1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. - 1 Peter 3:3,4

Monday, August 26, 2013

So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition!

Author and Bible Teacher, Beth Moore tackles the issue of insecurity in this special teen edition of her best-selling book, So Long, Insecurity. She answers questions like:  What is insecurity? What does real beauty look like? How do I become the girl God meant me to be? How can I be happy and secure in who I am?
This book is written in a honest way. It's a simple, straight forward introduction to dealing with insecurity and how to be confident in being yourself. It is full of fun quiz's to test how you feel about different issues; it has answers from girls like you and me, and it is filled with bible verses to boost your confidence in Christ.
The book is laid out in an easy-read magazine style. I would recommend this book to younger girls who are just starting to struggle with these issues and need a bit of a fun introduction in how to deal with it.
The best way to use this book? Collect a group of your Christian girlfriends and read through each chapter together. At the end of each chapter, there are a list of thought-provoking questions you can use. I think it would be a lot of fun to do with your girlfriends and a good springboard to deeper discussions.

Rating: 6/10 stars
Content:  An interview references to drugs, alcohol, and pre-marital sex.
Ages: 12-14
Check out this book on Tyndale Teens, Twitter and Instagram.
~ Reviewed by Meggie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's Our Birthday!!

Isn't it crazy how quickly time goes?! I remember clearly our 1st birthday! The fact that we are able to have a 2nd birthday is because of God and all of you. We want to thank all of our readers and followers for your constant views, prayers, comments and support. Without you, our blog and mission to encourage, empower and help our Sisters in Christ draw nearer to God wouldn't be as fruitful as it is now. It's a huge achievement for Unfading Elegance and we want to thank God for placing this form of ministry on our hearts. 

We would love to hear from you guys!! Shoot us an email or comment below with the things you would like Unfading Elegance to bring in the year to come, subjects you want us to cover or explain on a deeper level, if you have something you would like to say to us, a Word you would like to share or whatever is on your heart. 

To help us reach more young women, spread the Word of God and help where we can, please invite your friends to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and this blog! We would really appreciate it. May all praise and glory go to God, our Provider and Father!! 

Once again thank you to everyone who has been a part in UE's journey. May God bless you all!!! 

Meggie and Taleisha! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Loving God - Part Two

Continuing on from Loving God - Part One... 

How can we show God we love Him? What can we do every day? 
Taleisha: For me I LOVE to sing. The way I can best connect and feel God is through worshiping Him with music. It's common for me to grab the guitar and just sing praise and worship songs in my room. Because I love playing the guitar and singing, and I love God, it's a blessing to me and gives me an amazing feeling when I can sing my love to God through something else that I love. I've written songs for God, it's my way of explaining to Him how grateful I am, with lyrics from the heart and words of gratitude. Find something you love and are passionate about, use your talents to glorify Him! If you like to draw or paint, draw or paint something for God! If you like to dance, dance for God! If you like to sing, sing for God! Using the talents He's given you to worship Him. Show Him you love Him in the small things like reading your Bible and spending time in His presence. Soak up His love, be filled with it and then spread it with others with your overflowing joy! Think of the things you like to do and find ways to turn it around so the glory goes to your Father in Heaven. 

Meggie: I find when I spend unscheduled time with God just because I feel like it, I grow closer to Him. Kind of like when two lovers just meet up because they want to. They don't necessarily want to do anything, or talk about anything, but just be with each other and enjoy each others company. 
I heard of a girl once, who on Valentines Day, set up two chairs and a table, and set it all up with flowers, wine glasses, and candles. And she had a date with God. As weird as that sounds, I think sometimes just hanging with God brings me so much closer to Him!

What are some ways we can worship God? 
People have different love languages, which means there is no specific way to worship Him. We are able to use our love language to love God. 
- We can love Him in our actions by doing things that honour Him. Like; helping someone when they fall, making something for someone, feeding the homeless and clothing the naked (Matthew 25:35). 
- We can praise him with our words by singing to Him, we can share the Gospel and tell others about Christ and his love (Psalm 9:1). Even prayer is a form of worship! 
- Music is another way we can worship God. Words don't even have to be sung. If you play an instrument, playing songs that uplift the name of God. 
- Reading your Bible and spending time with God shows Him that you want to be with Him! 
- Tithing is a way to give back to God and show Him you're grateful, you can bless Him too. 
- Serving others and putting their needs above your own is another way you can honour God and worship Him. 
- Our lives are a gift and if we dedicate them to God and His will, God can use us in remarkable ways. Living a life of purpose is pleasing to God! 

"God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son."  - Jerry Bridges 

Sadly, this concludes our Love Series, but we hope you were able to be touched, spoken to and/or helped through learning about different relationships and the ways we can love ourselves, our families, our friends, unbelievers, fellow Christians, guys and God. 

We pray that God will be with you in all of your relationships. Be blessed and love!! 

~ Taleisha & Meggie 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Loving God - Part One

"God is love ". (1 John 4:8) Where would any of us be without God's love?! If God didn't love us, He wouldn't have sent Jesus to die for us. In the first days of man, there was direct communication between God and humans, but when humans betrayed that privilege and brought sin into the world, we lost that intimacy. God could have destroyed it and created a new and better  place, but He didn't because He loves us. When we brought adultery, murder, thieving, abuse, blasphemy and pain, He could have destroyed it all! But He didn't, because He loves us. Humanity has fallen far from where God intended us to be. We have let Him down generation after generation, but He continues to love us! 

Have you ever heard the song Christ In Me by Casting Crowns? There are two lines that I love! 

"How refreshing to know You don't need me, 
How amazing to find that You want me..."

Have you ever really just sat down and thought about how great God's love actually is? Has it ever occurred to you that He doesn't need us? He chooses to love us. GOD WANTS US!! THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE WANTS YOU!! Not to add to His 'collection of followers', but to have a relationship with the children he created. It's a magnificent love!! An unconditional love!! A love we can't even comprehend!! 

What does the Bible say about loving God? 
Taleisha: Scripture says to, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5 and again in Luke 10:27) Why doesn't it just say to love God with everything? Because God wants us to love Him with every part of us. Our hearts are secret and only you and God know what is in there. In order to love Him with all our hearts we need to remove all sin from it, cleanse it, fill it with pureness and love so that the Holy Spirit may dwell within us. With our souls means our entire being and existence  We exist for God and His purpose so we need to serve Him with every thing we are made of. Our strength refers to our physical body, with everything we are capable of doing, we need to do it for the purpose of God and serve Him through our actions and everything we put our hands to. There are many Scriptures that talk about loving God, here are some more: Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 85:15, Psalm 136:26, John 13:34-35, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5. 

Meggie: Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment." - Matthew 22:36-40
This is a similar verse recounting the same situation that Taleisha also said, but I just want to draw your attention to the fact that Jesus said 'this is the first and greatest commandment'. Falling in love with God isn't just a maybe. Jesus said it is the first thing we should be doing. We have talked about loving others, but before we can ever love others, we need to focus on loving God. I think we forget the importance of it! Of all the things your doing in your Christian faith, is loving God your top priority?

So what can we do for God? How can we thank Him for His unfailing love? Find out in Loving God - Part Two  on Monday!! 

Love and Blessings! 

~ Taleisha & Meggie 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Loving Guys - Part Two

Continuing on from Loving Guys - Part One... 

Is it okay to hug a guy? What is appropriate in the physical side of the relationship? 
Meggie: Its important that we protect the guys in our lives as much as we protect our own hearts. For me, the hardest thing that I have had to face with my guy friends is, to keep physical touch to the bare minimum. I found this hard because my love language is physical touch. The way I show people I appreciate them, is I will give them a hug. But even though guys in my life are 'friends' we need to be aware of what touching the opposite sex does to ours and their minds! A lady told us that a hug, or a touch from the opposite sex actually sets off hormones and emotions in our physical bodies. It arouses and awakens physical emotions in our bodies, whether we think we have control over them or not. It is how we were made! So, even though I love my guy friends, I have to be watchful over the physical contact I have with them.

"Promise me, O women of Jerusalem,
     by the gazelles and wild deer,
     not to awaken love until the time is right." 
- Song of Songs 2:7

Don't awaken those feelings or emotions until its the right time!
Taleisha: Yes it's okay to hug a guy, but we need to be aware of what physical contact does to both males and females, and like Meggie said, protect our hearts. In regard to what's appropriate and what's not, personally I think a hug is okay but keep it short and sweet. I hug my guy friends if I haven't seen them in a long time as a greeting or when I leave them knowing it will be a while until I see them again. Keeping physical contact to a bare minimum is wise.  There is no need to put yourselves in the kind of situation where there is a misunderstanding on one part. A simple hug that goes for too long, or hugging for no specific reason, can stimulate all kind of hormones in both sexes. It can become dangerous and lead to impure thoughts and fantasies about what it would be like to be with the other person, lead to temptations and can even seriously damage a relationship. Be wise in your actions! We need to respect them as much as we would anyone else.

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, 
or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper 
for God’s holy people.” 
- Ephesians 5:3 

If you haven't already, have a read of this article by Gabrielle Pickle called 'We're Not A Couple, We're not Family, We're Friends':   http://unlockingfemininity.com/2011/11/16/were-not-a-couple-were-not-family-were-friends/ . It covers the topic of having guy friends very clearly and thoroughly from a Biblical point of view. It's a great read! 

We hope this was helpful! If you find yourself in a situation where you're not sure what to do, seek God's wisdom and guidance, pray and trust :) 

On Thursday we will be posting Loving God, the last topic in the Love Series. 

God bless! 

~ Taleisha and Meggie 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Loving Guys - Part One

Have you every struggled with keeping your relationships with guys healthy? How about being friends with a guy and nothing more? Today Meggie and I give our advice on some common struggles we can face when it comes to having male friends. 

It can be hard having close guy friends because others see your friendship as being flirty! How do I make sure I'm being friendly, not flirty?

Taleisha: There is definitely a fine line between friendly and flirty. It can be really tough. Unfortunately there is no correct answer as to what the line between the two is. Some people see certain things as flirting while others don't. It would come down to your personal conviction and what you see as an appropriate way to act with a guy. Relationships can look very different to different people. Pray about your relationships and that God will give you the wisdom and discernment that you need to have a healthy  friendship with your male friends. Act how you would if your mother, or Jesus, were standing in the room. Treat them as a Brother in Christ and respect them.

Meggie: In my guy friendships, I find that I have to look at my motives. Was I really just having fun with him, or do my comments mean something more? Why are you saying the things you are to your guy friends? Prayerfully have a look at your motives. Flirting is going to  make you feel different than if you are just joking around.

Is it okay for your best friend to be a guy?
Taleisha: This is tricky. I am leaning towards a no, simply because it can cause problems and temptations. It can work for some people but I personally believe that if you want to eliminate temptations and be God honouring then it is wisest not to have a guy as your closest friend that you tell everything to and do everything with. Gabrielle Pickle explains this very well in her article about relationships with the opposite sex:

"... Applying the “like a brother” label (while it may be true that we currently have brotherly affection for him now) often tempts us to operate outside the boundaries of accountability. I mean, why would a person need accountability for a relationship with someone who is like a brother? Well, because he isn’t your brother and you want to honor God with your life. I have seen many girls fall into sinful relationships with guys who are like their brother, because they viewed those relationships as “safe” and “above temptation” for emotional, physical and spiritual affairs (Ephesians 5:3, Hebrews 13:4 ).

Baring your heart and soul to a guy friend is not honoring and respecting our future husband or marriage. Having an emotional affair with a best guy friend to meet the needs that only God should meet during singleness does not make room for God to bring along your future husband. Even friendships with a guy who is ‘like a brother’ should be checked regularly within accountability."

To access the full article go to: http://unlockingfemininity.com/2011/11/16/were-not-a-couple-were-not-family-were-friends/. It's a fantastic article, it covers all the areas and comes from a very Biblical point of view. I highly recommend it! 

Meggie: I agree with Taleisha. Having friends of the same sex matters a lot! It's fine to have girl and guy friends but I don't know where I would be without my best girlfriends. Guys are great fun but the relationship is different. Guys aren't necessarily going to understand you like a girlfriend would. Relationships with our Sisters In Christ are special. 

If there are questions you have about friendships with guys then send us an email at: unfadingelegance(at)gmail(dot)com or comment below. On Monday we will be continuing Loving Guys and we would love to help and give any advice, Bible verses and articles where we can :) 

Stay tuned for Loving Guys - Part Two on Monday!! 

God bless you all! 

~ Taleisha and Meggie 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Love your Enemies

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. - Luke 6:27-28 NLT

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. - Matthew 5:45-48 NLT

We are seriously called to love our enemies. Now I'll admit, I don't know anyone who I would label 'enemy'. There are some people I get along with, some people I don't. There are some people I like, and some people I don't. But even if your enemies look different to mine, we need to love them. One of the most important ways to love our enemies, is to forgive them. Forgive them for what they do to you. And we all have people in our lives who are unkind and hurtful.

I want to share a story from Corrie Ten Boom, a lady who was put into a German concentration camp with her sister Betsie during the Nazi occupation of Germany. She shows us that sometimes forgiving our enemies is a choice. A choice to forgive them; and asking God to supply the love.

Corrie had just given a talk about forgiveness, when a guard from a concentration camp she had been in came up to her. He had become a Christian, and had come to Corrie to ask forgiveness for what he had done to her and her sister, Betsie.

“Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’
“And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?
“But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.
“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.
“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’
“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.
“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’
“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.
“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’
“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“ ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’
“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

- excerpt from the book 'I am still Learning to Forgive', by Corrie Ten Boom

Sometimes choosing our enemies is a choice. A choice; and something we have to do with God, because how can we learn to forgive without Christ helping us? How can we do it if we try to do it by ourselves?

Is there anyone you feel you need to forgive today?

"When He tells us to love our enemies He gives, along with the command, the love itself." - Corrie ten Boom, the Hiding Place.

~  Meggie

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Loving Fellow Believers

I was struggling to clearly state why it's important to love Christians in particular when we are instructed to love everyone. Then I came across this blog post by Paul Steele. He explains this very clearly. 

'"For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and patience." - Hebrews 6:10-12 

     In this passage we notice the writer of Hebrews encourages his readers to love their fellow Christians. It is through this love, he says, that we demonstrate our love for God. I find it very interesting that he states that we are to “care for other Christians”. After all shouldn't we love everyone equally?

This is a valid question because we have been told that God loves everyone. I have no doubt that God loves everyone and He desires them all to be saved. The Bible tells us this much. The Bible is also very clear that we are to love other Christians first and foremost. Is this a contradiction?

... A teacher can love all the kids in her classroom, but the love she has for them pales in comparison to the love she has for her own children. A guy can love all his friends and buddies, but that love is nothing compared to the love he has for his wife. The fact that God loves the Church differently, and expects us to love other Christians differently, doesn't mean that God doesn't love the rest of the world, but simply points out the special relationship that the Church has with God.

This might seem unfair, but in reality when Christ Followers love other Christians first it makes the Church a very attractive group to be a part of. The world is a hard place... Many people are searching for a place to belong and be loved, regardless of who they are or what they have done. By loving each other the Church becomes a place of hope in a land of hopelessness.

It also appears from this passage that by loving each other we grow spiritually. The best way to grow in our faith is through experiencing life with other Christians. When we are able to do things with other Christians because we enjoy their company and have their best interest at heart we begin to develop the heart of God. We desire the things God desires and we become spiritually sharp and full of passion.

It is by having this heart of God beating in our chests which moves us down the road of becoming the people God created us to be. When we care about the things He cares about we become a little more like Him. The people of faith of old were set apart because they had this heart. They were willing to sacrifice in order to do what God wanted them to do, because they wanted the same thing God wanted.

In our quest to become more like the people God wants us to be we have to start loving other people. First, we need to love the Christians who make up our Church family. This is helps us develop a heart like God’s which allows us to love the hurt and lonely people of the world." 

God has a special relationship with us. Believers, Christians, people that want to follow God. Loving and spending time with other Christians helps us draw nearer to God. When we are with each other we fellowship, we uplift one another, we pray for one another, we encourage one another. It's a very spiritually fueling place to be when you are surrounded by other Christians. 

It is also our duty as Christians, that if we see brother or sister in Christ sinning, that we help them walk in the ways of God and get back on the path of Life. 

"And now abide faith, hope and love, these three; the greatest of these is love." 
- 1 Corinthians 13:13 

God bless you, ladies!
~ Taleisha 

PS. So sorry for the highlighted text. I couldn't find the option to take it off! I hope you still get the message :)