Oct 25, 2018

Some More Lust-Full Thoughts

Editor’s note: I wrote this blog in 2009. I am re-posting this revised version because I continue to see people on social media who are struggling with the area of lust.

LUST in the New Testament that is translated “A longing” A longing …. especially for what is forbidden. A strong desire, especially sexual desire. 

But Lust is not just sexual desires. Lust is anything that has turned you aside to some other thing instead of the LORD.

The good news is that Jesus wants to give us freedom and victory in ALL areas of life. Please take some time to read, ponder, and pray. Don't wait until you are "boiling over" - Pastor Tommy O

1.) Scripture is pretty clear that whatever we sow to, that we will reap. Since we know that it works with sin; that should be confirmation to us that it also works with sowing to spiritual things.

Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap. For he sowing to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But he sowing to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit. But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint.

James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death.

2.) As long as we are alive we will opportunity to be enticed into sin. It really is a matter of what we do about it.

2 Timothy 2:22 But flee youthful lusts, and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

3.) We are called to cast our cares upon Him. He doesn’t take them from us, we cast them upon Him.

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety onto Him, for He cares for you.

4.) We need to be aggressive to cut off that which causes us to be drawn away from God. We need to see the bigger picture of what we have in Him.

Matthew 5:29-30 And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.

5.) We need to covenant our lives; settle some things before God; to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Job 31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin?

Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

6.) We need to be aware that as long as we are alive, Satan will be ‘out to get us’. We need to remember that he is already a defeated foe and that in Christ we have the victory.

Genesis 4:7 If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at the door; and its desire is for you, and you shall rule over it.

7.) The choice is up to us individually what we will do; no one can do it, or pray it for us. We make the choices, day by day; moment by moment.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call Heaven and earth to record today against you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live

8.) “We must assume the inevitability of attacks by an enemy hostile to our spiritual interests and build our defenses in the places he is most likely to attack” -Gordon MacDonald ‘Rebuilding Your Broken World’

          PDI (personal defense system)
             #1 Adopt a repentant life-style
             #2 Pay the price of regular spiritual discipline
             #3 Cultivate key relationships
             #4 Resist the ‘applause’ that belongs to Christ
             #5 Take time to have fun
             #6 Hold things loosely
             #7 Be filled with the Spirit of God

9.) It still comes down to God's Grace

Ephesians 2:1-10  And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience; among whom we also had our way of life in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us  (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

10.) We need each other: This is from -“The Shepherd’s Covenant” Focus on the Family Pastoral Ministries www.parsonage.org

Genuine Accountability: 1 Samuel 18:1 And it happened when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was joined with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as he did his own soul.

Right Relationships: 2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfected; be comforted; be of the same mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

A Servant’s Heart:  John 10:15 Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep.

Constant Safeguards: Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Embrace God Intimately: James 4:8  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, double-minded ones.

Remember, LUST is not just sexual desires. It is anything that draws us away from our love of the LORD. 

God has been offering you better things all the time, and you have been missing them. 

So I implore you today to make certain that there is no lustful thing in you that would rob you of the glory. Then the LORD will take you to the very summit of the blessing where you can be increased day by day into all His fullness.

“Keep your stick on the ice; I’m pulling for you!” -Red Green

Oct 18, 2018

Rain drops Keep Fallin’ On My Head

Raindrops are falling on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothing seems to fit
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling

As a pastor, I officiate a lot of weddings; especially during the summer. Five years ago, having an outside wedding was an exception because the vast majority were done inside of a church building.

But, over the past few years I have noticed that the tendency is that couples want to get married outside. In fact, last year only one of the eight weddings were inside.

I personally like outdoor weddings because I think that everyone is more relaxed and seems to enjoy themselves. My general rule is that the couples just need to have a plan B just in case it rains.

Most outdoor venues have a plan B location, such as an enclosed pavilion, just in case the weather changes.

I have delayed the start time of a wedding in order to accommodate the happy couple’s desire to be wed outdoors as we waited for a passing storm to leave the area.

And since 1995 I have only had one rain out; and the venue had a large barn that was air conditioned on the hot rainy day, so no one complained; although it would have been nice to have done it outdoors…

I should say only one rain out until last week….

The venue we were at DID have a plan B so none of us was too concerned when all of the radar showed that a rain shower was moving in. I told the groom that I was willing to delay the wedding as long as we could should the storm hit us.

So I just did me some talking to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
He's sleeping on the job
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep fallin'

We waited a short while and then realized that (perhaps) we could start “now” since all of the guests had arrived and were ready to go. The guests, knowing how important this was for the bride to be wed outdoors, grabbed their umbrellas and committed to sit in the rain if necessary.

I, too, committed, stating that I could drop my suit off at the dry cleaners should it get wet.

When I walked out to the area where the wedding would take place, I looked up at the skies while the sound person checked the live radar report. We conclude that we were about to be hit by a thunderstorm.

Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turning red
Crying's not for me
'Cause, I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining

As much as the rest of us were willing to have a wedding in the rain, it would ruin the sound person’s equipment; and so, we needed to move the ceremony indoors. The groom had a bridesmaid discuss this with the bride who agreed that indoors was the best way to go.

We all pitched in and moved the sound equipment indoors when all of a sudden, the winds shifted and the skies became very dark. Within a few minutes, the clouds gave way and dumped rain.

We were all glad that we had moved inside so quickly when the winds started to blow at sixty to seventy miles per hour as the rain beat on the walls and hail pounded the roof.
Soon there was water running into the pavilion as the canvas walls struggled against the tornadic winds and rain.

I am happy to report that none of the guests complained as we were all glad that we were inside and not outside when the storm hit. All of them seemed to be OK with another delay so that we could arrange the dining area in order to do the ceremony; and to wait for the deadly storm to pass through.

But there's one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me
Won't defeat me
It won't be long 'till happiness steps up to greet me

After twenty minutes or so, the squeegees came out, towels wiped the chairs and tables, and we proceeded with the wedding as we watched the happy couple make a public declaration of their love and commitment to each other.

The social hour and reception went off without a hitch as the guests were treated to great food and fellowship; that is until another storm with tornadic winds and heavy rain hit a few hours later, right after the dinner and before the dancing began.

As so as the heavy rain let up enough, I said goodbye to the couple and walked in the rain to my car to drive home.

During my drive home, the storm still raged but I was able to see the cars ahead of me. I took some time to thank the Lord because I was grateful for the couple and His provision to them, and His protection of all of those guests.

Little did I realize just how protected we had been and the wisdom that He gave to get us to move inside (during both storms). On the news that night it was reported that one large area of Minnesota had sixteen tornadoes; several of which touched down and destroyed whole sections of towns.

And I am grateful.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4 MSG)

Praise the Lord!

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Oct 11, 2018

Divine Superintendence

I was given a very simple task; drop our pickup truck off at our mechanic’s shop located at the end of our block (which is about 250 feet from our driveway) at eight-o-clock in the morning to have the emergency brake replaced.

Because I didn’t know how long the truck would be in the shop, I decided that I would first go to Trader Joes (which is only 4.5 miles away) to do our weekly grocery shopping.

So, I called our mechanic and asked if I would have time to go shopping first and then drop off the truck. He confirmed that this would work for his schedule.

I made way to TJ’s and while I was driving into the parking lot, a car was heading towards me driving in the center lane so I hit the brakes hard. When I did so, the truck stalled; which isn’t unusual for a manual transmission.

I turned the key, expecting it to turn over, but nothing happened. After several attempts, I put the truck in neutral and let it roll backwards into the parking lot so as to not block the entrance. The place that the truck rolled to was open in the front which would make it easy for a tow truck to hook up.

After trying a few more things to get the truck started, including opening up the hood to confirm that the engine was still there, I called for a tow truck. The dispatcher told me that a driver would be there within the hour.

I called Cathy (to inform her and for prayer) and sent our mechanic a text to let him know that there was a problem and that the truck would arrive on a flatbed.

I looked over the shopping list and decided that I should probably NOT go shopping at this point as realized that some of the items needed refrigeration or to be placed in a freezer.

The weather was beautiful so I sat outside the truck, checked emails, Facebook, etc. as I waited for the tow truck to arrive. Fifty-nine minutes after I called he arrived. Pretty good service, I concluded…

He loaded the pickup on his flatbed and told me to hop in and then he drove me to the mechanic’s garage.

When we arrived, the mechanic was waiting. The pickup was unloaded and I tossed the keys to our mechanic and thanked him to being available to try to fix it and then made the long walk home at the other end of the block (which is about 250 feet)

Arriving home, I scanned the towing receipt and emailed it to our insurance agent for reimbursement. An agent replied within twenty minutes; stating that she had dropped a check in the mail to cover the expense of the tow.

A few hours later it looked as though the pickup might not be repaired by tomorrow so I sent a text to one of our children to see if I could use his car the next day. He replied within twenty minutes informing me that I could use his car to make my appointments.

Just before dinner, our mechanic called to let us know that he had found out what was wrong with the truck; the starter needed to be replaced.

He also communicated that he discovered that the rear brakes had some problems and needed to be replaced. He was asking for our approval to do the extra work. I could hear the hesitancy in his voice to give us the bad news.

I had the phone on speaker, so Cathy was able to hear the conversation. She said “tell him yes!” because she was happy that he had discovered why the brake had been occasionally grabbing.

I told him to please go ahead and do the work; assuming that he wouldn’t get it done until tomorrow. I was glad that I had already secured another vehicle for tomorrow’s appointments.

Several hours later (after nine pm.), our mechanic called to let us know that the he had completed the work and that we could pick up the truck. He gave us the final cost of the repair work.

I grabbed our checkbook and went to get the pickup truck from our mechanic located at the end of our block (which is about 250 feet from our driveway).

I wrote him a check, he gave me the keys and thanked me for giving him the business. I thanked him for putting in such a long day and told him that we were both happy that he had discovered and repaired what was wrong with the pickup.

As I drove home, I expressed thanks for how the Lord had provided Divine Superintendence and Provision all throughout the day.

I was grateful that the truck broke down in a place that was easy to get towed.

Grateful that it broke down TODAY rather than tomorrow when Cathy would have had it at her school approximately eighteen miles away.

Grateful that I hadn’t yet gone shopping.

Grateful that we had towing as a part of our insurance.

Grateful that the tow truck came quickly and only had to drive 4.5 miles.

Grateful that the weather was so nice.

Grateful that my mechanic already had us scheduled to do work on the pickup.

Grateful that the Lord showed the mechanic what was wrong.

Grateful that I had another vehicle if he hadn’t been able to get the work completed.

Grateful that he was able to get all of the parts and do all of the work; TODAY.

Grateful that the Lord provided the money to pay ALL of the bills and for providing work for the mechanic.

I am so grateful that we had Divine Superintendence because Jesus is Lord of our lives.

“… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:32-33)

Praise His Name!

Oct 4, 2018

Shaming Shame

We all have experienced shame; it is a basic part of being human.

But how we deal with it makes a HUGE difference.

Shame is different from guilt. We feel guilty for what we do. We feel ashamed of who we are.

Shame is fear-based and drives us to want to hide or protect ourselves from scrutiny. It is hardly ever a helpful or motivating emotion.

Shame is the discomfort experienced when we don’t live up to the expectations of others. It is a sense of worthlessness or inadequacy.

Shame is the remorse and/or embarrassment experienced when we perceive that we have let others down or when we expect (or receive) their scorn or ridicule.

Shame has to do with self-disapproval and it can be very powerful and VERY destructive.

Shame is about embarrassment, humiliation, feeling of low value and above all, powerlessness.

Shame tends to make us feel alone and outside society. It is dangerous psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.

And, unless we deal with our shame, it accumulates and begins to weigh us down and it will block us from fully experience the LIFE that Jesus brings.

Jeremiah 3:25 “We lie down in our shame, and our reproach covers us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, We and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God."

It is useless to try and hide our sins
God wants to deal with it, ALL OF IT!
God knows that damning effect sin and SHAME have in our lives.

God wants a relationship with you, as a son or daughter…Come to the LORD as soon as you sin; not just when shame or guilt overwhelms you.

God doesn’t want us to be like trained animals—like robots. He wants fellowship with those who come to Him through choice in response to His love and faithfulness.

God gives pretty simple instruction: “If you want sorrow, then be wicked”.

The wicked will reap the consequences of their actions. In their rejection of God’s plan will find no comfort or relief. They can expect sorrow/pain/anguish and no relief from their shame. This is NOT how God wants us to live!

Pretty simple instruction: “If you want mercy, then trust in the Lord”

Those who trust in the Lord can always expect to experience God’s mercy (kindness, favor) to carry them through to a place of deliverance.

Look to God to deliver you. Look to God for forgiveness. Look to God for freedom from shame. This is how God wants us to live!

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:21)

God gave us a way to bring our sins to Him--and to go away forgiven. But we have to come clean 100 percent before God.  And then, we have to face the consequences of our sin.

God never rejects anyone who comes to Him with true repentance and a desire for restored fellowship.

“Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore, in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.” (Isaiah 61:7)

God will convict you of sin that you need to confess. But Satan will accuse you of sin God has already forgiven. Shame comes from the enemy, not God! Your sin is none of the enemy’s business- Jesus paid it all!

“Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me. 8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. 10 Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?”  My eyes will see her; now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets. (Micah 7:7-10 (emphasis by me)

We need to let Jesus come to us like He did to the men and women who were in such despair and hopelessness. We need to let Jesus bring hope in way that ONLY He can bring it; through His Word (the Bible), through worship of Him, through spending time with Him.

And because of His death and resurrection ALL who ask can have new life!
 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

Need further help? Someone is waiting to talk with you. Call either:
1-888-NEED HIM or 1-877-2GRAHAM (1-877-247-2426).

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.