Qualifies the Called

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time (1 Peter 5:6)

Around this time last year, I was in San Francisco with my dad driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. Honestly, I was feeling pretty much like a failure at this moment. It was a few days after graduation and I was still jobless. It seemed like all my friends had really great opportunities lined up for them which made me a little jealous. I finally got to the point where I realized that I had to put my trust in The Lord and not worry about what others were doing. Just be happy for them and be content in my current situation. A month and a half later I started the most amazing job ever, in a position I had never heard of and that really came out of nowhere. Today I have traveled to 7 new cities, as well as others I have visited before, and gained tons of experience all thanks to my job. This summer I will be one of the directors of operations at our summer training for corps members, serving about 500+ people. On paper I’m not qualified for ANY of the opportunities I’ve had these last 10 months, but The Lord is faithful and all glory goes to Him. 

If you’re wondering if it’s worth it to surrender yourself fully to The Lord and commit yourself to His ways, I’m here to say that it is. He really does give you the desires of your heart. I’m not going to say you’ll have a super great job, an amazingly fine significant other, perfect health or a struggle-free life, because the Word doesn’t say that. However, I can promise you’ll have true peace, true joy, eternal life and the opportunity to be used by our Lord and Savior to fulfill His purposes on earth which is a bajillion times better, I promise. And He’ll give you the one thing your soul craves above all else, whether you realize it or not…Himself.

 

Much Love,

Joy Monet

Moses on Manhood Pt. 3: Staying Unselfish in Trials

By Jack Redmond

From Exodus 2:16-25

So Moses ran for his life after he found himself in conflict with his own people and under a death sentence for killing the Egyptian. Imagine the personal loss of going from the Pharaoh’s son to being a fugitive in the wilderness and desert. It’s so easy to read this story and not really take to heart the reality of the situation especially because we know the ending.

Moses Did What Was Right When There Seemed Like No Hope

Moses just lost a place in the palace, sonship to the most powerful man on earth and all the benefits that went with that. What did he get in return? A death sentence and a trip into the desert with no plans, no knowledge of the future and no guarantees of anything! Overnight, he went from rich, famous and powerful to poor, wanted as a criminal and powerless to do anything. Not the kind of day I would like to have!

So after running for his life, the first interaction we know between Moses and other people was at a well where a group of sisters were watering their father’s flock. Some male shepherds came up and drove away the flocks and the woman. This was none of Moses’ business and he probably was not looking for another fight, especially with multiple men. But something rose up with in him to defend the defenseless once again. He had nothing to gain. He didn’t even know these women, but something inside him drove him to stand up to this injustice once again. At the lowest moment of his life, he was still focused on helping others. Unknowingly, this positioned him to be used by God in the days ahead.

Moses Grew Roots and Built a Foundation

Moses was starting over after losing more than any of us could ever dream of having! I’m sure it was confusing as to how things that were going so good, could get so bad so quickly. Life will do that sometimes. I have heard people say, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”! Moses sure had some lemons to work with! Hard times will either crush you or make you a man. It was game time and Moses passed the test. He worked hard, loved his wife, and raised his family as God watched over him.

Being Stable Positioned Moses to Be Used By God

Moses didn’t go off the deep end. He didn’t drown himself in alcohol or get mad at God for what people did. He served and worked. Eventually, the king of Egypt died. What still lived was God’s love for the Israelites and Moses’ passion to see his people set free. If Moses had broken down, quit or just stayed bitter, he would not have been positioned to be used by God.

God Still Had a Plan

During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. -Exodus 2:23-25

God was at work while Moses was in the wilderness and desert. What burned in Moses’ heart came from God’s heart. When we know God’s will and heart, we don’t have to be moved by current circumstances. God made a promise to His people and He was about to fulfill it, and Moses was still God’s chosen vessel!

What now?

  • It is important to stay focused on God’s will in all situations. Moses positioned himself to be used by God and focused on helping others even while in personal pain.

  • Build where you are planted. As a man of God, love your wife, raise your children and serve God. If you are single, serve God as He prepares you for the days ahead.

  • Expect God to do something in you and through you. Just because Moses’ circumstances went bad, it didn’t change his destiny. Stay strong and God will use you at the right time to do His will!

Jack Redmond is an author and speaker who has worked with men, families and teens for over 20 years. You can connect with him through www.4thgen.org or follow him on twitter @jackwredmond

Click to connect with Jack’s books: http://www.4thgen.org/online-store/books/ or at Amazon.com

Moses on Manhood Pt. 2: Standing Up For What Is Right

By Jack Redmond

In life, we will be challenged to stand up for what is right or shrink back just to keep things moving smoothly. Too many pay too high a price by standing down for a temporary benefit and pay too high a price for their actions in the future. Let’s look at how Moses handled a situation he could have ignored and nobody would have known his inner anger but him.

Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, ‘Why are you striking your companion?’ Then he said, ‘Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ So Moses feared and said, ‘Surely this thing is known!’ When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well. -Exodus 2:11-15

Moses Had to Stand Up or Stand Down

The Bible doesn’t give us every detail of what happened to people like Moses. All we know is what is written. Some time in Moses’ life, he became aware that what was happening to the Hebrews wasn’t right. He could have just walked away from the injustice and cruelty that was taken place or stand against it. Moses chose to stand up against the injustice he saw. There are things in our life where we must choose to stand up or just let them go.

We Can Stand Up Properly or Stand Up Incorrectly

Now Moses took extreme action! He literally killed the Egyptian who was beating the Hebrew. He had no direction from God to do this that we know of, or judgment of whether it was justified to save a life or condemned as an act murder. When we read the Bible, it is important to understand that at times, the Bible is recording history as it happened and not necessarily endorsing history as God’s will or desire. The Bible is filled with historical events, some left unjudged, along with the records of man’s sin which is never God’s will. So we see that Moses killed the Egyptian. He moved in haste and tried to change injustice by killing a man. We don’t if Moses could have changed this situation in some way outside of what he did. When standing up for what is right or doing the right thing, we should think about the best way to handle difficult issues. It is important to not only do the right thing, but do it in the right way.

Men Are Strong Enough to Stand Up and Willing to Pay a Price

Whether or not Moses’ choice of action was the wisest to take, the fact is he was willing to stand up to power, stand up for the weak, and confront an evil of his day. As men, there will be times when we will have to stand up for what is right and may have to pay a price for it. The price may simply being unpopular or not fitting in with certain people. The price may be much deeper like broken relationships, persecution, or even losing a job. Men of God walk through these trials in a way that makes them grow stronger and not be broken. The strength of conviction about what is right is the same strength that they lean on in the trial.

After Moses saved a fellow Hebrew from the Egyptian, just imagine his amazement at seeing the Hebrew on Hebrew violence. It’s bad enough that his brothers were being beaten and abused by the Egyptians, but now they were beating and abusing each other! When Moses confronted this evil, the very same people who saw Moses kill the Egyptian to protect a fellow Hebrew, turned on him.

Moses realized that his intention of protecting people had just turned into his own death sentence. He had stood up for what was right. He now understood that he may pay for his actions with his own life. He was now facing paying a price for his choice of action and his response was to flee for his life.

Principles Set the Tone and Course for Your Life

So Moses fled and began a new chapter in his life. He tried to solve the problems of his day in his own strength and way. He found out that didn’t work so well this time around. But Moses had been a man of conviction and did what he felt what was right at the moment. He didn’t get the results he wanted right away but this conviction and willingness to stand up for what was right would come back and go much better in the days ahead.

What now?

  • Know where you stand. When you have defined principles, they help guide you in tough situations.
  • Stand up for what is right. This makes life simpler even when results may not be what you desire at first.
  • Be willing to pay a short-term price to get a better long-term reward. To achieve and experience the best in life, there is always a price to pay. Strong men are willing to pay the price.

Jack Redmond is an author and speaker who has worked with men, families and teens for over 20 years. You can connect with him through http://www.4thgen.org or follow him on twitter @jackwredmond

Moses on Manhood Pt. 1: Playing With the Cards You Are Dealt

By Jack Redmond

In life, we are all dealt a hand of cards that we must play. As the old song says: “Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser”. The difference is how you play with the cards that life hands you. There is also the God factor that goes way beyond the cards in your hand.  Some people are dealt a wonderful hand in life. A solid family with good finances and life has fewer obstacles. Others are born into broken families with never-ending challenges. Either way, life will have its challenges. History is also filled with great men and women who overcame the worst of circumstances along with the millions who had everything handed to them who lived miserable lives without purpose. Most of us like Moses got a good dose of both good and bad.

Born a Slave – Then It Got Worse!

Talk about a lousy hand! Moses was born as the property of the Pharaoh. He was born a slave and seen more as a beast of burden like an ox or mule than a human. He did not choose his race or culture, but both were a huge disadvantage in that society. Then it got worse, he was given a death sentence simply for being a male. It was a lose/lose situation in the natural. But Moses’ mother understood that despite the horrible reality they were living in, that they served the living God and He was bigger than their reality!

Moses’ mother took a step of faith that had supernatural results that literally changed the history of the world. She decided to let God be the author of her story and not simply take the lousy hand that life and society had dealt her.

Adopted by the Pharaoh’s Daughter – Then Walked Away from Riches

In a day, Moses went from condemned slave to royalty. His cards changed over night. Privilege made life better for a season but eventually Moses found out that title and position don’t satisfy the soul. He found out that the man he thought was his father actually had decreed his death. Moses was at a crossroads and eventually, he gave up his position and material wealth for a better purpose. He made a decision to trust God to his destiny instead of ignoring injustice.

Moses Embraced the Process – It Takes a Process to Get to Your Destiny

After Moses walked away from position, prestige and money, he lived his life. He didn’t stop living because he lost what he had. He woke up day in and day out and lived on the back side of the desert and allowed life to shape him for his destiny. He must have had a lot of questions but he chose to enroll in the school of life. He got up each day and worked and provided for his family. He kept going when he didn’t have the answers. He chose to let the heat of life make him moldable instead of just letting it melt him.

The Journey

Just like Moses lived a journey, I invite you to take a walk with us over the next couple of weeks. It won’t be 40 years in the desert but hopefully it will take you a littler further down the road to who God created you to be. Just like Moses, you were dealt some good cards and some bad but you have to play the game. I hope to be able to help you win!

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.                                                 -Hebrews 11:23-28

What now?

  • Ask God to get involved. Moses’ mother had no hope in the natural, but through faith, God Himself got involved. What area of your life do you need God to get involved?
  • Don’t rely on material things to make you happy. So many have spent their lives trying to be happy through material blessings or striving to get them only to realize that it was a mirage.
  • Embrace the process that will propel you into your destiny. Destiny is never birthed in a day; it can take years of preparation. Know your desired destiny and embrace the process to get you there.
  • Follow our blog as we journey through the life of Moses and learn about growing in our manhood.

Jack Redmond is an author and speaker who has worked with men, families and teens for over 20 years. You can connect with him through www.4thgen.org or follow him on twitter @jackwredmond 

Show Me Who I Really Am: Birthday Reflections

Today is my birthday! I was so excited and had already prepared a birthday post that I was going to put up. However, yesterday God totally changed up my plan by revealing some hard truths about me as I was reading my bible yesterday. Womp, womp.  But before I get into all of that, there’s some back story to all of this.

This time last year was around the time that I got saved…for real for real. See, I grew up in church, and considered myself a Christian because I went to church on Sunday and all of that good stuff. However, I had no real relationship with God at all. I barely read or even opened my bible except for a few minutes on Sunday. I was doing all types of things that were not Christ-like. Even though by the world’s standards I was considered a “good girl,” I still was not living up to the standards God expects of His children at all. Actually, I didn’t even really know what those standards were (because I never studied the Word for myself).

Then everything changed. At the end of May last year, I got in my first car accident. I was hit by a drunk driver who ran the light. I was injury free and fine overall, but I really felt like that was God’s way of waking me up. After that nothing was really the same for me. All summer long I felt the beginning stages of my Christian transformation taking place. There were a lot of things that I had to let go, even though at the time I REALLY did not want to. Things such as a relationship, certain friends, activities, and so much more. Now, I see how none of those things compared to the fullness of a relationship with Christ, but it was extremely difficult then.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been living a saved life for about a year now, gotten my degree, started my big girl job and started to somewhat feel myself…a little too much. Then yesterday, I read Romans 1 & 2 and that all pretty much changed (Btw, please read Romans ASAP, it’s a great book). Both chapters are loaded with verses that really convicted me, but one section in particular stood out:

You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?  For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written. (Romans 2:21-24)

I read that and it was like, whoa this is talking about me! I had to admit to myself that I had somewhat gotten off track and started to live this almost double life. I KNOW right from wrong and what I should and should not be doing, but slowly but surely I have arrived at this point of being a hypocrite! I talk to people and preach the word, etc. etc., but after having God wreck me and show me myself, I realized that for the last few months I haven’t really been walking the walk.  A few things He pointed out:

  1. My haughtiness. Hate to admit it, but I really feel some type of way that I graduated from a top university in the nation and that I’ve had the opportunities I’ve experienced. I remember someone talking to me about how they and their friends have a 4.0 at their university, and laughing hysterically inside because I just KNEW that their 4.0 was maybe comparable to a 2.5 at my school, at best. Smh. I have taken pride in my looks, body, clothes, jewelry, etc. and really have the audacity to look down on others. Of course people wouldn’t know that I feel this way, but I’ve realized the feeling has come up a few times. When you really think about it, when it’s all said and done, does it even matter what school you went to, or how great of a company you landed a job with? Does that get us into heaven or make us better than other people? No. The world may try and tell us it does, but it really doesn’t.
  2. Looking down on others for things I do myself. Many of the qualities we don’t like in other people tend to be the qualities we can find within ourselves. I cannot STAND when fellow Christians think they can party, be drunk, have sex and think it’s all good and they’ll be forgiven because God loves us and He has endless grace. Drives me crazy. Meanwhile, here I am practicing sin that is just not as out there, but abusing His grace just the same. No bueno. Or saying things like, you should really be spending time with God every day in prayer and reading the Word, when I know that in my quiet time my mind just wanders off to thinking about who I like or things I need to get done that day. Smh.
  3. Entertaining thoughts and ideas not of God. I have just been letting my mind wander around and think of things that I should not. If you give sin an inch, it will take a hundred miles. Guard your heart and your mind.
  4. False humility. This one goes hand in hand with haughtiness, and is probably one of the worst. I found that I have a habit of faking humility. Saying things like “All glory to God,” when I know good and well I’m enjoying the attention, reputation and acknowledgement that I’m receiving. I want THE glory allllll to myself. Not all of the time, but most of the time and this is just not ok.

I can honestly say, I have no idea when I got to this point. It didn’t happen all at once, but slowly with one compromise after another. Not spending enough time with the Lord. Being too into the world. Not constantly renewing my mind as instructed in Romans 12:2.

I didn’t write all of this to just vent and get all of my emotions out, but more of a heart check for all believers out there. Maybe you do the same exact thing that I have found myself doing. Maybe you’re being a hypocrite, but just in different areas. Please take the time to really think about it. I’m not saying you have to be perfect, because honestly, none of us are. However, if you have started to feel like you are somewhat putting on a Christian act and are doing things that you are telling others not to do, it’s time for a self-check.

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

People misquote this scripture ALL THE TIME, to typically justify their own sins, and through that miss the true meaning. This scripture refers to the fact that we need to take a good look at ourselves and make sure we aren’t doing the sin before we tell someone else to stop doing it. Notice that in this verse, it DOES NOT say “Take the plank out of your own eye, then leave the speck in the other person’s eye.” We are to remove the plank out of our eye, and still remove the speck out of our brother’s.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22-23)

The above scripture really scares me. This is God talking to all of those who thought they were doing His will and really thought they were followers of Christ, like most people in the church today. However, God tells them on Judgment day “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Oh my goodness, that literally sends chills through my soul that I could actually be one of those people because I was too focused on works and had absolutely no faith behind it.  Christianity is all about the heart. Everything is laid bare before God; your actions, your thoughts, your intentions (1 Corinthians 4:5). If you are doing things just to look good, or thinking things that are not holy, you WILL be judged and held accountable for it on the Day of Judgment. Yea, no one knows what you’re thinking, but God does.

I have asked God to search my heart and show me anything that was unlike Him for weeks now, and He definitely did when I least expected it. Now that I have realized what is going on in my heart, I can address the issue.  It hurts, bothers and humbles me that some of these qualities are inside of me, but it’s better to know than to be unaware. This is definitely NOT what I was prepared to be thinking about on my birthday, but it is such a necessary lesson that I need to grow. So I encourage you to pray earnestly  to God and ask Him to show you your ways as well, so that you can continue to grow and be conformed into Christ’s image.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139: 23-24)

Much love,

Joy Monet

Sweet Like Sugar Venom: My Debilitating Enchantment with Porn

(I didn’t want to write this blog at first. I truly didn’t. I remember a few months ago when I realized that I would have to, I was so beyond terrified. “What would people think? What would they say about me, Lord?” I asked. In the end I’ve realized that it is not about me, it’s about setting the captives free. This is a huge issue in the body, which must be brought to the light. All glory, all honor, all praise to You.) The statistics shown below are insane. Porn has truly taken over America. Keep in mind that pornography comes in many forms including videos, photos, magazines or even written in the form of an article or book.  People never start off addicted to this thing.  It grows over time. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that because you only watch it every once in awhile, this blog doesn’t apply to you, or that you are safe/invincible. That is extremely foolish, and is how I and many others ended up with an addiction.  (Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12 NASB)  2DE46113-E724-4B33-9399-2EDED5D22F6DWhen did my relationship with pornography and masturbation begin? Sad to say, I don’t really remember. I know I was young, somewhere before the age of ten and happened to stumble upon this deceitful “treasure”. It seemed too good to be true…it was. Now, over a decade later, I can truly see how it wrecked my life and put an extreme hindrance on my intimacy with God. I guess I should start all of this off by saying that pornography is sinful and there is never a reason any Christian should entertain it. Ever.

  • Singles may indulge in porn and may use the fact that they are abstaining from actual sexual intercourse as justification. No, it is still not ok. You are just planting seeds that will destroy your life now and your future marriage. I’d also like to point out that if you are not married, then you are single in the eyes of the Lord.
  • Married couples may indulge in pornography to “spice up” the bedroom. My message to you is to first repent and then ask The Lord to help you all reach sexual satisfaction in a way that glorifies Him, because porn is definitely not it. It is actually ruining your marriage, whether you realize it or not. Keep the marriage bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4).

People say, “What’s so bad about porn?” The real question the Christian should ask is, “What’s good about it?” The whole industry is controlled completely by Satan.  Since he cannot create anything, he took a beautiful gift given to us by God and made it vile and nasty. If you don’t see the problem with pornography this is a sign that you have hardened your heart. As Christians we are called to live holy lives that honor The Lord. I’m sorry, but pornography doesn’t fit into that category for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • It takes sex outside of the boundary God gave to us, which is solely marriage between a man and woman.
  • It perverts sex and makes it all about what “I” can get out of it, which is selfish. We are called to operate in love and selfishness is in no way a characteristic of love, according to 1 Corinthians 13:5.
  • It intensifies lust and is usually the ammunition behind an insatiable sex drive.
  • It’s adultery. In Matthew 5 Jesus says, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Doesn’t get clearer than that. This goes for both men and women.

I’ll admit, this sin can be overwhelming.  It was extremely difficult to shake. I didn’t even realize that I was addicted until I got saved and still could not seem to let it go. By addicted I don’t mean that I spent hours and hours every day indulging, although it certainly can manifest in that way for some. No, this was more of a compulsive behavior that I just could not say no to when I felt the urge. Every time that I thought this perverse addiction was gone; a few weeks or months later it would pop right back up, strong as ever. Additionally, it was hard for me to even admit my sin mostly because I’M A WOMAN! I felt that every sermon, blog or article about porn/masturbation was in reference to men, and they may occasionally throw in “Oh yea, some women struggle with this too,” at the last minute. None of my close friends really battled with lust like I did or seemed to look down upon it, which made it even more difficult. So not only did I feel bad that I was struggling with this sinful thing, I felt even worse because in the Christian community it seemed as if this was only a sin that was acceptable for men to struggle with. “Men are visual,” is the line I’ve heard a billion times, as justification for men to have these issues. I wondered where that left me. How messed up and disgusting could I be that as a woman who wasn’t created to be “visual,” I could fall so hard in this area? Now I see that this type of thinking was a way to keep me silent, bound and in a cycle of guilt as lust is in no way a gender specific sin.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NIV)

How did I ever get free from the bondage of pornography? Solely through the power of the Holy Spirit. Every time I fell, it wasn’t because God wasn’t doing enough; it was because I succumbed to temptation. This is not something that you can overcome by sheer willpower.  Honestly, nothing really changed until I started to take great delight in my relationship with God.  Only then did I begin to see the desire fade away. As John Piper states in one of his sermons:

Sexual sin is a symptom, not the disease. People give way to sexual sin because they don’t have the fullness of joy and gladness in Christ. Their spirits are not steadfast and firm and established. They waver. They are enticed, and they give way because God does not have the place in our feelings and thoughts that He should. 1

The true remedy to this sin is to take joy in The Lord. Spend time with Him. Learn more about Him. Fall completely in love with our Mighty God. However, once you are delivered, there are some safeguards that you need to put in place in order to not succumb to the temptation again. Here are 6 practical things you can do in conjunction with the Holy Spirit: 1. Think about Jesus. Picture our sinless Savior, Jesus hanging on the cross in order to free you from your sins, every time you’re about to look at something pornographic. I would just picture the flogging scene from the Passion of the Christ. Seriously, watch it. With that image in your head, you’ll be moved to stop every time. 2. Confess your sin. “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (James 5:16) You HAVE to talk to someone, whether its friends, family, pastors or accountability partners. You cannot do this alone. There is a reason we are told to confess our sins to each other. For one it aids in accountability and it takes away the power of guilt and shame that the enemy tries to hold over you. Honestly, I knew I had to confess but I just couldn’t bear to tell anyone I knew because I was so ashamed. I ended up joining the God Over Porn Facebook support group for women, simply by going to the website and clicking on support groups. It was such a weight off of my shoulders when I finally talked about it. It also made it easier for me to open up and talk to two of my friends about it. 3. Say bye to porn. Rid yourself of all pornography around you or things that make you fall. If you have younger siblings or children living in your home, do this ASAP. They WILL find it, kids are nosy. Most of the people I know that have struggled with a porn addiction were exposed to it before ten and hooked by twelve. Don’t be the reason an innocent child gets pulled into this destructive practice. Some things to do:

  • Set up filters on your computer, only get on the internet if someone else is around
  • Throw out the DVD’s and magazines
  • Get rid of the HBO subscription on your cable package, possibly get rid of your TV altogether
  • Delete Vine, Instagram, Twitter
  • No watching twerking videos, tv shows or movies that have any hint of sexual content
  • Delete and stop listening to music that alludes to sex

Every stumbling block must go. Some can be completely random as well. I realized that one of my triggers were celebrity gossip sites. I’m not sure why, but for some reason they were, so I stopped reading them. 4. Run.  Paul instructs us to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). Anytime you feel the urge rise up in you, run away. Whether that means run out of the room, throw the phone down, call a friend, go for a drive, it doesn’t matter just get away from it as quickly as possible. Pray to The Lord for strength. 5. Check out this blog, posted by God Over Porn. It literally changed my life and showed me what types of evil I was opening myself up to every time I fell. 6. Be prepared. Realize that the temptation is going to come, don’t be caught off guard. As soon as you read this and decide that you’re going to stop for real this time, temptation will pop up pretty soon after. The enemy is not going to let you go that easily! The best defense against this attack is knowing the Word of the Lord. These are some verses I always go to:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. (Romans 6:12-13) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able (1 Corinthians 10:13) I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. (Psalm 101:3) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.(Colossians 1:13-14) Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:12) For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18) For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)

I pray that someone read this and was moved to repent and seek help with their inclination towards pornography. This is a war y’all. A war for your mind, a war for your peace, a war for your current/future marriage and so much more.  The enemy is literally out to kill and destroy you, don’t make it any easier for him. Don’t continue to give in. Repent and say goodbye to this thing for good. Be free, Fam – Joy Monet P.S. If you’re a woman who would like to talk about this issue a little more privately, feel free to email me at itsthechristianway@gmail.com 1 John Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/a-broken-and-contrite-heart-god-will-not-despise

Fashion That Honors the Kingdom: What Are You Wearing?

By Bryan Saunders

Glory to the King! Glory to the upmost high! Lord you reign forever!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well!

The ladies of the blog have asked me to share some insight on the fashion tip for us young people of God. Writing this blog helped me to see things that I didn’t even realize I was doing. I knew that women’s clothing can have a major effect on dudes, but I was surely blind to what we as dudes do with our outfits. So, let’s address our wardrobes!

Let’s start off with this: we have two different wardrobes to choose from. What do I mean by this? Well, we have a physical appearance we have to dress up, and we have a spiritual appearance that we need to dress up as well. In this post I’ll focus on the spiritual aspect.

Turn with me in your bibles to Colossians chapter 3, verses 5-15. As  a matter of fact, here they are:

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.

Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Alright, let’s break this thing here down. Paul instructs us to put these sinful things to death since we have been made new. Since we are new creatures, we should not have anything to do with the old. Do you see that list? How many of us have been made new, yet still have some of that old stuff living in us? Better yet, in verse 9 it states that we have been stripped of our old sinful nastiness. All of that stuff we had on us is gone!

So this shows us that we used to wear the clothes of Satan. We were wearing his shirt of lust with a nice pair of greed pants. We had on that jacket of impurity covering our lust shirt. The ladies slid their feet in shoes of gossip and guys had on those sneakers of lying. We were walking around filthy. Our spiritual wardrobe was a mess! Do you know who we really resembled? We resembled the people of the world. I thought we weren’t supposed to be like the ones of the world (Romans 12:2)? We were dressing like them, walking like them, talking like them, etc. Not only were we living like them physically, we were dying like them spiritually. Our outfit and outward presentation spoke for us before we even opened our mouths. So that means we looked like death, talked like death, and lived like death.  What good is it if we claim to be men/women of God if our appearance doesn’t show it?

But glory to God, we were saved. God saved us and took us shopping and bought everything for us. Now we have new clothes to put on. Verse 10 says to put on our new nature, so we can learn and become like our Creator. “What? Put on our new nature? Learn about God? Become like God?” Yep. It can happen and it will. But you have to clothe yourself in His clothes. God has a spiritual line of clothes that He is giving to you so you can look like Him. They are all listed in verses 12-15. These exclusive clothes for the called and chosen can be yours if you answer your calling. You can wear the shirt of love with a nice pair of peace pants. Wear the jacket of gentleness over that. Talk about being stylish!

Now, one thing that is vital to remember is that you can’t mismatch these new, clean royal clothes with the old, filthy ones you let go. What good would it be to wear a fresh new outfit with some dirty dingy sneakers? Ladies, would you wear a nice dress with a torn-up cardigan; or a nice blazer with a blouse you can’t tell if it’s yellow, brown, or white because it’s so dirty? Same thing applies. What good is gentleness with rage? Or love, if you throw on some malicious behavior? Can you really wear any of God’s spiritual clothing if you still have on a piece of Satan’s old dirty line?

So, let’s really check ourselves. Let’s be conscious of the spiritual clothes we put on daily. Are we truly walking out of the house everyday with the right clothes on? Is our outfit completely holy? Or is our outfit mismatching? Take heed and really check everything, making sure we are matching and clothed with the correct clothes. It’s time to let our spiritual clothing point to the glory of God!

I hope you enjoyed this! To God be the Glory.

You can connect with Bryan through  https://bryanlovesthelord.wordpress.com/ or follow him on twitter @BryanAndrew_

Cover Photo: By Gary Borden (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Dear God 3.0: 12 Artists I Thought Christ Approved Of

I love music. Almost all music. Whether it’s rock, pop, country, jazz, alternative, afro-house, classical, hip hop, or soul, my ears really don’t discriminate. I vividly remember experimenting with my Dad’s 45′ records from the age of 8 and the first CD I bought with my own money. I’ve been to music school, written/composed songs for others, and still even have dreams of becoming a DJ in the near future. But even with my diverse music background throughout childhood and my adult years, I especially had a love for hip hop, reggae, and neo soul. Something about the consciousness of the artists, homage paid to untold histories, and the rhythmic sounds of the beats engaged me like no other art form. But one thing I have grown to acknowledge, especially since giving my life to Christ, is a lot of these artists I’ve grown up with do NOT honor the Kingdom of God with their music.

Ouch. I wrestled with this for years. Maybe because I always loved these genres more than gospel or Christian rock. Maybe because these artists DID talk to or about God and Jesus Christ in their lyrics. Maybe because they wanted to bring light to social issues and conditions I was passionate about. Maybe that all helped me to justify not giving up their music. But the more I matured in my faith, I recognized how many of these artists were often misguided in their lyrical discussions about God and even promoted lawlessness that was conveniently covered by melodies massaging our ears and numbing our senses to truth. With good intentions paving the pathway to hell, I recognized that in a sense they were no different than the raunchy rap and R&B artists I loathe. Let me give you a few examples…

1. The Roots

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“Why is the world ugly when you made it in your image?
And why is living life such a fight to the finish?
For this high percentage, when the sky’s the limit.
A second is a minute, every hour’s infinite.” – Dear God 2.0

2. A Tribe Called Quest

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“Don’t stress that cause it’s not in your bloodstream
Your whole being, comes from greatness, d’you remember
Shatan got you caught in the storms of December
And brothers on the block packin nines like September
Crazy situations keeps pockets on slender.” – Stressed Out

3. Jill Scott

Jill-Scott

(Case studies too sexually explicit to share…but for real though, that’s my point) 

4. Tupac Shakur

TUPAC SHAKUR

“Searching for Black Jesus
Oh yeah, sportin jewels and s**t, yanahmean?
(Black Jesus; you can be Christian
Baptist, Jehovah Witness)
Straight tatted up, no doubt, no doubt
(Islamic, won’t matter to me
I’m a thug; thugs, we praise Black Jesus, all day)” – Black Jesus

5. Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def)

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“Those who’d trade they freedom for protection deserve neither.
F*** a name, f*** tradition, religion, you learn Jesus.” – What’s Beef

6. Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli - 5 AM In Brooklyn Lyrics

“But real Muslims believe in paradise and the resist the Shatan
So it all sound the same to me
That’s why when they say one is right and the other is wrong it just sound like game to me
It’s like God skipped past the church and came to me
No that ain’t vain to me
It’s just a particular way that I came to see” – Give ‘Em Hell

7. Erykah Badu

Erykah-Badu2

“Humdi Lila Allah Jehova Yahweh Dios Ma’ad Jah Rastafara fyah dance, sex, music…

Hip-Hop
It’s bigger than religion, Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than my n****s: Hip-Hop
it’s bigger than the government.” – The Healer (Sidenote: Oh, really?)

8. Common

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“He [Jesus] still created with the imperfection of man
So, with followin’ I disagree
By no means have I forgotten or forgiven what’s been done to me” – G.O.D. (Gaining One’s Definition)

9. Lupe Fiasco

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“All, so we fall for the illusions of the beast
So instead of tryin’ to teach we show our teeth
Same God, different beliefs
Hijabs, Sunday clothes, yarmulke, kufi, same mission beneath
We all tryin’ to get to where the sufferin’ ends
In front of the Most High bein’ judged for our sins
Can’t front for the Most High, so the struggle continues
You, every bee, bird and tree, he, her and me
We virtually on the same boat
With the same goats, on the same sea
Tryin’ to stay afloat, and put the devil in the yolk
With a couple of God’s quotes” – Muhammad Walks

10. Big K.R.I.T.

big-krit-456-6612

“‘Be a rapper or a Christian Krit?'”
Cause in this game there’s no room for that religion s**t
Acrobatic flip my temper cause I remember
It’s either heaven or Hell and that s**t simple.”

11. Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick-Lamar

“As I open this book and then burn up some of this reefer
My plan is to figure out the world and escape all my demons
I’m dying inside, I wonder if Zion inside the heavens
A condom, a Rollie, pain, a fat blunt and a mack 11
That’s all I see in my life and they tell me to make it right
But I’m right on the edge of Everest and I might jump tonight” – Kush & Corinthians

12. Bob Marley

bob-marley-1973-sized

“Then legalize marijuana
Right here in Jamaica yeah
Dem say it cure glaucoma yeah
I’m an a de bush doctor yeah…” – Legalize It

I think what hurts the most about this selection of artists is the fact they are all so incredibly talented and their music is so soulful, appealing, and “eargasmic.” But as Christians we must use our common sense and get our heads out of the rhythmic clouds. Allow me to further explain…

Don’t get lost in the music. There is a clear agenda here. The artists above don’t believe Jesus Christ is the way to salvation and/or don’t live according to His Word. Rather, they submit their minds to belief systems like Islam, The 5 Percenter Movement, Atheism, Agnosticism, and the Zulu Nation. These very beliefs mock the God we serve, and if you don’t know what they are, who is apart of them, and how they have captivated the minds of young people – EDUCATE yourself today. We will shut down rants or pray over the attack of Twitter atheists all day, but won’t even consider deleting songs off of our iPhones that belong to people who TOO do not believe. You are not independent of their influence. And these are sobering facts.

Beyond their beliefs, we can stop at the pure lawlessness each of these artists promote in their music. For every song like “Golden,” Jill Scott has 10 songs about her sexual addiction to a man.  For every “Redemption Song” or “One Love,” Bob Marley has 20 songs glorifying marijuana. Who cares that Kendrick Lamar and Big K.R.I.T. consider themselves Christians? Have they stopped to ask God how He feels about their cursing, self-indulgence, mocking of the Holy Bible, and sexually explicit lyrics? I doubt it. And I promise you no one has gotten a spiritual awakening from any of their songs.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” – 2 Corinthians 6: 14-16

What makes us think music is a pure art form we can’t stumble from? This is where the enemy does his most precisely executed work, because we consume the very energy music is like narcotics. Even worship and gospel music are subject to perversion. Satan is an expert at this. I’m begging you family, we must use our critical thinking skills, discernment, and other senses to recognize music is the most impressionable art form in our lives and our worship experience with God. Don’t let the music you consume and the seeds it plants pervert your walk with Christ. Do we really think God cares that the beat was hot, the artist addresses social issues (that we OURSELVES have created), or that at least the artist gave a tacky mention of our Father’s name?

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” – Matthew 7: 21-23

This post won’t be popular with most. But it’s necessary and long overdue. There is a reason why I chose these artists and not the usual suspects like Kanye, Drake, J Cole, Jay-Z, etc. These are just a few of the artists viewed as seemingly harmless in our homes. But don’t let “the beat” be an idol in your life that keeps you from honoring the Lord free of yourself, ideology, and contentment. And like with every other step of this Christian journey, I challenge you today to reconsider your comfort.  Let’s keep this discussion going.

Love always,

Tia

This particular blog post is the prelude to a series I’m beginning in the new year, entitled, “How Does God Feel About My ____.” In this upcoming series, I will revisit issues like secular music, alcohol, premarital sex, and many others to both dismantle myths about what the Bible says and to encourage holiness amongst our generation. Stay tuned!