Deadly Eye Candy

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How do we keep ourselves pure in a fallen world?

You can hardly watch a movie or t.v. show without being assaulted with vulgarity. It is almost impossible to even look at Facebook without being bombarded with arrows to our spirit. Hollywood serves up a smorgasbord  of nudity, profanity, and violence buffet style. Just because they believe this is what sells their movies does not mean we have to buy it.

A continuous diet of this cheapens us, our relationships, the way we view things, and eventually dulls our hearing to His Spirit to a point we no longer feel the twinge of conviction. The sting of conviction is a good thing, it serves as a warning to turn away.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to keep our heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

Very much like the adage “you are what you eat,” what we put before our eyes, allow into our hearing, will go into our hearts. Out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouth will speak (Luke 6:45) Our bodies will follow the direction of our feet, so be sure your feet are firmly grounded on His truth, or you may find yourself on a slippery slope.

Images flash before our eyes on a daily basis.

While we may not have a say, or sometimes even a warning, what images flash before us, we do have a say if we continue to entertain or not. Images are to create thought, imagination, and to stir desire. James said this, “Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.

Nothing is just for entertainment purposes. Everything has an angle, whether good or not, everything has an angle and comes with a price.

A good rule of thumb when you find yourself in a precarious situation is to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this edifying, does it offer anything other than a temptation to my flesh?
  2. Would I feel comfortable watching this if my husband/wife/mother/child were in the room?
  3. Could this weaken my relationships?

And the most important question to ask yourself is this:

4. If Jesus were sitting here in the flesh beside me would I still watch this? 

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would just wake up one day and say “Today is a great day to jeopardize my relationship with Christ and those I love. Like all journeys, it starts with one step that leads to another and then another… until we find ourselves laying on the ground wondering what just happened. So why even take the first step to certain destruction?

In ALL things we are to honor God and guard our relationship with Him.

Everything begins with a seed. Pay attention to the seed you are planting.

Click here for an excellent article on this subject.

For every sin, entrapment, God has given us a way of escape, and sometimes the escape is as simple as just turning it off.

Be Free & Stay Free 

 

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If We Are The Body

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The other day I overheard a conversation between two women. It actually broke my heart to hear what was being said.

The conversation went something like this:

“I quit going to church, I love Jesus, but I quit going to church because I am too lonely. I tried different churches, but no one will talk to me. I need friends. I have tried introducing myself, I spoke to the pastors, I tried to joining groups, but no one seems to want to know me. I know if they would take a couple minutes to get to know me they would like me, no one can even talk to me for 15 minutes. My counselor told me it is because they do not want to know me. Sometimes I get so lonely, I need friends, but I can’t take being rejected in church anymore.”

What is wrong with this picture?

I understood what she was saying, because I have felt it too. I am sure most of us have felt it. This ought not to be…especially in His church.

People are turning to the world for their answers and the world offers false hope, temporary fixes.

I read an article a while back about gangs recruiting the youth. It said the main lure for youth to joining gangs is to have a sense of belonging, a community, a family. Many of the youth that join gangs come from broken homes, they do not have a father figure in the home. Even though it is dangerous to be in a gang, to them it was better and more safe than being alone. Not only does membership in a gang give you a sense of community, it also offers protection.

I want to sound an alarm to the church. Wake up, wake up!

It was not that long ago when the headlines read the rise of depression is rising, even in the church. People are taking their own lives, families are being torn apart, addictions are wreaking havoc in lives, more people are choosing to shack up than marry, the world has crept into the church to weaken the church, yet the world remains strong.

The world is like a gang, recruiting souls. Oh, church, when will we wake up and see? When will we love as the Father loves? When will we be about the Fathers business as Jesus was? Are we really too busy we can’t take 15 minutes to talk to someone and let them know someone cares? Are our homes such a monument that we can’t even invite someone in to dine with us? Are we that selfish we can’t give of our resources to advance the Kingdom and to be the face of Christ to the world and to each other?

Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? Romans 2:4

If we say we are His we must have His love in us. We must not have a form of Godliness and deny the power.

Jesus said, “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].” John 13:35

Again…  And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

I believe Jesus made it pretty clear what we are to do if we are His followers. We are to love. To deny a brother or sister is to abandon them. No one in the body of Christ should ever feel alone, isolated, abandoned. Also, how will people ever believe God loves them when His own Body doesn’t?

Pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him back up.

Loneliness and isolation leads to depression, hopelessness. Please, be aware of the people God has placed around you. You have the answer within you, share it. Be His arms, His legs, His mouth.

You must purpose to love people, to reach out to people, or it will not happen. The world will keep you so busy and distracted and all of the “I will do it tomorrow” will never happen.

Look around you, there are hurting people. There are people who are ready to throw in the towel. Be the one who stands up and gives them one more reason to try again.

True religion is not found in your wallet, or in a church pew, or in 101 church activities… it is found through love. It is found caring for the orphans and widows, visiting people in the time of their distress.

I like a quote I once heard… “Preach the Gospel ALWAYS and sometimes use words.”

Wolves Aren’t Good Pets

What  I am about to tell you is a true story…

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After careful consideration and planning, my little girl and I adopted a dog from the animal shelter. We were ready for the responsibility and my travel had slowed down.

We made the trip to the animal shelter and saw the most beautiful dog. He was well behaved and he was the only dog who didn’t bark like crazy. My daughter fell in love with him instantly. I told her we would go home and think about this over night and then come back. There was much to consider adopting this dog. He was big, had lots of hair (which meant there would be lots of shedding), and would need extra walks and exercise. Not too mention all the food he would eat.

The next day we go back to the shelter and we take him out for a walk. Yes, I fell in love with him, too! OK, this is our dog, he will be a part of our family. We adopt him, micro chip him, get his shots, buy the toys, the leash, the food, and crate. My daughter named him Mordecai, Mordy for short.

Mordy was the perfect dog! He was so well behaved, not one accident in the house,  he walked nicely with us on the leash, he was affectionate, he followed us around the house, and he NEVER barked.  Because I am a single mom, Mordy also brought with him a sense of security;  after all, who would break into a house with a dog this big?!

Everyone commented on how beautiful he was. He walked so proud. He held his head high.

But no matter where we went, people would ask me the same question.  Comments about his beauty were followed by, “Is he a wolf?”

“No, he is a husky mix.” I would answer, because that is what the papers said.

The day came for Mordy to get the snip. You know, the snip male dogs get. Poor boy. I drop him at the vet and in a few hours I go back to pick him up.

“Surgery went well,” the vet tech told me. Then she asked me the question… “Do you know what kind of dog you have?”

“Yea, he is a husky mix.”

“No.” She tells me. “He is a wolf.”

Gads! I got a dog and it turns out to be a wolf. Everyone saw it but me. This began to explain a lot.

After the honeymoon period, Mordy’s wolf side started to show. You see, in a wolf pack there is only one alpha. In my home Mordy viewed me as the alpha.  He went from the best dog ever, to a wolf challenging my position as alpha. It became quite intimidating, let me tell ya.

What I viewed as a well behaved dog, was actually a wolf in waiting. He never barked, because wolves don’t bark. He could have never been the watchdog protector, because he would assume the alpha (uh, that would be me), would take care of any intruder. He would go back and forth, one minute the best gentle dog, and then the next minute a wild wolf. It was unnerving sleeping with one eye open.

I was sad when I had to find Mordy a new home. He is now with a man who knows how to handle wolves.

I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Wolves do not make good family members. They are to be in the wild. You can not tame a wolf.

I also learned another lesson. Sometimes people are like wolves. The Bible warns us about wolves in sheeps clothing. I met a few wolves. And I think I have learned how to spot them.

You may not recognize them at first. Because, like Mordy, they are very attractive at first. They are on their best behavior. They are well behaved, gentle, and do whatever it takes to get into your home. They will lull you into a false sense of security.

Then their true nature will start to show, it will be subtle at first, and you will think things like, “Maybe he is having a bad day?” or “Maybe I am not giving him enough attention?”

Then he will watch for your vulnerabilities. He will challenge you. He will bite you right in the backside. Not only will you begin to feel “not safe” with him, you will not be safe period!  Because it is not in his interest to protect you. Remember, he wants to dominate you, because that is what wolves do.

He will begin to shed his beautiful coat, leaving a mess for you to clean up, and he will no longer be attractive. It starts little by little, at first you will doubt what you are seeing. After all, he was so beautiful, how did he get so ugly? Remember the walks you used to enjoy?  Forget that!  Because he doesn’t want to walk with you anymore;  now he just wants to pull you into the oncoming traffic.

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This is how to protect yourself from being deceived into bringing a wolf into your home.

1. Listen to the people closest to you. If they cry wolf, you just might have a wolf.

2. Don’t fall for the pretty coat. Eventually he will shed the coat. What’s underneath is what is important. To be more clear, the Bible says it like this, you will know them by their fruit. Look for the fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].

3. A wolf will not protect you!  If he doesn’t have your best interest,  if he is self-centered, if it’s always about him… then you may have a wolf.

4. If he is not genuine, is short tempered, lacks self control, and you don’t trust him to not bite you in the backside…

RUN!!!  You have a wolf!

Be Free & Stay Free

Do Not Be Double Minded

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God has placed inside each of us a dream and a gift. He has given us a vision and the resources to fulfill the calling He has placed on our lives. We can be sure if we are not living in sin, He has released us to go after the dream.

One of His last words to us was  “GO.”

None of us are perfect and we all have to grow. Before stepping out, we should check ourselves:

1. Is there sin in my life? If so, confess and repent.
2. Am I teachable? Because we learn as we go.

If there is no sin, and we are teachable, then we can trust our steps are directed by Him.

Sometimes people do not move forward because they do not want to “get ahead of God.” So they sit on it, lay their fleece out, and wait… and wait… and wait…

While yes, we are to wait on the Lord. We are to be still in Him. We can trust Him to direct us, to open doors, or to close doors.

How do we know it is of Him? Through a developed relationship with Him we will recognize and discern His voice. During the times we feel He is silent, when we can’t hear Him, then always go with the last thing He told you.

You know it is of God when it does not conflict with His Word, when it lifts Him up, when it edifies, builds, and does not destroy.

Do not misinterpret opposition as lack of peace.

You will face opposition when you begin to move in your calling, this is a given. Jesus said the world will hate you because it hated Him first. So, you better believe it will not always be easy. But He has promised He is with you. When you are in partnership with Holy Spirit, nothing will be able to stop you. The gates of hell themselves will not prevail against you. The only thing that can stop you is YOU. Do not doubt or entertain unbelief. Doubt, unbelief, and fear are not of God.

This applies to relationships as well. There are some with great callings on their life that will come together and all hell will break loose. You will be hit from every side and even from inside.

Count the cost and when you have taken the first step, do NOT look back. Keep walking and trust Him. Cultivate your relationship with Him and have a heart for Him and you can trust your steps are directed by Him.

It is when we go back and forth, in and out, hot and cold, should I or shouldn’t I, that we begin to crumble, and sometimes injure those who are with us.

Be of good cheer, my friends, He is always there to lift you up and to lead you. Follow hard after Him and let nothing or no one stop you.

James 1:5-8
5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of [a]the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, 8 [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].

Be Free & Stay Free

Yes, You Can!

Sometimes we can be our own worse enemies. We can judge ourselves hard and we can convince ourselves we are too messed up to be used by God. We know our past, we know the mistakes we have made, and the sins we have committed. We may believe forgiveness is for everyone else, but “not me.”

Or we may feel we have to pay for penitence, earn forgiveness, right standing, or the right to minister His love. This is so far from the truth.

I was here before. I experienced such spiritual and emotional war, it left me limping. I almost believed I blew it. I heard a voice in my head say, “You really messed up this time! He will never use you. You have lost all credibility. How can you help someone else when you can’t even help yourself.”

I had to discern this was not my voice and it was not the voice of God. This voice was of the accuser. I may have gone through war, but I am not in sin. God does not give gifts and take them away.

We overcome by His blood and the word of our testimony. We must rise up, knowing He has called us and He has equip us with His Spirit. Because it is not about us, it is about Him and His great love for us.

I pray you find this encouraging. I pray you will always remember, when you are weak, then He is strong.

Be Free & Stay Free

Calling All Men

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Men have a great responsibility. I think sometimes we have under estimated their importance. I think we have mis-labeled men and chastised them for the sins of other men. Granted, there are some bad men out there in wolves clothing, but I believe there are more good Godly men who truly love the Lord.

Because of the single parent households out there, it is sometimes easier to point fingers at the opposite sex. But let us be honest, a child needs both parents. The father plays an important role in shaping a child’s identity. He teaches the boy how to become a man and the girl what to look for in a man. I believe if we look at the root causes of broken women, it will point back to the relationship with her father.

A father is the first example we have of Gods love for us. Is he angry, distant, non-existent? Or is He always present, loving, nurturing, protective?

I encourage women to pray for our men. Stand beside them, for the mantle they carry can be heavy at times.

Fathers, love your daughters, because they will marry someone like you.

Fathers, teach your sons, because they will be men.

Men, do not say “I love you” to a woman unless you are ready for that commitment. Words bind and if not spoken in truth can wound.


Husbands, love your wives, lead her with a gentle hand, cover her with your prayers, comfort her with your arms. Let your words be edifying, build her up, do not tear her down. She follows you as you follow Christ, do not lead her astray. Encourage her in her calling and her gifting. Be confident in Christ in you, so you will not tear down her confidence. F
ollow hard after God, you will need His strength as you lay your lives down daily and you will need His wisdom as you lead. Do not let your hands become idle or your family will be hungry.

Remember who you are and who He is and who He has called you to be. Trust He has equipped you for your purpose. Do not slumber, be vigilant. Watch over your house or the thief will come in and steal what is yours. Rise up, men of God and take your place. Do not look for an exit or an excuse, you made a commitment when you put that mantle on. Trust God to finish what He has begun in you. Let Him love others through you. Bring healing, not wounds.

Be Free & Stay Free

Women of Influence

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Women, remove your mask and be the woman God has called you to be. Do not be independent, but be dependent on God. There is a difference between independence and strength. Let your strength be that inward quiet beauty that God loves; let it radiate through you.

You do not have to demand respect. God has a plan and a purpose for everyone; men and women. Do not usurp the man’s position by demanding yours.

If you are single, do not look for that perfect man… he does not exist. Work on you and let your Heavenly Father, who is perfect, bring your husband to you. Do not awaken love before it’s time. Remember, you were purchased at a great price, the blood of Jesus has redeemed you. You are a precious treasure, not a cheap trinket. You are to be cherished. Do not give your body and your heart and your soul away to a man who is not your husband. In God’s time He will bring that man to you. That man will only find you if he is chasing after God. So, be so hidden in Him that you will not be deceived by the counterfeit. God wants much more for you. Trust God’s standards.

Mothers, teach your daughters to be women. Let your speech be gentle, truthful and non-demanding. Do not belittle your daughters father, build him up. Be grounded in Gods Word and not the world.

Wives, honor your husbands. Build your home to be a refuge for him. Keep the fire hot, the world is a cold place, he needs your warmth. Respect your husband, he has the responsibility to be head of your home. Do not take lightly his burden of accountability to lead. Be his helpmeet. Stand beside him, watch for his blind spots and cover him in prayer.

It is not the paycheck that determines the head of the home, it is God. Because He loves you, He has designed the blueprint for marriage. Trust Him.

You cannot change your husband, only God can do that. Your husband needs a wife, a helpmeet; not a mother, a boss, or a competitor.

Know who you are and Who He is and who you are in Him.

Let your family rise and call you blessed.

Proverbs 31 10-31

A capable, intelligent, and [b]virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.

12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.

13 She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].

14 She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from a far [country].

15 She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.

16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.

18 She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].

19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].

21 She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].

23 Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service].

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!

26 She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].

27 She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying],

29 [c]Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.

30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!

Be Free & Stay Free