TRUE Love, just a few thoughts mine and others…

Abby,

Love is not blind.

She is not oblivious or weak or deluded.

Love’s heart, soul, mind and strength

Are sufficient to grasp and retrieve eternity.

Love compels and draws

The blind as they crush with wild abandon

Toward any scent of love.

Like starving beasts tracking an elusive prey

Loveless, they devour every attractive morsel.

Satiated for a moment

Just shy of real love, My love.

 

Note, the wickedness of men before conversion is no bar to their regeneration and reconciliation to God. The blood of Christ, and the washing of regeneration, can purge away all guilt and defilement. Note, none are cleansed from the guilt of sin, and reconciled to God through Christ, but those who are also sanctified by His Spirit. All who are made righteous in the sight of God are made holy by the grace of God. Matthew Henry Commentary

 

The story is told of Augustine who passed a familiar prostitute without turning a second glance at her. She turned and said, “Augustine, it is I.” To which he replied, “Yes, but it is not I.” He knew the truth that he was not who he used to be. Do you? One of our course members signs his emails, “Not I, Not Ever!”

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So You Like Living in Prison?

Wanted: a woman with Angelina’s arms, Jennifer Lopez’ butt, Jennifer Aniston’s hair, Courtney Cox’s beauty spot, the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast and Jessica Alba’s legs.

No, as far as I know, that ad hasn’t been published anywhere. Thank goodness. But as I have been reviewing Setting Captives Free and sharing my experience with the In His Image study, I began to wonder: what image am I trying to portray? Truthfully, I’m not all that familiar with any of the aforementioned women, but I do see the tabloid covers at supermarkets. And I have never actually tried to imitate another woman’s physique, but I have obviously been obsessed with my own perception of the “perfect body.”

I am so excited to see and feel the changes in my thoughts as I work through this study. It’s supernatural. Yes, Christ calls us to transform our minds – it takes work. But, He gives us all the tools we need for life and godliness and therefore to be obedient to this command. Through the simple act of obedience, putting my head and heart into His word, my face on the floor and my hand in His, I am changing! I can’t help but be transformed into the image of the one on whom I focus.

I strongly encourage you to enroll in one of the Setting Captive Free studies. No human being, this side of heaven, is so free that he cannot benefit from one of these courses. Choose a Bible study if you’re not sure where to start. There are self-paced studies offered on The Cross, Onward Christian Soldiers, Glorifying God, Philemon, Psalm 1 and Ruth. The site is available in nine different languages. You have no excuse!

Find Freedom Today!

Welcome to Setting Captives Free. Every day we help people just like you find freedom from habitual sins and learn to grow in grace. Our Christ-centered courses are free of charge and help people just like you escape impurity, over-eating, substance abuse, gambling, smoking and more. Join the more than 390,184 people who have benefited from Setting Captives Free. We’re glad you’re here, and we’re here to help!

Sick in Modern Idolatry

Setting Captives Free, is an almost overwhelming resource – or better said – collection of resources. I was introduced to it by another woman struggling through her husband’s addiction to pornography. Little did I know that God intended to use it to address my lingering love of my eating disorder.

Setting Captives Free offers online courses that address sexual purity, eating disorders, substance abuse, gambling, Bible study, self-injury and more. Listing Bible study as a category seems a little deceiving because the entirety of each program is laced with Scripture and the conviction that Jesus Christ is the only source of freedom from these behaviors – more accurately – sins.

Within each category, there is a listing of 3-6 individual courses focused on that issue. Currently, I am studying In His Image.

The goal of this 60-lesson course is your complete and final freedom from anorexia and bulimia.

The course is written by Setting Captives Free founder, Michael Cleveland and Kim Schmidt, who writes from personal experience. Here is a link to Kim’s brief bio, but she shares many more details of her story throughout the course.

Personally, for years through many treatment programs and professionals I was taught that my eating disorder and battles with food and exercise addiction were a “disease,” implying that it was something that happened to me without my choice. Not really. Yes, Satan is our diabolical enemy who prowls about like a lion seeking to destroy God’s creation, especially those in His Image (humans.)

However, especially as one who knew Jesus long before I ever began to idolize food and exercise, my descent into this hell was nothing short of sin. Like ancient Israel, I walked away from a loving, all-powerful God, into the arms of a tangible “king.” I wanted a god I could control. In deeper self-evaluation, I discovered that the driving force behind my eating disorder was a desire to prove myself independent, needless – that I was not weak like others – I didn’t even need food. In essence I wanted to believe that I was my own god and self-sustaining.

What an ugly picture. God is using this study, In His Image, to burn away my dross. Praise Him that in the midst of my sin, I was no less saved by the blood and grace of His son, Jesus Christ in whom I believed. But I also praise Him that He would not allow me to spend the rest of my earthly life wallowing in pathetic worship of a false and powerless god.

Setting Captives Free, A Review

This week I am in Texas preparing for the best day of my sister’s life! Chelle gets married on June 16!

But, the show must go on! So, this week I was planning to share some life-giving, truth-giving resources with you. With each of the links I provide, I am speaking from personal experience. I have either done the Bible study, sat through the tuition, faithfully read the blog, dialogued with the founder or participated in some other way.

This week we are looking at Setting Captives Free. I began the In His Image study  a couple months ago. I was in the middle of a couple other studies at the same time, so it took me a while to gain momentum. My generous mentor never rushed me, but she did encourage me that doing the study at a steady pace produces better results. She was right!

When I finished Breakaway at my church, I stepped up my progress at In His Image. Almost every morning, I find myself in tears in front of my computer. The lessons have been convicting – very. At the same time, my mentor balances the brunt of the truth with empathy and hope-sustaining Scripture. But I warn you these studies aren’t for the faint of heart, or just to make you feel good!

Here’s an additional devotional that my mentor shared with me today. We have actually developed a broader relationship, as she has experienced many similar pains to myself. This devotion was in response to another situation I shared with her. Enjoy!

WHICH ARE YOU?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

A young woman went to her mother and told her how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked. “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. After being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength? Or are you an egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit, but after a loved-one’s death, a relationship breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside you are bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or are you like a coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If I am like the bean, when things are at their worst, I get better and change the situation around me through Christ-likeness.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?

RESPONSE: Christians are like carrots, eggs or coffee beans. They don’t know how strong their response is until they get into hot water. Which are you?

PRAYER: Lord, help me realize that every experience You gives me, every person You put in my path, is the perfect preparation only You can see.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International.