Posts Tagged ‘fan the flame’

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.”

I am so blessed when I watched this testimony of Yeng Constantino.   So, I decided to put it in written words!

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Stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you.
-2 Timothy 1:6 (AMP)

Kahit sa kaunting ningas na mayroon dyan sa puso mo magmumula ang naglalagablab na apoy na syang magbibigay ng sukdulang liwanag dito sa mundong nababalot ng dilim at dumadaing ng pag-asa. Umalab ka, apoy sa pusong mong lumiliyab. Kristiyanong Kabataan, kilos na!

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Testimony of Yeng Constantino in History Makers Conference “NATION TRANSFORMERS”

Date:  Dec. 21, 2011

Hi, Everyone!  Direct, okay lang kung paki close up yung t-shirt ko kasi nag-effort ako today.  Ako yung kumanta ng “How Wok Kamey, Di Kita Iiwan”.  Ako po si Yeng Constantino.  Di pa ako nagsisimulang  magtestimony, naiiyak na ako.  Ano ba ‘yan?  Ah, I like this feeling.  I feel like dancing like this.  Wait po, kuya.  Well, pa’no ba ako mag-uumpisa?

Bata pa lang po ako sobrang pangarap ko na umakyat ng entablado, merong spotlight, makita yung mga taong nakikinig sa’kin habang kumakanta ako at hindi ko nakita yung sarili ko simula nung maliit ako na papasok ako sa office at naka-yuniporme.  Hindi ko sinasabi na kung masama yun, pero hindi ko lang talaga nakikita yung sarili ko na ganun.  Bata pa lang po ako, passion ko na, yung kumanta sa harap ng salamin at hawak ko yung hairbrush ni nanay ko.  Kinakanta ko pa yung, “Love hurts”(laugh).  Paborito ko yung mga ano, eh, yung mga musikero, yung mga 80’s na parang (can’t understand).  Yung mga Aerosmith, Guns and Roses, (projected a guitar sound; laugh).  Kaya ako, kaya nagustuhan kong mag-aral ng gitara.  Pero yung nanay ko, gusto akong mag-artista.  Pwede!  Pero hindi ako mahilig mag-artista.  Pero sabi ko sa nanay ko, “Hindi, kasi, rockstar ako, eh!” (laugh).

Pero gusto ko talaga so nag-start ako sumali kahit ng mga contest.  Ah, well, siguro kung nanood kayo, sumali ako ng Star for a Million, search for a Star in a Million.  Ah, lahat ng, Starstruck.  Lahat ng may star, basta, gusto ko maging star, eh! (laugh).  Pero, lahat, lahat ng sinalihan ko natalo ako.  Hindi ako nakapasok sa lahat kahit sa second round.  Ay! Di naman pala kasi ayaw ako ni God na maging star, gusto Niya akong manalo sa PinoyDreamAcademy.  Ayun lang pala yun.  Hinde, right timing ko na si God kasi nag-usap kami ng tatay ko, sabi niya, pag, sabi ko, “Pa, bugbog na bugbog na ako.  Lagi na lang akong talo.  Wala na akong self-confidence.  Ayoko nang humarap sa mga kaklase ko, eh, kasi kapag kakamustahin ako, ‘Kamusta contest mo?’ ‘Ha!  Bye!’”.  Gusto kong umescape kasi wala akong masabe, kasi di naman ako nanalo.  Sabi ko sa papa ko, “Papa, parang pagod na ako.  Ayoko, ayoko nang sumali.”  Tapos sabi ng tatay ko sa’kin, “Kung ganyan ang paniniwala mo, sige, kung pagod ka na, kung before mag 18 ka na at hindi ka pa makapasok, sige.  Papasok ka na, mag-co-college ka na.” Gusto ko maging masscommunication na estudyante kasi ako.  Gusto ko maging journalist, gusto kong magsulat.

So, tsk, sige, pero gusto kong kumanta so nagtry ulit ako and nanalo ako sa Pinoy Dream Academy and then natupad yung pangarap ko.  Wow!  Cotton candy, sarap neto, oh!  Ang saya!   Sobrang, sobrang saya ko, kasi lahat ng gusto kasi 18 years old lang ako non, eh! Lahat ng gusto ng isang teenager, lahat meron ako. PSP, PS3, WII, ano ba yon? NINTENDO DS.  Lahat ng bagong cellphone, sabihin mo na, BLACKBERRY, IPHONE, NOKIA, SAMSUNG.  Apat-apat.  Di ko na nga magamit.  Gusto niyo?  Ayaw! (laugh)

Pero nagtataka ako, hindi ako masaya.  Minsan akala mo pag naabot mo na yung pangarap mo, magiging masaya ka na.  Pero parang kulang.  Ba’t ganun ganito ko, ah, dapat masaya ako, ah?  Ahmm, sa parking ba ‘toh?  So, iyon, sobrang nalungkot ako.  So, may isang kasama ko sa ASAP Rocks na ininvite ako sa  isang bible group.  Ininvite ako ni Sam Milby.  Feeling ko may pagtingin siya sa’kin nung mga panahon na iyon, di niya lang inamin agad.  Hehe!  Joke lang.  Pero natuwa ako kasi yung first night na pag-atend ko, sabi ko, “Sakto yung messange, feeling ko ito na yun. Ito yung kulang sa’kin, yung Gospel.”  Kaya attend ulit ako sa small group, umattend ako.  Pero bakit ganun?  Pag tinitingnan ko sila, parang alien pa rin ako.  Parang, nagtataka ako, bakit ang weird?  Yung isang ka-small group ko, kinikilig kay Jesus.  “Ha?  Kinikilig ka kay Jesus?”.  Ha?  So, duh?  Jesus?  Kinikilig? (making sound).  So, hindi ko maintindihan.  Pero, deep in my heart, I know, na parang, iyon yung dapat kong maramdaman.  So, one day, nasa kwarto ako, kinausap ko si God, sabi ko sa Kanya, “Ano pa bang maitatago ko, eh, alam mo na ngang lahat?  Kahit hindi ko sabihin.”  Sabi ko,  “Nag-aatend ako ng small group tsaka ng church, tsaka nagbabasa naman ako ng bible araw-araw.  Pero yung totoo, hindi Kita mahal.”  Iyon yung totoo.  Ginagawa ko yung pag-attend ng small group, bible study, church para i-satisfy yung sarili ko at sabihin ko na okay ako.  Pero yung totoo, hindi.  Yung binitawan kong word kay God that day, sabi ko, “Pero alam ko sa puso ko na dapat Kitang mahalin at gusting-gusto Kitang mahalin.”  Sabi ko, “Lord, baguhin mo ‘toh.  Kasi kung ito yung gusto mo, baguhin mo yung puso ko.  At alam ko na kaya mong gawin ‘yon kasi Diyos ka, eh!  Baguhin mo yung puso ko.” 

Tapos, nagbasa ako ng bible, nasa John na ako non.  Nabasa ko yung bible, John 17:24, iyon yung nagbago ng buhay ko.  Sabi ni God, sa tagalog kasi taga-Montalban ako, kaya yung binabasa kong bible tagalog.  Nung binasa ko yung bible, sabi ni Jesus, nagpepray Siya non para sa mga tao bago Siya ipako sa krus.  Ang dami Niyang sinabi, eh, “Lord I pray para sa mga disciples ko.  Lord I pray na hindi sila mag-scatter pero maging one sila, as You and Me are One.”  Pero may isang sentence don na nag-strike sa’kin, sabi Niya, “At ipinapanalangin ko yung mga taong naniniwala Sa’kin sa buong mundo.  Gusto Ko silang makasama kung saan Ako pupunta.”  Eh, kung hindi ka ba naman ma-inlove kay Jesus non.  King of kings, Lord of lords, gusto kang makasama?  Gusto kang makasa ni God.  Gusto kang makasama ni God.  Hindi lang ako.  Kaya hindi ko kayang ma-contain kung ano yung pag-ibig na nararamdaman ko.  Na kahit sinong kausapin ko, kahit sa saan ako pumunta.  Ngayon mas alam ko na yung purpose kung bakit ako nasa industriyang ito.  Kaya sila na mga nasa labas, gusto rin silang makasama ng Diyos. 

So, iyon, nagsheshare ako ng, minsan naglalunch kami ng mga Yengsters, nagsheshare ako ng Gospel.  Once a month yon, nagsheshare ako ng Gospel.  Nagulat ako, one day, may nalaman ako sa Tweeter, may bible group na sila.  So, iyon, may isa akong dinidisciple na girl.  Ayon, hindi siya girl dati, eh.  Natatawa ako sa sinabi niyang iyon sa friend naming, nagkita kame, “Hi!  Ate!  Babae na ‘ko!”  Kaya mong tulungan yung mga kaibigan mo na malaman nila yung identity nila at kung gaano sila kaganda sa mata ni God.  Di ba?! 

Ngayon, hindi pa ako naglead ng malaking small group, pero one day, gusto kong maglead.  Gusto niyong sumama?  Tara!  Masaya ako na pinakilala sa’kin ni God itong mentor ko.  Siguro kung hindi ako minentor ni Acel, para ako ngayong ano.  Para akong tambay sa kanto.  Pag mainit ulo ko, mag-iinom ng alak tsaka mag-yoyosi.  Pero hindi iyon yung gusto ni God na maging ko, eh.  At marami pang gagawin si God, alam ko.  Minsan, sumasablay pa rin ako.  Pero buti na lang, sobra-sobra yung grace ni God na kaya natin na mag-umpisa, mag-umpisa at mag-grow ng mag-grow ng mag-grow.  Mayroon kasi kaming ano, eh.  May cheer kami.  Ready na ba kayo?  “I am Acel Bisa-van Ommen.  Ako si Yeng Constantino.  A Worshiper.  A Soul-Winner.  A Disciple Maker.  And a Nation Transformer!”

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If may ma lipo kayong napuna sa pagtype ko testimony ni Yeng, open po ako for corrections!  Yung iba, parang kulang, di ko kasi maintindihan yung ibang line.  Hehe!