Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WTB God? Psalm 37:25-40

So I was reading Psalm 37:25-40 yesterday & saw that God said He would protect people from several things, most of which is not a reality least in my understanding of what He seems to be saying. It made me really struggle with some questions-I know that as a Christian I am suppose to have all my theological ducks in a row [eastern Christians laughing out loud, western Christians have the 'heresy' o-meter out], but if God is true, then we shouldn't have to cover for Him right? After all, you only have to cover for someone if they lie.
In order to see what is going on, you will have to read the Text for yourself. But here are my thoughts-
If God offers protection from the unjust, for the faithful-as He did for the Hebrews in Psalm 37, then why are Christians (those who trust Jesus) being slaughtered at the hands of unjust men today? Am I missing something? Maybe this Psalm 37 can't be applied to the Church today. In fact, in John 16:33, Hebrews 11:35-40 we see that part of being a Christian is suffering in the hands of the unjust. Therefore, what advantage is there in being under God's umbrella? What does God offer that an unbeliever doesn't have access to?

Here is what I see the actual advantage is-
1. Salvation from Hell- which means an eternal life with Christ & sharing His blessings. Hell=a place where God's hand of blessing has been removed, just like most people want.
2. Specific answered prayer (SPECIFIC), as we accomplish His will.
3. Wisdom- Coming under His umbrella/listening to His wisdom gives life & success here in life.
4. Hope of better things, when Jesus restores all things and deals with the problem of pain & suffering & brokenness.
5. The indwelling of God's Spirit, to help us.
6. God's occasional FELT help.
7. The Community of Saints.
8. Protection from spiritual forces (sorry Atheists, for me, this is one of the best proofs for God- the undeniable presence of evil spirits in this world).
9. Hope that God will do what He says He will do, which gives comfort in many many areas.
10. Believers don't really die. John 11:26, and based on what I have heard from nurses who have seen believers die- there is a clear distinction. I know some believers who have died with a smile, arms outstretched saying, "Jesus!" as if they were receiving Jesus. Strange? Maybe, but that is what happens.

Feel free to add more.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lust in Action

Dealing with LIA

I talk with so many men who struggle with LIA. It is something that is very difficult & very hard to stop once started. It is a set of chains that wraps a man, or even a women, in bondage, to a wall. This wall is dark, embarrassing, private, cold and hated. This wall blocks conversations with others and with God. In Christ, the chains may be broken, but many who struggle with this can’t see that, and Scripture that speaks to that does not help, it’s power is doused by the waters of continual failure.

In the darkness of this dungeon wall there is a voice that whispers pre-LIA that it is okay, or the person needs this. Then afterward, those voices turn to accusation. Whose voice is this?

So how can someone who no longer believes he/she can have freedom in Christ gain victory over this?

  1. With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.
  2. This person has to learn to hate the chains, hate being a slave to them. As long as they accept their position, or are at all fond of this wall, they will not have victory. LIA has to become disgusting to them.
  3. For most men, their masculinity is wrongly tied to their sexuality- so to despise LIA may mean redefining “masculinity”. A man is a male who practices self-control.
  4. Self-control is something that USA culture generally teaches is something unnecessary. Look at all the fat people, credit card debt, pills, and pornography.
  5. People want stuff when they want it. Delayed gratification is psychologically very difficult for many people. To practice restraint, to “wait on the Lord” is very challenging, or nearly impossible for many people. Doing without is not something taught in our culture. Contentment is opposed strongly in a capitalistic market.
  6. God always provides a way of escape so you can bear through a temptation or hard time (1 Corinthians 10:13). Look for the way through the temptation, then take it.
  7. Sin is evil, but God doesn’t micromanage you. God wants you to be holy, to be pure, but also knows you are in process. Work on things, but don’t allow yourself to be hopeless & depressed. You are a work in progress & God will be faithful to complete that work.
  8. The temptation you face, is common (1 Corinthians 10:13), Paul dealt with temptation & failure as a believer, you will also (Romans 7).
  9. I am not convinced that accountability works, but someone to help you form good boundaries does.
  10. You need to form good boundaries, even if it means “radical amputation” to help you (Matthew 5:27-30). Most people like the sin too much to actually do this. Do you?
  11. You have 3 helpers, that are very helpful and have helped many. Jesus, who understands and died for your sins. The Father, who is patient with you. The Spirit, who indwells the believer and gives wisdom through the mind, and through the Bible (why we memorize verses- so God can bring them to mind). Even a 4th helper. Me. If you need help, and brainstorming, let me know. Not all people have this relationship with God. The Bible teaches that you have this relationship through trusting in Jesus (John 14:5-6; John 15) as Lord and the one who saves you. Do you receive Him as your savior and lord?
  12. Trust God’s word, that what He says He will actually do...this is called faith. Then act on that. You can do it!
  13. One word, "dopamine". Not proven, but like cocaine, people can find themselves craving this chemical. Not saying that this gives you any excuse, but it is something to look into more. Also, I know this is not popular with some of my friends, but to that I say, consider the implications of "radical amputation" and maybe this is an avenue to at least look into.