Author Archive for: Ashley Cottrell

About Ashley Cottrell

Interested in reading more of her work? Check out her blog: www.ashleyamor.com With a B.A in English, Ashley Cottrell has written blogs for Virginia Bride Magazine, Bronze Mag, and has been a contributing writer for numerous other digital entities. Although a Virginia-native, Ashley resides in Puerto Rico fulfilling her passion as a freelance writer. She aims to use her gift of writing to inspire others and share the gospel of Christ. When she's not writing, you can find her nose-deep in a game of chess, Salsa dancing, or making homemade skin care products.
  • I always wondered about the backstory of the woman who was caught in adultery as told in John Chapter 8.  I wondered what led to the situation: Did her husband mistreat her? Was she going through depression? Was she pressured to marry someone she didn’t love and got caught with the man she really did […]

    Infidelity in Your Relationship With Christ?

    I always wondered about the backstory of the woman who was caught in adultery as told in John Chapter 8. 

    I wondered what led to the situation: Did her husband mistreat her? Was she going through depression? Was she pressured to marry someone she didn’t love and got caught with the man she really did love? Where was the man she was with when the Pharisees caught her? What were the circumstances?

    The Pharisees were prepared to stone the woman to death and, by the grace of God, her life was spared. They brought her to Jesus, who wisely insisted that anyone who is without sin should cast the first stone at her.  

    But that’s not what stood out to me at that moment. Instead, it was what He said to her after everyone left: 

    “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” [John 8:11]

    Jesus made it known that He didn’t condemn the woman because His presence alone already convicts. And, while knowing her actions, His only instruction was to not repeat the mistake. 

    Here’s my take on it: the woman caught in adultery is a representation of us. 

    (Wait, sis, I know what you’re probably thinking, so hear me out first!)

    By “us,” I mean believers–the body of Christ. The truth is, we’ve all been unfaithful in our relationship with God at some point in time. Have you ever noticed that adultery is used as a common theme and analogy throughout the Bible? 

    Jeremiah 3:20

    Ezekiel 16:32

    Hosea 3:3

    Matthew 4:28   

    It’s easy to set ourselves apart from the “adulterous” Israelites back in Biblical times who worshipped idols and carved images, but that’s what was considered spiritual adultery back then. In modern days, we’re still committing the same act–putting our worship, faith, and time in something or someone else other than God–just with “new” idols: 

    Social Media (spending hours upon hours on it daily, and no time with God)

    Relationships (impressing friends or boyfriends, putting what they say before what God says) 

    Music (listening to and memorizing lyrics, chanting them over our lives and situations more or in place of biblical scripture)

    Celebrities (worshipping everything they do, investing in their brands, and imitating their appearance, personality, and views instead of Christ’s views) 

    We know it’s wrong, and yet, we do it without even realizing it. Thinking back to the Garden of Eden, Eve knew eating from that particular tree was forbidden, but her mind was convinced otherwise, after a seemingly harmless conversation with a little garden snake (beware the counsel you keep), that the mistake didn’t hit her until she, too, was caught in the act. 

    Infidelity simply means unfaithfulness. Unfaithfulness is equivalent to dishonesty, betrayal, failure to keep a promise, being untrustworthy, lacking belief, and being disloyal. 

    We see intolerance of disloyalty even in the corporate world, where many companies forbid their employees from simultaneously working for a competing business and, if caught in the act, can be grounds for termination and possible suing in court.   

    How would you feel if someone betrayed your trust? If the person you loved and sacrificed for suddenly left you for someone else or denied you?

    Jesus warned Peter that he’d in fact deny Him, three times:

    “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 

    [Matthew 26:34] 

    Now remember, Peter was one of the first disciples, the first to recognize Jesus as Christ our Lord, literally Jesus’ right-hand man. He was so sure that he’d never deny, defy, or disown Jesus. . .until he did [Matthew 26:70-75]. 

    Fortunately, just as for the woman caught in adultery and as for Peter, the Lord gives us a chance to redeem ourselves. Repentance is not only the gift of God’s forgiveness, but also forgiveness of ourselves. Sometimes life happens, and we find ourselves in unspeakable situations, positions, and places in which we feel ashamed, disgusted, and unworthy. 

    God knows His children. He knows their thoughts, their reasons, and their hearts. And while infidelity isn’t condoned, it is forgiven. Through Christ, we have the ability to renew our vows with God, reconnect, and rebuild our relationship with Him. He’s always there, waiting for us to come back to Him and work it out.  

    Read More
  • I always wondered about the backstory of the woman who was caught in adultery as told in John Chapter 8.  I wondered what led to the situation: Did her husband mistreat her? Was she going through depression? Was she pressured to marry someone she didn’t love and got caught with the man she really did […]

    Infidelity in Your Relationship With Christ?

    I always wondered about the backstory of the woman who was caught in adultery as told in John Chapter 8. 

    I wondered what led to the situation: Did her husband mistreat her? Was she going through depression? Was she pressured to marry someone she didn’t love and got caught with the man she really did love? Where was the man she was with when the Pharisees caught her? What were the circumstances?

    The Pharisees were prepared to stone the woman to death and, by the grace of God, her life was spared. They brought her to Jesus, who wisely insisted that anyone who is without sin should cast the first stone at her.  

    But that’s not what stood out to me at that moment. Instead, it was what He said to her after everyone left: 

    “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” [John 8:11]

    Jesus made it known that He didn’t condemn the woman because His presence alone already convicts. And, while knowing her actions, His only instruction was to not repeat the mistake. 

    Here’s my take on it: the woman caught in adultery is a representation of us. 

    (Wait, sis, I know what you’re probably thinking, so hear me out first!)

    By “us,” I mean believers–the body of Christ. The truth is, we’ve all been unfaithful in our relationship with God at some point in time. Have you ever noticed that adultery is used as a common theme and analogy throughout the Bible? 

    Jeremiah 3:20

    Ezekiel 16:32

    Hosea 3:3

    Matthew 4:28   

    It’s easy to set ourselves apart from the “adulterous” Israelites back in Biblical times who worshipped idols and carved images, but that’s what was considered spiritual adultery back then. In modern days, we’re still committing the same act–putting our worship, faith, and time in something or someone else other than God–just with “new” idols: 

    Social Media (spending hours upon hours on it daily, and no time with God)

    Relationships (impressing friends or boyfriends, putting what they say before what God says) 

    Music (listening to and memorizing lyrics, chanting them over our lives and situations more or in place of biblical scripture)

    Celebrities (worshipping everything they do, investing in their brands, and imitating their appearance, personality, and views instead of Christ’s views) 

    We know it’s wrong, and yet, we do it without even realizing it. Thinking back to the Garden of Eden, Eve knew eating from that particular tree was forbidden, but her mind was convinced otherwise, after a seemingly harmless conversation with a little garden snake (beware the counsel you keep), that the mistake didn’t hit her until she, too, was caught in the act. 

    Infidelity simply means unfaithfulness. Unfaithfulness is equivalent to dishonesty, betrayal, failure to keep a promise, being untrustworthy, lacking belief, and being disloyal. 

    We see intolerance of disloyalty even in the corporate world, where many companies forbid their employees from simultaneously working for a competing business and, if caught in the act, can be grounds for termination and possible suing in court.   

    How would you feel if someone betrayed your trust? If the person you loved and sacrificed for suddenly left you for someone else or denied you?

    Jesus warned Peter that he’d in fact deny Him, three times:

    “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 

    [Matthew 26:34] 

    Now remember, Peter was one of the first disciples, the first to recognize Jesus as Christ our Lord, literally Jesus’ right-hand man. He was so sure that he’d never deny, defy, or disown Jesus. . .until he did [Matthew 26:70-75]. 

    Fortunately, just as for the woman caught in adultery and as for Peter, the Lord gives us a chance to redeem ourselves. Repentance is not only the gift of God’s forgiveness, but also forgiveness of ourselves. Sometimes life happens, and we find ourselves in unspeakable situations, positions, and places in which we feel ashamed, disgusted, and unworthy. 

    God knows His children. He knows their thoughts, their reasons, and their hearts. And while infidelity isn’t condoned, it is forgiven. Through Christ, we have the ability to renew our vows with God, reconnect, and rebuild our relationship with Him. He’s always there, waiting for us to come back to Him and work it out.  

    Read More
  • A New Believer’s Guide Welcome to the family! Yes, that’s how we greet anyone who accepts Jesus Christ into their life. You’re now a member of God’s family, saved by grace through faith, and part of the body of Christ! It’s a celebration. This new life and journey isn’t always easy, but definitely worth it. […]

    I Just Got Saved, Now What?- A New Believer’s Resource Guide

    A New Believer’s Guide

    Welcome to the family!
    Yes, that’s how we greet anyone who accepts Jesus Christ into their life. You’re now a member of God’s family, saved by grace through faith, and part of the body of Christ! It’s a celebration. This new life and journey isn’t always easy, but definitely worth it. You’ll still deal with life’s curveballs, but you can rely on the strength of Christ to help you handle anything that comes your way (Philippians 4:13). God takes care of His children, and YOU, daughter, can boldly call Him “Father.” What a wonderful feeling.
    Deciding to give your life to Christ is the best decision you could have ever made but we understand that it can be a challenging transition. Many people come to God alone, and have no idea where to start. Where is the starter-pack?! (ha ha).
    To start this faithful journey in Christ, the first thing you should do is get connected with other believers and join a bible-based church and/or ministry. If you’re in college, check out some of the college-ministries on or near your campus. Ask around or search online for churches in your city. If you’re in a remote area, see if there are small-group Bible Studies or Christian-based meetup groups where you can occasionally meet and hangout with like-minded individuals.
    Also, get a Bible in a version you can read and easily understand. Lifeway Christian Bookstore has plenty, as well as other books, resources, and gifts. If you have a smartphone, you can also download the Bible app by YouVersion. It comes with multiple versions and languages, and has reading plans, daily scriptures, and more.
    Okay, so now that you’ve got those basics, it’s time to talk about helpful resources that can assist in your everyday lifestyle. Sometimes weekly church services and Bible studies aren’t enough if we have busy schedules or deal with stressful factors that can hinder our faith. We’re human beings, and some of us struggle with things that were part of our old lifestyle before Christ. Without going into too much detail, we all could use daily inspiration, motivation, mentors, and more to help us stay focused on God, our calling, and our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
    Below is a list of music, shows, videos, blogs, website, and more that support and encourage a godly lifestyle:

     

    YOUTUBERS & VIDEO SERMONS

    Priscilla Shyrer’s “The Chat” Talk Show Interviews
    She’s a Christian actress (from the movie War Room), author, and evangelist that hosts weekly interviews on this YouTube-based talk show. Guests on her show range from preachers, to business owners, to every day individuals who share their struggles, testimonies, and how God made an impact in their lives.
    Wonderful Acts
    Alyssa is a wife, mother, and Christian vlogger who shares testimonies from her life, uplifting messages, and occasional Bible studies from her channel.
    Heather Lindsey 
    Heather Lindsey is a wife, mother, author, and founder of Pinky Promise, a Christian non-profit dedicated to helping young women stay committed to God in every area of her life. She preaches, hosts annual Pinky Promise conferences, blogs, and runs a church with her husband in Atlanta, GA. Many of her sermons, former conferences, and Bible studies are on her YouTube channel.
    Ashley Empowers
    Ashley Brown is a wife, mother, blogger, and businesswoman who hosts interviews and shares the videos on her YouTube page. Her topics revolve around faith, godly dating, and career focus.
    Allyson Rowe
    Allyson Rowe is a former pageant and miss USA contestant. She shares testimony videos and talks about honoring God through fashion, lifestyle, and career.
    Kytia L’amour
    Kytia is a former model who gave up her career to follow Christ. Her videos talks about fashion, family, and faith.
    Elevation Church
    Steve Furtick is a well-known pastor of this Charlotte, NC-based church, whose teachings transcend traditional church. His young, contemporary style of ministry and music (his church is where Elevation Worship, the music band, originated) has attracted thousands of young individuals and lead them to Christ.
    Transformation Church
    Pastor Mike Todd is also a young, contemporary Pastor of this Tulsa, OK-based church. His style of teaching and sermon topics are current and relevant, breaking down Biblical teachings in a way that relates it to everyday life for our current generation.
    Sarah Jakes Roberts
    Wife, mother, and daughter of well known Bishop TD Jakes, Sarah now evangelizes and preaches with her husband, Pastor Toure Roberts of One LA church in California. Sara shares often her testimony of becoming a teen mom at age 15 and dealing with depression, despite being the daughter of a pastor, and how she overcame those struggles. Her sermons are very powerful and inspiring for women.
    Pastor Andy Stanley
    Andy Stanley is an author and contemporary pastor known for his quick, 25-minute sermons that, despite their short timespan, are very profound and resonate with many viewers.

     

    BLOGS AND WEBSITES

    Christian En Vogue Magazine
    We’re biased! (ha ha). Of course we’re adding our website to the list. This is the Christian-based online magazine that covers fashion, lifestyle, music, and inspiration for women of this generation.
    Desiring God 
    This is a great online ministry that has blog posts, book recommendations, sermons, answers biblical questions, podcasts, and more.
    Godly Dating 101
    This married couple’s website started as (and still is) an inspirational Instagram page that encouraged healthy dating habits that honor God. All of their articles are now their Instagram posts, but more in-depth and conversational.
    Mama of Three Boys
    This blogger is a wife and mother who talks about family, faith, marriage, and motherhood as a Christian.
    Dave Ramsey 
    Dave Ramsey is a Christian businessman who talks about healthy money habits, tackling debt, building wealth, and being smart with finances (all while honoring God).
    Beloved Women
    This blogger is a wife and mother who centers her posts around faith, motherhood, women topics, marriage, and more.

     

    BOOKS

    The Purpose Driven Life
    A New York Times best seller, this inspirational book, by pastor Rick Warren, talks about discovering your purpose, why God created you and what to do with your gifts.
    Total Money Makover by Dave Ramsey
    Dave Ramsey is also a well-known author, especially due to this book. It about finances, living debt-free, and building wealth all while still keeping God first in your life.
    Pink Lips & Empty Hearts
    This is the first book written by Heather Lindsey (other books by her are on her website page too) that talks about the struggles young women go through in ungodly relationships and how to overcome bad relationship habits as they grow closer to God.  
    Barnes & Noble Bookstore (the faith/Christianity section)
    It has a great selection of Christian-based books, notebooks, and Bibles.
    Lifeway Bookstore
    You can literally just go there and get lost inside! Plenty of books, Bibles, audios, gifts, and more.

    MUSIC

    Whether on YouTube, Pandora, iTunes, or Spotify, you can find amazing Christian music to get you through the day!
    Contemporary Christian music
    Hillsong
    Bethel Music
    Jesus Culture
    Elevation Worship
    Lauren Daigle
    Kari Jobe
    Soulful Christian Music
    Marvin Sapp
    Israel Houghton & The New Breed
    Kirk Franklin
    Travis Green
    Kiara Sheard
    Tasha Cobbs
    Tamela Mann
    William McDowell
    Fred Hammond
    Todd Dulaney
    Jessica Reedy
    Tye Tribbett
    Christian Rap/Hip-Hop
    Lecrae
    Trip Lee
    Andy Mineo
    Tedashi
    KB
    Bizzle
    And there you have it: The New Believer’s Resource Guide This is an amazing new journey that you shouldn’t walk alone. We hope this was encouraging, resourceful, and a great start.

    A New Believer’s Guide

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  • If you think the “Proverbs 31 woman” was just a quiet, stay-at-home mom who loved knitting and baking cakes for her husband, think again (and this is nothing against stay-at-home moms or women who love to cook for their men!)   The woman addressed in Proverbs 31 has a lot going on. She plans (v.15), […]

    4 Tips for the Business-Minded Woman

    If you think the “Proverbs 31 woman” was just a quiet, stay-at-home mom who loved knitting and baking cakes for her husband, think again (and this is nothing against stay-at-home moms or women who love to cook for their men!)

     

    The woman addressed in Proverbs 31 has a lot going on. She plans (v.15), she invests (v.16), she works hard (v.17), and knows how to make a profit (v.18).

    She was a boss.

     

    And like her, many women have business mindsets. Maybe you feel led to start investing, or to turn your love and passion into a profitable business, or to get that promotion at work and take on a managerial position. Whatever it may be, don’t ignore that feeling. . .God could be calling you to do so. Don’t think that just because you aren’t teaching Bible Study or singing on the worship team at your church that you’re not using your gifts for the Kingdom or honoring God. Many important biblical figures were still walking by faith in their day jobs. Remember:

     

    Jesus was a carpenter.

    Moses was a shepherd.

    Peter was a fisherman.

    David was a soldier (then a king).

     

    And let’s not forget about the women:

     

    Deborah was a judge who led the nation of Israel (Judges 4).

    Sheerah was an architect (1 Chronicles 7:24).

    The woman of Abel Beth Maacah was a wise negotiator (2 Samuel 20:13-22).

    Candace was a queen from Ethiopia, in charge of her country’s treasures/finances (Acts 8:27).

     

    And you are. . .still trying to figure out how you can serve God and slay in the corporate world simultaneously. Let me break it to you, sis, you can. And here’s how:

     

    1. Be Intentional & Influential

    As Christians, everything we do must be intentional. We must remember who we do it for (God), and why we do it (to represent Christ and advance God’s Kingdom). When Jesus called Peter and the other fishermen to follow Him as disciples, He was intentional in His approach and strategy. Jesus gave them instructions to help perfect their fishing method:

    Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” [Luke 5:4-7]

    And when the fishermen discovered Jesus knew what He was talking about (catching more fish than they’d ever caught), He became influential.

    From your business proposal to business cards, and even down to the outfit you wear to work each day, be intentional. Show your peers, future clients or business partners, you know what you’re talking about, that you’ve invested time, sweat, and tears into what you’re doing and that it will benefit them in some shape or form. Build their trust in you and what you have to offer and follow through on those promises. In this manner, you are representing Christ by showing integrity in your work.

     

    2. Be Humble & Open to Feedback

    Never throughout Christ’s ministry did He ever say He was there on His own accord. Jesus always acknowledged His Father, our Lord God, as the One providing His Words, miracles, wisdom, and reason for being. The disciples, as well, always acknowledged Christ in their teachings and missionary work. In that same manner, you will never meet a CEO who doesn’t enjoy reading and learning from other entrepreneurs. You will never see a successful company without a board of directors. You will always here an honoree acknowledge their teacher, mentor, or role model in their acceptance speech.

    Be teachable, understanding that there’s always room for growth and knowledge. We learn from others every day, no matter the age or experience. Every follower needs a leader, and every leader was once a follower. Ask questions and talk to other entrepreneurs or colleagues who were once in your shoes. Be open to receiving feedback and take notes on areas you can improve. The Lord honors humility, and doing so even while in the corporate world shows godly character.

    “For those who exalt themselves with be humbled; but those who humble themselves will be exalted.” [Matthew 23:12]

     

    3. Guard Your Heart

    Not everyone is going to understand or be on board with your vision. . . and that is okay. What’s not okay is when they try to deter you from what you know God placed on your heart to do. Avoid those type of people and negativity. If who you are associate with does not inspire you, encourage you, or assist you in building towards your goals, then they’re a hinderance. When the Word of God instructs us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), it’s referring to all areas of our life. Whatever you allow into your thoughts, spirit, and environment can influence your decisions, good or bad. This is why scripture specifically says “Above all else, guard your heart…” Be protective over the vision and assignment God gave you, including your job or business.

     

    4. Network Like There’s no Tomorrow

    Last, but not least, you must understand the power of networking. Any business owner or entrepreneur will tell you the importance of having connections and collaborations. If you want to build, you cannot do it alone. Whether you’re at a job conference, cocktail party, or simply waiting in line at Starbucks, striking up a conversation with a stranger just may be your next big break. Build professional relationships with other business owners, associates, fellow alumni, and friends. These are your resources, ears to the job market, prospective clients, business partners, and more.  

    Embrace areas you are strong while accepting areas where you are weak. Some people have the gift of gab—let them assist in your PR and outreach. In exchange, you can offer your services for their benefit. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to networking. Any opportunity is beneficial, whether you’re out volunteering with a large non-profit, or catching up with a former colleague over coffee. Make the most of your connections.

     

    And sis, remember this: as long as you’re obedient to what God is telling you to do, you’re giving Him glory. The success of your jewelry business may fund a new community rehabilitation center; your new management position may lead the company into opening a new department that provides dozens of new jobs to individuals who were once unemployed; your digital magazine may help hundreds of women feel beautiful, confident, and encouraged to draw closer to God (shoutout to Kesha, the founder and editor of Christian EnVogue!). You never know how God will use you. If a business-mindset is what you’ve been given, use it.

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