God's Will for Us

I have been divorced a long time. What can I do?

I have been divorced for ten years. What should I do?

It is so unfortunate that you felt that your problems were so difficult and unique that there was no way to resolve them. It seems that you are now realizing that most of life's problems are short-lived and that on the other side of them, it is easier to see what would have been the right decision.

God: Better Than a Hershey's Bar

I love the series "Mad Men." Most of the time, I confound my husband by binge watching episodes of it on Netflix. And I've been especially giddy as I've barreled through season six. I won't spoil plotlines for you, but there was a particular scene in which the Madison Avenue advertising protagonist, Don Draper was pitching to Hershey's. Yes, the Hershey's, the famous chocolate candy bar.

Anyway, in this pitch meeting, Don calls the candy bar "the childhood symbol of love" and the "currency of affection."

Yikes.

Is Porn the Norm?

Several years ago, Faith Popcorn, America's foremost trend expert, hailed by the New York Times as the "trend oracle" and as the "Nostradamus of marketing" by Fortune magazine, declared, "Porn is norm." She was not endorsing pornography, but predicting that media technology would push the limits of what is acceptable and would facilitate a culture of instant gratification; thus porn would be the norm. True to her prediction, pornography has moved out of the back allies of the urban scene and onto the main streets of America.

While most Internet businesses were going bankrupt, the porn industry was raking in huge profits, making it perhaps the most profitable business on the Internet. In the past, one had to travel to sleazy backstreets to find porn; now, it's only a click away on the computer and on the remote control of the cable/satellite TV. Easy, private and nobody knows?except God. At home or in the hotel, porn is private, available and acceptable. Some estimate that as much as 70% of in-room hotel profits come from porn and that over 50% of hotel patrons participate. As people consume it in private, porn becomes the norm and goes public.

Whether it's the infamous Super Bowl incident or the recent Paris Hilton hamburger commercial, porn is seducing its way into the mainstream. The church needs to be on guard against this tsunami of trash. As it inundates our culture, it is also seeping into our churches. Shepherds must be vigilant and use the rod and staff to defeat this enemy and guard Christ's sheep.

A Reality in the Church

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God?

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God? Does it mean you turn your back and walk away?

No, certainly not. Surrendering does not mean abandoning. It does not mean you no longer care.

Surrender is motivated out of love -- such deep love for the person that you are willing to get out of the way and let God sit in the driver's seat. Admit it: with us in the driver's seat, things weren't going quite so well. There were just too many things we were powerless to control.

Surrender is choosing to yoke up with Jesus.

Breaking the Silence on the "M" Word

by David Kyle Foster
After ten years of celibacy, Jim (not his real name) had concluded that masturbation was his consolation prize - door number three in a world where the big deal of the day was behind door number one. "It was God's provision for single people and for those in sexually unfulfilling marriages," he surmised, concluding that it would be unfair for God to have made things any other way. "Even more," he thought, "it was necessary to maintain healthy physiology. After all, the Bible was silent on the issue wasn't it?"

For some reason, the Church has never found it easy to talk about sex. I'll never forget the time I was talking to some colleagues at a large gathering of religious broadcasters and was asked what I was working on. "I've been writing a chapter on masturbation for my new book," I replied. You'd of thought I had exploded a stink bomb. The man who asked the question visibly blanched and stumbled backward, exclaiming, "Well, why don't you just say the word!" He then furtively looked around to see if anyone had overheard the "M" word being said in conversation with him.

Have You Forgiven Yourself?

I remember the first time I forgave myself. It was about four years ago.

I had sinned greatly. Repented deeply. Did everything God called me to here. But I couldn't escape the torment. The weight of the sin was crushing me. I didn't know if I would survive. I didn't understand why.

I went to a dear Christian girlfriend to confess. She listened carefully, prayerfully, and said, "You haven't forgiven yourself."

Why Am I Stuck In Unforgiveness?

I have been on this journey of forgiveness for quite a few years now, and this week, God showed me forgiveness was not at completion. Not for lack of trying, for sure. But still I am shocked at the length and depth of the process.

I do know that some things that God requires us to forgive will be a longer deeper process than other things. If we have been hurt by someone close to us, like a spouse, parent, child, or dear friend, or if the pain has been repeated and protracted, or if the tragedy occurred when we were a child or adolescent, or if the trauma was particularly heinous or the loss very profound, the process of forgiveness will be longer and require more of us.

Like you, I have a number of people and incidences to forgive. I will focus on just one offender right now for simplicity.

I started years ago with the first step of forgiveness: release. Releasing the offender to God.

"Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

The Adoration of Addiction

Recently, I saw of photo of a clouded leopard, lovingly gazing into its trainer's eyes. There was unconditional trust and affection in that gaze. At least, I hope it was and not an entrée selection.

But, looking at that leopard's face, I was struck by that adoration look. It could be unconditional love or a food craving, but the emphasis is still the same. It can be person, place or thing. And that's the thing about addictions; they can also be person, place or thing. But the adoration answer is definitely there somewhere. It's the magic solution to our lives. It's the promised fix of "happily ever after."

That adoration look frequently shows up on Harlequin romance book covers. Someone is in a pirate's outfit; someone's in a bodice and petticoats. But when you look at that the cover, there's that gaze, that kind of "my life is now complete" gaze.

And that's addiction. It's addiction because it is a substitute for God, the spiritually driven hunger for connection with our first love. We may not even know He is just that. After all, God started the whole thing...

It's the Waiting in Recovery

Recently, I chatted with a young girl I've been mentoring. She's currently in an eating disorder treatment facility- and fighting her treatment. She has flat out refused to eat, drink or take any medication. She's been closely monitored, mainly due to a recent episode in which she swallowed glass.

Yes, you heard me right; she swallowed glass.

I asked her what brought this on and she responded she wanted to feel pain and she was tired of waiting for her recovery. I don't think it has sunken in that recovery is very much a process, not an instant cure.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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