Archive for November, 2011

Pornography?

JESUS SPEAKING

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘you shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  (Mathew 5: 27 – 28.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Pornography was as prevalent in ancient times as it is today.  Archeologists have uncovered rooms in many Roman homes, set apart for sexual debauchery (the walls and ceilings of these rooms were lined with images of people in erotic positions.)  Scholars have also discovered tens of thousands of sensual stone carvings; men and women, naked, exposed, and objectified; many small enough to be carried from place to place (likely an ancient form of mobile pornography.)  Similar sexually explicit images and carvings can be found in every culture, and in every generation; India, Asia, Egypt, Peru, and even Europe.  Despite the popularity of pornography, it is not profitable, proper, or permissible.  Every lingering stare and intense gaze has consequences.  To lust for someone who is not a husband or wife, whether naked or dressed, on the television or on the computer, in secret or in person is a sinful behavior.  Improper lust separates an individual from God, and is therefore a very serious and damaging activity (Note:  Proper lust is good; to lust for a God given companion is encouraged by The Lord; to stare at and be aroused by a husband or wife is an integral part of a healthy marriage.)

Improper lust has some very grave consequences.  ‘At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year; with excessive interest in online pornography contributing to more than half such cases.’  Also, ‘nearly 57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation.’  Despite God’s command to refrain from indulging in pornography, many still seek to justify their disobedience; ‘29% of professing born again Christian adults in the U.S. feel it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual behavior.’  No amount of rationalization will ever make pornography acceptable.  To view erotic materials is to transgress against God Himself.  To watch others engage in sex acts is to join in with them.  For those who are married it is adultery, and for those who are single it is fornication.

Improper lust and pornography are spiritually, mentally, and morally debilitating.  They separate the believer from God; they destroy marriages and rip apart families; they promote promiscuity, lewdness, and idolatry.  They cause men and women to objectify one another; they encourage vice and exploitation (especially exploitation of children: “there are currently 20,000 images of child pornography posted on the web each week.”)  Pornography is a pathway that leads to increased evil.  According to Ted Bundy (one of the most notorious serial murderers in U.S. history) pornography eventually led him to commit multiple acts of rape and murder.  Today, we have a choice; do we engage in those things that God has condemned?  Or do we disobey our Lord and continue in sin?  Trust in Jesus Christ and turn away the lust of the flesh and you will know true fellowship with God [Note:  If you are struggling with lust and pornography, and desire to make a change, there are often accountability groups at your local church that can be of great benefit.  The quickest way to deal with any sin is to bring it in to the open; sharing your burdens with others can help you to overcome them.]

“Lord Heavenly Father, we seek clean hearts and proper minds.  Remove the lust from our hearts.  If we struggle with pornography, or any other sexual sin, we ask that You empower us to overcome them, that we may once again know true purity and holiness.  Father without You we can do nothing; we ask that our increased wholesomeness be a work of Your hands; that through our victory, You may be glorified.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Feeling lonely?

JESUS SPEAKING

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?  Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave me alone.  And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (John 16: 31 – 32.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus, knowing that he would soon be detained and crucified, informed his disciples that they would abandon him in his time of greatest need.  Sure enough, upon being arrested, his closest friends fled in terror; preferring self preservation over fearless fidelity.  In solitude he endured a gruesome ordeal; being interrogated, beaten, flogged, spit upon, and mocked; he was pierced by thorns, by a spear, and by nails.  Weakened and maimed, he struggled to carry his cross through the streets of Jerusalem (and through the angry mobs who hurled insults at him.)  Half naked and covered in blood, the Son of God finally reached his destination.  At mount Calvary he was raised up under the hot sun to experience a slow grueling death by exposure, dehydration, and suffocation.  Jesus Christ endured this pain willingly; but he did not endure it alone; for God was with him.  He was strengthened, consoled, and comforted by our loving Father.  We, like Jesus will struggle through painful trials.  Life is filled with obstacles and challenges.  Yet those whom God has chosen will never struggle in isolation.  The elect will always have a perpetual helper; an eternal friend; and a constant companion.

Many years ago I experienced a period of extreme suffering; I lived a life of selfishness and depravity.  I actively abused drugs, my body, and other people.  In a downward spiral of self-destruction, I managed to push away nearly every human being.  I lived alone in an apartment.  Isolated from the world and plagued with paranoia, I struggled to survive (using drugs in excess, I often stayed awake for weeks on end.)  One dark day, in the depths of my addiction, I overdosed.  As I lay in bed, my body began to shut down.  A feeling of death slowly crept up my fingers and toes; as if my limbs were turning to concrete; I recall thinking, “This must be what it feels like to be a wall, or a stone; or some other dead, inanimate object.”  Fearing my own demise, I mustered all of the strength I had left to speak; and out of my mouth came the words, “Jesus help me…Jesus help me…Jesus help me.”  As I continually repeated this phrase, the dead feeling began to recede back down my limbs (the life returned to my body and I recovered fully.)  Jesus Christ saved me from the jaws of death and eternal condemnation.  Although I had abandoned God, God had not abandoned me; despite my belief that I was alone in that apartment I was not; for God was present with me.  Sometime later I gave my life to the Lord, and I now know that He has always been with me; protecting and preventing; guiding and directing; watching and waiting, for the day of my salvation.  Today, I realize that no matter how great the difficulties I might face, I will never again face them alone.

Even when we feel completely alone, we are not.  When family, friends, and society itself has turned away from us, God is near.  He waits patiently for every sinner to receive His free gift.  Our Heavenly Father is anxious to love and to forgive.  He is desperate to embrace the lonely, the lost, and the lifeless.  Cry out to Him and He will hear you.  Have faith in Christ and you will know salvation.  Turn to The Lord and grab hold of your constant companion; He is a Father who will love you eternally; a friend who will stand beside you forever; and a God “who will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

“Lord Heavenly Father, we cry out to You now; reveal Yourself to us; we accept Your sacrifice and fully embrace You.  May You never leave us nor forsake us.  May You always dwell within our hearts; comfort us; direct us; and fellowship with us eternally.  Lord Jesus, may we never be lonely again; knowing that You are our everlasting companion; our Compassionate Creator; and our faithful friend.  We love You Father; we love You Lord Jesus; and we ask and pray all of these things according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you.

Spreading the message

JESUS SPEAKING

In the meantime his disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”  But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  Therefore the disciples said to each other, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows, and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors” (John 4: 31-38.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The disciples had just gone in to the city to buy food and they had left Jesus sitting by a well. He opened up a dialogue with a woman who came to draw water, and she became a believer. The disciples returned with the food, but Jesus wasn’t hungry because converting the woman had nourished him. Jesus made it known that converting others was more urgent than the need for food. Between the planting and harvesting seasons there was a period of patient waiting, a time to relax; the Lord revealed that the time to relax and be patient was over; the time for harvesting souls had begun. The heads of wheat would turn a white color when it was time for them to be harvested; in this way, Jesus compares men and wheat, saying, “look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” From the beginning of creation, God’s words were the seeds, and every human heart was the ground in which these words were sown. The sowers were the prophets, who labored to get His words to the people. The reapers were the disciples, who had not labored in the sowing of the word, but were commissioned by Jesus to gather the fruit that came from the labors of the prophets. So, both the prophets and the disciples would celebrate together in the Kingdom. The work of God continues today; the eternal sowing and reaping proceeds with just as much urgency as when Jesus spoke these words. And today, if we reap, or if we sow, in the coming kingdom, all who have labored for God will rejoice together.

Recently I took a gentleman to the emergency room; there happened to be quite a large number of people who needed care. We sat there for most of the day, waiting. The order in which the people were ushered in to the back was based upon the severity of their condition. Shortness of breath, severe abnormal headache, hemorrhaging, were all considered life threatening. The likelihood of death was what set the priority in that emergency room; not order of arrival. In life, the entire world is an emergency room, filled with dying people. Many don’t know they are dying, and others do, but everyone is sick, and everyone needs to see the Doctor. Those who are the Lord’s have been healed, and they have the cure. The cure is an experience with Jesus Christ. The fruit is made up of people who give their lives over to God, and make the teachings of the Lord their foundation for living. Those who are healed look forward to an eternal life with God in His Kingdom.

The person sitting next to you on the bus is dying; the person beside you in the coffee shop is headed for a cliff; the cashier at the bank is sick and needs help. Can you help them today? Will you help them today? Can you plant a seed, can you harvest a crop? How difficult is it to lean over and tell another person about what Jesus Christ has done in your life, and tell them what he can do in their life? How much discomfort does it cause you to let a nonbeliever know that you will be praying for them; or to quote a scripture when another person is down and in need of hope? The planting and the harvesting began a long time ago, but they continue today in all those who choose to do God’s work.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we ask and pray that You would please give us divine appointments; bring us people that are sick and need to hear the gospel; speak through us, to them, and to their hearts. Help us to serve You with a fervency, and diligence, and may we bear much fruit for You, and for Your kingdom. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you.


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