August 2008


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

Philippians 4:8 NIV

 

This verse really struck me today.  Probably because quite a few times in the past week, I’ve actually caught myself thinking negatively and have quit as soon as I realized it, and used my mind to go in the opposite direction.  For instance, I could have been thinking about a loved one driving a car, then my thoughts would trail off into that person having an accident, visions of the accident scene- who responded to it, the subsequent fight for life and death at the hospital, who would be called in what order, etc. – and sometimes all of this drama even has a soundtrack… my own private little mini-drama for one. 

Why do we use our imagination like that?  I must say I have done it all my life.  But why?  Why do we torment ourselves with a million different scenarios that could possibly occur but haven’t occurred ?  Life is tough enough- just putting yourself through the tragedy of whatever your mind throws at you is extra wear and tear for the soul.   No good can come of it.  However, what if we consciously made an effort to utilize our God-given imagination?

What if we used that imagination to think “good thoughts”?  That same mind that so easily churned out thoughts of a horrible car accident and a loved one fighting for their life can be redirected in seeing that loved one as safe and protected as they go along their way.  It can envision strong angels surrounding that loved one as they go about their business and the mercy of God hovering over them all the days of their life.  That God-given imagination can be used to see that loved one traveling highways of pleasantness and paths of peace.  Once again, the choice is up to us. 

Now, how about that?  We can actually choose what to think and how to think.  I didn’t always know that.  Thank God for the revelation of it!  Have I mastered it yet? – Oh, noooo!  Will I keep on working on it?- Ooooh, yes!  Why?  Because the word of God tells me to and I have every confidence it is the best for me- because my Daddy wants nothing but the best for me.

So, the next time your mind tries to get you wrapped up in a horrendous melodrama- take the time to nip it in the bud – that’s right!  Just cut it off…but don’t stop there!  Take the time to replace it with a promise from the Word of God.  If you can’t think of a promise regarding the mini-drama in your head, just pull out the Word and find one!  That way, you can be prepared the next time that “melodrama” tries to play in your theatre!  Remember, it’s up to you to choose which thought is going to be the trailer and which will be the blockbuster with star-billing.  Make the right choice and be blessed!

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Promiscuous Girl was a hit song a couple of years ago.  Although it had a cute little beat, in actuality, there is nothing cute about promiscuity.  In today’s world, too many people jump from one sexual partner to the next without as much as a blink of an eye.  Sex is casual, to be sure.  When you can go on a talk show in order to have the 18th man tested in search of your child’s paternity, that’s a clue that we have a great many Lucy Looses running around.  However, all of the blame can’t be placed on Lucy!  What about Lucas Loose?  Too many guys spread it around as easily as warm peanut butter.  Now, that’s a problem. 

 What are the motivations?  It could be a number of things.   There are so many possibilities which could range from being a thrill seeker, being in bondage to lust, looking for an emotional connection, wanting to feel loved, acting out as a result of some kind of previous abuse, financial reasons, seeing it everyday in the media and the community thus considering it to be the “norm”, revenge, personal insecurity, generational curses, societal pressures, and even as a result of substance abuse, etc.  The list could go on and on.   The details on what makes a person behave in a promiscuous manner are probably as varied as the people on the earth, but I am convinced it all comes down to one thing.  It stems from not knowing who you are- who the Creator has created you to be.  That’s right…our Creator. 

We did not evolve from animals or primitive life forms.  We were created by the Master…the Father…the Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, God… He created us.  He’s created each of us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.  We are spirit, we live in a body, and we have a soul (our mind, will, and emotions).  We were never made to be ruled by our soul.  We are not to make decisions based on our emotions.  We were created to make our decisions from a spirit that has intimate fellowship with its Creator. Things went awry, and we lost the fellowship for awhile, but guess what?  There’s good news!  We’ve been given the opportunity to restore that fellowship.  It’s called a lot of things, the new birth, being born again, etc. but it is redemption.  Our spirit (who we really are) is born anew – a new creation- once again we are God’s own.  However, it is up to each one of us to make the choice to become born again…to restore what was lost…to have intimate fellowship with the Father…our Creator.  This is only done through a personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has done all the work.  He did it on the cross and He did it all for Love.  Now, that’s LOVE.  All we have to do is believe in our heart that Jesus is the son of God and that He loved us so much he took on flesh through the virgin birth in order to be born on this earth so he could take our sins upon himself and die in our place.  He, who was without sin, took on sin that we may have life.  He died a horrible death in order that we should have the opportunity to live…and be free.. and have life more abundantly.  But it didn’t stop there.  He defeated death.  He defeated the grave.  After three days he was resurrected- brought back to life and now He lives once again…He’s seated at the right hand of the Father… He is Lord..and He can be your savior…if you’ll believe and ask Him to be.  That’s all there is to it.  You just have to believe who He is and what He’s done and then ask Him to be your Lord and Savior– say it out loud  (believe in your heart and confess with your mouth).  Once you’ve done that… well, Congratulations!  …You’re born again. 

Does the journey stop there?- you may ask.  The answer to that is “no.”  The journey is just beginning!  You can go as far as you’d like on this journey… draw near to God with all you’ve got.  Cling to his Word and His ways.  Fellowship with Him intimately during the worst of times…the best of times…and all the time… the choice is up to you.  Dig into His Word, and find yourself within it.  It’s time to realize just who you are.  You can find that out in the pages of the love letter He left for you.  Yes, within the pages of the Bible you will find out just who you are and who Your Creator is… who your Lord is… and who your teacher is… you can find out that He had a plan for you all along…that you’re no mistake, no matter what you’ve been told. 

Oh yes, there’s great news in store for the believer… which means there’s also great news for the unbeliever and the non-believer- simply because they can choose to be a believer.   The choice is yours and that’s great news! 

So why not dig into the Word and find a new self-image…and a life worth living…a savior worth having…and a brand new beginning… why not see yourself as valuable…and clean…and free?  Why not envision yourself through the eyes of Love and see what the Lord has seen…

You’re precious in the eyes of the Lord… precious and bought at great price- with the precious blood of Jesus.  Your heavenly Father looks at you and wants nothing but the best for you…for His child…nothing but the best will do. 

So, does the best include a life of using person after person in order to fulfill our own desires?  Does it include a life of bedhopping?  After all, we will reap a harvest on  whatever we have sown. Maybe that’s why we are warned over and over again in the book of Proverbs about the rewards of such looseness, “but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged and devouring sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).  She loses sight of and walks not in the path of life; her ways wind about aimlessly, and you cannot know them.”  and ” If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.  Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.  In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body.  You will say, “How I hated discipline!  If only I had not ignored all the warnings!  Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?  Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?  I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”  Such acts, such deeds, no matter what we may want to call them are never the best.  In the end, they cost…too much. God is not trying to hold out on us.  He just wants to keep us from reaping a harvest of pain and unneccessary problems.  After all, He created sex for us.  However, He created it to be used in the best way- within the marriage covenant of a man to his wife… as a lovely act of intimacy between two people who have stood before God and man and made a legal and morally binding committment to one another.  Anything other than that is just another ride at the carnival.  When we settle for it we are settling for so much less than God’s best.

So what do we do?  What do we do when we’ve lived a life of using people for our own selfish desires…. of being used for our own selfish wants… what do we do?  Well, the answer to that is part of the greatest news of all… through the blood of Jesus, you begin again.  That same precious blood that saved you… washed away all your sin…is able to give you a fresh start, if you so desire. There is never a need for you to remain in sin.  If we should fall down, the answer is to stand back up and begin again.  A penitant heart, confession before God, and faith in the powerful blood of Jesus makes us free to stand again.  Don’t ever let your past hold you down.  Our Lord paid a dear price for us to rise and walk free… to have life and to have it more abundantly… to have the courage and faith to begin again- and, if necessary, begin again.

Be Blessed!

My Son, be attentive to my Wisdom [godly Wisdom learned by actual and costly experience], and incline your ear to my understanding [of what is becoming and prudent for you], that you may exercise proper discrimination and discretion and your lips may guard and keep knowledge and the wise answer [to temptation].

For the lips of a loose woman drip honey as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged and devouring sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).  She loses sight of and walks not in the path of life; her ways wind about aimlessly, and you cannot know them.

Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and depart not from the words of my mouth.  Let your way in life be far from her, and come not near the door of her house [avoid the very scenes of temptation], lest you give your honor to others and your years to those without mercy, lest strangers [and false teachings] take their fill of your strength and wealth and your labors go to the house of an alien [from God]– and you groan and mourn when your end comes, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, How I hated instruction and discipline, and my heart despised reproof!  I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers nor submitted and consented to those who instructed me.  [The extent and boldness of] my sin invlolved almost all evil [in the estimation] of the congregation and the community.   

Drink waters out of your own cistern [of a pure marriage relationship], and fresh running waters out of your own well.  Should your offspring be dispersed abroad as water brooks in the streets?  [Confine yourself to your own wife] let your children be for you alone, and not the children of strangers with you.  Let your fountain [of human life] be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity], and rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant doe [tender, gentle, attractive]–let her bosom satisfy you at all times, and always be transported with delight in her love.  Why should you, my son, be infatuated wath a loose woman, embrace the bosom of an outsider, and go astray? 

For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, and He [Who would have us live soberly, chastely, and godly] carefully weighs all man’s goings.  His own iniquities shall ensnare the wicked man, and he shall be held with the cords of his sin.  He will die for lack of discipline and instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray and be lost.

Proverbs 5: 1-23 AMP

Alright, this one is just too good to stop at one version!  Please note the New Living Translation version of Chapter 5 of the Book of Proverbs below:

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel.  Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.  For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey and her mouth is smoother than oil.  But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  For she cares nothing about the path of life.  She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

So now, my sons, listen to me.  Never stray from what I am about to say:  Stay away from her!  Don’t go near the door of her house!  If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.  Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.  In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body.  You will say, “How I hated discipline!  If only I had not ignored all the warnings!  Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?  Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?  I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”

Drink water from your own well- share your love only with your wife.  Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?  You should reserve it for yourselves.  Never share it with strangers.

Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love.  Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.  An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.  He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. 

Proverbs 5: 1-23 NLT

Wow!  With these two versions laid out before us, it’s hard to mistake the wisdom here- godly Wisdom learned by actual and costly experience as stated in the Amplified version. Pops is warning his boy about loose women- or shall we just use the name Lucy Loose?  I think that has a ring to it.  You know Lucy Loose, don’t you?  She’s the one that passes it out like candy canes at Christmas. You  probably know a number of men she’s been with.  I’m not talking about speculation- I’m talking about the real deal.  Anyone can have a reputation.  Heaven knows the fellows will lie- as juvenile as that is- it happens everyday.  Of course, the girls will lie as well- whether it’s out of jealousy, spite, or just for the sake of wicked gossip- someone’s reputation is thrown to the dogs.  But what about when it’s not just a reputation?  What about when the behavior matches the perception?  Watch out!  You could have a Lucy Loose! 

What are some of her traits?  “For the lips of a loose woman drip honey as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil;  But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged and devouring sword.”  Those whispered words sure sound sweet and most assuredly stroke the ego in the beginning…but what about later?  Will they be able to take the sting out of what Ms. Loose is dealing out?  Of course not.  Why? Because, “Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  For she cares nothing about the path to life.  She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.”  For reasons of her own, Lucy Loose is not interested in Wisdom.  Most likely she is only concerned with soothing that inner ache…that void in her life that she is always trying to fill…that little something she needs in order to feel good about herself…to feel wanted…to feel needed… to feel approved of… or maybe… just to put food on the table.  Whatever the motivation…the end is always the same… no good comes of it. 

Wisdom warns this young man away from Miss Loose.  He is to avoid the places of temptation at all cost.  Wisdom advises, “Drink water from your own well- share your love only with your wife.  Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?  You should reserve it for yourselves.  Never share it with strangers.”  Wisdom later questions, “Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?”  Why indeed, when as Wisdom later states, “An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.  He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.”

What is the recommendation for avoiding this pitfall of a loose woman?  “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love.”  It sounds like a lovely blessing to me.  I think that sums it up quite nicely and I’m sure I couldn’t have said it any better myself! 

This one is a response I wrote to a blogging buddy’s post- 6 Points to the Bottom Line.  She was of the opinion that I should copy my response and paste it on my own blog in order to spread a little encouragement.  I am pleased to do so!  Check out Coni’s post here before you read my response if you’d like.   

Hi Coni!

I just wanted to give you a bit of encouragement while you’re on this job and beyond. It’s lovely to want the people around you to be joyful and to be pleased with a job you’ve performed for them. However, being a people pleaser is a completely different thing ( or at least has a completely different connotation). Being a people pleaser is when your efforts to please others is derived from fear ( of rejection, of the unknown, of change, etc) . People pleasers don’t stand for anything. They are tossed to and fro depending upon the views of those around them. They could agree with your opinion and then turn right around after you’re gone and tell someone with an opinion that seems to be “the opposite” of yours that they agree with their opinion, when all along they really have an opinion that is different from both opinions, only they don’t have enough confidence in themselves or their opinion to state that fact. I find working with people pleasers to be quite frustrating. One reason is, because you can’t count on them to tell you what they really think. They tell you what they think you want to hear. To me, that is never going to be a good relationship whether it is a work relationship, or a personal one, etc.

I have a dear friend who will sometimes say, “I’m not telling you anything else, because I knew you would disagree!” I mean really, what did she want me to do, just “Amen” her like I agreed to everything she was saying when I did not. I won’t do that. If you ask me for my opinion on something (and, sometimes, even if you don’t), get ready to hear my opinion- hopefully rooted and grounded in the Word of God- but not always- just forgive me when it’s not. I’ve got a lot of growing to do as do we all.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and of power of a strong mind. I think that automatically cuts out being a people pleaser. When I think of Jesus, the thought people pleaser never comes to mind. He had to make a stand no matter what people thought or said or understood or perceived to be true, etc. He didn’t take time to worry about pleasing this one and that one with his words or actions. He let Love do the work. Love will do the work if you’ll let it. But, you’ve got to meditate on it and let it. Then and only then will the fear that thrives to lock one inside themselves and not allow them to give voice to the authentic person God created them to be- dissipate.

Coni, I wouldn’t call you a people pleaser. As you’ve stated above, the bottom line is being a God pleaser. Your heart is focused on the right thing. Now, I think as long as you get your mind, will and emotions, focused on the bottom line you’ll notice quite a change in your attitude and the way you look at jobs like this. No doubt, the actors treating you like this will still be annoying , but it doesn’t have to have the same effect on you internally. You focusing on who you are in Christ is going to make a difference. You know you do great hair…that’s not the problem….you know you could show those actors a thing or two if they would let you…that’s not the problem…the problem is letting what could have been a temporary annoyance, linger and press those buttons of doubt that still remain on the inside. I know cause I’ve been there. However, now I’ve noticed myself reacting differently when these opportunities come up. I remind myself who I am in Christ ( a few years ago, I had to take time out and actually meditate on (thinking on, reading and even confessing) scriptures which told me who I was in Christ- it ministered to me in ways nothing else ever has. I believe the Word of God built me up inside- and made me realize my true worth and value- no matter what- whether the whole gang at work doubts me, my best friend misunderstands me, or my next door neighbor curses me, etc. The bottom line is: I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God… and nothing changes that! Through faith in Christ, I am the righteousness of God…and nothing changes that. All the other stuff is just details and the enemy trying to make me forget who I am and who my “Daddy” is. I am a child of the King. The bottom line is nothing changes that!

Coni, take care and be blessed!

Love ya!