Blog : Scripture

Matthew 7:11 and Luke 11:13

Matthew 7:11 NIV

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Luke 11:13

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

There is a lot packed into these verses. They are used all the time by the health and wealth preachers and they are very effective at attracting people and growing mega-churches. After all, they are the perfect verse to supplement the American Dream mindset we have.

The American dream is the idea that no matter what social class or ethnicity you are, you can raise yourself to a better/higher position in life. The key component to the American Dream is YOU. It is all about us. We are the center of the American dream – our dreams, our ambitions, our goals, our works, our pride, our confidence.

These verses show us though that we are truly able to do nothing without Jesus Christ our Savior. We are essentially evil at the core. The main cause for evil is our selfishness and our ambition to be gods of our own lives and control our destiny – sounds a lot like the American Dream?!

God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins so that He would be glorified. There is nothing we can ever do to pay for our sins and our evil nature. It is all about what He has done for us!

We exist to to bring glory our Creator and share the good news about what he has done with the nations..

Many people interpret these verses as a genie-in-a-bottle solution to all our problems – ask and you shall recieve. The gift we recieve though is not a cure if we are sick, or money if we are late on rent. The gift we recieve is that of the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 explicitly says this.

We should rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit that is given to us when we ask. We should continue to pray and listen to our promptings from the Holy Spirit who can guide and comfort us in our time of need.

This is very difficult to do if you are living in America. We want everything now and due to our conditioning and prosperity most of us do not take the time to wait on God, or his promptings from the Holy Spirit, because we have the resources to make the the things we want to happen happen when we want them to.

When we can count on ourselves to get the job done, why wait on God?

God’s plan is better and he can see the end game. God does not just want partial obedience from us, He wants total obedience. Most of us just put God in a box though and bring Him out when things are not going our way. You know when we have gone our own way on our own strength and something has finally gone wrong.

I encourage you though to be patient and truly submit to God’s direction and the promptings of the Holy Spirit which is the incredible gift he has for us. We have the best gift ever, but rarely do we take the time to follow it.

I challenge you to submit 100% to God’s guidance this next week and really listen to what he is telling you. This will be hard, because we already know what we want! However, the plans God has for us are so much bigger if we will just submit!

Psalm 37:3 – 11

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.

I have read this verse several times and one thing always stands out, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”

This has always sounded like a novel idea, but for many years I thought to myself, “Who wants to be meek??” I always associated “meek” with “wimpy and spineless” infact spineless is actually one definition for meek on dictionary.com

However, lets look at what it really means to be meek.  You may just find that it is not spineless at all. In fact, in today’s soceity, it actually takes a lot of courage to be meek.

1) Meek people trust in God. They feel that God is for them and not against them. Therefore they do not need to fear when things are not going their way. They can rest in the confidence that God is for them – in the good times and the bad.

2) Meek people turn their lives over to God. They know God is trustworthy and they give all of their lives over to him. This includes their work, business, schooling, family, illness, troubles and successes. They admit that they alone are not sufficient enough to have the knowledge or wisdom to oversee all aspects of their lives, but God does, so they trust him to guide and sustain them.

3) They are still and wait on God. Once they trust that God has their best interests at heart, they wait patiently for his guidance. They wait for God to work in their lives. This is not to be confused with laziness though – as if God is to do all the work. They work at a steady pace that comes from knowing that God is in control. There faith in God allows them to work in a calm and controlled manner – even in times of turmoil.

4) They do not get angry. They know God is in control and the challenges and obstacles that arrise in this world do not dismay them. They know that God has the ultimate say and they do not let bitterness, hatred, revenge or defensiveness consume their life when things do not go their way. Instead they respond patiently and quietly trusting in God and his plan.

Being meek is about trusting God and turning your life over to him. It is about relenquishing control to his will and working to serve his plan. With meekness comes true freedom, contentment and peace.

This is quite contrary to the world we live in now. Everyone is rushing all the time, trying to grab everything they can as soon as they can. There is no time to wait or someone else might grab your piece of the pie and if they do vengence is sought.

If you really think about it, a lifestyle based around meekness seems perfect. It gives us total freedom by trusting in God that his good and perfect will will unfold in due time. The bible says that there will be troubles in this world, but a meek person will not let these difficult times consume them. Instead they will turn to God and seek his will and guidance.

When I was younger this was the last person I wanted to be. I was in charge of MY company. I wanted everything I could get – money, vacation homes, cars – now. I did not want to depend on anyone. I was in a rush to get to a final destination that never seemed to arrive.

In contrast meekness is now something I truly want. I love the peace and freedom that comes from turning all my struggles over to God and admitting that I am not fit to cope with the complexities of life be it business, turmoil or addictions. If God if for me, whom then shall I fear?

God’s plan is good and perfect and I find peace and joy putting my faith in his hands.

1 Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

It is refreshing to know that there is no temptation that we cannot overcome with God’s help. The key though to this verse though that it says “God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” It does not say that you can withstand the temptation by yourself.

Granted you might be able to overcome your addiction for awhile yourself, but odds are without God’s help you will have trouble freeing yourself from its snare. This is what I have experienced in my life.

The other key is to prepare your mind to overcome the temptation before the battle begins. If you try to overcome the temptation with the battle is raging there is a good chance you will lose to the temptation. Preparation of your mind is key.  We must be feasting on God’s word and good thoughts so that we can win the battle when we are in the midst of a storm!

Isaiah 1:18

Isaiah 1:18

“Come, let’s talk this over! Says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!”

Isaiah 1:18

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If there was ever a verse that gave hope this is definitely one of my favorites! Those of us that struggle with porn know what carnage lies in our past. It is often the shame and embarrassment of the past that keeps so many from seeking help.

They feel there is too much bad in the past, their addiction is worse than anyone else’s, or “you just don’t know what I have done.”

So we stay trapped, ensnarled in a loosing battle based on how we think God or people might respond to us. Coming clean, asking for forgiveness and seeking help seems overwhelming based on our perceived reactions of others. I also think that while many Christians deep down know that nothing is too big or too bad for God to forgive and make new, they view his ability to do so, during their immediate struggle, through a human perspective and let doubt sneak in.

And it is true, some people may think you are a sicko, dirty or disgusting. Some people that view you this way might even be in the church. However, there are many people that will show you unconditional love and support. They will meet you right where you are to support and encourage you as you share your addictions and work to break free of the chains that have held you back for so long.

If you are struggling with porn addiction, and you want to overcome the addiction, I want you to close your eyes and imagine a life with no shame, no embarrassment, no worrying about if you cleared your browser history, and no fear about going on a date with the girl of your dreams and nervously wondering how she will react to your porn stash.

Instead your life is filled with joy and contentment. You are proud of who you are. You are confident and assured in your actions. You have no worries or fears about what you did in the past popping up unexpectedly determining your future. You are free, free to set a new course and build the life you have always wanted.

So, for and addict, what is the difference between these two lives? Simply admitting you have a problem, seeking help and asking for forgiveness. Simple right? In theory. In the moment it is absolutely terrifying and overwhelming. Our pride, ego, selfishness and fear rationalize for us why coming clean is not a good idea. The rationalized cocktail they feed us keeps us from living the life we desire.

Most people choose to turn their life around at “rock bottom.” Rock bottom is where the “pain is greater than the fear.”

The good news is that you can control where rock bottom is. You can choose to turn from your old way of living whenever you are ready. Do not let your faith in man dictate your faith in God. God will meet you right where you are, He can wash you clean no matter how bad your past.

You might even surprise yourself and find a group of people that instead of condemning; lift you up and encourage you. One such place I encourage you to look is Celebrate Recovery, a local purity group or even NoFap.com.

Take your first step today. God does not want us to be alone. Isolation is the enemy’s plan. God wants to meet you right where you are – regardless of your past. You are a child of God and His heart wants to see you free! The choice is up to you, a new life is just a decision away!

Matthew 5:3-5

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:3-5

Last night was a great night at CR in Frisco. I wanted to look at this verse again this morning, because when I was younger I never really understood what it was saying.

After all how can someone be “blessed” if they are “poor in spirit, mourning, or meek?”

The first time I read this verse I thought that this must be an oxymoron as there is no way that someone with those traits can be “blessed.”  Lets look deeper into this verse though and the implications it has in leading a life of sexual purity.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

So why would God want us to be poor in anything? First off, this does not relate to material possessions. Being poor in spirit is admitting that, because of your sin, you are completely destitute spiritually and can do nothing to deliver yourself from your dire situation.

We must realize that we are powerless to do anything on our own accord to break free from the chains of sexual temptation. Even if we can muster up our own willpower to resist, it will only be a short time before we fall back into the same patterns and traps. Only when we realize this can we put our full faith and trust in God. This is what God wants and he will bless our lives when we surrender to his will and give Him the glory.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

The term mourn means “to experience deep grief.” The Holy Spirit comforts those who are honest about their own sin and humble enough to ask for forgiveness and healing. They key here is “honest” or true Godly sorrow. Those of us that battle sexual temptation have all experienced sorrow at one time or another. The key though to overcoming temptation is whether you have sorrow from being caught, or a true sorrow about the sins you have committed.

Only when we have true Godly sorrow about our actions, can our hearts know peace from the Holy Spirit. It is at this time we can admit before God that our lives are unmanagable and that we need His forgiveness and grace.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

The Greek work translated “blessed” is praeis and refers to the gentleness of spirit or humility. This can also be known as strength under control. If one is meek, it means that while they might have the right or power to do something, but instead show restraint for the benefit of someone else.

Being meek is extremely difficult in this world as everything tells us that we should do what makes us feel good – that we are what is most important. Sexual immorality hurts more than just ourselves, it hurts loved ones, our friends, our families and it hurts God to see one of his childlren falling into sin.

God wants us to realize our own spiritual poorness, mourn and be meek so that we will be blessed.  This does not mean blessed with material possessions, money or fame. Blessed is from God’s perspective and not our own. This world is fleeting and in the long run nothing we obtain here has any value. God is more concern about our spiritual prosperity. Our ability to fall asleep with no regrets and find joy, peace and contentment.

 

Proverbs 14:12

“Before every man there lies a wide and pleasant road that seems right but ends in death.”

Proverbs 14:12

“…there lies a wide and pleasant road…” How many times have we gone down what appears to be a wide and pleasant road only to find that after awhile the road is anything but pleasant! It also tends to get very narrow the further you go.  So narrow in fact that it squeezes and traps us, leaving us feeling futile and unable to turn around.

Sin is deceptive, at first it appears to be so good, and sometimes it truly is amazingly fun. This is the case with sexual temptations.

Something catches our mind’s eye – a thought, a image, a person, etc. We then start to play this over and over in our mind and eventually rationalize why we should indulge in our lust.

Then we cross the line and give into the sexual temptation.

And while at this point it still might be fun eventually we all come to a point where we experience guilt, shame, remorse, panic and even fear. Society can try and “normalize” sexual immorality as much as it would like, but in the end it truly is a sin that can lead to destruction and even death.

Knowing that what is destructive can be polished to look pleasant and fun should make us all the more vigilant. The devil is sly and cunning. He knows our deepest desires and he knows how to tempt us.

God is on our side and he knows what is best for us – a life filled with peace, joy and grace.

Romans 2:5-8

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

Romans 2:5-8

Philippians 1:6

“God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping your grow in his grace until his task within is finally finished.”
Philippians 1:6

It is refreshing to know that we are a work in progress and God is with us to give us the strength to continue growing in grace as we perservere for sexual purity. The definition for sin is “to miss the mark.”  God wants us to be sexually pure.

In this fallen world it is too easy to become complacent and say, “Everyone is doing it,” so what does it matter?  It matters because God has an incredible plan for our lives. Yes, things may be going good even though you are missing the mark, but God has even better things in store for those whom are seeking his will and living their lives to glorify Him.

I am so thankful that God persists to finishe the good work that has started.  Sometimes it seems futile, but with God all things are possible. We need to trust that he will finish what he has started and will be at our side pushing and encouraging us to live sexually pure lives!!

 

Philippians 4:13

“For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and the power.”
Philippians 4:13

God, on our own we are destined to fail – we continue to seek our own selfish desires. With your strength all things are possible.  Lord I pray that myself, the men in my purity group and the men on this site that are seeking to find a new level of purity find hope in this verse and find the encouragement and strength in Christ to win the battle for sexual purity in their lives. Walking step by step with You, we can flee from the temptations of this life so that we can lead pure, honorable lives that glorify you!”

Mathew 6:34

Mathew 6:34
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Let us find victory in working to overcome our struggles one day at a time. Thank you Lord for your daily provision and guidance. Help us to turn to you in our time of need and not depend on our own understanding or desires, but instead to seek your will.