For this next sneak peak of Beyond Your Wardrobe, I am going to share an excerpt from chapter 5 - "It's What's Inside that Counts." My next post about the book will be when it is finally available. If you want to learn more, stay tuned to this blog!
One of the problems I see with the way modesty is addressed in many churches is that it is almost exclusively based on the clothes you wear. Although some churches get it right, others struggle with making it all about the rules without addressing your heart attitude. The truth is that attitude is everything when it comes to modesty. Most of us don’t think of that, but it remains true:
The way that you dress reflects the condition of your heart.
This concept really should make you think twice when you get dressed in the morning. Your outside reflects what’s happening inside your heart. This means that there may be times when a woman may be appropriately covered, but because she still has an unhealthy desire for attention, she has an immodest attitude. In moments when I encounter young women like this, it grieves me to see them reflecting the struggles of their hearts in their clothing choices. This is why it’s important to make sure your insides match your outsides.
Before we dive into the main passage for this chapter, I want to take a look at a story about when one of God’s prophets had to learn a lesson about physical beauty. Samuel would be the last of the judges that reigned over Israel when they were governed by a theocracy (letting God be their king with human judges being God’s spokesman), but the people insisted on having a king so that they could be like the nations around them. Samuel was upset that they wouldn’t listen to God, but God assured Samuel that it would be alright and that He would reveal the right man to Samuel. The man God chose was named Saul. Through a series of events, Saul and one of his father’s servants found themselves in the same town as Samuel and God revealed that this man was meant to be king. Samuel probably knew Saul was king material from the first time he looked at him. The Scriptures tell us that Saul was tall and handsome (1 Samuel 9:2). Anointing him probably seemed like a no-brainer. God said Saul would be the one to save Israel from the Philistines. It all sounded very promising.
However, it didn’t take very long for King Saul to stop listening to the Lord’s instruction. On more than one occasion, Saul only obeyed part of the Lord’s commands instead of all of them. He started to try to solve problems on his own and do things his way. After multiple offenses and warnings, Samuel declared that the Lord had rejected Saul as king and would choose another to take his place. Eventually, the Lord would send Samuel to see Jesse of Bethlehem to choose one of his sons to anoint as the next king of Israel. To make sure that Saul would not discover his plan, God told Samuel to invite Jesse and his sons to offer a sacrifice with him. As they were doing so, Samuel saw Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab. Samuel thought for sure that he would be the Lord’s anointed. But God said to him,
“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)
At the end of the day, after seeing seven of Jesse’s sons, Samuel asked to see the youngest. When David arrived, straight from the fields with the herds, the Lord confirmed that he would be the Lord’s anointed.
I think it’s interesting to note that although David was described as having beautiful eyes, he was also described as being “ruddy,” or reddish, in appearance. I believe that David didn’t immediately strike Samuel’s eye as being king material, especially since Saul had been tall and handsome. I think that’s part of the reason that the Lord had to essentially tell Samuel, “I’m picking this man for his heart, not his appearance. Be prepared, because this guy might not be much to look at.”
We live in a world where we judge everyone and everything by external appearances. But in this story, we learn that God doesn’t judge a book by its cover. He cares more about our hearts being in line with His will than He does about our physical appearance. Saul might have been easy on the eyes, but he didn’t have his heart in line with the Lord. David, on the other hand, may not have been much to look at as a ruddy shepherd, but he had the heart willing to do what God asked of him. He later became remembered as a man after God’s own heart. Like David, if your heart is in the right place, that makes you beautiful to God, no matter what anyone else says. I believe that this is a lesson that we all need to learn...
Like what you read so far? Then make plans to order your copy of Beyond Your Wardrobe today! Preorder is available now for the ebook through any of the following links:
Paperback will be available on Amazon and
Barnes & Noble by February 21, 2020.
To help promote my book, I am going to be giving a sneak peak of the contents, one this week and one next week. Each one will be a section of a chapter that will hopefully give you a taste of what the book is about. This first sneak peak is the first few pages of Chapter 1 - "Lies We Believe About Physical Beauty". It features a story from my college trip to New York City. If you enjoy it, make sure to like and share it to spread the word. Thanks ~ Bethel
While I was a student at a Christian college, I got to spend a week in New York City for a seminar class. That trip was an experience I will never forget. I had never been to New York, and it was only the second time in my life I had traveled by airplane. This class called “Exegeting the City” helped us learn how to make Christianity work in an urban context. I learned so much on that trip, but there is one experience that stands out from the others because it taught me a lot about what the world perceives about fashion and beauty.
One of the points that our professor was trying to communicate to us is that rich people are people, just like you and me, even if there was a cultural gap between us. To help us bridge the gap, we were given a special assignment. Together we walked to one of the fanciest retail stores in the United States, Bergdorf Goodman’s. We were given instructions to go into the store, find the formal clothing department, and try those clothes on. The men went to the men’s store across the street and the ladies when into the women’s store. Even before we got to the formal wear department, we all felt like a fish out of water. We finally got to the formal gowns, it was like we were on a completely different planet. We looked through the dresses together, but most of us were scared about trying them on since we would have to ask the attendants. I was quite nervous myself, but I had been preparing myself to do this since I had a friend tell me about this assignment. So I was the brave one that asked first. I will never forget the contrast in the attendants’ reactions. The first one was polite and helpful, as would be expected. She even let me know that the dress was available in other colors. But the other one gave me a glance that said, “You don’t have enough money to be touching that dress.” I guess my clothes had given away that I was not part of the first percent clientele that they usually served. But that glance of judgment based on my clothes is something I have never forgotten.
The nice attendant helped me to my fitting room and eventually, the other girls worked up the courage to ask as well. The fitting room was the size of my current bedroom. (Ok, maybe not, but it was still huge). It even had one of those round modeling podiums. The dress I picked was a silver strapless mermaid with layered fabric. Although it was pretty, it almost seemed like the kind of dress I could find in the prom department of a local department store. I’m sure the materials were superior quality, but it didn’t seem like the kind of dress I would search for in a store like this. I took some pictures and took the dress off. Up to this point, I don’t think I had taken notice of the price. But I wanted to make sure I documented it, so I finally looked at the price tag: $4,330. I remember thinking to myself: who in their right mind would pay this much for a dress like this? Part of me started to think that the rude attendant had a point.
Addressing the Lies
I believe this sales attendant had bought into the many lies that the culture fed her about a women’s value. In our culture today, we believe a lot of things that just aren’t true, whether we realize it or not. Buying into them will cause us to live our lives apart from what God has in store for us. So many of the lies we believe can be as a result of deception from our own emotions or our struggles with shame. Either way, it makes us harder for those of us that are trying to live our lives in light of the truth.
To me, some of the most pressing lies we face have to do with our self-worth and our physical appearance. This is an area of life that can very easily be influenced by the father of lies, making us question who we are and why our lives even matter. Because the beauty standards that society puts before us are nearly impossible to obtain, we spend our time chasing something we can never reach and therefore are never satisfied. If we don’t learn how to have our identity firmly rooted in Christ, we will never find the heart motivation behind the need for modesty in our world today. So we are going to begin this journey by walking through several different lies many of us have come to believe about our physical appearance...
Like what you read so far? Then make plans to order your copy of Beyond Your Wardrobe today! Preorder is available now for the ebook through any of the following links:
Paperback will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and more by February 21, 2020.
In case you haven't heard the news yet, I have a BIG announcement to make:
I am about to self-publish my first book – Beyond Your Wardrobe: Finding Freedom in Embracing God’s Call to Modesty and Unfading Beauty
It’s hard for me to believe that this dream is finally becoming a reality. Just a few months ago, it seemed like a dream that would take years to achieve. But around Christmas last year, it became clear that this was possible and attainable. When trying to decide what the book should be about, the topic of modesty was always at the top of my list. It’s surprising to me how quickly the words and the messages came together, but I guess that’s what happens when you let God use something you are passionate about. I have invested so much of my time and energy into this project, but I have also poured my heart in a message I believe God wants me to proclaim to women and teen girls that need to hear it. I hope that you will be willing to support me on this journey. Let me know if you have any questions about the book or how I'm publishing it ~ Bethel
Does this word make you want to cringe? Do you have images in your head of a woman wearing dresses from a hundred years ago, never going on a date? Do you have memories of strict rules or dress codes that drive you crazy? Then maybe you’ve had some of the following thoughts run through your head. “I don’t want to wear clothes that are out of style!” “Modesty is so out of date.” “I should be able to dress however I want; it’s my body.” Maybe, the opposite is true for you. You’ve always wanted to dress modestly, but you have a hard time standing strong in your convictions when the world tries to sell you so many lies about modesty and beauty. You wished everyone valued modesty as you do, but no one around you seems to value your standards for fashion. Either way, we all feel weighed down by a standard it seems no one can keep. It makes us ask the question: is modesty really all about clothes and keeping rules?
In my new book, Beyond Your Wardrobe, you will learn that modesty is about so much more than the clothes we wear or keeping a bunch of rules. Instead, modesty is an attitude that once you learn to adapt it will lead to a life of freedom in Christ. This begins when we choose to recognize that much of what we believe about modesty and physical beauty are lies that we must reject, least we remain in bondage to them. Then we lay the foundation for learning the truth about this incredible character trait through the lens of God’s word. Breaking down many key Scriptures into our current cultural context, it becomes clear that when we embrace our identity in Christ, you will naturally desire to dress modestly, not out of obligation, but out of gratitude for what He has done for you. Then you will look at yourself the way that God does, and you will learn how to adapt your wardrobe to be appropriate for every situation. When you do, your perspective on modesty and clothes will never be the same. With the inclusion of an appendix about male modesty and links to videos and articles online, this will not be like any Christian modesty book you’ve read before. Instead, it will be an invitation on a journey to discovering the beauty and power that modesty has for all who are will to embrace it. I hope you will consider joining me on this incredible journey.
Around February 21, 2020, the paperback will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu Press. The e-book will be available on Kindle, Nook, Lulu Press, iBooks, Google Books and more. If you want to learn more about this book and this project, stay tuned to this blog!
Due to the seasonal nature of this book as well as my commitment to review this book within a particular time frame, this will probably be my shortest review to date. Posting this Christmas Day means that you all are probably not looking for an advent book. I also apologize to any faithful followers of my blog for my lack of posts in 2019, since I have only published a dozen reviews (this being the 13th) and nothing else. But I am working on some awesome plans for my blog and YouTube channel in the coming months that I cannot wait to share. I also hope you are still encouraged by this review, even as we continue to remember the significance of the incarnation beyond Christmas Day ~ Bethel
In his book, The Characters of Christmas, Daniel Darling walks through the different stories of the nativity narrative from the perspective of each major and even some minor characters surrounding the birth of Jesus. Giving historical context along with personal insights, this book gives a new perspective to many of the characters we don’t think much about, and even those we do. Even going back to some of those in the lineage of Jesus, Darling illustrates the incredible tapestry of people that God wove together over 2000 years to help bring Jesus into the world, and with Him, the redemption of all mankind. This book is much different from many devotional book, or even books on advent. It’s an invitation to step into their world in order to become a part of the redemptive story of mankind. This book is pretty straightforward and a great compliment to any holiday tradition. Get your copy today!
Personal Rating. My major criticism of this book that there were several details about Joseph and Mary that we being asserted as facts that are not mentioned in the Bible and cannot be proven from external sources. For example, the author makes the assertion that Mary would have been illiterate. Although it’s true that she came from a small town in a small country, this is not a detail I am comfortable with him asserting as fact. This is one of several examples in the first several chapters of this type of assumption. The last chapters (starting with the one about the Wise Men) are much better in this respect, after you are dealing less with specific details about Joseph and Mary that the Bible doesn’t give. Other than this noticeable problem, I enjoyed the book overall.
* I received a copy from the publisher for the purpose of this review
To read my past blog post to give you a new perspective on the details of the nativity narrative, click here
I was so excited when I heard about the film Unplanned. I and my family have always been prolife. I even remember participating in a few “walks for life” when I was still a child. I knew a lot about pro-life arguments, and even some pro-choice strategies. But I knew hardly anything about Planned Parenthood and I definitely knew very little about what goes on within the walls of these types of clinics. But when the film Unplanned was announced and it immediately attracted controversy, I was drawn to support the film. After I was inspired by seeing the film, I became interested in reading Abby’s book to learn the more complete story of her personal journey. I am so glad I did. Although the film does a wonderful job at portraying the story of her life, I loved hearing more of her story in her own words. If you are interested in learning more about the pro-life cause, or want to read a book about a life transformed by a radical transformation in Christ, this book is a must read ~ Bethel
Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in American culture. I believe this is because of a prevailing mindset in our culture that we should be able to pursue happiness in any way we see fit and never have to deal with the consequences. But the truth is there are almost always consequences, not just for you but for those that are impacted by your decision. This is especially true with sexuality in America. By this mindset, a women should be able to have sex and not have to suffer any of the consequences, including an unplanned pregnancy. As long as that mindset is prevalent, they will always be women seeking what seems to be the easy way out. There will always be women willing to buy the lies fed to them about the baby being only “undeveloped tissue.” It makes it difficult for those that are pro-life to have hope that we will ever be able to make a difference in the fight for the unborn.
In her book, Unplanned, Abby Johnson shares her journey from being pro-choice to pro-life, all the while demonstrating God’s redeeming grace at work in her life. When Abby first heard about Planned Parenthood at a college volunteer fair, she had no idea how much this organization would change her life. Having had abortions herself, she decided to support women in crisis by volunteering at the local Planned Parenthood clinic. Over the span of eight years, he rose to being clinic director, truly loving the job of helping women in crisis. Despite the disapproval of her Christian family, she was committed to her cause. But when she actually participating in helping with an ultrasound guided abortion, she knew she could no longer be a part of abortion or Planned Parenthood. She turned to the same people that she had been fighting against, the Coalition for Life, literally moving from one side of the fence to the other. When Planned Parenthood filed an injunction against Abby and the Coalition (which was shoot down in court), she was given a platform to share her story with the world and help further the pro-life cause. Abby’s story isn’t an easy one to hear, for she even warns you of this in the first sentence of her introduction. But it is one that demonstrates God’s grace and forgiveness. In a story much like the apostle Paul, we can see that God can turn the most zealous of hearts back to Himself. We just have to trust Him with all the details, even the ones that are unplanned. Get your copy of the book or the movie today!
Quick Review: Unplanned Movie
Since I had posted a quick review of this film on my Facebook page, I will go ahead and share the images of my review here. Enjoy!