I sit here now writing this last minute review as a mother overwhelmed. I have been sick for a month, have been run ragged by my own commitments, and by helping my children to keep their commitments, as I play taxi and finder of everything lost. The laundry is behind, the sink is full of dirty dishes, the floors need mopped… again. I have been interrupted at least a dozen times this morning as I try to write this with phone calls from my husband and “Momma, I can’t find it!”… well I could go on, but I won’t.
Because these today are not my list of complaints.
Today these are reminders of my many blessings.
So let me start over.
I sit here now writing this last minute review as a mother overwhelmed. Even though I have been sick for a month my sickness has not caused me to be unable to meet the needs of my family and ministry. I am thankful that I am run ragged because it means that somehow God has enabled me to not only keep my own commitments but has also enabled me to help my children to keep their commitments. I thank God that I have reliable transportation and gas money so that I can play taxi for my girls. I also am thankful that God has blessed me with my supermom x-ray vision and supersonic brain GPS internal tracking system so that I can be the finder of everything lost. I am thankful that my family has enough clothing to have so much laundry that I actually am able to get behind on it. I am thankful that we have a house full of food and are able to eat and fill the sink full of dirty dishes. I am thankful that the floors need mopped… again, because it means my loved ones, my treasures, have been close to me all week and their physical presence is in our home. I am so grateful to have been interrupted at least a dozen times this morning as I try to write this with phone calls from my husband because it means he thinks of me when he is gone and I am the one he wants to share all his news with first. I am thankful for the interruptions of “Momma, I can’t find it!” in the middle of the morning because it means my children are home with me and I still have the great and awesome privilege of homeschooling them.
I am thankful for the mess. For the mess of motherhood. For the mess of family… because it is a blessing from my God. I am surrounded by treasures. Daily treasures… they call me Wife and they call me Momma. They are my priority before all else only coming behind my God… so I am thankful that this review is last minute because it means that this week I had my priorities in proper place.
I have spent the month making memories and recording my treasures as they were off to see the Wizard of Oz. My girls were in a play that required a lot of practice and they performed ten shows. I spent the month recording them in my mind and on my phone and with my camera. I spent the month texting the adorable things they said and did to my husband when he could not be there because he was at work providing for us. It didn’t matter that the laundry piled up, or the sink, or that there are a few spots in the floors that your sock might stick too… I made memories with my treasures.
I was reminded that I made the right choice as I listened to Daily Treasure by Lorrie Flem, like she said, one day they will not need a taxi, one day the dishes will only be for two, one day it will take longer for the laundry to actually pile up… and I almost cry now thinking about that day. So I think I am going to choose to enjoy today’s treasure now and be oh so very thankful for the mess.
*Disclaimer: I receive Eternal Encouragement products for free in return for an honest review
Obviously your heart needs to be a primary concern if you hope to be a woman of sexual and emotional integrity. It’s one thing to determine how far is too far physically in a premarital or extramarital relationship, but it’s another to answer how far is too far emotionally. What are the emotional boundaries?
Okay ladies, today we are going to learn some tools to stand against the enemy and to guard our hearts. The best tools are knowledge and love. Love without knowledge is foolishness and knowledge without love is dangerous. We need both at the same time.
but grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18
Because lawlessness is increased,
most people’s love will grow cold.
As the knowledge of the true Word of God slips away out of our society we see society’s love grow cold. When the Word of God is not renewing our own mind… we will find our love growing cold. Real love, sacrificial love, obedient love… will grow cold apart from the Word of God. As lawlessness increases in our day we see our society remove itself farther and farther away from the truthof the Word.
If you take a moment to think about a time that you chose to allow a certain sin in your life, a time of lawlessness, what was your love like? Was it sacrificial or selfish? Was it on fire for God or going through the motions? Did you hunger for the Word or did you not want It near you?
We must never stop growing in the grace and knowledge of our God because the moment we do our love begins to cool and it won’t be long before we are chilled to the bone.
but speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in all aspects into Him
who is the head, even Christ,
I used to have my list of sins that a “real” Christian could never commit, if they were indeed a “real” Christian. However, as I have grown in the grace and knowledge and love of God in my own life I have learned that a Christian is not an exception to humanity.
Our condemnation just falls harder from the enemy because we “are supposed to know better”. But the truth is sometimes we just don’t know enough. Granted most of the time it’s because we simply have not taken the time to know more. We have become easily satisfied with whatever the preacher delivers us on Sunday mornings instead of feeding ourselves daily.
Daniel was the man in Scripture who was called a man of high esteem, he had uncompromising integrity. Do you think that just might be because he prayed to our God three times a day? Morning, noon, and night he called on the Lord… let us be willing to give our God the same… to seek Him… to be in constant fellowship with Him. He is only a prayer away.
I hope that these past fifteen days have been a time of growth for you and also a time of amazing fellowship with your Creator as you have focused on getting the “other” things out of the way to make more room for Him in your heart.
I want to be a woman of sexual and emotional integrity. I lived a life so far from God and His Word and I blasphemed His name among the lost because I still called myself a Christian as I lived a life that in no way represented who I claimed to be. I thank God that He is aware that I am but dust. He saw my ignorance and passed over my sin and chose even still to forgive me and to give me life.
Today I am going to share the tools with you that Shannon share’s in her book to help us walk in sexual and emotional integrity. Because the last thing I want to do is blaspheme His name among the lost again. The enemy of our souls knows how to bring us down and he knows the power of emotional manipulation and sexual temptation. Don’t think he won’t use it against us. Don’t think that he will not take the bond that is formed by believers in the unity of the Holy Spirit and try to pervert it.
Shannon share five stages of emotional connection and has them marked with a green light, a yellow light, and a red light to let us know when all is good, when we need to be careful, and when we need to stop and back the truck up.
(4) arousal and attachment
(5) affairs and addiction
Attention, this is based on what we see, whereas attraction is based on what we hear.
That’s why you may see someone, they have caught your attention and you may think, “hmmmmm” but then they open their mouth and you think “ughhhh, ewwwww”.
Or you see someone and go “ughhhh, ewwwww” and then they open their mouth and you go “ohhhhhhh”.
Now in attractionyou 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. Here is where the green light goes to yellow. Here is where you, married or single, have to pay close attention to your motives and your actions. We show affection in many ways and to many individuals. We not only show our husband affection, but we also show our children affection through cards, hugs, helps, words, etc. We also show our friends affection in similar ways and we can safely do this with our male friends also if we watch our motives.
Married women, here are some questions you need to prayerfully ask yourself before you show any type of affection to a man who is not your husband.
* What is my motive for making this expression of affection? Is it appropriate?
* Am I trying to show genuine appreciation for this individual, or do I have a hidden agenda?
* Am I using affection to draw this person into a deeper relationship?
* Could this expression be misinterpreted in such a way that this man would be confused, tempted, or suspicious of my motives?
*Is this expression of affection one that I wouldn’t mind my spouse knowing about?
Single women, here are some for you:
*Is this person unattached? Does this person have a “significant other” in his life who would be concerned with how I express affection toward him?
*Is my expression of affection in line with the current level of my relationship with this person?
*Do I sense that this man has personal feelings for me that I do not reciprocate? If so, would signs of affection give him the impression that I am interested in more than friendship when, in fact, I am not?
*Could this expression of affection be interpreted as seductive, or does it truly express godly character?
Now we are getting into the red light district, Emotional Arousal and Attachment. Now if you are a single woman then this is still in the yellow light for you, that is if the man is also single, but if you are married and you are at emotional arousal and attachment with a man that is not your husband, RED LIGHT!
Emotional arousal occurs when we are stirred romantically by someone, and it usually precedes most sexual activity because our heart determines the direction of our mind and body.
How can you tell the difference between attraction or affection and emotional arousal and attachment toward a man? Here are some questions to ask…
* Do you think of this man often (several times each day) even though he is not around?
* Do you select your daily attire based on whether you will see this person?
* Do you go out of your way to run into him, hoping he will notice you?
*Do you look for excuses to call him so you can hear his voice?
* Do you find reasons to email him, eagerly anticipating his response?
* Do you wonder is he feels any attraction towards you?
* Do you want to talk or spend time alone with this person, out of earshot or eyesight of anyone else?
Your challenge today is to spend time examining your heart and your friendships, especially those with the opposite sex. Ask yourself these questions and see where you are at in your emotional and sexual integrity. Tomorrow we will look at what to do if you have found yourself caught up in an emotional affair or have even progressed into an addiction…
Precious one, there is forgiveness and there is hope.
Now as we look at Exodus 16, we see that God is going to send the meat that the children of Israel grumbled for straight into the camp and He is going to rain down bread from heaven. The provisions that God will send will come with specific instructions that require perfect obedience in order for it to be consumed. When God institutes a way, it is the only way, and compromise and concession will not cut it.
The frustrating thing is that this group of people, these whom passed through the Red Sea, still do not get it. The Lord, once again, does exactly as He said He would, yet the people still choose to doubt Him. God commanded them to take only what they needed for the day and save none, for there would be more tomorrow. Yet the children of Israel gathered extra and tried to store it for later, but it turned foul and bred worms.
God then commanded them on the sixth day to gather twice as much, for on the seventh day there would be none. However, once again, the children of Israel doubt God and His word and they go out on the seventh day to gather manna.
How God withheld His wrath upon these people is beyond me. Then again, how God withholds His wrath upon myself is also beyond me. This is why He is God and we are not. Oh, how patient our Creator is with us. This is why He can be trusted and should never be doubted.
In John 14:9 Jesus is speaking with His disciples and He turns to them and says “Have I been so long with you and yet you have not come to know Me?” How long must we walk with the awesome awareness of a Holy God before we get it?
Oh precious one, let us get it!
Let us lay aside all doubt.
Let us lay aside all human reasoning.
Let us lay side the confines of the temporal and let us pick up the vastness of our infinite God. Stop looking at life through the eyes of your head and begin seeing it with the eyes of your heart.
In 1 John 5:3 we read “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
In 2 John 1:6 we read, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”
How long can we refuse to keep the commandments and instructions of God and still claim that we love Him? God has clearly demonstrated His great love for us. Let us in return demonstrate our love to Him by walking in obedience to Him.
Obeying Him shows that we trust Him. We can’t say that we trust God when we disobey His Word, because our actions will prove us a liar. If you love Him, trust Him, and if you trust Him, obey Him.
How thankful I am that You are patient with me. Forgive me for the many times that I have tested that patience. Oh Father, You opened my eyes so that I would be able to turn from the darkness of the kingdom of Satan to You, my God, and the kingdom of my Christ (Acts 26:18). You opened my eyes that I might recieve forgiveness for my sins and the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit and now I pray that You would open the eyes of my heart that I might know the breadth, length, height, and depth of Your love for me (Ephesians 3:18). The more I understand of Your love the more compelled I am to obey Your every Word in the hope that somehow in someway I might show You how grateful I am to be so loved by You.
Your recent advertising commercials are appalling! How dare you display such vulgarity… and during prime time hours. I am sitting in my home watching the weather on my local news channel and I have your disgusting ad thrown in mine and my ten year old and seven year old daughters faces. I write a blog, have a facebook page and a twitter and you better believe that I will use whatever sphere of influence I have to discourage anyone from giving Hardees any business as long as this is the kind of trash you are going to choose to produce with our money.
Yes I am angry.
If you have seen these ads and you are angry too, then pass on my letter or better yet write your own.
Another beautiful moment of “WOW! God You are so awesome!” occurred in our zoology lesson this past week… and well I just thought I would share
We were still in the ungulates… discussing even-toed ones now. We talked about cows and camels and buffalo and camels and giraffes and pigs and hippos. There were “wow God You are so awesome” moments all through this study of his creation but my “WOW!” one was the pig… well it really isn’t a pig… it’s a peccaries.
Peccaries have are smaller and thinner than pigs. Their legs are longer and thinner and their tusks are different from a pig as well. Peccaries also live in herds that include males. Here’s the kicker… peccaries have a powerful musk gland on the top of their rump. Peccaries stink… they always stink.
So you may be wondering right now how a stinky pig would make me have a “WOW! God You are so awesome” moment…
Here it is.
Another huge difference between a pig and peccaries is that peccaries have a spirit of altruism. Altruism is the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others.
When a herd of peccaries is attacked a single peccary will step up and be willing to give his life so that the rest of the herd can be saved.
What does this sound like?
Or better yet, WHO does this sound like.
For you have been called for this purpose,
since Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
and while being reviled, He did not revile in return;
while suffering, He uttered no threats,
but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness;
for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 2:21-24
It never ceases to amaze me how our God has woven His gospel through all His creation… this is why He can say as He does in Romans 1… we are without excuse. His truth is spoken loud and clearly illustrated… even through a stinky pig.
This stinky peccary is probably not grabbed up to become a pet. It is probably reviled and ran from and considered distasteful and unpopular… just like our Jesus… but once you get to know him… once you see his spirit and get to know his character… oh I adore this pig… just like my Jesus
My Jesus put on this stinky flesh of mine… just so He could come and die for me… and for you. He didn’t have to. He was glorious, the Lord of hosts, the King of kings and Lord of lords, clothed in majesty and honor… yet He laid all that aside and took on my filth… my stink… and died for me… so that I might be saved… so that the world might be saved… the entire herd of us.
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise also partook of the same,
that through death He might render powerless
him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Yesterday we looked at freeing our mind as we talked about the importance of taking every thought captive as we guard our mind against the schemes of the enemy. We talked about how it’s not enough to just avoid trash intake… you must replace the trash with the Word of God.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.
We must be very careful what we allow our minds to dwell on… because our thoughts will become our actions. We must not allow our minds to think or imagine things that go against the Word of God. We are not to fantasize about men that are not our husbands, whether we are single or married.
Now before we go any further let me assure you that if you are married… honey go right on ahead and fantasize about you and your man! (Aghum, that is, as long as no one else is included in the fantasy.) We must remember that marriage is about becoming one. It is about becoming “known” and we’ll get deeper into the becoming known later in the challenge. Marriage is about intimacy with your spouse and only your spouse. If your fantasy begins to include any extra participant take that thought captive… it is a perversion of what is true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely.
Today we are beginning a focus on guarding our hearts… never forget that as a woman you must guard your mind and your heart… your mind follows your heart. When you emotionally connect with a man (fictional or real) then your mind begins to fantasize about him and then you desire to make your fantasy a reality. However a man, fantasizes in his mind and then seeks to emotionally connect so that he can make the fantasy a reality. Remember men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love.
Ladies, we must guard our hearts and we must teach our daughters and any other young women in our lives how to do this as well… victory IS possible and it is imperative.
“While the need to love and to feel loved is a universal cry of the heart, the problem lies in where we look for this love. If we are not getting the love we need or want from a man- whether or not we have a husband- we may go searching for it. Some look in bars and others in business offices. Some look on college campuses and some look in churches. Some women look to male friends while others look to fantasy. When love eludes them, some women seek to medicate the pain of loneliness or rejection. Some take solace in food; others in sexual relationships with any willing partner. Some turn to soap operas; others to shopping; and still others to self-gratification.
If you have tried any of these avenues for long, you have likely come to a dead end. Your pursuit has left you longing for something greater, something deeper, something more.”
~ Shannon Ethridge
Are you at that dead end? Honey I have seen it and it is not a pretty place to be… so if you are there or if you find yourself there one day… there is only one thing to do at a dead… turn around!
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Therefore remember from where you have fallen,
and repent and do the deeds you did at first;
Repent, turn around, head back to your first love… to Christ.
I remember being a little girl and being so in love and in awe with my God. “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so…”
I loved Him, I did.
I didn’t know Him… but I loved Him.
Loving Christ but not knowing Him is kind of like that dream you have for that spouse, for that husband, you may not have met them yet but you love them… and even when you do marry them… you love them… but you still don’t really know them. Now the test comes when you have to choose to remember your “first love” for them as you get to know them… really know them.
As a little girl, I loved Him, I loved Jesus. Yet, I didn’t get to know Him. So my heart’s void was not filled with my love’s devotion to Him because I wasn’t seeking Him to fill that void… I forgot Him. I turned to other things to fill it. Things I could easily see and touch and feel… you know the things that didn’t require so much trust and work on my part.
I didn’t guard my heart and mind and save it for my Jesus… I gave it away… and my body followed.
I ended up at that dead end. However here’s the awesome and amazing thing about my Jesus, He can be found at the dead end.He doesn’t care how “lost” you are, He will get you turned around and headed in the right direction if you will just listen and fall into His arms. He will lift you up off your feet and carry you out of the muck of life better than any Richard Gere could his Debra Winger.
My First Love… He took me back. He didn’t care how dirty I was… He didn’t care about all the times I chose to fill His place in my life with cheap worthless things… He still loved me. He never stopped loving me.
If you are at that dead end… remember your First Love and turn around. When you fall back into His arms He will teach you how to guard your heart and to fill any void you have had with Him, the real lasting genuine deal. He will not reject you. He will not leave you lonely. He will not leave you empty. He beckons you to Him so that you can get to know Him… really know Him.
The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
When you remember your First Love and return to Him and begin to fill your heart with His love, it is out of this love, His love for you, that you are now finally able to really love others… including your husband. If you are single it is out of this love, His love, that you are able to say “no” to anything that would pervert or prevent love between you and your future husband.
If we are ever to have the ability to guard our hearts and our minds against the lies of the enemy and the seductions of this world… we must start here. We must start with remembering our Jesus and making peace with our God. “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so…”
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So today let us just examine our hearts.
Today focus on the oh so great love that Jesus has for you. Remember Him. Take the time today to write a love letter to Him. Tell Him about what you remember about that day you first fell in love with Him. Sing Him a love song. Take the opportunity today to get alone with your Love and dance with Him… Close your eyes and praise Him and use your mind and your heart to imagine His arms around you and His voice whispering His Words of unfailing love in Your ears.
when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening,
and bread to the full in the morning;
for the LORD hears your grumblings
which you grumble against Him.
And what are we?
Your grumblings are not against us
but against the LORD.
Moses and Aaron have taken the grumblings of the people before God. The Lord says that He will give the people what they grumble for, so that He may test them, to see if they will walk in His instruction (Exodus 16:4).
Moses and Aaron return to the people and assure them that the LORD has heard them and is going to answer. However, Moses also assures the people that it is not him and Aaron that these people are grumbling against but God Himself. In two consecutive verses Moses tells the people that their grumbling is against the Lord. Any time God speaks in His Word it is something important. So if He repeats himself, we better make sure that we are paying close attention.
Have you ever really realized how much you complain? I know that God has brought me into my own wilderness journey many times to show me this very thing. We, if we belong to Christ, should be filled with peace, love, hope, grace, self-control, patience, and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23). We are not to be filled with pouting, complaining, huffing, puffing, and grumbling. I have often found myself living in a spirit of complaint. I have found myself allowing the things that are not going my way to overpower every thankful bone in my body. Then I have complained even more because I don’t “feel” God like I used to.
Oh precious one, the snare was laid and I walked… no, I ran right into it. When the enemy gets his foot in the door through our grumbling there is no end to the damage that he can do. He can split churches, destroy marriages, tear apart life-long friendships, and make a canyon between us and our relationship with our Savior. This is not because God walked away, but because we like spoiled children, turn our backs and stomp to our room and scream “You don’t love me!”
Have you ever sat down and examined your heart by examining your words and realized how you must sound to the one who endured the cross for you? Oh my friend, I have and I must admit I was ashamed of myself.
If our praise is a soothing and sweet aroma in the nostrils of our God can you imagine how putrid the smell of our grumbling must be?
My friend, the next time you find yourself grumbling and complaining about what is going on in your life I suggest you take a moment to step back and see who it is you are really grumbling against. Especially when you find yourself in constant complaint about those in leadership. This includes your boss at work. This includes your parents. This includes your husband. This includes your pastor.
All those in positions of authority were allowed that authority by God (Romans 13:1-7), therefore, we are to honor them with the honor that is due them. The only time we are given the freedom to not honor them is when they attempt to demand us to be disobedient to God. Then and only then, do we have the right to refuse their authority over us.
Oh Father, Forgive me for the times that I have given the enemy a foothold in my life by grumbling. How easily the enemy can convince us that we have the right to complain against those who are in authority over us. Thank you Father, for Your Word. For by it You renew my mind and You open my eyes to the schemes of the one who seeks to destroy me and the ministry You have given me, that You have given all those who trust in Your Son, the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). May my heart always be Yours and inclined to hear Your voice. May I honor You by honoring those You have placed in authority over me.
Sow a thought, reap an action: Sow an action, reap a habit; Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap a destiny. ~ Samuel Smiles
One of the first things I realized after I was wholly surrendered to my Christ was that my thought life had gotten me in A LOT of trouble. My thoughts ended up becoming my actions… every time.
I learned this playing ball.
I had a coach that taught me to lay on may back and shoot my basketball in the air and catch it and visualize it going in the basket, stripping the net. I did… and when game time came it worked. If I wasn’t practicing physically, I was mentally. I did the same in softball as a pitcher. I visualized where I wanted the ball to go then I pitched it.
I learned the power of my thoughts and mind as I read books. I honestly cannot tell you half the time if a picture in my head or a story line in my memory, is from a book I read or a movie I saw. It gets all tangled up in the filing cabinet of my brain because when I read it is just as visual to me as a movie.
I didn’t realize the danger of my thoughts until I began to grow in Christ. It had never really occurred to me that my thought life really mattered. I used it for sports and for getting into a good book… but I had never connected the fact that my failure in sexual and emotional integrity had anything to do with my thought life…
As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father,
and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind;
for the LORD searches all hearts,
and understands every intent of the thoughts.
If you seek Him, He will let you find Him;
but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.
1 Chronicles 28:9
After becoming wholly surrendered to Christ I looked back on my life.
I realized that I had been playing out sexual immorality and impurity in my mind through the books I was reading and the songs I was listening to and the movies I was watching. So when you throw in a little alcohol with a mind full of trash… well I was powerless to fight.
I was deceived.
I was defeated.
I was in fact in the very process of being destroyed.
Satan’s plan was working… my inability to fight and my guilt and shame from being unable, plus the emotional and mental and spiritual damage that I was placing band-aid over band-aid over and self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, and illusion…
My thoughts turned from visualizing sexual immorality to visualizing my suicide.
What would be the best way. How could I do it without hurting my family. It would have to look like an accident. I don’t want my family blaming themselves because it’s not there fault… I just can’t live with me anymore.
Have you been there?
Are you there?
Wretched man that I am!
Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Praise God in Christ Jesus my Life and my Lord!
Yes! He can set you free from the body of this death!
This death of your soul that happens little by little through sin and fear and failure… your spirit is already dead without Christ… so Satan is after your soul… your hope , the very hope that will cause you to cry out to your God for help, for salvation, for life. He wants to silence your voice. To keep you from confessing the truth and finding life… he wants you to believe his lies and die.
Oh honey, don’t believe him.
Don’t let him silence your voice and destroy your soul.
Cry out to Christ and let Him save your soul and give you His Spirit so that you will be complete in Him. Whole in Him… mind, body, soul, and spirit.
When I cried out to God for help and called on the name of Jesus to save me and was wholly surrendered to Him I began to study His words of truth like a mad woman. I was tired of studying lies. I needed more Life in me… I was tired of death.
The more I studied the Word, the more I realized how dangerous my thoughts could be to me, to my relationship with God, and to my relationship with others. I realized it began in my mind and then was acted out in my actions… then I read:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh,
but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing
raised up against the knowledge of God,
and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
and we are ready to punish all disobedience,
whenever your obedience is complete.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
Take every thought captive. I read this, and I thought, and I said to God… how? How do I do it? How do I take every thought captive? What does that mean?
Guess what He told me.
And He taught me.
He’s a pretty good Father like that
The first thing He taught me was that I needed to stop filling my mind with the trash I had been feeding it. Then I needed to fill my mind with His Word. Cleaning out the cup does no good if you leave it empty… You have to fill it with a nutritious drink and actually put it to your mouth and drink. You have to swallow it and allow it to become a part of you and infiltrate your entire system.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
If I wanted my actions to be holy the first thing I had to do was get my thoughts holy… I needed a mind make-over. And ladies if you haven’t picked up on it yet… that’s what this challenge has been focused on thus far… a mind make-over. Thirty-three days to a new you… if you continue in what God is opening your eyes to as we go though this challenge.
Cause here’s the thing,
“No matter how well you try to prevent tempting thoughts from entering through the gate of your mind, some will slip through. Life brings temptations. The day you stop experiencing temptation isn’t the day you stop reading romance novels or watching R-rated movies or the day you put a wedding ring on your finger or the day you fast and pray for twelve hours straight. The day you stop experiencing temptation is the day you die. Temptation comes part and parcel with being human, and you are no exception to that rule.”
~ Shannon Ethridge
So your specific challenge until March 17th… take every thought captive. In your minds… when temptations invade…
Take. Them. Captive.
Rebuke them. Send them back to hell where they came from and then fill your mind with the Truth of God that refutes that sinful thought.
And ladies, single or married, don’t think on committing acts of sexual immorality with that guy… think on how to say NO when that guy wants something that belongs to THE guy.
Ladies practice this with the young ladies in your life. Teach them to rehearse saying no in their mind. I would go so far as to write out a script and rehearse a play by play. If he says this you say that, and if he says this, then you can say that…
Ladies, I do hope that you are pressing on through this challenge…
We are a little less than two weeks in… and for anyone reading this for the first time… feel free to join this challenge at any point. Or to go back to the beginning and begin it from Day One.
We have covered a lot of ground thus far in this Thirty-three day challenge, so today I want us to spend some time just soaking the stuff in…
Today let’s remember why we are doing this…
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness;
but indeed you are bearing with me.
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy;
for I betrothed you to one husband,
so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
But I am afraid that,
as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness,
your minds will be led astray
from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:1-3
We are doing this to open our eyes to lies and deception of the enemy that are so very prevalent in our society. We are doing this so that our hearts and minds might be cleansed and that we may draw ever so close to our Christ. We are the church, His bride, and we are to be making ourselves ready for the Big Day.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come
and His bride has made herself ready.
We began our challenge with a trash fast.
We are to be abstaining from media fed lies and disillusions that make us feel bad about ourselves as women or our husbands as husbands. We are fasting from movies, magazines, books, music, and tv shows that misrepresent women and try to tell you who you should be and how you should be apart from the Word of God. We are spending this challenge digging into God’s Word and learning who HE said we should be and how HE said we should be. Before, or as, we watch, read, or listen…
* Does this glamorize ideas or situations that oppose my Christian values?
*Is it uplifting to my spirit, and does it make me grateful for what God has given me, or does it make me depressed and dissatisfied?
*Does this cause me to think about things that build my character, or does it tear it down?
We are challenging ourselves to remember that we are fearfully and wonderful made… Psalm 139
If we want to read a love story we are to be picking up the Song of Solomon and reading this beautiful book of love and romance… I hope by the time you finish this challenge you will be able to sit down with your children or the young people in your life and use the Word of God to talk to the about love and marriage… and waiting… and guarding their hearts.
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart
brings forth what is good;
and the evil man out of the evil treasure
brings forth what is evil;
for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
We have talked about learning to make decisions and choices out of love not law by learning how to ask questions of integrity instead of questions of compromise…
Questions of Compromise vsQuestions of Integrity
Are my actions lawful? Are my actions loving to others?
Will anyone find out? Is this something I’d be proud of?
Would anyone condemn me? Is this my highest standard?
Is this socially acceptable? Is this in line with my convictions?
Are my clothes too revealing? Am I dressing for attention?
How can I get away with saying this? Would this be better left unsaid?
Will this hurt anyone? Will this benefit others?
We have discussed how our bodies belong to our husbands… visually. And we have discussed how our minds belong to our husbands… emotionally. We have learned that as women… our adultery begins with emotional attachment… not sexual arousal.
We have been challenged to be committed to not compare our husbands to other men and to not compare ourselves to other women…
For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves
with some of those who commend themselves;
but when they measure themselves by themselves
and compare themselves with themselves,
they are without understanding.
2 Corinthians 10:12
We also are to be searching out hearts for motives… as we dress… as we walk… as we speak… as we work… as we worship.
Are we doing what we do out of a desire to have power.
“Most of my single days are a tragic testimony of a young woman striving to gain some sense of power through inappropriate relationships with men. Rather than use what beauty God had given me to bring glory to Him. I used it as bait to lure men into feeding my ego. Rather than inspiring men to worship God. I subconsciously wanted them to worship me, and if I was successful in hooking a man with my charms, I secretly felt powerful.” ~ Shannon Ethridge
And we have the list challenge.
“I was seeking to understand why I still felt tempted outside of my marriage, so my therapist asked me to spend a week making a list of every man I had ever been with sexually or had pursued emotionally. I was shocked and saddened to see how long my list had grown through the years. At the next visit, she asked me to spend a week praying and asking myself, “What do each of these men have in common?”
“As I searched my soul to discern why such a common thread existed in my relational pursuits, the root of the issue became evident: my hunger for power over a man.” ~ Shannon Ethridge
And the last few days we have been learning and reminding ourselves that we are acceptedin Christ, we are securein Christ, and we are significantin Christ.
Yes, we have covered a lot of ground… I pray that it has been a time of cleansing, repentance, revival, and renewal. I pray that you continue on in this challenge with me… there is so much more to learn
Today is Wednesday, another day that has been set aside for believers in Christ to gather together in order to praise and worship our Lord and Savior and fellowship together.
Today your challenge is to remember that we need each other. I know many churches no longer meet on Wed night, but if yours does and you usually don’t attend, if you are able, attend today. If your church doesn’t meet on Wed nights, maybe send a text out to several ladies from your church and invite them over for fellowship and a devotional on what you have been learning.
Today, precious one, spend today praising your God and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.
If you have a job or an illness that keeps you from attending today… don’t be frustrated by this challenge… are there others around you in the same boat? If so get in the boat together and have church at work, in the hospital, in the home, start an online women’s group Bible study… but if you have a choice and are able, then gather in the house of the Lord with the assembly.
Today worship Him… remember all that He has done… and bless His holy name.
Sadly, most believers do not understand who they really are, who God made them to be, the authority He intended them to possess, or how Christ can meet their innermost desires for acceptance, security, and significance. ~ Shannon Ethridge
The last couple of days we have been studying up on how we are accepted in Christ and how we are secure in Christ and today we will be looking at how we are significant in Christ.
First of all…what is significance?
The word significant means to have meaning, to be important, to have influence or effect. There is a song that I absolutely love and one of the lyrics is “When I don’t measure up to much in this life, I’m a treasure in the eyes of Christ…”
Today I want you to take this list and print is off and keep it with you so that you might be reminded that you are important, your life has meaning, you can be used by God to have an influence and an effect on those who God allows to cross your path…
Don’t spend another day, another moment, listening to the lies like,
“Well what does it matter anyway?”
“No one would miss me anyway?”
“My life is useless”
“I don’t matter to anyone”
“I am not making a difference to anyone”
“What’s the point, it’s not like anyone will notice?”
“Nobody care’s anyway?”
These are lies!
Big fat lies.
Whispered to you by the father of lies.
He was a murderer from the beginning,
and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.
Whenever he speaks a lie,
he speaks from his own nature,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Now the verse following this verse is very powerful. Jesus is speaking to the “church folk” when He shares this verse. He’s speaking to the one’s that have not only been reading His Word, the Scriptures, but also teaching them, and holding others to them… yet He lets them know here… that they do not believe what they teach or what they read and study. They do not believe Him.
But because I speak the truth,
you do not believe Me.
Below is a list of truth from the lips of Christ, the Word of God made flesh, the Scriptures.
Here it is in black and white, recorded in writing, and passed on for thousands of years, the question precious one, is who are you going to believe?
The father of lies or the Lover of your soul?
Watch yourself, because your life is going to reflect who you believe.
I am the salt and light of the earth You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden Matthew 5:13-14
I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of his life I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you John 15:16
I am a personal witness of Christ but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth Acts 1:8
I am God’s temple Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
I am a minister of reconciliation Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
I am God’s coworker And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— 2 Corinthians 6:1
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6
I am God’s workmanship For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
I may approach God with freedom and confidence in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him Ephesians 3:12
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
If you are a new creation in Christ… then you are accepted, you are secure, and you are significant. You are forgiven. You are not defined by your past, you are not trapped by your present, and you need have no reason to have fear concerning your future… You are safe in His very capable hands. Just trust His truth. Just believe Him. You are His treasure.
The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn