Archive for August 3, 2012
Tags: First Epistle to the Corinthians, God, Jesus, MSNBC, Paul, Religion and sexuality, U.S. News & World Report, United States
U.S. News & World Report previously ran a cover story entitled “The Trouble with Premarital Sex.” The subtitle was, “Americans don’t think it’s too much of a problem. Maybe they should.” The gist of the article was that sexual freedom does not deliver true intimacy. Jennifer Grossman, a 30-year-old single woman and contributor for MSNBC-TV, gave the most telling statement in a sidebar interview entitled “Was It Good for Us?” Grossman, a self-described libertarian, said:
“I used to complain to my mother, who is a liberal, about how boyfriends seem commitment shy. And she would say, ‘Well why buy the cow if the milk is for free?’” Jennifer continued, “We’re in the sexual promised land now, the milk is free, people are surfeited with sex-and yet we’re starved for love . . . The acceptance, even encouragement of premarital sex makes it very difficult to sustain the fantasy that we are loved alone.”
Jennifer’s musings are telling. As she points out, all of us have a deep, soul-level desire to be loved exclusively, and the “sexual promised land” does not fulfill that need. Yet this generation is sold out to the idea that the rewards of intimacy can be had in an endless series of hook-ups between any two people who feel the urge.
God’s Word has much to say on this topic. Even though our culture today accepts immorality as “the norm,” the Bible says it has been a problem for centuries. In fact, Paul had to write to the members of the church at Corinth about their conduct in this area.
He told them to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Seems pretty clear to me—he’s saying, “Don’t have anything to do with it!” Treat it like the potential disaster that it is. Like a semi coming at you when you’re in the middle of the street. You don’t stand there and look it up and down and try to decide what to do. The course of action is clear. Get out of there!
But how different is this compared to the casual way that the world approaches this issue? The world says, “Hey, the milk’s free, jump into bed with anyone you find attractive. Go ahead and experiment—it’s no big deal.” Not true. Millions could testify that if you live to do whatever your sex drive tells you to do, you’ll be disappointed, damaged, and full of regret.
The truth is that promiscuity harms us both emotionally and physically. As Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 6:1-20, the one “who sins sexually sins against his own body.” In essence, you’re hurting yourself. People who lead promiscuous lives suffer from desensitized emotions, loss of self-worth, regret, disease, and unplanned pregnancy. I think we all agree that this stuff is a high price to pay for a few moments of pleasure here and there.
Ready for some good news? You don’t have to stay in bondage to sexual sin. Paul reminds us, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). The truth is that we are loved truly and exclusively when we strike up a relationship with Jesus. When we live in His love we will never ask, “Was it good for us?”
- David committed sexual sin, but God forgave Him. Read Psalm 51:1-19, and jot down a few observations about the way David approached God to ask for forgiveness in this area. How does this apply to you or someone you know?
- Are you flirting with sexual immorality in your life? Read the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39:1-23. What should you do when sexual sin tries to entice you?
- Have you been hurt by promiscuity in the past? Pray and ask God to help you heal from the wounds. Recommit yourself to obey God and live a life of purity.
Tags: Christ, Christian, Father God, God, Jerusalem, Jesu, Lord, New Testament
He . . . said to them, ’Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem . . —Luke 18:31
The greatest thing for us to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to fulfill God’s purpose, not our own. In the natural life our ambitions are our own, but in the Christian life we have no goals of our own. We talk so much today about our decisions for Christ, our determination to be Christians, and our decisions for this and that, but in the New Testament the only aspect that is brought out is the compelling purpose of God. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you . . .” (John 15:16).
We are not taken into a conscious agreement with God’s purpose— we are taken into God’s purpose with no awareness of it at all. We have no idea what God’s goal may be; as we continue, His purpose becomes even more and more vague. God’s aim appears to have missed the mark, because we are too nearsighted to see the target at which He is aiming. At the beginning of the Christian life, we have our own ideas as to what God’s purpose is. We say, “God means for me to go over there,” and, “God has called me to do this special work.” We do what we think is right, and yet the compelling purpose of God remains upon us. The work we do is of no account when compared with the compelling purpose of God. It is simply the scaffolding surrounding His work and His plan. “He took the twelve aside . . .” (Luke 18:31). God takes us aside all the time. We have not yet understood all there is to know of the compelling purpose of God.
Tags: Belshazzar, Cyrus, Daniel, God, Jew, Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar II, The writing on the wall
“Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.” — Daniel 5:5–6
Belshazzar, the last Babylonian king, was having a feast when he saw a vision that shook him to his core. A human hand came out of nowhere and left a message on his wall. No one could figure out what the words meant, so they called on Daniel to interpret them.
Daniel explained that “mene, mene, tekel, parsin” — literally “numbered, numbered, weighed, Persians” — meant that because of King Belshazzar’s many sins, his days were numbered and that his kingdom was about to be given over to the Persians. Tradition teaches that it didn’t take long for Daniel’s prediction to come true. That very night, the Persians broke into the palace and killed King Belshazzar and everyone in attendance at the feast.
Isn’t that a little unfair? Couldn’t Belshazzar have had some time to repent? One minute he sees the writing on the wall, and the next, its message comes true!
As Daniel interpreted the words written on Belshazzar’s wall, he reminded Belshazzar of what had happened to his father, King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel recalled how Nebuchadnezzar had become arrogant and was punished by God until he repented and recognized God’s supremacy. But Belshazzar had learned nothing from Nebuchadnezzar’s life and had become even more arrogant than his father.
In fact, just before the infamous writing had appeared on the wall, Belshazzar had been drinking from cups and vessels stolen from God’s Temple! He should have known better. As Daniel told him, “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this” (Daniel 5:22).
Nebuchadnezzar’s life had been Belshazzar’s warning. The writing on the wall had been there the whole time; he just refused to see it. So no, it was not unfair that Belshazzar wasn’t given any time to repent after the message had finally been written in black and white. God had given him a lifetime to repent, and now his time was up.
Years later, King Cyrus would make history when he urged the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple. Tradition teaches that Cyrus had learned from Belshazzar’s experience and understood that his kingship hinged upon his respect for God. Unlike Belshazzar, Cyrus had learned to read the writing on the wall. He got the message and let it dictate his life.
It is said that those who ignore the past are bound to repeat it. I would add that those who read and acknowledge God’s messages can write a new future.
Tags: American Family Association, Baptist, Curtis Bowers, Donald E. Wildmon, Donald Wildmon, DVD, July, United States
On Friday, July 27, over 200 people gathered at First Baptist of Fremont for ADA’s summer conference which featured AFA Founder the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon and Curtis Bowers the producer of the award winning documentary “Agenda: Grinding America Down.”
Curtis Bowers began the conference with a stirring 40 minute presentation that evoked a standing ovation for his sobering presentation. When Curtis was a college student at the University of Colorado (1992) as a business major at the age of 25, an older friend who had been studying communism for many years, asked him to fly to the University of California at Berkley for a “Committees of Correspondence” gathering. …
Years later as Curtis saw the rapid erosion of American principles, he began to reflect back and recall that particular gathering of radical liberals. He became burdened only recently (2008) as he began to study some of the 45 goals designed to undermine America.
Curtis and his wife have nine beautiful children. He is burdened for what lies ahead for our children. His motivation and burden come through loud and clear. His family has been on the road in their motor home since March in 35 different states showing his DVD – “Agenda: Grinding America Down” to whomever he can share his burden.
Here are some resources that you may want to consider:
Conference DVD – includes both Curtis Bowers and Donald E. Wildmon presentations. $10.00. Conference audio CD – includes both Curtis Bowers and Donald E. Wildmon presentations. $5.00.
Curtis Bowers – audio CD – Question and Answer session on Saturday night, July 28. Bowers fielded questions from a variety of angles regarding the politics and spiritual issues of our day. 74 minutes in duration. $5.00.
“Agenda: Grinding America Down” – DVD – 93 minutes – $10.00. Curtis Bowers award winning documentary. If you haven’t seen the DVD “Agenda” and you are a person attentive to the variety of liberal assaults upon our great country, you need to see it and then pass it on to others.
To order the above resources, call us at 1-888-733-2326 or go online at https://secure4.afo.net/ada/store2/.
Tags: Christ, God, Jesu, Jews, Lazarus, Martha, Mary, Master
Now a certain man, Lazarus of Bethany, was sick. He was the brother of Martha and of the Mary who anointed the Master with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. So the sisters sent word to him, “Master, he whom you love is sick.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but it is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two days. After that he said to the disciples, “Let us go again into Judea. Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going to waken him.” The disciples said to him, “Master, if he has fallen asleep he will get well.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. So Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sakes I am glad that I was not there, so that you may learn to believe. But let us go to him.”
When Jesus came he found that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem, and many of the Jews had come to comfort Mary and Martha about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Master, if you had been here my brother would not have died, but I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother shall rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he shall rise again, at the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me shall live even though he die; and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Master, I do believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who was to come into the world.”
When Martha had said this she went away to call Mary, her sister, telling her secretly, “The Master is here and is calling you.” When Mary heard this she rose quickly and went to him. Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where Martha met him. When the Jews who were trying to comfort Mary in the house saw her rise up quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to weep at the tomb. But when Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Master, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her and the Jews who came with her weeping, he was deeply moved, and said in great distress, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Master, come and see.” Jesus wept. The Jews therefore said, “See how he loved him!” Some of them said, “Could not this man who gave sight to the blind have also kept Lazarus from dying?”
Jesus was again deeply moved, as he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man‘s sister, said to him, “Master, by this time his body has begun to decay, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you only would believe you should see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone, and Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. I knew that thou always dost listen to me, but I spoke for the sake of the people standing near, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” Then he who was dead came forth with his hands and feet wrapped in bandages and his face bound with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”
Then many of the Jews who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
Tags: Christianity, God, James, John, Lord, Patience, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality
Are you tired of seeing nothing move? Are you just at the point of giving it all up? Perhaps you have not waited in the right way? This would take you out of the right place the place where He can meet you.
“With patience wait” (Rom. 8:25). Patience takes away worry. He said He would come, and His promise is equal to His presence. Patience takes away your weeping. Why feel sad and despondent? He knows your need better than you do, and His purpose in waiting is to bring more glory out of it all. Patience takes away self-works. The work He desires is that you “believe” (John 6:29), and when you believe, you may then know that all is well. Patience takes away all want. Your desire for the thing you wish is perhaps stronger than your desire for the will of God to be fulfilled in its arrival.
Patience takes away all weakening. Instead of having the delaying time, a time of letting go, know that God is getting a larger supply ready and must get you ready too. Patience takes away all wobbling. “Make me stand upon my standing” (Daniel 8:18, margin). God’s foundations are steady; and when His patience is within, we are steady while we wait. Patience gives worship. A praiseful patience sometimes “long-suffering with joyfulness” (Col. 1:11) is the best part of it all. “Let (all these phases of) patience have her perfect work” (James 1:4), while you wait, and you will find great enrichment. –C. H. P.
Hold steady when the fires burn,
When inner lessons come to learn,
And from this path there seems no turn
“Let patience have her perfect work.”
Tags: Abraham, Bangkok, Christ, God, Illinois, Isaac, James, Jesu
Because of his arthritis, Roger could no longer handle the winters of Illinois, so he moved to tropical Bangkok, Thailand. One day he remembered his grandmother’s favorite song, “What You Are”: What you are speaks so loud that the world can’t hear what you say; they’re looking at your walk, not listening to your talk; they’re judging from your actions every day.
This song prompted Roger to feed the homeless who stayed along a half-mile stretch of road. Every morning, he served hot food to more than 45 families. Years later, one of the homeless women came to know Jesus as Savior and sought out Roger to thank him for introducing her to the love of Christ.
In James, we are clearly told that faith without works is dead (2:17). It does not mean that works will result in faith, but that good works will affirm that our faith is real. It is easy to say we believe in God, but only our works can prove the truthfulness of our words. Abraham was an example of this. He didn’t just talk about his faith; he demonstrated it by his willingness to give up his only son in obedience to God (James 2:21-24; see Gen. 22:1-18). And Isaac was spared.
Today, how can we actively demonstrate our love for God and trust in Him?
Tags: Acts of the Apostles, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Euroclydon, God, Paul, Religion & Spirituality
Crises of Love
If we lived in a spiritual Utopia where every wind blew toward heaven and every man was a friend of God, we Christians could take everything for granted, counting on the new life within us to cause us to do the will of God without effort and more or less unconsciously. Unfortunately we have opposing us the lusts of the flesh, the attractions of the world and the temptations of the devil. These complicate our lives and require us often to make determined moral decisions on the side of Christ and His commandments. It is the crisis that forces us to take a stand for or against. The patriot may be loyal to his country for half a lifetime without giving much thought to it, but let an unfriendly power solicit him to turn traitor and he will quickly spurn its overtures. His patriotism will be brought out into the open for everyone to see. So it is in the Christian life. When the “south wind blew softly” (Acts 27:13) the ship that carried Paul sailed smoothly enough and no one on board knew who Paul was or how much strength of character lay hidden behind that rather plain exterior. But when the mighty tempest, Euroclydon, burst upon them Paul’s greatness was soon the talk of everyone on the ship. The apostle, though himself a prisoner quite literally took command of the vessel, made decisions and issued orders that meant life or death to the people. And I think the crisis brought to a head something in Paul that had not previously been clear even to him. Beautiful theory was quickly crystallized into hard fact when the tempest struck.