SEXUAL PURITY PART ELEVEN

January 17, 2019

hand sign

Finally, we must understand that we are not fighting to win the battle against lust. The battle has already been won by Christ. We are trying to walk in the victory that Christ already accomplished. This is important to understand because one of Satan’s greatest tactics is lying. After a failure, he tells a believer many lies: it is impossible to be free from lust and that he or she will never be a man of God or woman of God.

By accepting lies, we get caught in Satan’s trap, and it’s easy to become discouraged, defeated, and bound. Jesus said this in John 8:34-36:

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Christ set us free from slavery to sin, and we must understand and appropriate this to walk in victory. Romans 6:6 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

On the cross, Christ did not just pay for our sins; He also broke the power of sin. He took our sin nature and crucified it so we no longer would be slaves to it. Yes, we can still submit to our sin nature, but we no longer have to because the power of sin has been broken. Like God delivering the Israelites, he not only took them out of Egypt but destroyed the power of Egypt in the Red Sea. Our deliverer, Christ, did no less. We are no longer slaves to sin. However, like Israel, we can still choose to return to Egypt.

How can we walk in this victory? In Romans 6:11, Paul says, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” The word “count” is an accounting term. This means the debt has been paid, and we are no longer responsible for it. In the same way, Paul says that we are no longer slaves of sin—including our lusts. We owe it no allegiance, and we don’t have to obey its cravings. However, we must mentally accept this reality instead of accepting the lies of the devil and our flesh.

Therefore, when Satan tempts us or makes us feel like we have to fall or that we can’t get back up after falling, we must recognize that it’s all a lie. It’s not true! Christ set us free from sin and now we are slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). Our allegiance is now to God.

In my spiritual youth, I didn’t fully understand Christ’s work on the cross and the extent of what he had done for me. Therefore, I often fought without hope. But now, I fight because the victory has already been won—which gives me great confidence. Christ already defeated Satan and my lust (cf. Col 2:13-15). But, I must reckon this as true (Rom 6:11).

This theological reality is important for many reasons. (1) It means if we stumble, we can get back up. We don’t have to accept the lies and condemnation of the devil. Proverbs says the righteous falls seven times and gets back up (Prov 24:16). That’s what separates the righteous from the ungodly. They will not stay down. If you have failed in the past, if you failed today, you can start over now because you died to sin with Christ on the cross. Sin no longer identifies you—your identity is in Christ.

(2) But this doctrine is also essential in maintaining our victory. We are no longer slaves of sin but slaves to righteousness. My debt and allegiance is to God. So, I must strive to use the members of my body as instruments of righteousness leading to holiness (Rom 6:13, 19). First Corinthians 6:19-20 says it this way:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

We have been bought with a price and are now slaves of God. Therefore, we must faithfully serve God in purity and holiness.

We see the importance of this doctrine in Augustine’s walk with God after his conversion. Before Augustine became a Christian, he was very promiscuous. However, at his conversion, everything changed. One day, he ran into a former fling. When he saw her, he turned and ran in the other direction. The lady saw him and was confused. She yelled, “My love! My love! Where are you going? It is I!” He replied, “I know! But it is not I anymore!” and he continued to run away. Augustine recognized this reality—he was not the same. He had been crucified with Christ and he no longer lived—Christ lived within him (Gal 2:20). He was no longer a slave of sin but now a slave of righteousness.

We similarly must reckon this a reality if we are going to walk in victory over lust. We must declare our victory in Christ and walk in it.

Have you declared victory? Or have you declared failure—that you can’t win or be free from bondage to lust? If that is you, then you have believed Satan’s lie instead of Christ’s truth. He who the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). Christ has set you free. Declare your victory and fight to walk in it. Don’t give up until your life represents your position in Christ—free from bondage to sin to serve God.

Reflection

How did Christ break the power of sin over our lives? Why is understanding this reality—our new identity in Christ—so important to walking in victory?

In what ways have you experienced the lies and condemnation of Satan in regards to battling lust?

How should we count or reckon our death to lust and freedom from its slavery a reality as Paul teaches (Rom 6:11)?

What are the primary strategies from God’s Battle Plan for Purity that you feel pressed to implement in your life and/or in mentoring others?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise from Caliste Burt, the surgery went well, they are now waiting to see how she heals up and some swelling goes down.

Pray for Cindy K. just became a believer, living on and off the streets. A nice Christian family has taken her in. what’s remarkable is she said she knew her grandmother was always praying for her and it stopped her from crossing a line.

Bill Warneke, says thanks for praying, he’s still resisting counseling. Chronic pain and depression.

Carl I, going away for college soon. Young Christian, first time away from home, asks that he will stay the course.

Continue to pray for Steve H, and the church finding the right pastor.

SEXUAL PURITY PART TEN

January 16, 2019

Chess_board_opening_staunton

Confession of sin both to God and to others is crucial. One of Satan’s schemes is encouraging believers to hide sin, instead of confessing it. Through spiritual hypocrisy, strongholds are developed and fortified in a believer’s life. This is the kind of Christian that Satan will destroy. They have closet addictions—closet lusts—that they never share with anyone.

When Christians don’t confess before God and others, they become desensitized to their sin—opening the door for greater strongholds. Paul talks about false teachers who have a “seared conscience” and are deceived by demons in 1 Timothy 4:1-2. Listen to what he says:

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

Paul called them “hypocritical liars”—meaning they professed godliness while living in unconfessed sin. Because of this, their consciences stopped working—making them more susceptible to demonic deception. Living in unconfessed sin opens the door for the devil in our lives.

This happens to Christians all the time. How does a pastor who preaches every week continually steal money from the church and live in an adulterous relationship? This type of stumbling doesn’t happen all at once. It’s typically a process of living in unrepentant sin while professing godliness. The hypocrisy slowly silences the conscience of the believer and further opens the door for the enemy.

This is what Satan aims to do in the area of sexual immorality. By continually living in unconfessed sexual sin. You lose the ability to be convicted by the Holy Spirit. Believers quickly find themselves bound to pornography addictions, sexual fantasies, homosexual desires, illicit sex, etc. This is the pathway to destruction, and it typically begins with Christians walking alone—with no accountability and confession in their lives.

Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live, said this:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)

“Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Who are your spiritual warriors who fight beside you? Who picks you up when you fall? Are there strongholds in your life that you haven’t confessed to anybody? He who walks with the wise becomes wise—they start to live a victorious, godly life.

In a battle, the one fighting alone is the most vulnerable and susceptible to attack.

Why do some fight alone? Some fight alone because of shame—the enemy makes them feel ashamed of their sin. They feel like nobody else struggles with it, and therefore, they never tell anyone. However, Scripture says, “There is no temptation taken you but that which is common to man” (1 Cor 10:13). This battle is something that we all share to various degrees. Don’t let the enemy lie to you and keep you from getting the support needed. Some fight alone because they think they can win the battle without help. However, 1 Corinthians 12:21 says, “The eye can’t say to the hand, I don’t need you.” God created the body of Christ in such a way that we are interdependent—meaning we need one another. We need one another to accomplish the works God has called us to do including gaining victory over lust.

Proverbs 13:20 says this: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Find wise, godly soldiers to pray with, to confess to, and to gain wisdom from in order to obtain and sustain victory against lust. These wise soldiers will include those who are battle tested and successful in winning the battle against lust. As a college student, I didn’t really start getting victory until I began to be mentored and held accountable by an older, spiritually mature man. Previously, my accountability partners were primarily young men like myself who wanted to be pure but were losing the battle. This was not wrong, but it wasn’t enough. Find wise, godly soldiers to help you win the victory.

This is a strategy every soldier must employ: Find other godly soldiers to fight with—to confess your sins to, to pray with, and to encourage. Also, be willing to let go of those who are not calling on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Reflection

Why is it important to have spiritual accountability in the battle for purity?

How should one select and initiate an accountability relationship?

Who are your accountability partners and how have these relationships helped you?

In what ways do worldly friendships and worldly dating relationships lead to suffering harm, especially in the area of sexual purity?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We are waiting to hear about Caliste Burt’s surgery, keep her in prayer

Remember Steve H. and his church is looking for a pastor.

The Perales family, mom, dad and son, all need salvation.

Bill Warneke is doing better, chronic pain and depression, pray he will go to counseling.

Remember Olivia, pray she carries to full term this miracle baby, and Olivia and baby do fine.

SEXUAL PURITY PART SIX

January 12, 2019

thinking over feeling

Consider what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Like Matthew 5:29-30, this passage uses warfare terminology for our battle against sin. In order to be holy and pure, both in heart and body, we must fight. War isn’t easy. Our enemy is relentless in trying to conquer his prey, and lust is one of his most commonly used weapons. In this battle for our mind, Paul says we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Satan always targets the mind—it is our primary battlefield. He bombards every believer’s mind with sexual images and thoughts. He does this through the world system which he rules and his myriads of demons. He understands that if he can control the mind, he can control the body. So, if we are going to “learn to control our bodies in a way that is pure and honorable,” (1 Thess 4:4) we must fight to control our mind.

Satan’s attack on our mind overlaps with his attacks on our eyes and ears. It is through the eyes and ears that input is given to the mind. Therefore, by guarding the first two, we guard the latter. However, that is not the only way we guard our mind.

How else should we guard our mind?

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must recognize ungodly thoughts and ideas by testing them against God’s Word.

David said this in Psalm 19:7: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”

The Hebrew word for “simple” has the meaning of “open-minded.” “The ancient Jews described it as someone whose mind was like an open door: everything went in and everything went out.” This person is gullible and will believe anything. His mind is open even to thoughts and images that should be rejected. However, David says that by filling the mind with God’s Word, one becomes wise to discern what is not of God (cf. Heb 5:14). Wisdom in Scripture primarily refers to knowledge of God and obedience to him (cf. Prov 9:10). That is why Scripture describes the “fool” as one who says there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

A person who does not know the Word of God will have difficulty testing what is not good and therefore have difficulty protecting himself. His mind will continually be saturated by ungodly thoughts, sexual images, and lusts meant to control and destroy him. He will lack the power and discernment to close the door on sexual thoughts and many times will not only accept them but also cultivate them.

If we are going to protect our mind, we must recognize what is not godly. When watching TV shows, listening to music, or engaging in risqué conversations that cultivate and stir lust, the simple accepts what pollutes his soul, while the wise recognizes what would dishonor God’s temple (1 Cor 6:19).

With all that said, guarding our mind does not stop at recognizing what is ungodly by testing it against God’s Word.

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must reject the ungodly by using God’s Word.

While the simple opens the door, the wise closes the door. Again, this is done first by recognizing what is wrong and then using Truth to combat what is false and sinful. When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted Scripture to reject Satan and his lies. We should do the same. Arm yourself by memorizing Bible verses related to lust and purity such as:

“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.

Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 (ESV)

Personally, when attacked by lust, I quote relevant Scriptures, confess wrong thoughts, lusts, and images before the Lord, and ask him to take them away. In our war for our mind, we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

  1. In order to guard our mind, we may at times need to command the devil to leave in Jesus name.

Again, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he initially responded to the temptation with quoting Scripture, but ultimately he commanded the devil to leave. Matthew 4:10-11 describes this:

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Similarly, at times you may need to do this. When battles with lust, pornography, and illicit sex are especially difficult, we can be sure that the enemy has set up camp in these areas, and we may need to pray in authority over these demonic strongholds to be broken in the name of Jesus.

Some struggle with this idea of demonic involvment, arguing that authority over the demonic was exclusively for Christ and his apostles. However, I believe there are many evidences that demonstrate this is for every believer. For instance:

Christ is our perfect model for everything in life, including spiritual warfare (cf. Phil 2:5-11, Heb 12:2-4. 1 Peter 2:21-24).

We should model his life as the perfect example of humanity. His example in defeating the devil in the wilderness is not only descriptive but prescriptive.

Other believers commanded demons to leave throughout the New Testament.

In Acts 16:18, Paul commanded a spirit of divination to leave a slave girl in the name of Jesus. And in Acts 8:6-7, Philip, who was possibly one of the early deacons, also cast out demons. Yes, Paul was an apostle but Philip was not. This was practiced by the early church.

First, don’t be quick to blame in on a demon. We are our own worst enemy.

Second, don’t be lax, and think there can’t be possible demonic involvement. I want to say it takes great spiritual maturity to know when something like that is actually occurring.

Third, it will depend on the church you go to, Pentecostals see demons everywhere and never take personal responsibility. Liberals churches scoff at the idea of demons, or even the devil and everyone is going to heaven. Even some Evangelical churches reject the idea.

Fourth, demonic strongholds if they exist does not imply demonic possession. Christians cannot be possessed of a demon, or cursed, or have a bloodline curse.

This is was covered in our spiritual warfare series. If you have questions about it email me.

Finally, Scripture indicates that Christ has given us his authority based on our union with him.

Ephesians 1:20-22 describes his position of authority at the right hand of the Father seated above powers and principalities (the demonic) in the heavenly realm. And then Ephesians 2:6 describes how believers are seated with him. Again, this seating is not primarily a location but a position of authority which believers have in Christ. In fact, one day we will judge fallen angels with him because of this position (1 Cor 6:3). We have authority over the demonic just as the apostles and the early church, and we are called to conquer them with the spiritual weapons God has given us (cf. Eph 6:10-19).

Unfortunately, many believers neglect this authority not only to their own detriment but also to the detriment of others. When Christ sent believers into the world to proclaim the gospel, he sent them in all the authority given to him (Matt 28:18-20). We need this authority not just to spread the gospel but also for spiritual warfare.

Christ’s authority is important in battling lust because some strongholds and temptations are not just of the flesh, they are demonic. Like Christ in the wilderness, Paul, at times, recognized certain obstacles and temptations were not just of the flesh and of the world, but of the devil. Paul said this in 1 Thessalonians 2:18: “we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us” (ESV). We need to discern this as well and resist the devil.

James says this: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). As we submit to God through his Word, prayer, and the ministry of other saints, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us. However, at times, resistance may include commanding the demonic to leave in the name of Jesus as demonstrated by Christ and the early church.

It is not God’s will for us to live bound to lust and sexual immorality, and God has given us all the resources to walk in freedom, including his Word and his authority. Thank you, Lord, for giving us everything needed for life and godliness (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Thank you, Lord, that you are creating a pure and blameless Bride for your pleasure (cf. Eph 5:25-27).

Are you guarding your mind? Are you taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ? Are you filling your mind with God’s Word? Are you resisting the devil’s attacks so that he flees?

Reflection

Why is the mind so important in our battle for purity?

In what ways does the enemy bombard our mind with sexual images and thoughts?

How can a person tell when certain strongholds, especially sexual ones, are also demonic?

How should we resist the devil so he flees? In what ways is God calling you to better guard your mind?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, feel free to email us.

Pray for Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression.

The Perales family, they need salvation and a good church.

Pray for me, the nursing home I work in just downsized because of State regulations and myself and 4 others were let go, bam, just like that. And because it is a nonprofit organization there is no unemployment.

SEXUAL PURITY PART FOUR

January 10, 2019

binoculars

The next strategy in our battle for purity is guarding our eyes. Jesus said this, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is good your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23).

What did Christ mean by the whole body being filled with light or darkness based on one’s eye? In Scripture, light typically refers to what is righteous, good, and true, and darkness refers to what is evil, bad, and perverse (cf. Ephesians 5:9). To have a good eye means for a person to continually view what is godly, and therefore, a bad eye refers to continually viewing what is ungodly. Though the context of this passage is riches, it can refer to being filled with anything that is good or bad.

The eyes are a doorway to the mind and whatever one’s mind continually thinks upon, a person will eventually do. If a person is going to be pure, he must be intentional about guarding his eyes. This will affect the types of movies watched, books read, and Internet sites visited. It will also affect how one looks at the opposite sex. For many, when they view the opposite sex, it is hard to not view them from a sexual standpoint. Their eyes continually trigger lustful thoughts and intentions, and if not combated, these eventually trigger lustful actions.

When a person views what is good or evil, it begins to “fill” them. To be filled means to be controlled by. In Ephesians 5:18, believers are called to be filled with the Spirit—controlled by it. When one is full of darkness, it means they are controlled by evil. In reference to lust, a person’s lust can become out of control, even leading to tragic acts such as sexual harassment, rape, molestation, etc.

Sexual abuse statistics are frightening! One out of three American women will be sexually abused during their lifetime. One out of four women and one out of six men will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen.i Four out of five sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.ii Why is sexual abuse so pervasive and overwhelming? No doubt, it in part has to do with the increased access to erotic material in books, on TV, and on the Internet. The result of people viewing these materials is that eventually they can’t control themselves—they are filled and controlled by the darkness their eyes continually engage in.

Conversely, a person whose eyes are continually engaging with the Word of God and godly things will be controlled by them. Fruits of the Spirit will be born in their lives—love, joy, peace, and self-control.

What are you filled with? Are you filling yourself with light which creates righteousness or darkness which creates uncontrollable, evil urges?

How can we practically guard our eyes?

Bouncing Our Eyes

Let’s consider what Job said about disciplining his eyes. In Job 31:1, he said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” In order to remain pure, Job guarded his eyes from looking at a woman lustfully. This was his continual discipline.

Some have called this “bouncing” one’s eyes. When seeing an attractive female, instead of cultivating lustful thoughts and intentions, a man quickly bounces his eyes to something else. When seeing seductive images on the TV or the Internet, instead of taking a second look, one bounces his eyes by turning the channel or closing the webpage. I had a professor in seminary who used to say; “the first look is free, the second look is sin, so make the first look fast.”

I remember one time in seminary seeing a young lady who was very attractive. I closed my eyes and prayed to God: “Lord, that woman is sooooo attractive—she will never get a second look from these eyes.” This was the type of discipline Job implemented, and it is the type of discipline we must implement as well if we are going be pure. Remember Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “learn” how to control their bodies in a way that is holy and honorable (1 Thess 4:4). No doubt, “bouncing” their eyes in a sexually charged culture was one of those disciplines.

How else can we guard our eyes?

Praying Over Our Eyes

Another discipline we should practice is prayer. David, a man who struggled with lust and pornography, often prayed over his eyes. In Psalm 119:37, he prayed this: “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”

He prayed for God to turn his eyes from the darkness of what is worthless to the light of God’s Word. Whatever we practice becomes a habit. If we’ve practiced sizing up members of the opposite sex and looking at alluring images, then we will need even more grace to break those habits. Prayer is one of the ways that God changes our eyes from being dark to light.

Lord, turn our eyes from what is worthless to what is good.

Reflection

Why is it so hard to guard our eyes in this culture?

How is your struggle with your eyes? In what ways is God calling you to better guard them?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Gwen, financial difficulties.

Pray for Caliste Burt, upcoming brain surgery, anxiety is weighing heavy on them

Pray of Bill Warneke, depression and chronic pain

Pray for Paul K, depression

SEXUAL PURITY PART THREE

January 9, 2019

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SEXUAL PURITY PART THREE

The next strategy in God’s Battle Plan for purity is identifying sexual temptations and being ruthless in getting rid of them. Listen to what Christ said in the context of teaching on adultery:

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 5:29-30

After teaching that a man who lusts after a woman who is not his wife has already committed adultery in his heart (v. 27-28), Christ says that one should be violent in removing temptations towards sexual sin.

The plucking out of one’s eye and cutting off one’s hand are hyperbole or symbolism for war time tactics. In ancient wars, when an army conquered another, they would at times pluck out the eyes and cut off the hands of the conquered so that they would never rise up and fight them again. This cruel tactic was used on Samson. When the Philistines defeated him, they blinded him with the intent of disabling him from ever harming them again (Judges 16:21).

By using this hyperbole, Christ shares how we must similarly declare war in order to be pure. He shows us how severely we must deal with sexual temptations. If our eyes—what we look at—are causing us to lust, we must get rid of it. If our hands—what we do—are causing us to sin, we must cut it out of our life.

The eye and the hand represent things dear to us—things that may seem essential for life. However, even these must not be spared in our efforts to be holy and pure. Is an intimate relationship tempting us? It must be severed. Is it our reading or TV watching? Let us discard it. We must be violent in our task of remaining pure and holy.

This violence will be demonstrated in various ways. I have had friends get rid of their TVs in order to be holy. Personally, as a seminary student and youth pastor, I wouldn’t own the Internet at home because I wanted to protect myself from temptation. I would only use it at work or school. I even had to end relationships that went too far physically to protect the person and myself, but most importantly, to honor God.

With this said, we can understand why many cannot remain pure. The reason is simple. They just don’t hate their sin enough. Purity is not a big enough priority to get rid of things that are dear to them. They love their eye and their hand too much. Friendships, TV shows, a dating relationship, the convenience of the Internet, etc., are too much to part with in their quest to be holy.

If we are going to win the battle against lust, we must declare war on it. Are you willing to go to war in order to be pure? For those who have opened sexual doors, this battle may be especially difficult and costly. But God will help as you are faithful.

I have no Tv service, haven’t for almost 30 years. One it’s a huge waste of time, to it pollutes your mind. I only read good books, yes, I do real mystery novels, but again. Clean. I only listen to full time Christian Radio, BBN radio, it is the best Christian radio station in the world. Listen to it on the internet or the app or see if it plays in your area.

Reflection

What types of cherished things commonly hinder a believer’s quest for sexual purity? Why is it often so hard to let go of these things?

What things have you had to cut out of your life in order to be pure? Are there any things God is calling you to let go of currently?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Remember all our prayer requests;

Olivia, a healthy pregnancy and carries to full term, and that her health continues to improve.

Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Steve H, the church finds the right pastor

Paul C, back problems

SEXUAL PURITY PART TWO

January 8, 2019

Just as with any battle plan, one must count the cost of failure. What will be the cost of being overcome by sexual temptation? We see this strategy used when Solomon counseled his son in Proverbs about the lure of the adulterous woman. Solomon, who had many wives and concubines, knew the consequences of sexual immorality well. His father’s marriage began from an adulterous affair, and he struggled with his father’s lust. Consider the costs of sexual immorality in Proverbs 6:27-35:

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.

Although Solomon is talking about adultery specifically, many of these consequences apply to lust in general. Solomon said, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” The answer to the rhetorical question is, “No!” In considering adultery, he said a person “destroys himself” and blows and disgrace will be his lot, and the shame will never be wiped away. The consequences last forever. Can anyone escape the penalties of indulging in lust? No. It is impossible. As mentioned, sexual immorality is a sin against one’s body (1 Cor 6:18). It always affects one’s body, mind, and spirit. It leads to mental and emotional baggage that is later carried into one’s marriage.

Personally, I still struggle with explicit images and thoughts from things I saw and experienced before marriage, but I don’t act out because I don’t want to lose my intimacy with God, nor with my wife. Plus I don’t do well with guilt, it tears me up way to much. I carry this baggage with me from the sins of my youth. Sometimes, the consequences are physical sickness such as STDs. Other times, it is an unplanned pregnancy—potentially leading to an abortion. When married, the costs become greater. Marital unfaithfulness leaves brokenness and carnage in its trail. A brokenhearted spouse and emotionally damaged children are just a few of the consequences.

As a married pastor with two adult children, I always think of the consequences of falling to my lust. I think of the pain it would cause my wife, the destruction I would be causing my children and grandchildren, believers who might fall away from Christ because of my example, and being disqualified from ministry (cf. 1 Tim 3:2, 1 Cor 9:27). The consequences would be devastating, and like Solomon said, the “shame will never be wiped away” (Prov 6:33). Certainly, forgiveness is available, but forgiveness does not eliminate the consequences. God forgave David for his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, but the consequences were the sword never departing from his home and losing his first child with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:9-14).

Another consequence of sexual immorality that must be considered is its effect on our relationship with God. In the Beatitudes, Christ said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God” (Matt 5:8). The word “pure” means unmixed. When we allow lust and other wrong desires to enter our heart, it hinders our relationship with God. It separates us from him. David said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18).

Have you counted the cost of failure to sexual temptation? Fifty-six percent of divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic sites. The seeds cultivated in a man or woman’s youth often bear destructive weeds in marriage. If we are going to win the battle against lust, we must count the cost. It is simply not worth it. I will say this, no matter what you did in your past with pornography and lustful behavior. One can lead a victorious life and not fail in those areas again.

O Lord, keep us from dishonoring your name, damaging ourselves, and damaging others. Make our feet like hinds’ feet and keep us from stumbling (Psalm 18:33). Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).

Reflection

What are some potential costs of falling into sexual immorality for both the single and the married?

How can considering the cost help in one’s battle against sexual temptation?

Do you ever consider the costs of this battle? How has it helped? If not, why not?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Paul C. in your prayers he has really messed up his back.

Pray for Steve H, and his church searching for the right pastor

Pray for Caliste Burt, 3 brain tumors, surgery late next week, and the anxiety is setting in.

Remember Olivia, carrying her baby to full term.

Pray for Christina, 8 years old and suffering chronic pain, doctors are not sure what is causing it.

SEXUAL PURITY PART ONE

January 7, 2019

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT AND LANGUAGE, EXTREME SEXUAL TOPIC(s)

I have been a counselor for sex addicts for over 35 years. I’ve been a co-founder of citizen’s against pornography and co-founder of The Pure Life Deliverance Ministries.

So we are going to run a series about immorality and how to lead a pure life. This is going to be a very frank discussion, so if you are easily offended or embarrassed about this topic please take care.

In order to win the battle for purity, believers must first answer this question: “What is sexual immorality?” If we are going to avoid it and flee from it, we must know what it is. I think many Christians are failing simply because they don’t know what sexual immorality is. It has never been defined for them. Some would even say that it is just “intercourse.”

Many believe that oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, heavy petting, etc., are not part of sexual immorality. Such belief leads then to open these doors as avenues of fulfilling their lust while trying to maintain their “virginity.”

I’ve had numerous college girls coming for counseling over how they have wrecked their lives and their bodies believing that anal sex would protect their virginity. And once the word got out that they were willing to that then the doors opened to abuse in all kinds of forms. An now they have physical problems as a result of this. And are unable to have healthy relationships with men in general.

However, by doing this, they are really committing sexual immorality and opening the door for the enemy to attack them and bring them under greater sexual bondage. Therefore, this is an important question to answer. What is sexual immorality?

In order to answer this question, let’s consider 1 Corinthians 7:1-3:

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

Paul, the author, said that it is good for a man to stay single and not marry. But because of temptation towards sexual immorality, each person should consider marriage as a spiritual protection. In marriage, the husband and the wife fulfill each other’s sexual desires.

From this, we can gain this basic definition of sexual immorality: Sexual immorality is the attempt to fulfill natural sexual desires outside of the marriage union between a man and a woman. This includes things like sex, oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, heavy petting, pornography, and sexual imaginations. In short, sexual immorality encompasses all acts and thoughts designed to fulfill sexual desire outside of marriage.

In fact, Jesus said this about sexual immorality in Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In other words, a person has already committed adultery when lusting, since he went outside of the marriage union to fulfill his sexual desires.

This might seem unrealistic to some. “How can anyone keep themselves from sexual thoughts?” And some might ask, “Why would they?” The reality is that God created sex and he has given us ethics for its use. If we pursue these desires outside the marriage union, we do it at our own peril. We sin against our own bodies, and most grievously, we sin against God.

How then should a single person respond to his natural desires? Scripture uses the analogy of sleeping for those desires. Listen to what Solomon’s fiancée said in the Song of Solomon: “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (3:5). She exhorts the young ladies in Jerusalem to keep their desires asleep until it is time.

Well, the next question we must ask is, “How can we keep those desires asleep?” or “How can we put them back to sleep after they have been awakened?” We will consider this in the following strategies.

Reflection

What was your previous understanding of sexual immorality?

Define sexual immorality. Why is it important to know its definition?

How commonly do you think people open sexual doors simply because of lack of truly understanding the definition?

Why is it important to keep sexual desires asleep?

When should churches and parents start instructing children about sexual immorality?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

You can recover from sexual addictions, and from sexual abuse, self-committed or committed against you. But there is recovery and healing.

Remember Bill Warneke, depression and chronic pain, noticed I’ve changed the order of this prayer, I’m more concerned about the depression than the pain.

Remember Caliste Burt, brain surgery in 2 weeks.

And Olivia, she has been bed ridden for many years and then better, but under heavy medication, she was told she could never get pregnant and she has, we are praying the medicine and her illness doesn’t jeopardize her life of the baby she is carrying.

ALWAYS READ TILL THE END

December 24, 2018

THE PROMISE

This was first written in 1991, make sure you read to the end because it does have a happy ending.

I thought this was the year I wouldn’t write this, but today it hit me, my wife saw it on my face like I had wrote it on my forehead, she started making up Christmas songs with nonsense verses to make me laugh, a few minutes and it passed. Whew!

But for those who suffer in the holidays just know it can get better, but don’t suffer in silence, share with someone.

It time for my annual Christmas story, the reason it’s an annual story is from Thanksgiving until about March, I suffer from seasonal affect disorder (SAD) winter depression. The worst part about it is the feeling of not being connected to anyone or anything. I have one word in my vocabulary, actually it’s two, “I quit”, but I get through it and some years are worse than others.  Its Christmas time, and I hate the songs, and I hate the sentiments, and the best thing for me is to keep my mouth shut. Here is my version of a Christmas Carol.

Our trip to cut down a Christmas tree starts out as a normal family time.  Everyone in the car, my sister and I hoping and praying for a pleasant day.  “One stop at MacDonald’s Bar and Grill for a quick one.  You guys sit tight,” Dad says.

And a few hours later a neighbor or a state cops comes by and takes you home.

Its three days before Christmas and there’s a knock on the door.  In come three giants in police uniform.  They set up the tree that you never got and decorate it, and they put down the toys and candies and bring in bags of groceries because somehow they know you have been eating nothing but cheerios and spam.  You can’t believe someone cares, and as they leave, they tousle your hair, saying “Be the man, hold it together.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and you and your sister huddle in bed without any visions of sugarplums in your head.  All you can hear are the sound of your drunken father, shooting his gun in the air, laughing and saying, “That fat SOB isn’t stopping here tonight so get your asses to bed.”

Christmas morning dawns, and you race down the stairs.  But there’s no Christmas tree, no toys, no decorations.  Nothing is said, but you and your sister are packed up to grandma’s house, where you can get a semblance of Christmas, where you can feel safe and can be a child again.

The Christmas tree is sold with all the toys and decorations right there in your home. Maybe it’s because your father owes someone money, or maybe it’s just because he thinks it’s funny.

Oh, but everyone has to love Christmas.   Not me!

I never shot the gun into the air.  I never sold the goods out from under your nose.  I never got drunk and laid in a stupor for the holidays.

I just bitch about everything.   Why do I have to do it?  Why ask me to participate?  Oh, well, the martyr syndrome kicks in, and I say just get it over with.  I create the tension, I crate the threats, and it’s me who hates Christmas.

I am fully saved.  I am fully justified and sanctified.  But I can’t get through the depression that falls upon me.  It hovers all year and descends in full force at Thanksgiving time.

Ho, Ho, Ho.  I can’t do it.  My first full time position as an associate pastor (1981), I try to play the Christmas Pastor.   I reach the point of thinking if I hear another Christmas carol or poem or get invited to another church Christmas party I’m going to puke.

It can’t be hidden. Finally I get called into the office two days before New Year’s Eve and asked what’s wrong with me.  Must be a “seasonal affect disorder.”

And so in a wind blown field, all is lost, all is gone; the holidays have robbed me of everything. No one can love me, no one comes near, they are afraid of the anger, the tempest.  The depression is black, the Gallic curse is full blown, and a berserker mentality is taking root. A siege engine is gripping my thoughts.   Why surrender?  Why strive? Give up, give in, stop fighting.   Give it up!

The lies and seduction call you to rest.  The serpent is whispering, “Pull the trigger, stop fighting, you’ve lost.  There is no shame, it’s the family curse.”

And the hammer starts to fall, and the laughter gets louder.  Everything slows to a crawl.

“Does He matter more than this, a voice whispers, God still speaks

You fall to your knees, and weep, tears freeze on your face.   You think all is lost, all is gone, never to regain.

I live through Christmas.  The trigger is not pulled.  I know by March all will be well, and winter will be gone. Easter will come and the depression that has been with me most of the year, the weight like going down the mine, crushing, suffocating, the blackness, rage, and desperation will disappear for a while.

And the epiphany always comes.  Christ Precious.  “Is Christ precious to you?”  It’s more than saying you love Him.  It’s more than calling him Lord.  It’s a fact that you must lose all, watch everything crumble, but there is no companion, no possession worth anything more than Christ.

On bended knee the cry escapes my lips, “Take it all, you’ve taken it all, and you are precious. With this and no more I crave, not one thing can be added, and I will say you are most precious to me.

You shout, “Yes, He is more precious, nothing else matters, if all I have is this moment, it is enough, because He is most precious.”

He is most precious, and with His arms of grace about you, you fall asleep.  It is lifted.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

And Merry Freak’n Christmas

P.S. that was my usual Christmas post up till 2010, and then finally God broke through. All the memories of yesteryear’s stopped hurting. Thanks to a loving and kind wife, she finally chipped through all the BS and got me to see Christmas through her eyes. So now I bake cookies, decorate them and this year (2018) I made my first Christmas decoration, ok, it maybe a little freaky, the skull of an Axis deer painted half green and half red, the antlers are chromed and it has two bells hanging off the antlers the size of tennis balls and it’s mounted to my fence, it’s a start.  Ho, ho,ho…..Merry Christmas.

yes, you can be victorious!

December 11, 2018

Compulsiveness is defined as “an irresistible, repeated impulse to perform some irrational act.” A few common examples of compulsive behavior are: gambling, sex, eating, talking, drinking alcoholic beverages or taking drugs, working, spending money, punishing children, etc. Some of the activities named are perfectly innocent in themselves and others are nearly always harmful. Whether an act is intrinsically right or wrong, it becomes wrong, and even dangerous, when performed compulsively. For instance, while there is nothing wrong with eating, the compulsive eater will become overweight and suffer ill health.

The Apostle Paul warns those who are compulsive: “But when you follow your own wrong inclinations your lives will produce these evil results. . . ” The list includes eagerness for lustful pleasure, murder, drunkenness, etc. (Gal. 5:19-21). But when the Holy Spirit is in control, he produces such fruit as love, peace, patience, goodness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22,23).

God understands us and knows how very much we need his help. Take a moment to reflect on Jeremiah 13:23: “Can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin? or a leopard take away his spots? Nor can you who are so used to doing evil now start being good.” In order to change, the compulsive person needs to first make Jesus Christ his Savior and Lord. The one who has tried on his own to overcome compulsiveness will not find it hard to believe Jesus’ claim that “apart from me you can’t do a thing” (John 15:5). Prayerfully explain to this person how he can trust in Christ and become a child of God.

But don’t be surprised to find a Christian who still has a problem with compulsiveness. In Romans 7:22-25 the Apostle Paul describes his struggle and how he was set free by Christ: “I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is as war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.” The Christian can overcome compulsive behavior as he follows these four scriptural principles: Recognize that your old sin nature is dead. “So look upon your old sin nature as dead and unresponsive to sin, and instead be alive to God, alert to him, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).

Thank the Lord for what he has done. “Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free” (Rom 7:25). Allow the Holy Spirit to control your life. “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. . .” (Gal. 5:22, 23). Cooperate with what Christ has accomplished in your life. “Do not let sin control your puny body any longer; do not give in to its sinful desires. Do not let any part of your bodies become tools of wickedness, to be used for sinning; but give yourselves completely to God. . .to be used for his good purposes” (Rom. 6:12,13). “So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadowboxing or playing around. Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside” (1 Cor. 9:26, 27).

Cooperation with Christ will include some tough decisions, like turning down an invitation to the dog track if you are a compulsive gambler, or to a cocktail party if you are an alcoholic. If you have a problem with pornography, you will have to stay away from certain areas of town where you might be tempted by the drug store’s magazine rack may have to be avoided. If you are a compulsive spender, you may find it helpful to destroy your charge cards. The compulsive eaters may become stronger by joining a dieter’s club where he is accountable to someone. Jesus said, “So if your eye – even if it is your best eye! – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. . .And if your hand – even your right hand – causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. . .” (Matt. 5:29,30). What Jesus is saying, in the strongest language, is that you should do whatever is necessary to avoid compulsive behavior.

I know I can hear you right now, “you don’t know how many times I’ve tried to quit.”

Well, this time might be the one that works. Just don’t give up. Support groups are the best way to go. Just be aware that the people attending those groups can form an unhealthy group. So go with your sponsor or someone you trust to make the group is on the up and up.

So, now your paranoid. If you live in a large city there are always plenty of groups to choose from. If you are in a small town, check out what programs the local churches offer.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for churches that are looking for pastors, pray the pulpit committee has discernment. In this day and age, do a credit check, a background check. Letters of reference, call them. The extra work is worth it.

Pray for Jimmy W, extreme, chronic pain.

Pray for Marilyn A, battling depression.

Pray for Alison K, eating disorders, peer pressure, being bullied. Pray she opens up to her youth pastor or someone she trusts.

Pray for Karla T, forgiveness, she will forgive and move on in victory over her past.

the door to your heart

November 15, 2018

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Ernie Isley, of the Isley brothers hall of fame musicians has a great song called; ‘diamond in the rough’. And there’s one line in that song I want to use to start us off for our daily devotion. ‘There’s only broken glass around my heart’s door.’

Have you been wounded by someone? Of course you have, you can’t live long on this planet without someone either with malice and cruel intent or just stupidity saying or doing something to hurt you.

I wish all churches had a Sunday School Class for adults based on the AA curriculum. Then we might be better at taking inventory of ourselves and practicing acceptance and forgiveness. Seems like the church doesn’t always do a good job of teaching us to understand. We are well schooled at understanding that God forgave us. But we have a hard time practicing forgiving those that have made us victims of cruelty and abuse.

And even when we have gone to the altar of prayer, we can have a hard time with the painful memories that have left deep scars in our hearts and minds.

One practical truth that seems to be overlooked or actually miss-taught is that forgiveness is contingent on relationship, you know the old phrase, ‘forgive and forget’. Nothing could be more untrue, forgiveness between ourselves and our human relations is not based on relationships, but completely on the truthfulness of our genuine forgiveness of that person.

And sometimes because of the painful memories we have to go back in our hearts and say we forgive them again ( in our heart not over and over to them). But let me stress this, you can forgive someone and completely lose the relationship, and that forgiveness is complete, genuine and done. So stop stressing or believing that forgiveness is based on having the relationship restored. That only works between God and ourselves.

Which brings to mind something I said in a previous devotion, think before you act, because cannot a man heap coals into his lap and not be burned. Proverbs 6:27, (totally out of context here)once the act is done it’s done.

I had a man come to me one time and he confessed that over the weekend he had slept with a hooker and then felt guilty and went home and slept with his wife. Then he found out he may have contracted a venereal disease. His question was since he asked God to forgive him, how could God let him pass a venereal disease on to his wife.

Simple answer, you murder someone and then confess and ask forgiveness, is God going to bring that dead person back to life, not even. This man was furious at my answer and said that God wasn’t being fair. I don’t know what god he was talking about but not the one from the bible..

So our prayer today is that God would sweep the glass from around our heart and let’s forgive those that need to be forgiven and have an open loving heart towards God and toward those that need to be forgiven. But don’t think you have to have a relationship with those that are toxic or continue to abuse and cause harm. Forgive and then move on and away.

Be safe as well as blessed.

God bless.

Pray for Karey, a seeker, lots of questions, hopefully the ones that will lead her to Christ.

Pray for Paul C, still has slipped his leash, a true prodigal. We pray he comes to his senses.

Pray for Carey A, will have both knees replaced next Monday

Pray for John W, pray he finds the Lord.