"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."

— Proverbs 27:6

Dear Tumblr Users,

Contrary to popular Tumblr culture, it is unwise to aimlessly vent about your problems on your blog. It is not healthy to type up complains or rants with the sole purpose to vent. Instead, seek out comfort and help of friends (even ones you’ve met on Tumblr) and talk about it. Use your blog as a public platform to post what you believe is beneficial, but do not use it as a punching bag to talk about people or problems in your life. Doing so will make you more angry, sad, bitter, or whatever you are feeling. You are just typing words into thin air because there is no directed purpose for those words (especially if you put a “read more”). Instead, seek wise counsel to find solutions to your problems, or find that listening ear to comfort you. It’s for your personal best, and I truly believe it will help you overcome the issues you are facing.

"When virtue tarries, evil smiles."

My eyes saw fire, my heart said escape.

"As the selfish forget what is Sacred, the humble forget themselves."

— The Devil Wears Prada, Danger: Wildman

"The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

Hebrews 4:12-13

On Modesty.

Today, there are many women who are focused on the topic of what they can and cannot wear and how men should react to their decisions in these areas. Understandably, a lot of harm has been done by both men and women alike. The focus has become outward and not inward. Consequentially, the definition of modesty has become skewed. To help clear up this confusion, I want to speak to my Christian brothers and sisters about what modesty is and what it isn’t. Let’s begin.

Modesty is not:

  1. Wearing specific clothing.
  2. Making sure you do not look attractive.
  3. An outward issue that helps other people.
  4. Only for women.

Modesty is:

  1. A heart not focused on materialistic value
  2. Practicing frugality and humility to benefit others
  3. Beauty on the inside that flows outward
  4. Being an example of what is important in life

You see, what is in the heart will surface in our actions. We serve a God that judges the heart, not the actions. He looks at our intentions because ultimately that is what will produce good or evil actions. Therefore, when it comes to modesty, He is not judging your clothing and if your belly button sticks out. He is searching your heart. 

What is in your heart? 

Having said that, what is in your heart? Men, are you blaming women for your decision to lust? If you are, you are excusing yourself from your responsibility to respect God’s daughters. Women, are you excusing yourselves from your responsibility to dress appropriately? If you are, you are refusing to respect the body that God has given you. 

Having said that, let’s reverse the questions. Men, are you excusing yourselves from your responsibility to respect the body God has given you? Women, are you blaming men for your decision to lust? These questions are not gender specific! God does not judge a man or a woman differently. He is impartial to gender. 

What about the body?
You see, we all have the same responsibility when it comes to our bodies. When God created humanity, he designed our bodies to be exciting and powerful, and this demands respect. Any able-bodied man and woman understands that temptation is stalking daily. It is never sleeping.

Because I am a man, I will speak to the men regarding sexual temptation. Yes, when a woman dresses inappropriately temptation is increased. This is just simple fact and every man knows the results of this. However, this does not mean the woman is to blame for the man staring a second too long or looking back for a second glance. This is entirely the man’s fault. Instead of focusing on her outer appearance, men need to pray for and love these women as God’s daughters, and nothing less. Even if a woman is completely naked, she is still not an object or a temptation. She is still a human being created in the image of God! You have no right to blame her for your desecration of God’s creation. 

Now Christian ladies, as your brother, please allow me to speak to you. I’m about to tell you something you’ve heard a million times, but I promise you this will end differently. Your body is powerful. When it is unveiled, a man’s eyes are drawn, his mind is excited, and his body is awakened. With all reverence for beauty and the way God has made you, your body is reserved for your husband and his eyes only. Even if you already have sexual experience outside of marriage (whether you were willing or not), your body is still reserved for your husband. So when your body is disrespected by anyone, you are not “damaged goods” or “seconds” for anybody. In fact, your modesty and purity are completely separate from your sexual past and the way you dress!To my knowledge, Scripture has never equated purity to sexuality. It has always been about the heart and its sinful condition in the sight of God! Having said that, please be encouraged to know that you can continue respecting your body and demanding respect from everyone else, because you are worthy of respect, honor, and praise in the sight of Christ, who has cleansed you. Just never forget that you must respect the body God has given you, just in the same way men must respect their own bodies as well. 

So what does Scripture have to say about modesty?

Ladies, God has revealed to you in His word that you must not be focused on outward appearances, but that you must be focused on doing the will of God. 

Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” - 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

So this is what Scripture is saying: You are more than the way you look and dress! Modesty is not outward; it is internal. If you lack modesty, you will be focused on your outside appearance, and not on the inward development of your character as you learn from the leadership of Christ! Modesty is not found in fancy hair, expensive jewelry, or clothing. It is found in your heart that is transformed by Christ!

What’s the point? 

Having said all of this, I want to make one point clear. If you could walk away after reading any of this, what I’m about to say is all I could ever want you to leave with. Ladies and gentlemen, your body is not your own, it is God’s! As Christians, we have absolutely no right to do with our bodies as we please. Instead, we obey what Scripture has commanded:

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:1-2

Don’t focus on what the world has told you about men or women. Women are not objects and men are not dogs! Instead, my brothers and sisters, remember that Christ has bought us with His own blood, and we have committed our entire lives to Him. That means we are to honour God with the way we dress, talk, act, live, and breathe. With whatever we do, we are to strive to ensure our actions are good, acceptable, and perfect in the sight of God. Our bodies are not our own, they were bought with a price and are now God’s!

So as you now move on to continue with your daily life, please remember that we are family. As brothers and sisters, we need to help each other in our walks with Christ by forgiving and looking past the shortcomings of one other and being full of encouragement and support! We are all the Body of Christ, and I pray that we will continue to be united until the glorious return of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. 

With great love, 

Samuel Assaf

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

— Isaiah 5:20

"The Gospel is not just helpful when you die; it’s helpful until you die. Living from your identity beats living for it."

— Mark Driscoll

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

— Proverbs 18:24

"All truth and no love is brutality.
All love and no truth is hypocrisy."

— James Mcdonald

Bitter, Bitter, Bitter.

Some of us have very good reasons to be bitter. There are awful things that have been done to us, and we cannot seem to let it go. Many of you following me have been victims of racism, sexual abuse, deception, bullying, neglect, and a myriad of other things.

But there’s a catch.

Bitterness is an emotional Voodoo doll. You pain yourself over and over with different thoughts about vengeance, altered reenactments, and ill-meant wishes for your offender. 

Let me explain something to you: Bitterness is harming no one but yourself. In fact, by refusing to forgive those who do evil from you, you are being demonic. BItterness is so evil and so profound, that James, the brother of Jesus, calls it wisdom from Satan.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” - James 3:13-16

When someone wrongs us, we can tend to think “I did not deserve that! I deserve to be treated well, I deserve this, I deserve that!” As image bearers of God, we understand this conviction. There is nothing wrong in knowing how human beings deserve to be treated. However, when you start to follow that simple truth with: “They took what is valuable to me! This person deserves to die. I hope terrible suffering comes onto him/her, because they wronged me! I hope their heart shatters.” 

That’s bitterness. Someone wrongs you, and you just watch their every step, filling your heart with more and more bitterness. Everything they succeed in, you gnash your teeth at. Everything they fail in, you rejoice in and have an emotional banquet with yourself. When your focus goes from the will of God and onto yourself and how you can commit harm for harm, you are being tempted and coerced by evil. It’s completely selfish and only causes evil.

James then continues: 

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” - James 3:17-18

Every single one of these qualities crushes bitterness. And yet, if there is anyone in this entire existence that deserves to be bitter, it’s God. He comes to be tortured, mocked, beaten, rejected, and crucified, offering Himself as payment for our own sins, and we do the complete opposite of that act of love. He cries out “Father, forgive them! They don’t know what they are doing!” and we cry to that same Father “You better punish them! Look at what they have done to me!” 

God forgives us, and we withhold forgiveness from the very people that we are supposed to be giving our lives to. And yes, we might have extremely good reasons for being bitter. God sure does. Look at what we have done to His creation and to ourselves. But He loves you anyway and died for you. 

So next time you’re angry with someone, no matter if it’s been years or minutes, stop and ask yourself “Am I being forgiving just as God forgave me?” 

Take these moments and reflect on those who have done evil to you, and then forgive them. Pray for them. Tell them that you love them. Ask how you can serve them. Because no matter how many times we slap Jesus in the face with our sin and wicked doings, He keeps on turning the other cheek. Maybe it’s about time we follow His footsteps.

I am praying for you all. I am always here to listen to what you are going through.

God bless and much love

Samuel Assaf

Am I Saved?

Anonymous asked: What are some passages of scripture to help someone with a doubtful heart? I’m really struggling with fact of am I saved or is God even real. I don’t even know where to look in the Bible please help.

I said:

Thanks so much for your question! I really hope and pray that I can help you discover who you are and help you find answers to the challenges you are facing.

First of all, let me say this: Struggling with the belief of salvation is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a very good checkpoint where we can reflect on ourselves and our character and see where we need Christ’s help to renew the broken parts of our lives.

Having said that, let me define salvation for you. Salvation is believing that Jesus Christ, being God, came and died for your sin, resurrecting after his death so that you could walk in newness of life with Him. All you must do to receive his salvation is believe that He is God and He died for you. If you truly believe that, you will follow Him.

Now, what can happen sometimes is that we start to find other things in life that we deem as valuable, and then we soon forget about God. Jesus Christ becomes a concept or fact, rather than a vibrant, living relationship.

Now, I will show you some Scripture:

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3-11 (NLT)

In this particular passage, Peter is addressing people who truly believe in Jesus (v.1). So this applies to anyone who truly thinks they are Christian. Here is what I want you to focus on: Peter mentions seven things one should add to their faith for growth and maturity (v. 5-7). Doing or not doing these things does not make you saved or condemned, but if you truly believe in Jesus, these 7 things will stop you from becoming fruitless and forgetting that you are saved. So read this over and over and think about how you can improve in all of those areas, and then pray to God to give you strength. If you lack moral excellence, ask God to give you strength to rid yourself of sin and find ways to fight those battles. If you lack knowledge, commit to reading your Bible, join a Bible study, or get someone to hold you accountable or perhaps find a study partner. If you lack Godliness, commit yourself to prayer and fasting and spend time with God so that you can be refreshed and refocused on who He is.

Now that we have talked about that, I want to show you what it looks like to be saved:

“I am thetrue vine, and my Father isthe vinedresser.Every branch in me that does not bear fruithe takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,that it may bear more fruit.Alreadyyou are cleanbecause of the word that I have spoken to you.Abidein me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine;you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is thatbears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in mehe is thrown away like a branch and withers;and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.Ifyou abide in me, and my words abide in you,ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.By this my Father is glorified, that youbear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.As the Father has loved me,so have I loved you. Abide in my love.10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just asI have keptmy Father’s commandments and abide in his love.11 These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” – John 15:1-11

So I want to make something very clear now. If you are saved, you will not be perfect. We all need to be pruned. We have times in our walk when we get distracted by things of this world, and then we begin to wither and die. Every Christian has been there.

Having made that clear, I want you to ask yourself “Do I really love Jesus? Do I want to obey what He commands because I love Him?” You see, Jesus told His disciples in this passage that they would obey His commands if they love Him. If they do not love Him, they won’t obey His commands. This doesn’t mean you will be perfect. Jesus knew they were not perfect, after all, Peter denied Him three times and everyone abandoned Him at the time of His arrest (Mark 14).

Now, in verse 8 Jesus told them to prove they are His disciples by bearing much fruit. This does not mean that they needed to prove to God that they are His disciples (v. 5 says they can’t). What it does mean is that we can see for ourselves if we are truly His disciples. If you want to know if you are a Christian or not, study this passage and ask yourself these questions afterwards:

1. Do I love Jesus?
2. What is my deepest desire?
3. Is my deepest desire to follow and serve Jesus, or serve myself and my desires?
4. Have I been trying to fix myself for Jesus or have I been asking Jesus to help me grow closer to Him?

After you answer those questions, I am sure that you will be certain on whether or not you are saved. After all, who can love Jesus and not be saved? If you love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will follow Him.

Bear in mind this one thing: Jesus did not say what He did in John 15 in order to criticize, terrify, or discourage His disciples. He said in verse 11: “These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” Jesus does not want you to be struggling and heart shattered. He wants you to be full of joy. That is why He told His disciples to abide in Him and love Him and bear fruit in order to show that they are truly children of God. Once you know who you are in Christ, you will have joy. But once you forget and do not apply the 7 pillars that Peter talked about, you will become “shortsighted and blind, forgetting that you have been cleansed from your past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)

I hope all of this has helped! I want to suggest to you a few resources. I want you to get 2 books: Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll. Crazy Love is about what truly loving and believing in Christ is all about, and Who Do You Think You Are is a study on Ephesians about your identity and who Christ has made you to be. Please get both of those books! Figuring out where you stand with Christ is worth the 20-30 dollars that you would spend on something else.

Mark Driscoll did a sermon series based on his book that you can find here. You can watch one or two a week until you get through the whole thing. I think it would be very beneficial for you!

Also, I just finished watching a sermon by Francis Chan on being “Lukewarm.” I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that term, but it basically means that you haven’t truly made a decision to follow Christ and you’re just sitting on the fence about it. The sermon was very challenging and I think it would be very beneficial for you to work through it. You can find the video here.

I hope that my words will help you work through all of this. Please take advantage of the resources I have offered. Invest your time into discovering where you stand with God! Nothing else is more important. Cancel social events with friends. Quit your job if you need to! This is far more important than anything in this world. Simply try your very hardest to work and wrestle through this fatal question: “Am I really saved?”

If you have any more questions or anything you want to explain or comment on, please let me know! I am always here to help or simply listen. You are in my prayers.

God bless and much love,

Samuel Assaf

I think a lot of high-school and potential/current post-secondary students need to read this. Do the math.

Anonymous said: So this is more of a morals question. My best friend, E, is really missing her sister who went out of state for college. E is wanting to spend a weekend visiting her, but since she lives in a dorm E can’t stay with her. However her sister has a fiancee up there. He lives on his own, and he has a spare room that he said E can use for a weekend to visit her sister. Do you think it would be wrong for her to stay with her future brother in law for a weekend, to be continued

since she will be spending little time actually at his apartment. They are all great christians, and he would never do anything to hurt his future wife. Would it still be wrong for her to stay there?

I said:

Thanks for the question! I understand that this is not a black and white issue.

If no “technical” sin happens in her staying there, then no it would not be wrong. However, we must not simply live in moral excellence, but also in wisdom. So E must ask herself several questions:

  1. Would this damage my reputation?
  2. How do I personally feel about this decision?
  3. Would I be setting a good example?
  4. Would I be compromising any of my convictions in making this decision?
  5. Is there a possibility to cause anyone else to stumble?

I know that some Christians would see a huge problem in a woman staying over a man’s house alone. I also know other Christians who would see no problem at all. However, E must find out where she stands, and be certain in her conviction through seeking counsel, studying Scripture, and going to God in humble, open-minded prayer.

Be sure of this:

“But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.Romans 14:23

If you make a decision and you have doubts about it (MORALLY SPEAKING!!), then you would be sinning because you’re betraying your conscience in the sight of God.

Also, I know a lot of people try to justify their actions by saying “The Bible doesn’t say anything about this topic.” Or “This Christian said I could do it.” But in the end it’s not about what you can justify. It’s about your heart being laid bare before the Word of God and the sight of the Father.

 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” – James 4:17

I hope all of this helps a little bit! I will pray that E will work through this with sincere prayer and submission to the conviction of the Spirit.

God bless and much love!

Samuel Assaf