Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Way to go Kirk!

Today's Oprah Winfrey show discussed a very serious topic: porn addiction. Kirk Franklin was the highlighted guest discussing his former addiction. I must say that I was very proud of his transperancy and humility as he told Oprah and the whole world a deep, dark secret of his past.

As a fellow church member with The Franklins, some in our church body were privy to the fact that he was going to be on the show, and the body of Christ began praying that God would receive all glory. After viewing the show, I pray many were drawn to Christ by the testimony of Kirk. He claims that his addiction primarily stemmed from a misguided view of himself, and that it was not until he began looking at himself the way God sees him, that the addiction began to subside.

Of course, in an attempt to be politically correct, Oprah would try to cut him off as he began to speak words of truth in reference to God. There was even a point when a psychologist said that people who suffer with porn addiction will struggle with it their whole life! Kirk chimed in, "That has not been my experience...I don't have a taste in my mouth for it at all!" AMEN, Kirk! That is what the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you will do...Christ died on the cross for redemption! Kirk Franklin is a testimony that God can restore what the Enemy attempts to take away from our lives!

On the show Oprah stated that 47% of Christian couples say it is a problem within their marriage. Think about those who were not recorded in that survey. What about single Christian men? I'm afraid the number is probably a lot higher than 47%.

Did you see the show? What did you think about it?

What do you think we as Christian women can do to help our brothers in Christ wage war against the Enemy in regard to pornography?

Monday, November 28, 2005

The fruit of the Spirit is...self-control

By now our Thanksgiving left-overs are depleted. No more dressing, sweet potato pie, and all of the other yummy food. This year I was responsible for the sweet potato pies, which by the way were not very sweet. I'm not sure what I did wrong! I used a cup of sugar just like the recipe called for, but it just wasn't quite sweet enough. I also made a corn casserole that my mom usually makes, but mine just wasn't good! Despite my ok cooking, believe me, I did enough eating.

In fact, I ate so much from Thursday through Sunday that today I feel convicted. Now those who know me, know I love to eat, and eating too much is never usually on my list of conviction. I work part time at a small church and with one phone call today my whole perspective of eating too much...(even on a holiday) has changed.

Ring, ring...
I answered the phone..."Hello."
"Hi, my name is Jeff and I'm looking for some groceries, " he said.

After a short conversation I was able to give him the number of some food pantries in town. As I type this, Jeff is looking for some "groceries."

Have mercy, Lord.

My heart is very burdened for him at this very moment. I can't help but to think: Does he have small children, a wife, an elderly relative he's caring for? My heart is also burdened over how much I ate...and complained about the food I cooked, when someone I spoke with 30 minutes ago is looking for food! I don't think the words, "I'm looking for groceries," has ever come out of my mouth. For that I am grateful, because one never knows what the next day will bring. Will I make a phone call one day saying, "Hi, I'm looking for some groceries"?

Sin is sin. Lying, cheating, stealing, and yes, overeating...even on Thanksgiving. Galatians 5 says the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. God has given us the gift of delicious food, but we all must learn how to walk by the Spirit and exercise self-control. Even in the area of eating on the holidays. I do not believe the Lord wants us to eat and then feel guilty for what we just ate. If there is guilt, that is probably the Holy Spirit saying, "Slow down.."

So as you enjoy your next meal, thank God for His provision and blessing of food, but I also want to encourage you, me, everyone to have self-control.
Allowing the Holy Spirit control over every area of your life is a testimony of one being a true servant of Christ.

I pray Jeff finds a warm meal, and I pray that those of us who are blessed with food will not abuse it.

Friday, November 25, 2005

At His Mercy

If it were not for His mercy, would I still be alive?
If it were not for His mercy, surely I would have died.

If it were not for His mercy, would hope still float?
If it were not for His mercy, I wouldn't know where to go.

If it were not for His mercy, would I have compassion for my friends?
If it were not for His mercy, I would drown in my sins.

If it were not for His mercy, would I know Him as Lord?
If it were not for His mercy, my existence would be a bore.

If it were not for His mercy, would I see answers to my prayers?
If it were not for His mercy, I would not know that He cares.

If it were not for His mercy, would I look at things the same?
If it were not for His mercy, life would simply be a game.

If it were not for His mercy, would He have shed His blood?
If it were not for His mercy, we would not be loved.

If it were not for His mercy...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Taboo and Tinnitus?

"It's square, on a house, when you are sad, you look out the..."

"WINODW!" screams my Taboo team. "Yes!!!" I cheered.

We started singing, "We are the champions..." but it was a little too soon. My team lost by one point. We are all such strong competitors, that I must admit we were sore losers.

This weekend there were about fifty of us who got together for a Pre-Thanksgiving dinner. We had a great time of food, fellowship, and a friendly (or not so friendly) game of Taboo. Everyone was screaming out answers, cheering on their team, and taunting the other team. It was great fun, until I got into the car when I left and noticed something in the silence.


I tried not to pay much attention to what seemed to be a high pitched ringing in my right ear and when I got home I just got in the bed and assumed it would be gone when I woke up the next morning. However, when I woke up the next morning, the ringing was still there. I began to get worried as the ringing persisted throughout the day. It was especially annoying when all I could hear between studying Theology was: RING........

So being the worrier I am, I decided to look up on the internet what was going on with my ear. After a quick search on "Ask Jeeves," I discovered that I had a symptom called tinnitus. As I read and read I began to get more worried: may cause loss of hearing, may result in need for surgery, may need draining of the inner ear...

"Lord, God please help me. All I did was play taboo with a bunch of loud friends!" I whispered to myself.

After my reasearch I decided if I woke up on Monday morning and was still able to hear the ringing, that I would make an appointment. I was really worried. I discussed it with my mom and she looked at me like I had lost my mind! I got in my bed and began to pray, "Lord, you healed the lame, made the blind see, and the deaf to hear...surely you can stop this ringing in my ear!"

A little dramatic, I know, but doesn't God want us to cast all our cares upon Him?

Monday morning came. I still heard the ringing, so I got on the phone to make an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. I was not expecting to get an appointment before the holiday, but God in His grace orchestrated it in a way that allowed me to get in at 3 p.m. I did not want to go by myself, so my sweet friend Virginia offered to leave her job early to go with me just in case they started sticking needles in my ear, I could squeeze her hand!

I drove out to Medical City Dallas, and had a seat on the examining stool. The doctor came in and asked me some questions:
"Did you go to a rock concert this weekend?" No
"Were you exposed to a loud, persisting noise?" No
"Did someone scream in your ear?" Well, not directly
"Were you exposed to loud voices in an enclosed area?" Actually, yes

There it was. My doctor's theory of the ringing in my ear was due to the loud voices in the house. Can you believe that?

"It was only Taboo," I thought to myself.

He guided me down the hall into a huge booth for a hearing test. I had to repeat a bunch of words, listen to a bunch of beeps and raise my hand, and the test came back...PERFECT! What a relief. My hearing in my right ear is actually better than my left ear. Go figure!

So, my doctor prescribed me some medicine to take away the rining in my right ear, told me to lay off the cafeeine (is he serious?), and to remove myself from loud voices. I have started the meds, and I think the ringing has either gone away to a faint ring, or my mind is playing tricks on me..that's a whole other issue...

I guess next time I'll just stick to playing Spades!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Writer's Block

I have had the whole week off from school for reading week. I spent like two hours making this elaborate schedule on Microsoft Outlook of what I was going to accomplish hourly...Well, needless to say, I am about three days off schedule!

One of my favorite classes this semester is The Role of Women in Ministry. I have a paper coming up that is due. My prof wants a minimum of 15 pages on what I believe women's role in ministry should be. I have read over 1,000 pages on this topic...and I cannot write one single sentence!

I have a bad case of writer's block...

I think the reason why I cannot get started is because I don't know what I believe. I don't think the Church even knows what it believes. I am grateful though that my prof says she doesn't care what we believe as long as we are consistent with our thoughts. That should be a relief, but it isn't helping any words appear on my computer screen.

Maybe you can help! Here are some of my questions I have been battling with all semester. Let me know what your thoughts are!

1. Romans 16:1 says that Phoebe was a "servant," however, the Greek uses the word deacon (masculine, not feminine). Yet, I Timothy 3:11 qualifies that deacons must be the "Husband of one wife." So can women be deacons?

2. Whose headship is a single woman under? Her father, the church, male church leaders, or Christ alone?

3. Was Paul's advice to the church in Ephesus regarding women not teaching men (I Timothy 2) prescriptive or descriptive?

Can you help a sista out??!!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Circle of Sisters

It has been said that in a lifetime, one’s number of friends can be counted on one hand. I don’t remember when I first remembered hearing this, but for some strange reason I considered this to be truth. The repercussion of believing this lie led me once to be leery of women and limit myself to friendships.

God has since proved that old adage to be false in my life. I am so blessed to say that when I once could only count the summation of my friends on one hand, God has brought sweet, caring, and loyal friends into my life that exceed both hands!

It was about a year ago that one by one the Lord began developing close relationships with different women in my life. I have been amazed at how it feels as if I have known these women my whole life. Slowly, but surely our hearts have been knitted together through triumphs, trials, laughter, and tears.

I truly believe that it was through transparency that God has allowed this bond to take place. As we remove the masks and get to the real junk in our lives, it becomes evident how much we are all alike. I am so honored that many of my sweet friends have entrusted me with their innermost pains, and with that information, Christ makes my heart bleed for them and want to serve, encourage, and pray for them.

These ladies have been Christ in the flesh for me. Examples such as helping me clean my apartment when I moved out, to another hosting a fabulous birthday party for me, sending me an encouraging card, donating money to help me go on a mission’s trip to South Africa, calling me and asking how I did on my Theology test, giving me a ride to church when gas is expensive and funds are low, to another being burdened over sin in my life.

My cup runneth over…

These women are more than friends to me, they are sisters. One of the definitions for sister in Webster’s dictionary states: a female friend or protector regarded as a sister. If there are women you know who do not have a sister in Christ to walk through life with them, let us all be burdened to fill in the gap for these women; for I can testify what a difference a circle of sisters makes in the life of one.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How's Your Love Life?

This weekend I went to a women's conference. It was a great time of fellowship in the Lord and with my sisters in Christ. There were about 10 of us sitting at a table after lunch just chatting and catching up. At one point, there was a brief moment of silence in the conversation, and one woman turned to me and said, "So, how's your love life?" I was so embarrassed as everyone stared at me waiting for my answer. In my mind I'm thinking, "love life...yeah right, what love life?"

I must admit I was a little annoyed at the question. Not at the person, but the question. I have a cousin who always asks me that same question...I'm sure my single sisters know what I am talking about. Have you ever noticed though that no one ever says to a married person, "So, how's your love life?" Isn't that ironic? A word of advice to married people...don't ask singles that question. To say "how's your love life?" to me sounds a little superficial. It reminds me of something out of a soap-opera, almost fantasy-like. If someone wants to share with you about a special person in their life, they will bring it up. Trust me.

After the nano-second of annoyance, I remembered that I do have a love life. For example, I am currently in love with gummy worms, Diet Coke with Lime, Fresca, my new ceramic flat iron for my hair, and a new pair of jeans I got on sale for $19.99...gotta love a sale!! :)

All jokes aside...I do have a love life with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! My friends and I always say that Jesus is our main man!! He's better than any man though, He is Lord! He is accesible 24/7, holds all power in His hand, understands me better than I understand myself, He is perfect, and loves me unconditionally. Sounds good to me!

So, Jesus is not just a part of my love life...He's the Love OF my life!

What about you, how's your love life?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Apply the Word

I am very blessed to be a member of a great, Bible teaching church. My pastor is gifted at delivering his messages beautifully. I have heard sermon after sermon, cried, clapped, shouted, "Amen!" yet have I changed?

Today my prof said something very illuminating, "There is nothing the human heart resists more than change, yet Christ calls me to conform (change) to His image." Why are we not changing? I believe many like myself are under good teaching of the Word, but not in the Word for themselves.

In my Bible Study Methods & Hermeneutics class, I have learned that there are three steps in effective Bible study: 1)Observation 2)Interpretation and 3)Application. Many of us spend most of our time interpreting the scriptures without much attention to the third and most important step, application of the scriptures. My prof, Howard Hendricks says it best, "Observation + Interpretation - application = abortion." There is no life when this occurs.

This was so convicting for me. The Lord convicted me that it is not enough to be able to know the scriptures, recite the scriptures, but to LIVE the scriptures out in my daily life. I encourage all of us to ask ourselves, "Am I being transformed into the image of Christ by my personal study time in the Word?"

I learned today that there are many values I hold that are more ideal in my life versus real in my life. We are all a work in progress, but I want to wear what I believe to be truth, not just talk or ponder about it. One of the last comments prof made today in class was, "Conviction by truth is not the same as being changed by truth." Wow...

Every time I walk through campus I go by a statue in the center that says, "Preach the Word." Today after class I thought to myself how much more we need to "Apply the Word."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hindsight is 20/20

I love the church I attend in Dallas, Texas. Initially I was brought there by a now ex-boyfriend. After we split and he left town, I decided that church was going to be my place of worship. Life has moved on since the break up and much has changed, including his marital and parental status.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the sanctuary waiting for the church service to begin. Lo and behold, who sits down right in front of me? Yep, you guessed it! My ex, his wife, and the three kids (yes, I said three). “You’ve got to be kidding me,” is what I mumbled to the Lord. I decided to be mature about it though and not move…not to mention the service was about to begin.

As much as I tried to not let my mind go to thoughts of regret, nostalgia, and create “what if” scenarios, it did. By the time the two hour service was over, I had had enough of looking in on what I thought would be my life. Three years ago when I first visited, I envisioned myself sitting in the pew as his wife, with his children…but in reality it was not me.

Then the Lord allowed me to see things from a different perspective from my row behind them, which I would not have been able to see if I had been sitting on the row with him as his wife. My hindsight view allowed me first of all to see God’s Sovereignty. There is no plan B with God! If I was supposed to be on that row with him, I would have been. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Secondly, God allowed me to see that marriage and kids are a huge responsibility. As a single in Christ, I am undivided! In I Corinthians 7:32-33 Paul says:

“I would like for you to be free from concern. An unmarried man (or woman) is concerned about the Lord’s affairs-how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world-how he can please his wife-and his interests are divided.”

Marriage and kids will all come in its time…but now I have an opportunity to serve the Lord in reckless abandonment! For example, in February of this year I had the awesome opportunity to go on a short term mission’s trip to South Africa! So, if you are single, the Lord does not want you to be divided. Notice the passage says that a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world…marriage is important, and should be honored by all, but it is temporal. It is not the highest calling, remember! (see The Highest Calling article) Lastly, from my hindsight view the Lord presented me with a challenge. This was the hardest because it entailed something that I couldn’t see with my eyes…it involves faith. It was as if I could hear the Holy Spirit saying to me, “Will you have faith in Me with the details of your life?” Remember that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1)

I can’t see what lies in the future but on that day from where I was seated, I was able to see that hindsight is 20/20 after all.