Sex = Sin???

In a word: No. God created sex as a beautiful expression of love between a man and a woman ….. in the right context.

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18‭-‬20 NLT

Sexual sin. That’s a tough subject. Sex….. we can’t even get a consensus of what that means anymore. If you ask a teenage today to define sex, I think you’ll get a different definition than if you ask someone in their 40’s and up. Sexual sin is much more than the physical act of intercourse between a man and a woman, and there are quite a few scriptures addressing it as immorality and sexual sin. Hear what Matthew recorded Jesus saying about it:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit adultery’ (Exodus 20:14); but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – MATTHEW 5:27-28 NASB

According to JESUS, Who is the ultimate authority, just thinking the lustful thought is the same as actually following through with the physical act. The way I read the scriptures, there is only one way that sexual activity is correct and sanctioned by our Creator LORD, and that is two-fold: between a man and a woman, and within the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is a promise between a man and woman and God. It doesn’t have to take place in a church or place of worship, and it doesn’t have to be a ceremony ‘performed’ by a cleric. I believe that as long as it is properly witnessed and the committment of both the man and the woman is entered into whole-heartedly, it is as binding as any church or government ceremony….. and I believe God honors those committments. Anyone who is married, however they decide to commit, is bound to their spouse ‘until death’ and needs to honor that by being faithful in mind, heart, and body.

Sexual sin affects much more than just the one committing it. Whether it is ‘just’ mental or you follow through with a physical act, because you desire someone other than your spouse, it affects your actions towards both the object(s) of your lust and your spouse. If you aren’t married, it still affects you and any other party involved. You may think you have it covered and it’s a secret, but I promise you, everything – everything – will come to light sooner or later. Lust compromises your heart and your emotions, making simple things difficult. It’s a lie. A whole Pandora’s Box is opened: consequences follow wrongs. You may ‘get away with it’ the first time, or the 20th time….. or so you think.

Pray about it. If you find yourself attracted to someone, give serious thought and prayer to the matter. Go to someone you trust and talk about it. We have each other to lean on. Even the Apostles struggled with sin! Paul writes:

“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” – ROMANS 7:19 NASB (Read all of verses 14-25)

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” – JAMES 5:16 NASB

By the way, for anyone who wants to play the “but I’ve fallen out of love with my spouse and I ‘love’ this new person …….” As Col. Potter on Mash used to say, “Beaver biscuits!” LOVE is a choice. If you have “fallen out of love” then you’d best climb up that ladder and get back into it. Just my ‘2 cents’ on love…..

For further reading and study: Matthew 5:31-32; 15:19; 19:9; Mark 7:21-22; John 8:41; Acts 15:20; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 5:1,11; 6:9,18-19; 7:2-5, 10:8; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4; Revelations 21:8

Kiss of Friendship

“A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations. But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them. An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them. And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!” ” – Proverbs 24:24‭-‬26‭, ‬28‭-‬29 NLT

I can’t think of anything that bothers me more than finding out a friend/family member gave me an answer to a question that wasn’t honest. Telling me what you think I want to hear isn’t being honest! Telling someone else that you think I’ve made a bad decision and not telling me, or getting frustrated with me and not telling me ….. that’s not being honest with me, either. I would rather hear the truth, even if it is upsetting to me, and know that you said it because you care.

Really.

I’ve been reading through social media posts (again), then I read the verses (above) from Proverbs. I wish that every commentator, every blogger, every politician, every news person, would read them, then apply them.

Just my 2 cents.

Can’t We Be HONEST With Each Other?

I have discovered that there are people close to me who gossip about me behind my back. Knowing the tendency of all humans to gossip it probably shouldn’t surprise me, but it struck me – hard – right in the heart to find this out. These people believe that my joblessness over the past few years is because I haven’t looked or wanted to work. They consider me a freeloader and a complainer, but haven’t been honest with me about their feelings. Ouch. I would rather have a person for a friend who gives me their honest opinion, and who doesn’t gossip about me to others. How do you feel about this?

As I contemplate this, I sincerely apologize for using this blog and my friends to complain. That was not my intent! I confess to using friends and family as a sounding board; to bounce my concerns and prayers to help me in my decision making about relationships, job opportunities, and life in general. Their – and your – thoughts and opinions matter to me. Why is it so often after the fact that people tell us we made a poor – or a bad – decision? Should we have to plead with our confidante to be honest with us?

“And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” ” – Luke 24:25 NASB

We are, indeed, foolish men* who are slow to listen and believe! (*The fundamental ‘man’ consists of both male and female, man and woman, as humankind.) Betrayal comes in all forms and from all sides …… except from Above. The only One in all of the heavens and on all earth Who will not betray us, in word or deed, is our LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS, the CHRIST. He will never betray us or lie to us. Remember, a lie of omission is still a lie.

We listen to our friends and family before we listen to GOD and His Prophets, who wrote GOD’s Words of instruction and guidance into the book we call the Bible. It’s no wonder JESUS calls us “foolish men!” If I want to complain, I should probably turn to JESUS in prayer. I can let Him know how I really feel, and He won’t judge me! Sometimes we need a human face in front of us that we can vent to, but we need to know that that person is safe. No repeating, no gossip. Do you have that safe person in your life; are you that safe person for someone?

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He Who searches the hearts knows what the Mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the Will of God.” – Romans 8:26‭-‬27 NASB

He protects us, He intercedes for us, He will never betray us,
He will always be honest with us. Thank you, JESUS!

Even our closest and best friends and family don’t know…..

Friend – Oh! What A Friend

Can you imagine GOD, the Great Creator, saying this about you?

“I was overjoyed when some of the friends (brothers and sisters in CHRIST) arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the Truth, namely how you walk in the Truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.” – 3 John 1:3‭-‬4 NRSV

Yes, I am aware the John wrote this about own his feeling of joy upon hearing that people he had taught about the LORD were continuing their walk with JESUS. So many stumble and slip, it truly is a joy when we know that someone we have worked with and taught about JESUS, and who has accepted Him as their Saviour, is continuing in their walk with Him. I know it was not written to describe how GOD feels about HIS childen, but can’t you just imagine Him saying it about one of us? We know that Heaven rejoices when a sinner is saved, so why wouldn’t He be happy to hear a new ‘arrival’ in Heaven testify about His children’s faithfulness? I pray that after all the years I spent parched in the wilderness of sin, perhaps one person will testify for me in His Presence.

Not to give me pride, because that has finally left me, but just to know that I have given the Almighty GOD a tiny sliver of the incredible JOY that He has given to me with His Love. As I write this, I realize that I do have a Friend like that, a Friend Who will testify for me in front of the Almighty! That Friend is JESUS, and I can testify that there is no better Friend to have than Him. What a Friend we have in JESUS…. Joseph Scriven wrote a poem by that name in 1855, and it was set to music in 1868 by Charles Converse. It has been sung in churches worldwide, and numerous recording artists have performed it, including Bing Crosby, Aretha Franklin, Alan Jackson, and many more. My favorite, though, is a new rendition by Matt Maher. Both songs tell of the incredible love JESUS has for us, and how He willingly takes our sins and our burdens so that we no longer have to struggle under them. (You can get get the lyrics and the music on Google and YouTube.)

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” – John 15:13‭-‬15 ESV

JESUS is not only our best Friend, He is the Sacrificial Lamb, the High Priest, and our Advocate! He will stand up to the prosecutor, that great liar – the Father of Lies, Satan, when we all (no exceptions) stand before GOD for the FINAL Great White Throne Judgement; Revelation 20:11-15. You might also read Hebrews 4:14-15, 8:6, 9:11-12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6, and 1 John 2:1. There is an an article online on the Advocacy of JESUS written by Amazing Discoveries, titled “Christ’s Mediating Ministry – He is our Advocate,” published August 13, 2009. It goes into great detail and was quite interesting. If you have questions, or doubts, I hope this will encourage you to do your own research, and search the scriptures for the answers. If you leave questions in the comments, I will do my best to help you find the answers, but first, read the Bible – it’s a fascinating book of Truth!

Just a Friend? No, WHAT a Friend! Is He your Best Friend?

“What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God’s eyes, our best. Those which are least supported by devotional feeling…these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard.” – #CSLewis

Can’t We Just Be Friends?

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 NLT

Been there, and done that. No matter how hard we try to prevent being hurt by our friends, it will happen. Betrayed in our trust, our friendship rejected; hypocritical – being one way with us, and talking about us behind our back. It is so easy to let the betrayal of people we trusted rest in our hearts and fester, and for our minds to seek revenge. Betrayal from someone we are close to can turn us against trusting anyone else; it can turn us against GOD ( how could He let that happen???), and that is exactly what the enemy wants. Our LORD wants us to know true friendship with Him, which is why He came to earth. I believe He wants us to understand that as humans, we are flawed. We sin in our selfishness, our betrayals, our desire to have more to show we are ‘above’ others.

We will always disappoint and let each other down. In order to have true friendship with another person, first we have to recognize the ONE ABSOLUTELY TRUE FRIEND we can ever have is JESUS. When He is our Friend, our SAVIOUR, we can rest easy in that friendship. He will never turn his back on us, he will never leave us, he will never betray us in any way. I have disappointed, betrayed, humiliated, and turned away from people I have called friend, and people I have called friend have done the same to me.

I don’t have many people I would call friend. I have lots of acquaintances, some good, some not so good, but I know the people I now call friend will be there for me in a crisis – and I would do the same for them. I’m still learning to be a good friend, and the example I use is the friendship my LORD JESUS models for me. Humans will always fail us; knowing JESUS as my SAVIOUR gives me the one friendship I can utterly depend on. I’m not disparaging my friends! I love them, and I count on them, I am just acknowledging that they are human, as am I, imperfect and flawed.

Friendship, to me, is knowing that they will disappoint me (and I will definitely disappoint them, because we are human), and loving them anyway. I have a best friend here on earth, and I work to be the best friend I can be, but my Best and Truest Friend, JESUS, resides in heaven, preparing a place for me to spend eternity with Him. What a concept! JESUS CHRIST, LORD of ALL, the Triune GOD, CREATOR of the Universe – He Loves me! WOW.

Is He your BFF? Are you looking to Him to see what true friendship looks like, or are you sticking with the friendships of this world, flawed and broken? Open your Bible, or if you don’t have on, download one for free at https://bible.com/bible and check out these scriptures. I pray that they will change your life!

Romans 5:8 (see below)

I John 1:9

James 4:8

Revelations 3:20

Matthew 11:28

“But GOD showed His Great Love for us by sending CHRIST to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in GOD’s sight by the Blood of CHRIST, He will certainly save us from GOD’s condemnation. For since our friendship with GOD was restored by the death of His SON while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the Life of His SON. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with GOD because our LORD JESUS CHRIST has made us Friends of GOD.” – Romans 5:8‭-‬11 NLT

HALLELUJAH! What a FRIEND we have in JESUS!

Trust …. In GOD, or Man?

When I finally stopped my busyness this morning, and realized I was pushing GOD behind all these ‘pressing’ matters of daily life, I opened my ears and heard this song by Unspoken on the radio:

You brought me this far
So why would I question you now
You have provided so why would I start to doubt
I’ve never been stranded, abandoned or left here to fight alone
So I’m giving you control

Immediately following was this song, sung by Tenth Avenue North:

As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

How many times do we do just these things that are addressed in these words, feeling stranded, abandoned, and alone; feeling hopeless, in pain and in tears? Every day? Right now? This minute? I confess to all of these feelings and more, sometimes. I have HOPE, though, because I know that my GOD is here and in control. He never left me to deal with all the junk in the world by myself, but instead, He has always been right beside me, even when I was blatantly ignoring Him! The song by Unspoken goes on to say this:

If peace is a river then let it sweep over me
If I’m under fire I know it’s refining me
When I hear you calling out I follow now wherever the road may go
I know you’re leading me home

And Tenth Avenue North ends their song with these words:

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

What a promise! When we stop running from GOD, and we call on Him to save us through our faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, He is right there. Remember what Paul said when writing to the church in Philippi?

“Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: REJOICE! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the Peace of GOD, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in CHRIST JESUS.” – Philippians 4:4‭, ‬6‭-‬7 NIV

What an incredible TRUTH is spoken here! Once we become a child of the Living GOD, Creator, Architect, Great Physician; the real Master of the Universe, we are set free from the worry and angst of this world. We receive His Perfect Love and His Peace; a Peace that is inconceivable and incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t received it. It doesn’t mean that suddenly everything will come up roses; rather, I believe that it means that we will come under heavy attach by the enemy, Satan. He doesn’t want us to find contentment in our circumstances, and he does everything possible to get us to blame God for the bad, the evil in the world, and especially for anything that has happened (is happening) to us.

Again I ask, are you feeling stranded, abandoned, and alone; are you feeling hopeless, in pain, and in tears? It isn’t easy to rejoice in horrendous situations, or when things are falling apart around us, but I promise you, when you lay whatever it is at the Feet of JESUS, He will give you Peace! In recovery ministries, we suggest writing (yes, picking up a pencil or a pen and a sheet of paper, and actually writing as a tangible, visual reminder!) a Gratitude list. Nothing to write down because life is just that bad right now? You say nobody loves me, I’m alone, no job, sick (sick and tired of being sick and tired yet???), and etc….

Here’s a little help. Number one on your list could be: Toilet paper.

Okay? Now, go from there. I had to start with some real basics when I began the journey, and toilet paper made it on my list! I can add that I am alive, reasonably healthy, have transportation, I can drive, and I have my animals. Does that help you get started? By myself, by ourselves, we are not enough. With JESUS, we are. Trusting in man, and trusting in myself only gets me into trouble. Trusting the LORD may not get out of my trouble, but He does carry me through it. I am not alone.

AMEN.

JESUS, Friend of Sinners

Are you like the little girl, who, when asked if she would like Jesus in her heart, said No! I don’t want Him in my heart!” When we are young, we take words literally, and she thought it would be like in Alien, having something living in her and preparing to burst out of her chest. As adults, we know that isn’t what it means to have JESUS inside us, but have you considered how we tend to phrase things? We talk about inviting JESUS into our hearts and having the HOLY SPIRIT residing inside of us; giving our life to GOD, letting GOD have control of our lives, being broken, letting His Light shine in us…. We talk about things like our hearts breaking for JESUS, and then add Satan and demons to the mix.

Sounds a little scary to a 7 year old, don’t you think?

Casting Crowns sings JESUS, Friend of Sinners,

Let our hearts be led with Mercy, …. make our hearts break for what breaks Yours….
And I was the lost ’cause and I was the outcast
Yeah
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

(Lyrics by Mark Hall and Matthew West)

Let our hearts break for the children who don’t understand the gospel as couched in adult terms. Pray for all of the teachers who work with our children, both in the school classroom and at church, and offer assistance whenever you see the need. Even those of us who have been the lost cause, the outcast, the societal ‘leper’ have a tremendous responsibility to share our stories – age appropriately, of course. Don’t refuse anyone based on their past; instead, listen to their story and see them where they are today. Whether the ‘child’ you are teaching is young in years or young in learning about the LORD, remember those words from tne song and let your heart break for the unsaved, no matter what age they are.

My prayer is that this all makes sense, and may be the catalyst for someone to open their eyes to the LORD and His call…..

Photo credit: Heaven Ministries