Category Archives: Thirty-three Day Challenge

Running The Serpent Out

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Ladies, today is it.

The last day of the challenge.

I would love to know how you did… not through this challenge per say… but as an awakening. I would love to know how this challenge helps next week or next month or next year… so would Dannah Gresh and so would Shannon Ethridge.

So please comment below, or if it is more personal than that shoot me an email.

I would love to hear from you.

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Day Thirty-Three

I believe that we live in a sexually confused day and age, and many hearts and spirits cannot perceive or know God. Like so many in Solomon’s day, we’ve missed the beauty of yada, not only in our human love relationships but also in our interactions with God. So many long for something deeper and richer, but they don’t know if it’s even possible. ~ Dannah Gresh

I want to end this challenge with a plea, a plea for you to run to your Savior with everything. A plea for you to recognize that your sexuality is intricately connected to your spirituality. Your sex life matters. Your view of sex is connected to your true view of God.

1) Sexuality is designed by Christ as a way to know God more fully; and 

2) knowing Christ more fully in all His infinite supremacy is designed as a way of guarding and guiding our sexuality. All sexual corruption serves to conceal the true knowledge of Christ, and the true knowledge of Christ serves to prevent sexual corruption.

~ John Piper

So what does your sex life reveal about your knowledge and heart for God?

Has what you have learned, in your media fast and in your seeking God this past month, opened your eyes and heart to the possibility of a relationship with God that you didn’t even know you could have?

Have you truly been busy running the serpent and his lies out of your life, out of your heart, out of your mind? Are there permanent changes you are going to make in your life now that his lies have been exposed?

Here’s the thing, you can’t stop today.

You have to keep weeding. When you have a garden you do a huge weeding and tilling when the garden is first ready to plant… but that does not complete the job. The weeds will come back. You have to keep weeding that garden. You can choose to weed it daily and the weeding is easy… or you can choose to be lazy and ignore the weeds until you see they are beginning to choke out your fruit and vegetables and flowers… when you wait to go out and weed at that point… it’s harder. It’s even seems almost impossible to destroy all the weeds. 

Weeding out the deception of the serpent out of the garden of your soul is exactly the same way…

 Then the LORD God took the man

and put him into the garden of Eden

to cultivate it and keep it.

Genesis 2:15

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Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south;

Make my garden breathe out fragrance,

Let its spices be wafted abroad.

May my beloved come into his garden

And eat its choice fruits!

Song of Solomon 4:16

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And the LORD will continually guide you,

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

And give strength to your bones;

And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11

Oh precious one… weed daily. Don’t let that old serpent’s weeds of deception grow up and choke out the beautiful blooms of your Creator’s truth.

Ladies, it is my heart’s desire that you not just know God as your Creator, that you not just know God as your Redeemer, but that you also know Him as the Lover of your soul.

Marriage Matters

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In light of His purpose to portray His image (relational love) and His salvation (exclusive love), it is impossible to consider God’s guidelines for sex as arbitrary. Nor can we label them as outdated or old-fashioned.

God’s call for sex to be preserved for one man and one woman who have not even a hint of sexual experience anywhere else is in context with His plan to portray Himself and His love to a lost world.

I believe the exclusive passion and commitment of a bride and groom is meant to be a picture of an exclusive, exciting relationship with Jesus Christ that is free from any other gods. When people witness the passion and mystery of that rarely seen couple who are still emotionally engaged with each other “after all these years,” it gives credence to the possibility of something lasting and passionate. And the apostle Paul said such a relationship will be so rare in our world that it will be called a “mystery.” He went on to say it will make people hungry for the mysterious, exclusive love of Christ.

~ Dannah Gresh

 

FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER

AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE,

AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 

This mystery is great;

but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32

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Day Thirty-Two

Here’s the bottom line… one of the greatest witness you have to a lost and dying world of the gospel of Christ is a healthy and happy marriage that lasts. Your marriage is one of the biggest leaps of faith you will ever take apart from salvation. We are supposed to go into marriage saying “come hell or high water you are stuck with me and only me, and the only assurance I have of the future is that you will be there with me, I don’t know what we will go though, but whatever it is, we won’t go through it alone, I’m with you baby, let’s do this thing!”

When two people come together in this world, and both are focused on Christ and each other, they show the world that God’s way is true and right. It is a beautiful picture of the love relationship that God wants to have with us. There is a reason that idolatry and adultery are so similar in sound and definition.

In our relationship with Christ we are to have no other gods. We are not to seek nourishment, help, peace, guidance, comfort, pleasure, from any source outside of Him. In our marriages we are not to seek nourishment, help, peace, guidance, comfort, pleasure from any person outside our spouse.

We are to know Christ intimately, personally, and deeply and we are to know our spouses in the same way.

Sex with our spouse (male and female sex) unites us inside and out.

Salvation in Christ unites us with God inside and out.

 

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,

that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth,

whom the world cannot receive,

because it does not see Him or know Him,

but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

John 14:16-17

 

(There’s a reason that Eve was called Adam’s “helper”)

 

Your marriage is more important than any track you can hand out, any show you can put on, any conference you can put together, any concert you might play, any trip to Africa you might make, it’s more important than any message you might preach.

Your marriage validates all these others. If your marriage falls apart because you have put these before your marriage as a “sacrifice” to God… you need to stop and examine your heart.

 

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,

“ SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED,

BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME

Hebrews 10:5

 

In marriage you become one, one body. This is the body you are to care for first, then out of this body you reach the rest of the body of Christ. The first person that God called Adam to sacrifice for and care for was his wife. The first person Eve was called to help was her husband.

 

This is why saying “I do” shouldn’t be a Las Vegas joke. It’s serious business.

That’s why before you even choose to date or be courted by someone you need to ask yourself,

“Does he meet God’s standard of a godly husband?”

These are not the questions to ask:

“Doesn’t he deserve forgiveness?”

“How much should it matter that I am physically attracted to him?”

“Isn’t there an emotional feeling you get that he’s the one right away, and why didn’t I get that?”

Yes, he deserves forgiveness, but that’s not the real issue is it?

Will you be physically attracted to you spouse? Well, yes, of course, most of the time, but if this is what you are relying on, then when you go through a rough patch the enemy will convince you that you “have fallen out of love”.

Is there an emotional feeling right away… sometimes yes, but many of the best marriages are formed out of friendships and then the friends look at each other one day and realize they want to be more than just friends…

The first and most important question always is: Does he meet God’s standard? Does he have faithful, true, staying love?

Honey, do you want yada ?

 

Yada doesn’t come from first, ooey-gooey emotions… yada is more than that, it goes much deeper.

Yada is realized in imperfections and craggy disfigurement, hidden beyond the unblemished innocence of not knowing. Yada knows. It knows the unwelcome, unsightly secrets- secrets that could rightfully prompt rejection. But yada overrides the logical desire to dismantle the wounded relationship. Yada reaches into the grace-filled depths of unconditional staying power and finds the strength to breathe life into love one more time. Yada is a faithful love. A staying love.

This is the heart of yada. To be known- just as we are- and still be pursued.

Here is the beauty in marriage.

My husband sees the very worst of me. He sees me roll out of bed after three days of the flu. He sees me gain forty pounds and lose it and gain it again. He sees the new wrinkle, the stretch marks, and the varicose veins. He sees the ill woman raging over the dirty clothes all over the house. He sees the woman who cries for no reason and is easily frustrated because of PMS. He sees me yell at the kids and the dog. He sees me make a fool of myself because of emotional turmoil. He listens to my complaining.

He sees me. The good, the bad, and the ugly…

He sees all this and yet he still lifts my chin and looks me deep in my eyes and says “I love you and I am absolutely crazy about you.” Ladies, this is yada. This can only be known through faithful, true, staying love.  Love that says, yes sometimes this relationship gets ugly… but it’s worth it.

It’s worth it for my children to see what forgiveness looks like. It is worth it for my children to see that real love is not based on flowers and candy. It’s worth it for my children to see that you can be real and be loved.

It’s worth it for my marriage to be able to be used by God to declare the glory of His majesty and faithfulness.

It’s worth it for my marriage to be able to show a dying world that God’s Word will heal any hurt and get you through any storm.

It’s worth it for my marriage to be used by God to correctly illustrate His image to a world that Satan has been pretty darn successful so far to distort. Your marriage is bigger than you and your marriage is not just for your own personal pleasure and satisfaction and happiness. Your marriage has the power to display the glory of God. To display the covenant between Christ and His church. To display the image of the Trinity. To display hope, faith, and love.

Your marriage is to be a picture to the world of how much God loves them.

Because God sees us. He sees the good, the bad, and the ugly, and He still lifts our chin and says “I love you and I am absolutely crazy about you”

This is why, as I have grown in grace myself and yada, I will never again look at a couple and say, “I can’t believe she stayed after all that.” or “She should have left him a long time ago” or “Well if I was her I would pack his stuff right now and say hit the road jack!”

Yes maybe she’s a fool… but maybe, just maybe, it’s yada.

Maybe, just maybe, her mission is her marriage.

We would not say this about someone who has chosen to stay in a city in a foreign land that hates Christians, even when death is imminent would we? Maybe, just maybe, God has said, “if you can love him, you can love anyone.” Maybe, just maybe, she is the only one who has never abandoned him and maybe constant abandonment is the reason why he is the way he is…

I will never pass judgment on a woman or man who chooses to stay in a marriage again.

***(Please know that abuse is NEVER OKAY and please know that I am not saying a woman should stay in an abusive marriage, if abuse is a part of the marriage, help needs sought IMMEDIATELY)***

Your challenge today…

Spend today looking at your marriage through the eyes of Christ…

And now look at it through the eyes of others who see it

and hear you talk about it…

Are there changes you need to make?

Then, make them on your face before your unconditionally loving God.

 

The Dating Game

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Let us remember that these last few days have been focused on equipping ourselves with some tools and answers for the icky questions for ourselves and others. Today we are going to look at the dating thing.

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Day Thirty-One

We live in a world that thinks you gotta try it before you buy it. A world where free samples are given out as an incentive to purchase the whole thing. A world where the newcomer receives all the perks and deals and the one that has been the faithful loyal customer is treated with contempt… and this is exactly how our world is viewing dating and marriage as well.

I am not a fan of dating. I don’t like it. I don’t think you need to “try” a lot of boys out before you decide if he’s “the one” and then you end up tied to the wrong one in the testing process while the right one walks on by and sweeps someone else off their feet while you cry in your pillow at night because you don’t know how to get out of this “trying out” one that you have just realized is going nowhere.

 

Let me share Shannon’s story from Dannah’s book-Shannon is in college. Dannah said she had a brightness in her eyes and a freedom in her spirit that set her apart from many of the other girls she had talked to. Shannon loves Jesus and she is a virgin. This decision has been costly for Shannon.

She sits alone in silence in class while those around her talk and laugh about what happened at last night’s party. She didn’t go and she chooses not to get involved in the conversation of those who did. Some of Shannon’s friends don’t understand why she doesn’t go, but Dannah shared how Shannon raised her chin a little and held her shoulders higher as she said, “… but I’ve never felt the desire to get into the party scene. And because of that, I feel I’m more in control of my life.” 

Dannah shares that Shannon is now studying art history abroad in Rome, having the time of her life. She is a contrast to many young women who are so worried about holding together a short-term relationship that they can’t even consider taking advantage of such opportunities. 

 

Like I said, I don’t like dating. I truly believe that God is capable of bringing your spouse to you right in the midst of you just being obedient to Him. Remember Rebekah and Isaac (Genesis 24). She was just out taking care of the sheep. Doing life. And God sends her Prince Charming to her. She didn’t have to go find him.

However, if you are going to date, I think you should date as friends.

Your relationship can really be tested as you get to know each other (not your bodies) and find out if you actually like each other and not the sex.

A dating or courtship relationship will tell you how well equipped a guy is to exercise the staying power of faithful love, both with you and with God.

 

Dannah shares another story about Kevin.

Kevin had fallen many times and learned his body was sometimes stronger than his spirit. He wanted to be known as a guy who protected girls, especially the girl he most loved. That meant he had to take even kissing off the table. It was too much for him. It created an override in his normally self-controlled character.

So, no kissing until “I do.”

The girl who would marry Kevin would know his past. His weakness. His hurt. And she’d share in it through self-restraint.

Dannah also shares about Lauren. Lauren was fifteen and a new Christian. You see her boyfriend had led her to Christ. Then he tried to lead her to bed. She said no and he broke up with her.

Then Lauren went to college.

Lauren ran into Kevin and Kevin shared his no kissing decision with Lauren and she laughed and said, “Good luck finding that girl!”

Kevin and Lauren had their first kiss before their family, and friends, and God at the altar, right after the preacher man said, “You may now kiss the bride”

May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine. 
“Your oils have a pleasing fragrance,
Your name is like purified oil;
Therefore the maidens love you. 
“Draw me after you and let us run together!
The king has brought me into his chambers.”

Song of Solomon 1:2-4

 

Are you crying?

I am!

As I write this I cry… this is what I want for my girls. This is what I want for my nieces and nephews.

Real love.

Real, true love.

Real, true, faithful love.

Staying love.

Love that is based on self-sacrifice not self-gratification. Love that is based on truth not emotion. Love that is faithful, true, and loyal not wishy-washy, false, and fickle.

My husband and I talk, and as we look back at our lives and our past, we wish we could go back and do things different. Oh how we wish we could, but we can’t. All we can do is forget what lies behind and press forward to what lies ahead.

Your challenge today is to do that. To press forward. God has not called us to live in the past, but He has called us to a future and a hope.

 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD,

‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 

Jeremiah 29:11

Maybe you did it all wrong… maybe you are doing it all wrong. It is not to late to stop living in the past regrets and present failings.

Stop.

And be still and know that He is God. He does love you with real, true, faithful, staying love. Trust Him.

 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect,

but I press on so that I may lay hold of

that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;

but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind

and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 

press on toward the goal for the prize

of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

Inside Out

 

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I am sitting here before the computer screen debating on what the topic should be today. We are closing in on the last days of this Thirty-three Day Challenge. There is the porn issue, the masturbation issue, the how far is to far issue, but the fact is in all these “issues” the answer is the same… “yada” so I am just gonna hit on all three today.

The enemy of your soul will use all of the above issues to steer you as far away as possible from yada, from God’s design, from God’s best for your heart.

If Gods word for sex is yada and yada means to be deeply known and deeply respected… then this in itself answers these issues and in truth most of these issues are related to one another and if you deal with one you indadvertedly deal with another.

If we remember to live by love and not by law… if we remember that Christ is in us, and with us, and sees us… if we remember the reality of His presence… then these issues can become non-issues in our lives.

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Day Thirty

The porn issue:

Here’s the thing in a nut shell. Men like naked women. God presented Eve to Adam and when God did Eve was naked… and Adam liked it. However, Eve was Adam’s wife, not just “any” woman. Adam would care for Eve, would love Eve, would forsake all others for Eve, would walk with Eve, would talk with Eve, would hold Eve, would have children and raise a family with Eve… He would KNOW Eve.  And Eve would know Adam and she would deeply respect him as a man and as her husband.

YADA.

Can whatever you are viewing, or reading, or listening to, or fantasizing about, that brings you to sexual arousal deeply know you or respect you? Can you deeply know or deeply respect what you are viewing, reading, hearing, or fantasizing about? Do you feel deeply respected and deeply known when you are in the porn issue? Are you excited to call all your friends and tell them all about your porn issue? Ladies, do you deeply respect this unknown man that you are using to fulfill your own sexual and emotional desire?

The truth is it is hard to deeply respect a man who is involved with porn. Whether he is the man you are viewing or whether he is the man viewing it. If your husband is involved with porn and he sees no issue with it, and maybe even you have not had an issue with it… let me ask you to seriously think about the respect level in your marriage, for him and yourself, and how has it truly affected your ability to submit to him as the head of your household… even if this is something you view or have viewed together.

Many men and women think the porn issue will just go away when they get married… but marriage doesn’t fix sin. Only confession, crucifixion, and daily washing of the Word fixes sin. If porn is a part of your marriage then it needs addressed and confessed.  It needs dealt with before it destroys you and your marriage. It drives a wedge between you and your spouse (or future spouse) and it drives a wedge between you and your Christ.

The masturbation issue:

Is this not usually a response to the above issue… not guarding your eyes, ears, and heart from things that sexually stimulate you. You are a sexual being. God gifted you with your sexuality so that you might desire and enjoy your spouse. Sex is designed by God to bring you into an exclusive relationship with your spouse. You can’t be in a relationship with yourself. Sex is not a solo sport.  Masturbation can bring you release from sexual tension… but it leaves you empty and unfulfilled… and cold.

Please know that God is mindful of sexual tension. He created your body to deal with it. Yes, I am talking about the “wet dream”. However… you are not to go to bed purposely preparing your mind to go there because that brings you right back to the above porn issue.

If  you struggle with this… tell someone. Do not let the shame you feel keep you from seeking help.  God did not save you, and redeem you, for you to remain in darkness and shame, and seeking help keeps you accountable. Ladies, we need each other to hold our feet to the fire of holiness.  Many men and women think, like the porn issue, that the masturbation issue will just go away when they get married… but once again, marriage doesn’t fix sin, only confession, crucifixion, and daily washing of the Word fixes sin.

(Here is a recent post that Dannah Gresh has written a recent post on how to satisfy your sexual desire in singleness. I am about to read and review her new book Pulling Back the Shades that deals more deeply with this topic.) 

The how far is to far issue:

This issue has been discussed before in this challenge as we looked at living by love and not law. If you have to ask “is this too far” then it is. If you are asking just how much can I get away with…then you are asking the wrong question. You need to be asking how close do I get before I feel my emotions kick in and create a desire within me for more. If you have a desire to go further just from looking in his eyes… then my guess would be that kissing him is gonna get you in a lot of trouble.

I believe we can find the right answer to how far is to far in Scripture.

Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father,

to the younger men as brothers,

the older women as mothers,

and the younger women as sisters,

in all purity

1 Timothy 5:1-2

So ladies… if you wouldn’t do it with your dad, if you wouldn’t do it with your brother, then you shouldn’t do it with him… because in Christ, until he wears the title husband, he wears the title of father or brother.

I am teaching my girls to save that first kiss for the man that will be their husband. I do not know as of yet if they will heed my teaching… I pray they will. I pray that they choose to wait on the boy that falls in love with their hearts… not their face.

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So there is just a quick run down of these three “issues”. As we grow into women of emotional and sexual integrity these are issues we must address. We can’t pretend that they are not out there. If we want to raise our daughters to be women of emotional and sexual integrity then we can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend that they will never face any of these issues… because they will.

Ladies, your challenge today is to continue to examine your hearts and see if any of these issues are a struggle that you need to bring before the throne of grace. Are they a struggle that you need to talk to someone about. And if you are a mom… these are issues you need to be able to talk about with your children. Do you need to do it now?

Then do it.

And do it with grace and truth.

Don’t do it with condemnation and hell fire and brimstone so that your child hides any future struggles with this out of fear and shame.

We live in a world where we walk in “religious” freedom. We or our children may never be faced with the struggle with whether or not we have to choose physical death over renouncing Christ, but the enemy of our souls has taken our world of freedom and used it to his advantage.

If he can’t cause us to face physical death, he will cause us to face emotional and mental death. Don’t think that one is worse than the other.

One is inside, one is out…

I would go so far too say that the dying on the inside is far worse… wouldn’t you.

Grace and Truth

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“Everyone’s story is different.” That’s how Rachel began hers. “I grew up wishing I was a man.” She went on to share a memory from her early childhood when she…

I am not going to finish the story.

I am not going to finish it because I want you to be able to do that if you need to.

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Day Twenty-Nine 

By the way, Rachel grew up in a Christian home. She knew God loved her. She knew He’d made her. She just felt like a boy trapped in a girl’s body. She played with boys and had very few friendships with girls… As time moved on, she grew into a young adult- and discovered that sex is emotional. “It was very easy for me to manipulate friendships with women who would become emotionally dependent,” admits Rachel. “Women who have never had a same-sex attraction would allow themselves to become physically intimate with me because I fed that emotional attachment so much.”

All the while, Rachel made her way through youth group and graduated from a Christian college…

No one knew.

All the while she knew her feelings were not right.

All the while she wondered why God would not make her feelings go away if they were wrong.

All the while she kept silent about her struggle. She let no one in her church know about her struggle… She didn’t want to say it out loud.

Silence didn’t help.

Finally she mustered up the courage to talk to her Pastor’s wifeand now Rachel is walking in freedom and has moved beyond her struggle with same-sex attraction and is being used by God to help others with theirs.

Are you a Rachel?

Let me share some news that might shock you. I have served in the area of children and youth ministry since the Lord called me to be wholly surrendered, during one of these times of ministry I was talking with a group of jr high age girls… this was a group, not just a few, every single one of these girls broke out in nervous laughter of agreeance that they had already struggled, or at least wondered, if they were a lesbian.

This is real. 

Do the young women (and men) around you have the freedom to come and share their struggle in homosexuality with you and not be condemned… or maybe you are reading this and you are someone like Rachel who needs to let the Light into your dark silence?

Rachel says that when she starts working with a teen who is struggling, she refuses to let her use labels. Don’t let the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual movement slap a label on you. And don’t let Christians who judge your struggle to be more scandalous than theirs label you as somehow less precious in God’s eyes.

You are not gay. You are a daughter of Christ. Struggling with same-sex attraction is a symptom of life lived in a fallen world. Stop labeling yourself.

It has been my experience that when someone struggles with homosexuality it can come down to two main things.

1) You are a Rachel… something happened in your early childhood to plant a “lie seed”. Maybe it was as simple as being picked on for being “eewwww a girl”, maybe it was a sexual molestation by a trusted friend or family member, maybe it was being exposed to pornography and your sexual awakening happened in the oh so wrong way. It doesn’t matter what “lie seed” was planted… but you never told anyone about it… so the Enemy of your soul has spent years and years watering it for you and he’s been feeding it and it’s been growing inside of you in the dark and now it is choking out your light and your hope and the truth that you once could at least see a little bit of…

2) Or may be it’s the Lie we talked about on Day Sixteen. Maybe you just are drawn to a person because they catch your attention and the lies you have grown up with have convinced you that when someone gets your attention and now has your affection… then you must want to have sex with them… and once again you never told anyone about this thought, this feeling, this lie… so it grows inside you…

Ladies, do you remember Day Sixteen: Getting to the Heart of the Matter:

Now in attraction you become familiar enough with the person to know you are drawn to him, but you are not yet familiar enough to act affectionately toward that person.

Both attention and attraction are not limited to men but include a wide variety of things: the kind of clothes we like, the style of house we prefer, and the type of food we crave.

When you go to church or business meetings, you probably are drawn to certain individuals but not to others. The woman who became your friend is probably someone you run to when you need a hug or have really good news to share.

Society has twisted our minds into thinking that if we are drawn to someone, we must want to have sex with them. But attraction isn’t necessarily sexual. 

(Personally I believe this lie and twisting of attention and attraction and affection is one of the tools that the enemy has used to convince many that they must be homosexual or bisexual to feel the way they do. We will discuss this in more depth later in the challenge)

When we find ourselves attracted to someone we then begin to move into showing that person affection. 

And ladies do not forget what we have learned about our God given desire for yada.

Could it be that maybe the struggle in lesbianism for some is just that their heart has been broken over and over and they just want to be known and understood and this other girl does because she has really been there, she knows how you feel, how you think, what you mean… 

So instead of choosing to believe the truth and trust God to heal your heart and wait on Him you seek shelter in her “understanding” arms instead of His?  

Maybe you never meant or intended it to become a sexual relationship, but it has and now you don’t know how to walk away, you feel trapped because you are on this road and you don’t know how to get off, and you’re scared of what you will go through, what others will say about you, if you do.

Then please do not ever forget the truth to see you through the temptation that we learned on Day Seventeen: Aroused Attached Addicted

Finally, seek a trusted friend or counselor to hold you accountable through this season of temptation. If you know you are going to have to answer to someone else- whether it is your husband, a friend, or a counselor- about your thoughts, words, and actions, you’ll try harder to limit them to things you wouldn’t be embarrassed to admit. Getting real and honest with yourself and with someone who can keep you from falling into the pit of compromise is the best lifeline available.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another,

and pray for one another so that you may be healed.

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

James 5:16

My experience has been that if you starve your desire to be emotionally intimate with a man, it eventually dies. The more you control your appetite for forbidden fruit, the more dignity and satisfaction you will feel about yourself and your ability to be a woman of sexual and emotional integrity.

I truly believe if you starve  your desire to be emotionally and sexually intimate with a female and (and is the key word here) and share your struggle with a trusted friend or counselor and flood your soul with the Word of God… you will have victory in this struggle as much as any other you face…

This is not the one sin in Scripture that God refuses to help you with, it is not the sin of eternal damnation nor is it the I was just made this way sin so it must be okay.

It is a battle between good and evil that is raging in your mind, heart, and soul… but in Christ you have been given the victory… but you gotta fight. Stop believing the lie and come at the father of lies with the Sword of Truth and cut his head off so he will shut his lying mouth and his lies will not progress within you and control you.

Dannah shares in her book the progression of a lie:

1) We listen to a lie. We frequently get close to messages that are contrary to God’s truth.

2) We dwell on a lie. We converse about those lies and consider deeply and regularly what is said without dwelling on truth or asking the advice of others who know God’s truth.

3) We believe a lie. We believe that the lie is more trustworthy than what God says in His Word.

4) We act on the lie. We sin.

You see, the patterns, behaviors, and addictions we struggle with are often the fruit of a lie that took root years ago.

Oh ladies, get this book, and read it, and share it with the women in your life. The truths that Dannah shares in her book What Are You Waiting For are eye opening and life changing because she shares God’s truth in love.

Your challenge today: maybe you struggle with this… maybe you know someone who does. Let me share with you that Rachel was able to be set free from her same sex attraction because the woman she went to for help did not condemn her. She did not pick up a Bible and hit her over the head with all the Scriptures that God shares with us about how homosexuality is an abomination… Rachel knew all of those… she grew up with them and God had already placed the law in her heart…

Rachel needed grace.

The woman Rachel sought help from did not condemn her with the Word, but at the same time she did not tell Rachel that she could just keep on living that way and God would be just fine with it. She met Rachel were she was and she chose to love her with grace and truth and strengthen her with grace and truth and guide her with grace and truth.

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

For the Law was given through Moses;

grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

John 1:16-17

Your challenge… if you need that woman go find her today. She is out there. Or ladies, if you don’t need that woman today… then be that woman to someone who does.

 

The Gender Question

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God created man in His own image,

in the image of God He created him;

male and female He created them

Genesis 1:27

Isn’t it interesting that when God shares that He created us in His image He shares that He created us male and female. It doesn’t say in the image of God He created them with reasoning power and creative ability and power and might… no just simply male and female He created them.

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Day Twenty-Eight

The Bible mentions only gender in reference to our divine design.

Maleness.

Femaleness.

Why? Because the one true God is a social being… And the unique distinction between maleness and femaleness invites us to be social beings too. Our male and female differences are what create our craving for yada. We wouldn’t long to be known if we were all alike, right? The experience of being known means we start at a place of being unknown. This places authentic humanity and sexuality in the context of male and female diversity…

…the secular worldview declares that to be human is to be an animal and, therefore, we can follow any physical or instinctual urges we might have. But a biblical worldview tells us that to be human is to be- as a distinct female or male- the image of God. His “statue.” When people look at us, they see Him.

That’s pretty holy.

Any other view of gender is little more than one of the Villian’s battlegrounds for eliminating our belief in the existence of God.

male and female

In our world today I am saddened most by this “unisex” push… I read an article once about a women who had a little child and hid this child’s gender from them and others in hope that the child would not be influenced by their sexuality.  This is absolute insanity to me. In truth this child came out of the womb either distinctly female or male. These women did not allow this child to naturally evolve into the child’s choice sexuality. No, they purposely set this child up to be confused… not clear.

They chose to manipulate this child’s emotional being at the child’s very core…

This child is only one of many deeply wounded children that are being brought up to believe such lies. Oh, how we must be about our Father’s business! Oh how our world needs truth… how this world needs real love. Our society is drowning in a media induced counterfeit love that is driven by sin and wrapped in the cords of deception.

It doesn’t matter what surgeries you go through… it doesn’t matter how long or short you wear your hair. You might be able to reconstruct your body, but you can not reconstruct your soul. You are not male trapped in a female body, and you are not female trapped in a male body. You are a human being created distinctly male or distinctly female who is under the attack of the Liar and Murderer from the beginning.

Don’t submit and surrender to his lies… submit and surrender to your Christ! Oh, please I beg you… believe HIM! He is trustworthy!

The male and female are two distinct, independent humans, but when they come together, they are one, or in the Hebrew, echad.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother,

and be joined to his wife; and they shall become echad flesh.

Genesis 2:24

Guess where else we see this type of union?

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is echad!

Deuteronomy 6:4

Yeh.. wow!

Let us make man in Our image…

Male and female He created them.

You see God is distinctly three (Father, Son, Spirit), and yet in divine communion He is echad.  Coming together in the act of sex makes us echad. Coming together as male and female, joined in fellowship with each other and God, we are echad.

Ladies, sex is spiritual.

It is another way that we can offer our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God (Romans 12:1-2), when we participate in sex within the boundaries our Creator has set instead of becoming conformed to this world. So beloved, don’t let the enemy of your soul convince you that “gettin freaky” with your husband is dirty or unholy. When husband and wife enjoy each other in the marriage bed… it is undefiled… it is holy to the Lord.

Why do you think Satan uses sex so? Why do you think it has always been involved in the worship of false gods?

Think about it.

Today your challenge is to celebrate you femaleness! Today your challenge is to help your daughters celebrate their femaleness and help your sons celebrate their maleness :-)

Not in the worlds way… but in God’s divine design way.

This year, 2014, on the television show American Idol they had two very obviously “gay” contenders. However, when it came down to deciding which group the two would compete in, whether the boy group or the girl group, this was not decided upon according to their sexual orientation, but according to the distinctly male and female that God created them within the womb of a woman… that belongs only to a woman.

He created us in His image, distinctly male and distinctly female. He created us in such a way that we display the echad of God Himself to the world. We see this illustrated in the creation of marriage in Genesis and we also see this in unity of the called out church… so even in our singleness we are able to glorify the unity of our God.

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

John 17:22-23

Not All Sex Is The Same

 

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If you have ever heard me share about the first time I read through my Bible then you most likely have heard me share about my anger as I read in Genesis 19 about the time that Lot offered up his virgin daughters to be raped as an exchange for the two male visitors…

You would have also heard me share about how I threw my Bible down when I got to the book of Judges and read about the rape and murder of the man’s concubine, that he threw out the door to be raped, in order to protect himself.

I was so angry at God for allowing that and I confused the recording of the truth of sin within the Scriptures with God’s approval. Just because it is recorded doesn’t mean God was good with it, it simply means He is not doing any sugar-coating with truth and historical fact.

So with all this rape and incest and homosexuality and other “forms” of sex… how in the world could these acts be “yada” if “yada” is God’s word for sex?

Is sex just sex?

Is all sex the same?

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Day Twenty-Seven

The answer to that question is found right there in Genesis 19

So they made their father drink wine that night,

 and the firstborn went in and lay with her father;

and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

Genesis 19:33

Thank God the word “lay” in Genesis 19:33 is not “yada“.

The word “lay” in Genesis 19:33 is “shakab” and it is described as a “euphemism of sexual intercourse” It’s often paired with the word sikba, which means “emission.” So basically, shakab means “to exchange body fluids

So my friend, you see,

                            some sex is God’s sex. It’s yada.

Some sex is mere counterfeit. It’s shakab.

Makes sense now why sex outside of marriage is so unfulfilling and leaves you feeling empty and icky and awkward and dirty once the hormones have settled or the alcohol has worn off… you might as well have spent the evening spitting in each other’s mouth.

I’ve been there… I remember it… the saddest part was the way you can convince yourself that this time will be different but it isn’t… it never is and never will be.

Then the absolute worst part is the night that you have your first married sex… after the wedding… after the covenant has been formed and this is the man that has vowed to love you until death do you part and the full weight of what you gave away comes crashing on you in a wave of regret that almost crushes you… and the voice of the liar is right there ready to whisper his words of condemnation to drag you deeper into his pit.

So many marriages today begin already wounded by previous sexual mistakes… and most don’t even know that this is the root cause of the distrust, the lack of intimacy, the jealousies, the walls of self-preservation, and so on.

Oh how grateful I am for the grace of God and for His redemption and His restoration!

So maybe when you first saw shakab, you thought, well good, I can have “shakab” now and save “yada” for later…

Nope, wrong.

Sex can never be reduced to something purely physical. Eventually your emotions will catch up to you… You can try to reduce sex to a simple exchange of body fluids and treat it casually, but reality will catch up with you… Treating sex solely as a physical act has disastrous consequences that our culture rarely acknowledges in its careless approach to female sexuality.

The Miley, Britneys, and Beyonces of the world are rewarded for acting like tramps. They make millions of dollars for shocking shenanigans. But if you act like a tramp, you’ll be trashed and find yourself taking the Walk of Shame, not the Walk of Fame.

Why?

Because what our culture sells us is not real sex. It’s not yada. It’s shakab.

Ladies please do not think that it is just the act of Bill Clinton’s definition of sexual relations that wounds you… I hope as you have gone through this challenge you have realized how important it is to protect your heart and your mind as well as your body… if you are going to protect your soul. And it is the very core of your soul that his hurt by sexual sin.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?

Shall I then take away the members of Christ

and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 

Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute

is one body with her?

For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 

Flee immorality.

Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body,

but the immoral man sins against his own body.

1 Corinthians 6:15-18

 

There is no such thing as friends with benefits or just casual sex… God did not wire us that way. God designed our bodies to respond to our marriage beds with addiction. Your brain is designed to crave your spouse. Your limbic system was set up to store his smell, his cologne, the way his voice sounds when he whispers your name, it was designed to crave his touch and his presence and he yours. You were designed to become one— body, mind, and soul.

When you allow your limbic system to get “addicted” to someone who is not your spouse… you go through real withdrawals. It’s the reason you keep going back to him even though you know he treats you like crap. It’s the reason you walk down the isle even though you know God is not in it. You are as addicted to him as any junkie is his drug. You become super-glued to them with dopamine and you didn’t even have to “go all the way” for the gluing to take place. It could have just been deep kissing and roaming hands, but skin to skin with emotional arousal is all it takes for the glue to stick.

Even if you never “get caught” physically with a disease or pregnancy, you will not escape the emotional pain that will follow any and all sex outside of the God designed marriage bed. No matter what the world teaches you… you do not have meaningless sex like an animal… you are not an animal… you were created in the image of God.

When God says you are playing with fire… he means it.

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;

And reproofs for discipline are the way of life 

To keep you from the evil woman,

From the smooth tongue of the adulteress. 

Do not desire her beauty in your heart,

Nor let her capture you with her eyelids. 

For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,

And an adulteress hunts for the precious life. 

Can a man take fire in his bosom

And his clothes not be burned? 

Or can a man walk on hot coals

And his feet not be scorched? 

So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;

Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 6:23-29

Oh and by the way, let us remember that if this is not your spouse, even if they are no one else’s spouse at the moment… chances are good they will be one day… so you are STILL messing with somebody else’s spouse.

Dannah shares about the many girls she counseled in her ministry and she says: These girls had been having fun in the moment. They weren’t abused or forced. They liked the physical act of sex, but when the guys were gone and the high from the brain chemicals wore off, they were left with the sober reality that they’d been used. The aftermath was deep depression and often suicidal tendencies. 

Sex is serious business not a sales pitch. How sad it is that we have allowed our culture to make it so…

Today your challenge is to do something.

Send a letter, an email, make a call and let these advertising people know that they are selling a product not sex. And when they sell sex, it’s not even real sex… just a cheap counterfeit.

Let them know you don’t appreciate the way they shove shakab down your throat and your children’s throat… and it’s false advertising.

You wouldn’t stand for a product to use cocaine or meth as an incentive to buy their stuff? Why are we sitting back quietly and still buying the things that use sex to sell their goods? We live in the land of options. You have a choice. This is something that is just as deadly to the future of our children… and truth be known, it’s most likely the reason many of them are caught in the web of drugs and alcohol… think about it.

I sent mine to Hardees… where’s yours gonna go?

 

Just yesterday, (as in March 10th 2014), I was talking with a beautiful new friend of mine about a ministry that she feels the Lord is calling her family deeper into… she attended a conference concerning this ministry. She shared that she sat in a class under a man who shared about his ministry to help rescued girls from the sex trafficking trade, and taking these rescued girls in, and working with them with hope against hope that Our God of the impossible could restore this child’s heart and soul and mind.

As I talked with her she shared of the horror of one of their girls who had been used by her parents to get money beginning at the age of 3 and then was sold by her parents at the age of 7. Those who sold her locked her in a room with no windows and threw her food on the floor to her and allowed her to be violated for four year before she was rescued at the age of 11…

So beloved the next time you consider watching that movie, or looking at that website, or reading that book, or taking a big bite out of that Hooters shrimp or that Hardees sandwich… those that use sex to sell these things… are controlled by the same spirit that used sex to make money off this precious child… 

So beloved… write that letter… choose not to support this sexual exploitation and choose to take a real stand against it… and pray beloved… PRAY.

 

Wait, There’s More

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Yesterday we learned that the word yada is used in the Old Testament over 900 times… we talked about how it is the word that God uses when He tells us that Adam lay with Eve. It is also the same word that God uses to share that Rebekah was very beautiful and had never lain with a man. It is the word that God used to share that Elkanah lay with Hannah and He remembered her and she conceived.

(Hearing the word “lay” in God’s spectrum makes our worldly term “get laid” sound quite repulsive, doesn’t it?)

Well today we are going to talk about the relationship that God most uses the word yada to describe.

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Day Twenty-Six

Ready?

Trust me this is going to be good… 

Be still and yada that I am God.

Psalm 46:10 

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So the LORD said to Moses,

“I will also do this thing that you have spoken;

for you have found grace in My sight,

and I yada you by name,”

Exodus 33:17

Is your heart pounding yet?

Do you see now how Adam and Eve were in the garden with God and they were naked and they were not ashamed?

We see naked and we usually think nudity… and that’s it.

But it was so much more than that. Yada transcends the physical. It describes the whole knowing of a person… not just their body, but their hearts, their minds, and their souls. It means no secrets and nothing is held back. Before sin entered the world Adam and Eve were naked in the garden before God. They had no secrets with each other and they were not trying to hide secrets from God…

This is the love life we are beckoned to in Christ. We can once again be in the garden with our God and be naked and not be ashamed.

I want you to go back now and read Psalm 139  again, because now you can do so with the awareness that when you read the word “know” you are reading “yada”

O LORD, you have searched me and known me…

Psalm 139:1

Just as a young romantic dreams of his or her future lover, God dreamed of you. Before you were born, His heart longed for you. God has “before love” for you. He has sought you, and He is seeking you. Those are facts. Let’s make every effort not to confuse our lack of feeling God’s presence with a lack of His presence. And beyond that, my friend, let me encourage you to step out of- or never step into- the same pit of Satan’s lies I once was drowning in when I believed that my past made me unworthy of God’s desire and love. It’s simply not true…

Precious one, never forget who you are in Him…

                 and never forget where you were when He called you…

He loved you then,

            He loved you before then,

 and He loved you still even after then… and He loves you now.

Now, in this moment, you are the focus of the passionate and unconditional love of God. He loves you with His entire Being. You have all of His love as if you were the only human being in existence. And He loves you because you exist without reference to your behavior. Understand and live in that reality, and behavior will change in response to such infinite love that leaves us in worshipping wonder. 

~ Malcolm Smith    

Get this: The ache in your heart to be known by and to truly know one man was placed in you to be a revelation of a much deeper love. When you are in intimate physical and emotional communion with your husband, it will be a mere picture of the passionate love of a God who has been seeking your heart since before you were born.

We live in a day of artificiality.

We have artificial sweetener, artificial nails, artificial hair, artificial colors…

We have fake food, fake diamonds, fake furs, fake money, fake lips, fake boobs, fake profiles, fake friends…

We have imitation purses, imitation art, imitation wood, imitation pearls…

We live in a day of cheap fake, artificial, imitations.

We live in a day of counterfeits… and love is no exception.

Honey, don’t settle for the imitation when the Creator of the universe stands before you with open arms welcoming you into the REAL GENUINE TRUE thing. 

Don’t be wooed away from the Lover of your soul by the seductions of the world and the lies of the one who rules here… you are worth more than that. You were worth dying for… He considered you more precious to Him than His own glory, for He laid it aside to come chasing after you. He wants to captivate and capture your heart and sweep you off your feet and carry you off to His kingdom to be His pure and holy and undefiled bride.

Just spend tonight thinking about that and about Him…

Dump The Cliches

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What are some of the cliches you have heard that are supposed to encourage you or at least shame you into saving yourself for the honeymoon?

“Why buy the cow when you are getting the milk for free?”

“If you want it, you better put a ring on it”

 

(As I repost this, I am reminded of a recent car commercial)

 

(It’s cute, but there it is in 2014… that- you can’t touch this, that- keep your hands to yourself, that- no hugging, no kissing til I get a wedding band)

We’ve all heard so many trite cliches through the years. “It’s a gift you can only unwrap once” and “You can become a recycled virgin” come to mind. Something in me just doesn’t like the idea of comparing virginity to a milk carton. But all these repeated messages about “protecting God’s gift of sex” still leave many wondering why? Why does God want it protected? 

~ Dannah Gresh

Yeh, but why, what’s the big deal really?

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Day Twenty-Five

In the back of your head you hear the cliche and then you look over there and they are having sex, and they are having sex, and well they are having sex… and lightning has not struck and God has not struck them with a disease and they seem perfectly content and carefree with it all. They are even excited that they just found out they are pregnant and they are not even married, but everybody is hugging her and is excited for her???

And your daughters and sons are wondering the very same thing?

So why?

Why should you, why should they, wait when it looks like absolutely no one else around is? If you are single again after a marriage… does it even matter?

Yes it does… and this is why:

YADA!

Yes, that’s right yada.

Adam lay with his wife Eve,

and she became pregnant 

Genesis 4:1

Okay… so yeh, as Dannah said he was so not just layin’ there!

The word lay in the Hebrew is “yada.

This is the Hebrew word for sex. It means “to know, to be known, to be deeply respected.” This is what God thinks about sex. It is designed to be something that causes us to be deeply known by another. It doesn’t have anything to do with the actual physical act of sex, it centered on the deep emotional connection and quenching that we yearn for…

Ladies think about it… is it really the physical touch you crave… or is it really a deep emotional caress that you are crying out for?   

What really drives you over the edge and makes your head spin and your heart pound?

Is it when he touches you…

                                 or is it when he took the time to study you and to really get to know you

when he knew what color your eyes where, your favorite color, was it not when he remembered something you said?

Or when he was able to buy you that gift that you had never even mentioned wanting out loud… he just knew you would want it… because he had taken the time and the effort to know you… just you?

YADA!

Married ladies… when does your husband look at you in amazement? 

Is it really when you strut out and blow him away with your sex kitten prowl… or is it when he knows that you know him, really know him, yet still deeply respect him and you show that deep respect in your willing submission to his leading of your family? Is it not when you show sincere interest and real respect for his work and the efforts he makes to provide for your family?

YADA!

Based on the world’s view of sex knowing and respecting each other has nothing to do with sex… it’s just physical… but an emotional knowing and deep respect are essential ingredients to an intimate, lifelong connection. Mingle the two- an emotional knowing and a deep respect- and you have yada.  

The word yada is used more than 900 times in the Old Testament.

Dannah shares a story in her book about a guy names Wes and girl named Stephanie… let me share it with you.

Trust me this one is a tear jerker!

Wes first saw Stephanie at a Pure Freedom  for teens. Wes said he loved her the moment he saw her. When he approached Stephanie to ask her out on a date she informed him that after a very bad relationship in 9th grade, her heart had been wooed by Jesus, and she was only dating Him through out the  rest of high school… which was three more years.

Three years. No guys. Just God.

Well Wes went and had a little talk with God about this. You see Wes loved Jesus too. When Wes went and talked to Jesus about how he felt about Stephanie and God let Wes know that He was courting Stephanie, and Wes needed to back off and give Him His courting time with Stephanie.

Wes obliged.

But for the next three years Wes never stopped loving Stephanie. He stayed friends with her, would touch base every now and then. During this time he was asked out by other girls… but he said no… He was waiting on Stephanie, even though she had no clue that he was.

On May 24, 2008 Wes saw Stephanie again… she was about to graduate high school. 

Then on June 1, 2008 after Stephanie had graduated high school Wes came to see Stephanie. And that’s when he brought them out… the gifts.

One for each Christmas that he’d loved her.  

                                      One for each birthday that he’d loved her.

And a journal that expressed his emotional pursuit of her… three years of giving her over to God and giving himself over to God as he waited for God to give him permission to show his love to Stephanie.

YES THIS IS A TRUE STORY!

For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,

 Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,

Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

 Isaiah 64:4

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but just as it is written,

“ THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,

AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,

ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

1 Corinthians 2:9

This is why sex is worth waiting for… it’s for YADA.

Let’s dump the cliches, let’s dump the lies, and let us walk in Truth.

Your challenge today:

              if you are married, are you still getting to know your spouse? Ladies, how is your respect toward your husband? Does he know that you respect him? Do you respect him? Is yada a part of your marriage? Maybe you need to make the first move in getting to know your husband all over again…

           if you are single… wait on Him. Are you willing to give the object of your heart over to God? Are you willing to date Jesus only, to let the Creator of the universe court you and then bring “the one” to you? Are you willing to say no to relationships that you know are not God’s will for you in order to wait for yada?     

I am not promising you that if you wait then every marriage will be a Wes and Stephanie experience, but I can promise you that if you wait, if you choose to do things God’s way, wherever you’re at right now… if you choose to submit and surrender your heart to Christ and trust HIM and show that trust by walking in obedience to what HE tells you… then you will experience the love and grace and mercy of the God who is LOVE, who does KNOW you, and yet LOVES you with a love that you cannot even wrap your human mind around. Then you can be a part of HIS great love story and there is no lack of the possibility of what He can do in your marriage… in your singleness… in your life.

 

Getting Strong Enough

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I am a biblical woman who loves God’s Word and feasts on it each day. I am a sinful woman who has been healed by the perfecting love of my Savior. I am a wife and mother who is honored to serve the Father in those roles. I am an author empowered by the Holy Spirit to write and live out Truth. I am a girl who occasionally watches The Ellen Show, and I think she’s sweet and funny and generous. And that’s where it starts to get complicated- when my private, God-loving self interacts with a real world that doesn’t acknowledge Him as God. Just like you, I am trying to live out my faith in a very crazy world.

~ Dannah Gresh

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Day Twenty-Four 

These last ten days I am going to begin pulling from Dannah Gresh’s book What Are You Waiting For. I wanted to start with Shannon Ethridge’s book because it was geared more to married women, and I am a firm believer that God wants us to have amazing marriages. He wants us to experience a level of intimacy in our marriages that somehow helps us understand how up-close and intimate He intends to be with us.

I also believe with all my heart that God can take a marriage that is already hanging off the ledge of destruction and when even just one of the two is willing to let both hands go of the ledge and grab on to God’s hand and refuse to let go… that God can in His power and might and ability to make messes into beautiful miracles pull them both to safety… because after all you are united as one flesh.

I believe many marriages fall apart because we usually are not willing to see our own part in the mess. All we want to see is the part that will justify our choice to be done, to be free of the pain, the hurt, the hassle. It’s easier to see the other’s fault in the mess than our own, especially when we use the excuse that our actions are simply the results or effects of the other’s actions… the whole “well if they, then I wouldn’t have” thing.

We usually want what we have decided is the greener grass because we didn’t have to do any of the work to make it green. Here’s the thing, God wants our grass to be just as green… but sometimes it takes a bunch of “crap” to get beautiful green grass.

Sometimes it has to be set on fire and burnt almost to death in order for the beautiful new green to work its way up through the ashes.

Sometimes it has to have poisons thrown out on it to destroy the weeds that keep creeping up in it and sometimes it has to babied… with extra seed and water and tended often… especially in a dry season.

Green grass takes work…

So we started with Every Woman’s Battle and we ended yesterday with our prayer for God to show us who we needed as an accountability partner. Ladies even if you are not struggling at this time with emotional or sexual integrity… you still need accountability. You need it in so many areas of your life.

Maybe your struggle is staying in the Word, maybe it’s attending church, maybe it’s losing it with your kids, maybe it’s laziness at work, maybe it’s food, maybe it’s health maintenance, maybe it’s stepping out in obedience in a particular ministry. It doesn’t matter what we are struggling with, God built and designed His church that we might be accountable to one another and Him. You need women in your life who know they have the freedom to pull you aside and say… “Honey, I have noticed…”

However, the focus of this Thirty-three Day Challenge remains sexual and emotional integrity. As I watch our nation crumble in moral decay, and as I see that decay alive and well and working in our churches, I am beyond saddened. A little piece of my heart breaks every time a marriage fails because of emotional and sexual compromise.  A little piece of my heart breaks every time I hear of the youth group couple that is sexually active. A little piece of my heart breaks every time I hear of the youth group boy that has playboy’s under his bed and him and half the other youth group guys head off to Hooter’s for some wings. A little piece of my heart breaks when I hear what movies the girls in the church are watching or what music they are listening to or what books they are reading…

I have to confess, that my own personal litmus as to whether or not I think you need Jesus is “where are you sexually?” This is my plumb line. This is where I will begin my fruit inspection as to whether or not you are a genuine sincere believer, especially if you tell me you are called to the ministry or are already in the ministry.

When I was first wholly surrendered I thought everyone was like me. If they claimed to be a Christian and yet had sex outside of marriage then I, with all my heart, thought they were as deceived as I was and really were not saved.

Now I have learned to extend grace in this area and I now know that yes, someone can be a Christian, can be really saved, and struggling in this area. So I have learned to not doubt their salvation so easily, but here’s the thing… they still need Jesus or at least they still need more of Jesus. They still need TRUTH.

Which is why as much as it breaks my heart to see those who compromise their integrity… it breaks my heart even more and makes it fall with a thud to a floor, when I hear those who profess to be Christians call someone else a whore, a slut, a fag… just because they have decided that what “they” are doing is worse than what they are doing.

All it takes is one walk down the halls to hear it.

All it takes is five minutes in the break room to hear it.

All it takes is one “prayer” meeting to hear it.

And as the targets of the judgments and gossip hear it… their invisible walls of self-protection get higher, thicker, and harder. God’s truth is heart-blocked by our gossip and harsh judgments.

Heart-blocking is Satan’s job… that is his work.

Who are you working for? 

So- as we who call ourselves Christians,

we biblical women who are learning to feast on God’s Word daily,

we sinful women who have fallen but are being restored and perfected by the love of our Savior,

we women who want with all our hearts to do all we can to keep our daughters and the other young women in our lives from making the insane mistake of believing the lies of Satan instead of the truth of God… let us be real.

Let us not tell sister-so-and-so about Betty-Jo’s affair, let us go to Betty-Jo and pull Betty-Jo aside and offer her our sincere help in bringing her before the throne of grace. Let us not joke in the break room about how Floozy-Suzie wore those clothes into work yesterday, wonder who she went home with after the office party last night… let us instead go to Floozy-Suzie one-on-one and tell her about real Love. She may not know it exists. Let us not join in our daughters conversation of condemnation about the new lesbian couple in school, let us instead teach her how to share the gospel and love them without getting caught up in the sin themselves…

Don’t get me wrong… I know Jezebel is out there.

 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel,

who calls herself a prophetess,

and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray

so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 

I gave her time to repent,

and she does not want to repent of her immorality.

Revelation 2:20-21

…but I will let God take care of her, I will just offer everyone grace and mercy as freely as He offered it to me and at the same time I will be careful not to fall into temptation in the process…

 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass,

you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;

each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:1-2

That is our end goal of this challenge. To become women of emotional and sexual integrity who are strong enough by and through His grace to be used by Him in our own weaknesses to reach out to those that God has allowed to cross our path and show them the Way of Peace.

Are you still with me????