Daily Articles

Celebrating Our Peculiar Selves

Scripture tells us we are to be a peculiar people:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9


And, most of the time, that doesn't seem to stack up well against our limited definitions of beauty.

Yes, we have opened up more variance with image, reflecting multicultural, unique features. Still, we often seem to like to fall back on what is widely known, accepted and comfortable. Ergo, for example, tall, thin, blue eyes, blonde hair, on Caucasian skin tones.

Learning How to Wait

The Lord is not slow about His promise.

First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!"... But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:3-5, 8-9

We live in a fast food society. There are many places now that have put time clocks at the order windows. If your food is there in less time than promised, you get a reward...a free meal, a coupon, something. We are not used to waiting.

The Lord wants us to learn how to wait, to wait on Him. There are some things about waiting that I need to learn. As I look at the many definitions of "wait " in the dictionary, I see these:

  • to stay in place in expectation of
  • to remain stationary in readiness or expectation
  • to look forward expectantly

These are all things I need to learn.

First, when I wait, I learn to expect God to act. If He is going to act, then I am not going to act. I am going to wait on Him to act. That seems so simple, but the fact is, if God doesn’t do what I think He should do, then often I move ahead, doing it instead. And, of course, I only make a mess of things. In waiting for Him to act, I learn to live content in the situation itself (Phil. 4:11), trusting Him to make the changes He deems necessary at the time He deems right.

Workshop: Acceptance the Pathway to PeacePremium Content

Karla Downling is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, Bible study teacher, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, scriptural misunderstanding, and emotional pain personally and relationally. Her messages provide practical solutions based on biblical truths that bring balance and clarity to life and relationship issues. She also desires to equip ministry leaders and lay counselors to reach out more effectively to those that are struggling with difficult relationships. Karla’s website is http://ChangeMyRelationship.com.

karladowning: Ok. Let's start off with a definition of acceptance. It is "taking or receiving what is offered, giving approval, believing, or accepting. It is putting out your open hand and allowing the thing or circumstance or person to be put into it and then closing your hand and pulling it toward you. The meaning of "accept" is "to receive as adequate; to receive with approval or favor; to take or receive."

The opposite of acceptance is refusal or disapproval. It is like putting out your hand and pushing it away. think about your life and the things you don't want; don't like; struggle with accepting. Are you opening your hand to receive them or pushing them away? I know for myself that I pushed them away for years and struggled with refusing to accept them. It took lots of energy.

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Learning and Coping in Recovery

There's a theory out there which asserts we have only two jobs in life:

    1) to learn
    2) to cope.

Spiritually, if we expound on this principle, we can see Divine Intervention at work, should we choose to embrace it.

The First Job: To Learn:

Scripture addresses our human need to learn. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 4:7, for instance, are just a couple of verses which tout the important of wisdom.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

And, again, we are in dire need of this wisdom, as Paul reminds us of our vulnerable human condition...

The Serenity Prayer: A Weeble Lesson

While sifting through my childhood toys, I happened upon some Weebles.

What are they - and what do they do?

"...an egg-shaped Weeble causes a weight located at the bottom-center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravitational force brings the Weeble back into an upright position... The popular catchphrase, 'Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down.' was used in advertising during their rise in popularity..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeble

As I was reunited with these toys, I remembered how, in my playtime, I often tried to put my Weebles to bed, lying them on their sides, only to watch them quickly spring to their vertical stance again. There was no keeping these suckers down.

"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

You better believe it.

Therefore, reacquainting myself with them in my adult life, I now view them through the recovery/struggle context and the famous Serenity Prayer:

Life Choices: Thermometer or Thermostat?

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

Senator Cory Booker, on an appearance of "The Daily Show," recently shared a powerful lesson with the audience:

"My father told me there are two ways to go through life: as a thermometer or as a thermostat. A thermometer: whatever someone says about you, you go up or down. A thermostat: you set the temperature."

Both the thermometer and the thermostat reflect life and its issues, including our stance on addiction and recovery.

And our choice has significant ramifications concerning health, well-being and prosperity. Each option offers its inevitable results.

So, it might be worth our while to ponder what those very results may mean for us.

First, the thermometer: its appeal is that self-gratifying moment. It doesn't require much work. You just let your feelings rip.

Meddling or Helping - Which One Is It?

One of my favorite television series, "Mad Men" offers up a scene in which one ad mad conveys this message to another character:

"Stay out of it."

Hmmm. Sometimes, that is sometimes spot-on spiritual advice, isn't it?

Meddling or helping- which one is it each of us are doing at any given time?

This becomes an especially valid question concerning our own self-interest. And, c'mon, be honest, most of us are EXTREMELY self-interested.

The entertainer, RuPaul states it this way:

"Someone else's opinion of me is none of my business."

Exposing the Adultery Pandemic

What is a pandemic? According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, a pandemic is an "outbreak" occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population. I would consider adultery to be of pandemic proportions considering the high rate of marital suffering, divorce, sickness and disease among a high proportion of the world. What do you think? Let's take a closer look and examine this issue.

If you knew of a dangerous virus going around in the city where you lived that caused fever, chills, nausea, severe diarrhea, and vomiting, and death to those with a weak immune system, you would probably stay as far away from the city as possible? At the least, you would wear a hospital mask over your face to avoid the harmful germs, right?

Adultery is like a virus but much worse. It spreads from person to person like a virus and if a person is not spiritually well, it will entangle them within its insidious hold and cause much spiritual and mental anguish, not to mention, in many cases, physical illness, deterioration, and death.

As with any pandemic that we learn about we always go out of our way to avoid the offender, lest we too become sick. Viruses become a pandemic only because people do not take the needed precautions in the beginning of its destruction. Sometimes it is because of filthy conditions or lack of knowledge but once we figure out the cause we avoid it like the plague, no pun intended.

Do we avoid sex outside of marriage? Why not?

Addiction & Mental Issues - Coming Out of the Dark

The creation story from the first chapter of Genesis tells of God creating light out of the darkness. Light is a symbol of hope and of new life throughout scriptures. The Gospel of John proclaims,in John 1:5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. The foundation of our faith is with God's victory over darkness. Darkness can be terrifying for those experiencing uncontrollable and unmanageable urges.

With God's victory, love comes out of that darkness and this love gradually draws us back into the light of this world and it's realities. For people experiencing a fixation on negative behavior, we can be instruments of God's love by extending care, compassion and hope to those who are still in the grip of darkness and despair.

Unfortunately, in Matthew 16:21-23 we are told how easily, even a disciple of Christ can become the means of communication from demons. Peter hadn't realizedthe purpose of Jesusministry as he spoke out, but, Jesus knowing Peter's words, spoke to satan, who was influencing the disciple's action. His verbal outburst was against God's will that Jesus should suffer and die, and without recognizing it, Peter permitted himself to become a willing tool for satan!In v23 Jesus rebukes Satan, who is darkness.

When dealing with addictions, there may be demonic influences that cloud the inner "voices of reason" and try to convince you that wrong is right, and that evil is good and pleasurable. These are Satan's dark angels at work. I have coined the phrase "The Addictive Mental Process" -- that process of thinking is constantly with us. Some of today's most respected theologians can help you better understand the dangers, but it is Jesus Christ that diagnoses and prescribes the correct action. The rest is up to each one of us, (free will) that will govern the behavior that follows. This is the only way that we might take back control of our thoughts.

Male Body Image and Eating Disorders

When you think of an eating or image disorder, what springs to mind?

If we're honest, often our knee-jerk characterization is female. A lot of us think disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are a "women's issue."

But what about the male gender?

"In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). For various reasons, many cases are likely not to be reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, and the best-known contributor to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is body dissatisfaction." www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Unfortunately, both the male and female genders suffer from distorted and disordered image messages and practices. Perhaps, males don't always possess the same behaviors as those of their female counterparts. Nevertheless, the obsession and self-destructive evidence is there. And, at some of its most extreme, it often manifests in the bodybuilding arena.

"...The onset of disease in males is typically triggered by a concern with bodybuilding and sport training..."

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