Friday, October 31, 2014

The truth about sex

This topic has been on my heart for a very long time.  When I say long time, I mean years.

***Before I get started, please hear me when I say that I am in no way condemning anyone.  I have been in the pit of sexual sins.  I could write the book on it.  My heart aches for men and women-boys and girls-who are trapped in sexual sin.  I wish I could look each of you in the eyes and tell you that you matter.  My heart aches for anyone who doesn't see the pure beauty in real sex.  Sex between a husband and a wife.***

Have you noticed that sex is everywhere? 

It is on magazine covers.  Just this week at the grocery store, a magazine claimed they had discovered the secret to great sex.  This statement was posted next to a woman who had her shirt fully unbuttoned with half of her breasts showing.

Many TV shows display men and women rolling around in bed together engaged in sexual activity.  Most of these characters are not even married.  They are just hooking up.

Sex is in books, movies, commercials, name it and it's probably there.

Sex is everywhere - except where it should be.

The truth is that God created sex.  Sex is supposed to be a good thing.  When sex is part of a healthy marriage, it brings spouses closer together.  They share an intimate experience that no one else truly knows about.  God created sex to be pleasurable and fun.  He created it as a way for spouses to show they truly trust and love each other.  God created sex in order that humans could multiply and fill the earth.  These are all wonderful things with no shame attached to them.

The problem is that sex is no longer between spouses only.  Even when there is a marriage, sex is often found outside the marriage.  I'm not just talking affairs.  Although, that is a huge problem in our society.  Sex is in the "entertainment" that we choose to engage in.  Society has become so used to seeing sex everywhere that people have become immune to the sacredness of it.

Pornography is a HUGE problem.  Nothing ever good comes out of it.  Many people think pornography is only x rated movies. 

Let me share with you the full definition of pornography...

1.  the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement

2.  material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement

3.  the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

***This definition is taken straight from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  I did not add nor delete any part of the definition.***

So you see, it is not just  x rated movies.  Pornography is in the TV shows, movies, and books we choose for "entertainment".

Someone actually told me onetime that she recently read a popular book that was filled with sex.  She claimed it was fantastic.  She then stopped,  embarrassed, and said, "you probably shouldn't read it".  Why?  Because I'm a loud mouthed Christian?  God's standards apply to all of His children.  Not just the ones who choose to stand up and speak about them.

Here is a staggering fact - Pornography generates $10-14 BILLION annually.  Can you imagine taking that money and feeding hungry people around the world??  That money could fill so many bellies....

Anytime sex is in a marriage and it is not between a husband and a wife, there are negative consequences.  The compare game starts, self satisfaction happens, and lust creeps in.  All of these things keep spouses from fully enjoying each other.

Consider this Scripture from Hebrews 13:4-Marriage should be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.

The Greek word for undefiled is defined as pure or unsoiled.

Our marriage bed is not pure when we bring anything other than our love and enjoyment of our spouse to it.  Yes, God allows for spouses to have fun and be creative.  But that is to be based on the enjoyment and connection of each other, not ideas seen or read in pornography.  If the ideas are from pornography, then they are not pure {undefiled}.

Let me say this with an open and honest heart - If you need any type of pornography to "get you in the mood" then something is not right in your marriage.

***As a woman, I can tell you that women do not want to be seen as objects.  We want to be seen for our minds, hearts, creativity, passions, etc.  However, when we are engaged in any type of pornography that is exactly what we are deducing ourselves to.***

Lastly, let me pour my heart out into our children.  My heart aches for children who are not afforded purity.  Please, please, please monitor what your children are watching, reading, and listening to.  Be an example to them.  Allow them to honestly ask questions about sex and then tell them the truth...that God created it and it is absolutely wonderful BUT it is only for a husband and a wife.  Tell them the truth about pornography.  A pure heart set right with God is a heart full of peace and joy.

Sex wasn't created for entertainment.  God created it to be more than beautiful and in the confines of a marital relationship only.

It is not too late to create sexual purity in your marriage and in your home. 

Praying for hearts and marriages to return to purity and joy-

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book recommendation to refocus a heart

A few months ago, I registered to run a half marathon in January.  I have run one before so I was aware of the amount of training that was involved.  I was excited to take on the challenge because I am two years past 40 and wanted to show myself that I could still do it.  I'm a bit competitive with myself!

Prior to beginning my training, I noticed that my knee would feel weird after a workout.  I ignored it {because that's what I do} and started my running training.  After runs, my knee would ache and feel tight, but after walking it out it would feel better. 

Almost two weeks ago as I was cooking dinner, I had a stabbing pain that stopped me in my tracks.  I had no choice but to listen to it.  Thankfully, my husband is a Physician Assistant and specializes in orthopedics.  When he came home, he examined it and told me I was slowly breaking my bone and I had to stop ALL activity for at least two to three weeks.  Not what these training for a half marathon ears wanted to hear!

I walked around that night focused on my knee.  I was silently feeling sorry for myself and wondering how in the world I was going to keep my training on course. 

As I layed in bed that night, I picked up a book I had ordered and began reading it.  God knew I was going to need that book that very day!

Product Details
To order this book, please click here.
The author of this book is a beautiful child of God.  She is battling terminal cancer, a mama to 4, a cherished wife, and a lover and truster of Jesus.  She had much to teach my inwardly focused heart. 
I could not put this book down.  In fact, I read it in a day and a half.  My heart aches for her, but I did not walk away in despair.  She approaches life and God in a way that brings hope and healing.  While her life story is not one she would choose, she embraces it and uses it to share the love of Jesus.  Yes, she cries and wishes she could raise her babies until her head is full of gray hair and she has spent many years on this earth.  But she knows that God's plans are perfect and she is confident that He will hold her loves as she relocates to her eternal home.
This book reminded me that it is not my knee, training for a half marathon, or anything else that brings pleasure that is important.  What matters is the love that we share with others, the time we spend with our loves, and the glory we bring to our Creator each and every minute we breathe on this earth.
When our focus is on Jesus, everything else falls perfectly in place.  We no longer look to people or things to shape our lives, we look to Him.  No diagnoses, messy house, unkind person, overall bad day, etc. can change who we are in Him and the promises He has for us.
I am grateful to Kara Tippitts for sharing her story and love for Jesus.  She is definitely a faithful servant.
It no longer matters if I run the half or not.  What matters is that I'm a child of Jesus.  He has given me a beautiful life to live.  It is not defined by anything but His love and my ability to share it openly and live life in abundance.  None of us knows how many breathes we have left, but we can be confident that Jesus is faithful and will take care of everything. 
May we be purposeful and leave our worries and fears at His feet.  May our trust in Him outweigh any fears or disappointments that we carry.
Wherever life finds you, may you always find yourself wrapped in His perfect love.
Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold on to the confession of hope without wavering.  For He that has promised is faithful.
Sending my love to all -

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Letters from my heart

Dear parents,

Our children are wonderful gifts from God.  {Psalm 127:3-Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.}  He entrusted us to raise them well, protect them, and teach them about His love and His ways.  All too often, I see you throwing your children to the wolves of the world.  Turning a blind eye to things so that you will not go against the grain or so your children will "fit in" only causes them harm.  Please teach them that their worth comes from JESUS alone.  It is not found in their clothes, acceptance from others, or if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend.  Allowing them to go to parties where alcohol and people whom you know {or should know} are not good peers only sets them up for trouble.  Please open your eyes and cherish their futures.  Is it really worth sacrificing their sweet hearts to feel like the cool parent or the parent friend??  {Mark 9:42-Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.}

Dear people who look at the socioeconomic status of people rather than their hearts,

{1 Samuel 16:7-But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him.  Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.}  My heart breaks and becomes angry when I see you judge someone on what they possess materially.  Recently, you hurt a dear friend of mine because she didn't live in the neighborhood with the humongous houses.  How shallow.  My friend's heart is so big that I don't know how it stays in her sweet body.  You know what, it actually doesn't.  The love she shares with everyone around her is endless.  She can't help but give the love of Jesus away.  When you judge someone based on material possessions, you are losing out on wonderful people.  Does it really matter the car someone drives, their address, or what brand of clothes they wear??  I pray for you.  I don't pray in a way that causes anger to rise up out of me.  Rather I pray that you will soon know what true love feels like.  It must be so painful and lonely to live and only see the outside.  {Matthew 6:19-20 - Don't collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal.}

Dear children of God who are striving daily to truly walk with Him and honor Him-

Truly walking with Jesus can completely change your life.  It is thrilling, refreshing, and so peaceful to trust in Him with all that you have every single day.  Yes, it can get lonely when you feel you are the only one truly trying to honor Him but don't give up.  He sees your faithfulness and obedience.  He looks at you and says, "Well done my good and faithful servant."   Continue to grow towards Him by reading your Bible daily, talking with Him throughout the day {prayer}, and honoring Him in all that you do, say, think, and choose for entertainment.  Each night when you lay your head down, may you know that you fought the good fight, finished your daily race honoring Him, and kept the faith {2 Timothy 4:7}.  Stand strong, dear friend!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scripture Study Printable-Week Three

To print the above card, click here.

Oh how I am loving memorizing and going deeper into Scripture with all of you.  I look so forward to Monday mornings when I begin placing a new love note from God in my heart.  I am so strengthened knowing that His Word is being etched on my heart and our relationship is growing even deeper.  I hope you are feeling as blessed as I am.

This week's Scripture deals with standing firm in our faith.  Standing firm takes action.  We must be proactive daily in our walk with Jesus.  This Scripture is not meant to discourage us, but rather encourage us.  We should be encouraged that when we stand firm in Jesus, He guarantees that we will not fall no matter what situation we are in.

To print the Scripture worksheet, please click here.

I hope you are encouraged this week as we learn to stand even taller with our sweet Jesus.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Facts About Me

I really enjoy reading posts that let me know the blogger a bit better.  So here are five facts about me that you may not know.  :)

1.}  During the week, my alarm goes off at 5:30am.  I love waking up before anyone else in my home and having quiet time.  I am an early bird for sure!

2.}  I really enjoy doing laundry and have set days that I get to do it.  I am not sure why I love it so much.  Maybe it's the sense of accomplishment?  Or maybe I'm just a weirdo! :)

3.}  I have tried numerous shampoos and conditioners over the years and I have FINALLY found the ones!  My hair has never looked more healthy and I have had lots of good hair days.  My true loves are Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner.

4.}  I love, love, love almond butter.  If it weren't for the calories, I could eat a whole jar in one sitting.  {Oops...I think I'm drooling!!}  I have a tablespoon on Ezekiel toast each morning and never grow tired of it.

5.}  My favorite city is New York City.  Ahh....just typing it makes me smile!!  I love the sights, the busy, the restaurants, the subway, the people, the shows, the shopping....I could go on and on!! :)

And my P.S. is .... I enjoy laughing and finding funnies in my day.  I get a kick out of making my husband laugh, especially when he's trying to fall asleep.  Is that mischievous of me?? ;)

I hope you all feel like you know me a bit better now-

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Phew...It's not about us

I have people in my life that just aren't very nice.  One minute they are friendly, and the next minute they are ouchy.  I refer to them in this way because when I walk away from them, I feel like I've been a big angry horse.

Can you relate??

Unfortunately, I can't extinguish these people from my life.  My family and I would have to move far, far away. 

Does anyone come to mind as you read this?  It's not a nice warm fuzzy feeling, is it?

When I think about these people, I can get grumpy.  My mood can literally be affected. 

I've been thinking about this a great deal lately.  My husband and I were talking about it the other night and discussing how people that are mean, passive aggressive, and selfish make those around them feel so dirty.  The people on the receiving end can walk away feeling so wounded and frustrated. 

We also discussed that the people are just not joyful people. How truly sad-

A dear friend and I got onto the subject today and really dug deep into it.  We decided that those people, and people like them, aren't really being mean to us.  Their hearts are suffocating in pain.  Nobody chooses to be mean.  They become that way because they have held on to hurts, insecurities, worth issues, traumas, etc. 

So often, people {me included!} look in a mirror rather than looking at the other person.  We feel the rejection and the sting and take it personally.  We focus on how it makes us feel rather than how the other person feels.

I am not saying we should ever allow ourselves to be treated badly.  I fully believe we should take up for ourselves.  Often times, that means stepping away from the situation.  If we must be around the person, we can excuse ourselves to a different area. 

As my friend and I were talking, I felt a big weight being lifted off of my shoulders.  While it doesn't feel nice to be around mean or passive aggressive people, it is not about ME or YOU.  It is totally about the people acting out.  It is about their feelings of pain, unworthiness, loneliness, etc.

This totally changed the game for me.  Yes, I have heard this many, many, many times before.  However, I had let my heart forget.  I held up a mirror and only recognized my hurts.  Shame on me.

When I consider the pain that weighs hearts down, it makes me ache for the people that often cause me to want to kick a wall.  My focus has changed and I can now realize that they need a good dose of Jesus.  They need to be reminded {or shown for the first time} that they are loved by a King.  He longs to carry their burdens and fill their hearts with His love.  He longs to show them the freedom that comes with His worth, not the world's hurts.

So....I am committing to pray for my ouchies.  The next time I have an ugly thought about them or cringe when I see them, I will immediately go to God.  I will pray for them to experience His peace and redemption.  I will pray that they fully trust in Him to take their hurts and live lives that honor Him.

I'm certain - because I'm human - that I will not be perfect at this.  Thankfully, Jesus doesn't want perfection.  He wants effort and He wants my heart to be focused on Him.  May He convict me every time my thoughts are negative and inwardly focused.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Scripture Study Printables-Week Two

{To print this memory card, click here}

Our Scripture study this week is John 10:10.  I believe this verse is so important, especially with all of the scary things going on in our world and country.  Satan would love nothing more than to get us in such a tizzy that we fail to look to Jesus.  Jesus has promised us a life of abundance when we place our eyes and hearts on Him.

Jesus guarantees His loves a life full of abundance when we rid our hearts of lies and walk fully with Him.  I'm excited to see what God does to our hearts this week as we gather at His throne and become more confident of the lives He longs for us to have.

Won't you join me this week in memorizing this verse and integrating it fully in to our lives?  Oh the joy that comes from studying God's Word!

The printable study sheet involves a series of heart questions that will cause you to rid your heart of the thief's lies and grab fully on to the life Jesus desires for you.

{To print the worksheet, click here}

I hope you have started a folder for the worksheets so that you can easily refer to them.  Remember to keep the memory verse printable with you at all times.  The more you repeat it, the faster it will attach itself to your heart and mind.

Praying for all you to feel Christ's abundance this week.

In love-