Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

EVERY YOUNG MAN’S BATTLE: STRATEGIES FOR VICTORY IN THE REAL WORLD OF SEXUAL TEMPTATION
STEPHEN ARTERBURN, FRED STOEKER AND MIKE YORKEY

What a friend taught me:

I’d heard nothing about this practice before then. My parents never talked about sex, and my two older brothers never told me about it either. I’d never had an orgasm and had no idea what one was, but my buddy seemed to know everything. I remember the night very well.

He said all I had to do was reach inside my pants and rub my penis up and down. If I kept doing that, it would feel even better and better, and then some stuff would come out, and when that happen, it would feel really good. But first I had to get my penis hard to get things started.

When you learned to masturbate, you didn’t learn to commit the unpardonable sin.

No matter how spiritually strong you start out, a life of pornography, masturbation, pre-marital foreplay, and intercourse will weaken you and leave you distant from God.

Is masturbation a sin?
If it is, why can’t I stop it?
If it isn’t, why do I feel so guilty?

Let’s get right to it, first things first. Masturbation isn’t address in the Bible, so there’s no direct, definite scripture that says the practice is right or wrong. In other words, the issue of masturbation won’t be as cut and dried as say, adultery. But the fact that adultery is a sin helps us out a great deal in defining almost all marital masturbation as sin. Jesus said:

I tell you that anyone who looks at woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

If Jesus defines simply looking lustfully at a woman as adultery for the married man, certainly looking at a woman and masturbating is adultery. But what about you single guys? While the Bible is unclear about masturbation, this same scripture makes a similarly strong case against lustful looks in single men. If looking lustfully at a woman is the same as going to bed with her for married guys, looking lustfully at a woman is the same as going to bed with her for single guys. We don’t see much difference.

Some make a case that isolated instances of masturbation to relieve sexual tension are okay, if you’re married and focusing on your wife, not some supermodel, during periods of separation or illness.

Looking at it from another direction, is masturbation the only way to release sexual tension? There may be purer ways. We need to discuss all these questions.

I feel most comfortable simply calling masturbation a “sin” because its effects are exactly like the effects of any other sin in a man’s life. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it likely is a duck:

*Habitual masturbation consistently creates a distance from God.

*Jesus said that lusting after women in your heart is the same as doing it. Since most masturbation involves a lustful fantasy or pornography, we’re certain that nearly all circumstances violate Scripture.

*The pornography and fantasy that surround masturbation change the way we view women. How can that be right?

*Habitual masturbation is hard to stop. If you don’t believe it, wait till you get married and try to quit masturbating.

*Masturbation is progressive. You’re more likely to masturbate the day after you masturbate than you’re likely to do it the day after you didn’t. In other words, the pleasurable chemical reactions draw you to repeat the practice more and more. This is bondage, and God hates bondage in His sons.

Masturbation is not rare, and most have tried it at some point. They just don’t admit it or talk about it.

When they (men) go without masturbating for a month, they feel so clean and good about themselves.

“Pond the sin and shame aspect too hard, and his insecurity problems get only stronger.”

Self-condemnation only sets the cycle of masturbation into a downward spiral, causing deeper embarrassment and humiliation.

The desire to become close to somebody can also drive you quickly into the arms of women or one-sided friendships. Rather than turn to God, you truly can begin looking for love in all the wrong places, hoping for something, anything, to take that place of that loss.

For these guys, masturbation makes them feel good and takes away the loneliness–for a moment.

If you masturbate to fix your feeling of insecurity and isolation, then the masturbation just adds to your loneliness because you’re not receiving true intimacy when you do the act.

This is why many young men fighting for sexual purity seek support in a men’s Bible study group or a smaller accountability group with one or two other men. Having a safe place to discuss this tough issue often results in an honest exchange, although getting there can be awkward. (Another drawback of being a male is that we don’t verbalize our feelings very well.)

This should be a male friend, perhaps someone older and well respected in the church, a person who can encourage you in the heat of the battle.

As your intimacy with God grows , you’ll need less of that false intimacy. You’ll find Him to be your best accountability partner.

What helps bring true intimacy with God quickly? Worship. We were created to worship. Worship and praise brings intimacy with the Lord and ushers us quickly into His presence.

We can change our views and legalize them, therefore removing the shame.  But they’ll still ensnare us in addictive, binding cycles that isolate us in despair.

Men are sexual beings. Women are emotional beings.

For most young men, it’s a major victory to come to the point of asking for help. HAVE YOU DONE THAT YET?

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Psalm 25:21

“Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on you Lord.”

Real Christian maturity shows up in the tiniest bits of your actions. That’s true. God loves you so much. He cares about you a lot. He likes thinking about the every single detail of your life.

If you mess up, stumble and fall, just stand on your ground and draw near to Him. As long as you repent truly and with your heart desiring to be corrected, God would still forgive you. So what should be our response to God’s everlasting love and forgiveness? Let us uphold our integrity and uprightness. Let us desire for Christian maturity. Be Christlike.

Christian maturity doesn’t come in an instant. It is a process. It shows up in the tiniest bits of our actions. At first, people might not notice your maturity or Christian growth. They might still see your old self. They might magnify it in your face. That situation could possibly weigh you down. But then, let integrity and uprightness preserve you. God sees every effort you do. As the old saying states, “Do your best and God will do the rest.” Do your part in your Christian maturity. God will not let you do all the work. He is always helping you through. Do it and strive harder all for Christ. Then you’ll see the end result: Christlikeness.

It doesn’t matter if people might not see it. What matters is, God sees everything about you. Be encouraged by the fact that He sees every single effort you do, small actions that contribute to your maturity. Just remember, do not waver in doing right things. Always be at your best. Only for Christ! God enjoys you. He enjoys every good thing you do. Quit pleasing people. Start pleasing God.

This should be your prayer:

“Lord, I desire to become the reason of your smile.”

Hindi naman sa pinagtatanggol natin ang mga leaders natin about their flaws or short-comings, but we still have to choose to honor them kahit na hindi sila nakatingin.  Some may say,

“Huu… Pinagtatanggol mo lang siya kasi leader mo siya.”

Well, we can consider that as a compliment. Totoo naman eh. That’s the point. Dapat natin ipagtanggol ang ating leader sa ibang tao na hindi naman siya ganoon kakilala. Hindi naman magandang tingnan na kung sino pa ang members, sila pa ang nangunguna na i-degrade ang personality ng kanilang leader. Dapat nga tayo ang pangunahing uplifters or encouragers ng ating leader.

Naisin ng bawat Kristiyano na makitang nakangiti ang Lord dahil sa ating buhay (Numbers 6:25). Pero mainam din kung nanaisin natin na makitang masaya ang ating mga leaders dahil follower or member nila tayo. Extreme member, kumbaga.

Remember this, it is very easy to honor our leaders in front of them. It is very easy to say good things about them externally or verbally. Yet, we have the greatest opportunity to honor them kapag hindi nila alam at hindi sila nakatingin. Our response towards them basically depends upon the things we say about them internally or within ourselves.

Some reasons why we do not follow and honor our leaders:

1. “Hindi siya karapat-dapat igalang. Hindi siya good example bilang leader.”

2. “Act upon your words. You expect us to do right things, pero ikaw you go on your own way. How on earth are we going to follow you, eh, we cannot see you doing those stuff?

3. “That’s against my will. I won’t obey. All I know is you’re wrong and I’m right.”

4. “Grabe siyang magsalita. Nasaktan ako. I won’t obey ’cause I’m hurt. I’m offended.”

5. “Blood is thicker than water nga. Eh mas inuuna pa niya pamilya niya kesa sa mga tupa niya. Kung ganoon naman pala, sila na lang umatend sa church na yan.”

6. “May sariling gawain din naman ako na dapat asikasuhin. They shouldn’t expect us to always obey. It’s logical to attend to your needs first before attending to anyone or anything else.”

7. “He doesn’t even appreciate me. Napakahirap naman yata magpatuloy kung sa kabila ng ginagawa mo, eh, you’re left unappreciated. Madalas ka pang mapagalitan.”

8. “Lagi na lang tayo ang nauunang kumilos. Bakit hindi naman siya ang mag-initiate para masabing leader talaga siya.”

Ilan lang iyan sa mga bagay na tumatakbo sa utak natin when we do not want to honor our leaders. We are all guilty. We are are part of the problem. That’s why we have to take a stand and make a move. Participate in the word CHANGE. Remember this, para kanio ba ang ginagawa natin na paglilingkod? Hindi ba para sa Lord?

This is what I believe, hindi naman siguro pahihintulutan ng Lord na malagay sa posisyon ang ating mga leaders kung wala Siyang magandang plano. Hindi naman siguro sila magtatagal diyan if we will learn nothing from them as our leaders. And besides, hindi ba natin sila pwedeng i-consider, na gaya natin, nasa growing stage parin? We are not there yet? Everyone of us, even our leaders. Lahat tayo ay nasa maturing or growing stage parin. Whether spiritual, emotional, intellectual or physical maturity pa yan. We are not there yet.

Lahat tayo ay marami pang dapat matutunan sa buhay. And it’s a good thing na matutunan natin ang mga bagay na iyon with them help of one another, intentional man o hindi.

Our labor shall never be in vain, the Lord has promised (1 Corinthians 15:58). Kaya it is our obligation or duty to choose to honor them NO MATTER WHAT.

“Don’t do that.”

“But…”

“No.”

“Okay. I will obey. (I will choose to honor you)”

After a moment,

Remember the thing I said earlier? Forget about that. Just do your thing.”

“Thank you.”

See, that is how God works in you by choosing to honor your leaders.

We are part of the church. Wala tayong ibang pwedeng gawin but to support the church and its leadership and do something to contribute in the advancement of God’s kingdom.

We are part of the church and its leadership. We are to build it up and not to tear it down. We are not to bring division among the church members. Instead, let us choose to unite the church with one love coming from Christ.

Bear with one another, as the Lord commanded us (Ephesians 4:2). There is no lesser thing we can do but to adjust with the flaws and short-comings of one another. In the end, tayo-tayo lang din naman ang magkakasama sa langit. Tiyaga-tiyaga lang. The Lord sees us. God has His attention upon us. We, too, should focus our attention upon Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3).

The Youth Summit: Breakthrough Generation
San Juan Arena
December 27-28,2007

Day 1

Speaker: Rev. Joey Crisostomo
Title: Understanding the Fear of the Lord
Text: Deuteronomy 10:12, Joshua 24:14, 1 Peter 2:17

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God,                                                                                                   to walk in obedience to him,  to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

I. Kinds of Fear of God

1. Superstition
– fruit of ignorance
2. Servile
– appreciation of punishment
3. Health
– which has its spring in love and prompts to come act to affect God

II. Fear of the Lord
– a godly emotion, feeling of reverence, of awe and of respect toward the Almighty

1. Being afraid of displeasing God
– Job 1:5, Genesis 39:9

When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

2. Reverential awe of God

3. Deep and healthy respect for His character and holiness
– Fear of the Lord enjoined
> What does the Lord your God require you to fear about the Lord?
– Fear of the Lord is needed
> in good government, 2 Samuel 23:3
> in administration of justice, 2 Chronicles 19:6-10
> in serving God, Psalm 2:11
> in worshiping God, Psalm 89:7
> in living circumspectly, 2 Corinthians 7:1

III. The Fear of the Lord Described

1. It is an awesome reverence of His presence
– Exodus 34:8
2. It is clean
– Psalm 19:9
3. It is a hatred of evil
– Proverbs 8:13
4. It is wisdom
– Psalm 110:10
5. It is obedience at any cost to what God wants
– Genesis 22:12
6. It is a dedicated respect for the things of God
– Nehemiah 1:4

IV. The Fear of the Lord Obtained

1. Confess our lack of the fear of the Lord
2. Make a study of the fear of the Lord from the Word of God
–  Deuteronomy 4:10a
3. Make it a choice with our will
– Proverbs 1:29
4. Cry out to God to give us fear of the Lord
– Psalm 86:11
5. Have a proper and fresh understanding of God’s holiness
– 2 Kings 8:5
6. Know its positive results. It brings blessings, answered prayers, pleasure to God, etch.
7. Remember that it is produced in the soul by the Holy Spirit
– Acts 2:43

A short exhortation that I wrote for our prayer meeting last June 20, 2012. So here it goes…

“Experiencing Breakthrough”
Bible Verses: Judges 2:1, Isaiah 42:3, Matthew 12:20, Numbers 30:2 and James 2:10

“WHAT IS “BREAKTHROUGH?”

Experiencing breakthrough is not an easy matter, especially if we will not ask for the governing power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Besides, only God is able to bring breakthrough into our lives. So, who else are we going to rely on?

Webster’s Dictionary says that “breakthrough” means “an act or point of breaking through an obstruction (obstruct, to block or close up by an obstacle). Breaking through is an act of removing a restriction. You break through if you overcome something in your life.

Everybody wants breakthrough in their lives, right? Everybody wants to be set free from all the troubles they are experiencing. Pain and suffering are simply not on the list. Breakthrough is what we pray for.

“WHO BRINGS BREAKTHROUGH?”

God says in Judges 2:1, “The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors.'” Our God let the Israelites experience breakthrough by setting them free from slavery caused by the Egyptians. But then, it doesn’t end there. God is simply not done with them yet. God says, “I will never break my covenant with you.” It means that blessings are continuous. Heavens will be opened to them. They will be continually experiencing God’s overflowing blessings.

Before the Israelites experienced breakthrough from the Egyptians, they experienced pain, sufferings and all other struggles. What does it mean? Just as we are, most of the time, we only remember God and ask for breakthrough when we experience pain, trouble, struggles and suffering or when we are at the verge of giving up. We have the tendency to focus on ourselves rather than drawing near to God first. It is only because of the pain we know that there is the God who is only able to bring comfort to His people and to set them free.

“WHAT SHOULD WE DO TO EXPERIENCE BREAKTHROUGH?”

Let’s read Isaiah 42:3 and also Matthew 12:20. God says, “A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness, he will forth justice.” One characteristic of God that we should always be thankful of is that He trusts us and always and expects much from us. He will bring justice. He will bring hope. He will bring peace. He has put faith in our heart that no matter what happens in our lives, we could still have the courage to trust Him knowing that He’ll rescue us. He will set us free.

The thing we should do is to realize our nothingness before God. Accept that we cannot do anything in this life unless we will call on to God for help. Let us before God with a humble heart, pray, ask the Holy Spirit to come down and encounter Him. Let us encounter the Truth. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to join you as you pray for breakthrough into your life. Have these three things in you heart: faith, love and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). Sometimes, we just pray by mouth and by mind but with no heart. Useless! Faith is the key.

It reminds me of the song “Breakthrough by Don Moen.” Let us listen to it and pray along with it.

The verse part is the composer’s earnest prayer to God,

“Break through
Break through all my doubts
Break through
Break through all my fears
Break through
That I may worship You
Break through
Break through all my pain
Break through all my guilt and my shame
Break through like only You can do”

He is praying to God for breakthrough. He is earnestly praying. He is in need for God’s power. The chorus part is the composer’s declaration of God’s almighty power,

“You are brighter than my darkest night
Stronger than my toughest fight
Just one touch from You my King my Friend
And I’ll never be the same again”

Maybe, he is simply saying, “My God, this is my prayer. This is the cry of my heart. My declaration. You can do amazing things in my life. I claim it. I believe in You. You can turn my situation all around. To You I cling. I will never be the same again because of You.”

“ARE YOU READY TO EXPERIENCE BREAKTHROUGH?”

You know what, just believe and have a strong faith. Don’t give up and God will never give up on you. God is able to do some breakthrough in your life, in our lives.

We are all bruised reeds that Jesus refuses to give up on. The world thinks it knows what to do with you, break you off and snuff you out! But not Jesus. No matter how deeply bruised you are or put out you may feel today, you’re not beyond the reach of God’s grace. No matter what your situation is. No matter how difficult it is. No matter how hard it may become. It doesn’t matter. God is able to turn your life all around as long as you cling to Him. Come, He will treat you gently. He will make you whole again. You will experience breakthrough! God bless us all!

I wrote this one last year, February 11, 2012. I was just browsing through the pages of my old notebook then I found this. I wrote this when I was experiencing my emotional low or being down sloped. I’m okay now. I’m totally blessed actually. I guess, it is not too late to share this one. God bless us!

“You’re Singing the Wrong Anthem Again!”

Oh boy! I guess I am singing the wrong anthem again. What wrong anthem? I’m not on a flag ceremony. So what’s the use for to think that I am singing the wrong anthem?

Wrong anthem is when you are being off the beat in singing praises and thanksgiving to the Lord. You think you’re still on the melody but then in reality, you’re already not. You think you are still giving your best to the Lord everything you have in terms of physical worship, but when you take a deeper look, your heart is just empty. You think, everything’s already enough. The music inside of you is monotonous. Simply stagnant.

That is somehow a difficult situation. Letting people know that you’re okay and still on track but the truth is, you are seriously broken, wounded, thoughtless, pretending. Those things will surely affect the way you worship the Lord our God. People see you smile and always giving your best to the Lord with the ministry you are called at, but deep inside, something’s wrong.

You are calling on to God for help but it seems you’re unsatisfied. It seems you’re unanswered. You know that there will be answers for your prayers but knowing isn’t enough. You are longing for affirmations, for confirmations. You know what to do. You know what to say. You know what to think. But applying them? Difficult. You’ve reached your limitations. You’ve burnt out. Then what do you need? Second the motions?
“Go for it. I believe in you.”
“Go for it.”
“I second the motions!”
C’mon! I don’t need second the motions. I need real and sincere encouragements. I need a lot of them.

That’s it! I’m humming and humming my needs as if nobody hears me. But then I realized, “I’m singing the wrong anthem that’s why I should stop it. I just need to be still and be amazed by the fact that God hears the cry of my heart. He hears the cry of the broken.”

“Psalm of a Creation”
(January 20, 2013)

The psalm of my heart is to hear Your voice
In my desperation, I choose to trust You
To love You is a feeling incomp’rable
Sadness comes, but my joy is found in You

Amazing to think, as I open my eyes
Miracles are done, angels sing praises
I move toward You, to know You, my King
Every detail of me, I owe to You

In my weakness and poorness, be glorified
Let my nothingness confess Your power
Let me serve my purpose, to proclaim Your Name
To share the Good News to every lost soul

You, O God, exist to proclaim your glory
Your holiness, it brings us to our knees
I am created because of Your mercy
Your grace is enough, it keeps me breathing

To suffer is to experience Your goodness
To mourn is to be glad by Your comfort
I am secured for You’re guiding me always
With my whole being, I will praise you, Lord

Words aren’t enough, You’re indescribable
I will join with Your creation, they’ll sing
Hallelujah! To You, O Majesty
My life be surrendered to You, Lord of hosts