The Idol of Beauty (Worship Series Part 2)

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Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised,~Proverbs 31:30.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,~1 Samuel 16:7.

Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly,~John 7:24.

Beauty definition: 1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness 2 : a beautiful person or thing ; especially : a beautiful woman 3 : a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality 4 : a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance .

God created the world and humans. He then stated, “It is good.” God delights in His creation. He finds beauty in what He made. He did not, however, intend for creation to take the place of the Creator. Everything He created is to point back to Him. He alone is to be worshipped (adored, given the highest place, exalted, given the most time and energy).

Our world is obsessed with “beauty.” Magazines are devoted to beauty; plastic surgeons, special products, fitness programs, salons, spas, tv shows, and commercials are all sending the message, “You need to be our definition of beautiful and/or sexy. If you are, your life will be perfect! If you’re not, buy our product and you will become beautiful and have an amazing life.

When beauty becomes an idol we become vain, lustful (craving more-more products, more surgeries, more modifications to outer appearances), people are reduced to objects for pleasure, and we begin to suffer from severe discontentment. Billions of dollars yearly are spent on beauty. There are people destroying their lives, bodies, and emptying their wallets to achieve some standard of beauty.

Behind every idol there’s a lie:

I worked for a popular catalogue company in college. The women in those magazines did not look like their photos. They had fake hair, fake eyelashes, some fake eye color, professional makeup, they were taped in, clothes tailored to fit, and many “imperfections” were airbrushed out. The images reinforce the idol and sends the message, “Who you are and what you have is not enough.

An idol says, “You can find satisfaction, comfort, love, peace, and identity in me.” Nothing is further from the truth. If “beauty” brought happiness, the “beautiful people,” wouldn’t have the same suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, and divorce rates as everyone else.

Truth encounter:

Satisfaction, love, peace, comfort, and true identity can be found in God alone. He’s the only One who remains stable and constant. Idols enslave; God liberates.

Beauty is fleeting. What’s considered beautiful today in society may not be tomorrow.

True beauty radiates from the heart:

There’s also the trouble with judging by outward appearances. God looks at the heart. We are being transformed from glory to glory by His Spirit. Those in Christ are becoming more beautiful (like Him) in character, actions, and nature.

Jesus was not considered physically beautiful. The Bible said there was nothing about Him that would draw us to Him (unlike the Jesus we see in paintings and movies). He was average. He was a Jewish man who looked like the other disciples. Otherwise Judas would not have had to point Him out. Yet Jesus is our standard of beauty. He radiates the beauty of the Father. God’s definition of beauty is often different from ours. He’s looking at the heart.

May we not fall prey to judging people by outward appearances. Every person has tremendous value and worth that is not linked to their appearance. Jesus solidified the worth of every person by giving His life for theirs on the cross.

Closing thoughts:

Sweet friends, may we not be deceived into worshipping beauty. Lucifer was beautiful and wanted to be worshipped. People nor angels are to be worshipped. God alone is worthy of worship! You are beautiful to God because you’re His creation. Your true beauty radiates from within! There is nothing wrong with looking nice or taking care of your outward appearance, the key is to worship God, not beauty or created things.

Stay blessed!

Erin

Rejecting Vanity (Killing Insecurity Part 12)

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Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a person who honors the Lord should be praised, based on Proverbs 31:30.

We live in a society that is obsessed with youth and beauty. There are entire markets dedicated to helping people achieve this “standard” of beauty. It is a source of insecurity for many people. After all it’s the “beautiful people,” who get everything they want right? We will come back to this question.

Like the picture stated above, you can be the juiciest peach in the world and there will still be someone who hates peaches. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What society deems as beautiful is relative to preferences. Yes, symmetry and certain shapes attract more attention, but beauty is relative to the observer.

So, what if the image you see in the mirror does not match the images in the magazines? What if no one tells you that you’re beautiful or cherished? What if you’re rejected because of your physical appearance? Does that mean you’re not beautiful? Absolutely not!

I love art. My favorite artists are impressionists. A few years ago my friends took me to an Andy Warhol museum. I did not enjoy his work. Some people love it; I do not. I do not think Andy’s artwork is beautiful. I like a particular type of artwork. My preferences do not diminish the quality or beauty of other artist’s work.

You are God’s artwork. God is the beholder, and He says you’re beautiful. He says you’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). God cannot lie. If He calls you beautiful, you are. Let His word define you. He’s making you attractive from the inside out.

Back to the question above: do people the world deem as beautiful get everything they want? Not necessarily. People are people. If you gain advantages solely based on physical appearance, there will always be someone deemed more beautiful. All people age. So, if outward beauty is all there is, it can be lost. I know plenty of physically appealing people who are unemployed, have family issues, have never married, have challenging lives, feel judged for their appearance, or have had unfaithful spouses. Beauty does not equal a pain free life or easy life.

Just in case no one has told you today, “You are God’s handiwork, created to shine bright! You are one of a kind; a masterpiece, simply beautiful!”

May your life be free from the trap of vanity.

Who Said You’re Not Beautiful? (Killing Insecurity Part 2)

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For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you,~Psalm 139:14-18.

I started us out with Psalm 139. The Bible tells us that we were God’s idea. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He is the beholder. So, if God calls us beautiful, why don’t more people feel empowered, beautiful, and valuable? There are so many reasons why we (humans) feel less than what God says. Let’s investigate some of the reasons why and seek to combat them.

1. The voice of man over the voice of God.

Children are not born believing they are ugly, unwanted, or not valuable. I have spent quite some time with children and if their parents encouraged and loved them, they are quite confident. They believe they are invincible. Some may be shy, but children don’t have a concept of beauty or what is considered ugly until someone tells them. There are some biological forces at work with attraction (we are more apt to be attracted to someone with certain symmetry and shapes), but for the most part we are told from childhood on up what we are to value and what we are not. Children who are labeled as cute are told, “He/she is so cute! So adorable!” Children are very perceptive. They can see what is considered valuable and what is not.

Our society works diligently to tell the world what is beautiful and valuable. Turn on the TV, look through a magazine…Marketing is designed to tell us what we need to do in order to be more beautiful or valuable. Here are some examples, “Get rid of those wrinkles, whiten those teeth, flatten those abs, build those muscles, look like this person, do this and you will be the most loved, liked, and happy person in the world.

The Problem: Allowing people (including ourselves) to define what is valuable or beautiful. Valuing the opinions of man over the opinion of God.

The Solution: Allowing God to define what is valuable or beautiful. God cannot lie. Meditating on His words, living in His acceptance, and professing His words ourselves.

It’s not easy to combat all the voices coming at us. From the time we are young there are voices attacking our identity. There is rejection from peers, negative words spoken over us, we are bombarded with images of people we are told are the most beautiful, successful, and valuable people in the world. We are told humility is self-deprecation (thinking we are nothing) which is simply another form of pride (valuing our opinion over God’s). We can’t go one day without being told what we can do to become more valuable, acceptable, beautiful. The truth is-we are already beautiful and valuable!

Prayer:

Father I ask for lies we believe about ourselves to be revealed, renounced, uprooted, and demolished. Replace every lie with Your truth. Help us to have Your thoughts as our thoughts. Protect our eyes from being fixed on the world’s standards and may they we permanently fixed on You!

2. Comparison.

I read this somewhere and it stuck with me, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” We become discontent when we compare ourselves to others. As humans we are taught to compare. “Which one of these is not like the other?” And when we are finished picking out what’s different, we were taught to discard the one that was different. When I was a kid, being tan with full features wasn’t glorified. I was teased in school for looking different from other kids. Now being tan/brown is celebrated. Women pay to have their eyes lifted to be wider and lips filled with collagen to be fuller. If I compare who I am to other people, I will never celebrate who God made me to be. God did not make us all to look the same or have the same gift combinations for a reason. He values diversity and every person has a special role in His Kingdom. It would be boring if we were all the same. We must accept and value who we are and what we have in order to have contentment and joy. No trying to keep up with the Joneses…or envying or being jealous of them either. We all have tremendous value, something to offer, and the love of an amazing Father!

Closing Thoughts:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were God’s idea. No matter what anyone else says about you, you have tremendous value and worth. You were worth dying for. Jesus paid the highest price to redeem mankind. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God paid the highest price. I encourage you (I will do it too) to recited the verses of Psalm 139. Chew on, meditate on God’s word. And when those voices rise up and say, “You are not enough, not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not talented enough, not good enough,”…you and I can say, “I am who God says I am! I am a child of the King. He paid the highest price for me because He values me. I am made in His image. I am beautiful! In Him I am enough.

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For the Ladies (Killing Insecurity)

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Today’s post is dedicated to the ladies! You are beautiful, chosen, loved, adored, pursued, cared for, and the apple of God’s eye.

This post is about insecurity. Insecurity is a poison that contaminates relationships and destroys it’s host. It seeps into every area of the heart seeking to place the focus on self instead of on God. Insecurity is the root that produces the fruits of fear, jealousy, bitterness, envy, control, manipulation, rejection, competition, paranoia, and more. Insecurity is not from God. Insecurity says, “God doesn’t have enough. God doesn’t love me enough. God is not able or faithful. I am not enough. Everyone else is better than me. I must have or do ______ in order to be okay.

The truth is: You are made in the image of God. You are His workmanship created for His glory. You are a Princess because your Father is the King of the Universe.

The world works diligently to make people insecure. The media is filled with images of people who are elevated to look perfect and be perfect. If you do not fit the mold, then you are less than. The news is filled with bad news: the world is ending, everything is bad, be afraid, be worried, save your money…you can’t  trust anything or anyone. Even the church can be a place where we are made to feel we must be something other than who we are in order to be loved and accepted. A place that is supposed to be welcoming, accepting, and filled with love can often be a place of judgment, criticism, comparisons, and competition as well. The message is not, “Be like Christ,” it’s “Be like me.” In the world we are loved if we behave a certain way or fit into a certain mold. In God’s eyes, we are loved despite who we are, and He works to change us into who He wants us to be.

One of the diseases that’s killing us is insecurity. Insecurity causes us to look down on others to lift ourselves up. It’s insecurity that causes us to gossip about people. Insecurity causes us to be highly critical of others instead of dealing with ourselves. It is insecurity that causes us to not stand up for what we believe. Insecurity causes us to be filled with jealousy, envy, strife, offense, prejudice, fear, and hatred. When we don’t know our own value and worth, we cannot value, celebrate, or honor anyone else. 

So, what’s the cure:

  • Jesus! A relationship with God. He is the One who created everything and everyone. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God sent His only Son to die for all of mankind. The price for each person was paid with the highest price, the life of Jesus. We become like the One we worship. If we worship God, spend time with Him, allow Him to speak into our lives, then we have a more secure foundation. Jesus was not insecure. He knew who He was and who His Daddy was. He was confident.
  • Repentance. I know it seems radical to repent for being insecure. The repentance is going to God and saying, “I repent for saying Your assessment of me was not valid. I repent for making the opinions of other people more valuable than Yours. I repent for allowing the world to define who I am instead of allowing You to define who I am. Help me to see myself through your eyes.
  • Identity in Christ. Nothing we try to find our identity in other than God is stable: not money, not relationships, not marriage, not work, not achievements, not ministry, not serving, not the opinions of people, not looks or beauty, not the stock market, not our political beliefs, not ourselves, not children or our roles as mothers. There is nothing and no one who provides a stable, solid foundation outside of Jesus. All other ground is sinking sand.

It’s not about self-help or pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. The Gospel is about abiding in Christ and allowing Him to do the hard work. He creates lasting change. Relationship with God will always trump doing for Him. It is out of being that we begin to do. For what moves His heart begins to move ours. His thoughts invade ours. Fears melt away in the presence of unfailing love.

Final Notes/Testimony:

A good portion of my life I felt as though something bad was about to happen because for a good portion of my life bad things continually happened. I watched my best friend and mum die from cancer. I helped another close family member for 7 years through sickness, surgeries, pain, and losing everything. While other young people were having fun, I was sitting in hospitals. The promises of God were in my mind, but it took a long time for them to navigate to my heart. My circumstances did not line up with God’s promises.

Faith is not about our feelings, and it isn’t a fake it until you make it either. Experience with God builds our security in Him, hence Him inviting us into relationship.

Even today I feel more secure with God than I do with people. For experiences with people have left devastation and pain. It took time for God to remove labels people had placed on me and for me to accept His voice above all the mockers. It takes an effort for me to engage with some people, but God lovingly draws me out and says, “Love again.” It’s another situation where positive things are in my head, but they are slowly navigating to the heart. There are some really good people in the world! There are some really encouraging people in the world. It’s a journey and process.

It is a process to allow the love of God to flow in and out. It takes time to get to know God. We will not trust someone we don’t know. We will not be secure in a relationship with someone we don’t know. So the ever-increasing desire is to know God more! I pray the same for you too! You are deeply loved, today and always.

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Beautiful Woman (poem)

Beautiful Woman
By Erin Lamb
May 29, 2012

Beautiful woman,
you are the epitome of creativity;
filled with grace
and showered with honor.
You are the workmanship of God.
The Creator of the heavens and the earth thought that you were a terrific idea.
He breathed life into His thoughts
and there you were.
He carved you out of beauty
and placed treasures in your heart.
Into you He placed wisdom, courage, and an intense bond with His heart.
You are His priceless possession.
Beautiful woman,
there is only one you.
There is no one on the earth that can do exactly what you can do.
What great joy!
What great elation!
He had to place His fingerprints on you.
So when He shines through you,
the world can see how brilliant and wonderful His work of art could be.
You are not to be hidden,
unloved,
or abused.
You are to be celebrated,
treasured,
and treated like a queen.
Lift your lowered head up high!
You are God’s beloved.
You are His Bride.
You are clothed in righteousness,
bathed in His love.
The fragrance of your beauty
is sent from above.
You are not less than, you are more than
you have ever considered yourself to be.
You were worth dying for.
You have a divine destiny.
Beautiful woman,
you have value.
You have worth.
You stand apart as a bright shining star
who is deeply loved.
There is not a place God would rather be
than in your presence
meeting your deepest needs.
You are His love.
You are His delight.
You are His beauty
and you shine so bright.
Beautiful woman,
there are treasures in heaven being stored up for you!
Won’t you dance under the covering of His love,
He has the best plans for you.
No one can take your gifts.
No circumstance can cause you to be displaced.
He will not be delayed,
nor His promises denied.
His promises for you
have been sealed in His heart,
etched onto the corridors of His dwelling and they will not be ignored.
Your desires are held there
being watered by love.
He cannot forget you.
You are His most precious one.
Beautiful woman,
bask in your beauty.
Hold your head up high
for you are a daughter of the King.
Live confidently, courageously, and boldly!
With Him you can accomplish anything.
Beautiful woman,
He longs to give you beauty for ashes,
joy for your sorrow,
and healing for your pain.
He longs to drape you in His riches
and trade your past for His marvelous plan.
He longs for your heart to know that no one can love you the way He can.

“Abba I ask for every woman that reads this poem to have a deeper revelation of Your love. To know the height, the width, the depth of it! May she hold her head up high not out of arrogance, but confidence in the fact that you don’t make junk. You make all things beautiful. I ask that you would remove any lie that tells her she is less than, inferior, timid, without hope, powerless, without beauty, and without purpose. She is here to shine brightly for you. Remove any comparison, jealousy, envy, self deprecation, and restore identities to be what you intended them to be.

We are women who are cherished by You! We are women who are deeply loved by You. We are not loved because of what we do or fail to do; by what we have or don’t have. We are loved because of who we are, the objects of Your affection. You made us beautiful and You call us loved. We are to be celebrated and honored. We are Your beloved. Bring freedom. Bring hope. Bring joy! Bring revelation of purpose. And most of all, keep us in the center of Your heart. In Jesus precious name, Amen.”

You Are a Unique Treasure

You Are a Unique Treasure

by Erin Lamb

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  Your works are wonderful,  I know that full well, Psalm 139:14.

I belong to My beloved,  and His desire is for me, Song of Songs 7:10

Beautiful people. I wanted to share some pictures of my favorite flower, the orchid. I love all orchids. They come in so many colors, shapes, sizes, and variations. I love that God is creative. He is not only creative with the flowers He made. He was creative with all the people He made as well. Yeah God. Isn’t it great that we are not all the same? I think so. If we all had the same gifts and talents, then life would be boring. God takes delight in all the beautiful things He created, including us. He smiles on all that He has made. He thinks everything He made is beautiful. So, why in our culture is there such disparity between what God says and our reality?

I believe that we are all born with the desire to be accepted, loved, cherished, affirmed, and the desire for security. Some of us are born into loving homes that provide all those things. Some of us are born into families that did not include some of those things or any of those things. If we did grow up in a loving family, then we leave and venture out into a world that has a drastically different reality from heaven. The world says that we need to look a certain way, fit into a certain mold, or meet certain criteria in order to be beautiful. That’s untrue. Everything God makes is beautiful in His eyes, and only His opinion matters. Easier said than done, but I often wonder what life would be like if God controlled our thoughts.

The world also teaches us that we need the acceptance of other people, we need the nicest things, we need to be the smartest and brightest, we need to have a certain amount of money, influence, the right friends or significant other, that we need a great spouse in order to have value and security. If we obtain all these things, then we will be valuable. Absolutely untrue. What makes a person valuable is one thing, being a child of God and only He can provide complete security and identity.

God views us all the same, as objects of His affection. He loves us all the same, even those who don’t know Him. Humans like comparison so we can feel better about ourselves. God however looks at us individually as a unique treasure. He doesn’t say to the lion, “Be more like a tiger.” He tells the lion, “Be the best lion you can be.” He is saying the same to us, “Be the best you, you can be! You are My unique treasure. I made you to shine brightly for Me. I don’t want you to be anyone else. Just be you.”  Yes, when we invite Him into our lives He begins to make changes, but He simply removes anything that would hinder true freedom or things that are detrimental to us. When He makes changes in our lives it’s always to make us the truest version of ourselves, who He created us to be.

There is so much freedom that comes from surrendering our identity to God. He knows everything about us and loves us unconditionally. Only He can tell us who we are, what we are here for, and only He can provide ultimate security through relationship with Him. God wants us to believe that His words and thoughts toward us are true. God likes us. God loves us! God says, “You are a unique treasure.” Check out the orchid pics below. All different, all beautiful.