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, 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, 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

Being Saved

The Vinedresser and His Shears

The Southern girl in me enjoys few things more than sitting on the porch and drinking in the evening breeze. I have a new little person that shares that joy. She and I sit on the patio and sing just as I did with the first two. After a few rounds of Jesus Loves Me and an anointed rendition of the ABC song, the Holy Ghost pointed me to John 15.

I picked up my phone, swiped to the Bible app, and began reading one of my favorite chapters.

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;  and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:1-4)

Did the Holy Ghost speak to you as you read that?  He shouted at me and told me to read it again.

As I read those verses for the second time my mind raced back to an old white house where I lived during my early teen years. In the backyard  grew a Dogwood tree, a huge magnolia, a small peach tree, and a grapevine. My mother would give me a pair of  shears, and I’d hack the grapevine to pieces until I could find a vine that was green and pliable. Eventually we were able to get a few grapes off of it, but they were small and sharp-tasting– hardly good enough to eat. 

“Read it again!

I read the first two verses again, and Holy Ghost shouts inside of me in His old, Black uncle voice “EVERYBODY GETTING CUT!”

I gasped “Lord, what do you mean?!” Talk about a pearl-clutching moment…

Those who bear no fruit are chopped off, and those who do bear fruit are pruned so they can bear more fruit. But the point remains, everyone has to endure the Vinedresser and His shears.

The grapevine I pruned as a child had been neglected for so long, the vine became dry and wiry.  My siblings and I would pull the vine in a tug-of-war match to get it free from the trellis. The pieces that were still alive had dry ends and needed pruning, so we clipped little ends here and there and any place that we clipped, two branches would grow in place of that one. By clipping those ends, we made more room for the vine to produce fruit.

By clipping our dead, little nasty bits, the Vinedresser makes more room for us to produce the fruit we need for a Godly, fulfilling life. We don’t like to be snipped and pruned. We don’t like to be doing reasonably well, then suffer what feels like loss. Pruning even leaves a wound in a place where we felt progress had been made.  But if we hold fast, in a set amount of time, a new area of growth and promises extends from that formerly dead place.

Here’s the catch.

If you don’t allow the Vinedresser to prune you…

If you don’t yield to His correction…

If you only focus on shining up the little bit of fruit you do have, you will stop growing. Anything that isn’t growing IS dying. The short dry ends will become longer dead wires, and the Vinedresser will remove you so that others may produce fruit in the space you left behind.

Selah.

You’re going to get cut one way or the other. Will it be to separate from the true vine, Christ Jesus, or to His glory and the yielding of fruit?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Image courtesy of satit_srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Shall I Have Pleasure…?

Sometimes God waits entirely too long to fulfill His promises.

Sometimes it seems He just forgets and sits our prayer requests on the back burner with the heat off while other people’s requests are bubbling over with answers and blessings.

And sometimes you are 99 with crusty, dusty eggs and only memories of how your husband used to fondle you. Then here comes this BIG God with His BIG promises declaring, once again, that you’re going to have a baby. Sarah laughed in her heart and said “Shall I have pleasure seeing as I’m old, and my dear husband over there is older than me?” Yes, Mama Sarah. I understand why you laughed.

Sarah used her physical limitations to indict God. She was basically saying “Look, God. You waited too long. I stopped believing when my girly parts stopped working. I still love you, and I’ll still serve you, but there’s no point in believing Your promise any more.” Does your faith and willingness to believe have an expiration date or contingency clause like Sarah’s?

I’ve been praying that God would send one of my co-workers her mate. I won’t hash out any details about her, but I will say this. It’s clear that long ago she stopped believing for an answer to that prayer. If the greatest prophet walking on earth today told her that God was going to send her mate, she’d scoff and say “Shall I have the pleasure?” She has decided to no longer believe the promise for whatever reason, and her lack of faith hinders her expectation of something good.

I didn’t think I’d have pleasure because of my former nature. You may think you’re too old, too big, too skinny, too– whatever crazy things us women come up with to judge ourselves. God is moved by faith, not emotion or rational arguments. When God makes a promise, He’s able and willing to perform it. Don’t disqualify yourself with unbelief! Don’t frustrate your own destiny with doubtfulness and negativity! God’s Word is true!

Should you have the pleasure of a Godly mate?

Should you have the pleasure of bearing healthy, beautiful children?

Should you have the pleasure of divine health and fulfillment?

Should you have the pleasure of a bottomless bank account?

Should you have the pleasure of eating as much chocolate as you want never gaining a pound?

Yes, and amen.

May we submit our shortcomings and limitations to the Lordship of Christ and allow His grace to superabound in our lives. May we hold dear to the promises He’s made always trusting in His timing. I pray this post stirred up your faith to believe that you shall have pleasure.

Read and meditate on the following Scriptures to remind yourself of God’s goodness. You WILL have pleasure!

Isaiah 34: 16
Numbers 23: 19
Psalm 16:11
Psalm 84:11
Hebrews 12:2

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image courtesy of bee.creativesolutions at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Uncategorized

A few months have passed since I wrote the post about the incubus and succubus spirits, and folks from all over the world (crazy, right?) have emailed me confessing that they’ve felt suffered from these attacks. Over the past few weeks, I’ve encountered some other sorts of spiritual attacks that are worth discussing.

It all started on a Tuesday afternoon. I was in the middle of a fast, and especially tired. I napped, dreamed about a friend, and woke up with crazy stomach pain. I couldn’t make it to service at church that night, so I watched it online and prayed along with the guest minister. I dozed and woke up around midnight from a vision…

I saw myself standing outside my apartment. There was no light anywhere except for at the door. I felt unsafe and heard people running and shouting up and down the street. I opened my apartment door and shouted “I can see you!” into the black night thinking it would ward off the strangers. Soon as the door opened I felt someone push past me into my apartment. When I looked inside, I saw a short figure with muscles running recklessly through my apartment. At that point I jumped out of my bed and began to pray. I warred in the spirit by praying in tongues for twenty minutes or so. After playing some worship music I dozed back to sleep confident that the evil spirit had been evicted. (Unlike dreams, visions are interactive. You experience them rather than just visualizing them. All of my physical senses were fully activated during this experience.)

Around 2:30 am I felt my body get incredibly hot. I tried to walk up the hallway to turn adjust the thermostat only to discover that I could not walk and could not see. I bounced from wall to wall until I hit my head forcefully on one wall and fell to the floor. I felt my mind beginning to slip, so I cried out to the Lord to help me. I knew that if I didn’t get off the floor I’d either end up in the hospital or worse. Thoughts of B&B being cared for by another sobered my thoughts and gave me the ability to cope with the pain. I crawled off the floor, turned down the heat, drank a glass of water, and passed out on the sofa.  I could literally feel the intense heat lift out of my body.

The next day I stayed home to recover. The stomach pain lasted longer than expected, and I could hardly eat the rest of the week. That afternoon, one of my girlfriends called to tell me she woke up around 2:30am and felt the urgency to pray for me until 4 that morning. What if she had not obeyed? My God!

Three other spiritual dreams followed over the next month, but thankfully, they were less intense. In the second encounter I saw a beautiful, but evil young woman mocking me. I asked the Lord who this woman was, and He said “She’s the one taking your blessings.” I had seen her many times before in my dreams, but only this time was it brought to my conscious mind.

The third dream revealed a large woman who monitored everything I was doing to the point that created a hole between my home and hers so that she could hear and watch what I was doing. I’ve had dreams of this spirit since  I was a very young child, but again, only now was it brought to my conscious mind.

This is a deep topic, but there are five points I want you get out of this post as it pertains to spiritual warfare.

  • God wants the absolute best for your life, and the devil only wants to steal, kill, and destroy. He HATES you and is working overtime to scatter the good things in your life. Don’t get it twisted… Any good thing the devil brings will end in heartache and shame, or worse.
  • When you receive Christ in  your heart you are saved immediately in your spirit, but salvation of the soul is progressive. Demons dwell in the soul of believers until we become free from them. Those who never receive deliverance find themselves frustrated in trying to live a holy life before the Lord. Many more, just don’t want to be free so they will not see the fullness of the promises of God in their lives on this earth.
  • Evil spirits come through a few avenues, particularly through family lines (generational curses, sins of the forefathers, promises and vows made by our parents, etc.), sins we commit, and sins committed against us. Repentance and prayer will keep these forces.
  • Spiritual attacks can be frightening particularly when we are spiritually strong enough to deal with them, BUT these attacks do not mean that God does not love us or that He has abandoned us. He is simply exposing the enemy and calling our attention to a serious matter that must be addressed through reading the Word, prayer and fasting.
  • Only the name of Jesus Christ spoken by those who have an intimate relationship with the Him can defeat powers of darkness. If you find yourself unable to move or speak when under attack and the spirit won’t leave, that is an indication that you must draw closer to the Master. The enemy knows who bears light and who is claiming they bear light but have no power. Don’t be like the seven sons of Sceva, try to fake the funk, and get that tail whipped.

There is more to come on this topic, but I’m curious to hear what’s going on in your spiritual life? Who are you seeing in your dreams and visions? What happens in your life before a breakthrough? I’m listening! Email me through the Contact page or at consideringthelily@gmail.com.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

Long before any of us have became involved in sexual sin, we battled unawares with incubus (male) and succubus (female) spirits. They come in the night to seduce us into impure dreams that we may eventually act upon on our own accord. What’s even more shocking is those who have remained sexually pure battle with terrors in the night as well. Even young children… YES… are tormented by these evil spirits because of generational curses or open doors in the home (i.e. pornography, fornication, adultery, sexual abuse, even strife, etc.). Wouldn’t you know that one of today’s most popular rap artists has on his album covered a forked-tongue succubus at the feet of his sacrilegious self-portrayal as Jesus? Heaven, HELP!

The devil’s tactics, age old as they may be, are simple. He wants you to forget that you are loved by God and one way he does this is by making us feel guilty, dirty, and ashamed. Sin and sickness often disconnects us from our faith, but what if we haven’t overtly sinned. How, then, can the enemy gain power over us? Preachers won’t talk about this. Alas, I have been commissioned.

Still not quite sure what I’m talking about? Let me share a dream-vision I had about a friend.

*inserts wavy vision and harp sounds*

He and I were discussing the possibility of a more serious relationship over video chat when I stepped clean through my laptop screen and into his bedroom. I was in two places at once… chatting with him and observing HIS surroundings. I felt the need to move forward and as I stepped into his bedroom my hair stood on end as I discerned an evil presence. In his bed was a gorgeous woman with smooth brown skin and long, silky hair. I was ticked. Why would he bother me about a relationship if our friendship was perfectly fine AND he had a boo? As I turned to leave the room, she opened her mouth and spoke the vilest, cruelest words to me through her razored teeth and over the forked tongue. This negro had a succubus in his bed.

Not long thereafter, in real life now, he began to publicly express that his pillow was talking dirty to him. Lord. Have. Mercy.

I battled with the incubus spirit regularly in childhood, teen years, and young adulthood. My last serious bout was maybe three years ago when I was seeing a fella that I just knew would be my hubby. He and I weren’t active in the sense that we went all the way, but we did enough foolishness to create a soul tie. After our break up I had a very strong sexual dream in which my body was experiencing the act all the way through orgasm. I felt horrible and ashamed the next morning, and so sick that I came out of the shame to ask someone to pray for me. Deliverance came quickly.

Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine tweeted that she felt horrible about a dream she had. I knew the Lord was leading me to pray with her, but my spirit man needed to be filled with His presence first. As I slept the Lord showed me exactly how and what to pray. I called her on the phone and said and did exactly what the Lord showed me, and as we prayed I felt fire cover me. Immediately the power of shame and rejection broke, and we both experienced the joy and peace of the Lord. This thing is real, folks.

I’m going to keep this as light as possible, but there ARE evil spirits who sexually violate us in the night. Here’s how they get in.

  • Through the power of suggestion – They seduce you with thoughts and images in your mind first. It can go on from there to pornography, masturbation, fornication, etc. If you’re battling in your mind, it’s IMPERATIVE to read and meditate on the Word DAILY!  The enemy is never satisfied with your first step into sin. His goal is to keep you going further into it until he has your soul completely gripped in darkness. Resist the devil at the entry point. He has to flee! 
  • Transference from another person – If you’ve been around some McNasties at work, some of that crap might have rubbed off. When I taught high school students, some days I’d go home with their crap burdening my soul. I’d have to pray it out and recognize it was  a trick from the enemy to make me feel as if I’d sinned.  I believe this can only happen if we are not wearing our  Ephesians 6 armor. So yeah… the Word again.
  • Through rejection – Often times when relationships end we feel rejected and dejected PARTICULARLY if soul ties were formed. The incubus/succubus spirits will come almost immediately to feed off that rejection and impregnate you with seeds of lust. My big brother and mentor in Christ explained to me that these three spirits (rejection, incubus/succubus/lust) work together to defile a believer. How to avoid this… Guard your heart diligently in relationships and forgive quickly. Bind and cast out the spirit of rejection (the strongman), and then the subsequent spirits.

If you’re having sexual dreams and you feel as if the act has actually taken place, then something is wrong!!! It’s not natural. It’s not okay. It’s rape. We understand that the body will go through hormonal changes, but be mindful that the devil deals in  hormones and thoughts. Sanctify your mind and your senses so you can properly discern a bodily function from a spirit’s abuse.

But IF this is happening to you a door has been opened and it needs to be closed immediately. You may have sinned, or you may be involved with someone who lives sinfully. Or you may be involved with someone who’s being unfaithful, and the spirit is manifesting itself in your home. You may have a spouse or a family member who moans and rocks in their sleep as if they were in the act because of previous abuse or generational curses. THIS IS NOT FROM GOD! We must war against this darkness, not in fear, but in faith and in Jesus Christ’s name. God wants us to be free from all guilt, shame, and abuse that comes from these spirits.

I won’t go into all the implications of ignoring or allowing these violations to continue as though they’re acceptable, but I will say this… Evil spirits are VERY possessive and will not easily let go if you allow them to stay. They also like to bring their buddies along. Remember the man in the Bible who had 12,000 demons (Legion) living inside of him. His problem started with one.

Just so you don’t miss my point, to maintain your freedom from these dark seducing spirits, we MUST:

  • Seek deliverance and healing from past sexual experiences including any fornication, masturbation, molestation, incest, sodomy, etc.
  • Put away pornography, fantasies, and masturbation.
  • Remove any sources of temptation including data plans on your cell phone if you must.
  • STOP abusing others for your own physical desire.
  • Turn off any form of entertainment that glorifies sexual sin and perversion. We are inundated with images and sounds that invite the enemy into our beds and bodies. Shut it off and keep your soul!
  • Cease communication with those who welcome these spirits into their lives through continuing sexual sin, especially those who call themselves Christians. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
  • Repent from all sexual sin and renounce all generational sins. This thing will attack your children if you allow it. Close the door NOW!

I’ve included a few resources below that can help you find freedom from incubus/succubus spirits or what some churches around the world call spirit wives/husbands. Ain’t that something right there?

 

A Youtube video of a teaching on incubus/succubus spirits: http://youtu.be/GHl4LXAYPww

A prayer of repentance and renunciation: Deliverance from Spirit Husbands and Wives

Audio teaching: Understanding Seducing Spirits

 

As always, your comments and questions are welcomed. Because of the particularly personal nature of this topic, emails are welcomed as well. You can contact me at consideringthelily@gmail.com. If the Lord leads, I will pray with you.

One final request, at least 3 people you know are struggling with this matter. Please pass this post on to help them find deliverance.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Case for Courtship

Had to be the summer of ’93… I was eleven years old and promptly budding all over with my big ol’ glasses and bigger gapped teeth. The boys in my neighborhood were starting puberty too, so while they were finally aware that girls didn’t have cooties, they still threw rocks and vile words at us whenever we walked by. I forget her name, but she’s my cousin’s cousin, and she lived in a bright teal green house one block  south from where I lived. This house was so darn fluorescent, you’d have to look at the ground  until you made it to the porch. I’m sure by now the chemicals in that paint have turned the house into a primordial soup. Ain’t no way it’s still standing.

On one particular day– let’s call her Tia– we ran to Tia’s house because the boys were launching rocks and water balloons at us. We sat in the sweltering sunroom and chatted about the usual eleven-year old topics. Then the phone rang. Tia froze and a look of trepidation crossed her face. Tia’s granny answered the call and all I heard was “Who is this? You calling for who? What you wanna talk to her for? Tia ain’t coatin’ no boys!” And she slammed the phone.

My heart started racing. Tia… age ten… got a phone call…. from a boy. And Tia’s grandma answer the phone. Ultimate fail, Tia. Granny stormed into the sun room and went off! She kept shouting over and over…

TIA, YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS! YA HEAR ME?! YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS!

Granny then proceeded to beat Tia’s hein poss (that’s hind parts in Granny speak) mercilessly while Tia retorted that the phone call was for homework. Granny wasn’t buying it, and since I was in the line of fire I ran home past the rock-throwing boys and past Tia’s wails and past Granny’s shouts because, yes, I could hear them up the block. Tia won’t coatin’ no boys.

I had to be all of 26 and married with two kids before I figured out what the heck coatin’ was, and even then, I only learned that the word was courting. After several failed attempts at coatin’ and “there-has-to-be-a-better way” cathartic cries, I get it! At least I think I get what it’s supposed to be in comparison to dating. Let’s give these meager bones some flesh, shall we?

In courtship, commitment precedes intimacy. That means before you start having those deep conversations about past hurts and future hopes and dreams, a decision has been made between the two parties to only develop a relationship with each other and Christ. In this way the couple can determine the purpose and timing for the marriage as God ordained. Why so much so soon? Because you only court a person that you would marry based on what God has shown you. Ideally, God will have already given the holy head nod for you to proceed into a courtship, but two people who are equally yoked and interested in each other may choose to enter a courtship with Godly counsel. Still a courtship is only as good as the people who are in it. Having said that, the standard is high and most bottom-dwellers won’t even pretend to take this on because it immediately exposes who you are. Easy peas-y… we weeded out the bad and the unprepared just that fast.

I’ve conjured up a few comparisons to give you a better idea of the benefits of courtship…

While dating says “I don’t know where this is going because I can’t see into the future”
courtship says “Let’s build our future together.”

While dating says “You don’t own me” courtship says “I’m here to serve you.”

While dating uproots the blooming flower to keep and hold until it dies,
courtship leaves the flower planted and watches it bloom.

While dating says “Let’s be together forever for tonight,”
courtship says “Let’s pace and plan our interactions so we can make this thing last.”

While dating demands trust without test,
courtship provides a safe place for testing and allows trust to develop over time.

While dating says “I’m a gift to you” courtship says “You’re a gift to me.”

While dating invites you to a person’s genitals but keeps you away from their phone,
courtship assigns value correctly and appropriately.

 

Dating works for some, but for the vast majority of us, this reckless approach to relationship-building has rendered us broken-hearted and underwhelmed. Players, predators, and commitment-phobes dwell in the nether regions of dating, and that is no place for a child of God. There HAS to be a better way, and I believe courting is it. I don’t know many men who would ascribe to this method, but that tells me I need some new friends because I am certain that this is God’s path to marriage for me.

Deep in the recesses of my mind I have a mental image of a tall man wearing a fine Italian cut suit and a long wool coat. He’s got one of those 007 hats tipped over his left eye, and as he approaches me he whips off his coat, throws it over my head, and shouts “You’re mine, girl!” Yes, ladies and gentleman. This is how I imagined coatin’ as a kid. Listen… even THIS is better than dating for me. If you wanna toss your coat over my head just make sure it smells good, and you put some bass in your voice.

My last plea for courtship….

Imagine how much easier it would be to open up if you knew that person was only interested in and committed to you. Imagine how freeing it would be to know that the purpose of your relationship was to seek God’s plan for you as a couple rather than to “just see what happens.” Imagine what it’s like to walk a path that’s already been laid out for you with red carpet. Imagine what it’s like to part ways with someone but still have full respect for them because they treated you with the utmost Christlike love and respect.

Come throw your coat on me, Boo.  Alana is ready for coatin’.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Audringje via Compfight

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Implications of Impure Christian Living

I can write volumes on this topic because only recently, after so many years of walking with the Lord, I can see where I lost ground in nearly every aspect of life. This, however, is not a pity post. This is a precautionary “you-might-be-living-foul-too-time-to get-it-right-or-else” post.

Let’s be clear. The enemy wants nothing more than to utterly destroy your life. For some of us, he’ll do so by catastrophic events. But most of us, he’ll dupe into a lackadaisical, que sera sera approach to kingdom living.  We’ll pat ourselves on the back for following rudiments that make us feel good, but won’t tap into the grace that God provides to make and keep us righteous.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart!
Psalm 24:3-4

 

Living an impure life amounts to more than just sexual affairs. It includes self-gratification, ungodly fantasies, emotional romances, manipulating and deceiving folks into being with you… need I go on? Anything that separates you from the presence of the Lord will  cause the following issues in your life if you don’t repent. We don’t eeem need to talk about hell fire here.

Impure living hinders or delays your opportunity to marry. 

Would you give a car to your child if they kept wrecking their bike? No? Then why should our Heavenly Father give us such a precious gift as one of His own when we we do not obey Him with our own bodies? Marriage is not “satisfaction guaranteed.” It’s an institution by which God makes us more like Him. This point stings a bit, but for every time I disobeyed, I believe I got sent to the back of the waiting line. No shame here… I’m in gooood company.

Impure living prevents you from maturing emotionally and spiritually.

The mark of a mature person is their ability to delay gratification. We walk around in our 30-something bodies acting like 5-year olds. You don’t need sex to live. You don’t need to touch yourself to relieve the pressure. Struggle. Suffer. Go without. Save your soul at the expense of your temporary body!

Many times men don’t “feel” the pain from the aftermath the way women do, but the Bible clearly speaks to the impact that it has. Proverbs 31:3 says “Do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.” Any woman that you sleep with that is not your wife has the power to RUIN you. Ask Tiger. And Kobe. And Mr. Clinton. Chances are, sir, you don’t have their money so just imagine the damage that  can be done. Sit on that for a minute. No… seriously. Meditate. On. That.

Likewise, ladies, I believe these encounters cause us to lose a little bit of our glory. After the last time I fell flat on my face I quickly repented. That night I had a dream that a dirty, old man chopped off a small length of my hair. What God was saying to me was that because I had sinned in this way I lost a little of the spiritual energy and glory that He’d given me. Can I get it back? Of course! But the cost is waayyyy too high for such an unfulfilling act.

Impure living shuts the windows of Heaven.

Tithe all you want, but God will not bless a disobedient child. His desire is not for you to have the best job, home, car, clothes, etc., at the risk of your soul. He requires obedience and rewards us with His favor, and then the blessings pour in. You can be super smart, super attractive, fashionable, and financially stable but without the blessing of the Lord, you will continue to be dissatisfied in your soul. God will withhold His blessings, and He will isolate you to get you back in line.

“It was good for me that I was afflicted so I might learn your decrees.”

Psalm 119: 71

Impure living blinds us to the enemy’s tactics.

Because I wasn’t living a holy lifestyle I married the wrong person. It was virtually impossible for me to make the right choice because I was so blinded by lust and sin. You CANNOT discern and hear the voice of the Lord when your heart is full of everything but Him. That marriage cost me years of heartache and turmoil and nearly sent me to hell. But God is gracious! He delivered me in every sense of the word. You don’t know what struggle is waiting for you on the other side of that bed. And once we’re in trouble, we run to God but the sin we were in damaged our faith. If you’re in this situation, trust Him anyhow. He can and will deliver you if you’re willing to submit to His will for your life.

Impure living creates permanent bonds to people that we have no business being connected to.

The original purpose for sex is designed to permanently connect you to another person. I won’t get into all the technical issues about the image of God and man/woman/etc. but I will say this… Having sex with someone is, in essence, marrying them. No matter what your mind says, what you agree upon, what your intentions are, you are making a promise to their body and soul to be unified until the parting of death. So how many people are you married to? Without the blood of Jesus and times of fasting and prayer we cannot be victorious in the breaking of these soul ties. I also believe we pick up each others’ internal struggles, i.e. devils. I’ve found myself grappling with things that were never a problem for me before I met and got involved with a certain person. I not only had to battle my issues but his as well and drive those devils out of my life. It’s just not worth the trouble.

My hope is that you not only take away the importance of celibacy (we get that in church allll the time), but also the importance of living a clean life all the way around. Even if we aren’t shacking up and putting it down, the pornography, masturbation, and emotional affairs still make us impure in the sight of the Lord.

It’s not how far you can go without sinning, but how far you can stay away.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for a pure and blessed future for you and me both,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Akiko Photography