Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the Redeemed Girl blog has moved

Dear Readers (all four of you!)
The RGM blog has moved. Never fear...we are still in business, we've just made a few changes here at Redeemed Girl Ministries. Please visit www.redeemedgirl.org and you will find many new and exciting changes. For starters, we now have two blogs (just to keep things interesting, and to keep you on your toes.)

The first is called "transformation." Here you will find weekly teachings from me (Marian) and an exciting new team of writers. We will also post teaching videos to this site on a regular basis.
In addition to the "transformation" blog, you will also find the "RGM news" blog. Here, we will post stories from our great adventures as we travel around telling women about Jesus.

Of course, there is a handy RSS feed so you can get the latest blogs when they are posted.

Please take time to browse the new site, we would love your feedback. We sure are proud of our new baby!

For His Glory,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Love is a Battlefield

Hi girls! So I'm busy writing my fourth book, Radiance. Which, by the way, is the reason my blog posts have been missing lately. But I just had to stop working on the book to face an important problem plaguing a generation of women: it seems that many young women today are not aware of the awesomeness of 80s music.

My assistant Lauren was editing a chapter of mine and said, "Who is Pat Benetar?"  Her words stopped me dead in my tracks.
How could she not know Pat Benetar? So, I started singing...
"We are strong, Heartache to Heartache we stand. No promises. No demands. Love is a battlefield."
Blank Stare.

Then it hit me...

There may be a whole generation out there who don't know the song "Love is A Battlefield" ...and frankly, that is just a shame. Forget saving the whales, I must save Pat Benetar for the enjoyment of the next generation. It is my cultural responsibility.

So, if you, too, are not aware of this rock legend, please enjoy this video from the 80s archives.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vogue editor launches new war on size-zero fashion

Dear Redeemed Girls,

The following article from The Times provides great insight into the fashion industry's role in perpetuating the unhealthy images that bombard women everyday. Images that result in unrealistic expectations concerning weight and wide-spread eating disorders. In a day when a size 2 girl feels "fat" and when pre-teen girls are dieting at record numbers, it took a bold move by the Vogue Editor to speak up. I applaud her courageous move in both protecting runway models and setting a more realistic standard for the rest of us.

Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

From The Times June 13, 2009
Vogue editor launches new war on size-zero fashion

The editor of Vogue has accused some of the world’s leading catwalk designers of pushing ever thinner models into fashion magazines despite widespread public concern over “size-zero” models and rising teenage anorexia.

Alexandra Shulman, one of the most important figures in the multi-billion-pound fashion industry, has taken on all the largest fashion houses in a strongly worded letter sent to scores of designers in Europe and America. In a letter not intended for publication but seen by The Times, Shulman accuses designers of making magazines hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” by supplying them with “minuscule” garments for their photoshoots. Vogue is now frequently “retouching” photographs to make models look larger, she said.

Her intervention was hailed last night as a turning point in the debate over model size that has raged after the deaths of three models from complications relating to malnutrition, and the decision of leading fashion shows to ban size-zero models.

Baroness Kingsmill, who headed the 2007 Model Health Inquiry on behalf of the British Fashion Council, said the stand taken by Shulman was “an encouraging sign” from one of the industry’s “leading lights.”

Beat, Britain’s leading eating disorder charity, says that 1.1 million people are affected by anorexia or bulimia.

Shulman claims that the clothes created by designers for catwalk shows and subsequently sent to magazines for use in their photoshoots have become “substantially smaller”.

The garments are typically sent to magazines six months before they appear in the shops and editors have no choice but to hire models that fit the clothes or fail to cover the latest collections from the leading designers.

“We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit even the established star models,” Shulman writes, in a letter sent to Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and fellow designers at Prada, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Balen- ciaga and other top fashion houses.The supermodel Erin O’Connor described the stand by the editor of Britain’s most prominent fashion magazine as “a huge breakthrough”.

“The fact that Alexandra Shulman with her enormous influence has opened this conversation means that it will have a huge impact,” she said. “It has . . . made it compulsorily relevant that we address this now.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A "Go To " Prayer for a Clear Conscious

Do you ever find yourself praying the same thing over and over again?
I sure do!

I have several “go to prayers” in my arsenal. Ones that I repeat often because I need the prayer answered routinely. One such prayer is this:
“Jesus, please make me easy to discipline and quick to convict.”

What this prayer means is this: I don’t trust myself. I know that given too much slack I could get myself into a mess of trouble. It says to God, “I need You to speak to me and show me anywhere I am or could potentially be stepping out of Your will. And if I should sin, PLEASE convict me (cause me to feel guilt and remorse) so that I will turn to Jesus and find forgiveness.”

I guess I learned the hard way about sin. I was redeemed from a very sinful lifestyle, and I don’t want to go back there again. But, there is one thing I am certain of: I don’t trust my flesh (the old sinful nature) one bit. I know, without the Spirit of God working in me and through me, my flesh is capable of anything. Therefore, I pray regularly for my heart to respond quickly to God’s voice and to obey Him should He point something out.

This morning in my devotional time I read the following entry from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. This teaching served as a great reminder to me about the need for a “Clear Conscious,” therefore, I thought I would pass it on to other Redeemed Girls.

The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience

". . . strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men"
—Acts 24:16

God’s commands to us are actually given to the life of His Son in us. Consequently, to our human nature in which God’s Son has been formed (see Galatians 4:19), His commands are difficult. But they become divinely easy once we obey.

Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard. This explains why conscience is different in different people. If I am in the habit of continually holding God’s standard in front of me, my conscience will always direct me to God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do.

The question is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I can live without any offense toward anyone. I should be living in such perfect harmony with God’s Son that the spirit of my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and that I may be able to quickly "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2 ; also see Ephesians 4:23).

God always instructs us down to the last detail. Is my ear sensitive enough to hear even the softest whisper of the Spirit, so that I know what I should do? "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God . . ." (Ephesians 4:30). He does not speak with a voice like thunder— His voice is so gentle that it is easy for us to ignore. And the only thing that keeps our conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When you begin to debate, stop immediately. Don’t ask, "Why can’t I do this?" You are on the wrong track. There is no debating possible once your conscience speaks. Whatever it is— drop it, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.

Dear Jesus, I pray you would make us so sensitive to your Spirit. May we love the things that you love and hate the things that you hate. Help us. Enable us to live with hearts that fear you and love you. May your Truth be our standard. Please make us easy to discipline and quick to convict. Thank you for your grace that is greater than all our sins!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The "Sticky" Note

The “Sticky” Note

Various scraps of paper with urgent reminders, upcoming wedding and baby shower invitations, scripture memory cards, unpaid bills, numerous to-do lists, updated and outdated gym workout schedules, and several other items are adhered to the corkboard positioned above my writing desk—the perfect spot to place those “need to find fast memos” and “don’t forget” reminders.

We all need reminders, right?

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like I need certain truths right in front of me because I’m so very prone to forgetfulness. Therefore, near the top of my board—right at my eye level—sits an important piece of paper. Worn about the edges and pin pricked from years of moving and removing … this one is a keeper. It reads:

The Christian who knows he is
Crucified with Christ
Has no AMBITION and so has nothing to be jealous about.
Has no REPUTATION, and so has nothing to fight about.
Has no POSSESSIONS, and therefore, nothing to worry about.
Has no “rights,’ so, therefore, he cannot suffer wrong.
He is ALREADY DEAD, so no one can kill him.
By Leonard Ravenhill

Unlike invitations and to-do lists, this note will never grow obsolete and doesn’t have an expiration date. It sits waiting for those life-moments when I need a good dose of truth. Life is not about me. My life is hidden in Jesus.

If I really believe Galatians 2:20 which says, “I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” then Ravenhill’s words are spot on accurate (even if they do ring oh-so harsh to our modern, me-first mentality.)

Now that I think about it, that is one “sticky” note—a truth that I want to stick with me. I’ve found that simply believing this message can cure most of life’s ailments. Think about it, if I really believe that “I am Crucified with Christ” then half the things that bug, annoy, bother, and in general cause me to freak out, are really nothing I need to worry or to fret about at all.
The reality is this: we are hidden in Jesus…and Jesus is good. Jesus is safe. Jesus is our hiding place. We don’t need to impress others to find acceptance, we don’t need to amass wealth to feel secure, we don’t need to have power to be important…because everything we are, everything we need, and everything we long for is assured us in the Resurrected Life of Christ.

That is why we can lay everything else down and die to our fleshly desires because we trust that He has us and He is in control.

For instance, I can’t tell you the number of times that someone has said something negative about me and I have wanted to “defend” myself and God reminds me of the fact that “my reputation” is dead and I am “hidden in Christ.” He will defend me.

Or the times when I’m tempted to place too much value in the material things of this world and God reminds me that the only things that will last are those I invest in eternity.

I’m learning and need reminding daily that life’s circumstances must be filtered through the reality of who I am in Christ: the old Marian is dead and the life I now live is in Him, through Him and for Him.

I’ll be honest; I’m still very much a work in progress! Not a day goes by that I don’t feel rejected, embarrassed, overlooked, scared, or worried and need reminding of this amazing truth; hence the sticky note. Being “crucified with Christ” means dying to my selfish desires and embracing the glorious life in Christ—the life of love and selflessness that is only possible because He lives in me!

Apart from Him I can do nothing!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Calling All Redeemed Girls!

Hey Girls!
I'm eager to hear your testimonies. Please share with our readers how Christ is redeeming your life today. I know there are thousands of amazing redemption stories out there just waiting to be told. So, in the blog comment section please share a quick praise and let the world know why you are thankful to be a Redeemed Girl.

I'll go first:

It has been nearly ten years since Jesus rescued me from the pit of sin and despair that I was living in. I was that girl "looking for love in all the wrong places"… seeking to fill my emptiness with all the junk the world told me would bring me happiness. Instead, I found shame and even more emptiness.

I remember thinking how true Bono's words rang when he sang, "I still haven't found what I am looking for."

Thankfully, what I was really looking for found me. I was just a girl searching for God.

When my heart grasped the beauty of the cross I embraced the forgiveness Jesus offered and breathed the sweet air of grace. The logical next step was surrender—all of me to the one who redeemed me. To "redeem" means to buy something back and to restore it to the original purpose. Jesus bought back my life and restored everything--I AM A NEW CREATION! New desires, New thoughts, New passions, New identity, New life, New purpose, New hope... yes, I am a Redeemed Girl!"

To testify to the transformation that has taken place would take forever. I guess the biggest change I’ve seen over the years is easily in my identity. Before, I saw myself as a usable object (something that could be used and discarded…a.k.a trash) But when Jesus’ love for me filled my heart and I grasped the price he paid to redeem me, I began to comprehend that I am not trash to be used... I am a priceless treasure.

Girls, this isn't diva talk. This is the testimony of a girl who now knows her value in Christ. I learned a long time ago that something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it...and Jesus said that I am worth dying for.

If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation...the old is gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Please share your redemption story!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


“The gospel is righteousness from God that transforms us from the inside out. Transformation is the fruit of faith.”

I adore Spring.
Recently, I bought my first house and moved in the “dead of winter.” (Okay, so that’s kind of a drastic statement for someone who lives in Houston, Texas. But, it did dip down into the frigid forties this past January, which felt very tundra-like to this Texas girl.)
I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, Spring.

So, when I moved in I noticed these dead twigs and sprigs in my yard. I supposed them to be unwanted weeds that I would eventually get around to removing. But then, something happened…Spring arrived.
Ahhhh…glorious sunshine!
Low and behold, I now have a garden! Those lifeless twigs are in full-bloom. My yard is brimming with new life, and looks quite lovely I might add.

With springtime comes another symbol of new life…Easter. All over the world this past weekend Christians celebrated the resurrection of our Christ. I like to sum up Easter in one word: transformation. Think about it…. Death becomes Life. The perfect symbol of our faith.

As Christians, we believe in a God who transforms us for His glory by giving us new life in Him. Jesus, our Redeemer, takes our brokenness and makes us whole. He gives sight to the blind, hope to the hopeless, and brings light to the darkness. Miraculously, sinners become saints. Like my garden, Jesus transforms us from spiritually dead to people that blossom with the fruit of His Spirit. (Ephesians 2: 1-2; Galatians 5:23-24)

Sadly, this is not the message we (the church) are sending the world. I’ve been reading a book called unChristian. The authors have this to say:
"Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like “hypocritical” to describe the church…young Americans share an impression of Christians that’s nothing short of ….unChristian.”

This book elaborates on the problem by saying that the lifestyle of Christians is not different from those who don’t know Christ. Simply, we are not bearing fruit that represents Jesus to the world. Our lives don’t testify transformation.

But why?

I’ve been thinking about this problem quite a bit lately. If, the message of the gospel is the power of God’s grace to transform us, then why doesn’t the world see us as transformed people? I think the primary problem is an old one. We have substituted God’s transforming power for our own human effort. And, let’s face it; we simply aren’t very good at changing ourselves.

Transformation happens in the human soul when we see our brokenness and turn to God in our weakness and surrender to God’s spirit for life. It is not about human effort, it is 100% about Christ-dependence.

Thinking about my new garden, I’m struck by the fact that I’ve never once overheard my rose bushes whining and complaining about the difficulty of producing a rose. Nope, not once did I hear my peonies huffing and puffing in their effort to produce colorful blooms. The reason? They followed the simple God-given design for bearing fruit—they remain abiding to their vine.

I think the book unChristian raises an important point. For many, the Christian faith is about a one-time decision to pray a prayer or walk an aisle or check a box. This type of experience is only the first step. The Christian faith—the one that transforms—is the result of daily abiding in the object of our faith…Jesus Christ.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus explained the secret to fruitfulness to His disciples by saying:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5 NIV)

The secret to seeing the life-transforming power of God in our lives is staying connected to the Life-Transformer, Jesus Christ. It is that simple.
Our only hope for transformation is in Him. There is no method, no program, no plan, no iPhone app, prescription, or a handy-dandy quick fix that can transform us…just the glorious Son shining upon us, and His Spirit’s power flowing through us every single day.

Friends, if we want our lives to testify of God's transforming power, we must ABIDE!

(p.s. The photo is of my favorite garden in Oxford, England. This is not at my house. I wish!)