Win A FREE Copy!!!! Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family

jess

Giving away 3 copies of Exploring Grace Together:  40 Devotionals for the Family by Jessica Thompson!!!!!!!!!!!

I am thrilled to have Jessica Thompson over here today at The MIss America Reject!!!  This lady is a champion for the gospel and I personally have gained from her authenticity as a mom and lover of Jesus.

How can you win a FREE copy?  All you have to do it….

1.)  Read and Share this post written by Jessica Thompson (love this lady!)

2.)  “like” The Miss America Reject page over here at Facebook and then “share” it with your friends

3.)  Comment on The Miss America Reject Facebook page and let me know you would like  one of the 3 copies

Winners will be selected at random and Crossway will be sending the copies out soon!  I cant wait to purchase a copy for gifts!!!!
One of my favorite things to do is to take a hike. Preferably up a very large mountain, where I get angry ¾ of the way up and refuse to talk to anybody that is with me because it is their fault that I am feeling like I am about to die. I hate the “almost there” part, it is the worst. But I love the top. I love standing looking down on our city and getting a new perspective. I know that might sound cheesy, but I am always surprised at how my eyes are opened at the top. I look down and see things that feel so big to me when I am next to them and now they seem miniscule. It feels like I can breathe differently, more freely. It may be because I am lightheaded and out of shape, but whatever.

For me, Revelation 5 is a view from the top. I read it the other day and had the same sort of lightheaded, teary-eyed feeling. I would love for you to go ahead and read the whole chapter when you get a quiet moment. It starts with an angel asking “who is worthy to open the scroll and break it’s seals?” Seemingly there was no one, all hope was lost. John begins to “weep loudly” because of the lack. And then there is a shocking turn in the story. One of the elders leans over to John and probably says with a slight smile, “Weep no more; behold.” And there He is. The One who is worthy. The One who has conquered. The Lion of the tribe of Judah. So John dries his eyes and looks and sees “a Lamb standing, as thought it had been slain.” Our crucified Redeemer, risen, triumphant. And the Lamb takes the scroll and His worthiness causes the elders to break out in worship.
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you have ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (vs. 9-10)
That worship from the elders was contagious. How can we hear that He was slain and by his blood we have been purchased to be a part of God’s kingdom and not have our hearts warm to His holiness? John looks around and sees the angels “numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands.” And they all can’t help but to join in too. The gospel that the elders were celebrating the “angels long to look into.”(I Peter 1:12) They celebrate Christ’s worthiness and proclaim;
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then the praise culminates with “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them saying;”
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
What a vista from these heights! This is festivity is what all of history is leading up to. My heart is overwhelmed at the thought of such a joyous party. To see our Rescuer, slain from the foundation of the world being worshipped and enjoyed and made much of by every thing… every single living thing.
My encouragement to you today is when you are in the midst of it, whatever it might be, motherhood, a go nowhere job, a broken down car, bills, serving your neighbors, a boss that doesn’t appreciate you, a spouse that is distant, children that are rebellious, whatever it is… remember that even though it feels very big, you aren’t at the top. There is a day coming when we will see our Savior and we will shout out his worthiness and rejoice with “joy unspeakable” forevermore.

CLICK HERE to purchase Exploring Grace Together

jesslou
Jessica Thompson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology. She co-authored Give Them Grace with her mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick. Her newest book, Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for Families, is due to come out in February of 2014. She holds to the truth that salvation is “naked confidence in the mercy of God.” She has been married for 18 years to her high school sweetheart. Together they have three kids ranging in age from 14-9.

Advertisements

Beyonce, The Grammys and When I Almost Kissed Another Man

Beyonce grammys
“You need to grow a pair!”
These are the words I yelled to my husband the night he told me I couldn’t kiss another man. Other profound statements that immediately followed were, “You are just insecure;” “you’re just not man enough.” Marital bliss was surely on the verge of destruction all because I wanted to kiss another man and my pastor-husband was not okay with it. Really?!? Are you kidding me? I am about to land the lead role of Maria in West Side Story and you are going to let your insecurities keep me from my dream! So what if I would have to have a pretend love scene with another man – it is acting. It’s called art. Plus, an opportunity like this does not come around every day.

My husband was jealous for me. He did not want to share me with anyone – even if it was just for entertainment. The thought of me pretending to love another man made him nauseous and angry. Mistakenly I accused him of being insecure when what was really happening was my husband was seeking to protect and cover me in his love. Like Boaz on the threshing floor with Ruth, he had placed his blanket over me and vowed to love and protect me, even if that was protecting me from myself.

182181_10151777333380392_475779593_n

Drunk On Love

There is no doubt Beyoncé gave an intoxicating performance at the Grammys singing “Drunk On Love” with her husband Jay-Z. It would be more appropriate to title the song “Drunk On Beyoncé.” Leather. Wet hair. Bumping and Grinding. Racy. Sexual. Sultry. It was everything the producers could have hoped for and more –it was scandalous to say the least. They forgot to include chains and whips but these bondage devices were unnecessary because everyone’s eyes were chained to the pop star- like wax before an open flame.

Still, many of us saw Beyoncé’s performance and thought to ourselves, “Well, she must think she is something – sitting up on that chair like a goddess!” I get it! Most of us would not want to do a chair dance for the world to see, but so often we still have a desire for power. Lorde was right to sing that although most of us realize, “We will never be royals,” we still have a fantasy to rule. So we sit on top of our thrones and attempt to rule our own kingdoms. “This is my party; I can do what I want! I can marry whomever I want, touch whatever I want, eat what I want,” etc. Though outwardly we appear to be a dominatrix taking control of our lives, whipping everyone into shape, we end up paralyzed and tangled in our own chains of bondage. We become a slave to the “wave,” literally stuck out in an ocean of sin (on our little surf board) just waiting for the next big wave, only to be disappointed the fun did not last. Yet this so-called power is only an illusion.

lorde

Shocked? No, I am not shocked by a pop star twerking half dressed on stage or grinding on a surf board. I was more shocked when 17 year old Lorde kept her clothes on during a performance!! Sad is the word I would use to describe how I felt after watching this married couple grab each other on stage. Don’t get me wrong; I am all about married couples enjoying sexual intimacy, and I am also all for women feeling good about themselves after having babies – but do we need the entire world to see?

It crossed my mind that somewhere in time the married couple had to have the following conversation: She said, “Honey, I think I am going to do a chair dance on stage for millions to watch.” He said, “Sounds GREAT!”

After watching Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Drunk On Love” performance at the Grammys, I was reminded of how thankful I am that my husband 8 years ago took a stand to keep me for himself and didn’t share me with the world. My husband was jealous for me.

Jay-Z was ok with his wife spreading her legs for the entire world to see. Jay-Z apparently saw no problem with millions of men taking his wife to bed that night – a leather thong playing through the Rolodex of their minds.

Even Jamie Foxx admitted openly and casually to America the fact that he could not stop thinking about Beyoncé’s smoking hot performance. If a man walked up to my husband and said the same thing, I shiver at what would happen to that man.

Men – young and old – are being trained to exploit women.

Performances like what we see at the Grammys is a training-ground for young eyes. We are shocked and horrified that human sex trafficking is taking place in America (and rightfully so). But we should also be angered at artists who encourage men to view women simply as objects instead of individuals created in the image of God.

The culture is teaching my sons the following:

They need to be looking for the next exciting, sexy image. So they flip through the channels until they find a stimulating image – always flipping back and forth – never satisfied long enough.

Women are not to be respected. They are objects for a man’s viewing and using pleasure, and when you get bored, you simply move onto the next hot thing.

Women are for sex. Her face is replaced with genitals in a way that is depersonalizing. The pornography industry is the epitome such.

Our boys are learning it’s all about conquering women instead of treasuring one woman.

They are learning to be an abuser instead of a protector.

They are being taught that women want a guy who will come and get it.

Not only is the culture communicating something very harmful to our boys, but our girls are hearing mixed-messages that their entire self-worth is based upon how well they perform.

My little Ellie, for example, will be faced with the questions: Is she pretty and sexy enough to get a man’s attention? Can she entertain him? Can she keep his attention with her performance? Dress? Talk? Texting?

Where a man is looking for a vivid image, our daughters are learning they need to be that image (and that they need to be as skinny as the girl on the cover of the Victoria’s Secret magazine).

She is learning to be exploited, used, and rejected – over and over again. Is this what we want for our children? To be exploited?

Oh how we need a love that will not exploit, leave us, take advantage of us, and merely use us?
Yes, women need love from a Man, and that Man is Jesus.

Christ was exploited. He was punished for sins that He did not commit. His love is unfathomable. Jesus’ love is a love that longs to cover us. It is a love that does not ask us to do anything to merit its affections. We don’t have to perform. We don’t have to entertain. We don’t have to be the prettiest or the best. We’re accepted not because of how beautiful we are, but in spite of how spiritually ugly our sin can make us. Jesus’ love is a love that covers all of our ugly sin and clothes us in his righteousness.

Family Devotions Can Hurt

annie
“Somebody please hit me!” Those are the words I thought to myself as I witnessed my four-year old daughter sling The Jesus Story Book Bible across the room. Ballet lessons, really? I am thinking more like a quarterback on the football field at this point. It was destined to hit one of the three sitting ducks on the couch, and sure enough it soon spiraled directly into my four-year old’s head. Ouch!!! Insert: Screaming, yelling, fury, and near riot.

Exhausted from a long day, normally I would have continued to plow through the bible story. But on this particular night, my husband – the gentle “shepherd” that he is – tucked our convulsing son in his arms and made sure his head was not bleeding (why didn’t I think of that). Afterwards, my husband said, “Son, sometimes you just need to get knocked in the face with the Word of God.” Haha; yes! And sometimes the Word of God hurts.

For us, the flying Bible and the black eye to follow is actually symbolic of a deeper reality – family devotions can hurt. Often our family devotions feel like a trip to the dentist. You know you should do it, but there is always something that goes wrong. This includes the loud uncomfortable noises. Then, just when you think your kids are really soaking in the Gospel and becoming little theologians, one of them asks, “Why is poop brown?”

As you’re passionately reading the account of Jesus pulling Peter up out of the water, all of the sudden your daughter’s hair is being pulled out, literally, by her big brother. As you’re gently teaching your children about the importance of “loving one another,” one of them screams out to their sister, “I hate you!!”

From loud laughs to bodily functions to a hyperventilation or two, maybe you can relate.

At the end of the day, our family devotions end up revealing more sin in my husband’s and my heart than we could ever imagine. We’ve been trying to preach the Gospel to them, but by the time we’re done, we’re humbly reminded that we are the ones that need the Gospel.

But it’s crazy because we expect our children to love Jesus and to sit still like they are little saints, and yet we forget that they are children (children that may or may not even be converted). They will fidget; they will wiggle, and they will have questions (that may or may not relate to the bible story).

In the midst of the chaos, have you ever felt like, “What’s the point?!”

And then, it certainly doesn’t help your defeated attitude when your daughter, who apparently has been sipping on truth serum, reminds you of your perpetually bad bread. Then, if that’s not enough, when questioned about her thoughts on tonight’s bible story, she informs you that she “didn’t learn anything.”

It makes us wonder, why do we spend time with the Lord? Is it only to learn? Is our bible study time a complete fail if we didn’t walk away with a new revelation? Who is in charge of revealing His Word to us? Did the Holy Spirit drop the ball and forget His job? Or, is it my fault for being too tired and distracted (thinking about the fact that I’ve got less than 2 minutes before the next episode of Downton Abbey starts)?

Why do we sit our children down and open up the Word of God? Is it so we can check something off our list? Do we read the bible to our little arrows so we can feel good about ourselves? Sometimes. Often that is why I do it.

Or, do we long for them to know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we rest in the belief that the Word of God does not return void? This is our prayer as parents – that they may know the abounding, unrelenting, unconditional, rescuing love of Jesus Christ.

Our family devotions may rarely, if ever, go as planned. In fact, if you have toddlers, you can pretty much guarantee it will be flop at least half of the time. But at the same time we have to remind ourselves that God hasn’t called us to be successful in training our children to know God, He’s simply called us to be faithful.

Only God can change the hearts of our little ones. We can read them the Bible until the cows come home. We can have them in church every time the doors are open, and we can even make them memorize John 3:16 in New Testament Greek, but if the Spirit of Christ doesn’t open their eyes, they will never come. I don’t know about you, but this is incredibly liberating to me. Thank God the salvation of my children is not contingent upon my parenting skills, but their salvation rests upon the free mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.

So parents, keep reading them the Word. Continue sowing Gospel seeds in their hearts, even if it sure seems like those seeds are falling on hard, little hearts at the time. And through it all, pray for them every day. Pray that the same God who knit them together in your womb, would someday soon (if He hasn’t already) recreate their hearts to beat for Jesus and His glory. When that day comes, surely, all the painful family devotions will be worth it.

Frozen

statue

Brrrrrr!!!!! It has been FREEZING here in Kentucky with our recent record-breaking wind chill of thirty-two degrees below zero. That is cold people! In order to keep warm I have not stopped drinking hot tea and coffee; this may explain the twitch I have going on.

Northerners, how do you do this thing called ice!!??? I think if we ever moved up North, I would have to invest in a sun lamp and just sit there until I could literally feel the Vitamin D running through my veins.

Just want to give a shout out to my west coast/south Florida friends for posting all of your beautiful Christmas pictures in your shorts and tank-tops, rollerblading down the boardwalk – we are so happy for you!

Did I mention it is freezing here? I’m sitting in front of a space heater wearing two pair of socks as I write this.

Schools around the mid-west shut down for several days, and I would normally be celebrating the fact that everyone can sleep a little later. But, we had just finished our Christmas break from school and get this – the kids were already begging to go back to school. Mom of the year award! In a state of deep insecurity and in order to redeem my throne as “fun mom,” I decided we would have FUN in the snow. Two hours and twenty-seven minutes later, I had them bundled up and ready to go. The so-called “fun” lasted a total of fourteen minutes due to the fact they literally couldn’t move. I guess that’s what happens when you have on ten layers of clothing. Momma kept them warm under all those layers, but they couldn’t go anywhere; they were frozen.

When Everything Is Frozen
When it’s freezing, everything and everyone is forced inside into hibernation. Stuck. Sometimes when life moves in on you, it can feel like death, and oh, how you long to get out. Staying in can bring the ugly out. It’s like shaking a can of diet cherry soda with all that artificial sweetness; there is an explosion waiting to happen (this example can be taken to an entirely different level if your children develop the stomach bug).

Did I mention our yard recently looked like Narnia during the white witch reign? Vines are taking over fences, a misty haze of snow, and ice was everywhere. There is a mysterious kind of beautiful blowing over the glowing snow, yet no life to be seen. Looking out the windowpane was like looking deep into my heart; everything seemed lifeless. Everything seemed frozen. No color to be found, just blah. Yuck. Ick. Uhhgg. Dull.

Sometimes Life Feels Frozen

Frozen, stuck in the same boring and mundane routine.

Frozen, numb to the things of God.

Frozen, stiff to the advances of God’s grace in my life.

Frozen in doubt.

Frozen in our bad habits like nail biting, overeating, disorganization, forgetting your child’s homework . . . again (sorry Mrs. Hoak!)

Frozen, paralyzed by the fear of failing – again. I personally know the feeling of being so “bundled up” with fear that I cannot even try. In fact, often, I refuse to try.

Frozen, stuck in the same sinful patterns (many of which I feel like I’ve fighting since my teenage years).

Even your face is frozen in a vacant stare, and a smile cannot even be forced. You find yourself daydreaming, checking out, and numbing the pain of the reality that is before you.

We feel like the ice queen, who with her ice-cold heart is standing still. We, like her, feel hopeless and motionless. With no progress, we simply want to scream, but we can’t because our lips our blue with frostbite. As though we’re in the midst of a paralyzing nightmare, we can hardly utter a word. We’re afraid to hear ourselves say it out loud again, because we are sick of hearing our same little, seemingly meaningless speech to God.

Frozen In Ministry
The past month I have felt like my blogging ministry is frozen. I have a huge desire to reach as many women as possible with the Gospel. The Gospel says, “It is not about my performance; it is about Christ’s performance for me.” However, I cannot make my blog grow. I have compared myself to other amazing bloggers and wondered, “Why am I even doing this? Am I helping other women or am I just trying to grow my own kingdom? Lord do you really want me to write? Is this making an impact?” The sting of frostbite burns even more when you look over the fence and see your neighbor sitting by the fire.

Frozen Like Paul
The Apostle Paul used to embarrass me with all of his, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7). I mean come on Paul – get it together!!!! Everyone is watching you. If you, the author of much of the New Testament is still sinning, then my goodness, good luck for the rest of us! Paul, you can think it, just don’t say it out loud. Stop all this, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Paul was able to write to us in this way because he was preaching to us a Gospel that is not dependent upon our work. You know, “keeping it together” and sinning less and less. The message he was preaching is that our only hope lies in Jesus Christ’s perfect life and His death in our place. Until the day I die and see Jesus face-to-face there will continue to be a battle that rages in my heart. I will sin. I am not a slave to sin, but I will sin every day (even though I do not want to). Even when I seem to be doing really well and living somewhat of a “holy” life, I find myself sinning because of the pride or feelings of self-righteousness that creep in. I am writing a book about the beauty of getting over yourself, and yet in the midst of writing about getting over myself, I ironically see the hypocrisy of my self-love.

Embracing The Ice
No one wants to be frozen, but God often uses ice to bring out a unique transparency before God that could be cultivated in no other climate. In freezing temperatures, we long for the heat of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. In our frozen state we long for the warmth of God’s love to melt away our cold heart. God likes to warm us up when nothing else will. Then, we see our great need of Him, and we once again realize that He is greatly to be praised.
We are literally frozen and unable to move apart from the work of God in our lives (Paul would use the language of saying that we are “dead in our sin” in Ephesians 2). The recognition of our inability to move is the grace of God, and such poverty in spirit and utter dependence upon Him gives God great glory.
Outside in the midst of a record-breaking-Narnia-looking winter I saw a tree branch wrapped in layers of ice crystals. In my curiosity (and wrestling with God) I snapped off part of the branch, and there in the midst of layers of ice was life! Green, flowing, moving LIFE.

Christian, you may feel frozen, but there is life moving through you. The blood that flowed from the veins of Christ washed you then, and it is still washing you now.

Take hope and know that it is God who brings the snow and the ice. And yet He brings the snow not to harm us, but to show us something of our need for Him. After all, rarely do we truly appreciate the gift of warmth until we’ve spent a few hours in the ice.

Naughty Girls, God Is Not Our “Santa Baby”

mommy-is-kissing-santa-clause

Making Santa Happy

It’s the tried and true Christmas song that will be making its way through our speakers this holiday season – “Santa Baby.” We love it and just can’t get enough of it. It seems as though every artist from Taylor Swift to Madonna wants a turn to flirt with Santa. He’s an old man wearing a red jumpsuit, furry boots, eats way too many cookies, and has a record for breaking and entering . . . but hey, to each her own.

“Santa baby, just slip a sable under the tree for me; been an awful good girl, Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.”

As we sit on Santa’s lap he will ask, “Have you been a good girl?”

We bat our eyes and strut our stuff as we, “think of all the fun we missed, the fellas we haven’t kissed,” and we show Santa that we’ve, “been an awful good girl.”

Some of the things on our list of “good girl” activities might include:

Going to church.

Had a “quiet time” most days.

Family worship with the kids.

Doing an advent calendar during Christmas.

Gave some clothes to the homeless shelter.

Keeping a tidy house.

Oh, and we even did a Christmas art project with the kids with real glue, scissors, and glitter . . . it was a huge mess too!

And then, of course, we have to list all of the activities we abstained from – you know, the “sacrifices” we have made (one less show a week on Netflix, a few less trips to TJ Maxx, etc.).

Santa, look at me! I’ve “been good for goodness sake!”

God Cannot Be Seduced By Our Good Deeds.

Often, we wrongly tend to put God in the same category as Santa. If I am really good this year, then God owes me something (happiness, joy, blessings, forgiveness, etc.). Yet the Scriptures teach us that God owes us nothing. In fact, if God owes us anything, it’s simply punishment and spiritual death for our sins. Because of our sin against God, we don’t deserve heaven and God’s blessing, but we deserve eternal separation from Him (Romans 6:23).

God is not “making a list and checking it twice” to find out “who’s naughty and nice.”

There is no need to make a new list, because the Bible tells us that by default, everyone is on the naughty list. “There is none that is righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). There are no “good girls.” When we hold up our list of good deeds in effort to impress God, it is like holding up a bloody tampon (Isaiah 64:6). Sick!!!

Regardless of how extensive and thorough our righteous “list” is that we present to God, He remains thoroughly unimpressed. He takes our list and throws it in the fire. No amount of flirting will win His approval. He will not be seduced with our imaginary goodness. No amount of zeal, performance, or effort can match the standard that He requires – perfect righteousness (Matthew 5:20, 48).

Oh, apparently, Santa “sees you when you are sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good…” I hate to be a scrooge but Santa just doesn’t have that kind of power. Santa is not all knowing.

God knows ALL things! He sees straight through all of the “pretty” exterior right into our ugly hearts. He knows our every desire and thought! My thoughts have the potential to scare the ‘Jingle Bells’ out of Old Saint Nick!!! God is not surprised by our sin, this is why He came.

“You better watch out; you better not cry: Better not pout I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Jesus came to town once already, and He is coming again. Why did He come? He came for the “pouters” and “criers.” He came for the weak, broken, frail, needy, and sinful. Unlike Santa, He did not come for the “good boys and girls;” after all, there were none to be found. He came for those of us on the naughty list.

None of us were good boys and girls who left milk and cookies for Jesus; the only thing we left for Jesus was the very sin that nailed Him to a cross. Jesus doesn’t want your milk and cookies, He wants your heart. Jesus didn’t come down a chimney wearing a red suit because we’d been so good; He went up to a cross – covered in red blood -because we’d been so bad.

So this Christmas, let’s not bat our eyes while seeking to show God our superficial goodness. Instead, let’s empty ourselves of the pride and self-righteousness, so that we can be filled with the greatest gift of all – the love Jesus Christ.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!

**For the record, I didn’t pull out the word “tampon” just for shock factor. In the original Hebrew text of Isaiah 64:6, the word “filthy rag” (used to refer to our righteous deeds) would have been something like the equivalent of the cloth a woman used on her menstrual cycle. Needless to say, when God inspired Isaiah to write this, He wanted to make His point – there is no good deed that we can do in and of ourselves that can impress God. After all, His standard is perfection.

Nice Try Jesus, But I’m King In This Town

The gospel, God’s final word, was put on display not on thrones or in seats of power, but on straw and the dirt of the earth.  It was not illuminated by flashing neon signs and billboards, but by the stars of the sky and the brilliance they shone forth.

Therein Lies the Problem

Fast-forward thirty years. Jesus carried out his public ministry and time on this earth not with a scepter and a robe but with a staff and a cloak. Yet, he proclaimed Kingship. He proclaimed his Lordship. “The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he’ ” (John 4:25-26). Jesus was not spouting some arrogant notion of himself. Jesus, sent by God, was speaking the truth. That truth changed everything. That truth melted hearts and transformed lives. That truth turned over money changing tables and sent religious leaders scheming. “And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him” (Luke 19:47). In fact, “the Chief priests and the whole Council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death” (Mathew 26:59).
The Chief Priests and the Council Were Not the First to Cry Out “Crucify Him”
When the gospel broke forth out of the womb of a young virgin, the violence began: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born” (Matthew 2:1-4)…”Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16). Even as Christ, the newborn King, lay in a dirty manger, murder was taking place in the heart of the king and in the hearts of the kings’ people. You can almost hear them say what would be said thirty years later at Jesus’ “trial”: “The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7). Herod was troubled by only one piece of news – Another had come, and he was King, and there was only one way to deal with him – kill him. In essence, Herod was saying, “Nice try Jesus, but I’m King in this town.” Soon, his troubled soul would move from murder to mass murder. Tricked by the three wise men he became enraged and called for the brutal killing of all male babies under the age of two.
I Am King Too
I have read this story many times and each time I’ve been horrified at the thought of not just murder, but mass murder. How could he? What kind of power hungry, throne protecting monster would act like that? Then, I am reminded of the very words Jesus spoke, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:22). Jesus equated anger with murder, driving home the point that even though you look good on the outside (not running around literally killing people), your heart is just as wicked. How easy it is for me to smile, all the while murdering in my heart and slicing and dicing the motives of others. Just as Herods’ anger ratcheted up when others didn’t do what he wanted, my anger flares too. It may be mild at first, but the more I process it and think on it and imagine all that I imagine, my heat rises. I have already murdered you, but now I’m thinking about how I can murder you again, and anyone else in my path. I have no desire to let Jesus be King and rule in my heart in those moments. I want to be King. I dethrone Jesus, crawl up into that seat and shout like Herod; “Nice try Jesus, but I’m King in this town.” I’m running this show and I’ll be making the decisions from now on, thank you very much.
A Stronger King Flexes Grace Not Muscles
But, there is a whisper. The whisper of One who is Strong. And he came not to sit on a throne of power, but to lay in a manger set upon the dirt of this earth. He came as a paradox to everything the world believed. He not only turned tables upside down, he turned everything upside down. The poor became rich. The last became first. Sinners were saved and the self-righteous cast out. Everything they knew about how the world should operate was null and void now. Jesus came and His Kingdom was not of this world. While the Pharisees, the world, and you and I, try flexing our religious, intellectual and power filled muscles, Jesus takes one look and says what he said to Zacchaeus, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today…to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19).
He invites us to come down off our perch, to step down from our high horse – not with condemnation, but with love. He seeks us out and comes not to let us have it, but to let us have Him. His strength looks like weakness to the world, but it’s more powerful than any power in all of heaven and earth. Powerful enough to dethrone us. A Love so powerful as to melt a human heart. God sent Jesus into this world to rescue the weak who think they have power. Herod said, “Search for the child and destroy him”, but God whispered, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Herod (and you and I) speak words of death and violence, and God speaks words of Life and Rescue. God sent his son, King Jesus, not so that we could stay perched on our puny and frail thrones, but to rescue us from them. To set us free from our brokenness, rebellion and self-righteousness. Not because we were worthy of the rescue, but because of the very fact that we weren’t. We scheme and we plot and we run, but Grace squashes schemes, overturns plots and runs faster, and thankfully, wrestles our glory story to the ground. There is no more vivid illustration of God’s power made perfect in weakness than his gospel being sent forth in the form of a human baby, yet, King.
Dropping%20Keys%20Bio%20Pic
By Lori Harding
Lori is the Director of Care Ministries and Women’s Support at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where she oversees Women’s Ministries and coordinates Care Ministry programs and resources.  Lori speaks to women of all ages at retreats and conferences.  She blogs at Set Free.  Thankful to have her sharing over here today!

The War On Christmas

images

“KEVIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

It’s the ear-deafening shrill of a mother realizing her 6-year old is home alone while she is on an airplane almost to Paris.   We can only imagine the feelings of desperation and horror this mother felt.

AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

What living person doesn’t t know the trademark “hands slapping their face” in only the way Macaulay Culkin can pull it off?

Home Alone, the classic Christmas movie, will make its way through the TV Guide Christmas time slots, along with ElfWhite Christmas, The Christmas Story, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

My son and husband love Home Alone, so inevitably I will sit and watch as my son takes notes from Kevin on how to wreak havoc on his siblings.

All of us watching have hearts aching for Kevin to be reunited at Christmas.  Young and old know Christmas is about being together – not home alone.  A lonely Christmas is no Christmas at all.

This reminds me of another Son, a Son that would leave His home in heaven.  His first Christmas would be celebrated in the arms of a 15-year old virgin, surrounded by animals.  In some ways, it was a silent night.  His father was not screaming, freaking out, going ballistic in the background worrying about the safe arrival of His pride and joy.  In fact, the idea of this Son leaving His home had been planned from the very beginning of time. No shock, no worries.  This Father and Son had a plan – a rescue mission.

Days after watching this iconic blockbuster, there is a theme song stuck in my head and I am sure yours too – Carol of the Bells.  What is most annoying about thing about this song is that I don’t have all the words memorized, so my family gets to hear new and exciting renditions each and every year.

Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells,

All seem to say throw cares away.

We tend to get caught up in the hypnotizing trance of the sweet silver bells.  We envision ourselves on a sleigh ride, strapped down, desperately searching for the “Magic of Christmas.” We become consumed in drinking our eggnog, eating figgy pudding, shopping, catching sales, cyber sales, wanting, wrapping, thinking of warm fuzzies from yester years, holly and being jolly, hanging our stocking with care, sugar plums dancing in our heads, waiting for the big guy in red velvet apple bottom jeans (boots with the fur), chestnuts roasting by the fire, Jack Frost nipping at our nose, caroling, cleaning, food, friends, more food, and family.  It’s like the Carol of the Bells on replay the entire Christmas season!  We just get caught up in the frantic, crazy nostalgia hunt.

As much as we want to “throw cares away,” we just cannot seem to stop “making our lists and checking them twice.”  Where is the “comfort and joy?”  We desperately want to have ourselves a “Merry little Christmas and let our hearts be light!”

Then, of course, we talk about sweet baby Jesus. “Oh there He is . . .” We see Him lying in the manger and we tend to think of “poor, sweet Jesus.”  He is so cute in that little swaddling cloth. It’s as if the world is saying “goochie goo!”

This is War

Kevin was left home alone. Chances are he was not going to have a warm fuzzy Christmas because Kevin knew the burglars (the “Wet Bandits,” if you’ll remember) were heading his way.  As he sat down with his back to his front door with a bee-bee gun strapped to his chest, he exclaimed, “This is it, don’t get scared now.” For Kevin, it was a declaration of war.

When we think of Christmas, the picture of war portrayed in Home Alone may in a sense be more accurate than some of the cute, blissful, peaceful images that we have in our minds.  Jesus left the comforts of heaven not to look for a sale at Macy’s, but to fight a war.   His first cry as a tiny baby was a war-cry (without the silver bells in the background).

A war against what? A war against the captor – Satan.  Satan and sin hold God’s people captive as though they were a burglar holding a house hostage that does not belong to them.  God came to the earth to set the captives free.  He may have been wearing a cute “little swaddling cloth,” but He came as a conquering, warrior King.

No, He did not set up booby traps, or window seals laced with tar and nail heads. He did not come with a plan to knock this thief in the head with a hot iron.  However, He did come to crush the head of the Enemy, but He came to do so with His own blood.

There has always been a war against Christmas, because there has been a war against Christ.  From the moment He was born (and even before), people wanted Jesus dead.  King Herod, yeah he wasn’t searching for Jesus so He could present him with an outlandish baby shower; no he wanted Christ dead.  Why? Herod wanted to be King and he did not want to bow the knee to some nursing infant.   Christmas is about worshipping the King, and yet we war against it as we listen to the voice of the serpent and “take the apple,” so that we may become kings ourselves.

Satan hates Christmas because Christmas is a celebration of Jesus.  Every time the serpent hears the Christmas story, He is reminded of the prophesy spoken to him by God in Gen 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He (Jesus) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The initial blow to that puny little head has already been struck, and the war has been won.  Though we still find ourselves in a battle doing war with this snake-turned-lion seeking to devour us, we are longing for the return of King Jesus where He will destroy this Enemy once and for all as He casts him into the lake of fire forever.  So, as we celebrate Jesus at Christmas, we are not just celebrating his arrival, but we are celebrating the fact that He defeated Satan at the cross, and that He is coming AGAIN!

It’s like when the burglar hears, “Johnny Gangster in the shower.”

“I’m gonna give you to the count of 10 to get your ugly no good keister off my property . . . before I pump your guts full of lead . . . (gun shots) . . . keep the change ya filthy animal.”

This Christmas I am in a war to keep my eyes on Christ

There are so many little silver bells that put me into a trance.  So many flashy-sparkly-shiny trinkets and bright lights that keep me from beholding the true beauty of Christmas – the LIGHT of the world.

The North Star shown down on Bethlehem like a spotlight saying, “He is here!  Your Rescuer has come! Look! See! Over here!”

Instead of looking for the “magic” of Christmas, I should be consumed with the mystery of Christmas.

This is a mystery and a miracle:

Christ left the comforts of heaven so that we might know true “comfort and joy.” 

Because Christ came to carry the weight of all out sin, we can have ourselves a “Merry Little Christmas” and let our hearts “Be Light”.

When your heart is being pulled in by all the lights, look to the Light of the world that would die on a cross – forsaken and abandoned by His own Father. Christ had only known the stare of affection from His Father.  But for you, He took all of His Father’s wrath and hung there alone so you would never have to experience the righteous judgment of God.  Christmas is a call to war – a war that has already been won.  Christmas is about a family being together.  Christmas is about God coming to rescue His family so they would never again have to be home alone.   Twitter

When I STILL Don’t Desire Sex

You requested it…….When I Still Don’t Desire Sex  

It was the summer of 2004 and I was in the best shape of my life.   I was running 6 miles a day, going to the gym, and eating tons of green leafy things – all in preparation for the Miss Kentucky pageant.  Motivation comes easily when you have to be in a bathing suitin front of hundreds of people . . . so I ate a LOT of broccoli.   My confidence grew as my waistline shrank.  But then it would happen,every single time. Just when I thought I was looking my best, I would always bump into no shortage of girls that were skinnier, prettier, more talented, and ummm . . . smarter.

Then I would look in the mirror, and it would reveal even more horrors that somehow I must have overlooked the last time.

Insert: more running, more broccoli, more discipline.

I was like a hamster in a ball, working really hard and getting no where.  Why?  Because my identity was wrapped up in external beauty and the world’s standard for beauty is always changing (becoming skinner and skinner) – I couldn’t keep up!  If you are chasing the culture’s standard for beauty you might as well hop on in the hamster wheel and prepare for utter failure and disappointment.

My sister, Kelly Beth, a former Miss Illinois USA  (you can read her blog here) and I were always amazed at some of the most outwardly beautiful women we knew.  They seem so confident on the outside, but so often on the inside there was unrest, turmoil, and insecurity.  It is for this reason that some of the silent, pervasive issues that are ripping through so many women are eating disorders, addictions to diet pills, and the like.  No one wants to talk about it, but it’s happening to a woman (or teenage girl) that you know (even though she’s not telling you).

Listen, it doesn’t matter if you made the “hot list” or the “not list.” It doesn’t matter if you were voted most likely to succeed or not even known.  It doesn’t matter if you eat green smoothies every meal or McDonalds is your second home.  It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 68 (lipo or no lipo), most all women at some point in there life will struggle with not feeling beautiful.

Take a look at what the Shulamite woman says to her husband in Song of Solomon 1:6, “Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me.”  She was embarrassed and wanted to hide because her skin was nice and dark.  What??!!! Apparently back in the day pasty-white was in. If I would have lived in those days, I would have been awesome with my pasty-white Twilightesque skin coloring.

Just like the Shulamite woman, we know every little hair that is out of place, every roll that shouldn’t be there, every blemish, and every crooked tooth.  Because we don’t like what we see (and it certainly doesn’t match up to the Victoria’s Secret girls), we try to hide – where is my fig leaf!?

Before marriage, I was insecure about my hairy arms and tiny spider veins.  Not much has changed, but everything has changed.  An “I do,” 8 ½ years, and 3 children later, my tendency is still to hide, but this time I’ve got much bigger problems than my arms and tiny veins.  Giving birth to three babies (not to mention by C-section each time) takes a toll on a woman’s body – one that is well worth it.   Our last bundle of joy left a bundle of weight on my body – a whopping 60 pounds that is.  Everyone would say, “Oh, you don’t look like you have gained that much.”  Being 5’11, it is a little easier to hide junk in the trunk, but honey nothing hides naked!  I decided to go extreme and we purchased a crazy workout called Insanity, and let me tell you; it gets its title honest.  Most of the weight did come off, all except this last 10 pounds I have been working on for 2 1/2 years now!

During this time in my life, I felt so fat and ugly that I just didn’t want to be touched. I mean, “Who wants to hop into bed with this muffin top!”  So much of our sexual desire is wrapped up in whether or not we feel desirable.  I did not feel desirable. I did not feel worthy of my husband’s affections.  I certainly did not feel sexy.  However, one thing I have recently learned is that you don’t have to feel desired in order to be desired.  So often our husbands don’t necessarily want what we think they want; they just want us.

I still struggle with insecurities.

I will be eating right, exercising, taking showers (more often) and start feeling good about myself.  Then it happens. I look in the mirror and I’m like, “AHHHH, who stole my body!!”

Maybe you can relate:  You are growing older and your body is starting to become more and more like something you would see on the Discovery Channel.  Maybe you are thinking, “Umm, did I sign up for tribal?  Can we please fast-forward?” I know my husband signed up for better or worse but I don’t think he realized he’d be getting this (at least there is proof gravity exists!)

Then you get off the Discovery Channel and start flipping through the channels and everyone seems to be in better shape, with perkier everything.  None of them seem to have cellulite or wrinkles, and of course they are having very, very hot sex (or so it seems).

You don’t want sex because you feel too ugly, too fat, too skinny, too old, too frumpy, too uhhhhh!!  If our sex life is a game of hide and seek, our husband is doing the seeking, and we are doing the hiding (under the covers, with the lights off).

As you’re contemplating how good you don’t look anymore, you pull out your cell phone and start text bombing your husband all of these attributes you hate about yourself, as if you are filling him in on something he has not heard a hundred times before.  Really, what we want from him is affirmation – that yes, he knows our flaws, but yes, he loves and desires us.  This is the greatest longing of every woman, to be fully known, and yet still fully loved.

I can assure you ladies that the whole complaining about your BIG ugly to your husband is not increasing his sex drive or yours.

So what is a girl to do when she has lost her groove, and sexy walked out the door last year taking your sex drive and confidence with her?

Lipo?  Treadmill?  Spanx? Eat more kale? Buy new clothes? Makeup? Hot Yoga?  Running or other forms of torture???

Don’t get me wrong; exercising is crucial for your health mentally, physically, and sexually.  There’s just something about those endorphins, which are equivalent to taking happy pills.  I am much happier when I burn some calories and my family needs me to do this (another blog, another day.) We need to take care of our bodies.  Also, this is for free, but think about investing in a new bra. It certainly might perk things up, but again it’s pointless to focus on the outward if inside we are still the same.  We don’t just need bust-line change; we need heart change.

Looking into the mirror will always leave us with a lacking sex drive, because let’s face it: there will always be someone prettier and skinnier, and we could always lose a few more pounds.

True beauty is discovered through the lens of God’s Word to us (Check out this post).  What does God say is beautiful?

The Bible teaches that we are all fat with sin (Romans 6:23) and no amount of running around doing “good deeds” could work this load off.  We were spiritually ugly from conception (Psalm 51:5), and no amount of self-righteous makeup could hide this blemish.  If it were not for Christ, we would have all stayed in this estate: hiding, ugly, disgraced, and slaves.  However, God, out of his great love for us, sent His beautiful Son to rescue us and release us from the heavy load we have been carrying.  Jesus never sinned; He was a sacrifice without blemish.  He was sacrificed on the altar of a cross for all our Ugly.  The Beautiful One became our ugly so we could become beautiful to God.   If you are a Christian, when God looks at you, He sees Christ. You are hidden, but you are not hiding under a fig leaf.  You are hidden in the righteousness of Christ.  Christ is beautiful, and when God look at you, He sees beauty.

Get this . . . God did not choose us because we were beautiful; there was nothing noteworthy or admirable about us that would draw God to us.  Instead, Christ was drawn to us because of our ugliness.  Our sin drew Him to our rescue.  It’s our ugly that attracted Him to us, because He gets glory in our makeover!  Jesus didn’t save us because we were beautiful; He saved us to make us beautiful.

Remember, every woman’s greatest desire is to be fully known (including all her flaws), and yet fully loved.  This is exactly what it’s like to be loved by God.  He fully knows us, and yet He fully loves us.

It is living out of this acceptance that changes your attitude about your body.  As a result, living out of God’s acceptance changes how we approach the bedroom.  We do not come as insecure women but as confident women because we are well-loved by a GREAT God.   A woman who understands how much God loves her will be like a magnet pulling others towards her, including her husband.  Living out of acceptance makes a truly beautiful woman.  Now THAT is sexy!

Please hear me say that your identity is not in that you are a sex kitten, supermodel, great housewife, mom, or wife.  Your identity is found in Christ.

A word to the husbands.

Your standard of beauty should not be the women you see in the media (they have cellulite too, by the way. It’s just photo-shopped out).  Your standard of beauty has to be your bride.  Let her know the things you love about her.   I would encourage you not to make comments like, “Should you really be eating that?”  “Are you going to make it to the gym today?”  “Honey, have you thought about having that nose taken down a few inches?”  Not real helpful.

I would encourage you to pray for her and push her towards a Gospel-centered definition of beauty that looks like this: husbands, God loved you in all of your mess, so you can love her in all of her blemishes (both inside and out).  In doing so, you can encourage her to seek out healthy living without making her feel like your love is dependent upon her waist-size or performance.   What your woman needs to hear from you is that you love her no matter what.  The hottest sex is when your wife is having sex because she knows she is accepted, not because she’s seeking to gain your acceptance.

Join the challenge and follow me on twitter

When I Don’t Desire Sex

Sex is an incredible gift from God to enjoy in the context of marriage. But what am I supposed to do when I don’t desire sex?

tired-mom1
(post inspired by the marriage “Sextacular” retreat with wwww.pleasantvalley.cc/)

Jamus and Annie sitting in a tree K. I. S. S. I. N. G.
Jamus, (my husband) and I started dating in college and I thought about him all the time. There was texting, phone calls where we would talk for hours, and just making up random excuses to be near one another. One night I called him because it was “unsafe” to run by myself and I needed an escort. Let’s just say I didn’t have to twist his arm.

As we spent more and more time together, I became increasingly infatuated with this Aston Kutcher look-alike with a country accent that loved Jesus with all of his heart. We got engaged after a few months of dating and were married within 3 ½ months. A significant part of the reason for this rabbit-like pace towards marriage was due to the fact that we wanted to “know” each other better (as the Bible puts it.) While dating, we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other! We were like magnets drawn together by a force stronger than ourselves. I remember one night we hung out in the Big Lots parking lot because that was one of the few places we thought it would be hard to fall into sin. As we approached the big day, I envisioned that every sexual encounter would resemble scenes from the Notebook, and I couldn’t wait to get the party started.

First, comes love, then comes marriage.

Married in the smothering month of July, we had a sizzling honeymoon (aside from the big fight we had on the 2nd night in the produce aisle of the Winn-Dixie) but then the weeks turned into months. Then the veil was lifted, and we quickly realized that had not necessarily married “Mr. or Mrs. Right,” but that we had married another sinner. We came to see that we had married REAL sinners who were selfish, hateful, rude, arrogant, annoying, stubborn, and jealous. Sinners who throw high-heels shoes at their husband’s foreheads. Sinners who slam their wife’s just-delivered, favorite pizza on the floor and say, “Eat that!!” Sinners who fought in such a way that the poor neighbors on the other side of those thin little walls at the seminary married housing must have thought, “My goodness, I feel sorry for whoever goes to their church!”

In spite of all of the drama, we were still having sex. Yet by this time, it was less of a strong, passionate pull, and more of a duty or obligation. My thoughts were, “I know, I should have sex with my husband. I know he has a ‘need’ and I would not be a good Christian wife if I withheld . . . after all, 1 Corinthians 7:5 commands me ‘Don’t deprive’ him . . . ”

However, I found it very hard to give myself physically to someone who would not give himself to me emotionally. He found it hard to open up to someone emotionally who did not respect him. It’s not that we weren’t thinking about one another, trust me, we thought about each other a TON – just not in the positive since of the word.

Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.

While we could barely keep our hands off one another in dating, it was a struggle to get us to put our hands on one another when married. There was one baby, two babies, and then three babies later. My pre-baby abs were gone, and my sex drive wasn’t far behind. I was up to my knees in diapers, spit-up, toys, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and not to mention it was as though my hormones had been sipping on a can of CRAZY! Breaking up big brother and little sister fights, disciplining, trying to teach them the ABCs . . . I was thinking about our children all day. How am I going to potty train? What I am going to cook that is remotely healthy? How can I teach them the Gospel? Or, let’s simply things: how can I just keep everyone ALIVE?

Sex was the last thing on my mind – besides the fact that I felt condemned that it wasn’t happening nearly enough. When your life is moving so quickly, you tend to only think of what is directly in front of you. And for me, it was my children. It was easy to keep our hands off one other, because our hands were so busy with other things. Many nights we hit the bed too dead-tired to even think about sex, much less have it. Sure, there were other nights when we would come together simply because it had been too long – these nights I never regret.

But I’ve learned something over the past 8 ½ years of marriage; it’s not just our husbands that need sex, girls, WE need sex! God gave us this gift to bond us together not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. God tells us, “The two shall become one flesh . . .” – “one,” in the fullest and purest sense of the word. Studies have shown that human orgasm affects the same parts of the brain as heroine and cocaine. Because oxytocin and vasopressin are released slowly during sexual activity, these chemicals so heighten pleasure for a man that it essentially binds him to whatever caused it. Some call this the “biochemical love potion,” and God wired us this way to glue a husband and wife together forever. Thus, through the continual sexual act, a couple literally becomes “addicted” to one another. Consequently, sex is one of God’s most profound and effective ways of ensuring that a husband and wife remain together until death does them part.

So then, how can we awaken sexual desire in the midst of the mess and exhaustion of life? I’m thoroughly convinced that God wants us to have a desire for sex – a sexual desire for our husbands – a frequent “coming together” driven by desire, not merely duty.

How can we increase our desire?

If we would think about our husbands throughout the day, our desire for sex may be awakened.

I confess I have not thought about Jamus like I should. Yet the Bible teaches us that where our treasure is, our hearts will follow. One of our greatest treasures are the countless thoughts that we have every day, and so wherever our thoughts are, there our hearts (and BODIES) will follow.
Once we “make it to the bedroom” for that moment of intimacy, it’s great. But getting there can be a challenge. There are nights when we might say, “Do you want to?” . . . as we try to read the other persons non-verbals. This kind of half-hearted (secretly hoping they’re too tired) approach almost always leads to frustration, disappointment, and possibly even bitterness. Rejection from your helpmate never feels good.

In other cases, maybe he gives you that look across the room and you know what he is thinking, “It’s business time!” and you roll your eyes like “Are you kidding me?”

“Okay, fine, let’s get this thing over with,” or, “Alright, we can do it, but let’s make it quick.”

And then maybe you don’t say anything at all, and you are just watching the ceiling thinking about the long list of things that you have to do tomorrow.

But ladies, believe it or not, your husband does not simply want you physically; he wants you emotionally. He wants you to be excited about sex! He wants to know that you’re enjoying it.

After all, how would you feel if you were the one approaching him and he was like, “Alright, fine . . . I know I should, so let’s get er done.”

We can also reject our husband just by the way that we look (or don’t look). Things like not showering for three days (not that I know about this). Wearing that stained t-shirt you have had since college (hypothetically speaking), wearing those pants or shorts he hates (which pair??) Ladies, remember that our men are primarily driven and aroused by what they SEE; they are visually-stimulated. Let’s give them something to look at!

From our head to the bed.

When Jamus and I were dating, I thought about all of his amazing qualities. Then we got married, and I started to focus on all of his flaws. This mind-set is like taking a wrecking ball to our sex drive. We need to practice giving thanks to God for our husbands. What we think in our head affects what happens in bed.

Listen to the woman in Song of Solomon think on her man:

Song Of Solomon 2:3 says, “As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men.”

NOT. . . “Looks like my beloved didn’t take out the trash again!” or “Of course my beloved is going to be late from work – again!”

Song of Solomon 2:8, “The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountain bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or young stag.”

This woman is thinking about her husband so much that it literally makes her want to seize him; what man wouldn’t desire this?

Song of Solomon 3:2, “I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves.” The assumption is that the man should always be the initiator, and certainly as women, we have an innate desire and need to be pursued. But this ole gal in Song of Solomon understands that at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with the woman going after her man.

Ultimately, it is the Gospel that changes the way we approach our husband. The world says “scratch my back, and I will scratch yours.” The Gospel says, “You cannot do anything for me, and yet I will do everything for you.” We are not worthy of anything that the Lord gives to us. I often want Jamus to perform well (be worthy) before I show him love; this is anti-Gospel. The Gospel says even if you don’t take out the trash and you have been rude today, I will still pour out my love for you – even as Christ poured out His love for me on the cross when I was at my worst.

In conclusion, here is the 30-day “Head to Bed” Challenge:

1.) Pick an activity you do everyday: laundry, dishes, cooking, driving.

Most days I try to cook a meal for my family, ehhh “most” ☺

2.) Dedicate this time to thank the Lord for your husband. Think on his gifts, qualities you admire, and then pray for his weaknesses. You can go totally Ann Voscamp and write it down in a journal if you so desire.

3.) Pray for the Lord to increase your sexual desire for your husband, and ask Him to give you creative ways you can bless your man.

4.) Share this post with your friends and encourage them to jump in bed or wherever they prefer!!!

Follow me on twitter

Related Post