It’s Your Turn!

March 17, 2010 at 1:08 am (Announcements, Love, Marriage, Purity, Singleness) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We’ve spent the last week or so sharing purity stories (in case you hadn’t noticed)…each of us has been walking a path that the Lord has used to teach us the price and value of purity.

Lauren shared that purity in our lives reflects our relationship with the Lord–we’re not supposed to daydream about other lovers, but we’re supposed to love the Lord purely!  She also shared that meeting the “perfect” man wasn’t a signal to lay down her arms and give in–it was actually just a stronger call to keep fighting the battle–even protecting her physical purity during her engagement so that she could give herself entirely to her husband on her wedding day!  And as a married woman, she shared that the same love that inspires “keeping” as a single woman, inspires “giving” as a married woman.

Megan shared the power of God’s redeeming love as the basis for all purity.  With that in mind, pride doesn’t lead us to true purity.  She expressed that purity is far more than physical boundaries–that it begins with a pure mind and heart and humility!  She also shared how God’s powerful love can redeem even our mistakes and sanctify them for our growth and use them for our blessing!  As a wife and mother (with a fifth on the way!), a pure mind and heart are no less important now!

Amy shared that an invaluable secret to protecting “chastity” is godly accountability–particularly parents!  Contentment is an act of trust and the foundation for trust is knowing and understanding God’s character–that He is good and gives good gifts.  Even when “Mr. Right” entered her life, the Lord still had growth planned for her!  And even after her marriage, she has learned that contentment is still an act of trust!  The day we trust the Lord is only the beginning of a life of trusting.

Sarah shared the struggle of learning to balance preparation and training to be a godly wife and mother with the commands to guard her heart and keep her daydreams focused on the Lord.  One day she came to her parents.  “For my entire life you have been grooming me to be a wife and mother.   What am I supposed to do, erase 16 years of brainwashing from my head?”  She also shared the struggle of balancing a godly friendship with the teasing of “helpful friends” and her own desires for a godly husband.  She also shared how we can tend to trust “good things” that the Lord provides, instead of simply trusting the Lord.

Ana Marie shared the importance of filling our lives with the right things–nature abhors a vacuum, and where there is nothing, usually there is plenty of room for stumbling!  She shared the value of a tender conscience and also the power of confessing even motives to her father.  She also shared how necessary it is to guard our brothers–hearts and eyes–in worship to the Lord.

Abigail shared the danger of creating “high ideals” that are often founded in pride instead of in scripture–since they set us up for failure!  God doesn’t promise us our ideal–no matter how we behave.  He just commands us to obey Him.  She also shared the importance of understanding that both marriage and singleness are pure–and glorify God when submitted to Him.   And she shared the the call never changes–regardless of circumstances, pressures or temptations.  Purity must start and end in love–love for the Lord first and then love for His people–all of them.

Now it’s your turn!  We want to hear how the Lord has convicted you and how you’ve responded to the call to purity!  Leave your thoughts and/or post a link(s) to your story in the comments below!

Blessings!

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Part Six: Love and Today

March 8, 2010 at 1:00 am (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living, Love, Marriage, Purity, Singleness, Worship) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

I can look back on the past 20 years of my life with entire confidence that, when it comes to love, I’ve been an overwhelming failure.  Praise the Lord, His love never fails, and it stretches to mercifully cover my short-comings.

God’s commands for purity are not for yesterday.  Certainly there are consequences to our poor choices and we should do our best to rectify our mistakes, but the past is a part of something the Lord has bought back and promised to redeem for our good.  He is in the business of using even bad things for His glory and our good.  That is the power of God’s redeeming agape love.

Today we are commanded to seek to love purely—the Lord first and our neighbor as our self.  It’s not something that just happens–it’s a battle.  The command to “keep” our heart bears connotations of surviving a siege.  As long as we are fighting, we can overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  A purity battle fought is not a purity battle lost.  We lose the battles when we stop seeking the Lord, when we give up, when we sit down and give in to temptation or greed or discontentment—in any form or appearance.

I don’t intend to impose law, but to lift up the Lord.  “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)  My challenge to you is the same I extend to myself:  Pursue the Lord!  Flee youthful lusts, but pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those that call on God from a pure heart.  This is worship.

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Love Means a Cross

March 2, 2010 at 1:51 am (Attitudes, Love, W.O.W.) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

When you are not yet married, or when your marriage is over and you look back on those years with longing, it is without doubt quite possible to idealize it.  But there is one thing which enters into all of life, one thing which will keep us from idealizing life’s best and will make bearable life’s worst, and that is the Cross.  The Cross must enter into marriage.  “Who loveth suffereth too.”

The Cross enters the moment you recognize a relationship as a gift.  The One who gives it may withdraw it at any time, and knowing this, you give thanks in the receiving.  Desiring above all else to do the will of God, you offer back to Him this greatest of all earthly gifts as an oblation, lifted up in worship and praise, with faith that in the offering it will be transformed for the good of others.

This is what sacrifice means.  This is why the Cross of Christ “towers o’er the wrecks of time.”  Love is sacrificial.  Sacrifice is giving, and offering up, and the meaning of sacrifice in the Bible is the giving of life to another.

~ Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be A Woman, 1976

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

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What an Awesome God You Are!

September 25, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , )

awesome godWhat an awesome God you are!
And I? What a small child.
For when You whisper, high winds blow
And swirling droplets turn to snow
While I in wonder wish to know
The way the world goes.

What a knowing God you are!
And I? A senseless child.
For when You warn me of my path
I turn to You with scornful laugh
Until the truth cuts it in half
While, speechless, do I watch.

What a holy God you are!
And I? A sinning child.
For what You gently bid me do
I turn away, ignoring You
Though all Your words are ever true
Yet still, I disobey.

What a loving God you are!
And I? A ransomed child!
For though I never could have earned
The love that through Your word I’ve learned
You grant me, though Your voice I’ve spurned
You lavish it on me!

Copyright 2003 by Abigail

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A Simple Prayer

February 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , , )

a-simple-prayer

A simple prayer I offer
Humbly before Your throne
Oh hear the words I proffer
And take me as Your own
Oh hear my eager crying
Your face my only view
My trembling heart requiring
To be at peace with You.

I ask no other blessing
Than that You own my name
While I am You confessing
Oh do for me the same
Till all the hosts here dwelling
Know as the hosts above
That all my sins dispelling
You claim me with Your love

Indwell Your precious temple
With truth and wisdom’s glow
Make me forever simple
Your word all that I know
And teach my heart to ponder
Each day as ever new
In never ending wonder
The mystery of You

And though this prayer is ending
Cease never our commune
The Spirit which You’re sending
Precedes Your coming soon
Refresh me with the water
Springing to eternal life
I am Jehovah’s daughter
And Your own promised wife

Copyright 2003 by Abigail

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His Perspective…On Respect

February 14, 2009 at 1:00 am (His Perspective) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

his-perspective-on-respect

Valentine’s Day conjures up thoughts of red foil, powdered candy hearts, oozing chocolate cakes and over-the-top sentimentalism all wrapped up in a hazy misunderstanding of the word “love.” To the world, love is a feeling, coming and going on the winds of time, age, business and beauty, pronounced in words that pass away and proudly displayed through things destined to perish with the using. The disciple Jesus loved gives those of us who would understand true love a great reminder: “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in action and truth.” (1 John 3:18 ) English teachers will insist that love is an abstract noun—an idea. Scripture tells us it’s a verb. Sisters, let’s stop just using empty words to express love. Let’s really get active about loving according to the truth of scripture!

Paul, the bond-slave of the Lord, never mentioned flowers or chocolate or candlelight dinners, but he did give some excellent advice for godly love and relationships. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church…and let the woman see to it that she respect her husband.” (From Ephesians 5:22-33–we really recommend reading the whole passage). In the literal Greek the word for “husband” is really just “man”, plain and simple, and we believe that the respect factor applies to young women under the authority of their fathers, as well. After all, what better way is there to prepare for respecting a husband, some day? Could there be a better way to prove respect for the Lord than to respect the authorities He has placed in our lives?

Some of the men who are seeking to work out this Biblical pattern graciously agreed to help us in digging up some great insights on the issue of respect. We’ve included a few prime quotes below as a sort of appetizer and we’d encourage you to take a look at what they had to say and put your love into action, guided by the truth of God’s word! Just follow the link at the bottom to visit the “Respect” page and see the whole survey! Feel free to share what you find, and don’t be afraid to ask your own men the same questions to discover what honors them and proves to them your love and respect–for God’s glory.

Are candy hearts and red roses wrong? Not at all. They are thoughtful. They are romantic. They are even pleasant. Only to call those things “love” or even “expressions of love” which never even come close to scratching the surface of the love of God, who sacrificed His Son for sinners, is to cheapen a word which should be reserved for gifts of much greater worth. This Valentine’s Day, we challenge you to give more. We challenge you to lavish your man with respect—all year long.


“Biblical respect is the humble, intelligent, joyful response of a wife to God’s placement of authority expressed by esteem for, encouragement of, and submission to her husband’s leadership.”

Shai Linne, Philadelphia, PA


“It is possible to have a surviving relationship without respect because I could choose to love them [wife/sister/daughter] even if they refused to respect me, but to have a really healthy flourishing relationship both must fill their biblical roles.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10


“Leaving me would be the highest rejection of my leadership and provision. But in absence of legal separation, complete emotional and relational separation would be basically equivalent.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

We hear much about men having a built in need for respect and similarly women having a built in need for love … as if men and women are designed by God with the frailties of tiny egos and frail emotions that need constant stroking by the other lest we suffer the consequences. This is nonsense. Respect and Love in the context of Marriage have everything to do with God given roles and authority structure. Respect and Love are what bring about God’s desire that we use our position selflessly for the benefit of our Spouse.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)


“’Love is of God,’ I John 4:7 says. God’s love is not natural to man, as the Scripture continues: ‘everyone who loves has been born of God.’ So husbands are to love, not by human product, but by the love of God. Likewise are wives, according to Titus 2:4, to love their husbands, not by natural love, but God’s love.”

–Glenn Schreiber, Central Illinois, (very happily) married for 18.5 years, father of two daughters


It is the ‘picture’ of Christ and His bride. The relationship for the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Sacrificial love, a love worth respecting because it is wonderful and it knows the love is acting in the best interest for the wife. How do they differ? The love is the leading action which makes the respecting enjoyable.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters


“The Bible says that Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. I think this word is a great way of summarizing how a wife is to respect her husband. She treats him as someone who is very important; as someone who she means to serve and obey, and who is worthy of her service. No other person trumps him; he is the #1 person she is meant to help, to love, and to give her time and affections to. What is important to him becomes important to her, simply because he values it. This all comes out of an ultimate desire to serve her Heavenly Lord, because this is His command to her; ultimately, she is serving Him through demonstrating a giving over of her desires to the desires of her husband, and treating him as the authority God has given her.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)


“God’s originally-stated purpose for creating mankind was to rule over the earth (Gen. 1:26). His special purpose for man was to cultivate and keep the garden (Gen. 1:26; 2:15) and for woman was for her to be a suitable helper of her husband (Genesis 2:18). It follows that she must learn to help her man. This is the major distinction between the husband and his wife’s roles–he is the leader and she is the helper. More descriptively, he is to be her loving leader and she is to be his reverent helper.”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)


Trust and respect can be shattered by failure to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.”

Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

We found the answers sometimes surprising, often enlightening, sometimes encouraging, often convicting.   We’d love for you to take a look at the comments and the survey (when you can) and tell us your thoughts!

His Perspective on Respect: The Survey

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Another Year of God’s Grace

January 1, 2009 at 6:43 am (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , , , )

jesus-tales

Several years ago, Abigail made this New Year’s resolution:

Resolved:  That I will never again make another New Year’s resolution.

It’s the only one she’s ever kept.  Sadly, many of us seem very good at making good resolutions and very poor at keeping them.  Even the best of intentions seem to last for only a few days, which can make the launch into the New Year rather discouraging.  This year we decided that instead of focusing on what we’ve accomplished in the past year or on what we hope to accomplish in the next year, we’d like to turn our focus back to God and all that He has and is accomplishing!

Here, at Pearls and Diamonds, we’re launching a new page for “Jesus Tales–and we want to hear yours!  God’s at work changing lives, changing natures, changing destinies.  Please step over to “Jesus Tales” and share how God has called you, saved you and is leading you now!  (You’re welcome to repost from elsewhere and we’ll work on a widget if anyone would like to link to this page of testimonies.)

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig1

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Six Things God has Taught Me

December 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm (Announcements, Attitudes, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

6-thingsSome time ago we were tagged by Olivia to share six things God has taught us in the past year…forgive us for the delay in posting! We normally don’t do tags, but since this one included both of us and aptly fit into the purpose of our blog, we were delighted to participate! After all, the Lord’s been teaching us much!

From Lauren:

I’ve been married now for a year and three months! It’s been so wonderful to see God’s kindness to us in our marriage! Yahweh has been teaching me so SO much in the past year–most of it being quite practical, a lot of learning from experience. I hope that what God has been teaching me will be of some encouragement to you ladies!

1. I’m not as submissive as I’d like to think! I had plenty of time to practice submission while under my parents’ authority. Sure, I wasn’t perfect, but I thought I’d gotten pretty good at it. Then I entered into married life and began to realize that submitting to my husband (the most wonderful man I know, by the way) was not as easy as I had imagined. Sure, I’d ask his opinion on things, and I’d let him make the big decisions, offering my thoughts and support. But when it came down to little day-to-day things I began to realize that I didn’t want him to infringe on “my time”. So I’ve grown to realize that submission isn’t easy-even when you have an easy-going, not-very-demanding man. God has taught me that I have a lot to learn in this area, and that if I’m not submitting even the little things to my husband’s authority, I’m not being submissive to my God either! I wrote “She who has ears…” earlier this year when God really broke through to me with this lesson!

2. God gave me a glimpse of His compassion. I grew up in the clean suburbs of north Texas. My grandparents are exceptionally healthy. But since I’ve been married and living in Tulsa, in the city, God has brought me face to face with the poverty of the homeless and the despair of an ailing widow. Nathaniel and I have had opportunities to help these folks like we’ve never known before. It has stretched us out of our comfort zones, but it has been so good to begin to understand the compassion of our God and to show it to those in need!

3. I need to renew my mind daily in God’s word. Sometimes a song will pop into my head that I haven’t heard since before I came to know the Lord, the lyrics bombarding me with attitudes and words that I’ve since abandoned. Other times my own heart fills my mind with evil thoughts, bad attitudes. This has served to remind me that I desperately need to renew my mind, as it says in Romans 12-and to do it daily. It’s not about Bible study for the sake of Bible study, as though checking it off my list makes me more spiritual. Rather, my heart is deceitful and my mind wanders, and only by God’s grace and by being drenched in His word can I truly honor Him in my thoughts, words, and deeds. I desperately need God’s word!

4. Prayer and worship should be the heartbeat of my walk with Christ. It seems that of all the spiritual disciplines I can think of, the ones that I tend to neglect the most are prayer and private worship of my Creator-and God has been convicting me about this. Just as I need God’s word to renew my mind, I need to humble myself and pray to God-about everything! And the thing that has perhaps hit me the hardest lately, is that I should take time to praise my Savior each day-not because I feel like it-that doesn’t matter-but because He is WORTHY to be praised. If I fail to praise Him, I have declined to give Him what He is due, I have failed to do what ought to naturally flow from a heart that has been made new and is dependent upon its Creator, Sustainer, and Savior!

5. Now that I’m married, I must still be careful to keep Jesus as the love of my life. Being married to an amazing man is an amazing blessing. But I have to be careful to remember that he is not my groom forever-Jesus is. It’s been helpful for me to recognize the things I admire about Nathaniel, and the way that he loves me as his wife, and then think of how my Jesus loves His bride, the church, the same way (only exponentially greater!). This has helped me to turn praise for my husband (which I give him) into greater praise for my God and Savior as well!

6. If you miss who Jesus is, you miss everything. God sent Jehovah’s Witnesses to my door in late May, and one of them kept coming back to talk with me, bringing another lady with her each time, all the way until early August! I didn’t know much about what they believed-I knew they rejected the deity of Christ, but I though that maybe if they knew that salvation was by grace through faith, some of them might truly be saved, only needing to learn more about Jesus to then believe that He’s God the Son. So for a couple of months I got to ask questions, read their materials, and search the Scriptures (as did the Bereans in Acts 17:11). It was a wonderful challenge and I came to see more clearly from Scripture why we worship Jesus and call upon Him in prayer (the JW’s don’t do either). Well, did they understand salvation by grace? No. In fact, on every point of doctrine their teachings twisted God’s word-from creation and the fall all the way into Revelation, these ladies trusted the publications put out by their organization which twisted God’s truth into lie after lie. When talking with Nathaniel’s family about what I was discussing and sharing with the JW’s, his dad pointed me to John 8:24, where Jesus said to the Jews: “…you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” Truly, if we don’t believe that Jesus is who He and the apostles said He is, we will not know God’s salvation. We will still be in our sins-because, in effect, we’ve rejected Christ and have only accepted a cheap imitation. And we will likely believe a whole bunch of lies if we accept lies about the Person of Jesus Christ. This was shocking to me as I saw it played out in the lives of these ladies-very religious, very “holy”, very devout in trying to make sure they can enter paradise, but oh so lost, still bearing their own sins, believing in a Jesus that cannot save because they have rejected who He really is.

From Abigail:

Interestingly, I just passed the one year anniversary of our move to Arkansas…and the Lord has taught me SO MUCH since then. Some of it I’ve shared with you all, some of it remains buried in the pages of my journal, some of it is schedule for future posts. Selecting only six things will be difficult–He teaches me something new every day! These have been a few of the liberating truths that have hit home to me this year.

1. “No” is not a punishment. It’s often been my habit to pray for a desire I have to be realized, while also praying that the Lord would give me a clear “no” if that desire were not a part of His will.  But like a slinking puppy, I forget that “no” stems from the Lord’s love–His desire for His glory and my joy in glorifying Him–and I feel guilty, ashamed or regretful over having ever desired something to which He had to say “no.” When the Lord gives me a “no” to something I’ve desired, it’s not necessarily because that desire was evil or because I have done evil. Quite simply, it’s because He has something else for me to do. Instead of recoiling or whining, I should cheerfully accept His redirection and stretch out to grow and serve in another way.

2. Emotions are not the enemy. Friends used to ask me if I even had emotions.  Growing up I honestly thought self-control meant ridding myself of all display of emotion–grief, anxiety, embarrassment, anger and even joy.  While being able to mask my emotions has proven a wonderful gift in many of the circumstances I’ve found myself in, trying to suppress them left me devoid of the fulness and joy of the Lord.  God created me with emotions so that I might worship and enjoy Him. There is an appropriate time for every emotion. But worship means bringing my emotions under control of the Spirit so that I may experience fulness of joy and pleasure in the presence of Almighty God.

3. Offending someone is not always a bad thing. I hate to think of hurting someone’s feelings or making someone angry at me.  But being a peacemaker doesn’t mean covering over issues to create an illusion of peace, but exalting the Prince of Peace.  Jesus often offended the Pharisees. God calls me to be at peace with all men, as much as it depends on me. He also calls me to speak the truth in love. I must share the truth in love and leave the Lord to the working whether it will be scandalous or bring a healing breaking. Great grace have the people of God, and nothing will offend them.

4. Love never fails. We live in a battle zone.  The enemy is invisible, not made of flesh and blood, but of intense evil and hatred. Jesus conquered sin and death by power of His love.  Only by His love can we hope to win this war–and by His love the outcome is sure.  Sometimes I feel so weary, so exhausted in trying to learn to love like Jesus and I think I need a break–especially in the privacy of home, where I’m surrounded by people who “know I love them.”  Christ’s love is not the selfish love that demands a paid vacation.  It never goes on vacation. It never takes a break. It always sacrifices itself for the good of others and takes infinite pleasure in watching, unrequitted. Pride cannot coexist with love. I am loved, not because I deserve it, but because Jesus loves infinitely. I love others, not because they deserve it, but because Jesus deserves it infinitely.

5. I am not responsible for results. I am quick to lose sight of God’s work and God’s power and become discouraged when the world doesn’t follow the plan I’ve mapped out.  When people don’t react the way I think they should.  When those I love don’t make the decisions I am certain would be best for them.  When situations run completely out of my control.  Blaming myself, I sink down in depression, certain I have failed and that God is mortally disappointed in me.  What a lie from Satan and perfectly exposing my own pride and self-worth.  I am responsible only for my obedience. To try to take responsibility for results–good or bad–is to usurp God. Jesus has commanded me to control myself, to follow Him and to love. I am not responsible for bringing revival. I am not responsible for the lost being saved. I am not responsible for another’s reaction to me or to Jesus. I am responsible to do whatever He says. In my obedience, He is glorified.

6. God is never angry at me. When I can’t create the results I dream of, or when I’ve drifted in my busyness or discouragement from the depths of relationship with the Lord, I crawl home pleading for quick punishment, viewing God as a despot whose anger must be satisfied before I can be restored to favor.  But God’s wrath WAS satisfied.  It was completely spent on Jesus, my precious Savior.  Being justified by faith, I have peace with God. I could not earn His pleasure, I do not keep His pleasure. I am satisfied with Jesus, because through His intermediacy, God was satisfied with me. And always will be. Praise Jesus!

We’d love to know what things the Lord is teaching you! If you’ve learned something this year, consider yourself tagged!

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig

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The Hem of Your Robe

June 23, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Flowers of Thought) (, , , )

It’s a humbling thing to come face to face with my own helplessness, driven to my knees in tears to plead with the King of the universe. But I come in confidence, praying like a beggar, yet knowing I will be heard—not because of my piety, but because of the mercy of the King I implore. Before the mercy seat of God, humility and hope stand hand in hand.

Colossians 4:2 urges us to devote ourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. “Pray like beggars!” my brother once explained. I picture a beggar’s relationship to a king—prostrated before him, imploring his kindness even to allow her near him. It’s not completely outrageous that a kind king would look at a beggar—might even give her a gift, speak to her or touch her—were she clean. A just king might make sure she was provided for—in whatever manner she deserved. In the story of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 9:43-48), our King proves the power of His love: an unclean beggar, hoping only to touch the dragging hem of His robe finds in His touch the healing for body and soul. The words of Jesus prove the depth of His kindness: in one instant of intense redemption, He adopted a beggar.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Such a world of humanity, needing Your care,
Yet I grope through the crowd with a skeleton prayer.
I wish to escape all the eyes that would probe,
But, Lord, let me just touch the hem of Your robe.

Unclean, I approach You, ashamed of my sin
And reach out to know that You’ve healed me within.
You know it—You’d planned it—the powerful touch.
Only the Christ loves a beggar so much.

Of all those who touch You, who press You this day
The power comes only to those who will say:
“Lord, I’ll pursue You. Lord, You may probe.
But, Lord, let me just touch the hem of Your robe!”



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