Friday, May 30, 2014

Get Your Glow On! - How To Get That Radiant Glow

Although my Grandmother is well into her 80's, I (along with many others) would describe her as “radiant.” She glows with an internal joy and pureness that is undeniable. But it's not because of good skin care. It is because of good Spirit care. I have countless memories of walking into her room and seeing her reading her Bible by the light of her floor lamp. If she wasn't reading her Bible, she was listening to a sermon on tape or watching a Christian film or show. There's nothing she enjoys more than her relationship with God. And it's evident when you look at her that she has walked and talked with her Saviour.  

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. - Exodus 34:33-35
The Bible tells us that Moses went up Mt. Sinai to speak to God on several occasions. He was the only one allowed to speak directly to God. He was in the presence of The Almighty God many times. And each time, the Bible says, he came down with the glory of God literally glowing from his face! He was so bright, that he had to put a covering over his face so he would not frighten the people. 
Psalm 34:5 says, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
Do you know what that means? Being in God’s presence makes us more attractive! If you want to radiate, if you want to shine like the stars, then get in the presence of God. Unlike the Israelites, you and I have total access to The Father, thanks to Jesus and His saving grace that created a bridge between us. So, get your glow on! All it takes is a little time in The Father’s presence. Devote as much time (if not more) to reading God's Word and praying as you would to your daily primping and skincare routine and I guarantee others will start to see a permeating glow that no beauty product could ever compare to.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Definition and Design of Sex (why it's so much more than just a physical act)

Sex can be compared to fire. Fire is a good thing when it is properly used - it can warm you, it can create beautiful works of art like pottery and it can also light your path so that you can see where you are going. But when fire gets out of control it can be damaging and destructive.

Much like fire, sex is also a gift that when experienced the way it was intended - within the boundaries and commitment of marriage - it can be a wonderful thing. But when sex gets outside of its boundaries, it can be harmful and devastating.

Casual sex, friends with benefits, hook ups, flings, sexual experimentation….our culture has a very skewed perspective about sex. So let’s talk about the true definition of sex: Sex is a great gift designed by God for married people.  Sex was created for one man and one woman together forever, committed in a marriage relationship. Society has distorted the design for sex, but the truth is, when sex is enjoyed the way that it was intended to be enjoyed…within marriage…it retains its wholeness and can be enjoyed to the fullest.

The consequences of sex outside of marriage such as STDs and unplanned pregnancies are often talked about but what is less talked about, but is equally as impacting, is the emotional disconnect that happens when we have sex with someone other than our husband or wife. If we’re being honest, we recognize that each time we give ourselves sexually to someone who we are not married to, our emotional and spiritual well-being is affected. There is a pain we feel deep within ourselves when we reduce sex to a purely physical act. Sex is so much more than that. Sex is the fusion of two souls. So when we move from one sexual partner to the next, we have to first break away our soul that has been infused to that person through sex.

Think of it this way…when you have sex….you are being sewn or super glued together…but if you are not committed to that person…when you or your partner choose to walk away, you have to rip out the stitches and pull apart the flesh because sex is meant to bind you permanently. Is it any wonder then that casual sex causes some serious pain and scarring. Pain that we were never meant to experience because we were never meant to be separated, we were meant to stay connected for life. That is why when you have sex outside of its boundaries, it chips away at your soul and becomes more and more difficult to bond.Marriage was intended to protect us from pain not to keep us from pleasure. Sex within marriage is not meant to spoil our fun, but frees us to enjoy sex to the maximum.

The good news for anyone who has already experienced sex outside of marriage is that it is never too late to enjoy the fullness of sex. Healing is possible. You can’t go back and make a new beginning, but you can start today and create a new ending. Commitment to enjoying sex only within the protective walls of marriage is always possible. It’s a choice you can make today, no matter what happened yesterday. It’s a choice you won’t regret.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dating With Intent

"Dating without the intent of getting married is like going to the grocery store with no either leave unsatisfied or you take something that isn't yours."

Dating in our culture has become purely recreational or something to satisfy our own selfish wants and desires. But dating was designed for the intent of marriage. Those who have a healthy dating experience are those who have a vision for marriage.

In any aspect of life, having no goal or planned destination is dangerous. How will you know how to get there if you don't know where it is you are going? Having a mindset that marriage is the ultimate objective will help guide you through your dating journey.

Imagine if you were to go hiking and you didn't bring a map or a compass and other essentials for your are at high risk of getting lost and potentially hurt along the way. Same applies when dating but not only are you putting yourself at risk, you are putting the other person at risk of being in harm's way as well.

So ask yourself this question...."Am I dating with the intention of marriage?"

Now this doesn't mean that because you are dating someone you must marry that person, but going into dating with the mindset that it could potentially lead to marriage will act as a guide for your relationship. Dating opens the opportunity to learn what are qualities and characteristics that you want and don't want in a future spouse. Dating also allows us to learn more about ourselves. If you want to marry a great spouse, you must first BE a great spouse. So take this dating time to also reflect on your own personal growth as well as seeking out a lifetime companion for marriage.

Friday, October 4, 2013

4 Reasons For Waiting

Have you ever asked the question: "Why wait?" Well, here are four benefits of waiting to answer that question....
1. Waiting Builds Endurance
Patience builds endurance and endurance produces character. Diligence, loyalty and honor are all qualities produced by endurance that develop when we implement patience. Waiting actually helps shape us into great friends, spouses and members of society.
2. Waiting Reveals Our True Motives

Waiting has a way of highlighting a person's character and intent. People with poor motives won't wait long because they're not interested in the full commitment. They're more interested in short-term gains or self-indulgence. And if we're honest, we'll admit that we want someone who is willing to wait because we want someone who is in it for the long haul. 
3. Waiting Prepares Us 
In many cases the waiting period actually serves as a time of preparation for the answer. Waiting actively, enthusiastically and with a hopeful heart will teach us how to remain focused, committed and passionate when we finally gain what we have been waiting for.

4. Waiting Builds Anticipation

When we experience a long waiting period, we tend to cherish and take care of what have been waiting for more than those who didn't wait. People tend to treasure the things they have to wait for.

 Waiting for answers is a fact of life—nobody gets out of it. So the question is not if we'll wait, but rather how we’ll wait.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How NOT to Wreck Your Life

Guardrails exist  for our safety and protection - to keep us from driving into a dangerous area or from plunging off a cliff. Now let's think about where these guardrails are. They are not IN the dangerous areas. They are strategically placed BEFORE those places that can really mess us up, right? The purpose of this is to help us avoid potential dangers.

When we look back on some of our own biggest wrecks it becomes obvious that we ignored those guardrails and drove straight towards the cliff. We disregarded the boundaries that were put in place to protect us and found ourselves lying in a pit or wrecked on the side of the road. 

These guardrails are firm boundaries meant to keep us on the road and to keep us from losing control. Wisdom works the same way. When we have a clear understanding of consequences and the positive or negative impact our choices can have, then we can avoid unhealthy situations and steer clear of potential dangers. We need to establish guardrails (boundaries) in our relationships and in our lives as a whole.

Now we all know that certain roads lead to danger zones regardless of our many beliefs or backgrounds. That's why society has made an attempt to set some boundaries and will say things like; "Drink Responsibly". But that's not really a solid guardrail is it? Because when people begin drinking they typically get past the point of being able to discern between what is responsible and what is not, don't they? Without a solid guardrail in place, the difference between responsible and not responsible often gets blurry...literally. So this is a trendy aspiration but it is not really a guardrail. A guardrail is: don't get drunk!

Or what about the equally well-intentioned statement; "Don't have sex until you're ready". Because if you ask most guys I am sure they will tell you that they were born ready! So this is yet another attempt at setting some boundaries but it's not a solid, immovable guardrail. It's not something firmly planted in your conscious. It's certainly not something that is going to keep you safe, physically, emotionally or spiritually. It's important to put up guardrails that won't have you looking back in regret saying; "If only I had not ignored the warnings." 

A guardrail would be to determine for yourself that you will not have friends with benefits, you won't watch pornography, you won't hook up with your boyfriend/girlfriend but that you will hold out for the best and enjoy a loving, lasting, regret-free relationship. Don’t allow yourself to be driven by impulses and appetites. When we let pride, lust and selfishness take the wheel, then we will find not only our own lives wrecked, but the lives of those we hurt along the way. Maybe a guardrail you need to put up in your life is to distance yourselves from people who are corrupting your character. Find friends that want to help you and encourage you to stay on track instead of leading you off the cliff.

There are many different roads we can take in life and it is up to each of us as individuals to decide whether we want to take the road full of potholes that leads to destruction and will totally wreck our lives OR the smooth-paved road that leads to fullness and freedom from regret. A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one. 

It’s important to remember that if you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way and found yourself on a bumpy, dead-end road…it’s NEVER too late to get back on the winning road. Your life is never totaled...there is nothing you can do, no amount of sin that would leave your life un-repairable. There's always hope for restoration through Jesus.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Heart to Heart: Displaced Devotion

I was listening to a webcast recently from Kyle Idleman and he talked about the subject of idols. (You know, all of those things that we make equal to or place above God?) And he shared a statement that sent shock waves through me. He said that we tend to take Christ off of the throne and put him on a loveseat with our idols. Think about that picture for a minute. We're talking about the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty Savior who died for you and I. We've removed Him from His rightful throne and told him to share a couch with our sin. Or for some of us, we put that something or someone else in His place on the throne and don't even give Him a seat in our hearts at all.

What is it that you treasure most? What do you get the most joy out of? What is it that you spend the majority of your time focused on?  Is it a relationship? Money? Your career? Sex? Food? A sports team? Your appearance? Success? Pleasure? Who or what are you looking towards to satisfy you? What is it in your own life that you are putting before God? What are you making more valuable than Him? We can all fill in the blank with something that we have chosen to be first in our lives instead of God. I know I can. I unfortunately have put many things above him lately. But when I take an honest look into my own life, I can clearly see where my priorities have been grievously displaced. I have been asking these other things to do for me, what only God can do for me. I gave control over to these other passions and turned my worship from God  towards these lesser substitutes expecting to be satisfied.

Truth is that none of these things we put before God can save us. None of them can truly satisfy us. And none of them even compare to His glory. There is nothing wrong with enjoying things like relationships, success, etc. but it is when we allow these things to take center stage - to be the main focus in our lives - that is when they become idols and therefor are a distraction from God. We start to worship the gift instead of the Giver. Instead of allowing these gifts to enhance a deeper devotion to the One who blessed us with them in the first place we worship the gifts instead of God who gave them to us. God also gave us free will to choose where we place our devotion. And it is a decision we all must make for ourselves.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. -Joshua 24:15

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heart to Heart: A Life Intended

Self-reflection is essential for personal growth. It is important for us to take an honest, introspective look at our own lives. Why? So that we can have a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses as well as our purpose and goals. Too often we look to others as our comparison scale to see where we measure up, but it's really not fair to compare. Each of us are uniquely designed for an individual purpose and trying to fill another person's mold that we were not designed for is like a fish trying to climb a tree...we weren't created for that. The fact that we can't be like someone else doesn't make us more or less worthy, or talented, or desirable, it simply means we haven't embraced your ability to swim. We haven't acknowledged who we are and what we are capable of.

When we stop comparing ourselves to others and recognize our own natural, God-given purpose, then we will begin to live the fulfilling life that we were designed for...the life that God intended for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
-Jeremiah 29:11

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