thinking over feeling

The last words uttered by the Savior just before He died on the cross were, “It is finished.” He was not referring to the end of His life or ministry, but of His substitutionary sufferings on the cross which He would complete by His death which occurred immediately following His shout, “It is finished.” He was declaring He had finished the special work of salvation which the Father had given Him to accomplish.

We speak of “the finished work of Christ” because there is nothing left to be done to provide man’s salvation. God has done it all in the person and work of His Son and He raised Him from the dead as the proof of that very fact. The work of God in Christ is a once-and-for-all work of God accomplished in total by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Christ’s death was distinctly a work accomplished for the entire world (John 3:16; Heb. 2:9) and, provisionally speaking, it provided redemption (1 Tim. 2:6), reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19), and propitiation (the appeasement or satisfaction of God’s holiness) (1 John 2:2) for every person in the world.

Salvation is a done proposition. Man’s responsibility is to accept this by faith, faith alone in Christ alone. The finished work of Christ includes not only deliverance from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. Faith in Christ for salvation means coming to Him as the source of salvation from every aspect of sin through trusting in the accomplished work of Christ.

When Christ cried out, “It is finished” (Greek, telesthai, the perfect tense of teleo, “to complete, finish” expressing completed action with continuing results), He was affirming the fact of the finished nature of what He had accomplished on the cross for the world. Regarding Christ’s work as a finished work, Lewis Chafer wrote:

The fact that Christ died does not in itself save men, but it provides the one and only sufficient ground upon which God in full harmony with His perfect holiness is free to save even the chief of sinners. This is the good news which the Christian is appointed to proclaim to all the world. (any book by Dr. Chafer is good to read)

In all the other religions of the world, salvation is a work that man does for God. This is what makes biblical Christianity distinct from all the religions of the world because in the Bible, salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:0); it is the work of God for man and Christ’s final shout of victory affirmed this truth.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our prayer list, pray especially for Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression. He has fallen several times over the last few years and his balance is getting worse.

Remember Steve H, and the hunt for a pastor.

our schooled life

January 20, 2019

growth marks

Titus 2:12

Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (NASB)

saving grace teaches its recipients to say no to sin and yes to godliness. In the present age stresses that this godliness is to be lived out in the here and now. It also sets up the reference to the future return of Christ (v. 13). Certainty about the future enables constancy in the present.

The same grace that saves us also trains us in the school of holiness. There are “No-No’s” in that school which we must learn to renounce. The first is ungodliness, which means irreligion. The second is worldly lusts—not just sexual sins, but also the lust for wealth, power, pleasure, fame, or anything else that is essentially worldly.

On the positive side, grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously toward others, and godly in the pure light of His presence. These are the virtues that should characterize us in this world, where everything about us is going to be dissolved. It is the place of our pilgrimage and not our final home.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Piasa, she lives in Tuscany, and is a new follower to our site, and a relatively new believer.

Pray for Raymond Reyes, a missionary to Argentina, he’s here in Texas for a furlough.

Pray for Danny F, he needs to learn to lead a godly lifestyle before it’s to late.

  “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain” (Phil. 2:16).

  Many Christians are bogged down between the nursery and the schoolroom; between the playpen and the workshop. These resist the weaning period; but the spiritually hungry-hearted are eager to have their feelings replaced by faith.

It is true that the Father does take up those who are spiritually immature and permit them to speak His words years before they fully understand their import; but He does not wish any of us to stop there. We may go on that way for awhile, but is it not true that from the time when He begins in us His work of formation through discipline and chastening, it slowly dawns on us how little in fact we know of the true meaning of what we had been saying?

Our Lord intends that we should reach the place where we can speak, with or without manifest gifts, because we are that which we share. For in Christian experience the spiritual things of God are less and less outward, that is, of gift, and more and more inward, of life. In the long run it is the depth and inwardness of a work that counts. As the Lord Jesus Himself becomes more and more to us, other things—and this must include even gifts—matter less and less. Then, though we teach the same doctrine, speak the same words, the impact on others is very different, manifesting itself in an increasing depth of the Spirit’s work within them also.

Our Father’s hand is on the helm. We are being guided, even when we feel it least. The closed door is as much His Providence as the open, and equally for our good and the accomplishment of His own great ends. And one learns at last it is not what we set ourselves to do that really tells in blessing so much as what He is doing in and through us.”

  “Thou wilt show me the path of life” (Ps. 16:11).

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Caliste is doing great and says thanks for the prayers

 

Bill W, new medicine is helping somewhat.

 

Paul K, pray for healing of the two cysts on his pancreas

 

Olivia is doing great, appreciates our prayers.

 

Pray for Barbara D, the list of her illness and the hosts of other physical problems is amazing she can function, her cancer is back and we need to keep her in prayer.

 

Pray for the Perales family, salvation for Norma, Rick Sr. and Rick Jr.

 

Remember Steve H, and the church’s search for a pastor.

 

Pray for me as I am seeking new employment.

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 EIGHT

January 14, 2019

Senior Couple At Home

THIS COUPLE IS HAPPY AND TOGETHER IN MARRIAGE BECAUSE THEY STARTED OUT THE RIGHT WAY.

Since we consider the Bible to relevant, and God’s inspired word, than we consider the instructions and principles to be applied to how we live today.

Consider what Paul said to Timothy, a young single pastor in Ephesus:

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

1 Timothy 5:1-2

Essentially, Paul says that outside of marriage, one’s interactions with the opposite sex should look like a natural brother and sister relationship. In fact, he says it should be identified by “absolute purity.”

Again, most Christian dating relationships follow the pattern of the world. When I was a student, they called it first-base, second-base, third-base, and home. Couples went from holding hands, to kissing, to heavy petting, to sex. Now days it sex on the first date.

However, Scripture presents a very different picture—a familial one. A dating relationship, in many ways, should resemble a sibling relationship. We have forgotten a great principle, dating should be like being with a family person. Friendship, companionship, nothing crossing a boundary.

Once the boundaries of Scripture have been eclipsed, it is often like a slippery slope. First it’s OK to hold hands, then it’s OK to kiss, then it’s OK to cuddle and touch one another, then it’s OK to have sex because eventually you’re going to get married anyway—one reasons. This is a pathway to destruction.

I always encourage couples to declare their boundaries when initially considering dating someone. If that person is not willing to keep those boundaries, then move on. It is a lot harder to pull somebody up, than to pull somebody down. In dating and courtship, it’s important to be equally yoked, especially when it comes to purity.

A Warning about Clothing

In guarding your brother or sister, one of the things that must be considered is clothing. This is especially true for a woman since her body is more alluring than a man’s. That is why in many cultures, it is socially acceptable for a man to have his shirt off and not a woman. It seems that God made the woman’s body that way—it is the more delicate vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Also, this is especially important for women because men are typically more visually stimulated, while women are more emotionally stimulated.

In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, Paul said,

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

This means that a Christian woman should avoid extremes in her clothing. She should not be known for dressing haggardly nor with expensive clothing, as is so common amongst the world. Peter, similarly, said this:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4

However, this modesty, especially, applies to provocative dress, which can cause others to stumble. It will be very hard for a woman to avoid provocative clothing, as Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31), which includes the fashion industry. Sex drives the fashion industry. Shorts and skirts continue to get shorter, tops reveal more cleavage, and pants are tighter. For a woman to dress modestly, she will have to go against the flow and be very strategic and particular in her purchases.

Dressing modestly is important to maintain purity and to protect a dating relationship. As a female, you don’t want to open the door for the enemy into your courtship. Also, you don’t want a man who is primarily attracted to you because of your figure. Solomon’s mother said “charm” or “form” is deceitful, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Prov 31:30). You should want a man who is primarily attracted to you because of your love and obedience to the Lord, which includes modesty. Be careful of your clothing, as it can be a stumbling block to your brothers, and it will make it harder to stay pure in a courting relationship.

With that said, this is also true for men. Men need to consider their clothing in order to not be a stumbling block to their sisters. Men should be careful of wearing t-shirts that are 3X too small and pants or shirts that are also to tight.

How is your clothing? Could it potentially be a stumbling block to others?

If you are going to win the battle for purity, you must guard members of the opposite sex by treating them as brothers and sisters with all purity and being modest in your dress.

Reflection

What are the common sexual practices of the world in regards to dating/courting?

Do you know the difference between dating and courting?

What type of Christian instruction did you receive in regards to one’s conduct in dating/courtship relationships? What did that instruction include?

How would you apply Paul’s exhortation to treat younger members of the opposite sex as siblings with absolute purity to dating/courting relationships (1 Tim 5:2)?

Do you feel as though Christian brothers and sisters often model the clothing standards of the world in regards to immodesty? How can we better hold one another accountable in regards to dress?

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

Please remember Caliste Burt, her brain surgery is this week.

Bill Warneke, we will be checking up on him this week, chronic pain and depression.

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

Thank you for your prayers for me I am feeling much better.

SEXUAL PURITY PART SEVEN

January 13, 2019

full custody

The next strategy is guarding our free time. One of the major reasons people engage in sexual sins, such as pornography and masturbation, is simply boredom—not having anything else productive to do. The Bible seems to provide evidence of this. Unwise stewardship of time probably contributed to David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Consider the narrative:

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.

2 Samuel 11:1-4

In this story, the events occurred in the spring when kings typically went off to war; however, instead of going to battle, David sent the entire Israelite army while he stayed home. Next, David had a sleepless night and then decided to walk on the roof of his palace. While walking, he noticed a beautiful woman bathing. He saw, he lusted, and then he committed adultery with her.

Temptation, Time, opportunity, wherewithal (money, booze, drugs, etc.)it’s at that moment you have to be on guard. The fact is that if you haven’t had a spiritual controlled response to the temptation, you’ve already failed.

Many men and women have had similar experiences. They were up late with nothing productive to do. They found themselves watching a show they shouldn’t be watching, in a chatroom they shouldn’t be in, on a website they shouldn’t be on, or having a conversation they shouldn’t be having. Like David, many are led into lust by not guarding their time.

There is more biblical evidence of the temptations associated with boredom. First Timothy 5:13 says this about widows and idleness: “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.” Not having a husband leads the widows to idleness, and in turn, the widows become gossips and busybodies. There is a lot of truth to the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” When we have free time, it is often then that our enemy attacks. Loneliness, boredom, and procrastination are times when we are especially prone to lust, depression, addiction, and other temptations.

In addition, Paul says this in Ephesians 5:15-17: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Why should we be careful to use our time wisely? Paul says because the days are evil—meaning that if we make poor choices with our time, there is a tendency to fall into the evil of the day. There is a tendency to fall into sin.

This is not only true about lust but any sin. When do people typically get drunk? In their free time. When do people typically struggle with pornography? In their free time. When do people indulge in addictions? In their free time. Satan realizes that our free time is prime real estate for temptation. Therefore, we must make the best use of our time.

In fact, “making the best use of the time” can be translated “redeeming the time” or “buying back the time.” The word redeeming “was used of buying a slave in order to set him free.”i We must redeem our time from the slavery of evil and instead use it for God.

How do we redeem our time and make “the best” use of it? Paul said that we must know and do God’s will (v. 17).

For example, in the story of David’s fall into adultery, he probably should have been at war instead of at home. As the king of Israel, he was called to fight the battles of Israel and to, specifically, conquer all of Canaan, as it was promised by God to Abraham’s descendants. Therefore, during David’s temptation, he was not using his time to do God’s will—he was missing God’s will. This is true for many Christians. Instead of using their time to get involved in church, small group, or youth group, instead of using their summer to grow in the Lord or do missions, they waste it and open doors to fall into the evil of the day. If we are going to walk in victory over lust (and any other sin for that matter), we must redeem the time and use it to know and do God’s will.

How are you using your time? Are you redeeming it for God and his purposes? Or are you falling into the evil of the day?

Reflection

How have you found yourself more prone to lust and other temptations in your free time?

How can you better redeem your time and use it to do God’s will?

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 our prayer list, and keep me in prayer, I’m a little under the weather.

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

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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