For Her Eyes Only

THE PROBLEM

Our society seems to dictate that men pursue women and not the other way around. This can create a pretty powerless culture for the girls.

Furthermore, if the girl wants to be a virtuous woman, then she must refuse to use sensuality to seduce a man. This theoretically reduces her chances of “catching her guy.”

Yet, the truth is if a girl fishes with shark bait, then she will most likely catch a shark. I mean, if a girl is trolling the “man waters” with the 3 B’s (boobs, butt, and belly button), then she will likely catch a girl-watcher, not a virtuous dude.

It’s hard to keep a guy who was only attracted to your body because there’s always someone with bigger boobs and a better body.

 

THE SOLUTION

So what’s a girl to do?

1. Realize that most men don’t understand women, and you always fear what you don’t understand!

2. Pay attention to the way he treats his mama because however he treats her, he will treat you in the end.

3. Be beautiful, but not sexy. Contrary to popular opinion, dressing sexy says, “I’ve got nothing else going on.”

4. Take an interest in the things he is interested in. It will dispel a bunch of the fear in him if you can relate to something he loves.

5. Believe in him: his personhood, his destiny, and his ability.

This was the reason I grew in love with Kathy…she believed in me when no one else did. (If you don’t believe in him, you are wooing the wrong dude).

6. Don’t play “hard to get,” play your “I am worth sacrificing for” card!

7. Most girls like the “chase” because they were born to be pursued. But if you’re not interested in the dude, don’t lead him on. Other guys are watching, and a trail of male tears builds a rough road to your front door.

8. Hang out in a group before you date. Guys gain courage as they gain understanding.

9. If you do your “sister act” with him, he won’t think of you as a lover. Many guys have close friends who are great girls, but asking them out feels like they are dating their sister.

10. Be subtle, but let him know you are interested in getting to know him. A note works great.

But what if he doesn’t choose to pursue me? Then you will know pretty quickly, and you won’t waste your time with a dude who’s not interested!  

11. If you like someone, ask a friend who knows him to introduce you. This helps break the ice.

12. Don’t date a guy with a bad reputation. Reputations are built on repetition (repeated behavior). It may sound exciting to date a bad boy, but marrying one will ruin your life.  

13. Find some old, wise people to be accountable to in your romantic relationships. Love is blind, so listen to their input.

When my mom met Kathy for the first time, she told me, “Now that’s the marrying kind.” Kathy was 12 years old at the time. Five years later, I married that girl. That was 40 years ago!

 

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.

 

WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
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9 Principles for Healthy Confrontation

When Jesus walked the earth, He had a few advantages over us. Minor things like He never sinned, for instance, so He never had to worry about hypocritically pointing out faults in others while neglecting His own. He was also God and knew the hearts of men; therefore, His assessments of people’s motives were always accurate. Undoubtedly, these advantages gave Him confidence and grace when it came to approaching a confrontation; He was neither shy nor overly harsh.

We, on the other hand, have to be told, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). According to this standard, confrontation must never involve yelling at someone, accusing him or her of evil, venting frustration or punishing the person for failing or hurting you. We must be especially careful about not judging the motives of people. In my experience, our so-called “gift of discernment” often turns out to be suspicion in disguise, especially when we are upset with someone.

Over the years, I have learned these nine principles for practicing the art of healthy confrontation:

 

1. WHEN A PROBLEM ARISES, GET AN APPOINTMENT TO TALK TO THE PERSON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Waiting too long allows the seed of bitterness to gestate. Don’t wait for anger to be your counselor. Remember, this is not about punishing the person for his or her inappropriate behavior. You are meeting with the person for his or her benefit. The goal is to help mold the person into the image of God and reconcile your relationship.

 

2. LET THE PERSON KNOW HOW HIS OR HER BEHAVIOR HAS AFFECTED YOU.

Describe in detail how the person’s actions are making you feel.

 

3. KEEP YOUR ARMOR OFF BY BEING TRANSPARENT ABOUT YOUR OWN STRUGGLES.

When a person is responding to you, listen from your heart to his (her) heart. Many people are not good at articulating their struggles, so you often have to listen beyond their words. As the person is speaking to you, don’t develop your defenses or turn the conversation into a war of words. Ask questions that unearth the root problem. What is really wrong? What kind of core problem would cause these symptoms?

 

4. ALWAYS GIVE THE PERSON THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, NO MATTER HOW HE OR SHE HAS BEHAVED.

Remind yourself that the person you are having a problem with was made in the image of God and, therefore, most likely has a good heart, even though his or her behavior is negatively affecting the environment. Never think of the person as an enemy, but instead as a wayward son or daughter (father or mother). Show honor at all times. Let the person know you believe in him or her.


Remember, you only have as much influence in someone’s life as they have value for you.


 

5. ASK THE PERSON HOW YOU CAN BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

By this time, you may have found out that you are actually part of the problem. Maybe you are King David in this situation. Has your fear, weakness or dysfunction become a seedbed for the person’s strength to be overemphasized or his or her weakness to be exposed? Have you reacted to the way you were raised or to some negative circumstances in your own life?

 

6. IF OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION, IT IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS.

Don’t talk to other people about your offense with the person. Don’t build a case against the person by bringing up other people’s names in the conversation, saying things like, “I talked to John and Mary and they have the same problem with you.” This just makes you look like a coward and a gossip. If you do that, don’t be surprised if the person being confronted feels like he or she is a victim of a gang assault. You are not there to be someone’s attorney.

On this note, if someone comes to you to talk about a problem with someone else, tell him or her to go talk to the person, not to you. I have 550 employees who work for me at Bethel Church. Many of my team members used to come up to me and begin to tell me about a struggle they were having with another staff member. Before they got 20 seconds into their discourse, I would interrupt them and ask, “Have you talked to this person yet?”

Nine out of ten times they would say, “No!”

Then I would ask them, “What business do you have talking to me if you haven’t even talked to the person who offended you?”

It is important to remember that a person who talks to you about someone else will one day be talking to someone about you. Allowing people to complain about others creates a culture of gossip. I personally will not tolerate it at Bethel.

 

7. IF YOU REALIZE DURING THE CONVERSATION THAT YOU ARE THE PROBLEM OR A PART OF THE DILEMMA, BE QUICK TO REPENT.

Humility always leads to repentance. Don’t defend yourself; leave your weapons outside the door. If the other person is wrong, verbally forgive him or her. Forgiveness restores the standard, so the person needs to be treated as if he/she never sinned after he or she repents.

 

8. IF YOU COME TO AN IMPASSE, HAVE SOMEONE YOU BOTH EQUALLY RESPECT JOIN YOU IN ANOTHER MEETING TO HELP RESOLVE THE ISSUE.

Bringing someone into the meeting that is not respected by one of the parties will only feel like the other person’s attorney is present. But a wise person who is not emotionally attached to the conflict can bring insightful perspective that is hard to see when you are in the middle of it, and will usually help bring the necessary resolution. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a problem with someone only to find out in a meeting with him or her that I am the problem. Having a respected third party present helped me see the truth.

 

9. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, DON’T WITHDRAW FROM THE PERSON AFTER A CONFLICT.

Make an extra effort to stay close to him or her during the healing process. This is often the difference between a long healthy relationship and a lifelong pattern of conflict.

A study was completed in the business world many years ago concerning this issue of conflict. The survey showed that when a customer had a problem with a business and the company satisfactorily solved the issue, that customer became many times more loyal to that store in the years that followed than they were before the conflict.

I believe that conflict and confrontation resolved inside the core values of the Kingdom actually strengthen our relationships. These struggles are the sign of real relationships where people feel safe to tell one another the truth in love. This creates covenant societies that bond around family values, instead of fatherless sibling rivalries where orphans vie for preeminence in the pecking order of the world’s chicken coop.

 

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.

 

WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

The Mystery of Marriage

Marriage means to merge – the two become one flesh. It’s a mystery that begins with a blood covenant. It’s the reason why God gave women a hymen, so the covenant could be ratified before the children were conceived.

Some people marry, but never merge. Independence, fear, mistrust, selfishness, and unforgiveness become impregnable walls of division – a forcefield of indiscretion.

A mergerless marriage leaves Adam (husband and wife) “alone,” longing and yearning for connection, feeling incomplete, abandoned and isolated.

When the mystery of matrimony is nullified, marriage is reduced to a mere partnership; agreements exchanged, duties assigned, and territory surveyed.


Yet the unyielding wonder of one love, one body, and one spirit longs for expression.


This passion for intimacy and need for connection woos us into the vortex of sacrifice where we finally experience life. The climax of marriage is experienced when we lay down our rights and take up our cross.

This is the Genesis dream, which lies in the heart of the Father: “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. The two shall become one flesh.”

When married couples lay down their lives for one another and merge in the mystery of supernatural assimilation, the contrast between marriage and cohabiting will speak for itself.

The gay marriage debate also evaporates in the shadow of the manifestation of the miracle in which a man and his wife flow seamlessly into one. This constitutes the cord of three strands that remains unbroken.

The two are three because the miracle of marriage is in the third cord of love, which is God Himself.

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.

 

WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

The Redemption of Men

I remember when a man pummelled a woman’s head with the heaviest part of a telephone receiver in a phone box outside of Liverpool station. I remember getting out of my car down the street, screaming from a distance to save her life.

Whoever she was.

I remember him looking up, grasping from his violent breath, to see who had the audacity to interrupt him, leaving the half-conscious woman to now run after me. I remember the police being just around the corner. I remember how vivid and monstrous the sound of him beating her was – 16 years later.

Those are the trials that we define as traumatic in domestic violence, the ones people fight for years to overcome. For as much as physical abuse is the definition of evil in relationships, we seem to sideline the emotional torment, the slightly less burdensome journeys we never signed up for when he first asked us out on a date.

For the majority of us, hurt is very subtle, yet it’s startling how lasting that can be, it’s startling how bruised the heart can get with their emotional punches.

I remember being lied to. Regularly. By different boyfriends.

I’ve fought for a man who didn’t want to fight for me.

I’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, I’ve ducked away from being in a domestic violent one.

I’ve been on his mind and in his living room for a thousand hours and still he can’t decide whether he wants to date me.

I’ve been the confidante to the mistresses; I’ve been the confidante to the wives.

I’ve been the butt of their self-hating jokes.

I’ve been involuntarily part of a smear campaign so they can cover their own reputation in a mutual church community.

I’ve lost Facebook friends, I’ve been ignored in the streets, all based on the fact I decided something wasn’t right.

I’ve had to defend my right to exist with other women in his life.

It was the luxury apartment or me. And he took the apartment.

I’ve been controlled.

I’ve not been talked to for ten minutes in a car ride because he didn’t like my shoes. And I liked my shoes.

I’ve been advised to do my homework and by homework – he meant more squats.

I’ve been advised to eat more. I’ve been advised to eat less.

I’ve been told it’s between me or another girl he’s interested in – he ended up dating both.

I’ve been promised babies and weddings, with it never following through.

I’ve been flirted with to discover I was just the stop-gap girl to appeal to his own emotional needs.

I’ve been uncovered to a whole ray of people who knew my name, but I couldn’t have placed theirs.

I’ve been ditched because I wouldn’t put out. I’ve been ditched because I did put out.

I’ve been the apple of their eye in one week and a stranger to them the next.

I’ve had the biggest smile on my face when I finally found out their fickle fabrications. Yet my smile swiftly vanished when I learnt how long the lies had gone on for.

But this isn’t an invite to some pity party. This isn’t a recall on some of the poorer relationships I’ve endured.

 


This is a reality check to all those women that say that there aren’t any good men out there.


 

‘How could she start this piece of writing with her horror stories of male encounters and expect us to have hope?’ I hear you cry.

I declared it myself that there were no healthy men.

I have said that line more in my Christian days than in my atheist ones. It seemed I found more brokenness in men, who longed for God yet forgot about goodness, the problem was, I was functioning from a hopeless ache that looked for physical evidence; back-up stories that proved that men weren’t kind. After so much hurt, a back catalogue of dating misdemeanors – how could we have hope?

It’s a line that is spoken not from a bitter edge or a negative personality, but from a heart that has been hurt so much, their lens is now faded to a duller tint and it protects, it keeps out, it stops us from messing around our own hearts and disempowers the ability to be vulnerable. We think this jagged edge of pessimism will be realistic, however vulnerability is your greatest protector and hopelessness is your sharpest opponent to love.

Despite the subtle pains I’ve faced, masked in the phrase of ‘long-suffering’ there are men out there that turn all these stories into redemption, that make the rainbows finally shine through the treacherous thunder.

They are there. Once you clean your own lens.

Sometimes with purpose in your pocket, some self-love and friends that adore you, you wipe the bi-focals yourself. Other times it takes an encounter with a great man.

Here’s where the redemption arrived at my door.

I had men who complimented every detail of my dress. Choosing the very shoes the previous one hated.

I’ve been the reciprocity of his affirmation.

I’ve faced his honesty with an apologetic smile and a change of behavior.

I’ve never had to raise my voice, because he already heard me.

I trusted his next moves.

I’ve not needed half the amount of basic boundaries because the dude finally showed up with his own.

I found men who said sorry in the moment – not a year later.

I’ve had a man sacrifice money, travel, and dreams for the day, just to meet me.

I discovered men who sought advice from a small committee of healthy friends, never seeking comfort from half of a broken world.

I’ve found the mightiness in a man’s humility to tell me the truth even if it might hurt his own pride.

I’ve found men who wanted my soul over a posh duplex.

I no longer had to ask why, because his words were always followed up by action.

I’ve been loved in my complexity as well as my diversity.

I was loved in my mess so much that perfectionism jumped out of the window.

I found security in myself because he didn’t rest on my confidence – he had his own.

I’ve been asked questions, instead of be accused.

If I had a need, it was a pleasure for him to fulfill it thus I was no longer seen as a drain.

I was gently confronted with a soft tongue and a trust to resolve.

I no longer blamed myself for another person’s behaviour. For he took ownership of every step he made.

I was satisfactory to him, without using my body.

 


These are the redemptive ones. These are the mighty men, who will restore your past experiences. These are the ones who will never speak anything less than highly of you, despite their own pain of losing you.


 

I promise you: the ‘you’ who is out there wondering if there are any good men. If you did something wrong. If you’re too old. If you’re too young. If you’re not good enough. If you’re too picky. If you’re too too too…

Take off the self-questioning so you won’t question men so much. Take down the wall of protection so you don’t ooze distrust. Take up discernment to another level so that you can avoid one more horror story to the storage unit of poor experiences, and raise up the standard to encounter kind men, gentle men, men with back bones, men with justice hearts yet a teachability to always be able to say sorry and grow. We were never looking for perfection, we were looking for humility. And it had to start with us.

It was never about how good the men were out there, it was always about how much we truly believed we deserved it in the first place.

 

Originally published on www.herglassslipper.co.uk

 

CARRIE LLOYD IS AN AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST FROM THE UK, WRITING FOR GRAZIA, COMPANY MAGAZINE, HUFFINGTON POST, CHRISTIANITY MAGAZINE, MAGNIFY, ALPHA LIFE, THE DAILY MAIL AND MORE. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF ‘THE VIRGIN MONOLOGUES (AUTHENTIC MEDIA). HER EXPERIENCES HAVE COVERED PREGNANCY CRISIS COUNSELLING, TO PASTORING YOUNG ADULTS AS AN INTERN AT BSSM IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA. HER PASSION IS FOR ABOLISHING SEX TRAFFICKING, HELPING UNLIKELY HEROES, AS WELL AS SPEAKING TO TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS ABOUT HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS. HER BLOG ON THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF CHRISTIAN DATING CAN BE FOUND AT WWW.HERGLASSSLIPPER.CO.UK

10 Lies We Believe About Sexual Purity

Amidst all the magazines, movies, and television telling us what sexy is these days, purity doesn’t get a lot of air-time. When it does, it’s not very positive to say the least. We wanted to help set the record straight. No matter what you’ve heard about it, sexual purity is one of the greatest things God has given us to steward. It’s radical, counter-cultural, and walking it out means walking in true freedom. Here are ten lies we’ve seen people believe about sexual purity:

 

Lie #1: God is embarrassed about sex.


God invented sex, and He doesn’t regret it. He didn’t look away in shock or disgust the first time Adam and Eve came together in the garden. He doesn’t tell married couples to avoid it unless they’re procreating. God loves the way He designed a man and a woman to come together and feel connected and bonded like no other thing on earth allows them to connect. He designed it to be an expression of covenant love and for babies to be brought into the world this way.

 

Lie #2: Being curious about sex is wrong. 


Curiosity is normal. It’s not shameful or a sin to be curious about sex. The decision you have to make is how you’re going to act on your curiosity. Find someone who has a great marriage to answer your questions about sex within the context of God’s design for it. God sets up boundaries to protect us, and exploring sexuality by going outside of His design for sex is where we find ourselves in trouble. We have some great resources for learning about healthy sexuality here.

 

Lie #3: Purity is just for single people.


You don’t just have to slide into your wedding night, virginity barely intact thinking, “Phew, I made it. I’m in the clear.” God gives you a sex drive before you’re married because you’re still going to have to steward it inside of marriage. You are going to marry a human being with a schedule, needs, and other things that will mean you don’t get to have sex every single time you want to. Being able to steward your sex drive will ensure that you can help your partner feel safe and respected and give you a more fruitful sex life in the long run.

 

Lie #4: God is disappointed when you are distracted by a good-looking man or woman. 


God’s not disappointed in you. It’s in your design. If you have a desire to get married one day, that desire is not in you by accident. It’s natural for you to pay attention when a good-looking man or woman walks by. We’re not saying it’s okay to look at someone in an objectifying or lustful way. There’s a difference between looking at someone lustfully and admiring beauty. Attraction is one of the first steps to finding someone to spend your life with. Practicing self-awareness helps us know when attraction is tied to a need wanting to be met. In that case, it’s important to make sure we get it met in a healthy way.

 

Lie #5: You shouldn’t want to know anything about sex until you’re married (except don’t do it).


Not being educated about what healthy sexuality looks like hurts us more than it helps us. God wants us to know about sex and the intricate design He has for it. He wants us to experience it in the most beautiful way possible: inside a marriage covenant. This doesn’t mean we dive into more than we’re ready for or that we talk to our kids way above what is appropriate for their age level. It simply means that we set ourselves and our families up for success by learning how to walk out a healthy, whole lifestyle.

 

Lie #6: Being “inexperienced” is unattractive. 


Do you know what is really attractive? Self-control. Think about it. Being able to steward your sex drive is an attractive quality. Being patient and respectful of the person you’re in a relationship with is one of the most attractive things you can do. Otherwise, when you get married and you meet a handsome man or gorgeous woman who is not your spouse, what are you going to do? You have to be able to have self-control. You’re going to have to go back to what you learned from walking out purity all those years before marriage.

 

Lie #7: You shouldn’t have a sex-drive until your wedding night. 


Oh if only we simply had no sex drive and then it magically appeared on our honeymoon night. Wouldn’t that make things easier? Like it was mentioned before, God gives you a sex drive before you’re married on purpose. He wanted you to learn how to steward it. He’s not mad at you for having something He gave you. There’s no shame in having a desire for sex. Getting your needs for intimacy, comfort, and connection met in a healthy way will help your desire for sex to calm down.

 

Lie #8: Once purity is lost, it can’t be restored.


Believing this lie is believing that what Christ did at the cross was not enough and that it didn’t cover everything. Colossians 1:21-22 says, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—” We believe purity can be restored and walked out no matter what your past has been like. We’ve received countless emails from women who have experienced emotional and spiritual restoration, and even the physical restoration of their hymen.

 

Lie #9: It’s impossible to walk out purity your whole life. 


We have access to sexual images and content like we’ve never had before. Casual sex seems like the norm in our culture. Even inside of the church we hear a lot of testimonies about people coming from rough pasts then turning their life around for Jesus. These testimonies are amazing, and we are thankful for the redemptive power of the cross, but it doesn’t have to be this way for everyone. Your children and other young people you care about do not have to walk through a bunch of moral failures and hopefully be restored later. There are many people, even in this day in age, who walk in purity from the beginning to end of their life. The same grace that restores and redeems people is the grace that allows people to walk out purity their whole lives.

 

Lie #10: If you’re struggling with a purity issue, you’re always going to struggle.


You are dead to sin and alive in Christ (Romans 6:11). Whether you’ve been struggling with something for fifty days or fifty years, you can be free. It may not be easy, and it may take a lot of work, but it’s possible. The first step is believing you can get to the point where you’re completely free. Bring other people in, get help, take drastic measures, whatever it takes. Getting free is worth it.

The enemy loves to feed us lies about sex because he knows how valuable it is in its purest form. Part of having faith is believing God and what He says about things. If God invented sex, why would we go to any other source to find out how it works best? If any of these lies hit home for you, take a deep breath, and let God wash over you with the truth. He has a beautiful design, and He has only your best in mind.

 

Want more information about what healthy sexuality looks like? Check out our Let’s Talk About It Curriculum.


What’s In Your Yard?

For a while I thought being a good follower of Jesus meant saying yes to everyone. I thought I was supposed to  help out every time someone asked and take every opportunity to serve. Isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said for us to lay our lives down? Wasn’t it mean to say “no”?

This didn’t work out well for me though because in the end, it’s incredibly stressful and overwhelming to say yes to everyone. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned that helps me protect what God holds me responsible for in my own life.

 

Cleaning Up Your Yard

A couple years ago, we bought a house with a beautiful yard. Unfortunately, this yard doesn’t look beautiful all by itself. There’s work that goes into it, and it’s our job to make sure it’s taken care of. We may try to convince the neighbors to come over and do some yard work, but it probably won’t work. What happens in our yard is our responsibility, no one else’s.

I’m going to let you in on something: you have a yard too. It’s inside of you. Self-control is knowing how to manage your yard. It’s having a say in what happens around you.

Now some of us may have crazy yards. It looks like we have no boundaries and all sorts of people and things are in our yard. It may be our mom’s feelings, husband’s choices, or kids attitudes. You know someone else is in your yard when you feel responsible for their happiness. If they’re unhappy, you start running around trying to figure out how to make them happy. You might say, “Ah!! I have to make you happy for things to be okay in my yard!” This is dangerous. We start to sacrifice our bodies, our minds, our wants, and our needs because we’re trying to make sure that other person is happy. Instead of stressing over their emotions, a better option would be to recognize that their feelings are not actually in your yard. They have to take ownership for their well-being, just like you have to take ownership for yours.

 

Setting Boundaries

So how do we help people out of our yard? By setting boundaries.

Proverbs 25:8 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

It’s our job to have boundaries, to have walls that are healthy around our lives. What does this look like? People are adults, and they can act however they choose, so we can’t actually set limits on them. We can set limits on our exposure to people. We can give ourselves space from people who act or react in destructive or unhealthy ways. Part of being kind to yourself is not giving people full access to you all the time. It’s okay to pull back, and say, “I love you, but I need some space here. I’ll catch you later.” Start to set those boundaries so they don’t have access to everything in your life.


“Part of being kind to yourself is not allowing people to have unlimited access to you all the time.”


When you first start to set boundaries with people, they may not like it. They may even accuse you of not caring or being unloving. When this happens to me, I have to remind myself that I have done nothing wrong. How they choose to respond to me is up to them. How I choose to respond is up to me. I still care about them, but I’m choosing not to give them access to what I hold most precious to me which is the core of who I am. I have to protect that.

 

Taking Care of Your Emotions

The other way you steward your yard is taking responsibility for your own feelings. You may feel mad, sad, or frustrated, but you have to realize that those emotions are in your yard. No one else is powerful enough to make you feel a certain way. Pull it back, keep it in your yard, and work through it. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling frustrated? Why am I feeling angry? Why am I feeling like I want to give up?” Figure it out. Sometimes it’s just a one day thing that you’ll feel better about tomorrow. Other times it might be an unmet need that you have to take care of. Part of stewarding your yard is figuring out how to express your wants and needs and get them met in a healthy way.

If your kids are under eighteen and aren’t adults, they are supposed to be in your yard. They’re your responsibility to take care of until they grow up and get to have their own yard. The moment you take ownership of the fact that you’re a parent is the moment you get the power to do what you’re called to do. When I thank God for giving me four healthy boys, He comes in to help me parent them well. In the moment you take ownership, you receive the grace to raise your children and take care of what’s in your yard.

We set boundaries in our relationships to protect what God’s given us to steward. Taking responsibility for other people’s emotions is exhausting. If you feel overwhelmed, you may have some people things in your yard that don’t belong there. Loving yourself well is making sure you do what you need to keep yourself healthy and whole. You may get a little resistance from people at first, but in the end you will be able to give your best to people in the times they do have access to you because you valued yourself enough to make sure you’re healthy, rested, and whole.

To find out more on this topic, check out this bible study resource from our director or Danny Silk’s podcast on Boundaries.


Marriage and Divorce

Character, communication and choosing love will sustain, revive and renew a relationship for the long-haul.

 

“Personality” is easy to understand. Your “personality” is how people experience you. It’s your public persona. Character is who you are when no one is watching.

Character is defined by the dictionary as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Here at Moral Revolution we talk about ‘core values’. The definition of core is ‘at the heart of’ and the definition of value is, “A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” So therefore, our core values are the standards we have chosen to put at the center of our lives, that govern our choices and behaviors.

Character shows itself when we choose to live by our core values despite feeling misunderstood, maligned, accused or overlooked. If I have a core value that says I will work to not wound others when in discussion with people, then in the heat of the moment I will avoid words or phrases like: “you never…..” or “you always….”

 


“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with
a personality,
but we must live with a character.”
– Peter Devries –


 

Marriage is a covenant that we make for life, with one person, before God. It lasts too long, at too close quarters for it to be sustained simply by personalities relating together. Personalities eventually give way to an inner self that gets revealed; a meeting of characters. Most other people in your life hold up mirrors that reflect your personality and you (probably) love it because they show your best side. Whilst in marriage the same is true, it also feels like the other person is holding up a mirror to your character and you may possibly be seeing a side of yourself that is not as delightful as you thought!

One reason people fail at marriage is not that they don’t like their spouse, it’s that they don’t like themselves. Many people would rather choose to be with someone else than remain with their spouse and have to continue to be with themselves.

God is a covenant-maker and a covenant-keeper. It’s who He is and an intrinsic part of His nature and character. When He makes covenant, He is never going to go back on His word. “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind” (1 Samuel 15:29).

Covenant and character development go hand-in-hand. In our relationship with God it is so and in our marriages it is so. God covenants with us so deeply so that when He holds that mirror up and we squirm at the ugliness within us, we can still stand before Him knowing that we are loved and seen and He does not hide from us. As we walk that path with Him it trains us for marriage and other covenants. We can begin to dare to believe that we can be transparent in our closest relationships because we are fully loved by the One who sees it all and loves us, laughs with us and transforms us.

Sadly, there are some circumstances where separation and divorce become necessary, due to violence and mistreatment. But we must be careful not to then start saying divorce under any circumstances is okay. God’s words created this world. When He spoke, things were created and things changed. We are made in His image. Our words matter. The vows and promises we speak with our mouths He takes very seriously.

Divorce is not an option if we have grown bored or because we feel we have grown out of love. Character, communication and choosing love will sustain, revive and renew for the long-haul. God does it with us. He is passionate about covenant! He promises us power, love, self-control and humility. HE gives us the power to be with one another in a covenant relationship that so beautifully reflects His character and nature!

 

– Soo Prince (Intern)


8 Things I Would Tell Someone Who is Struggling With Porn

Pornography can feel like a python squeezing the life out of you. I know first hand, I was caught in the trap for years. The struggle can feel like a vicious cycle that pulls you deeper into hurt and isolation. We need lifelines, rescue ropes, and voices of strength that push us to endure and fight for our freedom. Advice while struggling with sin can be well intentioned but poorly executed. We can leave with condemnation, more rules, and less hope. This isn’t one of those times, this is a lifeline, a piece of advice that will help you. Let’s dive in!

 

Don’t believe the lie that you will struggle with this forever

 

The intensity of a struggle should never determine your hope. You could be struggling with sin for 2 years or 10, it doesn’t matter, our hope rests in Jesus came to set us free. Freedom is God’s standard and we should line up our perspective with His. God has paved a way for freedom and the first thing we do is believe it’s possible despite our experiences. As a man walking in freedom for over 7 years, I want you to know it’s very possible to live free.

 

Don’t hide it, talk to someone who isn’t struggling

 

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It can be a terrifying to talk about your struggle but it’s a necessary step on the road to living completely free. Jesus breaks all our shame so that telling our struggle can be liberating. God has designed our lives to be healthiest when we’re in community. When we open ourselves up to healthy community we begin to receive their strength. Isolation is never the pathway to healing rather, community is essential to freedom.

 

Don’t live by rules but by your identity 

 

Rules and plans can appear wise but they fail because they’re built around the assumption that our behavior is the problem. This is a revolutionary idea for many but your struggle with pornography isn’t the problem. It’s the fruit of the problem and the real issue is how you see yourself. Do you see yourself as loved by God? Do you see yourself as forgiven by God? Do you view your past as your past? When we give our life to Jesus, the Bible says we become a new creation. Our identity is no longer defined by what we do but what Jesus has done. We are not pure because we stick to a purity plan. We’re pure because Jesus has made us pure. This is the origin of healthy behavior. Proverbs says that “as a man thinks in his heart so he is.”  How we view ourselves is crucial and Jesus gives us a new identity that will change our behavior. We’re not recovering, horrible sinners anymore. Jesus has transformed us into new people and we need to start living like it’s true.

 

Don’t be foolish, get some boundaries

 

Boundaries are tools that when used well promote health. Boundaries are not just a list of things you can do. Boundaries protect what you have said yes to in life. You can make boundaries that say “no computer after 10pm because I don’t want to look a porn” or you can make boundaries that say “I don’t look at my computer after 10pm because I value the purity God gave me.” Boundaries work best when they protect what you value not what your afraid of doing.

 

Get your needs met in healthy ways

 

We all have needs in life, for example we all need to feel loved. Now, if we don’t know how to meet that need in a healthy way we can fall into sin. Most men who fall into pornography have had a hard time finding love. Not love like a girlfriend but unconditional love that gives them worth and value outside of what they do. The need to feel loved is the need to know our worth. If you can find healthy ways to find your worth you will start beating pornography to the ground. An example would be to get worth from God and know how much He loves you.

 

God is good and he is for you 

 

How we view God determines so much about our life. Once I discovered that God is good and wasn’t out to punish me then I leaned into Him. I stopped being afraid of Him and started to trust Him. This led me into living in His strength. I now could approach Him because I knew He loved me and was for me. He not only had the power to help me but he wanted to help me. This was crucial in my journey to living free from pornography. I no longer felt God was angry but that He loved me and was there for me.

 

Temptation doesn’t mean you’re broken inside

 

Temptation is real, Jesus dealt with it. Most of us however deal with it very different than Jesus. The moment we’re tempted we think it’s because we have a problem inside of us. The bible says Jesus was tempted in all ways but without sin. This is huge; temptation isn’t a sin. Temptation can lead to sin but it doesn’t start as sin. We have to remember that the enemy tempts us and we always have a way out of it. Does that mean all temptation doesn’t come from within? No, some temptation comes because we perpetuate it through sin and poor thinking. But not all temptation comes from within us as Jesus revealed with being tempted by satan.

 

Don’t believe the lie that because you’ve looked at pornography now you wont have good sex when your married

 

I have had so many questions and sometimes statements about sex in marriage after being addicted to pornography. The concern is that now you won’t be able to get the images out of your head or you’ll be triggered by it. I am here to tell you that it’s possible to have a great sex life in marriage and not let any of your past affect you. Does it mean the enemy doesn’t try? No, he does try but his success is determined by me and I don’t let him win. God loves sex and He designed it for marriage, so you have more support than you think.

 

Chris Cruz is currently a full time Pastor at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, CA. It’s a school of over 1800 students that’s dedicated to equipping revivalists to pursue worldwide transformation in their God given sphere of influence. Along with BSSM, He speaks at Bethel Redding on Friday nights and helps lead Tribe Young Adults.
 
Website: chrisjosephcruz.com
Facebook: facebook.com/chriscruzpage
Twitter: @chrisjosephcruz
Instagram: @chriscruz

 


Do You Deserve to Be Forgiven?

 

FORGIVENESS RESTORES THE STANDARD

I learned this lesson years ago when my kids were teen­agers. I became angry with Kathy in front of them and treated her disrespectfully. An hour later, I apologized, and she forgave me. But when I went to bed that night, I suddenly realized that I had disrespected Kathy in front of my teenage kids. So I needed to apologize to them for being a bad example of a husband, or they would grow up believing that my behavior was okay. The next day, I gathered the kids together in the front room and asked Kathy and each of the kids to forgive me.

“Okay, Dad,” they each said, a little annoyed that I was making such a big deal out of this. “We forgive you. Can we go now?” they pressed.

“You can go,” I responded. I was as glad to get that over with as they were.

About a week later, one of our boys came in the kitchen and started being sarcastic with Kathy. I walked into the kitchen and said, “You don’t have permission to talk to my wife like that.”

“You were rude to Mom the other day yourself!” he responded.

“Yes,” I continued, “but you forgave me. Forgiveness restores the standard. When you forgave me you gave up your right to act the same way that I did because your forgiveness restored me back to the place of honor. I repented. Repentance means to be restored to the pinnacle, the high place.”

“I’m sorry, Mom. I should not have spoken to you that way,” he said humbly.

“I forgive you, son,” she said, embracing him.

 

LIVE AS IF YOU HAD NEVER FAILED

If we don’t understand this principle, then the lowest point, the worst mistake or stupidest thing that we have ever done in life becomes our high watermark. For instance, if we were immoral as a teenager and later on in life we have teenagers, we won’t have confidence to correct them for their poor sexual choices because we failed ourselves. Failures that we have repented of are no longer the standard that we must bow to. When we asked God and those we had hurt to forgive us, we were set back up on the high place that God assigned to us. The truth is that forgiveness restores the standard of holiness in us and through us.

When you repent, you have permission to live happily ever after! That’s God’s gift to you. It’s called mercy and grace. Mercy means that you don’t receive the punishment you deserve, but grace means that you do receive the blessing you didn’t earn. This was all paid for when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus didn’t just die for you, He died as you. You get to live as if you had never failed!

 

THE RIGHT TO BE HEALED

I was teaching this principle at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base some years ago when suddenly a young, beautiful woman stood up and shouted, “You are wrong!” Then she just stood there weeping out loud.

“What do you mean, ‘I’m ‘wrong?’” I asked.

“I have VD because I slept with many men before I started following Jesus,” she said through her tears. “How can I live happily after that? Who is going to want me now?”

“When you asked for forgiveness, you received the right to be healed of all of your diseases,” I said confidently.

“I don’t deserve to be healed because I knew my lifestyle was wrong when I was living immorally, but I did it anyway,” she said in a harsh tone of voice.

“Jesus didn’t die for your mistakes, He died for your sins,” I argued. “Sin means you did it on purpose. You can’t sin by accident because sin is always a heart issue. Accidents are not heart issues because an accident isn’t something you tried to do on purpose. So accidents don’t need to be forgiven by God, only things you did on purpose need God’s forgiveness. Furthermore, the prophet Isaiah said that Jesus was crucified for our sins but that He was beaten for our healing (see Isaiah 53:5). So Jesus paid the price for us to be forgiven and healed. Why not get all that He paid for?” I contended. “And oh, by the way, none of us deserve anything from God. But we don’t get what we deserve. We get what He deserves.”

After debating for a while, she finally let God heal her! He is so amazing!

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.
WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

How to Not Treat Your Boyfriend Like a Husband

(Or Your Girlfriend Like a Wife)

 

There I sat in the middle of class letting my mind drift away into thoughts about him. Mr. Dreamy. We’d had such great conversations in the hallway. He was so funny, and he loved Jesus. The questions bounced through my thoughts one after another: What if he asks me on a date? Where would we go and what would we do? What if we have a great time? What will be the first song we dance to at our wedding?

Wait, what? Our wedding?!

How do thoughts escalate so quickly when an attractive man or woman enters the picture? I have no idea, but I’ve seen it happen many times and witnessed it firsthand in my own mind more than I would like to say. I believe part of it lies in the fact that many single people know they want to one day be married. When we see the first glimpse of this possibility becoming a reality, we get excited. We might even skip a season or five.

Sometimes this shows itself in a girl treating her boyfriend like a husband or a boy treating his girlfriend like a wife. She justifies it in her mind thinking, “Well, eventually I do want to be his wife.” He justifies it in his mind thinking, “I want to show her what a great husband I would be.” Pretty soon, she’s doing the guy’s laundry on the regular and cooking all of his meals. He’s picking up her mom’s dry cleaning, and they’ve only been dating a couple months! The problem with this is that the level of their involvement in each other’s lives is exceeding their level of commitment. They may think they’re going to get married, but there’s no ring. Until there’s a promise of a lifelong commitment, you have to treat your boyfriend like a boyfriend or your girlfriend like a girlfriend. This is how you keep yourself and the other person safe.

So how do you do that?

1. Don’t be his mom. I know it can be fun to take care of him, and caregiving is often in our nature. The problem comes when you give him all the benefits of having a wife with none of the commitment. A man can get a lot of his needs met outside of marriage by his girlfriend who takes care of him. This is especially true if she starts sleeping with him. This is why some men can be dating or engaged for years without any desire or plans to get married. Many women enter these relationships with a desire for security and stability, but this is only truly found in a committed relationship where both people are staying together… forever.

2. Set physical boundaries. Here are some thoughts people use to justify crossing the line physically: “We’re going to get married anyway. He said he loves me. She said we’re going to be together forever.” Until there’s a pastor, vows, and a couple of rings, it doesn’t matter what they said. He is not your husband, and she is not your wife. Commitment is a big deal, and until you’ve actually made one, the other person’s body is not yours. Make a plan for how you’re going to respect them until then. Don’t just look for where the line is. Look for how you can best honor the person you’re in a relationship with and their future spouse that may or may not be you.

3. Don’t spill all your emotions. Emotional boundaries are also important and not always talked about. Sometimes it’s tough as a girl when he’s asking you questions, looking at you with those dreamy eyes, and suddenly a shooting star crosses the heavens. You want to tell him your whole life story, every feeling you’ve ever felt, and what kind of cake you want to have at your wedding. (Okay this is obviously an exaggeration, and I understand not all ladies are like this. I’ve been here before, so there might be a few who can relate). This is where self-control comes in. Leave a little mystery. The dating season is for finding out about each other and building trust little by little. Don’t uncover everything at once. Whoever you’re dating doesn’t get all of you, physically or emotionally, until they’ve made a forever commitment.

4. Have your own full life. Hang out with your friends. Join a bowling team. Go after your dreams. Pursue other interests, and don’t stop when a cute man or woman walks in. Eventually, if you get married, you will put him or her before a lot of things in your life. In the dating season, don’t let go of the other things that make you happy. It may sound romantic, but he’s actually not your everything. Don’t forget the rest of your life because you’re so wrapped up in him.

5. Keep people around you. Have leaders in your life who can speak into your relationship and give you an outsider’s perspective. When you’re in the middle of it, things can get a little fuzzy: “Flaws? What flaws? They’re perfect!” It’s wise to invite people who have great marriages and have been through this dating thing before to help guide you.

The dating season is fun. Everything’s new, and you’re finding things out about each other. How does he like his coffee? What’s her favorite kind of music? You’re never going to get this initial time of discovery and excitement back, so don’t rush it. It’s okay to take things slow and let them develop naturally.

We don’t want to set solid rules on how involved you can be at each stage of a relationship. That’s why you use wisdom and bring other trustworthy people in to help you out. The thing to remember is your involvement in your boyfriend or girlfriend’s life should match the level of commitment you are at. Know what season you’re in, and enjoy it. Don’t try to jump to the next one before it’s time.

-Andrea Alley

For more information on what healthy sexuality looks like, check out our latest book:

original The Naked Truth About Sexuality
The Naked Truth About Sexuality is a practical, Biblical guide
to understanding God’s original design for sexuality.

 

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