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youarewhatyousee

The Holy Threesome (Part 5): You Are What You See

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It all starts mindlessly enough.

We see less than half-dressed women in the magazines. The suggestive sex-scene on the movie screen. The single bachelor and bachelorette stealing off for a night of romance on reality TV.

We hear the song lyrics about the boy and the girl in the back of a pick-up truck. We’re flooded with the instagram bikini pics and the celebrity hook-ups and the barely-there-fashions on models who look nothing like us.

We’re already in the midst of being awkwardly introduced to the budding hormones inside of us. And all these new things peak our interest and feel good. And look good. And please us. So why look away? Why think too much about what we’re taking in if we believe the fact that we’re not putting out is good enough? After all, we’re kids. And all of this we’re being exposed to becomes more and more normal, every day, to us.

Then gradually, over time, the intensity picks up. And the half-dressed women in magazines become the completely naked women on our computer screens. And the suggestive sex-scenes in the movies become the hard-core porn in our browser history. And the single bachelor and bachelorette’s night of romance becomes a trigger for our own arousal as we find ourselves lusting for and coveting the same empty things.

And we become young adults who move from mindless kids to reckless teens because we’re desensitized to the sensitivity of sex as a precious thing.

How did we get here? From innocent to unfazed so quickly? And, even worse, defensive about these things?

I read recently that the average age a child is exposed to pornography is eight years old.

Eight.

I was about that age, if not even younger than that. If you read my viral post, 50 Shades of Grace, you know that I was exposed to pornography young. And struggled with the bondage of that temptation and the repercussions of that fixation for years to come.

But my struggles with porn weren’t simply born out of my first glimpse at a graphic scene. They were born out of an unguarded heart and unspoken conversations that nobody thought to have with me. They grew out of a desensitization to broken, messy things and an unawareness that what I was mindlessly taking in, on a day-to-day basis, was actually shaping me.

In a 50-Shades-of-Gray-Orange-Is-the-New-Black-Kardashian world, there is no slowing things down. There is no changing the trajectory of a sex-crazed culture fueled by big money. There is also no way to shield ourselves from ever coming into contact with these things. We’d have to lock ourselves inside our homes and never turn on a phone or a computer or a TV.

But those wouldn’t be the first steps of change, anyways. Because changing those things is entirely too far out of our short-term reach. What’s not out of our reach is choosing, wisely and with self-control, what we choose to see. After all, we may not be able to control what we are served, but we have complete control over what we choose to eat.

It is a basic principle, but a conversation that seems to have been forgotten, spiritually. Or maybe a conversation too far delayed when we step back and look at the reality of the situation and the ages of exposure to certain things. We know that someone doesn’t become obese after eating one cupcake, it takes long-term and continuous consumption of high-sugar, fatty foods. In the same light, we know someone doesn’t become an expert in their field of study because they solved one equation correctly. It takes hours of study and practice and application to master a technique. Just as someone doesn’t go bankrupt from spending one dollar unwisely. It takes several poor decisions, irresponsible investments, or careless spending. And behind all of these things exists conscious mental decisions and choice-making. So why would the same simple, guiding standard not be applicable to what we consume, visually?

If you are what you eat, are you not also what you see?

Jesus spoke to this fundamental truth in Matthew 6:22-23 when He said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” In other words, we are shaped by what we see. What we choose to watch. What we consume mindlessly.

If we want to understand the root of where so many of our sexual issues grows, we’d be wise to begin paying attention to what we are seeing and watching and reading. What our prayer must become is, “God, give me eyes to see the world as you do.” And what our awareness must shift to is what we are taking in, and what that’s desensitizing us to.

Because when the naked woman on your computer screen is finally seen as a daughter of the King being exploited for sexual reasons, it changes things.
And when the sex-scene in the movie is finally seen another cheap attempt for the box office to make money, it changes things.
And when you realize the reality TV show showing singles wiling to compromise just about anything to get a rose and a ring looks nothing like a pure and holy and God-honoring reality…it changes things.

But most notably, when you begin to see sexual things outside of the context of how God intended them–NO MATTER the intensity or degree–you begin to understand why sin breaks God’s heart when it has its stranglehold around you and me.

We are called to guard our eyes and guard our hearts fiercely. May we have the commitment of David who said, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.” (Ps.101:3)

God, give us eyes to see the world as you do, and help us to fix our gaze on You.

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”

 

see more at moisom.com

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Dancing on the Shore

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Dancing on the Shore

by: Jessica Dunn

 

I went for a drive without much of a destination in mind, but a desperate need to be alone. To clear my thoughts. To breathe.

As I drove, I found myself nearing the fresh, salty air and the bright blue skies that faded into the deep blue of the ocean in the distance.

Peace.

As I stood with my toes buried in the sand freshly chilled by the ocean waves, I soaked in my surroundings. Running around the shore there was a little girl, who could not have been more than five years old, having the time of her life. Further out in the water stood her dad, observing her frolics through the water not deep enough to hit her ankles. As he stood with the waves up to his knees, he called out to his little girl. She could hardly hear him over her laughter and overwhelming joy that seemed to have overcome every fiber of her being. She was joyously content. She cried out to her daddy, wanting to show him how much she enjoyed being right where she was. He continued to call out to her, wanting her to join him in the deeper waters. But the shore was more than enough for her.

I heard the stillness of the Lord’s whispers dance off the waves as I stood in the midst of this sweet moment drawing me to pay close attention to this exchange occurring before me.

That little girl, dancing content on the shores of the vast ocean, reminds me so much of someone I know very personally. Someone I cannot seem to escape. Someone I call “me”.

How many times have I frolicked in contentment with my own plans, ideas, securities, dreams? How many times have I called out to my Father to show Him what I was doing while I ignored His calls to me? How many times have I noticed His presence only so I can be sure He is noticing me? How many times have I refused to walk further into the waters, even though it meant being closer to the One who was calling me near? How many times have I stayed, right where I am, when my Creator just wanted me to be right where He was?

I don’t know what it is about the depths that seem to confine me to the shores. All I know is that I’ve got the dance down where I’m comfortable and secure. I know it so well, I have no problem showing it off when life is familiar and easy to prance through. It is those waters that I have left uncharted that I don’t seem to trust. They are just too big, too unknown, too foreign, too overwhelming. What if I do go deeper? Then my dance is going to have to change. I can no longer scamper around like I once did so well. Walking into the waves requires different steps than I have been doing.

But that is where my Dad is. Our Abba.

I call out to my Father just to ensure that He is still paying attention to me; failing to realize that I have never once lost His attention. He stands aware of every move, even when I move farther and farther from Him. And as I call, His heart leaps at the reminder that I have not forgotten His existence. But my cries are all in vain as I continue my dance through my sweet naivety of what awaits beyond the waves. My laughter fills the air and I cannot imagine there being anything better than where I have found security.

When I pause long enough, I hear the cries of my Father, calling me closer to Him. His sweet voice beckons me to join Him in the deeper unknown. How can I resist? But I do. His voice is drowned out by the sound of my contentment as I dance through my own familiarity. Yet His call remains constant still. “Come.”

He is a good, good Father. He wants to reveal so many wonders to His children. All we have to do is step beyond our contentment and run towards the arms of our Dad. You are noticed by the Father; He is enthralled by you and has never stopped fixing His attention on you. He is calling you closer, just to be with Him. He wants to teach you a new dance that takes place in deeper waters.

He wants more than your attention, as you dance along the shore. He wants to wrap you in His arms and take you beyond where you have been before.

 

-See more at: jessicajordandunn.blogspot.com

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STREET TALK: What do you need to be content

STREET TALK:

What do you need in life to feel content?

Check out what some others have to say about it.

50-shades-of-grace

50 Shades of grace

50-shades-of-grace

50 Shades of Grace

by: Mo Isom

When I opened the heavy door of the silver truck and a playing card fell out from the wad of papers and business cards and folders wedged behind the passenger seat…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When my innocent eyes turned it over to see a man and a woman doing things I felt dirty for even seeing…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When my heart wanted to pound out of my chest and my hands started to sweat and I tried my hardest to act like I hadn’t seen a thing when the daddy I loved climbed into the driver’s seat…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I, a little girl, couldn’t get those images out of my head…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when my curiosity and confusion lead me to search for what else I could find when nobody was looking…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I found more of the filth and the porn and the nudity…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I tried to forget the things I had seen and felt guilty for the curiosity that lingered in me…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when I first rationalized that it wasn’t all that bad if it was allowed in the movies…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I came downstairs in the middle of the night for a glass of juice, and instead turned the corner to see the things on TV that kept my dad out of the arms of my mommy…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when, time and time again, I stumbled into our home office and saw him quickly turn off the computer screen…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I started to get older and began to come across more of the things that bound and plagued the mind and heart of my daddy…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when those things began to interest and coerce the mind and heart of me…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For every time I found my way to the websites I shouldn’t have seen…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I idolized the allure and the power of the women on the screen…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For every time I thought becoming like them would make me sexy and accepted by the men I would meet…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And for every time I rationalized that I was watching it so I could learn a few things…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And for every time the guilt and shame, afterwards, lingered in me…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I thought becoming a woman meant pleasing a man…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the time I liked the idea of that high school senior, when I was just 14…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And for the memories that followed me after I tried a few things in the front seat of that Mustang GT…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the shame that bound me and the filthy courage that grew in me…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

As I craved the power I felt when I learned I could tease…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And for the number I lost track of, of guys who got a piece…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

Even through the twisted perception of power and beauty that blinded my ability to see…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When I convinced myself I was still HOLY and blameless because I’d never given anyone EVERYTHING…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When the rumors started spreading and the reputation of my actions owned me…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when the frustrated voices in my head wanted to scream at the strangers in my bed, but I put on a smile to seem sexy…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the night where one man almost forced me behind a locked door and muscles I couldn’t defeat…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

Through all of the desire and all of the tears and all of the brokenness that I made look pretty…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the still, small voice inside of me that never stopped repeating, “You’re worth more than all of these things…”

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And for the King who met me in my filth and wreckage, and told me I was redeemed…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the purity that was restored as I surrendered my desires…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the courage I was given to step away from the friends and the settings and the triggers of my promiscuity…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

In the times where I was tempted and everything in me had to fight against the enemy…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

Despite the sins I stumbled back into and crawled out of in defeat…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

Despite the doubt and the judgement and the laughter I received…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And in the season of singleness and devotion to a King I chose to help heal my suffering…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the new eyes I was given to see porn as God sees it…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the new heart I was given to ache deeply for the sexual sin in our society…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the new creation God made me, undefined by my broken things…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And for the forgiveness He extended when I struggled to forgive myself…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the man who came along and met me in my healing…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the hand that held mine and respected my body and pointed me towards righteous things…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

For the times he honored me and sought after me and cherished me as redeemed…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when he winced and sighed as I told him of my past and confessed my struggles and sins…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When he wiped my tear and lifted my chin and told me he forgave me because I was already forgiven by God…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When he found beauty in my scars and courage in my voice and joy in my smile and laugh…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when he took a knee and asked me if he could honor me for the rest of my days…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

When we exchanged vows and he promised to always put Christ before me…

I’m thankful for 50 shades of grace.

And when we crawled into a bed, as husband and wife, blanketed ONLY in holy matrimony…

I owed everything to the 50 shades of grace that were so undeserved, but so freely given to me.

– See more at: moisom.com

street-talk-what-is-love

STREET TALK: What is love

STREET TALK:

What is love?

Watch this and decide for yourself.

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TRUTH OR DARE: Craig Gross

CRAIG GROSS

XXXCHURCH FOUNDER

From “Porn and Pancakes” Sundays to “Jesus loves porn stars” bibles, Pastor Craig Gross has been at the heart of religious controversy for over 10 years. In January of 1999 Craig left his job as a youth pastor and began Fireproof Ministries with his best friend Jake Larson. They started Craig and Jake LIVE, speaking at youth events and eventually put on their own events across the country. A few years later after seeing so many young people devastated by the effects of pornography Craig saw a need to create a safe place online where people could get help and the truth about pornography. In early 2002 he launched XXXchurch.com to provide a place of help and healing for those affected by the porn industry both inside and out. Today Craig leads the XXXChurch speaking out in biblical truth to both the church and porn industry about what happens when we get real, honest and accountable about pornography. Craig is the author of nine books and has been featured in GQ magazine, Newsweek, Time, Wired, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, CNN, Fox News, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

For more information about Craig and the XXXChurch Ministry visit: WWW.XXXCHURCH.COM

media-stream-heart-check

#Heartcheck

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#HEARTCHECK

by: Mo Isom

It is not difficult to ACT like Christ. What is difficult is to REACT like Christ. What do your responses say about your soul?

“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.” –Proverbs 19:11 (NLT)

– See more at: moisom.com

street-talk-what-is-beauty

STREET TALK: What is Beauty?

STREET TALK:

What is beauty?

Watch this and decide for yourself.