tuesday may 27, 2008
Dead to Sin - Alive in Christ
I think, because of my past with several men, and being involved with them sexually, I find myself not wanting to commit to just one man. I get anxious. The lie in my head is, “Hey that guy would be fun; I just want to go on one date with him. I wish I could flirt with him. I need a new guy every week.”
I hate it! Help! I know I have to fill my mind with Christ’s truth and get the lies out, but it’s so hard. We all will be punished or have consequences with our sin here on earth, right? Could this be mine? I don’t want to struggle with this forever, going into a marriage with these desires would not be good. I’m afraid these lies in my head will never go away.
Sheweeee, Girl! Where do I start with your sweet heart! First of all, I need to give you a hug, squeeze you tight, and remind you – YOU are a daughter of the King of Kings! You are the magnificent, intentional, creation of God Almighty! He chose you before the foundations of the world! Yes! You! He created you with a purpose and He created you to bring Him honor, glory, and has equipped you with the ability to do that with all of the riches in CHRIST JESUS (Philip 4:19)! Girl – you have got it goin’ on as far as Kingdom success here on earth. You can do all things through Christ, and sin – it has no hold on you; no hold on you in your death, no hold on you as you live each day here on earth. Christ has conquered your sin nature, and so the old you has died and the NEW YOU is alive in Christ – in His eternal, holy, obedient, God seeking, God pleasing nature. Come on with that!!! That is you!!!! And the amazing adventure of discovering exactly what that means, looks like – feels like, walks like, talks like, smells like, tastes like – that’s yours for all eternity!
Have you been at Vintage for the Fight Fire with Fire series? Wow! Does our Heavenly Father know what we need to HEAR and GROW IN or what? Check out the podcast for May 20th, because the Scripture and truth that message is loaded with is where my fuel for this reply is flowing from. Wes passionately tackled the lies we live from with the TRUTH that is who we are in Christ. What a message from God’s Word! AND -what a gift technology is! If you missed it, you can still hear it, and if you heard it, you can savor it all over again!
Thank you for your question. I’m going to walk through it with you, okay? You said you think your past with several men makes you unable to commit to one. Not true. You are able. Your past is your past. Can I tell you something really horrible about myself? It’s just you and I, right? Okay, here’s the naked truth. Kemper, my sweet husband, is the only – the one and only guy – EVER – that I committed to – and did not cheat on! YES!!!! How awful is that!?!?! Yeah, pretty foul as far as where my sick heart once was – but so, so amazing as to God’s hand on this girl’s life. I did not think I was able to commit to one man either. Thank God I choose to believe TRUTH and not the lie I was living! I live for TRUTH now. I BELIEVE that God is – and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). And you know what? You don’t have to be anxious about it. You pray about it. You live one day in that truth. Then you live the next day. Don’t think about tomorrow. Live in that TRUTH today. We live in today, and as today’s challenges come, we tackle them as God has prepared us FOR TODAY. You’re prepared for it. That includes sin issues – the need to love and be loved and desired issues – all issues. It’s all taken care of in Christ. How cool is it to consider that we – as believers -are slaves to Christ – and He is a loving, master – that wraps us up in FREEDOM – freedom the heart can only ever known in submission to Him. How crazy is that? Yeah – crazy and wild and the ride of a lifetime. It’s so good to be God’s!
Your issue with commitment is really not so much a part of your past sin, as it is a part of your flesh. We all have a sinful nature – a “bent” (as Pastor Jerry calls it) toward sin. I am born with that bent – and it is only Christ who can adjust it. Here’s the difference between you before Christ and you now: you have His Spirit within you! He wasn’t there before, now HE is. The flesh you had is still wrapped around your soul, but your soul is now empowered with the SPIRIT of the LIVING GOD. You can’t help but want to live for Him. If you didn’t want to live for Him, you wouldn’t say, “I HATE IT” about this struggle! That’s the Holy Spirit in you striving to make YOU in your flesh HOLY! That’s not you Doll, that’s God in you! You don’t make that holiness want to happen, God IN YOU does that work. Romans is a great place to go and study how this all happens. Check it out! Study it! Don’t just read it; study it. Here’s a thought to wet your appetite:”For we know that our old self was crucified with him, so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:6-7
Now, here’s the cool part about how we are made. We are made with eternity set in our hearts. Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us that. AND unlike animals – although we all go to dust, we have an eternal destination set in our created being. That part of us, in my understanding, is God’s honing device set in our hearts – that longs for Him, that is His full-proof part of who we are that will have the opportunity to choose Him or reject Him. His Holy Spirit pursues us our whole life, externally - and He is the one who opens our eyes and hearts to who He is – so that He may indwell us internally. We are a creation of God – designed to bring Him glory – designed to be His temple. He did not make anyone unable to do that majestic gift. We are all made in the image of God.
Diligence. We need to be diligent in our pursuit of knowing God. DiILIGENTLY, ACTIVELY APPLYING, knowledge of Him is key in living an empowered life. For all you English majors: "I screw my courage to the sticking place." The Word of God is the power pack that enables the flesh to live in the Spirit. That’s a big idea, huh? Look at it this way. Christ – His life is to be our model. He had to grow in wisdom and stature with God and man. He didn’t come knowing all of what He needed to know. He studied God’s Word. He learned it, so that His flesh would be mastered by His Spirit. He was fully God, fully man. We forget that He was man, and able to be tempted just as we are able to be tempted. How did He deal with temptation? The Word of God! He knew it, because as a human being he studied it and learned it. When put to the task – he fought fire with fire. We must do the same. He did not live according to his fleshly desires, He applied the Word of God to temptation, and overcame. You may say, “Yes, but I have sinned. I know what that fruit tastes like, and am stuck longing after it.” Yes, you do. But do you really think that you would not have longed for it had you never sinned? You would still have a battle. The difference now is to the Glory of God. You tasted it – and found it lacking. Sin doesn’t satisfy. And I know, yes – I definitely know – the device of Satan to make you want to taste it again. Sheweeee that’s a mighty pull. BUT!!!! GREATER is HE that is in me, than He that is in the world! I can beat Him – out loud I tell Him, TRUTH! SO he knows that I know that God’s Word has all the Victory and His pull cannot entice me to leave the God I love! Satan’s ways have never satisfied me; they've only ever brought me sorrow. When I am tempted, I Worship God OUT LOUD! I tell God, I am tempted to:______________ and I say that ugly sin out loud so I hear the ugliness of it, and acknowledge that Satan has no secret power to persuade me in any other way of thinking. I make sure I have loving accountability in my life as well. So I have to look someone I respect and love in the eye and admit my temptation and ask for prayer and encouragement. I never allow that ugly pride streak to make me think I can’t tell a trustworthy girlfriend that I am struggling with temptation. I am never beyond being tempted. I am beyond being a slave to sin -because of the power of Christ in me. God in His mercy always provides a way out when we are tempted – and that cell phone in your purse – can be a lifeline to a godly girlfriend to help you plan and move in the escape. Yeah, that’s hard, my friend. Living by Faith is HARD, STRONG, MIGHTY living. Tell yourself this: I am able because the Spirit of the LIVING GOD indwells me. When I’m weak, He makes me strong. I believe in a God I cannot see, and His silence, His invisible, but mighty power in my life delights me, enraptures me, and draws me to Him daily! Victorious living happens! I can’t see my God, but I know His power is moving in my life!
Do not be afraid about what you might never be. God is faithful to complete His work in you.
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” I Thess. 5:23-24.
God is the author and finisher of your faith. You are made to grow, and girl, it’s gonna look so good on you! Some of it comes easily, some of it does not. You are able. You are so able it’s ridiculous. The enemy will feed you full of lies to defeat you. But TRUTH is what will feed the power of Christ in you. Eat TRUTH! Lots of it! Every day!!! Not just some days, all days. You need it like you need air!
Don’t be afraid about your sin potential; be encouraged by your ability to be HOLY. God wouldn’t tell you to be holy if you weren’t able. He doesn’t set His kids up for failure. He sets us up for success. He’s a good daddy, and we can’t even fathom how good that good is – because it can’t even be compared with the goodness of the best earthly daddy who has helped you grow and learn and become. Focus on what you are becoming in Christ, not on what you once were. I don’t look back at my sin – I move forward into my new life. The old one taught me a lot that I can use in my new life – like how sin cannot satisfy me, but I do not look back and think about the bad I’ve done and how it damaged and defiled me. Those are messages the enemy would love to ripple through my life to defeat me, to discourage me, to disable me as God’s instrument of glory and honor.
Yes, sweet one, sin has consequences. You may feel those from time to time, but God is a redeemer, and it is not in His loving heart to destroy you in those consequences but to grow you out of them. He works all things together for good to those who love Him. He can take any mess of my sin – and redeem it. What hope would there be if He could not redeem? The prostitute, the homosexual, the hypocrite, the single mother, the adulterer, the thief, the gossip, the murderer;…should I go on? There is redemption despite the consequences of sin. Our deserved punishment is eternal separation, and Christ took that upon himself, and satisfied that debt with his own death and bodily resurrection. Our scars – our sin consequences - are healed because of Christ. I still may bare a physical image of that sin – but it can bring God glory, and shame the devil, not me. I have no shame, because I – in my sinful state – I am loved by God Almighty, and am washed clean by His intentional bloodshed; I am wrapped in His righteousness, and made a vessel of honor in His Kingdom. What on earth is there to be ashamed of, my friend? Take my hand in this, okay? We do not walk in shame, but walk in humility. We did nothing to deserve such a passionate pursuit. We did not earn it; we were chosen. We have worth because of the immeasurable love of God. We are not who we once were apart form God – We are made new in Christ. Let’s live in that newness!
I know I have packed a lot in this letter to you. I get all fired up – and long winded when I consider the depth and breadth of God’s love. Please don’t miss that in this message most of all. You are not a slave to consequences, you are a slave to Christ – and He alone makes you free. Enjoy your freedom, sweet thing. LOVE Him well because of it – and you will love others well because of Him. Let Him tackle those lies with the cleansing power of His Word. He's amazing at it! How great is our God!!!
Romans 6:14 “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under GRACE.”
Study Romans…Fight fire with Fire!
wednesday may 21, 2008
A man and women get married, and they obviously have sex. So the man (and women) are opened up and exposed with their eyes and touch to sexual things...and etc. Wouldn't it make sense for the man to be more apt/anxious/curious with other things, for example, Porn. Say they have sex in the morning and then he goes to work...all day isn't he going to be all "rowdy" or anxious...leading to thinking about the girls around him at work, and just struggling more with his thought life and eyes....does this make sense?
Reply:Hey! Thanks for the question! I would love to answer this for you, but I really think we need the perspective of a godly man to help us think through your concern. So, if it’s okay with you – and I’m trusting that it is 'cause you know I love you and want to help you as best I can – I’ve asked my brilliant, gorgeous, and most importantly – godly – husband to reply to you. Here is his response:
I can see how you may think this. Certainly there are men in the Bible who have fallen into this line of behavior. David and Solomon are two kings (and men of God by the way) who could not get enough of the physical encounters with their first wives, so they decided to get more wives. They eventually ended up with huge harems because of their lack of self-control...and this created some destructive situations and times for each of them.
One thing I think that these guys lacked....and other men of God who struggle with self-control when it comes to purity....was an understanding of the nature of connection. Let me explain. When God created man and woman, it was for one purpose - to connect with each other, with creation, and most importantly with God. But things went bad and now we are left with a messed up perspective of what true connection is. I think David and Solomon truly wanted true connection in their lives. Read David's Psalms and Solomon's Ecclesiastes and you will see two men of God desperate for connection in their lives.....for connection with God, with others, with creation, with their purpose, and with meaningful relationships.
This desperation is something we all have inside of us. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has put eternity in our hearts. It is this "eternity" - this desire to connect with something bigger than us - something beyond us - a relationship that is true and real and forever - that we are inherently drawn towards. But at some point David and Solomon began to think that the physical act of sex was going to fulfill this need for connection. And they quickly realized that it did not meet the need and therefore continued to try to meet that need with more and more women.
So at the core of your question is the concept of true connection. In a marriage where there is real connection....connection to Christ first and foremost....and then a true connection between husband and wife.....in this kind of marriage, the husband will have no need to explore other sexual options in whatever forms those take (porn, affairs, flirting, etc.). His desire for intimacy will be completely met by his wife because of their connection with Jesus and what He has made marriage to be.
So, sex between and husband and wife should not fire the husband up to find connection elsewhere, but should fire him up to find even deeper connection with his wife. The true, deep, authentic, core intimacy found in this kind of marriage is one that can not be duplicated or replaced by any other substitute. Satan will still try to convince the husband (and the wife in different ways) that their needs can be met outside of the marriage, but the attractiveness of these attempts will only pale in comparison to the true connection that can be found in a God-honoring marriage.
When my wife and I are deeply connected, I only become more apt to think about her, more anxious to see her again, and more curious to learn more and more about her. My drawing is only towards her, not towards other things. And that is the nature of God...when we truly connect with Him, we are drawn to chase after more of Him....more of the freedom in Him.....more of the purpose in Him.....more of the clarity of life in Him....more of the romance that is our relationship with Christ.
posted by kemper lewis
friday may 16, 2008
Fighting Fire with Fire
I wanted to ask you a question. I’ve been reading all the things you wrote on Vintage View and I thought maybe you could be a help to me. I feel like I'm never going to find that right person, or maybe I'm supposed to be single. Honestly I do not want to be single. I am young, but I want to be able to have the wonderful Christian marriage my parents have. I have been noticing that this has been pulling me away from my walk with the Lord. I do not know exactly how to go about dealing with this. Thank you.
Love in Christ
Hey! Thanks for writing to me! Thanks for reading the Vintage View! I love hearing from you amazing young women! Thank you for trusting me with your heart.
Have you been coming to Vintage? This series Wes is doing – Fight Fire with Fire – is exactly what we need to hear when we are seeking God, and Satan is bombarding us with doubt about God’s hand in our journey. Remember, the enemy hates you! It is Satan’s aim to destroy you, and part of that process is to extinguish your trust in the God who loves you more than you can even imagine. Consider this – God has been pursuing you – your heart – your life – so that you would be with Him in Heaven for all eternity. He not only pursues you – your love – because of His unconditional, unfathomable love for you, but it is God who is growing your faith in Him. The God of the entire universe created you with a purpose in His Kingdom. That purpose cannot be stopped by anyone or anything. Not only did He create you with a purpose, but he has also created FOR you COOL stuff to do – stuff that will bring Him glory and you unbelievable satisfaction! How is that for truth!?!?
Now that being said, do you not think that Satan would love for you to believe that you are not in God’s radar, that your life - at this stage of the game – is a shot in the dark for all God cares; like whether you get married or not, are happy or not, have children or not – God could care less? HOW MUCH FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH IS THAT? God has your life - not only in His radar-, but He is ever present in the very midst of it, working it out to accomplish His perfect will for YOU, His precious creation.
When you became a believer you chose to believe God for His promise of salvation. You may have heard that promise in this way, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not die but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. You’re promised life eternal. That’s God’s promise for your eternity. Your life now, since the day you chose to claim God’s promise of salvation – has been about following Christ, right? You’re trying to learn more about Him, about what it means to love Him, to live for Him, about His love for you and what that means…right? So as a follower of Christ, you then continue to be about seeking God at His Word – discovering His promises for you. There are so many rich promises that God has for us to know and claim! Our loving God – our Creator and Savior’s promises are not only about living forever in heaven – although that in itself is HUGE! Our God extends His promises for us into today – right now where you’re at, tomorrow – where you now have much hope - AND forever in what you can only imagine!
You and I can claim God’s promises – every single one of them. Girl – do you know what God has for you? Do you know His Word? Get in it – mine it like you are searching for diamonds! Cause you are – only better! The value of what you will discover can’t be measured by riches on earth! God has promised that, too!
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” And – Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Now, sweet heart, you might be wondering what does that have to do with me wanting and hoping for an amazing marriage some day – and wondering will I always be single? Let’s take your doubt and plug it into those verses. Your needs are met by God. Notice that Philippians doesn’t say your “wants” are met by God. We do need to adjust our wants from time to time. Cause what we want and what we need are often very different. A precious girl in my e-group shared that Psalm 23:1 played over and over in her head last week, adjusting her heart because of her wants. She wants healing. She wants comfort. She wants to be married one day just like you. She wants what seems so good. Why can’t she want for those things? They all seem so good, so right. Healing? A mate? Doesn’t God care she’s sick? Doesn’t God care she’s lonely? Now – let’s stop there. God caring and God meeting my want – is not one in the same. He is God. He can’t do anything without unbelievable love. Love is His very essence. Where this idea, that God doesn’t care and He’s not aware of me, – my circumstances – where that thought came from… – is not from God. He promises His love. He promises His care. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” I'm his, and so I'm not in a state of "want". Think about that. The Lord is my Shepherd, and I am satisfied with His care. What we want is not what we need – according to what? According to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus, not according to how I see my needs being met. The Lord is your Shepherd. He will supply all your needs. If you needed a mate right now – according to His riches in Christ Jesus, He’s good to supply it. Trust Him for your needs.
Consider this: you are God’s handiwork, and that is not some reckless compilation of details, thrown together to make you who you are. God is a well-thought out, organized, detailed God. He thought of you, planned you, created you, and He is working out your faith, working out your life in Him for His amazing purposes. And can I even tell you – those purposes contain so much joy and satisfaction for you – you cannot even imagine. That’s what the Bible tells us! Fire, girl! That’s fire to beat fire. Do you seek God at His Word when you are doubtful? Do you claim His promises when you are unsure? Faith must be lived by the Word of God – not by our own ideas or feelings. Your feelings, your ideas – they’ll fail you. The Word of God – it endures forever.
Last note: I know I have focused on God supplying your needs. I also want to encourage you to trust Him with your wants. He knows what they are. He is growing you, loving you, guiding you and changing you in and through those wants for His glory. Let Him, by entrusting them to Him.
There’s an article published in the May/June 2008 edition of Today’s Christian Woman –called “The Single Life”. The author address the myth that since God promises the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4), he’ll give a husband to a woman who truly desires one. Here is what she writes:
“One of my favorite theologians, D.A. Carson, wisely stated, ‘Any text without context is merely a pretext for a proof-text.’ In other words, if we don’t look at the whole biblical picture, we can easily distort the meaning and application of God’s Word. And unfortunately, too often we twist “He will give you the desires of your heart” into a depiction of God as fairy godmother. However, when King David wrote those words, he wasn’t’ implying God would wave a magic wand and make all our dreams come true. We won’t get a husband or a high metabolism just by wishing! Instead, this shepherd-boy-turned-king was exulting in the heavenly father’s provision and protection extended to faithful believers. Thus David prefaced the ‘gimmie’ phrase with an admonition to trust and delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:3-4a). This verse doesn’t mean we’ll always get what we want, but it does mean we can trust God to give us what ultimately will be for our good and his glory.”
Oh, sweet, sweet heart! God loves you! Claim His promises and extinguish the lies that rob you of that joy. Fight fire with fire.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you’ I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
saturday may 3, 2008
The Bachelor Party and Your Boyfriend
My boyfriend recently told me that one of his friends from college, who is going into the army, is getting married. His bachelor party is soon, and he heard there may be strippers at this event. Would it be controlling, or would I be a "possessive girlfriend" if I asked him not to go? He says he just wants to see his friends before they all move away and graduate and I am really upset at the thought of this.
Reply:Hey! Thanks for your question. I hope this party has not already taken place, and if it has, I hope your boyfriend did not go, and not because of anything you said to him, but because of his personal love and devotion to Christ. If the party has already taken place, and your boyfriend did attend, I imagine that you are struggling to forgive him, or this situation has ended your relationship. So, because of my delayed response, and since I don’t know what has happened, I’m going to hit all three possibilities:
First scenario: If your boyfriend is a believer, and he is considering going to this party because he wants to be with his friends, and you’re worried you are being controlling, you have every right to speak truth into his life.
Ephesians 4:15 “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head that is, Christ.”
And truth is not controlling, it’s truth. It’s compelling. It’s powerful, because it’s the Word of God. I’m hoping your reasons for wanting him not to go are not just because he is going to see naked women. Although that is Biblically wrong - if that is your only reason, then you are being controlling. You can’t control his mind, his eyes, and actions. You shouldn’t have to. The way that works in a relationship with two believers is that the Holy Spirit guides both of you. The Holy Spirit is your teacher -independently- as you seek God and His Word for how to live and love one another and others. Both of you will be an encouragement for one another, and a help to one another as you strive to follow and glorify Christ individually – and you will be an encouragement and help to one another as you follow and glorify Christ as a couple.
Telling one another what the Bible says to help one another - at any growth juncture - is not controlling, but compelling – because you are sharing truth. His decision is his decision. If he is a believer – yes, you should be part of his motivation for choosing God - holiness – purity – over a social opportunity – should be his primary reason for not going. Tell him in love: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.” 1 Peter 1:14-15
God knows the motive of our hearts. He may say he wants to be with his friends. I’m assuming these friends are lost, thus the nature of this party. Is he representing Christ to them in this arena? Will any of them see Christ in your boyfriend because he is present, watching the filth they’re watching and laughing at? I Corinthians 10:31-33 says, “So whether you eat of drink, OR WHATEVER YOU DO, do it ALL for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Christ was holy in everything he did. That is our example for how to live among the lost. And I am sorry, that old twist on truth is the devil’s ploy. People use the example, “Well, I want to reach my friends for Christ, so I am hanging out with them at the bars, but I’m not drinking. I’m at the bachelor party, but I’m not watching the strippers.” Are you kidding me? Jesus was in the world, not of it. Participating in bar hoping and bachelor parties is one way Satan can attack your boyfriend’s relationship with Christ.Check out this verse, and then I’ll move on to scenario 2.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather exposes them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:11-16
Speak the truth in love.
Scenario 2: He went to this party, and you haven’t broken up, but you’re having a hard time to forgive him.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13
You need to forgive him, no matter what. If you have a study Bible look up the word “forgive” or “forgiveness” in the concordance. The Bible has much to say about forgiving one another. Now, here’s where the no matter what comes in to play. If he is sorry because he hurt you, but is not sorry because he realizes what he did was against you – but first and foremost against God, sweet girl, what kind of young man are you dating? My advice to you is to absolutely, positively forgive him, express your forgiveness sincerely, and end your relationship with him.
Scenario 3: You’ve broken up.
Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.”
Hold to your convictions. They are pure and right. I'm praying for you!