Cutting To the Core: Guys

Friday, October 28, 2011's about to get a little bit personal here. As girls/women probably the biggest lies we will ever believe (next to the ones about ourselves) are the lies about guys. The biggest one of those being the lie that “I need a boyfriend to be happy.” the thought about wanting a boyfriend isn't bad at all, in fact it is perfectly natural. God created us with the desire to find “the one.” But where it becomes dangerous is when it becomes a NEED, an OBCESSION almost. It becomes dangerous when we let that desire consume us, when we let it control our every thought. It can become so easy to believe this lie, especially in today's society where books and media propose the idea that “you are no one unless you have a boyfriend,” and it's even harder when your friends all have boyfriends.But if we choose to believe the lie "I have to have a boyfriend to be happy" we will most likely end up believing the lie "I have to have a husband to be happy." Be careful what you allow your self to believe. What I desperately want you to know is that when it is time, God will bring the guy who fits you and is good for you. Remember it is all in God’s timing so don’t chase after guys or “fling” yourself at them. Trust that God will provide. We are told three (3) times in Song of Solomon “not to AWAKEN love until it so desires.” The first time is in chapter 2 verse 7;

“His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (2:6-7)

The second time is in chapter 3 verse 5;

“Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (3:4-5)

And one last time in chapter 8 verse 4;

“His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (8:3-4)

The Bible also tells us that this time of singleness in our lives is a gift and is to be enjoyed as such, it is a time where we can just focus on building our relationship with Christ. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 says
“I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you're unmarried, you're free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I'm trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.” [Message]
One thing you can do to help with the loneliness of the dateless life is to make a list of the qualities you wish to see in your FUTURE HUSBAND (not boyfriend). Here's an example:

"The Qualities I most Desire In My Future Husband"
1) He is a strong Chrisian man who love's God with his whole being
2) He respects my decision of purity until marriage
3) He supports the dream and vision God has given me
4) He has a good relationship with my parents (especially my dad)
5) He shares my same passions and desires
6) He's not affraid to dream big and then go for it.

Set your standards high and stick to them...even if everyone around you says that guy is impossible to find. Remember though, that we are all a work in progress (this includes guys), so he might not meet your list exactly at first, but don't settle for less that the “essentials” on your list.

The other lie we tend to believe about guys is that “It is OK to go out with a non-Christian.” Let's clear this one up right here. It is NOT! Dating is not a ministry tool to be used to bring the guy to Christ. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 that marrying or even dating an unbeliever is sin. “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” [Message]

Now before you jump to any conclusions, it is ok to be FRIENDS with unbelievers, but dating them is not wise. Before you even consider dating someone you should ask yourself the question: “Could I marry this guy?” Dating is a time to be spent preparing for marriage, it's time that a couple spends getting to know one another, getting to know each other's hearts in order to determine if they could possibly enter into marriage. If the answer to that question is no, then you should end the relationship with as little pain as possible. There are only two possible outcomes of dating a non-Christian (1) You will be a good influence on him, (only on rare occasions does the relationship turn out like this), or (2) He will be a bad influence on you. (this is what happens 99% of the time).
The final lie that is most often believed is that “I can’t handle the loneliness of staying pure.” In today's society it can seem like everywhere you turn more and more girls your age are giving themselves over to sexual peer pressure, and the media promotes it as the “in” thing. Once you've made the commitment to staying pure you can begin to feel like you are alone in this, but the truth is that you are not alone, girls everywhere, older and younger alike, struggle with staying pure. Don’t let guys talk you into doing things that go against God’s values. Purity is the best way to live life. Remember that list we mentioned earlier? Refer to it often throughout the relationship. Saving yourself for a godly marriage is a beautiful thing, and a godly man will show honor and respect to you for remaining pure for your marriage. Genesis 2:23 tells us that God created sex specifically for marriage, to make the relationship between man and woman even sweeter. But even in godly dating relationships, it can be hard to stay pure and to control human desires. And keep Jesus as the center focus of your relationship because He alone is the most important thing in your life and in your relationship. This is easily done by:

1)Keeping Jesus in your date night conversations.

2)Praying together during the time you spend together.

3)Hanging out out in public places like the movies, the mall, restaurants, and parks (only during daylight hours).

4)Hanging out with a group of friends.

5)Creating an accountability group among your female friends to keep each other accountable (in line).
Remember that the lies we CHOOSE to believe about guys are some of the most powerful lies...but don't neglect the tool you have been given to combat these lies (you Bible).

Vulnerability is Key

Monday, September 5, 2011

I never wanted you

to see me cry
I never wanted you
to see weakness in my eyes.
I never wanted you
to see me broken,
to see me hurt.
For you I wanted
to be brave
to be strong,
For you I wanted
to be perfect.
I wanted you
to only see me brave
I wanted you
to only think of me as strong.
I wanted you
to always think of me,
to see me as perfect.

Vulnerability is something that we have been taught to think of as a bad thing. We've been taught to never let anyone see our weakness. The world tells us that the person who becomes vulnerable is the person who's weak, the world says that the hero never cries, never shows pain...that the one who's strong is the one that never shows himself to be vulnerable or in need of another person. But let me tell you this; the person who is truly strong is the one who can admit to being wrong, the person who is truly brave is the one who isn't afraid to let a few tears fall. vulnerability is essential in any relationship, whether it's our relationship with God, with our friends, our family, our boyfriend or girlfriend. Because it's when we are comfortable enough to let our guard down, even just a little, that our relationships are strengthened and tightened. When a person can open up and become vulnerable with another person or group of people, that is when true strength, true bravery, is seen. It's something I believe most of us need to remember, especially myself.

Beyond the Surface

Friday, May 13, 2011

Last week I got the opportunity to travel to Phil Campbell with our church to help out with the disaster relief efforts after a tornado had ripped through the town and surrounding area’s leaving nothing but destruction behind it on April 27th 2011. One of the things I recall very clear in my mind is that driving into Phil Campbell it looked like nothing more than a big wind storm had hit the place, there were a few trees uprooted and laying in yards, but there was minimal damage. It wasn’t till we got further in, into the heart of Phil Campbell that the true nature of the problem became apparent. It was like there was a magic dividing line, and once it was crossed, we soon realized that what we saw coming in was nothing compared to what lied within. The place was practically flattened, the trees that did stand were nothing more than twigs in the air, they had been stripped of everything that had once made them beautiful, their leaves and their branches were gone. The roofs of buildings had collapsed, walls had caved in, and the places had been deemed unsafe. People had to resort to living in tents and hand made shelters. There was no running water, and no electricity to be found. Even our own building had been destroyed.
Some of the destruction.

Our South Campus...or what was left of it.

It kind of reminds me of how we, as people can be. Just like the minimal damage on the outskirts of Phil Campbell hid the devastation that lay within, we only allow people to see what is on the outside, we fake smiles and laughs to mask the pain that lies beneath. Our conversations consist of “Hey, how are you?” “Oh, I’m pretty good. How are you?” “I’m pretty good as well” and then we part ways, never bothering to go deeper then just the outside appearance, never bothering to see the hurt that people hold within. And in reality, most people want you to dig past the surface; they want you to take the mask off their face. They want to express to you how they really feel. Maybe we don’t take time to find out because we’re always in a hurry. Or maybe it’s because we’re afraid that if we stay around any longer we will have to become vulnerable to that person. But how can we expect to help a hurting world when we can even manage to dig a little past the cliché conversations with our friends and become vulnerable with each other? I don’t mean to spill your guts to some random person, but maybe be willing to listen to them a little longer than 10 seconds at a time.

This wasn’t the direction I had intended for this post to go, but apparently God had a something different in mind. I hope you got something out of this, I know that even though I was the one writing it, I learned from it…hahaha.


The Heart of the Matter

Sunday, May 1, 2011

  So, I had been thinking on this topic for a while, but due to all the other happenings in life it got pushed to the back of my mind. And a recent conversation with a friend of mine has once again brought it to the forefront of my mind, so that’s what I have decided to write about this time.

  As girls we’ve all felt that desire to be kissed, and have maybe even dreamt about what it would be like to kiss our future husband, the guy we like, our boyfriend…etc. We dream about what our first kiss will be like, who it will be with, and that sort of stuff, I mean, we see it in so many moves (romantic ones or not), and the girl is always swept off her feet by “prince charming” somehow, whether it’s literal or figuratively. But that’s what we’ve been exposed to, so why wouldn’t we think about those things? But even though our hearts and minds wonder to that topic quite a bit most of us…if we were truly honest with each other and ourselves would admit that we are afraid that we will never get the chance to experience that. And with the way most people view relationships today, how they think they can just be dropped any moment and just move right on and go into the next relationship without thinking twice, it’s no wonder girls (even though this is for girls, guys are included somewhat too, because there can be some pretty cold, heartless girls out there too) are afraid to fall for someone. Now I’m not saying run out and fall for the first guy that promises to be there for you all the time, the first guy that makes you feel like a princess…because words and feelings will only last for so long, and then you are left with what is inside the heart. And that could either be a good thing or not. The Bible reminds us in Jeremiah 17:9 that

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?”

  We’ve always been taught to follow your heart, I mean the big message that Disney puts out is a dream is a wish your heart makes, follow you dreams, follow your heart…” and so on. But that is obviously not what God tells us. Though I’m not saying it’s an easy thing, after all the heart is deceitful…it’s the king of tricks, the master of, well heart games. But most people fail to read the next part (Jeremiah 17:10) which says:

“But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.”

  There might not be any human on earth that can truly understand the ways of the heart, but there is one who does know the heart. Who else should know the way the heart works than the Lord God, the one who created you, formed you, and made you in His image?

I know this is a short blog, but I want to remind you that these are just my thoughts on the subject, and I encourage you to do some digging for yourself. I hope I’ve left you with something to think about and to consider.


Gotta Reach for Something

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Here goes nothing,
Here goes everything,
Gotta reach for something
Or you’ll fall for anything”

These words seem to just keep echoing through my head as I think about what I believe. Not just “well I’m a Christian, I believe Christ died to save me from my sins.” I mean, who am I? What do I really, truly believe? Because in this world we live in we are so often defined by what we believe. In this world people are defined by their life style, and I have to wonder, when people look at me do they see just another teenager whose caught up in the craziness of this life? Or do they see someone who is passionate about the God that she serves? I especially like the line “gotta reach for something or you’ll fall for anything” because without a firm foundation we can easily be swayed from one thing to the next, from belief to belief, from idea to idea. If we don’t reach for any one idea, and take a firm hold of it, we will latch onto what ever new idea or thought comes by us…and not all of them will be good, but some might be.
It’s kind of like being “double minded,” trying to live two lives because we are driven by our emotions, by how we feel. The Bible says in James 1:8 that “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” I mean, how easy is it to say, “oh, I don’t feel like doing that”? I’m not trying to get down on anyone, because I know for a fact that we have all slipped and made that choice to listen to what our feelings tell us, or based a choice off of what our emotions told us at that time. I mean, if anyone should know about that, it should be me, after all I am a girl, and girls typically are known for being very emotional…haha. Not that I am proud of that or anything. But as Christians we can’t afford to be double minded, we can’t afford to be indecisive, we are to be firmly planted in what we believe, so that when the world looks at us we reflect the image of Christ. And one thing I know for sure, Christ is not indecisive, He isn’t swayed by emotions. So we need to make sure that we have a solid foundation, and that we don't base our actions on what we feel, but rather what we know and what we believe.
Well I didn't mean to get all "preachy" on you, but that's just what I felt God had lain on my heart, and that it needed to be shared. I hope I got my point across clearly, and that this makes you stop and think.

Set Apart in A Status Quo World

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's a beautiful Alabama morning, and the first day of a new month. And being that it's the begining of a new month, I decided that there's no better way to begin this month than with the Word of God. So here we go.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (2) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (3) For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (4) Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, (5) so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (6) We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying let him use it in proportion to his faith. (7)If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; (8) if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”- Romans 12:1-8.
If God calls us to be living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him (Romans 12:1), then shouldn’t what we wear, what we speak, and the way we choose to live out our lives on a daily basis be based on the question “how does this glorify Him”? Because everything we do can be considered to be an act of worship. So here’s the big question, is the way you live your life holy and pleasing to God? When we chose to invite Christ to come dwell within us we were called to consecrate our selves, to set ourselves apart. To often we say “Here God, you can have this part of me, but you can’t have this, you can’t have my relationship with my boyfriend/girlfriend, I like this music, I know it’s not pleasing to you, but I like it, you can’t have it.” And we try to tell God what parts of us, what parts of our lives, He is allowed to be apart of, and we try to set boundaries for Him. But the reality is that God can’t be kept inside of a box. Wake up people, the reality is this, the life we do have, we only have because God has allowed us to live another day, another hour, another second, so why shouldn’t we give everything we are to the one who is life, the one who gave us life? I love the way the message reads, it states it like this: “So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” We are to be set apart for Him, and for His purpose, and the change that happens will be a change from the inside out. We must first change the way we think before we can change how we act or what we say.
To do this, we must make the concise choice to take the road less traveled, to make decisions that my cause us to be rejected by our peers. 1 Peter 2:4-6 tells us that with the choice to follow Christ comes rejection, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him.” We are told that in this life we will experience the feeling of rejection, but it doesn’t end there, in fact it can only get better because we were chosen by Him. When the world discarded us, the King of kings chose us to be His very own, and not just that, He calls us His, we are precious to Him. It continues in verse five by saying “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house [a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (6) For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (NIV). As Christians God is shaping us for His purpose, and that purpose is to be a holy priesthood. He has called us to be in this world, but not of it. Yes, there is a difference, to be OF the world is to act the same way the world does, to talk the way they talk. To be IN the world is just to simply live amongst the people, not necessarily doing as they do, or talking as they talk. The people of the world should be able to look at our lives from a distance and say “hey, there’s something different about him, he’s not like the other Christians.” According to this verse we are not only chosen by Him, but we are “a precious cornerstone.” Something that is precious is something that is cherished or valued, it is something that is of a high cost or worth. Am I the only one who thinks that this is incredibly amazing? It continues to blow me away every time I read this verse and I still find it hard sometimes to believe that the King of kings finds us to be of such great worth that He sent His son to die for us. But He did, and I am so thankful for that!

Short Story

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sheyla Gardens is sitting quietly near a meandering river sipping some tea her mother had made for her. She is a young girl of no more than 14, she wears a long, beautiful, flowing dress which lightly outlines her figure. Sheyla has lovely brown hair, which is tied up neatly underneath her shade hat. Her almond shaped eyes are a luscious brown. Though Sheyla prefers jeans and t-shirts to long dresses, her parents are high-class political figures and on occasion she must put up with wearing the fancy dresses, ball room shoes, a face absolutely coated in makeup….almost to the point where you no longer the true beauty that lies beneath. Might I add that the long, drawn out speeches they must attend are utterly boring at best. As Sheyla sits there she thinks back to simpler times as a little one, times when she could run and play as she pleased. Never a dress or skirt needed to be worn, a time when raggedy old shorts and hole torn shirts were an acceptable thing for her to wear. Times when she did not have to attend such drab gatherings, but rather a babysitter was called to watch her. When she could happily play with her best friend in the pastures till sunset. Things had changed so much sense then, since her parents had struck an oil well on their farm eight years ago. She and Kavon rarely saw each other much anymore, for now her life consists of being a picture perfect child, something that could ruin her parents career if anyone ever saw her with the poor farm boy, they mostly kept in touch through letters and phone calls, though there was the occasional secret rendesvous it there was never enough time to make up for all the time in between.
She glanced down at her long flowing dress and admired the smooth material for a moment, and thought to herself about how shocked Kavon would be to see her in a dress. Then she looked around at the flowing river and the trees. Taking a sip of her tea she sighed to herself, and thought about how Kavan would have loved to be there, and how she had no doubt that they would have waded through the water and clibed the big strong oak that was across the river...wether she was wearing a dress or not. "Oh how I miss Kavon" she sighed to herself again as she got up from the grass and began to head back towards the house.

Lust and Love

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He meanders down a dimly lit road; his dark hood pulled over his head so that no one knows for certain who he is. He keeps his head tucked low, so those who pass by don’t recognize his face. With his hands tucked deeply into the pockets of his jeans, he’s got every bit the look of a shady, sly, deceitful character. He continues down this road a ways, and stops briefly for a moment, just before rounding the corner onto a well lit, highly traveled path. He reaches into his jacket and pulls out a mask; quickly he places it over his dark, twisted face, making sure it’s secured before continuing. He is a master of disguise, and deceit is his favorite game. The name he goes by is one of shame, and humiliation, his name is Lust.

Having rounded the corner, his head comes up, and his face is no longer being hidden from view. He smiles at people as they walk by. He removes his dark hood to reveal a beauty no one ever thought possible. He chuckles a silent evil laugh to himself as those around him are fooled by what they see. You see my friend, not only does Lust love this game of masquerade he plays, but he has a favorite character. He enjoys nothing more then masquerading as the one called Love. To him there is no greater thrill than to have you held captive to him and then, just when your hopes are high, reveal his true self to you, and watch you crumble. But I have good news; there is one whose mission is to remove his mask forever, so that all will know who he really is. This one who will be the hero is called the Holy Spirit, but he cannot do so on his own, and he knows that. He brings a long one with him, the only one who can help undo what Lust has done, and his name is Love, yes, the very one that Lust mimics is the one who will help to open your eyes.

Holy Spirit and Love canvas the area in which Lust is known for dwelling, they seek him out, search high and low for any sign of where he’s been. And soon it becomes evident that though his trail is easy to follow, the mess he has made is not easy to undo, he has taken the lives of the innocent and he has broken them, built them up in order to tear them down. The air is thick with his promise of love, and the lies he has left behind him. The fear of trust is not easy to overcome; yet slowly but surely they begin to rebuild the wreckage left behind. And those who were hurt begin to take a stand, and join the crusade to reveal the true identity and nature of the one called Lust.