Monday, April 30, 2012

The Counterfeit Savior

Satan is a great mimicker, offering counterfeits to distract us from the real deal in Christ Jesus. Instead of peace beyond understanding, Satan offers a temporary reprieve from fear, stress, suffering, depression, insecurity, doldrums, and plain old boredom in the form of alcohol, drugs, sex, entertainment, electronics, video games, shopping, eating, and the like. In place of the safety and security of an unbroken family, the devil dangles adultery, pornography, popularity, gangs, wrong relationships, sexual immorality, and rebellious adventures. Instead of the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, Satan offers vanity, anorexia, bulimia, and attention-demanding fashions. His imitation of God’s church and His people taking care of those in need comes in the form of government entitlements and social services. The great deceiver holds up political parties, particular candidates, bailouts, handouts, and new legislation as the answer to every person’s every concern, and even God’s people are getting hoodwinked.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Period. No counterfeit. No substitute. We must turn to Him and turn to His truth in order to experience life as He desires it. His truth in all things, including community and government. Through specific directives and more broadly applied principles, God’s word guides us in all things. We’ve looked at the black and white with regards to governing authorities, and Thursday, we’ll touch on the gray – the activities of American politics that God’s word doesn’t directly address. Actually, that blog was all wrapped up and in cue for today when God reordered things a bit. Groundwork needs to be laid. Distinctions established. Conditions. In order to say anything about the potential implications of scripture for getting involved in politics, there’s a foundation of truth that must be laid first.

True Social Reform Only Comes by Spiritual Reform

Regardless of who rules America, only God can save. A godly ruler won’t save our country. A godly ruler won’t save one immoral, lost soul. Only God will. No form of legislation, no matter how honorable, will change or rule hearts. Only the Holy Spirit will. As God’s children, our job is not to change this nation through political reform but through spiritual reform. The goal is not to muster enough collective political clout to gain the upper hand in government. The goal is souls. Genuinely saved, not cleverly deceived. Keeping that goal in mind and remaining undeterred is our number one priority. Everything, including political activities, should be evaluated in light of its soul value. Spiritual reform is the only thing that will save this nation, and social reform is neither its precursor nor its conduit.

Church, Do Your Job!

James 1:27 issues a clear mandate to God’s church: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” This is God’s directive for social services, given to the church, not the government. Where the church has failed, government has gladly stepped in, as I explain in this excerpt from my upcoming book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His:

We’ve been told the lie of separation of church and state for so long that we now believe it’s a constitutional statute. It is a falsehood. The constitution and the very foundation of our country are based on Biblical values and truth. The men who fought for and led our country to independence were in large majority men of God. There was no separation of church and state. The church was the backbone of this country, and I believe the failure of our nation is the direct result of the failure of the church. As the morals of our country decline, the standards in the church decline as well. We think if we stay a few notches above the world in how we live our lives, we’re doing well. So as the world declines, the church declines with it. As long as it stays just a tad bit above the world, the church is satisfied. But that’s not God’s standard, nor is it His design.

As the world has become more and more selfish, concerned only with its own desires and own agendas, and as the world has assumed an attitude of entitlement, stinginess, and greed, the people in our churches have done exactly the same thing. For the most part, our churches no longer look any different than the world. The nation has turned to the government to be its savior because the church isn’t there to model a true Savior. That’s why true repentance and a complete return to God’s ways are critical to our nation. The government will no longer be the only answer to a lost and dying world when: 1) God’s people start living like the holy nation of priests and saints we are, and 2) the body of Christ operates by the principles God defined for His church.

We are to be serving one another, laying down our lives for our brethren, to the point where there’s not a need among us. If that were the case, I suspect more people would want what the church has to offer, not being drawn to something for nothing, but instead to the Source of our every need.

Govern Thyself First

Notice the second part of James 1:27 says, “to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Continuing the above excerpt:

Our witness and testimony define Jesus to our world. What kind of example are we? Are we obedient so that His blessings show in our lives and we set an attractive example of the peace, protection, and provision available to those who love and obey the Lord? Are we full of mercy, grace, and forgiveness so people experience the unconditional love and forgiveness available through Jesus Christ? Are our children and families full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22), or do we look just like every other family that is hurting, struggling, and dying a slow death? Are our businesses and jobs prospering because we’re tithing, giving, and operating with integrity and generosity, or are we doing the bare minimum and even less than that? Are we doing all things as if unto the Lord? Or do we share the world’s entitlement mentality and expect something for nothing? Are we faithful with little so we can be given much (Luke 19:17)? Or are we bitter, jealous, greedy, and resentful because we don’t have what the next guy has? Do we believe God’s word or do we subject ourselves continually to the world’s reports? Are we walking in God’s grace and peace because we believe His word and promises, or are we fearing the temporal and what the eye can see?

It is our witness and the way we live or don’t live according to God’s principles, and therefore under His blessings, that will affect our voice and the recovery of our nation. The world can detect a fraud fifty miles away. If we are saying one thing and living another, the world won’t take us seriously. If we talk about the power, goodness, and blessings of God and don’t live in such a way that He can demonstrate Himself in and through us, the world will see us as what we’ve become: hypocrites.

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

Lord, thank You that You credit us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ when we are saved by grace through faith. May His righteousness in us exalt this nation as we become more wholly Yours.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Who Really Rules?

I always do better with absolutes (see “When God Doesn’t Fit the Checklist”). Just tell me the do’s and don’ts. I’m a great rule follower! (Well, most rules, anyways.) I find gray areas stressful. Perhaps it’s because they require living, walking, and being led by the Spirit. Absent definitive direction, these areas leave things to our discretion. Does anyone find knowing what to do as difficult as I do? It’s much easier to deal with things when they fall within clearly established guidelines. But that doesn’t require much faith or grace, does it? Faith that God is ordering our steps. Grace to have the faith He’s ordering another’s steps, too. Or maybe it requires too much work. Digging into and studying God’s word to discover His truth for all things, black, white, or gray. Instead, I cling to absolutes, for myself, my children, and ultimately, as a standard by which I determine whether or not you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. Ironically, that’s not what I’m supposed to do at all! That is a definite absolute.

As government grows like the fib from Veggie Tales’ “Larry Boy! And the Fib from Outer Space,” it seems more and more impossible to re-contain within the boundaries set forth in the U.S. Constitution. As government attempts to undermine clearly scriptural absolutes, do we jump in the battles to legislate morality? Do we invest our time, energy, talent, and resources in electing and unseating governing authorities, passing and defeating laws? While one believer may insist on front-line warfare, another may insist we not engage at all, leaving us where we left off Monday in “Yield or Wield: Believers and Politics?” What does God’s word say? Is one right and the other wrong? Is the answer up to us?

The black and white of Romans 13:1-8 establishes a number of non-negotiable truths that can help us sort out the gray. Timeless points of certainty exempt from argument and controversy. Verses one, two, the first half of three, and four deal with our mindset. The attitudes with which we approach authority based on who God is, His power and authority, and the system He set up. The last half of verse three and verses five through eight establish specific directives. The do’s. If we don’t believe, accept, and submit ourselves to conceptual truth of the first set of verses, it will be essentially impossible to do that which is asked of us in the second set. Let’s start with the first. 

“There is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (verse one).

Every authority is from the Lord. Not just the office of authority, but the very person who occupies it. No exceptions. If a person is in authority over us, it is because God put them there, whether we agree with their personal, moral, and political convictions or not. Whether we think what they are doing is right or not. Whether what they believe, say, or do lines up with the word of God or not. Whether they are Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, or Independent. There is no authority except from God. When Jesus wouldn’t answer Pilate regarding the charges brought against Him, Pilate challenged him in John 19:10, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?" Jesus answered in verse eleven, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above." Not one person has power over us that is not given them from above. Of God’s absolute power and authority, Daniel 2:21 says, “He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” Not one of us has anything besides what is given us by Him, including power and authority. “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:25).

“Let every soul be subject...” (verse one).

My fingers lie still on the keyboard as I absorb the magnitude of these five words. It is the life of following Christ. A life wholly His. Why the word soul? The implications sink deep. The soul, according to Strong’s G5590, is from the Greek word psychē ( and refers to the “breath of life; living being; seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.); the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death.” Be subject in the Greek is to willingly assume our place in God’s order under and obedient to those He appoints over us.

We can justify defiance any way we want, but nothing changes the word of God. Nothing changes God’s ultimate power and authority over all things. No matter how great the offense, how tragic the infraction, how unfair the mandate, how immoral the ruler. We are under that which is ordained by God. Every living, breathing human being is to put themselves in His order, to remain in our assigned place. Not only are we to submit to authority with the actions of our flesh, but with the attitudes of our heart, mind, and will.

If we are saved by grace through faith, the Lord holds the ultimate place of authority in our lives. When we place our faith in Jesus, what the Father says goes. If someone is in authority over us, it’s because God put them there. If He says we are to submit to the authorities He establishes, by golly, that’s what we need to do. If we believe He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, we will be able to do this, even when the individuals holding offices of authority stand in direct opposition to the One who ultimately put them there. We’ll be able to be subject as a matter of the heart, mind, and will because our faith, trust, and well-being aren’t dependent on who’s in authority and what laws they’re enacting. As His children, we can know He will take care of us, no matter what. No matter who is the president or what threatens our nation. Nothing slips under His radar or catches Him off guard. He is in control, so we don’t have to be. Secure in the assurance of His promises to us, we can continue in His joy and peace even in the midst of cultural, moral, political, financial, and national chaos. We can be subject to governing authorities because God is our Governing Authority.

“Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves” (verse two).

When we resist our governing authorities, we bring judgment on ourselves because we are actually resisting God. There is but one exception, and that is when the word of authority opposes the word of God. If a mandate requires that we directly disobey God, we are to obey God. Peter makes this clear in Acts 5:29 when he tells the high priest who forbade him and the apostles to preach in Jesus’ name: "We ought to obey God rather than men.” The Bible is a higher authority than any civil government. But if the law of the land does not directly oppose the Bible, we are to obey civil and governing authorities, whether we agree with their mandates or not. Mandate being the key word, here, which I’ll touch on more later.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil...For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (first part of three and verse four).

I find this one a little challenging, as many of our rulers do not appear to be God’s ministers to us for good. They do not appear to be executing wrath on those who practice evil. Quite the opposite, in fact. Yet, God’s word is infallible, which takes us back to verse one. Do we believe in God as our ultimate authority? Do we trust God as our ultimate authority? Do we believe all authority is from Him? Either we believe or we don’t. Either He is God or He is not. If we do believe, then we must believe ALL those He puts in positions of authority are His ministers for our good. Because He says they are. Not easy to grasp in our limited understanding, but necessary.

Lord, help us accept Your word in its entirety, even the hard verses, in order to be more wholly Yours today. Thank you for the black-and-white truth You set forth. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, I ask You in Jesus’ name to please enable us to stand firm on these absolutes so we can more effectively navigate the gray.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yield or Wield: Believers and Politics?

A friend once shared she was no longer interested in her own opinion. Her comment stuck like a dart in my heart. She said she only wanted God’s opinion on things. His word. It doesn’t matter what she thinks, only what He thinks. It struck me as odd at first. Conjured up accusations of mindless Christians who can’t think for themselves. And yet, the truth of her conviction resonated within me. Essentially, she was saying, “I am only interested in lining my mind up with the word of God.” It brings to mind 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says we should be “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” In an unrelated conversation, another friend expressed her deep appreciation for her pastor who exclusively preaches God’s beliefs, not his own. He doesn’t use the phrase, “I believe.” It doesn’t matter what he believes. It matters what God says. He’s the ultimate authority on all things.

Even politics.

Troy Bonin is a close friend of our family. He is husband to Terri, one of the most amazing women I know. The one who held my feet to the fire to finish my book. Our lives intersect numerous ways that have knit us together in friendship. He is running for state representative for District 3 in Texas ( A huge undertaking for a normal “Joe citizen” without a campaign war chest or politician’s resume. As with everything they do, his campaign is a family affair. For all twelve of them. Yes, twelve. Troy, Terri, and their ten kids. I call this season of their lives “Ten Kids and Campaigning.” Sadly, they’ve run into a force field of apathy. People who just don’t care anymore. People too wrapped up in their own busyness of life to take time for the greater good. Public life. Who serves or represents. What that will mean further than the tip of their noses.    

Personally, I have to be careful how much time I spend following world events, political and cultural issues. I can get consumed with fear and overwhelmed with trying to make a difference to the point of being frazzled or paralyzed, making myself rather useless to God. I get passionate quickly and have to keep myself in balance. Guard against seeking social change over spiritual change. This desperation and subsequent obsession birthed my book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His. In response to the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, I threw myself into a tizzy of activity that left me in a tailspin. God spoke clearly to me at that time: Our battle is not a political one aimed at electing the right people or passing the right legislation. It’s a battle for souls, and that has to be our first priority. Always. To be holy His by becoming wholly His. To be a vessel through which God shines His light and attracts others to Jesus. Truly, that is the only “agenda” that will save our nation. At the same time, we live in a nation whose government is set up to be dependent on citizen involvement through elections – either running, voting, or both. As believers who are in this world but not of it, what is our role?

When my friend asked me to consider writing a blog on political apathy among believers, I resisted. I feel strongly that this blog is not a political platform. It’s not a place for me to promote my opinions on political matters or advance any particular social agenda. It’s a place to share the application of God’s word to daily life. Yet, government is a part of our daily lives, especially as it encroaches further into every aspect of our freedom, family, and finances. I considered how I might honor her request, do my part to help their campaign, while preserving the integrity of this platform. And I came face-to-face with my ignorance of what God’s word says about government and politics. If I am going to write on the topic, I am only going to write what God says about it. What should our involvement be according to Him? I confess, beyond the scriptures that clearly establish authority as from God and our submission to it as non-negotiable, I had little idea what the Bible says about our involvement in politics.

So I’ve been doing a little research. Because I want to give you God’s word, not Shauna’s opinions and/or beliefs. I’m finding that the role of believers in government is a rather heated topic. And guess what? He is very clear on authority and the role of government, as He established it, but He doesn’t say anything specifically about our role in government or the political process. I haven’t found one scriptural directive about voting, running for office, or getting involved in social and cultural organizations, agendas, or issues. What do we do, then, when God’s word appears silent? When there’s no clear directive one way or the other?

Let’s start with what we know God does say about the subject.

Hands down, Romans 13:1-8 is the most commonly referenced passage on governing authorities, establishing clear responsibilities for those in and under authority. Paul says:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake.

For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.

Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

It’s implications exceed a single blog. A broad brush stroke to guide us in the details as we become more wholly His in all things, including politics and government.

More Thursday.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Junk Food for a Healthy Soul

Who doesn’t like a little junk food at the movies? For most of us, popcorn and candy go hand-in-hand with going to the show. As we avoid feeding junk food to our souls, here’s the corny acronym I promised. I sincerely pray it helps us all keep our entertainment choices holy.

Popcorn & Candy

P          Pray

There are some hard and fast scriptural principles that apply to all of us. We need to know what they are, and then we have to seek the Lord for how the application looks specifically in your life and your family’s life.

O           Online reviews

Before turning on the television, renting that movie, or buying that ticket, consult an online review (see below).

P or

When reading reviews, read for more than sex and language. Look at the thematic content. Is the entire story line dishonoring God? A great idea I got from my sister is to have your kids read the reviews themselves and tell you why they should be able to see the show.

C            ClearPlay

Take advantage of technology such as ClearPlay, Sky Angel, and TV Guardian to filter out offensive content.

O           Open God's word

Know what God has to say about the things to which we expose ourselves.

R          Round up a home library

Ask friends, do your research, and then begin to collect television shows and movies you and your family can enjoy now and for years to come. Investing in the entire collection of Little House on the Prairie has paid itself back in hours and years of wholesome entertainment.

N         Not even named among you

Hold God’s word up to what you want to see. Our standard can’t be what others are doing, even other Christians. Look at everything through God’s lenses.


C            Can't say what's wrong?

A         Ask: What about it glorifies God?

N         Nothing?

D          Don't go, do, listen, read, see.

Y          You won't regret it; whereas you might if you do.

The Hunger Games. A perfect example of the “What’s wrong with it?” test. It’s the story of a government that throws its teens into an arena to fight to the death for sheer entertainment. The story is fiction, of course. There is no nudity. No inappropriate scenes. No “deal killer” language. None of the biggies that cause me to immediately rule out a movie. My daughter read all the books. All her Christian friends read all the books. I am finishing the books right now. So we went to see the movie, and I left with a lingering uneasiness I couldn’t quite figure out. It wasn’t until I was preparing the corny little acronym above that it hit me: What glorified God about it? Absolutely nothing! Was it a sin to read or see it? I’m still contemplating, seeking God on this. In the process, He’s shown me something in His word.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Every weight. Everything that hinders. Weight that slows us down. Every encumbrance. These are the things that may not be sins, but they keep us from running the race with endurance. The uneasiness I felt after watching Hunger Games weighed heavy on my mind and heart. It slowed me down. Was it a sin? Maybe not. Was it an encumbrance? Yes.

Again and again, thank you, Lord, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I am not here to be your Holy Spirit and give you hard and fast rules to follow in some legalistic attempt to conform our behavior to my or another’s standards. Each of us must know the Word, what He says, and do it. His grace is not an excuse to continue in our sin, yet it is there for us when we do.

My prayer for us is this:

Lord, help us to keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of our hearts spring the issues of life. Help us to put away our deceitful mouths, and put perverse lips far from us. Let our eyes look straight ahead, and our eyelids look right before us. May we ponder the path of our feet, and let all our ways be established. Lord, do not let us turn to the right or the left; help us remove our feet from evil (Proverbs 4:23-27).

May the treats we feed ourselves be for our taste buds only as we become more wholly His today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Chopping Block

I love movies. There’s nothing like checking out of this world for a few hours of pure entertainment. Diverting the mind and momentarily forgetting about all that consumes my thoughts. It used to be our favorite date night: dinner and a movie. Then the Lord started His onion peeling thing, beginning at the surface and going deeper, desiring purity and holiness more widespread in my life. As He increased my sensitivity to the things I was exposing myself to in the name of entertainment, He used Ephesians 5:3-4  and 8-12 to expose the depth of holiness He desires.

3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting. 8 For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9  (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret (emphasis mine).

Not only are we instructed to avoid the behaviors named here. We should not even let them be named among us! This would include what is said by those we hang around, what we read, what we watch on television, the movies we see, and the like. If the things we are reading or watching or hearing from the people we’re around include any kind of fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, or coarse jesting, including and especially using the Lord’s name in vain, we are not to even let it be named among us.

That’s a tough standard reached only through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us.

I realize this eliminates most television shows and movies. But is offending Him in the name of entertainment and escape acceptable? Or because other believers are perfectly comfortable doing it? My sister’s pastor says:

“If Jesus died on the cross for it, we shouldn’t be entertained by it.”

We’re so immersed in a moral-less culture that we risk becoming numb to the things that offend God. Tolerant. Not just politically but in our private lives, to the point that content that once earned an R rating is now piped into our homes on prime time television. We may not let our children watch, so we go behind closed doors. What message does that send? We are to hate what God hates, whether we’re in our living rooms in front of our kids, in our bedrooms privately watching television or movies, or at the theater.

Psalm 97:10 instructs us, “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” The Hebrew word for evil is ra’. In the Hebrew, we are being told to hate anything that in general, of persons, thoughts, deeds and actions is bad, disagreeable, malignant, unpleasant; giving pain, unhappiness, misery; displeasing; unhappy; hurtful, unkind, vicious in disposition; or ethically wicked  (Strong’s H7451 That rules out a lot!

At first, following the conviction of the Holy Spirit was really hard. Movies we were DYING to see got the ax when the reviews came out. But you know what? Other than the dying to self – the crucifying of my flesh in the moment I don’t let myself have what my flesh wants – I have lost nothing and only gained. The joy of living without regret is so worth it!

God keeps going deeper. Purifying more. Things I once didn’t even notice are on the chopping block. Sometimes I think it may get to the point where I’ll never again turn on the TV or see a movie!

How do we know what’s safe to watch? How do we avoid that sickening feeling of regret when we see something in “ignorance”? What are some of the things your family does for entertainment that don’t involve the television at all? I’d love to hear from you. Please post a comment below.

Stay tuned Thursday for “Popcorn & Candy,” a corny little acronym I came up with for our women’s ministry PJ party and movie night. I pray it helps all of us become more wholly His in our entertainment choices.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Hospital Vacation

The adventure of living with teenagers is multifaceted, especially as I age. My mother once reflected that the way she felt inside didn't match how she looked on the outside. Inside, she still felt twenty. Outside, she looked closer to fifty (even though she was sixty...oh how I hope I have those genes!). Inside, I'm still in my twenties, so when my girls try all these darling new clothing and hair styles, I picture myself doing the same and looking just as cute as them. Like the romantic, chic dress with cowboy boots. Love that look! On a teenager or young woman. On me? It never quite worked. Try as I might, it just didn't look right. Determination won out, and I did eventually find the right dress to pair with my western boots, but a recent scenario I pictured in my head wasn't met with such successful results.

In my motherly estimation, YouTube supplies a nearly inexhaustible variety of home spun videos on a myriad of beauty tips and instructions, the viewing of which is one daughter's favorite pass time (read: near obsession). Hours of surfing vignettes has paid off with a few low-time, high-impact hair styling techniques. One such no-fuss solution did not end up so no-fuss for me, however. The experience was akin to buying a box of hair color and expecting to look just like the model on television. After following all the instructions, it's still my exact hair, just a different color. As I see it, my daughter goes to sleep with damp hair in a French braid and rolls out of bed with commercial ready, toss-slow-mo-over-the-shoulder, perfectly wavy hair. It looks great on her! So, I thought to myself, "I'll try that!" And I broke my number one beauty rule: Never try anything new when you have somewhere to go.

Caution to the wind, I weave my dripping wet hair into a French braid Saturday night and head to bed. I wake up Sunday morning, leisurely enjoying my quiet time and java. After all, I've embraced a time-saving, no-fuss hair do! I make my way to my bathroom to get ready, slip the braid out, and it's a disaster. What do I do now?!?! I panic! My normal "quick fixes" aren't an option for church. Baseball cap for the sporty soccer-mom look? Nope. Skinny stretch headband with a pony for that freshly worked out look? Nope. I finally settle for the claw clip anchored at the top of a single twist, hair flowing like a fountain from the top. Instead, the effect I get because of the braid is an electrocuted explosion firing frizzy in every direction. No time. It will have to do. I will never do that again! Lesson learned. It's not bad that I tried a new hair trick. It's just bad that I tried it for church on Sunday!

Timing is everything, isn't it? If I need my husband's complete attention, I know not to talk to him in the morning when he just wakes up or during the day when he's in "working man mode." If I want to have a heart-to-heart with a child, the heat of the moment is not the right time. If one hand is stirring dinner, the other checking homework, and my mouth in a conversation with another, it's not a good time to ask me what we're doing on Friday night a month from now! If I'm in a deep conversation on the phone, please don't talk to me at that exact moment to ask about a television show. Please don't tell me something to do if I'm not able to write it down. I'll never remember. If I happen to be in a hormonal state, it's a perfectly good time for a large dose of chocolate. Not a good time to add anything to my plate or surprise me. After a weekend away just the two of us, it's a great time to ask James for anything! You get the picture.

Timing is everything with God, too. His perfect timing. His clock. His calendar. His agenda. His way.

Fast forward to Tuesday. A glorious day! Picture a perfect morning: curled up in my PJs on the couch with my girls, sipping on coffee, memorizing scripture and discussing Proverbs. A day at home with no deadlines or commitments. A favorite kind of day! Time to school my youngest. Time to work in the office. Time to exercise. Time to organize the accomplishment of various tasks. Productivity at its best! The phone rings, and everything changes. From PJs to the car in ten minutes, I'm off to transport my daughter to math and science class, and then on my way to the emergency room. James' mom's heart rate is way too low and she's being admitted to the hospital. God interrupted my day with something much more important: remaining at the side of a weary, wary, precious woman facing uncertainty, tests, and a pace maker. Encouraging and praying with her. Just being there, so she won't be alone. We might be here a day. Maybe two. It doesn't matter. God is in control. It's His timing. His clock. His calendar. His agenda. His way.

As critical as timing is to a human heart beat, so is our need to remain close to the heart beat of God. To walk by the Spirit. To invite His interruption. To trust Him to be strong when we are weak. To trust Him to restore what is lost to the devil's schemes. To trust Him to make everything okay when regular responsibilities are suspended for a time. To trust Him to take care of our families when we're absent a day or two. To trust Him to care of our aging parents. To trust Him to show us the way when there appears to be no way. To trust Him to work things out in His timing. His way.

It requires faith. He is faithful. It requires patience. He is long suffering. It requires trust. He is trustworthy. 

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:28-31).

Being in the hospital with my mother-in-law has been a vacation of sorts. I haven't sat so still for so long...well, I don't remember how long it's been! Perhaps that, too, was part of God's perfect timing.

I pray we all find peace that passes all understanding as we wait on the Lord in our quest to be more wholly His today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Crumpled Grave Clothes Litter My Heart

Resurrection Sunday. It is early. I am still. Lord, what do I say? We celebrate Easter with bunnies, baskets, hidden eggs, and squeals of delight, while an empty tomb beckons. An empty tomb. One day a dead body. The next, only burial clothes. One day a fortified cell. Defeat. The next, a symbol of hope. One day the finality of man’s worst punishment. The next, the finality of God’s eternal deliverance.

What is here for me at the mouth of the empty tomb? The resurrected life. Alive in Christ, having died in Him. God shows me: Selfishness cannot live in the face of sacrifice. The dying to self of the crucified life is absolutely necessary for the glory of a resurrected life. What may appear to be a checklist of good works (see Thursday’s blog, “The Crucified Life: Dying to Self”) is but the natural result of a crucified self. But there is nothing natural about it. Not when God sums up the condition of man’s heart as “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Job 17:9). We can honestly say we were born that way. For that, Jesus died. Brutally. Innocently. Without sin. For what we deserve. To pay the eternal penalty we owe for our sin. Every one of us. No exceptions. Jesus’ shed blood is the only verdict that will stand in the heavenly court of law when we stand before a holy God. To put our faith in Jesus as the only source of our salvation, to be saved by grace through faith and nothing else, is to die to self and be raised in new life in Christ. Just like He was. Resurrected from death to eternal life. Yes, eternal life in heaven when we are saved. Guaranteed. Because of one man’s sacrifice. The Son of God.

How do we not see? How do we not fall on our faces in joy and sorrow? How do we not rejoice? How do we not receive the free gift He offers? How do we not respond with the one simple requirement: faith. In Him, and Him alone. How do we not love Him because of His great love for us?

The empty tomb awaits. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Where once our tomb was a place of hopelessness, uncertainty, death, and bondage, in Christ, it is now empty.

Do you see it? When we place our faith in the resurrected Christ, all things are made new. Where there was once sin and destruction, there is now an empty tomb. A place of hope. A new life. In Christ. Where alcoholism once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. We are raised to new life in Christ. Where sexual immorality once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Only grave clothes. We are raised to a new life in Christ. That old self is no longer there. Where anger and strife once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. We are raised to a new life in Christ.  Where ambition once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Jealousy, envy, and discontentment? Only grave clothes. Eating disorder? Only grave clothes. Hurt, brokenness, unforgiveness, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, broken marriage, broken home, drugs, stealing, murder, homosexuality, hatred, judgment, gossip, unkindness, selfishness, self-seeking, pornography, impure thoughts, vulgar language, coarse jesting? Yes, grave clothes!

In the emptiness of the tomb we find the sobering uselessness all our pursuits for a substitute. The uselessness of the counterfeits Satan offers to distract us from true salvation. True deliverance. True joy. True security. We find that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And as He continues in that verse, “No man comes to the Father but through me.”

Will you come to Jesus? Maybe for the first time. Perhaps, like me, for the fifty millionth time. To find forgiveness. To find peace. To find hope. To find the crumpled up burial clothes of a life once eternally condemned. To find an empty tomb because you’ve been raised up in Christ to a new life where all things are made new.

Are there  burial clothes you need to find crumpled on the bed of your heart? Sins you need to confess? Bondage from which you need to be set free? When you go to the empty tomb, do you find yourself wearing your burial clothes again? Jesus died for it all. He secured victory, once and for all. The sins we’ve committed, are committing, and will commit. It is all on Him. It is only on us to come. And to return. Romans 8:1 assures us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” We must take responsibility, but condemnation is not ours. Not in Christ.

Thank you, merciful, gracious, heavenly Father for the gift of Your Son. The sacrifice. The empty tomb. The hope. The forgiveness of our sins. Forgive us now, Lord, for the sins we have committed, are committing, and will commit. We stand at the mouth of Jesus’ empty tomb and rejoice. Death is defeated. Eternal life a guarantee for those who put their trust in Jesus. Jesus, we place our faith in You and You alone. Thank you, Lord, for sending the Holy Spirit as our helper. We ask for help now to take responsibility for our obedience. Responsibility to come and to return. May we find grave clothes crumpled in the tombs of our hearts every day as we become more wholly Yours.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Crucified Life: Dying to Self

Laying in bed last night, I tried to imagine Jesus. What He bore. The pain. The humiliation. The suffering. Are those words even adequate? Is it even possible to grasp the magnitude of what He willingly, in love for us and obedience to His Father, submitted to in order to pay the penalty for my sin? Our sin. So that we may be saved. So that we might live a crucified life. Comprehension eludes me. The smallest glimmer of understanding crushes me. At this very time, several thousand years ago, He willingly submitted to the worst man could inflict in order to make God’s best available to you and me. He didn’t want the flogging. The spit in His face. The hateful taunting and humiliation. The nails driven cruelly in His hands and feet. The suffocation. The loneliness. The rejection of His own Father. He knew what was coming. Cried to His Father, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). He longed to be spared the cup of crucifixion to the point of sweating blood. “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:43-44). But His death was necessary. Our death is necessary, too. Death to self.

The crucified life.

Not my will, but Yours. Obedience.

“Though He (Jesus) was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). We, too, learn obedience by the things we suffer. Paul said it like this: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

What can I say this Holy Week, this day before Good Friday, that would hold any significance in light of Jesus’ sacrifice? Nothing. My words are totally inadequate. But His aren’t. The word – the lamp unto our feet and light unto our path – illuminates the way to the crucified life. The following scriptures, stepping stones. Leaps, perhaps.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).


Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).


For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:12).


I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).


Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:2).


...lay down our lives for the brethren (I John 3:16).

...wives, submit to our husbands as is fitting in the Lord (Colossians 3:18).

…husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).

…children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 3:20).

…Fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks (Ephesians 5:3-4).

…owe no one anything except to love one another (Romans 13:8).

…do good and share (Hebrews 13:16).

…give as you purpose in your heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

…put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice (Ephesians 4:31).

…judge not, condemn not (Luke 6:37).

…be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). (Even when you’re not asked.)

…be subject to rulers and authorities, obey, and be ready for every good work (Titus 3:1)

…speak evil of no one, be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men (Titus 3:2).

…continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15).

…rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Mission impossible? Yes! For me. In my own effort or power. But with God, nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37). We can do everything through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13), because His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Why the crucified life?

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:7-5:5, emphasis mine).

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:1-4).

Let us each live a crucified life today as we become more wholly His.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ten Modesty Makers

I’m coining a new word today. Modestize. Here’s my dictionary definition:

mod●es●tize (mod¢ә stiz¢), v. 1. the action of taking an item of clothing or an outfit and making it modest. 2. a choice to love another by covering all sensual areas of the body. 3. adorning one’s outsides with inner beauty. 4. daring to defy the expectations of the world in order to glorify God with our bodies.

As we stand in our closets and clothing stores everywhere, let us seek not just to modernize and accessorize, but to modestize. As Romans 12:1-2 exhorts:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 Sometimes we may have to sacrifice a latest fashion for modesty, to present our bodies holy and acceptable to God. Is that a cost we’re willing to pay as part of our reasonable service to Him? As part of what is the least we can do for a mighty God who’s done so much for us? To prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of the God who sacrificed His Son so that every sin we ever committed, are now committing, or ever will commit can be forgiven when we place our faith exclusively in Jesus? The great thing is that those things that are a “cost” for God are always a jackpot for us. The sacrifices He desires are the very things that usher in the blessings and the freedom and the victory He desires for us, as well.

“As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion” (Proverbs 11:22). What a picture! So let’s get practical. Here are “Ten Modesty Makers” we can use to guide our style selections.

1.      If in doubt, layer, or don’t wear it at all.

2.      If a top gapes when you lean over or sit down, revealing its contents, layer with an undershirt. A good rule of thumb might be that an undershirt or top should cover the entire décolleté to above the start of cleavage (or the valley of skin and bone, in my case), and no fullness of the breast should be exposed by the neckline. If the straps of a top are too thin, layer a T-shirt underneath or a jacket, sweater, shrug, or other top over it.

3.     If you’re not sure about a particular piece or outfit, ask your husband: “Would other men find this sexy?” If the answer is yes, modestize it or change. If you’re a single mom, ask your son or another conservative, godly, and respected man in your life.

4.     For daughters, let dad have the final say. Ask the same question: “Would boys find this sexy?” If yes, modestize it or take it back. Again, if you’re a single mom, get the opinion of another man who can give you honest, biblical feedback.

5.     Consider your figure. Different styles have a different effect on different shapes. A skirt or pair of shorts that are the perfect length for my 5’ 3” body may be sexy and inappropriate on a 5’ 7” long-legged lady. A top that is modest on my small-chested bod may not cover enough on someone a little more busty. This is especially important for our girls as they want to wear what everyone else is wearing. What is fine on another figure may not be appropriate for hers, so evaluate each item and each outfit individually.

6.     Know the fine line between close-fitting and tight. There’s nothing wrong with more tailored styles, but if something is so tight that absolutely nothing is left to the imagination, consider something a little looser. Many times, buying a size or two bigger solves the problem.

7.     When choosing an appropriate length for shorts and skirts, consider the shape and visual impact of the part of the leg that remains exposed. I’m not one to be legalistic, and what looks good on one of my girls will look way too appealing on another. The same lengths don’t apply to each one. Long, lean legs may have a totally different impact peeking out of a certain skirt than shorter, less shapely legs. Whether a skirt is below the knee, just above the knee, or a certain number of inches below the crotch, measure the sexy of it and go from there. Skirt or dress too short? Add leggings.

8.     Establish standards early. If you don’t want your daughters wearing sexy bathing suits when they fill out, don’t let them get used to those styles as young girls. If you don’t want your daughters to wear plunging necklines, don’t wear them yourself. If you don’t want your daughters wearing mini-skirts and short shorts when they’re teenagers, set the standard early, and don’t let them wear them when they’re young. It’s easier to establish expectations early than to change them when they’re learning to challenge authority later. In all things, be sure to model modesty in everything you choose to wear.

9.     If an item or style is normally worn by a boy, let that be its use. Same for clothes or styles intended for girls. Deuteronomy 22:5 clearly states, “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God.” The Lord distinctly designed women and men to be markedly different in their looks, and according to His word, our clothes and styles should not blur the line. I am genuinely saddened when I’m at the mall walking behind a group of young people, and from that viewpoint, I can’t tell which are boys and which are girls. It should not be so.

10.  Listen to the Holy Spirit. He will lead and guide you in all truth, even when it comes to fashion.

Overall, I want to challenge all of us to be radical in living for Jesus, including our dress and how we shop. When standing in the mirror or considering a purchase, ask: What does this outfit do for me? Why do I love it? What kind of response might it elicit from a male? At home, go through your clothes and ask: Which items are questionable and how can I work with them? What layering items can I add that will allow me to utilize the clothing I already have? Make a list and have it with you. Take the time to be strategic. It will save you time and money in the end. If fashion and style elude you, ask that friend, the one we all have, who can pull anything off and never pays full price for anything, and ask her to help. Ask her to come to your house to help you assess your closet and assemble your list. I guarantee she’ll love it!

A little side note on shopping, and I must warn you, this is a soapbox issue for me. Choose wisely the brands you support. If a clothier is using sex to sell clothes, consider shopping somewhere else. Matthew 7:20 tells us, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” If the brands we showcase promote companies that aggressively oppose biblical values and principles, what is our fruit saying? Again, this is a personal soapbox, and I feel very strongly that we should not give our money to help finance activities that directly oppose the word of God. When we buy clothes, or any other product for that matter, we are funding that corporation’s activities, including its ability to promote what it wants to promote. When we buy  anything, including clothes, shoes, and accessories, we are giving the companies the money they need to advertise. If they choose to advertise sex, we are giving them the money to do it. If a corporation is involving itself publically in promoting non-traditional marriage, or abortion, and we are shopping at their stores, we are giving them the money they need to invest in things that directly oppose the word of God.

Thankfully, most of the time, there’s a way to take fashion and make it modest. And there’s a store where we can shop with good conscience. When we can’t, let’s lay it on the altar, my friends, and find something or somewhere else.

By the overwhelming response I received to Thursday’s post, I know I’m not the only one talking about this hot topic. I’d love to hear from you. What have you heard or read that has helped you or your daughters dress modestly? What stores or brands have you found that carry fashionable, modest options? What tips or techniques have helped you modestize your wardrobe? What web sites or other resources have you found helpful? Please leave your comments for all to see. It takes a village, so let’s help one another. Just click below where it gives a number followed by “comments” and let us know what God has placed in your path to help you put His principles to practice.

Constantly under refinement as I become wholly His today,

Shauna Wallace

Holy His