The Bachelorette: Reflections of Living a Christ-Like Life

This article is about professing Christians entering into the public eye through ABC’s The Bachelorette. Before discussing the ramifications of what happened on the show, I will attempt to establish the Biblical responsibilities of being a Disciple-maker to teach new converts the way of Christ in order to avoid these types of blunders.

Discipleship is one of the most important things to be involved with in Christian ministry. By being a teacher and leader of the gospel of Christ, this sometimes involves focusing on lifestyles of professed Believers, not judging them, but bringing to their attention how to live a Christian lifestyle as opposed to allowing them to continue in a lifestyle that is unholy. A new Christian may not know nor understand sin in their life. They may only be what we call a “Baby Christian,” but has never grown into a “Mature Christian.” If a person accepts Jesus as one’s Savior but then never really studies the Word of God, they will have stunted growth in their faith walk with Christ.

If we read 1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” New Believers are like infants and they need to be fed spiritually. They do not automatically know how to live the Christian lifestyle. Peter uses this imagery of new birth as mentioned in 1 Peter 1:23, “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” New Believers are “born again.” They are “babies” in Christ. In order for their faith to grow in understanding on how to live a life of Christ, they must be spiritually fed. As Peter writes, as a newborn baby drinks the milk of his or her mother, a new Christian should have the same yearning for spiritual food.

Mature Christians should be teachers of God’s Word to these new converts by discipling them with teaching that is pure and nourishing based on God’s Word. Look in Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Again, although milk is nourishing for infants, the author of Hebrews desires that his readers become mature Christians in which solid food is more appropriate. The maturity needed to grasp Christ’s priestly ministry consist of a spiritual discernment which comes from consistent obedience to God’s will.

Paul wrote in Philippians 1:9-11, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Paul is telling the Philippians through his prayer for them that the Christian faith which is knowledge and discernment, comes to expression through Christian love and behavior that is pure and blameless. It is important to note that through discipleship, the teaching of a new convert is important so that they will grow into mature Christians and not stay as infants on spiritual milk.

As I mentioned in the second paragraph, Discipleship is very important in helping a new convert in their daily walk with Christ. It is important to help them grow spiritually and to pour into them the gospel and ways of God. It is my hope that this article will bring to light what Christians should be doing when they profess Christ in public and then act in a different manner in the public arena.

As most of America watched most recently was the journey of Hannah B on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” Hannah was looking for a husband. She was a professed Christian on the show and was immediately attracted to a man who also proclaimed to be a Christian by the name of Luke P. What they had in common was that they both professed Christ as their Savior. I do not think they realized that their lives would be so scrutinized by their actions on the show or how the show portrayed each of them. Their lives were under a constant microscope through the social media platform as well as the viewing television public. Choices made as well as actions on both parts lead to an ugly public break-up. Both had admitted that when they came on the show, neither were virgins. Luke admitted that after his conversion to follow Jesus, that he chose to remain celibate until marriage. It appears that the show made Luke out to be a “bad” Christian with camera shots of Luke’s anger and clenched fists.

In contrast to Luke, Hannah’s profession of faith was tainted with nude bungee jumping with a man, having sex four times with Peter in a windmill, spending the night with Peter in the “Fantasy Suite,” spending the night with Jed in the “Fantasy Suite,” and admission to Luke that she had sex twice with one of the other men (Peter), and that “Jesus still loves me.” These are just a few of the things that Hannah admitted to on the live show. She never had sex with Tyler, one of the three remaining contestants on the show.

Hannah ended up picking Jed, which he in turn proposed to her and she said “yes.” She later found out that Jed had slept with his former girlfriend the night before he came on the show. Hannah later broke off the engagement and gave back the engagement ring to Jed. On the live show, Jed was interviewed with Hannah and was shamed in his action of coming on the show and having a girlfriend.

Now do not get me wrong, this article is not meant to “shame” Hannah or Luke, but is written with hopes of bring to light how this generation views Christianity but does not follow God’s way of life. Unfortunately, the American Church has not done a very good job in discipling new Believers and are not feeding their congregants with solid spiritual food. As pastors, ministers, and disciple-makers, we must get back to basics and teach and preach the solid Word of God and not a politically correct watered down version of it. I truly believe that the reason that many young adults today are falling away from the Church is because the sound teaching is no longer being preached and taught from the American pulpit. That in itself is another story.

Recently on Twitter, I saw a Tweet about Hannah and Jed from the show and she shamed Jed in his multiple hookups with women prior to coming on the show. The problem I see here is that although she is judging Jed in his own sin, her sin is not addressed and her lifestyle does not match up with that of a Follower of Christ. The relationship with Jed, although at one point was intimate, was a throw away relationship when it came to light of Jed’s sin. It is hard to understand that if there is a true love relationship, forgiveness is not granted, therefore breaking up with the man she said that she loved and she had given herself to him.

Before the engagement, she had had carnal knowledge (sex) with Peter four times in a windmill. Having sex before marriage and in a dating relationship is called fornication and is as bad as adultery. As for a true love relationship, a true born again Christian would save himself or herself for marriage. Certainly, our society today may not live up to this because Christian leaders do not teach young people about sex, purity, and the righteous way to live holy lives based on the gospel of Christ.

A true Christian does not brag about how many times one has sex with a person or uses phrases like “Jesus still loves me” after admitting to committing fornication (sex before marriage) or adultery. This poses a flawed theology of the professing Believer. Jesus does love everyone and He wants a true relationship with all who come to Him. But don’t think that being promiscuous and willfully committing a sexual sin doesn’t mean that God will honor that behavior. On the contrary, that behavior causes a separation in our walk with God.

God’s grace is not cheap! Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by living a life in “willful sin.” If you love God and you call yourself a Christian, one would not want to brag about sin, but strive to please God through holy living, living a life of Christ, according to His guidelines, through His grace, love, and mercy.

Speaking the truth about how Jesus taught us to walk and live as a Christian Believer should not offend those who proclaim to be Followers of Christ. After all, Discipleship is teaching others how to walk and live the Christian life. As a minister of the gospel of Christ and a Disciple-maker, I will question those who willfully sin and attempt to disciple those so that they will fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Paul wrote in Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” But this Scripture does not give us a pass or an excuse to continue sinning. We are to strive to live holy lives pleasing to the Lord. We are not to willfully sin and be proud of it. The Bible is very clear in Hebrews 10:26-27, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”

If you are a new Christian, but have fallen back into sin, you can come back into a full relationship with Jesus by confessing your sin and asking Jesus to forgive you. Living the life of Christ can be difficult since our human bodies are designed in carnality, but through the Holy Spirit, He will lead and guide you as you study God’s Word. It is time to grow up into the man or woman God has called you to be, and that is through being spiritually fed with solid spiritual food as opposed to spiritual milk.

I will close with this one last piece of advice coming from Ephesians 4:17-32, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.  They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.  They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  But that is not the way you learned Christ!—  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Photo Credit: PEXELS, Hassan Ouajbir

Copyright © August 3, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Pornography: An Epidemic on Social Media

Were you aware that on Twitter, pornographers following account users are posting lewd and graphic images? I most recently reported four separate Twitter accounts which I thought violated the Terms of Agreement at Twitter. Unfortunately, four days later as of the writing of this article, Twitter has only acknowledged the reporting of these accounts but has done nothing to take them down. Every pornographer that follows me on Twitter, I block because one, I do not want them contacting my own followers; and two, these pornographers really do not actually look at my content because their posts are computer generated.

What concerns me the most about many social media platforms is their lack of taking action against pornographers. Were you aware that the pornographers within the United States are the largest producer of pornography in the world? Parents, your children are on social media. You may think that a particular social media platform is an innocent place for your children to post, but every type of sexual perversion you can imagine is out on these platforms following your kids. There are sexual predators trying to either lure your children to have sex with them or hook them on pornography. We have not even scratched the surface of how sexual predators lure your innocent children from your homes to meet up and before you know it, the kids have been abducted.

According to a study conducted by Proven Men Ministries, in 2014, 1000 adults across the nation took a survey about sexual behavior. Out of that survey, 388 were self-identified Christian men.  “Out of this segment, 97% of these Christian men admitted to viewing pornography. 80% of these men do not have or use a filter to block internet pornography off computers or cell phones. 78% of these men viewed porn before 16 years of age. 28% viewed porn before 12 years old. 55% of married men view pornography at least once a month. 32% between the ages of 18-30 think they are addicted to porn. Another 12% did not know for sure if they were addicted to porn. Not only can pornography be addictive, but it can lead to extra-marital affairs, which in turn will most likely lead to divorce.” See the following link for the full report: https://www.provenmen.org/pornography-survey-statistics-2014/

The statistics mentioned are just a few of the problems caused by pornographers. Parents, I am pleading with you. If you truly love your children, buy filters for computers that block pornography and do not buy your children smart phones as you cannot regulate what they view on most smart phones. Discuss sex with your children and talk about the consequences of porn addictions and premarital sex. If you would not give your child a loaded handgun to play with, why would you give them a smartphone so that all this evil can be downloaded into their phones and destroy their innocence and life? Once they have viewed these lewd and graphic images, they will not be able to forget them.

What does the Bible say about sexual immorality, adultery, and temptation?

Sexual Immorality:

1 Corinthians 6:9, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality.”

1 Corinthians 6:13, “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

1 Peter 2:11, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”

2 Timothy 2:22, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

Colossians 3:5, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

Ephesians 5:3, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Galatians 5:19, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality.”

Temptation:

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”

Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with my eyes, not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

James 1:14-15, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Psalm 119:37, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

Adultery:

Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery.”

Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Ephesian 5:11-12, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”

Consequences:

Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.”

1 John 3: 4-10, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

Proverbs 7:21-27, “With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.  Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.”

Psalm 119:9-10, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart, I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!”

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Conclusion

Parents, if you love your children, protect them from the evils that lurk across the internet. Pornography can steal the innocence of your children. Adults, viewing pornography can cause a division in your fellowship with God. I urge you to repent from your sins immediately and stop looking at pornography. Please don’t allow pornography to destroy your life as well as the life of your wife and children. Pornography is a tool of Satan to cause division between you and God. If you are addicted to porn, I urge you to seek counseling immediately. Finally, this is for the women and men who work in the porn business. Please repent from your sin and come to Jesus and ask forgiveness. Then never go back to work in this industry. This industry is destroying lives and families. Stop allowing Satan to use your bodies and images to destroy your life as well as other people’s lives. I pray that God will change hearts and people will repent from their wicked ways. You will never find fulfillment in participating in porn, whether you are in the sex trades or if you are viewing it. It will only lead you to hell! Only faith in Jesus Christ can change your lives and give you forgiveness, love, satisfaction, and peace.

References:

Proven Men Porn Survey (conducted by Barna Group), located at https://www.provenmen.org/2014PornSurvey/

Photo Credit: Pexels

Copyright © June 1, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Pray?: Politicians Curse Prayer

Most recently, I read a news article on CBN News, written by Will Maule, Faithwire, “’We’re Not Going to Give Thoughts and Prayers’: 2020 Candidate Cory Booker Curses Prayer,” dated May 14, 2019. Maule wrote, “Democratic hopeful Corey Booker has issued some harsh words of criticism to those who vow to send ‘thoughts and prayers’ in the wake of mass shootings.” Maule wrote that other Democratic politicians have called that prayer is basically ineffective and Booker called it “Bulls**t!”

You can read the entire Will Maule article here: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

Let’s discuss for a moment the impact of what these politicians are saying. The Bible is very clear concerning the action of praying to God for help. An author by the name of J.C. Ryle wrote in the 1800’s the following, “I have looked carefully at the lives of believers in the Bible. I cannot find a single one (where we know something of their lives) who was not a person of prayer. Quite the opposite. It is often said of the godly that they ‘call on Him as Father’ or ‘call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ we are told that the wicked, on the other hand, ‘do not call upon the Lord.’”[1]

Ryle took this statement from the following scriptures: 1 Peter 1:17, “And if you call Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” Psalm 14:4, “Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the name of the Lord?”

Anyone who professes to be a Christian and then tells the world that he will not pray and encourages others not to pray does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ or with the Father. This person is separated from God. When one becomes a Christian, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, who in turn teaches the new convert how to pray. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and does not pray has no true relationship with God. Ryle wrote, “The Holy Spirit makes us new creatures and adopts us into God’s family, and He leads us to cry out to Him, ‘Abba Father.’”[2] Let’s look at Luke 18:7, “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them?” Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father.’”

The Bible is full of encouraging promises to those who pray. I will list a few to consider:

Matthew 7:7-8, ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 21:22, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

John 14:13-14, “13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

These were just a few encouraging promises to pray. Now, let us look at what prayer did for those in need and during times of peril.

In the Bible, prayer opened the Red Sea when Pharaoh was chasing the Israelites down after they left Egypt. The Israelites were going towards the Red Sea and they started crying out to God for help.  In Exodus 14:16-17, “Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:21-22, “21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

Ryle wrote, “Prayer brought water from a rock (cf. Numbers 20:1-13); Bread from heaven (cf. Exodus 16); Prayer made the sun stand still (cf. Joshua 10:1-15); Prayer brought fire from the sky onto Elijah’s sacrifice at Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:36); Prayer overthrew armies (cf. 2 Kings 19:20-26); Prayer has healed the sick (cf. Matthew 8:5-17); Prayer has raised the dead (cf. John 11:38-44); He never stopped giving until Abraham stopped praying (cf. Genesis 18:16-33).”[3]

Let us not forget that prayers were answered and Israel won the Six Day War back in June of 1967. God continues to answer prayer today.

For a man or woman that curses prayer and encourages others not to pray, in my opinion, those are not the words of one who has a true relationship with God, with Jesus Christ.  As J.C. Ryle wrote, the wicked does not pray to the Lord.

Folks, we are living in a time where Christianity is on attack. Please join me in prayer to pray for our leaders, that God will change and transform their hearts and that they will come to know the loving and saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are living in a time where spiritual warfare is real and what we fight as Christians are not of this world. See Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

 

References:

CBN News, May 14, 2019, http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

[1] J.C.Ryle, Do You Pray? A Question for Everybody (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2018), 14.

[2] Ryle, Do You Pray?, 13.

[3] J.C. Ryle, Do You Pray?, 26.

Copyright May 19, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I Used to Love My Neighborhood!

I used to LOVE my neighborhood! That was until I experienced people complaining on their neighbors for minor violations and want the Board to do something about it!  These complaints ranged from their neighbor’s dogs pooping in their yards to people driving by or walking by someone’s home and measuring the height of their grass to overnight parking violations on the street. What has happened to society where they do not have love and compassion for others? Maybe that person whom one is complaining about their grass height has had a medical emergency and cannot cut the grass every week! Have people heard about talking to their neighbors and politely asking that they don’t allow their dogs to poop in their yards?

When people begin to drive around or walk around looking for violations, then it makes the neighborhood feel like a hostile place to live. I know that there are many people who may not identify themselves with the Bible or Christian values, but most religions have some sort of moral code to live by or some sort of honor and decency. Instead of being the “HOA Covenant Police,” try talking to your neighbor. I can assure you that your neighbor would appreciate hearing it from you than getting a “formal letter of action” from the HOA.

If someone is in need, has anyone heard of reaching out and offering them a helping hand? If someone’s grass is too high and the homeowner has had a medical condition, instead of complaining on him or her, why not offer to cut their grass? Random acts of kindness are so beautiful in a world and culture that is full of extremism, hate, and selfishness. I understand that there are HOA rules, but talking to your neighbor is better received than complaining on them behind their back!

Try building a relationship with your neighbor and showing some compassion to others. People are hurting and need love and support. Be a good neighbor, someone the community can look up to! What caused me to write this post was that I was copied in on an email on yet another complaint about one of my neighbors. I used to be the Vice-President of our HOA, but wanted to resign after serving only three months. It’s amazing how the actions of a few can destroy living at peace with your neighbors.

The Bible says in Matthew 22: 34-40, “34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

If you love God, then you will love your neighbor. Not loving others will separate us from God. Loving your neighbor means that you want the best for them. It means that you have the very best intentions for them. It means that we show grace to others. Philippians 2:13 states, “or it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Being a good neighbor means that you have compassion for others instead of sitting and watching and judging! Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Loving your neighbor means that you will serve them. See Matthew 20:28, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Serving others with kindness in your hearts shows that you actually love your neighbor. Loving your neighbor means that you will also forgive them. See Matthew 18:21-22, “21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

I LOVE my neighbors and would do what I can for them! I pray that these few people will start to have compassion for others. Do I really hate my neighborhood? No! I LOVE my neighborhood, but I grieve for those who do not have love and compassion in their hearts. Many may not know the Savior of the world! I pray that they will change their hearts and come to know the love and grace that can only be found in faith in Jesus Christ.

Copyright April 26, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Please Pray for God to Send Someone to Witness to My Best Friend!

I told her that I would not pray for that. Instead, I told her that I would pray for her, that the Holy Spirit would lead her to share her faith with her friend.

About a year ago, a lady asked me to pray for God to send a person to witness to her best friend. I told her that I would not pray for that. Instead, I told her that I would pray for her, that the Holy Spirit would lead her to share her faith with her friend. The lady looked at me in astonishment! You see, she had never been challenged by anyone to share her own faith with another person.

The Bible teaches us that we are all called into priesthood. Look at 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Jesus commanded His disciples to take the gospel to Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world. Jesus was not just speaking to His disciples, but to all Christians throughout time. Look at Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

As a Christian, you are filled with the Holy Spirit, which gives you the power to be Christ’s witness. You have all the tools to share your faith. If you say that you are not confident to tell people the right things, let me just say that it is YOUR responsibility to learn how to do this. As a Follower of Jesus Christ, it is not an option, but a commandment that we spread the Good News of Jesus Christ not only to our friends but throughout the entire world.

The tools you have at your disposal is the Holy Spirit, who is the “Teacher, Jesus Christ” and you have the Word of God which is the Holy Bible. I challenge every Believer to get into God’s Word, study, and learn the essential Scriptures to share Jesus without fear and with confidence.

Here are the Scriptures I would like for you to learn and memorize:

Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:3, “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Once you have shared these Scriptures with a person, then ask them if they would like to ask Jesus into their heart? If they say they would, then you pray with them. You could pray a prayer like this: “Dear Father, I have sinned against you. I want forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again. Father, I give you my life to do with as you wish. I want Jesus to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus name, Amen.”

If you pray this with a person that you are sharing the gospel with, if they also pray this prayer and really mean it in their heart, they will be saved. If they choose not to pray, but would like to think about it, don’t argue with them or feel pressure for “you to succeed.” It’s NOT about YOU! It’s about JESUS, the SAVIOR of the World. All you can do now is to pray for that person and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to that person’s heart. You have done your part by sharing the most important gift that you could ever share with anyone.

Remember, the person you want God to send to witness to your best friend might just be YOU! God has already called YOU to share your faith. You don’t need to ask your pastor, deacon, or elder to do your job anymore. You have the ability to do it.

I will pray that Jesus, through His Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you to share your faith without fear and without reservation. Be bold in your faith. Remember, someone once shared the Gospel of Christ with you!  What are you waiting for? Get off the pew and go forth and take the Gospel out the church doors and into the marketplace and community.

Copyright © April 7, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Are You Being Fed Biblical Truth by Your Pastor?

So many times, we hear about people stating they do not want to go to church because the pastor makes them feel guilty or that when he preaches, they feel like that he is talking about them.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 Preach the Word

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

When Paul wrote this passage in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, he was writing to Timothy, to give him personal encouragement relating to the works of a minister of the gospel. Paul knew that this may be his last letter to Timothy considering his execution was soon. He wanted to give Timothy guidance for the post-apostolic age.

There is no other way to preach the Word of God except in truth. Paul’s intention was that Timothy not fall short by preaching what congregants wanted to hear but preaching sound teaching of Jesus Christ. Notice in verses 3 and 4, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” We are seeing this in today’s American Church, pastors are watering down the Word of God, teaching prosperity gospel and heresy. Paul specifically stated that we are to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” as written in verse 2.

So many times, we hear about people stating they do not want to go to church because the pastor makes them feel guilty or that when he preaches, they feel like that he is talking about them. Were you aware that the reason you may feel that way is because the Holy Spirit may be convicting you of your way of life, your sin, your attitudes, your sinful self? For people to only want to hear what makes them feel good is a sign that they have not fully embraced God’s teaching. It appears they are asserting what they want to hear as opposed to hearing from God the true version of the gospel.

What nerve congregants have, to dictate to their pastor in how to teach them? I have been in a church previously where a few people wanted “their church” run a certain way. They were not open to the advancement of the gospel. They only wanted to do it “their way.” They wanted their ears tickled with a gospel that only suited their way. If the pastor tried something different in what he preached, they ran him away. They basically wanted a “puppet” to preach what they wanted to hear, pleasant to the ear, not much condemnation, a “feel good” pastor. These types of pastors, “puppet men and women,” who are not teaching and preaching “true” Biblical Truth, will potentially be leading their congregants astray and possibly to hell.

A pastor is to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” They are to teach and preach the Bible. The opponents to this are guided by the “slanderer, the evil one, the prince of this world, Satan himself.” Yes, we live in a society where congregants have itching or tickling ears. Look at verse 3 again, “but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” Are you in a church where the pastor preaches a watered-down version to tickle the ears of his or her members?

The same goes when we as the Church should be taking the gospel into our communities. Are we sharing a watered-down version of the gospel to the lost? The Bible teaches that we are to love our neighbor, but do we truly love them if we keep our mouths closed and not share the gift that Jesus has given to us because we do not want to offend anyone? Has the Politically Correct movement affected our pastors and ourselves so much that we are afraid to speak the gospel with boldness for fear of being called hate mongers?

The point here is that we as well as our pastors should be teaching true and sound Biblical truth to people whom we come in contact with. Tickling their itching ears to hear what suits them because they are living in sin is not what Jesus Christ called us to do. If someone is living in sin, then we as Followers of Christ, as well as our Pastors must be teaching truth to those who are lost, and disciple those after they convert to Christ. That is what we are called to do as Followers of Jesus Christ and as Ministers of the Gospel. I pray that you will be bold in your faith and teach and preach God’s Truth with boldness and with love.

Copyright March 27, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Knight in Shining Armor or Full Armor of God

While on Twitter this past weekend, I came across a Tweet that made a profound statement. Liz @krazy4ujc wrote, “Women don’t need a knight in shining armor. They need a man covered in the full armor of God! There’s a difference!”

What a profound statement! There are men and women seeking spouses that may not be what they proclaim to be. In a dating relationship, what kind of man or woman are you seeking? If you are a non-believer in Jesus Christ, then I pretty much know the type of person you are seeking, which most likely would not be a Follower of Christ. But if you truly are a Follower of Christ, are you seeking someone who is a solid Christian, on fire for the Gospel of Christ, and shows in his or her lifestyle that they are fully engaged in their faith?

I would hope that you are looking for a man or woman that loves Jesus with all their heart, spends time in prayer, and studies the Word of God every day. These people are fully involved in their faith and they live it each day.

In contrast, “your knight in shining armor” may be a weak-minded individual who is spiritually deficient and lives by the world’s standards. They may claim to be a Christian, but in reality, they are weak and fall into carnal snares very easily because they are not grounded in God’s Word and truth.

Look at what God’s Word says about a man or woman who is walking with Christ. These people are putting on the full armor of God as written in Ephesians 6:10-20.

The Whole Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

The whole armor of God makes a difference. Let’s say that a woman is looking for a Christian man to marry, that man should be fully engaged in his faith. When he has the full armor on, he can withstand the spiritual attacks that may come his way. I will use The Reformation Study Bible Concordance to explain what the Whole Armor of God is.

In verse 6:13, “Paul compares the whole armor of God with that of weapons of a Roman foot soldier with a number of Old Testament images of God, or Messiah as a warrior. (See Isaiah 11:1-5) Strikingly, what is said of God and the Messiah in the Old Testament is applied to believers.”[1]

In verse 6:14, fastened on the belt of truth means, “The Roman soldiers leather belt supported and protected his lower abdomen, gathered his tunic together, and held his sword. Paul seems to have in mind the confidence that comes from certainty about the truthfulness of God’s Word.”[2]

The breastplate of righteousness means, “Believers are protected by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (Rom. 4:6-11; Phil. 3:9), and they can stand up to the accusations of the devil, whose title in Greek means ‘slanderer’ (Rom. 8:31-34). Simultaneously, Paul sees believers taking on righteous character of Christ while their growing conformity to His image gives them confidence in resisting temptation. This piece of armor is what God prophesied to wear in judging and defeating the enemy in the latter-day battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor of God’s righteousness in Christ.”[3]

In verse 6:15, shoes for your feet means the following. “This is a clear allusion to Isaiah 52:7. Paul has in mind a messenger who takes the gospel to others. The image here is of the Roman soldier’s sturdy sandals, which gave him stability and protection in battle, so that Isaiah has been combined with this Roman background. Ironically, the peace that comes from the gospel readies one for war against evil. Isaiah 52:7 prophesied that in the end-time restoration of Israel there would be peace, and this restoration has begun in Christ and all who identify with Him.”[4]

In verse 6:16, the shield of faith is described as the following. “The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body; it was made of wood, covered in animal hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before battle, it could extinguish arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze. In the Old Testament, the Lord is the ‘shield’ of His people.”[5]

In verse 6:17, the helmet of salvation is described as the following. “This part of the armor is what God was predicted to be wearing when He would come to judge and defeat the opponent in the end-time battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor in Christ. For Paul, salvation is a present experience as well as future hope (1 Thess. 5:8). The believer’s final ground of confidence is the faithfulness of God to complete the salvation He has begun (Phil. 1:6).”[6]

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The one offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal is compared to the Roman sword, short and designed for hand-to-hand combat. Jesus used the Word of God in His battle against temptations of Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). The Lord was prophesied to make the mouth of His Messianic Servant like a sharp sword (Isaiah 49:2; cf. Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15). Christ has begun to fulfill this prophecy at His first coming (Rev. 1:16, 2:12, 16) and the prophecy will be completed at Christ’s final coming (Rev. 19:15). Christ’s followers also have this offensive weapon when they believe in Christ and come into union with Him.”[7]

In verses 6:18-20, “The battle theme in this passage ends with an urgent call to militant prayer (‘Keep Alert’) on behalf of all believers and on behalf of Paul’s ministry (Col. 4:2-4). It is possible that, together with ‘the sword of the Spirit,’ prayer is one more offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal.”[8]

Although Liz posted on Twitter that women should be looking for a man who puts on the whole armor of God, I would also include that men should be looking for women to put on the whole armor of God as well. If one marries a man or woman who is not as strong in the faith, then your marriage is not equally yoked. Yoked means that you are on the same level as your spouse. Take for example a farmer plowing his fields. Before the day of the tractor, a farmer used two oxen to plow his field. The farmer would place a harness and yoke on the two oxen to keep them together. If the harness and yoke were not properly aligned, then the movement of the oxen would be off kilter and therefore they would be unequally yoked. The same applies in relationships and marriage. If one spouse is living her life for Jesus every day and her husband is not taking an interest in Christian Spiritual matters, then that marriage is unequally yoked. In order to be on the same level, there must be commitments of both spouses to spend time with God, together in prayer, reading daily in the Bible, and getting involved and engaged in the Gospel of Christ.

If you are not married and are in a relationship with someone who is not a Follower of Christ, I would suggest putting off any wedding plans until you both are on the same level in your faith. It will make a difference in your marriage and in your life.

I want to thank Liz @krazy4ujc on Twitter for this profound and inspirational post. I would highly recommend that you follow her on Twitter.

References:

[1] R.C. Sproul Ed., The Reformation Study Bible, (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015) 2101.

[2] Sproul, Reformation Study Bible, 2101.

[3] Ibid., 2101.

[4] Ibid., 2101.

[5] Ibid., 2101.

[6] Ibid., 2101.

[7] Ibid., 2101.

[8] Ibid., 2101.

Copyright March 26, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Cancer: We had the cure but we killed it!

As I was praying this morning for a friend who is having bladder cancer surgery today, I asked God why hasn’t there been a cure for cancer? With all the bright minds and God given talent and intellect, why hasn’t the cure been found? Then I felt God telling me, “I have given you the cure for cancer as well as cure for all the dreaded diseases! Mankind in their finite wisdom and selfish ways have murdered the ones who had the knowledge and intellect to develop the cure for all the dreaded diseases! Mankind has murdered over 54 million babies through abortion, therefore killing the very people that I gave the gift and talent to end cancer.” This was such an impression in which I felt God was speaking directly to me.

The facts are the over 54 million babies have been brutally torn apart out of the womb because of the belief of “Pro Choice!” The Bible is very clear in God’s Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). We have been a selfish society, who have murdered well over 54 million babies. I can almost imagine hearing the cries of the innocents! Cries of over 54 million children. Some of these children had the knowledge and intellect and the key to the cure of cancer. Many were great leaders who had God given talent of discoveries which would have made the world a better place to live. But mankind killed their own and destroyed most of the God given talent.

We live in such an evil society where many of the leaders in our nation do not “truly” believe in God. Many say that they are “Christians,” but this is only because they want votes from whoever they can please. These leader’s lives and their choice in how they make laws does not match up to the plumb-line of what God has given mankind as a guide to live holy lives. They cater to what their constituents want as opposed to leading in a godly manner. There is no value in Biblical truth since the Ten Commandments or any image thereof has been ordered to be removed because man does not want to be reminded of God’s laws and requirements. The Political Correctness movement has been authored by Satan himself. Followers of Political Correctness assert that pastors who preach and teach against political correctness are inciting hatred. What was considered deviant behavior is now considered normal and what was once considered Holy is now considered hate. We live in a world where mankind has rebelled against God and His ways. The Politically Correct will no longer tolerate God or any of His teaching. The evil one is alive and doing very well in the United States as well as throughout the world. Our politicians are not hearing God but listening to the voice of the prince of this world.

God gave us the cures and the very best talent. Unfortunately for mankind, we killed it through over 54 million abortions. Over 54 MILLION INNOCENTS, destroyed in the most horrific ways imaginable. The promoters of abortion are likened to the NAZI Regime of World War II, where over SIX MILLION Jews were murdered. Since the world found out about this horrific war crime against an entire race of people, they attempted to put an end to genocide. Margaret Sanger was the first woman to start an abortion clinic in the United States. Yes, mankind in their finite wisdom, thinking that abortion and the killing of innocents is their god given right and been misled by the voice of the prince of this world!

We had the cure, but didn’t give it a chance to develop and grow up into the woman and man that God had given us. These babies would have grown up to be the very best leaders, doctors, and researchers. Their lives and talent, lost forever. We had the cure but we killed it!

Copyright © March 15, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Millennials: Why Are They Leaving the Church?

Most recently, while reading through comments made by people I follow of Twitter, I read the following comment from a 26-year-old female. “From now on, I’m not replying to criticism. The churches obviously don’t preach the truth anymore, there’s way too many patting on the back and tickling ears going on. That’s why I don’t go. I just read my Bible and pray for understanding.”

My reply to her Tweet was, “Please be open to find a church. The Word states do not forsake the assembly. There are Bible believing churches. Send me a PM and I will help you find a church in your area. Blessings! See Hebrews 10:25.” Hebrews 10:25 reads, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Many others responded similar responses.

Her response back to everyone, “I’m sorry to have to say this, but if anyone has one more know it all thing to say, I’d rather that you didn’t reply to me at all. I don’t want to hear it. I’m fed up with your attitudes, none of you know me in person. I hate sounding mean, but do what you tell me and judge yourself.”

I did respond back to her, apologizing if I had over stepped in my comment. I said that I would pray for her and that I would ask the Holy Spirit to go and minister to her.

After reading this, it has made me wonder why many Millennials feel this same way? As a transformed man of God, I love people and genuinely care for their souls and their well-being.

The Bible is very clear that we as Followers of Christ are not to forsake the assembly. Let us review some Scriptures that deal with attending church and meeting on a regular basis so that we might encourage one another.

Hebrews 10:24-25, “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Ephesians 4:11-13    And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[a] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[b] shall not prevail against it.”

Acts 9:31-32, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

2 Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Attending church is vital for one’s growth as well as encouraging one another. It is essential to our walk with Christ. The Gospel is for all to hear and we as Followers of Christ are all called to priesthood, to take the Gospel and share it with others. See 1 Peter 2:5, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Church needs people who will come and contribute, not only their tithes, but more of themselves for the cause of Christ. If you want to see change in the church that you yourself criticize, then you need to become engaged so that you can help bring to light what you find offensive or what you deem to be a fraud. Please do not judge all assemblies and congregations by only one or two pastors who may be teaching heresy. Yes, the “Truth” should be taught and preached. Anything else is heresy. If it does not match up to Scripture, anything else is heresy. Yes, I said heresy several times. Hopefully, it will be driven home!

As I was writing this piece, the young lady responded back and wrote, “It’s not your fault, there was some others that offended me, it wasn’t you. God bless you brother.”

What I do know is that young people are leaving the Church. What they are embracing is not Christianity. We as Christian leaders must do a better job in reaching these people for Christ. We must be teaching and discipling young people with the truth of the Gospel, not some watered-down version to tickle the ears of congregants. If we truly want to see Millennials come back to the Church, we better start taking seriously what Christ has called us all to do, not just sit in the pews as the status quo, thinking that is the Pastor’s job! No, you are wrong in that thinking! It is EVERY CHRIST FOLLOWERS JOB! It’s time to get off the pew and get to work! Don’t be known as a sleeping church, but as a Body of Christ that is on fire for God.

John 4:35, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” The fields are ripe for harvest. Stop preaching sermons that tickle and fancy others with a political correct message, but preach and teach TRUTH, the Gospel of Christ, God’s TRUTH!

You can follow this author at @JosephTLee on Twitter or on Facebook @JosephTLee777.

Copyright © March 12, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times; a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pornography Addiction: There is Hope

You see, no one really knows how pornography will affect them until they start to view it. Some people can become addicted because they are basically looking for the next sexual fulfillment. When they achieve that through masturbation…

Overnight on Twitter, I was followed by three pornographers. As a rule, I do not allow pornographers to follow me on Twitter or any other social media. I can hear what you are about to say next? “But you are in ministry! You should allow them so that they will hear the Word of God.” The facts are that these accounts are not real people but the pornographers themselves. These accounts most likely contain malicious viruses that are meant to steal your identity and information. Not only that, but delving into pornography can become an addiction for both men and women. Viewing it can destroy marital relationships and you could become estranged from your family. If you view it, you in fact are supporting sexual slavery and human trafficking.

According to www.ProvenMan.org, “approximately two thirds (64%) of U.S. men view pornography at least monthly.”[1] Pornography (Porn) addictions is known as a process addiction which can affect an individual in a negative way. According to www.RecoveryConnection.com, “A general definition of any addiction is behavior repeated over and over again despite negative consequences to oneself or others. … Pornography addiction, a type of process addiction, is predicated upon an ever-growing need to see sexually explicit images. … Statistics indicate that a large percentage of those who suffer from a pornographic addiction, including internet porn addiction, will suffer the loss of a marriage and career. Similar to what occurs in drug and alcohol addiction, neurochemical changes occur in the brain which contributes to the maintenance of the pornography addiction.”[2]

The signs and symptoms can be found on the Recovery Connection website. According to the website, the consequences of porn addiction include destruction of intimate relationships, self- shame and guilt, loss of a career, interference of work or school, financial problems, promiscuity which can lead to sexual encounters with others and sexually transmitted diseases.[3]

On a spiritual level, addiction and the mere viewing of porn can lead to a separation of a full relationship with God. According to www.ProvenMen.org, “There are three ways that porn will affect your relationship with God. 1. Unrepentance prevents your spiritual growth. 2. Secret sin subverts God’s will. 3. Lordship requires surrendering fully to God.”[4] According to Peter in The Didache, I.4, “Abstain from carnal and bodily lusts,” II.2, “…Thou shalt not commit adultery, sodomy, and fornication,” III.3, “…be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication and adultery.”[5] The Didache were the teaching of the Twelve Apostles and referenced Peter’s teaching in God’s Word.

I have known men as well as women who were addicted to porn. Their lives were rooted in sexual deviant behavior in which caused broken relationships, divorce, and even attempted suicide. They were so hooked on viewing sexual images, that they continued down a path of destruction to the next thrill and persuasion. One such person was an acquaintance of mine who was in law enforcement. This guy was also a photographer. He started out photographing strippers and was in fact producing pornographic images. He ultimately lost his job as a police officer, his wife divorced him, and he ended up marrying an exotic dancer. He became estranged from his faith in God and he ended up becoming an alcoholic because his world fell apart.

You see, no one really knows how pornography will affect them until they start to view it. Some people can become addicted because they are basically looking for the next sexual fulfillment. When they achieve that through masturbation, then many times they may become depressed because the act of masturbating to a sexual image has stolen the joy of a true relationship with their spouse. Over time, what may have aroused them before may no longer arouse them. Their next step may be to view more deviant images or even act out a fantasy.

Pornography is a tool of Satan. The facts are that Satan will use whatever he can to destroy lives, deceive Followers of Christ, tear apart families, and tear down and obliterate martial relationships. Satan is a liar and a deceiver. We live in a world where what was once considered deviant behavior is now normal according to the world’s standards. We live in a world where God and Jesus Christ is not loved and worshipped, but where everything should be accepted because after all, we don’t want to offend anyone. This last statement is another lie from the evil one. Porn should be considered vile and evil because it defiles marriage and invites evil into your life.

What does the Word of God say about this?

Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

2 Timothy 2:22, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”

Proverbs 6:25, “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.”

Galatians 5:16, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Romans 8:6, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

James 1:14-15, “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Pornography is a tool authored and used by the evil one, the prince of this world. There is hope. You must take a step of faith to ask God to forgive you of this sin. Once you have done that, then you need to take a second step. I would encourage you to reach out to www.ProvenMen.org for help. Not only can they help you but they will partner with you in overcoming this addiction. God uses Christian men and women to help others to not only come to Christ but overcome their sexual addictions. Please don’t allow pornography to rule your life. Make a change today.

If you want to pray and ask Jesus into your life and heart, just stop right now and pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I am not worthy of you. Lord Jesus, I want you to come into my life and into my heart. Please forgive me of my sinfulness against you and my Heavenly Father. I ask you to come into my life and forgive me. In Jesus name, Amen.

References:

[1] www.ProvenMen.org

[2] RecoveryConnection.com, https://www.recoveryconnection.com/addiction-resources/other-addictions/pornography/, retrieved February 15, 2019.

[3] RecoveryConnection.com.

[4] ProvenMen.org, https://www.provenmen.org/pornography-affect-relationship-god/.

[5] The Didache, http://www.thedidache.com/

Copyright © February 15, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.