I used to look at porn as an escape.

To feel accepted because I wasnt being accepted in real life. And porn is said to be ‘accepting’ because of how they look at you and how they pose and how they may talk to you. But its not really. Porn has conditions; it dictates. Your body must look like this, your actions must be like this, to have sex you do this, the outcome must be this. Porn doesnt accept those that dont fit or follow a specific pattern. I look at porn and see how much I dont measure up. Porn isnt an escape, its a trap.

Porn is like the Law in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Law wasnt created for us to obey / do it; it was created to show us that we cant measure up.

Its obvious porn doesnt teach you about love. But it doesnt even teach you about sex. In porn, to get sex you have to meet conditions. In God’s setup sex is a physical manifestation of love betwen a husband and wife. In the marriage relationship, sex / love is supposed to be given freely.

Sex in a marriage relationship is like the grace God gives us.  The sex is given from one to the other, despite imperfection and without condition, out of love.

Rahab was a prostitute living in Jericho when Joshua and the Israelites came through on their way to the Promised Land. Her faith and life are a representation of the way of salvation for us today.

Journey to Rahab

Deuteronomy 1 records Moses talking to the Israelites near the end of his life. He is giving them the history of their journey. It states that not soon after the Exodus from Egypt, God brought them directly to the Promised Land. Verse 21 says,

The Lord your God is giving you this land. Go ahead! Take possession of it, as the Lord God of your ancestors told you. Don’t be afraid or terrified.

The Lord told them to go take the land, that He would be with them, and to not be afraid. But the next few verses show that the Israelites doubted God and they wanted to go do it their own way, they wanted to go scout the land first. Moses didnt pray about, he just said, ‘It seemed like a good idea to me.

Here is some caution to us all. Listen to the Lord. He is faithful and will do as He says. Dont try things on your own. And certainly dont do things just b/c ‘it seemed like a good idea..’

Moses send 12 spies into the land. They explore the land for 40 days and their report is in Numbers 13:27-29. They bring back grapes. They say the land is good. But they also say that the people of the land are giants (descendants of Anak which were demons impregnating humans). Its interesting how close to the story of the original sin in Eden this is. They took fruit and gained the knowledge of good (the good land) and evil (descendants of Anak).

W/i their report, there are two type of sentences – those that describe the land and those that detail an action verb. The action verb that appears a lot is ‘saw’. They believed what they saw instead of listening to the Lord. They didnt have faith in the Lord. They caused a lot of the Israelites to complain against the Lord. As a result, He killed the 10 spies (among the 12 were Joshua & Caleb who believed the Lord rather than what they saw) immediately and made the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years (killing off all those who complained).

Our lesson here is that we need to not believe in the circumstances around us that we can see. According to Hebrews 11:1 our faith in God will convince ‘us of the existence of things we cannot see.’ W/o faith in God, we will perish spiritually and physically.

Faith of Rahab

40 years later, the Israelites return to the Promised Land. By now Moses has died and Joshua is the leader. The names Joshua and Jesus are the same name but are represented differently b/c of the different languages used at the different Biblical time-frames.

Joshua sends two men into Jericho to scout and they go directly to the house of Rahab the prostitute (the word PORNE that is used to describe her is used to describe sexual sin thru out the Bible) to hide. As Rahab talks to the men, she reveals great faith in the Lord. Again her talking to them contains two types of sentences – those describing something and those that contain an action verb. The action verb she uses is ‘heard’. She says that the people of Jericho have heard of the Lord parting the Red Sea and delivering the Israelites through the desert. The parting of the Red Sea happened 40 years prior, so the people of Jericho had been telling each other about it for 40 years. Rahab was told by the men to put a red cord in her window as a symbol and when Jericho was destroyed she and all in her house would be spared.

Her constantly hearing caused Rahab to have great faith in the Lord. B/c of her faith, she hid the men, put a red cord in her window as a symbol, and was spared when Jericho was destroyed. Eventually Rahab marries an Israelite and becomes part of the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

Rahab was defined by her prostitution (her PORNE). We are born into a sinful nature that defines us. As Rahab put the red cord in her window and was saved, our salvation is found in the red blood of Jesus. B/c of His sacrifice on the cross, judgment from our sins will pass over us. Rahab and Romans 10:17 (faith comes from hearing the message) reminds us that faith comes from a near constant listening to the Word of God. As ‘Joshua spared the prostitute Rahab’ (Joshua 6:25A), Jesus saves the person steeped in sexual sin and brings them into God’s family.


Found this song recently. Its pretty good. Lyrics are interesting. Here’s a fellow WordPress author’s thoughts.

The wounds are deep and they bleed profusely. I thought you were there to bandage me back up but you carved a deeper road into my already bleeding heart. What torture did you bring to me today? I do love the fire in your eyes but why are you stealing mine. I hear your laugh, I see your smile, but it was all stolen from me when I woke from the dream state you kept me in. I hurt for the me that used to be here, but it’s been so long, I’m not sure which me I long for. I am a troubled soul with much desire to wander in my aimless dreams. You drown me..the air is thin.

 

Being how Passover started at sunset, I thought it appropriate to post about ‘The Ten Commandments,’

Moses was saved from Pharaoh’s infanticide and actually adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. He was raised with all the privilege of living in the palace, but he was made aware of his Hebrew heritage.

He grew up seeing the dire situation of the enslaved Israelites. And decided to try to fix the situation on his own by killing an Egyptian that was beating a slave. Moses was trying bring about God’s will but not by God’s method nor timing. Sometimes its hard to wait if we think God needs a little help. But ‘His ways are not our ways’. We need to listen for His guidance and not get in the way.

After Moses lives in Midian, becomes a sheperd, and raises a family; God finally speaks to him on how to accomplish delivering the Israelites from slavery. Through a Burning Bush, God gives Moses instructions, signs as proof, and encouragment for his mission. Yet Moses stands there and argues w/ God multiple times to pick someone else. Exodus 4:14 says, ‘Then the LORD became angry with Moses…’ Yes, you may not feel qualified to accomplish the mission God has for you. But He will equip you. Listen for His instructions. Be humble. Bring Him glory.

Moses returns to Egypt to confront Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites from slavery. Pharaoh will not let them go. And God uses this to demonstrate His almighty power over Egypt via ten plagues. The last and ultimate demonstration being the killing of every Firtsborn child in Egypt and the Passover of the Israelites. God is sending an angel of death to kill every firstborn child, but He gives specific instructions to the Israelites on how to spare their own children. They must kill a spotless lamb, put its blood on the door frame of their houses, and have faith in an unseen God that death will pass over them.

Jesus was ‘spotless’ b/c He lived w/o sin. Throughout the Bible, esp in John, Jesus is refered to as the ‘Lamb of God.’ By Him dying and spilling His blood on the cross, death passes over us. And we can only receive this new life through Faith.

http://www.evfreefullerton.com/sermons/teach-us-to-pray/

Mike Erre, former pastor of Evangelical Free Church Fullerton, talks about the importance of prayer.

Prayer was such an essential part of Jewish life in Bible days that the Disciples would have known how to pray a lot, but they wanted to pray like Jesus. They had seen the power in His prayer life.

The Bible says many times that Jesus went to pray. And we read of the miraculous affects. He interacted w/ many ppl and knew what to say and do to help and convict them. He was God. But He was also talking and listening to God a lot.

We should have that prayer life.

We should have that healing touch on people

Lord, teach us to pray. 

If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they could have found a way to go back.
Hebrews 11:15 GW

http://bible.com/70/heb.11.15.GW

Hebrews 11 starts off defining faith then gives numerous examples of people throughout the Bible who had extraordinary faith at important points in their lives. The author pauses in the middle of the timeline to give, what I think is, a practical solution of ‘assures us of things we expect.’

Part of life is doing stupid stuff. If we mean to or dont mean to, we do stupid stuff. And our stupid stuff has consequences. There has to come a time in our lives when we realize we are doing stupid stuff and that it has to stop. Part of that is saying to ourselves ‘This is stupid stuff that I am doing and it is causing (or has caused) other bad stuff to happen.’ We need to have remorse and humbleness.

But we cant live there in that remorse. We cant live always looking at our awfulness. We have to move forward. We have to have faith that God ‘forgives… and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.’

Hebrews 11:15 warns us that if we had any bad habit in our past and we concentrate on the bad habit that our minds will find new avenues ‘to go back’ to it.

I recently read this article on Abraham Lincoln and his close friend Joshua Speed. I had not known of their friendship, especially how important it was to both of them. I’m not advocating that Abraham Lincoln was gay (this article doesnt even conclude that), but the underlying concepts are interesting.

Debunking the Myth That Lincoln Was Gay (explicit)

Men tend to see God as they see their Father.

Men come from many different father situations – some good, some bad, some indifferent. Anything other than a stellar Father situation (and even stellar ones have rough spots) can usually make it hard to relate to Scriptures that say God is our loving Heavenly Father. We project the qualities of any father figure in our lives onto God (thats one of the reasons they have a hard time w/ Christianity in Japan – b/c fathers in Japan are normally harsh). But God is such a much better Father than any one we experience here on Earth. He is loving and kind and forgiving and sacrificial and fair and just and accepting and caring and faithful and holy and full of grace and perfect in all these qualities.

…how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

– Matthew 7:11b

Men need close personal friends.

Both Lincoln and Speed helped each other when the other was in a tough emotional time in their lives. We need people to talk and listen to. We will find comfort in knowing that our problems are not as unique as we think. And that there are people that have gone before us thru similar situations. We also at times just need people to listen. Not that talking will solve the problem, but it helps to release the pressure of the hardship. Like the scene in Forrest Gump where Forrest n Bubba are in Vietnam when Bubba says:

I’m gonna lean up against you, you just lean right back against me. This way, we don’t have to sleep with our heads in the mud. You know why we a good partnership, Forrest? ‘Cause we be watchin’ out for one another. Like brothers and stuff.

Find another man that you can talk to about anything. Share your life with him and have him share his life with you. Depend on each other. As best you can, keep each other from the messes life brings your way.

The author admits this is missing in today’s society.

Men need to lead with ‘Empathy and Humor’

Unfortunately, the article doesnt spend a lot of time on this point, but I think it is very profound. Jesus was always empathetic w/ his followers. He cried when His friends were sad over Lazarus dying. He showed empathy towards parents of sick and died children before He healed them. And He showed compassion to the outcast and least people of His society. Jesus also used humor in His story-telling to help people remember his points easier (just try to imagine someone walking around w/ a plank in their eye!). Men would do well to show compassion to others in circumstances different than their own and to laugh more.

Today, men need to have good close friends, realize their Heavenly Father desires to have a personal relationship w/ them, and learn to be more like Jesus.

These are my thoughts on Chapter 8 (Abraham & Isaac / Faith Well-Tried) of Big God by Britt Merrick. Some content is right from the book.

So God tested Abraham by asking Abraham to perform human sacrifice on his son Isaac as a burnt offering to God. Abraham followed thru and was about to kill his own son when God stopped him at the last minute.

How did Abraham have enough faith to listen to God and do it? Abraham had faith in God’s Plan, God’s Power, and God’s Goodness.

Gods Plan

Abraham had faith, but I’m sure he had emotions too. He obeyed God despite his emotions; through tough emotional times.

Another book states that one of the principles from the book of Nehemiah is to ‘Prepare in times of strength for times of weakness.’ If we make a decision based on emotions, 9 times out of 10 we will make the wrong decision. When we come to temptation, to the fork in the road between a good and bad choice, we wont have the strength to make the good choice in that moment.

Some quick examples of wrong decisions made in times of weakness

  • Hungry = order too much at restaurant
  • Sad, lonely = looking at pornography
  • Happy = buying a car

Abraham had faith in God’s Plan to give him the land He promised and to give him many descendants and he acted on that faith despite emotions and circumstances that may have seemed contrary to that Plan. Dont let your emotions nor circumstances dictate your actions.

Gods Power

Abraham had faith that God had the ability to somehow fulfill the Plan God had given him. Abraham believed in resurrection, God providing an alternative sacrifice, something. He stated ‘We will return’ & ‘God will provide a lamb’ while discussing the sacrifice w/ his helpers and his son on the way to the offering.

We find it hard to believe God has the ability b/c our beliefs are sometimes based on our experiences w/ people and how they can disappoint / let us down.

We need to have Faith that God has the ability…

  • To forgive you of the things you have done.
  • To change hearts.
  • To perform miracles.
  • To help you forgive someone that has hurt you in the past.
  • To heal you.

God provides the means and ability for us to let go of the things that are holding back our relationship w/ Him.

God’s Goodness

We know God is good. But we often have trouble believing God is better than the thing we are about to do. The immediacy and presentness of the thing trumps our belief that God is better. Faith is the evidence of things unseen. The opposite of Faith isnt Fear; its Sight. We have to have Faith in a better unseen God vs relief in what we do see.

Scripture doesnt say this, but what if God saw into Abraham’s heart and knew that Abraham would have a problem following God now that he has his son. Its possible Abraham had walked away from God for awhile (Gen 16?) so maybe God knew that Abraham would start to worship Isaac instead of God.

Abraham walking away from God?

Gen 15:6 – And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Gen 16 – Ishmael

Gen 17 – God visits Abraham

V 1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.

  • Would God tell Abraham to serve Him faithfully and live a blameless life is he had been already?
  • The point being that maybe Abraham, like us all, had issues obeying God at times and God saw that Abraham needed a reminder that Isaac was from God and that God should be worshipped not Isaac.

What if Abraham was going to have more Faith in what he could see (Isaac) then in God?

Read John 21:15. Jesus asks each of us, “Do you love Me more than these?”

What are the “these” that He would ask you about today?

Grab a few 3×5 index cards. Pray and write down what God tells you is holding you back from a relationship with Him. It make be good, bad, sin, a relationship, an attitude, a job, etc. But write it down and have your own personal ceremony to offer it to God as a sacrifice.

The sermon by Dick Foth at NCC on Saturday ended w/ this song.

Again its a story of someone wandering and trying to find happiness in the temporary stuff of the world. Instead God is calling us back home to tell us He loves us and there is safety and peace and true happiness in His presence.

Let somebody love you.

That somebody is Jesus.

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I took a trip to Washington DC.

While I was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I not only watched the changing of the guard, but also witnessed a wreath laying ceremony by medal of honor recepients. I had never seen a wreath laying ceremony before. It was quite a sight to behold. Very priviledged to see it.

I also went to National Community Church’s Barracks Row location. That was quite an experience too. Powerful worship and prayer time. The sermon was excellent. Dick Foth spoke on God calling His people back to Him thru out the Bible. God still calls people back to Him. He is calling you and me back to Him.

As people we tend to wander (physically and mentally). Our wandering can get us into trouble. We often times feel the need to be accepted, excited, overjoyed, honored, etc; but we are really seeking to be loved. And we substitute earthly pleasures for that love. God calls us back to Him to protect us to save us, b/c He loves us. God loves us.

Let God love you.