Bridging the Age Gap in Our Faith Through Mentorship

There is a separation between younger people and older people in the communities of faith. There is the regular ministry and the youth ministry. The youth ministry is a chill environment for making friends and being encouraged by other young people. Youth ministry is awesome. Youth ministry completely changed my life.

Though it’s an amazing tool, I think there is a lack of vital relationship between adults and teenagers/young adults. If there is any relationship at all it’s usually a “small talk only” kind of thing. Young people stick with young people and older adults are not likely to reach out to them.

Partly, I think this is because our culture sometimes pits us against each other. The young are viewed as lively, while older are portrayed as close minded. We rarely think with the mindset of a community. We are each independent individuals who go their own way. It’s sometimes even considered rude to offer tips or advise.

An experienced adult might reach out, trying to help a younger person, only to be scoffed at.

Think: “Can you believe that lady just told me how to raise my son?!”

But I think what we desperately needs is more conversation between the age groups. I believe we could benefit immensely by deepening our relationships with spiritually mature adults through mentorship.

We are facing an increasingly God-hating world. A world that calls us ugly names like small-minded and homophobes; anti-progressives. Our whole culture is opposed to the God of Israel. We can’t expect to magically waltz through life, unscathed by our society.

Young people are contemplating current issues like sexuality, politics, and women’s empowerment, to name just a few.

Modern topics aren’t really being addressed on a large scale in the faith; but that’s ok because we could benefit by just having these conversations with our elders around us. Their opinions and experience could present something we’ve never thought about.

What I would like to see is teenagers and young adults starting conversations. I challenge my young readers to pursue a real friendship with a spiritually mature parent, friend, or acquaintance. Communicate and open the door for healthy debate about modern controversies or doubts. Listen with the intention of understanding.

I want to encourage parents and adults to reach out to young people beyond small talk. Ask questions about present-day topics and listen without being offended. Have a conversation, don’t preach.

We need to bridge this age divide. It’s time for us to go deeper, to quench our fear of the uncomfortable conversations. This world is getting more and more messy. We can’t sit back and just leave each other alone anymore. We’ve got to start talking.


What the Proverbs 31 Woman Taught Me About Beauty

Beauty can sometimes be an odd subject to talk about because it is said to be carnal and vain. But women are beautiful and biblical women seemed to care about their appearance. They seemed to enjoy making themselves look nice just like women do today.

In Proverbs 31 we see an incredibly strong and amazing woman. We all look up to her; We aspire to be like her.

In verse 22, we see that this woman does not neglect her appearance, but instead adorns herself in fine, beautiful clothing.

“She makes herself coverings of tapestry and her clothing is silk and purple.”

Silk and purple were fine materials.

In my last post about modesty, we discussed the message our clothing can send. The message the Proverbs 31 woman was sending was that she was a daughter of the Most High King. She looked good.

Isaiah 61:10 tells us that brides beautified themselves with jewelry. “…as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

A bride wants to look gorgeous for her groom on the wedding day and that’s a good thing. The desire to beautify oneself doesn’t have to die as soon as a couple ties the knot. Attraction is a big part of a healthy marriage. So often, men and women make an effort to look nice before marriage. Then once a partner is secured, give up.

In Ezekiel 16, there is description of how Yahweh cared for and loved Israel. He gave His bride beautiful things.

“I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. …” Ezekiel 16:10-12

It’s clear that biblical women were somewhat similar to modern women, accessorizing and beautifying themselves. But what about the verses that seem to condemn concern for outward appearance? Proverbs 31:30 and Timothy 2, for example. The scripture isn’t contradicting itself. There must be balance.

Going back to the Proverbs 31 wife, it says she clothed herself in beautiful silks but also in “strength and honor”. She made lovely things, but she also reached out to the poor. She was kind, wise, hardworking, and God-fearing.

Being beautiful is pointless and vain if it is all you aim to be. Back in Ezekiel 16, Israel became prideful about her beauty and her possessions. She trusted in them and loved them more than Yahweh. Pride and vanity led her to ruin.

As humans we judge the outward appearance. We say “she beautifies herself, therefore she is vain.” But God sees the inward. The Proverbs 31 wife is beautiful and elegant yes, but she is also compassionate and merciful.

Outward beauty is not bad. The women of the Bible did not neglect their appearance. The Proverbs 31 wife didn’t clothe herself with scraps and leftovers to prove that she was humble. She dressed like royalty because she was royalty.

We are daughters of the King.

Modesty and Your Lust Problem: Thoughts on Modesty

Modesty is somewhat elusive. God doesn’t really mention it, and the apostles barely touch on it. And yet, in churches and fellowships, modesty is one of the most mentioned issues in regard to women. I’d like to share some thoughts on the subject.

1st Thought.

What does the Bible actually say about modesty? There are clues about nakedness and shame, such as Adam and Eve’s fig leaves and Isaiah 47. But there isn’t an outline in Torah, so everyone is left making up their own rules.

In Tim 2:9-10 it reads “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”

The word modest, in regard to apparel, Paul define’s as “with propriety and moderation”. Also “proper for a woman professing godliness, with good works”.

Paul defines modesty as moderate clothing that isn’t outrageous or flashy, but respectable.

But what kind of clothes are moderate and respectable? It’s hard to say because clothing that was considered respectable just a two hundred years ago were big skirts with skirts underneath and long sleeves. Who knows what people in Paul’s day thought was respectable.

2nd Thought:

Some say modesty isn’t cultural but it is. The reason mentioned above is proof. Even maxi skirts and long sleeve button downs would have been considered underclothes in America long ago. But now those same pieces are considered a whole outfit by some of the most conservative of people. Why? Culture. We don’t live in the culture Yahshua lived in and we can’t pretend we do. We think about modesty from our culturally defined standards even if we are “more modest” than most people. We do the best we can.

So what is considered a decent and respectable outfit today?

What do you think?

3rd Thought :

Modesty is taught as cause and effect. If you don’t cover your figure then men will lust after you. But what does Yahshua say?

If you have a problem, it’s better to cut out your own eye. Yahshua didn’t point fingers.

No other sin do we coddle the weakness like we do lust. If someone has a weakness for the thrill she gets from stealing, we don’t say “well what did you expect? That man had money hanging out of his pocket.”

Avoiding sin is always going to be difficult no matter what the weakness is. Sin is tempting and alluring. But it is in the hearts of humans. We can’t blame others for our own sin. If you’re lusting after someone who is trying to dress respectably, you’d just as soon lust after someone who is dressing seductively. The problem isn’t the clothing, it’s the heart of the individual.

Fourth Thought:

Women need to take responsibility, too. We live in a culture that force feeds us sex pretty much from birth. We are objectified by mainstream media and are told that we should wear revealing and sensual clothing. We then blame men for struggling with lust when we choose clothing designed to objectify us. It doesn’t make sense.

However, I don’t think modesty is a list of pieces you can and can’t wear. Some questions to ask, when choosing an outfit could be: What does this outfit as a whole say about who I am? Is this proper for a woman professing godliness? Does this outfit reflect the respect I have for myself?

Let’s choose clothing that sends a message of strength, decency, and honor. Let’s choose clothes the aren’t made to objectify us.

Final Thoughts

Lust is a problem for men and women. Generally, the issues is not the clothing, but the heart of the individuals.

Timothy 2 encourages women to dress moderately. How each family interprets that is inevitably going to be different. But we can’t blame a lusting problem on someone who interprets the standard differently. We are accountable for our own actions, from what we choose to wear to what we think about.



p.s. stay tuned for next week’s post: Beauty vs. Vanity.

Why Young People are Leaving the Messianic Faith

We are a unique generation. We are the first generation to be born into the Messianic/Hebraic Roots faith. Many of us having no background or understanding of Christmas, Easter or any other norm of Christianity. We were raised following the commandments. We can quote Torah and debunk the misconception about the law being nailed to the cross. We know all the food commandments and can quickly explain the sheet of unclean entrées in Peter’s dream. We know our Bibles.

But there is a dilemma. There’s a problem. A large number of young people are leaving the Messianic/Hebraic way. Almost every young person I know can name more than a few friends who have walked away. Why are teenagers who grow up immersed in the Bible suddenly leaving as soon as they turn 18?

1. We grew up watching our congregations split multiple times over issues that shouldn’t be issues. As teenagers we saw it first hand. We finally met friends who believed like us— or so we thought. Slowly but surely little things came out: name pronunciation, head-covers, skirts, pants, Equinox, Aviv Barley, pastor or no pastor. Gone were the words “Love thy neighborhood as thyself”. The nasty emails began coming in. Name calling, accusations and finally the split. This was our world. Our friendships ended because of a Hebrew letter.

2. Shunning and belittling are common in this way. I’ve experienced a few and have heard many stories of shunning. If someone doesn’t believe like you, the best way to show your righteousness is by not allowing your children to talk to their children. That way, your family won’t become tainted. One girl I know, recalls a time she was belittled because she chose to wear a denim skirt and a tee shirt instead of a long sleeved dress. Shunning wasn’t uncommon for a lot of us and most of the time it wasn’t over a Torah defined sin. This, obviously, does not coincide with the biblical love our parents told us about.

3. My third reason is perhaps the biggest reason young people are questioning their faith. The focus of so many Messianic families is only keeping and knowing the laws. There is no mention of the heart of the letter. We are taught to follow blindly like robots. Keep the Sabbath. Celebrate the festivals. Don’t eat pork. We know exactly what to do, and probably say: “Because it’s in the Bible”.

But God didn’t just write out a list of do’s and don’ts for us to randomly obey. To follow blindly is to be immature and legalistic, like the Pharisees.

Small children follow their parents blindly. They are legalistic. Comfort comes from knowing the boundaries. If Mom says “you have to eat your vegetables” then they have to eat them. As a child grows they begin to understand why the rules are in place.

As spiritually immature children of God, we are legalistic. If some one isn’t following the law exactly how we would, we get upset. We tattle and tell on them. They are wrong.

A child of God who is maturing seeks to understand the heart of the Torah that Yahshua explains. The letter of the law will always be valid, but when you understand the reason WHY you were told to eat your veggies, you can then apply that principle to other areas of life. You can practice other healthy habits: eating vegetables, exercising, and drinking plenty of water.

But so many of us haven’t been taught the heart behind the rules. All we know is the dos and don’ts and when no one is there to enforce them, we stray.

But now, it’s up to us.

We are no longer under the headship of our parents. The Bible says there is no excuse. It’s up to us to wade through the mess of Messianic and find the true love and heart that God intended. We cannot be immature and follow blindly and we cannot simply throw the baby out with the bath water. It’s up to this generation to create a community of love and strength in Yahweh and in each other. I’ve already seen so many young people rising to the occasion. It’s up to us to foster a place of hope and heart for our children.


Guest Devotion by Olivia Mancini – In the Quiet

In the secret place, He is God. In moments of weakness, in chaos, in trials and tribulations, He is God. No matter where I go He is there. I cannot hide from His presence.

In Psalms 139 we see how David could not hide from God. He recognized that God could see him no matter where he was, and no matter how far he would run, God would find him.

1) You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

2) You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3) You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

4) Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

5) You hem me in behind and before,and you lay your hand upon me.

6 ) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain

7) Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

8) If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9) If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10) Your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

11) If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

13) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15) My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16) Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

17) How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

18) Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.

19) If only you, God, would slay the wicked!Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!

20) They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.

21) Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?

22) I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

23) Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24) See me if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I love to spend quiet time with my King. As I am about to walk through motherhood with my first born, I think about how I am going to make time for “quiet time”. It is important as mammas and wives to have our quiet time with the King. He is the One who sustains us and can change the entire atmosphere in your homes.

If we wake up in the morning before our kiddos wake up, we can invite the Holy Spirit to come and change the atmosphere of the home. We can spend the morning in the word and in prayer. This will not only change your mood but it will change your kiddos mood as well.

Your husband needs you to be strong. He needs a prayer warrior behind him, cheering him forward, praying for his mind. I often pray for my husband. As he goes to work each day I pray he has strength, peace, and joy. I pray that God protects his mind, his body, and his soul. I often pray for my daughter as well. It is important to pray for our husbands because they are the leaders of our home, and our spiritual leaders. They need to be covered in prayer continually!

The Lord is faithful and just. I trust Him with my husband and my daughter because He has never failed me.

So take your quiet time seriously. Remember to pray for your husband and your children daily. The Lord should be a part of our everyday routine! He is the most important part of our day! Remember your life is in His hands, and He cares for you! Amen.

– Olivia Mancini

Is it Insecurity or Vanity?

It’s like a never ending staircase.

Well, more like a never ending tunnel. You get tunnel vision.

One thing becomes two things which become five and ten and twenty different things that are wrong with my face and I haven’t even picked out an outfit or done my hair yet.

Gosh, she’s beautiful doesn’t she know that? Of course she does but that’s not the problem.

The problem is thirst. I can’t be quenched because I won’t drink. I consume their compliments. I love the way they look at me. It’s not an insecurity, it’s an addiction. And, baby, I’m addicted to me.

Who is that girl? Because she’s certainly not me, not the me I wake up with, anyway. She’s the one I want to be. I’d like to be her. I love her! She’s my mask and my muse. My obsession is her. Her little zit, her tiny freckle. Her face is a painting to be criticized and critiqued. She’s my masterpiece with her depth and precision.

But really, I’m a puddle. I’m shallow and that mucky, puddle water swells up inside of me. It makes me puffed, proud, and powdered. But really, I’m exhausted. I have the black night sky under my eyes. And really, my eyes have lost tears because my hair was frizzy. Because I couldn’t get brush strokes right. Because I smudged the painting.

Oh lord, has it gotten this bad? I was doing so good last week! I could blame society. The media led me astray. But really, as always, It’s me. Me me me.

You know, I’m many things. I’m creative. I’m empathetic. I like to think I’m humorous and fun. But really, I’m also insecure…vain, really. And I’m ashamed of it. And I wrestle with it from time to time.

I think it’s fun to try on nice clothes and do my hair. It’s fun and it’s something healthy girls love to do. That’s all fine. But sometimes I go too far and I know other girls do, as well. I hate myself because I don’t look just right. I hate myself because of a tiny pudge under my shirt. I call it insecurity but really, it’s vanity.

It’s hard to get away from because once you’re brain starts thinking in a pattern, it’s difficult to change it.

I wish I could say, “I’m not insecure anymore”. But thats not true. I still struggle with it and maybe you do too.

I can’t offer you advice yet, but I can say: “I know what it’s like”.

It’s cheesy but, I’m beautiful and so are you.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

“I can do all things through Yahshua who strengthens me.”


Being Vulnerable in Marriage

Recently, a friend of mine asked me what the hardest thing about going from single to married was. I gave her my answer, but thinking about it again, I changed my mind. The hardest part about going from single to married, for me, was learning to be vulnerable. In fact, I’m still having to actively work on it.

I think one of the reasons vulnerability is so hard is because when you’re first married, you’re still trying hard to impress. I put my best face forward and showed off my fun, creative, and totally lovable side. But if you live with someone long enough, the ugly, messed up side will rear its head a some point. The thing about marriage is, you’re not just living with someone. You’re not just roommates with benefits. Being married is sharing everything, including you’re imperfections. That’s pretty scary.

When I was single, I had an unhealthy way of dealing with negative emotions. I hid in my bedroom and blasted music or did anything to just be by myself and reflect on my feelings. When I married, I brought that practice with me. What I didn’t realize, though, was that by locking myself in the bathroom to cry, I was shutting my husband out. I pushed him away because I was afraid he’d think I was silly or weak.

It’s so easy to shut our partners out our problems because we are afraid to let them see the ugly; maybe we just don’t know where to start or how to say it. But God put our spouses in our lives for a reason. Not surprisingly, my husbands strengths are my weaknesses. The first time I completely bore all of my soul to my husband, I couldn’t believe the wisdom and courage that he responded with. What I was struggling with, he was able to reassure me and give me confidence. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. It was amazing and humbling and yet it’s still terrifying.

Being vulnerable is hard because it means being completely and totally honest. And honestly, honesty sucks. It’s offensive sometimes, sometimes it hurts, sometimes it’s humiliating.  In the long run, being able to be honest with your partner about your struggles and imperfections will strengthen your relationship. So be honest with your partner. Come clean and be vulnerable. Yahweh gave you your spouse for a good reason.