A few weeks ago my Facebook history showed me a post where I talked about how grateful I was to be able to talk to my mom and how she’s always there for me when I need her. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about but I can guarantee you that the conversation involved the name of Jesus. Why Jesus? Because calling on His name changes everything.
I know what you’re thinking, how can He possibly change everything? Because He’s God that’s how. Granted it may not look like how we think it should look like. But He will change it. He may not move you from that horrible job but He can change your perspective on the job. Even in our grief Jesus can help us find peace and comfort.
I don’t know what you are going through only God knows but I just wanted to let you know that Jesus cares. He cares about your hurts. He cares about your sorrows. He cares about your tears, your joys, your triumphs. He cares…about you.
I have recently started watching a Youtube channel, Ashley Empowers and I must say that I am so glad that I did. One of the series she has on her channel is called Dating With Purpose. She sits down with married couples and asks them about their relationship, how they dated with marriage in mind and how they kept their relationship pure leading up to their wedding. The first video wasn’t her interviewing a married couple but a mother and daughter speaking about their particular relationships with their husbands. I was immediately hooked and as I watched video after video I realized that they all had one thing in common – boundaries. Boundaries for them personally and for them as a couple. Those boundaries are what helped them remember what they were striving for when faced with the temptation to have sex.
I know the consequences of giving in to that temptation. You can feel disconnected from God and start thinking that you’re not good enough. That because you’ve fallen no man is going to want to be with you. That you might as well settle for something less because desiring and living for something more is too hard.
Well that’s not entirely true. Yes it’s difficult to hold onto your standards but it’s so worth it. People may think you’re crazy. People may tell you that it’s not normal to wait. People may say that as a single person you should be living it up but here’s the thing-“people” aren’t the one’s living your life and they aren’t the ones who gave you life in the first place. Holding onto your desire to live a life free of sexual sin starts long before you get into a relationship with someone and it’s not just refraining from sex.
As with a lot of things in our life, sexual desire starts in our minds. That’s why God’s word tells us to pay attention to what we hear and see. Whatever we see or hear goes into our minds and beings to shape our thoughts. If we are constantly exposing ourselves to sexually explicit music, movies, t.v. shows or books it becomes harder and harder to stay sexually pure. I’m not saying this because I’ve heard it somewhere I’m saying this out of experience.
The other day I was listening to a song my Mint Condition and it brought be right back to my first apartment. I was listening to the song as the person I’d finished having sex with was getting dressed to go back to his house. I got my first apartment in my early twenties but all these years later I’m immediately pulled back into that scene just because of the memory that song evokes. And believe me when I tell you that’s just a sample of the books, music or movies I’ve read, heard or watched that hold some memory for me.
I want my body to a be a living sacrifice for God and the only way for me to do that is to deny my flesh and submit to the will of God. The more I’m able to do this while I’m single the more I’ll be able to do this when I’m married.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
I almost fell into the trap. You know the one where you start looking at things and being to think that what you have isn’t enough. The one that tempts you into making purchases you can’t afford. Like looking into moving out of the home that you love because you want an updated bathroom or a pantry in the kitchen. Really, Melissa? Moving for a pantry? Well, it has crossed my mind but thankfully over the last few days I’ve come to my senses.
I have been in my home for 6 years now and I started to think that I’d outgrown the nearly 1500 square feet of my one level town home. I know, I know sound’s silly right? How could little old me outgrow 1500 square feet? Well, I really haven’t outgrown my home I was just looking at it with the wrong eyes. After 6 years I became complacent and I started to take everything for granted. I remember when I started my house hunting venture. I wasn’t to particular on location, except I didn’t want to be in Brooklyn Park (it takes my mother to talk about that considering that’s where I ended up) but I did have some things I absolutely had to have and God answered that prayer.
So why exactly have I begun to think my God answered home is no longer good enough? Because once again I wasn’t really looking at my home. I stopped seeing the best and started seeing the negative and worse I started to complain about the negative. No I don’t have a pantry but guess what I have more than enough space especially if I rearrange some things in my kitchen (again it takes my mom to talk about my storage container cabinet).
God wants us to think on the good things about life-not that we should live in a rose-colored world but we also shouldn’t dwell on the imperfections of life. This doesn’t just apply to homes but to other aspects like relationships, jobs, finances. Too many times we make decisions based on the surface instead of digging deeper and I for one have decided to try to look at things in a different light.
I stumbled across this show on PBS called The Widower and the basic premise is that this man meets, marries and kills or attempts to kill his wives. He first gains their trust by preying on their sympathies and then slowly begins to enact his plan of killing them. He tells one woman that he’s going through chemotherapy. He shaves his head and gives himself needle marks to make the lie more convincing and it got me thinking about how far people will go to deceive others and even themselves.
We live in a world where it’s easy to gain knowledge of people through social media, internet searches and background checks yet with all this technology there are many, many stories of people still getting scammed. Why? Because at the heart of it all we still want to believe what we want to believe. Think about the times when something was presented to you and everyone else could see how it wasn’t good for you. They tried talking to you. They tried texting you. They tried emailing you. They tried sending smoke signals to let you know you shouldn’t go down the path you were headed but nothing they said or did changed your mind.
During those times the already bad decision becomes compounded by even more bad decisions. Our judgment is off and we begin to slip further and further away from the person that we used to be. Sometimes the descent is only for a short while and sometimes it can be for years and years but however long the descent it’s never too far that we can’t be brought back.
Eve was deceived by the snake in the garden and even though God had to remove both her and Adam He still wanted to maintain a relationship with them. David was deceived by lust and even though he lost his first child with Bathsheba God still allowed his bloodline to be the link to Jesus. Judas was deceived by greed but even though Jesus knew he was going to be betrayed He still humbled himself, washed Judas’s feet, picked up His cross, walked up to Calvary where He was crucified for Judas’s sins…where He was crucified for my sins…where He was crucified for your sins…where He was crucified for the world’s sins.
Jesus’s atonement on the cross was for everyone. He’s just waiting for us to believe. Believe not lies but the truth. What do you believe?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always had the gift of encouraging others to pursue their dreams. To step out on faith. To believe in themselves. I’ve been the one to promote other people in their endeavors because I’ve believed in them. Even today I directed a co-worker to my sister’s cake making site but when it comes to me and my dreams I’ve never allowed the words I’ve given others to penetrate my own heart. I think the main reason has to do with me not thinking that I’m good enough. Not thinking that what I have to offer is as good as what someone else has to offer but I am beginning to see things differently.
I recently attended a Christian Writer’s Conference that was filled with many writers in various stages of writing. Some were just starting out; some had already been published but all of them had the desire to see their words on paper so that they could touch someone else. The keynote speaker made it a point to remind each and every one of us that even though we were all in the same room together each of us was given a distinct voice that will be used by God and that we should resist the urge to not only compare ourselves to one another but also to give into the fear and not say yes to the things that God has for us. Such a simple statement and one that we all know but it’s so difficult to execute-especially the saying yes part.
Saying yes is absolutely scary. It requires faith not only of the one asking the question but also of the one who is answering. Think about some of the biggest questions that are asked on a daily basis. “Will you go out with me?” “Will you accept the job?” “Will you marry me?” All very important, life changing questions but the biggest, most important life changing question is the one that God asks us each day we open our eyes – “Will you pick up your cross and follow me?” Will you let me lead you down the road that has many twists and turns? Will you let me be your Lord and Savior and trust that I can see end of the road even though you can’t? Will you accept me into your heart? Will you let go of the things you hold dear and put them in My hands?
For some these are simple questions to answer and the answer is always yes without any hesitation but for others (me) they are sometimes hard to answer and the answer is most of the time “maybe”.
Maybe because letting You have control means letting You take me to the uncomfortable places in my heart. Maybe because letting You have control means walking a path that is so small and narrow it’s like walking on a tightrope. Maybe because letting You have control means giving up the security I’ve gained. But wait. Why shouldn’t I say yes? Why shouldn’t I say yes to the opportunities You have for me? I said yes 17 years ago and just as a bride gives her husband her hand I gave you my heart and soul and look at how far You’ve brought me. Because of You I’ve been able to be a blessing to others and remember when someone was a blessing to me. You and I have history together Lord so right now I stand at the edge of this new journey and I’m ready to say yes.
It may be lonely. It may not be easy. It may be the most courageous thing I’ve ever done but Lord I know that with You all things are possible. So what I am saying yes to now? I’m saying yes to believing in myself. I’m saying yes to the possibilities whatever they may be. I’m saying yes to stepping out on faith.
What about you? Your “yes” journey could start by believing that Jesus came to this world to die for our sins. That by faith in Him we can all be saved. Say yes to letting Him into your heart and letting Him show you a world that is beyond all imagination.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:35-37)
Interesting question. What is so important to you at the moment that you are willing to lose yourself to get it? A question that has been running through my mind for quite sometime. A question that I keep asking myself when I think about what I have and what I don’t have. A question that the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to my remembrance when I start looking through any social media and start the comparison game. You know the game where you make two columns-one called me and one called them and you start checking what you have against what they have?
Why is it so important for me to keep that question close in my heart? Because if I don’t I begin to start focusing on the world instead of focusing on God. For me the world becomes loneliness. When I sit too long in the idea that I don’t have a husband or even a boyfriend or even someone to date my focus shifts to “nobody loves me”, “I don’t have any friends”, “everyone else has someone and they don’t understand how this feels”. And honestly even as I’m writing this that heavy feeling is sitting right on my shoulder close to my heart and sometimes-ok more than sometimes-that feeling wins. When that feeling wins the thought crosses my mind that I can satisfy the feeling of loneliness by having sex with someone. But then the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that sex will only leave me feeling worse than before.
Sometimes I think I can make myself feel better by purchasing things I know I don’t need. Even if it’s something small as long as I’m spending money on something it takes the focus way from how I’m feeling. And that includes food. There have been many hamburgers or pizzas contemplated (and yes eaten) that were a result of feeling unloved. And once again I start thinking that this will only make things worse not better. Not only because my reasons were not correct but now I have less money than I did before.
Now sex, food and material things are not bad and honestly God wants us to have those things but they must not become more important than God and they must be had in God’s timing and within God’s guidelines.
So my prayer for myself and for others who struggle with putting the world before their own soul is that we can lean more into God during those struggles and allow Him to be the comfort that we need.
No longer shall your name be called Abram bur your name shall be Abraham for I have made you a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:5) Then God said to Abraham, “As for your wife you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name…then I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations. (Genesis 17:15-16)
What name has God given you?
Everyday we are being judged by what we say and how we act. Everyday someone is naming us based on what they see and hear. And if we are honest we must admit that we are also naming ourselves based on what we do and what we say. We call ourselves “stupid”, “lazy”, “shameful” just to name a few. We start saying that we will never accomplish anything and we begin to believe the lies and the names that we and others have placed on us. Why? Because we’ve never given God the ability to speak His truth into our lives.
What name has God given you?
We start looking at the things we’ve done and immediately disqualify ourselves without even talking to God. We think that He looks at us and sees what we see so naturally how could He possibly want us to do anything for Him. God chose Abram and Sarai knowing that they would try and fulfill the promise God gave them on their own. He still changed their name, worked through their impatience and kept His promise to make them parents of nations. No matter what you think or how are you feeling God can and will still use you and your story to touch another life. None of us were put on this earth to live out our lives in a vacuum or bubble.
Jesus said that He is the vine and if we are to bear fruit we need to stay close to the vine. Staying close to Jesus allows God the opportunity to step in and not only change our heart but also change our name. And by changing our name our reach goes further and further.
There is so much for us to do and God is just waiting to change our name from saved to unsaved, from unrighteous to the righteous, from guilty to forgiven, from what we used to be to what we are going to be.
So once again I ask you, what name has God given you?