Fear Not! or should I?

sparrowFear is something we gain or lose, depending on our ability to trust God and His power to redeem our circumstances.

It was about twenty-one years ago a pastor-leader, who I have learned much from, took a group of men to Armenia to meet with some pastors and their wives from Iran. They met secretly in this neighboring country to avoid the dangers that this meeting would pose to the Iranian Christians. In this meeting, a man who had been arrested by the authorities in the late ’90s told his story of overcoming fear.

The young pastor was imprisoned and the Iranian guards were getting ready to execute him for continuing to share the gospel in his homeland, after being warned not to. Before execution, the custom is to shave the head of the “criminal”. This had occurred and he knew that soon he would be taken from his cell and put to death. While pondering this and thinking of his family he became very distraught, wondering why God would let this happen. Then the Holy Spirit reminded Him that he was being counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake and that he should rejoice instead. When the scripture in Matthew 5:10-12 came alive to him, he began to rejoice and sing and dance in his cell. The guards, surprised and troubled over his actions, called their supervisor. They ended up releasing him because they were so troubled over the fact that he was rejoicing that he would be put to death for Christ’s name and for His glory – they would not allow it!

To Fear or Not…

When Jesus gathered His twelve disciples, He gave them instructions, as recorded in Matthew 10. He told them not to be afraid because our Father cares for His own. Jesus uses the example of a sparrow falling to the ground, He told them of God’s awareness of this and that we should not fear because our value to Him is much more important than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! 28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[j] 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin[k]? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. 32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”

Jesus indicates that His followers are precious to our Father. These disciples needed to understand that they belong to Him, they’ve been adopted and have become His children. This relationship is reciprocal, it involves fidelity on both sides; God the Father toward us and us, His disciples, to Him. Jesus reassured these believers that they who possessed this relationship need not fear.

Many live in fear but fear the wrong things.

What about you?

Are you able to see God as your Father who dearly loves you? If not, Find someone who you know honors God and humbly begin a discussion with them. Many are going about living as though there will never be a day of reckoning. Do you wait for something tragic to happen before you consider you’re relationship to God? Has this pandemic caused you to think more earnestly about your life, your mortality? It should, but don’t stop there.

Some people do not realize that there will be a day of judgment when we will ALL stand before God and give an account for our lives. Conversely, there are those who have once known the gospel and are now living in rebellion to God’s will; they will suffer much loss. They are the ones Peter warned about (2 Peter 2:20-22) who once knew God but turned away to fulfill their own lusts, living according to their own desires. “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:20-22 (ESV)

Human pride and arrogance defy God’s rightful place in our lives. This attitude of indifference toward our Creator is dangerous and damning. Rather than reckoning with our lost condition as humans, some take the attitude that James describes in chapter 4:13-15: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’– yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel CoronavirusOur current pandemic…

Living through this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 coronavirus should cause us to pause and consider our lives. How are you doing with yourself? Are you at peace and content being alone or contained with your family? What are you truly living for? If everything ended today, would you carry regret when standing before God and having everything in your life made known? Or would you be ready and thankful for the years you were given? What is the substance of your life?

Perhaps you are stuck in a place you never thought you would be. When you look at your life you wonder, “How did this happen to me?” Your gradual slide into the muck began with some offense, a loss, a divorce, a sinful relationship, an addiction; these situations can leave us feeling displaced, removed from a sweet-spot we once enjoyed. Then along comes a confining situation that exposes us to ourselves: a quarantine of sorts. Remember the young pastor with his head shaved and the gallows prepared? Or think of Sampson, tied to the pillars of the temple, disgraced and being made fun of (Judges 16:28-30). Had God forgotten them? God has a way of bringing hope to any situation. His perspective causes us to see differently. He has the power to turn things around for His glory if we will allow Him to.

DSC06758I spent nine months in Romania going through my own pregnancy of sorts, the process of adopting our four children. At times it was very uncomfortable, I suffered physically, and it felt very restricting — I was contained in a foreign land. I thought the main purpose of this experience was adopting our four children, yet God used that time to create in me a new level of faith and understanding of His faithfulness.

I hope this containment time will cause you to reflect upon your situation, and where you are in life. Let us consider where we stand with God. Think about: What is most important in my life? Whom or from what do I draw comfort? Am I obeying His call upon my life or denying Him by living for my own desires.

He’s giving us time to reflect during the coronavirus and giving us the grace to receive His gift. Will you spot Him during this time and receive what He offers? If you do, humble yourself and initiate change by making things right with those you’ve wronged. This is the first evidence of a sincere turning away from self, to God. Your act of building a relationship (as much as depends upon you) with someone you’ve avoided will open the door for God to pour blessings into your life. Then you can confidently say, I will not fear because I belong to God.

Photo Credit: Pixabay, CDC

There’s Room for You

Christmas AloneAs we consider Christmas, I’d like to remind you that there is room for you close to God’s heart. He desires a relationship with us and awaits your reciprocal desire for Him. His extension of love by giving Jesus Christ as our deliverer is the greatest expression of love He could show.

Christmas alone 2This time of year can feel cruel to many people. A time when love, laughter, and Christmas cheer is promoted, many feel lonely and isolated. There are so many stories that could be shared as to why, yet I’d rather focus on how to remedy this condition.

I received a Christmas card telling of someone dear to me who is facing consequences for their addiction to gambling. It is heartbreaking to see how families of those habituated to some life-dominating problem are drawn into the sad drama of someone else’s poor choices. We feel helpless, and if untaught, victimization can settle in. As a friend or family member, we may want to standby and spectate, or facilitate–further complicating the problem.

DENIAL

What can I do? Step 1 is to stop denying that there is a very real problem that may need some tough love and boundaries placed. You can make a choice for yourself.  These good choices can help you get out of God’s way so that the other person can see their need, and this “love” may bring them to the end of their trail. This may sound hurtful but it works similarly to the process of salvation with God. Until someone comes to the end of their human abilities and resources and states “I give up, help me!” they will not become a true believer. When denial ends, then salvation can begin. This soul-transaction only occurs for those who desire it and are desperate enough to humble themselves and cry out to God to save them.

A word of caution concerning boundaries. Boundaries can be misused and turn into a cruel form of punishment if not properly handled. Having a mentor/counselor who can objectively help prevent further complicating issues is a good idea. Boundaries are not to be used to alienate someone, rather they are designed to increase your ability to love one another. A great resource on understanding boundaries are the various boundary books by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.  “We do not set boundaries to anesthetize our life, we set them in order to build love, honesty and freedom in our relationships.” ~ Henry Cloud.

Desperation or InspirationDESPERATION

Often times the spouse, family member, or friend of someone struggling in relationships prolongs their own journey toward freedom by not understanding their part in the process. They hold on to offenses rendered and become bound in unforgiveness and possibly contempt. But no matter what offenses have come to you, it is not worth missing out on a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who loves you dearly.  I pray that at the apex of your heart’s expression of pain, you will break and fall at His feet and allow Him to help you. That is the entire reason for which Jesus came. Giving you, your family members, friends and all, the possibility of being set free from what is dominating the heart. Inspiration from God is a better choice than desperation.

My own sin keeps me separated from God and others. We are in constant warfare between heaven and earth in the spiritual realm (John 10:10). Can you identify? I truly can. Jesus, while sinless, faced battles with Satan and He told us this would be part of our journey too. Those who’ve been enlightened through God’s Word can recognize this truth. Those who live without knowledge or desire for God are bound and cannot discern why. The angry tumult of the soul affects all people at some point, yet many do not understand what they are experiencing. Receiving forgiveness is needed and then, in turn, forgiving others is necessary; the Holy Spirit will enable you to forgive as you grow in Him.

As a result of the miracle of Christmas, we can truly forgive—and what a powerful miracle that is! Christ’s coming and His subsequent death for our sin, His victorious resurrection back to life, and then giving us the Holy Spirit to live within us makes this all possible.

Christmas GiftAnytime we face a difficulty in life it is God’s opportunity to bring us to Himself. Have you found this to be true as well?

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” These words are recorded in John 16:33 and you may wonder what Jesus was really saying. To understand this relationship, we must have a proper perspective and see that we were not created to dwell here alone, but rather in relationship to our true Father now and for eternity. The Father’s desire is closeness and oneness with you; our gift from Him is comfort and peace. He provides everything needed for that to happen, yet so few choose this relationship. Why?

Our fallen nature works against submission to God. We, through self-will and our sin-nature, oppose God. It’s our choice to humble ourselves and walk with Him, and this is contrary to everything we understand from a humanistic perspective. We strive to do this on our terms, by self-effort. This results in someone or something other than God sitting on the throne of our heart and His rightful place is given to another.

DISCOVERY

Our human perspective is to live for ourselves and our own pleasure, naturally. When Christ comes to invade our world, many are offended by that, reject Him, and suffer the consequences; temporal and eternal. But those who will become like a little child and believe that He is who He claimed to be and are willing to humble themselves to receive Him, they gain true abundance in this life. This, in turn, provides freedom from sin, including addictions — which are a false source of comfort or relief.

Christmas Bible and CoffeeGod’s Word is the primary source from which understanding and oneness with God comes. Anyone struggling with loneliness will find themselves filled with peace once a relationship is developed and the power of God’s Word is applied. It works every time I am tempted toward dwelling in loneliness.

This Christmas, will you Make Room in your heart to receive Him? Are you willing to lay your life down, just as He did for you? The abiding joy He gives, the peace that passes all understanding, and God’s love will overtake the inner turmoil. Pray and ask Him for help you overcome the obstacles in your heart. There is room at the cross for you… will you come?

Photo Credit: Google Images

Music Link: Make Room (feat. Matt Maher) Casting Crowns

Are you Offended?

Offended 9Do you realize that Jesus spoke about offenses because He knew it would be a major obstacle for each one of us, and what we do with an offense will determine the strongholds we allow in our life? Someone experiencing turmoil in their soul will have a trail of crumbs leading to an offense.

Our Attitude, the posture of our heart, is so important when it comes to how we interact with others. Our thoughts, determine how we respond to what comes our way. On any given day we can become offended, it all depends on what’s happening in our soul.

Everyday Offenses
We all have the opportunity to react to people who rub us the wrong way or treat us disrespectfully. If we are not careful, we can develop an offended spirit; everything someone says offends us, we take it personally and allow it to turn over and over again in our minds. This is the playground of our enemy; Satan loves to bring suspicion, fear, and pride into our hearts. A freeing place to live is learning to recognize that you can control your thoughts, and what you will allow to control you. Jesus said, “offenses will come but woe unto those through whom they come.” (Matthew 18:7)

Contempt
Have you been dealt with contemptuously? Homes with addiction are breeding grounds for contempt. Lying is a given, abuse is common, scapegoats are necessary – they are created to handle the blame and feelings of shame. The large elephant consuming the space, time, and poor relational health is ignored with hopes that it will just leave; but it won’t.Offended 3

John and Julie Gottman have done extensive work over four decades on divorce prediction and marital stability, they list contempt as one of the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in determining factors in marriage failure.

Contempt is not easily understood, and it comes forth in various ways. Disrespect, scoffing, sarcasm, an attitude of indifference or accusation, are traits of a contemptuous heart (Matthew 12:34).

 Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart gives a good understanding of what contempt is in Chapter 3. He points out: “… contempt serves a person entrapped there in four ways: It diminishes our shame, it deadens our longings, it makes us feel in control, and it distorts the real problem. Contempt is complex and often hard to see. It sometimes masquerades as conviction; other times is seems like righteous indignation.” 

Overcoming OffenseSOLUTIONS
STEP 1: Forgiveness – An important step in being successful in dealing with offense is to be able to forgive those who have offended you. It is a journey, and the power of God’s Word at work in your heart is crucial (Hebrews 4:12). His Word has the power to reveal what you need to see and it will retrain your brain to think rightly and help you to avoid remaining a victim of the circumstance.

Unless you can arrive in a steady place of forgiveness, letting go of the offense, and building good guardrails you will not be able to proceed to step 2 properly. “Forgiveness gives me boundaries because it unhooks me from the hurtful person, and then I can act responsibly and wisely. If I am not forgiving them, I am still in a destructive relationship with them…” – Dr. Henry Cloud

STEP 2: Truth in Love
People who treat others with contempt should be confronted about what they are doing. Share specifically what it is that you are seeing. In order for someone to work on themselves they need a clear picture of what you perceive the problem to be. This gives them the choice to take corrective action or not.

Offended 8When someone treats you with contempt it is your responsibility to set boundaries, and be prepared for the possible consequences. When someone has been accustomed to scapegoating or blaming another and you are no longer available for that, this new approach will likely anger them. Your willingness to confront an issue will be very difficult for them to receive.

If you plan to confront someone about their contempt toward you, it is wise to have a support group, Counselingaccessible pastor or counselor, and prayer team in place for emotional support before doing so. To go through the process of confrontation is very difficult and you can easily become overwhelmed and want to give up because of the anger, accusations and rejection you will suffer.

Along with the ensuing attack from those you confront, you will also face a tremendous battle from Hell. Satan does not want people freed from offense – that is his trap and deceptive way of holding them captive. This is why before confronting sin, you need to examine yourself so as to be free of these things yourself, walking in the Light (I John 1:7) and having your heart cleansed by Christ. Our attempt must be in a Christ-like manner even though we fall short of His precise actions, do not let that keep you from bringing clarity and potential healing into your situation. Be sure to pray also, as God may soften their heart and they could receive your words of truth in love and with grace change.

STEP 3: Reconciliation May Not Happen

fenceBy ridding offense from your heart, you place yourself in a position to relate in a healthy way. Family relationships are for a lifetime and worth the effort but it may take time to see change occur. These are the most difficult because of the history and pain involved, and some will choose not to let it go. Patience, caring and love with boundaries are necessary to endure with stability and strength in God, while each one works out their own heart issues (Philippians 2:12-13).

Is Someone offended at Christ in you?

In John chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17, Jesus has intimate discourse with his beloved disciples (place yourself there as you read). Among other things, Jesus tells His disciples that He is sharing these things so that they will not be offended when someone hates them because of Him.

Jesus went on to tell them they would face persecution and have trouble in this world because they chose to follow Him. Not only did the religious leaders of the day treat believers in Christ with contempt, but the Roman authorities wanted to kill them; their lives were under constant threat. Family members also betrayed them because of fear, some because they did not want to obey Christ’s teaching. Some were simply offended with God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:10 that many shall be offended and shall betray one another and shall hate one another.

For you, it may be that your family rejects you because of your walk with Christ. Your obedience and love for God will be tested and it will determine your ability to stand for Christ and His testimony of life within you. When our family becomes an idol over God, then God cannot be Supreme (Luke 14:26). Your family may want to control your level of commitment to God and despise you for choosing Him over them. Fear is a big motivator when it comes to our family members. At times, your godly zeal exposes them to their own hearts of indifference toward God. The reasons are not as important as your response to their behavior. Often times people get caught in between an offended person and another party. Someone can react to a concern you express in genuine care, and you may find yourself being falsely accused. Don’t cower with the fear of man and their spin on your situation, stand firm and remember Jesus said this would happen. Receive encouragement by reading these chapters in John; read them over and over for a week or two and see how differently you end up thinking.

person-731467__340[1]When you are experiencing a contemptuous attitude, withdrawing for a season until there is time for reflection, and the Holy Spirit to work, can be helpful. When I think wrongly or say something inappropriate to someone, the Holy Spirit is faithful to convict me and I attempt to make it right with them. Be discerning here as well, because you can over-apologize and diminish the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have spoken truth in love, then stand upon that. Do not waiver due to fear and false guilt but be firmly committed to a godly solution. This is why God’s Word and good counsel is so important for each of us.

What you give your mind to does affect your brain and your actions, or reactions. Do you need faith? Read God’s Word and get yourself into a position of faith and obedience to God. Psalm 119:165 says Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing shall offend them. Let this be your goal as you commend your soul (mind, will and emotions) to God.

Recommended Reading:
A great book on handling offense is, The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere. The book is loaded with biblical principles to help mature us in this area.

Photo Credit: Google Images, Pixabay

Aspire to Inspire: Grand-Parenting Tips

Gr N and PatrickGrandchildren are the crown of the aged and the glory of children is their fathers. Prov. 17:6 (ESV). Life is Beautiful is one of my favorite movies. The setting is WWII Europe, this story is based upon a true account of a father’s protection of his son while incarcerated in one of Hitler’s death camps. It demonstrates a parent’s creative wisdom used to protect his child from harm. I admire the fortitude and inspiration of this father.

Parenting is one of the most important tasks in life, asking for God’s guidance and wisdom daily is crucial. Additionally, for extended family members — aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings, there is much for us to consider as we interact within a family structure. In the next message–Stay in Your Lane (part 2) I’ll explain why.

We do well to understand the “of age” stages children go through. As I see it now,family-1784371__480 parenting contains three stages generally: Control, Motivation, and Inspiration. If the goal throughout each stage is to glorify God by obeying His teachings, we will succeed even with our failures along the way. Parenting is used by God to gain humility in our lives and a bountiful path for our children’s feet.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105 (ESV)

In the beginning…

father-1808749__480CONTROL is the beginning stage. When we look at NASA sending John Glenn to the moon, we realize that without a Control Center, success would not have been achieved. They needed calculated thinking from the brightest math, technology, and engineering minds to reach their goal; parenting involves Control Center principles as well. So let’s view it in this sense for the purpose of this writing. During these early years, parents are the critical thinkers, responsible for godly algorithms that produce success rather than sending their child into a trajectory of poor choices, confusion, and the resulting consequences. Children need controlled guidance in gaining contentment and security in their family. A loving family where the parents give vision, provide stability and take responsibility for decisions is a good foundation to build upon.

Next…

learn-3069053__480The MOTIVATION stage involves encouragement in the right direction, choices and decision making, requiring good management skills by the parents. This still involves some pulling upward toward a goal and some pushing into the correct lane. Rewarding good behavior is involved, as well as consequences for disobedience. Positive motivation is best. When we assume this position we focus upon the good things we see that can be further developed, rather than what is lacking.

The final stage is the most rewarding; both for us as parents and for God as our Heavenly Father. At this next stage, God is able to pour His creative passion into us as His children.

INSPIRATION is when you take your hands off, knowing you’ve done your job and the rest lay with your child’s individual choices. Our job is to pray, live an inspiring life ourselves, and entrust them to our good Heavenly Father. The level of investment parents give in the formative years, will influence the level of inspiration our children will be able to receive from us and live out for themselves.

Thankfully, it’s not all on us. Our Heavenly Father who created them, designed their personality, and gave them to us for a season – He has them! Like a tender plant, we were given guardianship for a season of watering and even if you have not always watered well, He can still cause growth and life. Why? Because His purpose and desire for each of our children are beyond our capacity to understand. He will work with them, and in the end, they alone will decide to pursue Him, or not. Ultimately, the decisions they make will determine their outcome. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live... Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)

MOTIVATION differs from INSPIRATION.
Enjoy your life with God and BE an inspiration to others. The INSPIRATION stage comes when your children have come of age and you can now rejoice in the fact that you’ve done your part; let God their Father have full CONTROL.

In the movie, Life is Beautiful, the son lost his father in the death-camp but he gained a legacy. He would always remember a father who inspired him to dream that they were building a tank and that they could win the prize.

Think about how you can inspire those around you toward godly living. We are not doomed to a death-camp, yet there is danger to navigate. Our world of addictive social media alone requires major guidance and skill. Use godly inspiration to teach the next generation how to live, love and reach the goal of serving others. Teach them how to be content with thankfulness, yet creative with what they’ve recieved. Your example of this will go a long way.

Also, we need to self-examine and recognize any manipulating behavior in our lives, and repent of anything thing God reveals so that we can be effective in using teaching moments to build godly character. Aspire to inspire!

Coming next: Stay in Your Own Lane... a note to family members.

Photo Credit: Demary File, Pixabay

Flee Sexual Immorality!

guy w phone

I was fearful, afraid to broach the subject, so nervous inside, my stomach filled with acid, my heart pounded and I wondered how I could possibly confront this. I have been through this so many times before; previous attempts at trying to deal with the problem have failed. But what IS the problem?! It’s so elusive; I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve been told I’m a bit crazy, suspicious, going overboard… “relax; maybe some medication will help you chill out a bit“. Why try? Avoid– that’s it! I’ll just lay low and pray and hopefully, time will fix all of this. Yes, don’t think you have to do everything. Lots of people have problems… you’re blowing things out of proportion. Remember last time you said something and it turned into a huge war? The kids think I’m going crazy too. What’s wrong with me? Do I have a mental problem? Maybe I am going crazy? Help…

These thoughts are common among those in relationship with someone who has a secret. Secrecy is what keeps sin alive.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality… Are you lashing out in anger at those around you when asked a question? Are you isolating, turning inward? Using your device (phone) in order to avoid others? Do you see your indifference toward life; toward others? No depth in meaningful conversation, have you become unthankful, unholy, defiled? Have your self-centered lusts blinded you? This warning is written in love for your soul, urging you to flee and become free.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

fist

Spouse, parent, child… UNDERSTAND that fits of anger are normal for those who continue to harbor a hidden sinful life. When you press on something that touches the secret of one whose heart has been damaged, get ready for pushback, blame, and skilled manipulation. Some have honed this so well they can intimidate you into thinking they are innocent in the midst of their fits. They want you to back off, acting like you are the cause for their anger. Remember, they are responsible for their anger and steps to healing. Satan loves this drama and scornfully laughs, delighting in the deceptive work of his hands.

family standing on brown grass

IDOLATRY: Someone who continues to indulge in selfish pleasure rather than serving God, and their family, is an idolater. A sexually impure person is covetous. Short of repentance, they will face judgment and reserve their place in hell forever. Think of that; a person who is willing to be forever separated from God and those they love! Why? Because they loved their sin more!

So, what can I do? First, PRAY for someone caught in the web of sexual immorality; ask God to give them godly sorrow (delineated in 2Corinthians 7:9-11) so they will repent. Prayer will also give you spiritual authority to stand strong upon God’s Word while walking through the battlefield you’re in. It will give you the ability to love their soul while hating the sin they’re involved with. Secondly, speak the truth in love, confront with God’s Word (Ephesians 4:15). Don’t coddle sin in any form; sin must be destroyed, completely rooted out and revealed; brought into the light (I John 1:7). Like the serpent it is, the head must be severed allowing the twisting body to die. The only way someone will become free is to hate the sin the way God does.

Ephesians 5:5 (ESV) For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

It is heartbreaking to see families torn apart by sin; it is happening all around us. Whether you’re the one who’s been hiding sin or the betrayed party(s), respond to God. God will avenge all unrighteousness. Rather than hold unforgiveness in your heart, get before God and ask Him to help you, and receive godly counsel on how to walk in forgiveness. It will be a hard road, but worth it. Whether the marriage survives infidelity or not, forgiveness will still be your issue to pursue.  Betrayal in any form is painful and will greatly affect you if you do not come to a place of forgiveness and wholeness.

Romans 12:19 (ESV) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

The Book of Proverbs says that a fool only expresses their own opinion and does not want to listen to wise counsel. In Proverbs, chapters 4-6, there is strong counsel about staying away from situations that will lead to sexual sin. What we allow to enter our hearts, and then ponder, think about and entertain, will determine our actions. That is why we are told to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

EDUCATION on SEX:

Masturbation is sin, no matter what your own thinking, school sex-ed class, or a therapist may tell you. Sexual pleasure was created by God for a husband and wife only and within the covenant of marriage. Self-sex will corrupt you in several ways:

1.  You are deceived in thinking it’s harmless and you become a deceiver to your spouse by engaging in self-sex. If you are single, you are developing a wrong view of the gift of sexuality, it was not designed for idolatrous self-gratification. For others, they resort to this for self-soothing but find it to be further bondage, entrapping them in their past suffering.

2. Sexual intimacy involves giving; when you’ve trained your mind to be a taker/receiver of pleasure only, this will grow and take you down a very dark path (read below). You’ve changed the purpose of sexual relationship and will pay a great price for that.

3. You betray your spouse by not sharing sexual intimacy with her/him. The hormones God designed for bonding within marriage are crucial to the success of being one; physical and spiritual oneness is the only way to truly know God’s perfect plan. When one party brings a “stranger” into the marriage bed it becomes defiled. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4. You end up “bonding” to the images you watch and you cannot serve two masters. You WILL be mastered by the images unless you renounce and flee from your sin.

4. You become spiritually impotent. Your compromised position will give your enemy (workers of darkness, demons) a foothold in you, forfeiting the authority of God in your life. This impotence will be seen in a lack of biblical leadership and the inability to love your spouse.

5. You’ll become physically impotent. You will need perverse sexual interactions in order to fulfill your lusts. If you are sexually habituated, you have perhaps unknowingly rewired your brain. You’ve addicted yourself to porn and your body no longer functions as God designed it to. (Good news is that you and change the wiring, see RESOURCES)

6. You will reap what you sow. Read Matthew 5:27-30, Hebrews 13:4, Romans 1:26-27, 1Corinthians 6:18.

There is HOPE. God has wonderfully designed us with hormones for sexual relationship, but when taken outside of the boundaries He established, these work against you. This is where sowing & reaping comes to bear. By restructuring the physiological brain, you can either become free or go deeper into destruction. By habitually indulging in pornography, people turn into devils, monsters of iniquity and many do not understand how they got there. God will not be mocked, flee as He warns. God sets captives free. But it takes action on your part.

Sin is incremental by nature, the downward spiral over time takes people to places they never imagined they would go. Ongoing sexual sin takes a soul into the places we see in our nation’s headlines. It should not be difficult to put two-and-two together: childhood sexual abuse, human sex-trafficking industry, rape, serial murder, sexual abuse of boys and girls in religious circles and the film and music industry… the wretched list on parade is endless. This downward spiral draws habituated people into one of three main areas of abuse toward others: sodomy, bestiality, and pedophilia — a sexual lust for children.

Statistics indicate those sexually molest children, first addicted their brain to pornography. As the physical brain changes so does the desire for more deviant stimuli to get the same “high”. You have a choice. The temptation to lust after pre-pubescent children to get your fix is diabolical. Flee! Satan delights in shame and the destruction of innocents. You become his fool; a pawn in his hand. You become a self-centered idolator and lose genuine concern for the well-being of others, choosing to satisfy the wicked lust that drives you. Why continue being tormented when Christ offers you freedom? The mind differs from your brain, it is “seated” in your heart according to scripture. This means you can change your mind, which will determine your actions and set you free from spiritual bondage. You can change your brain, once you decide to change your mind.

Look where sexual immorality has taken you and what you are doing to those around you… it affects everyone; no one is an island. …and getting married will not solve your problem, it will only pull more people into the pit with you. You alone must choose.

Just as the fool has said in his heart, “there is no God…” (Psalm 14:1), someone who professes to know Jesus Christ and continues in sexual sin, is like the proverbial fool. One day the revelation will come on the deception they lived under and what the pleasure of sin delivers (read Proverbs Chapter 4 & 5). Sin changes everything!

Let us all wake up and turn from any known sin in our lives, large or small. Fornication (pornea) of any kind will bring consequences, if not sooner, then later, as it did in my life. Satan, the master deceiver, comes along making shame and guilt appear larger than Truth and God’s forgiveness. His goal is to entrap people and finally, with glee, usher them into Hell for eternity. 

If we could see into the spiritual realm active here on earth, it would be astounding to know what our loving Father is constantly protecting us from! We must gain a healthy reverence for God and face the reality of what His inspired Word says about sexual immorality. Hate the sin and stay far from it! Become grateful, thank Him, fear Him, renounce your sin and repent with godly sorrow. He desires to set you free.

For further learning on overcoming sexual immorality go to RESOURCES.
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