Gender Issues, Men, Quick Read, sex, Women

Images of Imtimacy

***The following is an article I just found!***

Images of Intimacy by Josh Glasser

March 22, 2018

https://regenerationministries.org/images-of-intimacy/

 

adam-and-eve

“If you struggle with lust, consider this for a moment: Can you explain why you are drawn to the form of a woman or the form of a man?

Beyond the specifics of what part of the body titillates you sexually, have you ever considered why it titillates you? Why does your body stir at the sight of another’s body? Is it a learned response because your body knows the pleasure that awaits if you engage in sexual activity? Maybe, but it did not begin that way.

At the core, the bodily stirring, the feeling of being drawn, the romantic and sexual desire, all these happen because sex is relational.

In other words, the core reason you’re drawn is because you’re longing for intimacy.

In pornography and other forms of sexual fantasy, intimacy isn’t really there, of course, but something in the images suggests it is. Nakedness suggests it.

By God’s design, nakedness is a sign, an icon, an expression, an image of intimacy. It has always been so. God has made the human body wonderful and glorious—“fearfully and wonderfully made”—beautiful to behold.

We might also think of this in this way: The naked body reveals the person without covering, without veil, without obstruction. If intimacy is knowing and being known fully, then of course nakedness would serve as a sign of more complete knowing than clothing would. Clothing veils, even disguises the physical person. Nakedness reveals.

And nakedness as a sign of intimacy goes further still. Consider the sexual parts of the body. What makes them “sexual”? Isn’t it that they are designed to connect intimately with another human being?

In nakedness, a man and woman’s genitalia is exposed—the specific parts of the body by which we experience deeply intimate physical knowing and being known. The man and woman’s bodies are designed for intimate connection—two becoming “one flesh” with each other.

So doesn’t it make sense that the naked images of man or woman draws us because of our God-given need and our good longing for intimacy—to know and be known fully and without fear?

Lust, pornography, and other expressions of sexual sin hijack the icon of intimacy and use it instead as a false intimacy—the form without the substance. For a few moments, the brain and body may have a sense of nakedness without shame, a sense of being known and knowing. The human body on its own cannot tell the difference between the real and the false. But the soul can.

This is why lust never satisfies.

Jesus came to restore the union between body and soul. We were rent apart in the fall, but Jesus can make us whole again. Jesus can help us see again.

We are drawn to nakedness because we are created for intimacy.

Nakedness is a sign, an image, an icon of intimacy because it reveals that our bodies are created by God for intimacy, for knowing and being known, to love and to be loved. In this way, human nakedness is most profoundly an image, a sign, an icon created to reveal God Himself.

Do you struggle with lust? Recognize your longing for intimacy. Seek out healthy, non-sexual intimate relationships. Ask Jesus to show you who He sees when all you see is a what. And keep asking Jesus to raise your body from the death of false intimacy and to make you whole again—body and soul—an image bearer of God.

Question for you: What stands out to you in this post? How might this change your approach to dealing with lust? Leave a comment here.

For you,
Josh

P.S. Listen and subscribe to our new podcast! Search for “Regeneration Ministries Podcast” on iTunes or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!”

 

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book review, Men, Women

Be Brave

I’ve been reading 100 Days to Brave: Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self by Annie F. Downs. Little did I know that this was the devotional I needed to be reading. I had searched through many devotionals on a website looking for the one with the “x” factor. Maybe it was the word Brave that stood out to me or the gold accent on the cover? Either way I instinctively knew courage was what I was after. Not that I’m a scaredy cat or live in fear of everything – because I don’t. My whole life is out of my comfort zone and I can look back on my life and see many times I have been brave. I can also look back on my life and see the many times I was not brave. I let insecurity and doubt shut me down. I can also look at my day to day, week to week life and see where I am not stepping up and out. I know God has many things planned for me on the other side of insecurity and doubt.

In the 100 Days to Brave, Annie challenges us to discover what our calling is and narrow it down into one sentence. I had been entertaining an idea like this but it’s been called a personal mission statement. It’s a statement that will give you purpose and direction for your life. Of course, I have over analyzed any idea I’ve had of what the statement would be. So when I read this challenge my brain went to work. For days it was in my peripheral but nothing came to the fore front. I’m called to… I’m called to….? On that Sunday right after worship at church, it came to me.

I’m called to… fortify the weak.

Fortify means to strengthen a place with defensive works so as to protect it against attack, strengthen or invigorate someone mentally or physically.

I reflected on this and could see how over the course of life (so far) I’ve done this in the positions I’ve held in and out of the workplace and within friendships. With a recipe of truth, compassion, and sass I’ve validated and challenged others in the most sensitive times in their life. Whether advocating for others in a court room or meeting, certifying that someone is not crazy for the how they’ve mismanaged their childhood trauma, offering effective solutions for other’s dilemmas, helping someone discern between the truth and a lie, not welcoming the status quo. I’ve heard many times from friends “you make me feel like I’m not crazy.” I used to think – people frequently feel crazy?

This doesn’t mean that I am perfect. I’m far from it. Hearing from the Holy Spirit what my calling is opens up my mind.

The other day I was also thinking of my assignment. I’ve decided there is a difference between your calling and your assignment. Your calling is your purpose. Your assignment is how you are to carry it out.

About a year or more ago, I felt this impression on me that I’m not assigned to minister to those in the church building. I’m not saying this absolves me from any serving that I am to do in my home church. I do serve in a couple of ways. However, there was a distinction I made regarding those already attending church and those lost in the world that don’t even believe they are worthy of salvation, even entering a church building any day of the week. Those so far gone they won’t attend a service or even dare ask God for anything. Those are the people I am assigned to.
I am to be the one that goes into the cave with a flashlight of the Gospel to meet people where they are in their deepest pit. I am to be a light that shines on them while we speak. A light that intrigues them. And when I walk freely out of the cave they’ll want to follow.

I’m drawn to the darkness, not to live but to rescue.

cave

 

For the past 10 years, my resume is filled with a variety of jobs. Topics of trauma, philosophies of care, emotional intelligence, trafficking, disorders & diagnoses, physical restraints, juvenile justice, criminology, addiction, self-harm, stages of change, abuse & neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, CPS, probation, homelessness, and more – all saturate my mind every day. I see the world through these lenses.

I didn’t actually ask for this.

I’ve always been obsessed with the WHY.

Why do people do what they do?
What makes a criminal a criminal?
Why do people choose to do wrong?
How are they different from anyone else?

The Why is often a hard red pill to swallow. We are broken. We are fumbling in the dark with a blindfold on and ear plugs in. As Christians we are to introduce people to the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 tells us there are two frequencies – flesh and blood, dark world –AND- rulers, authorities, spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

Most people function in the flesh and blood. Everything changes when you tune into Heaven. You become acutely aware of the over developed disease of evil. You should be able to see and hear the enemy roaring, strangling and killing souls.

There are many theories out there, you can spend a lot of money hearing about them, taking exams and writing dissertations on them.

The ills of society, the brokenness of people won’t be answered by theories or a national organization or by a federal program. Those systems can bring awareness to the symptoms but they have no concrete solution.

The solution is Jesus Christ. When Jesus became my Lord, His ministry was put before me.

Love them and lead them back to me.

Loving like Jesus isn’t hard, loving like a human is hard because no one will meet our conditions 100/100.

God has given us special people to love.
-the homeless
-the unborn
-the military
-the developmentally disabled
-the sick
-those trapped in modern day slavery
-pedophiles, rapists
-pimps and johns
-children
-addicts, dealers
-parolees, probationers, felons, death rowers
-those in hospice
-post-abortive mothers and fathers
-the suicidal, the homicidal
-the abused, the raped
-the unseen and unheard
-the invisible

They are everywhere at all times. Your assignment is who God told you to love intimately and fiercely.

Ask Him right now. Who do you want me to love? Show me how to love them well. If you have yet to identify who God wants you to love, you are living in rebellion.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
-Matthew 22:36-40

You don’t want to face God and tell him that you spent your lifetime unburdened for the souls of others. You had an extra ticket to Heaven but you threw it in the trash. Be brave and send out invites on behalf of the Bridegroom.

 

Related Reading:

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs.

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Gender Issues, History, International, Men, Women

The UNfeminist Critique of The Handmaid’s Tale

I realize I haven’t written material overtly related to feminism lately so what better topic than Hulu’s new show, The Handmaid’s Tale[THT] which source is the book by Margaret Atwood circa 1985. The year I was born.

Its no coincidence and I was made for such a time as this *Esther 4:14.

Not only does THT include issues of feminism but even more so, it includes the R word…Religion.

Not Christianity.

The Republic of Gilead uses scripture out of context for the sole purpose of exerting its will on the people. Christians should see this right away and know its not a far stretch from what Non- Christians already believe about Christianity as of 2017.

THT’s version of religion is one that depicts: rape, murder, sinful rage, PTSD, brain washing, fear, confusuon, hate crimes, manipulation, coercion, lies, torture, female genital mutilation, loveless and sexless marriages, depression, psychosis, and absolutely NO GOSPEL, NO JESUS as normal; “blessed be” daily living for everyone.

All the feminist arguments are there and all the arguments against Faith are there. Its a sad, barren (sorry “Wives”) society.

Even the Commanders (well so far Commander Waterford) appears disgusted by his role in the Ceremony. He is reduced to his reproductive abilities like a breeding stag. All relationships are formed out of formality and reproductive opportunities. Relationships are made not to bring joy but to enoforce human production. But who are they are arranged by?

The government. On the most superficial level Im sure liberals, athiests, democrats and feminists make the argument that the Republic of Gilead is DJT’s government. *excuse me while I roll my eyes into oblivion*

The Republic of Gilead is a dictatorship, Communist- Slave State, ridden with fundamentalism on the surface and a cult at the core.

The Republic renames its people, June becomes Offred which is just a plantation name not an individual name. No one is allowed to speak of life before. Handmaids are not allowed to read. Lynching is common. Rape is systematic. Violence is expected. Resistance is underground. Fertility is ruined by “environmental disasters” ( Or… http://natural-fertility-info.com/aspartame.html). Women have no rights to money or property.

Offred’s narration tells us “when they slaughtered Congress we didn’t wake up.” Within the 4 episodes we see June, Luke and Moira continue to minimize the tactics of the military force on their way of life, the American way of life.

When the barista called them sluts and ordered for them to leave the coffee shop. When women were told they had to leave the office because “its the law now,” they packed their boxes and left. When their accounts were frozen and their money transferred to the male next of kin.When June’s newborn was the only baby in the hospital nursery.

Where were they these ideas were beginning to saturate America? Where were they when our government waa being man-handled? Where were they?

Where were they when a militaristic terror group based on patriarchial religion was:

-Raping and selling women (http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/09/isis-sex-slaves-auctioned-off-saudi-arabia-hillarys-top-donor-country/)

-Beheading people that dont believe what they believe

– Mutilating girls and women (http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2017/04/26/feds-indict-3-genital-mutilation-case-2-docs-woman-head-trial/100930242)

-Making it law for women to cover their heads

– Throwing gays from buildings (http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/middle-east/the-arab-world/isis-documented-throwing-gays-off-the-rooftops-of-buildings-25758)

– Rounding up LGBT for concentration camps (https://milo.yiannopoulos.net/2017/05/chechnya-parents-gays/)

Where were you then? I guess those horrors aren’t real unless they happen to White Feminism.

The grimace of the majority white cast of THT is sadly ironic as their horrors and trauma are centuries of daily life for the majority of the world- past, present and future.

And DJT has nothing to do with it.

Your marches are cartoonish. Your cries for equality (superiority) are the noise of toddlers that need their diapers changed. Your tweets always adolsecent. Your posters weak, pretentious and obnoxious. Your demands laughable compared to the needs of real women.

THT is your post- feminist America. Yoga pants, Starbucks and casual sex outlawed by gargantuan government you voted in and yielded to.

Remember that when you’re not welcome in your own city.

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/01/09/half-german-women-feel-unsafe-neighbourhoods/
http://m.france24.com/en/20161219-focus-france-women-suburbs-low-profile-discrimination-gender-segregation-cafes

http://www.dailywire.com/news/12159/video-muslim-migrants-france-segregate-suburbs-amanda-prestigiacomo

Related Reading:

http://thefederalist.com/2018/05/02/5-ways-left-already-brought-handmaids-tale-life/

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/04/28/ayaan-hirsi-ali-female-genital-mutilation-and-what-were-really-talking-about-beneath-weasel-words-genital-cutting.html

http://thefederalist.com/2017/05/03/handmaids-tale-accidentally-gets-right-sex/

http://thefederalist.com/2017/04/27/handmaids-tale-isnt-christianity-conservatives-fundamentalism/

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Men, Quick Read

a Desolate Man

 

namib-desert-southern-africa

The desert is a desert because it gets no rain. It gets no rain because it gets no clouds. The conditions are hostile to plant or animal life.

Your heart is a desert. Uninhabited. Barren. It gets no replenishing rain because you never embrace the clouds. You’re stingy with what little water you receive and produce creations like shrubs and cacti. Your shrubs produce limited sustenance and the cacti, no soft place to rest.

I often used to settled in your desert like Terah dying in Harran (Gen. 11:31-32) and made idols of you like the golden calf (Ex. 32) only to be sunburned and left to endure the desert’s below freezing temperatures all alone. My heart became too sensitive to your elements and ravaged by your weather. 

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”  -Ezekiel 11:19

You parked at the point of your pain. Its time to put the keys in the ignition and rev up the engine. The road belongs to you.

This is your invitation to Eden. Please join me…

Related Music:

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Men, Quick Read, Women

3 Ways Sex is The Great Distraction

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I find it amusing just how God can teach you something through the conversations you have, the people you meet, the books you read and everything in between. I often see patterns where others don’t and can quickly correlate streaming information into one theme. Something that God has taught me and clearly highlighted for me recently, is that sex is a distraction. The Great Distraction. It runs interference through all areas of your life. Many don’t realize how focused they are on sex and how many of their decisions reflect its importance. Sex is often an imitator and distorter as well. I read The Wait

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book review, Men, Women

My Wait

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The Wait is a honest depiction of celibacy in the modern age. Devon Franklin and Meagan Good give personal accounts of their journey, individually and as a couple. Whether your choice or consideration for celibacy is one of a commitment to God or not, The Wait offers so much  confirmation and assistance to one practicing the lifestyle. Devon and Meagan began their journey of celibacy separately and at different times. Each walking through life seeking God’s will. They did not know at first that they were for each other, but began a friendship that did turn into a marriage. I am approaching close to 3 years of celibacy and waiting in God’s time, knowing He is writing a beautiful love story- better than I could ever imagine.

Right away, the question of Why gets answered for us.

“But why? Why did we consciously delay gratification – not just sexual but emotional and spiritual- that would have come with diving headfirst into a passionate relationship? The answer is simple: we wanted God’s very best for our lives, collectively and individually, and we wanted it in whatever way he intended. This required patience (pg.xvii).”

“Because we waited, we exchanged immediate gratification for what we really wanted and who we really wanted to be. Because we waited, God was able to reveal things that we would have missed if we had been blinded by the white-hot light of lust, desperate to fulfill our own desires. Because we waited, we were eventually ready (pg.xviii).”

The authors clarify that the Wait is (sort of) about sex. Sex is always around us through tv, movies, music, blogs, magazines, talk shows, billboards. Lets to be real- sex is in our own minds and memories. When you decided not to have it [sex], not to entertain it, even fight against thoughts of it, now that is what stirs up curiosity and controversy. Singer, Ciara Harris and now fiance Seattle Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson stirred up media with their commitment to doing it Jesus’ way. Congrats By The Way!!!!

ciararussell

 

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.  

1 Thessalonians 4:3

Waiting is not passive. I’m not waiting for a prince to rescue me from some high tower of a castle. The authors, tells us while we wait we should be working on ourselves, “…letting love and purpose manifest in your life as result of you working on becoming the best version of yourself (pg.11).”It’s about focusing on becoming our best, the best God intended for us to be. Trusting God that He is working on your behalf at all times. This allows us to fill free from believing that we’ve got to make things happen NOW, “God has His hand on your life during this time, rearranging the scenery in order to set you up for good things to come (pg. 13).”

Waiting is not about ridding yourself of sexual urges. They will always be there because of our human nature. However, “your sexual urges lose their power over you. You gain power over them (pg. 16).” You have to want Plan A over all other things. Plan A is the very best God has in store for you, though based on our decisions we may miss out on Plan A.

the wait

Chapter Two: Getting What You Really Want (Hint: It Isn’t Sex), reminded me of The Purge – my own struggle of discovering what I really wanted. The Wait is about removing yourself from that toxic cycle, running towards the things and people that continue to break you each time.  Are you suffering from post-traumatic relationship disorder?

meagangood

It’s about personal growth. Growing up. Improving yourself. Praying that God not only send you a spouse, but He work on you. Pray that God teach you how to be that spouse. Relationships, situationships all distracts us. Most of us. Most of us don’t do it God’s way (at first). We’ve gotten the person of our affection in our grasp and just stopped focusing on our priorities. In the past, its always been difficult to take care of priorities when there’s some guy I’m pining for.

Waiting reduces drama, conflict, and expense….Then there’s the post-sex conflict, expectations, and crises (pg. 64)… who wouldn’t love to say good-bye to the walks of shame, morning-after scenes, waiting on the call that doesn’t come, and feelings of being used?…. Waiting gives your better knowledge of your partner. When you’re not blinded by lust or the counterfeit intimacy that can come with premarital sex, you can see the person you’re dating for who they are (pg. 65).”

Temptation…something that I really loved was, “Sometimes wisdom means knowing when you’re not strong, ****so that you don’t have to be strong**** (pg.88).” WoW! I had never thought of temptation in this way!

Funny (but pathetic) story I recently recalled to a friend. I remembered years ago, I was on my way to see a guy [the one from The Purge]. It was a summer night around 10pm or 11pm or ??? While driving there, I was telling myself I wasn’t going to hookup with him. I wasn’t going to stay long. I prayed to God, done let me hook up with him- don’t let me have sex with him. The outcome? I was in his bed sooner than I realized. Easily melted into our sin and I never resisted. What a dummy. What a fool. I went knowing I wasn’t strong that’s why I included God at the last minute. Grabbing God at the last second isn’t enough. I was being unwise.

Knowing your triggers is extremely important. Page 99 gives us some good examples: Late nights, emotional trauma, intimate contact, alcohol, sexting/snapchat, travel. There can be more and we all have our own combination of triggers. Just like any behavior that you’re trying to keep in check, over-eating, gambling, shopping, drugs etc. We all have triggers that if not examined can lead us to acting out our weaknesses. This is about being smart, not putting yourself up against temptation- believing that you can outwit your own flesh.

Chapters Five and Six divulge deeper into why women and men don’t wait. In short, women tend to have a fear of being alone, “Scratch the surface of a lot of unmarried young women and you’ll find a layer of fear just below the surface. Fear of being alone. Fear of not having children. Fear of being judged and found wanting. Fear of being less of a woman. Fear of being inadequate, insufficient, not good enough. Fear of not being all you were called to be by the time you think it should happen (pg.110).” I wont go further because I think this is an easy concept.

Why men don’t wait is something entirely different and worthy of deep exploration. Men tend to prescribe to “The List… unspoken inventory of must-haves that plays on a 24-7 loop (pg. 141).” The List is as follows: Wealth, Power, Position, A hot car, Great clothes, A huge crib, Big toys, A beautiful, sexy woman on your arm.

The List is a placebo. 

“The man who recklessly gives himself over to his sex drive denies and distances himself from his divine nature. He courts chaos, drama, legal troubles, illegitimate children- everything this side of the plagues Moses warned Pharaoh about in Exodus. Worst of all, he becomes manipulative and callous, willing to do or say anything to get a woman into bed. He becomes addicted not just to the physical feeling of sex but also to the psychology of how sex makes him feel- and the game he must play to produce this feeling (pg. 147).”

God was telling me, “Don’t play with my daughters’ hearts.”  – Devon Franklin

waitwedding

Are you ready to change? Are you ready to pause and heal your wounds? Are you ready to relinquish your sad imitation of power to the One that made you? It’s not easy. It took me one day a time to stop making the same mistakes. It took me opening up to a trusted group of young women in a small group and them praying audacious prayers over me. It took me getting on my knees crying out to the One that made me, and humbling myself to repent of insecurity. The reasons we do what we do all differ, but sin is at the core. Sin wheres a mask of insecurity and pride, even power and selfishness. Jesus took these sins to the cross. Stop taking them down and putting them again.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:30

Related Reading:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/i-gave-sex-three-years-ago-heres-what-happened

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