Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Dangling Carrot 

What if I told you that you might be following the dangling carrot? You know, the distraction instead of the main show. What if I said that God’s intentions for sex are comparable to a vast orchard full of ripe, luscious fruits and you might be sauntering along behind the limp carrot on a string. I’m familiar with that carrot. Maybe you are as well.

My daughter loves animals. She actually spends a lot of time working with and riding horses. Every day she collects food scraps from around the house to bring them as treats. 
Now, I am not an overly enthusiastic animal lover but I do know that if you want a stubborn horse to do something, a carrot or an apple will almost always help them forget their original intentions and willingly give in to your wishes instead. 

Satan is playing this game with us every day of our lives. I heard it said once that Satan awaits the opening of our front door each morning and beckons us into his arms. He is incredibly intentional about the way he distracts us and—unfortunately—he’s had a lot more time to practice just how and when he dangles that carrot before our eyes.

I often see young people caught up in the lust of sex rather than valuing the life of another person. Here’s what I mean by that: when we treat sex as something casual, we also inevitably treat our lives and the lives of those we’re sleeping with as something casual. Through casual sex and this disregard for the value of human life, Satan is intentionally creating loneliness and separation. He swiftly delivers healthy doses of shame and we begin to doubt our own self-worth. Created to bond deeply with our future husband or wife, we have now become desensitized, abused, and unable to bond deeply with anyone. Alone with people all around us. The dangling carrot that you thought would bring nourishment and help you to thrive is actually leading you into a spiritual, emotional, mental, and social starvation.

John 10:10  “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness.”

It’s never too late to come back to the orchard. Full of God’s gifts. Full of His forgiveness and restoration where the roots of real, unconditional love grow deep and produce beautiful fruit. 

*Something to think about/discuss: What are your thoughts on sex outside of marriage? Feel free to comment here or private message me to unpack that box together!  


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meet Me at the Sycamore Tree

Meet me at the sycamore tree! What. The. Heck????? 

I know, it's a little strange because A) I live in Puerto Rico and I'm sitting at a computer. I can't LITERALLY meet you under any tree...unless you live on my island. B) Why not a pine tree or a birch tree or a nice bush or something? By a lake? C) Most obviously, WHY are we meeting at the tree in the first place? We've got things to do...places to go...probably cooler people to meet at WAY cooler places.

Well, you do. 

Not me. There's pretty much no where else I'd rather be than hanging with all of you. And you pretty much ARE the coolest people I know, sooooo...

Here's why I like the sycamore tree: Maybe you remember the story of Zacchaeus (za-KEE-us) climbing a tree to see Jesus. That was my favorite bible story as a kid...maybe because my brother was short for his age and picked on me. When you hear the Bible describe him, he sounds like a greedy, disfigured hobbit who was selfish and small-minded...a traitorous, conniving, cheating man who worked as a tax-collector for the city. 

But here's the first thing about Zacchaeus that I can relate to: he was curious about Jesus. I'm curious about Jesus too. He was so curious that he ran ahead of all the people when he heard that Jesus was coming to his town. I picture this tiny man sitting all alone in the leaves and branches of the sycamore tree, probably trying to get away from everyone else. After all, the tax collectors were hated in Zacchaeus' day.

I hate feeling alone. 

That brings me to the next thing about Zacchaeus that I can relate to: he was an outsider. He had cut himself off from his own people. Being the odd one out never feels good. Sometimes we might do hurtful things just to make sure everyone else stays away and we won't get hurt again. 

We find out later in the Gospel of Luke (where the story is found) that even a broken person like Zacchaeus was worth something. Through Jesus, he found that his life had value that he NEVER thought possible! Despite what all the others thought about him, God knew he was important. Jesus knew he was worth something. 

So...the joke was on Zacchaeus. He thought he needed to try to find Jesus...but Jesus knew RIGHT WHERE TO FIND him. He reached out, took his hand, and said, "I'm coming to your house, Zacchaeus. Quit hanging out in trees. I'm going to show you a better way...because I love you." (I might have paraphrased that. *winkie-face*)

The sycamore tree is a place where people look for Jesus...but Jesus actually finds them. For me, it's a place for those of us who have been looking for Jesus...but really just want to be found.