Originally posted on Nancy Demary: Grief of soul demonstrates the great value someone has placed upon a person, place or thing. Anyone who has passed through the dark valley of grief knows what a painful…
Mother’s hands are used by God to nurture us until we reach His heavenly embrace… and a mother’s prayers are her most effective weapon.
I’m am thinking of a couple of moms that I want to remember today for different reasons. One is a young Mom who I came to know last Spring through an event at our church. Her prayer request during an alone time together was to have another baby; she already had a young son but had lost other babies by miscarriage. This Mother’s Day, a year later, she has another beautiful boy to love, nurture, and enjoy. This young woman’s heart cry and faith are inspiring, I enjoy seeing how she delights in her gifts from God. (Be inspired by reading Hannah’s story I Samuel 1 and 2:1-26.)
The second Mom that I want to commend, is someone whose son I’ve interacted with regularly. He’s a considerate…
Being lost is an awful feeling. I recall after being deposited in Romania to continue working on our adoption, several weeks had passed and I was wanting to venture out on my own to attend an English-speaking church. I did not have a car and I wanted to try and get around alone on the bus system there. I needed to take a bus from the small town where I was staying to the larger city of Suceava nearby. I had not yet developed my language skills enough to function well, but decided to go for it anyway.
It was so nice to attend the Wednesday evening worship service and meet other English-speaking people. After the service, I found my way back to the center of town. I knew the bus number that would take me back to Ițcani where I was staying with our soon-to-be-adopted children and their cousins. The problem was I got on the bus in one location and wasn’t quite sure where to get off because of the route it took back. I was told that some of the buses that head to the Gara (train station) quit for the night and I did not want to walk alone, in the dark all the way from the train station! When I figured I was close enough to my destination and saw that most of the people were getting off near the viaduct, I got off and followed the crowd. As they confidently began to disburse in different directions I began to fear becoming vulnerable, uncertain of which way to go, yet did not want to stop and appear lost. Thankfully, I recognized a storefront that I had been in the week before with cousin Angela and I was able to confidently walk down the street that led to their home.
I shared that story to say the crowd can feel safe for a while but eventually, you have to know for yourself where you’re headed. Without a true inner compass to guide you, there will be times of vulnerability and fear. Our world is only growing more troubled and confused as scripture says it would (2 Timothy 3:1-17) before Christ returns for His Bride, the Church. This is no time to live in confusion or fear. One thing is sure: if we have the confidence that God IS our Father, and the Holy Spirit is living within, we can trust Him to help us in our time of need. I urge you today if you do not yet know God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son (I John 5:20) in a personal way then seek Him while you can. You’ll want to find a church that adheres to scripture, with a shepherd that does not fear others to help you on your journey. Finding a pastor and leaders that can disciple you and that you can get to know in a personal way is so important.
Id’ like to have you think about your inner-compass, and ask yourself if it is sure, trustworthy, and set to True North. We had an elderly outdoorsman friend who knew all about true north vs. magnetic north. My son used to love to go trekking around the Adirondack Mountains with Mr. Fred. Andre would come home having learned so much about hiking, hunting, and woodsmanship. As we trek through our agitated world, we must learn and determine for ourselves what is Truth (True North), as God our Creator explains it, versus what is relative truth (magnetic North) the way humankind interprets it. They are very different, much more than the 12-degree difference that travelers adjusting their compass for declination must do. We live in a post-Christian society that knows little anymore about the God who created us, and the need to adjust our thinking to His Word in order to rightly find our destination. walking only a few degrees off true north causes major deviation as time passes. Failure to navigate without God’s help is causing so much confusion and division in our world, and in our families.
Unless we align our heart with God’s and center ourselves in the Truth of His Word daily, we will find ourselves in compromised situations wondering what to believe or do. People end up way off course by multiplying the untruth that human wisdom alone provides. The Potter (Isaiah 64:8) who molded and made us is well able to guide us through the maze of these tumultuous days. He is the One who instructs us with the Truth about us, our world and our condition.
Our society has never been so convoluted in its division. Yes, the Civil War (1861-1865) was the fruit of a major division in our country over the issue of slavery. But today we have so many issues that are not clean-cut, discernable and based upon clear criteria, such as the slave trade was. We’ve fallen into a pit of darkness concerning every possible topic one could discuss. There is no longer a sensible view of what is right or wrong. People are so confused over the simplest of matters, such as God creating people male and female (Genesis 1:27). When such an obvious biological fact becomes debatable, we have completely lost our way. Agendas abound… I do not want to be led astray by people feeding me lies, partial truth, or man-made “facts”. I want the whole truth that God offers to us in His Word.
WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?
I watch very little TV. I decided long ago that for me it wasted valuable time that I needed to invest elsewhere. If I were going to be able to think critically, I would need good source information beginning with the Bible. Next, I add to that a variety of reliable sources to learn from. I think it is wise to educate ourselves on what’s going on in the world, but if you allow the news media to solely interpret these events for you, you will be misled by their viewpoint. Because of our fallen nature, all people lie to some degree, whether with intent or not: God alone is True and knows all. Human beings can only offer what they see from their limited view and particular bias. Without the lens of Scripture to help us interpret Truth from falsehood, we are left to hopelessly navigate through lies. You must decide whether your brain will be washed by the world’s thinking or by God’s Word (Romans 12:2). Even with God’s Word to guide us, we are often wrong in our views. This is why humility is so important and a highly regarded ingredient in scripture. Prayer with humility is crucial in finding our way.
WHY All THE FIGHTING?
So why is there such major divisions among us today? All people have agendas, and we are naturally (I Corinthians 2:14) governed by our sinful lusts: greed, power, fame, and self. With the transformation that Christ stepping into the center of our lives brings, we gain the opportunity to renounce these lusts by God’s grace and live another way (Colossians 3:9). We come to know that God holds our future in His Hands (Hebrews 13:5) and we are taught to give rather than hoard things for ourselves and dominate others. We are also encouraged to speak up for the oppressed and for righteous causes (Micah 6:8). While many good people attempt to do this, the heart’s true motivation is eventually seen. Motives and desires are heart issues and our actions reveal what we believe. The clash of thinking, values and all-out war concerning ideas in the public square is because of opposing worldviews; man’s vs. God’s view and how we apply scripture to our lives.
WHERE IS YOUR COMPASS TAKING YOU?
We can find peace and assurance as we set our sights and resting place with God as our dwelling place, both here and in eternity. I desire to follow the inner compass God has placed within my soul. I am serving God by doing His will as He daily reveals it to me. When we fix our compass upon the scripture and are nurtured daily, feeding upon God’s abundance, we find ourselves secure under His care. But this is not the case for those who follow their own way; they call it following your heart or doing your own thing. We are told in the Bible that this will lead to destruction and worse yet, Hell (a place created for the devil and his demons, not mankind) in the end (Revelation 21:8). The decision you make today, will determine your destination, your outcome… what will it be?
Psalm 1 is my favorite, it pretty much sums up the 2 divergent groups and where they land. Think about it and decide: Am I lost… following the crowd of this world? Or, are you found in a secure, flourishing place near God’s stream of living water. He offers you abundant life, will you take it? (See John 10:10).
Psalm 1 says: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Fear is a snare. The only way to overcome the fear of any person (employer, co-worker, father, mother, husband, wife, sister, brother, or child) is to trust in the Lord and fear (reverence) Him.
Fear is used by the enemy of our soul to keep us from moving forward into an abundant life in Christ. God has provided everything we need to live fully for Him in this world (II Peter 1:3-4.) The Holy Spirit living within us is greater than the spirit in this world (I John 4:4). As we learn to yield everything to God’s Spirit, we become free from the bondage of fear and the enemy’s influence upon our lives.“ For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15 (AMP)
As God’s adopted children, knowing our position in the Kingdom of God gives us the confidence we need to overcome fear. Remember who your Father is — Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of heaven and earth! Romans, Chapter 8 declares that as obedient children in God’s family we can be free from condemnation and live as His own adopted children, available to freely serve our Father as He created us to. Fear is a major hindrance that binds us from this freedom. Fear comes to us through three main areas: 1) The world—by the fear of man, 2) Our flesh—through condemnation, and 3) Satan—lying spirits and deception.
The World-by the fear of man
”The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.” Proverbs 29:25 (AMP)
Hunters lay snares to catch animals… I found this pic of a fearful rabbit as I researched snare hunting a bit. (Oh, it is heart-wrenching to see the pictures… and I am not a hunter.) The Bible tells us the fear of man is a snare and the outcome of living this way is also heart-distressing! Anxiety, vulnerability, panic attacks come from fear. Some of my biggest failures in life have been because I feared a person rather than God! An employer, husband, children, or any authority figure became “my god”. When God delivered me of that, those around me were set free to be accountable before God for their actions and I was set free to worship Him fully!
We are told by Jesus Himself not to fear man. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “ Hebrews 13:6 (KJV)”So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Matthew 10:28 (KJV)
Fear carries with it doubt and unbelief. Our fear of failure, or how we are viewed by others, reveals our human nature that is governed by human pride. Human fear, when rooted in pride, will bring defeat. This fear of man reveals whether we are truly trusting (believing) in Christ as our source or in our own abilities. Healthy fear equals reverence toward God our Maker. The fear of man brings us into bondage and a snare.
Our Flesh—fear through condemnation
The secret to freedom living is to align yourself with Jesus in all you do! Not only does this produce a rewarding, fulfilling life, but it protects us from sin and condemnation. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Conviction of sin is a precious gift from God. It is the Holy Spirit attempting to lead us into Truth and freedom. Conversely, condemnation comes when we refuse to respond to conviction and continue to walk in sin. We, in essence, are conflicted because we are willfully acting against Truth presented to us by the Spirit of God.
Internal conflict drives people to act in ways that harm themselves and others. A person becomes disillusioned with themselves and attempts to cover this conflict in a variety of ways. The Holy Spirit continues to convict by His love, yet if we continue to indulge in sin, we will continue to experience condemnation, guilt, and discouragement. Yet, all the while freedom awaits us! Jesus said to the woman who had been condemned of adultery, “…Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11). We come out from under condemnation and receive the freedom Christ offers when we choose to turn and “sin no more.”
I John 3:20-21 (AMP) says, “Whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [For we are in God’s hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him]. And, beloved, if our consciences (our hearts) do not accuse us [if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us], we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God.”
So, we must discern the source of condemnation. God already knows it, but we need to see if it is because we are going against the conviction of the Holy Spirit, or if we are facing an external spiritual attack upon us. Knowing God’s Word helps us in assessing this. Conviction is good; it comes because of God’s love and desire for fellowship with us. When we respond rightly to the Holy Spirit we sense grace, assurance, and His love, which in turn gives us boldness.
God’s Word tells us that as His Children, our position is purchased and kept because of Christ. Our thoughts as to who we are, need to be placed upon the Cross of Christ and what He did for us to make us worthy! He is the One who took our sin so that we can come unto the Father. Our soul was redeemed by His precious blood—nothing else.
In order to live victoriously over sin, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and comfort us. Our greatest need is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, fully surrendered to His leadership, and find true joy and usefulness in God’s Kingdom. We then become Adopted and Fearless!
Satan—fear from lying spirits and deception
If we are obeying what we know, and walking in open fellowship with God, yet sense condemnation, we can discern that it is coming from the enemy to defeat us and pull us out of the place of victory. Satan uses this as a tool to keep us away from God–falsely!The Father of Lies, tries to tell us that we are not worthy of God’s love and care. He can build upon that through deception and can use other people in a variety of ways. People who continue to live under condemnation, develop a guilty soul and the shame pulls them into bondage. The focus then becomes their shame and guilt, and fear grows. Depression usually accompanies this. Freedom and change seem impossible in their situation. Deception has done its work.
The work of Satan and lying spirits is to tempt and deceive us. He attempted this with Jesus Himself (Luke 4:1-13). Concerning fear, spiritual warfare is a battle between truth and lies. And the battle rages strongly within our minds. Satan is the Prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). In order to win the battle, our position as adopted and fearless children is crucial to overcoming the wiles of the enemy! You can be safe and protected. But as a good soldier (I Timothy 2:1-5) you need to be willing, trained in and obedient to the “Manual”, God’s Word. Our weapons and our true enemy are outlined in Ephesians 6:10-19 and II Corinthians 10:3-5. Satan and the fallen angels desire to bind you with fear and aloneness in your battle. He wants to make you an orphan, rejected and discouraged. But God desires to adopt you, to make you His own, fearless and useful in His Kingdom. He desires that you know the purpose for which He created you, and the destiny He planned for you.
Remember, God’s objective is to fill your life with Himself, use you in His Kingdom and for His glory, which results in great joy and fulfillment. The objective of God in filling us with the Holy Spirit is to enable us to love as He loves, to walk without fear in this world, and be a witness for Jesus Christ. This lack of fear and abundance of love will allow you to walk as a victor, not a victim, causing you to overcome every circumstance you face. II Timothy 1: 7-8 (AMP) “ For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible].” Amen.
I was fearful, afraid to broach the subject, so nervous inside, my stomach filled with acid, my heart pounded and I wondered how I could possibly confront this. I have been through this so many times before; previous attempts at trying to deal with the problem have failed. But what IS the problem?! It’s so elusive; I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve been told I’m a bit crazy, suspicious, going overboard… “relax; maybe some medication will help you chill out a bit“. Why try? Avoid– that’s it! I’ll just lay low and pray and hopefully, time will fix all of this. Yes, don’t think you have to do everything. Lots of people have problems… you’re blowing things out of proportion. Remember last time you said something and it turned into a huge war? The kids think I’m going crazy too. What’s wrong with me? Do I have a mental problem? Maybe I am going crazy? Help…
These thoughts are common among those in relationship with someone who has a secret. Secrecy is what keeps sin alive.
1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality… Are you lashing out in anger at those around you when asked a question? Are you isolating, turning inward? Using your device (phone) in order to avoid others? Do you see your indifference toward life; toward others? No depth in meaningful conversation, have you become unthankful, unholy, defiled? Have your self-centered lusts blinded you? This warning is written in love for your soul, urging you to flee and become free.
Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Spouse, parent, child… UNDERSTAND that fits of anger are normal for those who continue to harbor a hidden sinful life. When you press on something that touches the secret of one whose heart has been ensnared, get ready for pushback, blame, and skilled manipulation. Some have honed this so well they can intimidate you into thinking they are innocent in the midst of their fits. They want you to back off, acting like you are the cause of their anger. Remember, they are responsible for their anger and steps to healing. Satan loves this drama and scornfully laughs, delighting in the deceptive work of his hands.
IDOLATRY: Someone who continues to indulge in selfish pleasure rather than serving God, and their family, is an idolater. A sexually impure person is covetous. Short of repentance, they will face judgment and reserve their place in hell forever. Think of that; a person who is willing to be forever separated from God and those they love! Why? Because they loved their sin more!
So, what can I do? First, PRAY for someone caught in the web of sexual immorality; ask God to give them godly sorrow (delineated in 2Corinthians 7:9-11) so they will repent. Prayer will also give you spiritual authority to stand strong upon God’s Word while walking through the battlefield you’re in. It will give you the ability to love their soul while hating the sin they’re involved with. Secondly, speak the truth in love, and confront with God’s Word (Ephesians 4:15). Don’t coddle sin in any form; sin must be destroyed, completely rooted out and revealed; brought into the light (I John 1:7). Like the serpent it is, the head must be severed allowing the twisting body to die. The only way someone will become free is to hate the sin the way God does.
Ephesians 5:5 (ESV) For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
It is heartbreaking to see families torn apart by sin; it is happening all around us. Whether you’re the one who’s been hiding sin or the betrayed party(s), respond to God. God will avenge all unrighteousness. Rather than hold unforgiveness in your heart, get before God and ask Him to help you, and receive godly counsel on how to walk in forgiveness. It will be a hard road, but worth it. Whether the marriage survives infidelity or not, forgiveness will still be your issue to pursue. Betrayal in any form is painful and will greatly affect you if you do not come to a place of forgiveness and wholeness.
Romans 12:19 (ESV) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
The Book of Proverbs says that a fool only expresses their own opinion and does not want to listen to wise counsel. In Proverbs, chapters 4-6, there is strong counsel about staying away from situations that will lead to sexual sin. What we allow to enter our hearts, and then ponder, think about and entertain, will determine our actions. That is why we are told to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
EDUCATION on SEX:
Masturbation is sin, no matter what your own thinking, school sex-ed class, or a therapist may tell you. Sexual pleasure was created by God for a husband and wife only and within the covenant of marriage. Self-sex will corrupt you in several ways:
1. You are deceived in thinking it’s harmless and you become a deceiver to your spouse by engaging in self-sex. If you are single, you are developing a wrong view of the gift of sexuality, it was not designed for idolatrous self-gratification. For others, they resort to this for self-soothing but find it to be further bondage, entrapping them in their past suffering.
2. Sexual intimacy involves giving; when you’ve trained your mind to be a taker/receiver of pleasure only, this will grow and take you down a very dark path (read below). You’ve changed the purpose of sexual relationship and will pay a great price for that.
3. You betray your spouse by not sharing sexual intimacy with her/him. The hormones God designed for bonding within marriage are crucial to the success of being one; physical and spiritual oneness is the only way to truly know God’s perfect plan. When one party brings a “stranger” into the marriage bed it becomes defiled. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4. You end up “bonding” to the images you watch and you cannot serve two masters. You WILL be mastered by the images unless you renounce and flee from your sin.
4. You become spiritually impotent. Your compromised position will give your enemy (workers of darkness, demons) a foothold in you, forfeiting the authority of God in your life. This impotence will be seen in a lack of biblical leadership and the inability to love your spouse.
5. You’ll become physically impotent. You will need perverse sexual interactions in order to fulfill your lusts. If you are sexually habituated, you have perhaps unknowingly rewired your brain. You’ve addicted yourself to porn and your body no longer functions as God designed it to. (Good news is that you and change the wiring, see RESOURCES)
6. You will reap what you sow. Read Matthew 5:27-30, Hebrews 13:4, Romans 1:26-27, 1Corinthians 6:18.
There is HOPE. God has wonderfully designed us with hormones for sexual relationship, but when taken outside of the boundaries He established, these work against you. This is where sowing & reaping comes to bear. By restructuring the physiological brain, you can either become free or go deeper into destruction. By habitually indulging in pornography, people turn into devils, monsters of iniquity and many do not understand how they got there. God will not be mocked, flee as He warns. God sets captives free. But it takes action on your part.
Sin is incremental by nature, the downward spiral over time takes people to places they never imagined they would go. Ongoing sexual sin takes a soul into the places we see in our nation’s headlines. It should not be difficult to put two-and-two together: childhood sexual abuse, human sex-trafficking industry, rape, serial murder, sexual abuse of boys and girls in religious circles and the film and music industry… the wretched list on parade is endless. This downward spiral draws habituated people into one of three main areas of abuse toward others: sodomy, bestiality, and pedophilia — a sexual lust for children.
Statistics indicate those sexually molest children, first addicted their brain to pornography. As the physical brain changes so does the desire for more deviant stimuli to get the same “high”. You have a choice. The temptation to lust after pre-pubescent children to get your fix is diabolical. Flee! Satan delights in shame and the destruction of innocents. You become his fool; a pawn in his hand. You become a self-centered idolator and lose genuine concern for the well-being of others, choosing to satisfy the wicked lust that drives you. Why continue being tormented when Christ offers you freedom? The mind differs from your brain, it is “seated” in your heart according to scripture. This means you can change your mind, which will determine your actions and set you free from spiritual bondage. You can change your brain, once you decide to change your mind.
Look where sexual immorality has taken you and what you are doing to those around you… it affects everyone; no one is an island. …and getting married will not solve your problem, it will only pull more people into the pit with you. You alone must choose.
Just as the fool has said in his heart, “there is no God…” (Psalm 14:1), someone who professes to know Jesus Christ and continues in sexual sin, is like the proverbial fool. One day the revelation will come on the deception they lived under and what the pleasure of sin delivers (read Proverbs Chapter 4 & 5). Sin changes everything!
Let us all wake up and turn from any known sin in our lives, large or small. Fornication (pornea) of any kind will bring consequences, if not sooner, then later. Satan, the master deceiver, comes along making shame and guilt appear larger than Truth and God’s forgiveness. His goal is to entrap people and finally, with glee, usher them into Hell for eternity.
If we could see into the spiritual realm active here on earth, it would be astounding to know what our loving Father is constantly protecting us from! We must gain a healthy reverence for God and face the reality of what His inspired Word says about sexual immorality. Hate the sin and stay far from it! Become grateful, thank Him, fear Him, renounce your sin and repent with godly sorrow. He desires to set you free.
For further learning on overcoming sexual immorality go to RESOURCES. Photo Credit: Canva, Family/Rodolfo Quirós/Pexels.
I was fearful, afraid to broach the subject, so nervous inside, my stomach filled with acid, my heart pounded and I wondered how I could possibly confront this. I have been through this so many times before; previous attempts at trying to deal with the problem have failed. But what IS the problem?! It’s so elusive; I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve been told I’m a bit crazy, suspicious, going overboard… “relax; maybe some medication will help you chill out a bit“. Why try? Avoid– that’s it! I’ll just lay low and pray and hopefully, time will fix all of this. Yes, don’t think you have to do everything. Lot’s of people have problems… you’re blowing things out of proportion. Remember last time you said something and it turned into a huge war? The kids think I’m going crazy too. What’s wrong with me? Do…