Monthly Archives: December 2011

Come Back To Him!

In the past I thought people who grew up in the church had it easy. I never understood how people who knew the truth made a conscious decision to be of the world. I spoke with a young man once who lamented about his inexperience with females and with drinking and smoking. I was surprised to hear him talk about how he desperately wanted to do the things he had seen on tv. As a freshman in college he wanted to go to clubs, become sexually active, and get so drunk that he couldn’t remember anything from the night before. My first thoughts were that this kid was crazy. I kept saying to myself that I wish I had known as much about the spiritual realm when I was growing up. He sounded like a sheltered sheep as he told me how in his household he could not go certain places and engage in certain “cultural” events. For example, his family made an agreement with him regarding prom. If he missed his senior prom then they would rent a car for him for an entire week or so. At the moment he felt like that was the right and wise thing to do but a year later he hates the thought of not having any pictures or memories of his senior prom. Maybe God thought it was best for him to not go to prom, that’s not for me to decide. But I was worried to see this young man so eager to engage in sin. He wanted to leave the flock with hope of coming back in one piece. I tried to explain that to whom much is given, much is expected and that God had shown Himself to this young man at such an early age for a reason. In summary, I tried to explain how dangerous it is to step out of the covering of protection given to us by God. Especially when it is deliberate. I thought his philosophy of viewing his walk with God was absurd. The interesting thing is that God had to remind me that after getting to know the Lord I had my own “prodigal son” experience.

Luke 15:1-7 (NIV):

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

I will share a personal story about what ended my “prodigal son” experience. So shortly after the Lord got my attention and showed me how real He is I got a bit discouraged. I felt like God had called me to do His business, which is serious and ought to be treated as such, during my college experience. Although I was “happy” God had saved me, I began to question why I couldn’t have more time to be the average teenager in college, 12 hours away from my hometown. It was obviously a matter of life or death for me as Jesus had to jump in and save me before I hit hell head first. So anyway, one day I decided to go have fun with old friends. I mean I can still serve God regardless if my friends do. I mean, as long as I keep His commands right? I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself. So this night with friends I went to a “kickback” with intentions to “hangout” with friends but ended up in horrible condition. I believe in the past I have been more intoxicated but I think God wanted to teach me a lesson about how serious it is to play with fire. I won’t even get into detail about the numerous alcoholic beverages and illegal substances I had taken that night but it was enough to kill a person. I had absolutely no self-control. And my crutch was the thought, “In the morning I’ll make things right with God but right now, God please watch over me.” After taking several shots of alcohol everything became a blur. I remember specifically at some point lying on a friends bathroom floor in their apartment. I remember being so intoxicated that I was seeing double of everything and all I wanted was for my stomach to be pumped. I had alcohol poisoning for sure. As I lie there I began to feel pain in my hand and neck. I was the “angry” drunk type so at one point I had gotten so upset that I began to punch concrete leaving my knuckles bloody and sore. And I still cannot fully explain where the scratches on my neck that burned for about 2 weeks came from. Friends occasionally checked on me as I was stretched out on the bathroom floor for the rest of the night. But honestly, saI was pretty much was left there helpless. I began to feel so sick and began to ask God to sober me. While still on the floor, I was able to find my phone and call my Grandmother-in-Christ to help take my mind off of where I was. To my surprise she answered, prayed with me, and before you know it I began to sober up. I was still drunk, believe me, but I began to feel it lifting. I hated being at that apartment because it felt like being in a pool of sin. The music was so loud in the apartment and the heavy smoke was making the bathroom feel like a sauna so I decided to go in the hallway of the apartment complex. I staggered into the hallway and I will never forget what happened because I had the most serious and realistic experience to have been so drunk. This whole night was spiritual and no one knew it besides me, I think. So I went into the hallway and I was clearly drunk and had the rambles on the phone. When my Grandmother-in-Christ began talking I had a surreal experience. Something told me to turn to my right and there was a man approaching and staring at me as I stood in the hallway drunk and afraid for my life. I tried to hold my composure and not appear to be “as drunk.” The man turned away and went into his apartment. 2 seconds later something told me to turn to my left and all I saw was a tiny head peaking from around a wall. I wasn’t in my “right” mind so I began to walk closer to see what it was. I stopped in my tracks when I realized that it was a person watching me the entire time, possibly plotting to catch me off guard. My last thought was that you need to go inside right now because I did not know what was being planned. As I ran back to my “friends” apartment there was someone coming out and I turned to tell them about the person who had been watching me and when I turned around, the person watching me was gone. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the man who walked by me on the right knew the guy peaking on the left. I went inside the apartment and locked myself into the bathroom until it was time to go. After several hours had passed my ride decided to take me back to campus. Helping to hold me up from place to place, we somehow managed for me to get back into my room. I sat up in my bed talking to God and preparing a ” I know I am about to die God but I am sorry,” speech. I felt my heart beating slowly and it just felt like everything was slowing down. Almost as if I was in a bubble and everyone was going on with their lives while I was approaching death, slowly but surely. No, I didn’t die but for the next 3 days I was extremely sick. I was unable to keep anything down, my neck and hands were sore, and exposure to the sun caused pain on my skin. It was in the middle of Spring and I was bundled up to keep my skin from pain. There are some other events that happened which are a part of me coming out of my old sinful nature but this one specific event shared above, is my prodigal son experience.

Luke 15:11-32 (NIV):

 The Parable of the Lost Son

“11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

God WILL come back for His lost sheep, even if it is one.
For those who were raised in the church, go back to your first love. Go back to Him! He is waiting. When our relationship with God begins to fail it is because we moved or we changed. God is a compassionate and long-suffering God. Don’t become comfortable with sin and don’t believe the lies of Satan that will make you believe you can never go back. Don’t believe the lies that you have done the worst sins and thus cannot be used by Christ. Trust me, there is nothing new under the sun as stated in the Bible and there isn’t any sin that God can’t forgive or deliver us from. Go back to God! The next second or minute is not promised and you don’t want things to end with you not being right with the Lord. Remember, He is waiting for you with open arms. Go back!
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There is now a Youtube channel where you can listen to the written articles. The Vblogs will not read the articles verbatim but will rather summarize the articles. Also, only the written articles will have sermons and songs attached.

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheePottersHandBlog

There is also a new page added which can be found at the top of the main page of the blog. If anyone wishes to connect to the Youtube channel but forgets the link, the link will be posted there also.

 


Masturbation Said Yes But Mercy Said No

I really think one of the least favorable things to discuss is one’s struggle with masturbation. It is always easier to talk about masturbation in a joking sense but the conversation can become extremely difficult when talking about it from a struggling perspective. Masturbation is a struggle. In the beginning you may find yourself masturbating for pleasure but later find yourself masturbating because you feel like you don’t have a choice. The world is so corrupt that some places even have masturbation marathons, which helps masturbation appear to be socially acceptable because, “Everyone does it.” Or at least has done it. Or even tried to do it; successfully or not. I remember one day trying to check my Facebook page but somehow a website about masturbation popped up. I was a little creeped out because I had not been looking for any information about masturbation but it is clear that God wanted me to examine the content on the page. The website concerning what the Bible says about masturbation changed my perceptive on masturbation forever because it was then that God had shown me His stance on the activity. During high school and currently in college, masturbation is always one of those conversations that is brought up and leaves the crowd feeling awkward. My idea was that masturbation was a normal part of puberty, especially for males. Although puberty is usually the time when individuals discover masturbation, there is nothing normal about it at all. It is time to expose masturbation to be as wicked and perverted as it truly is. I am not here to offend nor am I here to bring comfort. I desire to share truth so that many who are in bondage to masturbation and pornography may be set free.

As we should with everything, ask God to help you receive and extract all valuable information as you watch the video below.

↓↓BELOW IS A POEM ABOUT THE MISERY OF MASTURBATION BY LARRY J. BROWN.↓↓

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THE MADNESS, THE MISERY OF MASTURBATION BY: LARRY J. BROWN JR. AKA J-ELIJAH

Restless.

Frustrated.

Frustrated with Myself.

I did it again.
Like a crack addict addicted to crack,
I am addicted to myself.
Seeking quick fixes.
Temporary highs with devastating lows.
Trying to satisfy the lust of my flesh,
With solo trips,
With solo voyages,
In darkness.
Despite disgust, guilt, shame, condemnation.
Knowing what I’m supposed to do,
Continuing to do what I’m not supposed to
Like Paul in Romans 7.
Justifying my sin because of the lesser consequences than fornication.
Losing my respect for people.
Losing my respect for places.
Doing whatever it takes wherever to fulfill my high.
Masturbation becomes my god.
My idol.
My controller.
My oppressor.
My dirty little secret that keeps me bound.
Why do I feel so out of control?
I’m not sleeping around.
I’m sleeping with myself.
The Madness, The Misery of Masturbation

“God Bless You.”
“I’m Blessed.”
Saying what I need to say to maintain my front.
“Aw, you’re such a good brother.”
Constant compliments from brothers and sisters
Add on to my guilt.
Soon as I get to church I am well greeted.
“Welcome, brother.”
But do you know what I just did.
The Madness, The Misery of Masturbation
I can’t look at my hands.
My hands are so dirty.
No matter how many times I wash my hands,
No matter how much soap I use,
My hands still feel dirty.
Even though I know it’s wrong,
I keep doing the same thing
Over and over and over again.
The Madness, The Misery of Masturbation

Turning on the tv,
Lustful images fill the screen
At 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon.
Turning on the radio,
Enticing lyrics over a hypnotic beat
At 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon.
Man, I’m just all messed up.
The Madness, The Misery of Masturbation

Pornography is masturbation’s best friend.
Exposing myself to what I don’t need to see.
Lying to myself,
Saying I’m just going to watch.
Why can’t I just watch? But I can’t just watch.
The after effects of shame last longer than
The temporary pleasure of the drug of masturbation.
This is Madness. This is Misery.
The pain is outweighing the pleasure.
This is changing me.
Becoming selfish.
Becoming lonesome.
Not wanting to be around people.
Becoming self-consumed.
The Madness, The Misery of Masturbation

God, take this from me.
Confessing this sin of masturbation,
Of lust,
Of sexual immorality.
Repenting,
Asking for your forgiveness,
Receiving your forgiveness.
Conversing with friends about this,
Finding out many friends have the same weakness.
Praying for each other.
Holding each other accountable.
Satisfying my spirit,
Denying my flesh,
Through the word of God,
Fasting,
Praying,
Confessing.
Stop watching all those crazy music videos.
Guarding.
Guarding.
Guarding my eyes.
Guarding my eyes from what I don’t need to see.
Stop listening to all those lust songs.
Guarding.
Guarding.
Guarding my ears.
Guarding my ears from what I don’t need to hear.
Restless.
Frustrated.
Frustrated with myself.
I did it again.
The Madness, The Misery of Masturbation

No matter how many times I fall,
Through frustration,
Fighting.
Fighting.
Fighting against myself.
Looking to victory.
Looking to determination.
Going through withdrawal.
Rough nights.
Praying.
Restless.
Frustrated.
Frustrated with myself.
I did it again.
Night sweats. Heart beats fast.
Resist.
Resist.
Resisting temptation.

The Lord is blessing me with clean hands.
My hands are clean.
My hands are clean.
My heart is clean.

Looking to victory,
Looking to determination,
Defeating the drug of masturbation.
Madness is replaced with liberty.
Misery is replaced with freedom.

A Cry for My Brothers and My Sisters
Who Struggle with Masturbation

Heavenly Father,
Lord of Hosts,
In the name of Jesus,
We, your sons and your daughters,
Cry to you Lord.
Thank you Jesus.
We bless you Lord.
We praise you Lord.
We turn to you Jesus.
We confess our sin of masturbation,
Of lust,
Of sexual immorality,
Of selfishness.
We repent.
We repent, we turn away from the sin of masturbation.
Lord, we ask for your forgiveness.
We receive your forgiveness.
Lord, create in us clean hearts.
Bless us with clean hands.
Bless us with self-control.
Lord, help us to live holy,
Through your word,
Through fasting and prayer,
We bind condemnation in the name of Jesus.
We bind shame in the name of Jesus.
We loose peace in the name of Jesus.
We loose encouragement in the name of Jesus.
We will not be defeated.
We overcome masturbation through Christ.
The Lord is Our Deliverer.
Lord of Hosts, deliver your people.
Deliver your people in the name of Jesus.
Amen

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Similar to the effects of masturbation mentioned in the poem above by Mr.Brown, masturbation will make you feel ashamed, worthless, embarrassed, and dirty (Just to name a few). After a spirit of masturbation gets you to fulfill its needs it will bring the worst condemnation until it wants to be fed again. When Satan is done using you, he dismisses you until he wishes to use you again. Being in bondage to masturbation and/or pornography is no joke. Although some have independent hardships with either masturbation or pornography, the two are usually dependent on each other. It is important to starve pornography as it gives fuel to masturbation, keeping lustful images in the mind of individuals. I think the struggle with masturbation is unique because of the following reasons. A. It can be done in privacy so no one has to know (Well not really because God and His angels are there). B. It can be done without anyone else so it is STD and pregnancy free. C. It fulfills the sexual desires constantly expressed by society. D. You may find sexual relations with others useless because you feel that no one can fulfill you sexually better than you can. If the orgasm isn’t reached righteously, let it go.

I came across the site, Porn Free, which provides encouraging testimonies of those who have been delivered from bondage to masturbation and porn (To view the article look on the left under the section titled “Sex&God” then click “Author’s Story”). Additionally, below is a video on a young woman who wanted to share her testimony about being delivered from masturbation. Regardless of sex and age, I believe this video is be able to help many. Just when you begin to feel like you are struggling alone and that your struggle is impossible to overcome, testimonies like Dameco’s gives hope to those who so badly want to give up.

What helps? I have a few suggestions. 1. Play Gospel music as often as you can. If possible, don’t turn it off at all. The music should cause tension in your mind when you are thinking on things that are unrighteous. If you can think about smoking weed while listening to your Gospel music, get rid of the music NOW! If you are genuinely serving the Lord you should find it very uncomfortable listening to music exalting the Lord and thinking of pornographic images at the same time. And once that discomfort comes, don’t make the mistake of dismissing the thought of God so that the impure thoughts can remain. 2. Be careful of what you see and hear! There is no such thing as just watching porn. Once the images begin to roll, masturbation is preparing itself for duty. 3. Cast down all imaginations. It is so important to not think about masturbation because it only increases the desire. It might begin with daydreaming about sex then it leads to thinking about porn then you’ll find yourself contemplating whether you should masturbate or not. A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the importance of A Pure Mind. 4. Be mindful of the clothing you wear. Dressing modestly can limit the sexual attraction expressed  by others. And for some, limiting time spent in the shower and unclothed helps. 5. Limit your time alone. If being in your room increases the chances of you masturbating, get out of there! The devil loves to get us alone because it gives him an advantage during temptation. Unless Satan has you bound to a point where you no longer have self-control, you won’t masturbate in public. Don’t take the self-control lightly because if given enough authority, Satan will have you doing things you would have never imagined. Similar to how some of you may have said that you would never be in bondage to masturbation and/or pornography. Satan and his angels do not have any discretion and it is a terrible thing when they have so much power that they can make an individual do something with one simple command.

I want to encourage all who may be struggling with masturbation. As difficult as it may be to talk about, seek God to see if/who He wishes for you to discuss the struggle with. Satan hates to be exposed and keeping this dirty little secret can cause the spirit of masturbation and pornography to thrive. It is important to address this stronghold because each time one masturbates the situation gets worse. Each time an individual watches porn another image is embedded in their mind. Each time an individual masturbates they practice sexual immortality. Some may try to negotiate when comparing masturbation to fornication as masturbation being the lesser of the two evils, but there is no such thing. Masturbation is just as bad. Just take time to really consider how wicked and perverted thoughts have to be to perform masturbation. Matthew 5:29-30 (NIV):29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” As you recognize the severity of sin as a whole, also realize that you aren’t alone. Masturbation being common doesn’t justify it as being right. However, I do believe knowing masturbation is a common denominator among many may help with overcoming the lies that an individual is battling against something they think is unique to them. Romans 6:13 (NIV): ” Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.”  Ask Him to help you not abuse and misuse your reproductive organs. Ask God to help you use your mind and hands to bring Him glory. Just ask Him.

Be encouraged. God is our Deliverer and He can remove all strongholds from our lives. Cry out to God. Call on the name of Jesus. Starve the flesh. Starve what feeds lust.  Fast to beat down the flesh. Fill idle time with productivity. Let your love for God outshine your flesh’s desire to sin. Pray and ask God to renew your mind, daily. It is extremely important that He erases the perverted imagines printed in the mind of individuals struggling with masturbation. Deliverance is real and it can be done. Some days you may win with the help of Christ and some days you may feel like you lost without Him. Remember that overcoming any struggle is impossible if we approach it by trying to fight it with our own strength. Ask God to take porn and masturbation from you and mean it as genuinely as you can. Trust in His power. Believe in His truth.

I know discussing masturbation may be difficult for some but if anyone has any questions or concerns feel free to email me at theepottershand@hotmail.com .


Liar Liar!

Like many of the other subjects I have been writing about, I was once blinded about what made someone a liar. A liar.. me? “Of course not,” is what I would have said if anyone asked me if I was a liar a year ago. But was I a liar? I sure was.

Below is the story about Sarah, Abraham’s wife, and how she had lied to God. Some may say that she was joking or had simply bent the truth because of fear but honestly, she lied.

Genesis 18:1-15 (AMP):

” Now the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks or terebinths of Mamre; as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day 2He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood at a little distance from him. He ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the ground  3And said, My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant, I beg of you. 4Let a little water be brought, and you may wash your feet and recline and rest yourselves under the tree.5And I will bring a morsel (mouthful) of bread to refresh and sustain your hearts before you go on further–for that is why you have come to your servant. And they replied, Do as you have said.6So Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, Quickly get ready three measures of fine meal, knead it, and bake cakes.7And Abraham ran to the herd and brought a calf tender and good and gave it to the young man [to butcher]; then he [Abraham] hastened to prepare it.8And he took curds and milk and the calf which he had made ready, and set it before [the men]; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.9And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, [She is here] in the tent.10[The Lord] said, I will surely return to you when the season comes round, and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son. And Sarah was listening and heard it at the tent door which was behind Him.11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years; it had ceased to be with Sarah as with [young] women. [She was past the age of childbearing].12Therefore Sarah laughed to herself, saying, After I have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord (husband), being old also? 13And the Lord asked Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I really bear a child when I am so old? 14Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord? At the appointed time, when the season [for her delivery] comes around, I will return to you and Sarah shall have borne a son. 15Then Sarah denied it, saying, I did not laugh; for she was afraid. And He said, No, but you did laugh.”

There is no such thing as a small lie. No such thing as a white lie. Not even a such thing as a big lie. A lie is a lie. The Bible even refers to what we may call compulsive liars but with the truth of what being a compulsive liar is a result of. 1 Timothy 4:2 (NIV): ” Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 

This past summer I found myself in a situation where I was momentarily willing to lie. I received a call early in the morning from someone who is really close to me and whom I care a lot about. She called because she had applied for a job position and the company had shown interest in her. After hearing the good news I was extremely happy for her. I knew she and her husband had been unemployed for several years as a result of our recent economical hardships. As the conversation continued she told me why she had called me in the first place. The company asked to speak with a reference and she thought I would be the best person. She quickly gave me the rundown of when the company would call, what I should say, and who exactly I was supposed to be. She sounded so desperate and I was hoping to go back to sleep; so I answered with a simple, “Sure.” She then hung up and I tried to go back to sleep. I tossed and turned for 15 minutes trying to go back sleep but I couldn’t because the Lord was getting my attention.

God: “Call her back and tell her that you cannot lie for her.”

Me: “I am tired God. Can I call and tell her later?”

God: “Don’t let her go another second thinking that you will lie for her. Not if you want to serve Me.”

I decided that I would contact her at that moment but then I found myself uneasy about something else. I began to think about how difficult it would be to tell this lady that I wouldn’t lie for her. She is an older woman who I have known for all of my life and has two kids, one in college. For so many years I had listened to her complain about the struggles of paying her mortgage, her car expenses, and the tuition of her child in college. Couldn’t I just kind of help her out help her sin? Nope. That isn’t helping. A lie is a lie. I began to try to convince God, or myself, that I wouldn’t be lying.

Me: “I mean I can vouch that she is a hard and diligent worker, right?”

What God asked me next shut all of my uncertainty down.

God:“Have you ever worked with her?”

Me: “No.”

God:“Have you ever even worked for that company?”

Me: “No.”

God: “Are you an established woman living in Pennsylvania as described in the role you’ve been given in this lying skit?”

God: “Is anything mentioned in this situation the truth?”

As you may have guessed I got quiet and in that moment of silence God led me to contact her at that very moment. I was reluctant but I eventually contacted her again. I began the conversation saying that I won’t be able to speak with the company as a reference. She quickly asked,”Why”. This would have been so much easier if I had just said no in the first place. I told her that if I spoke with a representative as being an old co-worker of hers I would be lying. And If I want to truly serve God, lying is never acceptable. She said that she understood and then began to explain why she asked me to do her a favor  lie originally. She stated that she had only desperately wanted the job but that she respects my reasoning for not wanting to be a reference. Once the conversation ended I found myself actually feeling bad. Then I had to catch myself and ask if I was conforming to the ways of the world or to the ways of God. I was about to transgress against our Father and my only obligation is to make things right with Him. I felt that I had in some sense led her on and thus had her thinking that I would lie for her so that she may get the job. After all, she did end up getting the job without any lies of mine. How she got a reference, who she got it from, or when she got it is beyond my knowledge. I just did what the Lord told me to do.

Additionally, lying for her could cripple her progress in getting to know the Lord. What if that opportunity was a time God would use to get her attention? My testimony may appear very hypocritical to her or anyone else who I am willing to sin for or with. If I were to lie she could easily dismiss Christianity to be nothing but false religion. If I had gone through with the plan of lying in the situation mentioned earlier I could have presented a skewed perception of my relationship with Christ. Furthermore, God told me that my walk with Him needs to reflect in all areas of my life.  Lying would have allowed this woman to think we are the same because we were both lying. But Christians are supposed to be different. We are supposed to stand out. I would’ve been acting as a follower of Satan’s instructions and how can a follower of Satan’s help free someone who is also held captive by the evil one? Only God’s chosen can do that.

Leviticus 19:11 (NIV): “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.”

Psalm 58:3 (NIV): “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.”

Psalms 63:11 (NIV): “But the kind will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.”

Psalms 120:2 (NIV): “Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.”

Proverbs 12:22 (NIV): “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.”

Proverbs 19:5 (NIV): “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.”

Proverbs 19:22 (NIV): “What a mean desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.” ~~~~I had to read this one 4 times.

Proverbs 6:17 (NIV): “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood.”

The whole existence of lying is explained in the next verse. John 8:44 (NIV): ” You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out of your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”  When I get the desire to lie I ask God to remind me what lying does for me. I view it as basically competing with the father of lies for his job. The work of our Heavenly Father is based in truth. The whole being of Christianity is founded in truth. I won’t ease the minds of Muslims or Buddhists by telling lies regarding Jesus being the only true way to God. I pray that I don’t lie to receive a good grade. I pray that I don’t lie to or for a friend. I pray that I don’t lie to or for my parents. I pray that I don’t even lie to myself. How can a lying Christian be a witness of Christ? How can a lying Christian even proclaim the truth of the Gospel? I choose truth and I encourage others to choose truth too.


A Prayer Closet

Colossians 4:2 (NIV): “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

I have been desiring to have a prayer closet. I don’t mean specifically a closet with a shrine in it but rather preparing a sanctuary where I talk with the Lord. Our body is a temple so wherever we go, our sanctuary goes. Ephesians 6:18 (NIV): “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”  I don’t want to pray once a day in this prayer closet, for we are supposed to pray constantly. I refer to being in my prayer closet during times when I turn off all of my electronics and spend time away from work just sitting at the feet of God, talking. Having quiet time. We dedicate time to watch our favorite sitcoms and we dedicate time for school and work meetings but when do we dedicate time to meet with the Lord? This desire came about after reading Matthew 6:5-6 (NIV): 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This idea of a prayer closet welcomed a thought of having a meeting with God without any disturbances, distractions, or trouble.

1 Timothy 2:8(NIV): “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

The Lord showed me that I was once very selfish in prayer. One day I was praying the Lord’s prayer and I began wondering if I should be saying “Me” instead of “We” or “My Father” instead of “Our Father.” It took me a few days to recognize that I should absolutely be praying for more than just myself. Ephesians 6:18-19 (NIV)18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” I also found myself saying that I would pray for someone and simply forget. If we say we are going to pray for someone in need then we need to do it. When I was prepared for bed I knew all of my personal petitions but I somehow couldn’t remember who or what else to pray for. So God told me to either do what I said I would do or not to mention to pray for someone. I didn’t intend to lie to anyone but I guess my laziness and my selfishness had gotten the best of my prayer life. James 5:14-16 (NIV): “14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” God tells us to pray for others and that is exactly what we need to do. Matthew 7:7-11 (NIV): 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

James 5:16 (NIV): “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Psalm 55:17 (KJV): “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”

At one point I even wanted to take time in the morning to cry out to God after reading Psalm 5:3 (NIV): ” In the morning, LORD, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.” When I tried to wake up early before my classes to pray, I found myself hitting my snooze button and begging God to allow me to get just a few more minutes of sleep. Those experiences took me back to the original problem at the time. I would usually pray at night but I didn’t like the idea of immediately calling, texting, and emailing others but taking the entire day to spend quality time with God. Our Father deserves better. He deserves conversation all day long.

Proverbs 15:8 (KJV): The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

The Lord showed me that I was once very selfish in prayer. One day I was praying the Lord’s prayer and I began wondering if I should be saying “Me” instead of “We” or “My Father” instead of “Our Father.” It took me a few days to recognize that I should absolutely be praying for more than just myself. Ephesians 6:18-19 (NIV)18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” I also found myself saying that I would pray for someone and simply forget. If we say we are going to pray for someone in need then we need to do it. When I was prepared for bed I knew all of my personal petitions but I somehow couldn’t remember who or what else to pray for. So God told me to either do what I said I would do or not to mention to pray for someone. I didn’t intend to lie to anyone but I guess my laziness and my selfishness had gotten the best of my prayer life. James 5:14-16 (NIV): “14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” God tells us to pray for others and that is exactly what we need to do. Matthew 7:7-11 (NIV): 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

James 5:16 (NIV): “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Psalm 55:17 (KJV): “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”

At one point I even wanted to take time in the morning to cry out to God after reading Psalm 5:3 (NIV): ” In the morning, LORD, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.” When I tried to wake up early before my classes to pray, I found myself hitting my snooze button and begging God to allow me to get just a few more minutes of sleep. Those experiences took me back to the original problem at the time. I would usually pray at night but I didn’t like the idea of immediately calling, texting, and emailing others but taking the entire day to spend quality time with God. Our Father deserves better. He deserves conversation all day long.

Proverbs 15:8 (KJV): The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

I did find a way to begin overcoming soulish prayers as I remember that Satan never wants us to pray for others. If I feel led to pray for someone then I sometimes pray for them at that very moment. I don’t have to wait until bedtime to do so. I also take time talking to God and asking Him to bring to my remembrance who He wants me to pray for and exactly what He wants me to pray about. For example, one day someone asked me to pray for them to keep their job. Now what if God doesn’t want them to keep that job? What if He may be using that current job position as only a temporary stepping stone? I would never want to pray against the plans of God, so what did I do? I prayed that the Lord’s will be done. We know nothing but He knows everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV): 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 14:15 (KJV): “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”

Matthew 21:22 (NIV): “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

John 14:13-14 (NIV): 13 And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in My name, and I will do it.”

Prayers not getting answered? What things are you praying for? 

James 4:3 (NIV): ” When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

You ever have prayers that never seem to be answered? Well I am a firm believer that if God said it, He will settle it. Not by our standards, but by His. To me, even “not answering” is answering, just not the way we want or had expected. We must come with reverent submission. Secrets of a Prayer Warrior by Derek Prince gives a great breakdown on prayer. We must have faith. We must be committed. We must pray the name of Jesus.We must approach Gold boldly, without condemnation. We must have the right motives. We must forgive those who have hurt us. We must be directed by the Holy Spirit. We must ask according to God’s Word.

For certain prayers, God does suggest that we pray earnestly.

Luke 18:1-10 (NIV):

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

 “1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Luke 6:12 (NIV): “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

If Jesus prayed you know we ought to be praying. God wants us to pray! He enjoys talking to us and He enjoys to hear from us. 

Jesus instructs us how to pray. I begin my prayers with the Lord’s prayer because it prepares me to have a focused and sound mind. I don’t want to pray ineffective prayers. I want the Holy Spirit to pray through me, as I don’t know the prayer to pray or how to pray it worthy enough. The Lord’s prayer is so rich with content and supplication yet clear and concise in each verse.We don’t have to pray religious prayers, repeating the same things to appear to be praying a lengthy prayer. Matthew 6:7 (NIV): ” And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV): 

The Model Prayer

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: 

      Our Father in heaven, 
      Hallowed be Your name. 
       10 Your kingdom come. 
      Your will be done 
      On earth as it is in heaven. 
       11 Give us this day our daily bread. 
       12 And forgive us our debts, 
      As we forgive our debtors. 
       13 And do not lead us into temptation, 
      But deliver us from the evil one. 
      For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

In conclusion, DON’T STOP PRAYING! Praying has become so second nature that I find myself praying without even thinking about it. I found that being constant in prayer eliminates one “daily” prayer at night, which is rudely interrupted by yawns and heavy eyelids. As my prayer life continues to develop I find myself more excited to pray. Although God already knows everything, I just love sharing things with Him. And guess what? He shares things with me too. I don’t want to pray babbling prayers. I don’t want to pray soulish prayers. I don’t even want to pray doubtful prayers. I want the Holy Spirit to pray through me. I want to pray and intercede for the captive. I want to pray and talk with my best friend, Our Father, who is never too busy to talk. I just want to pray like Jesus.


A Pure Mind

Romans 12:2 (NIV): “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Take a second to think about the top 5 things you think about on the daily basis. I don’t mean 5 random thoughts but more so the thoughts that plague your mind. Even the thoughts you sometimes question why you cannot shake or get rid of.

My top 5 are:

1. My salvation and essentially my relationship with Christ. Am I being His bride?

2. My family and how they’re doing physically and spiritually. Is there anyone who needs to be saved?

3. Grades and how I am doing academically. Am I really reaching my full potential in school?

4. My career and the preparation for my future. Am I following the path God has for me?

5. The world and humanity as a whole. Am I being the salt of the earth?

Now out of your top 5 thoughts, how many of them are inspired by Christ? Most of my CURRENT top 5 constant thoughts are related to Christ and thus help keep my mind on Him. I do, however, still have other constant thoughts that fall under the umbrella of lust of the flesh and the lust of the world as a whole. It is usually easier to identity the obvious perverted and wicked thoughts to immediately cast them down. But to my surprise even some of the thoughts in my top 5 can begin with the inspiration of Christ and later be manipulated by the inspiration of Satan. I can begin thinking about my relationship with Christ and the things I need to do better as a bride but before you know it I sometimes find myself stressing about why I will never be good enough. Should I be concerned about the paths I take and decisions I make? Of course. Should I become stressed out and uneasy? Nope. God doesn’t torment nor does He seek to make one miserably paranoid. See, if you give Satan an inch he will take a mile. We cannot be hospitable to Satan in any way. In summary, I am saying that we need to have the discernment of God to effectively identify thoughts inspired by God, our flesh, and Satan. It is important to know who is influencing our thoughts before we claim them as being ours. I find it the sweetest thing when God gives me thoughts of ways to please Him. I love when God sends me a compliment to be of encouragement as I prepare myself daily for the battle of my mind. And I simply adore when He draws pictures in my mind to help me have a blueprint of what it is He wants me to do or know. Want to know what else I find really amazing? When I am confused or uncertain, God will take time to color His drawings with His softest pastels to help my tiny brain grasp His huge and important message so that I may make sense of it all.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NLT): “For, Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach Him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”

Psalm 7:9 (NIV): “Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.”

Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV): “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Luke 21:14 (NIV): “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.”

Luke 24:38 (NIV): “He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?”

Romans 7:25 (NIV): Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Romans 8:5-7 (NIV): ” 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”

For the past two weeks I have found myself constantly reciting 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV): ” We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” We all know that the things we think about are important.  Last week I saw an attractive young man and I felt lust rising up. Recite 2 Corinthians 10:5. I saw a female who I once didn’t care too much for and I felt unforgiveness rising up. Recite 2 Corinthians 10:5. Things were beginning to get rough with school and I began to feel so stressed out that I began thinking, “If only I had one drink.” Recite 2 Corinthians 10:5. Side note: it is a lie straight from the pit of Hell to have “one” drink or to smoke “one” blunt. That only gets the ball rolling and I don’t suggest for anyone to play games with Satan. The game Satan plays is intended to gain souls for keeps. Satan doesn’t catch fish to later through them back in the sea to live with only a punctured lip.

I will admit, it is difficult to give your mind to Christ. I met with my advisor about registering for classes next semester a few weeks ago. The conversation began with school and ended focusing on the Lord. I found myself just talking about God and how amazing He is. Sometimes I can get lost in conversation so I had to remind myself that my advisor most likely needs to meet with other students. I looked at my advisor and I was shocked to see her looking at me and smiling. I wasn’t sure if she was smiling because she was following what I was saying or simply because she wanted me to stop talking. I immediately began apologizing for my possible “rambling.” To my surprise, my advisor immediately recited Philippians 4:8 (NIV): ” Finally, brothers, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” It took me a second or two to grasp what she was saying but essentially—what I was sharing wasn’t boring her but rather was intriguing. So we talked for a couple of more minutes. Those who know me on a personal level know that I LOVE to talk and that I usually don’t need anything other than an invitation to get me started. The things I think about are the things I talk about and further are the things that influence my actions. My mind was full with thoughts concerning the righteousness of God and as a result I was super excited to talk about Him and all that He is doing in my life. These pure and righteous thoughts were producing His fruit but what happens when we have impure thoughts? Yep, they produce impure actions.

This past summer I was emailed a sermon pertaining to imagination. I would say I have an “overactive imagination.” When I was once the only child my imagination was of assistance while playing with my dollhouses and imagining exactly what an author was describing in the books I read. Especially now, maybe even then, my imagination is of more damage than help to me. Imagination takes things and can structure them into being everything they aren’t. The mind is the battlefield, which is why we are given specific instructions in Ephesians 6:17 (NIV): ” Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” If you daydream about how pitiful you think your life is do you think God is rejoicing about you being ungrateful of His blessing of even having life? Our eyes and our ears are our gateways. If you are watching porn will you not have a mind eager to replay the images? If you are listening to music that describes violence and brutality are you not conditioning your mind to operate that way? As Christians we are called to renew our mind so that Christ can overflow in our mind! God didn’t give us a troubled or perverted mind but instead He gave us a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)! Why are you giving the doubt about the existence of God and the fear of financial instability your precious joy? Why are you letting a spirit of rejection rest in your mind after being informed about the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:19)? We set ourselves up for doom when we give a spirit of rejection a pillow and blanket so that it may find comfort in our mind! Kick those negative thoughts out! It is foolish to think you won’t feel compelled to engage in sexual activities after fantasizing about the sexual position of the day.

THE MIND OF A CHRISTIAN IS SCREAMING!

Below I have posted a series of 3 videos on having the mind of Christ. I wrote this article as God has been revealing to me how important it is to think on things inspired by Him. Thoughts clustered with lust and rebelliousness accompanied with scorn and rejection are typically thoughts that try to manipulate their intentions in my mind. But even an untrained dog will eventually urinate on the floor. If you are unsure about certain thoughts or wonder if they are pleasing to God just remember one thing: if no one else ever knows your thoughts, He does. If you only imagine God in your mind examining every thought as mentioned in (Jeremiah 17:10), your decision-making should become much more precise. From experience, it is difficult to think of Christ while thinking about some sexual desire. I am guilty of having dismissed the thought of God to ease the tension of the thoughts of lust. That is not something I am proud of but I thank God for this discomfort because it brings change and basically, it lets me know one of the thoughts has to go. Which thought leaves and which thought remains is up to me each and every time. God has been giving me mental escapes and I find myself taking advantage of them more now than in the past because I am better at recognizing the seed at conception. I kick the devil’s thoughts out of my mind more often and when Satan comes around for round 2 of temptation, God floods my mind with thoughts of power, strength and authority. No one can ever tell me Christ isn’t the best intercessor one could ask for!  Once I dispose the seed of impure thoughts, I won’t have to lament over impure actions. So after all of that, I hand my mind over to you Lord. I know Your hand is gentle yet powerfully built so with your protection, the mind that be in Christ Jesus may also be in me.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3