Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Love is Kind Pt. 2

I discussed a Biblical example of love, yesterday; today I want to give a real life example of how selfless love played out, in one instance.  

A group of friends and I heard of a need.  We talked about all putting together items for this needy person.  

While we were in the process, I noticed something special that one of my friends was doing. She was gathering items that were not old or unwanted.  In fact, she had just gone to the store, to buy these items.  She had bought these as "treats" for herself.  When she heard of the need, she didn't give the extra or the unwanted.  She gave from the heart.  She gave the nice and the new, the things she had wanted for herself.

That REALLY hit home to me. 

When different organizations collect canned foods or other items, I tend to donate my extra stuff or things I no longer want.  When I give away clothes, they are used and unwanted. 

Is this love?  Or could I just be just trying to appease my conscience?

When there is a need, do we give where it hurts or do we give only to the extent that it's comfortable? 

Jesus gave until it hurt.  In fact, He bled and died for us.  Is our love comfortable?  Love is sacrifice. Let's love until it hurts.  This is what God did for us. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Love is Kind - Pt. 1

I Corinthians 4 says  "Charity suffereth long, and is kind;" 

Love is kind. 

In my accountability group, we are studying what love is.  The story that we were encouraged to look at last week was the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.

Love is kindness in action. 

Let's look at some steps that this man, known as the Good Samaritan, took. 

1. He saw a need. 
Many times, we get so busy that we just miss that fact that there are needs all around us.  We drive by.  We don't see it. 
SLOW down.  LOOK around.  It won't be hard to find someone in need.

2. He sympathized with the man's plight.
This Samaritan man was "filled with pity."  He felt.  He listened. Sometimes, we need to shut our mouths and just listen to people.  Just be there.  Just feel what they are feeling.

3. He seized the moment.
In this study Rick Warren says "Do what you can, when you can, AS SOON as you can, with what you have."
He stooped down, which means he got on the stricken man's level. He used what he had, oil and vinegar. and didn't wait around to do it. He seized the moment.
The situation could have been a very scary one for the Samaritan; he didn't know if those robbers were still around the corner.  But, as I John 4:18 says, "there is no fear in love". 
This man loved freely.

4. He spent whatever it took
Lastly, this man spent his own money. He told the inn keeper to use what was needed.  This man took care of a need and didn't expect anything back.  This IS true love. 

Love is Kind. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

More on Helping a Widowed Heart

John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

FIRST, please watch this video clip of how to help your friend's with their grief. 

Below are some things I take away from the video:

#1.  Let the grieving person tell her story
Invite your friend to tell her story.  It is a way of imprinting the story on someone else.  It's part of the process.  It's part of the healing process. You are carrying their story. 

#2.  It will take AT LEAST a year before healing can fully begin
A grieving person has to go through all the annual events and anniversaries that occur each year, at least one time.  After that, there will not be a first time of doing something without the missing loved one again.   Make sure you are sticking around to be there for these "firsts" with your grieving friends.

How can you tell if your friend is just angry or truly bitter?  Anger is being upset at the situation while bitterness involves your outlook toward the world.

Watch your words...things NOT to say:
- "God needed another angel in heaven."
- "Satan took your baby." 
- "Well, you have three other beautiful children"
-"10 years from now...."  The grieving person is not interested in anyone talking about 10 years from now.
-"You have a baby, so you have a piece of your husband.   It doesn't replace the loss.

Don't fill the silence. Just SIT in silence.

Acknowledge the loss and don't minimize it.

Grieving is good and hopeful because you are fighting through your pain and not just ignoring it.  God is in control.  In Him is no darkness at all.  He is good. We have to hold onto that and the perspective of the hope of Heaven. - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, November 13, 2015

Virginity vs. Purity - Part 4

I wanted to end this series with a note to married woman.  I closed with this comment on the last blog but felt led to expound a little bit.

On a side note, if you are unmarried or an unfulfilled wife, go to a CHRISTIAN counselor to get help. God has given you permission to be sexual (read Song of Solomon).  Don't read 50 SHADES to try to find help! 

God created us to respond to our husbands.  This is a gift.  Don't ignore it or set it aside. For free counseling or to get a recommendation for a counselor in your area, call Focus on the Family 1-800-A-FAMILY

From sexual abuse to the Christian "no's" before marriage, many dear ladies have a hard time finding freedom in their marriage, especially in this area.  It's hard to get married,and say "yes" to your husband, after saying "no" before. 

If you watched the part 2 video clip that I linked to my last blog, Priscilla asked Julie about what the boundaries within marriage are and she gave us three three questions. 

  • Does God say no? (Homosexuality, adultery, fornication...)
  • Does it relate to only my husband and myself? (If you are fantasizing outside your marriage, then it is not just you and your husband)
  • Is it good for us and our relationship?
    • Is it loving?
    • Does it promote safety and security with us as a couple?
    • Is there risk involved?
    • Humility or pain is not helpful or loving
    • It needs to be about growing in love, not just about thrill of arousal.

The devil has us delight in things that are wrong and gives us guilt over things that are right.

Ladies, God wants us to enjoy our husband.  Sex inside of marriage is truly right and if you are not enjoying him, seek for some Christian advice. 

A while back, I realized that I needed to go outside our marriage and get some help.  A friend of mine had been to a Christian counselor and she recommended this counselor to me.  I was so embarrassed to meet with this lady, but it was exactly what I needed.  I was hours away from home but I was still so nervous going into this lady's office, afraid that someone would see me, but it was one of the best things I have done. 

She opened my eyes to some areas that I needed to work on and showed me how right the intimacy in our marriage was.

If we do not have an intimate relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ, first of all, and second, with our husbands, that part of our life becomes fragile and the enemy can easily come in and attempt to destroy the purity in our marriage. 
The devil would love to destroy your marriage.

This is very very important and thus why I felt the need to extend this conversation. I just want to encourage you to have liberty in this area. Sexual intimacy is the way many husbands express their love to their wife. Let them express it and if you still struggles, get help! It will be the best thing you do for your marriage. - Rejoicing  in the Present

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Virginity vs.Purity - Part 3

Disclaimer *I have not read this book, but I have done research on this topic, as well as research of this book.

We can not talk about virginity vs. purity, and not discuss the book 50 SHADES OF GREY.  If you read my post about "50 Shades of Grace" yesterday, you may have wondered what the book 50 SHADES OF GREY is about.

Over 40 million people (mostly woman) are reading this book. Ironically, this book is not just pornographic but is also poorly written, (grammatically). 

So why are woman reading it????   

"It's scratching an itch." 

Ladies are reading this thinking it will give them ideas regarding the sexual side of their marriage.  "It will start a passion", they think. 

HOWEVER, because it is a very erotic book and because woman are wired the way they are, the book is feeding a part of the woman that should only be fed by her husband.  

When you are aroused (whether by your husband or reading a spicy book) you produce certain chemicals in your body. The chemicals that are produced when aroused bring you closer to what you are responding to. Those chemicals, that God gave us are supposed to draw your husband and you together and keep you together for a lifetime. That is not happening when you are aroused by a book or video instead of your husband.

Not only will this book eventually divide you but this book also promotes "harmful and perverted practices"

Ladies, this book is detrimental to marriages. It starts a passion--but not for "more", it starts a passion for "different." Often this different does not include your husband. 

Please, take the time to listen to these experts. Both of them are on the front lines, fighting for purity in marriages and in singleness.  Please listen to this chat.... ( the 2nd part of this clip is fuzzy)  To watch the first part go to:  "Are There Really 50 shades of Grey? - Part 1 ...the 2nd part is below.

On a side note, if you are unmarried or an unfulfilled wife, go to a CHRISTIAN counselor to get help. God has given you permission to be sexual (read Song of Solomon).  You are supposed to enjoy your husband. If you are not,  you need to seek counsel.

Don't read 50 SHADES to try to find help!  

God created us to respond to our husbands.  This is a gift.  Don't ignore it or set it aside. For free counseling or to get a recommendation for a counselor in your area, call Focus on the Family 1-800-A-FAMILY  - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Virginity vs. Purity - Part 2

Regarding the subject of virginity vs. purity, I think we need to discuss the hot topic of romance novels, especially the popular one, 50 SHADES OF GREY.  I love Priscilla Shirer's open conversation about "50 Shades of Grace".  Please take the time to watch this clip. Tomorrow, I will actually discuss the book.

My sweet lady friends, please know that it is not OK to bring a third party into your relationship, except Jesus Christ.  If we can focus our eyes on Jesus and intimately have a relationship with him, then other things will fall into place.

Your sin is not to big for God to forgive. His grace is sufficient. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Ladies, we CAN NOT do it on our own. We must rely on the power of God to help us live a life of purity. Whether this struggle is to refrain from physical contact outside of marriage or even to surrender to our husbands and his needs inside of marriage, we must live a life surrendered and focused on Jesus. 

The goal is PURITY not virginity. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Virginity vs. Purity - Part 1

As a former counselor and as a youth pastor's wife, I have seen and heard all sorts of stories, but one sad story that I hear often pertains to Christian girls who make a stand for virginity but are far from pure.

(And I know this is difficult. When I was a single Christian young lady, I had these temptations as well.)

We make the commitment to be virgins until we are married but we don't make the commitment to be pure and so we are like the Pharisees in the Bible.  On the outside we look "spiritual" and white and pure, but inside we are full of rotten sin.

Matthew 23:27 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."

Why does this happen? 

How can we have both purity and virginity? 

I don't think I have to tell you how to remain a virgin, but to be pure, you have to have a different mindset. 

Your mind is not on virginity, if you will do "everything"
but the actual act of sexual intercourse.  That is not purity; this is FAR from what God had in mind.

Many times young ladies are one extreme or the other. 

One extreme does everything but "connect the dots", while the other extreme is scared that if they touch the opposite sex they will get pregnant. 

Let's go back to the scripture that can be a hot topic in churches...

If you read Paul's Epistle, I Corinthians 7:1 it says "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman."

The "touch" in greek there, means "sexual touch."  It's a touch that starts a fire.  It's the touch that makes you want a little more.  It's the spark that makes your mind get smokey and you become unable to think.

This is what I would encourage you to pray and think about. What makes you tick?  What are the touches that are sexual?  Does a peck on the cheek send you off the deep end?  Or a kiss on the lips? What about holding hands? What about when he puts his hand on your back or on your leg? 

Pray.  Ask God to show you and know yourself. Decide to set your boundaries at a place that is before you get all smokey and it becomes "too late". 

Furthermore, your relationship with another person (of either sex) should really draw you closer to Jesus.  This is the point  of everything if you are a Christian.  Jesus is the goal. 

If you are all "into"each other and all over each other, is that drawing you to Jesus or each other?  Ask your self that question. Know yourself. 

...and what about your mind?  Are you fantasizing about each other? Purity is full body. Loving God includes your whole body.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. - Matthew 22:37

Philippians 4:8 says "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I understand the hormones, I get the "security" and the right desires of having a man in your life. ...but NO man's love will EVER satisfy you like the love of Jesus.  Surrender to intimacy with Him. 

Focus your eyes on Jesus Christ. Ask Him to lead you to your partner for this world.  Jesus is your Prince... your husband is just a bonus.  Build a solid relationship with Jesus now.
It's about purity, ladies, not virginity and it's about a really intimate relationship....with Jesus. - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Helping a Widowed Heart

Psalms 34:18 "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;"  "I KNOW He is close to the brokenhearted."- These were the words spoken by one of my dear friends, recently widowed.

She is a testimony of God being present in her life. I have never seen such peace and such a solid relationship with Jesus as I have seen in her.  When asked about bitterness, she said "What do I have to be angry with God about?  He is such a good God and He loves and takes care of me."  She doesn't blame God at all; instead she is just grateful for the memories and times she has had with her husband. 

She is doing wonderfully well, while we, her friends, are not quite sure what to do. We have made some blunders and mistakes but we are just trying to love her through this time of trial.  So, I asked her to help us. 

#1. Watch your words.
I asked her, what do you say?


There really are no words that will help the situation. Especially if you have not "been there", it is hard to understand. Many times, if you just sit and listen, it means so much to these dear ladies.  They need you.  Don't ignore them, doing nothing. Go to them, sit with them and listen. 

#2.  Don't ask, Are you ok?
Of course they are not ok!

...most of time they will give a short and sweet answer but truly they have lost the one whom their soul loved. 

My friend Cheri mentioned that when reality hits her it's like the breath is literally sucked out of her body.  Her whole body is racked with grief and she just wants to lay on the floor until she can get through the moment.

Yes, she is strong and, yes, she has the peace of God and the hope of eternity and of one day seeing the one she loves again, but for now, she misses him and the grief hits her hard.  She is not ok!!!

#3. Words again.
JUST BE SO CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS!!!!  Telling a widow that she needs to get on with life OR find a new life OR that she will get over it OR that things are going to be a certain way is just painful. The best response is NO response.  LISTEN!

#4. Don't say "Call me if you need something."
Unless you are her mother or best friend, the grieving person is not going to call you if they need something.  Instead, say, "Hey, I am going to the store and I want to pick you up some groceries...what can I get you?"  Be specific.

#5.  If you are going to bring over a meal, ASK what they like. 
So many people have the BEST of intentions and so they cook a meal for a grieving family. However, if the grieving family does not like the food that was prepared, it's not much of a blessing. 

#6. Ask them to hang out with you. 
It's really hard to transition back into the world after they have lost their soulmate. They were so used to having someone to be with and now the loneliness is overwhelming. Help them get out of their house. 
"I'm running out to Target to do a little shopping, do you want to come with me."
"I am putting together some baskets for the church, can you help?"

#7.  Remember special days and send a note. 
This is going to be a really hard day for them. Whether it's a birthday or anniversary, DON'T ignore it. That will only add to the loneliness.  Send a note or text or even ask them to go to lunch.
"Hey sweetie, I know this is an important day. I am praying for you today."

Ladies, I am a fixer. It is hard to sit back and not to fix the situation.  However, God is doing something big in the lives of our grieving friends. We need to pray for discernment and tread carefully. 

Whatever you do, do not walk away from your friend.  She has just lost a big part of her life and does not need to lose more.  Pray for her, love her and be there for her. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, November 2, 2015

Memorizing Scripture

Psalms 119:11 says "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

2 Timothy 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Scripture memorization is important.  The Bible talks about hiding Scripture in our hearts, dwelling on it, feeding on it and more.  Having scripture in us is a MUST as

However, memorizing is not easy.  I REALLY struggle with it, myself.  So, I wanted to share an easier way to memorize scripture.  I learned this while working at The Wilds Christian Camp years ago.

What you do is write down the first letter of each word in the verse. For instance, Psalms 119:11 says "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." 

So, you would write, TWHIHIMH,TIMNSAT.

Then when you are going over the verse, use the initials to help you.  Eventually you will be able to stop doing that. 

Lastly, pray about it.  God wants us to have His Word in our hearts and so asking Him to help is a no-brainer.

I hope this helps you. - Rejoicing in the Present