Posts Tagged ‘Excellence’

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?

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).

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.”

“THE ART OF COMPROMISING”

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” – James 4:17

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”John 14:15

“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”Revelation 14:12

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Our school is 30minutes away from home that’s why I have so much time to spend thinking about so many things while I ride jeepney.  One morning, I was preparing my uniform for school then I realized that my polo had stain on it.  I said, “Oh boy!  I wouldn’t wear anything that I don’t feel comfortable about.”  Then ideas had started to come from afar.  COMPROMISE!  “What are the common compromises that I make?”  I mean, really, my own compromises.

One book that I read states that, “Compromise is a killer that seems so innocent in the beginning.  Yet when you compromise and do a small thing you know isn’t right, it doesn’t stay small and end there.  It becomes easier and easier to choose the wrong path the next time around.”  It’s true.  It’s impossible to stop a habit if you wouldn’t decide to stop it now.  You can say that it would be the last but you won’t be able to do it.  Compromising is an easy way out from accepting that you’re sinning.  It always defends itself.  It always aims to blame others.  It always wants to zap the energy out of you because you are expected to put up a binder to hide yourself from corrections and rebukes.  That’s why compromising is the first sign of the hidden power of deception over you.  We will discuss about it in a while.  So, here it goes.  My list of a young man’s compromises.

1.  OUTFIT –  “If I don’t feel good about it, I won’t wear it.”
I actually don’t consider this one as a compromise. But then the idea started with it that’s why I put it on the list. It’s true. If you feel uncomfortable with the clothes or dress, you won’t definitely wear. It seems like something’s gonna come out or someone’s pinching you from the back. It seems like you’re loosing your self-confidence and you want it back. You just don’t feel good. That’s why girls have the most problems regarding with what they wear. They spend hours on their closet to pick their attire.  1 Timothy 2:9 says, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”  This one really applies to them. If they don’t feel good about it, they won’t wear it.

2. SEX – “You can joke about it, but you can never have a serious talk about it.”
“What? We’re talking about sex? Bleep! Quiet. Everyone’s gonna hear you.” We, human beings have this code called, “Sexual Code of Silence.” One book says that this code states that, “it’s okay to joke about sex or even lie about it, but other than that, it’s your solemn duty (as a male) to keep silent whenever a serious discussion about sex takes place.” Sometimes, people will evaluate a film, saying, “There’s no sex. Just some crude jokes, and that’s no big deal.” On the contrary, Ephesians 5:4 says crude joking is “out of place.” That’s the culture we must change. The reality is, we, guys are sexual beings. We are created with it. It’s a part of us. We deserve to know what’s right and true about our sexuality so we can have the greatest chance to have fantastic sexual relationships with the person we marry. Sex is a precious and enjoyable gift from God inside marriage. So, having crude jokes about sex is humiliating or dishonoring the Maker of sex. John Stott explains, “To joke about them (God’s gift including sex) is bound to degrade them; to thank God for them is the way to preserve their worth as the blessings of a loving Creator.” We shouldn’t be ignorant about this matter. We should integrate our sexuality along with the integration of our spirituality and other aspect of our lives. (Don’t worry, I will post new entry regarding this matter!)

3. CHEAT – “As long as I won’t get caught, I would still do it.”
“Oh! You cheated with your girlfriend? That’s awful. Naah! That’s cool.” Cheating is not just about cheating with your girlfriend or boyfriend, it’s about the everything we do. Cheating with your exams, with your parents, with your friends. EVERYTHING. “No one’s gonna see me, it would be the last. Naah! Kidding. I would still do it.” Webster says that, “Cheating is the getting of reward for ability by dishonest means.” You cheat because you get something. You get reward in a wrong way. You cheat because there’s pleasure and when there’s pleasure, it becomes difficult to restraint yourself from cheating. We better stop. From the smallest kind of cheating to the biggest. Proverbs 11:1 says, “The LORD hates cheating, but he delights in honesty.” Remember, cheating is still a sin so there’s no excuse for it.

4. PRIDE – “I won’t do anything until he/she does the first move.”
Boom! Shall I kill myself right now? It’s the hardest thing to do, removing off your pride so that life would be better, putting on the plain you instead of wearing your reputation. Just take it off, your pride. It messes me up so it would happen to you also. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Quit defending yourself. Accept that you’re wrong, ask for forgiveness and forgive also then be good and real to everyone.  Take a quick look at the word PRIDE.  The middle letter is “I” which simply means that when you put on your pride, the center of our life is yourself.  Your life is not about you.  It’s about God.  It’s about how you will use your life to magnify the greatness of our God.  Our life should become reflectors of His glory, not absorbers of His glory.  Remember, self-protection is a hindrance to true fellowship, an obstacle to genuine friendship.

5.  ADDICTION – “As long as I am enjoying it, I won’t stop doing it.”
This one is actually a broad topic. It can summarize everything that is written in here. You can be addicted to smoking, to drinking alcoholic beverages, to work (workaholic), to shop (shopaholic), to online gaming, to social networking and even to sex (sex addict). Addiction is a stronghold (fortress, where you feel comfortable about, where there is pleasure), a possession maybe. You enjoy bad things because there’s satisfaction. It provides you with the gratification you need. When you smoke, you feel cool, you feel hip. When you drink, it feels like you take a break from all of your problems, it boosts your spirit to get along with your life. When you commit sex outside marriage, it gratifies and satisfies your sexual needs. But then the truth is, addiction would do no good on you. All of those satisfactions and gratifications are temporary, only for a moment. In the end, it would damage you. It creates distance away from God. When you sin and keep those addictions, you will just make your distance from God longer. Isaiah 5:11 says, “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!” When you become addicted to something, it would be really hard to get along with the Holy Spirit again.

6. FAKE REPENTANCE – “God is a great God. I could do it one more time. He will forgive me, anyway.”
Oh yes! You can relate to this. We all know the bible verse that applies to this, 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Here’s the thing, “Is it for real?” I mean, “Do we confess because we really beg for forgiveness and we acknowledge our nothingness before God?” Or, “Do we just quote that Bible verse to have an escape from our wrongdoings?” You know, there’s a thin line separating foolishness and wisdom. Are we for real? Let us not waste the forgiveness and grace and mercy from God. Over and over and over again, we commit the same mistake. We keep on sinning and sinning. If we ask for His forgiveness, let us try our best not to sin again. Let us keep on being good. If we love God, we should know the truth and stop sinning. As Ru dela Torre says, “We stop sinning not because we are afraid of breaking His rules but because we are afraid of breaking His heart.”

7. PLEASING PEOPLE – “If they don’t like it, I won’t pursue it.”
Alex and Brett Harris, from their book Do Hard things,  state that, “Our mission as Christians is not to fit in. It is to be faithful on what the Bible says. It is to take a stand.” It is our duty, our mission to make known or famous the name of the Lord. Our mission is only to please God. To make Him proud on everything that we do. If we focus our attention towards other, we will be so distracted. I have this mindset, “Quit pleasing everyone. Critical people do exist. Pleasing people will keep you uptight and indecisive. It’s not about me. It’s not about us. It’s not about them. It’s all about God.” When you focus your attention only to God, you will not be distracted. You will just aim to always give your best because you acknowledge your nothingness before God. So, who deserves our best and extravagant worship? It’s God. Only Him. My goal right now is to hear these sweetest words from God, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).

There you have it. Here are just some of the most common compromises we make everyday. We better not make them. But there is one more compromise that is very difficult to remove, our Mañana Habit or Procrastination, “If I can do it tomorrow, I won’t do it today.” So real! I would rather sleep the whole day than bending my muscles to work. Which is wrong! We all better change. “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” (Proverbs 13:4)

Compromise is the first sign of deception. When you compromise and make it as your daily habit, it is already a stronghold, you are being deceived by your actions.

“THE HIDDEN POWER OF DECEPTION”

Deception is actually more dangerous than temptation. If you’re a Christian already and you fall into temptation, there will be guilt and shame feeling which will eventually lead you to repent and ask for forgiveness. On the other hand, deception is deceiving, of course. The word “deceive” means, from Webster, “to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.” It’s clear. To make the wrong thing seems like right. To accept something as true even though it’s not. You can know that you are already being deceived by your sinful acts if you make reasons such as, “There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s good actually. It’s okay. This will be the last. It’s only the first time. Don’t worry, we’re Christians already, we know how to handle this.” You see! That’s the clear picture. Don’t compromise. Don’t be deceived. Search yourself. Think again. It’s time to change your game plan.

“Christian Brothers” by Heather Arnel Paulsen

(An Excerpt from her book Emotional Purity; chapter 15, Dating Done Differently, pg. 130)

Paul wrote some wonderful advice to Timothy (a young man) on how to treat younger women—“like sisters, in all purity” (1 Timothy 5:2). The Greek word translated “all” is pas, meaning all things individually and in their totality. A man must treat a younger woman like a sister and “in all purity”. How does a brother treat his sister? I do not have any brothers, but I know that in all family situations brothers and sisters do not pay attention to one over the other, communicating feelings of “you’re special,” nor do they step over the lines of physical intimacy. They also generally have no hidden agendas; where they stand with each other is clear. Do brothers and sisters know one another? Yes. Do they care for one another? Yes. So what is Paul talking about? Paul stated that all women with whom a man comes in contact must be treated with “all purity”. Only God can give the green light to take the relationship to another level of intimacy. And when God gives the green light, purity remains in its proper place.

(You can read chapter 1 of the book for this part)

Some of you may say Mike treated Tracy as a sister, but did he really? He set her apart, made her feel special, and without even knowing it took over her thought life. IN A PHYSICAL SENSE HE DID TREAT HER PURELY, BUT WHAT ABOUT HER EMOTIONS? He was not up-front with his intentions. If he had been, she might not have become so taken with him. Now Tracy allowed herself to become worked up with Mike, so we cannot put all the blame on him. She could have ask him to define their friendship. They had CLOSENESS but no COMMITMENT. He was taking away emotions that should have been saved for her husband.

Since the husband is the head of the wife, he is responsible for sticking his neck out and being held accountable. When an unmarried man sticks his neck out with a young lady, he is preparing himself for the role God has assigned to him IN MARRIAGE. Christ put His life on the line, with no guarantee that we would respond. What a great life lesson men can learn in taking the initiative in relationships.

My Manifesto with God

I, undersigned, commit before Jesus, my Lord and Savior, before man and my peers and my church mates, that I will withhold myself from entering into a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship for one (1) year because I would like to give my undivided attention to loving and serving God. This means that;

1. I will abstain from courtship and dating.
2. I will abstain from sexual intercourse, petting, necking, kissing (on the lips), and any indiscreet contact with any person.

I believe that as a Christian and as a child of God, I want to serve Him and sanctify my body, soul, and spirit for the glory of God.

Signed this _________ day of ______________, ________ at _____________________________________. This MANIFESTO is effective until _______________________, _______.

_______________________
Signature
Over Printed Name

Person/s I’m accountable to;

_______________________
Youth Leader/Ministry Head

_______________________
Best friend/Prayer Partner