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Posts Tagged ‘overcoming’

LOVE CONQUERS #1AMLove Conquers Combined 150 ppi

Love is the greatest force on earth. At times when we feel that love has gone or been defeated, it rises again to overcome indomitable forces. All love comes from God. God is love and human love is the shadow of divine love. God’s kind of love is a selfless love, a love that is given expecting nothing in return. A love bestowed upon mankind undeserved. A love poured out without reservation and independent of the worthiness of the recipients.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)

When your day seems like it couldn’t get any worse; your greatest hope is love, because Love Conquers anything and everything. Are you facing a firestorm of conflict and broken relationships? Are people speaking against you and saying outright lies to condemn and vilify you? Then Love is waiting for you and Love Conquers. This Love of God, so freely available to your heart, will fill you so that you can overcome anything and everything that comes your way. Jesus has given you the supernatural power to love the bitterest of enemies. His love in you will always conquer.

Jesus came into this world to save sinners. We did not deserve His love, but He came anyway. He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He had to endure the anger and bitter hostility of man against Him as He suffered and gave up His life for us that we may find hope and a way of salvation. Mankind is so broken by sin and so blind and often people cannot see that God even exists; yet God reaches out to each and every person with His great love to seek and to save those that are lost. Man was lost, so utterly lost. We were born into sin, there is no person on earth that walks in righteousness every day. We were so lost and nothing could save us, we had no hope, but love conquers and God made a way purely by love to rescue mankind and provide a way of escape from death and judgement. The cross is the story of Love Conquers.

My wife’s father is 83 and last week he received Jesus as his saviour. After so many years of belligerently opposing God and refusing to listen to the message of God’s love; now in his final days his defences all gone and hardened mind broken down, he responded like a little child and asked Jesus to forgive his sins and come into his life. He is saved today because Love Conquers. Is there a loved one you long to see come to Christ? Know this, that love conquers. There is no one so hard, so tough, so unreachable that love cannot breakthrough. You can rely on Love, you can hope in this all conquering love.

Whatever you face, love conquers, no matter how terrible and bleak the future seems, Love Conquers. No mountain is too high for love to climb; no valley so deep love can’t find the way; no fear so dreaded that Love can’t bring the flood of courage that brings you through. Love, God’s love, will make you conquer!!

As Jesus began His ministry he faced solid opposition from day one. One day in the temple He cured a man with a withered hand. A act of love, yet He was accused of healing or effectively “working” on the Sabbath. In other words He was accused of sin. The religious leaders who were supposed to be helping people and leading them to God were so often mired in self-righteousness and judgementalism so that people were put off knowing God. Jesus kept on loving and giving in the face of blind opposition and evil intent. He never gave up because Love Conquers!

Jesus kept on sharing the good news of God’s love, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life; yet he faced opposition at every turn. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners. These were the very people He wanted to reach out to and heal and show them a way of righteousness, but He was condemned by ignorant and wicked men.

Is your mountain that you face the thoughts in your mind? Are you so burdened with an inner struggle with your own thoughts that you are way past being just troubled, but really you are stuck! Love Conquers. This message is for you. There is no trouble so big that God’s love can’t meet that challenge. There is no difficulty so huge that God’s love cannot lead you through and out the other side to a place of life and peace. You can reach out to God and receive His love. It is a conquering love. To conquer the really massive things, the insurmountable things, the impossible things. All our hope is in His great love. It works!!

 11 If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and [a]advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and [b]advantageous things to those who [c]keep on asking Him! Matt 7:11 (AMP)

Later at Jesus’ trial, they spoke outright lies to condemn Him saying He made Himself out to be king and threatened to tear down the temple. At these times He remained silent and did not answer His accusers. Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man.” Yet the crowd screamed for His blood. The unrighteousness of man was never more brazenly displayed as when the people of Jerusalem cried out to Pilate, “Crucify him” over and over again. This was their Messiah, the one who was prophesied to come for centuries. Yet they rose up in anger and called for His blood. “His blood be upon us” they cried, fully taking responsibility for death of the saviour. He was bound and lashed with the stroke of a whip. That whip that was a devilishly ingenious tool of ultimate torture, which flayed the skin to the bone with its lead pieces tied into the leather thong. Over and over they stroked Jesus till His whole torso was a bloody mess of broken skin and muscle exposed.

Yet He did not cry out for release, because Love Conquers. With every lash stroke the temptation was to give up, to say “that’s enough”; to want to the angels to come and rescue Him from this murderous torture. But the more man kept punishing the saviour of the world, the more He kept on going with enduring such contradiction of sinners against himself.

2 He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. Hebrews 12:2b-3 (AMP)

They nailed His hands, His feet, to the cross. In acute agony He cried not for release and not against his tormentors, but to ask for their forgiveness, “They know not what they do.” He said, because Love conquers. And love conquered the power of sin in mankind.

16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I be angry always, for [if I did stay angry] the spirit [of man] would faint and be consumed before Me, and [My purpose in] creating the souls of men would be frustrated. Isaiah 57:16(AMP)

Finally they raised the cross and lifted high the Son of God. They continued to mock Him. “Save yourself.” they cried, “if you be the Son of God!” Such dishonour, such venom, was it not enough for Jesus to say, “Enough, away with them.”? No, He endured, He continued in love because Love Conquers and love conquered the unrighteousness of man.

Are you facing a diagnosis of death? Is your doctor and medical tests saying all the wrong things about your future? Remember Love Conquers, Jesus took the stroke of the whip on His back so that by faith you can say, “By His stripes I am healed”.

Even I His dying moments one man, a thief, railed against Jesus and mocked Him. He still continued, could any man be His strength and support at this horrendous hour, no; none stood with Him, He was completely alone. He endured the savagery of the cross and the utter rejection of His own creation because of sin and He never flagged, but kept on going with grace and love because Love Conquers.

Love never gives up. You can count on love. If Jesus went to the cross and died for you when all the while you knew not how great His love was or even had the desire to receive Him, then how much more will He come to your aid now that you have yielded your life to Him?

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [[g]resurrection] life.

11 Not only so, but we also rejoice and exultingly glory in God [in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received and enjoy [our] reconciliation. Rom 5:10-11 (AMP)

What are you facing today?

A mountain of debt? A tumult of conflict? A wasteland of doubt? A symphony of mental anguish? An unbelievable diagnosis of pain and sickness?

Then be persuaded, be convinced, be consumed by the courage of love. Love is your answer. Love will carry you through.

LOVE CONQUERS THE HARDEST HEART

LOVE CONQUERS THE GREATEST OFFENCE

LOVE CONQUERS HATRED AGAINST YOU

LOVE CONQUERS THE DEEPEST SORROW

LOVE CONQUERS THE MOST DIFFICULT JOURNEY

LOVE CONQUERS THE LONGEST DELAY

LOVE CONQUERS THE SADDEST NEWS.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. The bible says, “God is Love”. What does this mean to you?

2. What is the biggest challenge you are facing or have faced?

3. What is God’s best outcome for you in that Challenge?

4. You can rely on God’s love to see you through, how can you receive that love?

5. How can you love one another with God’s love to give support to each other in conquering the difficulties?

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The Answer No. 4

How many times in life have you been faced with a problem and thought, “Why am I the one who has to fix this? I could just walk away.” However, you believe that you are the one that must take responsibility for this one and so you begin the journey of discovering what the answer is.

Have you ever been in the situation of making plans and later finding conditions have changed? What you thought would be easy is now not happening. You’ve got a problem.

Sometimes life makes a U turn right in front of you and there was no indicator!

Like a friend of mine who who’s brother took a drug overdose and ended up a quadriplegic. His parents were not well enough to take care of him so my friend took ten years out of his life to become a carer for him. That’s a 24 hours a day life change.

How do you get through a problem like that?

Like the time we decided to move from Brisbane to Melbourne to plant a new church and the week we left, the sale on our house in Brisbane fell through, the market went flat and we ended up paying rent in Melbourne and a mortgage in Brisbane with no income.  How do you fix a problem like that?

When life hands you a problem; Jesus is the answer.

There are only two reasons life hands you a problem. The first is so you can find Jesus and the second one is so you can get to know Him better; that is, grow your faith.

It’s all about faith. God wants you to learn faith; that is the constantly abiding trust that God is in control and He has taken care of everything.

I didn’t say there would be no pain, but there will be answers and growth and joy.

Let’s look at the day Jesus handed a problem to His disciples.

Mat 14:13  Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.

Mat 14:14  When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Mat 14:15  Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”

Mat 14:16  But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

Mat 14:17  They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”

Mat 14:18  And he said, “Bring them here to me.”

Mat 14:19  Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Mat 14:20  And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

Mat 14:21  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (ESV)

Circumstances of life are constantly changing. A great friend of mine has a saying that I think is true: “Constant change is here to stay” Life just presents problems all the time. You can complain, but it won’t change anything. You can grow and that makes you a bigger person to handle the next challenge or problem. When you were a small child you handled it without stress; every time you fell over when trying to learn to walk you just got right back up and tried again. Every time you fell off that bike you had a bit of a cry, dusted yourself off and hopped right back on again and had another go. Now you’re older and wiser, when things go pear shaped, you whinge and complain and blame the government, your spouse and the economy and give yourself an excuse to stop trying.

I want you to notice something about this story. The crowd has been listening to Jesus all day…. That’s a long sermon. Wow, these people were hungry for spiritual truth. How hungry are you? But that’s not what I’m asking you to notice. The disciples are the ones who say to Jesus “Hey these people are hungry we need to send them to the shop for a burger. They were well trained in the Workplace Health and Safety requirements to ensure good practice!

So Jesus hands the problem back to them. “No, you feed them” Jesus hands them the problem knowing full well that He is the answer to their problem. He doesn’t just say to His disciples. “Hey let’s feed these people, go find anything you can and I’ll make it multiply. Watch this!”  If He did that people would be impressed but they wouldn’t learn what He wants them to learn. And that is: dependence on Jesus. In the same story told in the book of John it says as much.

Joh 6:5  Jesus looked up then, and seeing that a vast multitude was coming toward Him, He said to Philip, Where are we to buy bread, so that all these people may eat?

Joh 6:6  But He said this to prove (test) him, for He well knew what He was about to do.

Joh 6:7  Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennies’ (forty dollars) worth of bread is not enough that everyone may receive even a little (AMP)

When a problem comes your way in life, it’s opportunity. The problem isn’t from God, the answer is from God. In this story Jesus didn’t create the problem. The situation arose through people wanting more of Truth. Then the disciples recognised – we have a problem. However, Jesus plans through every problem to make you grow and find Him in a deeper way. What He wants you to learn is to trust Him for the answer, and don’t slide into blame, complain and despair.

In this story the disciples recognise the need. These people need food. Jesus throws the responsibility for the problem right back on them. “You feed them.” Now they discover resources are not adequate. In life resources will never be adequate. When the problem comes, it’s a problem because the resources aren’t adequate. So the process Jesus wants you to learn is this.

  1. Take responsibility for the answer
  2. Take stock of what resources you have
  3. Give those meagre resources to Him
  4. Trust Him for the complete answer.

Simple right? When King David of Israel faced this issue in 1 Samuel 30:1-6 He learned that even his most faithful supporters turned against him in his moment of greatest need. When the problem – make that challenge – comes your way; it’s often the case that all your normal leaning posts will fall over. Everything you could look to for support and strength seems to disappear. Why is that? God wants you to come to the place where He, and He alone, is your answer.

In the midst of your reality, that is the reality of your problem, you need to remind yourself that He is with you. Isa 43:1  But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

Isa 43:2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (ESV)

If you are facing mountains too high for you – Jesus is the answer. Each challenge is an amazing opportunity to find a new level of trust and faith in Jesus and see the answers come through. Why did Jesus say? :Mat 17:20  He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

Surely the most impossible task for any person would be to move a mountain. Yet twice Jesus says to His disciples speak to the mountain, and expect it to move. No matter how big your problem is the only question is will you trust Jesus for the answer?

Jesus is the Answer for everything you face in life. Learn to totally trust in Him and rely on Him.

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The AnswerSTRESS

Stress is all too prevalent in the world today. In spite of all the advancement in medicine, education and health advice we face massively escalating levels of stress induced ill health.

Do you feel the pressure of life gets too much for you at times? You’re not alone; many feel like it’s getting too much to bear. Mental Experts say that stress levels amongst the general population today are equivalent to mental patients in the 1950-60s! http://tinyurl.com/a89hua9

I notice so often on game shows where the contestant is about to win some big money, the show host always asks what will you do with the money if you win? – The answer is almost always – take a holiday!

Do you find yourself feeling anxiety to the point of being unhappy? Do you suffer from the results of stress such as heart palpitations, mouth ulcers, skin rashes, tension headaches, stomach ulcers, neck pain, bad backs and on and on it goes.

Depression is huge in our society. I want help you today – Jesus can be your answer today if depression plagues you. The statistics are clear: “This year [2010] alone 1,000,000 people in Australia will experience a depressive illness.” http://mraact.org.au/2010/06/black-dog-r…
“Depression is the third largest individual health problem in Australia after heart disease and stroke.” http://www.blackdogride.com.au/view/red-…

“About 6% of [Australian] people will experience a major depressive illness in their lifetime. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men will experience some form of depression during their life.”  http://mindframe-media.powersites.com.au…

What is it about our fast paced world we live in, that we have no place to de-stress? We live in a peace free zone that does not enable the majority of us the ways to find the life and peace that we so desperately need? Come on – how many of you have daydreamed about living on some tropical island paradise and totally veging out?

A study in England from June 2012 found that among people under 65, nearly half of all ill health is mental illness (http://tinyurl.com/d6azuzf). Yet only a quarter of all those with mental illness are in treatment, compared with the vast majority of those with physical conditions.

I want to help you to find out today that Jesus is the answer for you.

Jesus is the answer to the stress and pressure you feel today.

The bible predicts this kind of experience in the last days:

Luk 21:26  Men swooning away or expiring with fear and dread and apprehension and expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the [very] powers of the heavens will be shaken and caused to totter.

Jesus faced the most horrific levels of stress imaginable and the result was he sweat great drops of blood. Here’s the story:

Luk 22:41  And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed,

Luk 22:42  Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.

Luk 22:43  And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit.

Luk 22:44  And being in an agony [of mind], He prayed [all the] more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground.

(Hematidrosis (also called hematohidrosis) is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood. It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death.[1] Several historical references have been described; notably by Leonardo da Vinci: describing a soldier who sweated blood before battle, men unexpectedly given a death sentence, as well as descriptions in the Bible, that Jesus experienced hematidrosis when he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematidrosis )

The stress that Jesus felt was through his task of bearing the sins of all mankind on himself. Would he succeed as a man? (Being essentially fully God and fully man) Would he be able to complete the task?  The fear He faced and overcame, was whether He would fail or not in His mission; not to mention the weight of all the sin of mankind about to be placed on Him; and the inevitable separation from the Father for a time. A very big outcome rested on His being successful in this mission. Yours and my salvation depended on it! He carried our sins and sicknesses on His body on the cross (1Pe 2:24  He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. (AMP))

The power of substitution.

All the way through the Old Testament God showed His acceptance of the substitute. God accepted the substitute of a lamb or a bullock as in offering to atone for or pay for the sins of a person who brought that animal to Gods altar of sacrifice. It was the innocent standing in the place of the guilty. Later Jesus became the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Because he carried our sins we don’t have to bear the judgement of them. Only if a person has faith in Jesus Christ, then they can claim the substitutionary death of Jesus as applying to them. In the same manner Jesus also carried our sicknesses in His own body on the cross. Mat 8:17  And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases.

Just as Jesus carried your sins and sickness on the cross, He also carried your stress and anxiety. By being so stressed and anxious Himself, He bore all the pains and stress and fear of failure that you will ever be faced with. In fact Isaiah tells us directly: Isa 53:5  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

As a substitute for us, Jesus carried our stress and anxiety. The chastisement of our peace or the pain necessary to obtain our peace was given to Him. What He carried we don’t have to carry. Just as He carried our sins and He carried our sicknesses; so He also carried our stress and anxiety.

Through faith in Christ you can obtain the atonement of sins, the taking away of your sins. Through faith in Jesus Christ also you can receive healing for your infirmities. So then also in faith you can receive total peace in your mind and heart through Jesus Christ because he carried those things also. As our perfect substitute He paid the price for all that we need for complete salvation in our body soul and spirit. The healing of our minds or our soul is just as real as the healing of our body and heart. This life and this healing we have received is complete.

Do you know that Jesus knows your pain and stress levels intimately? He experienced all that you will ever experience and more. That is why He is compassionate and able to bring healing and life to you. Heb 4:15  For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Heb 4:16  Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favour to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Psa_94:19  In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul! (AMP)

So what does this answer look like? What is this peace that Jesus offers to us?

Here’s how the bible describes it: Php 4:6  Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Php 4:7  And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

What a beautiful picture of God’s help for you, that tranquil state of mind. It’s a kind of peace that will set up a protective wall around your life. It’s like a garrison around your heart and mind. It sounds awesome doesn’t it?

It’s obtained through faith; but let me share with you how to work with your faith to obtain real and lasting peace.

  1. Come to Jesus and see how big He is in comparison to your tiny problems. He created the whole universe and this world; isn’t  He big enough to take care of you?
  2. He is so vitally interested in you and loves you unreservedly, unconditionally. Luk 12:32  Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!
  3. 1Pe 5:7  Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. [Ps. 55:22.] What this means is; you throw over, to cast upon; your cares; it implies a quick flip or toss of the cares and anxieties onto Jesus. This is about how you think on your problems. It’s about applying your faith to this change of thinking….. you can think differently because you have evidence now from God’s word that He cares for you; so you can give the worry and anxiety and stress over to Him.
  4. Now thank Him for every good thing. Phil 4:6….. with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. Thankfulness is very powerful in changing your thinking to receive God’s peace.

Reach out to Jesus today. Lean on Him with your mind and heart. Consider how much He loves you. He knows how to bring the answer to you. Jesus is the answer!

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I am going to swim upstream all my life!

Jesus said,

Mat 7:14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. [Deut. 30:19; Jer. 21:8.] (AMP)

So it looks like the way to life has some pressure, some obstacles, some challenges.

Many Christians don’t want to live a life of pressure. They are longing for an easy life a life without the slog.

But that is the wrong way to look at it.  The salmon loves the swim upstream to the spawning grounds. It’s hazardous and strenuous but only the salmon that swim upstream get to reproduce.

You can look at life as a constant struggle or you can decide that you love the challenge – it’s a new mindset. Like the athlete who trains every day for fitness and to become better at their sport, we enjoy staying on top of their game. There’s invigorating life and strength that comes from doing the journey well. We press into God and obtain His presence and inner strength (Ephes 3:16 AMP) We delight in seeing lives changed and know that we have been part of the amazing plan God has for their lives. We see the future of God’s Kingdom coming into it’s fullness and the earth being filled with His glory.

The Flourishing Christian life is one that swims upstream of course. We are constantly opposed by spiritual forces and persecution. In Australia persecution comes as a  constant flow of ridicule for anyone who believes in the bible and Godly values. It’s portrayed as intolerant, negative, discriminatory, and outdated. But God’s word and His kingdom are life to us.

2Co 2:15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing:
2Co 2:16 To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odor, the smell of doom]; to the former it is an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is qualified (fit and sufficient) for these things? [Who is able for such a ministry? We?](AMP)

If you want to swim upstream then every day you choose to live God’s way in spite of temptations, opposition, spiritual oppression and personal attack…… AND LOVING IT!!!!

 

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ESCAPING THE QUICKSAND OF PORNOGRAPHY

Why a message on Porn?

This is a huge problem in our society, as we will discover in a moment. The church must be bringing answers to hurting people. God’s word brings an answer for any of life’s problems. But as well as that, Christian Men are struggling with porn and we want to bring help and answers to our own church. You may not be struggling with porn, but be aware of what is happening in our families and be prepared to help others. Of course the use of pornography is shameful, and no one is going to want to own up to it. This hidden aspect of pornography is creating a sleeping giant in its capacity to damage teens and families. If you’re a parent here today, you need to understand how to protect your young children and teens from porn’s insidious effects.

THE CULTURE OF OUR TIMES

Teens and Porn

http://catholicexchange.com/the-teen-porn-epidemic-and-what-to-do-about-it/   –

June 7th, 2012  –  Matt Fradd

When Nathan started using internet pornography, he found that over time it somehow got less and less exciting. His daily routine soon included hours spent consuming porn, yet he had grown “almost numb to it,” he recalls. Like many men with addictions, he was discovering that the compulsive use of porn dulls the pleasure receptors of the brain, forcing them to seek ever-greater amounts of stimulation in a desperate quest for sexual satisfaction.

But Nathan was not yet a man. He was just twelve years old.

And unfortunately, he is not alone. We are witnessing the beginning of nothing less than an epidemic of porn addiction among teens and even younger children.

In today’s wired world, internet porn is everywhere, it’s easy to get, and it’s washing like a wave over every child who can hold an iPhone or log on to a laptop—according to one recent study, by the time they reach eighteen only three percent of boys and seventeen percent of girls will have never laid eyes on it. And these kids aren’t witnessing the kind of “soft-core” centerfold images that their parents may have stumbled across in a magazine or cable TV twenty years ago; no, they’re filling their heads with explicit, graphic depictions of sexual acts. In fact, according to the same study, which surveyed 563 teenage boys and girls, sixty-five percent had seen depictions of group sex, and twelve percent had seen rape or sexual violence.

This exposure to porn, which in adults causes dependent behaviours, spiritual emptiness, and a diminished ability to love, does additional harm to children by distorting their mental, emotional, and social development. One young woman—for it’s not just boys who are getting hooked on porn—who like Nathan became addicted at the age of twelve, observed, “’I started to isolate myself, because I hated what I was doing. I hated that I couldn’t stop.” A bewildered mother wrote of her eleven-year-old son, whose dependence on internet porn had left him psychologically devastated, “How could my beautiful boy, who could light up a room and my heart with his smile, have turned into this hollow, self-hating shell? What had I done wrong?”

With the threat that pornography use poses to their children only continuing to grow (as technology makes porn access ever easier and as porn becomes destigmatized in mainstream culture), more parents are sharing this mother’s despair. What can be done? Today’s world is a different place for children than it was even for an adult generation that grew up trained to be wary of drugs, bullies, and sexual predators on every street corner. Today’s new world poses new threats, and those threats require new strategies to keep children safe.

“How do we train our kids to be pure in heart?”

Drawing from my experiences, allow me to offer three strategies that you can implement to cooperate with God’s grace.

1 – Affirm the goodness of their sexuality

2 – Be a parent, not a buddy

3 – Use Filters and Accountability Software

What does the word of God say?

1Th 4:3  For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice,

1Th 4:4  That each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor,

1Th 4:5  Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will,

1Th 4:6  That no man transgress and overreach his brother and defraud him in this matter or defraud his brother in business. For the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we have already warned you solemnly and told you plainly.

1Th 4:7  For God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity].

1Th 4:8  Therefore whoever disregards (sets aside and rejects this) disregards not man but God, Whose [very] Spirit [Whom] He gives to you is holy (chaste, pure).

Mat 5:28  But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Mat 5:29  If your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell (Gehenna).

THE PREVALENCE OF PORNOGRAPHY

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=32644

How wide is the problem? The report cites one 2008 study of undergraduate and graduate students ages 18-26 that showed 69 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women viewed pornography more than once a month. But it’s not just adults. In 2009, the fourth-most searched word on the Internet for kids ages 7 and under was “porn,” according to data by OnlineFamily.Norton.com. For all kids — those up to age 18 — sex was No. 4, porn No. 5.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/porn-and-violence-do-not-have-a-place-in-childrens-lives/story-fn56aaiq-1226132547946

Research suggests that 70 per cent of boys and half all girls will have looked at porn by the age of 12.

(Large amount of Statistical Data from Australia 2003 – http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP52.pdf )

Research done by Australian Pastor Alan Meyer, author of Valiant Man, has confirmed that in the church around 50% of men are engaging with pornography to some extent.

INTERVIEW WITH JASON HUXLEY

During the service we will interview Jason Huxley, an Australian staying in Canada.

Link for Jason – http://www.guiltypleasure.tv/

I’m glad to say that this is now in my past but I know that I’m still susceptible to porn, so I make sure that I guard myself everyday. For me porn did nothing to improve my life but just made it worse. The compound issues of being a Christian and porn addict made my life almost unbearable and today I feel so much compassion for people who are in the same place. – Jason Huxley

THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY

Porn has hijacked sexuality and is destroying men – Gail Dines  October 14, 2010

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/porn-has-hijacked-sexuality-and-is-destroying-men-20101013-16jy4.html?comments=189#comments

Porn addicition is a serious issue, with a generation of men accustomed to graphic images.

A generation raised on hard core has trouble with the real thing.

In a recent radio interview the host suggested that since I didn’t like porn, the solution was to not look at it. If only it was that easy to avoid. Many women I know don’t look at porn, but this doesn’t mean that they are not affected by it every day.

The men they date, have sex with and marry are increasingly being brought up on a steady diet of porn, and the more they watch, the less capable they are of forming connected, intimate relationships.

The porn these men consume looks nothing like your father’s Playboy. In place of soft core, soft focus images of naked women smiling coyly at the camera, consumers are catapulted into a world of cruel and brutal sex acts designed to dehumanise women.

In the vast majority of porn today, sex is not about making love, as the feelings and emotions we normally associate with such an act – connection, empathy, tenderness, caring, affection – are missing, and in their place are those we normally associate with hate – fear, disgust, anger, loathing, and contempt.

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=32645

“Similarly, pornography is sexual junk food, and we have fallen under the spell of the myth that there is no such thing as too much sex and there’s no sex that’s bad sex,” said Layden, director of education at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Porn affects society – secular view

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/porn-not-just-a-little-harmless-fun/story-e6frg6zo-1225935783393

Although not all compulsive users, these men talked about their feelings of inadequacy relating to sex after using porn. Whether it was their inability to bring their girlfriends to a screaming orgasm, their need to conjure up porn images to reach their own orgasm with their girlfriends, their “inadequate size” male anatomy parts or their tendency to ejaculate “too quickly”, they were using “porn sex” as their yardstick and they all failed to measure up.

Some argue that porn has no effect in the real world, while others, especially anti-porn feminists, view pornography as material that encourages and justifies the oppression of women.

http://www.catholichighered.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=42KSYEXgZqE%3D&tabid=670

Professors Dolf Zillman of Indiana University and Jennings Bryant of the University of Houston have found that repeated exposure to pornography results in a decreased satisfaction with the sex life that you are experiencing in your marriage, a decrease in the valuation of faithfulness and a major increase in the importance of sex without attachment.

WHY PORNOGRAPHY IS SO ADDICTIVE

From a book: Wired for Intimacy – How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. By William M. Struthers.

The male brain is the built like an ideal pornography receiver, wired to be on the alert for these images of nakedness. The male brain and our conscious visual experience is the internal monitor where we perceive them. The images of sexuality grab our attention, jumping out and hypnotizing a man like an HD television among a sea of standard televisions.

The Visual Magnetism of Pornography

Human sexuality affects every aspect of human life, but sexual acts are generally understood as private acts, taking place in the bedroom. We live in a culture that is clothed, and we do not regularly stumble across people having sex in public. We have laws against nudity and performing sexual acts in public. This cultural reality along with the intuitive notion that sex is a private, intimate act makes pornography so qualitatively different from the majority of our everyday visual experience. Our culture has trained us so that there is something about the naked form that is distinctive. When we come across it, we reflexively turn our attention toward it. But why do so many men find it difficult to look away after that first glance? Perhaps it is because their receiver is merely locking onto this strong signal.

A man’s brain is a sexual mosaic influenced by hormone levels in the womb and in puberty and molded by his psychological experience. Male brains can be very different from female brains because of this.

(Arnold, 2004, pp. 701-8; Ariely and Loewenstein. 2006, p. 87; Baron–Cohen, Lutchmaya and Knickmeyer, 2004; Brizendine, 2006; Cahill, 2006, p. 477).

Although neither superior nor inferior, they are very different in the way they detect stimuli, process information and respond to emotions. This is important because men detect sexual cues rapidly when it comes to nakedness or sex-related stimuli. Men seem to be more sensitive to visual cues for sexual arousal.

(Lykins, Meana and Kambe, 2006, pp. 569-75; Janssen, Carpenter and Graham, 2003, pp. 243-51; Karama et al., 2002, p. 1; Koukounas and McCabe, 1997, pp. 221-30).

The visual scanning of the naked image has a power in it that forces itself onto the male brain. The peculiar proficiency that the male brain has to relay this signal, combined with a man’s personal history and thought habits (his experience with looking at pornography), are why so many men have difficulty looking away. The signal is received and then projected onto the display, the visual experience of the viewer. The depiction of nudity and sexual acts have a hypnotic effect and the ability to hold their attention similar to an HD television. As men fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on these images, the exposure to them creates neural pathways. Like a path is created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed. Over time these neural paths become wider as

they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with women are routed. The neural circuitry anchors this process solidly in the brain. With each lingering stare, pornography deepens a Grand Canyon–like a gorge in the brain through which images of women are destined to flow.

They have unknowingly created a neurological circuit that imprisons their ability to see women rightly as created in God’s image. Repeated exposure to pornography creates a one-way neurological superhighway where a man’s mental life is over-sexualized and narrowed. It is hemmed in on either side by high containment walls making escape nearly impossible. This neurological superhighway has many on-ramps. The mental life is fixated on sex, but it is intended for intimacy. It is wide—able to accommodate multiple partners, images and sexual possibilities, but it is intended to be narrow—a place for God’s exclusive love to be imaged. This neurological superhighway has been reconstructed and built for speed, able to rapidly get to the climax of sexual stimulation. It is intended, however for the slow discovery and appreciation of a loving partner. The pornography built pathway has only a few off-ramps, leading to sexual encounters that have only a fleeting impact and hasten the need for more. But these encounters are intended to be long lasting and satisfying for both partners and have many off ramps for creative expressions of intimacy that are not genitally oriented.

http://www.amazon.com/William-M.-Struthers/e/B002LFKZA2

Some authors have stated that the addictive power of pornography has an effect greater than that of heroin in terms of difficulty to break. The reason is, that eventually all the heroin is gone from your system. But for men, these images will stay with them for the rest of their lives. You can’t make yourself forget images in your mind.

ANSWERS

  1. The Church must bring answers not condemnation. Many people stuck in porn addiction do not understand why it is so hard to stop. I encourage wives to understand the predicament men face. We can say there’s no excuse, but that may not help solve the issue. Men need to make tough decisions, but they need understanding and support because many are stuck and can’t get out.
  2. The power of sin is broken when we surrender to Jesus and immerse ourselves in His word. Rom 8:7  [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.

Rom 8:8  So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.

Rom 8:9  But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. [Rom. 8:14.](AMP)

  1. Valiant Man series. This church will run a teaching series for all the guys called Valiant man which we have run in the past with good results. It is developed by an Australian Pastor Alan Meyer and helps men change and be set free from addiction to sexual images. Our attitude in this church is not to bring shame which is unproductive; but to assume no one has this problem but to equip all men with answers. This series will begin later in the year after a period of promotion.
  2. The author and cinematographer Jason Huxley who we interviewed this morning is producing a resource called Guilty Pleasure that will be available next year and we will bring that resource to this church to further assist everyone.
  3. Counselling is available. For those who are struggling with porn addiction and want to get out sooner rather than later. The pastoral staff of this church will assist you and maintain confidentiality. We will refer you to trained counsellors where appropriate.
  4. The pastoral staff are prepared to fast and pray with anyone who would like to be accountable for their ongoing progress.
  5. We recommend internet filters for all home computers. We recommend one called Covenant Eyes. The link is http://www.covenanteyes.com/  This includes iPhone and iPad apps. Understand that filters do not break the underlying problem of addiction, but are helpful to protect teenagers and to keep people free after they have broken through the barrier of addiction.

EXTRA STUFF

For people who want to use Covent Eyes use this link. http://www.covenanteyes.com/?promocode=guiltypleasure
Guilty Pleasure is an affiliate of Covenant Eyes and 15% of subscriptions go towards Guilty Pleasure if people use this link.
Also, coming up soon; ex porn producer Donny Pauling’s visit as it would be very relevant as a follow up topic. Here is a video clip that you can play  http://vimeo.com/46208764

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If you’re going to go for Gold, then you better be prepared for some fails along the way. 

Here’s some of the painful moments in the London Games…

Bloopers – http://youtu.be/eHQSPjdfpmw

And now for a story of inspiration.

Matthias Steiner (born 1982 in Vienna) is an AustrianGerman weightlifter, and Olympic gold medalist. Earl in life since an untreated infection[2] Steiner suffers from diabetes, diagnosed at his 18th birthday.[3] Before the diagnosis, the first symptom was an intense thirst, then he lost appetite, and 5 kilograms (11 lb) body weight within three months.[3] He went to the doctor when his sight deteriorated.[3]  Despite the diagnosis he followed his dream to become a weightlifter.

On July 16, 2007 his wife Susann died in a car accident.[8][9] Despite the tragic loss, and after losing 7 kilograms (15 lb)[6] body weight, he was able to continue his training.

He received German citizenship in early 2008, won overall silver at the 2008 European Championships, and the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Here is the story of his gold medal performance

VIDEO LINK http://youtu.be/xLN4OHxfbGQ

What a story of passion to triumph!

He won gold and broke his personal best.

German Olympic weightlifter Matthias Steiner promised his wife that one day he would win a gold medal in the Olympics. Just a year before the competition of 2008 Olympics, his wife tragically died in a car accident. In order to break the record, he needed to beat his personal record by 10 kg. This is the video of his attempt at the gold medal.

When he had lifted his final lift to win the gold he broke down and wept profusely… he was winning it for his wife. He told her on her death bed “I will win gold for you”

How huge was his motivation?

The medal ceremony was VERY moving! He wept so much holding a photo of his wife all the time.

What motivates you?

Winning a gold medal is a great motivation, but this man had an even bigger motivation – LOVE

He was motivated by doing it for another.

Often what separates gold medal winners from the rest of the pack is not the talent or ability; but the shear courage and will to win. Passion is a strong force that propels you towards your dream.

A famous Australian competitor Gillian Rolton is Australia’s first female equestrian gold-medallist. A schoolteacher from Adelaide, Gillian Rolton was a Show and Dressage rider from the age of ten until her early twenties. In 1992 she was a late inclusion the Australian equestrian team competing at the Barcelona Olympic Games after she beat all male members of the team in the final selection trial at Savernake, England. Competing alongside Matt Ryan and Andrew Hoy, Rolton rode an excellent round on Peppermint Grove on the final day of competition, and became the first Australian female equestrian to win a gold medal.

Rolton achieved even greater notoriety after the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. Thrown twice from Peppermint Grove in the cross-country section, Rolton remounted and finished the course despite a broken collar-bone and two broken ribs. The Australian team, comprised of Andrew Hoy, Wendy Schaeffer, Phillip Dutton and Rolton, won gold.

You would have to ask the question – how much do you want it?

What is the passion that rules your life?

Some people live passionless lives because they have not been shown a cause that has lifted them to strive for more.

Some people have begun in passion but have run out of gas along the way due to pain or disappointment.

What is the cause that you are passionate about?

My brother in law Tony Kirwan is passionate about rescuing young girls from sexual exploitation. His organisation Destiny Rescue rescues young girls from brothels. Its dangerous and difficult work, but he has a huge passion to rescue girls because as he says, “What would you do if your daughter was imprisoned against her will in one of these brothels.”

Passion for others is a powerful motivation and strength giver when you are on your quest for gold or for any great achievement

Jesus was motivated to do it for you.

For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross

Heb 12:2  Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. [Ps. 110:1.]

Is there not a cause?

King David, while stil, ayoung man saw goliath threatening Israel and wanted to see him defeated. But his older brother was cynical and negative about this young passion carrier…

1Sa 17:28  And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why did you come down here? and with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride, and the naughtiness of your heart; for you have come down that you might see the battle.

1Sa 17:29  And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? (NKJV)

Isn’t there something that motivates us to live a bigger life?

To overcome every difficulty, to press on when we would rather give up, to try again when it all seems too hopeless?

Yes its for others. It’s for people who don’t know Jesus yet.

The Cause…… Australia For Christ

Jesus was motivated by love for others. He died on the cross for you.

His passion was enormous and carried Him through the most unbelievable agony of suffering just so you and I could find forgiveness and pardon for our sins.

Give your life to Christ and Go for Gold, find a cause worth giving your life for.

Mine is Australia For Christ.

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We live in a fallen world.

We live in a world where values of integrity and fidelity have moved significantly over the last 100 years.

Adultery has always been a factor in every era, but now in this day in which we live it is sold as exciting and adventurous; being openly displayed on almost every TV program, movie and magazine. It has become far more acceptable now then ever before.

MOVIE CLIP – AN AD FOR THE “GOOD WIFE”

http://youtu.be/M5wbUmhf3ro

The hurt caused by betrayal is seldom given the prominence that a salacious affair is given.

The Effect of the media.

The media glamorises adultery.

Catholic news service  http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=28831

LOS ANGELES (LifeSiteNews) – The Parents Television Council released a new study, Happily Never After: How Hollywood Favors Adultery and Promiscuity Over Marital Intimacy on Prime Time Broadcast Television, which revealed that broadcast networks depict sex in the context of marriage as either non-existent or burdensome, while showing positive depictions of extra-marital or adulterous sexual relationships with alarming frequency.
Across the broadcast networks, the new PTC report found that verbal references to non-marital sex outnumbered references to sex in the context of marriage by nearly 3 to 1, and scenes depicting or implying sex between non-married partners outnumbered similar scenes between married couples by a ratio of nearly 4 to 1.

Durex’s Global Sex Survey has found that worldwide 22% of people surveyed have had extramarital sex. Some countries the prevalence was as high as 58%

United States

Alfred Kinsey found in his studies that 50% of males and 26% of females had extramarital sex at least once during their lifetime.[20] Depending on studies, it was estimated that 26–50% of men and 21–38% women,[21]

In Australia http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Cheating-hearts/2004/12/22/1103391840011.html?oneclick=true

Depending on which study you believe, between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of people in long-term relationships have been unfaithful, and, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, infidelity is cited as the main provocation in 20 per cent of divorce cases.

In the 2005 Global sex survey taken by the condom company Durex; Australia rated second highest nation on earth for the number of sexual partners respondents had. An average of 13.3.

http://wayback.archive.org/web/jsp/Interstitial.jsp?seconds=5&date=1203149228000&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.durex.com%2Fcm%2Fgss2005result.pdf&target=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20080216080708%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.durex.com%2Fcm%2Fgss2005result.pdf

There is now a website that facilitates adultery; It is a website for people who want a fling. AshleyMadison.com their slogan is Life is short – Have an affair.

Christians commit adultery too. In spite of the bible saying

1Co_6:9  Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality,

1Co 6:10  Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. (AMP)

Yet many Christians fall into this trap.

Most likely your marriage is fine. This message may seem irrelevant to you, but consider who else you can help who may be struggling in this area. More to the point; be on your guard, for we are all subject to temptation and we need Godly advice to protect us from errors.

Why do some Christians fall into this trap?

 

1. The culture of the age

The culture of the age is drowning in moral relativism. That is: if it feels good – Do it! The trend is to question all kinds of restraint. Who says pre-marital sex is wrong? The result: the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases sky rockets. Who says adultery is wrong? Result: the divorce rate is the highest ever, throwing massive costs on to the economy through a multitude of ramifications.

As people move away form God, righteousness and fidelity, they look more and more like the nation of Israel who suffered the consequences of disobedience to God. If you don’t believe in God or don’t care about righteousness then none of this makes sense to you and Christians are just prudes and kill joys, hypocrites who try to tell others how to live.

But the bible calls us Christians to be salt and light. Not only are we called to live in righteousness but our example is to show the way for others. It’s our joy to walk with Jesus and to be ever so grateful for our release from the prison of sin and the horror of eternity in hell, that we draw on all His power to live a new life of freedom, righteousness and purity.

As born again Christians we have a new nature. We are born from above we don’t want to sin any longer; this salvation we have, is power over sin, and we have a new heart that wants to please God.

2. Everyone is tempted

Jas_1:14  But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). (AMP)

We learned last week about the power of walking in the spirit, we have a carnal nature – that old man that still has influence in our lives if we let it. But we choose to walk in the spirit and thereby we do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.

You may be tempted, but here’s why you don’t yield to it.

  1. God is so generous and gracious to call you out of darkness. We say no to sin because of so great a salvation. We know what we are saved from.
  2. We count the cost. Is one night of passion worth losing our marriage, losing the respect of my kids, breaking up the family home, paying lawyers thousands of dollars in divorce settlements etc etc? (It cost Greg Norman $9mill to divorce his first wife… might have been less pain to stay together)
  3. There’s a massive amount of evidence that such relationships rarely work out. 41% of marriages end in divorce and 83% of second marriages.

MY STORY IN KIEV.

3. The absence of the fear of God

The church must stay true to the word of God. If the church strays away from truth it loses its power and effectiveness. The church cannot wink at pre-marital sex, adultery, and homosexuality because the society is changing. We must preach bible values. To preach the gospel is to present the true picture of salvation. The reality of what Jesus has done on the cross is so awesome and amazing that we are deeply moved by our understanding of the consequences of sin and the great gift of salvation we have received. It is a gift that we do not deserve in any way. Our ability to see it and repent is totally a gift from God and for us to take it for granted is the height of foolishness.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Depth of His love equals the height of His anger against sin. If we truly know Him we are people who walk in a Godly fear and walk in a manner worthy of so great a salvation.

Heb 10:26  If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice

Heb 10:27  and are left on our own to face the Judgment–and a mighty fierce judgment it will be!

Heb 10:28  If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death,

Heb 10:29  what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit?

Heb 10:30  This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing,” and, “God will judge his people.”

Heb 10:31  Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me. (MESS)

God is so gracious and forgiving, and yes, of course, adultery is not the unforgivable sin, but can we trade on that grace and enter a forbidden relationship in the belief that God will forgive and pardon us in the end?

I have counselled many people who have made that decision. Some ended up far from God, others serve in the ministry today. My only plea to all people I serve with the word of God, is walk carefully, this is very dangerous ground.

4. Spiritual and emotional adultery

Physical adultery breaks a covenant made in the sight of God between two people. Often this step comes at the end of what began as emotional and spiritual adultery.

Some people may even enter emotional and spiritual adultery and not actually come together physically.

Jesus speaks so clearly about this practice when he says…

Mat 5:27  You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. [Exod. 20:14; Deut. 5:18.]

Mat 5:28  But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (AMP)

When a man and a woman marry they covenant to live together and give each other their hearts and their souls and their bodies. Scientists have discovered that when a couple makes love, the hormone oxytocin is released in both the man and the woman. This hormone creates a bonding experience in the mind and emotions of each one. The act of sex is so much more than physical.

When a married person shares their heart with a person other than their spouse they begin to forge a link that supplies the rest and refreshment of the soul that should be provided only by your spouse. Often counsellors get into trouble because they show empathy and express care and listening skills which create a bond emotionally that leads to emotions of infidelity. That is why in this church we do not counsel the opposite sex.

These emotions can seem so real that the person believes they have fallen in love with someone else and now they feel their own partner does not love them.

Often the man feels his wife does not understand him and he finds solace in the caring of another woman. His own wife will sense he has distanced himself from her and alarm bells go off. Soon her fear of another being present in the relationship, pushes her to criticism and anger, pushing him away.

At this point the offending pair will say, “It all seems so right. Perhaps we married the wrong person.”

They have been duped by deception. This deception stops them from seeing the truth – that their new relationship is of their own making and it is fuelled by pride. “This is what I want – it’s for me”

Pro 6:32  But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks heart and understanding (moral principle and prudence); he who does it is destroying his own life.

Pro 6:33  Wounds and disgrace will he get, and his reproach will not be wiped away. (AMP)

 The way out

  1. Cut it off now. Don’t wait another hour. Don’t expect your feelings to approve. Run from the snare that has caught you.   Pro 7:21  With much justifying and enticing argument she persuades him, with the allurements of her lips she leads him [to overcome his conscience and his fears] and forces him along.

Pro 7:22  Suddenly he [yields and] follows her reluctantly like an ox moving to the slaughter, like one in fetters going to the correction [to be given] to a fool or like a dog enticed by food to the muzzle

  1. Seek God and cry out for His mercy that perhaps He will lift the deception off your soul.
  2. See a counsellor. Be open to someone who is Godly and confess your sins and receive instruction. Chris and I are willing to see anyone. You may wish to see a professional counsellor outside the church. Here is a resource for Christian counsellors. http://www.ccaa.net.au/find-a-christian-counsellor/all-christian-counsellors.php?intstate=2  and another  http://www.totalwellbeing.com.au/counselling-service

We live in a crazy world where the moral standards are plummeting – lets be a church that shines the light so bright. Let’s be a church that empowers great marriages and heals broken ones. Let’s be a church that helps adulterers find a way back home and let’s be a church that helps to heal the broken hearted ones who have been betrayed.

Love one another, go easy on one another, pray for each other.

 

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