Nehemiah

50 Shades of Grey AND True Intimacy


Nehemiah 12:1-13:31

“But our God turned the curse into a blessing” Nehemiah 13:2

About six years ago our marriage changed forever.

You see, we went through this phase where we loved each other, but… we didn’t really like each other that much anymore. My only job was to cook, clean and care for the family – and I was THRILLED with it! My days were extremely fulfilling, I was proud of how I was taking care of our budding family. My nights on the other hand, were anything BUT a scene from 50 Shades of Grey. Most nights I would put the kids to bed on my own and then watch TV or hang out on the computer writing. My husband was nowhere in sight, off hanging out with his buddies working on those derby cars they cherished more than their wives. There were many nights I would cry myself to sleep because I was so frustrated and lonely. This man I had spent the last seven years surviving hell with was suddenly gone. We had been through so much together, with only the two of us to go through it, and now here we were, “settled” and he was gone. I felt so extremely alone, and hurt, and kind of used.

Then there came a day when, through the direction of the Holy Spirit, I went to him and told him everything that had been on my heart. For the next 30 days we lived through the “rough draft” of our first book, True Intimacy.

We did everything that this book details before pen ever touched paper. We experienced God in a completely different way than we ever had before; we experienced Him together by coming apart… and then back together again.

This Valentine’s Day everyone seems to be buzzing about 50 Shades of Grey. I haven’t seen the movie OR read the book and therefore have no informed opinion on it. But from what I have seen in the reviews and the commercials, 50 Shades of Grey is an intense journey through the bedroom of this un-married couple who do… ahem, different things to one another in a sexual manner. Now, the fact that this couple is not married enrages me for a multitude of reasons. However, if they were married to each other, it becomes a story of GOD’s picture for marriage! YES! It really is!

Again, I haven’t read the book or watched the movie however; after spending a lifetime studying the Bible and how God feels about sex and marriage, I am 100% confident in telling you that God WANTS you to enjoy sex with your spouse! God created sex. God created marriage. He put Adam and Eve together and said, “Go populate the rest of the world!” Hello! If that doesn’t mean go have LOTS of sex and enjoy each other while doing it, I don’t know what does!

There was a day when I was praying about sex and marriage and asking God about it and He told me, “I created marriage so that you could do whatever your filthy little minds came up with to do.” God KNOWS that humanity is going to come up with some pretty “weird” stuff to do to each other when we’ve been married for YEARS and we want to “spice it up a notch”. And as long as you’re keeping it all between the two of you, man and wife, and both of you are comfortable with what’s being done, GO FOR IT!!!! God created you. He created your bodies and your marriage and everything that that entails. He wants you to enjoy each other completely! Why else would He have included the Song of Solomon in the Bible where He says to the happy couple, “Eat friends, drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.” (5:1) Sweetie, He aint talkin’ ’bout no regular food and drink here! He’s talking about sex!!!

For the next few weeks I’ll be posting the chapters from our book True Intimacy! I encourage you to read them with your spouse and see what God taught us about marriage and how wonderful it can be. It is a challenge. To do everything the book suggests isn’t easy; however it is TOTALLY worth every difficult second! Our marriage has never been better and we praise God for bringing True Intimacy into our lives! We pray that God will use it in your lives to bring True Intimacy to your marriage too! God bless you!

Categories: 365 Life, Nehemiah, Season 3, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

Go For It!


Nehemiah 9:1-11:36

“You led them with a pillar of cloud by day, and with a pillar of fire by night, to illuminate the way they should go.” Nehemiah 9:12

Every Tuesday I get an email from Marie Forleo. She is one of my FAVORITE people on the internet right now. What I love the most about Marie TV is her tagline. She ends every show with, “Keep going for your dreams, because the world needs that special gift that only you have.” And I have to admit, I think there are days that I watch her videos JUST to hear that tagline.

Then yesterday I got an email back from Fishhook and wouldn’t you know it, the tagline to his last email said, “Because who you are, and the work you do matters.”

Then while reading today’s Word of the Day the phrase “illuminate the way they should go” stood out to me. It is the way of the Lord to lead us. It’s just what He does. He always has and He always will. And it’s our blessing to follow His lead and see where He takes us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has plans for us, plans for hope and a future. He created each and every one of us with a purpose, a goal in mind.

There’s another phrase I’ve heard tossed around a lot when people are talking about doing work for the Church they’ll say, “I’m attending to the Lord’s work.” That phrase has never bothered me until lately, as in, since I’ve been called away from my desk and computer and out into the “real world” to “go to work”. For the last seven years I’ve felt like I was doing “the Lord’s work” aka, ministry. And the thought of being called away from it killed me. It took nine long grueling months for me to come to terms with something. It’s ALL the Lord’s work! The only difference between doing something for my boss and doing it for God is the state of my heart when it’s done. It is COMPLETELY possible to do something for God by doing something for my boss. God made me for a purpose; He made me for a lifetime filled with tasks and accomplishments according to His plan. And believe it or not, He made me for a lifetime filled with mistakes and mishaps and blunders in mind too because He knew in His infinite wisdom that those mistakes, mishaps and blunders would lead me to where I needed to be and would put me in the right frame of mind and heart for when I got there too.

I have wanted nothing more than to be a teacher my entire life. It was a longing that started in Kindergarten and has never gone away. It’s who I am. It’s who I was made to be. God put that in me for a reason… He wanted me to be a teacher! Does that mean that my work as a teacher is any less important and critical for the Kingdom of God than that of a preacher? I used to think that it did, I was wrong. God made me to teach and if I’m not teaching then I’m not fulfilling the role God created me to fill. Just like if a preacher isn’t preaching they aren’t fulfilling the role God created them to fill – leaving that role, and all its duties, empty.

God created you with a dream deep in your soul, something that you long to do. You may not get paid to do that thing, and you may not get to do it all the time, but if you’re never doing it, then you’re not doing what God made you to do. The world NEEDS for you to do that thing you were created to do. When God planned it, He had you in mind. Think about that for a while. There are things in this world that you are the only one who can do them completely according to the way God planned them.

Things done for the Lord are never wasted. Turn your dream into a goal and go for it!

Categories: 365 Life, Nehemiah, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Don’t Give Up!


Nehemiah 5:1-8:18

“Ezra read out of the book of the law of God every day, from the first day to the last.” Nehemiah 8:18

For those of you who are reading through the Bible this year, I know that picking that big ole’ book up every day can begin to get burdensome; especially if you’re currently in a part that’s not quite as exciting as some of the others. Don’t give up! You CAN do this!!!

Galatians 6:9 says, “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” (Emphasis mine)

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Just Read


Nehemiah 1:1-4:23

Today is Tuesday and our first book for is Tuesday’s with Morrie! So let’s make today a Tuesday with Morrie reading day! 😀 Happy Reading my friends!!!!

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

Here are the Readings we missed over the weekend! Day 29-33

Day 29: Free


Nehemiah 12:1-13:31

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 did wear protection every time). 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.

 

Day 30: Don’t Look Back


Numbers 1:1-3:39

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 know 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.

 

Day 31: Purity Bath


Numbers 3:40-6:21

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.

 

 

Day 32: True Intimacy


Numbers 6:22-8:26

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”, 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. “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).” 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.

 

Day 33: Celebrate!


Numbers 9:1-11:35

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, its 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, Jesus Loves YOU, Nehemiah, Numbers, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

Day 28: How Can I?


Nehemiah 9:1-11:36

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, Jesus Loves YOU, Nehemiah, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

Day 27: Forgiveness


Nehemiah 5:1-8:18

A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger; and it is his glory to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11

A man’s wisdom gives him patience. This verse isn’t talking about “book smarts”, well at least not in the sense that most of us would think of it in anyway. Wisdom is gained by learning more about God’s word. The more wisdom you have, the more patience you have, giving you the ability to overlook offenses more easily, which brings you glory, that you in turn give to God. Honestly, I’m finding with increased frequency that the more time I spend with God, the less likely I am to be concerned about trivial things like, well, how the toilet paper hangs for instance.

In Matthew 6:9-15 Jesus teaches us how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. In Verse 12 it says “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus is letting us know that we are forgiven in the way that we forgive. Honestly, that’s a really hard truth for me to share with you. It was difficult for me to swallow at first, but you know what I’ve learned? Forgiveness is extremely powerful.

“Forgive”, according to http://www.Dictionary.com, means: 1) to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve. 2) to grant pardon to (a person). 3) to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan. 4) to pardon an offense or an offender. You see, forgiveness is a choice, an action, not an emotion. Forgiveness means you decide to “let it go”. Will the offense still hurt? Possibly, however, it will hold no power over you anymore. Forgiveness is like a ball of fire. When someone does something to you, you have a choice. You can forgive them, or you can hold onto that flaming ball of anger. Many times when someone hurts you, they don’t even realize that they’ve even done or said anything wrong. Either way, whether they are aware of the offense or not, from that moment on the ball of fire grows. The ball is in your court, so to speak, it has been passed to you and now you stand holding it. It’s time to decide what to do with it. Say “I forgive you” to your offender and give the ball to God, or keep holding the flaming ball of fire. If you choose to keep holding back that forgiveness, who is it going to burn? The person you’re upset with, or you? Who’s holding on to it again?

Two weeks after our wedding I was cleaning in our bedroom closet and found a box filled with blank cards; cards that Christian had bought for me and had never given me. In among all these cards was a letter from a woman I had never met. As I opened it my heart started to flutter and I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks. In this letter she told him how glad she was that he was her “first time”. I got to this point and absolutely dissolved into a huddled mass of tears on the floor of our bedroom as my knees gave out and I fell like a ton of bricks. We had been each other’s first lovers, or so I had thought. Now I wasn’t so sure, this woman was saying that she had intercourse with MY man, the one that I had been with for 6 ½ years at that point. I called him at work and asked him to come home for lunch; I needed to talk to him. When I asked him about the letter he claimed that “she was just weird” and it had been her first kiss that she was talking about. Now, I’m a very innocent and trusting person, but I’m not stupid. I knew that he was lying to me to make me feel better, but I wanted the pain to go away, so I allowed myself to “believe” him. However I did NOT forgive him and I managed to push the situation to that back closet of my mind. Every few years since then she would come up again in my mind, usually at VERY inopportune moments, like during sex. I would wonder if he thought she was a better lover than me, or if he thought she was prettier than me. Every time I would remind myself: “He picked you in the end Tamar”. But it didn’t really help that much. Eventually after weeks of mental torment I would approach him about her again, seeking the truth that I knew in my heart, but never receiving from him. He stuck to his story like glue, it was just a kiss. Honestly, I can’t tell you which hurt more, the fact that he slept with her or the fact that he lied about it for 13 years. And for the 9 years that I knew about it, asked about it, and was straight-faced lied to about it, I withheld that forgiveness. You know who it burned? Me.

Christian’s comments:

Yup, I’m a dirtbag. No, it’s OK, you can call me one if you want. Go ahead. Have you ever been in a situation where no matter what you do to try to make the situation better, it just keeps getting worse? You know, you do what you think you should do to spare someone else’s feelings. My grandpa has a saying: “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

I started digging a hole the first day and didn’t stop for thirteen years. By the time I confessed, that hole was extremely deep. I needed a head lamp and timbers to shore up the sides of the hole.

Husbands (and this goes for you wives too), if you are hiding something from your wife, you are not helping them. You may think you are sparing their feelings by holding back and lying to them, but you are doing more harm than good, because they are going to be hurt more when they find out later than if you just come out and tell them. Stop digging, climb out of your hole and confess.

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Nehemiah, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

Day 26: Conflict


Nehemiah 1:1-4:23

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Conflict is a necessary element in marriage. Without conflict there simply can’t be resolution. This is one of the last and most important things that this fast taught us. Although fighting has never really been a problem for Christian and me, it is extremely common in the majority of relationships. This is where Mark 3:24-25 is a very important verse to think on. If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. A household that is full of arguing and constant strife cannot stand. So while conflict is important and necessary, like everything else in a marriage there must be a balance and everything must be done in love not anger. Conflict is necessary, anger and fighting is not.

Proverbs 27:5-6 tells us that when someone that you love comes to you and LOVINGLY points out the “sawdust in your eye”. When they say it in love and compassion, those wounds that they inflict can be trusted. They will heal quickly because they have been inflicted in love and for your own good. On the other hand there are “kisses” from an enemy. If you see someone you love acting in a way that is ungodly, you need to tell them, in love. If instead of pointing out their fault lovingly, you “kiss” them and tell them nothing or worse condone the action, then you might as well be an enemy to them. Over the years Christian has wounded me many times emotionally, but the majority of them have been for my own good. He has rarely spoken harshly to me, and he has never spoken to me in a condescending way. Wounds like these can be trusted.

In every conflict, either with a loved one or someone you don’t even know, you’ve GOT to fight fair. James 1:19-20 is, in a nut-shell, our “rules” for fighting with others. If we are in disagreement with someone we must be quick to hear what they’re trying to say. Whether in attack or defense we must LISTEN first and be loving. Next James says to be slow to speak. Don’t just blurt out your first knee-jerk reaction to what they’re saying. THINK before you speak. Better yet, PRAY before you speak. “Your words, not mine LORD.” This is my 5 word prayer for almost any situation. As Christian mentioned earlier I haven’t always been very good at doing this, but I’m working on it and improving day by day. Speak God’s words, let Him fill you with His word (scripture) so that the first thing off your lips is holy. Pray before you speak. (I said this twice for a reason.) Be thoughtful, the words you speak can change your entire life. Believe me, I know. There’s a reason God gave us two ears and only one mouth, we’re supposed to listen twice as much as we speak! In James 3:4 he compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship. Although very small in comparison to the ship as a whole, it steers the ship everywhere the pilot wants it to go. We must guard our speech so that it doesn’t take us somewhere we’re not supposed to go. Be slow to anger. Our anger, if left alone, can very quickly turn us into someone we don’t like or recognize. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1) Be gentle in your answers, don’t re-act to your husband, just love him.

While God’s love is perfect and drives fear away, some human conflict creates fear. This should not be and is not right. There is no fear in love. “Lord, I know that someone out there right now is living in fear of someone that they love. I pray so desperately for them right now Lord. You love them so much, and I know that You want what is best for them. But because You allowed us to have free will, some people have taken advantage of that freedom and have abused it and Your loved ones. Right now I pray that Your perfect love cast out their fear. I pray that You touch their abusers heart in a way that no one has or ever will touch them. I pray that You change their heart and fill it with Your perfect love, causing them to know You better and know that true love doesn’t bring fear with it, only more love. Lord, protect my friend tonight, allow them to sleep sweet, and rest in Your peace knowing that You are holding them in the palm of Your hand, and that You are feeling every pain that they suffer. I ask all these things in the precious name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen!”

Christian’s comments:

You have probably had some disagreements with your wife during this fast. You might have had arguments with her before the fast. That’s OK, arguing is a part of every marriage. It is a necessary evil that can help the marriage, if done correctly. Yes, there are rules to arguing.

Keep it between yourselves! No one else should be involved. It is about you and her; meaning, keep the argument about each other. Don’t bring your mother-in-law into it.

Stay on point! Don’t move on to another subject until the first is resolved. If the argument is about how she never heeds your advice, don’t mention anything about how you don’t like how she folds your underwear. In other words, no more “And another thing…”.

In my opinion, the most important thing is: Have arguments! As Tamar stated, we have never really argued. One of us would usually say something like “OK, whatever” and go away angry. That is bad! Don’t hold your argument in. If you do, they will build up until they just explode out, usually at a very inopportune time. Or they may never come out at all. Then you get withdrawn and start to grow apart. You just stop talking to each other. Tamar and I were almost to that point.

There are more rules, but every couple and every argument is different. If you can learn how to “fight” well, you will learn how to “love” even better.

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Nehemiah, True Intimacy | Leave a comment

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