2016

Hey there everyone.  It’s the second day of 2017.  We made it to a new year.  2016 was a difficult year for a lot of people.  Several celebrities that meant a lot to their fans died and the United States survived a long, brutal election and settled on electing a troll for president.  It was very disheartening, sad and frightening.

But for me 2016 was a pretty good year.  I had some prayers get answered and the Lord made a way for me out of what seemed like no way.  I got a new car and a new job.  I even got a new computer as a Christmas gift.  It was pretty remarkable.  All of these blessings were unexpected and kind of came out of no where.  I’m looking forward to seeing what God does in my life in 2017.  I’m going to keep on praying and believing.  Happy new year to all of you.

God’s Timing

I have been very blessed recently.  Over the last six months I’ve been blessed with a new car and a new job.  I had been a little concerned over the last year or so because of my transportation needs.  My last car was a 2005 with about 140,000 miles on it and it had received a few very expensive repairs recently.  I knew that I would need a new car in the near future but I didn’t know how I could manage the payments while working as a server in a Mexican restaurant.

I received my first college degree in 1997.  I received my second in 2003.  I received a masters degree in 2012.  Despite my academic accomplishments I have held a string of low wage dead end jobs.  I struggled for years to get my foot in the door of a design or marketing career and failed.  But last month I got a job in marketing which utilizes my graphic design and writing skills.

It would take me way too long to explain how these blessings came into my life.  But I believe that God was in both situations and God’s timing put my in the right places at the right time in order to receive God’s favor.  A string of circumstances came together in order to change my life for the better.  There were times that I was afraid to make the step forward but I trusted in God and He provided for me.

As I have gotten older I have gained a great appreciation for time.  It’s very hard to even grasp the concept of time while you are young because you haven’t seen enough of it pass.  But as I live and I have more time behind me I see how God has had His hand on my life.

I am forty one years old and I will celebrate another birthday in February.  I have never married or had children.  I have a great deal of student loan debt and despite my recent career advancement I still don’t make a great deal of money.  Statistically speaking my life is half over and my child bearing years may be over.  But I have never been more excited about my future.  I am very encouraged right now to read my Bible and be in prayer.  I can’t wait to see what God is going to do next.

My XXX Experience – Shannon in Kansas City

I’ve been reading testimonials on social media lately about well known people and their experiences with pornography.  I’ve considered writing about my thoughts on pornography in the past but I chickened out because I was ashamed to admit that I ever indulged in on line erotica.  I’m still ashamed that I ever used pornography but I feel that shame binds people into keeping secrets which only exacerbates problems that can be overcome.

I am a single woman that is not a virgin but has been celibate for an extended period of time.  One day several years ago it occurred to me that I really didn’t remember what sex was like.  This made me feel deprived, sad and out of touch with other adult people.  I was stupid for feeling that way because I was actually blessed.  I had returned to an innocence that I had lost but I didn’t appreciate that at the time.

One night I typed the word horny into the search engine on my computer and I came in contact with internet pornography.  It was not the first time I had seen pornography.  When I was a child growing up I use to see my copies of Playboy at my dad’s house.  I also saw a copy of Penthouse at my aunt’s house when I was young.  It was the issue that featured the disgraced Miss America Vanessa Williams.  I remember those images vividly.  I was about eight years old.  I’ve also seen soft core porn on HBO late at night and I saw an erotic movie at a friend’s house when I was a teenager on a VHS tape.

The first thing that struck me about internet porn was the sheer volume of it.  You will never get to the bottom of the porn pit on the internet.  I was not initially aroused or appalled.  I was mostly just enthralled and shocked by it.  It was fascinating.  I couldn’t believe that so many people were willing to perform these acts in front of a camera.  I had no idea that people behaved this way.  I had one hundred questions for the people in the videos.

Watching porn became a habit over a three year or so period.  I didn’t watch it every day.  My visits to porn sites were sometimes quite infrequent.  I would become aroused and experiment with masturbation.  I told myself that I was preparing myself for my future spouse.  I told myself that I was practicing safe sex.  I told myself that I was learning about my own body.  I no longer think this way.  Even if these statements were true I was selfishly taking advantage of other people that are probably disadvantaged in some way for my own benefit.

The more I watched porn the more I questioned why I did it.  Honestly, it is very corny and not sexy at all.  It’s not really sexy because porn is purely sex.  Porn films have nothing to do with flirtation or chemistry.  There is no story to be told about two humans connecting and nurturing a relationship.  It’s just sex.  It’s just two people fucking like animals.  After a while porn wasn’t even arousing anymore.

Before I began experimenting with pornography I really had no problem with it.  I thought that it could be useful for people that did not have a sexual partner, or people that were incarcerated or unable to have sex for whatever reason.  But as I watched porn I realized how degrading and sometimes violent it was towards women.  I’ve seen porn videos where the women were clearly drunk or high.  Perhaps that what they needed to do in order to perform.

I don’t consider myself to be a feminist but I am in favor of women having equal opportunities and respect.  I couldn’t in good conscious continue to watch pornography and consider myself to be an encourager of women.  I also didn’t feel like I could call myself a follower of Christ and continue to use pornography.  I can’t find a scripture that directly speaks against masturbation or being a passive viewer of immorality but I’m pretty confident that it is not in God’s will for us to spend our time watching strangers have sex like stray cats.

I wrote a blog posting in the past about the benefits of being a Christian.  A benefit that I didn’t mention about the Christian life is that if you believe that the Bible is the absolute word of God you have an unwavering standard about what is right and what is wrong.  If a Christian takes a wrong turn in life they have a road map on how to get back on track.  It is such a blessing to have an absolute like the word of God in your life.

Breaking my porn habit is probably similar to what smokers go through when they try to quit.  I had to pray my way through it and ask for strength and forgiveness.  I would go long periods of time without watching porn and then something would inspire me to watch it again.  I had to repeat the steps of asking for strength and forgiveness.  I saw a public service announcement once that told smokers to never quit quitting.  I had quit watching porn several times.

My experience with porn showed me that porn is degrading to women.  It is not about enjoying sex at all.  Most of it is based on domination and humiliation.  Women are almost always placed in a subservient position in XXX films.  Porn is not empowering or liberating to women in any way.  It is the exact opposite.  I have no research to substantiate but I have a strong feeling that the availability and heavy usage of pornography is responsible for the aggressive attitude that American culture has toward women.

I became involved with pornography out of loneliness.  I was longing for intimacy and I tried to use masturbation and sexually charged images as a substitute.  It didn’t work.  I wasted a great deal of time and nearly destroyed a computer because I exposed it to a virus through a porn site.  Pornography is degrading to women and men and it reduces human beings to our most primal instincts.  Those primal instincts are not what make humans great.  Our minds and our souls are what make us different from other life forms.  Pornography does not explore the mind or the soul.

Once the initial shock and awe of pornography wears off you see that it’s not even sexy.  It’s very corny and unrealistic.  There is no way in the hell I would do most of that shit.  Pornography has absolutely no redeeming value for any man or woman.  I’m glad that I know the Lord and His standards.  Once again God’s standards saved and the Holy Spirit guided me to a more righteous path

 

Russell Brand on Pornography

Terry Crews on Pornography

Ted Bundy on Pornography

 

 

 

 

Perks of Being a Christian – Shannon in Kansas City

Discernment

I am so grateful to know Jesus Christ and to have access to his word.  The Bible has opened my eyes to the will of God and the plans God has for my life and thereafter.  Christians are promised redemption for their sins and an eternity spent with our father in heaven.  But there are perks to being a Christian while you are living here on Earth.

The world we live in today is very confusing.  Some of the people in it will smile in your face but will have every intention of using you just like the devil will.  They will act like your friend and then take every thing you have to give and leave you with absolutely nothing.  Following God’s standard will help you sort out sweet spirits from evil ones.

I am a woman that has never been married.  Near the beginning of a relationship I tell men that I am not interested in sexual intercourse unless we marry.  Usually I stop hearing from them after that.  Sometimes if I even mention church attendance or attending a Bible study I don’t hear from these men anymore.  It is disappointing and hurtful but at least I did not allow myself to be used and it is because I decided to trust God.  God’s word spared me a relationship with a man that is selfish and only sees women as play things.

Of all the gifts that Christians are given I think that discernment is one of the greatest.  Whenever I come to a cross roads in my life I pray about it.  If I meet a man that wants to get to know me romantically I always pray about it and ask God if it is His will.  I ask God to make the relationship flourish if it is of His will or take it away if it is not.  I’m a little nervous at this point because all of my romantic pursuits have floundered but I will continue to have faith in God.  I’m still hopeful that there is someone for me.

I also pray when it comes to professional commitments.  I have had a great deal of on the job drama.  I don’t know why because I just want to do my best and make a living.  I have lost several jobs due to work place politics.  I have been slighted and forced out the door more times than I care to remember.

But I don’t think I’ve ever lost anything that was going to take me to where I want to be in life so I’m better off without it.  If something isn’t a help it’s a hindrance and we all need to know our value and fight for it.  Hopefully, God has something fulfilling and financially viable for me.  Despite my checkered professional past I’ve always been able to find another job, I pay my tithes, my bills have been paid and I have and do nice things.

When I pray over relationships and situations that I’ve been in I ask for the Holy Spirit to intervene on my behalf.  The Lord has always revealed the truth.  We just need to ask and give Him time.  I have always learned the true character of the people.  The Lord will show you who is trying to take advantage of you and make a fool of you.  He will also show you who really cares for you.  Jesus will take you right out of a negative and stressful situation that is draining your spirit.  The peace God gives is a blessing.

1 Corinthians 14:33

God isn’t a God of disorder but of peace.  Like in all the churches of God’s people,

If you are experiencing a lot of confusion you should consult the Bible and pray about it.

1 John 4:1

Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit.  Test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world.

It is OK to test friends, romantic interests, family members and business partners.  Ask God to help you sort out who is good for your life and who isn’t.

1 Thessalonians 5

Pray continually.

Keep on praying.

War Room – Shannon in Kansas City

I’m off from work for a week for Holiday vacation.  One of my plans for my break is to catch up on a few movies that I’ve been wanting to see.  One of those movies is “War Room” which  I watched last night on Movies on Demand.

The film was pretty good but I didn’t like it as much as a lot of other people did.  “War Room” has a great Christian message about the power of prayer that a lot of people that has encouraged many.  I would describe the film as a love story minus the sappiness.  It also has a great message about mentorship and family values.

I have enjoyed other Christian movies such as “Fireproof” and “Remember the Giants” more.  There were parts of “War Room” that are a bit dull but it is definitely worth seeing.  It finishes strong.

I also like that the movie features a mostly Black cast but the film is not about what Hollywood seems to think are typically Black subject matters.  i.e. picking cotton, organizing marches, playing basketball, gang banging  or break dance competitions just to name a few.  I have thoroughly enjoyed movies that cover all of these subject matters but it’s a shame that Hollywood has such a narrow view of African Americans.  It’s great to see something different.

I would recommend “War Room” if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

 

war-room

Answered Prayers

I feel guilty about feeling so surprised.  I’m a Christian and Bible teaches that if we ask God for something he will give it to us as a blessing.  We are supposed to believe in and trust the word of God but sometimes I wonder if we truly believe all of what we claim to believe.

No one reads this blog so I could probably confess to a murder and get away with it.  But on the off chance that anyone ever reads this I will not share the details of a struggle that I have been having.  I actually had a few different struggles that I have taken to God in prayer.  You know what.  My prayers were answered.  It’s a pretty amazing thing to have your prayers answered by God almighty.  Why does He listen to me?  Why does He even care?  I have many qualities that I’m pretty proud of but I still don’t think I’m anyone all that special.  This really blows my mind.

My struggles have come from feeling really stuck in a rut lately and I didn’t see a way out.  I saw and still don’t really see a way out of my situation.  I was really despondent about a few things going on in my life.  I talked to God about it in prayer and things changed.  They are small things but they are very meaningful to me and give me a great deal of hope for the future and for my relationship with God.

I’m so glad that I know the Lord.  And I’m so glad that I stepped out on faith and prayed about my situation.  I’m so grateful that I knew to turn to the Lord.  And I’m ashamed that I didn’t have enough faith to believe that I would be blessed and delivered the way I have been.  God is really good.

Hebrews  11:1

Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.