The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn 

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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????

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