Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Finding Intimacy and Fulfillment Apart from God's Word

Many are looking for an emotional experience with the Lord. They keep searching for that magic something that will help them feel closer to the Lord whether it's some new type of praying or a book whose author received a revelation from the Lord. Maybe it's even simply learning to be thankful or having a better sex life. Everyone is looking for a better and more fulfilling life.

A while ago, I shared with the chat room that often times when I am having quiet time with the Lord and reading His Word, I shed tears. Many times, it is an emotional experience for me just sitting in His presence and learning from Him. For instance, I read these words recently one morning and became emotional over them.

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield {Psalm 5:12}.

Understanding how much the Lord loves me, how much He has done for me, and that He even defends me is enough to bring me to tears. I don't need to learn a new and improved way to pray or read someone's new and improved message from God. All we need for life and godliness are in His Word. We are complete in Him. As you spend time in His Word getting to know Him, you will become more emotional knowing that the Creator of the universe has a relationship with you and loves you!

Learning to be joyful and thankful is great but if you aren't walking in obedience to the Lord by submitting and obeying your husband, raising your children to know Jesus, being modest and discreet and being a keeper at home, you will not find joy and peace. There is no joy and peace outside of God's will for us. Will we ever obey Him perfectly? No, but we should be studying His Word to know what He requires of us; For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous {1 John 5:3}. His instructions to us are clearly spelled out in the New Covenant. There is no guessing game.

You can also learn all the ways to have the best sex of your life but if you aren't learning to please, honor, respect, submit to and obey your husband, big deal! Sex is not the be all and end all; loving and obeying the Lord is all that matters. The amazing thing is that the closer you walk to the Lord and His ways, the better your sex life will likely be and the more joyful, thankful and peaceful you will become. Nothing lasting can be found apart from God's ways. 

Therefore, seek the Lord while He may be found. Spend time reading His Word and praying to Him. He is the Savior of your soul, your Creator, your Savior and your Rock. Walk in His ways and learn what pleases Him and in the process, you will find blessings abundant!

Monday, July 25, 2016

His Wife Had a Major Temper Tantrum

Have you ever seen a woman throw a temper tantrum? It is a pitiful sight, yet many women throw temper tantrums as if they are children not getting what they want. Then when they get married, their spouse has to deal with their temper tantrums when things don't go their way. It's a heavy burden a husband has to deal with and I'm afraid many men have to deal with it these days. {Yes, some men have temper tantrums, but I am only teaching women.}

There's a post about a woman with three children who is tired and exhausted. When her husband walks in the door at 8:00 pm after a long day at work, he heads right for the couch and turns on the football game. I am sure he has been waiting all day just to be able to come home, relax, and watch football. However, at the same time, his children are fighting and the baby needs to be put to bed. 

She yells at him, "It wouldn't kill you to help out a bit and get more involved in your children's upbringing."

He responds angrily, "I have spent the whole day working so you can stay at home playing with the doll's house."

They have a heated argument and she finally storms out of the house leaving the children with him for several days.

Then he wrote a letter after a few days of taking care of the children by himself telling her how brave she was for what she was doing at home. He understands her now since he has walked in her shoes. The feminists cheer! The problem with this scenario is that the wife has never walked in her husband's shoes. However for the wife, the children will grow up quickly and life will become easier for her {IF they are well-trained}, then she will have a lot of free time, but he will have to work hard to support his family for many, many years. 

What should have happened in this scenario? Temper tantrums should NEVER happen in an adult's life! These should have been stopped by their parents the first time they had one as a child. The sooner a child learns that temper tantrums are unacceptable and that life doesn't go the way they want it to go, the better life will be for them. Our children had one temper tantrum when they were very young but we quickly put a stop to it. They haven't had one since. Unfortunately, many today weren't stopped as children so they continue to have them as adults when things don't go their way. Oh, how I wish they would look in the mirror at themselves while having one to see how ugly they look.

 This woman shouldn't have taken her exhaustion out on her husband, even if she had a rough day and was in a bad mood. The way she posed the question to him was disrespectful and was a way to manipulate him. If there is one thing men hate, it is to be disrespected. No, his answer wasn't good either but she provoked him with the question. Most men will react to a wife's tirade towards them by fighting or fleeing. If you want your husband to help you with something, always ask in a respectful way. However, do everything in your power to get your children in bed and/or calmed down before your husband gets home. He needs time to unwind and relax when he first gets home. Most men would say this is an important part of the day for them. If you need help, respectfully ask your husband if he would help with the children during the commercials but if he doesn't want to, keep your emotions under control, don't have a temper tantrum, and certainly don't walk out on him!

Kimberly Wagner wrote, "One thing I can't stress to wives enough—hug your man when he comes in from work! Greet him with a kiss and some love. Give him an encouraging word, and hold off on letting him know what a tough time you've had. He has had a long day. (You might have faced a challenging day yourself, but you show genuine love and care for your man when you take interest in him and his day above your own.) He's been hit with challenges that you haven't faced, and perhaps he fought battles you'll never know about. Be what makes it all worth coming home to."

This woman who gave her husband a "piece of her mind" shouldn't be cheered. Cheering for a woman behaving badly is becoming normal for our culture. In fact, cheering for anything ugly is normal today; for what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. I doubt few readers of this post saw the error of her ways and most only saw the error of his, since it is politically correct to mock men. Treat your husband with respect. If you mess up, ask for his forgiveness quickly. For men, respect is more important than anything else even when you have had a bad day. Control your emotions and reactions instead of allowing them to control you. 

The wife see that she reverence her husband.
Ephesians 5:33

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Continually Asking God for Forgiveness?

Written by Ken

We love our new lives in Christ. We love being alive to God and freed from sin, knowing that each and every moment of the day we can choose to walk in the Spirit instead our dead flesh. Our new identity as new creatures in Christ, saints, and children of the Most High, has given us a joy and peace that was missing when we wrongly believed that somehow God's relationship towards us was affected by our need for regular cleansing. This cleansing was by way of daily confessing of our sins and asking for forgiveness, a theological concept wrongly taught in some churches.  

Please don't misunderstand. Asking forgiveness in any relationship can be a very healthy thing. After all, you did the sin, and you should feel guilty because you are guilty! We unfortunately still sin even after we have been forgiven all of our sins, past, present, and future, but the penalty for that sin is already paid once and forever on the cross.

This is the great news of the gospel that Christ "died once for all sin, for the just and unjust that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18), and He has "offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins" (Heb, 10:12). In light of this great news, should we as believers keep asking God for daily forgiveness of our sins? 

Some will ask forgiveness many times, over perhaps many years, for particularly bad sins they have committed, because of the guilt and remorse they feel. Others want to start fresh each day with the Lord by cleaning the slate of the previous day's sins. There is probably nothing terribly wrong with either of these things, but they are unnecessary spiritual exercises. A simple "Thank you Lord for forgiving my sins on the cross in 30 A.D." would suffice, and may actually give the believer far more assurance of the saving grace of Jesus.

The more problematic theology is one that teaches that somehow we as believers can actually affect the grace of God by our prayers of confession. That apart from our confession of sins the sins cannot be forgiven. After all for some, prayer becomes a work they do to merit the grace and forgiveness of God, instead of viewing the exercise as simply agreeing with God that sin in any form does not belong in the life of the believer. "I am so sorry" is much more theologically correct than asking for forgiveness because forgiveness is already granted.

The story is told of the little boy who was visiting his grandparents and was given his first slingshot which he played with in the woods. Not having any success hitting anything he headed home and in the distance, he saw grandma's pet duck. He wound up, and bullseye! The duck fell over dead. He panicked and quickly covered up his sin by putting the dead duck under the woodpile. Just as he emerged he saw his sister smirking as she had witnessed the act. For several days the sister used her power over her brother to make him her slave. He couldn't go fishing with grandpa, had to do all the dishes, whatever the sister wanted she got with the whisper of the words, "Remember the duck!"

Finally, the young brother could take it no more and went to Grandma and confessed the sin of killing her duck. To his surprise, Grandma's remark was, "I know, Johnny. I was standing in the window and saw the whole thing. And because I love you, I forgave you. And knowing that I loved you and would always forgive you, I wondered just how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."  (Carl Hoefler -Will Daylight Come? C.C.S. Publishing, 1979). 

The guilt of sin and Satan's whispers keeps many fine Christians in slavery. Even as God says, "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father! The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:15-16).

So where does this fear come from that somehow we must confess our sins for regular cleansing of sin? That somehow God's view of His relationship with us is affected by the works of confession, prayer, and penance? These things may have some value in making the Christian feel better, and help clear the heart and mind of the Christian who sins, but our standing as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ is not conditioned in any way on any of these things, or any works whatsoever. The basics of Theology 101 teaches us, "For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and not of ourselves, it is a is a gift of God, not of works lest any man boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Let me point out that one of two things, or both, must happen if somehow our standing with God is changed each time we sin after being saved and becoming united with Christ Jesus in His death. Either God's initial work of salvation is not complete, and each sin, at least the bad ones, puts us back out of His family. I was talking to one long time believer who had no assurance of salvation as his church teaches that unless you ask regular forgiveness of sins, God does not grant it. Grandma can give unconditional love when her grandson sins against her, but God's love is not so inclined?  Hmm... This is not what my Bible teaches.

The second view is of a God who changes His countenance towards his child each time we sin. The disappointment or anger arises, the finger wagging starts, and God is sitting by waiting for us to come to Him and admit, "I killed the duck." Neither view can be further from the immediate and complete grace of salvation granted by the New Covenant. The New Covenant is completely one sided, and only God must be true to His Word, that once we are in Christ, we are His forever. There is no going in and out of salvation, but there may have been no real transformation into the God's family in the first place if the person is now wallowing regularly in sin. 

So where does this view originate that we must continually confess our sins and ask for forgiveness in order to gain God's grace and smiling face? It probably comes from multiple sources, but the two main sources are first, the Old Testament model that the church adopted with priests hearing confession, and the second is the fleshly tug upon us to somehow merit God's grace. The OT prescription for sin was clear. You sin, get to the temple and make a sacrifice for your sin, for "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).

In Israel's day, each year a sacrifice was offered on the Day of Atonement for the forgiveness of the sins of the people. Two goats were selected for the offering and lots were cast. The goat where the lot fell got slaughtered and sacrificed with its blood sprinkled on the God's Mercy Seat in the temple. The second goat became the scapegoat that the High Priest placed his hands on its head and prayed, then sent it scurrying into the wilderness. This is an illustration of God's grace and forgiveness for the people.

For too many Christians, and some churches, confession of sin has simply taken the place of the OT sacrifice. No matter how clear the writer of Hebrews has made it that Jesus is the one and only sacrifice that all other sacrifices pointed to. That Jesus was God's final sacrifice prepared before the world began, to make atonement for all sins, once and forever. And that mankind is not forgiven on the basis of the confession of sin, but rather by grace through faith in the atoning work of Christ Jesus. He is our propitiation for our sins, and not only ours but the sins of the whole world. But to attain God's grace, and His great salvation, one must confess with their mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. (Romans 10:9).

Please Christian, if you are one who sees your sins as unforgiven, rest assured that if you are in Christ Jesus, every sin you have ever committed, or will commit, has been forgiven you on the cross in 30 A.D. and there is no reason for Christ to revisit the cross for you. If you are unsure of your salvation, rest in God's promise that if you believe in Him, nothing else is necessary for your salvation. Yes, the natural acts of one who has accepted God's pardon will be first true and lasting repentance, then we grow up into Christ Jesus, becoming like Him more and more each day. We allow Him to live in and through us, causing us to bear good fruit that comes from a walk in His Spirit. If you have no fruit of salvation, tap into the source of life by not quenching the Spirit with your disobedience, but instead walk in newness of life for which we have been called; saints, beloved children of God, and heirs of salvation. Start becoming who you are already in Christ Jesus our Lord, without fear, but instead, a true and loving relationship with your Maker.

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 
for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:24-28

It is interesting to note that the great Apostle Paul never commands that we confess our sins or continually ask for forgiveness of our sins. But some will say that the New Testament teaches us to confess our sins when the apostle John writes: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). We see this confession at the moment we accept the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives. Part of repentance is to confess (agree) with God over my sins and the need for a Savior. So 1 John 1:9 is referring to our salvation moment, not the need for regular confession to God. 

A second instance is found in James 5:16: "Confess your sins to one another ... that you may be healed."  We do believe that confession has a place in the life of the sinning Christian who may have gone months or years without exposing his sin to the light and allowing God and fellow believers to pray on his or her behalf. Sin after a believer is saved will have natural physical, emotional and mental consequences from the sin and its guilt, but also will incur the discipline of the Lord. Confession to receive healing in such cases is prescribed, but such confession does not change the believers standing for God as "in Christ." When Christ sees you and me He sees perfect Jesus in our place. His record is now my record, and He has paid the penalty for my sins. And without this precious promise, we would all be hopeless. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Terrible Advice for Girls

Many awful things are being taught to children and teenagers today. Here is an example of one of them.

Let me tell you what girls should be taught instead.

Advice for girls: be quiet and discreet and love others more than yourself. Start saying "I'm sorry" and stop saying "because I said so." Say "yes" to those in need and say "can I help you?" Stop taking selfies and laugh at jokes that are decent and silly. Be kind and speak truth and wear your hair to please the LORD. Help out other girls and be vocal about the good and the lovely. Enjoy being soft and feminine and apologize quickly when wrong. Don't give away your purity to anyone until you are married. 

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

James 1:21