Abortion & The March For Life

hammer to fall

(FreeImages.com/MarceloGerpe)

Today was the annual March for Life — an event that protests the 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court that legalized abortion in the United States of America.

My son was able to participate in the March for Life today. As I prepared him for the day with plenty of food and warm clothes, I couldn’t help but worry for his safety because of concern over the potential violence of protestors.  I considered whether I should send him or not but decided this was a great opportunity for him to understand the importance of an unborn baby’s right to live.  (It’s “funny” how my kids get the simplicity of this truth and don’t need long explanations.)   I was thankful that my son gets to experience a part of  what I participated in as a child and teenager.

My life and pro-life convictions were forever impacted when my parents offered to adopt a married woman’s unwanted baby. This woman was told by her abortionist that she couldn’t have her 7th abortion because it was too risky.  She and her husband were professional people with good careers and had two “older” children.

Because this woman couldn’t obtain an immediate abortion, she began to look into other options and was eventually connected to my parents.  My parents began the process of seeking to adopt the unborn baby.

Fast forward a short amount of time, and I will never forget that moment that will forever be etched in my mind…

I was with my sister at a highschool event, and we got the call from my mom that our future baby brother had lost his life. The woman had finally found an abortion clinic that would perform a high-risk abortion (high-risk because of the danger to a mother with so many abortions), and she went through with her 7th abortion.

I remember how upon hearing the news, I found a secluded spot and wept — wept for the life of a baby who didn’t get a chance to live, wept for my future brother that I would never get to hold and love, wept for a life ended over the convenience of the mother. After that life-changing event, I decided to become a voice of social justice — justice for the most helpless.

I would never tell another woman what to do with her body, but this isn’t about another woman’s body. It’s about what is done to an innocent life, housed within her body.

No one should ever be given the power to decide the validity or value of another being’s life. When we stoop to that level, we stoop to a level that has no limits to its cruelty.

We must see the abortion issue clearly. Forget the deceptive wording. This isn’t about a woman’s choice. This is about an unborn baby’s right to life!

A woman has a choice before she becomes pregnant. After that, the choice is no longer the woman’s alone. Then, it becomes the right to life that takes precedent.

In fact our Declaration of Independence decrees that all persons have an unalienable right to life.

In honor of that baby boy that was to have been my brother, I will forever defend the unborn baby’s right to life.

Philip, this is for you!  You see, dear brother of my heart, I have not forgotten you, and your life lives on in a powerful legacy — a legacy that gave me the courage to be an advocate for other vulnerable lives just like yours.

Philip, you are not forgotten!

Your life was not in vain.

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Truth Is Only Truthful To Itself

The Truth Shall Make You Free

(FreeImages.com/yournewven)

I just read this comment from a younger friend on Facebook:

I saw this post from a teacher that said that her student asked her if her answers to the math problems could be considered “alternative facts”; because the teacher said she got them wrong, and she didn’t like that. What? Since when did we become so tolerant that we don’t even regard common sense anymore? The laws of the universe? And that’s not being dramatic. Math is involved with physics, which help us translate what is going on in the universe.

My response to this:

This just proves once again the absurdity of deciding there is no absolute truth! Our universe operates on certain standards… We indeed walk away from intelligent conclusions, truthful answers, and reliable outcomes if we refuse to acknowledge that there are principles that we cannot control or manipulate according to our own whims or passions. I have said this before, but truth is only truthful to itself.

Let me say that again:

Truth is only truthful to itself.

As much as we may dislike a rule, standard, principle, or conclusion, we cannot twist the truth to please ourselves. 

Would we really want that anyway?

Would we want “truth” to be altered to please whomever defined it at the moment for themselves?

Would that not be the opposite of truth?

The reliable thing about truth is that it is a standard that is above the mere whims of people. 

Truth is above the opinions of people. 

Truth is above the preferences of people. 

Truth is above the passions of people.

I went to Dictionary.com for the meaning of truth, and the follow popped up:

noun, plural truths [trooth z, trooths] (Show IPA)
1.

thetrueor actual state of a matter:

He tried to find out the truth.
2.

conformity with fact or reality; verity:

the truth of a statement.
3.

a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like:

mathematical truths.
4.

the state or character of beingtrue.
5.

actuality or actual existence.
6.

an obvious or accepted fact; truism; platitude.
7.

honesty; integrity;truthfulness.
While Googling truth, I came across this article, and I am posting only a segment of it:

What Is Truth?

Truth has always been accompanied by a doubled-mindedness. It is something that people claim to want, but few can bear. Socrates searched for it. Jesus bore witness to it, and Pilate answered, albeit rhetorically, “What is truth?” Truth is seeing things as they really are and ascribing to them their appropriate valuations. It is an identity that rises above mere opinion and affirmatively corresponds to a reality that transcends itself. Jack Nicholson says that we can’t handle it, while the Son of Man holds that it sets us free. Truth is a lot like virtue — in that most everyone claims to desire it, but the general consensus deep down is that they would rather have pie.

Yes, people do not always welcome it, when, like a Jehovah’s Witness, it comes knocking at their doors. For much of humanity, self-deception holds a more soothing comfort: for illusions are fuzzy and forgiving like jogging pants. Some people never look in the mirror because of truth and tests are constructed in order to determine if we know what people say it is. And if you are standing before a judge or fighting a war, it would seem a very good thing to have truth on your side — or an M-16.

The ancients equated it with wisdom. The Enlightenment valued it as a tool of emancipation from a world it was trying to bury. The post-moderns, beginning with Nietzsche, however, denied its ultimate existence and brashly claimed that the whole historical veneration of truth was merely a cynical means to secure power. Their legacy to us, one that is even now being chipped away, is that truth is perspectival — one man’s truth is another man’s false narrative.

Here is an interesting video on truth: http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/what-is-truth-video.htm.

In a post-modern culture when opinions and standards seem to be as shifting as sand, may we look past ourselves to that which is greater than ourselves — to Truth Himself.

 

 

What Is A Christian?

Notre Dame Cathedral

(FreeImages.com/ElizabethDorsett)

I identify as being a Christian and so do many of my friends and family members, but what does it mean to be a Christian?

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Does it mean one who does good works, seeks social justice for all, and dedicates their life to serving others?

Does it mean following rituals, traditions, and specific orders within the church?

Does it mean disassociating oneself from mainstream “Christianity” and following your own “simpler” form of “worship”?

Does it mean preaching at everyone you meet?

Does it mean living as free from obvious sinful practices and associations as possible?

Is Christianity about what we do?

What does the name Christian actually mean?  It means little Christ.

In other words, it means a follower, family member, representative of Christ.  Simply, it’s one who believes in Jesus and as a believer in Jesus follows and represents Jesus to others.

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.

The above verse talks about what Christians do.

As Christians, it’s easy to confuse what should be a product of being a Christian as defining what a Christian is.  In itself, this doesn’t sound bad, but it is dangerous if you define who you are by what you do.

Rather, who we are should define what we do.  Stay with me…  I will try to explain this a little better.

Why is this dangerous?

It is dangerous because you can confuse Christianity as being about what we do rather than about our relationship with God.  We can do things that define a Christian without actually ever coming close to God Himself and facing what we believe about Him.

You see, Christianity is truly about what we believe about Jesus Christ/God HimselfUntil we face that question, we actually are not true Christians.  We may be religious and morally upright or socially just but can still be lacking an intimate walk with the Lord.

In fact, we can hide behind our religious practices, traditions, social work, moral uprightness, equality, and tolerance to avoid facing the ultimate question: “What do you believe about Me?” 

Self-righteousness is the ultimate expression of selfishness and pride.  Rebellion hides within its folds. 

I am not advocating ignoring how we live or abandoning all Christian traditions.  What I am challenging us to do is to examine our relationship with God and our belief in God. 

Church services, tithing generously, community service, religious books are not a legitimate substitute for a relationship with God Himself.  In fact, all of the trappings and practices of religion are simply an empty shell without the Spirit and Presence of God indwelling.

May I note that it is the empty shell that is the cause of why so many “Christian” youth are leaving the church in droves.  They saw the shell, but the shell crumbles under pressure and offers no sustenance to the spirit of man.

It is the Spirit of God and His love that fills a church body and His people with life-changing, soul-stirring, and spirit-reviving power!

Focusing all of our attention on the traditions or distinctions of our church practices can be an easy distraction from dealing with the pulse of an individual’s heart and relationship with God. 

We can focus so much attention on the distinctions that set us apart, on our ministries, programs, and stained glass windows that we forget that Christianity isn’t about “temple-gazing” but about “King-seeking” (words in quotes are taken from the Community Bible Study Mark Lesson 15 study).

Isaiah 29:13

13 Therefore the Lord said:

“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

What a powerful exhortation that above verse is!

I would like to end with the following quotes taken from the Community Bible Study Mark Lesson 15 study.  In Mark 15, we were studying the Pharisees and religious leaders’ responses to Jesus.  In their day, they were the religious elite, the “righteous ones,” the rulers, and the compromisers with the local Roman government.  Yet, Jesus reveals the emptiness of the souls and spirits of these religious people.

In light of the following quote, may we all examine our hearts as to what we are truly pursuing under the title of “Christianity.”

“Is it possible to build a temple and forget the One it was intended to honor?  Had the religious community become so enamored of the temple and its traditions that they failed to see the King?

We, like those 1st-century Jews, must not put our trust in the trappings of our religion [or churches or programs].

…Buildings, programs, and traditions are important, but they are temporal.  God and His Kingdom are eternal.”

Why The Name?

Hello My Name Is

(FreeImages.com/blogmonkey)

Why is it that the name of Jesus holds so much power?

Sitting in church this morning (1/15/17), I was thinking about this — that the name of Jesus itself holds so much power.  I considered: “Why?”

What is it about the name?

The name Jesus means Jehovah Saves.

No other name has or ever will be able to save anyone from their sins.  That’s the power of His name!

His name means release — freedom from all that entangles the soul and spirit and the sound of the clanking of shackles as they hit the ground…

His name means the sound of peace — peace that  transcends down into the soul and that has no contingency upon the things that surround its environment or circumstances.

His name is the sound of joy — sound that reverberates in sound waves from absolute release and ecstasy of spirit.

His name is the sound of death melting away and the explosion of “true” life!

His name is the full expression of the Father’s heart as seen in Jesus, the Son — the sound of absolute, unconditional love.

Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Acts 4:12

12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

When you study Jesus, you either hate Him because He is the diametric opposite of selfishness, greed, and pride (human nature) or you love Him because you see a heart of love that always seeks to give, heal, save, and restore.

What we often forget is that by knowing Jesus, we know the Father.

So often, God The Father is perceived as cold, removed, harsh, but in reality, Jesus reveals what the heart of God is like.  He is forgiving, healing, life-restoring, impartial, just, humble, truth-speaking, and willing to sacrifice His best for us!

John 14:7

The Father Revealed

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

John 14:9

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 8:9

Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

John 10:38

38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe[a] that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

John 16:3

And these things they will do to you[a] because they have not known the Father nor Me.

Luke 10:22

22 All[a] things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Matthew 11:27

27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

As we consider the name of Jesus may we be challenged to examine what the name of Jesus means to us personally?

His name is the dividing ground because it reveals what’s in our hearts and forces us to make a choice.  It is a choice to identify with a name that never sought the popularity of public opinion nor to gratify selfish desires but who calls us to Himself.  He calls us to Himself in a way that means we need to let go of the self-motivating disguises for being religious or the self-serving reasons for turning away and following our own pursuits.

Jesus means we simply come as we are — in all of our brokenness and woundedness.  We leave it all behind — every sinful pleasure and every selfish ambition, and we enter into the life and inheritance, promised and fulfilled in Jesus!

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Do The Women’s Marches Represent Women?

mother and daughter

(FreeImages.com/ChrissyPauley)

As a fellow woman, I watched the coverage of the marches, heard the words of the pop stars at the women’s marches being held across the world, and I was disturbed.

I am a woman — honored to be a woman! My body is miraculous…! But, Madonna and Ashley Judd do not represent me or a lot of women. It saddens me to think that the language, attitudes, sexual innuendos, visceral attacks on those they see as their opponents are supposed to represent the epitome, courage, strength, and image of being a woman. Thankfully, they do not represent me!

Rather, I identify with the Proverbs 31 woman, Margaret Thatcher, Gladys Alyward, Amy Carmichael, Mother Theresa, Abigail Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jane Austen, and many such women who understood that it is not weakness to display a character that espouses sincerity of heart and intentions, intelligence, wisdom, unbelievable courage in the midst of hardships, and a willingness to put the needs of others first. These women are heroes — not because they used disgusting language to rant at those they hated and implied disgusting sexual innuendos.

If we want to make a difference, let’s be a difference!

I tell my kids that all the time… If you think something is wrong, how does that make it okay for you to do the same thing (same heart attitude) in revenge?

We call for unity, but where is the action being taken to step across the bridge?

…or does bridge-building mean that the other side has to cross to our side of thinking?

To be honest, I see very little attempts being made to actually build bridges, unify the country, seek common ground, and spread peace and good will.

Instead, let’s listen to those — truly listen to those who view things differently.  Let’s treat everyone with respect — no matter how they voted.

Let’s be the difference we want to see!

Our Most Vulnerable Times Reveal Our Greatest Strengths

Statue of Liberty

(FreeImages.com/MichaelBisgaard)

Last night went in an unexpected direction!

My youngest son came down with what appeared to be a cold Thursday night. By Friday evening, EMT’s were at our house, and our son took a trip to the ER. Our son was diagnosed with pneumonia and returned home. We took him to his pediatrician’s today, but once again, we are waiting for him to be able to drink and take the meds. he needs. Poor child is miserable!!! We have tried his favorite drinks and foods to get the meds. in him but to no avail.

Last night, as the children scurried around helping us to get our little guy’s favorite things ready for a trip to the hospital, I couldn’t help but notice how in the midst of this, the family pulled together. It seems that in our challenging times, that we also see our greatest strengths.

This then made me think of our nation in the midst of so much conflict, so much division, and anger — that it is when we go through our darkest times and struggles that our greatest strengths and weaknesses are revealed. The challenging times is when hate is revealed but also when selfless love is revealed. The wounded times is when bitterness is manifested or forgiveness is initiated. The dark times is when despair is noted or hope is shared.

As I try to distract my sick child and comfort his little soul, may I encourage us all to be a “ray” of light, unswerving hope, bridges of reconciliation, but also committed to a purpose that transcends our own selfish ambitions or party affiliations but a purpose that answers to a call Higher than ourselves. May God bless America!

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A Few Quick Thoughts On Inauguration Day…

American flag 2

(FreeImages.com/AndrewBeierle)

Thoughts about today’s Inauguration events:

There have been many presidential elections that resulted differently than I voted, but I never turned to hateful and derogatory comments. Why? Because God says to respect those in authority, and it’s easy to do when your hope isn’t in a person but in God.

Let me repeat that last part again:

…it’s easy to do when your hope isn’t in a person but in God.

I am not saying that I haven’t experienced disappointment, but if I want to see unity in this country, then I must be the unifier. I must be the one who demonstrates good will, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. I must be the one who says, “I will stand up and live what I proclaim.”

It’s easy to espouse social justice and equality for all but live out some of the most intolerant reactions.

Remember, “Character is often more caught than taught.”

If we want to see change, what are our kids seeing in us?

If we say we want unity and equality, how do we respond to those who vote differently than we do?

I want to quote from a friend on Facebook, J. Epstein:

The reactions, social media posts, language and behaviors of my fellow Americans today is by FAR more concerning to me than the 45th president.

Why?

In 4, or 8, years we will have a new president… but our country will be standing much much longer than that; and THAT is where my heart, faith and focus lies. We are blessed with free speech in this country, yet many of us choose to use that freedom to spew hateful, divisive language. It is disappointing, and at times disheartening.

We have stood for more, overcome much worse, and never failed to show countless acts of compassion that are very rarely highlighted by the media. This too, is disheartening.

Remember who you are, remember who is watching, remember who looks up to you and depends on your example. I believe if many would do that today, they would really reconsider their behavior.

God Bless America, EACH and EVERY day, through EACH and EVERY chosen leader. Amen.

America, it’s time that we look at ourselves because America is only what we make it to be.  A country/government is a reflection on its citizens.

What Emotional Disconnect And Porn Have In Common

Chained

(FreeImages.com/CharlieBalch)

Warning: This is heavy reading, but I believe this is worth the read.  (You can judge for yourself though.)

Pornography is one of the most prevalent addictions within the Christian community.  It is so prevalent that it is almost guaranteed that you or someone close to you struggles with this addiction.

Why is porn considered so harmful when it is something that is done in private and may not lead to harming a literal person or so it seems…?

Before responding to that question, I want to first look at some root causes to the porn. addiction.

I grew up in a culture, surrounded by a community of Christians that taught a strict code of moral guidelines.  Purity was strongly stressed within that culture.  I am not trying to imply that purity is a bad thing so stay with me…  What shocked me later was to find how many people within that strict culture seemed to clandestinely participate in practices that even a morally decadent culture would often find repulsive: incest, sexual abuse of minors, and even going so far as to “sell” daughters to pimps.  (Note: I didn’t know anyone closely who did the latter.)  I was not aware of most of this until in my later years when the victims finally broke their silence.

What I am seeing is that obsession in any form can often lead to obsessions of the complete opposite form than intended.  An obsession or skewed view of “purity” can lend itself to an obsession over sexuality…  It is not my intention to delve more closely into this specific discussion at this time though.

What I do want to look at is what I have observed among many I know that struggle with the porn addiction.  I have observed that many of these men are emotionally disconnected.  Right now, some of you are arguing, “{…} is very emotional.  He displays harsh outbreaks of anger.”

Anger is not the same as emotional connection.  It is an emotional response but does not indicate healthy emotions or emotional connection/awareness.  In fact, anger is often what we resort to when we don’t understand or are unable to produce other healthier emotions.  Note: anger is appropriate in some cases.  It does indicate a problem so anger should not be ignored.

Anger though is often one of the last emotions expressed by a wounded soul.  In the end, anger can also eventually end with depression.

Anger is one of the leading emotions that porn addicts often display.

What do anger and porn have in common?

They both are indicators of emotional disconnect, and emotional disconnect indicates a far deeper root issue.

Every man I know (emphasis on know) who struggles or has struggled with porn has also struggled with emotional disconnect because… And this is where it gets deep…

...Because of emotional neglect or abuse that they suffered within the home.  It could be that the parents were harsh in their discipline and didn’t know how to offer the emotional nurture that their child needed.  It could be there was even physical abuse within the home.  It could be that there was divorce.  It could be that the parents were enduring their own pain to such an extent that they were unable to emotionally meet the needs of their child(ren).  Whatever the case, these men/women often came from homes that did not meet their emotional needs fully and did not give them a healthy sense of value and worth, unconditional love, and perhaps displayed a more abusive type of “spirituality” (not true “spirituality” or God-relationship).

Note: I am not trying to blame parents for the causes of their children’s sins because we are all accountable, and we all have the opportunity to choose how we respond to life’s situations.  What I am trying to say is there is a very strong correlation between the two, and lasting freedom can be found when we are able to deal with root causes.

As a result of this emotional abuse or neglect this individual experienced, they often close themselves off to the empathetic side of their emotions and to the side that desires emotional intimacy.  Why?  Because to open themselves to that type of intimacy is to make themselves vulnerable and to provide opportunity for more emotional wounds — more rejection and the ability to feel pain again.

As a result, the individual will only reveal the part of themselves that they can control and from which they can disconnect.

For the marriage relationship, this becomes even trickier.  A man can enjoy the pleasures of physical intimacy without the emotional or even relational connection.  For a woman, this is not the norm as much; though our culture is trying to brain-wash us to believe that physical intimacy is no more connecting than holding someone’s hand.  I might add that physical intimacy was actually designed to help both partners to connect on an even deeper plane emotionally as a result of the physical connection.

This is where porn comes in.  Porn requires no emotional connection or even physical connection though it often does lead down the slippery path to actual affairs.

Wives often get confused over this and personally take porn as a rejection of themselves.  The truth is a husband does not look at porn or even have an affair because of you — your lack of some measure of appeal.  He looks at porn because of a lack within himself, and you are not the cause of his lack.

Note: I am not saying that there are selfish, bitter wives who don’t create greater hurts in their husbands. BUT, God never intended a wife to meet every need of her husband — in other words to be god to him.

Even greater confusion is when a spouse commits an affair.  I want to say this as clearly as possible so as to not be misunderstood: an affair is a frequent substitute for the real marriage when there is emotional disconnect.  Why?  Because an affair requires no lasting commitment or emotional investment.  It’s a fling normally.  It can lead to a divorce and remarriage, but when there is emotional disconnect or emotional immaturity, you often see two responses: a quick fling or affair — one of many or a new marriage where there is obsession (this is often seen on the wife’s end) with one spouse or both trying to get their sense of worth from that other person.

In fact, as a result of the hurts and wounds, the spouse of the one having the affair often puts up with emotional and perhaps even physical abuse because they too are struggling with an unhealthy sense of worth.  The wounded spouse is often trying to find their sense of security and value within the abusive spouse. This makes this situation particularly harmful.

I also want to clarify that pornography and affairs definitely are sins against the spouse.  They are allowing someone else or the false image of someone else to enter into the sanctity of the intimacy of the marriage relationship.  As such, just as any other sin, this needs to be repented of and confessed.

The sad thing about this is the shallowness of porn and affairs creates even greater emotional disconnect.  There is no lasting fulfillment or well-being within, and the individual is left, ever seeking and never finding permanency and lasting satisfaction.

What is the answer?  How do we help a person who is so wounded to finally begin to thaw?

First of all, realize that by “protecting” yourself, you are actually keeping yourself from finding help, healing, and true intimacy/connection.

Disconnecting yourself from your emotions is not “protecting” you.  It is simply putting up more barbed wire and more locks on the gates of your heart so that the only emotions you are left with are depression, anger, bitterness, and lust (the very false form of love).

Secondly, you need to be willing to revisit the pain from your past and the wounds.  This is where you need to be brave in order to find why and when you disconnected emotionally.  It is not easy to revisit those painful moments from the past.  It might be a parent, sibling, respected elder, relative, friend, etc… that really wounded you.  It might be a series of them.

Thirdly, and this is the most important, our view of God is often affected by our relationships with our parents or authorities.  If your relationship with your parents was off, it’s a good chance your view of God is and therefore your relationship with God is.

I would encourage you to check out my past blogs on forgiveness.  There is a powerful quote on bitterness/unforgiveness that says, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill someone else.” 

Forgiveness does not mean we allow abuse to continue nor does it mean we ignore the pain or minimize the offense.  It means you acknowledge all of the pain.  Get it out in the open before God.  Scream it out.  Cry it out.  Whatever you have to do, but bring it before God.

Then, the hardest part of all comes, you have to choose to forgive.  If you can’t choose, ask God to help you.

I remember a situation that happened in my past.  I was struggling with unforgiveness so I asked God to help me to forgive the person.  I then saw a picture of Jesus and I sitting on park benches in a garden.  He held out His hand and showed me the nail print in His hand and said, “I did this for you.”  He then held out His other hand and showed me the palm with the nail print and said, “I did this for [….].”  That was my answer.  Jesus wasn’t saying all offenses are the same.  What He was saying is that the result of sin is the same: the Innocent One had to die.  He died for my sins!  He died for your sins!  He died for those who crucified Him and said and did vile things against Him and to Him.  If the Perfect One can die for the sins of the world, how can I refuse to forgive the sins done against me?

It is when you finally choose forgiveness that a dam will break.  That will be the start of your journey of healing.  As God brings up more memories from your past, you may have a lot of garbage to work through.  You may have layers and layers of hurts and lies to work through, but God wants to walk this journey with you.  He wants to gently bring nourishment to your soul.  He wants to heal your wounds and bring you into freedom!

God wants you to be able experience the beauty of intimacy in relational commitment and the beauty within imperfection.  Marriage isn’t perfect.  Friendships aren’t perfect.  Spouses aren’t perfect.  You aren’t perfect.  BUT, as you begin to understand forgiveness and grace, you will begin to understand that your worth and strength doesn’t come in pretending perfection or trying to live your own version of “perfection.”  Your value comes from God Himself!  You are beautiful, loved, and chosen by God Himself!  You will find that once you get ahold of that truth, living the “perfect” life will be easier than you think!  A holy life isn’t found in you or I; it’s found in God Himself and intimately knowing Him!

May I end with this, in order to fully become the man or woman of God you were designed to be, you first need to “run” to Abba Daddy as His son or daughter.  Your heart first needs to come home.  So, come home, dear hearts!  You will be amazed to find that He isn’t that Big Daddy in the sky waiting to punish you when you do wrong.  He is the Abba Daddy, watching and waiting to gather you up in His arms and to welcome you home.  So, come home, dear hearts.  Come home.

(Note: This is not all-conclusive on the topic of pornography addiction, healing, and recovery for all individuals impacted by the affects of pornography.  See a qualified counselor for further assistance.)

What Thoughts Are You Going To Wear Today?

wardrobe door

(FreeImages.com/FrancesMagee)

“What is in your thought closet is what you are going to wear throughout your day.”

I read that quote in Jennifer Rothschild’s book, Me, Myself, and Lies.  I immediately began to ponder the truth of this.  What was in my thought closet, and as a result, what was I wearing throughout my day?

Later that day as I was talking with a friend about fears she was battling.  I shared the above quote with her.

As I was sharing it with her, I could see in my mind this big, ugly brown fur coat (not a pretty one), and it was hogging my wardrobe, taking over the beautiful garments.  Have you ever seen a stuffed animal that has gone through the washer and dryer and come out all matted, rough, and dull?  That’s what this fur coat was like.  It was ugly!  God began to speak to my heart that this ugly fur coat represented those thoughts upon which we continually dwell that are not from Him — not truthful or gracious.

My friend began to tell me that she was seeing a big ugly fur coat in her thought wardrobe, representing her fears.  I was amazed but knew God was speaking to both of our hearts!!!

Then, she told me that she kept hearing God tell her, “I Am!”  As she said that, I immediately saw this plaque above the wardrobe with the words, “I Am,” emblazoned in gold letters.

I could then visualize this wardrobe, full of gorgeous clothing with tags, showing costs that were priceless. The garments were all paid for and placed in my wardrobe by God Himself for me. One garment showed the words, “Righteous.” Another garment showed the name “Brave.” Another garment said “Glorious.” There were many more just as beautiful and priceless!  They were all there for me to wear and to enjoy, given to me by God Himself and purchased by Him. …and the garments never wear out.

God then spoke to my heart, “You keep going back to your garbage can and pulling out the old fur coat and trying to wear your pretty clothes over top.” He spoke to my heart once again, “It’s time you burned that old fur coat.”

For my friend, her fur coat was fears.  For me, my fur coat is: “I am a failure — not enough — and that I have to be perfect.” God keeps telling me that I am loved. I am enough because I am His! He tells me that I am worthy of those priceless garments because He declared me so. He made me so. I am His!!! I belong. I am loved. I am cherished.

Amazingly enough as I described what I was seeing, my friend said she was visualizing the exact same thing: God was showing her burning the old fur coat in a metal trashcan. 

The problem is that we often know we need to remove old lies, wounds, fears, and so we rid our minds of them for a time, but then we keep going back to them — pulling them back out of the rubbish heaps, trash-cans, and recycling bins and trying to wear them again and again.  We need to burn them once in for all.  How do we do that?

David did that with Goliath!  When David hit Goliath in the head with a stone, he then took Goliath’s sword and cut off his head with it.  He cut off the voice of his offender/oppressor.

The lies keep coming back when we give them something to feed on.  If the lies and fears have nowhere to feed, they will starve and go away.

Satan keeps attacking us in the areas where we have chinks in our armor.  

Why is our thought-life or our thought-wardrobe so important?  

Because if we believe we are a failure, we will live failure.

If we believe we aren’t enough, we will live inferiority.

If we believe we can’t, we will live hopeless.

What we fill our thought wardrobes with is what we will wear.

I want to leave you with this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5niArGTW2bs.  As you reflect upon what is in your thought closet, may you recognize that God has already placed inside your wardrobe the garments that He wants you to wear.  It’s time to burn the old and walk in the new.  I love the following verse that puts it so beautifully:

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Here is a website to reference for your thoughts’ wardrobe: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/…/your-thought-closet-make…/.

The Soundtrack Of Our Minds

The grass is always greener on the other side

(FreeImages.com/KatinkaKober)

I have been reading through Me, Myself, and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild.  I knew it would be good, and I haven’t been disappointed.

In her book, Jennifer Rothschild said the following statement that really grabbed my attention:

The soundtrack in my thought closet wasn’t a running “Top 20” of God’s wonders and Word; it was my worries.

In her study book, Jennifer Rothschild asks the question, “What do worrying and meditating have in common?”

My answer was, “They are a thought process or consistent refrain that you reflect upon repeatedly.”

JR (Jennifer Rothschild) then asks the reader to describe worry.  I wrote the following:

“Worry is a fixation on  your circumstances, possible problems, and future, without fully considering the influence of God upon them.”

JR (Jennifer Rothschild) then says the following quote:

Worry is fixating or meditating on what if rather than what is Our English word worry comes from the Old English wyrgan and the Old High German wurgen.  Both mean “to strangle.”  When we worry, we choke out the life-giving truth that should be filling our thought closets.

One more powerful statement JR said is:

“Ruminating on the what ifs is an unhealthy way of meditating that invites fear.”

What is the anecdote to a soundtrack, filled with discordant sounds of turmoil and fear?  It is a soundtrack that is filled with the glories of God, His kindness, His compassion, His grace, His love…

Philippians 4:8 gives us some clear guidance as to what our thoughts should look like.  In summary (taken from a study guide from Me, Myself, and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild):

If it is true, I will meditate on it.

If it is honest, I will think about it today.

If it is just, I will dwell on it today.

If it is pure, I will fix my thoughts on it today.

If it is lovely, I will give it shelf space in my thought closet.

If it is of good report, I will meditate on it today.

If it is virtuous, I will let it be the soundtrack in my thought closet.

If it is full of praise, I will deliberate on it today.

So how should our soundtrack sound?  See the following verses:

Luke 4:22

22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

John 1:14

The Word Becomes Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:17

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Our soundtrack should be permeated with grace and truth.

If I want to be like Christ, then I will be full of grace and truth.  If I am finding this to be a greater challenge than I anticipated, perhaps it’s time to ask myself how much I understand God — His nature and His thoughts towards me.

I leave us with one final thought:

We can look at our circumstances through the eyes of God, or we can look at God through the eyes of our circumstances.

The one view gives leads to peace and stability.  The other view leads to fear, insecurity, doubt, and lies.