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The longing to belong is very powerful and foundational to our sense of self. But there is an infinitely greater pull -- Father's. He is constantly seeking us out and calling our heart to his!
"My son, give me your heart." Proverbs 23:26
When we respond to this call it becomes a homecoming. The prodigal came to himself while slopping hogs and experienced a homecoming that he never imagined possible. How about you? Do you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you belong? Don't allow anyone to tell you something else.
Make sure no outsider who now follows God ever has occasion to say, "God put me in second-class. I don't really belong." Isaiah 56:2 Msg
There are religious outsiders who will judge you. Their only agenda is dissuading your journey to Father's heart. As a matter of fact they don't even understand the conversation of the heart. Belonging empowers you to embrace and live in Grace. Belonging is the path to love. And belonging is bigger and louder than the voices of rejection.
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. (Brennan Manning)
Even the darker parts of our journey become a homecoming. In the state of belonging we can truly rest. Read the following scriptures and settle in to belonging.
Has your spouse told you they weren't "in love" with you anymore? Well do I have news for you. The saying "I love you but I'm not in love with you anymore" is a worn out cliché. It's not possible to "fall out of love" because you weren't "in love" to begin with. The excuse "I'm not in love with you anymore" is nonsensical. Let me tell you why.
There is no such emotional condition as falling out of love; it's a justification for doing whatever you are planning on doing. It's a way to let your spouse down easy. What you're really feeling and should be saying is "I don't want to love you anymore". It usually means that the attitude towards your spouse and marriage is not what it once was. Perhaps you are talking yourself into having an affair or perhaps you have already had an affair.
The person who says "I'm not in love with you anymore" is searching for a feeling.
The marriage has stopped giving them a feeling they want and expect to have. It is an attitude that builds up after months and or years of a lifeless marriage - a marriage that has no intimacy. This is why quality time spent together (intimacy) is more important than sex in a marriage. Not that sex isn't important, because it is, but that sex IS NOT INTIMACY. Sex may be a part of intimacy but it is not the whole picture.
Intimacy can be as simple as playing a board game or planting seeds together in your garden; or intimacy can be as complex as working together in a business or getting involved in a hobby with your spouse. But couples aren't doing any of these things together anymore! They have drifted apart, each doing their own thing. When couples stop doing things together they lose the intimate bond between them they once shared when they were first married.
Ultimately we are left with family. In fact, that may be why so many people get divorced or break up relationships. They are looking for the kind of stability that one should find within a family. Perhaps the idea of a soul mate even comes from this longing, the longing to have a place called "home" within which there is love and safety and comfort.
A stupid child is ruin to a father,
and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Proverbs 19:13
This proverb isn't about children who lack intelligence, but rather about children who are foolish and silly. Matthew Henry writes:
"A son that will apply himself to no study or business, that will take no advice, that lives a lewd, loose, rakish life, and spends what he has extravagantly, games it away and wastes it in the excess of riot, or that is proud, foppish, and conceited, such a one is the grief of his father, because he is the disgrace, and is likely to be the ruin, of his family."
Proverbs 23:24-25 states that
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who begets a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.
There is a reciprocity within the parent-child relationship. Parents are to raise their children to be righteous; children are to choose the path of righteousness. When these children turn their backs on the Lord, it is a great sorrow to the parents. Wise children follow the Lord and His will. Foolish children stand up in arrogance and turn their backs on everything their parents believe and taught.
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
Where to Find "the Rest of the Story" in A.A. History Sources
My dad (pen name: "Dick B."; main website: www.DickB.com) and I have spent the last 25 years researching A.A. history, and the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early Alcoholics Anonymous-particularly in Akron and to some extent in Cleveland. As you may know, in many parts of the United States, Christians involved with A.A. (and other 12 Step Fellowships, such as N.A. and C.A.) often get "yelled at" for talking about Jesus or the Bible at meetings (and sometimes even for talking about God!) Why? Very simple. Because the vast majority of members of 12 Step Fellowships today either don't know about the Christianity in early A.A.; or they don't like the fact that it was there, and in some cases are even trying to suppress the facts of its existence. What should a Christian involved with A.A. and/or other 12-Step Fellowships (such as N.A. and C.A., in particular) do?
You may want to practice answering the following three questions relating to your attending 12-Step Fellowship meetings:
1. Are you sure God put on your heart to go to a particular meeting?
2. If yes, are you sure God put on your heart to say something at that meeting?
3. If yes, are you sure you know what God wanted you to say at that meeting?
Think back to meetings at which you have been "yelled at" for talking about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and/or the Bible. If you can't answer "Yes" to the three questions above, why are you surprised that you got yelled at? Rom 8:31 (KJV) states: "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" The key, then, is to make sure God is "backing your play," by making sure you know and are doing God's will. And not merely "trying to do the right thing" or "faking it 'till you make it"! (And see, for example, Eph 6:10-17.)
Those with good sense are slow to anger,
and it is their glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
We get angry over a lot of things. To be honest, Americans as a society are pretty angry. Perhaps it stems from our idea of "rights." We believe (and expect) that certain things are due us, that our lives should include the ability to choose and have and do (sometimes even without consequence). When those expectations are denied, we get angry.
It’s also a form of control. Here in America (and in other countries), we have come to believe that we control our own destiny. We choose the vocation or profession or job we will have. We choose where to live, who to marry, how many children we will have (aborting the rest). We choose when we will work and when we will play (and we play a lot!). So when we are denied these things, we get angry.
We often couch our anger in morality, claiming that this or that is unfair or wrong. But if we are honest, many times our protests cover our fear. We cannot control the situation so anger is better than . . . trust. You see, God is in control. All the time, in all things, through all people. And while we all have free will, ultimately His plans will come to effect.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NRSV
This verse doesn’t say that God will only work out the good things or the things we control or when we are obedient (as opposed to sinning). It says that He will work out all things. And often, He works them out with Heaven in mind. That means the story doesn’t end here, on earth, but rather ends There, with Him. Hebrews 11:39-40a tell us that
What is a parent to do about all of the negative imagery splashed around in society? It's almost impossible to go anywhere without having some form of immorality shoved into our face. Negative immoral garbage is everywhere! It's scary when you think about how after a while of your children seeing the same sexual innuendos over and over it begins to form a part of their thoughts and beliefs. And that is where the problem begins.
Think about what negative immoral images have been ingrained into your child's mind? Can negative images make them think negatively about themselves? Yes! Young girls have been taught from society that what is seen on the outside is basically the only thing that matters and that being only half dressed is appealing and that if you want to be "something" you need to look a certain way, dress a certain way and behave a certain way. How can a parent counter such an alluring suggestion from the world? Simple, don't be that way yourself. Teach principles by God's standards and not worldly standards.
And this is where the teenage boy comes into the picture. He is only seeing what is on the outside of females and finds it difficult to understand, respect and value what is on the inside. Even church leaders have gotten themselves ensnared within the sexual lusts of society? What kind of a picture does that tell your children? What is going on when so-called men of God can't keep spiritually fit? It is a vicious cycle that you should not even be a part of.
Don't give up on your marriage! Porn addiction doesn't have to mean the end to marriage. In fact, it is time to nurture your marriage with the tender loving care it so needs and deserves. You can actually learn from this and have a better marriage over it. I encourage you to put forth every effort to reinforce the bonds of trust and love that may have been broken between you and your husband.
The moral outcome of a husband viewing pornography does not only affect him but the wife as well. A wife may feel unloved, invalidated, and sexually unattractive. "Why doesn't he want sex with me anymore? Why does he look at all those gorgeous naked women?What's wrong with me?"
Nothing at all is wrong with you! This problem has NOTHING to do with you. It is your husband's problem. Don't make yourself feel victimized by this issue in your marriage. Your husband is looking at porn and acting out sexually because of an underlying problem within his inner awareness that is still haunting him. He may not even be aware of it himself.
Most likely your husbands porn addiction is caused by something unpleasant that happened to him in his childhood that is manifesting itself within his mind. He may be feeling anguish over his past and for a temporary "feel better" fix your husband is acting out his emotional pain and feelings of grief through the use of porn.It makes him feel better emotionally and mentally.
** Are you having less sex with your spouse or stopped having sex with your spouse because you are looking at pornography?
** Are unhealthy emotions overtaking your thoughts and controlling the outcome of your actions?
** Have you tried to quit looking at porn but can’t?
If you answered yes to any one of these then you are addicted. Anytime we are addicted to something it means we are under its control and have become a slave to it. Does being addicted to porn mean you are a bad person? Not necessarily.
What it means is that you have a sexual temptation that you desire more than you desire the goodness of self brought on by God. You are allowing the sin to overwrite the natural goodness of your character. Satan is pulling at your flesh to look at porn, while principles and mores are put on hold somewhere in your mind.
Bad people remain in their addiction all the while getting worse spiritually and emotionally. Bad people don’t even try to come out of their addiction but rather revel in it and eventually get worse in their sinful behavior. Bad people don’t know they are lost, they believe they are following the right path already. Bad people are literally holding hands with Satan.
Some of you might be playing a game of tug and war because your conscience is having a difficult time dealing with your actions. This is the flesh (physical and emotional feelings) fighting with the spiritual aspects of your nature. The spiritual aspect of self knows right from wrong. Which way are you tugging? Did you fall into temptation again?
Emotions play a big role in our life. They are active and alive twenty-four hours a day, even in our dreams. Emotions literally tell us what to do with our marriage, family, job, career, self, and how we love others. If we don’t control the course that our emotions run, we might be heading down the road towards destruction.
Are you allowing emotions to control your life?
When was the last time you got angry? What do you do when your friend turns their back on you? What do you do when your spouse disrespects you? What do you do when your children continue to misbehave?
What happens if your emotions tell you that you don't love your spouse anymore? What are you going to do? Do you let jealousy and resentment tell you what to do in certain circumstances?
Before we can understand the full potential of our self and our emotions we need to understand a little bit about who we are, and why we do and say the things we do. How do we handle our selves with certain issues and particular circumstances?
What do we do when conflict rears its ugly head in our marriage? We get emotional, right? We lash out with anger, or we clam up in resentment, or express our self improperly. Are we letting our emotions rule our marriage, our self, and our life?