Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Giveaway - Sari Bari scarf

This week I am giving away a beautiful Sari Bari scarf to support the employment of women who have been set free from the horrors of s-x trafficking. 

Answer this question in the comment section below by Friday (2/3/12) at noon central standard time (U.S.) to register:

Why do you like wearing scarves?


What do you like to wear them with?

Sari Bari Scarves

More about Sari Bari:
Sari Bari makes and sells beautiful, handmade, vintage sari products but it's more than that. The heart of Sari Bari is its women survivors of Kolkata's red light areas who have taken brave steps into new life, freedom and hope.
Each Sari Bari product is marked with the name of the woman who made it and with your purchase you become a part of her freedom story.

Sari Bari is a safe place of employment where women who have been exploited in the s-x trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking can experience a new life in the making.

The name "Sari Bari" comes from two symbols. A sari is the traditional clothing worn by women in India. In India, a sari represents the essence of womanhood. The word bari means "house" or "home" in the Bengali language. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Standing Strong in Our Crazy Culture - Lessons from Daniel the Prophet

"From the Inside Out" Series

Victoria Falls - Zambia, Africa by Lisa@The Warming House

Our culture continues to grind away at us . . . luring us, tempting us, enticing us, infiltrating our every breathing moment. It saturates our minds with the foolish idea that we can find satisfaction and fulfillment if we could only buy that pair of shoes, have hair like that gorgeous movie star, have a body like the model with the six-pack abs, date a certain guy, drive a particular car, get into that sorority, fit into that group, get that job, sit on that board of directors, have a certain amount of money, travel to other countries, get married, receive that promotion, earn that scholarship, or live in a certain-sized house. 

The constant torrent of materialism, corruption, immorality, sexual images, money, greed, technology, power grabbing, infidelity, addictions, fleshly desires, worldly values, and perspectives that oppose God's principles threaten to sweep us away. Many of us are barely treading water in the midst of its current. So how in the world do we survive the onslaught of our culture with our character and God-honoring faith intact? Is it even possible?

The power of Victoria Falls - one of the seven great wonders of the world. Reminds me of the powerful influence of our culture.

In the Old Testament, Daniel was a victim of war. He was captured and taken from his family when the Babylonians conquered the southern kingdom of Judah. Because he was a good-looking guy, intelligent, and well-educated, he was placed in a golden-boy program where he was groomed for service to the king. 

During that time, he was placed into a 3-year education program and given a life of luxury where he was offered the choicest food and wine from the king's table. 

His God-honoring name, Daniel,  meaning "God is my judge" was changed to Belteshazzar meaning "lady protect the king." How insulting!

These things were all done in an attempt to assimilate him into the Babylonian culture - a culture filled with luxury, abundance, pleasure, materialism, sexual immorality and pagan gods.

One lone tree withstanding the torrents of rushing water much like Daniel standing strong in his culture.
By Lisa@The Warming House

did not waver in his faith . . .
                   stood strong in his convictions . . .
                                    and survived persecution without
                                    giving in to the culture

10 things Daniel did:

  1. He refused the king's food because it had been sacrificed to pagan gods, and the "strong drink" because the Babylonians didn't dilute their wine with water like the Jews did. Neither the food or the wine met the requirements of the Mosaic Law.
  2. He loved his fellow man - even those who oppressed him.
  3. He didn't pander to people for their approval. When kings asked him to interpret their dreams, he boldly and bravely shared the true visions God gave him even though the meanings behind some of them could have angered those kings and brought about his execution.
  4. He didn't pursue fame. He always gave credit to God for the visions causing others to praise God.
  5. He was a stand-out in Darius' government because of his extraordinary spirit.
  6. He was trusted and respected by kings - even though they were his nation's enemies.
  7. His character was impeccable. When others became jealous and tried to find fault in him, they could not find any ground of accusation or evidence of corruption. Angelic beings recognized him as being "highly esteemed."
  8. He was loyal and refused to betray the God he loved by worshipping the king's false gods as demanded in the king's decree - even though the consequence for disobedience was death.
  9. He trusted God completely when he was thrown into the lion's den and God saved him. 
  10. He didn't sell out for power. When Belshazzar (an arrogant, evil, and disrespectful king) offered him a position of power for interpreting the handwriting on the wall, Daniel refused it.
Daniel was a man who lived from the inside out.

Why was he like this?

Even though Daniel lived in a culture that didn't recognize God's ways or follow his principles, Daniel still chose to obey God's laws.

It wasn't the Law Daniel loved above all else.

You don't resist a culture, go against a king's decree, and risk your life on numerous occasions for a love of the Law.

Somewhere along the way, Daniel had encountered our very real God in a very real way and it rocked his world. Daniel loved God deeply and fervently. He loved him more than his position, his comfort, his fame - even his own life. What he found in that relationship was so irresistible and satisfying, it was worth far more than anything the world offered. God was at the center of his whole being and his entire existence. Everything in his life flowed out of that relationship.

Unless a man is sincere in his love for God, he will not be able to persevere and remain constant.

As Daniel resisted the culture, he inspired others, encouraged exiles, influenced world leaders, and impacted the culture around him.

Do you like the state of our culture today? Are you happy with the direction our world is headed? Are you like me? Would you love to see some "Daniels" rise up in our world today - people who sincerely love God and humbly walk in faithfulness to his ways . . . people of character who bravely step forward (especially in our government) to do the things that desperately need to be done. 

God changes the world by changing individuals.  So here's the truth - you can be that modern-day "Daniel." When you pledge your total allegiance to God (not the world) his power and strength inside of you will make you a stand-out in our culture and I promise you change will come as you live for him. 

How closely are you clinging to the attachments of this world? What or who is at the center of your world? How sincere is your love for God? 

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

With hope here at The Warming House . . .

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Putting a Face on Human Trafficking - Abolition Missions

Hi friend! We're in the middle of a series on "living from the inside out." As of today, I'll be "peppering" this series with posts about an issue that's ripping my heart out - human trafficking. It's an offensive stench in society and one of the greatest atrocities in world history. The slave trade brings in $32 billion dollars annually and enslaves over 30 million people - half of them children.


Years ago, when I began developing the mission ministry in a local church, I fought a battle against apathy. As I worked to change the culture there, it was essential to put a face on suffering. 

This week I was reminded of the importance to once again put a face on sufferingWhile reading "Not For Sale" by David Batstone, my son walked into the room and saw me shaking my head at something I had just read. He said, "Mom you need to stop reading that stuff. It just gets you depressed." I explained to him that this is reality for so many people, and that I (we) all need to make ourselves aware of that reality so we can do something to help. We cannot close our eyes

I want to make this issue real to you so I've included a link below. It's a tough video to watch, but watch it anyway. Ignorance is no excuse. Be sure to turn the volume down on my playlist (bottom of this post) so you can hear.

"All that it takes for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing." Edmund Burke

Please open your eyes to see the precious human beings behind this issue. Educate yourself. Raise your voice with mine for the rights of the oppressed and abused. 


Not for Sale by David Batstone

An in-depth view into the issue  of human trafficking including stories of victims around the globe. It profiles abolitionists who are fighting trafficking on the front lines, and lets you know what you can do to help

To enter the drawing, post this statement in the comments section by noon on Friday, January 22nd - "I'll raise my voice."

"He upholds the cause of the oppressed . . . The Lord sets prisoners free." Psalm 146:7


Monday, January 16, 2012

1+1+1=1? Exploring the Trinity

Living from the Inside Out

A Prayer . . .

Oh God, we stand in wonder as we consider the mystery of you.

With a word, you formed the heavens, the earth, and everything in it. With great finesse, you created every living thing with an intricate design. Just as no two mountains are alike - their peaks, elevations, and faces taking their unique place in your landscape - no two humans are alike - each created in a distinct way for a distinct purpose in your kingdom. 

We marvel at another great mystery of you . . . your ability to be three persons in one - God the Father; Jesus, the Son; and the Holy Spirit. God the Father, you are perfectly holy, righteous, and just. You are all-powerful, all-knowing, and cannot be contained. You are faithful and loving to all you have made. Jesus, you are God with us. You make the Father's heart known to us, demonstrate unearthly compassion, endure our punishment, clear our name, and reclaim us as your own. Holy Spirit, you are the breath of heaven empowering, guiding, teaching, comforting, convicting, molding, and restoring us. We acknowledge your personal presence within us, and are so grateful for the joy of being close to God through you. You are his presence within us.

Another great mystery that perplexes us but also makes us grateful, is the mystery of your love for man. Even though we are imperfect and unworthy, through Jesus you gave your life to save us. Through your Holy Spirit, you implant special God-given abilities within your followers. There are many gifts, but there is one Spirit that empowers us.  Though we each have unique purposes, it is one God we serve.

We celebrate the mystery and the "bigness" of you, oh God. It keeps us searching, pursuing, discovering . . . 


The Trinity . . .

Christianity is the only religion that believes in a triune God. God doesn't just exist. He came to be with us in human form through Jesus Christ. He lives within us through the Holy Spirit. It is because God is triune that we are able to live from the inside out.

1+1+1=1 . . .

    The three persons - God, the Father; God, the Son (Jesus Christ); and God, the Holy Spirit are each God - and together are one God. 

There are not three separate Gods; nor one God who appears in three different forms; nor three persons who exist in some sort of hierarchy. There is unity, diversity, and equality. They are each fully self-sufficient yet fully interwoven. 

Like a perfume consisting of three floral essences that combine to form a unique fragrance; if any one of the floral essences is removed, the fragrance is not the same. It becomes something altogether different. The three (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) commingle to form the one. 1+1+1=1

The Lord our God is one Lord. (Deuteronomy 6:4)  
I am the Lord, and there is no other, beside me there is no God." (Isaiah 45:5)

Evidence and Proof . . .

God gives us evidence of the trinity in the Old Testament. 

"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness . . ." Genesis 1:26

 God provides proof of the trinity in the New Testament when Jesus, the Son of God appears; and later when he reveals himself as the Holy Spirit.

As God, they all have the same attributes but different roles. Each is precious, personal, and essential to living from the inside out.



Friday, January 13, 2012

Relationship vs. Religion

Living from the Inside Out 

 Jesus didn't come to make us religious - to carry our Bibles, to "look" the part on the outside, to speak Christianese (Christian lingo) that no one else can understand, to act superior, to sit in judgment, or to earn our way to God. 

He came to restore a broken relationship - the one between you/me and the living God. We have a sin dilemma that separates us from God. It's our fault. We chose it. Christ fixed it. I couldn't have done it. You couldn't have done it. Only he could.

Relationship is about Jesus Christ - and it's personal. It's about embracing Jesus, drinking him in, depending on him, and doing life with him day by day, moment by moment. It's about what Christ has done in my life - the saving of my soul and the changing of my person. It says I am who I am because of his goodness and the work he has graciously chosen to do in me. It's about Christ living in me and through me to love and testify to the truth in a hurting world.  

I can tell you relationship has changed my life. In the beginning I believed in Christ, but didn't realize God wanted a relationship with me. I was about as broken as they come . . . carrying around a whole lot of junk . . . a complicated mess and completely disgusting in so many ways. Things I had done that I thought were unforgivable did not keep him away. As I began to live in relationship with him, he took the nasty, shame-filled, damaged condition of my heart and poured himself into it. His brilliant glory outshines the darkest places in me. He has healed my hurts, given me a fresh start, and set me free. 

When we realize who he is and what he's done, the only response is to say, "God, take my life - all of it." 

This is relationship. It's what God desires with us. 

Relationship is essential to living from the inside out.

Desperately dependent and grateful for all he's done . . .

Saturday, January 7, 2012

From the Inside Out

Hello and welcome to The Warming House! You might want to turn down the music on my playlist at the bottom of this post before playing this video. :)

In my first post in this series, I shared that there are people rejecting Christianity because of the hypocrisy and lack of transformation they see in the lives of professing Christians. When we live "from the outside in", we allow the culture to determine our attitudes, thoughts, and behavior. I can tell you for certain that when I lived predominantly from the outside in I was pretty miserable. I didn't realize God wanted a personal, moment-by-moment relationship with me. I kept a tight grip of control on my life, tried to find significance in the world's eyes, and went down a path making choices I deeply regret. In many ways, I was "lost" as a Christian.

Living from the inside out . . .

There's a key scripture from a letter Paul (a follower/apostle of Jesus Christ) wrote to the Christians living in Philippi. It encapsulates what it means to live from the inside out.

Paul told them - 

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you; both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13

Don't misinterpret this scripture. It isn't telling us to work for our salvation. It's saying that:

~When we receive salvation as we surrender to Jesus Christ, God begins to work inside us. 

~As he lives and reigns at the center of who we are - He changes us by His power.

" . . . for it is God who is at work in you . . ." 

~God's purpose is to work in us to make us look like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). It's a lifelong process.

~The changes God works inside of us are meant to work their way out to our behavior, conduct, and lifestyle. God wants us to put into practice in our daily living the changes he is working within us.

This is living from the inside out.

So if God's power is at work in Christians, why is there a lack of transformation in so many? From my own life and mistakes, I believe the problem is a lack of surrender. Too many of us want to maintain control of our own lives. We're afraid to give God control and hold him at arm's length so there's no way he can work freely in us. 

Let me tell you that when we let him in and give him control, everything dramatically changes. There is intimacy with God that we never thought possible.  In that intimacy, we experience the astounding greatness of who he is. And I do mean greatness. He is so immense in his goodness, sweet love, power, constant faithfulness, unending mercy, extravagant grace, infinite knowledge, and life-saving compassion that it is impossible to find words to describe him adequately. We want more of him. There is nothing else that satisfies us like he does. My life is so very different since I've surrendered and given him complete control. I will NEVER go back to the way things were before. He is my healer, protector, defender, strength, hope, joy, peace, rescuer, comforter and great love of my life.

God is the only one who has power to bring true change in our lives. Letting him reign at the center of who we are is the answer for true life change, fulfillment, peace, power for living, authentic joy, freedom, and the ability to accurately reflect his heart in the world.

Imagine what the world would look like if Christians were to bow their knees to our awesome God and begin living from the inside out? How would our culture change? How would our churches change? How would our lives change? Would people be attracted to the beauty of Christ in us? It all begins with you and me. Will you give God control and begin living from the inside out?

Bowing my knees . . .


Series on living from the inside out will continue . . .

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Passion 2012

Passion 2012 Conference
Hi everyone! We've just begun a series on Living From the Inside Out. I"ll have the second post in that series up within the next couple of days, but wanted to take a minute to share something extraordinary that's been happening in Atlanta, Georgia this week. It's the 2012 Passion Conference. 

"Passion exists to see a generation stake their lives on what matters most . . . the fame of the One who rescues and restores, and the privilege we have to fully leverage our lives by amplifying His name in everything we do." "Passion 2012 is more than just another event, it's a beautiful part of a movement that's about finding true meaning as we take our place in a story so much bigger than ourselves. It's about trading small dreams for a grand epic that is shaping history and has no end. And it's about a rare chance for tens of thousands of university-aged young people to gather in celebration of their common faith purpose." (From the Passion website)

I've heard about Passion for years and always wanted to go - but I'm a little older than the college-aged students it's for. :) This year there's a live feed from the conference, and I've been watching every session here at my home. My spirit has been soaring, my heart has been moved, and I am encouraged as I watch this generation of young people. I only wish I had put up a post about this sooner so you would have had the opportunity to be a part of this the entire time. Click here to link to the live feed.

Passion 2012

The feeds from their speakers are kept on the site for 24 hours so the feeds from yesterday are still available. The last session is at 10:45 a.m. (eastern time) this morning (1/5/2012). If you miss it, you can access it for the next 24 hours.

The conference sold out this year. There are between 44,000 - 48,000 young people attending - and at last count, around 42,000 people watching from around the world via live feed. Speakers include Beth Moore, Chris Caine, Louie Giglio, John Piper, and Francis Chan. Worship leaders include Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall, Lecrae, Hillsong, and the David Crowder Band. Worship has blown me away! Hope you have time to check this out.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Are You Living From the Inside Out or From the Outside In?

It's that time of year again . . . a time for hope, a fresh beginning, and purging

As you develop your "improvement plan" for the coming year, there's something I want to ask you to do. It's going to sound a little strange but it's extremely relevant to true life change. Look at your life for a minute and ask yourself:

"Am I living from the inside out or from the outside in?" 

From the Outside In:

God intends for his people to look different, act different, be different than the mainstream culture. Unfortunately, this isn't happening today. 

My husband has a friend who once told him that he knows many people who call themselves Christians, but they lie, cheat, and steal just like everyone else

Another friend who's an atheist once said, "Mike, you're the only Christian I've ever met who's living differently because of his faith."

In the book, Unchristian, the Barna Group states that in virtually every study they've conducted, representing thousands of interviews every year, they've found essentially no difference overall in the lifestyle activities of born-again Christians and those who are not Christians. Yeah - we carry our Bibles and attend church more, but there's no difference. 

They also discovered that nonbelievers between the ages of 16-29 have rejected the Christian faith because they are repelled by Christians - in part because of the extreme hypocrisy and lack of transformation they see in professing Christians. This is a huge problem. Too many people are living from the outside in.

So what does that mean?
  • Many Christians today have succumbed to the culture around them instead of succumbing to God.
  • They've given their allegiance to the world instead of devoting their hearts to God and his ways. 
  • They've allowed the culture to determine their attitudes, thoughts, and behavior with little to no resistance. 
  • As a result, Christians in large measure are no longer impacting the culture. Our culture is changing us
What about you?

  • Have you ever bought into what society says will make you happy and pursued those things? 
  • Have you allowed how the world sees you to affect how you see yourself?
  • Have you ever adapted your behavior to fit into a group?
  • Have you compromised your principles to get ahead?
  • Have you adopted society's values over God's values?
  • Have you focused on security in the world (money, etc.) above security in God?
  • Have you worked to earn the love of the "world" instead of valuing and accepting the love of God that's freely given to you?
  • Have you allowed the world to determine your attitudes, behavior, and thoughts? 
If we're honest, we can all admit that we've answered yes to at least one of these questions. (Unfortunately, I said yes to more than one.) If you have, you have experienced the reality of living from the outside in.

Think about these things as you make your resolutions for this year. Then come back later this week and we'll look at what it means to live from the inside out. In fact, this is the first post in a new series on this subject. 

Never forget how important you are to God. You are important to me too. I'm always glad to see you here at The Warming House. Hope to see you again soon!


Give me your feedback: What do you think of the Barna Group study and the comments of my husband's friends? Have you recognized the same issues? What are your struggles as you maneuver our culture today? How have you been affected by Christians who live from the outside in?

Written by Lisa @ The Warming House