Archive for March, 2016

The Beauty of God’s Love

 

Bride

As Easter is upon us I am once again reminded of my brokenness and my ever need of the Lord’s mercy and grace. In chapter 16 of the book of Ezekiel, The Lord paints a beautiful picture of how he takes us from being an outcast to making us beautiful in His sight.  Read the words of Ezekiel starting at verse 4:

And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.

“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.

“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.[a]11 And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.

This passage is such an amazing picture of God’s grace.  When we are born into this world we are spiritually dead in God’s eyes due to the fall and when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden God already had a plan of how He will take away our sins.  This is why Jesus died on the cross.  Jesus took our sins upon Him, and in return gave us His perfect righteousness. When Jesus comes into our hearts God no longer sees our sin, He see’s His Son’s perfect righteousness no matter how we feel.   God cleans us, clothes us with righteousness, and declares us as His children.

Oh how often I have to remind myself of this because I too often forget who I am in God’s eyes.  God loves you for you, no matter what we have done or will do!

To God Be The Glory!

 

Men, It’s time to step up!

A friend of mine share this with me. Looks like it came from Gather Ministries……Not only do men need other men, we men who are believers need to step up our game. The “Church” has made to many excuses for men and why men are not doing what men need to be doing. Men, we need to be devoted to the studying of God’s Word, to being in the prayer closet declaring war for our Churches and for our Families. It is truly amazing how much time we men devote to things that are not going to carry any eternal weight. I believed the Church in America today would look totally different if men got off their asses and devoted their selves to their own relationship with God, studying his Word, pouring into his wife and kids and other men!

We’re Here, Now What?

Love one another with brotherly affection—Romans 12:10

We can’t live the full lives promised to us by our King, Jesus Christ, if we’re not in regular, authentic community with other guys. And the Church* can never be the Church—not as God intends it—if men aren’t connected in that kind of brotherhood. There are many ways the Church is supposed to work, but through men in community is a primary one.

Okay, so what do we do?

The Apostle Paul gave us a framework. He wrote that we must be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10). We must make a handful of other men a priority in our busy lives, setting them above and ahead of other things—not God, of course; maybe not our families; but, really, most everything else (Philippians 2:3-4).

Paul wrote that we must commit to honesty and transparency (Ephesians 4:25; 2 Corinthians 12:9) and accountability (Galatians 6:1-2). Community doesn’t work without them. It just doesn’t. And we must not presume we know how to “fix” each other, but rather should trust God the Holy Spirit to do all work that needs doing (Romans 12:3). Without meaning to, we can do damage—spiritual, relational—when we offer fix-it advice to men who’ve been vulnerable in sharing struggles. It’s much better to listen and ask open, non-judgmental questions and pray—something else which Paul says we must do together . . . a lot (Romans 12:12).

He wrote that we must encourage one another to live boldly and confidently in our faith, keeping each other “fueled and aflame,” and we must support one another, so that no man burns out (Romans 12:11 MSG). He wrote that we must stand with one another, helping each other through hardship, so that no man falls away from God in hard times (Romans 12:12; Galatians 6:2).

* Note: The word “Church” here does not mean any building or denomination, but rather all of the people gathered together by God the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus Christ.

The Soul Behind the Nakedness

One of the first things we teach guys when they begin going through Refuge is, whatever their sexual struggle is, it’s just a symptom of something deeper going on in their hearts. Most often it is a hurt or wound that has happened in our lives were we believed a lie about who we are and who God is. Until God brings healing to that part of their heart the person will just continue to struggle with their sexual sins. For the person that is not walking with the Lord and has not yet given their lives over to Him, only God can show them that looking at porn and dealing in that arena is wrong. I dare not cast a stone of judgment on you because I too have lived in that world for too many years, and it is by God’s grace and by Him alone that I know personally that porn and the adult arena is wrong and not pleasing to Him. Only God can turn your heart, however, for the believer, Christ has made it possible for you to walk in freedom. Now, that doesn’t happen overnight. I had a 20 plus year addiction porn and other sexually sins and with sexually sins it is a progressive sin. Unfortunately, I have been exposed to the ends and outs of the adult sexually world. When I first meet with guys who want to go through Refuge I tell them my story, because normally what they are struggling with and hurting with, I’ve already seen it and done it as well. This helps breaks the ice for them and makes it easier for them to talk with me.

For you believer, I want to flip the view around and talk about the naked girls and guys you are looking at by the still image, movie, live web cam, or the voice on the phone. Behind the nakedness is a soul, and that soul will spend eternity somewhere, either in Heaven or in Hell. If God does not save that naked girl or guy, they will spend eternity apart from Him in Hell, and God is very clear on that. Even though that girl or guy might look like they are having the time of their life having sex or do sex acts for guys to get off, we don’t know what type of pain they are feeling once the cameras are turned off and their clothes are back on. Remember, acting out is normally a symptom of something going on much deeper in their lives. Same thing applies here, what pain is going on in the hearts of the guys and girls that are behind the cameras or in the clubs that sex is helping to numb their pain, and take them out of reality. They are people too, and they need Jesus just as much as I do. Some do understand grace and God’s forgiveness. Check out their stories at Iamatreasure.com they will show you the soul behind the nakedness and Christ’s amazing grace!

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