Not Just Pretty Flowers: A Reformed Girl and Her Masculine Theology

Breaking the mold of the reformed woman

Register to win a Kay Arthur Study! February 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 10:21

The Lifeway Women blog is giving away a Kay Arthur study! Check it out and register!

http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/womenallaccess/2011/02/free_friday_give-away_3.html

 

Out of the tornado October 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 23:04

About a month ago, I felt a change brewing in the air.  Just like the calm before a tornado, I felt the peace and knew that it wasn’t going to be here for long.  I felt like God was behind the scenes working on something and I knew it was going to be big.

It was about that time that I felt like I should start blogging again.  I had felt the year before that God was calling me to create a blog directed toward Christian women to challenge us to dive deeper into His Word and not be afraid to study dead guys’ thoughts on God.  Truthfully, a year later, I don’t know if anyone has even read it outside of a few very great friends who wrote encouraging words on my wall.  I did feel, however, that the blog was for me, if not anyone else.  I could use the blog to deal with topics that I wanted to study and actually write down what God’s Word had to say about them.  If the posts helped others in the process, that’d be awesome. 

I needed some help to get started again – a jumpstart.  Since I posted about three weeks ago, I have asked around to see what I could possibly write about that would be of interest to other women.  The results of my poll on the blog said that women mostly want to read and study about Women’s issues.

I also did some investigating on other blogs and Twitter.  It was through Twitter, I believe, that I discovered an author by the name of Anne Jackson (@FlowerDust), who wrote a book called “Permission to Speak Freely”.  In it, she writes about people’s responses to the question “What is one thing that you feel you can’t say in the church?”

Then the tornado hit.

I started seeing in myself (and others) how easy it is to think that I am the only one who feels broken.  I tend to think that the women around me seem to have it all figured out.  Or I do not want to burden them with my issues.  Or I do not know the women around me well enough to be honest. 

God convicted me that I really needed to start reading and believing His Word when it comes to darkness. The Bible teaches that sin loves darkness.  It is scared of the light.  It is scared of judgment from God and others.  It is scared that coming in the light may mean pain and vulnerability. 

But the Bible says that God calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).  It says that God, even while we lived in the darkness that we created for ourselves to live in, sent His Son to die for us (Romans 5:8), and through His death and resurrection, He gives us the grace to leave that darkness and run toward His marvelous light. 

Sometimes the darkness gets to be too much.  Sometimes we poke our heads out enough to say that something is wrong, that we are broken, but something inside us says that we deserve it.  Who are we to ask God to get us out of this darkness?

Jesus says over and over again in the Gospels that He came for sinners, for the broken people, for the people who need to be rescued from the darkness.  “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” Mark 2:17, again in Luke 5:32, ESV).

So why are we so scared of the light?  Why are we scared to talk to God and tell Him that we need Him?

I want to spend some time to challenge myself through this blog and to you, who happens to be reading it – trust God.  Even in the middle of what feels like the darkest dark, God already knows.  He just wants us to trust that He can handle us.  His light chases away the darkness.  His love envelopes us and we soon find that the darkness could never protect us like it promised.  We cannot get out of the darkness without Him.

I want to put another challenge out there – get in a place where just you and God can be alone.  Use your voice and tell God about your darkness.  Ask Him for forgiveness and for healing.

Psalm 86 (ESV):

1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.

If you want to take another step out of that darkness, one way that you can do it is comment below and share what areas that you find yourself broken and in need of God.  Please do not feel like you have to leave your name.  I encourage you to also share with a godly woman who can help you with finding prayer, accountability, and a counselor if necessary.

Love Ashley

 

And We’re Back! September 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 19:33

After a year of being away, we are back with some great blogs, if I don’t mind saying myself!  We will have guest bloggers, articles, as well as thoughts and reflections from yours truly.

I like to research, study, and discuss, so I hope that you will join me!

We will be covering different topics, such as women’s issues, marriage, media, and Jesus!

Please drop me a line if there is a specific topic that you would like to research together.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Also, for the sake of completion, I will post the remaining articles to finish the Proverbs 31 study!

Please take a look at the heart behind my blog with my first blog entry: http://wp.me/psYvy-1

Ashley

 

A Girl’s Guide To Marrying Well August 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 10:27

Here’s a link to a free download of “A Girl’s Guide To Marrying Well”. Check it out!

http://www.boundless.org/girls/

 

What does God say about sex? May 27, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible — ashleylavalette @ 17:30

The following is an article I wrote last year.   Check out Mars Hill Church in Seattle’s sermon series Religion Saves… for more resources.

What does God say about SEX?

The very first place to start is well… at the beginning.  Why did God create sex?

Genesis 2:24-25, we find that God created woman as a partner – wife – for man and that they were naked.  Adam and Eve were given the gift of sex to become one.  The word “one” in this verse is similar to how the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) is One.  God made sex to be more than an act.  Sex binds two people together to make one body.

In vs. 25, God points out that in their nakedness, there was no shame.  In this relationship with each other and God, they were in perfection – what God created them to be.

After Adam and Eve both sinned, the first thing that they realized was that they were naked.  In nakedness, one cannot hide dark sin. 

In Exodus 20, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  The first is in vs. 3.  Having no other god before Him does not always mean statues of little fat men.  It means anything that comes in between your relationship with God.  God is the only One who is to be worshiped.  He is the Creator.  So many times, we worship the created, as warned in vs. 4, instead of the creator.  So many times people make other people (their boyfriends/girlfriends/friends with benefits) their god.  They worship their partner.  They lay down on an altar and give a sacrifice (the bed), they allow the partner to use them to glorify themselves.

In vs. 14, God says that adultery is a no-no.  You know, Martin Luther said that the first two commandments are the most important.  Because if you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul, and you have no other gods but Him, the rest of the commandments will just happen.

 So, what is adultery?  Adultery is a relationship (mostly referred to with sexual connotations) with someone other than one’s spouse.  The problem is that though one might not be married at this moment, they will most likely be one day.  So, having sex with someone outside of a marriage relationship is having sex with someone other than their spouse.  Think of it this way – one day, the man you are having sex with will be married.  One day, you will be married.  Both of you are having affairs on your future spouse.

Proverbs 6:32 sums up the depth of adultery.  There is pain involved.  This is because God created sex for the husband and the wife.  Anything outside of this covenant – promise – is sinful and with sin comes pain and death.

 Jesus takes the definition of adultery one step further in Matthew 5.  Jesus spends most of His time teaching people that ‘the rules’ don’t mean anything if your heart is not one that is seeking after and worshipping God.  He shows us that even in our hearts, we can commit adultery.  Even wanting someone who is not ours is sinful.  The definition for lust here (the word Epithumeo in Greek), means to covet.  God warns us against this in one of the other commandments (Ex. 5:17).

 Anytime the phrase “sexual immorality” appears in Scripture, especially in the New Testament, the word is ‘Porneia’.  This is an overall group for anything sexual outside of marriage.  Paul talks about Porneia quite a bit especially to one of the churches in Corinth.  Corinth was very similar to our culture today, with an “Anything Goes!” mentality.  1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is where Paul hits the church hard.  In vs. 12, Paul kills the excuse that we are human and do not have to be in control of our own bodies.  Vs. 13, tells us that our bodies are for God, to worship Him and to honor Him.  Paul goes on to say in vs. 18-20 that sexual immorality is the one way that we can sin against the body.  If you are a Christian, saved by the grace of Jesus who purchased you with His blood on the cross for your sins, then your body is not your own, but God’s.  The Holy Spirit lives in those who are saved and when their bodies sin, they bring God with them.

Colossians 3:5-8 says that just as Christ was put to death for our sins, we are to put them to death and run away from them.  That includes sexual immorality.

Back in 1 Corinthians 6, Paul makes some very serious claims.  Vs. 9-10 says that our sins are serious.  Using your body as a prostitute would get you to hell if there is no repentance to Jesus.  Repentance means asking Jesus for forgiveness and crucifying that sin, as He was crucified in our place, and turning away from it. 

 In John 4:1-26, Jesus teaches us that we cannot ever be filled by the empty promises of sexual immorality – Porneia.  Here we see Him speaking to a woman at a well with a very busy sexual history.  She was worshipping the created instead of the Creator.  She had gone in and out of relationships that only left her dry and ruined.  She had to have been lonely.  She definitely had a reputation.  We know this because she was visiting the well at the hottest part of the day – when no one would be around to judge her.  She knew she wasn’t satisfied.  When Jesus tells her in vs. 13 that she will only end up being thirsty again, He was not just talking about actual water.  He was talking about all of the lies that people buy into that make them think that they will be fulfilled.  In vs. 14, He says it.  We will only be satisfied in Him.  Only in Jesus.  Not sex, not relationships.  Not the opposite sex.  Only in Jesus.

 You see, it’s not an issue of when to/ not to.  This is a worship issue.  Either we worship the Creator or the created.  Either we look for the Living Water to take away our thirst or we try to fill ourselves up on something that never will. 

 Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 What does God say about sex?

Outline

  • The Beginning
    • Genesis 2:24-25
    • vs. 25

 

  • The 10 Commandments – Exodus 20
    • vs. 3
    • vs. 4
    • vs. 14

 

  • Adultery
    • Proverbs 6:32
    • Matthew 5
    • Ex. 5:17

 

  • Porneia
    • Corinthians 6:12-20
    • vs. 12
    • Vs. 13
    • vs. 18-20

 

  • Put it to Death!
    • Colossians 3:5-8
    • 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10

 

  • Jesus and Woman at the Well
    • John 4:1-26
    • vs. 13
    • vs. 14

 

 

 

Romans 8:1 –

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Extra Scriptures about sexual immorality:

  • Romans 13:13
  • Galatians 5:19
  • Ephesians 5:3
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Jude 1:7
 

I have to have a kid?!? May 11, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible,Women's Theology — ashleylavalette @ 11:43
Tags:

A friend and I were discussing last week the strangeness of 1 Timothy 2:15.  In context, Paul is talking about women’s roles in the church.  Of course, this is a very touchy passage for people who think that women have since evolved and can ‘handle tougher roles’.  Not the point of this blog.  Let’s look at the verse in context:

(All passages unless otherwise indicated come from the ESV translation)

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (Emphasis mine)

The passage below is taken from an article from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood entitled Saved Through Childbearing? A Fresh Look at 1 Timothy 2:15 Points to Protection from Satan’s Deception by Andreas J. Köstenberger.  The word “saved” is translated from the Greek word “sōzō”.

sōzō may refer to spiritual protection rather than salvation in 1 Timothy 2:15, we discover that Paul’s concern for the spiritual protection of believers pervades his writings. In 1 Corinthians 7:5, he counsels that husband and wife not make themselves vulnerable to Satan by prolonged abstinence from sexual intercourse. In Ephesians 4:27, he warns that unresolved anger would give the devil a foothold.”

Köstenberger goes on to say “If this be so, (then) “women shall be kept safe by childbearing” is the likely rendering of 1 Timothy 2:15.  (W)hat are women to be kept safe from? On the basis of what has been said thus far, and without much further demonstration, it can be argued that what women are to be kept safe from is being deceived, ultimately by Satan himself.

Three factors combine to make this the probable understanding of the passage: first, the close parallel of 1 Timothy 5:14-15 where Satan is explicitly referred to and where “childbearing” is likewise mentioned as the way by which women will be kept safe; second, the fact that Satan is clearly in view in the preceding verse, 1 Timothy 2:14, where Paul conjures up the scenario of the Fall as one of two reasons why women are not to occupy roles of ultimate authority over men in the church (see vv. 12 and 13): “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Eve, Paul implies, was not kept safe at the Fall; she was deceived. Why? Because she left her proper domain under her husband’s care. What happened as a result? She became an easy prey for Satan. How can women under Timothy’s charge (and in churches everywhere) avoid repeating the same mistake? By “childbearing,” that is, by adhering to their God-ordained calling, including a focus on marriage, family, and the home. 1 Timothy 2:15 thus turns out to be Paul’s prescription for women as a lesson learned from the scenario of the Fall described in the preceding verse.”

I suggest that you read the entire article to find out the third factor and for a more detailed explanation on this crazy verse, which can be found at https://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-2-No-4/Saved-Through-Childbearing . 

With a little patience and understanding, one can find that God is purposeful in the things He says in Scripture. 

…And it’s okay that I don’t have a child right now! 🙂 (phew!)

 

Study ALL the words! Proverbs Pt. 5 April 14, 2009

Filed under: Bible,Proverbs — ashleylavalette @ 15:51
Tags: ,

Proverbs 31:19

 

 In this one verse alone, God is teaching us so many things.  I know it would not seem like it.  The first time I read it, I even thought that I should have combined it with verse 18, mention something about sewing, and then move on.

BUT, as Scripture says, ALL Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (1 Timothy 3:16), even the verses that seem on first glance like they are not saying a whole lot.

Another feeling that I had to fight was skipping past the word “distaff”.  After researching, I found out that a distaff is about three feet long and is used in the process of making thread.  One would wrap fibers of wool or flax around the distaff and the other end of the material would be connected to a handheld spindle.  The woman would tuck the distaff under her left arm and prop it up.  Then, in the other hand, she would hold the spindle, just as the verse suggests.  She would then allow for the spindle to spin, tightly gripping the fibers, twisting them together to form a thread.

When she was finished, all of the fibers from the distaff are wound together as thread on the spindle.  The thread could finally be used for sewing.  I did not realize that there were so many steps!
This action described in verse 19 involves the woman’s whole body.  She must keep the distaff upright and her hands must be trained in the art of spinning.

The most interesting detail of this verse is that the English “hands” in this verse is really two different words in the Hebrew.  The first word translated to the English “hands” is “Yad” in Hebrew and actually means strength.  She puts her strength to the distaff while her physical hands (“Kaph”) hold the spindle.

This has got to be a boring job.  Think of all of the different jobs that we have seen her do (and there are still more to come).  She has so many things going on – so many that she stays up to work while others go to bed (see Part 4).  But now we see her sitting quietly with the tedious job of making thread.

This very simplistic job is actually quite important.  If the thread is not ready to go, then the next step in the sewing process will be stalled.  Maybe others would not be able to do their jobs the following day.

I bet she had many more important things to do.  I bet she’d rather go do something else for herself.  I bet she is thinking of other things.

But she does the job.  She does not rush through it, doing a sloppy job.  She worships God even in this.  She does even the most boring job with a loving, glad heart.

We can find the antithesis to this in Malachi 1:13-14.  Here, the people did not find use in the ‘little job’ of an offering for God.  They hurried up and got through it, finding whatever they could to use as an offering, just to check it off the list.  You could say that they were just going through the motions.  If you read a little further in Malachi Chapter 1, you can find out God’s response.

Jesus is concerned with our heart, not our actions.  If our hearts are in the right place, then the actions will follow, just as they do for the woman in Proverbs 31.  She probably didn’t enjoy the tiring, boring job of spinning, but she loved God and her family.  Again, it was another way for her to serve.  If she would have done the same exact thing with a bad heart, she would not be an example to follow.  God is not tricked when we do something begrudgingly.

I have such a begrudging heart.  I do things based on my schedule and my mood.  If only I worshipped my Lord in everything!  How different even menial tasks would be!
I pray that God teaches us how to worship without ceasing and that He changes our hearts to want to glorify Him in even the most tedious tasks.

God, please teach me what real worship is.