10 in ’15 Book Challenge – The Horse and His Boy

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Psalm 88:1-92:15

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This month’s book was written by C.S. Lewis as a follow up to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. How do you review one of your all time favorite books? The Horse and His Boy is an adventure that takes you through far away lands and then returns you smack into the Centre of Narnia royalty once more.  Queens Susan and Lucy along with kings Peter and Edmund are all present in the tale as well, although not until the end. This story begins with a young boy in a hovel by the sea where he has been treated poorly his entire life. Then one day a man riding a horse comes and everything in this boy’s life changes in one night. Which is where I’ll stop telling you about plot because the last thing I would want to do is to spoil this wonderful adventure for you.
If you like the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe then you’ll definitely want to look into this next book in the series!
Now, don’t forget to comment below if you read this book and you will receive a free e-book! This month’s book is Dandelion Season, a popular choice for anyone who is going through a rough period in their lives.
And for everyone who reads all 10 books with us, you will receive a signed print version of any one book of your choice from the “books” tab above.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

SB 101 Demystified

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Psalms 80:1-87:7

My friends, the internet has virtually exploded this week in controversy. You guessed it. I’m talking about Indiana Senate Bill 101, aka the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). According to my seven hours of researching reputable resources, it’s NOT about discrimination, like some “sources” would have you believe. The RFRA is about limiting the government from forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs. And unless I’m mistaken that is precisely the premise our good nation was founded on, was it not?!

There are 30 other states that have this, or similar laws, in place. And according to University of Virginia’s law professor, Douglas Laycock, in those other states “There were cases about Amish buggies, hunting moose for native Alaskan funeral rituals, an attempt to take a church building by eminent domain, landmark laws that prohibited churches from modifying their buildings – all sorts of diverse conflicts between religious practice and pervasive regulation.” (31 states have heightened religious freedom protections. Juliet Eilperin. The Washington Post)

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Thank you to the Washington Post for this photo.

According to the Indiana Senate Republicans blog, “In the decades that federal and state courts have been interpreting RFRA laws, opponents cannot point to a single case in which a court has ruled that the RFRA allows discrimination based on sexual orientation.” In other words, not ONE of the thirty states that also have this law (or similar ones) have ever had a case where this law has given license to discrimination in the state. Not one.

In his article in the Indy Star, David O. Conkle, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law explains that according to this law, “a unanimous US Supreme Court recently ruled that a Muslim prisoner was free to practice his faith by wearing a half-inch beard that posed no risk to prison security. Likewise, in a 2012 decision, a court ruled that the Pennsylvania RFRA protected the outreach ministry of a group of Philadelphia churches, ruling that the city could not bar them from feeding homeless individuals in the city parks.” 

This law has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with our rights as Americans to practice our chosen religion freely without the government stepping in and telling us we can’t. In 1990, in the case Employment Division v. Smith, the Supreme Court “downgraded” religious freedoms within America. “National leaders of all political stripes responded by passing the federal RFRA to restore the strict scrutiny test, because they recognized that religious liberty is a fundamental right that deserves strong legal protection. … The bipartisan respect for religious freedom has also carried over to the votes for most state-level RFRA’s. For example, when President Obama was an Illinois State Senator in 1998, he voted for Illinois’ RFRA.” (From the Indiana Senate Republican blog)

My friends, it bears repeating, there is NO history of this law resulting in any discrimination of any kind that would constitute the amount of outrage over it’s passage in Indiana. In fact, if anything we should all be rejoicing that our great state of Indiana just passed a law that will protect us from the great state of Indiana! This law was passed in an effort to let Hoosiers know that their government cares about their RELIGIOUS FREEDOM just like the other thirty states that have passed the law (or similar ones) before us. And I ask you, if this law is truly such a hideous thing that gives license to discriminate against gay-marriage, where was all the hype when the first thirty states passed the law? Including, but not limited to when Obama passed it in Illinois. This is not a law to fear, but to embrace no matter what your belief system is!

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, Sheridan Reporter, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Justified by Jesus

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Psalm  76:1-79:13
 “By Your strong arm You redeemed Your people,” Psalm 77:15

The other day my seven year old daughter came home from school with a self-inflicted bite mark on her arm. When we asked her why she did it she replied, “I don’t know”. But we knew. You see when it comes to learning, especially reading, she has very little confidence in her ability to do what is asked of her. She avoids the task as long as she possibly can and then when she can’t avoid it any longer she attempts it, but with no confidence in her ability to succeed. Then when she doesn’t feel like she has succeeded she punishes herself. Biting.
As a mom it’s heartbreaking to watch your beloved child struggle with something so much that they injure themselves because they feel like they’ve failed you. Obviously we’re working very closely with the wonderful teachers and staff at her school to resolved this issue. Her teacher is phenominal and I KNOW that he has done, and is doing, everything in his power to help her. In fact, he’s been able to do more for her this year than anyone before him. And I thank God every day for that.
This morning as I drove my daughter to school we prayed for her day. You know what her beautiful seven-year-old soul prayed for? That “no one would make it a bad day” for her. I smiled in the front seat, does she know that I tell my students at least once a day, “Only YOU have control  over your emotions and how you react to them. No one else has the power to make you angry or hurt. No one else has the power to make you say or do something you shouldn’t. You have control over you. Period.”
As I pulled away from the school, tears blurring my vision I prayed for God to help her stop hurting herself for being less than perfect. And WHAM, realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m getting the opportunity to see myself from God’s eyes! I know women. I know how we work and how we think and how we LOVE to beat ourselves us for our imperfect houses and our less than model-material bodies and especially our inability to be the perfect mom. We see our inability to be perfect and we bite ourselves in the arm for it. We mentally berate ourselves often to tears because we’ve not been able to live up to our own impossibly high standards. And you know what that does? It breaks our Father’s heart! It’s not our fault that we aren’t perfect! There is absolutely nothing we can do about our humanity, other than accept the fact that we are human. We are filled with inabilities and imperfections and THAT’S OK! Does that mean we should stop striving to be better? Absolutely not. But it does mean that when we fall short of the glory of God we need to remember Romans 3:22-25 “There is no difference: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.”
If you grew up in church I bet you heard the first part of that verse a thousand times. But if you never read it for yourself in context I bet you never knew the rest of the story did you! I know I didn’t. You see that’s Satan’s favorite verse to use to beat us up. He loves to put a period where God put a comma. In the original Greek that is all ONE sentence!
Yes. We are human. We’re going to mess up. We are going to fall short of the glory of God time and time and time again. Does that mean that we should stay put on the ground? Never! Why? Because we are JUSTIFIED! To be justified means that when we accept the gift of God’s Grace through Jesus it’s “just as if I’d” never sinned. Beloved, stop biting yourself. Stop letting Satan trick you into biting yourself. You are justified by Jesus’ free gift of Grace!

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Day 34: Beneficial


Psalms 70:1-75:10

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.  And there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.    Genesis 1:31

 

Humans were one of the things created on the sixth day.  When God made humans He created them with procreation in mind.  But more beautiful than that, He performed the very first wedding ceremony too!  In Genesis 2:22-24 it tells us that
He brought her to the man (walked her down the aisle), the groom said “va va va vooom!  I’ll take her!  I DO!” and then God said the thing that has been repeated in almost every wedding ceremony since the beginning of time “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”  Now, *ahem*, “and they will become one flesh”; WHAT do you suppose THAT means?  They’ve just gotten married, God has approved and finalized the union, and then mentions that they will become one flesh.  Hmmmm…..  Well, God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; and fill the earth, and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28a)  Hee hee!  You see, God isn’t afraid of sex.  He created it, and He created it to be “very good”!  “God saw ALL that He had made, and it was VERY GOOD.”  Ya-know, since humans were included in that statement, I believe that means sex was also included in that statement.  God created it all, including sex to be VERY GOOD, otherwise we all would’ve stopped having it a long time ago.

When you view your body as a living sacrifice and a gift to both God and your husband, sex with your husband can end up being an act of worship and praise to God if you let it.  As part of this act of worship I recommend praying together before making love.  It may seem a little strange or silly at first (considering we’ve never seen it on movies or TV), but think about it; we pray together at the dinner table before we satisfy our body’s hunger for food.  Is it really that far of a stretch to pray together at the marriage bed before we satisfy our body’s hunger for sexual fulfillment?  Personally I think taking a few moments to thank God for our true intimacy is just as important if not more so, than thanking Him for our food.  Besides, in a few more moments you’ll probably be praising God for His “job well done” in making your husband’s body, and your union.  Just make sure that you’re not worshiping the sex or your husband, but the true maker of them both, God Almighty.  He created sex for our enjoyment, so have FUN with it.  Don’t allow sex to be another item on your to-do list, let it be something you look forward to with anticipation.  Let it be something special between you and your husband, something to get silly and giddy about.  Honestly, in our marriage, sex has gone from an obligation to, well, we’re acting like newlyweds again.  We’re playful with one another.  We’re whispering to each other.  We’re speaking in code to tell each other “I want you”.  It’s a whole new world for us now!  Our God is a creative God, be creative in your love-making.  With that being said, I must throw in this precautionary verse as a consideration for you.

In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul informs the Corinthians that while everything is permissible for them, not everything is beneficial for them.  Meaning, just because it’s not considered a sin for you to do something doesn’t mean that it’s not harmful for you to do it.  And that’s the question you have to ask of the LORD, “Is this sexual act I’d like to do beneficial?”  Something that God has spoken through me is that “He made marriage to allow us to do whatever our filthy little minds would come up with.”  From what I’ve been able to find through all my research thus far; as long as it’s within the bounds of marriage (one woman and one man for life, legally bound by the state), it is permissible.  Whether it is beneficial is between the two of you and God!  Remember, you do not want to do anything that will harm your body, or cause you to sin against Him, or degrade each other. Your bodies are the temple of God, a living sacrifice, so you need to be respectful of that at all times; You do not want add a 3rd party or pornography to your love life.  These, among a few other things, fall outside the bounds of “one woman and one man for life, legally bound by the state” and would (in my opinion) be a big mistake.  When in doubt about something, ask God and possibly a doctor if need be.  If you can’t get a clear answer, I’d recommend skipping it for now.  In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than guilty and build more blessing blockades.   Another aspect that you need to consider is if one of you is being degraded or disrespected by the sexual act in question?  Let’s take oral sex for example.  If my husband finds it disgusting and degrading, then it would be inconsiderate of me to ask him to do it all the time.  However, if he chooses to do that for me, I receive that as a HUGE act of love and kindness since I know that it is something that he doesn’t really care for.  You’ve got to be respectful of each other and your preferences.

Most of all, you need to be open with one another about these things!  Have conversations about the things that you like and dislike things you’d like to try, and things that really turn you off.  I’m telling you, these conversations can be QUITE eye-opening and very exciting.  They will help you to be more open to each other’s ideas, and give you an opportunity to discuss things ahead of time so that when you’re actually in the process of being intimate with each other you can simply focus on one another.

As I prayed for a nice scripture to wrap up this book, God gave me Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Hee hee, that’s not the ONLY thing that He makes straight!!!  May God bless your sex!

Christian’s comments:

 

Well, you made it. It has been thirty days. Are you ready to have sex? Don’t be surprised if you answered “No”. You may not be ready to go “all the way” yet. You may need to take a couple of days to build up to it. Just take it slow and enjoy the experience.

If you are like me, you like your wife to come on to you. However, if she follows Tamar’s instructions, she won’t this time. You must lead her in this aspect of your marriage, just like you do in every other aspect of it. If you’re not sure about that, don’t worry, God will lead you. I suggest that you pray together before you get started.

The best advice that I can give you is: HAVE FUN! Enjoy each other. Marriage gives you leave to do most of the things your dirty mind can think of. Try new things. Try new positions. Try new locations! You don’t have to be restricted to the bedroom. Ask your wife if there is anything she wants to try. You will quite possibly be shocked and pleasantly surprised by what she says. I was!

Husbands, buy your wife some lingerie. Wives, wear it! And not just in the bedroom. Surprise your husband by wearing it out to dinner under your clothes. Or better yet, TO CHURCH! Meet him at the door when he gets home from work wearing it (just make sure the neighbors don’t see)!

Husbands, surprise your wife too. Buy yourself a sexy pair of shorts or a thong at the lingerie store and strut around the house for your wife (just make sure the kids are asleep, or at a friend’s house). Or jump in the shower with her. Or surprise her when she’s doing laundry. Washing machines can be fun!

Maybe try costumes if you have always wanted to; perhaps a French maid. What I’m getting at here is, now is the time to start living out your fantasies with each other. But remember to pace yourselves; you have a long life together ahead of you.

Most importantly of all, keep God involved. He created sex. He wants you to enjoy it. With Him involved, it will be a very spiritual experience.

Well, this brings us to the end. I pray that reading and following this book helps you as greatly as writing it helped us. I think all that’s left to be said is, God bless, and great sex.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 33: Celebrate!


Psalms 66:1-69:36

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants.  Esther 9:28

 

At this point in our fast, I was studying Beth Moore’s Esther: it’s Tough Being a Woman and it wasn’t but a day or two after our “first time” that this verse came up in our bible study.  Beth Moore was telling us about how important it is to God that we celebrate the times when He delivers us from the enemy’s hand.  The Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt, so they celebrate Passover.  In Esther they were delivered from an evil man’s plot to commit genocide, so they celebrate Purim.  As Christians we were delivered from sin and death by Christ’s death on the cross, so we celebrate Easter.  God loves it when we celebrate the miracles He’s performed in our lives.

God used this fast to deliver us from the bondage and slavery of sexual sin.  And I pray that He has done the same for you as well.  Therefore we should celebrate that deliverance!  The way that Christian and I have started celebrating is by fasting monthly during my period.

While some people may find the Old Testament laws “old-fashioned” and “out-dated” and “there’s no need to follow them all”, I feel that following them will bring us a much greater blessing than not following them.  With that being said, in Leviticus 15:19 it says, When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. And in Leviticus 18:19 it says, Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity. (Notice, it’s a repeated scripture…)  Now from some of the people I’ve talked to about these scriptures, they feel that this was simply for a cleanliness issue back then, they had no running water.  However, I’m not so sure.  This is blood that we’re talking about, and we KNOW how God feels about blood, it’s a serious thing for Him.  So, like I said earlier, I don’t think that God can give us his full blessing if we’re not following his laws; even the “old” ones.

So, anyway, back to celebrating.  As a celebration of how God has changed our marriage, every month for the 7 days of my period Christian and I mini-fast.  We change clothes in the bathroom, we hug, and 10 second kiss, and that’s it.  We use that time to back away from each other and draw closer to God.  During the week I pray that God draw out anything that is standing between God, Christian, and I before the 7th day.  And, so far we’ve had something to talk about every time.  On the 7th day, I take my purity bath, prepare myself for my husband, and become the lioness again – he leads.  And, it’s still amazing sex.  I’ll be honest, life still happens and there are still times when things don’t go quite as we hope they will, but the intimacy is more than I ever could have hoped for.  Glory to God!

Christian’s comments:

 

I know, husbands, I know.  You’re probably thinking “What? We just started having sex again after thirty days, and now you want us to fast a week every month!” I was thinking the same thing. Believe me when I tell you, as great as the sex is when you stop each month, it’s better when you start again after her period. Treat this short fast as seriously at the 30 day fast. The same rules apply. No sexual activities of any kind.

You will learn so much about one another during that week. It is actually a lot of fun. So be happy in the celebration. You will get so much closer to your wife, that the sex will become even more amazing.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 32: True Intimacy


Psalms 58:1-65:13

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

These [trials] have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:7

 

Honestly in writing this book, all it’s done is make me ask more and more questions about God and sex.  And I’ve got to say, since the first fast, Christian and I have… well… I’ll just say it’s been amazing, fun, adventurous, eye-opening, and just plain WOW!!!

In the beginning, we had agreed on 30 days; then on day 30 (after my purity bath) God told me to keep my mouth shut, my paws to myself, and let him lead.  I couldn’t touch him in any way sexually without him first touching me.  It was basically a really adult version of follow the leader.  We took things VERY slowly; we were starting over from the very beginning.  We had gone too fast in the beginning of our relationship and ended up swimming in a pond, this time we were going to take our time and get to the ocean!  God was leading Christian, and Christian was leading me.  Every time he stopped things, it screamed, “I love you and I respect you THIS much!”  It was an amazing feeling, plus, talk about building up the sexual tension!  Woo!

“Truth-day” came around and we stayed up until about 12:30 talking things out.  I asked questions, I needed all the details, and he answered them.  He said, “I’m sorry” and I said, “I forgive you”.  When our hearts are changed, everything changes; and from the moment I forgave him I had such an overwhelming desire for him.  We didn’t know what to do.  Was it still too soon to have sex?  What was God’s will for us?  So we asked God for a sign.  We, “laid out the wool”15, and He gave me a definite sign that pointed to a big fat “YES HAVE SEX”!  When I told Christian that God had said “Yes” and that I was still supposed to follow him, he took the lead, and although it was already almost 1 o’ clock in the morning, we took our time.  Stopping frequently to ask if it was REALLY God’s will for us to be doing what we were doing; just to make sure we were not going too quickly.  We’d already done that once and it almost cost us our marriage, we were NOT going to do that again!

Suddenly, I remembered my purity bath. I had purified myself with water, oil and perfume; yet Christian had done none of this yet.  That’s when God told me to “Anoint his head with oil”.  I poured some oil into my left palm and then put a dab of oil on my husband’s ear, hand and foot.16 “To put the oil on these three body parts is a reminder to us that we should constantly guard every part of our lives.  We must submit to God’s will in what we listen to and how eagerly we devote ourselves to his word (ear).  We must guard our actions and choices (hand), and we must carefully watch our walk though life (foot).”17 We prayed together asking God to bless our union for His glory and to purify Christian, cleanse his sins, and make him whole in Christ again.

Well, after that, although we were still taking our time we got down to business; and OH MY!  I am not kidding when I say, by FAR the BEST SEX OF OUR LIVES!!!  Never before had we felt so connected, so safe, so blessed by each other’s company, so amazingly stimulated, so intimate than in that moment in each other’s arms.  In that moment we both changed.  We changed from the world’s view of how sex is supposed to be, to how God MEANT for sex to be.  Between a truly intimate married couple.

THANK YOU GOD FOR MY HUSBAND!!!

Christian’s comments:

 

Are you ready for the best sex of your life? You better be, because you’re going to get it soon.  With all of the secrets, lies, and other “stuff” out-of-the-way, there will be nothing between you; nothing worrying you in the back of your mind. No questions you are burning to ask, or answer.  When all of that is gone, God can fully bless you with great sex.

We took our time that night. Yes, it built up great sexual tension and made us crazy for each other, but we wanted to make sure that we were following God this time. We would proceed a little way, then stop and ask Him if it was His will for us to go on. Our sign to go on was the rain on the roof of the house.

To explain this a little bit, I need to go back to the purity bath. That night Tamar gave me my first purity bath with the oil, but you can’t bathe without water. Tamar asked God “What about the water?” In that instant, it started raining – hard – and that was her answer. Every time I asked if I should go on, the rain would get harder and we could hear it on the roof. We went on that night, knowing we were doing things correctly according to Him.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 31: Purity Bath


Psalms 51:1-57:11

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments.”  Genesis 35:2

 

Christian and I were drawing near to the end of our 30 days, and I just had this feeling in my gut that we weren’t going to just “jump right back in the sack” on day 30.  The morning of day 30 actually came and I still felt like it wasn’t time yet; like I needed to DO something first.  All morning long I had the word “purify” running through my head.  I had just spent an entire month learning who I was, how God saw me, and how to be the best wife I could possibly be; and I felt like I needed to do something…ritualistic.  So I looked up scriptures for purification rituals.  In almost every one of them they mentioned blood, water, oil and perfume.  Well, Christ took care of all the blood we would ever need, so I wasn’t concerned at all with that.  But the water, oil and perfume made sense to me; I could take a bath.  I remembered how in 2 Samuel chapter 11 when David saw Bathsheba from his rooftop she was taking a bath and had purified herself from her uncleaness.  So.  Blood: provided by Christ, check.  Water: take a bath, check.  Oil and perfume: I had a bottle of olive oil and some vanilla in the kitchen, check!

So, here’s my general procedure for the purity bath that I take, the Holy Spirit usually leads me to change things here and there from time to time, add a few things, subtract a few, etc.  Pray about it and if God is leading you to change something, feel free to do so.  Our experiences with God are uniquely ours, so your purity bath may look completely different from mine.  This is just what I have done.

When my period is completely finished, 7 days from when it started, I take a purity bath to dedicate myself to God.  It is to help me feel pure, inside and outside.  Because through the blood of Christ we have been made pure and don’t HAVE to do any purification rituals anymore, but I feel like sometimes as humans we need to DO something to help us remember that fact.  Plus, I have learned that God really loves symbolism, so I know that this process pleases Him greatly.   (Note: This entire process generally takes an hour or more depending on how long I sit, soak and pray.  So I usually try to carve out plenty of time in my schedule for it.  I really don’t like skimping on this very intimate time with my LORD.)

Step 1) I have an old soy sauce bottle that I use to mix my anointing oil; it’s just the right size and pours nicely. I never actually measure anything, but I use a cup of oil and a bit of pure vanilla extract (not a whole lot maybe a teaspoon, a little bit of this stuff goes a LOOOONG way) into the bottle.  These are the ingredients that God has inspired me to use, however, this bath is intimately yours and God’s so I highly recommend asking Him what He would like for you to use for your oil and perfume.

Step 2) I clean my bathroom concentrating on the tub itself, even if I just did it the other day, I do it again.  (Do NOT skip scrubbing the tub!  I did this ONCE and I will NEVER do it again.  The rest of the bathroom is less important, but you can not take a sacred bath in a dirty tub!  Learn from my mistake, do NOT skip this part of cleaning.)  Cleaning is a symbolic act, one where I am cleaning the dirt and grime from my bathroom and asking God to continue cleaning the dirt and grime of sin from my heart.  It is time spent on my knees in fervent prayer.  I thank God for forgiving me and for cleaning up my life and my marriage.  God has changed ME so much already and He isn’t done with me yet.  Praise God!

Step 3) Once everything is clean and all the dirt and trash are outside the room, I start filling the tub with the HOTTEST water I can possibly stand; as full as it can go without running over when I get in.  To me, this is like God’s cleansing fire and the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes, if the room is cool enough you can actually see the steam rising off the hot water just like the Holy Spirit moving throughout the room, filling your lungs.  It’s incredible!

Step 4) I kneel before my full tub and come before God on this sacred day, naked, unashamed, grateful for the work He is doing in my life, and sincerely apologetic for the things that I have done against Him.  I shake the bottle and mix the oil and vanilla together asking God to make Christian and I one flesh (the two shall become one flesh).  Then I pour it into the water and ask God to be the third cord that binds our hearts together forever.  I ask God to use this water to make me a virgin again, and to give us back all the missing pieces of our hearts.  I beg for His forgiveness.

Step 5) Read Romans 6:11-14.

Step 6) I completely submerge each part of my body in the water as I dedicate it to God for His glory and ask Him to purify and cleanse me.  I start with my feet and finish with my ears, eyes, nose, mouth and mind including swallowing a bit of the water and praying that He fill me with His words and that my words be pleasing to Him.  No more shall sin rule over me!  I lay there and think about the changes that God has made in me over the last days and how He loves me.  I continue to pray (and listen) as I rest in the presence of the LORD, letting him surround me and fill me with His Holy Spirit.

Step 7) Once I’ve soaked long enough, I lay down as far into the tub as I can and pull the plug on the drain with my foot.  As the water drains away from me I pray that my sins will be in the water and that as they drain away from me God will throw them as far as the East is from the West!  It’s the coolest feeling as the water drains; it feels like the sins are being sucked out of your body!  It only feels like this when you’re laying in the water though.

Step 8 ) (CAUTION: the tub will be soaked in oil and will be SLIPPERY at first so be VERY CAREFUL!)  I carefully stand up and take a shower, totally pampering myself.  I shave, wash my hair, and take my time; doing all those things that I normally never take the time to do.  I groom things, buff things, scrub things, anything to make me feel gorgeous.

Step 9) I clothe myself in clean white garments of righteousness.  (This is where the white panties/bra or jammies come in; I hope you were able to get some new ones.)  Now, while this doesn’t mean that I’m perfect; it does mean that I’m trying to be.

From this point forward, I am like the lions from Daniel in the lion’s den.  I keep my mouth shut and my paws to myself.  I have my husband show me how much I mean to him by not rushing things.  We’re talking days here, not hour’s people.  We’ll talk a little more about this later.

Christian’s comments:

 

 

Husbands, you don’t have to do your purity bath like Tamar listed hers, but rather let God lead you. I don’t take baths, but shower instead. And I don’t shave my legs.  You don’t have to shave your legs either… unless that’s something you do. I know a couple of guys that do, but it’s your prerogative.

Tamar blessed me by anointing my head with oil the first time after our first fast. After that I started taking my own purity baths. I prepare myself like it is my wedding day. I clean the shower. I run really hot water for my shower, use some nice smelling body wash and scrub myself. I use oil to shave my head and face, so I ask God to bless the oil so that I may purify myself for my wife.

I wore the typical black tux at our wedding, so I bought some black, silky boxers to wear. You don’t have to do this, but if your wife got dressed up in a new night-gown, or new white underwear, you should do something nice too.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 30: Don’t Look Back


Psalms 45:1-50:23

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

 

The day that we talked was a defining point in our marriage.  That day when we decided; “Yup, this thing is forever.  No matter what. We’re not giving in.”  Our two lives truly turned into one on that night.  Through the sharing of a deep dark secret we were drawn closer together than we ever had been before.  Christian was so afraid that I was going to leave him.  He was so afraid that all of his clothes would be out on the front lawn when he got home, or the locks would be changed.  But none of that happened.  What happened was love and forgiveness.  Was I hurt?

YOU BET YOUR BANANAS I WAS!

But, did it make me love him less?  Strangely enough, No.  In fact, it made me love him even more, because he had FINALLY opened up to me!  I’d stayed with him through years of being emotionally and sexually bottled up inside over this, and now we had finally torn down all those walls.  He was TALKING to me!  It was the most amazing thing.  God worked a miracle in our marriage.  In the span of 33 days He had completely and totally changed two people so dramatically that we were acting like teenagers all over again!

This was my journal entry a few days after “Truth-day”:  “Lord, when will my heart stop hurting over the adultery and lies?  The pangs are so brutally painful.  It’s down to my soul, my marrow and it feels like something ripping apart inside of me.  I know why it hurts, I’m just wondering if it’ll ever go away.  I forgave him immediately, and I meant it too, but the words just keep popping back up into my mind!  The change in Christian however, is tremendous!  He’s back to the boy I met and fell in love with in high school.  You know the saying a ‘shell of a man’?  That’s what it was like.  He was just an empty shell of the man I fell in love with.  I still loved that shell of a man, and there were moments when he would peek his head out and be the Christian I’ve always loved, but he wasn’t happy and peaceful.  This Christian, on the other hand, is a happy, free, whole man.  This Christian is the man I wanted to marry, and I’m still so glad I did!  And I’m even more thankful that I STAYED married to him.  Thank you LORD!  Thank you for my new husband, THANK YOU!”

As you can see, I was still dealing with the pain.  I forgave him immediately, but that didn’t keep those names from popping back up into my head while I was doing the dishes or vacuuming.  And in those instances the pain was not just emotional pain; it was a physical pain, right in the middle of my chest, like someone was stabbing me with a newly sharpened pencil.  I prayed a lot about the pain in those first few days.  I was an emotional roller coaster.  I’d be high on the top of the hills when I’d think about Christian and the true intimacy we had finally found.  He treated me differently now, we were talking again, and OH GOOD GRAVY THE SEX!  WOO!  Then, I’d go plummeting back down to the bottoms of the hills the second, one of those names came into my head.  That’s when God reminded me of Lot’s wife.  In Genesis 19 it tells the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  God is preparing to destroy these cities for their sins but Abraham’s nephew Lot is living in Sodom with his wife and family.  So God, showing mercy on Lot, sends 2 angels to rescue him from the city before it’s destroyed.  These angels were trying to save Lot from the sin surrounding him and the impending disaster and Lot hesitated!  If he stayed where he was he would die, and he hesitated.  How often are we like that?  We are so stuck in our sins that even though we know we’ll die if we stay in them, we hesitate to leave.  Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.  But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:24-26

God did precisely what He said He would do and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.  From the buildings, to the plants, to the people, everything, all gone in one sulfur-y swoop.  And what did Lot’s wife do?  She looked back!  For just a moment she looked longingly over her shoulder back to the only life she had ever known, the life that GOD was rescuing her from. And in that one moment she disobeyed the direct order of the angels “don’t look back!”  Through this story, God told me something.  “Tamar, I have delivered you from this sexually immoral life, now DON’T.  LOOK.  BACK!  Don’t look back at the things that you both have done and allow them to cause you pain.  All has been forgiven which means those things are GONE.  Don’t look back on them and allow them to hurt you anymore.”  This story has another thing to tell us about looking back.  Don’t look back on those times and wish for those sins to return to your life either.  You are so much better off now, don’t look back.

Promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.  For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.  It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:19-22

Don’t.  Look.  Back.

Christian’s comments:

 

So, you have taken our advice and confessed to one another. You have taken a big step to a great marriage (and sex life). Now, DON’T LOOK BACK!

You have moved past whatever was holding you apart. Never return to it. Yes, you will think about it from time to time, that is natural, but do not dwell on it. Don’t long for things to be as they were before. Don’t ever think “I wish I never confessed to her.” Things will be rough in the beginning, but they will get better.

With the exception of our wedding day/night, I have never been happier in my marriage than I have been since our fast. Do you want to know why? Because the past is behind us and we have moved on.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 29: Free


Psalms 39:1-44:26

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.  James 5:16

 

Now is the time!  If you’ve been holding something back, something you haven’t been telling him, NOW is the time to come clean.  If you’ve had suspicions of something but you’ve been avoiding saying anything because you just didn’t want to know, now’s the time to say something.  Draw the truth out into the open.  By bringing it into the light you take its power over you away.  Will it be painful?  Probably.  Will you enjoy it?  Most likely not.  However, Jesus tells us in John 8:32 that when we know the truth it will set us free.  Allow me to share from my personal experience of a truth setting us free.

(my journal entry the day after Christian told me the truth)  “AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!  Oh Lord!  Never in a million years did I ever expect to say this, but Thank you for Christian’s sins!  Well, thank you for the forgiveness of sins and the freeing power of forgiveness!”  All day that day, God’s presence was as thick in the air as the August humidity.  I came into our bedroom to get Christian’s laundry and could BARELY get there due to his clutter on the floor!  Desiring to do something nice for him I started to pick up his uniform hangers that littered the room.  Among the rubble, there were a LOT of old notes (recently recovered from his parent’s house) from past girlfriends (which brought back painful memories for me of another fateful day).  I picked up one of the notes thinking it was from me, opened it and read it.  By the end of the note, not only was I disgusted, but I was also saddened by the very perverted things I read (from one of the girlfriends before I came along).  I sent him a text complaining about it and after a few more texts regarding the box of notes and the need to get rid of them all, I felt a gentle urging to “clear the air” once and for all with him.  We’d been fasting for 33 days now and I wasn’t about to have gone through all that time just to have unresolved issues afterward!  Over the last 9 years I had occasionally asked him about the other woman never feeling satisfied with his lie that they had only kissed.  And so, this time I asked him a little differently.  I asked him to “be honest”, “do NOT spare my feelings” and to “tell the truth”.  “Were you really a virgin when we first had sex and have you ever been with another woman before or after me?”  (Just writing about this again is giving me butterflies in my stomach.  But you need to know because God allowed us to go through this so that we could share this experience with others and help you get through it too.)  His response was “Yes & yes L”

So I asked, “how many?”  And he told me “2”.  “2 others?” I asked.  “Yes” he said.  After that we spent the next 4 hours texting.  Me asking questions, details about the affairs, and him responding to them honestly.  I won’t lie; a lot of his answers were extremely painful.  Yet his honesty was soothing (“Wounds from a friend can be trusted“).  He was FINALLY allowing me to see the truth.  He was finally releasing the secret that the enemy had snared him with for 13 years.  Held him captive to, enslaved him with, depressed him about for 13 years.  Until Jesus said “The truth will set you free“.  Christian had been enslaved in his sins, held captive by the enemy and his lies for so long that he had become depressed and difficult to live with.  That day he was set free as the 13 year secret came out into the light.  The truth was the key to his prison cell and my forgiveness allowed him to come out into the open for the first time in 13 years.  In telling the truth we were able to take those skeletons out of our closet, look at them, admit that they were there, and then together agree that we will NEVER let the enemy taunt us with them again.  Then together we handed them over to God so that He can take them and separate us from them.  As far as the East is from the West!  As if they had never been there to begin with.  Afterward, we both felt giddy and light and for the very first time in our married life, we BOTH wanted to have make-up sex.  But I’ll get into THAT a little later.

[The LORD] say[s] to those who are bound, “Go forth,” to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.” (Isaiah 49:9a)  Sin holds us captive.  We are slaves to our sins, new and old.  We are slaves to it, held in darkness, until we let the Son of light set us free.  Our sin, and the guilt that it brings with it, hold us in bondage to the enemy.  Only by the grace of Christ and His blood sacrifice can we ever even hope to gain our freedom.  And yet that still isn’t enough.  Because we have free choice, we have the choice to stay in bondage or gain our freedom through Christ.  But it is only by our choice to allow Jesus’ forgiveness to sink into our hearts and remove our sin that we can truly become free.  It’s our choice.  Momentary pain and gain our freedom from secrets in our marriages, or remain in bondage to those secrets.  Which do you choose?  And remember BE BRUTALLY HONEST!!!

Christian’s comments:

 

Again, I am a dirtbag. Yes, I slept with two other girls while I was in college; each of them multiple times. I have no excuses and won’t waste time attempting to create any. We’re not here to talk about that, though. We’re here to talk about the freedom that comes from confessing.

After the four hours of texting, I started to feel liberated. Yes, my thumbs were a little sore, but the feeling of freedom was unbelievable! It felt as though I had been carrying a huge boulder on my shoulders. After confessing, the boulder was gone! I felt taller, lighter, and almost giddy.  I don’t remember ever feeling so happy. Granted, things were still tense between Tamar and me, but I knew there was nothing else between us, holding us back. WE WERE FREE!

Husbands and wives; don’t let the enemy stand between you any longer. If there is something you need to confess, do it. If there is something you need to ask, do it. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but it has to be done. Your marriage (and sex life) won’t get better if it doesn’t get done.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Day 28: How Can I?


Psalms 35:1-38:22

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.


For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the LORD. Many are saying, “Who will show us any good? Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O LORD!  You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.  In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:4-8

 

When you allow God into your life and ask him to forgive all your sins, He purifies you from the inside out.  “Forgive” is a word that holds extreme power.  And until you learn how to use it and receive it you won’t know how powerful it really is.  I can tell you from personal experience that “I forgive you” are 3 words that need to become part of your everyday vocabulary and roll off your tongue.  You need to THINK them and PRAY them before forgiveness is even asked for.  Sometimes your offender won’t ask for forgiveness, but between you and the LORD you need to forgive them.  Immediately, with no delay, because when someone offends you, it’s like they’re throwing you a flaming ball.  The longer you hold it, the more it burns YOU.  By withholding forgiveness from someone you are NOT hurting them only yourself.  Forgive them before you get burned.

Anger is an emotion; it’s human to feel anger.  Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us: Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. Paul is telling us that we can be angry and not sin.  It is possible, because anger in itself is not a sin.  If you look at the way that it’s written, “Be angry”, it’s already assuming that you ARE angry.  The anger is not the sin; it’s what you DO with that anger that can get you into trouble. He then tells us that we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger and not to give the devil an opportunity.  What does this scripture and the opening scripture say we should DO with our anger?

Step 1) Be still and think (Ps 4:4).  BREATHE!!! We have to still our hearts and emotions and listen to God in every situation, but ESPECIALLY amid angry and tense situations.  We have to ask God what our next move should be and not let anyone else lead our actions.  If God’s not leading us, then who is?  During this period, it’s time to keep your big mouth shut!  SAY NOTHING!

Step 2) Deal with it by the end of the day (Eph 4:26).  We must make sure that we deal with our anger quickly!  The longer we hold onto it the more it tears US apart.  Not the person we’re angry with, just us.  (Have I said that enough yet?  Is it sinking in yet?)  And if you DO hold onto that anger it is literally opening a door for the devil to walk right in and take control of the situation.  However, look at Psalm 4:8 and see what happens when you give your anger to God.  In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. (Notice, this is only 4 short verses after Psalm 4:4 where they were trembling in anger!)  How many sleepless nights have you had because you were fighting with someone in your head?  When you give that anger to God, BEFORE you go to bed you can lie down AND SLEEP in PEACE.  God will grant you rest from the turmoil within.  But you have to give it to Him.  He won’t take it unless it’s given to Him first.  He adores you and doesn’t want to see you in pain from anger.  You’ve got to let it go; otherwise He can’t help you with it.

One last example of how God recommends we forgive.  So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the LORD forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)  Bear with each other, I tell ya, THAT phrase is soooo fitting for me, I find myself saying it over and over.  Am I alone?  Oh how often do we just have to bear with each other in our marriages? (I love you Christian!)  On those days when he’s tired and grumpy and I just want to smack him and say “snap out of it!”, instead I tell myself, “Bear with him Tamar, you may be grumpy tomorrow!”

When Jesus tells us to “Forgive as the Lord forgave you”, it just makes me ask, how does the Lord forgive us?  First of all, as mentioned yesterday, He forgives us in the way that we forgive others.  But here’s another example, out of Jeremiah:  I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. (33:8) God doesn’t pick and choose which sins He will forgive or who’s sins He will forgive, He forgives everyone of ALL their sins.  If it had nothing to do with us forgiving others first, He would always be forgiving us immediately.

Let’s take a look at the story of David and Bathsheba in 2nd Samuel for another example.  Bathsheba was bathing one night when David, the King, saw her, wanted her, and summoned her to his bedroom.  She was married, but he was the King, so she couldn’t really tell him no – or perhaps maybe she didn’t want to tell him no.  They slept together, she got pregnant, she told David, and he sent her husband to his death on the front lines of battle.  So, they’re story really isn’t that great so far, they’ve committed lust, lying, adultery and murder (that’s the Bible for ya).  Nathan, a prophet, comes to David and confronts him about his transgressions.  Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’  And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. (2 Samuel 12:13)  In this situation how did God forgive David and Bathsheba?  Did Nathan tell David to “give me some time; He needs to think about this.”?  No!  He IMMEDIATELY said “The LORD has taken away your sin.”  David and Bathsheba were forgiven immediately.  “Forgive as the LORD forgave you.”  He’s willing to grant undeserved forgiveness immediately, and we should be willing to do the same.

Christian’s comments:

 

As I’ve stated a couple of times already, I drive in demolition derbies. If there is any place to get angry at someone, that’s it. The most important safety rule in demolition derby is, “Do not hit another car in the driver’s door.” Doing this is usually grounds for immediate disqualification.

The problem with the rule is, the officials watching the derby don’t always see the hit. Believe me, after driving in a derby, you come to realize that unseen driver’s door hits happen more often than you think. When it happens, there are two courses of action. You can forgive the other driver and go on. Or try to take out the other driver. Lose your cool, in other words, and go crazy. In most of those cases, you destroy your own car, as well as any chances of finishing in the money.

In one derby I drove in, another driver gave me a track shot directly square in the driver’s door.(A track shot is driving from one end of the arena to the other as fast as you can and hitting someone as hard as you can.) He hit me so hard, my helmet hit the roof of my car, and he bent the bar in my driver’s door so far in that it hit my seat. In that particular derby, the driver taking the driver’s door hit chooses whether or not to disqualify the driver giving the hit. The official was looking directly at me after the hit and I quickly decided to forgive him and give him the benefit of the doubt instead of going after him and possibly destroying both of our chances of making the feature. I just waved it off and kept driving.

After the heat, the other driver came up to me in the pits and apologized and asked if I was alright. I could tell by the way that he was talking to me that he was genuinely concerned about my welfare. He explained that he was aiming for another car, but was hit and redirected into my door. I told him that I was OK and we started talking. We have since become friends and help each other at derbies that we go to.

So instead of losing my temper and flipping out on the guy, I quickly forgave him, and gained a friend.

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

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