Do You Embrace Everything that is Permissible?

In the past two weeks, I've become aware of two pastors (same denomination, different churches) who are wallowing in self-pity and self-indulgence. Both claim depression and overwhelming personal pain. One used the term "burned out." A Christian who is "burned out?" Who cannot go on in ministry or service for the Lord? Oh . . . my . . . goodness!

On the one hand, I'm angry at these brothers. How dare they, as servants of the Lord and leaders within the Church, be so self-centered as to put their own desires ahead of the desires of the Lord? And, on the other hand, I'm filled with pity for these men who are so deluded in their beliefs that they can justify "crises of faith," doubt as it were, without feeling the least tinge of remorse or fear of God's judgment. (And if they are fearful, not fearful enough to turn back to the narrow path.)

"Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13

At the Pleasure of the Savior (A Big Recovery Key)

One of my favorite series I catch on Netflix is "The West Wing." While watching it, I became aware of a standard response regarding the president's staff: "I serve at the pleasure of the President." I don't know if this response really exists or if it was just for dramatic purposes. But I started thinking about the service issue.

When I was thirteen, I served as a waitress for my cousin's wedding. Thank you. Yes, I'm still recovering. Let's just say I was not skilled. I tried not to spill food, break plates and grumble. It was not an easy feat. So, I had a negative view of serving.

But, alas, it's all over the place in Christianity, isn't it?

Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name." Deuteronomy 6:13

"...what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul," Deuteronomy 10:12

"If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." John 12:26

How To Stay Faithful In Your Marriage

Did you know that our thoughts and beliefs become actions over time? The more we think about being with other people outside of our marriage, the more these thoughts will become our actions. Knowing this then, the first step to conquer infidelity is not to have the desires within our mind in the first place. Easier said than done? Not really.

We desire others sexually because we have been conditioned into believing its ok to do so – it's a mindset. We have been trained to desire others sexually at a young age, and we have been conditioned into believing it's ok to look at scantily dressed women and men. Our conscience may even tell us that it's wrong to actually commit the act of sex outside of marriage, but does our conscience tell us that the desire is wrong?

The bible definitely lets us know that desiring others sexually is wrong because it leads to sin, so then what is the problem? The problem is we aren't going to the root of the problem. The root of sexual lust is in how we think towards human beings. So then to stop the desire we only have to change the way we think about others. Are we really respecting others in the way that Christ has taught us to? If we truly respect another person then we should have the attitude to not think about desiring them lustfully and disrespecting them in any way.

You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love you neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:13-14

"Fat" or "Beautiful" ?

I recently caught a documentary on sex symbol Bettie Page. In it, the withdrawn, elderly phenomenon recounted her entire life, including her racy photographs and films which catered to bondage, nudity and fetish culture.

According to Ms. Page's commentary, she initially tried the conventional methods first. However, the well- known Ford modeling agency rejected her. Founder Eileen Ford, herself, flat out told Bette she was too short and "too hippy."

So, Bettie turned to the more controversial avenue, which subsequently launched her into being the pop culture icon she is today.

And, due to her influence, there are numerous photos flooding the internet, with captions including, "Today, we'd call her fat."

It's makes for a strong body image message. Indeed, looking at her image, what is our response? Do we think she's fat?

Likewise, there's the legendary sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. She was reportedly a size 12 or 14. Some even speculate she was a size 16!

Again, when we see her, when we are faced with her numbers, what's our first reaction?

She's beautiful?

Distortion: What is the Size of the Scale?

Distortion. It's a major factor which drives disorder, compulsion and addiction.

And, for those of us recovering from disordered eating and negative body image issues, a crucial centerpiece of our distortion is the scale.
We are ruled by it. We step on it daily, sometimes even several times a day. I know I did, at my worst. We feel defeat or victory, depends upon what the numbers say.

And likewise, in response to this scale obsession, we've also heard many a platitude about how "Your weight is not your worth" and "You're more than a number."

It is easier heard than believed or lived.

Nevertheless, our thoughts determine the quality of our lives.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

Put simply, it's how you and I see things. And for most of us who struggle, the scale has loomed too large in our lives. We have completely lost perspective. We determine everything solely by what it says.

Recently, I acquired a dollhouse miniature scale; it's about an inch big. And looking at it, I see how insignificant it truly is. I can hold it on my index finger. But it has no power to decide my worth, my success or destiny. I could flick it into oblivion with my finger if I so choose.

When Valentine’s Day Is Difficult

“I hate Valentine’s Day. I’m divorced, and I don’t have a boyfriend.” Jenny had stopped me in the parking lot of the gym to lament her situation.

“At one time, I also dreaded Valentine’s Day but not anymore.”

Jenny raised her brows and said, “What changed?”

“Let me share with you what my mentors taught me. If I want flowers and candy, I buy them.”

She raised her brows again but said nothing.

“I don’t want to be in a restaurant at dinnertime on Valentine’s Day, but I can go out to breakfast and lunch or order dinner to go.

That made Jenny smile. I told her about the times I scheduled a massage or bought a new outfit on sale. She nodded.

Laying Firm Foundations in Recovery

Jesus says:
Matthew 7:24-27
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

Matthew 7:24-27 speaks to everyone who is in recovery. At one time or another, we all have built our houses on sand. That sand could be alcohol, riches, drugs, sex, food, another person, gambling, anger, abuse, depression, the list is endless. And just like sand, these God-substitutes slip through our fingers, leaving no trace as we desperately grasp at them looking for something firm to cling to. None of these sand-gods provide a firm foundation. Only God Almighty provides a foundation that is unshakable. No matter how bad things get, God is always there. He never fails. Yes, at times we may feel He is distant, but that is a FEELING. The reality is that He is always present and He holds you firmly in His grip, if you let Him.

Afraid of Recovery?

But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us." So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. "There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." Numbers 13:31-33

Here was the land of milk and honey right before them yet the few men who went with Caleb were intimidated by it. They looked for excuses: "The inhabitants are stronger than us." "We are too weak." "The land eats people up!" "They are giants, we are insects!"

How many of us have seen recovery as a land promise, of milk and honey yet been so intimidated that we would not venture into it. "My addiction (dysfunction or illness) is too strong." "I am too weak." "Recovery will destroy who I am!" "I am too insignificant to even think about recovery!"

We see people around us who are not drinking/drugging, over eating, gambling, indulging in sex and porn and they are HAPPY! Others have overcome mental and physical illness. They are living fulfilled and renewed lives. We want it yet ... something makes us afraid--we see giants before us. Great obstacles between us and recovery.

When the Past Haunts Us

I often find myself going over and over the past,like when I am trying to go to sleep at night and can't because of these thoughts. All the fear and panic of the past creeps into my present. It is as if I re-live it all in real time. It can be extremely painful both spiritually and emotionally.

I have come to learn a few things.

1. I can always learn from my past and I think we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and missteps.

2. Satan can use the past to keep me in bondage. And that is certainly not the will of God. The last thing I want is to be doing what Satan wants. So, when these thoughts come back to me I pray. I ask God for healing in this area of my life.

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

What are you willing to change?

We're in the middle of cold and flu season; sickness abounds.

And, it's at this time of year, I think about healing. It's one thing to be flu-ridden, queasy, achy, possessing a high fever and wish to be well.

However, it's another thing if we struggle with addictions and compulsions; they are also referred to as "disease." With that situation, we're often conflicted at best and resistant and unhealthy at worst. What is our response to the question, "Do you want to get well?"

Hey, even Jesus asked the question.

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