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 trek it is. Death, divorce or some major loss brings us to this difficult journey. Whether the event was expected or not, it requires diligence to come out on the other side with a healthy sense of acceptance and closure.
Moving God into the center of your world is important during this process. Perhaps He has been a small piece of your pie and grief has brought you to a place of desperation, asking “How will I get through this?” I believe that unless we place God largely in the center of our circle, we will have deleterious ramifications from the loss we’ve suffered.
Sometimes we realize through our grief that we had placed too much hope or…
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…
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…
Romans 8:14-15 (AMP) “ 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!”
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.
As we consider Christmas, please consider that there is room for you close to God’s heart. He desires a relationship with us and awaits your reciprocal desire for Him. His extension of love by giving Jesus Christ as our deliverer is the greatest expression of love He could show.
This time of year can feel cruel to many people. At a time when love, laughter, and Christmas cheer are promoted, many feel lonely and isolated. There are so many stories that could be shared as to why, yet I’d rather focus on how to remedy this condition.
I received a Christmas card telling of someone dear to me who is facing consequences for their addiction to gambling. It is heartbreaking to see how families of those habituated to some life-dominating problem are drawn into the sad drama of someone else’s poor choices. We feel helpless, and if unaware, victimization can settle in. As a friend or family member, we may want to standby and spectate, or facilitate–further complicating the problem.
What can I do? Step 1 is to stop denying that there is a very real problem that may need some tough love and boundaries placed. You can make a choice for yourself. These good choices can help you get out of God’s way so that the other person can see their need, and this “love” may bring them to the end of their trail. This may sound hurtful but it works similarly to the process of salvation with God. Until someone comes to the end of their human abilities and resources and states “I give up, help me!” they will not become a true believer. When denial ends, then salvation can begin. This soul-transaction only occurs for those who desire it and are desperate enough to humble themselves and cry out to God to save them.
A word of caution concerning boundaries. Boundaries can be misused and turn into a cruel form of punishment if not properly handled. Having a mentor/counselor who can objectively help prevent further complicating issues is a good idea. Boundaries are not to be used to alienate someone, rather they are designed to increase your ability to love one another. A great resource on understanding boundaries are the various boundary books by Henry Cloud & John Townsend. “We do not set boundaries to anesthetize our life, we set them in order to build love, honesty, and freedom in our relationships.” ~ Henry Cloud.
DESPERATION OR INSPIRATION
Often times the spouse, family member, or friend of someone struggling in relationships prolongs their own journey toward freedom by not understanding their part in the process. They hold on to offenses rendered and become bound in unforgiveness and possibly contempt. But no matter what offenses have come to you, it is not worth missing out on a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who loves you dearly. I pray that at the apex of your heart’s expression of pain, you will break and fall at His feet and allow Him to help you. That is the entire reason for which Jesus came. Giving you, your family members, friends, and all, the possibility of being set free from what is dominating the heart. Inspiration from God is a better choice than desperation.
My own sin keeps me separated from God and others. We are in constant warfare between heaven and earth in the spiritual realm (John 10:10). Can you identify? I truly can. Jesus, while sinless, faced battles with Satan and He told us this would be part of our journey too. Those who’ve been enlightened through God’s Word can recognize this truth. Those who live without knowledge or desire for God are bound and cannot discern why. The angry tumult of the soul affects all people at some point, yet many do not understand what they are experiencing. Receiving forgiveness is needed and then, in turn, forgiving others is necessary; the Holy Spirit will enable you to forgive as you grow in Him.
As a result of the miracle of Christmas, we can truly forgive—and what a powerful miracle that is! Christ’s coming and His subsequent death for our sin, His victorious resurrection back to life, and then giving us the Holy Spirit to live within us makes this all possible.
Anytime we face a difficulty in life it is God’s opportunity to bring us to Himself. Have you found this to be true as well?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” These words are recorded in John 16:33 and you may wonder what Jesus was really saying. To understand this relationship, we must have a proper perspective and see that we were not created to dwell here alone, but rather in relationship to our true Father now and for eternity. The Father’s desire is closeness and oneness with you; our gift from Him is comfort and peace. He provides everything needed for that to happen, yet so few choose this relationship. Why?
Our fallen nature works against submission to God. We, through self-will and our sin-nature, oppose God. It’s our choice to humble ourselves and walk with Him, and this is contrary to everything we understand from a humanistic perspective. We strive to do this on our terms, by self-effort. This results in someone or something other than God sitting on the throne of our heart and His rightful place is given to another.
Our human perspective is to live for ourselves and our own pleasure, naturally. When Christ comes to invade our world, many are offended by that, reject Him, and suffer the consequences; temporal and eternal. But those who will become like a little child and believe that He is who He claimed to be and are willing to humble themselves to receive Him, gain true abundance in this life. This, in turn, provides freedom from sin, including addictions — which are a false source of comfort or relief.
God’s Word is the primary source from which understanding and oneness with God comes. Anyone struggling with loneliness will find themselves filled with peace once a relationship is developed and the power of God’s Word is applied. It works every time I am tempted toward dwelling in loneliness.
This Christmas, will you Make Room in your heart to receive Him? Are you willing to lay your life down, just as He did for you? The abiding joy He gives, the peace that passes all understanding, and God’s love will overtake the inner turmoil. Pray and ask Him to help you overcome the obstacles in your heart. There is room at the cross for you… will you come?
Photo Credit: Google Images
Music Link: Make Room (feat. Matt Maher) Casting Crowns
As we consider Christmas, I’d like to remind you that there is room for you close to God’s heart. He desires a relationship with us and awaits your reciprocal desire for Him. His extension of love by giving Jesus Christ as our deliverer is the greatest expression of love He could show.
This time of year can feel cruel to many people. A time when love, laughter, and Christmas cheer is promoted, many feel lonely and isolated. There are so many stories that could be shared as to why, yet I’d rather focus on how to remedy this condition.
I received a Christmas card telling of someone dear to me who is facing consequences for their addiction to gambling. It is heartbreaking to see how families of those habituated to some life-dominating problem are drawn into the sad drama of someone else’s poor choices. We feel helpless, and if…