Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, July 13, 2012

“Playing the field” will spoil the harvest!

☛Probing Proverbs 5:20-21 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.☚ 

God created sexual intimacy to be the ultimate experience of physical love. A young man and woman become friends and begin to grow together. In time they know it is more than “like” and they move toward the commitment of their lives to each other. The celebration of all the cultivation of a relationship is what they harvest on the night of their marriage. All the senses are brought to their greatest potential, and God planned that each man and each woman would experience only one other human of the opposite sex this way. Here Wisdom speaks quite pointedly, yet for many we blind ourselves to the reality of the distastefulness of its truth. The intimacy of sex was made to be exclusive: One husband with One wife. If we would consider the picture we would not paint it so pretty as we try to do. “Experienced”, “A good performer” or “Skilled in the art of love” sounds so much nicer, but deceives us from the reality of what it does to the soul. Would you want to eat food that someone else had already chewed? Yuck, gross! 

Yet we fail to realize that when we are intimate sexually with many, that we are touching, caressing, kissing and tasting in territory that who knows how many have already traveled! By avoiding this issue in the church we have done everyone a disservice, the scriptures do not avoid calling it what it is. The old “well you wouldn’t want to buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first” only exposes the lack of common sense and reality of what sex is. What if the person that tried the shoes on before you had athlete’s foot disease? Also, if sex were just a physical act, no one would ever get hurt. Both would mechanically have their experience and move on. No, it is so much more, the whole being is involved and we cannot compartmentalize ourselves and think that allowing “many” into areas that were made by God for ONLY one will not impact us.  

Water may wash the body and make it appear clean, but we are still captivated and held prisoner by the emotional and spiritual scars, plus the unclean feelings remain.    

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For Love of Guitar

Living in a country and a culture that is nothing like what you grew up in can give the Holy Spirit a lot to work with in terms of spiritual growth. The other day I was playing my guitar and I remember the very important incident that the Lord used in my life. This was the beginning of real change in an area of my walk with Christ as I was learning to adapt to living in a climate that I found very difficult and culture that I was foreign to. This happened in 1995 and I'm hoping it will encourage you with any struggle that you may have in your life…

Being that I am made of flesh and wrestle with that old nature like everyone else, victories are something I get excited about. There are so many little things about living here that are custom made to eat at a guy like me. Just the heat alone is something I really struggle with. Also many things in the Filipino culture are different than the Western culture I grew up in. They're not wrong, they are just different, but they are the kinds of things the enemy loves to use to irritate children of God and can cause them to blow their testimony. I got a chance to see what the Lord had been producing in me as I learn to deal with all those little irritants. My 1963 Guild guitar bit the dust. The humidity caused the bridge to lift off the top. I was recommended to a shop and with fear and trepidation I dropped the guitar off. Over the next month I would go to the shop and visit with the folks there as they were working on my guitar. I had been able to share with two of them about the love of Christ. When I received the call that they needed to see me, I thought maybe they had run into a different problem.

Little did I know…when I walked into the shop, this was the first statement I heard - “Sir, I want you to know that the person that worked on your guitar has been fired.” I felt my heart drop into my stomach. The individual who had worked on my guitar spilled acid on the top, leaving a burnt canal from the center to the bottom. Instead of stuffing that person into a guitar case, or screaming at the top of my lungs sarcastically “I LOVE THIS COUNTRY” or patting myself on the back for “suffering for Jesus” - I felt a great calm come over me as I remembered, precious to me though it was, my guitar was only a thing and the people in that shop were far more important to me. Two Scriptures really came to mind at that moment:

Romans 14:20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. That includes guitars, no matter how valuable or precious they might be to the person that owns them.

James 1:20  for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. - I had been talking to these folks for weeks about how much God loved them and wanted them to be delivered from their sins. My anger would not communicate the love of Christ.

I left that shop very happy that all the little trials of frustration over this year had worked in me for more than hair loss. Next time you grit your teeth in frustration and think WHY?! - consider what God may be trying to accomplish. At that moment you may not see it, but if you hold on, at some other time the fruit will express itself.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sex was not created by Hollywood!

Probing Proverbs: 5:18-19 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. It should not amaze us how the enemy tries to pervert everything that is from God. God made sex, yet and with regret, much of the attack on sex has come from the “institutional” church. As if sex is sinful. It is not sex that is sinful, it is the timing and with whom that makes it a problem. 
God meant sex to be very pleasurable! If it were for procreation only, a man and woman could just touch fingertips and make the transfer; God would have no problem designing us that way. He did not; He designed it to produce the greatest amount of intimacy between husband and wife. From the oneness couples experience, the pleasures their senses deliver, to the vulnerability they have in their final embrace – all was created by our Lord as a celebration of God’s design of love in marriage. Don’t allow the enemy to ruin something God intended to be so wonderful!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Emotions, ignoring facts and having data only keeps God invisible

Scripture Read: Judges 6:12-13 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” 13 Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Application: As we see Gideon’s encounter with the Lord I pray Father that we can see ourselves and learn from some of the warnings this passage brings. Notice first, the accusation Gideon brings: “If”, here Gideon is just being honest which the Lord never considers wrong. We are always to remember Who we are talking to, irreverence is never acceptable, even while we are being honest. Gideon addressed the Lord with respect as he shared from his heart that it does not seem like the Lord is with them. Here is where we need to allow the Holy Spirit to help us discern the difference between “valid” and “right or wrong”. Every feeling an individual has is a valid emotion. They feel it and that is a fact. To try and convince them that they don’t is not only silly, it is wrong. The issue that needs to be dealt with is; is that emotion right or wrong? We feel something deeply, yes, but is it a lie or truth. That makes all the difference in the world! The Spirit of God can and will guide us to that reality if we will listen to Him. 

This leads us to the next point concerning Gideon; his feelings were honest, but not his facts. It was clear why God was no longer blessing his people. The statues of the idols were all over the land and Gideon could see them. We must have the courage to face the facts, no matter how difficult they may be, in order to give the Lord the right He has to instruct us on the dangers of the lifestyles that have brought the removal of His hand of blessing. It is also the only way for us to see the Lord show mercy and intercede on our behalf in the situation we are in. The Lord is a good Father, He would never bless a child when that child is doing things that lead to destruction. That would send a message of condoning that behavior and keep that child in the sinful condition. As a good Father He desires us to turn away from things that would destroy us, and when we do He blesses us to confirm the direction we have taken. The last item we need to remind ourselves is the sad truth of what happens if we only pass on data to the next generation instead of exampling experience in front of them? Notice Gideon asked where was this great miracle working God our parents had TOLD us about. There’s the rub! Moses had instructed Israel to live with God on a moment-to-moment basis and share that experience with their children 24/7. We are the ones that took the concept of “teaching” and “instruction” and placed that in a period of time, in a classroom. God did not mean that. His idea of those two concepts is “modeling” it before your children and “meditating” on those experiences with your children. The God Gideon knew of were nothing more than stories of long ago, by people he had never met. God had intended Gideon to grow up seeing his grandfather and father living and experiencing the power of God in their lives. This has happened in the church! Many “next” generation individuals have only heard about Jesus and His power – they have not seen it modeled by their parents. We need to live so close to God that His presence is obvious for our children to see!

Meditation Questions: When you “feel” something strongly what do you do with those emotions? Do you have any topics you feel you cannot share with the Lord? When you discover that what your feeling is not true, what do you do with that? When you hear facts that you do not like what do you do? Do you have someone in your life that will challenge you with the truth, no matter how painful? What does your answer show you? Do people see God in your life or just hear about Him? What does your answer show you?