Archive for May, 2016

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

db9c99209ef64f0b7ea4796d724a0763Many believers today are playing the he loves me, he loves me not game with God; hoping the last flower pedal they pull off is he loves me. God had to remind me the other day that His love for me is not based on my actions, how I may feel, or what I can do for Him. God loves me because I am his adopted son, I belong to Him. I love my own son because he is my son, not based on anything he does for me. He is my son, and for that I love him. God is the same way; He loves His children because they are His children. When God looks at his children he sees the righteousness of Christ, and not the sins that we so often look at and focus on. When I start not feeling that God loves me, and I start to listen to the lies of the enemy I then start to try and make God love me. When I start doing this I move from a system of grace to a system based on the law.

The law is based on achieving, let’s say God’s Love by self-effort, based on the performance where the focus is always on me and what I have done or am doing or can do for God. My behavior equals my being. What does this produce? Self-righteousness, bondage, duty, obligation, and lots of pain in the way of defeat, guilt and condemnation. Therefore, I just try harder and work hard to make God love me.

The grace system is based on receiving by faith what God has done for me on the cross. My focus is always on God and what He has done and is doing. This produces faith-righteousness, freedom, victory, security, acceptance and I am able to receive rest, joy, and love in Christ. I have to admit, I so often live by the law, trying to earn God’s love. God loves me because I am his son, and for that He loves me. Believers, we have to know and remind ourselves that we are 100% accepted because we are IN Christ. We have to receive and believe our acceptability and accept ourselves on the same basis that God accepts us. Does God accept me when I sin? Yes, he does. Do you accept yourself when you sin? Why is it that God can forgive and forget our sins, but we cannot let them go of them? I will have to be the first one to put my hand up; I do this all the time. I beat myself up for my sins all the time, sins that God has long forgiven and forgot about. Yes, I am a work in progress and God is moving me through the Sanctification process where He is purifying me from the pollution of sin and renewing my nature in the image of God. Just remember the next time you start to pick the flower pedals, He loves me, He loves me, He loves me, He loves me!

 

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Chipping Away Your Manhood

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Men, where in your life do you typically feel the strongest and manliest? Is it in the workplace or outdoors? Maybe it’s when you help others or fix things. Is it when you are playing sports, working on a hobby, or engaging in ministry? What about when it comes to your relationship with your wife, fiancée or girlfriend? Men typically don’t feel strong in this area. This should be the place where a man can feel like a MAN. God has intended for men to be strong and confident around women, especially their significant others. Oftentimes, however, men don’t feel strong or adequate in the presence of women, even their wives. This is one reason why so many men struggle with pornography.
John Eldredge makes the statement, “One reason porn is so addictive is, it makes a man feel like a man without ever requiring a thing of him.” Porn empowers men; it will accept a man for who he is. Porn will never reject him, never turn him away, it will never remind him of his mistakes, his failures. Porn will take a man anywhere he wants to go sexually, give him anything he wants. Porn will never say no to him. Robert Jensen writes, “Porn beckons us with a promise. What brings us back, over and over, is the voice in our ears, the soft voice that says, ‘it’s okay, you really are a man, you really can be a man, and if you come into my world, it will all be there, and it will all be easy.'” Porn is a progressive sin. It starts out small. However, for one to continue to get the same high they have to look for more aggressive images of porn. This in turns leads to other struggles such as phone sex, going to strip clubs, prostitution, affairs. Pornography kills the mind; the human brain was not designed to handle the major dose of chemicals the brain unleashes when one is viewing pornography. Studies have shown there is damage done to the brain and the brain’s chemistry is altered when one is exposed to pornography. An addiction to pornography is chemically identical to a heroin addiction.

Thomas Aquinas makes the statement, “Every sinful behavior is rooted in a legitimate God-given appetite.” If this is true, men who are acting out sexually are really crying out to God. There are four basic needs every human needs to have met in their lives: Love, Acceptance, Worth/Approval and Security. Jesus is the only one who can fully meet these needs in our lives. Not even a man’s wife can fully meet these needs for him. They are God-given needs that only He can fill. Men that are looking towards their wives to fully meet their needs are greatly disappointed. Due to the disappointment men check out on their wives. They shut them out and become angry with them. They give up. Men turn to porn looking to have their basic God-given needs meet. Why? They believe two lies from the enemy.

First, they believe God is not good. This is the same lie satan filled Eve within the garden. In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve everything. They had full reign of the garden. They could have everything except the one thing that would kill them, the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2 -3). Satan was able to make Eve believe that God was withholding something from them by not allowing them to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the same lie men believe today, God is not good, and He is withholding His good from them. Notice something with Adam in the Garden, Adam wasn’t strong enough to stand up to Eve. He became passive and weak with his wife. He bought into the lie as well; Adam believed God was not good. God is good, He is so very good!

Secondly, men believe porn can meet their needs. No, it cannot. Porn will never be able to love us the way God can. Porn will never accept us the way God does. Porn will never give you a sense of worth or protect us. C.S Lewis made the statement, “Every time a man masturbates, he chips away at his manhood.” I would like to take his statement a bit further. Every time a man looks at porn, it doesn’t chip away his manhood, it destroys his manhood. Porn will destroy every part of a man’s life, but it doesn’t have too. Jesus has come to set us free. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Is 61: 1-3.

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Who are you Trusting?

 

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Andrew Murray writes in his book, The Master’s Indwelling, “What is the reason that so many Christians are wasting their lives in the terrible bondage of the world instead of living in the manifestations and the privilege and the glory of the child of God? ….What can be the reason that when we see a thing is wrong and strive against it we cannot conquer it? What can be the reason that we have a hundred times prayed and vowed, yet here we are still living a mingled, divided, half-hearted life? …it is self that is the root of the whole trouble. What is the reason I fail? I desire so earnestly, and pray so fervently, to live in God’s will. And my answer generally is, simply because you trust yourself…If you trusted God and Jesus, you could not fall….Do let us believe that the cause of every failure in the Christian life is nothing but this. I trust this cursed self, instead of trusting Jesus. I trust my own strength, instead of the almighty strength of God. And that is why Christ says, ‘This self must be denied’. “
So very often we do not trust God, or trust His word. We rely on our on strength to be able to live in this battle field called life, and the enemy beats the tar out of us. This morning God took me to Mark 4: 35 -41 where Jesus calms the storm on Sea of Galilee. God had one question for me this morning, and it was the same question Jesus asked His disciples, “Why are you so afraid, Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4: 40) As I wrestle with this question in my own life, I throw it out to you as well, what are you afraid of that you continue to trust yourself and not God?

 

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