Why Gay Pride Isn’t the Problem

A Once-Gay Person’s Thoughts on Gay Pride

I passionately disagree that homosexuality is normal sexual behavior, but I honor everyone’s right to have a different opinion. I don’t hate anyone and I have spent my life loving people I completely disagree with. To me, agreement isn’t necessary for relationship. I’m not the kind of guy who beats people with the Bible and I think it’s hard to punish people into true purity. At the same time, I also think it’s wrong to remain quiet and allow only the homosexual voice to be heard in society. Given that a few weekends ago was the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade, the largest gathering of the LGBT community in the Unites States, I wanted to allow Ken Williams to share a part of his story with you.

Ken Williams is on staff with Moral Revolution—an organization I founded years ago to help define healthy sexuality. A few weeks ago, he wrote a blog post out of his own personal journey into freedom. I wanted my readers to hear from someone who struggled with homosexuality and came out of it. Whether you know someone struggling with same-sex attraction, are struggling with it yourself, or have no grid for the lifestyle, I hope this story will encourage and inspire you towards greater levels of freedom! I have so much hope in my heart for anyone struggling in this area and Ken’s story is an incredible testimony of true freedom, not the false freedom that the LGBTQ+ community covers itself in. Check it out:


Here we are at the time of the San Francisco gay pride parade,  LGBTQ+ people will be proudly demonstrating and asking society to celebrate their gay and transgendered lifestyles.  I know that the church will have mixed reactions to this display of pride.  Some will turn their noses up at the idea that anyone could possibly be proud of such an abhorrent lifestyle.  Others will be glad that their homosexual friends are finally able to find some peace and acceptance. They may even wonder if being gay isn’t as bad as the Bible seems to suggest.

But as for me, I was that boy who grew up having only sexual desires for males and none for females, being made fun of and called “faggot” on the playground, going through life feeling there was something deeply wrong with me at my uttermost core.  So it makes sense to me that  if, one day, I had decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I came out of the closet—the most vulnerable, dangerous, and potentially isolating thing I could possibly do—but was then welcomed with open arms by a community who loved me enthusiastically (something that no one in my life had done up ’til that point), I tell you what, I would rally around that cause. I would link arms with those people and carry their torch. I would paint a giant rainbow on my chest and proudly walk in the gay rights parade.

Gay pride isn’t the enemy here. Imagine the freedom you’d feel if you found a group of people who celebrated the most reviled, hated, and despised area of your life? Wouldn’t you celebrate too?  The real problem is that gay pride pushes people further into a lifestyle that God does not condone and, therefore, cannot be what’s best for that person.  That actually won’t take away the pain from a lifetime of rejection and self-hatred.  That covers over brokenness with sex acts.  That miserably fails to meet the deep needs within a person. God cares deeply about our fulfillment and joy.  So much that He had his only Son die in our places for it.  Many marching in the gay rights parade believe that they were born gay and cannot change.  But that just can’t be true.  My sexual desires did change.  For decades, my only sexual desires were for other males (I had none for women). But, that is not the case today.  I have been happily married to a woman for 11 years.  And, I know quite a few other people who have had the same experience of transformation.

Take, for example, my friend Elizabeth. A seminary degree-toting, lesbian feminist with a long-standing conviction that homosexuality was a God-approved lifestyle, who wholeheartedly embraced her gay identity and lived within the gay community.  A change in her sexual desires was nowhere on her radar.  She had so embraced a lesbian identity that when she discovered that she was having sexual desires for a man, she actually felt humiliated, at first.  But, changes happened nonetheless.  And, Elizabeth credits encounters with a living and knowable God for this.  Today, she has been married to the man of her newfound desires for 12 years.  You should hear her speak of him as though he were one of the knights of the roundtable.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing if not transformational. Dramatic change is possible when closely following Him. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us that anyone who is “in Christ is a new creation.”  That the “old things have passed away” and that “all things have become new.”  Jesus is in the business of setting people free to live their deepest and most fulfilling lives…physically, emotionally, sexually…in every way.  And, there are people out there, including myself, who have experienced a radical transformation in their own understanding of themselves and in their sexual desires.  They’ve gone from gay to straight and remained that way.

With God all things are possible.  So, we who follow Him ought to humble ourselves and pray and demonstrate an extravagant love to every person around us, regardless of their ethnicity, gender identity, height, weight, occupation, or any other measurement.  But, we also need to be mindful of God’s righteous standard for sexuality…one male and one female committed for life to each other within the bonds of marriage…and to pull on Heaven, expecting God to manifest Himself to the men and women who struggle with same-sex desires and other perversions, and to transform their sexual desires.  He certainly has done so for me.

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KEN WILLIAMS IS A PASTOR AT BETHEL CHURCH IN REDDING, CA WHO HELPS OTHERS FIND AND LIVE OUT THEIR TRUE IDENTITIES. HE IS A WRITER, TEACHER, AND MINISTER. HIS PASSION FOR SEEING THE ONE WHO FEELS DETESTABLE BECOME A FREEDOM FIGHTER LED HIM TO CO-FOUND EQUIPPED TO LOVE- A MINISTRY TO THOSE IMPACTED BY HOMOSEXUALITY. KEN ALSO SERVES BETHEL’S MANALIVE MEN’S PURITY GROUP AND MORAL REVOLUTION AS A LECTURER, WRITER, AND MINISTER. HIS GREATEST JOYS ARE HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE AND THEIR FOUR INCREDIBLE CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KENWILLIAMSMINISTRIES 
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/EQUIPPEDTOLOVE 

 


Responsibility Looks Like Something

TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS REQUIRED

Have you ever wondered why Moses had to be raised in the palace? Why could he not be raised with his own family? I asked God this question one day and His response hit me when He said, “A man who is in slavery internally cannot free people who are in slavery externally. It was necessary for Moses to be raised as a prince so that he could free My people.” Growing up in the palace gave Moses the character traits he needed to lead a movement. For example, when he saw his brothers being mistreated, he immediately jumped to action. Because of this royal upbringing, he responded to injustice as if it was his own responsibility. He knew that the things that occurred in the Kingdom had a direct pull on his influence and responsibility.

I think we can learn a lot from Moses’ story. When we live close to the palace we begin to perceive injustice differently than if we lived removed from royalty. When we are raised up in our royal identities, we move to action when we see injustice. As sons and daughters of God, we must take up the responsibility of our royalty and start responding to the injustices we see in our world today. This is not only our call, but it is our nature. A few injustices that come to mind are the ISIS crisis, racial tensions and the need for the #blacklivesmatter movement, and a current hot topic, abortion. While all of these are important, let’s take a look at abortion.

According to the World Health Organization, during 2010–2014, an estimated 56 million abortions occurred each year worldwide. In the United States alone, 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011. The greatest holocaust in the history of the world is happening on our shift. It needs to matter to us. Do you understand how we got permission to kill our young in the womb? We took the word “fetus,” which is the Latin word “offspring,” and redefined it to dehumanize our unborn babies. And because we dehumanized them, we took away their constitutional protection. This is what the Nazis did to justify their extermination of the Jews, and what Americans did to Africans to validate treating them like animals. Any time you dehumanize a person, you give permission to treat them as something “less than,” and in the worst circumstances, take their lives.

The law plays a big role in this crisis. In general, laws support our societal core values. Women only received the right to vote in the 1920s because until then, our society didn’t have a high value for women’s voices. We redefined the way we thought about women and gave them the right to vote. In doing so, the American mindset changed. Thankfully, women no longer need to worry about their rights being revoked because we live in a country that has changed its value system to highly regard their equality. The law also supports our societal core values when it comes to abortion. So abortion is not just about bad laws, it’s about bad thinking. If we want to change the laws we must change the way our society thinks about our unborn babies.

I often hear the argument that our current abortion laws in the United States protect women’s rights. The problem is that being for women’s rights gets twisted when we forget that every woman was once a baby. Abortion laws should protect two women, the mother and the child, one of whom does not have a voice.

 

OUR ROYAL RESPONSIBILITY

Abortion is an issue of war in the spirit realm. When Moses, who would be the deliverer of the Israelites, was born, the Pharaoh issued a decree to kill the first born babies. And when Jesus, who would be the deliverer of humanity, was born, Herod killed all of the first-borns. When there’s about to be a movement for God, the enemy tries to destroy the generation that will carry it through and change the world. It’s time we take up our royal responsibility to see an end to this injustice!

If everybody did one thing, we could shift this. Here’s a list of things to do, but I want you to ask Holy Spirit what your role is and commit to action to what He puts on your heart.

1. We need work to change public opinion and the conscience of the nations. Talk to your friends, your family and your children about saving the lives of our unborn babies.

2. Scientists – we need you to step up and redefine when life begins.

3. Politicians – the laws need to change to protect the unborn.

4. Media – create media that gives voice to the voiceless and sheds light on how we’ve dehumanized an entire people group.

5. Doctors – hold yourselves to the oath you took to protect life.

6. We need to create a safe place for unwed mothers to be fathered and mothered.

7. Men – we were created to protect women and children. We must step into our God-given role and protect the unborn.

8. Women who’ve had abortions – there is so much grace and forgiveness for you. You must take a stand against the lie that abortion has no negative side effects. Your stories are powerful, and the world wants to hear them.

As royalty, it matters to us what happens in our kingdom. So I urge you to take a moment now, close your eyes, and ask Holy Spirit how you can play a part in seeing change in our world on this subject. Once He speaks, write down what you hear and commit yourself to action. I’d love to hear what you’ll be doing to play a part in saving the lives of God’s precious children!

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

What Porn Stole From My Masculinity

It is no secret that a porn addiction is destructive and unhealthy. There has been study after study to scientifically prove it to be true, celebrities like Russell Brand have come out and talked about it, and organizations like Fight The New Drug have openly communicated the reality of it. I’m not going to build a case against porn because it’s already been done. This post is intended to help men open their understanding to the lasting effects porn has on their masculinity and how it slowly erodes away at their soul. How do I know this to be true? Unfortunately, it comes from personal experience.

My story isn’t unique. Unfortunately, it’s far more common than most people are willing to admit.  I was born in the early eighties, and my first introduction to porn was when I was a young teenager. I found a “dirty magazine” next to a dumpster. It’s scary to think of how easily kids can access porn today compared to when I was growing up. That magazine led to a struggle which lasted into my late twenties. The problem with porn is the damage lasts much longer than the struggle. There’s a lasting effect of its deceitful attraction even though you get free from the addiction. So what did porn steal from me over that 15-year period? The short answer is a lot, but let’s dig into the long answer.

 

1. Clarity about my calling in life

One of the many problems with porn is the timing of its introduction into our lives. Most kids can find porn anywhere from 9 – 12 years old, and often even younger. When this happened for me, it clouded my ability to identify my God-given calling. I was drawn into the fatal attraction it presented, and it slowly pulled me away from God’s original plans. That said, God is the Master of working all things together for our good. I don’t think for a second my struggles with porn would have lead to me missing my calling, but it did make finding my calling longer and more painful than it needed to be.

 

2. My sense of self-worth

I would say this is something I still struggle with at times. Maybe we all do to a degree, but it was always hard for me to see the value in myself when I was doing something that made me question my worth. I would say things like “If they only knew the reality of my life they’d never…..” or “I can’t even stop looking at porn, so there’s no way I have much to offer.” I would constantly doubt my self-worth primarily because I felt powerless to my addiction. It caused me to question the validity of my voice into someone’s life, building something for fun, making a decision small or large, and the list goes on.

 

3. The shame…Oh, the shame

It’s impossible to look at porn and not feel shame, especially when you understand that shame is the thing which separates us from God. Porn is nothing more than one of the mechanisms used to introduce shame into our lives. I would often look at porn, masturbate, immediately feel shame, swear I’d never do it again, and repeat. It would lead to me hating this part of myself, which then caused even more shame. Shame heaped upon shame is a great recipe for creating hopelessness and isolation. I felt all alone and powerless to my cycle. I didn’t want anyone to know what was really going on, especially when I was in the midst of doing ministry. Instead of being present and connected to the moment, I was internally feeling sorry for myself and feeling like a fraud.

 

4. My connection to God

This ties into shame, but needs its own point. To be clear, there was a time I wasn’t pursuing God and struggled with porn. During those years I wanted nothing to do with God…. but I had praying parents and a lot of guardian angels that helped keep me alive and eventually helped turn me back to Him. The problem was when I re-committed my life to Christ, the porn addiction didn’t just go away. I know it does for some, but it didn’t for me. I still struggled for years. Each time I would “mess up” and feel shame, it felt impossible to spend time with God. It was as if I wasn’t worthy because of my actions. Not only this, but I felt no connection when I tried to worship. It was like I was singing empty songs that were meant for passionate people who were pure, which wasn’t me. I would often feel a conviction to repent, but the longer I struggled as a Christian, the more it felt like I was repenting knowing I would screw up in the next few days. Since I felt like this, I didn’t want to repent, which in turn made me feel distant.

 

5. Insecurity about my body

If you read my post on sex, or any one of my other posts, then you will know I tend to be somewhat direct. Well, I’m staying true to this by sharing this point. Here’s another deception porn creates: the guys in the videos… um… well… they are often not average by any means. I didn’t know this and always felt embarrassed about the size of my penis. Little did I know that the average size was nothing like what I was seeing in porn.

All I knew as a teenager, and into my twenties, was I didn’t have what they had and it led to me feeling I was less of a man and physically insecure. It wasn’t until my wife would say things like “it’s the perfect size for me” that I began to be okay with how God made me. My wife’s influence along with learning about the reality of men in porn were two factors of many that made me okay with that part of my body.

The same can be said about the physical attributes of a woman in porn (or even modeling in most cases). When women use the women in porn as their standard, it only leads to feeling ashamed of their body instead of loving it.

 

6. Feeling like a failure in bed

This ties into my point above, but it goes a layer deeper than just the size of my penis. I’m referring to my ability to please her. I had put a lot of pressure on myself directly due to the fact I had looked at so much porn. By the time we got married, I felt like I had to be a rockstar every time we had sex. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen.

There were times in our first few years of marriage when sex was awkward, or I did something that didn’t feel good to her. Instead of seeing it for what it was, which was two people  learning about each other’s bodies, I felt like I was a complete failure. It caused me to shut down and disconnect. Even though I wasn’t looking at porn the moment we were having sex, the shame caused distance from my wife in the very area that God designed to create the deepest level of intimacy. Each time this happened, my masculinity would take a hit. It led to me feeling  I couldn’t adequately please the woman I loved. Sex made me feel like a failure.

 

7. Distorted sexual expectations with my wife

In the same way I had the expectation I needed to be a rockstar in bed, I also had the expectation that sex was going to be this amazingly orgasmic experience (pun intended). I would want her to recreate scenes  I had watched without her knowing. Unsurprisingly, she either felt violated or didn’t want to do what I wanted. She would say no, which left me feeling disappointed and caused distance instead of intimacy. This didn’t happen every time, but it stood out when it did. The problem was she wanted to love me and connect, but not in the way I wanted to. Also, she didn’t know I was struggling with a porn addiction at the time.

Not only did I want something she should never give, but I was the only one who knew why I wanted it in the first place. You can only imagine the amount of shame I felt. In short, porn robbed a lot of connection that was intended during our first few years of marriage. It wasn’t until I confessed my struggle that it began to change. It took time, but I now have appropriate expectations. Ones that are based on our intimacy and history, not ones that are built on something a perverted movie set has to offer.

 

8. Connection with all women

I would see women more as objects than who they actually were. I had been conditioned to look at their physical beauty first and use it as a measuring stick for who they were as a person. My relationships were often shallow and superficial, much like porn is. Porn is like a drug. The cravings only increase over time and you need more of it in order to “get high.”  When I saw a girl that was showing her cleavage, wearing a tight skirt, yoga pants, etc. I would visually take from her. I didn’t care that I was essentially cheating on my wife. Much like a drug addict, I needed a fix, and I was getting it.


Looking at porn when no one was watching caused me to find safety in isolation and shut people out from seeing the real me.


I was afraid to let any woman get to know me because I felt sure they would learn about my addiction and end our friendship. This also tied into my personal fear of rejection, but we’re only addressing the damage of porn for now.

There is Hope. God loves to turn our stories of pain into stories of strength and reconciliation. For me, it has been a hard-fought battle, but I have learned a lot in the process. I have met lifelong friends when I was willing to face the pain I was feverishly trying to numb. I embraced a journey of healing and learned how to become self-aware, not only regarding porn but in several areas of my life. I have become a life consultant and help people navigate through the very things I’ve struggled with. I have found one of my passions, which is to talk about the things I wish I knew years ago and equip people to be proactive in life. I have an amazing sexual relationship with my wife. I have spiritual daughters and healthy relationships with several women who know me, the real me.

I don’t exclusively blame porn for my insecurities, fears, or struggles I have in life. That said, it has been a large contributing factor of my journey in masculinity and made it significantly harder than if I had never found it in the first place.

 

JOSH CEARBAUGH IS A LIFE CONSULTANT WITH A UNIQUE ABILITY TO LEAD PEOPLE THROUGH TRANSFORMATION. THROUGH A COMBINATION OF CONSULTING TECHNIQUES, HE HELPS INDIVIDUALS TO IDENTIFY, AND THEN DISMANTLE, THE CRIPPLING CYCLES WHERE THE MAJORITY OF US FIND OURSELVES STUCK. HE HAS A PASSION FOR CONNECTING PEOPLE TO THEIR HEART AND HELPING THEM CREATE PRACTICAL STRATEGIES TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES. MOST RECENTLY, JOSH’S CONSULTING PRACTICE HAS BEEN LOCATED IN REDDING, CA
HE MET DANIELLE, HIS WIFE OF EIGHT YEARS, IN MOZAMBIQUE WHILE ATTENDING IRIS HARVEST SCHOOL. THEY CURRENTLY HAVE TWO BOYS AND ONE BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL. 
WEBSITE: JOSHCEARBAUGH.COM 
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/JOSHCEARBAUGH
ECOURSE: JUMPSTARTYOURLIFE.COM 

Four Tips for Being the Man Women Want

I’ve had love and relationships on my mind the last few weeks, specifically how to build successful relationships. Let’s take a look at this from the beginning; finding a partner.

 

4 THINGS WOMEN LOOK FOR IN A MAN

A true princess is not going to be attracted to a snob or a slob. They are looking for someone who shows them honor and respect, a man who pursues them like a valued jewel, not like a dog in heat. I surveyed several single women and asked them what qualities they want most in a guy. Here are their answers in the order they listed them. Now if you’re already married or in a relationship, I encourage you to keep reading on. I believe that relationships take constant intentionality and these principles can apply in any stage of your relationship:

1) Integrity

Women would like to have a deep relationship with a man who has integrity; someone who shows up in the way they say they will, which means they don’t make promises that they cannot keep. Men, metaphorically speaking, it is vital that you are not “writing checks” physically, emotionally and spiritually without the money in the bank to cash them.

2) Honesty

They need a man who is honest, transparent and vulnerable—first with himself, then with the lady in their life. It is painful when men are dishonest and keep things in the shadows. The fruit of an honest man is that you make the woman you’re pursuing feel emotionally safe.

3) Confidence

Confidence coupled with humility is a beautiful thing, but pride sucks. Women mentioned that they don’t need a man to have it all together, they just need someone who trusts the Lord, doesn’t live in fear and are therefore are able to lead the relationship well. Men, when you pursue a woman’s heart with confidence and a plan to bring strength to the relationship, their confidence grows as well.

4) Self-Sacrifice and Love

Women want a man who is sacrificial and knows how to love in a way that makes them feel valued. Men, women want you to help meet their needs even when it is difficult so they know they’re unconditionally loved throughout all of the circumstances of life.

 

A MAN WITH A PLAN

I’d like to talk to all the men out there today; it’s important to pursue your love interest with a plan. If you’re not at a place in your life where you’re ready to be married, then do everyone a favor (yourself included) and take a break from dating. I’m not saying you have to know that you’re going to marry every girl you take on a coffee date, but if you’re not serious about finding your life partner then it’s likely you’ll treat dating as something casual, as having fun with a cool chick, and “maybe she’ll end up being the one” attitude. Women are looking for men to be purposeful as you pursue their heart. Being honest with where you stand in your pursuit, even if that means you’re not ready to pursue at all, will set women up to only give of themselves to the degree of the commitment level you’re at. The bottom line is, make sure you know what commitment level you’re ready for, intentionally stay at that level of commitment, and make sure your words and actions line up along the way.

 

HAVING A MENTOR

Being connected to a role model or mentor is imperative for success in these areas. Inviting someone into your life who you are real and raw with, someone who can crack your heart wide open in all areas is invaluable. Many people hide their weaknesses hoping that no one will ever truly see the “real” them. But hiding your flaws only allows your dysfunctional cycle to continue. It is only when you are real with God, with yourself and with others that you begin to become healthy and find freedom and wholeness in your life. So if you don’t have a mentor, seek one out and begin to open your life to their feedback.

What kind of attributes do you look for in a partner? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

5 Red Flags to Consider Before Marriage

Have you ever looked at a couple that’s about to get engaged or married and thought, “Oh please, no! Don’t do that!” as the glaring red flags of their unhealthiness slap you in the face every time you look at them? How is it that it’s so clear for an outsider to see the warning signs of a road to an unhealthy marriage, and yet sometimes the couple themselves have no idea? Unconscious ignorance, and sometimes straight-up stupidity, often get in the way of couples seeing their relationships clearly, and in the worst situations, committing to a marriage that is setting them up for a journey of pain.

We’ve been chatting a lot on the blog about relationships, what to look for in a guy or girl, and how to date well. Today I want to share some fatherly advice with you when it comes to taking the big leap into marriage. Here are some red flags to look out for and seriously stop and pay attention to before saying “I do.”

 


1) If someone says they love you but they refuse to respect you, they are lying. An example of this if they say, “If you love me, then you’ll have sex with me.” The truth is, if they loved you they would protect your virtues! If they disrespect you in this way they are most likely thinking and speaking from their raging hormones, not their heart!

2) Never marry someone to fix or change them; it never works! If they have serious issues to work through; porn, drinking, drugs, cheating, lying, etc., the reality is that’s what you are marrying. It may be hard but if this is where you’re at, it’s time to face the facts. Marrying someone to be their savior is a bad plan and will lead to heartache! Also, serious addictions and unhealthiness aren’t fixed by marriage. I’m not saying that someone with a rough past is disqualified from marriage. I’m simply saying that if they aren’t willing to look at these issues and work through them, then you’re setting your marriage up for pain. Rather, choose someone who has put in the hard work to get healthy, just as you do the same.

3) They say love is blind but the truth is love is stupid blind! Therefore, it’s imperative that you have wise people around you that you give a place to speak into your romantic relationships. If your significant other is not open to the feedback and counsel of wise people around you, that is a red flag. Think about it; if you’re about to make the most important decision in your life, not listening to wise people is stupid blind and dangerous.

4) Ladies, however this guy treats his mother, is probably how he will treat you when you marry him. Men, however this girl treats her dad, is probably how she will treat you when you marry her. There are exceptions to this concept, but this is truer than most would admit. If your partner treats their mother or father with disrespect, they’ll likely treat you the same way. This is warning sign to consider, as respect is necessary for a relationship that will bear the fruit of freedom and love.

5) Ladies, getting pregnant so a guy will stay with you never works! Neither does having children to fix a marriage. It’s a really bad idea to use a child as a band-aid and in the end do you really want to be in a marriage that you had to manipulate someone to be in? You’re worth being chosen for who you are and don’t need to control someone into a relationship. Ever.


 

I want you to hear my heart today. Some of this may sound harsh, but it’s because I want to share wisdom that will protect you from heartache in the long run. If you’re in a relationship that has some of these red flags, I encourage you to seek wise counsel from some mentors around you. Process through this in the context of safe community. If you need to make a hard decision to end an unhealthy relationship, I pray grace, strength and courage over you today. It may hurt in the short run but I promise you that it’s worth it to wait for a healthy marriage than to jump into one prematurely simply because it feels good now.

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

One Date

“Don’t. Freak. Out.” My best friend was coaching me on the other side of our Skype call. “You know how you get when a guy starts pursuing you. You freak out. I did too before I got married. Don’t do it.”

She was right. I had the track record to prove it. Great guy friends whom I had so much fun with would ask me on a date, and I would freak out. What is he doing?! Why does he want to ruin our friendship?! What if we can’t come back from this?! What if I hurt him?

“Just go on one date. And if you don’t hate that one, go on another one.”

“What if I lead him on? What if I never figure out if I like him or not?”

“You’ll figure it out.”

“Okay. One date.”


Sometimes in church culture, we think we need to be almost ready to marry someone in order to say “yes” to a date. I’ve felt like this before. The problem with this is it narrowed my choices and made me dismiss some great guys who actually deserved a chance.

I decided to try something new and calm things down instead of freaking out.

I started to ask myself, “Can I say yes to one date?” Not two dates, not a relationship, not walking down the aisle, but one date? 

Here’s the thing ladies, when a man asks a woman on a date, he’s taking a risk. He might be nervous or trying to find the right words, and you might not see the best version of him right there. Sometimes, we have to give a man a chance to bring his best. We have to give him a chance to pick us up, open doors for us, buy us dinner, and start to feel comfortable enough to be himself and have fun. If you get to the end of the first date and feel sure it’s a no-go, then you can end it graciously. If you have fun on the first date but still aren’t sure if you’re going to walk down the aisle, no problem. Go on another one or two or three and find out.

It’s okay to give people a chance and figure things out at each step. Sometimes our brain tries to shoot ahead to ten years down the road, when we really just need to take things one day at a time. It’s true that there are beautiful stories about love at first sight and knowing someone is the one right away, but there are also stories about attraction growing over time and things working out that people don’t expect. It’s okay to be open and see how things develop.

Now you may get the questions. “You went on a date? How did it go? Are you dating? How do you feel? Do you like him? Are you going to keep going on dates? Is he your boyfriend?” People may be asking, but you don’t have to answer anything you’re not ready to answer. Your friends and family just want the best for you, but it’s unfair to require yourself to know everything when you’re in the process of discovering. Just keep the lines of communication open with the person you’re going on dates with. As long as they know where you’re at, you don’t have to worry about having all the answers.

So as we close things, I want to give you permission. Permission to figure it out along the way. Permission to explore a possibility, and then change your mind if it turns out differently than you thought. Permission to not have a five-year, one-year, or even one-week plan of how things are going to go. Permission to get to know people and figure out what you like and don’t like. Permission to enjoy the adventure of not always knowing what’s around the corner. Try being open to something you don’t expect. You never know where it may lead.

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

Not Living by Other People’s Rules

LIVING FROM YOUR VIRTUES

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by life that you shut down and have a hard time making decisions? Or maybe you find yourself in circumstances that drain your energy and put you in a prolonged poor mood? The truth is, life isn’t always perfect and sometimes we aren’t the best versions of ourselves. And the even greater truth is that we can arm ourselves with tools so that when we find ourselves in rough waters, we still stay true to who God has called us to be!

Years ago, I read a book about the life of Benjamin Franklin. The author recounted that Franklin decided who he wanted to be early in his life, and he wrote 13 virtues to guide all of his decisions so that he would become that person. What a person of intention!

Benjamin Franklin didn’t want his emotions, his circumstances or the pressure of pleasing others to determine his destiny, define his personhood or dictate his legacy. As you can imagine, I was so inspired by the idea that I could live out of my virtues instead of living from the circumstances of my life. So much so that I wrote my own virtue list. The process of envisioning who I was created and called to be and then writing down the virtues that would enable me to become that person was so exciting.

 

MY 9 VIRTUES

Here are a few of my own—maybe they will help to inspire you also:

1. I will serve God first and honor Him always, both in life and in death.

2. I will be honest, loyal, trustworthy and a man of my word, no matter what the price.

3. I will keep my values, regardless of how much they cost me, and if I fail, I will be quick to repent.

4. I will treat all people with respect, whether they are friend or foe, because they were created in God’s image.

5. I will strive to love everyone, despite their opinions, attitudes or persuasions and in spite of how they treat me.

6. I will be loyal to my wife, both in thought and deed into eternity.

7. I will live to bless and empower the generations to come and leave an inheritance both in the Spirit and in the natural for three generations.

8. I will never work for money or sell myself at any price. I will only be motivated to do what I believe to be the right thing and receive my sustenance from God. I vow to be generous no matter what my circumstances may be.

9. I will live my life to bring out the best in people and to bring them into an encounter with the real and living God.

Virtues help us to live from the inside out instead of from the outside in. No longer do I live by other people’s rules. Instead, I live by values that guide my attitudes, which in turn determine my choices. Choices dictate my behavior. My behaviors become manifestations of my personhood, and my personhood leads me into my destiny.

Do you have a list of virtues that you live from? If not, I’d encourage you to take some time and write them down. I think you’ll actually have a lot of fun doing it and will probably be more inspired into actualizing your calling than you were before! I’d love to hear a few of your virtues in the comments below!

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
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Seven Lies We Believe About Relationships

In fourth grade, I threw all my Valentines in the trash. It was for purely practical reasons. I had taken off all the candy and felt the remaining sentiments scribbled in fourth-grade handwriting were no longer of use to me. My teacher came to our table a few minutes later and said, “I just found a pile of Valentines in the trash. Can you believe someone threw all of these away? After all the work your classmates put into them?” I shook my head in feigned disbelief and tried not to look guilty.

Despite my low level of sentimentality in the story above, I actually love romance and relationships. Not to mention, I could eat chocolate all day long, so this holiday has all the potential to be one of my favorite days of the year. I also know it can be rough standing in line at the supermarket buying your own chocolate and realizing the only thing that’s changed since last year is the flavor of M&Ms you’ve selected.

No matter where you find yourself on Valentine’s Day, we want you to be encouraged, so our team decided to debunk a few common lies we’ve seen people believe about singleness, dating, and relationships. Our prayer is that the truth of God’s Word would fill you with hope as you read them and as we approach the day set aside to celebrate love.

Here are seven lies we’ve seen people believe about relationships:

 

1. Marriage solves everything.

Where is the good-looking prince with a killer smile to come whisk me away so we can live happily ever after?

This is how it goes in the fairytales, but in real life, it’s just not the same. Married, single, it’s complicated… it doesn’t matter what your Facebook status is, everyone has problems. In fact, a lot of times getting married and living together for the first time brings up new problems or intensifies the ones you have. If you work on things while you’re single, you can start investing in your marriage long before you meet the right person.

 

2. God can be replaced.

When a cute guy or girl enters the picture and starts talking to you, it feels pretty fantastic.

Wow, no one’s ever seemed this interested in my favorite pizza toppings or my take on superhero movie remakes…

All of a sudden someone is meeting those needs for intimacy, comfort, and connection. It feels great at first, but the more you rely on people to meet all of your needs or give you affirmation (especially if it’s just one person), the more you realize they’re only human. No one can take the place of Jesus in your life. No matter how many wonderful people are around, there is a space in all of us that only God can fill.

 

3. I’m not worth the wait, commitment, or protection.

 

But maybe if I worked out more or ate less pizza I would be…

In a world with constant reminders of why you’re not enough, this one is easy to believe. If you’ve been hurt or rejected by men or women, or you’ve made mistakes in the past, you can start to believe there’s no one who will want you enough to pursue, protect, or commit to you. It’s not true, though. You are valuable because God says you are. Regardless of your past, when you come to God with a repentant heart, He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). You are blood-bought, and the things the enemy tries to hold against you don’t work anymore. Your heavenly Father told you your worth when He sent His Son to die for you. That’s something that can’t be taken away.

 

4. I’m going to be single forever.

Might as well start buying cats, because I’m going to be the cat lady.

Well, I have good news for you. About two million people get married in the United States every year¹. That’s a lot of people who started dating, fell in love, and overcame any fear or insecurities in order to commit to one person. If you want to be married, you too can meet someone and be one of those two million one day. It’s easy to think the stage you’re in is going to be what the rest of your life is like. In reality, a stage is just a stage, and it won’t last forever.

 

5. God is withholding from me.

Why don’t I have the wife, husband, kids, house, job, dog, or retirement plan I’ve always dreamed of?

These are very real questions. You may even start to picture God as kind of a trickster, dangling things in front of you that He has no desire to give you, but this is not Who He is. The Bible says, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly…” (Psalm 84:11). He is a generous Father, and He may not be giving you the exact thing you want right now at this moment, but He gives good gifts to His children all the time. Focus on what He is giving you, and rest in the fact that He knows the desires of your heart because He placed them there for a reason.

 

6. There are no good men/women out there.

I’m going to have to just go for the next girl who will give me her number. I’m going to have to settle for the next guy who proposes. Hopefully, he has a job and at least three front teeth. 

Your mind tends to look for evidence to support what you believe, so if you go through life believing there are no good men or women out there, you probably won’t see any. If you decide to believe there are good ones out there, then you will start to see them. Even if there are men and women who still have some work to do, holding this total lack of belief over their heads isn’t going to help them out. Believe in people, even when they’re still working on things, and believe in the faithfulness of God to show His goodness in your life.

 

7. I’m stuck.

I’m stuck in this behavior, I’m stuck in this addiction, I’m stuck being single, I’m stuck in this relationship, I’m stuck in this rut in my marriage…

This lie can look a number of different ways, but no matter what, you are not stuck. Feeling stuck is usually a result of feeling powerless or like you don’t have a choice. The truth is you do have a choice. You have a choice to stay in a relationship or break up. You have a choice to leave your marriage the way it is or reach out to a counselor or someone who can help you work through your problems. If you feel stuck in dating, you can try online dating, take a new class, or ask a friend to set you up with someone.

If you’re stuck in an addiction or unhealthy behavior, know that when you accept Jesus, His Holy Spirit comes to live inside you to empower you to make healthy, righteous decisions. You now have incredible strength. You can change your life at any moment. Tell the Lord where you feel stuck and ask Him what you need to do to get out of it. You may have to take drastic steps, but it’s okay. Do whatever you need to do to get free.

Jesus came to give abundant life (John 10:10). The better you learn to identify the lies that try to discourage you, the more you will walk in all He died to give you. Believe the truth of Who God says He is and who He says you are. There is not a single area of your life you have to be discouraged in. So no matter if you’re single, dating, or married, may this Valentine’s Day be a reminder of the One who pursues your heart relentlessly in every season and Whose love knows no bounds.


If you’re interested in learning more about fighting lies and going after health and wholeness, we have more good news for you. Our whole curriculum is now available online. Check it out in the link below:

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(1) “National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

Five Power Beliefs that Change Everything

When I saw The Lego Movie a couple years ago, it was life-changing. I found myself laughing at every joke, pondering the deeper questions of life, and marveling at its creativity.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I’ll give you some quick background information. The main character, Emmet, embarks on the adventure of a lifetime when he finds out that he is “the special.” He is the chosen one that has the special gifts and talents it takes to save their entire little lego world from impending doom. There is a part at the end of the film where Emmet is about to be sacrificed by the evil Lord Business. Things aren’t looking good. He’s tied up, about to be executed, as are all his friends.

Suddenly, his mentor Vitruvius pops up out of nowhere to give Emmet these words of wisdom: “the only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe that you can be. I know that sounds like a cat poster but it’s true. Look at what you did when you believed you were special. You just need to believe it some more.” You can see it all over Emmet’s plastic lego face that he’s grappling with this statement. He asks Vitruvius, “But how can I just decide to believe that I’m special when I’m not?” His mentor leaves him with this last inspiring piece of purpose, “Because the world depends on it.”

Vitruvius was right. We’d expect nothing less from a character who looks like Gandalf and fights like Yoda. What you believe about yourself changes everything. 

When you think about it at first, it seems like it wouldn’t be true. How can something as small as a thought change your entire life? It can, though, because it’s the way we were designed. If you still feel skeptical, just experiment with this for a day. When working on a big project, cleaning your house, or when you’re faced with some other overwhelming task, decide that you’re only going to have positive thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I’m not good at this. This is going to be difficult;” think, “I am more than capable of doing this. I’m going to get this done in no time.” See how you feel after an entire day of thinking positive thoughts about yourself.

Here’s the second part of this lesson: What you believe about God changes everything too. You can believe God is a hard-to-please Taskmaster who only ever sees how you fall short or you can believe He’s a loving Father who adopted you into His family as a son or daughter. You can believe God withholds things from you on purpose, or you can believe He’s a Father who lavishes His kids with good gifts.

Here are five power beliefs that will change your life if you commit to believing them:

 

1. I believe God.

God keeps His promises. He does everything He says He will do. God only speaks truth, and it is not in His character to lie or promise something He can’t follow through on (Numbers 23:19).

 

2. I trust God.

God isn’t moody, and He doesn’t change His mind about us. He’s always looking at us through the eyes of a loving Father. He never leaves us. God knows not just the things we need, but also the things we want. God has a great plan for us. The future is bright in Him (2 Samuel 7:28).

 

3. I am powerful.

The words we say are powerful (Proverbs 18:21). The choices we make are powerful. That’s why God gave us the Holy Spirit, to help us make good decisions. We do not have to go through life feeling like a victim to circumstances. Many times we can do something to change them, but if not, we always get to decide how we will react to them.

 

4. I am valuable.

We are valuable to God. Each one of us is a dream of God’s heart that He brought into existence with specific gifts and characteristics. When we see the value God has for people, we treat ourselves and others with kindness and respect (Matthew 10:29-31).

 

5. I am significant.

God has a great plan, and we are part of it (Ephesians 2:10).  It is not a mistake that each one of us is here on this earth, no exceptions. We each have a specific role to play in His story that’s unfolding on the earth.

 

You are the fruit of the intentional, purposeful design of a loving Creator. You carry incredible things that are unique to you. The world is waiting for people who are brave enough to bring all of themselves and change things for the better. Believe in your own significance, because like our friend Vitruvius said, the world depends on it.

 

Our beliefs change the atmosphere around us, as well as the one inside of us. Your sexuality isn’t just about what you do with your body. It’s about what you believe in your spirit, what you think in your mind, and how you steward your emotions as well. If you’re interested in learning more about walking out health and wholeness in each of these areas, check out our digital course below.

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ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

Fake Dating

I’d been doing it for years, but it took me a while to realize it. One day I finally woke up to the fact that I had spent years of my life fating, or fake dating. 

I can see how the pattern developed. Growing up with brothers, I always had a natural connection with guys. They just seemed to be more relaxed about life. They accepted the world as it was, without any analyzation, suspicion, or complication. Naturally, I was flattered when men were drawn to me and wanted my attention. It wasn’t until later that it started a painful cycle.

What started out as flattery turned into empty words. Hanging out casually led to a subconscious desire for commitment. I was convinced that girls and guys could just be friends, that all the dinners for two, dancing, and spending time together didn’t have to mean anything. Deep down I started to realize I wanted something more.

After my thousandth time having a handsome guy friend take me out, kiss me, woo me, but then fail to commit to me, I finally started to believe in this thing called fating. My final breaking point came when a close male friend of mine started to show interest in me. He was at my beck and call. If I needed a cup of coffee, a dinner, or even a massage, he was my man. The only problem was…it was utterly boring. There was no chase, no mystery, no challenge!

One fateful night, as my fake- boyfriend rubbed my back, I felt the Lord speak to me and say, “This is you! This is what you do!” Shocked out of my sultry massage, I began to think about the patterns in my life. Surely all those guys in the past had liked me, and not just wanted to use me. I hadn’t gone too far over the line physically, so I had to be good, right?  I sat in denial for a few moments, but then slowly began to realize the truth. I had been giving myself not just physically, but emotionally to men for years. It took a desperate man to hold up the mirror to a formerly desperate woman, but that is where my freedom began…

Jesus started to show me I had fated my whole life, because I really didn’t know my value. I didn’t think I was worth pursuing, so I just took what I could get. I was like a starving girl, desperate for love, who’d settled for fast food hamburgers, instead of leaving room for a steak. The fake boyfriends in my life were taking the place of the man who would actually ask me out on a real date, not just use me until he found something better…

As I started this journey towards freedom, the Lord showed me that not only did I not value myself, but there was a much bigger issue. The issue was my hopelessness. At the core of my being, I did not trust the Lord. I did not believe He would do what He said He would do, and bring me a husband. If I was being totally honest, I was hopeless in the area of romantic relationships.


I had been rejected by my fake boyfriends so many times, I didn’t have any faith for a real one.


Since I didn’t trust God, I would try to make a relationship happen myself. That’s why I had dozens of men who had “fated” me, and left me broken. Let me take a step back and say men can be fake dated as well. The old saying “it takes two to tango” still rings true here. I had allowed men to fake date me. They were not the only ones to blame. As the Lord continued to uncover these root issues, it felt like the arrows that had pierced my heart were being taken out. It was painful, but the pain felt good.

As Jesus restored my heart, I started to notice other women who had fake dated. I looked around the church and saw an epidemic of beautiful, strong, spiritual women who wanted to get married, but who were still single. I realized part of the reason was because Christian guys and girls had been fake dating each other. They were getting all their emotional and physical needs met and didn’t see any reason to commit. Then the questions started to rise. What if we put an end to this fake dating? What if godly men and women learned their value in Christ, started really trusting the Lord with their love lives, and stopped getting each other’s needs met without any type of commitment?

If I could send a message to the beautiful, strong women who have found themselves in this same cycle, here’s what I would say: When you find your value in Jesus, when you trust Him with your love life, and when you realize you deserve to be pursued and not just used, something strange happens. You start attracting godly men, who recognize a woman who values not only God, but who values herself. You honor the Lord and you honor the beauty of relationships and intimacy. You start getting a real fancy dinner date, instead of a cheap make-out session. So let’s stop the fake dating (because we deserve better) and let’s go after what’s real.

-Anna, 27, Tennessee, US