 4: I want to faithfully implement all of the Beauty Tips that I have included in my book, Woman Beautiful, and those that I post on the Woman Beautiful Facebook page. Goal number 5: I want to give more to the fertile grounds of God's Kingdom than I have ever given before and goal number 6: I want to love others well -- more passionately compassionate than I've ever loved them before! And I want this love to start with Jesus and then move swiftly to my family, church, neighbors, and community then beyond. This is probably my most significant goal. To love with sweet sensitivity that originates with Holy God. In order to reach each of these goals there are certain behaviors that I will have to implement -- a plan that will, indeed, enable me to accomplish every goal. This plan must include: working in my home everyday...intentionally; I will have to designate times to write each week and then stick to those times; I will have to monitor daily spending -- evaluating every purchase to determine whether it is a need or a desire. December 31, 2012 will be here before I know it and I'm convinced that "denying myself" for 12 months will not kill me. I will have to practice what I preach, even when I am tired; I will have to give strategically, not just making my usual tithe, but paying close attention to the voice of the Lord and being obedient to give as He leads and I will have to spend time in the presence of God daily in order to really know and understand His undefiled, selfless love. In reaching all of my goals, I need a team that will encourage me, pray for me and believe in me. More than these, my team will have to be willing to hold me accountable speaking those truths to me that I really might not want to hear. Thankfully, I do have such a team. This team is found in my husband, adult children, and prayer partners as well as the Woman Beautiful team and a small support group that I facilitate. You too need such a team! We at Woman Beautiful want to cheer you on in the desires, dreams, visions and goals that God has born in your heart. We would like to pray for you, answer your questions, and give you great ideas on how to embrace the woman that God truly created you to be. Please go to www.womanbeautiful.us and receive the help and encouragement that you might be needing today. We love you and delight in the opportunity to help you in this walk of life. We look forward to receiving your contact. Blessings, Amanda         

Friday, November 4, 2011

Becoming A Godly Woman In A Ungodly World

My book, Woman Beautiful could have easily been subtitled, Becoming A Godly Woman In A Ungodly World -- it's the challenge every Christian woman faces. In a recent conversation, my daughter, Whitney, and I were discussing the critical spirit that so many women have embraced. Harshness, impatience, frustration, and criticism dominate most days and many women lay their heads down at night only to grieve over their reactions to daily life. It breaks our hearts to come face-to-face with the way we've spoken to our precious and innocent children; realizing the hurt we've caused them and ourselves by our thoughts and attitudes is sometimes more discouraging then the stress of everyday life.  
     Just in the past few months God has set me free from these same death bringing behaviors. I say death because carelessly spoken words bring death to such things as childhood  development; invitations to parental involvement; and death to the dreams our children have been given by God. Not to mention death to love, acceptance, approval and the list goes on. Destructive speech is not only limited to women and their children but also to their marriage relationship, work space, women's groups and more. I call this aspect of beauty "Relational Beauty."
     The first relationship that needs to be attended to is woman's relationship with the LORD. Apart from Him there is no lasting change. I have walked intimately with God for many years now. Yet, and thankfully, I am still a diamond in the rough. A little less rough, but rough nonetheless. I believe that one of the reasons we are still so rough is that we are guilty of being discontent with the lives that we seem to be having to live. For many of us it is certainly not the life we thought we were standing in line for. Let me explain. I, like many of you, had been taken captive by feelings of hurt; hurt caused by the behavior of the man that I love. Or, perhaps you don't have a man in your life, therefore you manage all areas of your life, alone. Maybe you're raising your grandchildren and feel as if you've already been there and done that. You know that your grand babies need you, yet there are those days that you would really enjoy the freedom to do the things that you put on hold while you reared your own children. Maybe you don't have a husband and you don't have children or gandchildren. Perhpas you are single and simply believe that God has dealth with you somewhat unjustly. The demands, discouragement and disappointments that each of these relationships create in a woman's life are sometimes more stressful than we can manage on our own. This is why I know that our relationship with God is so absolutely vital! He alone can take the crooked road and make it straight.
     I cringe every time I hear a mother talk harshly to her child. I was, and still am if I don't wait on the Lord, that mom who jumped over the real emotion, which was usually fear, and landed...splat... right in the middle of anger! It is heartbreaking to me because immediate hurt can be seen in the child's countenance. Little by little a child's joy and innocence slowly die. Sadly, for many children, this form of verbal harshness is the family norm.
     Another more subtle form of death is that of husband bashing. This method of causing death is typical office talk for many women. Being frustrated because of having to work a full time job, cook, clean house and raise the children seemingly by herself makes very fertile ground for bitterness and resentment. Back-stabbing women in the work place add heaps of hurt to an already wounded spirit by down talking men and by coming into agreement with the one who is hurting -- offering insults, blurting out..."I wouldn't put up with that!", and making comments on how pitiful he is. What many  of us don't know and understand is that we all have similar hurts. Most marriages are not picture perfect. Rather than being offended by or jealous of one another, therefore wanting to see another marriage fail,  we need to be supportive and encouraging toward one another.
     Women everywhere go through the day to day tasks of living...alone. Not realizing that their singlehood is a gift from God, they are consumed with wanting someone to enjoy life with.   
     In order to be either supportive or encouraging, a woman has to know who she is in Christ. Apart from Him she will be disappointed and discouraged -- daily! Yes, we are afforded the opportunity to be offended every day. That offense will cause us to be short tempered, mouthy, insensitive, self-centered, self-serving and the list goes on. It is up to us to make the decision to be loving, kind and soft -- the way God created us. 
     Females have been created with and in femininity -- gentleness, kindness, tenderness; expressing compassion, extending grace. But, when an ungodly world crashes in on us...every day...our soft, tender and gentle femininity morphs into this really unattractive monster who's in need of some form of control. The need for control, because we are female, causes us to take on the role that was rightly given to men by God -- the role of authority and masculinity. Our voice gets louder and deeper. We make strange and intimidating facial expressions and we issue sarcastic and often times unrealistic demands on the little people around us. Little being both children and others we view as less or lower than, ourselves. The crazy thing is, we really don't want to be the authority. We don't want to be in control. Women, moreso than men, know that control equals responsibility and accountability. We delight in passing on that! What we really want is to be extended grace in order that we can become the beautiful woman that God created us to be. That woman really is a very loving and gentle spirited female. She gives endlessly without regret or frustration for being taken for granted. If we women had our ruthers, we would rather be the amazing feminine of God on every occasion; responding to the difficulties of life with kindness and grace. We would like to be well taken care of and given the opportunity to have a thriving, selfless, love-filled marriage, family, workplace and church. In being taken care of, we can then take care of those we love.
     Now, to become a Godly woman in an ungodly world. 1) know the Truth - His name is Jesus! In knowing the Truth, you are set free, indeed! Free from the mannerism, sarcasm, and ridicule of the world -- the lost, and those who are saved but have never chosen to take on the identity of Christ. His identity is a choice that few believers make. 2) know who you are in Christ. You have been Divinely created. Before you were formed in your mamma's womb God knew you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are the daughter of the Most High God. You are a joint heir with Jesus Christ. You are the head and not the tail. You are above and not beneath. You are valued and deeply loved by the Creator of the Universe. 3) know that God has given you the Holy Spirit as Comforter and as your Power Source. Ask for His sweet infilling -- watch what He does!  
     When Moses sent ten spies into the Promise Land, 8 came back defeated. God told the Israelites that He was giving them the Promise Land but they would have to go in and take it by force. The 8 saw the giant men and called themselves grasshoppers in comparison, saying they could not stand against the giant inhabitants. 2 spies came back shouting the victory. They knew that all things were (are) possible with God. Because God said the land was theirs and all they had to do was go in and take it they knew they warred from a position of victory. They knew God would fulfill His part of the promise. This is to be your shout every day -- the shout of victory! In doing so, you will take by force what God has already given you. You have overcome! 4) refuse to adapt to the world, rather you are to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. This renewing comes only by spending time in the word daily...studying Scripture, getting to know God better and learning to love Him more. 5) become intimate with God. Pray! Learn to recognize His voice. Believe His words. Trust Him. 6) be holy because God is holy. You are to be in the world but certainly not of the world. Take on the beauty or holiness of Almighty God. In doing this, the day will come when the ungodly muck of the world will be so unappealing to you that anytime your life reflects godlessness it will break your heart and conviction will be a welcomed affliction. Literally, the attitude, behavior, and sin of this world will become repulsive to you and the joy of the Lord, which is your strength, will override every fiery dart that Satan and the lost world throws your way. And lastly, 7) deliberately befriend high-caliber Christians. Search out women whom you know are growing in the Lord, who strive everyday to live a life pleasing to Him and who spend time regularly in personal Bible study and prayer. You will easily recognize their Godly lives -- they will look the same in their home, church, workplace, and other public venues. And you will see the attributes and character of Christ in them.     
     Again, here are the 7 aspects to becoming a Godly woman in an ungodly world:
     1) Know the Truth - Jesus,
     2) Know who you are in Christ - daughter of the Most High God, joint heir with Jesus,
     3) Receive the Holy Spirit's supernatural infilling - surrender your all,
     4) Refuse to adapt to the world - be transformed by the renewing of your mind - know the Word.
     5) Become intimate with God - pray.
     6) Be Holy - because God is holy, and
     7) Hang-out with high caliber Christians.
     Bask in the beauty of Almighty God. It's in Him that you are Woman Beautiful!
Love and Blessings, Amanda