Idols Ashes

February 27, 2010 at 1:00 am (Flowers of Thought) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

flowers-of-thought-2

Here I am again, building a funeral pyre on which to sacrifice a vision.  Like the pilgrims of so long ago, I leave a trail of graves behind me as I travel—each one where I have buried a hope, a dream, a goal, a plan, a love.  The only eternal unchangeable in life is Yahweh.  And that is as it should be.

I have been restless.  I have been discontent.  I have fashioned for myself that which I thought would finish or fulfill me.  Like the idols that see not, hear not, taste not, save not, my dreams demand my devotion, yet offer nothing in return.  I bow before them.  I kiss them.  I plead with them.  I dance in delight as I look at them.

I think of Israel’s discontent while waiting for Moses on Mount Sinai.  For themselves they built a splendid golden calf–the picture of their unfaithfulness.  Always discontent is unholy, for it denies that Yahweh is all.  Always that elusive image of supposed fulfillment or security must be torn down, must be ground to ashes, must be burned on the altar in worship to Yahweh.

Lord, through shadow lands Thou leads me
Bitter waters dost Thou feed me.
Idol’s ashes now distilling
Make Thy water pure and filling.

Seems I’ve seen this place before,
Thou hast washed me clean and pure
In this same bitterness and sorrow.
Thou must wash anew, tomorrow.

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My Heart in a Field of Dreams

February 26, 2010 at 1:00 am (Attitudes, Poetry, Singleness) (, , , , )

I wonder why my heart does wander
Upon fields of dreams yet to be
Taking along a scythe to harvest
What yet does not belong to me,

When riches all divinely given
Offer now a precious find.
Certainly I would embrace them
If my heart were not so blind.

Across the field I see a light
I gasp-it is a fire!
Sent by One jealous for my heart
To destroy my untimely desire.

“These dreams must be forgotten now
Their ashes will nourish the soil.
My rain and sun will produce in time
The right crops without your toil.

“Simply follow after this Lamb of Mine;
Love Him and do not depart.
Trust Me,” my Gardener and Guardian said,
“Allow Me to keep your heart.”

Done mourning over the barren field
Taking the hand of Love so tender,
My anxious heart finds its rest
At last in humble surrender.

Chasing now this spotless Lamb
I am overcome with glee,
That running through the blossoming field
He is all I see.

A lesson learned now becomes
A message I must deliver:
Fix not your heart upon the dreams-
But on the dream Giver.

Copyright 2006 by Lauren

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Under Construction

February 25, 2010 at 1:25 am (Uncategorized)

In case you hadn’t noticed…we’re under construction.  Bear with us!  And let us know what you think!

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Women of Wisdom: The Art of Worship

February 24, 2010 at 1:00 am (Articles, Attitudes, W.O.W., Worship) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Once upon a time, a Samaritan woman asked Jesus the question that had divided the Jews and Samaritans for centuries.  “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the place where we ought to worship.”  Jesus’ answer was revolutionary to the religious systems of both the Samaritans and the Jews.  “An hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”  (John 4:7-38)

The hour was coming when true worshipers would worship at Jesus’ feet.

The story of Mary of Bethany is so sparse that many have tried to piece together her background from the airy fantasies of vivid imaginations.  But the Lord has providentially given us all that we have in His word—and all that we need to understand Mary’s love for the Lord—who had loved her first.  In each of her three appearances in scripture we read of her worshiping the Lord—in spirit and truth.

Her worship wasn’t the empty religion of her day, but was completely focused, notably quiet, evidently un-aware of her audience, forgetful of cultural protocol, and entirely extravagant.  In fact, it often earned her the ridicule of all but One.

“Mary was listening to the Lord’s words, seated at His feet.”  (Luke 10:39)

When the Master first visited the home which Mary shared with her sister Martha, He began to teach.  Mary’s heart opened to the divine words and she sat, unaware of her sister’s bustling and angry scowls, soaking up the words of Jesus.  She recognized that His words were life and she was lost in His presence.  Worshiping.  When her sister approached the Master with her frustrated demand, Mary made no excuses.  She didn’t have to.  Jesus longed for listeners.  Even at His transfiguration God sent a voice from heaven and reminded His closest disciples to “listen to Him.”  “Mary has chosen the good part,” He told Martha.  “It will not be taken from her.”

Jesus has promised us His presence, He has given us His word.  Mary’s worship was in her delight of God’s presence and His word.  Spirit and truth.  This is the worship God seeks.  David recognized that God did not seek sacrifices, but contrite hearts.  The apostles proclaimed that Yahweh did not dwell in temples made with human hands—His temple is the body of those who believe.  When the Jewish temple was destroyed and an end was put to sacrifices, the Christians recognized that the final sacrifice had been offered at the cross and an end had been made to formula religion.  God seeks for worshipers who worship not in Jerusalem, or on “this mountain”, but in spirit and truth.  Focused on His word, longing for His presence.

And those who worship the Lord have chosen the good part—which can never be taken away.  No circumstance can separate us from Christ, in whom is demonstrated the love of God.

“When Mary came where Jesus was, she fell at His feet…weeping…”  (John 11:32)

Mary’s beloved brother Lazarus had died.  Jesus had not come as quickly as the sisters might have hoped, and the last enemy had taken its captive.  As the sisters mourned, they must have mourned that Jesus had not been present—to prevent their brother’s death.  What they did not know was that Jesus had delayed.  Even the pain they were experiencing would be redeemed for the glory of God.

As soon as Mary heard that Jesus was asking for her, she rose so abruptly that she caused a stir.  And as soon as she saw Jesus, she flung herself at His feet, unaware of those who looked on.  Only once in the narrative of her interaction with the Lord does she speak.  “Lord,” she said, expressing her grief, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Her worship extended to her grief, pressed through her pain, and inspired her to throw herself at the feet of Almighty God.  She had longed for His presence and now she grieved in it.  It hurts, her actions said.  It hurts, but I worship you.  Her worship moved Jesus.  He had known this was a difficult thing—sometimes the Lord must permit pain, grief and sorrow for His glory.  But it is never a delight to Him to see a child’s pain, and He ached with Mary.  He ached to see the pain and sorrow that sin and death cause and He longed to show her His power over sin and death—a foretaste of the great struggle which He had come to wage.

Sin and death bring pain, but we can be comforted with Mary and Martha by the resurrection on the last day.  And we can be comforted in knowing that Jesus is also grieved by sin and death.  To fall at His feet weeping, expressing our pain and confusion is worship—in spirit and truth.  It hurts, but He is still God.  He will redeem our pain for His glory.

“Mary therefore…anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair…”  (John 12:3)

A year’s wages worth of perfume were poured at the feet of Jesus in an act of extravagant worship.  I’ve heard many speculations on this perfume and how it came into Mary’s possession.  Some have constructed a colorful past for this quiet woman—after all, who would have expensive perfume, but a harlot?  And why would she be a grown woman, still living with her brother and sister?  Others have suggested that Mary’s parents had died, since she and her siblings now formed a family unit of their own.  A common practice of the time was to invest money in spices or perfumes which could be resold later.  This prized perfume, they contend, was Mary’s sole inheritance.  Others suggest Mary was a widow and this was the last vestige of her past marriage which she carried with her when she returned to her childhood home.  Still others suggest it was her dowry, something she had treasured for the day she would be joined to a husband.  As she poured it at the Lord’s feet, she was expressing her love and devotion to Him as Her bridegroom.

Frankly, scripture leaves us entirely in the dark as to Mary’s past and future.  All we know is the immense value of her offering and Jesus’ acceptance of her gift.  Is the Holy Spirit telling us that it’s not important?  Whether this offering embodied her past of sin or her future hopes, her treasured memories or simply her security and stability, it was likely the largest part of her possessions and she poured it over the feet of the Lord.  Some have suggested that Mary’s act of letting down her hair was considered immodest or suggestive.  But as Mary wiped the Lord’s feet, this lowly act of service could hardly have been considered indecent or impure.  Rather, completely oblivious to the opinions of others, she was humbling herself at the feet of her Savior and pouring out her entire being—possessions, self, heart.  She gave herself entirely in response to the gift He had promised her.

I have often wondered, based on the words of Jesus to those who criticized Mary for her extravagant worship, if she truly did understand what His disciples did not.  Certainly, Mary had chosen the good part—listening to Jesus—while some of His disciples had to be reminded to listen.  Had she grasped His insistence that He would suffer and die in Jerusalem?  Did she realize that this was her only opportunity to embalm Him?  To offer her last expressions of love to the One who loved her soul?

When she was criticized again Mary held her breath, like David who said, “I am like a dumb man.  I utter no defense, for the Lord is my defense.”

“Leave her alone,” the Lord rebuked her attacker.  Once again Mary had chosen the good part.  “She did it to anoint my body for burial.”  And it would not be taken from her.

The Lord seeks for true worshipers.  He delights and desires that we pour everything at His feet—our time, our mind, our heart, our sorrow, our confusion, our possessions, our past, our present, our future, our hopes, our dreams, our memories, ourselves.  He wants it all.  And when we give it all, we find we have chosen the good part: our joyful eternity doing exactly what we were created to do—worship God in spirit and truth.  And it will never be taken away.

Read Mary’s Story:  At Jesus’ Feet

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Women of Wisdom: At Jesus’ Feet

February 23, 2010 at 1:00 am (Articles, Attitudes, W.O.W., Worship) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

(Taken from Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-46; John 12:1-8)

Once upon a time a quiet, little Jewish girl grew up in the hill country of Bethany, near the Holy City, Jerusalem.  Every Sabbath, as she grew from childhood to womanhood, Mary heard the sacred writings of Moses and the Prophets and listened breathlessly to the promise of a Messiah.  She listened quietly as her sister, Martha, and her brother, Lazarus, debated the time of the Messiah’s coming and speculated on His reign.  The hearts of the Jewish people drooped under the yoke of Rome.  Had Yahweh forsaken them?  Once He had led His people out of slavery in Egypt, yet every Passover the shadow of the Roman governor stretched across the meal of lamb and herbs.  And once He had rescued His people from certain death in Babylon, yet every Purim, the celebration was clouded by the echo of the Latin language in their streets.  His temple stood newly renovated and spectacular on the Holy Hill, yet often on the way to Jerusalem, the outlines of cruel Roman crosses could be seen outside the city proclaiming death to any who disobeyed the iron fist of Rome.  Each time Mary passed a Roman soldier, the symbol of her people’s oppression, she prayed that Yahweh would send the deliverer.  She prayed.  She hoped.  She believed.

Then, one day, she fell in love.

She’d heard the stories.  “He’s a prophet!” many exclaimed as His miracles were recounted.  He’d healed the sick, given sight to the blind, strength to the lame.  He’d fed thousands from a few loaves.  He’d taught with authority that challenged the hypocritical chief priests.  “Could He be–?”  Mary heard hope in the voices that had long sounded dry and weary.  In spite of the militant speculations as to this Prophet’s designs, Mary’s thoughts lingered on the women.  Many of the chief priests and rabbis wouldn’t even speak to their own wives in public, yet this Teacher reached out to heal women who were sick and suffering and even enslaved to evil spirits.  And afterwards He accepted these women’s ministrations as they sought to repay Him for the gift of a second chance.  This man was unlike any of the Rabbis she had seen and unlike any of the Messiahs she had been taught to pray for.

And this Rabbi had just entered her home as a guest.  As soon as Mary’s eyes met His, she was overwhelmed.  Lacking the pomp and circumstance of an important person, He dressed simply with a homespun mantle draped over His shoulders, road-stained with dusty feet.  He was surrounded by eager, clamoring men, yet His eyes held determination and peace.  So many voices making so much racket, yet only One voice seemed to matter.  He had so much to teach, so much to express.  And there was so little time.  How could she ever learn it all?  He was so holy; Mary felt if she could sit in His presence long enough, she would be completely washed clean, inside and out, shining like a pure star in the heavens.

Suddenly a voice at her elbow startled her.  “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?”  Mary had hardly realized that she had settled onto the floor at Jesus’ feet, her eyes on her folded hands, soaking in every word.  He told such simple stories with such profound meaning.  But of course Martha had been stressed, bustling here and there, her home full of men—important men, if they traveled with the Rabbi.  Jesus looked at Martha and Mary watched His face as her sister continued without giving the Master a chance to answer.  “Tell her to help me.”

Jesus’ answer was gentle, yet firm.  “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one.  Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Though He spoke to her sister, Mary grasped His words about her and clung to them.  She had chosen the good part.  She had chosen Jesus.  He would not be taken away from her.

Even when Jesus left to continue His ministry across the region of Judea, Mary pondered His teachings and clung to His promise that the good part would not be taken from her.  She knew that Jesus was not like other men, nor even like other Rabbis.  She knew that He loved her—yet not in the way of a home and children.  She knew that He didn’t belong to her, and yet, in a small way, He did.  And she had given herself completely to Him.  As He traveled the region, she listened breathlessly to the accounts that trickled back of His miracles, His growing popularity and His increasing clashes with the Pharisees and Sadducees.  “He is the Messiah,” people declared.  Then came the shocking news:  Jesus had declared His oneness with God.  “Blasphemy!” cried the Jews and tried to stone Him, but He eluded their grasp and left that region.

Mary’s heart was troubled.  Didn’t they listen to Him?  Didn’t they understand His words?  Didn’t they realize that Jesus’ words were life?  What He spoke must be truth.

But her troubled thoughts were interrupted by a greater trouble.  Her brother, Lazarus, fell deathly ill.  “What shall we do?” the sisters whispered to each other as they gazed at their feeble and delirious brother.  Jesus had healed countless strangers, would He come and heal their beloved brother?  “God gives Him whatever He asks,” Martha asserted, in faith.  A faithful friend, another disciple of Jesus, was dispatched immediately to carry the word to Jesus:  “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”  Careful not to demand His presence, the sisters wondered if it would be safe for Him to come.

Then came the waiting.  The praying.  The hoping.  The believing that Jesus would do what was right.  What passed through Mary’s mind as she watched her brother’s suffering, unable to offer more than love, wondering why the Lord delayed?  Was it because Judea had rejected Him?  Could it be unsafe for the Master to come to Bethany, since He had just escaped a stoning?  Did Mary struggle against feelings of abandonment?  Jesus had promised that the good part would never be taken from her, yet He delayed coming when she needed Him most.  And even as Jesus delayed, Lazarus weakened, faded and passed on.

Jesus had healed others.  Many others.  “If He had been here, our brother would not have died,” Martha whispered, clasping Mary in her arms their brother was laid in a tomb and a stone rolled to cover the doorway.  Mary nodded as her sister offered the comfort of those who hoped in Yahweh: “He will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  Then they went home.

The next several days passed as a blur, friends and fellow mourners coming and going, whispering, offering consolations.  Mary thought only of Jesus.  Why hadn’t He come?  She didn’t understand.  She knew Jesus loved her.  She knew Jesus loved Lazarus.  “If only He had been here,” she mulled it over and over in her head.  “If only He had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Once He had defended her and said she had chosen the good part—the place at His feet.  She wanted to be there, now.  Life seemed so clear and simple when she sat at His feet.

“Mary,” her sister was at her elbow, shielding her face with her shawl to give them some privacy.  “Mary, the Teacher is here and is calling for you.”

All her thoughts, her questions, her tears fled as she heard the words.  Quickly she bounded to her feet and was out the door, following her sister’s directions to find Jesus.  Mary didn’t notice the Jews following her, supposing that she went to the tomb to weep.  Why would she go to the tomb to weep?  A cold stone could not hear her cry; a sepulcher was not the good part.

Then she saw Him.  He was standing just where Martha had left Him, His eyes fixed on her, seeing her before she came.  A choke filled her throat and the tears welled up, blinding her eyes as she stumbled and sank down at the Master’s feet.  “Lord,” she wept, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

She could sense the grief in Jesus’ tone as He turned from her and asked, “Where have you laid him?”  Several voices answered, “Lord, come and see.”

Then Jesus wept.

Whispers.  “Behold how He loved him.”

Other whispers.  “Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind have kept this man from dying?”

Of course He could have.  If He had been there–

Mary’s tears flowed freely, unchecked, washing the pain, the agony, the questions, the confusion down into the abyss of things long passed.  Jesus was weeping with her.  He loved her.  He was aching for her.  She looked up into His face and saw there that same peace, that same determination.  He had more to teach her.  She stood and followed Him to the tomb.

The stone lay firmly against the mouth of the tomb, but Jesus raised His arm and said, “Remove the stone.”

“Lord,” Martha’s voice was quiet, concerned, anxious, “by this time there will be a stench for he has been dead four days.”

Jesus turned and looked her directly in the face, His voice gentle but firm.  “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Mary’s heart was hammering in her chest.  What was Jesus about to do?  The glory of God?  What had He told Martha?  Mary’s mind raced over all the miracles of Jesus, her heart filling with a trembling hope.  Hadn’t Martha said, “God gives Him whatever He asks for”?

As the stone was rolled away, Mary watched Jesus raise His eyes to heaven.  He took a deep breath and called out, “Father, I that You that You that You hear Me!  And I know that You hear Me always, but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

Mary’s hands trembled as her mind echoed, “I do believe!”

Then Jesus’ voice rang out against the stones, “Lazarus, come forth!”

And there he was, bound hand and foot with the linen wrappings, but walking slowly from the entrance of the tomb.  Alive.

“Unbind him,” Jesus commanded.  “And let him go.”

The event caused quite a stir.  Friends and neighbors wanted to know what had happened, and the word spread quickly, and lingered long after Jesus had left for the wilderness, once more avoiding the Jews.  Mary replayed the days, moment by moment, searching them out, trying to understand, thanking Yahweh for her brother.  And she pondered the words Martha had related to her.  “He told me, ‘I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe?”  Martha had expressed the cry of her own heart, “Yes, Lord, I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

This Christ was so different from what they had all expected.  The Jews had been hoping for a conquering king, but the Christ Mary knew was a servant, a Teacher who wept and a Great Physician.  He had conquered blindness, lameness, deafness—and now death.  And He had conquered her heart.

It was almost Passover when the Lord returned to Bethany.  Again Martha was serving, busy and bustling, but without complaint.  Lazarus sat with Jesus, gladly acting the part of host.  Mary had been carefully watching the Lord’s face—it still held the peace and determination, but also seemed marked by a quiet sadness in spite the noise and excitement.  Some of His words held a strange sense of expectation, though He said little. In the folds of her shawl, Mary held her prized possession—a pound of pure nard, a perfume worth a year’s wages—waiting for her opportunity.  Finally she approached and knelt again by those beloved feet.  She didn’t notice the silence that settled or the surprised eyes fixed on her as she began to pour the perfume over Jesus’ feet, rubbing away the road-dust with her hair.  This was not just the good part, this was the best part.  Being at Jesus’ feet, pouring herself at His feet, worshiping.

“Why was this perfume not sold and the money given to the poor?” the scornful voice broke through Mary’s consciousness.

Condemned, again, she knelt, waiting Christ’s reply.

“Leave her alone, in order that she may keep the custom of anointing for the day of My burial.  For the poor you have with you always, but you do not always have Me.”

As the fragrance of the nard wafted around her, Mary’s heart grew heavy.  She would not always have Jesus?  He would be buried?  Hadn’t He promised that the good part would not be taken from her?  He was the good part.  The best part.  The only part.

Around her, the conversation continued, Judas sullen after his rebuke.  Jesus eyes lingered on Mary’s face, a tender sadness in them.  Anointed for His burial.  Jesus would die.

But deep inside, a tiny flame of hope flickered.  Lazarus had died, too.

The next several days were laced with the greatest pathos the world has ever seen as the Lamb of God was led to slaughter.  God turned His back on His own Son, leaving the Son to weep alone, sweating blood in His agony.  Women clustered around the foot of the cross, watching this innocent man-God bear their sin and God the Father’s wrath.  Was Mary with them, at the foot of Christ’s cross?  Then it was finished.  But the end was the beginning.  On the first day of the week, the women hurried to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, but they were too late.  Was Mary with them that early morning?  She had already anointed the Lord.  When Jesus had raised Lazarus, He had said, “Father, I know that You hear Me.”  When Christ hung on the cross, pleading for the sins of the world, He was heard.  He knew He was heard, but for the sake of those on earth, God proved it in the same way He had with Lazarus.  When the women came to the tomb, the stone had been rolled away and Jesus had come forth, alive.

Whether or not Mary was present at the death and resurrection of Jesus, she certainly must have heard and understood the power of this conquering King.  He had not only triumphed over death—but also over that which caused death, over sin.  And in His promise that those who believe in Him should live eternally, she heard her happily ever after.  The good part would not be taken from her.  At the resurrection at the last day, she would be raised, to live forever, sitting at the feet of Jesus, worshiping.

Lessons from Wisdom:  The Art of Worship

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Seven Steps

February 22, 2010 at 1:25 am (Attitudes, Food for Thought, Purity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

Seven Awful Steps Downward

Step one: Adopting a careless attitude toward sin.

Step two: Giving in to sin.

Step three: Habitually giving in to sin.

Step four: Surrendering to sin.

Step five: Abandoning God for a life of sin.

Step six: Becoming a tool of Satan to temp others to sin.

Step seven: Hell.  And you do not have to die in order to get there.  Hell is character as well as location.  The person who hates everything that God loves is in hell now, and hell is in him or her.

Seven Glorious Steps Upward

Step one: Developing a resistant attitude toward sin—determining that sin will not gain control over you.

Step two: Overcoming sin by faith in Christ.  Successfully fleeing from temptation—saying no to the desire or opportunity to sin.

Step three: A lifestyle of victory over sin.  Habitually saying no to the desire or opportunity to sin.  The strength that comes from one victory helps in overcoming the next temptation.

Step four: Discovering the “abiding life,” the “victorious life,” the “exchanged life.”  It has been termed many things by many different Christians through the ages, but in short, it is a life of intimate acquaintance with the grace of Christ and the empowerment that comes when His Spirit gains full access to your life.

Step five: Entrance into even deeper fellowship with Christ.  It started with your trusting God—now God entrusts His kingdom treasures to you.  You are set apart for His enjoyment and for His service.

Step six: Becoming one whom God calls on to do great and mighty things for His kingdom.  A set-apart existence that values Christ over life itself and is willing even to suffer and die to carry out the King’s bidding.

Step seven: Heaven.  And you do not have to die in order to get there.  Heaven is character as well as location.  The person who devotedly loves everything that God loves is in heaven now, and heaven is in him or her.

Paraphrased from John Stam, missionary/martyr to China, 1907-1934

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

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We Interrupt the Regular Scheduled Broadcast

February 21, 2010 at 1:03 am (Announcements)

To bring you an update on our comment policy.  Our goal is to encourage women to live in worship of the Creator and we’ve intentionally tried to avoid putting ourselves in a place of teaching or exercising authority over men.  We seek to be under the authority of our men and encourage the women who read to do the same.  Since this is the internet,  our words are public for whoever chooses to read them, however we do not wish to engage in debates or controversies with gentlemen about what we have written here.  We will not publish or respond to comments from gentlemen which would require us to do either.  Ladies, you are more than welcome to challenge or question us.  🙂

Blessings,

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Lust: It’s Not Just a Guy Thing

February 20, 2010 at 1:21 am (Articles, Attitudes, Modesty, Purity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Lauren

Most of the time when we think of lust, we envision someone of the male species taking more than a glance at someone of the female species. But lust is hardly limited to this scenario.

Lust is a strong desire. In our understanding of it, it is a strong desire for something withheld or forbidden. For us ladies, this can rear its ugly head in two very different forms.

The first could be synonymous with “boy craziness”, though it is not as innocent as it sounds. Before I went to high school I had heard that guys talked nasty in their locker rooms. But what came as a shock was that girls did, too, as I discovered while being a part of my high school’s softball team. But should it have been a surprise? Looking back, not really. This kind of thing began in elementary school, when girls would talk about how they wanted to kiss so-and-so, or in middle school when they thought Jonathan Taylor Thomas was so “cute” or “fine”. At some point that seemingly innocent interest in the opposite sex graduates from preschool and jumps straight into “higher education”. Really, it’s sin at every level—it’s lust at every level. It just gives way to more lust, more sin.

The girls who talked about guys in the locker room are not the only ones with a “problem”. Those of us who have enough sense to keep our mouths shut can have just as much filth on the inside. We need to watch over our hearts with all diligence, for from them flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). If we’re not careful to guard our hearts, they’ll end up polluted and will produce filth rather than beauty. This goes for lusting after marriage as much as it does for a random guy who just walked down the hall. A lust for marriage turns into a lust for the blessings of marriage—emotional and physical. What’s worse is we often pick a guy who we are currently interested in and toy with the idea of marrying him, imagining all that goes along with that. So where does a healthy desire for marriage turn into sinful lust? That’s a tough question. A better one would be: Has my healthy desire for marriage turned into an idol that robs God of the affection He deserves? Have I paid more attention to a certain person I like than to the Lord and those whom He has given me to love already (parents, other family members, my sisters in Christ)? If there is an idol—even if your thoughts are not about sex at all—there’s a problem. And deeper sin is just waiting around the corner. Stop now and turn around. Seek your parents’ counsel and accountability either from them or a wise, trusted friend (keep in mind that friends your age might be wise for their age, but they may not be very helpful to you if they struggle in the same area). Determine what steps need to be taken to remove stumbling blocks. Are you reading romance novels or courtship stories that fuel the fire? Stop reading them. Are you watching movies or TV shows that make you long for your own happily-ever-after? Stop watching them, and keep in mind that TV and movies are very unrealistic. Are some of your friends trying to get “juicy details” out of you rather than encouraging you to guard your heart? Explain your struggle and ask them to stop, and if they don’t you may need to stand up to their taunts or simply distance yourself.

This is tough stuff, isn’t it? Feels like tearing away pieces of yourself, doesn’t it? But that’s what Jesus calls us to do in our fight against sin—and lust in particular.

Matthew 5:27-30 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 “And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 “And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.

So is it wrong to think someone is attractive or to desire to be married one day? No. But if those thoughts or desires are left unchecked our sinful hearts can take them where we know we shouldn’t go.

As if that weren’t enough already, there is another kind of lust that plagues women—single or married: the lust to have another woman’s body. We face it every time we check out at the grocery store—magazines and tabloids sporting fabulous photos of famous people who have flat stomachs, perfect figures, and pretty faces. I find it much harder to ignore a beautiful woman than whatever guy is the latest definition of “hot”. In fact, marketers know this and use it to their advantage—both men and women are attracted to a beautiful woman. The men want her and women want to be her.

This, again, is a problem of the heart. And we deal with it in much the same way as we dealt with guy-directed lust. What is causing you to stumble? Magazines? TV shows? Movies? Friends who obsess over their appearance (and yours)? Going to the beach? Is your definition of beauty one that is informed by Scripture, or are you chasing after the super-skinny super-models (be they scantily dressed cover-girls or squeezed-into-a-corset Jane Austin heroines)? Renew your mind in God’s word and focus on His beauty. And don’t try to dress “sexy”. This will certainly be a blessing to your brothers in Christ, and it will likely help you to be less focused on looking like a model.

And for better advice and clarity than I can give, check out this article: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Curves. For a more thorough study of lust, Joshua Harris’ book Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) does a wonderful job of handling this subject biblically and tastefully.

Fighting lust is a tough battle for both of the sexes. So if you’re a girl that struggles with lust, be encouraged that you’re not alone. And be even more encouraged that God gives us grace to overcome our sins as we depend on Him and renew our hearts and minds in His word.

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Lust is the Problem

February 19, 2010 at 1:46 am (Purity, The Book Shelf) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) by Joshua Harris
Original Title: Not Even a Hint
Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 2003

Book Type: Christian Living, Purity

Rating: 10 out of 10

Recommended? Absolutely, with parental guidance

Overview: Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, tackles the tough subject of lust in this concise and practical book. Mr. Harris helps his readers to understand the way God has made them as men and women, and how they can fight temptation and seek to live pure lives according to God’s standard. Full of insight and advice, this book is a must read for anyone who struggles with lust, offering encouragement and pointing to God’s word to find strength for the battle.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The only thing really ugly about this book is the subject matter: lust. That may be an uncomfortable subject for some, but it is handled in a very godly manner.

Praises: This book really does help. If taken to heart, it can provide a biblical perspective on lust (and sin in general), as well as give guidance to those willing to put that sin to death. Mr. Harris challenges us to examine our hearts and submit our thoughts in obedience to Christ, with the goal of there being “not even a hint” of sexual immorality in our lives.

Concerns: I liked the original title better. It was a bit more delicate and brought Ephesians 5:3 to mind. That said, this book is excellent no matter what you call it.

Tips for getting the most out of this book: Be prepared for serious heart-searching and confession. Sin is not to be dealt with lightly and this book will challenge you to fight it full-force. Have index cards ready to write out Scriptures to memorize, and journal about your struggles and victories if that helps. Above all, yield to the Holy Spirit’s prompting as He calls you to “put off” your former lusts and “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ.


Buy the book on Amazon.com

Visit Josh Harris’ Blog

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Observations on the Survey

February 18, 2010 at 1:16 am (His Perspective, Love, Purity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

While gathering results for the Jealousy Survey, a few interesting trends stood out.  We surveyed as diverse a group of men as we could on short notice—making only one requirement: all were professing believers.  Ages ranged from something like 18 to 60, with a variety of backgrounds, including some internationals and those with multi-cultural influences.  They also represented a variety of single men, dating men, courting men, engaged men, divorced men, married men and fathers of daughters our ages.  The trends seem rather revealing, so we’re sharing them with you.

*On the issue of deep spiritual/personal conversation, many men clarified that there would be little or no issue if the conversation were a group setting instead of private.  In a similar manner, discipleship by a couple, dinner with a couple, road trips with a couple were expressed as non-issues.  Alone is the threat.  Privacy = intimacy.

*The internationals seemed to be rather lenient on the issue of light kissing.  In many other cultures a light kiss is actually a very standard greeting—about like a handshake or a hug in our culture.  In case you were wondering.

*Hugging was a complete split.  Some of the men expressed that they didn’t think they would mind their wife side-hugging a man that they fellowshipped with regularly and trusted.  A stranger?  That typically aroused jealousy.  Others would didn’t want anyone hugging their wife at all.

*The married men tended to be less jealous about hugs.  They also mentioned that they might possibly rather send their wife on a road trip with a trusted friend or older man than send her alone.  It’s possible that, having been married, they could more easily imagine exception situations.  The variation we saw in married men’s answers leads us to suggest that a married woman may actually have more “freedom” than a single woman—because of her husband’s authority and protection.  If you are married, we recommend that you seek your own husband’s guidance on each of these issues—he may be one who is not at all bothered by a hug—or he may find it absolutely improper.  You answer to the Lord first and to your husband next.

*With the chatting or talking one-on-one issues, the men responded that jealousy would be present any time a wife is communicating more with another man than with them.  Or is more excited about talking to another man.  Perhaps this suggests that “special treatment” is a husband’s special prerogative?

*It was almost amusing hearing the many explanations of what would be done or said to the other man—usually rather emotionally-charged doings or sayings.  Aimed at the other man?  Rarely were the negative emotions directed toward the wife in question.  Questions about this trend were answered, “That’s because the men ought to know better.”  It appears that men hold men mostly responsible for relationship boundaries.  This fits with scriptural patterns of men as pursuers and women as responders, as well as the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4 dealing with “not defrauding your brother.”  If men are to “take a wife” they should also be careful not to “take” what doesn’t belong to them.  To the men we suspect are lurking, we suggest that you should be carefully guarding the interests of your Christian brothers by guarding the women around you.  Paul told the Colossian Christians “Do not merely look out for your own interests, but also the interests of others.”

Our thanks goes out to the guys who participated in the survey as well as Abigail’s brother Josiah, his friend Tommy, and a couple of girl friends who helped get the survey out and answered!

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What Makes a Husband Jealous?

February 17, 2010 at 1:20 am (His Perspective, Love, Marriage, Purity, Singleness) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

“You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, soul and mind,” Yahweh charged Israel in His greatest commandment, but the hearts of the people turned away to foreign gods and their minds strayed to sin and self.  “You have committed adultery against Me,” Yahweh warned.  “I am a jealous God.”  Through the prophet Ezekiel, Yahweh graphically described Israel’s adultery, painting a revolting picture of lewdness and impurity.

To the church of Corinth, Paul wrote as God’s emissary, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”  (2 Corinthians 11:2)

The adultery Yahweh charged Israel with was in giving to another god what rightly belonged to Him—heart, soul and mind in worship.  Paul’s jealous guard over the purity of the bride of Christ was to preserve their minds in the purity and simplicity of devotion to Christ.  Devotion–the minds of believers rightly belong to Christ.  We tend to think of jealousy as an evil, but Paul speaks of a godly jealousy.  God’s jealousy was over what rightly belonged to Him.  Paul was jealous on behalf of Christ, over what rightly belonged to Him.

As I worked over the post dealing with God’s Will: Your Sanctification, I came head to head with the issue of defrauding—cheating, taking what rightly belongs to another.  With the words “The Lord is the avenger,” I was reminded of the jealous husband’s test in Numbers 5—and the curse upon the woman who had “gone astray into uncleanness.” As I pondered, I began to wonder what would be rightly considered a husband’s?  Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 7 that the wife’s body belongs to her husband, and his body belongs to her.  Wouldn’t it be godly then for a husband and wife to be jealous over each other’s bodies?  What else might they be jealous over?  Each other’s emotions?  Devotion?  Time?  Affection?  Attention?  I’d often considered purity in relationships, but I’d never before thought of it in terms of what would make a husband jealous.  The traditional wedding vows proclaim to “forsake all others, clinging only to you.”  I began to consider the implications of Paul’s words to the churches of his day regarding purity and marriage.  Marriage should not be sought in lustful passion, as the pagans, but in set-apartness and honor.  He warned us not to go beyond and defraud—because God is the avenger.  This warning suggests that, even if no one else ever knows that we have “cheated”—gone beyond what was rightly ours—God knows and we will reap the consequences in our lives and hearts.

Ladies, what I’m proposing is that we carefully consider what rightfully belongs to God as the first step in purity.  “Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, soul and mind.  Worship and serve Yahweh only.”  And we carefully guard and preserve that for Yahweh only.  That we consider what rightfully belongs to those around us.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  A sacrificial love, based on Christ’s love for us, offered without thought of gain.  This, too, is worship of God.  And, in purity, that we consider what rightfully belongs only to a husband.  Even if we never marry, there are some things that no one is authorized to claim outside of a marriage covenant.  I propose that we jealously protect and preserve this until such a time as, covenanted in marriage, we can freely and purely pour it out in worship to God.  God is the avenger, because our purity is an integral part of our worship of Him.

These thoughts in mind, Lauren and I constructed a survey to try and help us understand what things would make a husband jealous.  We created a series of hypothetical questions, based on many of the debates/teachings we’d heard regarding “purity” boundaries, placed those situations into a marriage scenario and surveyed 50 men from very different backgrounds and denominations–single men, dating men, courting men, engaged men, married men and men with daughters our ages—without giving an explanation for our questions.  We wanted unbiased feelings from a range of perspectives.  We reasoned that those things which provoked jealousy in a husband are likely to be good indicators of what rightly belongs to a husband only—and therefore what we should be jealously guarding from any man to whom we are not married.

We’ll admit that we were surprised by the clarity the results seemed to cast on “grey areas.”  We’re talking about activities that many youth pastors would advocate as still “chaste” and would leave a “True Love Waits” pledge unbroken.  Many of the men expressed that they were deeply disturbed in considering their wife engaging in many of these activities—few thought “jealous” even covered their feelings on the topic.  God used graphic word-imagery to express Israel’s adultery–to inspire our horror and disgust.  We’ve tried to be as discreet as possible in dealing with these issues, but this is a serious affair.  Impurity should provoke our horror and disgust.  We’re sharing the results with you and we encourage you to consider carefully guarding what these men express as provoking jealousy.  In the areas that are expressed as depending on circumstances, prayerfully, carefully let your actions be guarded by love—focus on the Lord first and what will bring Him glory and then pursue sacrificial love toward your neighbor–what will cause them to focus on the Lord.  The excellent wife does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life, and his heart trusts in her.

See the survey results here:

What Makes a Husband Jealous:  The Survey

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Am I a Cheater?

February 16, 2010 at 1:19 am (Poetry, Purity) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Am I a cheater?  Yes I am!

For while I’m waiting for one man

I entertain myself with others

Flirting with my christian brothers,

Trying to catch their eyes and hearts

Enhancing all my better parts

Claiming faithfully to wait

Yet praying not nor trusting fate

But drawing with a thousand views

The one I claim to let God choose

Sometimes with too familiar face.

Who heeds the touch of mind’s embrace?

I try them out in fancy’s date

The whole time claiming that I wait.

Copyright by Abigail 2003

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Emotional Affairs?

February 15, 2010 at 1:17 am (Attitudes, Purity, W.O.W.) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

Intimacy is not just about physical encounters.  When someone shares inner feelings, secrets, desires, flirts or flatters, or even places himself or herself in a compromising situation, you are being intimate.  The final analysis:  all forms of intimacy should be reserved for the marital relationship or else you are taking something away.  Something that belongs to the spouse and giving it to someone else.  That wasn’t what the vows were about.

The ultimate deterrent to all of this is a strong set of moral values, rules and standards.  These keep you from even taking the first step.  Because, for sure if you don’t take that first step, you won’t be there to take that final fatal step.

~Dr. Laura Schlessinger, When is an Affair and Affair?  (TV show)

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

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In Sanctification and Honor

February 14, 2010 at 1:03 am (Articles, Attitudes, God's Will, Godly Living, Purity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

(From 1st Thessalonians 4:1-8)

Once upon a time I felt called to be an example of purity.  I use the terminology “felt called,” but what I really mean is that, as I studied scripture, I began to see the emphasis the Lord put on purity.  In the Old Testament, Yahweh bemoaned His apostate bride’s “adultery” as she sought other lovers—bringing foreign gods into her life and heart and worship system.  In the New Testament He proclaimed that our bodies are His temple and His spirit dwells within us.  When we transgress His commandments regarding fornication and adultery, we are sinning against our own bodies—His temple.  It’s adultery against Him.  It makes Him as sick as did Israel’s child sacrifices to Molech and the pagan orgies around the golden calf.  “Flee immorality,” Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers.  “Every sin that man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.”  (1 Corithinthians 6:18-20)

At first I embraced my call to purity as a call to lifelong singleness.  I’ve always been a bit dramatic.  If the Lord wanted me to be an example of purity, what better way could there be than to never marry and demonstrate to the world a life spent in self-control and single-hearted devotion to the Lord?  But as I continued to study the word, I discovered that the most perfect picture of purity is Christ and His bride, the church.  Purity is so much more than abstinence or a vow of celibacy.  It’s a lifelong journey of sanctification and it can certainly include a God-glorifying marriage.  In fact, Paul wrote to the Corinthians telling them that, while singleness was great for those whom God had supernaturally gifted in that manner, for those supernaturally gifted in another manner,  marriage was the wise safeguard against immorality.  (Check out 1 Corinthians 7).

When he gave instructions for the training of younger women, Paul made it clear that purity doesn’t end at marriage.  “Older women are to…train the younger women,” he wrote his disciple Titus, “to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure workers at home, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”  (Titus 2:3-4)  Married or single, God’s call to purity extends to all of us and reaches into every corner of every relationship.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, reminding them of God’s will in the issue of purity:  “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.  For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.  For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.  Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)

This is important, ladies.  Paul warned, he requested, he exhorted and he wound up with a reminder that the person who rejects God’s will in the issue of purity is rejecting God who gives the Spirit’s empowerment.  “Walk so as to please God,” Paul implores, “and excel still more!”  We can’t be too pure.  God’s desire is for His people to be sanctified—set apart and made holy and He has a plan for how to accomplish this.

Abstain from Sexual Immorality

The Roman Empire in which Paul’s readers lived was a decadent match for our own modern age of “free love.”  Immorality was praised in the arts, just as it is today.  It was worshiped in the temples and proclaimed in the palaces.  The concept of choosing a lifestyle of purity was counter-cultural and difficult.  Many of Paul’s readers had walked out of this world-view, by God’s grace, and to them Paul extended God’s mercy.  “Many of you were once fornicators…adulterers…but you were washed clean.”  He wrote to the Romans reminding them, “just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”  (Romans 6:19)  Paul wanted his readers to know that they were washed clean from past sins, and also given empowerment, through the Holy Spirit, to resist future sins.  There’s a world of difference between slaves to impurity and lawlessness and slaves to righteousness—a world that far exceeds technical “virginity.”  God wants His people to be so far removed from impurity and immorality that they are controlled and driven by righteousness.

The statistics prove God’s wisdom—and the consequences of rejecting it.  When I taught abstinence in the schools as an outreach of a Christian Crisis Pregnancy Center, I was blown away by the seriousness of the facts—fornication doesn’t even lend itself to happily ever after, regardless of your personal convictions.  The sexual progression chart we shared was rather telling as well—it began with “hanging out” and showed that as soon as affectionate touch occurs, the battle becomes a war against your own body.  Paul commanded believers to flee immorality.  This is God’s will!  This is what pleases God!  A warning, a request, an exhortation: sexual sins are not something to be approached with caution.  We are to flee!  If we’re commanded to flee, then even the first step down an inevitable sexual progression is a step in the wrong direction.

Possess Your own Vessel

The context of this command suggests another angle of the purity issue.  Paul is dealing with purity and its effects on those around us.  The Greek word translated here “possess” actually suggests the concept of “acquiring” and the use of the term vessel perhaps refers, not to a man’s own body, but to that of his wife—who is the weaker vessel.  Paul’s command is to take a wife/acquire your own vessel in sanctification and honor—not in lustful passion like those who do not know God.  This fits with his teaching to the Corinthians, when he says, “Because of immorality let each man have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”  (1 Corinthians 7:2)  The antidote to immorality is actually to pursue marriage—not as the pagans do, with selfish and lustful motives—but in set-apartness and honor, in purity, for God’s glory.  The answer to immorality is actually not whole-sale celibacy—monasteries and nunneries.  Paul condemns those who forbid marriage.  The answer to immorality is pure marriages that mirror Christ and His church—built on love for the Lord and sacrificial love for each other.  God created woman for the man’s sake—to be joined as one by God—and together to serve the Lord.

Do not Defraud

Paul adds one more element to the mixture: the issue of defrauding.  The basic meaning of the word is to “cheat”: to claim that which is another’s, to get too much, to be greedy.  His warning is sobering, “the Lord is the avenger in all these things.”  This whole section about purity and sanctification is wrapped within commands to love.  Paul wants his readers to be well-aware that the world has a skewed perception of love.  What the world may call “making love” God calls “sexual immorality” and what the world may hold up as “in love” God denounces as defrauding.  And He will avenge.  God holds up for us a different standard of love: a love that is self-sacrificing, that focuses on God and God’s glory and that seeks to point others in the same direction.  It is a love that gives, not seeks to snag whatever it can get.  “Love does not seek its own,” Paul writes in his famous “love chapter.”  We are to love our neighbor as our self.  We are to look out for the interests of others.  In all our relationships, we must keep in mind the interests of others, careful that we do not transgress and take what does not belong to us.  This is true whether we hope it may one day belong to us or not.  We are not to take what is not yet ours.  A wife’s body belongs to her husband and no one else is to ever ask her for any part of that.

Paul doesn’t lay down for us a pattern of romantic pursuit.  Scripture doesn’t seem to offer a step-by-step plan of how to seek a spouse.  But God has certainly made it clear what His goals are for a marriage that glorifies Him.  God’s will is for us to abstain from sexual immorality.  To flee youthful lusts.  To pursue righteousness.  God’s plan is to protect us.  God’s will is also for us to “acquire our own vessel” (this command is probably given to the men, but Paul wrote to the Corinthians for each woman to have her own husband) in sanctification and honor.  In our pursuit of marriage and in our marriage, we must carefully guard honor and holiness.  God’s plan is to protect our spouse.  Each of us is responsible for the protection of each other.  After marriage, Paul writes that the wife’s body belongs to her husband and the husband’s body, to his wife.  Before marriage, those “vessels” must be carefully guarded from everyone.  After marriage, they must be carefully guarded from all save one.  “Forsaking all others,” read the traditional marriage vows.  God’s will is also that we not cheat each other.  A wife’s body belongs to her husband, and until a marriage covenant is made, she has no husband.  God will avenge those who take what does not belong to them.  God’s plan is to protect our brothers and sisters—that we might not cheat them out of what is rightly theirs.

In every relationship, God’s will must guide our hearts and minds.  We are to seek to be set-apart, holy, pure.  We’re not to be like the pagans, full of lustful passions and selfish ambition.  Purity keeps us fleeing from sin, it guides us into godly marriage and it protects us from taking what is not ours to take.  And the goal always is to please God.  Married or single, God’s will is for us to be pure—to be set-apart.

Much of the commentary on the 1st Thessalonians passage has been shamelessly stolen from my father’s file-cabinet of Bible study materials and teachings on “Taking a Wife.”

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The Purity Posts

February 13, 2010 at 1:22 pm (Announcements) (, , )

The purity posts have started!  We hope you’ll join us!

Just a note:  We’ve tried to be chaste and careful in dealing with this topic, but since the topic is purity, it might be wise to seek your parents guidance in reading these articles.

Finding God’s Will:  In Sanctification and Honor

Am I a Cheater?

What Makes a Husband Jealous?

Observations on the Survey

Lust:  It’s Not Just a Guy Thing

Purity and the Greatest Commandment:  Love and Purity

Purity and the Greatest Commandment:  Love and My Heart

Purity and the Greatest Commandment:  Love and My Brother

Purity and the Greatest Commandment:  Love and Marriage

Purity and the Greatest Commandment:  Love and Matchmaking

Purity and the Greatest Commandment:  Love and Today

Purity and the Bigger Picture

My Heart in a Field of Dreams

Redeeming Love Pt. 1:  Megan’s Story

Redeeming Love Pt. 2:  Megan’s Thoughts

A Chaste Bride

Sarah’s Paradox

“Lord Willing”

Confessions of an Idealist

It’s Your Turn

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