Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Like A Child

I don’t like being humbled.  I don’t like not being able to do things on my own.  I don’t like stumbling and falling like a child.  But that’s what I have been forced to do with a couple of areas of my life in which I habitually sin.   God is helping me learn to walk in freedom from them, and like a little child, I stumble and fall.  I skin my knees and I get gravel embedded into my hands.  It hurts and it sucks.  I don’t want to learn to walk, I want to run already.  And like a child, I don’t want to accept His hand, I want to push it away.  I choose to grab onto other things to steady myself, rather than walk the hard road of dependence on Him.   But I will never find real balance grabbing on to those other things.  I will never learn to walk in Him as long as I am grabbing anything other than His hand. 

It’s funny how you can have a “quiet time” without actually having a quiet time.  How you can sit at the table and open your Bible or your devotional and just be glazing right over having actual time with God.  You’re reading but not really receiving.  You’re yawning and fighting the temptation to do other things. 

It’s also funny how often this sort of “quiet time” correlates to you allowing sin into your life.  Pride. Not admitting that you are a child and you need His help.  Not grabbing onto His hand that fights for you, pleads for you, created you.  Allowing yourself to grab other things and justifying or ignoring the fact that they are sins.  Sins that you were, at one point, aware of and trying to crucify.  Sins you were willing to go through the difficult process to remove, humbling yourself like a child to be healed.  But suddenly, or maybe gradually, your heart shifted.  You weren’t willing to stumble and fall and trust God throughout the process.   You didn’t give yourself the grace to learn, nor did you admit the dependence on God you needed.  And so, you have slipped back into yourself rather than Him.  Sin crept in.  And quiet times just don’t seem to have the same significance...

The brutal truth:  What is the point of the cross if not to give Him our EVERYTHING?  Our whole hearts and minds and strengths and souls and SINS at the foot of the cross, where Jesus bled out and died.  Where He was CRUCIFIED to give us the hand that heals us.  It is almost not worth it to have a quiet time unless we are willing to surrender it all.  Everything.  Because if our sin is more valuable to us than His awful death, we may as well just hang on to it instead.

But I say “almost” not worth it because I know He fights for us even when we hold on to our sins, that He waits for us to turn to Him with unlimited patience.  Such a gentleman is our God.  Slow to anger, quick to forgive, always compassionate...always loving us despite us.  And there is value in going to Him exactly where we are, even if we’re not willing to surrender, even when we raise our stiff necks to Him.  When we clench our fists in anger, when we fight Him tooth and nail, and when we slip into the passively mundane.  Rebellion, defiance, complacence.  Because He brings us to the TRUTH eventually.  And eventually, hopefully, we are willing to hear it.

Oh, how good it feels when we finally let go of sin.  What new life is breathed into our time with Him. Such a sweet surrender when we trust Him at His WORD.  A little scary…a leap off of a mountain.  But as the air flows in our faces, we feel His freedom.  We feel ALIVE again, like a stream of water has touched the desert place of our hearts, where we may not have even realized how parched we were.  That living water is a humble place of repentance that only He can bring so directly, but also so lovingly.

I will become like a child.  I will humble myself like a child.  I will give myself the grace He wants to give me when I fall, but I will also be willing to stumble and fall and make sure that I do this the right way.  Not be prideful enough to think that I have my own methods to “cure” my sin.  Not be avoiding the road He has planned for me.  My father in heaven is the only one that can guide me down this road, pick me up and dust off my knees when I fall, and lead me to streams of living water.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Leo's Gift


I didn't really want to give away my first electric guitar.  Even though it was an Ibanez "shredder" guitar, designed for a style that I don't really play much anymore, it was very sentimental to me.  I had owned it since I was 14 or 15 years old, and it had been with me for all the many changes of my life.  I had moved it with me when I moved to different parts of Texas at least 4 or 5 times. I thought I would always keep it, even if it was just a nostalgic conversation piece in the closet. So, when I sensed God leading me to dust it off, get it fixed up, and give it away, I was immediately resistant.  Awwwe, man.  God.  It was my first guitar!!  I whined a little to Him and pushed back on the thought of giving it away, but I knew it was what He wanted me to do.  Because if it was just an extra guitar and didn't mean anything to me, what kind of gift would it be?  My leftovers or whatever I "could spare" wouldn't mean much.  But to give something that, in all honesty, I really wanted to keep, something that hurt a little to give away and was really a sacrifice, that means something.  To God and to the recipient.  Ok ok OK, God.  I'll do it.

I planned to give it to the youth pastor at Hope 4 Honduras, who is also a wonderful guitar player and worship leader.  But the thing was, I found out right before going that the youth pastor had gotten a job elsewhere and was no longer at the mission.  Well, who would I give it to now, God? I debated about even bringing the guitar at all, but I remembered what God had told me and decided to bring it after all.  I didn't know who I would give it to, but I had my eyes open for an opportunity.

Shortly after arriving in Honduras, I ran into Leo.  I had forgotten about this guitarist. ^_^ Leo works at the mission as an IT guy and also does security there, and he happens to be a killer metal guitar player.  The dude has a testimony you wouldn't believe of being redeemed by an all powerful God.  He was raised in an environment where Satanic activity, black magic, and witchcraft was the norm.  Before Christ, he was involved in all sorts of darkness and played music for the Enemy rather than God.  In the 90's, he was in a band called "Blasphemy."  But when he came to the Lord, he entered onto a journey when it came to music.  The Lord led him to put down his guitar for a long time as he healed from his former life.  God showed him his motives were more for his own glory and recognition rather than God's.  So, after some years of soul searching and transformation, Leo pondered whether or not it would be ok to pick up the guitar again.  Someone bought him one as a gift, an acoustic guitar, but he sensed he was not ready to perform yet.  This time, he promised himself, his performance had to be for an audience of one.  He loved metal and he loved to play live, but he wanted to make sure that his motives were pure, that it was for God's glory and His alone.

We sat on the patio as he was telling me about all of this, and he had a fire in his eyes when he told me that just recently, he felt like God was telling him he was ready.  He had scheduled some time in the recording studio, only a few weeks from then.  He was trying to get a group of guys together to form a Christian metal band, hopefully being able to bring Christ to the dark places of the metal scene.  His goal was to be able to minister to those musicians as well, sharing his testimony, sharing the glory of God for his redeemed life.  The only thing he needed was an electric guitar, which he was planning on buying.  He didn't have much money, but he was hoping to be able to find something that would work.  I asked him the brand and type of guitar he would get if he had the choice, if he had more money, and when he said "Ibanez" and started describing the characteristics of the guitar I had brought, I knew it was time.   

After I told him the story of how the guitar got there, and the two of us in awe.
Leo playing his new gift from God

I will never...EVER get over how specific His love is for us.  Down to the brand and the type of gift He would love to give us.  I love how personal is His touch.  I will never get over how He provides us with more than we can ask or imagine, at exactly the right time.  I told Leo that this was His affirmation, that this was God telling him beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was, indeed, ready.

Leo is running with it.  He has been jamming and recording, and has decided to call his project "Memra," which loosely means "Word of the Lord."  In Aramaic, it is a word used in the Bible to describe when the Lord's power is physically manifested, when God's power comes alive in the physical world, as it will with Leo's music.  To God be the glory for what He does with Leo and His gift.  We are so excited to see.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Ground


There is no room for pride in the kingdom of God.

If there is anything He has been teaching me lately, it is an accurate view of myself.  In the past few years, I have thought of myself as broken, at times.  Flawed.  Messed up in some ways.  But I was only scratching the surface of truth.  Now, I think He has shown me the heart of the matter.

My testimony is pretty amazing.  I know it.  Not many people can say that God changed their sexual identity, but I have lived it.  And I know it was only Him who could do such a miraculous feat, but there's this piece of me that wants to steal His glory.  I want to take partial credit for my life transformation.  To God be the glory... I say.  But truth be known, I have a pride problem.  I am proud in myself, proud of my ability to have made that change.

Without me even really realizing it, pride had crept in.  I felt like I had had such amazing growth in Christ to come out of my former life, maybe the rest of me wasn't too terrible.  There wasn't any need for earth shattering, fire refining sanctification, not anymore.  I had my issues, but I was doing pretty good, at least comparatively.  That was up until just recently, when I finally felt the conviction of a sin struggle, one that I had finally decided to surrender.  Not really because I wanted to follow Christ instead, but because I wanted to quit experiencing negative consequences.  It turned out to be about so much more than the outward struggle, as it often is...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

Poor in spirit doesn't mean we're sad or brokenhearted, it means we acknowledge how much we need him.  How impoverished we are without Him.

And with this recent sin struggle which is so terrifying to try to lose control of, I am on my face.  It makes me smile a little bittersweetly.  I guess I had been so absorbed with pride that I just hadn't been here in awhile...hadn't fallen on my knees and acknowledged who I am.  Not Krissy who "mostly" has it together.  Not Krissy who is self sufficient and wise and spiritual and serves at the church.  Not Krissy who is a small group leader and who is mostly a morally good person.

Krissy who is a wretched, evil woman.  Whose motivations in her heart of hearts are just vile.  Krissy who is a wicked sinner, building her own kingdoms and image and believing her gospel of Self.  Hopeless, helpless, useless, and, in truth, utterly nothing without Him.  Krissy who knows she must make herself Nothing.


Rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!  Philippians 2:7-8

Sin is a cancer.  We give in to it a little, and it creeps its way into desolate corners.  We feed the flesh, and it always begs for more, never to be satisfied.  And suddenly, before we know it, those areas of sin that "aren't so bad" have metastasized and are deep into the process of killing our souls.  Killing our intimacy with God and warping our minds.  Inch by inch.  More and more of us, less and less of Him.

But then occasionally, a beam of light breaks through, as clear as day.  Revelation happens, and we realize the wretchedness of our sin and ourselves.  Or maybe we get so sick of suffering the consequences of the sin that we are finally to a point where we want to surrender it.  However it happens when we make the choice to do chemo, it is the start of God breaking new, fresh ground in our hearts.

It is terrifyingly awesome.  Like free falling off of a mountain and trusting that something will catch us.  Many people don't take the leap off the mountain at all.  Many continue to trust in themselves, and as a result, don't realize how miserable they really are.  Life is too short for that, but people live in bondage for years because they have become comfortable with sin.  Familiar.  And their strongholds keep them from the freedom in Christ.

There is a scene in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."  Indy is trying to cross a chasm carved into rock and it's 50 feet wide.  He is told it is a "leap of faith," but the chasm is wider than any man could jump.  And he is breathing heavy and sweating and clearly fearful, realizing that he won't be able to do it.  It is terrifying and unfamiliar. But instead of turning around and giving up, and instead of trying to take the leap with all of his own might, he takes one. Baby. Step.  And his faith upholds him.

There is a Switchfoot song called "Always," and it is a lovesong between God and the subject of the song.  It talks about how God continuously offers Himself to us, that He is always ours, every step of our lives, that His grace is always ours for the taking.  And in the end, the man in the song has this revelation:

Hallelujah....I'm caving in.  Hallelujah, I'm in love again.  Allelujah, I'm a wretched man.  Hallelujah, every breath is a second chance.  

How perfectly this captures the bittersweetness of sanctification.  We feel like we're caving in, but we fall deeper in love with Christ. We have the realization of our wretchedness, but at the same time, we know what grace means: every breath is a second chance. HALLELUJAH.

There is a war going on for my heart, but my Father is breaking new ground. I am free falling off of the mountain, I am trying to take baby steps, and I'm caving in.  But it is a good thing.  A painful but freeing thing.  I will not give up and I will not go back to my flesh.  I am fighting.

Oh, and one more thing. 

"For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)  

I pray I would never again think that I have it together.  I pray I might always recognize my need to pursue more of Him, less of me. May I always rely on Christ alone, knowing the wretched woman I am apart from Him.  May I know nothing, be nothing, make myself nothing, express nothing BUT Him and Him crucified.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Food Fight


I guess I have somewhat made peace with the fact that I will never be one of those "stick skinny" sort of girls.  I actually don't want to look that way...I do think muscle looks good and I desire to be fit and healthy, but my problem is obsession.  I have this obsession and unrealistic expectation for me to remain the same weight I was in high school for my whole life.  And I buy into the world’s mentality that I should!!  I buy into the world’s mentality about being strong and fit and healthy and looking like a million bucks and making sure that every picture I ever post of myself on social media has me looking as good as I ever do.  No flab, no neck wrinkles.  And heaven forbid anyone tag me in an unflattering picture of myself on Facebook that is up for more than 5 minutes.  I continue to guard and protect this image of myself, an image of what could be me, an image that I know comes from me and not God.  



The hilarious thing…the saddening thing, the maddening thing, is that I know I will never meet that image.  Because just as I get close to it, it will always elude me.  I know, because I have been in really good shape and mostly happy with my body, only to think “Ya know? I really would like to lose just another 5 pounds.” Then, I would be happy.  It’s like right when I think I am going to drink from that water of satisfaction, I only see more cracks in the cistern where the water is leaking out.  And I know...I KNOW that I will never ever be satisfied with drinking from that cistern.  Never.  I will never find satisfaction in my flesh. Deep down, in places that are so deep in my soul only God really knows, I know my flesh always deceives me.  The more we feed the flesh, the more it wants. 


I lament at the wasted time I have spent on vanity. On me following my rules and failing over and over again miserably for years, rather than just trusting HimI have spent years, that’s right YEARS, obsessing over the 10 or so pounds I have gained in the last 5 years, and worrying about it and how do I get it off and what kind of crazy rule following and diet restrictions can I follow to get it off.  Reading for hours on the internet about food and diets and exercise and the latest research and nutrition info.  Restricting and rule following and then swinging to the other end of the pendulum, eating too much and cramming down whatever sweets and unhealthy things I can get my hands on.  Sinful, obsessive food issues at their finest.


The word of God:

 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)


And what He spoke to my heart:


Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, (we died to this world, we are not ruled by anything of the earth) why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: (why do we allow ourselves to be mastered by diets or food restrictions?) “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? (every diet EVER has "do nots") These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. (Diets will fail because they are based on HUMAN COMMANDS AND TEACHINGS, not the wisdom or FREEDOM of Christ.) Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, (there is all kinds of nutritional info and restrictions that seem legit) with their self-imposed worship, (they help us worship the rules and OUR OWN BODIES rather than the rule maker, the MAKER of our bodies) their false humility ("_____ diet helped me" instead of giving the credit and strength for good health to God) and their harsh treatment of the body, (Restricting and depriving your body and working out too much sucks!!!) but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (These things have never helped us get ahold of the real problem, which is a HEART CONDITION.  We have a lust of the heart, an idolatry of food, and only Christ can redeem that!!  Not some diet!!  Not restrictions or human wisdom...)  


 And the knowing, powerful, righteous and wise word of God goes on to say: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set you hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Se your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  (Colossians 3:1-3) 

 These things that I have been wrapped up in have no eternal significance…they certainly are not dwelling on things above!!!  They have absolutely nothing to do with my identity in Christ.

 So, I am dropping this cistern with its cracks, that will never hold water for me, and letting it shatter on the ground.  And I will take up the one that has living water.  Oh Jesus, how I cherish the freedom in you.  How I cherish the living water that flows from who I am in you.  I will love myself for who I am in You and refuse to allow my body shape or my weight to determine how I feel about myself.  

 I feel like God has showed me all of this before, but I just couldn't allow Him to have complete control.  Well, now I am trying to learn what giving Him total control looks like, and I feel like the verses in Colossians speak volumes to me.  I feel like it is not getting on the scale.  It may be alright for some people, but it is idolatry for me right now. 

And I have to balance out the rule following with what he also speaks to my situation: not everything is beneficial for me.  "I have the right to do anything," you say--but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"--but not everything is constructive." (Corinthians 10:23)  Although I can eat whatever I want, it is not beneficial for me to eat nothing but Oreos.  I know God has given me freedom to also eat vegetables.  I will quit looking at food as good or bad, but I will be wise to determine what would not be beneficial in my freedom.  I will not use my freedom to indulge in the sinful nature, but to eat and drink to the glory of God.  And I will not allow food to be my master.

It is a battle to trust Him.  And it is also just a battle for me to not be a little piglet when it comes to food.  I love everything and I have a hard time eating healthy for the right reasons, watching my portions, etc.  But I think those are battles that are worth fighting because I am fighting sinful eating.  The battle not worth engaging in is the one that says I have to weigh a certain amount or look a certain way to be JOYFUL. That I have to be down in the dumps because of a number on the scale and I have to adjust my eating accordingly.  No, I will accept myself right where I am the same way Christ does, and believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139) 

I am learning to walk when it comes to eating for the glory of God.  I am stumbling, I am falling sometimes, but I am also learning how to give myself grace when it comes to not beating myself up for making mistakes. Trying to find a balance.  

So what does that look like?  Here’s what He shows me:  One meal at a time.  Matthew 6.  Not worrying about the future, not worrying about what I will eat or drink, not worrying about the scale.  Lord, heal me one step at a time as I continue to trust you,destroying arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

It is time…time for me now to get off this train.  Baby steps forward to trust in Him.  The world says I need to follow rules and diets and calories, but I will follow you.  The world says I need exercise and to trust all of the latest human wisdom and my own understanding, but I will trust you.  One meal at a time. ALL my heart.  Not just a little.  Not anymore.  I refuse to do this anymore.  Jesus, be my strength.
 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross


I am so ugly when it comes to being a musician.  I am envious, competitive, falsely humble, prideful, insecure, needy, perfectionistic, critical, and selfish.  All of these horrible things have taken root in my heart far more often than I care to admit.  I mean, I really struggle with these things.  It seems as though whenever I pick up the guitar, it is a constant battle in my soul to fight for the truth of what I do.  A war to allow God to bring out the Christ in me…true humility. Servanthood.  Sacrifice.  Denial of self.  A desire to give Him ALL glory and reserve none for myself.  Because I KNOW the only good that is in me is really Him.  Any good ability I have to play the guitar does not come from me, in fact, I am nothing apart from Him.  Without Him, I am a branch without its tree.  A branch destined to wither and die, worthy of nothing except to be burned in the fire. Occasionally, I “get” that.  I sometimes know that truth in my inmost place.  

I remember one of these moments, ages ago, when I was serving at the West Campus.   Daniel and Leanne Vencil were leading, and we were doing Tim Hughes’ version of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”  
Something divine happened that morning.  Something came into focus with us and our band.  We glimpsed a picture bigger than ourselves.  We were not focused on us, not focused on our own presence or our own part in worship, but focused on the living Christ.  We were not worried about notes or chords or intros or transitions, only overwhelmed by the holy truth we sang about Jesus.  The Spirit filled us.  And through us came this picture of bittersweet wonder at Him on the cross.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? 

And the beauty of it, the love and the life of it, the magnitude of what it means for our lives, brought us low.
Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were an offering far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all. 

And the unmistakable response was gratitude, lifting our voices to sing:

Thank you for the cross!!!  I Thank you for the Cross!!  I Thank you for the Cross my Lord…. 

Leanne sang as though with an angel’s voice.  We played as though already in Heaven, for our savior who stood before us in all His glory, the train of His robe filling the room.  And our tears poured down as freely as the streams of His love in the deepest darkest, desert places of our souls.  Through this music, we lifted up our thankfulness, our soul’s satisfaction, our life’s purpose, for the love and the blood and the power and the glory of Jesus Christ. 

THAT’S the kind of worship I want to do.  That’s the kind of worship I want to help others do!!!   In my guitar playing, I long for a complete denial of self and a complete encompassing of Jesus.  I am fighting for this.  I am sick of wanting people to see me, I want them to see CHRIST.  I yearn for the day when I no longer struggle with selfishness in my gift.  What a petty thing to stand in the way of the living God.  I want to put to death this sin and self, and bring to life a more complete, pure devotion to Jesus.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Exodus

I remember when God came down from heaven to woo my heart. He opened my eyes to a different purpose for living, spoke to me in the inmost place. I tried to ignore it. I said, “No, it’s too difficult.“ I knew He called me to a promised land, but I didn’t believe the promise. I begged Him, I pleaded with Him that it just wasn’t possible. All I saw was the sea, not the hand that could part it. But I finally took up the faith to approach that sea, and he divided the waters, as PROMISED.  What was impossible for me on my own became possible through the power of Christ. Oh, how I cherish that hand of Christ. He made a way for me. May I never forget the reality of my exodus from slavery, my redemption story, my journey into the promised land. In Jesus’ name.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thoughts on Dating in the 21st Century

After being single, leading singles groups, and being in a “singles” church crowd, I have concluded that dating nowadays is quite difficult for most people.  Not many singles want to “play the game” because it is confusing!!  Questions pop up like:  Are we dating or are we “together?”  Are we friends or more than that?  Are we exclusive?  What does it mean when he (or she) does ______? It leads me to believe that our culture has adopted some very harmful practices when it comes to dating and having friendships with the opposite sex.   Dating nowadays is way harder than it needs to be, and would be much easier if we just followed a couple different guidelines of behavior.   

The first guideline is, we need to communicate clearly with whoever we are dating or thinking about dating.  The problem with today’s dating culture is that we don't talkInstead of defining the relationship or discussing the direction the relationship is headed, we rely on supposed "signals" or some sort of code (which is subjective and confusing) to determine what's happening.  (“We have been on 6 dates….do you think that means we are together?”) It is why it is called the "game," and has led to a lot of messed up hearts and ambiguity!!  We have lost the incredible value in being honest about what we want and what our intentions are in a dating relationship, which is far healthier and clearer. 

One blessing in disguise for Billy and I is that neither one of us knew how to “play the game.”  (He readily says that having “no game” worked to his advantage. Lol.)  So, instead of trying to decipher some elusive code, we simply talked about stuff right from the beginning: what we were, (we both wanted to be exclusive), physical boundaries, (awkward but necessary..  http://kristinmyeager.blogspot.com/2013/06/letter-to-our-group.html. ), what we wanted in a relationship, everything.  It was quite liberating to not know what we were doing and be forced to talk about it!!  I can’t deny that it was a little bit uncomfortable, but having these conversations within the first 2 or 3 weeks as they came up brought so much peace and assurance that any discomfort was worth it. We didn’t have to wallow in the uncertainty that plagues many daters. Instead, we were able to determine early on that we were on the same page, and that prompted us to continue dating. No guessing games, no questions.  Stuff was clear. 


I urge you to do the same thing in your dating relationships.  Whatever you feel God leading you to do, communicate it early on with the person involved to see if he or she is on the same page with you.  If that’s the case, blessed are the both of you.  If that’s not the case, get outta there!!  You will protect your heart and not sabotage yourself from finding a relationship with someone who is on your same page.  If you have this communication early on in the relationship, you are not too deeply involved to go back to being acquaintances.  But undefined or not-on-the-same-page relationships for long periods of time almost always seem to result in heartache. I have seen guys get burned by the “friendzone,” and I have seen girls get burned by the guy who isn’t willing to commit.  And both are burned by the uncertainty of the situation until they finally decide to leave it. You can avoid a world of mess if you are intentional about communicating well and stand by what you want.
The second guideline is, we need to remember the way we are made.  Another thing our culture has adopted as common is that men and women can be "close friends."  The truth is, I don’t believe men and women can be close friends--spending a lot of time together, forming an emotional connection--and truly be platonic.  We just aren't made that way!  God made us to be compatible romantically and sexually, and that is a very powerful part of us.  If there is a lot of time together or an emotional connection going on between "friends," it is likely that one or the other party will develop romantic feelings.  Men in particular tend to be very sexually motivated in a lot of what they do.  So, ladies, what I have found is that if a guy wants to spend alot of time with you, calls you alot, wants to txt endlessly, wants to hang out alone, make no mistake about it--you are dating him, at least to him.  Guys don't do that with girls they don't like romantically!! Men who are dedicated followers of Christ may keep their sexual motivations in better check than other men, but they still have a powerful force churning inside them, originating from the purity of God’s design to populate the earth. 


Furthermore, if you scour the Bible, you will see that there are no close friendships between men and women, and there is a reason for that!!  Historically, we have not tried to maintain close friendships with the opposite sex because everything I am saying about our nature was understood.  It was an unspoken rule that men and women didn't buddy up because it is not in our nature to be completely platonic with the opposite sex. People were either married or single, and those lines were clear.  How much smarter they were in the ancient world...I wonder why we started changing that in the last 30-40 years? 
With all that in mind, make boundaries clear with anyone of the opposite gender you are not interested in romantically, verbally if need be.  Be wise about the amount of time you spend with someone, and be careful not to invest too much emotionally into an opposite sex friendship.  Because whether you agree with me or not, here’s another thing:  any person you are dating or would potentially date probably wouldn't want you to be "close friends" with someone of the opposite sex anyway.  That’s because, whether they are conscious of it or not, they realize the nature of people that I am talking about!!  It makes folks uneasy if their girlfriend or boyfriend is “good friends” with someone else of the opposite sex.  Keep in mind this is especially true for exes or past dating relationships--no one likes their boyfriend or girlfriend having dinner alone or spending time on the phone with an ex!!  I believe it’s because deep down, we really know better than to do stuff like that.
So, daters and single people, two things that should help you greatly with successful dating relationships:  clear communication and remembering how you are made.  Do these things, because it is important to date well. We all have a powerful nature inside of us that is God given and a good thing when expressed correctly.  It can lead to the beautiful gift of sacred sex within a marriage, or it can lead to confusion and heartbreak.  Be careful with your intimacy. It is one of the dearest things you have to give.  Be wise in how you communicate it, honor and protect it, and reserve it for whom God intends.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Commitment

22 
Every so often, I feel like there’s this purity to my faith and I just get it, down to the very core of my soul.  My pride sloughs off.  I am filled with understanding of HIM and who He really is, I KNOW Him.  I know the savior of the world.  And all of that is followed by this longing in me to dedicate my all to Him, to His glory.  I want others to know.

Other times, I forget what I was made for.  I let the world and all its flashing lights distract me from who I really am.   Things that look beautiful on the outside….acceptance mostly.  Approval.  The need to belong.  And I lose my way, my desire to be that purity I feel in me, and a servant and a messenger and a missionary.
 
I am so grateful that His mercies are new every morning.  Wherever I am, He is there to meet me with grace.  Whereve I go, His steadfast love follows me.  Whenever I make the decision to turn my face to Him to repent and start again new, the opportunity is there.   His love for me endures FOREVER.  For every ounce of eternity.  Certainly for the simple span of my life. 


...his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.


Wrap me in your grace, and I will be covered.  Clean me with hyssop, and I will be clean.  Today I make the decision to start again new.