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Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Finally Here!

You know how I mentioned changes were coming? Well, my new site, The Feminine Intellect is now live! I am so so so excited and cannot wait to share this dream with you.

Like I said before, when I started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I posted a recipe one week, and a thought provoking article the next, and was confusing myself, not to mention my handful of readers. Now, I am pursuing a more strategic direction and hope you will join me on this journey!

Here is what you can expect:

75% of the content found here, will be transferred over to The Feminine Intellect. However, I am narrowing the broadness of my categories and honing in on a few select topics. The main idea of this site will focus on helping you become:
  • Biblically Grounded
  • Culturally Connected  and
  • Politically Savvy
I have a passion to help women influence their church and culture, and I sincerely pray The Feminine Intellect will assist you!

That being said, I am discontinuing my date idea series for the rest of the summer. It was a lot of fun, but feel I need to shift my focus if I am going to stay on track and not stray away from the purpose of the new website.

Feel free to look around, familiarize yourself with the layout, and maybe read some posts you have never read before. You will have to resubscribe if you want to receive new posts, either by RSS feed burner or by email. I also have a new Facebook page, so you can get free updates of articles I find interesting, current news events, and other thoughts relating to The Feminine Intellect. You can read the site's full About page here.

We may still have some kinks to work out, and not every post has been transferred, so please be patient on that end.

I look forward to connecting with you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pray For Every Nation: Central African Republic and Chad

This series is based on the Radical Experiment by David Platt. You can find more information about my decision to join here. If you would like to participate, please let me know with a comment or email and feel free to grab the button on my sidebar. I hope this journey will enrich your prayer life as much as it does mine!

(Photo Source)
(Photo Source)

These two countries are located on the continent of Africa. Here are a few of their most important needs:
  • Peace - in their villages and in their hearts.
  • A stabilized economy so their citizens can live a better life.
  • Healing- from AIDS and malnourishment.
  • Clean drinking water, and the true Living Water.

Please keep the Central African Republic and Chad in your prayers today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

8 Lies the Media Wants You to Believe About Your Marriage

Image by lisahumes
Romantic comedies play out on screen, portraying a love/hate relationship with a ton of laughs and major "awww....." moments at the end. Dramatic love triangles have you rooting for the sexy bad guy, who also happens to be a vampire. And while I love to read fiction, there is often an attitude of discontentment when the male protagonist seems more romantic than our own husbands.

Media really screws up our views on dating and marriage.

Here are 8 different lies they want you to believe will bring you a lifetime of love and romance, but instead, you end up disappointed, bitter, and doling out a big ol' green dose of envy.

1. Romance dies after you say "I do". 
Not true. You just have to work harder for it. Write post-its to put in your husband's lunch, schedule date nights, and talk about your dreams for the future. Sincerely place your husband's needs before you own, and you will benefit too!

2. You have to look like a supermodel for your husband to be physically attracted to you.
The T.V. screams size 0 and exotic looks, but do we really want to succumb to that kind of pressure? Your husband married you for you - your looks, your personality, your heart. Don't compare yourself to the Photoshopped images in the Victoria's Secret catalog. (This is the one I struggle with the most!)

3. Your husband should sport a ripped six-pack for you to be physically attracted to him.
Action heroes might have you wondering whether or not they actually own a shirt, but the reality is they trained months for that role. In the average household, we don't always have the time to visit the gym or the money to hire a personal trainer. Help your family eat healthy, exercise in moderation, and love your husband for who he really is.

4. Sarcasm works.
In reality, when a girl continually slams a guy, it doesn't entice him to fall in love with her. In fact, he's probably going to run the opposite direction. It might have worked  in Sweet Home Alabama, but it won't succeed in this household. 

5. The guy always chases after you when you drive off in a fit of tears and rage.
Nope. He will let you have your tantrum and wait for you to return so you can then proceed with an adult discussion.

6. Sex is a home run every single time.
I debated whether or not to post this one, but I think there are times when, as women, we really need to be vulnerable and honest with each other. If you enter into marriage thinking sex will unfold like a passionate movie scene, you will be sorely disappointed when it's not. Sex is different for every couple and you can't compare your experience to a scripted performance. 

7. Affairs are glamorous. 
Your soul mate is the one you married, so don't go looking for another one. 

8. Divorce is an easy option.
According to Hollywood, divorce is as easy as returning a pair of Louboutins, but it's an even bigger deal to God. Your marriage may warrant a divorce, especially if there is cheating or abuse, but it's still not that simple. It's not meant to be, because God created marriage to be permanent.

Your Turn:
Which lie do you have the hardest time negating?

This post is linked to Media Mondays at Women Living Well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Links for Your Weekend

I have come across a few articles this week too good not to share. Browse through the posts at your leisure and enjoy some new reading material for your weekend!

1. Why We Don't Use Natural Family Planning by Her.meneutics

- A balanced approach on the use of contraceptives.

2. Why Did God Create Mosquitoes? by Think Christian

- Were mosquitoes part of the fall of man?

3. Staying Up in a Down Economy by The Frugal Girl

- To read or not to read the news.......that is the question.

4. iPad, iPod, iPhone, or the Great I AM? by Women Living Well

- Is it time to readjust your media usage?

An update on The Feminine Intellect:
We were really hoping to go live by today, but technology doesn't always cooperate. So, even though we are a little behind schedule, we are planning a new launch date on Friday, July 22nd! Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pray for Every Nation: Cape Verde and the Cayman Islands

This series is based on the Radical Experiment by David Platt. You can find more information about my decision to join here. If you would like to participate, please let me know with a comment or email and feel free to grab the button on my sidebar. I hope this journey will enrich your prayer life as much as it does mine!

The two sets of islands we are praying for today are quite different from one another concerning their beliefs in Christianity.

(Photo Source)
Cape Verde consists of fifteen separate islands off the coast of west Africa. Poverty runs rampant due to a poorly developed economy and government. Most of the population are Catholic, but many are still influenced by various superstitions and tribal magic. 

Although the official language is Portuguese, the majority of islanders speak Creole, which is a difficult language to find in Christian literature.

Here are a few prayers requests for Cape Verde:
  • Relief will come to the impoverished islanders, whether through outside sources or internal Christians.
  • Ministers of the gospel will break the people of their superstitious tribalism and give them the only source of truth.
  • Literature would be translated into a language they can understand.

(Photo Source)

Three islands, south of Cuba, make up what is called the Cayman Islands, or Caymans. Instead of extreme poverty, the Cayman culture is materialistic, due to tourism and many off-shore bank accounts opened on the islands.

But amid this influence on society, many evangelical churches are still rising in popularity. The country's flag even boasts part of Psalm 24, recognizing the strong Christian heritage of the Caymans.

Praise the Lord for a continued interest in the gospel!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Secret to Sucessful Media Invasion

social media
Image by Sean MacEntee

Guilt floods my mind as I click the little "x" in the top-right corner of Facebook. I sheepishly slip my smart phone back into my pocket after checking it for the thirtieth time that day - Nope, no new emails. My head aches as the television finally goes dark after a two hour reality binge.

I often feel regret for spending so much of my time involved in front of a brightly lit screen, but media does not always have to affect us so negatively. If we play it smart, media has the power to improve our daily living, bring us closer to family and friends, and challenge our walk with God.

I want to discuss the positives to three specific media outlets you encounter on a daily basis. I will also mention a few negatives, but that is not my main focus for this post. Today, I want you to view media as a potential tool to utilize in a God-honoring manner, not necessarily as a total time waster.

1. Movies and Television

Reality TV, sitcoms, and fictional on-screen romances have the ability to confuse Christians with what is considered the "societal norm". Living together as an unmarried couple seems okay when two people really love each other and gays are widely accepted as the popular girl's best friend. Media's powerful influence either forces you to disregard God's commandments on sexual immorality and various other sins, or it strengthens your beliefs and can fuel excellent discussions.
  • The Adjustment Bureau became great dinner conversation when the movie tackled a perspective of predestination. It even inspired my husband to write a post on this blog!
  • A recent commercial mocking marriage reminded us how society views our commitment and encouraged us to reverse the status quo. 
  • The Casey Anthony trial finally forced me to develop my own view on the death penalty.
2. Internet/Social Media

I have a hard time remembering life before the internet age. It has connected me with family in ways beyond the typical holiday gathering and opened the communication lines with friends from high school and college. But most of all, the World Wide Web has given you and I immediate access to powerful sources of information.
  • Instead of a trip to the library, we can download a book in the matter of seconds. 
  • Instead of traveling to a conference across the country, we can watch speakers through live web-casts or download Mark Driscoll's latest sermon on our ipods. 
  • We can uplift and encourage fellow Christians through facebook comments or blog discussions. 
  • We can "follow" and interact with pastoral role models and favorite authors on Twitter.
Although temptations to abuse this technology are numerous, we still have a unique ability to spiritually influence each other.

3. Reading Material

Book, Magazines, Blogs, and Newspapers - they transport you to far away places, enhance your relationship with God, and engage your mind. It's no secret, I love to read, sometimes even a little too much. But when books take away your need for the Bible, it's time to reevaluate what role the most important Book plays in your life. As long as you understand no author can ever replace the Author, you have a vast amount of resources available to you for reference. 

Whether you enjoy Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Elizabeth George, or Beth Moore, each perspective will vary from one to the other. This widens the information pool immensely and benefits you, the reader! .
  • You can explore the character of Christ in a new way.
  • You can learn how to develop Godly virtues.
  • You can read and be encouraged from the unwavering faith of another Christian.
  • You can understand how your faith connects to the world around you.
The written word abounds on any topic imaginable, so don't be afraid to check out what your preferred author, or even a new one, has discovered!

In reality, all you need to strengthen your Christian walk is a Bible, maybe a notebook and pen, and a willing heart. All of the above mentioned media outlets have the capability to either help you accomplish this goal, or destroy it. Let's limit the negative effects media has on us, avoid abusing technology, and work on utilizing these resources to enhance our faith!

Your Turn:

I deliberately left out the topic of music, because I want you to respond! How can music positively affect your walk with God?

This post is linked up to Media Mondays at Women Living Well

Friday, July 8, 2011

Death Penalty Revealed: The Truth About Law and Grace {Part 2}

The recent Casey Anthony trial has me wrestling with too many questions, and this is my feeble attempt to find some answers! If you haven't already, please check out Part 1 to learn a little bit about Biblical examples of the death penalty and the shift from Old Testament law to a New Testament form of government. Then, come back here and read Part 2!

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos TX
Image by StuSeeger

The Reason for Death

Way back in Genesis 4:10, when Cain initiated the very first murder against his brother, the Lord heard Abel's blood "crying out from the ground". Even though this verse slightly creeps me out, it still holds extensive truth. Cain essentially destroyed the image of God, and his brother's soul screams for justice.

When God created man, His likeness, or image, was stamped upon both males and females (Genesis 1:26-27). God reiterates this idea by ordering death upon anyone who sheds the blood of another, "...for God made man in his own image."

We can obviously conclude human life has great significance in God's eyes. Our living, breathing bodies house one of the most important parts of our Spiritual character, our soul. The entirety of eternity rests on who we give permission over our being. No wonder God takes murder so seriously. 

I think John Piper said it best when he explained how the death penalty is the only true way to uphold human dignity. Yet we are not to take the situation into our own hands. God carefully instructs us to never use vigilante justice. The decision to bring consequences upon His people will always be His to make, even though He now appoints governing authorities to carry out that decision. 

What Happened to Grace? 

In one sense, the Bible seems to send out contradictory signals concerning OT law and NT grace. Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead because they lied, and Saul, who participated in the gruesome stoning of Stephen, was allowed to walk free and became Paul, one of the greatest New Testament characters who ever lived. The adulteress, in the book of John, was brought straight to the feet of Jesus for punishment, yet was saved from death and told to "go and sin no more". 

The only theory I can propose involves a God who knows all when it comes to our heart. Although we are not told about the adulteress, I at least know Saul repented of his sins and was extended God's glorious grace. Was that the reason why their lives were spared? I do not have a concrete answer, but what I do know is God can be both merciful and just. We need to trust Him to uphold the delicate balance between the two characteristics.

A Final Thought  

By no means have I extensively covered this issue.....I did not plan on it. But little Caylee Anthony's sweet face continues to haunt me, and I had to know for sure that the death penalty was the right course of action. At first glance I felt like I was betraying my conscience, but I also know the Holy Spirit's guidance was upon me. I am now convinced, more than ever, this is the way justice needs to be served for any and every voice wrongfully taken away. 

Would love to hear more of your thoughts in the comment section!  

Further Reading: 
I Have a Problem With Grace... by Daniel Comings at Divine Satisfaction

 -  Answers the question: What happens when God's people abuse grace?
God, Moral Judgment, and the Death Penalty by Al Mohler
 - An interesting article on the relationship between religion and the death penalty.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and discussion in this two-part series, would you consider passing along the post to your Twitter and Facebook followers? Thanks!