Killing Yourself

By Hayley DiMarco

the-procession-of-the-trojan-horse-in-troy-1773

Prayer without fervency and violence is no prayer; it is speaking, not praying. Lifeless prayer is no more prayer than the picture of a man is a man.”  Thomas Watson

This idea of violence to one’s self might be offense to modern man, but it is not out of date for the believer. Watson was a Puritan who spoke passionately about the idea of dying to self; so passionately that much of what he said could be called too puritanical. But that said, the portion I have posted here is valuable and faithful in its approach. The language however is very old English and may be hard for the modern soul to fully ingest, so I have updated the language here without changing his message:

“Offering violence to one’s self, in a spiritual sense, is mortification of sin: Since self is the flesh, we must die to self. Our flesh is like the Trojan horse within the walls that does all the mischief. The flesh is a sly enemy; at first it is sweet venom, afterwards a stinging scorpion, it kills by embracing. The embraces of the flesh are like the ivy embracing the oak; which sucks out the strength of it for its own leaves and berries. So the flesh, by its soft embraces, sucks out of the heart all that is good. The flesh fights against the spirit (see Gal. 5:17). So it goes that the pampering of the flesh, is the quenching of God’s spirit. The flesh chokes and stifles holy motions: the flesh sides with Satan and is true to its interest. There is a part within that will not pray, that will not believe. In fact, the flesh inclines us more to believe a temptation than a promise. It is because the flesh is so near to us that its counsels are more attractive. But a man must offer violence to his fleshly desires if he will be saved, as we see in Col. 3:5, which says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” The mortifying and killing of sin at the root, is when we not only abstain from the acts of sin, but hate the existence of them.

Even in the best of saints there is something that needs mortifying, such as pride, envy, and passion. Therefore, mortification is called crucifixion in Gal. 5:24. This is not done suddenly but every day some limb of the ‘body of death’ must drop off. There is always something that needs mortifying. So it was Paul would ‘beat down his body,’ by prayer, watching, and fasting, (see 1 Cor. 9:27).

As flesh is taken to be physical, so it is to be cherished; but as flesh is taken theologically with all of its impure lusts, so a man must hate his own flesh. The apostle says, ‘passions of the flesh wage war against the soul’ (1 Peter 2:11). If the flesh wars against us, we have good reason to war against the flesh.” – Thomas Watson, The Christian Soldier

The best book (I wrote) for Christian teens wanting to date

By Hayley DiMarco

dimarco_d8.indd

I wrote a book for Christian teens back in 2009 called B4UD8 (Before You Date) along with my husband Michael. Although some may know me more infamously for my 2003 release Dateable, few know that I never speak on Dateable and that B4UD8 (and my husband Michael) were game changers for me. I wish I could say that B4UD8 was as commercially successful as its predecessor (Dateable outsells it 8:1,) but I am proud to say that B4UD8 won the highest honor in Christian publishing, the 2010 Christian Book Award for Youth.

I have reached out to my publisher to request that they offer B4UD8 available for free on ebook readers so you can read for yourself how I communicate to Christian teens on the subject of dating, though five years later it needs a little refresh (yes, there’s a K-Fed reference.) That’s why my husband Michael and I are working on a new book on the subject to go even deeper spiritually into why we look for love in another. But that won’t be written for awhile, so I’ll update you when I hear back from the publisher and then post a link to the freebie.

UPDATE: As of 2pm, Friday, 11/15/13, the Kindle version of B4UD8 is now listed on Amazon for $0.00. Our publisher has agreed to do this through the weekend until Monday morning. Thanks to Revell Books and Baker Publishing Group for this gift.

Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/B4UD8-Before-You-Date-Things-before-ebook/dp/B002E7ARVE/ 

Growing Up

By Hayley DiMarco

Growth-sunflower

The person I am today looks so much different than the person I used to be. One of the great things about God is that he’s always changing you, making you better, if only you will let him. For years I thought I knew it all and what’s more I thought everybody else didn’t. And so I started writing books, why not, if you now it all you’ve got to share it with the world? Right?

But boy was I wrong. Every year that I live I see how much I didn’t know then that I do know now. And it’s the same for everyone who surrenders their life to God. Once you surrender your self-will, your self-righteousness, and your know-it-all attitude to God and embrace the notion of humility, of dying to self, and stopping the self-obsessed preoccupation with your opinions, you are set free. Set free to love, set free to serve, and set free to grow.

There was a time in my past when I was merciless. When the law was my high horse. When being bombastic was a delivery system. When I was so certain that I knew it all that I forced it all onto others.  But God has been kind to me, he has taught me much, brought me through great trials and much humility, and shown me the depth of his grace. The grace I’ve been given has set me free from my past and it can set you free too. If you will only decide today that who you were yesterday doesn’t define you are today or who you are becoming, but it is just a step on the path to becoming more and more like Him.

I haven’t let the failures or embarrassments of my past derail me, but have accepted God’s grace for myself and have learned to extend it to others, even those who would define me by my past. Be set free today, don’t let the you of the past be the you of the present. Once God saves you he never leaves you the same, but brings you daily, yearly closer to the image of His son, and deeper into a life of humility that says, “I don’t know it all, but I love the one who does and that’s enough for me.”

In the age of the Internet and social media, your past is inescapable. Imagine if you had written over forty books over a ten year period all on how to live life! For anyone that has read my first book compared to my last, you know how God has changed me. As a loving, caring, Heavenly Father, he is with me (and you) as we grow up saying, “your past does not define you, my love defines you.” Never be shamed by the past, or anyone. You are valuable not because of what ‘rules’ you follow or don’t follow but simply because of His love for you.

God Bless this Mess

By Hayley DiMarco

Mark Twain's Mess

My husband Michael shared with me recently a series of photos of geniuses and their desks. People like Mark Twain, Steve Jobs, and others with extremely messy desks (my husband included.) It was a powerful visual reminder of a lesson I have been learning lately (and a gentle encouragement from my husband.)

When my house is neat, clean and pristine I feel whole. I breath more deeply and I find a peace that is absent in the mess. In fact, the mess that sits around me right now is silently pulling on me, making the waters beneath the surface of my life start to roll and I can sense a swell coming. Order gives my mind and my heart rest. It makes me feel complete, content, and hopeful. When my house is all cleaned up for company, I feel acceptable and proud. But on days when the floor is cluttered, the windows are dirty and the dishes aren’t clean I dread a knock on the door announcing visitors. How could they love me in my mess? What would they think? Yes, order is always better. Cleanliness is next to godliness after all.

Or is it? This well-known and often repeated mantra is not a bible verse: it is a worldly verse in Bible clothing. And it has perverted many a faithful heart from their first love. As I consider my desire for order and my discontentment with the mess, I see something more insidious at work under the waves of my life, an obsession, or as the Bible reveals, an idol. An idol is anything or anyone that we go to for the things God promises us. And in my obsession, I see the pursuit of hope, peace, acceptance, contentment, and even completeness taking the place of the very one meant to be my hope, peace, acceptance, contentment and completion.

For a long time I thought that my discontentment and even stress over a messy house pointed to the purpose of my life, the need for order. And so I. like millions before me, embraced the idea that cleanliness was next to godliness, even if I didn’t voice it. Even though I knew this was not a biblical concept, I still believed that if my heart craved order it must be because order was a part of my soul’s DNA. But checking this belief against God’s Word which reminds me that ‘the heart is deceitful above all else,’ (Jeremiah 17:9) scripture proves the error of my ways. Rather than being a part of my soul’s DNA, this desire for a clean house is a part of my flesh’s DNA, my deceitful heart. The part of me that wars against the Spirit as I read in Romans 8:5. “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5–6, NIV) When my mind screams about the mess of my unkempt house it is set on what my flesh desires. But I am meant to live with my mind set on the Spirit.

Jesus made it clear what that the single most important commandment wasn’t to keep a clean house, but to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. I consider the word neighbor to include the members of my household. Many would use this as an argument for good housekeeping, but let’s be honest with ourselves, the majority of men and children in this world would much rather have a happy, playful, present mom who considers time with them more important than order, than to have a woman obsessed with the standard of cleanliness she requires in her home.

As I remind myself that the fruit of the Spirit should be what I desire over the fruit of my own flesh, I look around at the mess on my table and on my floors and I breathe easy. My relationship with my family has never been better, my stress never lower, and my heart never focused more on the one who makes it all possible. So thank God for the mess and the ability to see it not as a stressor but as a reminder of my true purpose here on earth; to love him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love this messy life because it proves my obsession isn’t me, but Him.

 

Where is God?

By Hayley DiMarco

lost-and-found-pic1

“If your life is off track, if you are unhappy and can’t figure out why, know that the joy probably left when you started thinking more about yourself than about God, more about your worries and your dreams, more than his thoughts and his plans. When the God Girl (or guy) isn’t continually thinking about ways to make him happy and to please him , she risks falling into the pattern of “me.” As a God Girl you can’t blame God for the distance between you; your distractions are most often what remove him from the center of your life. You can return to him today–just seek out what pleases him and determine to do only that.

-Devotions for the God Girl

 

Under Attack

By Hayley DiMarco

White-Sharks-Fresh-New-Hd-Wallpaper-

Your worry makes you the center of everything. When you say “I just feel like I’m under attack,” or “everything in life is against me,” because hard things are happening, you subconsciously take your eyes off of God and put them onto yourself. For the believer, life is never an attack, you are never a victim. No, all of the impressions of difficulty and attack are simply pressure under the mighty hand of the potter who is molding you into a vessel fit for his service. To see yourself in the devil’s hands or any other’s rather than the potter’s is to reject God’s very word (see Isaiah 64:8, ESV).

The next time you are tempted to worry, complain, or bemoan the tragedy that is your life remember who you belong to. As a child of the King, nothing ever happens to you that He hasn’t allowed for your good. Not the interruption, the delay, or the attack; it all serves His purposes. If you cannot see Him as involved in your life, as sovereign and as perfect, then your life will be one dilemma after another. If God steps back and lets life happen to you, if he carelessly allows Satan to attack or someone to harm you, then worry is a necessity. But if you believe in the God of the Bible then you must know that is never the case. After all, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lamentations 3:37–38, ESV) See your circumstances through the filter of God’s love and you will have no need to worry again.

Beggars wear rags

By Hayley DiMarco

beggar_rags

I must confess that when I see people begging on the street or selling homeless newspapers and they have on nice clean and new looking clothes, I immediately think it’s a scam. “If he was homeless he wouldn’t have on clean clothes,” I tell myself. It’s got to be a scam. What is he trying to pull over on people. Maybe that sounds harsh but think about it, success, accomplishment, even cleanliness, doesn’t go with poverty. So dear beggar, please don’t get all cleaned up to ask me for money, I will assume you are pulling my leg, pretending to be “out of gas,” making a quick buck. But let me see your true condition. Don’t try to impress me with your wealth to get my charity.

In the same way, sinner, don’t think you have to get all cleaned up in order to be accepted by Christ. There is no need to wait until you have fixed yourself, gotten your life together, proved to him your love, or done everything he has asked you. Your cleanliness isn’t access to the throne, your rags are. We make little of his grace when we believe that we have a part to play in our own salvation. Whether it is doing more for his kingdom or getting your life together, there is nothing you can do to convince him to accept you but present your sins to him and thank him for his cleansing blood. It is by grace you have been saved, not by your works, not by your goodness, or your cleanliness, but by his grace and his grace alone. Don’t wait til you’ve done everything you ‘need’ to do before you drop at his feet! Come like the beggar in your tattered clothes and kneel before him. He isn’t impressed with your works or your Sunday best, he isn’t more inclined to save you when you are cleaned up, but asks only for your dirty rags that he might make them white as snow.

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

I need your help!

By Hayley DiMarco

GU_FacebookCover1

Greetings God Girls,

I need your help with something. Do you like movies? Do you like music? Do you like great stories? Then I need you to take time and spread the word about a fantastic movie with a great story AND great music that releases this coming Friday, Oct. 4th. The movie is Grace Unplugged and even though it’s not out yet, I’ve seen the movie four times already and I can’t say enough about it. But before I say more, watch the trailer:

Awesome right? Let me tell you about the cast of this movie because it’s top notch! Grace is played by AJ Michalka. You might know her from her time at Disney as half of the sister group, Aly & AJ. She’s starred in such big films like Super 8. Combine her with James Denton as her dad, Kevin Pollak as her music manager, Jamie Grace as her best friend, and Michael Welch (from Twilight) and you get a true Hollywood cast for a movie about life and faith.

I should probably also mention that the book you see in the trailer (and movie,) Own It, is a book that my husband Michael and I wrote and it’s in stores now. So we’re kind of in the movie too!

OwnIt

Click the cover to read about the book on Amazon

So here’s where I need your help: Grace Unplugged is releasing this week to over 500 screens nationwide. That’s a good sized release, but in Hollywood the first weekend is crucial and decides if the movie goes to more screens or if its scaled back the following weeks. Would you consider helping us get the word out and pack out the theaters this weekend? You going to see a movie like this sends a message to Hollywood that we want more movies made with this kind of message but also with this quality of acting and music. Not sure if there’s a theater near you showing the movie? Here’s a list of all the theaters (so far) that will be showing GU this coming weekend:

http://www.graceunplugged.com/tickets

And if you want to go the extra mile, here’s the link to free downloadable GU avatars, banners, posters, and Facebook covers:

http://graceunplugged.com/downloads

So share this post with your friends, parents, co-workers, and pastors. I’ve never recommended a “faith-based” movie before, but this one is soooo worth recommending. So share, like, and comment on this post and I’ll see you at the movies!

More decorating with Hayley and Jeanette!

By admin

Checkout these two new videos with Hayley DiMarco, author of the God Girl books and her friend Jeanette Herdman from ScrapInStyleTV. More vids coming soon!

Part 4 of bestselling author Hayley DiMarco introducing the God
Girl Bible to Jeanette Herdman of ScrapInStyleTV!

Part 5 of bestselling author Hayley DiMarco introducing the God
Girl Bible to Jeanette Herdman of ScrapInStyleTV!

Hit the jump link for parts 1-3! (more…)

1 2