Overwhelmed with Life

Friends, I have to apologize for my long silence.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve written a blog and even today, I’m pushing myself.

The first week in May I was diagnosed with insulin resistance or pre-diabetic.

Needless to say, after being a Curves Manager and Trainer for 2 years in Houston, I was shocked!

It seems I had let my diet slip more than I realized.

I’ve been overwhelmed and depressed; adjusting to the new diet has been extremely difficult.

All is not lost, my blood glucose isn’t out of the park-high, so that’s a good thing. If I follow the regimen I should get my numbers back down to a healthy level before too long.

My biggest challenge has been keeping my faith up and watching the words I’m confessing over myself.

For a time I’ve put aside ministry studies and research to focus on health and nutrition. One of my personal rules is: “If you have something good-share it.” So in the coming weeks I’ll be writing about the new things I’m learning.

I appreciate your prayers as I persevere back to good health.

What Designer Label Are You Wearing?

Growing up in a lower-middle class family, with one income didn’t provide for many luxuries. We rarely ate at restaurants. We’d buy the Colonel’s chicken but mother would cook everything else. We vacationed in a tent or camper; never staying in motels. And when it came time to purchase groceries my mother was never taken in by brand names. My sister or I would ask for a brand name cereal, shampoo that we’d seen on a television commercial; but mother would buy the ‘store’ brand and say, “It all comes out of the same barrel.”
In the 70’s there were a few designer brands here and there, not like now! It seems in today’s culture women and men are all about the designer labels… 
Burberry, Gucci, Armani, Calvin Klein, Versace, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Chanel… ad infinitum… 
There’s designer everything from shoes, purses, clothes, watches, cars, dishes, food, furniture, even dogs.
A person can go designer crazy!
 
According to Wikipedia the term designer label refers to clothing and other personal accessory items sold under an often prestigious marque which is commonly named after a designer. The term is most often only applied to luxury items. While members of the upper-middle class, or the mass affluent, are perhaps the most commonly targeted customers of these designer labels, some marquees—such as Cartier—tend to a wealthier customer base.
The world may be all about designer labels but what about the label we’re wearing on our life?
The Apostle Paul in the third chapter of Colossians writes:
So, if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides.
That means killing off everything connected with the way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing what ever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy.

That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.
Your done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – The Message Bible

What designer label are you wearing today? A worldly label or The Master Creator’s label?

The best news of all: God’s designer label isn’t targeted to any one class of people.

God is a respecter of all persons.

If you haven’t yet, take this opportunity to try His brand…You won’t be sorry!

PRAYER:
Lord, help me to live the resurrection life with Christ. Help me to take off the old fashions and put on the new wardrobe you have for me. Help me to walk in Your love today.

Let’s Get Real About Porn!

thepornevent.com

From May 23-28, LifeChurch.tv and XXXChurch.com present ThePornEvent.com, a 25-minute interactive experience focused on the real-life effects of pornography.

ThePornEvent.com has two segments, one for men and one for women; more details and the schedule can be found at ThePornEvent.com.

During ThePornEvent.com we will examine the effect porn has on our lives and relationships, and look at next steps for those who are struggling.

Expect a non-threatening environment featuring stories, helpful answers, and an open conversation with people whoʼve traveled a similar path. ThePornEvent.com is for anyone who is interested in what it looks like to live a life beyond pornography.

Men’s Segment

During the men’s segment of
ThePornEvent.com, we’ll take an honest look
at how porn affects us as men, fathers, and
husbands. Through stories, answers to
common questions, and open conversation
we will talk about the hope men can find in
life beyond pornography.

Women’s Segment

During the women’s segment of
ThePornEvent.com, we will talk about how
porn affects us as women, mothers, and
wives. Through stories, answers to common
questions, and open conversation we will talk
about the hope found beyond our personal
struggles with porn and also how to support
and care for family members that are dealing
with sexual addiction.

If you or someone you know struggles with porn, please set aside some time to join us at ThePornEvent.com during one of the many sessions that will be available between May 23-28. 

Countdown to Launch!

The readers of my blog include longtime friends and family who’ve known me before and during my darkest days of sin and sexual addiction. I’ve also made many wonderful friends on my recovery journey from Houston to Abita Springs, Dallas, Sacramento and now San Jose. 
You’ve all been very supportive of my budding blog ministry to women and I thank you.
For the last 5 years I’ve spent the bulk of my time reading and studying everything I can get my hands on related to addiction recovery, spiritual growth and ministry. I’ve had a few part-time jobs and led some Bible studies along the way, started a couple of writing projects, but primarily my focus has been on preparing for ministry as I await God’s timing and direction. I don’t have a college degree; instead I go to the School of The Holy Ghost! Far better in some regards… rather than mere book knowledge; I have real world experience that will go a long way helping women who struggle with many of the same issues God has delivered me from.
Well friends, today we begin a countdown to the official launch of the Reaching Hurting Women ministry! This weekend Bill and I will be attending the Launch 501c3 Conference hosted by XXXchurch.com in Las Vegas. A conference specifically designed to help new ministries get started; led by experienced ministers who are seasoned in leadership, networking and ministry development. They only accept 20 people at each conference; so we’re very grateful to be going. XXXchurch has been on the front lines in the battle against pornography and sexual addiction for over 8 years. Pioneers in the field, they’re literally taking Jesus to the streets of ‘Sin City’- Las Vegas! 
In other news, I recently enrolled in an online seminary to become an ordained minister so I can go behind the glass partition in prisons / jails and minister to women; maybe even do some teaching. I should be completed with the course by summer or fall this year. Needless to say, things are picking up and I’m very excited!
I humbly ask for your prayers as God continues to open the doors and create partnerships that will help us to make a difference in the lives of hurting women in our world today. 
 
I look forward to updating you as things progress!
Blessings… T
The Father has delivered and drawn me to Himself out of the control and dominion of darkness and has transferred me into the kingdom of the Son of His love. – Colossians 1:13

BOOK REVIEW: Chronological Guide to the Bible


Chronological Guide to the Bible
Thomas Nelson Publishers
March 2010
$24.99
217pp

For my BookSneeze Review this month I chose the Chronological Guide to the Bible. This book is an excellent reference for any serious Bible student. Extremely user friendly with a nice form factor and feel; great color photos and charts. It’s an enjoyable study tool. As a former home school mom, I see this as a great addition to any home school Bible curriculum, and best of all the Chronological Guide to the Bible works with any Bible translation.

Rather than being divided by the traditional order of books in the Bible, the Chronological Guide to the Bible is divided into 9 Epochs of time; with handy charts for chronological reading of the Bible. Where several of the Bible’s books overlap, (i.e., 1 & 2 Samuel / 1 & 2 Kings) they are combined to tell the history in the order of their occurrence.

Most of the information is adapted from The Chronological Study Bible published also by Thomas Nelson in 2008. The benefit to using the guide over the Bible itself, I believe, is primarily simplicity of use. As far as I can tell it isn’t necessary to own both, although I chose to purchase the Bible myself so I could give an accurate review. I personally prefer to have both in my library and would encourage others to do the same.

I thoroughly enjoy studying the Bible; and because I find Biblical history fascinating I really look forward to spending more time in the Chronological Guide to the Bible.

This is an excellent reference tool I’ll use in my personal library for many years to come. Thank you Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze!
 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Battling Resistance!

 

Spiritually and/or naturally – life is a battle. We are waging war constantly.
We all battle Resistance in some form; whether we’re starting a new company, trying to salvage our marriage, leading a project, writing a blog or just trying to clean the house.
Resistance, like a faithful friend but more of an enemy, will be there trying to keep us from doing what we need, want or are called to do.
I’m reading what’s quickly becoming a new favorite book; one I believe will be a most useful tool for many years to come:
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield.
This book is written to help writers/artists overcome their creative blocks. But it’s really more than that. I see it as a tool to help anyone who’s trying to accomplish anything worthwhile.

 “Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance? Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us. If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.
“Look in your own heart… a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.” – Steven Pressfield

What is Resistance?  
According to Mr. Pressfield here are some of the characteristics of Resistance: 
  • It’s the enemy within.
  • Tells us anything to keep us from our work.
  • Never sleeps.
  • Plays for keeps.
  • Most powerful at the finish line.
  • Self-Medication.
    “…any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity… any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower… will elicit Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield
    To counter act Resistance, Mr. Pressfield says the writer / artist must be a professional: show up every day no matter what, be committed for the long haul, master the craft or technique, accept pay for the labor, realize the stakes are high and real, not over identify with the job, keep a sense of humor, and receive praise or blame due.
    Personally, I find the above lists easy to relate, to not just as a writer dealing with procrastination when my computer is staring me in the face each day; but in every area of my life…
    Exercise
    Eating properly
    Going to bed on time
     Drinking 80oz of water every day!
    Simply, fighting all temptations big or small…
    I will take on Resistance and his seedy little game.
    Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you. Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will! Then you will receive all that He has promised. –Hebrews 10:35-36

    I’m determined, with God’s help, to be a professional at life…
    • To show up every day no matter what.
    • To be committed for the long haul.
    • To realize the stakes are high and real.
    • To keep a sense of humor.
    • To receive praise or blame due.
    • To keep God’s Word close to my heart and mind.
    • To fight the good fight of faith!

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. –Hebrews 12:1

    QUESTION: Where do you feel the most resistance in your life?

    Who’s Writing Your Story?

    I follow Michael Hyatt’s blog (CEO Thomas Nelson), where he recently recommended a book.

    I was unfamiliar with the author, but because I take Michael’s advice very seriously, I ordered the book.

    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:
    What I Learned While Editing My Life

    by Donald Miller

    $19.99
    Thomas Nelson Publisher
    ISBN 978-0-7852-1306-2

    This book caught me completely by surprise; and is now one of my top 10 books! I’m so taken by this book, I already want to reread it. I want to buy a case and pass them out to all my friends.

    It’s funny, profound, entertaining, thought provoking but most importantly — life changing!

    Maybe you’re in a low point of your life.

    Maybe not.

    Maybe your life is going great with no conflicts.

    Either way, this book is a must.

    It’s an easy, fast read that will catch you laughing out loud at the wonderful stories Don lives to tell.

    What makes this one of my favorite books?

    Simply – it made me look at my life in a completely different perspective and see that I have the ability to partner with God and write my own story.

    “A story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.” -Donald Miller

    We may feel like we’re a million miles and a thousand years away from being able to live what we believe is our “true story.”

    But whose fault is that?

    We don’t have a story because we are lazy. We don’t want to turn off the TV, get off the couch, and put away the Cheetos.

    We don’t see that God is allowing our character (us) to experience conflict that pushes us to become better people.

    “Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller.” -Donald Miller

    I don’t usually have to go too far to find the conflict in my life, it seems to come looking for me.

    The big question is:

    What am I doing with that conflict?

    “One of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage.

    … we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.” -Donald Miller

    What’s Your Story?

    Are you in conflict today but trying to numb the pain of it by depending on something or someone?

    Or you pressing through the conflict to find the resolution/freedom/joy that waits on the other side.

    “It’s a good calling, then, to speak a better story. How brightly a better story shines. How easily the world looks to it in wonder. How grateful we are to hear these stories, and how happy it makes us to repeat them.” – Donald Miller

    Let’s not be lazy and allow our life story to pass us by.

    Let’s partner with God to help tell His story through us.

    Passover: A Memorial to Freedom

    As Christians many of us don’t know exactly what to do with the Passover holiday.

    Isn’t it only a Jewish tradition?

    I’d like to take a look at this important holiday and maybe give you a fresh way to look at it in your life today.

    You may recall the 1956 classic movie The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston playing Moses. Although Cecil B DeMille took artist license with some of the story, most of it is taken directly from Old Testament accounts of the Israelite’s deliverance from 400 years of slavery.

    No doubt it will be shown this week on cable. If you haven’t seen it or it’s been a while since you have, I encourage you to watch it with you family this week. The visuals from this movie help me to have a clearer perspective on the reality of the Passover and its importance.

    In this story, God has heard the cry of the Israelite people who have been bound by slavery to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. A series of events leads Moses, who has grown up as a Prince in Egypt, out into the wilderness.

    God comes to Moses in a burning bush and asks him to go rescue the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. After some initial doubt, Moses agrees. He goes before Pharaoh multiple times asking for the Israelite’s freedom to leave so they can worship God. Pharaoh denies them their freedom.

    With each of Pharaoh’s denials God brings upon Egypt 10 plagues:

    1. All the water in Egypt turned to blood

    2. Frogs covered the land

    3. All of Egypt was swarmed with gnats

    4. Then a swarm of flies

    5. All the livestock dies

    6. All the people broke out in boils

    7. A hail storm killed all the plants and animals

    8. Locust covered Egypt and ate what was left after the hail

    9. Three days of such darkness that no one could move

    10. Death of all first born including people and animals

    During the first 9 plagues God protected the Israelite people. But for the final plague-Death of the Firstborn– the Israelite people had to take an action to protect themselves.

    Before the Death Angel came, God commanded the Israelites to put blood from an unblemished, first born lamb, over the door posts of each home; this would protect them from death.

    Inside their homes, the Israelites ate a meal of roast lamb, bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. They ate bitter herbs to signify the bitterness of slavery. Unleavened bread; because the dough didn’t have to rise.

    The meal was to be eaten while dressed for travel as a sign of their faith that God would deliver them. Although they were not yet free, they were to be prepared, for God had said he would lead them out of the bondage of Egyptian slavery. The Israelites were ready to leave at any time.

    I’m sure you know the rest of the story, the Death Angel comes; the Pharaoh’s son dies then in his grief finally agrees to let the Israelites leave.

    So what can we take from this story and apply to our modern lives today?

    What lesson is here for us?

    For us who are recovering addicts…?

    For us who have overcome a particular challenge in our lives?

    For us who have been freed from our own bondage?

    Since Jesus was Jewish, he celebrated all the Jewish traditions. As followers of Jesus doesn’t it make since that we would celebrate those same traditions as well.

    I suggest we take the Passover holiday and use it as an opportunity to celebrate the freedom that God has given us. Maybe have a Passover dinner with lamb, unleavened bread and some bitter herbs. I don’t mean in a legalistic way but simply to honor what God has done in our lives.

    I don’t know about you, but the Death Angel has passed me by several times!

    Praise God!

    I am free today from the bondage of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, from sexual and relationship addiction, from the grips of pornography, fantasy and disease.

    Father God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ; The Perfect Lamb, and covered me with The Blood that saved me from the ultimate Death.

    Let’s use Passover as a memorial to the freedom God has given us.

    QUESTION:

    What bondage has God freed you from?

    What can you do to remember the freedom God has given you?

    Maybe you aren’t yet free of your bondage?

    What can you do as a sign of your faith that God will bring you out as He has promised?

    Exciting News!

    I’m excited to announce that I’ll be writing as a freelance/guest blogger for the www.XXXChurch.com ministry starting sometime in April!

    For those of you unfamiliar, XXXChurch has been on the leading edge, tackling the porn industry from the inside, for 8 years now. In 2002, when I was heavily in my own sin/addiction I ran across their site one day when I was surfing for porn. I immediately thought it must be a joke.

    It’s far from a joke. The founders Craig Gross and Jake Larson started simply by showing up at the renown Las Vegas Porn convention with their own booth, telling the porn stars and producers that Jesus loves them no matter what they have done. The ministry has grown so much that now they’ve started, among other things, the Strip Church which is reaching Sin City with the love of Jesus Christ.

    Three years after I first heard of XXXChurch, I got free myself from sexual addiction and have followed their ministry closely hoping to one day partner with them in the fight against pornography. Praise God! That day has arrived!

    For my friends who’ve been with me so far, buckle up, this ride is about to get really exciting. God has opened a huge door for my ministry, one I’ve been anxiously waiting for.

    More details to come soon…

    Blessings… T