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CL9d - hbratton notxt

THE HIGH PRICE OF NOT PUTTING OUT.

I’ve had it with men!  Once again, I have been rejected by a guy because I would not have sex with him, and made it clear (after his many attempts) that I’m not that kind of girl and it’s not going to happen until I’m married.  It never fails.  Things are going great and then the guy breaks up with me using any excuse, but I know it’s because I’m not “putting out”.  And these are nice, Catholic guys.  I am so crushed right now.  I can’t help thinking I’m doomed to a life of loneliness because I won’t have sex until I’m married.  But I DON’T want to be alone!  Maybe I should just give in since even the great guys are expecting it.  I’m so depressed.  Why do Catholic guys expect sex from a Catholic girl?  I just don’t understand.

It always deeply saddens me when a woman writes to me about this exact scenario.  Unfortunately, I hear this very same thing all time, and have for years.  So let me first say that I am sincerely sorry for what you are going through, and all women like you go through this kind of rejection (and God knows there are many).

I believe that there are many good, Catholic men out there who are authentically good men and would make good husbands and fathers, but because they have allowed themselves to adopt certain modern ideas and practices about approaching women, they are ultimately too toxic to be capable of marital love.

There is much about today’s society and its obsession with sex that bombards men involuntarily and affects men negatively without them realizing it. Have men really become so intoxicated with this culturally pro-sex lifestyle that they cannot see the value and beauty of a woman who is clearly a good catch for them?  Are they really too sex-driven to be willing to endure a time of chastity in courtship with the woman he will spend the rest of his life loving in every way (including physically) within marriage?

Perhaps the answer is yes, they are too sexually intoxicated.  And like a drunk who denies they have a problem with alcohol, a sexually intoxicated Catholic man will never admit that they have been influenced by this substance which affects his judgment when it comes to love and marriage.  We cannot discount the power of intoxication on anyone, including genuinely good people; nor can we discount the power of the culture to intoxicate a person ever so subtly and without resistance.

I would like to believe that however powerful the culture is to intoxicate for the worst, the exposure to purity and beauty in a good woman is that much more powerful to wake a man up from his blindness and see just how wrong he is about how he treats a woman and approaches sex.  No, scratch that.  I DO believe that this kind of good woman is more powerful than the power the culture holds over a man.

So why are so many good women being rejected by men who should be thanking God for sending such a woman into his life?  That I cannot answer.  I could offer my opinion and some theories, but I don’t have a clear answer.  Maybe the men aren’t as close to Christ and the Sacraments (sources of the only power to combat such evil) as they should be.  Perhaps they are too far invested in the lifestyle of having sex or living together prior to marriage.  Perhaps they really don’t want to be married.  Who knows?

Too many good women are paying the high price of remaining faithful to their belief that sex is for after marriage.  And too many of these women are in pain because they are made to feel like they are somehow idiots for taking that belief so seriously.  And too many of these women are beating themselves up trying to figure out what else could be wrong with them that caused the man to break up with her, not willing to believe he was so shallow to do it just because she wouldn’t put out.

I can’t sugar coat this one, ladies.  You do pay a high price, in that you don’t have someone to share your life with when you want that so very much.  But you can’t ever forget (please, don’t ever forget) that you also paid a high price to Christ for standing your ground, and that price is deep union with the greatest love of your love, Jesus Himself, and the eternal happiness you will possess as a result.

I suggest you hold your head high and continue being the beautiful woman you are for yourself and for the sake of Christ.  Don’t allow these men to take away who you are.  Keep becoming more and more beautiful, and live as if it’s them who are missing out.  You always have your union with your ultimate love, Jesus Christ.  That is no pious sentiment.  That is real and true.  And it’s better than anything.  Pray for these men.  They need it.

But also stay open and hopeful. There are lots of single men out there who share your commitment to chastity, or who will respect and admire you.

- See more at: http://catholiclane.com/the-high-price-of-not-putting-out/#sthash.20Zc0cMk.dpuf

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American culture may have become more enlightened and moved beyond such constricting, old-fashioned ideas like sin and hell, but God hasn’t.

Sin is still serious, hell still exists, and sinners still go there. Or as St. Paul put it, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived…” (1 Corinthians 6.9)

Of course, there’s hope! By God’s grace, we can turn from our sins and find salvation in Jesus Christ.

But first, we need to acknowledge our sins and that we need saving. And once we are given new life in Christ, the Christian life has just begun, and we are called to cooperate with God’s grace to grow in holiness.

Here is a list of a few sins that are widely accepted in our culture as normal, but that we still need to take seriously:

1) Lying

But what if they person never finds out? What if it’s just for convenience? Or what if it’s for a greater good?

Nope, lying is still lying, and it’s still wrong.

Lying is telling a falsehood with the intention of deceiving, and it’s always wrong because it’s an offense against the Truth, which is Christ (John 14.6).

Remember, lying is the native tongue of the Devil, whom Jesus calls “the father of lies.” (John 8.44) And the deuterocanonical book of Wisdom warns: “lying will destroy your soul.” (Wisdom 1.11)

2) Sexual immorality

“Flee from sexual immorality!” (1 Corinthians 6.18)

But can’t we do whatever we want with our bodies? As long as a person consents, anything goes, right?

Wrong. St. Paul says, “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. [...] You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6.18-20)

We can sin against our own bodies. God has made us and our sexuality with dignity, value, and order – all of which should be respected and cherished.

And remember that Christ extended this teaching even to lust in one’s heart: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

3) Theft

“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20.15)

Stealing is taking something to which you have no right.

That includes copyrighted material: stealing doesn’t become acceptable simply because you’re on the Internet. Everyone knows this, but many of us do it anyway. Yet theft is a grave sin.

4) Drunkenness

Alcohol is a wonderful gift from God. Jesus turned water into wine, and Christian monks used to make the best beer in the world.

But intentionally drinking too much so as to become drunk and lose control is a sin: “Do not be deceived… drunkards… will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6.9-10) “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but,” St. Paul offers us the alternative, “be filled with the Spirit!” (Ephesians 5.18)

5) Gluttony

Some have called this the forgotten vice.

We obviously need to eat, there’s a time for feasting, and food can be wonderfully enjoyable. But, like alcohol, everything must be enjoyed in moderation. Gluttony is an immoderate love of food, and it can have not only serious consequences for our health, but also our soul.

“Enemies of the cross of Christ… their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” (Philippians 3.18-19)

6) Revenge

Hah! That’ll get ‘em good!

It’ll also get you, too.

Justice is important, and any justice which isn’t served by the government will be rectified by God in the end. But as for us right now, God calls us to a higher plane:

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. [...] Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God… To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12.17, 19-21)

Also, keep in mind Jesus’ important teaching about forgiveness: “If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6.14-15)

7) Murder

“Oh come on, nobody actually advocates murder!” Are you sure about that?

Murder is the voluntary and direct killing of an innocent human life. Even if the person is young and still developing in her mother’s womb. Even if the person is handicapped. Even if the person is sick and difficult to care for. Even if the person is old and may die soon anyway. Abortion and, increasingly, euthanasia are widely accepted and practiced throughout our society.

Yet murder is an offense against God because humans are made in His image (Genesis 1.27).

So let us all repent of our sins and seek God’s mercy in Christ!

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A Christian rapper named Lecrae’s new album has captured the top spot on the Billboard 200. The Christian artist has managed to pass far more famous acts like Maroon 5 and Beyonce on his way to the top of the charts, according to The Blaze.

It’s not uncommon for bands and acts like Maroon 5 and Beyonce to top the Billboard 200 chart, but this week’s number one album comes from a unique artist who isn’t nearly as well-known as his secular counterparts — Christian rapper Lecrae.

His new album “Anomaly” opened at number one this week, selling 88,000 copies during the week ending September 14 and bumping Maroon 5′s “V” out of the top spot, according to Billboard.

Lecrae has managed to make history with his latest release.

Lecrae, 34, also scored the first-ever album to top both the Gospel Albums chart and the Billboard 200—and he’s dominating the Christian Albums chart as well.

However, the Grammy award winning artist says he is more focused on helping people than selling records.

“A mentor told me years ago, ‘Lecrae you’re not in the widget and gimmick business, you’re in the people business. As long as you take care of people, they’ll take care of you,’” the rapper is quoted in his official bio. “So we’ve always looked at it as if we’re not trying to sell CDs, we’re trying to take care of people —Give them messages of hope and inspiration.”

 

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majblablaShortly after my arrival to Nashville, I took a job working third shift at the Nashville International Airport. Good old BNA. It was a rain, sleet or snow job I started in one of the worst winters in the city. Keep in mind this is NIGHT TIME. As in, NO SUN! Also keep in mind that I’m from Louisiana.  Southern boy!  It was brutal. But, I needed a job. The red eye flights arriving in the early mornings served as a source of encouragement. I’d say to myself, “I’m gonna fly like that one day. A lot!”

I was always one of those people who was curious about the business behind an operation. So, I naturally inquired about how certain things worked. I simultaneously began to realize the less favorable position I had due to the color of my skin. But, I was determined to walk in excellence regardless. Being on time, helping with other people’s responsibilities when I was finished with my own and doing the little things no one else wanted to do. After all, they knew I was an aspiring Christian artist, so having a bad a attitude would misrepresent everything I professed. I managed to make a few genuine friends on the job and I was honored to represent African Americans in the many “why do black people…?” conversations. It was a trip.

The department was responsible for an inventory report which was printed out at the end of the night. This simply served to let management know the what profits were for the day.  I noticed my supervisor, once a distant man, beginning to warm up to me. I figured he was noticing my desire to do more.  I’ll never forget the day when he asked, “Mike, you wanna run the inventory report tonight?”  I was dumfounded, but I was like, “sure!” This was my ticket out of the freezing cold and hopefully a move up in the ranks. So, for the next month or so I helped him run the inventory reports. It was awesome. He’d literally leave the office for a smoke break or two while I did the paperwork.

After six months a few dynamics changed. People were distant and the conversation circles broke up when I approached them. Something wasn’t right. Turns out, there were a few thousand dollars which showed up missing. I couldn’t understand who would do something like that. It was such a tight knit core of people. Some of whom had been working there for over 10 years. Good-ol’-boy types. At the some time my DJ gigs and session work around town started to pick up (shouts to Fogg Station & Rocketown).  I was finally able to get my own place, bed and space. The couch thing just wasn’t feeling fresh anymore. One of my co-workers, Eric BlaBla, knew I had a small studio at the apartment and he asked to come and check it out. I’m like, “cool man, come through!” During his visit we kicked it and had small talk.  I showed him a few beats while we devoured a few slices of pizza. Then he was on his way.

The climate on the job began to get really weird. No one was talking and joking around during coffee breaks. I felt like an outcast. Plus, I was slowly taken off of inventory reports. I received a call from a DEA agent requesting to visit my apartment. He said it was protocol when money came up missing. I agreed and let him have full access when he came over. I literally stepped out of his way and let him do his thing.  I didn’t like this job environment anymore and wanted to leave really bad. But, I knew that leaving would elevate the appearance of guilt. So, I continued to work third shift and do sessions in the day time.

Another co-worker, Ron BlaBla (not related to Eric) started working full-time for another company during the day time. Lockheed Martin developed a data entry arm which processed misdirected mail.  He wasn’t like the rest of those guys. He was a true fella to the core. In passing he mentioned that Lockheed was hiring. Thankfully he said it in front of a few other co-workers because I was getting really antsy for an honorable exit strategy. THE NEXT DAY I met Ron at Lockheed.  He introduced me to the HR rep.  I filled out an application, eventually got the job and began training. I had a full time day job, part-time at the airport and doing sessions. Yeah, I was on my hustle.

The theft slowly became a thing of past. I finally let go of the night job once things calmed down. Plus, I felt myself being spread too thin. I actually fell asleep in my car one night after I clocked out. My boss knew I was done.

A year later I returned to Nashville after a brief visit back home in Lafayette (Go Saints). After picking up my car from the airport parking, I went through the terminal to pay for the parking services. One of my old co-workers was at the exit booth collecting money. He recognized me and we began to make small talk. I started to ask him who was still around. One of the names on my list was my old boss. When I mentioned him he said, “You didn’t hear what happened?”  I said, “Ummm, no!”  “Man, that guy is serving time in a federal prison for theft.”

My jaw dropped!

He began to fill me in, but I don’t remember much of it. In that moment, all I could do is recall the events.  It was like a well written movie. I must have driven around the exterior road of the airport 5 times in silence.  I stopped by the old DEA office, which was located on the premises.  The investigating officer remembered me and the events. He said, “Yeah, that’s what happened Mike. But, I want you to know that I knew it was never you.  I just had to follow protocol.”  After some small talk he shook my hand as if to say no hard feelings.

Later that day I called Eric (the guy who came over to check out the studio). He was no longer with the company, but he said he was aware of what happened. He said, “Mike, remember that time I came over to your apartment? Well, they wanted me to come over an take a look around to see if anything looked fishy. That’s why it took me so long to come out of the restroom (The restroom was attached to the bedroom). He was snooping around. He said, “Mike, I knew it wasn’t you and I told them that I refuse to be a part anything that makes you look guilty.  I wasn’t sure who stole the money, but I knew it wasn’t you.”  I’m like, WOW!  I hung up with Eric and sat on the couch in awe at how naive I was. Man, that DEA agent could have planted something. Eric could’ve planted something. Plus, I purchased a mattress during that time from my sessions money. How suspicious was that? Sheesh!

That season changed my walk forever. A new allegiance to the Lord developed in ways I’ve never known. He saved me from prison. But my heart was arrested. The realization of all this caused me to become His prisoner and I accepted the sentence with gladness. I was also reminded of the story of Joseph (which happens to be my middle name). Go check it out!  It’s a real soap opera.

The top of the 2nd verse of the song Broken starts with a line:

“You told me this, if I should ever find myself thrown under the bus /
that you would be my defense and bless me with the wisdom to discern who I should trust.” /

That season at the airport contributed to that line.

Once we’re a prisoner of Christ, it means that we are now meant for use in His service  and NOTHING can interfere with that. We become His property and it’s a good place to be.  I hope this serves as a source of encouragement to all my fellow believers.  No matter what situation you’re in, know that God desires to have your back. There are some people who are smarter and wittier than you’ll ever be. But, if you continue to walk in righteousness & integrity He will fight your battles in the blind spots of your life.  I’m a living witness.

Lastly, be open to where he’ll place you to accomplish his macro-agenda.  He’s in the business of establishing His Kingdom on earth.  This also involves cultural, social and racial diversity within the body.  After all, we’re going to be together for a very long time – ETERNITY!  So it’s in our best interest to start practicing now.