Janet was laughing hysterically, but at what? She seemed to always be celebrating something. I wondered what her secret could be, so I made it my project to watch her and find out the source of her delight. How jubilant she was at work as she clowned around with her associates. Everyone expected some anecdote or silly joke from her continually; in fact, they craved it. It brought them relief from the seriousness of life, and it gave them a refreshing opportunity, however brief, to laugh.
One day at work Janet was walking toward me, and she had a distraught look on her face. As soon as she saw me, she went into the clown act faking a laugh and trying to hide the angst that I had just seen. As she passed me, I followed her into the lady’s locker room. Skulking around the lockers, I found her sitting on a bench in the corner bawling and whaling. I moved in to comfort her. As I put my arm around her shoulder, she grabbed me in a bear-hug and wept all the more. Where was the clown now? Between sobs, she told me of her tragic home life and the loss of her baby boy. Her husband was an abuser and she blamed him for her son’s death. I was stunned. I prayed for her and just sat with her.
Janet’s clown-act was a cover up for her pain and it gave her a favorable reputation in the eyes of outsiders. It even gave her a bit of relief, but it did not solve her problems. She had some choices to make if she was going to survive. This experience has taught me to always look past the exterior of people if I am to bless and help them. From now on, I see the clown-act as an indicator of something deeper, something amiss. The next time God brings such a person before me, I will ask Him to give me an open door into their heart so that I may offer them the love of Jesus. He alone is their answer.
Spirit surrounding, Spirit protecting, I move.
As I am known, I know.
United with Him, He is my Root and my Source.
Life is only in surrender to the fountain within.
From the inside-out the Spirit flows
And allows this vessel to love Him so.
He’s melded to me, we are one.
Together, intertwined we move, and yet are still.
I’m secure and protected as He is my Provision,
my Source and my Guide.
I am grounded in Him, yet free to fly.
He overflows this vessel, so others may see, and hear, and live.
The steps, the plan, the path
Are always flowing and reaching,
Always unbroken as we are together, united, melded.
I am known; therefore, I know.
Grafted into the Olive Tree, Israel, by His Spirit in me,
Life springs forth
As I love Him from the inside-out.
(I wrote this in 2005.)
There is much debate about the important subject of dating for Christians. Should you date or should you not date? We are dealing with what the Bible says as opposed to what the world says about dating. Our modern concept of dating only came about in the 1960s. Before that time our culture was closer to the Biblical standard for dating.
Modern dating philosophy assumes that there will be several intimate relationships before marriage. It is about finding the right person. Biblical marriage has the goal of being emotionally and physically intimate with only one person of the opposite sex after marriage. It is about being the right person. 1 Corinthians 6:9 – 7:19 tells us that we are to be pure. It addresses the seriousness of sexual sin and gives us instructions regarding marriage.
Modern dating says that there are no differences between men and women and in their roles, whereas the Bible says that men and women are different, although equal, with different and valuable roles within the church and family. Their distinct roles are defined throughout scripture, starting with Adam and Eve.
Modern dating assumes that you get to know a person intimately to figure out if he or she is “the” one, with physical intimacy that precedes commitment. Biblical dating is the opposite: Real commitment to the other person should precede such deep intimacy. In other words, commitment precedes intimacy. Song of Solomon 2:7 says “do not awaken love before it pleases”, which means before the proper time which is marriage.
Modern dating involves finding someone who will meet all your needs while Biblical dating is concerned with ministry and service and bringing glory to God. In Romans 3:18 we are told to love others, work for their soul’s good and don’t look to please self.
Modern dating assumes that what you do is up to you, but Biblical dating assumes a context of spiritual accountability, just as in every other area of the Christian life.
It is pretty obvious that there is no scriptural support for the modern approach to dating. For you, a good rule-of-thumb is to consider what conduct in your dating life will help you to be the best that you can be for God. Think of what will help you to care for your brothers and sisters in Christ and what will bring glory to God. That’s the bottom line.
A young man or woman after God’s own heart should have very high standards. You must choose to remain morally pure no matter what. The most important thing about dating is that you choose a person of the opposite sex who is a Christian and who is committed to maintaining purity in their life and in yours. Their heart must be submitted to God and set on obeying God’s Word. What does a person after God’s heart look like? They are blameless in character and godly in conduct. It is a high standard because it is God’s standard. Never settle for anything less.
Regarding purity: As a man or woman after God’s own heart you must choose to walk a different road from that of the world. You must not disrespect yourselves by dressing to be sexy or physically desirable. Instead, you want people, to like you for your character, not your looks.
Your standards for a godly date must be as high as are the standards you set for yourself. Your physical purity is important to God because:
• Your body is the temple: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
• Your body is not your own: “You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
• Your body is bought with a price: “You were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). And what was that price? “The precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19).
• Your body is to honor and glorify God; “Honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Purity, Biblically, often means chaste and without stain. It also means to be free from pollution, to be clean, innocent and guiltless. If you need to make changes regarding your purity the Holy Spirit will help you do it.
Both modern dating and Biblical dating are methods that introduce two people of the opposite sex and proceed with a pre-marital relationship between them.
The Biblical method:
• Starts with the man approaching and going through the woman’s father or family.
• Is conducted under the authority of the woman’s father or family or church.
• Always has marriage (to a specific person) as its direct goal.
The Modern method:
• Begins with either the man or the woman initiating with the other.
• Is conducted outside the formal oversight or authority of either person’s family or church.
• May or may not have marriage as its goal. It is often only “recreational” or “educational.”
Here is the final Word:
1 Corinthians 6:9-7:19 (NIV):
9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12 “’I have the right to do anything," you say—but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"- but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.’ The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.
Concerning Married Life
7 “Now for the matters you wrote about: ‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.’2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8 “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Concerning Change of Status
17 “Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts
When the Lord asked, “Whom shall I send and who will go for me”, Isaiah answered, “Here am I. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8. (NKJV).
I told the Lord a long time ago that I would go “where He leads me.” I want to share a true story of God’s leading in my life and hopefully, it will help you see how He is leading you.
It was January and I was feeling a little unsettled in my spirit. Things were moving slowly, or so I thought, and I felt I had to do something about it. I was trying to force things and at the same time feeling uncomfortable about it. At that point, I received a prophecy in which the Lord told me that I was in a time of rest. That was a very liberating word to me because the Lord explained what was going on with me in a way that I understood it. I was at peace and liberated after hearing this prophecy.
After a very restful sleep, I woke up the next morning and knew that I was free to travel and that I would be travelling soon. This was a new concept for me because for the past four years I was firmly established in a part of Indianapolis called Broad Ripple Village. My husband and I owned a Christian Bookstore there and I managed it on a full-time basis. And yes, that is another fantastic story that I will elaborate on later. I went to Ohio for a weekend to minister with Hosanna Sacred Arts and could not wait to get home. I literally rejoiced when we approached I465 on our return trip.
But now, the Lord was making a change in direction for me and the ministry into which He had called me. Of course, I said, “Ok, Lord!” When we hear His voice, we must go where He calls when He calls. Failing to so would put us out of His will, His protection and His anointing. So, I waited for further instruction from my Lord.
In February I had lunch with an old friend. In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she wanted to go to Romania and minister to children in the orphanages there. I shared with her what the Lord was telling me. and she said, “you should go to Romania with me and teach dance in the orphanages.” Wow, I said I would pray about it.
Pray I did! I never felt that gentle check in my spirit that would caution me not to go, but I told the Lord that I needed more. I needed to know without a doubt that this was His desire for me before I would undertake such a big endeavor. How sweetly the Lord answered me. Every time I opened my Bible all that I could read about was taking the Word of the Lord to “ALL NATIONS.” Every message I heard was about “ALL NATIONS.” A guest minister came to my church and, you guessed it, he spoke about “ALL NATIONS,” He pointed out the following Scripture:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19, 20 NKJV}
At this point, the Lord asked me, “Why do you continue to ask Me the same thing? There it is.” No more questions from me: I was now sure of the call.
Why Romania? People reminded me that we have many needs here in the USA, so why not work with orphans here? However, this is the door that God opened and wanted me to go through. He gave me this Scripture: “A great door for effective work has opened unto me.” (1 Corinthians 16.9 NIV).
Further study of the word “effective” revealed its meaning: “producing a decisive, decided or desired effect.” That decisive, decided and desired effect for us was to minister to their needs and bring the Gospel of Jesus to them. Another confirmation came when we learned that the Romanian government had requested that volunteer artists come and teach in the orphanages.
The preparation of the Lord had already taken place. We had taught Vacation Bible School at our church several times working with children of various ages. We taught songs, crafts, the Word: basically, everything we would be doing in Romania. I have taught dance classes for many years to both children and adults. My dance classes are ministry classes because the students learn not only dance technique but are accompanied by lyrical Christian music and they receive prayer on a regular basis. My friend had done much work with children in the areas of art, music and crafts. It is important to note that you won’t suddenly become a super whatever on the foreign field if you aren’t doing that thing before you go.
Finally, Acts 1:8 (NKJV) says,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Ghost comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth.”
In summary, what is necessary to do a work like this? First there must be the call, then the open door, then the preparation of the Lord. Two out of three of these elements won’t be enough. If you have the call but lack the open door or the preparation, ask Jesus to show you how to proceed. If you have the call and the preparation but lack the open door, ask Him for it. Everything comes out of a relationship with Him, so ask Him where He would lead you.
" Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:13-15 KJV)
Sin blinds. A decision to sin blinds. Temptation is not sin. I have the power to rebuke it and go on, assuming I belong to Jesus and am filled with His Spirit.
"This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" ( Galatians 5:16 KJV)
God is not tempting me to sin, temptation comes from my own desire (lust}. Walking in the Spirit means that I do not yield to that lust. It is the Holy Spirit in me Who gives me the power to resist that temptation. No problem, my walk with the Lord continues.
But, allowing desire (lust) to conceive means that I entertain it in my mind and allow it to grow. I think about it over and over and make mental scenarios. At this juncture, the blindness begins. I am unable to see how gross my sin is to the Lord. I even think it is not really sin because I haven’t “done” anything. Jesus said that to commit sin in the heart is to commit sin. It has consequences, the main one being the acceptance of darkness into my mind and my heart. Satan has no power or authority over me until I give it to him. Sin in my mind and heart gives the devil a place in my life. It gives him permission to influence me. I might as well say to him “come on in, my heart is open to you and your ways.” If allowed to continue, I will commit the sin that I have entertained in my mind. The end of living in sin is death. Yes, I am forgiven, but could I ever find a place of repentance in my heart? I don’t know. Will I sell my birthright for a bowl of soup?
In the meantime, with sin only conceived in my mind, life goes on. On the surface things look pretty much the same. But, since there is no anointing without purity of heart, there is no joy, no strength, no power or authority. I am confused, and I can’t hear the voice of my Shephard. I try to do the things that I have always done by His Spirit and I can’t. But I still try and in so doing I exhaust myself. Most of all, I miss Jesus! He’s been my close companion for so long. His hand stretches out to me, but it is this thing in my heart that separates me from Him. I am hurting! I want out! Help, Lord!
“Not my will but Thine be done”. When my flesh is out of line there is only one answer. There is only one thing that my flesh will respond to: crucifixion. It is painful to say no to that temptation, but it is so worth it. The anointing is worth everything. His Presence is all that I need. The way is straight and narrow, and you and I must stay on it. Satan wants to destroy us and he will stop at nothing. He perverts everything that God has made for us to enjoy and he uses our own desires against us.
God is for us and not against us. He has given us everything that we need to walk in victory. If we truly submit ourselves to Him, and resist the devil, the devil will flee from us.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7 KJV)
Every good and perfect gift comes from God. He loves us! Jesus won the victory. He sent His Holy Spirit to equip us for anything we must accomplish in this life. Let us open our hearts wide and allow Jesus Christ to enter and permeate every part. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Him. Whatever it is, wherever we are, He is the only answer!
Having been a professional ballet dancer, instructor, Personal Trainer, etc. etc. for my whole life, my body has suffered some abuse. Now in my 70’s I continue to teach barre and ballet classes demonstrating everything full out because I love it so much.
Lately the doc says I have worn out my lumbar spine. I certainly won’t let that stop me! The Lord is teaching me how to avoid pain there when I am teaching. For me it is all in the posture. If I keep my shoulder blades down and back and my ribs, especially the bottom ones, knit together, it takes the stress out of my lumbar area. With my glutes relaxed, my “corset” of core muscles takes the load. I can move freely and without pain.
Another school of thought that helps take the stress off of the inflamed area is this: If I (intensely) activate my abs and glutes and keep them that way, they take the load and remove it from the lumbar spine. The abs and glutes can take it. The Lord told me how to do this some years ago when I asked Him how to relax a muscle spasm in my lower back. He said, “How do you relax a muscle in ballet?” It is simply that you put the “tension” or tightness into a different muscle, i.e. the abs.
However, when I come home after teaching 3 classes in a row, it is a different story. My whole body aches. I do Epsom salt baths, heating pad, ice, you name it, but what really does it for me is sleep. When I say “sleep”, I don’t mean a 15-minute nap, or even a 3-hour nap. I am talking about 8 – 10 hours of really deep, restorative sleep.
Working out physically tears down our muscles. It is during times of rest that they are repairing and building. When we enjoy that long deep sleep, not only are our muscles rebuilding, but our entire body is healing!
May this be a helpful reminder to all of us. Wishing you sweet dreams as your amazing body regenerates!.
Piercing my spirit, confusing my mind and causing my flesh to fail, my attitude towards everyone and everything around me was deadly. I was sick. Frustrated and annoyed with things not going my way, I had become intensely grieved at how other people were (not) doing things.
Little annoyances grew and led to irritation, which led to frustration which led to grieving, i.e., taking this negativity into my heart. My attitude was all about me and how I thought everyone else should behave. My recovery depended on a change of heart.
When I allowed God to turn His searchlight into my heart, He showed me many attitudes and ways of thinking that I had to drop if I was to be totally healed. His love and mercy changed me, and I am whole today.
May this story feed your faith in God’s love for you and in His healing power. I can see in retrospect how He loved me and taught me all the way through this. Before, I believed in my head what the Bible says, “By His stripes we WERE healed”. Now it is a deep conviction. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24 KJV)
Takeaway: An annoyance can snowball into illness, so release it to the Lord before it goes any further!
“Adam, you have to taste this!”
“What, Eve? You ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? God said not to.”
Obviously excited, Eve told how she met this beautiful creature in the garden who asked her “Did God Really Say that?”
“I begin to think that might not be what God said," Eve continued. “Then the creature told me I wouldn’t die, but I would be like God if I ate it. I was thinking maybe God didn’t really mean it when He said not to eat from that beautiful tree. So, I looked at the gorgeous fruit and when I tasted it, I had no words for how delicious it was.”
“Hmmm,” Adam replied, “Well I really do want to be like God.”, so he took a bite too.
From then on things began to run askew. Adam and Eve suddenly realized they were naked, so they made coverings of leaves for their bodies. They hid from God. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the lovely creature for their disobedience.
Sin had entered the world. Satan’s temporary access to the world began. He laughed as his beauty was changed into grotesqueness.
Humanity does the same today, do we not?
1. We try to cover our sin.
2. We hide from the Lord.
3. We blame others for our disobedience.
So many today believe the three lies:
But thanks be to God, when we who are Christians stray and sin, we have Jesus, our loving Savior who took the penalty of sin for us. To receive His forgiveness restores our relationship with God, like Adam and Eve had before they were disobedient to His command. And, we will live with Him for eternity. Oh, how He loves us!
Not only is this so, but we also "boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:11 NIV)
I was scared. Wasn’t the world supposed to get better as time moved forward? And what about my life? Both were worse. A concerned friend gave me a book about Bible prophecy. I thought that was strange, but, I read it, and some of the Bible as well. I learned that the Bible described the present and the future. It even told about me!
The world and I had the same problem: We had turned our back on God’s way and chosen our own way instead.
"All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6 KJV)
With blazing clarity, I knew that I had blown it. I hadn’t kept God’s Word. I’d chosen my own way over His. Not only that, but my rebellion against God carried an eternal death penalty.
God made the only way out. His Name is Jesus. He paid the death penalty that my rebellion deserved. Wow! He wasn’t guilty, I was!
Well, I did it! I surrendered my life to Jesus. I believed He died in my place and I accepted that. I told Him that He could have my life and that I’d follow Him for the rest of it. He accepted me that night too.
Whatever the problem, He is the answer. Oh, how He loves us!
Bring Them In
A twinge of sadness invades the joy that I am experiencing in the Lord’s presence today as I think of my grown children. Once again, I bring each of them to God and ask that He save their souls. Oh, how I want them to know our amazing Lord Jesus! Each of them labors, still trying to live life their own way without God. I know that He is calling them because He hears my cry. My prayers have great influence with God and as I fast and pray for them, I know that the Holy Spirit is wooing them to Jesus.
It is so easy for us to waver in faith as we continue to believe for our lost loved ones, but we must remember that Jesus loves them more than we ever could. Let’s pray that their spiritual eyes would be opened to the glorious love that our God is. This battle must be fought on our knees, not in their faces. We mustn’t strive but be gentle and patient as we love them and let God do His work. It is He that will remove the veil from their eyes so that they may recover themselves from the devil’s snare and join God’s great harvest of souls.
It’s a dark and evil world out there. While the darkness grows, God is showing Himself strong as His glory rises upon His people. It’s a showdown between good and evil. Pockets of revival are rising up everywhere as God sovereignly calls people to Himself. Muslims are coming to Jesus because they have seen Him in a dream or a vision. I feel evil around me, but I also feel His protection like a force field that shields me from danger. A large company of angels surround me. I am reminded that angels are ministering spirits to those of us who belong to Jesus.
As people continue to call good evil and evil good, we are the truth in their confusion and the light in their darkness. May we remove everything from our own lives that is contrary to God’s Word so that our prayers will not be hindered. We sow the Word somebody waters it with truth and God brings in the harvest of souls. Soon, the Lord Jesus will return with His army all on white horses and He will destroy all evil and establish His righteousness here on earth. I want to be, along with my family and friends, a part of that great harvest of souls, don’t you? In the meantime, we have to stand in faith, believing that our children and loved ones will answer God’s call.