What About Porn?

Last week, as the Chick-fil-A debacle unfolded, I read a blog by Pastor Perry Noble where he said:

…for too long the church has seemed to be obsessed with the sins that we do not struggle with; after all, if I am pointing out the sins of others I don’t have to deal with my own.

The rest of the week, I couldn’t stop thinking about why Christians are so hung up on homosexuality. Why are we so focused on controlling the rights of these individuals? Why this sin?

So, I brought it up to a friend, and he argued that Christians should be fighting for what is Biblical, not necessarily what is politically correct.  As a believer, I agree with that.

But here is my problem: What about porn? Where are all of the Christians fighting to stop the pornography industry? Where are all of the Christians who want to see laws in place that don’t allow sexually explicit material on the internet, where it is so easily accessible to anyone?  Where are the Christians arguing that the government put regulations on what types of sexual content is shown in advertisements, films, and on public television?

Where are the Christians fighting to make premarital sex illegal?  What about affairs and sexual impurity? God speaks clearly on these sexual issues, but I don’t see very many Christians working hard to control these sins that have destroyed countless marriages, relationships, families, and friendships.

As Christians, let’s not be so focused on the sins we don’t struggle with, that we fail to see and correct the sin in our own lives.

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10 Signs You Need to Break-up

Many ladies I know get sucked into crappy relationships because they don’t notice the huge, often-obvious-to-everyone-else, red flags. It happened to me multiple times. So here are some signs that you need to break-up with your boyfriend. Like, yesterday.

**This advice is based solely on my own experiences. Hopefully I can spare you from wasting another minute in a relationship that’s sucking the life out of you. 

10 Signs You Need to Break-Up

1. If he is telling you that he loves/likes you but acts like he doesn’t.
Guys are smarter than we think. They know what to say to get what they want. So if a guy is telling you all the right things, but acting like a jerk, he’s just using you. Really. A man who is serious about loving you is serious about showing you.

2. If he doesn’t respect you, your friends, or your family.
Any guy worth five minutes of your time better respect you and everyone who matters to you: friends, parents, siblings, coach, mentor, etc.

3. If his actions, words or lack of actions and words causes you to cry on a regular basis.
Some guys act like jerks and it causes us to cry. Sometimes what they don’t do causes us to cry. If your man is causing you to cry on a regular basis because you are angry, hurt, upset, frustrated, etc., it’s time to drop him.

4. If your best friends and family all think your guy is lame.
Your family and friends all care about you and probably know you better than anyone else. So if they see some red flags, be willing to hear them out; 98% of the time, they just want you to be happy. There’s probably a reason why they’re concerned.

5. If he lies to you about anything. Ever.
Lying is stupid and cowardly. The only reason why any guy would ever lie to you is because he’s too scared to tell you the truth. Don’t ever believe the “I lied because I didn’t want to hurt you” nonsense. A real man tells the truth even if it’s hard.

6. If he doesn’t respond to your messages.
Your boyfriend should want to talk to you. He should want to respond to your calls and texts. He should want to share things about his life with you. If he’s ignoring you, he’s lame.

7. If he says, “I don’t want to be official right now.”
If your guy likes/loves you like he claims, he will not want people to think you are single. You should never be acting like you are dating but saying “we’re not official right now.” That is crazy.

8. If you are constantly confused about your relationship and what’s going on.
Mature relationships require mature people. That means you tell each other what’s going on even if you risk a potentially awkward situation.

9. If he is always jealous. Or controlling. 
Jealously is not attractive. Any guy who tries to control your time or energy or friendships by pulling the jealousy guilt trip is not  mature enough to be dating you.

10. If there is any possibility that someone else could make you happier.
If you’re dating and you find yourself regularly wondering if that other guy you know would make you happier, it’s time to call it quits. A healthy relationship doesn’t require a back-up guy.

Good guys do exist. Don’t waste any more time missing out.

Not just a bracelet

WWJD? 

No really, what would he do? It’s not just a bracelet, even though it might have started that way. It’s a way of doing life.

Some dude just pulled out in front of you. What would Jesus do? Grace.

Your boss just called you out in front of your team. What would Jesus do? Mercy.

A lady from church just spread a rumor about you. What would Jesus do? Forgive.

What would Jesus do? Probably 100% the opposite of our natural, human reaction. This month I’m being reminded that when something doesn’t go my way, my immediate reaction is not to act like Jesus.

So maybe I need to stop having knee-jerk reactions and start thinking about Jesus and how he did life.

Called out

A few weeks ago, a friend called me out about something I said in frustration; I used Facebook to make a broad generalization that had the potential to offend others.  My friend, in a very loving way, approached me about it and suggested that my comment was not wise.

I’ll admit that I was upset. I didn’t try to be offensive. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. I simply made a statement without thinking beyond the moment.

But I got upset because I knew that she was right. I knew that she was wiser than me, that she had experienced more of life and didn’t want to see me make foolish mistakes. She reminded me that there are people reading what I write on Facebook, many of which would never tell me if what I said offended them. Instead, they might tune me out, or worse, doubt my authenticity as a Christian. I could be ruining an opportunity to reach them with the good things I have to say.

So, I learned this: I can’t grow if I’m not open to criticism and if I don’t allow the sin and junk in my life to be challenged by someone I respect.  I’m so thankful for my friend who decided to call me out and tell me I was doing something dumb.

Who’s calling you out?

True love stands out

Recently I’ve been more convicted about my spirit of selfishness than normal.  It’s so easy to get trapped in my own tiny world where everything revolves around me: what I want, need and feel. But God doesn’t call us to a spirit of self-centeredness and love of “me,” but rather a life fully devoted to loving and serving him by serving others.

I find myself on an hourly basis convicted about my selfish attitude and heart, and asking God to renew a right spirit in me. It’s so challenging to shift focus from being self-centered to others-centered, but I’ve found a few things help to change my heart.

Spend time daily reading Scripture

I have found it virtually impossible to love others when I’m not daily reading from scripture. God’s word constantly reminds me of his grace and mercy, and how utterly undeserving we are of his love.  Knowing HIS love for me makes it easier to pour out MY love on others.

Pray for those around you

It takes time and energy to earnestly pray for the people in my life and it’s easily forgotten.  But I find that spending time in prayer can shift my perspective, allowing me to humbly put others’ needs, desires and problems before my own.

Seek a life that echoes of God’s goodness

When I am wholeheartedly seeking after God’s will for my life, it is easier for my actions to line up with his commands.  In order to selflessly love the people he’s placed in my life, I have to truly desire a Godly lifestyle of kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness (to name a few).

Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love, says:

“The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans.”

But all love is a choice; it isn’t always easy or fun, and it is sometimes difficult and hurtful. But the love God calls us to requires complete selflessness, sacrifice and service, which goes against everything the world teaches. I want to live a life of love that stands out.

How do you selflessly love others? 

Three big questions

Lately I’ve been asking myself three big questions that have been shaping the way I view the world and live my life.  These questions have been rattling around in my brain, making it difficult for me to walk very far outside of God’s will before I hear his voice calling me back.  The past few months I’ve had an increasing need and desire to draw closer to my Savior, because I’ve realized I can’t answer the big questions without his continual presence in my life.

How am I different from the world? I’ve been thinking about how my life must look to non-believers.  I want them to see my life, the way I live and spend money, the relationships I’m in and activities I join, and say, “Wow, there’s something different about her!”  I want to live a life that forces those around me to be curious about why I stand out.  I want to stop giving the people in my life a reason to doubt or question God’s existence.

Francis Chan sums this up perfectly in his book Crazy Love:

“We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘I believe in God, just not organized religion’. I don’t think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live.”

How will I be remembered when I leave this Earth? This question haunts me often, especially when I think about the briefness of life.  I need to stop saying, “I have the rest of my life to live for Jesus.” I don’t want people to spend one day at my funeral talking about whether or not I was a nice person who worked hard and loved my family.  Although those things are important, they should be the baseline for my life as a Christ-follower. I want to offer God more than nice and working hard. I want to live a life that forces non-believers to question their lack of joy, love and hope and seek after the life I’ve found in Jesus.

What will Jesus say to me when I arrive in heaven? I’ve always believed that all Christ-followers will be held accountable for their actions when they arrive at the gates of heaven. But I’ve been challenged more recently to ask myself, “What will Jesus say to YOU?” What will the God of the universe have to say about all of the sarcastic jabs I’ve made to his beloved children? What will my Creator say about each time I stood in front of the mirror to criticize myself or pointed out the flaws in others? Will he even have to say anything at all, or will his Fatherly love, compassion and disappointment bring me to my knees in shame?

I don’t want my Father to be ashamed of me. I want him to be proud of the way I lived for him: enduring times of struggle and hardship by seeking his will, loving his children unconditionally and sharing his grace and mercy fervently.

This post was inspired by my friend and pastor of Victory Church, Curt Seaburg.  On his blog this past week, he encouraged me with this, and I hope it encourages you too:

2 Tim. 3:12 – “In fact, everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 

People are going to make fun of you.  We don’t let it crush us, we endure it.  It’s tough when you’re young, but it intensifies as you get older.  Here’s what I know, don’t worry if you’re being persecuted for Christ, worry if you’re not.  Because if you’re not be persecuted (AT SOME LEVEL) … you should probably ask yourself, am I truly different?