Why I Have Hope for Katy Perry

My book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, is about a prodigal, aka me, raising a prodigal. As I’ve read about Katy Perry’s recent public confessions of why she turned away from her childhood Christian faith, I saw a certain parallel to my life. No, I never became a multimillion dollar, outrageously popular pop star, but I did turn my back on my Christian faith after my divorce and became a very successful businesswoman living a worldly life while raising my prodigal.

Katy’s father is a pastor and her childhood home was faith-filled. In her public therapy session aired on Viceland, she went by her birth name Katheryn Hudson. Faithwire wrote an article from this session, Why Kathy Perry’s Rejection of Her Childhood Faith Should Concern Every Bible-Believing Christian. They quoted Hudson as saying, “I grew up with a lot of born-again Christian beliefs around me, and so I had people around me — like-minded people — and I would say it was a bit of a bubble,” Hudson explained. “I was a very curious person, and the curiosity — sometimes it wasn’t allowed because you had to have faith.”

The article goes on to say that Hudson explained she was “curious about what was going on in the rest of the world, and how they lived, and what they saw as they were living . . . I felt like I was missing out.” She decided to explore her singing career further to “pop [her] own bubble, to get out of [her] own situation.”

“I guess I was just trying to get out of one way of thinking. It was like ‘do as I say, no ifs, ands, or buts. It was based on my religious upbringing… I have so many questions. I ask all the questions in the world, and all the questions in the world have gotten me to where I am at now.” [To read the whole article]

There is so much in that last statement about finding answers in the world, which made her rich and famous, but spiritually bankrupt denouncing her faith and  singing songs with provocative, shocking lyrics and movements that many young girls listen to and imitate.

Why did she turn to the world for answers? Because she couldn’t find answers to her questions in the church. She was raised around born-again Christians, but never actually says she was born-again.

In Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I challenge the church with that same thought: “If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to. Not encumber them with rules easily broken, but guide them toward a relationship they wouldn’t forfeit or jeopardize for anything.” I ask the question: “How many are making sure their children and grandchildren understand, accept, and embrace the Christian lifestyle? How many know, for certain, their children have a personal relationship with Jesus?”

Again I warn in Forsaken God?: “The church failed to reach out to the next generation with a message relevant to the world they live in today, but the secular world was ready and waiting for them. . . .Today, even children from Bible-believing homes may not have the tools or fortitude to equip them to face a liberal world drifting away from the God of the Bible.”

I stress exactly what Katy Perry said she couldn’t get from the Christian “bubble.”

They need mentors and parents to have the tough, honest discussion about abortion, sexuality, sexual exploitation, marriage, same-sex attraction, transgenderism, radical Islam, cults, drugs, alcohol, suicide . . . whatever they’re facing in their world.

My “Katy Perry” Story

When I left my good-girl Christian lifestyle, even though I was a born-again Christian since age eleven, I felt just like Katy that I was missing something “out in the world.” Satan makes sin seem fun and enticing. And there were plenty of people ready to teach me the “world’s ways.” I was naïve enough not to understand how quickly I was being sucked into that lifestyle.

I wasn’t raised in a Christian home like Katy was, but I did have a very devout grandmother who planted the seeds of faith in me. My mother would drop me off at church, but I was on my own. I loved everything about church and did find mentors and “spiritual mothers” to answer my questions until I went away to college and there was no one guiding me not to marry an unbeliever or pray with me about my choices.

What Brought Me Back to the Lord?

After seventeen years of backsliding, I was invited to a Harvest Crusade where Pastor Greg Laurie asked the crowd if they were ready to die that night? The Lord had gradually been bringing me back to Him through attending Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and I knew the answer to Pastor Laurie’s question was, no. I rededicated my life to the Lord that night and God has been using me About His Work ever since.

I think Katy Perry, Katherine Hudson’s, public “therapy” session is her cry for help. I know she feels God on her shoulder calling her back with every provocative move, word, and action she uses to try to separate from Him.

What Can We Do?

Katy Perry’s mother, a minister’s wife, author, and a mentor to many Christian women, has some advice that she shared in an interview by J. Lee Grady, Charisma News, “How Katy Perry’s Mother Praises God Through the Pain.” Grady asks: How does a Christian mother handle it when she sees her daughter drifting so far from the values she taught her?

“The devil definitely tries to steal my joy,” Mary told me. “I sometimes have to fight depression.” A few years ago, Mary anchored her soul to Psalm 113:9, which says, “He gives the barren woman a dwelling, making her the joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!”

“That verse inspired her to write her 2015 book, Joyful Parent, Happy Home. Mary believes if you want your children to live for God, “You have to get happy and stay in the ‘God zone.’ Mary’s close friends also support her unconditionally. And she asks new friends to agree with her in prayer for a miracle turnaround for her daughter . . . Mary believes parents of prodigals must focus on others rather than wallowing in their own pain. For the past 11 years she has poured her life into women who attend her Arise conferences.” The full interview is at CharismaNews.

Mary also mentioned something important that I share in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: show unconditional love to your prodigal, and as much as it is up to you, keep the lines of communication open.

Praise God, both my daughter and I enjoy a wonderful relationship with God and each other. I now have precious grandchildren to help pour into spiritually. I want to make sure I’m not just telling them what to believe, but helping them come to their own conclusions. To feel free to ask us questions and to help them solve their faith problems without giving them the answers we think they should arrive at. To help them develop problem-solving techniques and know where and how to go to the Bible when they question something happening in the world.

When they ask if I know that Katy Perry “used to be a Christian,” we talk about the fact that if she did give her heart to Jesus as a child, she still is a Christian, but she’s not living like one, so let’s pray for her.

The 6/26/17 issue of Time Magazine, quoted Katy’s apology for “criticized acts of cultural appropriation”: “I didn’t know that I did it wrong until I heard people saying I did it wrong. And sometimes that’s what it takes.” Let’s pray Katy hears from God that she’s been doing wrong and apologizes to Him. Someday, Katy could have an amazing testimony and God will use it for good. Pray it’s soon before she influences more young girls and women for the world.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

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PS I just realized this is the end of June already and should be Love Your Body Monday, but this post was on my heart so I’ll post a Love Your Body blog for the 4th of July week!

Are You The Woman Today You Want Your Daughter to Become?

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’ve been writing, editing, and proofing a new book, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Last week, I turned in my final proof edit to the publishers, Leafwood Publisher, as I anticipate it’s September 12, 2017 release. Then I learned the exciting news that this book is now on Amazon ready for preorders! You can order now, and as soon as it’s in stock at Amazon, you’ll receive your pre-release copies. The more preorders, the more they bring in stock. Will you help me get this book into the hands of mentors and mentees, those wanting to know how to be a mentor or mentee, and Women’s Ministry Directors to guide women in all seasons of their life.

This book will guide and equip women from tweens to twilight seasons in how to biblically mentor or be a mentee! I think it’s the first book of it’s kind written for both M&M’S! One endorser has already said every Women’s Ministry Director needs this book in her library. As the summer goes on, I’ll share more tidbits about this book for all women.  So drum roll please . . . I’m unveiling the cover!

The Mothering Season

When I speak to women about mentoring, I tell them that their first mentoring responsibility is to their daughters if they have daughters or nieces. They’re the role model for these young girls and they’re mentoring to them what it looks like to be a woman today: either a woman of the world or a woman of the Word. And then, I ask the question: Are you the woman today you want your daughters to become because they’re watching you, and as much as they don’t want to be like you, they will probably become just like you at sometime in their life.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how during my backsliding years, my daughter wanted to be just like me. I realized some of the poor choices she was making were a reflection of the poor choices she was watching me make.

That was a huge revelation to me that I needed to make some changes in my life. When I did rededicate my life to the Lord and start living a godly life, she didn’t want any part of it. She liked the way we were living more by the world’s standards than by God’s ways. And that’s the story I talk about in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I went down on my knees and prayed Scripture for her daily for six years; all the time showing and role modeling for her the blessings of being a rededicated woman of faith.

I’m happy to say our story took a happy turn and Kim did eventually give her heart to Jesus, and she has done a much better job than I did raising her three children in a Christian household. She’s mentored them in character qualities that her two daughters and son are obviously noticing. For a school project, 3rd grader Sienna was to write why her mom should be in People Magazine. I must admit, I was troubled by this teacher’s choice of a magazine that 3rd graders had no business knowing about or writing an article for, so I was relieved when Sienna said she had no idea what People Magazine was, anyway!

But what did impress me were the character qualities Sienna wrote that she saw in her mom. My daughter is a fitness instructor with a fabulous figure, she’s gorgeous, dresses stylishly, and always looks beautiful. So when Sienna decided to write about why her mom should be on the cover of People Magazine, she easily could have talked about these superficial, outward qualities, but at eight-years old this is what she wrote, exactly how she wrote it, no edits from Grammie:

My mom should be on the cover of the People magazine. My mom’s name is Kim Mancini. My mom is medium height, has brown hair, and her eyes are brown. There are so many reasons why my mom should be on the cover of the People Magazine.

One of the amazing things about my mom is that she is trustworthy. My mom trusts me all the time. My mom does not lie. My mom is trustworthy with my whole family. Now you know why my mom is trustworthy.

My mom is the most honest person in the world. She is honest with me. She once said, “Do not be scared that’s not real.” My mom is honest with my grandparents. There is no doubt, my mom should be on the People Magazine because she is so honest.

My mom is so helpful. My mom helps me when I am hurt. My mom helps me with my homework. She helps me get ready for school. My mom should win an award for being the best mom ever. My mom is the best mom in the world.

By Sienna

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Sienna’s mom, is trustworthy, honest, and helpful. Later she wished she had included hardworking. Isn’t that what every mom wants all her children, not just her daughters, to say about her?! Good job Kim.

What would your kids write why you should be on the cover of People Magazine?

The Mancini family. Sienna is next to her brother

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Love Your Body: Revive Sexual Purity

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

My goal for 2017 is staying aware of God’s presence and listening to His warnings. The word the Lord gave me: “Revival.” Today is Love Your Body Monday, and I want to talk about reviving sexual purity.

  1. Last Friday was the March for Life— the rights of the unborn. For the first time in history, a Vice President addressed the crowd and talked about “Life is winning again in America! Society can be judged by how we care for our most vulnerable—the aged, the infirm, the disabled, the unborn. Science is illuminating when life begins!”
  2. Six days prior was the “Women’s March”—the right to kill the unborn by abortion. Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty described that march: “I was blown away by the vulgarity and the young children there!” I discussed that march in last week’s blog, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t: Some Women Are Still Like Eve: Believing the Serpent.

Two marches embodying two opposing concepts:

  • good vs evil
  • life vs death
  • peaceful vs angry
  • a body as God’s creation capable of creating and sustaining life, vs self-rights to use “my” body to create and kill life

In last week’s post, Eve and Adam ate from the forbidden fruit and sin entered the world. They immediately knew they were naked. (Genesis 3:2-3) Let’s continue:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.

Satan was watching and saw God say:

  • Eve would become the mother of mankind
  • Nakedness should be covered
  • Man would always know good from evil

Satan already knew he could easily deceive man. The stage was set for Satan to do his work as ruler of this world in each of the above areas:

  1. Destroy humankind by having them kill each other in wars, murders, riots, terrorists, and abortion–sanitizing it with a name like “Planned Parenthood.” Slow propagation through infertility, normalizing LGBT lifestyle, redefining marriage, and creating gender confusion.
  2. Exploit and pervert sex, promote promiscuity, adultery, pornography, provocative seductive clothing, immorality, and lust, using media, marketing, entertainment, and Hollywood as the vehicle to idolize, romanticize, and normalize sin to each generation.
  3. Start a political liberal progressive atheistic movement that demonizes purity, virginity, celibacy, monogamy, Christianity, and the sanctity of life—remove God and the Bible from the public squre.

Time has proven that what one generation does in moderation, the next generation does in excess because Satan goes after the children!

Satan’s tactics have worked. Christians talking about abstinence or purity  . . . are laughed at . . . called prudes, dreamers, delusional, judgmental, preachers, and worse. Many give up even trying. Pastors don’t talk about the hazards of sex outside of marriage . . . the moral, sinful, and physical consequences on our bodies . . . God’s precious holy temples.

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh. 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:15:20

Why aren’t pastors telling young people and congregations that when you have sex with another person you become one with them? Hook ups, one-night stands, date sex,  living together, casual sex . . . every person you EVER had sex with . . . your souls united because that’s how God made us “the two become one flesh (Gen. 2:24) in sex.  God meant for it to be in marriage. Satan the great Deceiver would say, God didn’t really mean that. Yes he did.

Let’s Start a Pure Body Revival

One woman wrote to me: My mother gave me birth control pills at 13 so I wouldn’t get pregnant with all the low life boys I would have sex with in my passage into womanhood.

That broke my heart. We need a sexual revival in our country. Let’s start educating our young men and women. Parents, churches, mentors teachers taking the time to teach kids what really happens spiritually when you have sex, not just the physical mechanics, but share verses like those above and ones on purity and holiness, do Bible studies together, and talk about why God wants His people to only have sex in marriage. Explain that sex is not a natural or expected part of a relationship unless you’re married, regardless of how the movies or TV depict it, or what your friends are doing.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word. Psalm 111:9

In Forsaken God? I wrote, “Young people need to hear how to use the Bible as a benchmark to distinguish truth from lies. They don’t need condoms and birth control pills and talks on safe sex; they need to know how to make choices based on eternity, not just avoiding maternity.”

Sexual revival applies to all ages and it won’t be popular, but we can pray for God to empower us and give us the opportunity to spread revival in our sphere of influence. Our culture ridicules men and women who vow celibacy until their wedding night. Rampant casual sex—hook ups, dating sex, friends with benefits, living together—reduces sex to lust, not love. The world, deceived by Satan asks, “What’s love got to do with sex?” Even many Christians choose to be a part of this world rather than set apart and pure for God who tells us “So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God.” –Lev. 20:7 (NLT)

Single moms and single women this means you too. You must set the example and role model for these young women and girls and for your daughters and sons. I was a single mom and I’ve been on both sides of this discussion. Yes, I was a virgin when I married my daughter’s father. We didn’t have birth control pills when I was a teenager. My mother wasn’t a religious person, but she told me emphatically that sex was for marriage. Sex can make babies. White wedding dresses are for virgins, and no boy or man is worth forfeiting that one-time sacred privilege. I believed her, and I waited, and I’m glad I did. She set a moral compass for me and I stuck to it.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how my moral compass shifted in my divorced, single years and I did not set a good role model for my daughter. I’m here to tell you that Satan is a liar. God made our bodies to glorify and honor Him, and praise God He is the God of many chances. For those who feel it’s too late, they aren’t a virgin or are too sexually impure so what difference does it make, God is the God of renewal. We can come before Him and ask for forgiveness for our past, repent, rededicate our life and go and sin no more just like the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well.

Satan makes the sinful life look exciting and enticing, but anyone who has come out of the dark into the light will tell you loving your body the way God loves your body is the only way to a joyful, peaceful life.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

Many will think I’m idealistic and sexual revival is impossible. I’m not naïve enough to think women and men are going to stop having sex outside of marriage, but maybe some will. The theme of this year’s Walk for Life was the Power of One. They stressed the importance of reaching the next generation, which is my passion too.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

I want to share two books: both from the Robertson family of the Ducky Dynasty TV Series. The Robertson’s are vocal about their faith and belief in Jesus Christ and family.

Sadie Robertson was seventeen when she wrote Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to her Values and I included this quote in my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten

When you put your relationship with God first and you also have a great relationship with your family, you can risk having people get upset with you for standing up for your beliefs. You can risk being rejected because of your values, and you can even risk losing a boyfriend if the relationship is not going in a godly direction. You can risk looking or acting different from other people. You can do these things because you know you will be okay without them. You know God is with you and for you, and I hope you can also know your family is standing beside you, but even without your family’s support, you can know that God is there.

Jase Robertson wrote in Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl about his decision as a teenager to remain sexually pure until marriage:

One day after hearing my buddies talking about sexually transmitted diseases and asking my dad about it. I don’t remember the specifics of his speech, but I would never forget the last thing he said. “Son you keep that thing in your pocket until you get married and you’ll never have to worry about it.” He told me. The timing of our conversation was perfect when it came to my staying sexually pure.

I eventually came up with a plan of action. On the first date, I would share my faith with the girl and declare my intention to wait until marriage before having sex. In a way this held me accountable, and it also got rid of any girls who had a quick roll in the hay in mind. I also decided to stay away from the “second look”—noticing a good-looking woman, then dwelling on her for a second, more lustful look. I tried to notice the beauty and feel the attraction to a woman but ultimately pursue their spiritual makeup. . . . God changes us from the inside out, and that helps us look at other people the same way.

Jase did stay sexually pure. He and his wife Missy were both virgins on their wedding night. With God all things are possible!

We need to build a new culture of purity, a new culture of life. A new normal.

Let’s make purity popular again!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

share-odb-2017-01-30

An article I wrote for Crosswalk that might be helpful Have You Forgiven Each Other for Premarital Sex?

If you’ve had an abortion, I recommend Pat Layton’s book Surrendering the Secret.

For more thoughts on Revival of Titus 2 Women see this month’s About His Work Newsletter.

A Bible study I wrote for First Place 4 Health goes into depth about keeping our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits pure and holy: God’s Best For Your Life. Study on your own or as a group.

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Some Women Are Still Like Eve: Listening to the Serpent

Have you ever wondered why Satan approached Eve and not Adam in the Garden of Eden? Why didn’t he go up to Adam and start challenging him about whether or not God really said they shouldn’t eat from the tree of wisdom? Let’s review Genesis 3:2-10 NLT:

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

When the shrewd serpent, AKA Satan, showed Eve how beautiful and delicious the fruit was, and she wouldn’t need God, Eve caved. Husbands want to please their wives. Since that day, the Devil has made it his mission to get women and men to choose evil over good, Satan’s ways, not God’s ways. Already owning the world, Satan goes after the Christians he loses who turn from their evil ways, repent from their sins, and choose to follow Jesus Christ. Not deterred, Satan still dangles that forbidden fruit in the form of lies, sin, temptations, pride . . . anything that makes us feel we don’t need God, just like when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10).

Jesus used Scripture to fend off Satan. If we’re not grounded in God’s Word, we’re easily deceived and distracted by the Deceiver, the Ruler of this world. Mothers have a huge influence over their children’s beliefs: what they watch on television, the video games they play, the amount of time they spend on electronics, the friends they keep.  A real and present danger is the lure of the secular world on women, and thus goes the next generation.

Since November 8 when the progressive liberals lost the presidential election, they have desperately tried to delegitimatize Donald Trump’s presidency. Refusing to accept defeat, they plotted a “Women’s March” in Washington DC the day after Inauguration Day. Supposedly, these women were marching for “women’s rights,” which were never clearly defined.

The rally featured speeches from activist Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Democrat Elizabeth Warren (a fierce supporter of Hillary Clinton wearing a Planned Parenthood scarf) Madonna, actresses Ashley Judd, America Ferrara, and Scarlett Johansson, and director Michael Moore, among others.

Michael Moore . . . what does he have to do with women’s rights? Nothing! Then a group of largely women senators and other politicians took the stage.

In an article by Meghan Keneally, Good Morning America, titled “Politicians, Activists Rally Crowd at Women’s March in Washington,” Keneally noted: “With the timing and sheer number of people involved, it comes as little surprise that there are various causes attached to the march, which was largely billed as a demonstration in support of women’s rights and civil rights but for many has clear political undertones connected to the inauguration of Donald Trump.

This was obviously not a march for all women’s rights, since they barred all Pro-life groups!

This was also not a grassroots movement by a grandmother in Hawaii like the fake news media would have you believe. This was a well-planned Democrats’ attack aimed at President Donald Trump. So only Satan, the father of lies, could lure women, many bringing daughters, into marching for “women’s rights,” when it was actually political activists needing a big crowd to support their own agendas.

Even when asked why they were marching, most women quoted political election rhetoric, liberal media points, or didn’t have a clear answer. Satan’s trademark is confusion.

Women were the pawns of political interest groups, while supposedly protesting Donald Trump’s treatment of women. Ironic!

Maybe the women missed the fact that Donald Trump appointed Kellyanne Conway as the first woman presidential Campaign Manager and now Counselor and Advisor to the President? She broke a glass ceiling.

Some said they marched because of something Trump said over eleven years ago and publically asked forgiveness for and I wrote a blog about. Instead of granting him forgiveness, they knitted pink hats as idols to memorialize the vulgar word they’re protesting, and now demeaning slang words for women are freely rolling off their lips, yes including their young daughters. And Satan laughs!

So hypocritical when many at the march were yelling vulgarities, had obscenities on signs, and were listening to someone like Madonna give a profanity-laced, vulgar talk saying she thought about blowing up the White House. Does anyone see the dichotomy there? These women brought their daughters to hear Madonna who demeans women as sex symbols in her songs and costumes, has a filthy mouth, and talks of bombing the White House! She is a disgrace to womanhood and not a role model for our daughters. And the liberal anti-Trump Hollywood “stars” act in R rated movies exploiting women, participate in explicit sex scenes with other actors, and use vulgar language in movies and call it “art.”

Maybe they think President Trump is a racist? Really, what has he said that’s racist? He wants to help the inner cities and protect America from terrorists and illegals invading our country. He has many black pastors advising and supporting him. Were they marching against that?

Oh maybe they were marching against possibly losing the right to murder their babies, even up to the day before delivery? Ah Satan the tempter again: Did God really say life starts at conception? Did God really say thou shalt not kill?

Abortion never was or will be a woman’s right. Sex is a right and a choice, but it is not a right or choice to kill an unborn baby for convenience, pleasure, or wealth. Only Satan would tell a woman abortion was a right. But every unborn baby does have a right to life!

Could they be marching about losing Obamacare, because they might lose free abortions or birth control while the cost is skyrocketing and strapping families, businesses, and doctors are overwhelmed with paperwork? There will be a replacement for Obamacare and there are safe clinics that help women get medical checkups and provide help with pregnancies. It’s Satan’s lie that women will lose health benefits without Planned Parenthood.

Exactly what real “rights” were they marching for?

Women love getting together for a cause and climbed on planes, buses, and vans, but listening to them shout obscenities, wave signs with vulgarities, and denounce a newly inaugurated president wasn’t unifying. It isn’t God’s way. It is Satan whispering in their ears: God’s ways don’t work in today’s culture. Your rights are more important! God’s irrelevant in 2017. You don’t need Him. It’s all about you.

And that brings me to my heartbreak: I know Christians were marching.

The liberal progressive activists, who sponsored that march, stand for everything that opposes the Bible and God.

They didn’t open or close in prayer. There was no praise music. Not one pastor spoke. They only mentioned God’s name in vain. Instead they promoted hate, creating unrest, division, disruption, disunity, and denouncing a freely elected President.

Christians don’t support abortion of precious babies, the liberal progressive agenda of same sex marriage, the demonizing of Christian values, the denial of male and female genders, the removal of God from the public square, or the denouncing of Israel  . . . so what would draw a Christian woman to a march like this?

Here’s what Christian women should grab their sneakers and their daughters and hit the streets to march against: sex trafficking, child prostitution, childhood cancer or any cancer, selling drugs to youth and drug addiction, bullying, abortion. March for Pro Life, to help single moms or for women in countries who really have no rights because American women have amazing rights!

I believe that anyone who would turn out for the liberal “Women’s March” is looking for role models and mentors in all the wrong places. They are listening to the mainstream media and following the culture. The church needs to step up and provide mentors, guidance, and the Truth from the Word of God not from the world! Why are Christian women listening to Hollywood? Madonna? Gloria Steinem? Michael Moore? The same serpent that deceived Eve?

President Trump cannot turn America back to God. It’s time for the women of the church to get involved. How many of you know a woman who marched who you could have counseled? Wake up Christian women. God is calling you to get involved!

I hope you will share this post and pray about how God is calling you to be part of a revival. The doors have opened with President Trump’s and the conservative platform’s victory. Now we must do our part because the battle has just begun.

Brandon and me

I want to close with a personal story to share with any who think abortion is a woman’s “right.” I praise God every day that the 15 year-old Hispanic birth mother of my amazing twelve-year old grandson never went into a Planned Parenthood clinic. Yes, he was her second baby, so they would have eagerly advised her to get a quick abortion and head back to school to continue with her life. But praise God, she chose to give Brandon the right to his life, and blessed a childless couple by choosing them to become the forever parents of this precious gift of God. That young girl did continue with her life knowing she chose to cherish life and will never suffer the haunting nightmares of so many women who chose to sacrifice life.

Read more of Brandon’s story in Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey

If you have had an abortion or know someone considering it please read: Prisoners of Choice.

Another confirming article written by a woman about how women were pawns in what was really a political activists march: Billionaire George Soros Has Ties to more that 50 ‘partners’ to the Women’s March on Washington.

March for Trump

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Love Your Body–Get Help with Overeating! By Julie Morris

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you written by author friend Julie Morris who truly understands and empathizes with the struggle to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Even as a nurse who knew better, she couldn’t help herself until she surrendered completely to God. Please take the time to read this entire blog and pray about how God would have you apply it to your life. It could save your life like it did for Julie.

I also wanted to let you know that I’ll be taking a break from my Monday Morning Blog for the months of July and August, when I’ll be speaking and finishing my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. So have a blessed summer and I’ll be back in September!

Somebody Help! I Can’t Quit Overeating!

By Julie Morris

My blood pressure gauge frantically tapped out the message I didn’t want to hear. While thoughtfully removing the stethoscope from his ears, my doctor said what I already knew: “You have got to lose weight!

After years of dieting, starving, and bingeing, I was fatter than ever. The harder I tried not to overeat, the more I found myself eating. I was the RN Supervisor of a large medical-surgical floor in the local hospital, telling people what to do to get healthy, and I couldn’t lose the weight that could kill me. Even though I was only in my 30’s, my doctor told me that I could have a stroke if I didn’t lose weight. I had dieted a thousand times before, but this time nothing seemed to work.

I woke up every morning and pleaded with God to help me to eat right that day. By lunchtime, with all the stress at work, I found myself saying, “I just need a little something to get through the day.” Those words seemed to magically give me permission to gobble up everything in sight.

Since I had already “gone off my diet,” as soon as I got home, I would yank off my uniform and run to the refrigerator muttering, “I’ve already blown it today, so I may as well eat.” Every night I fell asleep promising to do better and praying that God would forgive me for eating in such an unhealthy way.

Why Is It So Hard to Quit Overeating?

When I stopped long enough to think about what I was doing, confusion overwhelmed me. Why was I eating like this when I knew there was nothing more I wanted than to get rid of these extra pounds?

I didn’t know the answer then, but research has discovered why many of us continue to overeat, even when we try not to. The secret? Endorphins—feel-good brain chemicals. These natural substances that our bodies make, increase when we eat. Some of us have a dramatic rise in endorphins when we overeat. They are the same chemicals released when an alcoholic drinks or a drug addict takes drugs.

As long as I could remember, I had turned to food to help me deal with stress. Eating always numbed my pain, but stress-eating like that caused a horrible vicious cycle: when I got upset, I ate something so I would feel better. My problems grew… and so did I. And because I overate every time I had to deal with stress, my problems didn’t get solved. They only got worse. It didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t stop because eating really did help me to feel better… at least for a while.

I called out to the Lord daily, begging Him to make me thin. And I complained bitterly to Him about giving me such a slow metabolism, but I knew deep down that my problem wasn’t my metabolism. My problem was that I ate too much and didn’t know how to stop. However, after my doctors scary words, that I could die, I was determined to lose weight and be healthier.

How Can I Surrender My Eating to the Lord?

I went to someone in my church and asked what to do. “You just have to surrender your eating to God, Julie,” she stated simply, as if there were some surrender button I could push. Oh, I wanted to. I knew I should be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But even though I had been a Christian for years, and prayed every day for God’s help, I couldn’t seem to surrender my eating to the Lord. 

These 12 Steps Helped Me to Surrender My Eating to the Lord!

I continued crying out to God for help and, finally, in 1982, I began to make progress when I went to my first 12-Step meeting. I realized that night that the 12 Steps were the structure I needed to help me to surrender this problem to the Lord. I felt sure that the steps would help me to draw closer to Jesus and plug into his power. And I began to understand that they would also help me to get to the emotional roots of my problem with food.

People try to make the 12 Steps complicated, but they’re not. The 12 Steps are just little baby steps, taken directly from the Bible, that help us to rely on God’s power when we lack will power. They are not just a list of 12 things that we do and then quit, but a way of living—surrendered to the Lord, being guided by him.

The steps I use were inspired by AA’s 12 Steps, but are different because mine focus on Jesus. Another difference is that we are learning how to receive Jesus’ help to stop overeating—instead of drinking. Later, I started using a shortened form of the steps to make them easier to understand. Look at end of this post for a summary of the Christian 12 Steps.

Jesus Tells Us Where to Find Self-Control!

While reading John 15:4, it dawned on me that Jesus is telling over-eaters where to find the fruit of the Spirit of self-control that we so desperately need. He says,

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Then later in that chapter, he says exactly what I had been learning—the hard way:

“Without me, you can do nothing!”

I Started Winning the Battle!

After Jesus’ words finally sunk in, I quit dieting—trying to lose weight using my own willpower—and I quit beating myself up for my weakness. Instead, I began to put my energy into drawing closer to the Lord. And, amazingly, I started winning the battle with the ravenous monster inside of me who could never be satisfied, no matter how much I fed him!

Since John 15:4 had been so life-changing for me, I began diligently searching the Bible for other verses that would speak to me about how to stop overeating. I was excited to find many of them, and I memorized a few so I could remind myself of God’s promises when food cravings struck. I started reading Christian books about weight-loss and learned a lot from people who had overcome the same struggles I had. I also decided to stop flirting with temptation, so I got all of my old comfort foods out of my house.  Another important thing I did was to start calling an accountability partner every evening to tell her how I had done with my eating that day.

Soon my cravings became weak and conquerable and the miracle finally happened: I lost my weight and have kept it off for more than 30 years! Not only that, I started helping others to lose weight.

I started a Bible study in my church to help overeaters to lose weight. It was so successful that a few years later I wrote Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss program for groups—published by Abington Press.

Guided By Him Is a Light and Easy 12-Step Christian Weight-Loss Program

GBH photo

A few years ago, I joined with my daughter Sarah Morris Cherry, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and we wrote Guided By Him—a 12-week lighter an easier version of Step Forward.

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Packed with Bible studies, practical weight-loss tips and inspiring success stories, Guided By Him is perfect for individual Bible study, family meetings, Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, lunch breaks at work or friendly neighborhood get-togethers,

You can tell by these chapter titles that you’re going to have fun as you read the book and get to the roots of your overeating:

  • Tripped on a Twinkie
  • Are Donuts My Bread of Life?
  • My Refuge–the Refrigerator
  • Do Broken Cookies Count?
  • Resentments Are Fattening
  • Is Fudge My Fortress

 God Uses Our Weaknesses When We Surrender Them to Him!

It’s exciting to receive e-mails from readers across the United States and in many foreign countries as well, telling me what an amazing difference our books have made in their lives. Many say that, as a result of what my daughter and I have written, they are closer to God than ever and they have learned things that they will use for the rest of their lives.

God is helping them and they are helping others—turning their misery to ministry. He is taking their biggest weakness and using it for good as they surrender it to Him.

They are shrinking on the outside and growing on the inside as they lose the weight… and the worries that have weighed them down!

Soon You, Too, Will Have an Exciting Story to Tell!

Join me on this adventure and be Guided By Him… To a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You, and soon you, too, will have an exciting story to tell! The amazing thing is that weight loss won’t even be the best part!

Julie Morris’ Bio

Julie photo standing

Julie Morris is a popular motivational speaker and internationally recognized author of 12 books. She is the founder of Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss Program  and Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! . Guided By Him is a lighter and easier version of Step Forward.

Other books that she has written include From Worry to Worship and From Worthless to Worthy.

She presents seminars, retreats and workshops across the country that inspire her audiences to make exciting changes toward becoming the person they have always wanted to be.

Julie has worked as a secretary at the Pentagon, Spanish teacher, Coronary Intensive Care nurse and the supervisor of a large hospital Medical-Surgical unit. She has been married for over 40 years to her college sweetheart. Julie is the mother of two adult children and grandmother of one very precious little boy.

Julie’s greatest joy is helping struggling Christians to overcome weaknesses by relying on God’s strength.

She would love to hear from you! Please comment below if you can identify with any part of her story. If you received this blog by email, comment here.

Also, please check out her website www.guidedbyhim.com  or e-mail her at julie@guidedbyhim.com if you have questions about starting your own group or if you are interested in purchasing books or inviting her to speak at your church.

Join her on Facebook at…

 

Summary of the Short Form of the Christian 12 Steps

  • Step 1 is “I can’t!” While taking the first Step, I finally gave up on the idea that I could lose weight on diets and willpower. I didn’t allow myself to stay stuck in the first Step “I can’t,” but when discouraged, would go straight to Step 2.
  • Step 2 is “God can!” While taking the second Step, I began learning how to rely on the Lord. I memorized his promises, thanked him for his help and praised him for answered prayers even before I had received them.
  • Step 3 is “I’ll let him!” While taking the third Step, I learned practical things that would help me to cooperate with the Lord one day at a time.

The first three Steps are the foundation for the others.

  • In Steps 4-7 we get to the roots of our overeating by looking back at things done to us and things we’ve done. We become willing to let go of them and let God change us.
  • In Steps 8-9 we ask for God’s help with our relationships—past and present.
  • Steps 10 and 11 help us to do a daily check to make sure we’re staying on track, learn ways to seek God every day and have a closer relationship with him.
  • In Step 12, we practice doing things we’re learning that help us draw closer to the Lord and we share with others the exciting things he’s doing in us.

In God’s Hands

Open handsRosalie Campbell and I have been friends for many years. We met at a Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference when Rosalie became interested in my Woman to Woman Mentoring resources, since she also has a heart for mentoring. Rosalie answered God’s call to start Garden Path Ministries. We have stayed in touch over the years. Rosalie has since retired from her ministry and became a widow several years ago. She has shared several stories in my books and her church is currently starting a Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry. Read more at the end of this post about how God has used this sweet woman in the years since she became a Christian in her forties. I know you’ll be inspired to pray about the plans God has for you too.

I knew when I saw the email from Rosalie with an attachment that she was sending me another story. As I read “In God’s Hands,” I knew God wanted me to share Rosalie’s story with you. I’m sure there are many of you who can relate.

In God’s Hands by Rosalie Campbell

I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few weeks. When the stock market plummeted recently, I worried about my dwindling finances and investments. I felt like I was in a stew: constantly simmering over my circumstances and the difficult relationships with my three grown daughters.

One night, as I tossed and turned in bed, I mulled a hundred things over in my mind and plotted different scenarios for managing my life. Then God spoke to my heart. Even though He usually speaks in a still, small voice, His message was loud and clear. He told me, “Open your hands!” I thought, Okay, Lord. As I opened my hands and stretched them out, I realized I couldn’t hold onto anything with my fingers apart and palms open. I couldn’t even pull up the blanket.

God revealed, “This is how I want your hands – open so I can take all that you have been holding onto: worries, concerns, hurts, regrets, hang-ups, disappointments, control of your circumstances, and the difficult relationships you face.

God reinforced that same message as I read the September devotional from In Touch Magazine. It was titled, “The Way to Finish Well,” which focuses on 2 Timothy 4:6-8. The author, Charles Stanley, asked the question: How can God’s people finish well in life?

Stanley answered, “God doesn’t require us to have perfect lives in order to finish strong. We can live abundantly and be ready to meet our Maker by surrendering, walking victoriously with Christ, and serving others.”

I contemplated those words – surrendering, walking with Christ, and serving others.

When I think of surrender, I picture a thief caught with a bag of stolen goods. The cops or feds come in and tell that person, “Drop it and hold up your hands.”

God is neither a police officer nor a federal marshal insisting we release “our stuff.” He is a mighty, loving God who is willing and able to carry all our burdens. Matthew 11:28 tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Our part is to have a willingness to release those heavy weights to Him. Then He gives us peace. God doesn’t force us to drop our heavy load. Yet, He wants us to release it to Him because He knows if we continue to carry it, our well-being (mind, heart, soul) will be harmed.

I thought about all the concerns, hurts, and worries I needed to surrender to God. God’s Word says He would carry them instead of me. I liked the idea of releasing the whole heavy bundle of stuff I was carrying. I decided it was time to do it. I gave it all to Him!

The next step after surrender is to take God’s right hand. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Those words assure me I will be safe and secure at His side. With my left hand in His, God will support, guide, direct, and help me. My right hand is free to reach out to others: to serve and help them. Proverbs 31:20 says, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”

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This was a simple yet powerful life lesson for me. The whole process resembles a cross. As I stand firm on the foundation of God’s Word (Jesus Christ), I raise my hands up to God, then surrender and let Him have all control of my life. Then I give my one hand to God so He can guide me on my life’s journey and my other hand is free to serve others. I become an extension of God’s love and grace.

I felt an amazing sense of relief as I surrendered my finances for God to resolve. Now my part is to stay within a limited budget and be wise with the money I have left.

I have also surrendered my relationships with my three daughters. Over the years, I have desperately tried various ways to receive their love (with gifts, trips, lunches out) so I could feel good about being their mother. It finally dawned on me that I had been looking to them to bring me fulfillment. The truth is: they are not at a place or mindset to give me their love or respect. I have been “looking for love in all the wrong places” as the song goes. My daughters are not perfect; they can only give me a fraction of the love I need.

I was looking for unconditional love. The unconditional and perfect love comes from God. My fulfillment comes from Him because He fills all my needs. As I seek Him, God is the One who gives me the full measure of the love I need. I stand confident and assured that He will never leave me or forsake me. He is by my side holding my hand. As I hold onto God’s hand and walk with Him, He directs my path. He has a plan and purpose for me. He wants me to love and serve others.

God, through His Holy Spirit, equips me with spiritual gifts. He gives me opportunities to utilize those gifts. My role, as a godly woman, is to reach out with my hands to those in need.  

What we do with our hands is crucial to leading a fulfilling life.

How have you seen God use your hands when you surrender all to Him?

If you received this blog by email, comment here.

Rosalie Campbell

Rosalie Campbell accepted the Lord Jesus in her life while in her 40’s. As a new Christian, she was discipled for two years by a godly woman from her church. Rosalie worked as an interior designer in her own company, Design Trends, for over twenty years. God urged her to serve in ministry by “decorating hearts instead of homes.” She reached out to women who struggled with emotional hurts and led a Bible study for divorced and widowed women then started support groups for ACADF (Adult Children of Alcoholics or Dysfunctional Families). After seven years of facilitating these groups, she wrote a study, Come Back to the Garden, for women who wanted to find restoration from past hurts.
In 1998, Rosalie founded and established Garden Path Ministries as a non-profit organization to educate, equip and encourage women in transition and crisis situations.

In 2002, she had an opportunity to offer her garden study as a correspondence course for women in prison. These courses matched Christian women on the outside to encourage women inside the bars. In 2008, GPM filmed a series called Living Skills for Success, an eight-part video series with qualified Christian speakers on topics to help female inmates re-enter society and lead productive lives. This program continued until 2012. The correspondence course is still being used in prisons in California, Texas and Oklahoma. Over the years, GPM trained many women from local churches to be respondents to inmates doing the course as well as volunteers for ministry work.

Rosalie felt God urging her to write two studies for men and women in prison that would be easily understood and give the basics for spiritual growth. Turning from Darkness to Light and The Shepherd’s Voice are distributed to inmates through the chaplains at prisons Arizona and California. Over 7,350 of these studies in English and Spanish have been sent to inmates.

In 2012, God opened a new door of opportunity for Garden Path Ministries. When a retired parole officer in Riverside County, CA volunteered for the ministry, she saw the need to help people make the transition from prison to life on the outside. She arranged to get a vacant office space in Moreno Valley, CA donated for ministry use.
With the grace of God, FOCUS Outreach Center was birthed and has expanded to three office spaces. GPM began offering the Living Skills program to women recently paroled. This outreach ministry took a different direction due to the needs in the community. Because of the many homeless people who camp nearby, FOCUS now provides food (serving over 630 meals per month) clothing, haircuts, and court approved programs for recovery, parenting, anger management, domestic violence drug and alcohol counseling. Today, ninety-five percent of the clients of FOCUS are men.

Rosalie is still very active in the ministry. Her journey in ministry has been a joyful yet challenging one. It took many twists and turns, ups and downs. Through it all God led the way. All that has been done has been through the amazing grace of the LORD. A wise pastor once told Rosalie, “A good leader will work her out of a job and turn it over to another qualified person who wants to serve the Lord.” Recently, she turned over the administrative duties of GPM and FOCUS Outreach Center into the capable hands of a devoted volunteer, Teddi Vesey.
This year, Rosalie started Janet Thompson’s, Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at her church in Menifee, CA.

I Will Not Be Ashamed!

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The media would have you think that surveys are proving the Christian population is diminishing, but you know better than to believe everything you read and hear. We live in an era where liberals are intent on demoralizing, demeaning, and denouncing Christians and everything we stand for and believe. Their strongest tactic is trying to shame us and use the power of words and name calling to threaten us into backing down from our faith and God’s Word.

But I hope you stand with me and the apostle Paul who said to his mentee, Timothy:

So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.

—2 Timothy 1:8 NLT

Vine’s definition of ashamed: “A strong feeling of shame preventing a person from doing something.”

If God wants us to do something and the Holy Spirit prompts us—regardless of how “politically incorrect” or unpopular it might be, we need to stand proud of our Lord and Savior and follow the Great Commission He left for us to live out. We need to stand together against the pressure of this world to shame us—no matter how many names they call us, laws they pass to quiet us, or how unpopular we become personally … our job as Christians is to speak and live the Gospel.

The Christian World is Not Shrinking

Reality is that the true Christian population is not shrinking—Christians who would never back down in the face of adversity are actually increasing. What is shrinking is the gap between those who call themselves “Christian” hoping for a free ticket to heaven while following the world’s ways, and those who identify with Christ and are willing to follow Him wherever He leads, even if it means suffering for the Gospel, as Paul did.

Both Jesus and Paul were rivals to the accepted culture of their day and everything they did upset the social order. Why would we think it so strange when we encounter the same reaction and persecution?

Pseudo-Christians are looking for a gospel they’ll never find: one that allows them not to make waves and keep their faith “private.” As that becomes more impossible, their faith becomes weaker and they fall away. Those “so called” Christians become lesser in number.

But to those who have the courage to be unpopular for Christ no matter what—their faith becomes stronger and their stance against the wrongs of this world becomes bolder. Yes, praise God, the true Christian population is increasing. Again just like Paul tells Timothy, these Christians will:

With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.—2 Timothy 1:8-10

There’s Only One Kind of Christian

God shields every Christian who believes in living out the Bible—and only the Bible. A new term has caught my attention: “Bible-believing Christian.” I shake my head every time I hear it because there is no other kind of Christian. If you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, call yourself anything you want, but don’t call yourself a Christian because that’s blasphemy and heresy.

God ordains the steps of every Christian. We need to be using what He has given us in the time that we have here on Earth. God had a reason for saving us. So when we speak up for God, He gives our words power and He infuses us with courage. Holy people love God and others and tell the truth about God to everyone.

Liberals use the argument that Jesus loved everyone so Christians should love everyone’s sins. But they’re twisting the word “love” to mean what they want it to mean. To use “love” to justify sin is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught.

It’s true that Jesus loved the world and that’s why He died for everyone to have freedom from sin—sins that God hates. Jesus didn’t go to the cross so we could keep on sinning, but that we could live a life free from sin. That’s the true loving Gospel. Sharing the love of Christ and the Gospel with someone is the most loving thing you could do. Because …

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.–Hebrews 10:25-27

Sin is Sin Even When Our Family is Doing It

I know firsthand that one of the hardest things as a parent is to watch our children choose to sin. I wrote a book about Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter so I know the heartbreak of feeling like you can’t do anything to stop them. But you can love them and pray for them. The most unloving thing you can do is enable them by overlooking their sin, indulging their sin, or trying to convince yourself that their sin isn’t really that bad. The most loving thing you can do is love them unconditionally, but don’t love their sin and help them turn their eyes to Jesus. Never give up on that quest!

Remember, every murderer is someone’s child, but that doesn’t make murder OK. Every alcoholic is someone’s child, but alcoholism is wrong. Every thief has parents, but stealing is a sin. If your child is indulging in alternate lifestyles, having sex outside of marriage, or experimenting with any transgenderism or homosexuality—it’s all sin. God doesn’t make any mistakes. He made girls as girls and boys as boys and he created girls to fall in love with boys, get married, and then have sex. The most loving thing you can do for your sinning child is to pray for him or her to seek Jesus, ask for forgiveness, change their sinful ways, and live a righteous life.

It’s painful and it takes courage, but my daughter is so glad that I loved her so much that I never gave up praying for her and today that’s our testimony together.

Christianity is the Only All Inclusive Faith

When the world says that Christians are “exclusive” that only shows ignorance of Christianity, the most “inclusive” religion in the world. Jesus is available to everyone. He died for everyone, but sadly, not everyone will accept His loving free invitation to eternal life with Him.

I leave you with a scenario that says it better than I can:

A young boyfriend and girlfriend were in a tragic accident and died. They’re looking down on the scene:

Girl to boy: “I have to leave you now.”
Boy: “I want to go with you wherever you’re going.”
Girl: “I’m going to be with God, but you didn’t accept him so you can’t come with me.”

Boy: “Did you know this?”

Girl: “Yes …”

Boy: “Then why didn’t you tell me?”
Girl: “I was afraid I would lose you.”

Who are you afraid of losing here on Earth, who someday you’ll have to say goodbye to forever? Don’t be ashamed to share the Gospel. Someone’s eternal life depends on it.

I derived parts of this blog from Pastor Brian Smith’s message at Crouch Community Church May 17, 2015. I wanted to say a huge “Amen” after every sentence. Thank you Pastor Brian for being a student of the Bible and preparing your congregation to be bold for Christ.

Are You Parenting from Fear?

I had the privilege of endorsing the book Mothering from Scratch by Kathy Helgemo and Melinda Means, and I can assure you this is a book every mother wants to read. I met Kathy and Melinda at The MOM Initiative Better Together Conference in Jacksonville, FL last summer. Kathy took my workshop on Praying for Your Prodigal based on my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. In today’s guest blog, Kathy shares the feelings that stirred in her while listening to me speak.

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Breaking Free From Parenting Out of Fear

by Kathy Helgemo

 

I heard Janet talk at the Better Together conference last July on the topic of Parenting Your Prodigal. Once she started talking about parenting out of fear, I found myself sitting up. Listening. Wondering. Do I do that?

Oh, really Janet.” I thought. “You must be talking to someone other than me.”

I don’t consider myself a scared person. I actually don’t consider myself a particularly anxious person either. So, I found it interesting when God started laying on my heart that this was a problem of mine. I don’t have this problem, remember?

But this day He revealed to me that I truly did. And I better pay attention. Pronto.

Parenting from a place of fear has more to do with us than our kids. Yet, they suffer the consequences. Ouch.

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble enjoying the good times on occasion. For years, I constantly worried about my kids repeating my mistakes. Not theirs — mine.

I have parented my children as if they were making the same mistakes I did — even when they weren’t making any at all. No wonder they felt like they were doing something wrong. Guilty. For nothing.

They weren’t doing anything in particular.

Sure I did it when I was their age.

But they didn’t.

And hopefully they won’t.

Here is some of the evidence that I found in myself about parenting with fear:

  • I made normal transitions into drama-filled experiences. Too much attention. Too much anxiety. It’s akin to keeping on the training wheels way too long because it’s easier than seeing scraped knees. It’s normal to stumble and fall.
  • I tried to control their relationships too much. I didn’t want them to get their feelings hurt or hang out with “the wrong kids”.  After all, that’s what happened to me. However, they need friends and connection. They also need to learn how to discern the difference between good and bad influences.
  • I completely exaggerated everyday dangers. Here are some examples: strangers, alcohol, mean people, strange places. Dirt! For Pete’s sake. Those problems are not going to leave the planet anytime soon. I had an “all or nothing” attitude regarding some of them and it got out of control.
  • I worried about their achievements as if they were my own. How is this fearful? It’s the fear of failure. If we have struggled with the fear of failure ourselves, it’s so easy to project it onto our kids. For example, perhaps we were never a straight A student. We struggled just to get by on B’s and C’s. Suddenly, our kid’s excelling in school. Obsessing over of their grades becomes our focus. It’s much easier than to work through our own feelings of failing as a student.
  • I tried to prevent any kind of pain. We are their mothers! Gosh, darn it! We don’t want to see them in any kind of suffering. Unfortunately, that would prevent an awful lot of learning too. We can love them through anything. Teaching moments only happen when we get out of the way. Now, that’s scary!

Remember…

Love is the opposite of fear. Willing our child’s good above our own can be hard.

Staying in the place of fear, however, robs them of the security of knowing what real love is.

Let’s focus on loving our kids, giving them the security that their good is truly the center of our motives and actions.

And there you have it….

When are you parenting out of fear?

 

How can you break free and parent more from love?

 

What’s one area you can turn over your fear to God letting Him take control?

 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Mothering From Scratch.

 

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Kathy Helgemo blogs over at Mothering From Scratch. She co-wrote the book Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Parenting Style That Works for You and Your Family with Melinda Means. Together they support and encourage moms to develop their own mothering recipe.

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Sadie Let Her Light Shine!

Sadie RobertsonSadie Robertson shines on the last night of Dancing with the Stars!

I’m not typically a follower of Dancing with the Stars. The only clips I see are when we DVR Castle and the DVR tapes the end of DWTS. As we fast forward, I notice that the costumes are often revealing and the dances sensuous. But all that changed this season when I heard that Sadie Robertson, granddaughter of Phil and Kay Robertson and of Chrys and John Howard, was going on the show: I took notice.

I’ll still have to admit that we didn’t watch any of the shows, but Monday nights before bed, I watched the online video clips of Sadie’s dances and cast my vote.

Backing Up a Bit

We are strong supporters of the Robertson family and their bold profession of faith that runs throughout their popular TV program Duck Dynasty, in their public appearances, and in private life. What Christian could not support that kind of a witness? Willie Robertson is the son of Phil and Kay Robertson and Sadie Robertson’s proud dad.

Sadie’s mom, Korie Howard Robertson, is the daughter of Chrys and John Howard who were my publishers for Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I first met the Howards when they came to a conference at Saddleback Church. We had already signed the contract for Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and they wanted to meet me. This was my first “trade” book contract after publishing the Woman to Woman Mentoring Resources with LifeWay, who flew me to Nashville, so I thought meeting the editors was the norm in Christian Publishing. Seventeen books later, I now know it’s not.

Chrys and John Howard were down-to-earth people interested my journey through breast cancer. John had just battled colon cancer, so we understood much about each others journey before we even met. I appreciated Chrys and John for their sincerity and profession of faith from the minute I met them on the Saddleback Church patio.

After the release of Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer, I was often at publishing events with the Howards and they welcomed me as family, just as they did with all their authors. They always invited me to dinner with them and supported my writing and ministry. So I was thrilled when we signed a second contract for Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter and I was able to stay in the Howard Books family.

The Howards later sold their publishing company to Simon & Schuster and are no longer the owners of Howard Books, but we are still friends. So it was with surprise and delight when I started reading about this new program that was taking TV by storm, Duck Dynasty, and read that Willie Robertson was married to Korie Howard Robertson, the Howard’s daughter.

It wasn’t long before Dave and I were Duck Dynasty fans, and after hearing Phil Robertson preach at Saddleback Church, we were fans of Phil too. How could we not be? The Robertsons use whatever fame and fortune God blesses them with to further the kingdom and tell the world about Jesus.

This Little Light of Mine . . . I am Going to Let It Shine

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

When I heard that Sadie Robertson was going to be on Dancing with the Stars, I knew the Lord was opening up yet another “worldly” platform for Jesus to shine through the Robertsons…and shine He did. From the very beginning of the show, the media focused on Sadie setting boundaries on her costumes, dance moves, and choreography. The news liked to say her refusal to wear sinuous, revealing costumes was because of a segment on Duck Dynasty where her dad Willie insisted that her prom dress be modest. So at first the media and the show made a big deal about Willie approving of her costumes, but Sadie said that offended her a bit because it wasn’t just her dad’s approval she was seeking, it was God’s. She wouldn’t wear anything that offended God anyway, so of course her Dad would approve.

During the first few weeks, I read many speculations that Sadie wouldn’t be taken seriously because of her age and her values/faith. The media said the judges and audience would judge her harshly because of her “morals and faith” and didn’t give her much of a chance at success. I think at first this might have been true; but so many were praying for her, and there was just no way the judges and the audience could find fault with the effort, enthusiasm, and earnestness with which she gave her all and did fantastic. Soon the media swapped those dire predictions for acknowledgement of how well she was doing and the amazing talent she was showing and developing. That’s what happens when God’s on your side.

Sadie had no dance experience, and yet we watched her week after week give amazing performances that shocked the judges and the audience. She had hopes of making it through the third round of dances, and last week we saw her and her dance partner, Mark Ballas, as one of the four finalists and many thought she would win. She came in second, which was still phenomenal for a girl who had never danced before.

But more important than whether she placed first or second, was the impact of her sweet attitude, even under criticism—her smile, sincere and bright—her “light” that all the judges commented was infectious and shined through all her performances on and off the stage.

We know where that “light” comes from—the world was seeing Jesus’ light shine through this 17-year old young lady, who put herself out there for the scrutiny of the world, and even some Christians I might add, but she never let her light go out. The program aired her testimony and didn’t edit out when she talked about God and Jesus. One headline said she prayed twice before each performance, once with her family and once with her dance partner, Mark Ballas.

All Glory to God’: Sadie Robertson’s Inspiring ‘DWTS’ Farewell Message — and Why One Judge Called Her ‘An Excellent Role Model’

Before millions of people, Sadie expressed her gratitude at the end of the show and thanked God for the journey.

“It’s just been an amazing experience. I just want to say I’m so thankful to God who has brought me this far in this competition,” she said. “I feel like I really accomplished what I wanted to accomplish on this show and I’m so glad it was Alfonso. He deserves it.”

In an Instagram message posted after the finale, Sadie also thanked her fans for helping her make it to the end of the competition and, again, offered up praise to God for the experience.

“All glory to God for this crazy experience,” she said.

The judges had plenty to say about Robertson’s skills on the dance floor, also showering her with praise for her moral character and peppy demeanor.

“Sadie, I think you’re an excellent role model and a representation of what youth should be today,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba proclaimed. “You’re clean, you’re elegant … everything about you I love.”

Bruno Tonioli added, ”Your personality is so bubbly, so vivacious, your charm always shines through in everything you do. Mark has really done a fantastic job in making you look like a dancing princess.”

I’m Facebook friends with John and Chrys Howard, and as I watched the glowing comments and congratulations flood their Facebook pages, this comment captured the ministry Sadie has had—

“Congratulations on all she has achieved and thank her for inspiring us to live out our faith every moment and always reach for the stars!”

The Bible tells us not to hide our light, but to let it shine for the world to see. The brightest a light shines is in the dark. When we only give our testimony or witness to other believers, we may be preaching to the choir already living in the light. But when we’re willing to take the challenge of letting our light shine into the darkness, that’s where we can really light up the world. Sadie danced her way into the hearts of a dark dark world, and her light became the topic of conversation. Often it was said with a baffled or surprised influx…like I don’t know what this is I’m seeing in you, but I like it. Sadie and her family always let everyone know that light was Jesus.

A Family Ministry

Unlike so many innocent young “stars” that have been thrown into the limelight by their families, who seem to let their precious daughters go the way of the world, the Robertsons and Howards were with Sadie every step of the DWTS journey. Grandma Chrys Howard, “2-Mama” made the commitment to be with Sadie the entire time she was in Los Angeles. And every show had many of the Robertson-Howard clan cheering for Sadie and Mark.

The last night of the finals, the camera caught the tears of proud daddy Willie Robertson as he watched his precious daughter shine on the dance floor. How many girls long for a daddy that sensitive who sees the beauty and grace of the young woman his daughter is becoming?

What Can We Learn from Sadie?

I posted on my FB page:

This is the face of a leader in the next generation for Christ! Without any dancing experience, she came in 2nd last night in ‪#‎DWTS but on God’s platform she’s a winner. She was a bright light shining in LA and to millions who watched. It was a joy to watch her win over the judges. Last night judge Carrie Ann Inaba (who I thought had been really hard on Sadie and admits that she was skeptical in the beginning) commented also on Sadie’s “light” and smile and said she was a role model for her generation! That’s huge coming out of Hollywood. Sadie was bold about her faith and standards in a loving natural way that won over everyone’s hearts. Keep shining that light for Jesus Sadie…God has great plans for you. And mamas let Sadie and her family be a role model for your daughters and granddaughters!

Sadie had a book release during her time on DWTS Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values . This would make a great Christmas present for your teenage girls.

Sadies' book 2

Sadie has also teamed up with fashion designer Sherri Hill to create a collection of “daddy approved” prom dresses, which balance fashion with modesty and fill a niche for Christian girls and their families.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

After The Party for the Returning Prodigal . . .

Last month, Alycia Neighbours wrote a guest post, Never Stop Praying for Your Prodigal. In that article, Alycia shares her prodigal daughter testimony that touched many of my, and her, blog followers.

 
I opened that blog explaining that in my book, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, Alycia’s mom, Chris Adams. shares the story of praying for her prodigal daughter. While I was writing the last chapter of the book, Alycia reunited with her family and I was able to include an excerpt from Chris’ journal of their reunion.

 
I asked Alycia if she would share what it was like when she returned after being gone for eight years, and how her twin-sister Amanda, felt about her return. Today Alycia and Amanda share with you the emotional rollercoaster of welcoming home a prodigal. As I read Alycia’s article, it confirmed everything I wrote in Section Five of Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, “Welcoming Home Your Prodigal Daughter.” Remember, that everything in the book, as well as Alycia’s suggestions, also apply to a prodigal son.

Alycia Neighbours prodigal home cartoon.= website

The prodigal has returned. Hugs, parties, and fatted calf are over—and now everyone sits back wondering, what next?

Not Everyone is Celebrating

In the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-31, Jesus tells the story of the brother who wasn’t happy watching all the celebration over the return of the “black sheep.” After all, he had been there all along, probably comforting his family, picking up the missing brother’s slack, and being the good reliable son.

I can’t tell you much of what happened after that Scripture story, but I can tell you that when I returned home as a prodigal, it wasn’t all parties and celebrations. It was hard for all of us. Major trust had been broken that needed restoring. There were hurt feelings that needed soothing. Anger needed releasing; forgiveness was going to be a long road.

I had changed. I was different. I was humbled.

I wasn’t trusted. I had set off a grenade in my family and things weren’t going to just fall back into a normal pace—despite my desperate desire to be back in my family.

My twin sister was thrilled I was found, after she had made many dead-end searches; but at the same time, she was furious that I was home

“It was trust. I didn’t trust that she wouldn’t run again, and then I am left with my parents destroyed AGAIN. She had run all her life. She had lied. What made this time so different? I couldn’t trust her, no matter how normal she seemed to be. I was the one always there for my parents. I did most everything right. Why were they so willing to accept her back? I was angry at her actions and her trying to prove she was a different person. She was missing for eight years, but she had been running long before that. I don’t know the pivotal point that made us closer again; but sometimes we fight (because we are sisters) and that anger and fear comes back.” – Amanda Dugger, my twin sister

Amanda and Alycia small

Amanda and Alycia

Restoration Takes Time

I couldn’t tell you the pivotal moment either. It just happened over a span of about seven years. It took years of being true to my word. The only time I ran was from my abusive husband; but this time, I ran to my family. I didn’t do everything right; there are many things I wish I could have had the foresight to see so I didn’t trip up again.

Many times since returning, I have had the urge to run again, but in a different direction. Now I run to my family and to God. Those I trust, believe in, and love.

There is a plot twist though. When my parents adopted Amanda and me, we had an older sister who remained with our biological family. I tracked her down, along with the rest of my biological family. I ended up hurting her too because I was hurting and needed to lash out at someone, and she was in my path at that moment. Presently, all relationships have been restored, but we will likely always be working at strengthening and learning to fully trust.

Twins and older sister

What I Want You To Take Away From My Story:

• Trust and restoration is possible, but it will take time. Be patient and honest with your feelings. Communication heals hurt. Your prodigal will want to prove herself/himself, but she/he is hurting too.
• Establish acceptable boundaries from the moment your prodigal comes home. Let her/him know what behavior is expected and not permitted.
• Expect the restoration process to be time consuming and emotionally consuming. Prayer is the only way to combat unexpected feelings that arise.
• Siblings and other family members affected by the prodigal should be encouraged to reunite on their own timetable. We all arrive at trust when it feels right and we feel God’s nudge.
• Just like the prodigal in Scripture who came groveling to his father, your prodigal is probably humbled, ashamed, and emotionally distraught over her/his actions. Show compassion because just like your heart is broken, hers/his is too. At first, be gentle even when you don’t feel like it. Later, you can discuss the tougher subjects. Just love your prodigal.
• Triggers that caused them to run in the first place may make your prodigal feel the need to run again. Try right away to identify these triggers, respect that they are an integral part of your prodigal’s psyche, and work as a team to acknowledge, validate, and work through the triggers so she/he can feel secure that she/he has truly found her/his way back home.

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Thank you again Alycia for your openness and willingness to share your story to help other parents and prodigals. You can read more of Alycia’s story in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter.