The Fight Against Fear

13 Aug

keep-calm-and-don-t-worry-85I saw this not long ago on twitter: “Worry is believing God won’t get it right. Bitterness is believing that God got it wrong.”

Think about that for a minute.

Worry is believing that God won’t get it right.

At the core of worry and bitterness is a lack of faith.


Here are some things to remember the next time those fears and anxieties invade your peace.

  • God is sovereign. He is. He exists outside of the boundaries of time and space. He knew what would happen to you before it happened and He is already on the other side of it. He has already established the solution and the deliverance is certain. If God is sovereign that means that nothing surprises Him and nothing gets to you without first passing through Him.
  • God is for you. If He allows something in your life it has eternal value. He is supreme over all and contains all knowledge and wisdom. His goal is to strengthen you, sharpen you, and prepare you for the work He has called you to. Training by nature is difficult. Expect life to be difficult, but put bold confidence in the One who says His grace is enough.
  • God enters in. The love of God, in fact, the very Presence of God, is invasive. He created the heavens and the earth, but when it came to man, He entered into the garden and used His hands. Through Jesus, He entered into the world as a baby, thus entering into every temptation, every heartbreak, every difficulty and every trial you would ever face. His Spirit entered into you the moment you believed.
  • God goes the distance. He is not going to change His mind about you. He is not going to get sick of you. Your faithlessness in your fears doesn’t surprise Him. He is patient with you. He is the embodiment of comfort and the epitome of compassion. All grace, mercy, and truth come from Him, and He has vowed to never leave you nor forsake. Place your confidence in this: No matter what you face you will never face it alone.

Jesus conquered death. Because Jesus triumphed over the grave we have this assurance: what you are going through is temporary. There is more to life than what you see. There is comfort, peace, joy, and rest to be had. Because Jesus conquered death we can look at life with a new, heavenly perspective. Paul had that perspective when he penned this:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” ~Romans 8:18

If we can remember these four things, if we can live in them and make them our truth, we will know the peace that surpasses understanding.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. ~Romans 8:31-34

What To Do When Your Child Finds Porn

21 Jul

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

—Psalm 119:37 ESV

kids watching screenI was twelve-years-old when my best friend and I, upon her older brother’s prompting, discovered the magazine hidden under her father’s side of the bed. Giggling, we rushed into her bedroom and closed the door.

Our jaws collectively dropped as our faces collectively flushed. Without a word, we looked at each and every page, scarcely able to believe what we saw.

Hint: it wasn’t a Playboy.

That was in 1985 and my one and only brush with pornography. Sure, I scoured my own father’s room, rummaging through drawers and peeking under mattresses, but never found a thing.

If you wanted to find naughty pictures you had to work at it.

Not anymore.

I have two children of my own and ten – yes, ten – nieces and nephews. Pornography has invaded my circle.

It will invade yours, too. I promise.

Here are a few suggestions for when it does.

Don’t panic. Like the Dry Idea deodorant commercial says, “Never let them see you sweat.”Don't Panic

This is not the time to fly off the handle. This is the time to stay calm. Good things to avoid saying include, “What in the world were you thinking!?” or “How could you?” or even better “We have not raised you like this!”

Trust me—there is an inherent element of shame in what your child/tween/teen has been caught doing, which is why they hide it from you. Don’t heap shame upon shame.

this is normalRemember that sexual curiosity is normal and healthy. God made each of us as sexual beings. He also made us with a natural sense of curiosity. Look around at the world we live in—sex is everywhere. Just last week my daughter and I were standing in line at the grocery store. She picked up a magazine and said, “Look, mommy! Isn’t that inappropriate?”

The headline screamed, “Have Mind-blowing Sex Tonight!”

Let’s be honest with each other. If you and I were twelve years old today we would google sex to see what popped up. We just would.

Remember that your child is the victim. Sure, they proactively looked something up online (or more likely, on their phone/tablet). But the very nature of the industry is absolutely, 100% pervasive. It is predatory. A quick check of your e-mail’s spam folder should confirm this, and even completely “reputable” websites have ads leading to inappropriate material.

The average age of children to see porn, according to Focus on the Family, is eight-years-old. If 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women admit pornography addictions, your kid doesn’t stand a chance.

This is not the time to be angry at your child. When you approach them, approach them with deep regret and sympathy:

Honey, I am so sorry that you have seen these things. I want you to know that I am not angry with you, I am angry with the people who make this material available.”

Assure your child that sex is not dirty. Our children need to know the truth about sex, and that’s this: Sex is God’s idea. It is God’s wedding gift to us, and His plan to populate the earth. It’s more than that, though. It is a way for us to keep and grow in intimacy with our spouse, a divinely designed plan to keep the family unit strong.

Sweetheart, I know what you saw was confusing and maybe even scary. That’s because you are not ready for it. But someday, when you find someone you really love and want to marry, you    will think it’s a wonderful thing. Did you know that God invented sex? He did, it was His idea. But it’s only for mommies and daddies who are married. It is a very private thing, and God never, ever intended for it to be a form of entertainment. This kind of sex makes God very sad.” (more…)

Carlene’s Pen: “So Why Are You Still Single?”

22 Jun

“So…can I ask with as beautiful as you are, and as Godly as you are…how come no one’s snatched you up yet?”

CarleneThat question came up to me again tonight – as it has off and on throughout the last several years. It’s always interesting to me how it annoys me hearing it from some people, yet totally blesses me when asked by others. I think it’s because you can tell a person’s heart behind the question. Basically, I’ve seen that question come up with one of three motives behind it.

#1 – TRYING TO SEND ANOTHER MESSAGE – Some mean it in a way implying “there must be something wrong with you if you’re not married off yet” which of course stings a little when they’re passing judgment without even taking the time to get to know you.

#2 – THE INQUIRING BUSY BODY – Others ask out of prying curiosity, which is in essence more about them than it is about you. This also carries a sting because the motive is they want the answer to their question more than they want to consider how it may make me feel being on the receiving end of that inquiry. They have an itch, and they want it scratched – so they forge ahead not thinking how it may make me feel, or the impact on my heart it may bear to again be asked a question which carries the masked trace of “what’s wrong with you?”

#3 – A LOVING COMPLIMENT – But oh, how kind when you receive the 3rd possibility. There are those that speak it out as a true blessing of a compliment. You can hear a pure tone of them relaying by their question that you are unique, special, and set apart, and they find it hard to believe that no one has discovered the diamond that you are. They say it caring – wanting you to know that THEY see a treasure in you – and that you are worth being loved in a special way.

When asked this question, regardless of the motive in which it’s asked, it gets me thinking quickly about the hard time we have with contentment – whether in our lives, or in others’ lives. We don’t like it when anything in this world makes us scratch our head and say “this ought not be so.” We think all things should be the way WE want them to look – at all times, and we have a really hard time when they’re not falling into place.

When I’m asked why I’m still single, I often want to smile and respectfully say what to me is an obvious response: (more…)

Melissa’s Pen: When the Rain Comes

16 Jun

If you live in Texas, you have probably had all the rain you can stand. Creeks are now rivers. Ponds are now lakes. Lakes meare now overflowing into neighborhoods and parks.  Enough is enough.

I am no stranger to rainy seasons in life. A good marriage unexpectedly ended. I was let go from a job. I walked through cancer with my brother.  I have battled depression and anxiety. Enough is enough.

Maybe you are going through something. Maybe your life has unexpectedly changed in some unalterable way. Maybe you cry yourself to sleep in an empty bed after you tuck the kiddos in. Maybe your bank account is empty. I don’t know. What I DO know is that there is hope.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus knows your struggle. He doesn’t promise that the sun will always shine. He DOES say that He has your life under control. The key is to let go of your grip on your life, and let Him take over. In times of struggle, doubt, and the longest rainy season in my personal history—I ran to Him. When I run to my girlfriends via text or social media and whine and complain and tear down the person who hurt me, I find no hope in that. None. But when I run to the Lord, He is faithful to calm and shelter me through the storm.

My oldest daughter (of 3) graduates from High School on Friday. Last night I took a long look back at her life and realized that I got divorced when she was in Kindergarten and have been a single parent for the 12 years since. But not once in these 12 years have we missed a meal, been without clothing or shelter, or lacked for anything. With God in control, and with the help of my parents, my extended family, and my church family, we have not just survived—we have thrived!

The verse I have stood on for all these years is this: “Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction. Faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

Sweet friend, you are NOT alone.

The rain WILL end.

The sun WILL shine again.



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