Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Day 1: Why Celibacy ISN’T Purity

Somewhere the message of purity has been diluted to one simple point… DON’T HAVE SEX UNTIL YOU’RE MARRIED.

Right?

And as true as that one statement may be, it’s pointed at one particular act and devoid of several truths. We love to ignore what’s not said because we can justify doing everything BUT that one thing. We shame those trapped in sexual sin or caught in its snares, but we secretly hold on to our private indulgences thinking they’ll never land us in the same (or worse) situations.

What about the M-word?

What about toys?

What about those sites those late night incognito web searches?

What about conversations that are impure?

Our thoughts and fantasies?

What about the things we agree to do in private that take us riiiiight up to that line?

What about the married man or woman that is being entertained in flirtatious conversations?

What about our rushing to the altar praying for a spouse so we can LEGALLY, but selfishly have sex?

What about the things we say, wear, do, and the pictures we take that entice others to view us sexually?  

What about the shows we watch and songs we listen to that ignite those passions in us?

What about ANY of these things are pleasing to the Lord?

It’s not about how close you can get to the act without sinning, but how far you can stay away. 

Read Psalm 24.

Prayer points:

  1. Father, give me a pure heart that I may enjoy true intimacy with You.
  2. Help me to take on YOUR righteousness and keep me from falling.
  3. Show me who I can trust as an accountability partner, and give me the boldness to reach out to them.

Photo Credit: N Medd via Compfight cc

Being Saved, Uncategorized

So I’ve got this little crush. I don’t see him often, but when I do, I get a little goofy, giggly, and swoony. I AM, after all, very much a woman. The chances of this crush blooming into anything more is unlikely, and I’m fine with that. Sometimes just gazing upon a handsome face and frame is all I need to keep me from hopping over to  homely mom status.

Having said all that, it’s easy to get caught up imagining things…

Oh, don’t play dumb with me, sis! We are notorious for taking a mental skip, hop, and jump to wedding day when a fine brother pays us a little attention. We long for intimacy, but we don’t want to wait long so fantasizing creates a pleasant scenario in our minds in the meantime.

But here’s the problem.

While you’re off in la-la-land rehearsing the what-could-be’s, your soul is busy connecting to someone who may or may not exist. And even if he is all of the wonderful things you hope, shouldn’t the tie be formed through natural human interaction over time?

Any time we indulge in vain imaginations, we become subject to deception. I started to imagine this and that with Mr. Crush, but the Lord quickly arrested me. “Is that REALLY want you want from him? He can’t give you what I have in mind. This thought pattern is exactly how you opened yourself up to be fooled before.”

Not to belabor  the point, but I’d like you to check your track record. How many times have you…

  • Moved the relationship along faster than its natural flow?
  • Made unreasonable demands?
  • Expected or hoped for too much too soon?
  • Shared too much too soon?
  • Bought gifts and provided services (clears throat) outside of the proper covenant?
  • Held on when you should’ve let go?
  • Made excuses for someone you knew wasn’t any good because you didn’t want to your imaginations to be wrong?

Now how many of those times did you make those choices because you were engaged with a figment of your imagination instead of the real person? And if you allowed yourself to get to know the real person without interference from your desires, would you have done those things? Probably not.

Full disclosure… To get my imagination under control, I have to read the Word DAILY and fast once a week. That way my soulish desires can’t outweigh the Word of God that is alive in me.  I know your preacher has told you that whatever you think about, you’ll eventually do… so uh, yeah. Let’s guard our thoughts!

Read: 1 Peter 5:8, Matthew 5:28, 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Pray:

  1. Father, help us to sanctify our thoughts and bring every vain imagination under the power of Your Word.
  2. When it comes to potential relationships, help me to be sober-minded and watchful.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 ESV

I’m writing this post to admonish you to guard your heart during this very trying season. It’s easy to become contaminated with unrighteous anger and bitterness. People will try you with their commentary. People will unfairly exalt the life of one over another. People will be silent as your blood curdles and screams at the loss of yet another one.

But God… He is still good! This is NOT His plan! Anchor your hope in Him, and you will not grow weak with fear.

Just yesterday I was watching tv and saw a big, black man in the background. My spirit leaped, and I thought “I’m glad he’s ok!” Just yesterday an older white woman snatched her young granddaughters from my son’s walking path as if he were going to harm them.

But God is still good!

I decided that I will NOT allow any of what’s taking place in this nation to contaminate my heart. I will not spew hatred. I will not cower in fear. I will not raise my son to be lily-livered and coonish in hopes to avoid white slander. I won’t do it. Furthermore I will not view whites, police officers, politicians, or ministers as my enemies. We are ONE nation, even if they choose not to see it.

Here’s what you can do to guard your heart during this season:

  1. Turn OFF the news and social media outlets that are grievous to you. Social media is a tool used to gauge your response to issues AND to incite issues. The systems of the world want to keep you in your FEELINGS, so you can’t think! Please please please stop watching and sharing the videos.
  2. Question EVERYTHING! A few times over the past few days, the Holy Spirit has said to me “Don’t trust that.”  Some things are manufactured to force a desired outcome. (Matthew 16:3)
  3. Pray in the spirit. The Holy Spirit will quiet your emotions and give you grace to stand. (Jude 1:20)
  4. Resist fear! Fear will have you making all kinds of bad choices. Hold your position! (2 Timothy 1:7)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (John 5:8)

Read Psalm 91.

Pray:

  1. I decree and declare in the name of Jesus that as my family walks in holiness and obedience to God, we will be exempt from the bloodshed happening in our nation.
  2. Lord, we pray for protection of innocent people and judgment of those who are targeting them through systemic injustice. 
  3. Lord, dismantle the powers that are controlling the air waves and devising evil on this nation. Let every evil thing calling for bloodshed be judged by the power of Jesus Christ.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Notice I didn’t say I found forgiveness because forgiveness is always available for the repentant…

But my heart was so entrenched and in love with the sin, I could not stop. Even when I was able to maintain my celibacy, I still dabbled in other areas of impurity. Because I was not totally pure I believe the Lord allowed me to become involved in what I thought was a Godly relationship, but within a few months became very tumultuous.

I’m telling on myself so that I don’t go back to that lifestyle. So there’s step one. When you’re struggling in sin and you KNOW you want to come out, expose the sin. Find someone to tell what you’re struggling with and that you want to be free. The enemy dwells in secrets, and as long as his agenda is hidden you’re bound. I remember calling up one of my guy friends who is married and mature. We had a mutual friend who would come by and “see me,” and I was tired of being used. When I spoke to my friend and told him what was going on, not only did the shame leave me, but the will to continue to allow this guy use me left as well.

That takes me to step two. Yes, I believe in accountability partners, but I also believe choosing that partner should be a Spirit-led process. I also don’t think it’s wise that one person know ALL your business. I have one girlfriend that I’ll call and report to when I see temptation on the horizon. She calls me in like manner. When pressing situations arise, I ask the Lord who I should trust with the matter. Usually He has prepared that person’s heart with a merciful word and guidance. Telling the WRONG person is one of the worst things you can do, so definitely be led by the spirit of God in this. If you’re in a situation where the person you’re involved with, wants you to keep the sin a secret (because men can be like that… chile) tell anyway. He can remain in his sin, and will likely do so. But you, my sister, must come out.

Step three… I’m so sorry for this one because it will turn you upside down. Pray this prayer: “Father, in the areas of my life where I don’t love you enough, teach me to love You more.” Not only did praying this cause me to become more aware of HOW the enemy was working in my life, but it also gave me the will to stand against the enemy because I became more confident of God’s love. This prayer forced me to obedient to what the Lord commanded or suffer the consequences. Consequences are horrible, but I will stay the Lord was gracious when I suffered.

Through these things the Lord worked TRUE repentance in me, and not just the sentimental “I’m sorry” or even the faux remorseful “I’m sorry I got caught/pregnant” repentance. Over time my opinion of the sin actually changed, and what was once so enticing has now become repulsive to me.

One last note… Someone needs YOU to be mature so they can trust you with the trouble going on in their life. Stay in the Word and in prayer so when they come (because they WILL come) you can encourage them to get back on track (Proverbs 25:11).

Believing God’s opinion and being able to walk it out is the true measure of purity. 

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:22 and Proverbs 22

Pray: 

  1. Father, even though I love this sin, help me to love you more.
  2. Show me who I can trust with this matter. Give them a word of mercy to encourage my heart to obey.
  3. In the areas of my life where I don’t love you enough, teach me to love you more.
Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships

You were fashioned in the image of Creator of the universe. In you is the essence of that Creator, and your expression of Him is unlike any other. Your fingerprints are unique. Your DNA is unique. Your quirks and idiosyncrasies… all embedded by the Master. You were curated to bless this earth with your beauty, grace, and giftings.

When you were born, you were pure.

In the context of Chemistry something that is pure contains only itself. Anything mixed with it may be physically present, but it is not part of that substance. You can mix salt and pepper, but salt will always be salt and pepper always pepper. Scientists care about this information for two reasons: they want to know how much of substance comes out of a particular reaction and how pure that substance is.

How much of you remains? And how pure is it?

I’ve narrowly focused on sexual purity because that’s the area I can write about most easily, but honestly, we contaminate our bodies with drugs and alcohol, both of which can open our souls to things  God never intended for us.

Every time you are intimate with another person you transfer your DNA, your essence, your uniqueness. You take on theirs. Without a God-ordained bond, you essentially lose whatever you gave. You take on something you never were intended to have. C.S. Lewis wrote that two people who have sex create “a bond that must be forever enjoyed or forever endured.” Selah.

Our words contaminate us. The things we watch and hear feed into our souls will eventually cause us to speak on and act in accordance with what we’ve taken in, rather than what God has spoken. (Matthew 15:11)

The enemy’s ultimate goal is to destroy you, and if he can’t do that, contaminating you will suffice. Outside of abusive situations, the one thing that stands between maintaining your you-ness is a choice to obey God and remain pure.

How much of you today is the God-curated you?
How much of you has been lost or taken in from wrong action?

Read Proverbs 4 and Matthew 15

Pray:

  1. Father, bring back the pieces of me that were lost in disobedience to you. Remove anything displeasing to you.
  2. Perfect Your image in every area of my life.
Being Saved, Being Single, Being Smart

My struggle with purity began before I can remember. Sometimes these things are passed down through generations and activated when a person comes of age. Let’s just say I was in full-blown bondage by the time I was 15 years old. And yes, I grew up in the church and in a two-parent home. I made straight A’s in school too. We get a little stereotype-y about these things, so let’s just clear the air right now. The devil does NOT discriminate!

I had a youth pastor at the time who was on FIRE! I used to sit on the front row, and he’d jump on the chair beside me and PREEEEAAACH! That Holy Ghost preacher spit would drop all into my curly ponytail, but I didn’t mind because I knew whatever the devil had planned would not work.

One night he preached from Deuteronomy 23:14.

For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

Again, this message of obedience as a prerequisite for deliverance is evident. CLEAN UP YOUR CAMP! Because the Lord is coming! He’s coming to deliver you! But would you have Him stumble upon your mess?

So I can speak in parable, or I can step on toes, and the Lord told me today that I’m not writing loudly enough, so here goes:

  1. Delete the nudes: yours, his, whoever’s. Get rid of them.
  2. Unsubscribe from impure websites and anything that has become a snare to you. This may include Christian dating sites because we know ChocolateProphet69 ain’t really in love with Jesus!
  3. That incognito tab is a trap, boo. Let’s be real. If you have to use it, it’s probably for the wrong reason.
  4. Visit your social media photos, and ask the Lord which ones send the wrong message about you. If you need help, ask a friend or auntie that you know is honest and discerning.
  5. End relationships with people who pull you into impure conversation. Even if it’s just for a few days, tap that “Do Not Disturb” so you can hear from the Lord.
  6. Clean out your nightstand. The toys gotta go! That little act ain’t as secret as you think. The sin shows on you!
  7. The clothes that draw the wrong type of attention… I mean, sis, you bad, but do you have to show ALL your glory? Those clothes. Don’t trash them, but hang them in plain sight and inquire of the Lord.
  8. Whatever other item I may have missed, but is tugging on your heart… OBEY!

Read and meditate on Psalm 119:35.

Pray:

  1. Father, make it easy for me to obey You.
  2. Give me discernment so I can judge my actions  and remain on the right path.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Today I want to highlight a freedom that is more liberating than any other, and that’s the freedom found in Christ Jesus.

As an American, you have the right to choose your own path in life. You can attend school, worship how you see fit, vote for whomever you choose, buy and wear what you want.. You have choices. Liberty is a beautiful thing!

But for all the liberation granted in this nation,  a woman can still be trapped in her soul. And what good is the freedom to be who you want and do what you want when you have no peace or joy?

Asking God for forgiveness may bring us back into right relationship, but the soul is still worn and tired from being toyed with. A tired soul feels loneliness and guilt when its deeds are done. A trapped soul will cry on its pillow, but soothe itself by going back to the act that created the pain in the first place. What a vicious cycle!

For all you can do in this nation to express your liberty, what good is it if your soul is sad, worn, and defeated?

Paul says it best:

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful;
all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
(1 Corinthians 10:23 NKJV)

Yes, my sister, you can do what you want. But is it good for you? Will it push you forward? Will it give you peaceful sleep, or will it violate your conscience?

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:23, Romans 14:17

Pray:

  1. Father, deliver me from the snares in my soul.
  2. Teach me about true liberty, and help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy.
Being Saved, Uncategorized

After my divorce in 2009, I was demonically driven to engage in sexual activity. I thank God for being merciful to me during that time. Even though I was acting out of my brokenness, my disobedience was a stench in God’s nostrils. During that season I really began to cry out to the Lord for purity because my sin created such a rift. I literally could not close my eyes without the wrong things coming to mind.

Some of us simply struggle with the flesh. This is a natural, normal, and common battle. For others, we have become demonically inspired and even pushed into sinful acts. The devil literally made us do some things because we yielded to his power one too many times. For the latter, deliverance is needed.

Now while I believe in deliverance, I do find that believers use it as a cop out. We think we have permission to act up until God waves His proverbial magic wand, runs the demons away, and only then, are we able to live holy.

But the Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 10:6…

…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

WHAT IS THIS?!

God will punish all disobedience, that is He will deliver you from the evil powers enforcing their will upon yours, but ONLY AFTER YOUR OBEDIENCE IS FULFILLED. You have a responsibility to obey the Lord despite the push to do otherwise.

God will not judge the devil working in your life as long as you continue to partner with it.

Have I ever told you about the time I farted out a few demons? Don’t laugh! I’m serious!

I was in a prayer circle before a service where my spiritual father was ministering. I felt the power of God hit me in the stomach and something leave my body. They went out a few different ways. By the time I was able to stand again, I felt lighter and freer. When I left that meeting, the force that was driving me to live unholy was completely gone. Every struggle I had after that was simply flesh-driven… a much lighter battle!

Before attending that meeting, I had been seeking the Lord about my deliverance. He lead me to have some things removed from my body (might share on that another time) and taught me how to pray myself out of temptation. When I enacted those things, I was able to bring every evil thought and every rationalization of wrong into captivity. That’s when deliverance found me.

Prayer lines are wonderful. We need men and women of God to lay hands on us to drive demons out, but those types of deliverances are not lasting without our obedience to God’s word. All the oil in the world can’t change an unwilling soul. Having said that, if the individuals laying hands on us are not clean, our problems are compounded. Been there too…

You can’t buy your deliverance. You don’t have to wait until some magical moment. Your deliverance is in your obedience. Set yourself free!

Read 2 Corinthians 10.

Pray: 

  1. Keep me from every evil temptation and give me the power to yield to only You.
  2. As I read your Word, may it fill me with the desire to do Your will and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Day 2: (Un)clean Worship

God wants one thing from you. Just ooone thing. It’s not your money. It’s not your sacrifice. It’s not even your sentiment, talents, or ability to exegete (*rolls eyes*) Scripture.

He wants your obedience.

I would go to church, because I sentimentally loved God, but my mind would play back images of things I’d done that were unclean. I would raise my hands during praise and worship and ask for forgiveness over and over. I would cry and enjoy the feeling of His presence. “Oh God, you’re so good. No one can compare! I love you more than anybody or anything!” Boo hoo hoo! Sob sob sob!

But God told me my worship was foul, displeasing, and unacceptable. How could He say such a thing after I told Him I was sorry? After I washed myself in the blood? Doesn’t the blood make me clean?

Sidebar here… I’ve met Christians who say God is never harsh or direct with them. They’ve never felt the chastising of the Lord, and if this is you, I have to ask… ARE YOU TRULY A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST? Because He chastens those He loves, and chastening does not feel good. Babes in Christ may get a little softer rebuke, but eventually the Lord requires obedience.

In the Old Testament, God required a blood sacrifice to cover sin. Abel obeyed and gave the Lord what He required. Cain offered what he wanted and expected God to accept it. This sounds an awful lot like the “God knows my heart” deception that’s running through the body of Christ. If you believe that you can continually live in sin, and that God will accept your [redacted] unrepentant self as His own because you SENTIMENTALLY love Him  or because you’re always at church working/tithing/giving, then you are deceived.

To God, love IS obedience. (John 14:15)

Offering unclean worship to the Lord is like leaving meat out to spoil then throwing it on the grill thinking it won’t stink. Not only does it stink, but it attracts flies and other unwanted guests. In fact, the Bible clearly says that offering our bodies as a living sacrifice (holy and pleasing to God) is our reasonable service, or in modern day lingo, the least we can do. Paul even goes as far to say that THIS is the act of true worship.

What sort of sacrifice are you offering the Lord? Is it pleasing to Him? Are you expecting Him to accept what He does not want? What does TRUE repentance look like, and how do you get there when you may truly enjoy the compromise?

Selah.

Read Romans 12 and 1 Samuel 15

Pray and declare:

  1. I will love God more than I love sin.
  2. I will be free from uncleanness and offer God a pure and holy sacrifice.

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Will Foster

Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

“You had to go through what you went through.”

That’s the last part of the story from my previous post. I chose to withhold that part because while The Vinedresser and His Shears dealt with the big picture, this post deals with a much smaller, more specific, more microcosm-y view…

Me.

This post deals with MY pruning process. And why it’s been so long since you heard from me last.

Sooo I had a baby. And she’s wonderful and chubby and drooly and happy. Her big brother and sister adore her. She’s brought a bit of Heaven to our lives in the most unexpected way. While I know you must be happy for my new addition, part of your brain probably short-circuited and recalled all that good Bible stuff I wrote in years past about living holy. Right?

Well I’m nothing if I’m not real, so I unashamedly confess that I messed up. I disobeyed and fell into THAT sin again. I sowed according to the flesh and reaped a harvest of disappointment, shame, and emotional pain. I went through the ringer on this one guys, but this post isn’t about my sorrow nearly as much as it’s about God’s redemptive plan and how He uses the shears to secure our destiny. I just chalked my situation up to my own stupidity and disobedience not really understanding that through all this God would mature me and set things right in my heart.

The truth is this. Had the Lord not pruned me, I would have continued to struggle with lust… and lust has incredible power to destroy one’s destiny. If you don’t believe me, look at Samson. My vine would have continued to produce bad fruit or no fruit at all which would have had me cut OFF instead of cut ON. I would never have the pure hope of enjoying a Godly marriage which I still have an incredibly confident expectation for. (Haha, devil! You don’t win!) What Satan meant for evil, God turned for my good. I am testifying to you today that I am COMPLETELY free from the bondage of lust, I bear no bitterness, and I’m enjoying my wonderful babies.

Here’s what I want and need YOU to understand. Pruning is painful and often humiliating. We often confuse pruning with persecution and spiritual warfare– these are tools for pruning by the way. But if you remain in position long enough God will show you what He’s doing in your heart. You will have to bear some shame. You might even have to hide yourself for a season, and that’s alright. But what you absolutely CANNOT do is remove yourself from the pruning process. It’s better to endure the shame for a short time than to continually live with an area of your life closed off from the Father.

Not to belabor the point, but I hear someone asking “How do I know if I’m being pruned?”

  • Has something bad happened in your life that you feel you didn’t deserve?
  • Did God tell you to do something that made NO sense and when you did, the situation ended up being uncomfortable for you?
  • Do you feel like you’ve been made a spectacle of?

Mmhmm. Stay. In. Position. Don’t make any sudden movements. Endure juuust a little longer. Two scriptures that helped me endure a full pregnancy and childbirth and taking said child to church with all the whisperers, etc., etc…

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the LORD. (Isaiah 66:9)

And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me. (Isaiah 49:23b)

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana