Tag Archives: sex

Testimony – I am Redeemed. I am Loved.

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testimonyOn this very day last year I publicly shared my testimony and wanted to share it on this blog as well.  I woke up that morning and immediately my mind wandered, just like it does most of the time.  I knew that day was coming; I had thought about that day for years.  I hadn’t planned to blog about the significance of that date but there I found myself writing.  I started writing just to let go of the baggage I carried but also so that one day my boys could read about their momma’s testimony and know how much I wanted to be their mommy.  On that day, I decided to share with whoever was reading whether it was just one person or 3,000 people what that day means to me.

I prayed and pleaded with God about what He wanted for my life.  I finally let go and let God speak to me.  This is what I heard, “My love, you think you’re finished with your story, but you have no clue.  There is one thing that you and I both know you think about secretly in the dark that I want you to bring to light.  HELP my children.”  He told me to deal with this, speak the word, and finish my story.

Today, I’m wishing a Happy 16th Birthday to my UNBORN BABY… due date January 5, 1998.

Why am I telling something so personal?  Believe me, I NEVER wanted to.  God convicted my heart one day and it hasn’t stopped yearning for these unborn babies.  I want to help the people who have made this decision to forgive themselves and I want to hopefully convince someone who is contemplating abortion that you don’t just “do it” and it’s over.  You have to deal with this for the rest of your life.  I have eleven years of school pictures I’ve missed out on and I want them to understand that this decision will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Here’s my story:

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children
come to me, and do not hinder them, for the
kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I found out a few days before I graduated from high school that I was pregnant.  I didn’t believe in killing a baby and I didn’t want to kill this baby.  A baby made out of sin, yes, but it was my baby. My boyfriend didn’t want me to keep the baby and even told me I didn’t have a choice, that I was having an abortion.  I begged him to let me keep the baby and even told him child support wasn’t needed.  I was already showing and attached to my baby.  I was almost at the limit to have an abortion which made it that much more difficult.  I was over three months.  I had been reading up on pregnancy and trying to eat healthier so my baby could grow big and strong in my womb.  I was willing to do this as a single mother and never ask one thing of him, but he didn’t care.

I had always believed that a baby is a human from conception and you could never convince me otherwise.  Others told me it was just an embryo and to think of it like it was a fish.  But I knew its heart was beating and God knew that baby before it was in my womb.  Regardless, I allowed myself to be taken to the abortion clinic.  I cried as we were walking up.  As I lay on that cold table with my feet in stirrups, looking at the doctor that was going to take this life out of me, I wondered if he had kids.  I wondered what he thought about what I was doing.  I wondered if he knew I didn’t want to do it, that I had been threatened and convinced otherwise.  When he stuck that ultrasound tool on me to see where the baby was and how far along I was he didn’t move the monitor where I couldn’t see.  I looked at that perfect baby floating around and moving in my womb.  I saw life.  In less than one minute, that life would no longer be in my womb, it would stop growing instantly and there would be no more creation inside of me.  It was already a human being growing, forming, so it could look like me and every other human being that God had created.  Two years from that moment, it would have been giggling and jabbering and writing all over the walls.  I saw creation and life, even through my sin.

I had an abortion that day, with a baby that was due in January of the following year, a baby that I think of everyday of my life and always will.  That baby was made out of sin, and so have a million more babies that have grown up to serve God in powerful ways.  I left that clinic that day, and I was no longer pregnant.  God cried that day and I cried with Him.  I was sick with myself.  We had just eliminated a problem that would have only been in the way of our future. This baby needed my womb to survive in a little while longer and it had been destroyed, without even knowing how to fight or cling to me for dear life.

That day I did something I would take back right now, only to see that child’s smile, only so I could have been a better person a lot sooner.  I look around my house, and sometimes my imagination runs wild enough to imagine that my now 16 yr old child would have been a Christian by now.  Maybe if it was a girl, we’d be getting pedicures together today or maybe if it was a boy, he’d be pitching the baseball to my husband.  Maybe this child of mine would have braces and be coming up to me right now to ask if their friend could spend the night.  Just maybe….  I wish this part of my life could be turned the other way around.  Maybe I would have considered abortion but in the end decided against it and had the baby.  Then I wouldn’t have to wonder who it was.  A boy or a girl?  My child would have a name and a personality and a LIFE.

There’s always reasons, they say, that life turns out the way it is.  What reason was there for this?   I had just killed my own child.  How could God ever love and forgive such a shameful act when I couldn’t even forgive myself?  My baby never had the chance to breathe one breath outside of my womb.  Babies fight for their lives every single day and parents grieve because their baby didn’t make it.  How could people be so selfish and how could I now be one of those people?  I never got to see what God could have made out of such a tragedy.

I was now going through the worst depression of my life.  The pain of holding my stomach and no longer eating for two and preparing for our future hit me hard every single day that my belly wasn’t growing.  I never felt those first kicks.  I never got that chance.  Being a mommy was all I wanted since I was 13.  I was 18 now and didn’t have a clue where my life was going.  I was so depressed that I just did not care about anything.  I tried so hard to move on.  I wasn’t happy and really never moved forward or tried to get my life back on the right path.  The depression kept me in the same cycle and I found myself pregnant again just 4 months after my first abortion.

Yes, I had gotten pregnant again.  I became angry all over again, total opposite of what I thought I would feel to have the chance to be a mommy again.  What I had imagined wasn’t what I was feeling at all.  This time I was mad that a new baby was in there when the other baby should have been in there.  I resented this pregnancy because I shouldn’t have been five weeks pregnant; I should have been seven or eight months pregnant.  I was so blurred and clouded with confusion, that I didn’t beg this time, I didn’t plead to keep this baby.  We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes.  I hadn’t learned from mine.  I lay on that same table with my legs up in stirrups, and I don’t mean to make light of this situation.  To me, I saw it for what it was.  There is no way I would have been pregnant if I had not had the first abortion.  I should be wobbling around with a huge belly and feeling the baby move and curl up inside me, feeling life.  Instead I felt nothing.  I didn’t deserve to be a mother.

By this time I truly felt that I didn’t deserve happiness or anyone to love.  Not after what I had done.  I deserved to be condemned to Hell, the place I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to be.

Through my abortions, I’ve learned that life can be redeemed, that I have been redeemed.  I’ve learned that God does forgive me and that He does still love me.  I’ve learned that I do deserve to be loved and I’ve learned that my friends still love me, despite my previous choices.  I’ve learned that abortion is not an easy answer and the problem isn’t gone within minutes.  I’ve learned that the effects of abortion are life-long.  I hurt every day and every year for the children I do not have in my arms.

I had always worried about judgment from others.  I no longer worry about that.  I’ve figured out that even the “perfect” people have baggage and they too have made mistakes.  But know this, I only share my testimony because I want people to know who I am, why I believe in a God I’ve never seen, and how I long to fulfill His purpose through me.  I know what abortion is and I know the effects they cause a woman.  Choose life for your child and don’t make the same mistakes I did.

-Shayna

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What does the Bible Say About Pornography?

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james115The term “pornography” is not mentioned in the Bible because books, movies, cellphones, computers, magazines, and televisions did not exist in biblical times.  However, God did know the sinful thoughts of man and gave us plenty of warning about sexual sins.  He gave us very solid moral teachings that can be found throughout the Bible about the many different types of inappropriate sexual behaviors.  Forbidden sexual acts specifically mentioned in the Bible as sin include homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9), sex with animals (Exodus 22:19), incest (Leviticus 18:6-18), idolatry (Deuteronomy 5:21), fornication and sex outside of marriage (Matthew 15:19), orgies (Galatians 5:19-21), adultery (Exodus 20:14), and even rape (Deuteronomy 22:25).  The penalty for these sins, as stated in the Bible, is death.

Romans 8:5-8 tells us, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”  God wants our minds and hearts to be pure of sinful thoughts and feelings.  He wants us to keep our focus on heavenly things and ignore the sins of the flesh that crave our attention.  When we view pornography, when our attention is focused on lust and adultery, we cannot do the will of God.  We must 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.” (Romans 12:2)

Christians also need to remember that our bodies are not our own.  1 Corinthians 3:16 reads, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”  As believers, the Holy Spirit lives in our bodies.  He is there to help us discern right from wrong; He is our conscious who speaks to us in times of need.  Our bodies are meant for the dwelling of our Lord, not for immoral sexual pleasures.  I dare say that it breaks our Father’s heart when we disrespect and use the good and perfect body God created in His very own image.

Pornography and lust destroys human relationships!  It dictates the satisfaction of your heart and only leaves you wanting more.  Pornography robs your joy and steals your heart.  It leaves broken hearts and shattered marriages, broken and molested children, addicted adults, wrecked and shamed teenagers.  God didn’t intend for those things to attract our hearts.  He wants us to hold true to His teachings and wants us to experience sex and love fully when married.

It is true that Christ died for our sins.  While we have freedom and redemption in Christ, we do not have freedom to sin.  As fully committed Christians who have given our life over to Christ, we must strive to live a life like Christ.  While we can never truly achieve this goal because Christ was the perfect and sinless man, we can make it our goal every day to attempt to live sin-free.  Fighting sin and temptation is part of walking with Christ.  Taking those temptations and handing them over to Christ and then leaning on Him for strength is part of walking with Christ.  Christianity is about avoiding sin and keeping our minds and hearts pure.

Christianity is also about forgiveness.  Jesus dies for us, while we were sinners.  He chose to walk this earth and take the brutal punishment of death on a cross so that we would be forgiven of our sins and live a life eternally in heaven.  Forgiveness is not a license to sin.  Once we commit our lives to Christ, we make a stand for Christ and adhere to immoral sexual behaviors.  We must strive to fight sin at all costs.  Fight the urge to look at pictures, to gawk and lust after a stranger or famous person, fight the urge to stop at the bar or adult club on your way home, and fight the desire to befriend members of the opposite sex.  Satan wants nothing more than to find your weakness; he will take hold of it and make it his goal to ruin your walk with Christ.  Give God the glory and fight temptation!

Turn your back on all kinds of pornography.  Ask a fellow Christian of the same sex to hold you accountable.  Keep your hearts and mind focused on the things of Christ and fight the temptation of satan.

Do not conform 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. 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 faith God has
distributed to each of you.
Romans 12:2-3

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You might also like:
1. Dating and Sexual Purity
2. Christians and Modesty
3. Christians and Biblical Marriage
4. Homosexuality and the Bible
5. Biblical Judgment

Testimony – God Had Bigger Plans for Our Family

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testimony

I was raised in a loving home with parents who cared for me and provided for me. It was not, however, what I would call a “Christian” environment. My parents both professed to be believers, but we rarely went to church.  If I did go it was either for Easter or Christmas or after spending the night with my grandparents.  We didn’t read the Bible or pray together and I was not taught biblical truth. Around age 10, my grandma sent me to pre-teen camp with her church and that is where I was “SAVED”. After camp I tried to get my family to go to church; we tried a few different churches but didn’t really connect anywhere.

For the next few years I became quite confused. I spent a few weeks every summer with a family member who belonged to a Unitarian Church which basically teaches that whatever you choose to believe in is okay.  The church openly studies all different religions believing none are right or wrong, just different. Not being told any differently, I began to agree with them.  Although I knew who Christ was and had accepted Him as my Savior, I also had the opinion that my life was MINE and I was capable of making my own decisions, without any consequences.

I began to spend a lot of time with my best friend at her house along with her older brother and his friends where there was NO parental supervision.  As a teenager, I was very interested in boys and with the lack of supervision this was not a good combination.  I began to find ways to get the boys to notice me.  And they did. I wore clothes that were too tight, too short, and way to revealing.  And they noticed. I began making out with boys much older than me hoping for love and acceptance. Not to say my parents weren’t around or didn’t care because they did, I just got to be really great at lying and sneaking around and they had no idea what I was doing.  This behavior eventually led to me deciding I was “grown” and, at the extremely misguided age of 13, I had sex for the first time. I had convinced myself that I could make my own decisions and lead my own life without the need for any adult’s guidance.  The guy that I thought cared for and LOVED me really didn’t.

When I was 14 my family moved to Greenville, TX but I continued down the path of bad choices and bad boys who were much too old for me.  I tried dating a guy my age and he was a really nice guy; he was a gentleman, treated me respectfully, and didn’t push me physically.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to do with that!  I still was not going to church, not growing spiritually, and was living like a lost soul.

This is when God intervened. When I was 15, I met the guy I would eventually marry. His dad was a preacher and one of the conditions of dating him was going to his dad’s church.  Only one problem… it was all in Spanish!! I didn’t speak Spanish, didn’t know what they were talking about, and stayed confused most of the time. But I loved that guy!  Although not many changes were being made in my life, I began to learn Spanish and pay closer attention in church.

We were married when I was just 17 years old and had our first baby when I was 20. While we were still attending church with my in-laws, if we went at all, I just wasn’t being filled.  After I had my second child at the age of 22, we began the search for a new church. Once again God stepped in!  We found a church and got connected instantly; which is where we still worship today.  I began to crave more knowledge and wanted to know more about the Bible and live my life for God, not just for myself.  We had two more children when I was 25 and 28.  All four of our children were girls. Life was good. Although I had worked full-time on and off and part-time here and there, I was able to stay home majority of the time with my girls.

I was truly happy with our family but knew something was missing.  I longed for a son and repeatedly prayed for one and pleaded with God that if that was not part of His plan for my life to take that desire from me.  Just three days after giving birth to our fourth beautiful baby girl, I became ill. I spent some time in the hospital with strep and went home not knowing that the illness had caused a blood clot to form somewhere in my body.  Two months later I returned to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism and was told that if it was meant to kill me, it would have done so already.  Quite a sobering thought but God had bigger plans for my life and our family.  A loving husband, three gorgeous little girls, a two-month old precious baby, two great parents, and an amazing group of friends were all there to love on me and take care of me. What more could I have asked for? God had richly blessed me! So why did I still have a need for more? Why was I still longing for a baby boy?  I had been told by my physician that I could not have any more children.  This was something my husband and I had already decided on our own since we had four girls (that’s expensive) but being told you cannot have any more children and having someone else make that choice for you are two VERY different things.  But life went on.

In the fall of 2008, we got a strange call.  My mom had called to give us the latest saga about a family member of ours.  His two children had been removed from his care by CPS. This was actually good news for the children since he really had no business raising these kids.  We had been praying for a good home for them and a stable family to come into their lives for quite some time.  My mom proceeded to tell us of how CPS was looking for a family member to place the boys with and they had asked my parents to be that family member for them.  My parents were in their late 50s at this point with 9 grandchildren.  Needless to say, they declined.

As my husband and I were discussing the situation and how outrageous it was for them to ask my parents, my husband tells me that God was telling him that WE are supposed to be the family for those two young boys.  Now wait a minute! I love my girls but there were times I couldn’t wait to get all of them out of the house for a few hours a day! I had the older ones in school and I just had the little one at home with me during the day and had been devising a plan to get her into Mother’s Day out program. I must say though, we had also always been open to the idea of adoption and after 4 girls we teased that it was the only way we would get our boy, but this seemed so sudden and we weren’t quite prepared yet.  We agreed to pray about it, made some calls and asked some questions, but made no commitments.

One October evening I received a phone call from a social worker and was told what the process would look like and got some general information.  By this time, our prayers had changed from “Are you sure, God?” to “If this is what you want, then we trust you will make this happen”. The very next day, we received another phone call from the same social worker, that there was an infant sibling, also in state care, and asking, “Are you willing to consider placement for him as well?” STOP IT! THREE KIDS! THREE MORE KIDS? We already have four children! I mean really, who has seven kids? Nobody! [Insert more prayer here.] We just continued our prayer of, “Ok God, this is ALL you.” We decided that they were all brothers and needed to stay together. How could we one day face the two boys when they are older and say “We knew you had a brother, but that would have been too much of an inconvenience for us, so we decided to say no thanks”? We simply couldn’t do it.

We had many talks with our girls and wanted this to be a family decision. We wanted them aware of the coming changes in our lives and not to feel this was being forced on them. We began to make the necessary arrangements and to have weekly visitations at CPS with the boys. The visits were intended to be for the parents, but they hardly ever showed. We didn’t want to cause any more undue trauma for these little guys and wanted them to at least be familiar with us before they came to live with yet another family. Our two oldest boys were placed with us at ages 21 & 31 months old in February of 2009. Our youngest daughter was 18 months old at the time and had been to most of the visits with us.

There was ALOT of adjusting for everyone and a move to a bigger house; it was quite stressful, exhausting, and emotional to say the least. The Mother’s Day Out program our daughter had attended a few years earlier, wonderfully “scholarshiped” us for about 4-5 months for my sanity. Then summer activities began in addition to parent visitations with their biological parents and fighting for our youngest to be placed with us as well.  He was eventually placed in our care in October 2009 at the age of 11 months.

Although I always felt led to homeschool, even before our oldest daughter started school, the timing had just never seemed right. Our three oldest girls were in public school and our oldest boy had just begun Head Start.  He was not adjusting very well to all these transitions including school and the addition of our youngest boy.  After another move, more home studies, and more waiting, our adoption was FINALLY complete in July 2010. After a CRAZY fall semester of five kids at two different schools, two at Mother’s Day Out, a child with a broken femur, and me feeling pulled in multiple directions, God was telling us it was time to homeschool.  We pulled them out of school in January of 2011 and started our bumpy and blessed road to homeschooling. Our oldest two children were NOT happy at the time.  The 6th grader had been in either public or private school since age four and felt we were taking away her life, the 4th grader was mad because we had taken away her friends, and our oldest boy in 1st grade didn’t really seem to care either way. Our oldest child will be in high school this next school year (September 2013) and when given the choice, she chose to continue homeschooling.  In fact they all did!

It is an adventure everyday to say the least and most days are completely nuts but we won’t ever go back to public school voluntarily. I’ll admit there are days I dream about how much I could accomplish with everyone gone for 8 hours a day, but what we’re building in them every day is so much more important than homework and completed projects. I’ve told them that it would be easier for me to put them in school and let someone else teach them, but life isn’t about doing the easy thing.  It’s about doing the right thing, which means obeying God. This is what God has called us to do during this season of our lives and this is what we are going to do. I love our time together and for our large family it works perfectly. We set our own schedule and are able to keep it extremely flexible. While we didn’t have problems with the school system or any of their teachers or schools, we didn’t do well with an ISD telling us when to be where at what time and am so happy we don’t have to deal with all the new rules due to current events or any standardized testing. When I hear other parents complain about school related issues, I feel complete contentment in my heart and hear God reassuring me we are doing what He has planned for us.

About 7 years ago I got involved in a Women’s Bible study, and about 2 and a half years ago God put it on my heart to get involved with the youth.  God has been telling me to use my past mistakes and experiences to mentor young girls and help them from making the same mistakes I made as a youth. Seeing as I now have seven souls in my care, I am very passionate about teaching them God’s plan for sex and marriage.  I want them to know what I didn’t know then.  God gives us guidelines to follow in all areas of our lives for our benefit.  He knows what He is talking about. Sex is a BIG deal, it DOES matter, and it does change things!  Sex is not something you can undo.  Even though God offers forgiveness and grace, there are consequences for our sinful choices, and some can be life-long costs. I’m now trying to help young ladies to see the lies the devil is telling them and to know that the attention they receive from dressing “cute” is not the right kind of attention they really want. I truly believe that most girls don’t understand what guys are thinking when they wear certain things. Please hear my heart on this… I know from personal experience, if you don’t wait until you are married to have sex, you WILL regret it.  I don’t want that for anyone!  Sex is meant to be a special gift from God for a husband and a wife. My hope is that we can drown out the constant barrage of lies from our culture and raise-up a generation who treasures purity, a generation who is proud of their virginity and not ashamed of it, and a generation who will follow God’s plan for their lives. My hope is that we can raise a generation of Christians who can change the world for Christ.

I hope my story can help someone on a similar path. May God richly bless you as He has me!

-Lany

Dating and Sexual Purity

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LoveSexual purity seems like such a foreign concept in our current society but really the issue of sex, purity, and even dating needs to be talked about more often and even to every generation.  Sex has become so casual that we now see it boldly displayed on TV, in movies, plastered on billboards, in our hands on mobile devices, and even carelessly mentioned in songs that we sing.  The temptation to have sex before marriage is becoming more and more prevalent as images constantly infiltrate the minds of us all.  It’s past time we get back to the fundamentals of our biblical standards for sex and relationships.

Here is what the Bible says about purity:

1 Corinthians 6:18 – Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

Hebrews 13:4 – Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Matthew 5:28 – But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Colossians 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Galatians 5:19-21 – 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.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Proverbs 6:32 – He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.

And these verses are just to name a few!  The Bible is very firm on the commandment to remain pure and abstain from sexual immorality and lust.  Not in ANY verse in the Holy Bible will you find a divergence that allows for sex outside of marriage, for an approved opportunity to lust, or for the exception to adultery.  Purity is a commandment from God and we must adhere to the standards God has placed in our lives so that we may live righteously and pleasing in the eyes of God.  It’s the path best made for us, why would we not want this for ourselves?

Sex before marriage HAS and CAN ruin lives.  So how do we steer clear of the temptation and desires that society is persistently throwing in our face?  The best way to stay pure is to keep our hearts wholesome and avoid situations that make us think about taking that next step in a relationship.

For our family, this starts at dating.  We’ve remained very clear on our stance of dating in our home – if you aren’t looking for a lifetime spouse, then you should not be dating.  Simple solution!  The sole purpose of dating is to find a spouse and when you enter into a relationship, there our physical and emotional boundaries that will need to be set beforehand to guard to your heart.  If you always remain in a cluster of friends, these boundaries are never a factor to be considered.  Relationships are about commitments and our youth should not be making any sort of commitment to anyone, other than to God.  And even as adults, our first commitment is still to God, then our spouse.  Our hearts need to be mindful on living a Christ-like life and pleasing to our Father.  Matthew 5:8 reads, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  We must trust God with ALL of our lives and ALL our hearts and when He sees fit that you are ready for marriage, He will show you the perfect helpmate.  Really, dating is not ever necessary if we fully rely on God and have faith that He will bring the perfect person before you.

We must want purity and clean hearts for our children.  We must talk about it, teach it, and live these same standards for the younger generations to see.  We teach our children to not put themselves in any situation where they will have to decide which path to take.  We teach our children that they were created in the image of God, that they are enough, and that they do not need to seek the approval of anyone other than Jesus Christ.  We teach our children that satan is real and he will use every opportunity to hinder their walk with Christ and want nothing more than to lead them down an ugly path and away from Jesus.  We teach them to rely on Christ daily and in all circumstances.

Passion and sex is a beautiful thing, no question about it.  It is a gift from God… but to be used with our spouse.  This does not just imply sex, but emotional attachments as well.  Any attachment made to a person outside of marriage, changes your life and satan will use these past experiences to haunt you and tempt you as an adult.  He has used this tactic for centuries and you will not be exempt from his schemes.  He isn’t creative!  He simply twists God’s truths and we continue to cling to those lies with excuses – God wants us to love others; God created sex; What if this person I’m dating is the right one; But we’ve setup boundaries; etc. If you have to “guess” if someone may be the one, then they aren’t.  Have faith in Him.  Trust God with your life and follow His prompting to remain pure in heart, mind, and body.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  When you are tempted, stop and listen to the direction God wants for you.  Your body is a temple for God, treat it with respect and pleasing in the eyes of our Father.

For those who have already made this decision, you need to accept God’s grace and redemption for your life.  We all fail; we all attempt to walk a path that we think is best for us.  Christ came for us and died on the cross for our sins.  He shed His blood for all sin.  God knows we can’t walk this life alone and sometimes He allows us to make our own negative choices so that we can fall and come to see our need for Him.  While He doesn’t want us to fail or see us hurt, He allows us free will so that we can recognize our need for a Savior.  You can tell your testimony and be a light to those who are struggling.

Psalm 119:133 – Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

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You might also like:
1. Christians and Biblical Marriage
2. Value Life
3. Homosexuality and the Bible
4. Christians and Modesty
5. Honor Your Parents

Homosexuality and the Bible

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What-The-Bible-Says-About-Homosexuality-300x225Homosexuality is clearly stated in the Bible as a sin that is condemned by God.  As Christians, we are called to have a righteous judgmental stance on sin, including homosexuality.  We must judge sin as clearly stated in John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”  This clearly states that we are called to make righteous judgments that allow our hearts to discern right from wrong.  Homosexuality being a sin is not a judgment or an opinion, but a fact based on God’s word.  If you believe in the Bible, you MUST believe this to be true.  You cannot pick and choose what you want to apply to your life.  Your belief must be in ALL of the Bible, or NONE of the Bible.

Here are some scriptures that clearly define homosexuality as a sin:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

Romans 1:26-28: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.”

Leviticus 18:11: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

1 Corinthians 7:2: “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”

1 Timothy 1:9-11: “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”

If you are not a Christian, these verses will not mean anything to you.  If you are a Christian and you believe the Bible was written on facts, testimonies, and words inspired by God, you must believe these scriptures to be true.  When we became Christians, we were given a gift of eternal life.  We were also given the gift of the Holy Spirit who speaks in us and helps us discern scripture and sin; this is righteous judgment.

As Christians, we are NOT called to slanderous judgment.  We should not be walking around pointing out sins in others while ignoring our own sins.  We are all sinners and there is an appropriate way, based on scripture, to hold each other accountable to God’s standards.  In 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 Paul writes, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside.  ‘Expel the wicked man from among you.’”  Christians are only to judge their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  This form of judgment is more than discernment but a means to hold them accountable for their actions.  If we see a believer of Christ acting in a homosexual manner, we must follow scripture and lift them up.

We are not called to judge others outside of the church.  However, we are called to DISCERN their actions as sin.  This does not mean we are to condemn them or predict their eternal salvation.  Because non-believers do not follow the standards of God’s word, they do not understand the heart of a believer.  This is why so often Christians are labeled as “judgmental.”  We must simply love.  Love covers sin and Christians must choose to love everyone.  We were not always believers and someone took the time out of their lives to love us and speak truth into our lives.  We must do the same for others, including those living a homosexual lifestyle.  Love them and build a relationship and only then will they see we care and accept our knowledge.  Love must come first.

Aside from showing love, Christians need to stand firm on the word of God.  And that means we should not approve of any homosexuality tendencies.  Our world tells us we should be more accepting and conform to today’s way of thinking.  In Romans 12:2, the Bible specifically tells us, “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.”

As Christians, we need to be mindful about our words and actions and how they may affect others.  Just because a male isn’t athletic, does not mean he is a homosexual.  Just because a girl is athletic, doesn’t mean she’s homosexual.  Just because a male likes to act and sing or a girl doesn’t want to wear dresses and makeup, doesn’t mean they are homosexual.  Have we failed our younger generations but making fun of others or predicting their future?  Have we failed our younger generations but not loving others?

Homosexuality will always be a sin and will always be condemned by God.  This is not a passing judgment or hasty opinion.  As long as Christians believe in the Bible, this is a fact based on scripture.  You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe and what you wish to push aside to make life easier or more accepting.  As Christians, we are called to believe in the ENTIRE Bible, not just the portions that make us feel good or are easy to follow.

1 Peter 4:8-9 reads, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Have a question?  Reply to this blog and it will be answered on the follow-up Q&A blog coming soon.

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You might also like:
1. Homosexuality Q&A
2. Should Christians Drink Alcohol?
3. Christians and Biblical Marriage
4. Dating and Sexual Purity
5. Christian Response to the Legalization of Marijuana

Testimony – A String Around My Heart

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testimonyI was a very obedient child.  I did as I was told without argument or complaint.  I had a momma and a daddy who loved me and a pesky little sister who showed her own kind of love through her constant irritation.  We ate meals together at the dinner table, took walks around the neighborhood, and spent genuine, quality time with each other.

At 15 years old, our family dynamics seemed to crash from normal to utterly heartbreaking.  Choices were made in our household that paved a crooked path to disobedience and blatant defiance.  Teenage years are hard enough but to add stress within the family home gave me all the excuse I needed to do as I pleased without regard to my parents’ rules and their personal feelings.

I had created walls around my heart and guarded my feelings against everyone and every situation.  I had no desire to be inside our broken home and I certainly didn’t want to be around the parents I blamed for my own personal choices.  Rather than going home, I hung out with friends.  I chose the attention of boys in place of the arms of my parents who I knew loved me, despite the choices made that split our family apart.  I chose to stay out all night and find random places to sleep just to avoid the tension always on the rise.  The fleeting desires of a sinful world quickly pulled me into the fast lane of sex, drugs, and alcohol.

I believed in God, I knew He existed.  I prayed to Him nightly when I was afraid I might overdose, get pregnant, or pass out wherever we happened to be that night.  I prayed before my nights of hell even began but that pull satan had on my heart and home were incredibly strong.  I caved.  I caved night after night, searching for something or someone that wouldn’t hurt me.  Year after year, I said these prayers.  I didn’t enjoy the sex, the hangover, or the sleepless nights.  I didn’t enjoy my newfound freedom and longed for the comfort of both parents at home waiting for me with open arms.

At 17 yrs old I was sitting in church one Sunday.  I have no idea what the message was about but I remember the alter call that morning.  I remember sitting in that balcony chair and literally feeling like a string was tied around my heart and I was being pulled down.  I can still feel the pull as I was walking as though someone was literally TUGGING me down that church aisle.  I made a decision that day that I’ve never regretted and accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and life.

I attempted my own walk down that same hellish path but this time I wasn’t just saying prayers with empty promises.  I was hearing the Holy Spirit speak to me and felt the convictions He placed on my heart.  Satan was pulling on one side while God held on stronger, telling me He wasn’t letting go!  A short time later, I found out I was pregnant.  What seemed like a new stumbling block was really God’s hand at saving me from a world I couldn’t seem to climb my way out of.  That baby boy growing inside me was my saving grace.  God used the life of this new heavenly child to pull me from the pits of hell.  I chose life for this child and therefore chose life for myself.

I look back now and there were troubles within our home, difficulties that no family should ever endure, and unfortunate choices that others made in our family.  But I used them as excuses to create my own world of hell.  I justified my actions based on the actions of others.

Today, I cry when I think of all that God has done for me.  He chose me when I was the least likely to be an example for Him.  He has taught me forgiveness, the kind of forgiveness that when I think of the pain others inflicted on me or the pain I caused myself that I can simply tell God “thank you”.  I am able today to pray for those who hurt me, for those who abused me.  I pray that God has blessed their lives and that the Holy Spirit convicts them of Truth.  I’m also able to forgive myself, which is HUGE!  God worked hard for me; He worked overtime.  I wasn’t an easy task and my path was messy but He never let go.

As the years have gone by I’ve learned that satan isn’t original.  He isn’t creative and continually reminds me of my past and of the many wrong choices I’ve made.  He does this time and time again and each time I remind who my God is and who my life belongs to.

This is my testimony… messy, honest, and redemptive.

-Brandie

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls REVIEW

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Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is one of the most horrendously difficult and yet incredibly inspiring movies that documents human trafficking and the sex slave industry.  Benjamin Nolot, director and narrator, lays out his heart and exposes the dark secrets of sexual slavery, which was once thought to be abolished but is quickly becoming an increasing global problem.  It’s estimated the sex trade industry has claimed an estimated 27 million victims around the world.

The heartbreaking and moving film offers a very deep, real and honest look at sex slavery as the film makers follow women, men, children, and families from various parts of the world.  The film reveals the realities of the growing number of orphans in Eastern Europe, the sad family dynamics in Southeast Asia, the legalized prostitution in Amsterdam’s red light districts, the demand and desire for sex and prostitution in Sweden, and the attraction and excitement of sex in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The reality that these women, men and certainly the children are not doing this by choice is made very clear; rather a well-crafted lie by satan is now revealed with the truth.

Several interviews are included in the film for the purpose of education as well as the redemption and love that can only be provided by Christ.  Former pimps, current brothel owners, psychologists, social workers, law officials, and reformed johns and prostitutes all discuss the problem of sex trafficking and their search for an answer to this horrifying crime.  Viewers will see the evils of grooming, kidnapping, selling, and entrapment of victims.  The violence these victims encounter is recreated in the film to give viewers a glimpse into the struggles and psychological abuse as they become slaves to their captors.  You will see women beaten and forced to submission, stripped naked, auctioned to the highest bidder, and sold multiple times night after night for the simple pleasure of a stranger.

The documentary serves as a testimony of these enslaved victims and addresses the global problem of this tragedy.  The answer to the problem is clear… Jesus Christ, who frees these victims from the evils of sexual slavery.  It’s a sad reality when people turn their backs on the Gospel and fall prey to lust of the eyes and flesh and the ripple effect this has on society.  The film shows the problem is much deeper than poverty and that the fingers of evil are entwined throughout every aspect of this unfathomable “business” and this un-chosen way of life.

Produced by Exodus Cry, the film proves the complex issues and horrors of modern-day slavery and will capture your heart and lead you on a mission of hope to end sex trafficking.  With the facts presented in the documentary, we cannot ignore the need for change but must press forward with hard work and a desire for justice.  The film offers hope for these victims being rescued and redeemed from this evil darkness.  There is a lot of work to be done, lives to be saved and ministered to – and it starts with you and me.

Watch the preview of the film below:

Christians and Biblical Marriage

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Biblical_MarriageAs Christians, we must refuse to fall into satan’s trap and battle marriage rights on a social media forum where our tones will often be misread and misunderstood.  I’m certain that social media is NOT the place to debate this sort of topic.  If you are living your life for Christ daily, your social media should already be flooded with positive, Biblical messages on a daily basis; there should be no need to take a stand for Biblical marriage because your friends will already know your stance.

For Christ followers, the truth is this:

  • God created marriage for one man and one woman.  “But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  The Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”  Genesis 2:21-22
  • It is a sin for two people of the same sex to be together sexually.  “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.” Leviticus 20:13
  • And to be clear about Biblical marriage in the New Testament, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  For this reason a man will leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”  Mark 10:6-9

As Christians, we know the truth of the Bible’s words and we believe in the Bible in its entirety.  We must not conform to the world and distort the Bible to fit societies new way of thinking.  We need to stand up for God’s standards for our lives.  As we do this, we must also examine the plank in our own eyes.  How many Christians who are standing up for Biblical marriage are also standing up for divorce, adultery, and lust?  The Bible is very clear about these issues as well:

  • Divorce is not acceptable.  “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.  And a husband must not divorce his wife.”
  • The Bible states that if a couple does divorce, they are not to be united with another person.  “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9
  • Lust and adultery are also sins, for both men and women.  “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Matthew 5:28

The question is this… are Christians really for Biblical marriage?  We most definitely should be!  We should be about ONE marriage for ONE man and ONE woman.  Christians should not be in support of gay marriage, just as we should not be in support of divorce or anything else that satan uses to tear marriages apart.

The good news is that we are all sinners and we are all saved by the loving grace of our God.  We have all sinned.  We aim for perfection and we trust that our affectionate and forgiving Father will lift us up and renew our spirits when we fail.  We are all equal heirs to the kingdom of our God.

Bishop T.D. Jakes once said, “”I think that sex between two people of the same sex is condemned in the Scriptures, and as long as it is condemned in the Scriptures, I don’t get to say what I think. I get to say what the Bible says.”  We must love the sinner and hate the sin.  Loving doesn’t mean conforming or accepting sins, it means speaking truth into others.  Matthew 5:16 says this, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  We shouldn’t be provoking others to anger, including on social media platforms.  This only causes them to shut us out and we’ve lost the opportunity to be a witness and let our light shine.

In closing, “Do not conform 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.” Romans 12:2

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Book Recommendation: Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges.  “Have Christians become so preoccupied with “major” sins that we have lost sight of our need to deal with more subtle sins? Navigator author Jerry Bridges addresses the “acceptable” sins that we tend to tolerate in ourselves, including pride and anger. He goes to the heart of the matter, exploring our feelings of shame and grief and opening a new door to God’s forgiveness and grace. Travel down the road of spiritual formation with Jerry and discover your true identity as a loved child of God.”

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5. No Other Gods

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

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Fact: Every 30 seconds, a person becomes victim to human trafficking.
Fact: Over 2.2 million children are sold into the sex trade annually.
Fact: There are currently 1.39 million victims in sexual servitude.
Fact: Approximately 30 million modern-day slaves currently reside in our world.
Fact: Nearly 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across borders every year.

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Sex trafficking is an extremely fast growing form of enslavement of our children (male and female), women, and in some cases even men.  It is the commercial exploitation of children under the age of 18 as well as adults with the use of force, fraud, or coercion.  This form of trafficking in the sex industry includes street prostitution, online escort services, residential brothels, and secret brothels disguised as various businesses and some under the category of ‘massage parlors’ or ‘adult book  stores’.

Countless victims are transported across state and country lines on a regular basis and especially during major world events – Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, and many others.  Due to the influx of tourists during these special events, trafficking in those cities is a huge problem.   Traffickers have even been known to rent people’s homes during such events for the sole purpose of trafficking.  They put children in suitcases disguised as luggage and tote them around as objects.  Victims are often times tattooed and branded like animals as their traffickers claim ownership of them.  These traffickers continue to get more creative as they steal these lives away from so many.  Trafficking is not just a problem in third world countries, it happens in our own communities and across the globe to the other side of the world.  Our children are being taken from the playgrounds and being robbed of their childhoods.  Our children are being sold by their own family members hoping their children will be educated and provided for.

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Serey was eagerly getting ready to start her fourth year of high school in the Philippines.  Her parents could no longer afford her schooling and with their permission, she headed off to work as a salesgirl at a large department store in Manila.  Instead of working in the department store, she was immediately taken to a local brothel hidden within the appearances of a bar.  She spent her darkest hours hidden inside a room with many other girls, each from a different province.

At 23 years old, Sabine’s family sold her to another family as half-payment for a car.  For three years she lived as a domestic servant and sex slave.  She spent her days caring for the family’s children and nights chained to a filthy shed with food scraps thrown at her to eat and sold to men for sex.  Sabine was burned with irons and cigarettes, beaten with iron bars and sticks, and sick from insufficient care and inadequate nutrition.  She was dumped outside a Paris, France hospital weighing just 84lbs with no teeth and with mutilated ears and nose.

Theresa and her parents had just moved to Michigan, United States.  She was a shy teenage girl, unsure of herself, and desperately seeking friends and popularity.  A boy offered her a ride home but before taking her home, he made a quick stop by his house where he raped her and secretly had pictures taken of her.  Once under his trap, she was threatened with those photos and her family’s reputation if she didn’t do as he commanded.  For two years Theresa was sold to numerous men, drugged, and abused before her family was relocated to another state for work.

In Brazil, Samantha was poorly educated and lived in poverty.  She was sexually and physically abused by her father.  With nothing to lose, she ran away at the age of 15 searching for something love, acceptance, and a hope for her future.  She met a woman who offered her a job as a maid but that job opportunity was disguised as a sex slave in a brothel.  Samantha was forced into drug addiction and prostitution.  She continues to run from various government programs and agencies that have tried to help her, and from time to time still sells herself for money.

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Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by abusing and victimizing millions of innocent people both stateside and abroad.   This heinous business is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world.  In October of 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was signed making human trafficking a federal crime.  Under U.S. and international law, commercially sexually exploited children found in the sex trade are considered to be victims of human trafficking, even if no force or intimidation is present.

Fact: Children as young as 4 are being abducted or sold into prostitution.
Fact: The average age of trafficking victims is just 14 years old.
Fact: The average lifespan of a trafficking victim is just 7 years.
Fact: These are our people.  These are our children.

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Say NO to Girl Scouts

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Did you know Girl Scouts is affiliated with Planned Parenthood?  Parents pushing those cookies may tell you the money goes towards their daughter’s camp fees or troop fees.  But ultimately, ANY moneys given to the Girl Scouts association (including that $12 registration fee every year) is in the hands of the Organization to spend or donate as they wish.  A parent or troop leader doesn’t have the final say (or any say for that matter) to where those moneys are allocated.

A parent or troop leader may tell you that the money donated to Planned Parenthood isn’t for abortions, but for well woman exams or even birth control.  Girl Scouts does not have the authority to spend Planned Parenthood’s money.  Regardless, any money given to Planned Parenthood frees those funds for exams and birth control so that they can perform more abortions at a bottom price.

Girl Scouts has partnered with Planned Parenthood in many ways – they have distributed materials that promote sexual content, birth control options, reproductive rights, and pregnancy alternatives with Planned Parenthood listed as a “helpful link”.  Girl Scouts also presents many pro-abortion and pro-homosexual role models and guest speakers.  You can also find the Girl Scouts logo on various Planned Parenthood brochures.

Think about that for just a second.  We’re spending money on Girl Scout cookies for the GSA to teach our daughters about sexual education and then those dollars are turned around and spent at abortion clinics?  “From 2008 to 2009, Planned Parenthood received $363 million in government grants and contracts — our tax dollars. During the same time period, they destroyed the lives of 324,008 unborn babies.”  Do you want your money going to the education of sexual promiscuity and pregnancy alternatives to young girls and teens?

I don’t agree with the Girl Scouts agenda and it is our duty to continue telling people about this cause.  I believe in teaching sexual purity, however difficult it may be to attain, and I believe in teaching my children to love themselves as God made them.  I don’t need a troop of any kind to do this for me.

For those seeking alternatives to the fellowship of girls along with Christian fellowship, look into American Heritage Girls or Little Flowers Girls Club.  You can also stand up for your faith and host your own Cookies for Life campaign.

For those who believe Girl Scouts does so much good that it’s okay to ignore the bad, please pray about this.  Rather than spending money on cookies, spend your money wisely and send a youth to church camp.  Spend your time and make a better impact and take a youth horse back riding, camping, or for a spa day.  No troop or organization can take the place of true relationships!

“So then brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones…it would be better if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:6

Other references:
http://www.100questionsforthegirlscouts.org/100/
http://youtu.be/uZKiQub0ZnA – Girl Scouts CEO admits to relationship with Planned Parenthood
http://www.girlscoutswhynot.com/
http://www.cms.gov/Center/Provider-Type/Federally-Qualified-Health-Centers-FQHC-Center.html

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