All posts by Andrew Sloss

Devotional Tuesday – Fight Against the Lie

Image result for Lie

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6: 10-13

That’s the picture of suiting up. First, I have to put on the helmet of salvation; I need to be protected from my sin, from lies, and from my tendencies that go against God. I need the helmet of salvation.

We must admit our head is a pretty important part of our anatomy; it protects our mind which controls everything in our body.  It protects every thought and feeling, every voluntary and involuntary action that takes place in our bodies and, for that matter, our lives. Can we agree that we are very, very vulnerable to defeat by simply not having our mind protected? There is nothing within yourself that can overcome this, except acting on the choice that God has given only to human beings. The choice is to accept or deny His helmet of salvation.  As humans in the present and in the ultimate future, His desire is that you say yes to the perfect sacrificial love that He has for you. “Behold I stand at your door and knock.” By faith, take advantage of His desire to protect your thoughts.

Thank you Father, for the faith you have provided me to open the door of my mind, and by faith accept your protection of my thoughts.

Tell us if you agree or not!

Devotional Tuesday – Self Defense

Image result for self defense

“Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long.  Psalm 32:3

Have you ever wondered if your child moonlights as a criminal defense attorney?  I sure have, especially after hearing my kids’ creative excuses over the years, even when I’ve caught one of them with a hand in the proverbial cookie jar.  I’ve heard some amazing defenses.

“Ryan did you hit Cara?”  His older sister is holding her reddened face and crying.

“She started it,” Ryan says as he crosses his arms in defense.

“Then why is she crying?”

 “We were just playing.”

I go for the kill.  “Is something you did the reason she is crying? Yes or No?

Finally with no wiggle room left, Ryan caves in with a muted yes.

I’m not interested in a conviction; I want Ryan to take responsibility.  I want him to confess to the mistake and own up to it more quickly the next time around.  That’s why a dose of fatherly admonishment makes the exchange an uncomfortable but necessary experience for him.

I’m sure my heavenly Father stifles a laugh when he watches me disciplining my son.  Talk about the blind leading the blind!  But I’ve learned that what ultimately assuages my pain is the sincere act of confessing my wrongdoing to Him.

Father, Confession is good for the soul and bad for the reputation, but not with You! Thanks for loving me, sins and all.

[Comment-guestbook]

5 Ways Porn Hurts Our Sons and Daughters

Image result for kids and computer

*This post courtesy of AllProDad.com*

When the only thing they hear from adults about sex is that it is bad and you shouldn’t do it they know they aren’t hearing the full story. When parents fail to give the full picture of sex kids will go looking for answers somewhere else. The “somewhere else” is porn. I was recently speaking to a father who caught his twelve-year-old daughter watching porn. He remarked, “I’ve seen plenty of porn during my life, but the stuff she was watching was disturbing.” His experience is the new normal. The average age a child encounters porn for the first time is between the ages of nine and eleven, and mainstream porn continues to get more extreme, violent, and degrading.

The internet and smartphones have opened the door to an invading army of porn into the minds and hearts of our kids. The consequences are devastating. Here are 5 ways porn hurts our sons and daughters.

1. Sexualizing Our Kids

The term “teen” has been in the top three highest searched words on porn sites for the past three years. One year, 2014, it was number one. That should make us all sick. We are talking about kids. This means a majority of people looking at porn on the internet desire watching kids. When porn site visits outnumber Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined, think about how many people are looking to watch kids having sex. Think about how many child predators are being fueled and emboldened. What is all of this communicating to our sons and daughters?

2. Losing Innocence

The culture surrounding porn is reinforcing the idea that kids can be sex objects. [Tweet This] This was evident in 2010 when eight-year-old girls danced in a competition to the song “Single Ladies” with highly sexualized moves while wearing lingerie. The crowd on hand, which included the girls’ parents, wasn’t horrified. Instead, they hooted, hollered, and cheered. We are teaching our sons and daughters at a young age if they want to be noticed they need to be sexy. It all starts with our pornified culture. And kids have gotten the message loud and clear.

3. Feelings of Shame, Guilt, and Depression

What happens next is tweens and teens play at being sexy. They quickly believe the lie that the best place to learn how to be sexual is through internet porn, which is easily accessible and affordable in large quantities. The images of mainstream pornography they encounter within one minute of searching are violent and graphic. The images are burned into their brains forever. The pornographers are telling them that this is the sexual experience. Deep down they know they have seen something they shouldn’t have seen, but their brains can’t make sense of it. They are excited and embarrassed, but they don’t know why. They feel ashamed and guilty, but too scared to talk to anyone for fear of being in trouble.

4. Addiction

Little do they know what their developing brains have been doing while viewing porn. It’s released large amounts of dopamine, which gives the feeling of pleasure in the rewards center of the brain. This gives them the urge to come back again and forms a connection with the image (a connection meant for a person). This causes an addiction, which is more powerfully ingrained the younger their ages when they’re introduced. Since the feeling of euphoria helps them forget about their problems momentarily, porn becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism to distract them from the feelings of shame, guilt, and stress. Unfortunately, it only leaves them feeling emptier so they watch more and the cycle continues.

5. It Fuels Disconnection and Disrespect

Ultimately, porn leads to relational disconnection and degradation. They draw expectations of what sex will be like. Rather than sex being about connecting intimately with someone in the safety of commitment, it becomes a selfish pursuit of getting off. Sex gets cheapened to a physical act and people are reduced to objects of fantasy. A good and rich life is found in relationships. Sadly, this porn culture is leading our sons and daughters far from them. The best thing you can do is educate your kids about the lies and the dangers of pornography. Start early rather than later. At some point, they are going to encounter it and will need you to help them make sense of it. Keep the line of communication open and engage them in conversation so they don’t go it alone.

 What other ways do you believe porn effects our sons and daughters?

Tell us if you agree or not!

Devotional Tuesday – The Payoff

Image result for The Payoff

“He who walks in integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9)

For God’s man, the payoff is a confident, secure walk with God.  With undivided loyalty, his choices are clear. With no duplicity, he has no hangovers of character.  When he’s away on business, he is the same person as he is at home.  He is the same man on Friday and Saturday night as he is on Sunday mornings.  He’s a father who says what he does and does what he says.  He is a husband his wife can trust and follow.

God’s man has moved beyond the payoff of instant gratification.  Imagine it! Feeling good is replaced with feeling right about yourself.  When you feel right about yourself, no matter what your circumstances or your mood, you are content and connected to God, your family, and your purpose as God’s man.  Now that’s security without stress.

Our wise King also pointed out that the “integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3).  We see this as meaning that if you are not divided inwardly in your heart or character, the voices representing competing loyalties will be muted. Instead, your spiritual focus will work to provide clear direction and guidance.  Your intuition will be guided by your spiritual commitments to the point where good decision making becomes second nature.

I once struggled so hard to make good choices that God never intended to be difficult, like my wife comes first, spending time with the family, making an appointment with God every day, putting boundaries on alcohol, sharing God’s love with those he sends my way, and in general following the leading of the Holy Spirit. What I discovered is that an undivided heart will build a spine. We must have more than an undivided heart. We must also have a spine.

Thank you Father for showing me the payoffs of confidence, self-respect and the many blessings along the way. You are awesome!

Tell us if you agree or not!

What is Stored Up in You?

The good man brings good things of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” Matthew 12:35

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but babies leak. They also desire close proximity. At times this is a lethal combination for any parent, aunt, brother or sister who happens to be holding one when they — hmm, how can I put this delicately? You know, leak.  What’s inside comes out and on to those who are unfortunately in the hot zone. Smells, drools and foods, and don’t forget those numbers one and two. I think God designed it this way to show us exactly how big his love is for us and how it works. His precious wonderful creations that made messes.  Out of his love he cleans up and cleans up until we grow up.

In life, what’s inside will eventually come out, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. We do our best to prevent spills and leaks. Diapers, Tupperware and window caulking all prevent undesirable leaking of stuff into the protected spaces of our lives. But, when it comes to our character — that stuff inside that guides critical decision making — there are no controls to stop the leaks. And frequently we leak onto others.

Signals and stimuli inevitably trigger a flood of your character, which spills into your everyday interactions. These spills have a shaping influence on those around us.

The big question is, what kind of character am I leaking?

Thank you for the character that you are building in me. You know the exact tools that will do the job.

Tell us if you agree or not!