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the Manna | July 2011


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the Manna | July 2011

Columns

15 | Lust at First Sight

05 | Signals 07 | On the Air

16 | Ticket to Ride

How do you fight dopamine. Where will you go if the bar breaks?

Features

18 | One Hot Mama

08 | Constant Craving

20 | Christ and Bodies

It all starts with the heart.

10 | Hey, Baby! What would you protect?

13 | The Cancer of Lust

Stay in Touch

You can want to be lusted after, you know. Jesus is for real?

22 | Facing Our Fears What’s got you scared?

24 | The Nature of Relationship Who you are is who you follow?

Lust isn’t a hobby, it’s a disease.

Extras 26 | Unfiltered

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the Manna | A Publication of Maranatha, Inc. Editor-In-Chief: Debbie Byrd Creative Director: Joe Willey Contributing Writers: Josh Millwood, Brittney Switala, April Smart, Brent Timmons, Karen Tull Media Client Liaisons: Janet Beckett, Mary Kinnikin

Frequently Asked Questions Who We Are The Manna is published by Maranatha, Inc., a Christcentered ministry called to proclaim the Good News of faith and life in Jesus Christ through various forms of media, as God directs, until He returns. “Maranatha” (mer-a-nath´-a) is an Aramaic word found in I Corinthians 16:22. It is translated, “Our Lord, come!” Joy! 102.5 WOLC is also part of Maranatha, Inc. Its call letters stand for “Watch, Our Lord Cometh.” Maranatha!

Disclaimer Non-ministry advertisers are not required to subscribe to the “Statement of Faith” printed at right; nor are their businesses and products necessarily endorsed by the Manna, Joy! 102.5 WOLC, or Maranatha, Inc., whose viewpoints are not necessarily represented by the opinions or statements of persons interviewed in this magazine; nor are the viewpoints of its advertisers.

Statement of Faith We Believe… that the Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible and authoritative source of Christian doctrine and precept; that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that the only hope for man is to believe in Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God, who died to take upon Himself the punishment for the sin of mankind, and who rose from the dead so that by receiving Him as Savior and Lord, man is redeemed by His blood; that Jesus Christ in person will return to Earth in power and glory; that the Holy Spirit indwells those who have received Christ, for the purpose of enabling them to live righteous and godly lives; and that the Church is the Body of Christ and is comprised of all those who, through belief in Christ, have been spiritually regenerated by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The twin mission of the Church is worldwide evangelization, and nurture and discipline of Christians.

Manna and Joy! 102.5 WOLC P. O. Box 130, Princess Anne, MD 21853 Voice: 410-543-9652 Fax: 410-651-9652 Manna e-mail: manna@wolc.org Joy! 102.5 e-mail: wolc@wolc.org ©2011 Maranatha, Inc. May not be reproduced without written consent of Maranatha, Inc. Photos: iStockphoto and Big Stock Photo

Maranatha Media | Home of Joy! 102.5 and the Manna


Signals Lust & Tiramisu I lust for tiramisu. Seriously. I’m not kidding. I lust for a fat juicy plum. And an iced coffee with just the right amount of Splenda and cream. And bacon. And sugared pecans. And maple donuts. Okay. You get it. I kid myself into thinking I can get away with it because it’s such an innocuous form of lust, and I’m not truly huge. Different people lust for different things and, usually, just the use of the word lust connotes something sleazy, something taboo. But lust doesn’t have to be sleazy. It’s simply something that brings pleasure, unrestrained gratification and intense enthusiasm, according to Mr. Webster. In other words, it’s what we obsess over. And it’s obsession that gets us into trouble. It’s something that consumes us so much that we are distracted from all else. Now, in my world, anything that requires intense enthusiasm takes a great deal of energy. And that is where my aha moment occurs! If I am putting intense energy into seeking that which I long for but really don’t need, and maybe something that’s really not all that good for me, then I’m putting as much effort and energy into fighting off the

urge – resisting the temptation – as seeking the indulgence to begin with. But what if I put equal energy into turning my whole being towards the Lord? What if my desire for Him, my enthusiasm for Him, exceeded all the enthusiasm and energy that I expend on the silly stuff? My eternal condition doesn’t hang on the hopes of a maple donut, but certainly my eternal condition hangs on my hunger for the Lord! The addictive behaviors that we succumb to in modern times – drug abuse, eating disorders, sexual addictions, workaholism, etc – are not specifically addressed as such in the Bible. But it does tell us that we can become enslaved by such behaviors. And it teaches that the way to freedom is found in obedience to God and his Word and in keeping in relationship with Christ. Often that relationship is referred to as our first Love – and we need to remind ourselves of the enthusiasm and energy with which we committed ourselves to our first love. Titus 2:12 tells us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we are to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” When we turn our obsession to Him, these other hungers, distractions, desires, lusts, simply disappear – despite the fact that maple donuts and tiramisu have a continuing appeal! Debbie Byrd is General Manager of Maranatha, Inc., a ministry that includes Joy! 102.5 and the Manna.

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On the Air Conversations On the air this month, be listening for singer/songwriter Heather Williams’s incredible new release called “God is Still God.” Williams describes her songs as “conversations” from her life. She grew up in poverty and suffered abuse—even being chained to a tree as punishment—before her mother gave her away when she was 11. Living with her grandfather, she became involved in drugs and alcohol. Then at 18, she reconnected with her birth father, began attending church, and became a Christian. Williams signed with INO Records and released her debut EP in 2010, spawning the hit single “Hallelujah.” Her full-length is due later this year. “My music, stylistically influenced everywhere from Ella Fitzgerald and Coldplay to Led Zeppelin, is an open look into my relationship with God,” the Floridabased singer says. “Being a woman and a mom gives me a grounded view in my songwriting and toward my audience.” You can check out more from Heather Williams, including music, videos, and photos, by clicking here (www.heatherwilliamsmusic.com).

God is Still God Wish I knew what I’m supposed to say to you What you’re going through But I don’t know what you’re feeling Does anyone know what you’re feeling right now You’re afraid The future’s like an enemy, and you just wish you could see ‘Cause you don’t know where you’re going Don’t let it keep you from hoping right now Yeah we’ve all been lost and we’ve all been hurt Where our hope is spent and our faith don’t work But nothing lasts forever The only thing that matters Is God is still God and He holds it together Rodney Baylous is Program Director of Joy! 102.5. Visit www.wolc.org.

Listen Now! Check out our Program Guide at wolc.org

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | July 2011

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Constant Craving

ŠiStockphoto.com/Bluestocking

By Karen Tull


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f you’ve read The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien or watched the popular film adaptations, then you’re familiar with the character of Gollum, the pitiable creature obsessed with the evil ring of power and who lives for nothing else but to have it in his possession. The decline into depravity begins the moment Gollum first lays eyes on the ring. Immediately captivated, his greed compels him to steal and murder in order to have it for himself. Thereafter, he spends years alone gazing at his beloved “precious,” adoring and idolizing it. Gollum becomes a slave to the ring and only a hideous shadow of the person he once was. His lust for it rules him and ultimately brings about his demise. This allegorical tale paints a disturbing picture of one totally given over to innate and sinful desires. In his case, Gollum craves a particular object. For some, maybe his story doesn’t resonate at all because they don’t feel a lust for tangible things. But in reality, we can lust after almost anything. Author Joshua Harris defines lust in this way: “Lust is an idolatrous and ultimately insatiable desire that rejects God’s rule and seeks satisfaction apart from Him. God says, ‘You shall not covet’ (Exodus 20:17). But lust tells us that what we don’t have is exactly what we need. Lust covets the forbidden. Lust grasps for, with our eyes, hearts, imaginations, or bodies, what God has said no to.” In His Word, God lays out how He wants His people

to live. There is right and wrong, and when God says “no” to something, it’s for our own good. The world and its pleasures are indeed enticing, but they’re always fleeting. They never truly satisfy. Lust is a thirst that is never quenched. The truth is that we do have a void in us. We’re incomplete. God made it so when He created us because He wants us to choose Him to fill the emptiness inside. After all, only He can do this. We become whole when we invite His Son, Jesus Christ, into our lives to have a relationship with us and to heal the wounds we’ve inflicted on ourselves through bad decisions. Looking for that fulfillment anywhere else is rebellion against God. He is the one offended. When we lust after and worship anything other than God, we are basically saying to Him, “I know what’s best and I don’t need you.” But all we are doing is putting ourselves in bondage to an idol that couldn’t care less if we sink or swim. Scripture says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). If we are to be freed from the stronghold of lust, we must be willing to cut out from our lives the things or people causing us to stumble. Though it may seem like we’re saying goodbye to a friend, it has been no friend to us at all. Left unchecked, lust will ruin us. “God never calls us to sacrifice as an end in itself,” Harris explains, “but only through sacrifice on the way to great joy. On the other side of the seeming loss and denial is always reward and pleasure so deep and intense that it’s almost impossible to call what you gave up a sacrifice at all. And that’s true even if the suffering and self-denial God calls us through lasts a lifetime.” No one is immune to becoming a Gollum. We may be surprised at the depths to which we’d fall if the temptation were powerful enough. But a hand is there, ready to bring us back to the light and remove the chains. We need only ask to receive what will truly satisfy us forever.

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notice scantily clad girls. I don’t whistle or leer at them, but like most men, I am hardwired to notice. Hey, I’m just being honest! You try being a guy in this world of sexiness and then judge me. I’m about to turn 30, so pretty much my entire life I have lived in a media-driven world, from television during my childhood and then the internet taking over sometime during high school. I have been assaulted by sexuality for as long as I’ve been able to comprehend that girls were pretty and they made my hands all sweaty. It’s like a deafening noise the world is blasting out of speakers in the back of a souped-up ghetto car. My first crush was Princess Leia. Two words: metal bikini. Even a movie that featured Ewoks had some sort of sexuality in it! From my perspective, things have only gotten more tantalizing. This past year on ABC’s prime time family hit Dancing With The Stars, one of the “stars” was famous for being a Playboy bunny. I’m sure some conservative groups must have been busy sending in hate mail to ABC executives. Simply not watching would probably suffice. I didn’t watch, but that’s because I don’t consider D-list actors stumbling across the ballroom to be entertainment. I’m sure my personal taste in television and movies would be appalling to some, conservative to others, and right-on to a few selective folks I like to call “awesome-like-me.” I don’t really want to get into an all-out assault on the entertainment industry. What I want is to tell you how somebody changed my perspective on what I deemed acceptable. You are probably thinking, here it comes...Jesus. That’s got to be where he’s going with this. Actually, no. I mean, Jesus has a lot to do with what I value. I love Him. I want to be like Him and make Him proud. But that isn’t where I’m going. I went from being a typical man to a Guardian of Purity when my daughter was born. My daughter’s name is Kaylee and she’s one and a half right now – the most awesome one and a half-year-old to ever grace this planet (no offense to you if you think your kids are the greatest). When Kaylee dropped onto the scene, suddenly all of my values shifted perspective. It was no longer about how something applied to just me or my wife, but how it im-

pacted Kaylee. That is a broad sweeping change in man’s life. Becoming a dad completely changed my view of the world. Things that once were not a big deal became great debates on morality. I’ve had many conversations with other parents about what they let their kids watch on TV or how they explain something controversial that their kids saw. Sometimes those conversations steer towards positive role models available to kids today. I like to call that conversation the Disney/Nickelodeon Street Brawl. But even those value-hocking actors and actresses fall from grace, leaving their fans disappointed and parents wagging their fingers as if to say, “I totally saw that coming! Good thing my kids only watch Christian programming from the 1970s!” From time to time, I’m sure I will fail to fully protect my beautiful daughter. I can’t put her on lock-down (the government frowns on that). While I have become more concerned with content and imagery, it is not about a list of rules and prohibitions. Truthfully, I don’t want to give her a list of rights and wrongs as much as I long to teach her to rely on the Bible and the Holy Spirit for guidance while traversing this fallen planet. It will be particularly challenging for Kaylee because she’s a little girl. The heightened sexuality of popular culture aims to objectify women. The pressures she will face I cannot even begin to imagine. One thing I do know is that she will have a dad who loves her no matter what. She will have someone rooting for her, telling her that she is valuable and beautiful. She will have a dad who loves her mother absolutely, demonstrating as best a marriage as we are capable of. She will have a family that seeks Jesus with all of their hearts, though we will fall short of the mark many times. Kaylee will have all of that at home, but it won’t prevent the world from putting doubts in her mind. Like all of us, she will be faced with hurts, sin, and peer pressure. That’s when I have to trust my Savior to protect her, just as He has me. Just like He changed the way I perceive the world, I trust that He can help her rise above the noise.


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The Cancer of Lust By April Smart

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ust is a taboo topic that many preachers and teachers avoid like the plague. It seems to be a tough topic that even parents have a hard time addressing with their children. Lust is a sin equally as bad as other sins and it is society who decides which one in their minds seems to be the worst. According to I John there are two types of lust: the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. The lust of the flesh could be a sexual lust. I Corinthians 7:9 describes sexual lust as a burning passion and that it would be better to marry than to burn in lust. The lust of the eyes could be the lust for things we see and want such as money, belongings, or power. Lust is like a cancer. It eats away at you until it consumes you. The more you give into it, the more it controls you. Many people confuse love with lust. You can identify the difference between love and lust by looking at its fruit. The action of love gives. It puts the needs of others first and is not selfish. The action of lust takes and is only concerned with obtaining one’s own needs or desires regardless of the negative consequences it may bring to self or others.

An example of lust is the story of David and Saul. King Saul wanted to be praised and admired by his followers. When David proved to be a mightier warrior than Saul, the people chanted of David’s success. Saul’s lust to be more powerful and more admired than David drove Saul to attempt to murder his own soldier. David’s relationship with Jonathan is an example of godly love. Jonathan was Saul’s son. Despite Saul’s command to murder David, Jonathan defied his father’s wicked orders and warned David of King Saul’s plan to kill him. If it were not for Jonathan’s love and compassion for David, David would have died prematurely before his appointed time. In today’s world there are many things that are desirable to have, however, if we step on others to get to our goals, we are operating in lust; but, if we seek the kingdom of God first, God’s Word promises that all these things will be added unto us. Lust is “I’ve got to have it now, no matter the price,” and love is “I’m going to put God and his agenda first, because I know He will give me the desires of my heart if I delight myself in Him.”

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Lust at First Sight By Keyanna Butts

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friend of mine once said that every romantic relationship begins with lust because physical attraction is the number one factor in establishing relationships between men and women. Now, my friend (who will be aliased “Sue”) is one of my closest companions. One of the strengths of our relationship is our ability to see eye to eye on an array of issues. However, I will admit that Sue’s statement did not settle well with me. As a young, single female and Christian, I’ve always been cautious in any romantic endeavor to ensure that my thoughts, feelings, and actions line up with the Word of God. For Sue to imply that even in the midst of my prudence I may have committed one of the seven deadly sins (lust) was shaming…and yet provoking. Could my love at first sight really be lust at first sight? Factually speaking, Sue is correct. Social psychologists note physical attraction as a primary initiator of relationships. I came across a recent article in Women’s Health magazine that stated, “When it comes to instant attraction, your brain, not your heart, kicks your desire into high gear.” Then, the article chronologically outlined the body’s hormonal and psychological processing when meeting a person to whom we are attracted. Within the first five seconds of interaction, the brain has processed his face, voice, and pheromones, and starts sending out dopamine, the same chemical responsible for feelings of elation. After five minutes, hormones are in full control, and the body begins producing testosterone. The adrenal gland makes heart rate increase and hands sweat. After ten minutes, the pituitary gland produces oxytocin, the hormone thought to promote bonding and monogamy. I will admit, I’m all too familiar with the sweaty palms, pounding heart, and fantasy of what our children may look like (don’t judge me) when introduced to a potential mate. The Bible commands us to abstain from lust (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). It clearly explains that lust is not only committed through fornication, but also when we entertain thoughts, feelings, actions, and other desires of the flesh that are not of God (1 John 2:16).

In retrospect, my decision to initiate a relationship at times has been fleshly driven. The excitement that comes from the mystique of a first date tends to cloud my spiritual consciousness. So, what is a single who is ready to find LOVE to do when neurological occurrences are in contention with the Word of God? In no way do I consider myself to be an expert on relationships, but after being awakened to this quandary, I studied the best love manual known to man – the Bible. I began implementing biblical principles to help me stay in control of my flesh, so that lust is not the driving force behind a relationship: Be sober-minded: 1 Peter 5:8 exclaims, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” To be soberminded means to be clear-headed and focused. This prevents you from getting caught up in the moment and yielding to the temptations of lust. Fast: Galatians 5:17 explains, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Fasting is one of the most powerful biblical disciplines used to bring the flesh under subjection, thus allowing your spirit to be in control. Being led by the Holy Spirit is crucial in any of life’s endeavors. Pray: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to, “Pray without ceasing.” Praying for wisdom, clarity, and direction on who and what God has ordained for you allows you to stay in the will of God, yielding promising results. Study: Hosea 4:6 states “…my people perish for lack of knowledge.” The Bible clearly defines what love is and isn’t (1 Corinthians 13). Understanding the biblical definition of lust and love helps to identify and distinguish the two L-words in order for you to clearly see which one is operating. As Christians, we must realize that we are all subject to lust. But through the Word of God, we obtain tools and guidance that, when applied, give us power to overcome the desires of the flesh, and be victorious in love.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | July 2011

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he other weekend, I went with a friend to an amusement park. It had been a few years since I’d gone on any sort of ride, and I thought some roller coaster action would make for a fun end to the week. After the first two, admittedly, I was a little shaken up. But I figured I was just working the kinks out. Those were only warm-ups – not even the upside-down kind. Now I was ready for the hardcore stuff. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice (common sense?) warned me, take it easy. So, we headed toward the roller coaster boasting four loops. As we got closer to the purple and yellow monstrosity, I saw exactly what I was getting myself into. Not only were we going to dip and flip at insane speeds, we would be doing it horizontally and traveling backwards. You’re an idiot, the voice muttered. I knew that was true. But I had ridden scary roller coasters all the time as a kid and I wasn’t about to wimp out now and let my friend down. We were locked and loaded in the ride and my stomach would just have to get with the program.

Ten seconds in, I knew I would regret this decision for the rest of the weekend. I was whirling around and around, unable to anticipate the next jolt. I saw sky, then grass, sky, then grass. My insides were revolting. But the worst part wasn’t that my breakfast was about to reappear or the embarrassment that would follow. As I stared down and felt the force of my body weight pressing down, I had the sharp and horrifying realization that only a mere metal bar was separating me from certain death. Before you ever get on a ride, of course, you know deep down that you’re putting a lot of faith in the parts and equipment that hold it all together. Depending on the venue, some of it can look pretty rickety. And chances are, the ride operators are there working summer jobs and likely don’t have engineering degrees. But somehow, it’s not until you’re suspended way up in the air that these facts are really driven home. So, while I was turning and twisting, a million “what-ifs” raced through my brain. After all, you hear about amusement park accidents all the time in the news. What if there’s a break

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Ticket to Ride By Karen Tull

in the track? What if the motor stops? What if this safety harness comes loose? Am I really going to go out this way? I had envisioned my last moments a bit differently. It certainly wasn’t the image of my jello-like body flying over a funnel cake stand and landing in a heap next to a clown. But to my sheer amazement and gratitude, all of a sudden I wasn’t in motion anymore. The madness had finally ended – I was still alive. I stood up to get out of the awful contraption and realized my equilibrium was completely shot. I teetered past the long line of folks waiting to have this experience for themselves (were they nuts?!) and collapsed onto the nearest bench. Why, oh, why had I willingly subjected myself to this? Did I really think so little of how I’d feel afterward...or so lightly of death? There were countless reasons why it could have ended badly for all of us. I had truly felt scared, in a way like never before. The one thing I had kept telling myself during the ride was that I knew where I would go should I hit the ground whizzing by beneath me. I had settled that years ago as a little

girl when I asked Jesus into my life. But what about those people who had been happily shrieking in front and in back of me? If they had died, where would they be spending eternity? The potential to die is constant. It’s everywhere we go. It’s not just when we take a risk by getting on a thrill ride. It’s the moment we leave our homes and get in our cars. It’s the business flight next week or the walk through a dark parking lot after a late movie. It’s all of those times and everything in between. For all we know, we could have a health problem that will take us out of here tomorrow. That’s why the time is now to decide whether Heaven or Hell will be our final home. After my day at the amusement park, I was reminded of a couple important things. First, I don’t think God ever intended the human body to be jerked around like that. And second, my time to die could come at any moment. I had better be ready.

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xhausted. The day has been one commitment after another…a drive over to the school office because your seven-year-old forgot her glasses, one of those annual exams at the doctor’s office, and a 10-minute conference about using an inside voice with your fouryear-old’s preschool teacher. Back at the house, you give your husband and kids a peck on the cheek and head out the door. Finally, some “me” time! With the windows rolled down, you eject the 25 Best Loved Children’s Songs CD and punch in your station. A red light stops you at the same time as a guy in a hot little Corvette.

Admiring the freshly washed cherry red color, you begin to wonder what he looks like. A quick glance away and a look at yourself in the mirror. What luck! It’s a good hair day! You’ve always looked your best in red lipstick. No way. He noticed you. I mean, really! (Insert heart-pounding sound effect here.) There’s definite eye contact going on. Beyond your pavement-gray minivan, he smiled showing teeth that probably cost the same as his hot little sports car. You savor the moment you wave back, imagining yourself sitting in that sports car, next to “Mr.Whitestrips.” A few minutes later, you park that


flashy gray minivan in your favorite space at the local coffee shop. You make your way through a group of chatty college students into the overcrowded shop and wave to your friends smiling over in the corner. The handsome barista takes your order – a grande mocha with that extra shot of chocolate. You have trouble finding the correct change digging through the mess of Happy Meal toys and school flash cards in your purse. The young man says, “Don’t worry about it,” picks a few coins out of the tip jar and attends to your drink. He asks about your day and shows genuine empathy when you tell him about your kids and their issues at school. You glance at his bare ring finger and think to yourself, “I wonder if he’ll be working next time I stop in?” As he hands you the drink you walk confidently to the high top table to meet the ladies from church. How did you feel picturing yourself in that scenario? My heart races at the thought of that kind of attention. My face feels flushed. I want to run to the bathroom and find that magic red lipstick that will make it all happen. It’s like the rush of getting rated by the guys back in high school. Or maybe like flirting with the best skater at the rink so he would slow skate with me. One night, two men, and one hot mama...Awesome! Except it’s that mama part that makes me feel uneasy. You see, I am a married woman with two kids at home and an amazing husband. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something dirty about it all. Yes, it takes two to tango and nothing happened in those scenarios, but maybe if I’m honest I might have wanted something to happen. Not an affair or anything, just feeling pretty and being noticed – the attention. Is that so wrong? Yes, it really is. Through my years in Christian radio ministry and online mentoring in the area of sexual addiction, God has convicted me of the feminine face of sexual sin. Follow me on this one. It might sting a bit. Just as the woman behind the pornographic photo does not matter to a man, neither do the men behind the wheel or coffee counter. It’s the fantasized idea that you could be with them and lure their attention. For a man, viewing a picture of a woman creates a similar rush. It’s the idea of the woman, not the whole person he desires. That is sexual sin. Men’s problems with sexual sin have been widely acknowledged with Steve Arterburn’s Every Man’s Battle series and the Promise Keepers men’s ministry. They

have defined men’s primary problem as “lust.” Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but overall men agree that, without a concerted effort, seeing an attractive woman (especially one wearing revealing clothes) leads him to think sexual thoughts about her. He catalogues these images in what author Shaunti Feldhan calls a mental Rolodex. In her book, For Women Only, Feldhan explains that there is a Rolodex of pictures men can pull up in their minds at any given time. It is a constant battle for them to: 1) Keep the old pictures away, and: 2) Stay away from new pictures to add to their repertoire. Battling with the Rolodex is normal for men. Lust is normal for men. It’s not something that we as wives like, and it’s not something that our men necessarily like. Just because it is normal does not mean it is morally right. Many Christian men use resources such as Bible studies, accountability groups, internet filters, and online mentoring to guard their eyes and their hearts from the temptations they know are lurking just around the corner. These aids are wonderful and readily accessible for men who seek help. As women, we have not been educated about our sin problem; often we do not recognize it, nor do most churches address the women’s issue of wanting to be noticed. While viewing pornography (or lust-related habits) often draws men to repentance, as Christian women we seem somewhat clueless about our nasty little habit of looking for attention from men other than our husbands as a way of affirming our own desirability. Plain and simple, if a man’s problem is lust, our issue is the desire to be lusted after. The two are opposite sides of the same coin. For every man who looks for illicit photos online there is a female willing to cooperate, thanks to a smooth-talking photographer. For every man who’s looking for a diversion at the bar, there is a woman waiting for a free drink. For every husband who misses how his wife used to be, there is a woman who is eager to fill in that role. For every husband whose wife has a headache tonight, there is a prostitute on the corner who doesn’t. And, for every man who decides to bounce his eyes away, there is a woman at home who is thankful and an attention- seeking woman who is not. That’s me. That’s you. And that is why his problem really is ours.

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he question at the time caught me a bit off guard. I was used to being asked to defend and explain my theology, but this was something different. I had been talking to someone about some old fears, explaining that what had helped me to move past them was largely due to faith that gave me hope in a world beyond them. His response pulled me down from my seemingly ascended place. “What is your theology of the body?” he asked. “How does God speak to your physical existence right now?” I didn’t know how to respond. The physical isn’t a matter the spiritual often consider. What does it mean that Christ came in the flesh, with sinew and marrow? What does it mean that he lived and breathed, died, and was raised as a body? Perhaps more importantly, what does it mean that the risen Christ today, as a corporal being, is ascended and sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven? What does Christ’s wounded body have to do with our own? What of his ascended body? The modern divorce of the spiritual and the physical, heaven and earth, what is now and what will be, has made these difficult questions to consider. But the promise of the Christian is union with none other than Christ himself. In faith and by the Spirit, we are united to the same body that was on the cross and was in the tomb, which is now also in heaven. We

are united with a body who is very much a living, immense, and physical promise. “Since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). The biblical depiction of salvation and sanctification is far more “earthy” than some of us entertain, whether its critics or lauders. No matter how privatized, removed, irrelevant, or other-worldly we might describe Christianity, it is unavoidably a faith that intends us to encounter and experience both King and kingdom in the here-and-now, everyday, hand-dirtying occurrences of life. In an unapologetically corporeal account, the book of Acts describes the risen Christ among his disciples: “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While eating with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father... And when he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:3-4). When the two men in white robes appeared and interrupted the disciples’ stupor, their question was as pointed as the one that stumped me: “Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been


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taken up from you, will return in the same way as you saw him go forth” (Acts 1:11, emphasis mine). It is no small promise that Christ came as a body, was wounded as a body, and now sits as a real and living body in heaven until the day he will return and wipe every tear from our eyes. The ascended body of Christ represents something more fully human, more real than ourselves, and it is this reality that he lifts us toward, transforms us into, and advocates on our behalf. Our union with Christ and communion with the Trinity add a certain and heavenly dimension to our lives, and it is indeed one that correctly and profoundly orients us here and now, in real bodies, to the world around us.  Beyond a subject for another time or place, how might God speak to your physical existence now? In these weeks from the physical shock of Easter to the corporal gift of the Spirit at Pentecost, consider in your answer the Christ who walked among

at HealthSouth’s 220 and Tilghman Road • Salisbury, 21804 therecuperate world as arehabilitate risen body, who MD invited 410 546-4600 inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Chesapeake. Thomas to physically put his hands in scars healthsouthchesapeake.com Our multidisciplinary team approach is designed to that still mark pain, who ascended as one provide a far more concentrated setting with more fully human after sharing a meal with those aggressive therapy and nursing care than other post he loved, and who sent the Holy Spirit to acute settings such as skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes. And ouramong state-of-the-art live powerfully us. technology Consider the offers patients the latest advancements, body of Christ, who now sitsproviding at the right a higherof level of care for stroke, brain injury, spinal hand the Father as advocate, offering his cord injury, trauma, neurological diagnoses body for the sake of yours, calling you to and orthopedic injuries. physically come further into the kingdom It all adds up to getting you better, faster. now.

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HealthSouth offers the opportunity backpatients to the quality of life you’vetocom So, what are your options recuperate and rehabilitate at HealthSouth’s HealthSouth’s Inpatient inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Chesapeake. A H i g h eRehabilitation r L e v e l HealthSouth o f C a r Hospital e offers patients inthe opp Our multidisciplinary team approach is designed to H e a l t h S o u provide t h R e ah far a b more i l i t aconcentrated t i o n H and o ssetting prehabilitate i t a lwith atmore recuperate Salisbury, MD proudly offers Hea rehabilitation hospital in C aggressive therapyinpatient and nursing than other post patients the most care advanced Our multidisciplinary team approach i acute settings such as skilled nursing facilities or technology in the goal of setti provide a far more concentrated nursing It could happen to you -- an unexpected illness homes. And our state-of-the-art technology aggressive therapy and nursing care th recovery and recuperation. or injury that requires a lengthy recuperation. offers patients the latest advancements, providing Like anyone, you want to get the best care and get acute settings such as skilled nursing back to the quality of life you’ve come to enjoy. Our multi-disciplinary a higher level of nursing care forhomes. stroke,And brain spinal So, what are your options? our injury, state-of-the-a approach isneurological designed to cord injury, trauma, diagnoses offers patients the latest advancemen HealthSouth offers patients the opportunity to recuperate and rehabilitate at HealthSouth’s incorporate a far more anda orthopedic higher level injuries. of care for stroke, brain inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Chesapeake. Our multidisciplinary team approach is designed to Itaggressive all adds up tocord getting you better, faster. injury, trauma, neurological d therapy program provide a far more concentrated setting with more and orthopedic injuries. along with comprehensive

aggressive therapy and nursing care than other post acute settings such as skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes. And our state-of-the-art technology offers patients the latest advancements, providing a higher level of care for stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, trauma, neurological diagnoses and orthopedic injuries. It all adds up to getting you better, faster.

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to other care Get post-acute the higher level of care yo providersCall such as skilled HealthSouth at 410 54 Get the higher level of care you deserve. nursing homes. Chesapeake Rehabilitation Call HealthSouth at 410HealthSouth 546-6400. Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™

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“D

o not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NASB). I remember the first time I stepped into a prison, I was so afraid. Fortunately, I was the guest of a long-time prison minister who knew the prison setting well. Still, all I could think of was the verse above. I kept telling myself not to be afraid for God was with me. I tried to keep my composure because I knew I had been sent there. True to His promise, God did strengthen me. He did uphold me. And I came to love prison ministry. But I could not experience the truth of that verse until I placed myself in that fearful situation. So I knew I had to go. If I was to experience faith, then I had to face my fears. Only then could I learn

what it means to live boldly for God. Fear is unavoidable on the walk of faith. It’s a necessary trial, for we will never know how to live by faith if we never face any of our fears. In order to have lives of faith, we must face an obstacle to overcome. Otherwise we are only deceiving, and thereby flattering, ourselves. Many Christians claim to have faith, but most have a faith which seldom leads them to take any kind of risk. That is a faith which is untested and therefore unproven. We easily say we will follow Christ anywhere. But have we actually done that? Have we done something for Christ which we were afraid to do? It’s easy to boast about how our faith can overcome all our fears. But it is much harder to walk in faith toward those fears. God wants us to overcome our fears. And that can only happen by His strength and power. However, it is impossible to


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experience God’s strength without being placed in a situation that requires it. If we want to taste God’s power in our lives, then we must come to the place where His power is the only means to victory. We all want to experience that victory, but few of us want to be involved in the battle that brings forth that kind of victory. Instead, we want to have the life of faith the easy way. But to have a real life of faith we have to engage in real spiritual battles where we live out our convictions. Bringing faith to our spiritual battles calls for courage. Ultimately, the amount of courage we have to face our battles determines how significant our lives of faith will be. The greatest rewards are often surrounded by our greatest fears. There are many examples of this. Some of the greatest churches in the world were founded in the context of fear, uncertainty, risk, and great opposition. Some of our most influ-

ential leaders have been those who went into the unknown, faced enormous challenges, were persecuted, ridiculed, forsaken and even killed. But because they faced their fears, they became great men and women of faith. It wasn’t so much what they believed that made them great. It was the way in which they believed. I have known Bible scholars who knew a lot about God but were cowards at being a witness. So it’s not just what we believe, but rather how we believe that causes our faith to be significant. When we have faced our fears our faith is proven. Those who dare to face their fears will truly come to know the strength and power of God. This devotional comes from, Thoughts of a Modern-Day Sojourner, by J. W. Christopher.

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s the father watched his boy during the first baseball practice, he knew what to expect. His son was inexperienced, and the proficiency of his peers only accentuated that fact. Fortunately, the boy was not self-conscious of his skill level. It occurred to the father that his son’s skill was directly related to their relationship. The son was only doing what he saw his father do. And he didn’t see his father play much baseball. If, on the other hand, the father was an avid player, it would likely have shown up in the son. There were boys on the team who clearly must have played a lot of ball with their dads. This son was the likeness of his father, at least in the area of baseball. And if the world revolved around baseball, the boy had a long uphill road to travel. Observing his son raised another question, perhaps of greater importance. How else was this son the likeness of his father? He may have gotten his inquisitiveness, his tendency to ponder, and his physical agility from his father. These attributes came very naturally to the son. He didn’t have to work at all to learn them. They just seemed to come about because he was his father’s son. It is the nature of father-son relationships. There is another Father-Son relationship worth taking a look at. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). Commentators have much to say about the point Jesus was making in this and the following verses. Many draw attention

to the fact that Jesus was identifying the nature of the relationship He had with the Father. No ordinary man could “do what the Father does in like manner.” But Jesus was no ordinary man. He was also God, fully capable of such a feat. Jesus continues, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel” (John 5:20). One thing is very clear: There is an amazing union between the Father and Son. The nature of that relationship is for them to work together perfectly. Then Jesus says, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21). It was not the Father’s and Son’s intent to keep this relationship to Themselves. They created a way for us to participate, and that way was the cross. The cross had an everlasting impact on those who choose to put their faith in God. As believers, we are now children of God. As children, it is no longer just our earthly fathers who impact who we become. We enter into an intimate union with the Lord which grows to resemble that union between Christ and the Father. Of course, we bring fleshly baggage along, so our union with Him is less than that perfect union the Father and Son have. But our desires become more one with His. Our wills become more one with His. Our lives become more one with His. Just as you see the father in the young boy playing ball, when you look at the believer, hopefully you see his Lord. You see the effect of the believer being grafted into a new family. It is the nature of relationship.

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Heaven is for Real: Todd Burpo This book will challenge any skeptic of near death experience stories! Told from the eyes of the father of a 3 ½ year old child who, following emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix, reported sitting on Christ’s lap in heaven, interacting with the angels, and meeting his greatgrandfather whom he had never met in “real” life, this story will make you laugh and make you cry. These simplest observations about heaven have the power to provide a life changing perspective on you and where you choose to spend eternity! Set aside deep theological considerations of the existence or non-existence of heaven and take it from the simple and innocent heart of a child – heaven is for real!

Jesus on Leadership: C. Gene Wilkes A must read for anyone in any form of ministry leadership! Wilkes provides invaluable and practical insights into the many facets of ministry leadership. He poses questions that allow the reader to consider how to lead by serving, what is appropriate risk-taking, and how to develop and empower teams. Ample examples from Jesus’ ministry serve not to over-spiritualize but rather to paint practical and applicable insights and approaches to leadership. Wilkes is right in his conclusion that leadership can’t be taught, it must be learned. And in these pages he points to the best Mentor of all – Jesus Christ. Wilkes’ prayer is that people “will become curious about this strange group that leads


dressed like servants and acting like slaves; and, in their curiosity, they will come to trust the Servant Leader who taught us to lead the way.”

Beauty Will Rise: Steven Curtis Chapman

The Word of Promise: Thomas Nelson The Word of Promise, recently released by Thomas Nelson, is a dramatized recording of the entire Bible, featuring over 600 actors including Jim Caviezel as Jesus, Richard Dreyfus as Moses, Gary Sinise as David, and Jason Alexander as Joseph. Unlike many recordings of the Scriptures, The Word of Promise is not just a reading of the Bible. Rather, its contents are narrated and performed by talented professionals so the 66 books of the Bible become one long play which lasts more than 90 hours. While employing sound effects and an original musical score, its dramatic production does not interfere with the presentation. Offered in the easy to understand New King James Version, dialog is clearly audible above the sounds of action passages in books like Genesis and Revelation. This product may not appeal to those interested in unembellished Bible text for reference and study purposes, but its theatrical tone has the potential to fascinate and inspire listeners who want to become more familiar with the story line of God’s Word. The Word of Promise is also available in only the Old or New Testament, and there is a Next Generation New Testament youth edition.

Steven Curtis Chapman is a performer leading a pretty public life. For someone in the spotlight every success is noticed, every mistake is magnified and every tragedy is examined. After the death of his daughter in 2008 the spotlight revealed a grieving father. It was easy to wonder if Chapman’s music would reflect his loss. In 2009 Chapman released Beauty Will Rise and publicly shared the songs born of his grieving. It is his most intimate project and it is hard to listen without placing yourself in his place. Listening dredges up a lot of questions. “If that were my child, would I be able to have his perspective?”, is probably where most listeners end up. Chapman asks questions, has concerns and laments what might have been, but never shakes his fist in the face of God. That is a walking, talking faith. Beauty Will Rise is not only a lament, but a reminder of what will be. Christians will rise, literally. Death, tragic or not, is not the end, but ultimately the beginning. It’s okay to cry now, because we will have joy later. And, that joy will rise. These reviews are provided by Maranatha, Inc. staff and contributing writers.

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