Friday, October 31, 2008

Down in the Dumps

Many years ago a young Midwestern lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his life’s calling and the prudence of even attempting to follow it through. During this time he wrote, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not." But somehow, from somewhere, Abraham Lincoln received the encouragement he needed, and the achievements of his life thoroughly vindicated his bout with discouragement.

Fellow princess warriors, do you ever get tired of fighting? Ever feel like you just can't take one more thing? You are not alone.

I usually try to be very encouraging on this blog. But, I'll let you in on a little secret. Sometimes it's me who needs to hear the encouraging words that I write. Talk about getting a message from God. It goes something like this ... "Carol, my precious daughter, remember, practice what you preach." He wants me to walk out His words, not just write them.

Just in case you thought I might "have it together" let me share the few THINGS that got me down in the dumps this past week or so.

1. Computer crashed
2. Car problems
3. Roof shingles falling off in wind
4. Me with the flu for over a week. Headache, body aches, stomach aches, lots of aches.
5. Frame around front door breaking off
6. Daughter displaying some major behavioral issues
7. Son home with the flu, too
8. A barrage of negative thoughts that were bombarding my mind because I didn't act very princess-like in response to my many inconveniences. A lot of broken stuff doesn't gel well when you are feeling your pocket book squeeze tight ... really, really tight

Ladies, although these "things" were /are not life threatening, they are frustrating. When they happen all at once. Well, they're at the very least, a threat to your sanity on some level.

Then this little ole princess warrior (that would be me again) gets hung up in her pride. Yep, me who preaches grace, forgiveness, reaching out to others ... etc. Is embarrassed to let people love her. Asking for help can be hard. It certainly is humbling when you suddenly realize that you've been plastering on the fake smile and pretending everything is f-i-n-e fine.

By yesterday, I was drowning down in the dumps. Today, thankfully, I'm feeling a tad bit better physically, but still not 100 percent. I was driving a long and my favorite worship song comes on. "My God is mighty to save, mighty to save ... He can move mountains, He's mighty to save, Jesus is mighty to save ...

I feel the Spirit starting to move and that ever-familiar feeling of gratitude and love for my King is growing and I'm starting to glow. Then out of the blue The Voice, you know the one, speaks into my thoughts with such force I almost believe it's audible.

"You don't deserve God. You shouldn't even be worshiping Him after your unbelief this week."

Right then, I'd had enough. Enough of the devil and his snide and tormenting comments. I yell (yes, I'm still driving) "ENOUGH! I belong to the King. I am forgiven. So, get lost!" Then the tears came and I was able to worship God with complete abandon. (As much abandon as you can have while semi-safely operating a vehicle during rush hour).

I share this little piece of me to ask for your prayers and to encourage you to hang in there if you, too, are feeling down in the dumps. That old saying: This too shall pass, is so very true. It was a long hard week, but, today, at last, I feel renewed. My God does move mountains and He is mighty to save. I still don't have enough money, things are still broken, but, hey, things could be so much worse.

Yes, I felt like throwing in the towel, whatever that might have entailed, but I didn't. Look at good ole Abe Lincoln. Apparently, he was down in the dumps and depressed, too. Thankfully, he didn't give up either and went on to make history.

We've got our own history to make, ladies. So, let's tell the devil to get lost and lift each other up in prayer, always remembering that Jesus is more than enough for us.

God bless you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What side are you feeding? Battle Ready or not?

AN ESKIMO FISHERMAN CAME to town every Saturday afternoon. He always brought his two dogs with him. One was white and the other was black. He had taught them to fight on command. Every Saturday afternoon in the town square the people would gather and these two dogs would fight and the fisherman would take bets.

On one Saturday the black dog would win; another Saturday, the white dog would win—but the fisherman always won! His friend began to ask him how he did it. He said, "I starve one and feed the other. The one I feed always wins because he stronger."

This story about the two dogs is apt because it tells us something about the inner warfare that comes into the life of a person who is born again. We have two natures within us, both struggling for mastery. Which one will dominate us? It depends on which one we feed. If we feed our spiritual lives and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us, we will win. " (Billy Graham. The Holy Spirit. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988, pp. 92-93).

Ladies, If we expect to stand strong in today's world, it is imperative that we feed our souls with what is good and from God. I can tell you that at times, I struggle with this. For example, reading a certain popular vampire series then finding myself hungry for an exciting otherworldly romance isn't feeding the "right" side. I just don't think that God would be cheering for that relationship (if it it was even possible) but you know what I mean.

Maybe you read romance novels, watch R-rated movies, spend time focussing on your angry side, obsessing over a relationship, you fill in the blank ... we could go on and on. My point: there is a ton of stuff in our world that we can think about and spend our time on. If this stuff does not glorify God, who does it glorify? I suspect you know the answer to that question. Satan.

I promise you, when you spend time, daily, with God, in His Word, singing His praises, and living a lifestyle that is in line with His commandments, you will have the needed strength to stand strong in the battles life (and the devil) brings. But, if you have wasted your time caught up on feeding your mind with soap operas, that certain TV series, those not-so-uplifting books, eventually, you will discover that you have drifted from your King and are lacking the supernatural power needed to face trials and tribulations.

So, what do you say, ladies? Shall we feed the right side? After all, as the above story so dramatically explains -- the side we feed is the side that wins.

Let's be winners for Christ.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Reigning Real the Right Way: Learning to Fight

Have you ever found yourself arguing about your spiritual beliefs and presenting God's truth in such a way that people assume you are nuts, or, at the very least, a little Kooky?

Me, too.

Especially, right now, while the political battle rages. It's so easy to get caught up attacking those with opposing viewpoints from an emotional standpoint rather than using spiritual weapons to defeat the real enemy and cause of so much division - satan.
Yep. I'm going to blame it on the devil.

After all, he is the father of lies. His goal is to destroy mankind, and what a great way to do it - keep us fighting against each other.

Even Christians are debating amongst themselves and drawing lines. Is this how Christ would have handled the situation? Somehow I don't think so.

I remember when I was a baby Christian (new believer). I was so excited and overwhelmed with the Good News of God's grace that I simply had to share it. I was also pretty threatened by sin. I could easily identify the planks in your eyes and I decided it was my duty to make sure that you were well aware of those planks as well. If you didn't want to hear about them, no problem. I'd point them out anyway, in spite of your protests.

I was fighting the good fight, right? -- Pointing out sin and paving the way for God's truth to reign. No-o-o-o-o-t! (That's "not" all drawn out if you're wondering)

Well, surprisingly (ehem), my method didn't work quite the way I'd hoped. I was running around pointing out problems and looking under every chair (figuratively, or course) for demons and disasters. I was kind of like the little boy in the above video. (Please, go to the link and watch!) I was wasting a ton of time and energy on the wrong things.

Since those early days, I've discovered one very important truth. My battles are best fought (and won) on my knees.

Prayer, without ceasing, is the most powerful weapon we can wield. Add worship, a whole lot of forgiveness, grace, self-control, and peace, in addition to God's truth, and you have the making of a successful strategy for spiritual success that ushers victory, often times, right on in to the physical realm.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't speak the truth boldly, but we often forget who we are fighting. It's not those people who don't share our viewpoints, it's a shrewed and capable creature that would like nothing more than to confuse the issues and keep us focussed on people, places, and processes rather than on the Truth, on God.

Friends, I'm not shaking my finger at anyone, I'm mostly reminding myself of the best way to be victorious in a difficult spiritual, emotional, and physical climate.

I have very strong views about the presidential candidates, but, more importantly, I have very, very strong views about who I really serve -- my Commander and Chief -- Jesus Christ. It is up to me to reign real as His Princess Warrior, representing His Light during dark times.

So, as the upcoming election approaches, let us do the one thing that is sure to change not only minds, but hearts, let's pray. Let's stop karate kicking our co-workers, friends, and neighbors and instead kick the devil's you-know-what from our ultimate battle stance -- our knees in prayer.

Please, if you are committed to praying daily for our nation and its leaders, send me a note. Together we can accomplish much more than we ever could alone. God bless you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fix My Heart ... it's Damaged

Before you read any further, follow the above link to YouTube and listen to the song. The lyrics are the only thing you'll see accompanying the song. Then come back!

Have you ever had a broken heart? Yes, I know, it's a rhetorical question; considering at some point we've all suffered a broken heart -- most of us more than one. Unfortunately, after the fall of Adam and Eve, relationships have never been the way God intended, and, today, our world has skewed male/female relationships to the point they're becoming unrecognizable.

As a teenager, when I was in the height of my addictive behaviors, I thought the institution of marriage was a joke. I was all about free love and lived by the "if it feels good do it" motto. I wasn't alone, either. It wasn't difficult to find others who shared my distorted view of reality and relationships.

The idea of getting and staying married to one person seemed outdated, boring, and simply impossible. After all, what if you got bored? Yes, I really had such thoughts. As you can probably imagine, my relationship choices were pretty unhealthy and the results of these relationships were often heart shattering.

Let me just say, without giving my entire testimony, there were some situations in my young life that led me to believe that I was worthless, useless, and hopeless. I had a huge hole in my heart that was hungry for love, attention, acceptance, and approval. I wanted to be the coolest, prettiest, most popular, and most intriguing girl around. In order to gain friends (mostly boyfriends) I did some things that went against my values and beliefs. Eventually, my values and beliefs changed drastically to support my actions. Sin is like that. Over time, we harden our hearts, and the abnormal becomes normal.

My heart was damaged. I tried many remedies to patch it up. Maybe you can relate?

Food, stuff, boyfriends and later men, drugs, thrill seeking, the occult, anything that might provide an escape or pleasurable experience became my solutions to heart hunger. Nothing filled me up. Happiness always remained elusive and out of reach. The harder I tried to find the magic "it" whatever it might be, the worse I felt.

I believe that we all hunger and thirst for SOMETHING, something more. Unfortunately, the things that the world, via the media, serves up to feed our appetites will cause us severe indigestion, and, ultimately, lead to hearts that need fixing.

In the song above, Damaged, the women singing are pleading for someone to "fix it, fix it, fix it ..." Sadly, they are simply looking for another man to bandage their hearts. How many bandages and "fixes" can one heart take? At some point, the pain gets to be to much and nothing of this world can repair it.

Thankfully, as Princess Warriors for Christ, we have the ultimate Physician and Heart Healer in our lives. He stands ready to make us brand new. Jesus doesn't save us then slap a few Band Aids on our hearts. Oh, no! He performs surgery on our souls. If we let Him.

That's the beauty of our King. He's not a ruthless ruler. He is all-powerful, yet He is loving. We can choose to climb on the gurney ... or not.

Precious Princesses, we have so much to accomplish for His Kingdom. If we continue to seek man-made remedies to fix our soul sicknesses, we will end up helpless in the face of evil. We are in a spiritual war where every believer -- man, woman, and child -- must learn to reign real, brandishing truth and grace. If we're too wounded to even walk in righteousness, how can we possibly fight the good fight of faith?

If we're still waiting for a man or relationship to "fix us" and fill us up, we're in serious trouble. Please, sisters, allow the only One with the power to save serve as your Savior. Jesus is mighty to save. He is the only Source of fulfillment that will truly sustain us.

Let's throw off the sin that so easily entangles us and accept God's healing and hope.

Please consider the following two articles in relation to relationships, marriage, and the topic of love addiction. and

Please, go watch the video below. There is Someone who is mighty to save and who will heal your broken heart. Just let Him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Princess Warrior turned Road Warrior

I just posted this article on my other blog, but it came out all goofy and messy. I hope you enjoy the message and are challenged to become a Praying Road Warrior.

Becoming A Praying Road Warrior
Carol Van Atta

It was fifteen minutes before 8:00 AM.

My turn signal clicked impatiently. Why couldn’t these other drivers understand that I was late — again?

Finally, I merged into the right lane, boldly advancing toward my exit. Out of nowhere, another driver raced up beside me shaking his fist.
No —! Not another incident of road rage.

I wanted to scream. Unfortunately, I had not taken time out of my chaotic morning routine to pray and prepare for the commute that seemed to be growing increasingly stressful each day. I knew all the proper ways to pray. I just needed to set the alarm for earlier, find a peaceful place, and talk to the Lord before venturing outside the security of my home.

For me, this lofty ideal was not working no matter how hard I tried. Yet, I knew, without a doubt, as I watched the rear-end of the fist-shaking-driver’s car vanish around the bend, I could choose to pray for the angry driver or I could fantasize about kicking a rear, and it definitely would not be the backside of a car!

In that moment, I realized that I needed a plan, a plan that I could implement from my car during my hectic morning commute to work. A method of prayer that would allow me move over to the passenger’s seat in my life and surrender to God’s control behind the wheel. Thus began my quest of becoming a focused, dynamic, Praying Road Warrior.

Wherever we are prayer is appropriate. Even in the car! Our Lord told us to pray without ceasing. I understand that commandment to mean that we are to pray all the time, whenever and wherever possible. I also realized, as I prayed for myself, my family, my friends, and my church, there were a large number of hurting, angry, and very impatient people roaring by me on the road — people who looked pretty gloomy about their own freeway circumstances.

I started right then listening more closely to God. Now, when I see a car whiz past and I hear the loving voice of my Father say, “Pray for that woman. She is hurting.” I do. I have learned to start off my daily road trips in the presence of the Lord.

Over time, a new prayer pattern emerged. This simple method that I used to rise above “road madness” and draw closer to my Savior was really starting to work.

Breaking down the word WARRIOR provides a simple, yet very thorough process of prayer. It can be used behind the wheel or wherever else we desire to enter the Throne Room of God.


W-WorshipIt is always appropriate to enter God’s presence in worship. Worship provides a certain element of holiness that nothing else can. When done with complete abandonment and with Christ as our sole focus, we discover freedom and insight on a deeper level. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the solution to a problem in the midst of praise and worship. However, I offer a warning: Do not close your eyes and raise both hands in a posture of worship while driving. Not because you look weird, that’s okay, but we want to be a blessing while praying, not causing accidents!

Psalm 68:4 (NLT): Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.His name is the Lord—rejoice in his presence!

I have discovered that adoring God immediately following worship is a natural act. We can speak words of love and praise to Him. For he is worthy, incredible, creative, forgiving, loving, merciful, kind, just, all-powerful, perfect, and so much more. You may find this portion of your prayer time hard to stop. Fantastic!

We will become totally energized when we learn to take the focus off of ourselves and place it where it belongs — on our Lord and King. He alone is truly is worthy of all adoration. We can never honor Him too much.

Psalm 88:15 (NLT): But you, O Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love and truth.

Before we go any further, it is time to do business with God. He already paid the price for our sins, didn’t He? I don’t like that feeling when I know I’ve sinned and I’m trying to hide from the Creator of Heaven and Earth. He knows it all! Hiding isn’t possible — ever.

This is an opportunity to remove any unbearable, sin-caused, weight we’ve been carting around, giving it to the Only One who can handle our burdens — Jesus Christ. In prayer, we can chose to start our day fresh and free or under the enemy’s thumb. I don’t know about you, but I want freedom and forgiveness, forget the thumb!

Acts 3:17 (NLT): Thankfully, that is what our God wants for us too. Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sin

Now is the time to repeat God’s word. Are you working on a memory verse? Have you ever tried praying scripture aloud and in prayer form? If not, this is the perfect opportunity to start. Here we can fill our minds, in prayer, with God’s truth found only in His Word.

Through memorization of God’s word, and praying familiar scriptures back to God, we arm ourselves with the belt of truth. We need this truth in order to live successfully in a deceitful and dangerous world. This is the perfect time to pray through the Armor of God found in Ephesians, Chapter 6. We have a responsibility in our prayer time to take our thoughts captive and replace the enemy’s lies with God’s incredible truth. Let’s do it!

2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT): All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

Now we should make time for specific requests and talk about our concerns, our fears, and our hopes, inviting Him to partner in every area of our lives.

I know when I pray in this manner my day just seems to flow so much easier. Not perfectly, because this is a fallen world, but certainly a whole lot better.

I also invite Him to speak to me. It is crucial for me to be silent for a few moments and seek God’s plan. I ask Him to show me anyone on the road, in the traffic jam, or even in a building close by that I should be praying for. God always responds to my request for divine appointments. He is waiting for our invitation. The good news, God always shows up where He is invited!

Proverbs 8:17 (NLT): I love all who love me. Those who search for me will surely find me.

It’s time to obey and actually do what He has revealed to us during worship, while we were repenting or repeating His word. He may have shown us someone to pray for, or something specific we need to do. It is now up to us to follow through.

Just the other day, I drove past an extremely disheveled young man sitting on an overstuffed duffel bag at the side of the freeway entrance. He was holding up a piece of cardboard with “I am hungry” scrawled across the front. On this particular occaision, I felt compelled to drive back and pick up a meal at a fast food restaurant. I was very nervous about the whole thing. I mean, what if he was faking it?

I heard God’s word clearly in my mind, “Feed my sheep.” Now that was hard to ignore. It was not up to me to judge this man, just to bless him in a simple way. I added a five-dollar bill to his lunch bag, stopping nearby while other drivers watched me in obvious shock. I let this man know that the care-package was a gift from God.

Do I do this all the time? No. But this day, I knew it was my duty. So, I obeyed. I can’t even begin to describe the joy I felt in my heart from such a simple act of obedience. I simply had to rejoice!

Jeremiah 7:23 (NLT) This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well!’

Finally, as we pull into that parking spot, or return to our driveway, we should now be rejoicing. We have just spent the duration of our drive in the presence of God. It is time to rejoice. Rejoice for He is good. He longs to spend time with each one of us. We can approach His thrown with freedom and confidence. Let us celebrate the good news that we never have drive anywhere alone. We have the best driving partner ever, don’t we? We have Jesus.

Next time you get in your car and realize you have not said your morning prayers, don’t fret. God is waiting for you. So are all those people in the world who are hungry for life, hungry for God.

When we become a Praying Road Warrior, we impact our world and our own lives in powerful and unexpected ways. With God driving and us praying, our commute will never be the same again!

Revelation 19: 7a (NLT): Let us be glad and rejoice and honor him

FINAL NOTE: Don’t stop just because the car does! After we park the car, heading to our daily destinations, we often leave God back in the car. Maybe we should invite Him to join us for the rest of the day?

We don’t ever want to leave our dependence on Him for the road trip only. Let’s invite Him to stay with us every minute of everyday. Amen!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Moving out of the Shadows: Speaking Boldly

As Christian women who have embraced the title - Princess Warrior - it is imperative that we learn to step out of the shadows and confidently claim who we belong to. It's not enough to simply socialize with each other. Yet, for many of women, speaking up and speaking out may cause some discomfort, even fear. Talking in front of others, especially a crowd, has been statistically proven to be one of the biggest fears people (both men and women) face. So, if you're afraid; you're not alone.

HOWEVER (that's a big however) we cannot use our fear to avoid sharing about our Heavenly King and his plan of salvation. Although we are gifted in specific areas, God asks all of us to go out and make disciples of all nations. For many people, we truly are the only Bible they will read.

So, how do we overcome our fear and as Nike put it: Just Do It!?

Well, we just do it. Seriously, though, it is our responsibility, as heiresses of the King of the Universe, to tell others about Him. His ways. His plan. His purpose. His grace. His forgiveness. His truth. I know. I know. That whole truth thing can be kind of scary, especially, the whole hell and devil thing. So often, today, we pitter patter around and talk only of God's love, which is great. The only problem is if a person doesn't see a need for salvation, they aren't likely to invite Jesus into their lives. Recognizing they have a sin issue, and a not-so-pleasant future without Him, must often take place before someone will accept the Savior.

I always believed in God. In fact, the Bible tells us that even the demons from hell believe and tremble. It's what we do with that information. Without a knowledge of our sin, it is difficult to see any need to be saved.

As Princess Warriors, our Guide Book instructs us to be ready on any occasion to give an account of our faith. We are to prepare ourselves for such discussions. The Holy Spirit will do the rest if we step out and open our mouths. I can't tell you how many times that I've missed out on spiritual conversations simply because of discomfort. I just kept my usually talkative mouth clamped shut while an opportunity walked right by never to return. Ouch! What a horrible feeling to miss a divine appointment.

No more! Today, I've made every effort to arm myself with the right tools for ministry. In my case, I am a public speaker. I understand not every woman reading this will run out and start speaking for retreats and conferences. That's okay! But, by golly, we all better be ready step out from the shadows of our fear and share the gospel if the opportunity arises. We can't afford to let our discomfort dictate our actions. We have to allow God to give us the courage we need to share with others. I promise, over time, it gets easier and less frightening. You might, like me and many others, find out you enjoy speaking.

Believe it or not, there are some low-cost, practical programs that can help you develop better communication and speaking skills. Many churches have programs for helping people develop in this area. I've joined a worldwide, non-profit organization called Toast Masters. It is so much fun and I've met many great people in this program. You should have a local chapter in your area. If you're a little competitive, they even have speaking competitions. Don't worry! You don't have to compete in anything. Go and learn. You'll be surprised.

There's also a website/ministry that is totally dedicated to sharing the gospel message. I completed their awesome book (it's a big book, too!) called The School of Biblical Evangelism.

Ultimately, if we want to spread the Good News, God will open the doors and the people will come. I challenge you to pray for new opportunities to speak boldly on your King's behalf. After all, the stakes are huge: Heaven or hell. Let's do all we can to help the people God places in our path discover the hope and future that's available in Christ.

Just for Today:

Smile at everyone you see.

Greet strangers randomly.

Find ways to bring up Jesus in conversation.

Be ready to explain why you're joy-filled when the economy is at its worst; when our nation is at war; when you have personal issues that are overwhelming; when the political scene is a major mess ... so on and so on and so on. Just start talking. People will listen.

Remember: We were all created for such a time as this.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wearing Beauty and Modesty: No more masks!

I just love the above painting of Ruth.

Again, the following entry has been adapted from Real Women Don't Wear Masks, Carol Van Atta and Dr. Kathy Rodriguez (not yet published)

Precious Princess Warriors for Christ, we have finally arrived at our last entry about the Seductive Mask. Hopefully, the following entry will give you insight and encouragement for removing the seductive mask and the amazing benefits of instead putting on Beauty and Modesty. God bless you.

Wearing Beauty and Modesty

When you hear the word beauty, what comes to mind? Do you envision an airbrushed supermodel or an exotic woman from some faraway land? Maybe a famous movie star or teen pop queen? If you’re like most women, your immediate response likely had to do with outer beauty. Tan, toned, and sculpted — the All American dream girl.

We encourage you to take some time to research what is considered beautiful in different parts of the world, or in different eras of time. You will be pleasantly surprised by the diverse results of such a search. The idea of what is outwardly beautiful changes like the seasons. For some summer is best, while others choose winter as their favorite. And, of course, there are fans of fall and spring. So it is with the concept of beauty, especially if we are deriving our definition from the world around us.

In 2003, the winner of a beauty contest in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou (Africa) weight 257 lbs. This contest was a stark contrast to the Miss World Competition which was held at the same time in China.

According to several sources, in the 1890’s a plump body and pale complexion was considered attractive as those features were supposed to represent wealth and a refined indoor lifestyle.

While at the website we discovered varying beauty ideals explored in detail. For example, in Asian cultures the focus in on a woman’s eyes. In the Middle East women who use more natural products for make up like henna and kohl are considered most attractive.

These are but a few ideals of what is considered beautiful. So, as you can see, we could spend countless hours, days, even weeks trying to figure out what type of “beauty” we want to be, and once again, these remedies are all outside solutions to an inside dilemma. After all, according to God’s ideal, and He is our King, beauty is more a matter of the heart. We should be more concerned about the motives of our hearts than the brand of make up we buy or jeans we try to squeeze into.

God’s Word clearly explains:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NIV

Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel. Rather let it be the hidden, person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the
sight of the Lord. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV

Rather, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Romans 13:14 NIV

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braded hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. I Timothy 2:9-10 NIV

I love the definitions of modesty and self control provided by an online article featured on appropriately titled: Fashion and Following the Savior. “Modesty: ‘Propriety: The avoidance of clothing and adornment that is extravagant, showy, and sexually enticing.’” Self Control: “’Restraint, moderation for the purpose of purity.’”

Now this doesn’t mean we can’t dress nice and fashionably. In fact, I think as daughters of the King of the Universe that representing Him well in appearance is very important. In fact, our dress can even reflect our inner qualities. For example, if I’m focused on purity, loyalty, serving God, helping others stay focused the Savior and God’s love, dressing like a wild woman is not an accurate representation of those beliefs.

However, modest dress doesn’t mean wearing a turtleneck during the summer months, or a giant gunny sack the rest of the year. With wisdom, we can easily figure out what is modest, attractive and appropriate attire as modern Christian women. It is probably best to avoid, belly baring hip-huggers, low cut blouses, see-through dresses, and the like. Ladies, we know, don’t we?

In one of our healing classes in Restoration Ministries entitled For Women Only: Accept No Substitutes, we often offer to help a woman in the class review her wardrobe as she exchanges the lies and false promises of seduction for the eternal truths of beauty and modesty.

Ultimately, if we clothe ourselves with the Fruit of God’s Spirit, we will discover that we are walking as beautiful and modest women of God, no longer vying for the sinful Seductive Mask.

The Story of a Friend

Ruth, the Moabite woman — a widow, sister, and beloved daughter-in-law — she was a woman who reflected beauty and modesty both inside out. Her noble character is fully demonstrated in her friendships and relationships. Therefore, an examination of her life will prove helpful in understanding the benefits of wearing a new God-ordained identity.

Imagine, if you will, that you married into a family that did not share your personal religious beliefs or your social customs. You have possibly risked judgment and ridicule from your family and friends by adopting the seemingly strange foreign practices of your new husband and his relatives. After all, observing specific religious ceremonies play a magnified role in your life.

Overtime, you become more and more fascinated with the spiritual beliefs of your husband and his parents. You find yourself drawn to the miraculous tales of a sea parting and a monstrous ark carrying Noah, his family, and all the earth’s animals to safety. The idea of a loving, consuming, and all-knowing God becomes more inviting as the years drift by.

Sadly, your father-in law and your husband perish, and Naomi, your faithful mother-in-law, a woman who is now closer to you than your own mother, gently encourages you to return to your family of origin as she plans to journey back to her homeland in Judah.

At this point in the story, Ruth’s situation has become more than a little disheartening, wouldn’t you agree?

We can’t forget she has been with her Hebrew family for over ten years. I’m certain the idea that she would be required to return to her old ways in the midst of such a tidal wave of grief sounded overwhelming.

Yet, amazingly, even after Ruth’s sister chooses to remain behind, Ruth completely separates herself from her home, her birth family, and any ties to her former pagan religion, and dutifully follows Naomi, discovering a whole new way of life.

Talk about a willingness to surrender to God’s will! In the comments Ruth makes to Naomi, her beauty and modesty shine brightly against the parched dessert landscape. Her servant’s heart is most pleasing to God and comforting to Naomi who has been left alone to fend for herself without a male relative.

Back in Bethlehem, where they finally settle, Ruth quickly follows Naomi’s direction and serves as a provider for both of them. The town folk can immediately see that Ruth is a godly woman of beauty, modesty, and integrity. She obeys the Jewish customs and gracefully fulfills her commitment to her aging mother-in-law.

We know what happens next, don’t’ we? Let’s fast forward, okay?

Ruth has begun to gather food behind the harvesters in a distant relative’s field. Upon meeting Ruth, Boaz the field’s owner, immediately senses her innocence and loyalty and provides a covering of safety.
Listen to Ruth’s unassuming response:

“At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, ‘Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me — a foreigner.’”

I love Boaz’s response.

“Boaz replied, ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband — how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.’”

Dear friends, all these blessings from this kind, respected, God-fearing, and wealthy man were due to Ruth’s godliness not her seductiveness.

Modesty can be described as humble, unpretentious, reserved, meek, gentle, mild …
Ruth fit the description perfectly. She had no need to resort the kind of shenanigans that wearers of the Seductive Mask use. Remember our fist story about Mrs. PT, Potiphar’s over-pampered bride? She didn’t get “her man” nor did she keep her husband’s attention. Surely, Potiphar suspected what his wife had been up to. If not, he would have followed protocol and put Joseph to death. I’m quite sure that the disastrous results of Mrs. PT’s failed seduction only worsened after Joseph was imprisoned.

Ruth, however, obeyed God and lived as a beautiful and modest maiden who was ultimately rescued by Boaz, her Kinsman Redeemer. By refusing to be a scheming seductress, Ruth received all that most women yearn for: a handsome husband, a stable home, financial security, children, and the admiration of her peers and elders. Boaz’s words express this exact sentiment:

“And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do as you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character …"

Truly, ladies, when we live God’s Way things are much more likely to go the way we desire, and if they don’t, we can still trust that God knows best and rejoice over the fact that we didn’t compromise ourselves to get what we want. Amen!

You’re a beautiful princess, a daughter of the King, a woman of noble character, and a lady of modesty. No matter what you might have said or done in the past, God has chosen you to be His Bride. Don’t settle for less than the ultimate Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Trade that old hollow mask for a life of worth and redemption.

To my precious Prince Charming,

Thank you for being my Kinsman Redeemer. Like Ruth, I can trust that you will care for me as I adhere to Your ways. I’m sorry for wearing the Seductive Mask. The truth is, it never even fit properly. Today, I understand that my survival does not depend on using my womanly whiles. I do not gain power or control by behaving in such an unbecoming manner. The acceptance and love that I so yearn for is found in You.

Right now, I choose to throw this filthy mask into the flames where it belongs. I refuse to reach for it again. I am trusting in You alone to meet my needs. You remind me to be anxious for nothing; after all you know my every desire and have numbered every hair on my head. Who could ever provide for me like that but you, my King?

Thank you for creating me as a woman of character. Please place other women of wisdom in my life to help love, guide, and support me as I learn to live a life free from masks.

I love you, Jesus. It is in your holy Name I pray. Amen.
Ladies, I welcome you comments. Feel free to share you thoughts and feelings about this mask, or any of the others we've explored. God bless you as you continue to "Reign Real."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No More Masks! Removing the Seductive Mask

The following excerpt was taken from Real Women Don't Wear Masks by Carol Van Atta & Dr. Kathy Rodriguez (not yet published) If you are a women's ministry leader/pastor and would like Carol and/or Kathy to share at your women's retreat about removing masks and embracing God's best, please email: or visit: for additional ministry details.

One dictionary describes the word seduce as follows:

1.: to persuade to disobedience on disloyalty 2: to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises 3: to carry out the physical seduction of: entice to sexual intercourse 4: ATTRACT Synonym see LURE — se-duc-er noun

How true? Seduction involves being led astray. Both parties — the seducer and the “seducee” — are led away from what is good and what is right. Such enticement happens for an array of reasons.

Women have learned through the centuries that their so-called feminine wiles, beauty, and sexuality can be used to sway men to do their bidding in spite of great consequences. Some women pick up this mask so frequently that it seems natural. After all, a few bats of those eyelashes and certain men have been known to forfeit their God-given destinies for a moment of promised passion.

What about the movie Pretty Woman? Some called it a “Cinderella Story.” But let’s get real, shall we? Julia Roberts was trying to get by and resorted to prostitution in order to make ends meet. Her naivety and outward beauty caught the attention of one lonely millionaire. They slept together and then he hired her to be his escort while he was in town. After wining and dining her, this handsome man rescued her from her former way of life and, together, they headed into the sunset in a super-extravagant, stretch limousine.

Again, the Seductive Mask was worn as a means to survive and it appeared that by donning this facade that our seductress won the ultimate prize — a real life Prince Charming.

But, sadly, the Pretty Woman story has just one thing in common with Cinderella — it’s a fairy tale. This is a mask that ultimately won’t work and a mask that will take us far from our Lord and King, our ultimate Knight in Shining Armor, our one true Prince Charming.

Today’s media only helps perpetuate the myth of unsurpassed glamour and glorious gifts that wearing this mask will provide. The following lies are replayed across our TV screens, in romance novels, on the Internet, and at movie theatres daily. Every young girl, teenager, and woman must face and overcome the following common, yet unrelenting lies:

1. Only beautiful and sexy women are admired and get what they want.

2. If I’m not pretty enough, I can still be extremely sexual and get my way.

3. Powerful women are seductive women; they are not ashamed of their sexuality, nor should I be.

4. The best way to get a man to do what I want is to behave seductively.

5. As a Christian woman, I can still be flirtatious and get my needs met by men. After all, I’m not actually having sexual encounters.

6. All the famous and desirable women are clearly seductive; therefore, if I want attention I should behave that way, too.

7. Appearing seductive is the best way to stay in control and have power over men. It will allow me to feel in charge and I won’t get hurt. After all, I’m the one calling the shots.

The constant mantra of the above messages leaves us struggling to stay on the path of truth. Everyday we must make a choice to lay this mask down where it belongs … at the foot of the cross. A greater understanding of why we are so often tempted to turn to this false face will help.
More on the Seductive Mask

The book of Proverbs offers a number of dire warnings to men, yes, men, in regard to women who are hiding beneath the mask of seduction. These women are referred to by several seemingly harsh terms:




Yet, when we are wearing this infamous mask, are we not indeed acting as such?
Proverbs 7:21-23 (NIV) states:

With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing
it will cost him his life.

Consider Proverbs 6:25, 26 (NIV):

Do not let lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the Adulteress preys upon your very life.

Ladies, we don’t share these words of truth to shame you, but to challenge you with lessons we’ve learned in falling victim to this mask. We are aware that horrible things from childhood lead many of us to wear the ever-popular seductive façade. However, the truth remains that this mask is far from God’s best. It is not what He has planned for you. It will never give you the true acceptance, confidence, control, power, or admiration that you crave. Eventually, the effects of this mask lead to death — an emotional and spiritual death for certain — for some, physical death.

If we indeed follow through, and use the Seductive Mask in a way that leads to sexual sin, the results can be life altering … deadly.

HIV, unplanned pregnancies, ruined marriages, families destroyed, and ministries uprooted are just a few potential side effects. The devil would like nothing more than to have Christian women buy into the lie that this mask is effective.

Let’s instead rise up and remove this deadly face, replacing it with godly Beauty and Modesty.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Seductive Mask

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I hope you've been gleaning insight from the recent mask entries. Today, we're going to focus on a mask that women have worn since the beginning of time, a mask that so many young women (older gals, too) continue to embrace and wear boldly today. Ladies, as daughters of the King of Kings, using our womanly wiles to achieve results is not in anyone's best interest. Unfortunately, everywhere we turn this mask is touted as the one to wear. Remember, we are to be set apart from the world. Just because "everyone else is doing it" doesn't mean we should.

The following entry is adapated from Real Women Don't Wear Masks, Carol Van Atta and Dr. Kathy Rodriguez. (Yet to be published)

Removing the Seductive Mask
A sex symbol becomes a thing.... I just hate to be a thing.
Marilyn Monroe

Just the sight of her husband’s most trusted employee, Joseph, gave Mrs. PT a reason to stop and stare. She wanted Joseph in her bed and under her control.

As the wife a prominent military commander, Mrs. PT had dozens of servants under her authority. Her household was everything she’d dreamt of as a child — well-furnished, clean, stylish, and filled with gorgeous art pieces. As a woman of wealth and influence, she was envied by many in Pharaoh’s court. Her elevated social status coupled with supervising household affairs gave her a comfortable sense of power and confidence.

However, lately, her husband had entrusted all the affairs of their estate to the new, Hebrew heartthrob, Joseph. To Mrs. PT the young man appeared to be just and fair, and more than competent in all his dealings, but to her dismay, he had taken on many of her prior responsibilities as his own. Although she knew he was doing as her husband instructed, she felt slighted, bored, and antsy.

To make matters worse, when not working, her husband, Potiphar, spent long- hours indulging in his first love — eating. Food had become his most cherished lover. Mrs. PT had not been called to his bed chamber for several months. Although he proclaimed his love to her in passing, she felt alone.

One morning, after carefully applying her best cosmetics and perfumed creams, she slipped into a revealing gown of purple silk. The fabric clung snuggly to her form, making a soft swishing sound around her muscular calves as she eagerly prowled the corridors seeking her prey. Yes, prey. She was the hunter — a pleasure hunter.

She could no longer ignore the handsome Hebrew who moved through her treasured household as if it were his own. She would show Joseph who was boss and give them both great pleasures in the process. It had been far too long since she had felt the sensations coursing through her. Seducing this young man would prove she was still an exotic beauty with the insurmountable power of persuasion. Ah, yes, the challenge was intriguing and the capture would taste even sweeter.

“Joseph …” she called huskily. “Come here, please. I need your help.”

Thankfully, our Bible hero, Joseph, did not give into his mistress’ advances. He remained loyal to his earthly master and his God.

For a seductress like Potiphar’s wife, his refusal would have sliced through her heart with the agonizing force of rejection. A woman, who uses the Seductive Mask may do so for many reasons. In this case, control was a primary reason. Although attracted to Joseph, Mrs. PT was a woman likely used to getting what she wanted. Not only would she enjoy the results of the seduction, but also, most likely, she would find the so-called “chase” even more alluring. Using her feminine whiles to enchant and capture a man would be what gave her a renewed sense of control.

The Seductive Mask has been worn since the beginning of time for numerous reasons. We could write an entire book on this particular mask. Although, as Christian women, we may not behave as blatantly as Potiphar’s wife (yet, there are many proclaiming Christians who do) we still struggle with the lies and beliefs in our society that lead us to believe this mask is still somehow worth wearing.

Embracing the Lie

Carrie Anne hurried home as fast as she possibly could with the freezing wind whipping through her open jacket, its icy fingers chilling her. She wished her coat had buttons or a secure zipper like the other children’s. Carrie Anne understood though that her mother had to work extra hard to make ends meet, but, today, her mom’s two jobs were bound to payoff. This year, her mom had promised to have a special gift waiting when Carrie Anne arrived home to celebrate her ninth birthday — just the two of them.

Surprised to see another car in the driveway, Carrie Anne approached the house with cautious anticipation. Visitors were not common in their humble household. Maybe her mom had put together a surprise party. Just the thought of such an extravagant gift caused any lingering chill to flee as her body flushed with new warmth at the thought of such an unprecedented birthday treat. After all, nine was a big year. It was her last single digit birthday.

Playing along with the potential surprise party, Carrie Anne entered the house barely breathing. She could feel her heart pounding wildly. What she saw next startled her more than a room of party guests. In the kitchen, her mom was pressed up against Ray, the nice neighbor down the street. Her mom, normally a conservative dresser was wearing a silky red robe that barely covered her full figure.

“Ray, I promise to pay you back in the next few weeks. This means so much to Carrie Anne. And if the money doesn’t come in, well, I can make sure to pay you back in a way that will more than satisfy.” She trailed her fingers down the side of Ray’s neck.
“I think I might just like that payoff better. Yeah, forget the money. When’s your next day off?” He cupped her face in his hands.

“Mom …?” Carrie Ann questioned unable to remain hidden another second. “What are you doing?”

“Oh! Carrie Ann, your home early. Happy birthday, hon.”

Ray made a quick exit leaving Carrie Anne alone with her mom. Not knowing what to say, Carrie Anne fled to her room.

Later that evening after presenting Carrie Ann with a brand new winter jacket, her mother shared the following with her nine year old daughter.

“Honey, I’m sorry you had to see that. It’s just something that women gotta do when times get tough, or they need something. Men really like to spend time with pretty ladies. We have a gift, you know — the gift of persuasion. You’ll see when you get older. Survival is hard for a woman raising a kid on her own. You just do what you have to in order to make ends meet. Did you like you new coat?”

That image remained with Carrie Anne through grade school, middle school, and eventually, in high school, when her mom couldn’t always afford the things she wanted, Carrie Anne decided to put her mom’s theory to the test. She was amazed that she could actually get what she wanted and needed simply by acting seductively. Sure, she ended up crossing lines that she had promised herself she wouldn’t, but the payoff was worth it; wasn’t it?
Hopefully, you know the answer to that final question Carrie Anne asked. The payoff is never worth the spiritual, emotional, and even physical pricetags we end up paying when we wear the seductive mask.
Join me next time for more about this mask and how to wear Beauty and Modesty instead.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Set Apart as Princess Warriors. Are you?

Suburban Pole Dancing…or Holiness?
By Carol Van Atta

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

When middle-aged moms trade their makeup parties and Pampered Chef classes for pole dancing, God's glory is definitely not the primary agenda. Okay, I have to admit, if my body was a bit more bendable, I can see where dancing around, and goofing off with friends in the comfort of your own home wouldn't be such a horrible thing. But pole dancing? Yes, there was a big article about Suburban Pole Dancers on AOL awhile ago. I'm not kidding!

Picture this: You've invited your neighbors and girlfriends over for an evening get together. You tell them it's going to be more daring than a lingerie party, but not quite over the edge.
You sit chit-chatting about soccer games, Little League practice, and the weather, when without warning, the front door bursts open to reveal a scantily-clad, middle-aged woman. She teeters in on heels taller than the Empire State Building.

"Girls, are you ready to move those hips?" She sashays to the center of your room and whips out what looks like an oversized shower rod from her bag. With a precise twist and a quick turn, the rod becomes a portable pole like dancers swing around in those hoochie mama places we hope and pray our husbands, sons, and daughters never frequent.

She opens a large suitcase and displays a number of high heels just like her own. These feather-covered, rhinestone pumps look like something you wore way back when. So far back you can't quite remember anything but how uncomfortable they were. Ouch! Please don't make me put them on. Actually, they're for sale. Your pole dancing "instructor" wants to make sure you have every opportunity to take home a pair of your own sexy stilettos, not to mention, the portable poles (really) she has available for $450 and up. After all, you'll want to continue your pole dancing in your own home so your children can watch you rather than argue about MTV. Why worry about provocative music videos? They've got their very own suburban pole dancer — mom.

Your instructor spends the evening teaching your group how to bump, grind, twist, and shimmy around a pole just like a seasoned stripper. Now, granted, most of the women have a few extra bulges and bumps that most exotic dancers haven't yet earned, but who cares, you've now got "the right moves." Right?

Now imagine; you're married. Your husband promised to stay downstairs with the kids during your little get-together. But, hey, who listens, especially when food calls ... and when he hears that bump and grind music coming from the living room? What man wouldn't be curious? So, with your six year old son on his shoulders, he makes an appearance only to be met with your sexiest neighbor, bent backwards, legs straddled around the pole. Ooops! Can anyone say temptation, lust, embarrassment, close your eyes, son and husband?

I guess what I'm trying to say is -- we are to live differently than the world.

What kind of example are we setting to others, and our families, if we choose to participate in party-pole-dancing? The Internet makes this practice sound like the ultimate, safe, suburban escape. In fact, it promotes how you can use your new techniques to entice your husband. Now, I'm all for keeping the spice of life in a marriage, but, really, I can't imagine Jesus and the heavenly hosts all applauding while we slide down a strippers' pole, even for our hubbies. I guess holiness is becoming even more passé.

Am I a prude? No. Is God? Of course not. He invented sex within a marriage covenant to be enjoyed. But, when we start imitating the world, we end up with what the world's got -- a big, sinful mess.

Do I want my ten-year-old daughter pole dancing? Silly question. After all, what I do effects what she does. How can we promote purity and sex after marriage when everything and everyone around us is pushing for more sexuality, more erotic dancing, more, more, more?

Just recently, I read an article about a school that had to ban "dirty dancing." The new form of dirty dancing completely mimics sex on the dance floor. Music videos showcase gorgeous women flaunting their EVERYTHING, while men eyeball their assets like a slab of meat at the butcher's shop.

Friends, we must stand for our families. Please, pray and refuse to participate in suburbia's latest party craze, or any other actions that don't reflect God's glory. Share your concerns with others. It's not about us, it's about God.

I suspect if I could get my body to swing around a pole it might be kind of amusing, however, it is not something that would bring glory to my King. It is not something a Princess Warrior for Christ would indulge in. There are so many crucial things we could be spending our time doing. We can still have a fanfare of fun without making it a sin fair.

Today, choose to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Let us act in a becoming manner that brings blessings not curses.

Although we live in the world, we are to be set a part. Why not take a moment to ask God what areas you're slacking in. What areas have you allowed the worldview to become your view? Is it time for a spiritual check up? Get the manual (Bible) out and see what God has to say. You'll be glad you did.

SUGGESTION: If you want to have an in-home dance class, there are some great worship-dance classes that honor God and are fun, too. You don't have to shake your bum to have fun. Instead, give glory to the King!

Check out my article on healthy, God-approved sex at Campus Crusade for Christ's onling magazine: Christian Women Today.

Don't worry, we'll get back to masks next. I thought this was a good lead up to Removing the Seductive Mask.