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beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
God’s Relationship To His Children – Psalm 103


Psalm 103 has been a Scriptural refuge for many in troubled times as God showers His children with blessings.

Forgive and Forget
Want to know about God’s relationship to His children? Read Psalm 103:2-4 which says,“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.”Of course, blessing the Lord’s name means giving Him thanks, praise, and honor for all the kind things He’s done. He sent Jesus to redeem us from destruction (John 3:16-17), and crowned us with His steadfast love, by which His mercy is revealed. He not only forgives our iniquities or inequalities before a holy God, falling infinitely short of His glory (Rom 3:23), but Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many who would trust in Him (Mark 10:45).

Judgment
Next we read that “The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6), although that justice may not come until Jesus’ arrives (Rom 12:17-19), but thankfully, He is giving the lost time to repent, as “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8), however, “He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever” (Psalm 103:9), so there comes a time when judgment comes. For those who trust in Christ, our sins have been dealt with, but God will still discipline every child He loves (Heb 12:5-6). For those who reject Christ, their judgment comes after their death (Heb 9:27), during the resurrection of the unjust at the Great White Throne Judgment (Dan 12:2-3; Rev 20:12-15).

Unfathomable Mercy
The Lord God is abundant in His mercies, as “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). We naturally want to pay back people for what they’ve done to them, and using the same scale that they offended us, but God didn’t give us what we deserved. He gave us what we needed, and that’s because “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (Psalm 103:11), and “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us”(Psalm 103:12). East and west never meet like north and south do (at the equator), so our sins are never seen again, but that’s only because, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). And as any human father would in dealing with his children, God regards our frailty because “he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

Dust to Glory
Next, David writes that man’s “days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more” (Psalm 103:15-16), but there is one thing that remains; “the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103:17), however it is only “to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments” (Psalm 103:18). David is not saying that the children of God are saved by keeping the commandments but the children of God will strive to obey God’s commandments because they are saved (1 John 2, 3)

Bless the Lord
If we bless the Lord, we can easily number things in the hundreds, so we might begin to pray and bless God’s holy name by thanking Him for His forgetting all of our iniquities and forgiving all our sins. We can bless His name for that justice that’s coming in the form of His righteous judgment, when all things will be accounted for.

The Apostle Paul wrote that God “will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rom 2:6-8), so it is not for us to be jury, judge, and executioner in our minds when we look at people. God’s got this, and not even one idle word or one evil deed will be overlooked at the judgement. Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt 12:36-37). This shows that words we speak are words we’ll be held responsible for. Deeds we do are deeds we’ll have to give an account for.


Conclusion
If you have never put your trust in Christ, then you are not a child of God. The Bible never calls unbelievers His own children. You are either for Christ or against Christ. There is no neutrality possible with Jesus, so even if you are undecided, you are against Him. Those who reject Him and those who are on the fence about Him will all be cast into the lake of fire, so today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2).

Tonight or tomorrow may be too late. Believers and unbelievers both will all have to “give an account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12); for the saved, it will be a loss of rewards, but for the lost, it will be as Paul said: “there will be wrath and fury,” but that’s totally unnecessary. If only you would place your trust in the Son of God. Whoever comes to Him will not be turned away (John 6:37-39), so if you have ears to hear, listen to the Savior as He says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst”(John 6:35). Both “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Rev 22:17). Even Isaiah the Prophet beckons us to come from man centuries ago, writing, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“Good Master.”

Matthew 19:16

If the young man in the gospel used this title in speaking to our Lord, how much more fitly may I thus address him! He is indeed my Master in both senses, a ruling Master and a teaching Master. I delight to run upon his errands, and to sit at his feet. I am both his servant and his disciple, and count it my highest honour to own the double character. If he should ask me why I call him “good,” I should have a ready answer.

It is true that “there is none good but one, that is, God,” but then he is God, and all the goodness of Deity shines forth in him. In my experience, I have found him good, so good, indeed, that all the good I have has come to me through him. He was good to me when I was dead in sin, for he raised me by his Spirit's power; he has been good to me in all my needs, trials, struggles, and sorrows. Never could there be a better Master, for his service is freedom, his rule is love: I wish I were one thousandth part as good a servant.

When he teaches me as my Rabbi, he is unspeakably good, his doctrine is divine, his manner is condescending, his spirit is gentleness itself. No error mingles with his instruction—pure is the golden truth which he brings forth, and all his teachings lead to goodness, sanctifying as well as edifying the disciple.

Angels find him a good Master and delight to pay their homage at his footstool. The ancient saints proved him to be a good Master, and each of them rejoiced to sing, “I am thy servant, O Lord!” My own humble testimony must certainly be to the same effect. I will bear this witness before my friends and neighbours, for possibly they may be led by my testimony to seek my Lord Jesus as their Master. O that they would do so! They would never repent so wise a deed. If they would but take his easy yoke, they would find themselves in so royal a service that they would enlist in it for ever.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
On a dark winter’s night as the chill wind blew
on a park bench an old man there lay

Tattered and torn, tired withered and worn
he’d not eaten for more than a day

Heartache and fears and much sadness and tears
was his life – fate had dealt a poor hand

He thought once or twice of the terrible price
he’d paid not obeying God’s command

Way back in his youth he was taught gospel truth
and the Spirit had led him to preach

But judging was he – the way things ought to be
so instead he decided to teach

He made a good start and he had a kind heart –
untold were his many good deeds

Yet often he found – one who’d pray and kneel down
but he couldn’t attend their soul’s needs

A college professor he’d been for a while
but soon the years took a sad toll

Divorce – loss of wealth – no job and poor health
had left just a bum – growing old

He lay there in pain – a slight drizzle of rain
most certain he’d freeze to the bone

As he thought of the past- a deep sigh came at last
he guessed he’d just die there alone

Then, strangely appeared, a man standing quite near
He asked, “may I sit for awhile?”

And though it was dark – in his eye was a spark
and his face bore a kind loving smile

He said, “Sir I perceive that you didn’t receive
all the good things God planned for your life;

By the look on your face I can somehow retrace
that you’ve lived through much anguish and strife.”

“God’s judgment won’t count all the sins you repent
and it’s never too late to restart –

So kneel here with me and together let’s see
if God will re-enter your heart;

Together they prayed and a long time he stayed –
A soul was reborn on that night

Then as suddenly he came – he was gone with no name
He’d vanished completely from sight

A brown bag he’d brought of food the old man sought
was all that remained at his side

The food warmed his body – the words fed his soul
Now Christ. . . . within him . . . . did abide

The brown paper sack on the park bench there
had these words – written with love-

“God sent His Son . . . . . . .and He also sent me”
“And a little . . . . . .manna from above.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“Who healeth all thy diseases.”

Psalm 103:3

Humbling as is the statement, yet the fact is certain, that we are all more or less suffering under the disease of sin. What a comfort to know that we have a great Physician who is both able and willing to heal us! Let us think of him awhile to-night. His cures are very speedy—there is life in a look at him; his cures are radical—he strikes at the center of the disease; and hence, his cures are sure and certain. He never fails, and the disease never returns. There is no relapse where Christ heals; no fear that his patients should be merely patched up for a season, he makes new men of them: a new heart also does he give them, and a right spirit does he put with them. He is well skilled in all diseases.

Physicians generally have some specialty. Although they may know a little about almost all our pains and ills, there is usually one disease which they have studied above all others; but Jesus Christ is thoroughly acquainted with the whole of human nature. He is as much at home with one sinner as with another, and never yet did he meet with an out-of-the-way case that was difficult to him. He has had extraordinary complications of strange diseases to deal with, but he has known exactly with one glance of his eye how to treat the patient. He is the only universal doctor; and the medicine he gives is the only true catholicon, healing in every instance.

Whatever our spiritual malady may be, we should apply at once to this Divine Physician. There is no brokenness of heart which Jesus cannot bind up. “His blood cleanseth from all sin.” We have but to think of the myriads who have been delivered from all sorts of diseases through the power and virtue of his touch, and we shall joyfully put ourselves in his hands. We trust him, and sin dies; we love him, and grace lives; we wait for him and grace is strengthened; we see him as he is, and grace is perfected for ever.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“Received up into glory.”

1 Timothy 3:16

We have seen our well-beloved Lord in the days of his flesh, humiliated and sore vexed; for he was “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He whose brightness is as the morning, wore the sackcloth of sorrow as his daily dress: shame was his mantle, and reproach was his vesture. Yet now, inasmuch as he has triumphed over all the powers of darkness upon the bloody tree, our faith beholds our King returning with dyed garments from Edom, robed in the splendour of victory. How glorious must he have been in the eyes of seraphs, when a cloud received him out of mortal sight, and he ascended up to heaven!

Now he wears the glory which he had with God or ever the earth was, and yet another glory above all—that which he has well earned in the fight against sin, death, and hell. As victor he wears the illustrious crown. Hark how the song swells high! It is a new and sweeter song: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, for he hath redeemed us unto God by his blood!” He wears the glory of an Intercessor who can never fail, of a Prince who can never be defeated, of a Conqueror who has vanquished every foe, of a Lord who has the heart's allegiance of every subject. Jesus wears all the glory which the pomp of heaven can bestow upon him, which ten thousand times ten thousand angels can minister to him.

You cannot with your utmost stretch of imagination conceive his exceeding greatness; yet there will be a further revelation of it when he shall descend from heaven in great power, with all the holy angels—“Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” Oh, the splendour of that glory! It will ravish his people's hearts. Nor is this the close, for eternity shall sound his praise, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever!” Reader, if you would joy in Christ's glory hereafter, he must be glorious in your sight now. Is he so?
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
Even if......

Your heart is breaking
Your mind is unclear
You're tired and restless and full of fear
Come to me-

even if
You say words you shouldn’t
You don’t do things you should
You doubt and try to change,
but never think you could.
Come to me-

even if
You thought an evil thought
You thought the thought again
You turned the thought to action and now your bound in sin.
Come to me-

even if
You say “But I knew better, I belong to you”
Child, I am not surprised by anything you do.
I made you in my image I fashioned you with care,
When you cried tears into your pillow, remember I was there.
I have always been and always will I be.
For even when you do those things, you still belong to me.

Even if you do these things, Oh child, don’t you see?
Even if, even if, you still can come to me.
There is a secret place I have created where you may seek my face,
this place I have for you is called “The Father’s Warm Embrace”

And when I have held you in my arms and rocked you, listening closely to your fears,
I will place you on my lap and wipe away your tears.

Then, I will smile. A smile to let you know I am pleased.
For when you hurt and when you sinned, still- you came to me.
So, do not draw back from me my child,
I am Abba Father to you, remember in my word I said -Behold,
I make all things new.
I will forgive you, heal you, restore you,

I will shower you with grace.
I will never turn my back to you, but you will see my face.
On your journey home, when I see you I will run…..
Even if, Even if, My child, even if just come.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
5 Important Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled By Jesus

There are hundreds of prophecies in the Bible about Jesus Christ, but here are 5 important Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled during His earthly ministry.

Born of a Virgin
When Judah and King Ahaz were in peril from both the king of Syria and the king of Israel, Isaiah went to comfort Ahaz with the news, “do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah” (Isaiah 7:4), and Isaiah even asked King Ahaz to ask for a sign for confirmation, but King Ahaz refused to ask for a sign, saying, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test” (Isaiah 7:12), so God gives one anyway, and it’s surprising that it would be the one.

It refers to the Messiah Who was prophesied to be born of a virgin, and some 800 years before His birth! Isaiah wrote that “the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Of course, this was fulfilled in Matthew 2:21-23 where Matthew even quotes Isaiah 7:14, and Immanuel, which means “God with us,” and He is still with us with us today and forever (Heb 13:5).

Rejected by His Own
This prophecy came true at the cross where Jesus “was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12), and before His own people, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Isaiah’s prophecies were fulfilled precisely as He wrote they would happen: “He was despised and rejected by men,” and “he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (53:3), and so “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him”(John 1:11). Even today, people are still despising Him and rejecting Him.


Betrayed
Psalm 41:9 prophesied of Christ that “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me,” and that was fulfilled at the moment when Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss” (Luke 22:48)? This was also foretold by Zechariah (11:12-13) where there is a reference about thirty pieces of silver, which was about the price of a slave, and this act was done in the house of the Lord, and later, these returned pieces of silver would be given to the potter. Judas received thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus (Matt 26:14-16), but when Judas regretted his actions, he returned the silver coins, but “the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money. So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers” (Matt 27:6-7).

Pierced Hands and Feet
Psalm 22 is about the crucifixion as the psalmist wrote, “they pierce my hands and my feet”(22:16), and Jesus lived to have this fulfilled. After Jesus died on the cross, Thomas doubted that He would have ever been raised from the dead, even saying, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25), but when Jesus appeared to Thomas, Jesus told him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.

Stop doubting and believe”
(John 20:27). At some point, everyone will know of Jesus’ existence and omnipotence, but they won’t like it. The Apostle John wrote, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Rev 1:7). Scripture tells us the certainty that, “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Rom 14:11). It doesn’t matter what we believe or feel like. It matters what God’s Word says. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess at Jesus Christ’s appearance. No exceptions.

Buried with the Rich
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would make “his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” (Isaiah 53:9a), and even though “he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9b), Jesus was still despised and rejected by most of His own people. That’s why He “was cut off out of the land of the living,” (Isaiah 53:8). Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Matthew where he wrote that “there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away” (Matt 27:57-60).


Conclusion
There are many other prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament, some yet to be fulfilled, but many already have been. For example, while Jesus hung on the cross, the psalmist wrote,“they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:18). Matthew records the fulfillment of this when writing, “And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots” (Matt 27:35).

Clearly, Jesus is the long-prophesied Messiah Who “was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5a). John saw it all. He was an eye witness to it and wrote, “This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24), so with authority, John could write, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life” (1 John 1:1).
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
Butch and Eddie


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier.

Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mothership, he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese Zeroes were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie and the fleet was all but
defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor, could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch weaved in and out of the now
broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the Zeroes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese
squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation’s highest military honors.

And today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

Story number two:

Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was, however, notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Easy Eddie was Capone’s lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good! In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big; Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block. Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddy did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddy saw to it that his young son had the best of everything; clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn’t give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son: a good name and a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him. He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done.

He would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Scar-face Al Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. But more than anything, he wanted to be an example to his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and hopefully have a good name to leave his son.

So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.

I know what you’re thinking. What do these two stories have to do with one another? Well, you see, Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“He that loveth not knoweth not God.”

1 John 4:8

The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ, and the yielding of his affections to Christ in return. First, faith sets her seal upon the man by enabling the soul to say with the apostle, “Christ loved me and gave himself for me.” Then love gives the countersign, and stamps upon the heart gratitude and love to Jesus in return. “We love him because he first loved us.”

In those grand old ages, which are the heroic period of the Christian religion, this double mark was clearly to be seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men who knew the love of Christ, and rested upon it as a man leaneth upon a staff whose trustiness he has tried. The love which they felt towards the Lord was not a quiet emotion which they hid within themselves in the secret chamber of their souls, and which they only spake of in their private assemblies when they met on the first day of the week, and sang hymns in honour of Christ Jesus the crucified, but it was a passion with them of such a vehement and all-consuming energy, that it was visible in all their actions, spoke in their common talk, and looked out of their eyes even in their commonest glances.

Love to Jesus was a flame which fed upon the core and heart of their being; and, therefore, from its own force burned its way into the outer man, and shone there. Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of all genuine Christians. Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because of their love to Christ they did much, and it is the same now. The children of God are ruled in their inmost powers by love - the love of Christ constraineth them; they rejoice that divine love is set upon them, they feel it shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto them, and then by force of gratitude they love the Saviour with a pure heart, fervently. My reader, do you love him? Ere you sleep give an honest answer to a weighty question!
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
To my Husband’s Ex-Wife

I wrote this poem for someone who has became a very, very dear friend to me. My husband’s ex-wife. We chose to forget the past and to give each other a fresh start, just as Jesus did for us.

You cannot judge another when you look beyond what’s seen.
For out of hurt and anger, we do things that we don’t mean.

But in the eyes of forgiveness, there’s always a ray of light,
A chance to make things better, a chance to make things right.

For when you choose the path of love and refuse to act in hate,
You’ve started down the wonderful road that leads straight to Heaven’s gate.

From time to time as you travel that road, God gives you a special friend.
One who knows you in and out and stays through thick and thin.

I thank the Lord every single day for putting us on the same road.
You always lift my spirits and help to lighten my load.

It’s true they say our friendship’s rare, some even call it weird,
how the two of us have done this thing that others tend to fear.

We’ve looked beyond the picture painted by strokes of hurt and tears,
and chose to look toward the future, seeing many happy years.

There’s no need to question our friendship. I know why we’re so close.
Because when God gives a gift, it’s never the least. He always gives the most.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“Are they Israelites? so am I.”

2 Corinthians 11:22

We have here a personal claim , and one that needs proof. The apostle knew that his claim was indisputable, but there are many persons who have no right to the title who yet claim to belong to the Israel of God. If we are with confidence declaring, “So am I also an Israelite,” let us only say it after having searched our heart as in the presence of God.

But if we can give proof that we are following Jesus, if we can from the heart say, “I trust him wholly, trust him only, trust him simply, trust him now, and trust him ever,” then the position which the saints of God hold belongs to us—all their enjoyments are our possessions; we may be the very least in Israel, “less than the least of all saints,” yet since the mercies of God belong to the saints as saints , and not as advanced saints, or well-taught saints, we may put in our plea, and say, “Are they Israelites? so am I; therefore the promises are mine, grace is mine, glory will be mine.” The claim, rightfully made, is one which will yield untold comfort.

When God's people are rejoicing that they are his, what a happiness if they can say, “So am I !” When they speak of being pardoned, and justified, and accepted in the Beloved, how joyful to respond, “Through the grace of God, so am I .” But this claim not only has its enjoyments and privileges, but also its conditions and duties. We must share with God's people in cloud as well as in sunshine. When we hear them spoken of with contempt and ridicule for being Christians, we must come boldly forward and say, “So am I.” When we see them working for Christ, giving their time, their talent, their whole heart to Jesus, we must be able to say, “So do I.” O let us prove our gratitude by our devotion, and live as those who, having claimed a privilege, are willing to take the responsibility connected with it.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
Wisdom and Understanding from Him
God Gives Wisdom and Understanding

Then shall we know,
if we follow on to know the LORD.

Hosea 6:3 KJV

__________________

My people shall know my Name;
therefore they shall know in that
day that I am He that doth speak.

Isaiah 52:6 KJV

__________________

I thank thee o Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent and hast revealed them unto babes.

Matthew 11:25

__________________

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an
understanding, that we may know Him that is true; and we are in
Him that is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ.

1 John 5:20

__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.



Meditation 6/3 - 6/9: His Judgements are True Ps 19:8-10 MSG
God's Judgements Are True

The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.

The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.

God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.

God's Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.

Psalm 19:7-10 The Message
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“Be zealous.”

Revelation 3:19

If you would see souls converted, if you would hear the cry that “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord;” if you would place crowns upon the head of the Saviour, and his throne lifted high, then be filled with zeal. For, under God, the way of the world's conversion must be by the zeal of the church. Every grace shall do exploits, but this shall be first; prudence, knowledge, patience, and courage will follow in their places, but zeal must lead the van.

It is not the extent of your knowledge, though that is useful; it is not the extent of your talent, though that is not to be despised; it is your zeal that shall do great exploits. This zeal is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: it draws its vital force from the continued operations of the Holy Ghost in the soul. If our inner life dwindles, if our heart beats slowly before God, we shall not know zeal; but if all be strong and vigorous within, then we cannot but feel a loving anxiety to see the kingdom of Christ come, and his will done on earth, even as it is in heaven.

A deep sense of gratitude will nourish Christian zeal. Looking to the hole of the pit whence we were digged, we find abundant reason why we should spend and be spent for God. And zeal is also stimulated by the thought of the eternal future. It looks with tearful eyes down to the flames of hell, and it cannot slumber: it looks up with anxious gaze to the glories of heaven, and it cannot but bestir itself.

It feels that time is short compared with the work to be done, and therefore it devotes all that it has to the cause of its Lord. And it is ever strengthened by the remembrance of Christ's example. He was clothed with zeal as with a cloak. How swift the chariot-wheels of duty went with him! He knew no loitering by the way. Let us prove that we are his disciples by manifesting the same spirit of zeal.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
We All Worship Something


Over at The Atlantic, there is an interesting article by Sigal Samuel about the religious nature of many atheists in America. Yes, you read that right, religious atheists. Of course, there is a good bit of provocative overstatement in the title. The actual demographic that Samuel is referring to is the much-discussed “nones” category. This is a larger umbrella term for anybody who does not subscribe to a defined religious tradition or denomination. Atheists, agnostics, apatheists (those are simply apathetic about the divine), and the spiritual-but-not-religious crowd all fall under this umbrella. While it easy to assign people to one of two categories of belief, either occupying a defined religion/denomination or an atheist/agnostic, the actual distribution of religious belief in the Western world is much more complex; indeed much messier.

As Samuel notes in the article:

First, researchers confirmed the widely known fact that, overall, Americans are much more religious than Western Europeans. They gauged religious commitment using standard questions, including “Do you believe in God with absolute certainty?” and “Do you pray daily?”

Second, the researchers found that American “nones”—those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular—are more religious than European nones. The notion that religiously unaffiliated people can be religious at all may seem contradictory, but if you disaffiliate from organized religion it does not necessarily mean you’ve sworn off belief in God, say, or prayer.

First of all some of the questions in the research survey are problematic in their wording. For example: believing in God with “absolute certainty.” From an epistemological standpoint here is hardly anything that we as finite humans can hold with 100% certainty aside from logical and mathematical axioms and that Friends is an objectively worse show than Seinfeld. We live and interact on the basis of trust and reasonable confidence in our lives.

This includes everything from trusting that our friends and family will continue to love us when we wake up tomorrow, to the very fact that our mental faculties represent the world to us in a generally accurate sense. Humans live and think on the basis of trust and gradations of confidence. Thus a better way of wording such a question would be something along the lines of “Do you believe in God with a strong/reasonable amount of trust/confidence?” This would potentially expand the amount of people in religious demographics as it allows for people who experience doubts and uncertainties to still identify as religious. But I digress about the riveting topic of census data.

The more important point of the aforementioned quote from Samuel comes in the last line: “The notion that religiously unaffiliated people can be religious at all may seem contradictory, but if you disaffiliate from organized religion it does not necessarily mean you’ve sworn off belief in God, say, or prayer.” Part of this has to do with the strange nature of American religiosity.

Despite what many fundamentalists might say, America has never been an officially Christian nation. All but a handful of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were deists, Unitarians, or some stripe of heterodox religionists. The very wording of the Declaration makes reference only to a general “Creator” or “God.” It says nothing about the Triune God of orthodox Christian confession.

While America is not a Christian nation, it has always been a very religious nation. The enshrinement of religious liberty in the First Amendment of the Constitution bears witness to this. The rise of offshoot heterodox religious sects and traditions (the Shakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons) as well as spiritualist movements (everything from Transcendentalism to the seance craze of the 19th and early 20th centuries) bears witness to the fusion of religiosity and the pluralistic marketplace in America. This religiosity, it seems, persists even with many professes non-believers. Again, Samuel:

America is a country so suffused with faith that religious attributes abound even among the secular. Consider the rise of “atheist churches,” which cater to Americans who have lost faith in supernatural deities but still crave community, enjoy singing with others, and want to think deeply about morality. It’s religion, minus all the God stuff. This is a phenomenon spreading across the country, from the Seattle Atheist Church to the North Texas Church of Freethought. The Oasis Network, which brings together non-believers to sing and learn every Sunday morning, has affiliates in nine U.S. cities.
All of this American religiosity is in stark contrast to Europe, where all demographics, both religious and “none,” are fare less religiously and spiritually inclined. Indeed, as Samuel notes in the article, many Europeans identify as Christians more out of ethnic loyalties and origins (paradoxical as that is for a faith born out Second Temple Judaism, that worships a Galilean carpenter, and that was distinctive in the ancient world for its diminution of existing ethnic categories) than out of actual religious belief. Again, Samuel:


The Pew survey found that although most Western Europeans still identify as Christians, for many of them, Christianity is a cultural or ethnic identity rather than a religious one. Sahgal calls them “post-Christian Christians,” though that label may be a bit misleading: The tendency to conceptualize Christianity as an ethnic marker is at least as old as the Crusades, when non-Christian North Africans and Middle Easterners were imagined as “others” relative to white, Christian Europeans. The survey also found that 11 percent of Western Europeans now call themselves “spiritual but not religious.”

So what it is the takeaway from all of this for those of us who are confessing orthodox Christians of one stripe or another? First of all it is important to understand what all of this entails for Christian witness and mission. It means that we cannot address the post-Christendom West as though it were simply a non-believing culture. Instead we have to reckon with a spiritual landscape that is both secular and religiously pluralistic.

The way Christians bore witness to their faith in the religiously-diverse Roman world is a better model for us than that of 17th, 18th, and 19th century missions. Second, it reminds that everyone, be they atheist, Christian, spiritual-but-not-religious, etc. worships in some way. It is actually innate for humans to be religious in some form; it is secularism and non-belief that must be learned.

David Foster Wallace, the famed and tragic late writer, spoke very eloquently of this in his famed Kenyon College commencement speech in 2005. It has been quoted often since then, but it is worth quoting again in relation to this article:

Because here’s something else that’s true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.

What DFW spoke then, and what this recent survey Sigal Samuel reports on now, reminds us that everyone worships. The question then is not “Should we worship?” but “What/Whom should we worship?”
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
The love story

He was born in a stable,
He was sent down in love,
He was humble as a lamb,
Yes, He was gentle as a dove,

In miracles He was able,
but He can save souls too,
For that is what Jesus came for,
The work of God to do.

He was twelve years old in the temple,
Oh such a little lad,
At Him, the elders were amazed,
To see what gifts He had.

As He grew, nourished in God’s love,
He preached the Golden Rule,
He said “Love your neighbor as yourself,
use prayer as a tool.”

With three rusty nails, life would end,
But on the third day, begin.
He said, “Father, please forgive them.”
A plea much souls to win.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?”

2 Samuel 9:8

If Mephibosheth was thus humbled by David's kindness, what shall we be in the presence of our gracious Lord? The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. Eminent saints have scarcely known to what to compare themselves, their sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen. “I am,” says holy Rutherford, “a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able to step over a straw.” In another place he writes, “Except as to open outbreakings, I want nothing of what Judas and Cain had.”

The meanest objects in nature appear to the humbled mind to have a preference above itself, because they have never contracted sin: a dog may be greedy, fierce, or filthy, but it has no conscience to violate, no Holy Spirit to resist. A dog may be a worthless animal, and yet by a little kindness it is soon won to love its master, and is faithful unto death; but we forget the goodness of the Lord, and follow not at his call. The term “dead dog” is the most expressive of all terms of contempt, but it is none too strong to express the self- abhorrence of instructed believers. They do not affect mock modesty, they mean what they say, they have weighed themselves in the balances of the sanctuary, and found out the vanity of their nature.

At best, we are but clay, animated dust, mere walking hillocks; but viewed as sinners, we are monsters indeed. Let it be published in heaven as a wonder, that the Lord Jesus should set his heart's love upon such as we are. Dust and ashes though we be, we must and will “magnify the exceeding greatness of his grace.” Could not his heart find rest in heaven? Must he needs come to these tents of Kedar for a spouse, and choose a bride upon whom the sun had looked? O heavens and earth, break forth into a song, and give all glory to our sweet Lord Jesus.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
Forgive and Forget


(Mat 18:23 NIV) “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

(Mat 18:24 NIV) As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

(Mat 18:25 NIV) Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

(Mat 18:26 NIV) “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’

(Mat 18:27 NIV) The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

(Mat 18:28 NIV) “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

(Mat 18:29 NIV) “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

(Mat 18:30 NIV) “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

(Mat 18:31 NIV) When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

(Mat 18:32 NIV) “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.

(Mat 18:33 NIV) Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’

(Mat 18:34 NIV) In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

(Mat 18:35 NIV) “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Sitting at my computer, looking out the window I see a small part of Gods’ plan. Thinking about forgiveness was something that I had a hard time with. I had been hurt very badly in the past and to be honest I didn’t want to let go of the hurt. Revenge was a big part of my life for the longest time. I would sit for hours thinking of different ways to get back at those that hurt me.

The one thing that always brought me back to forgiveness was my wife telling me to forget and let it go. Forgiveness isn’t something that you just have, you must be taught it and then practice it. I got a lot of practice with my own children. LOL Some times with children forgiving becomes a daily act. What we’re not told is that along with forgiving we have to forget. What good is forgiving someone if you keep bringing up why you forgave them. It’s like you really never forgave them in the first place.

Today I practice both forgiving and forgetting. It has made my life so much simpler. Today I sit back and let God lead. As I once heard it said, “When I first came to believe God was in the passengers seat. After I learned, I moved over and now God drives.” God has way more to show me then I ever had to show Him. So if you are having trouble struggling with forgiveness, keep reading and rereading the verses above and maybe one day they’ll make Perfect sense to you too.

(Mat 18:21 NIV) Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

(Mat 18:22 NIV) Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
“He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.”

Isaiah 40:11

Who is he of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd . Why doth he carry the lambs in his bosom? Because He hath a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts his heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of his flock draw forth his compassion. It is his office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak. Besides, he purchased them with blood, they are his property: he must and will care forthat which cost him so dear. Then he is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of his glory and reward.

But how may we understand the expression, “He will carry them”? Sometimes he carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them. Often they are “carried” by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know. Frequently he “carries” them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands, and believingly runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.

“He carries the lambs in his bosom.” Here is boundless affection. Would he put them in his bosom if he did not love them much? Here is tender nearness: so near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is hallowed familiarity: there are precious love-passages between Christ and his weak ones. Here is perfect safety: in his bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first. Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
I’m Sorry

I am so sorry for everything wrong I say.
I know its a mistake after I do it.
I never meant it to come out that way.
Wait, this is something I must admit.

I said I was sorry but it wasn’t enough.
I tried my best to explain.
I said it out of anger, not out of love.
Can’t we just start all over again?

I don’t know how to tell you what I feel.
I can’t imagine what I would do with out you.
You keep me sane and you keep me real.
You are that light that keeps me true.

I understand if you want to ignore me.
I never meant to hurt you in anyway.
I mean it when I say I’m sorry.
Please forgive me for the wrong things I say.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
How Can I Overcome Addictions? What Does The Bible Say Can Help?

It seems like addictions are growing as are the number of things we can become addicted to, so how do we overcome addictions?

Addictions
Addictions are those things we just can’t seem to live without. It might be shopping, smoking, exercise, drinking, drugs, or some other addiction, but not all addictions are bad. For example, I’m addicted to reading my Bible every morning and evening, and if I don’t, I feel like I’ve missed something (and I have!), but strictly speaking, addictions are described as a medical condition that is characterized by a compulsive engagement in rewarding certain stimuli, and despite the adverse consequences, so it can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors, but there are good addictions and bad addictions at different times, but I believe we can swap out the bad and insert the good, but we’re going to need help!

Truth be told, every Christian that is not in heaven still struggles with sin. Some have addictions to marijuana, to alcohol, to pornography, to gambling, to overeating, to shopping, and many other things, so is there any hope for breaking these addictions? Since many Christians struggle with addictions, they also begin to doubt their own salvation, so what can a believer do to escape or to overcome their sinful addictions? What does the Bible say that can be the source of our help

Paul’s Struggle
If anyone could overcome sin, surely it would have been the great Apostle Paul. He wrote more books in the New Testament and founded more churches than any other apostle. Even though this great man of faith was a spiritual giant, he also struggled with sin, and even regarded himself as the chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15), so if Paul calls himself the chief of sinners, what does that make us?! Don’t let anyone tell you, you won’t struggle with overcoming sin once you’ve been saved.

For one thing, before the Spirit of God dwells in us, we sin with little or no conviction, but when the Spirit of God abides in us after conversion, we are convicted of sin, and now we know we must repent of it. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19), and all of God’s people can say “Amen” to that because what Christian has not battled with the flesh? And this is written in the present tense, not past, so we often end up doing just what we don’t want to do. Paul understood that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom 7:18), so even Paul needed help, but from where?

The Helper
Even though Paul said that he knew better, he still fell into sin…just like every other believer after conversion (1 John 1:9, 10). The thing is, he didn’t stay there. He acknowledged it and repented of it, and he moved on. He has the desire to do the right thing, but he still cannot carry it out…that is, in his own strength. This takes the very power of God: God the Holy Spirit (Rom 12:2). Even though Paul said, “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” (Rom 7:21), he still recognizes that he wants “to do good.” That is hopeful because he understands that the law is at work in him. The Law is a mirror, showing us our sins, and he recognizes the evil being there (James 1:23).

Deliverance
At one point, Paul almost seems to have given up, pleading to God, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rom 7:24), but then he answers his own question by saying, it is “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25a) that he can overcome his “body of death.” There are many resources available to help people overcome addictions to drugs, pornography, and alcohol. From various addictions help centers to 12-step programs. I’ve known people who have gone through these programs numerous times, and yet they still struggled. Some insurance companies will even pay for profession recovery centers.

One person I had the opportunity to interview who went through one of these programs, later realized that overcoming their addiction is only possible through a full surrender to God. Most of us cannot overcome a marijuana addiction on our own or an addiction to pornography, and we can’t defeat the enemy of alcohol, gambling, overeating, or depression all by ourselves either.

God wants to help you overcome the powerful addictions in your life. Think about the God Who created the entire universe; all the stars, the galaxies, the sun…everything! He knows the innumerable stars all by name, so is anything really too hard for God?! No! We have no power in ourselves, but the Holy Spirit is God and the very power of God working in us. The first thing we need to do is to acknowledge our inability to overcome on our own, and that victory will only come through surrendering to God. When you feel you’re in over your head, remember God is over all things.

Drastic Measures
Pray day and night for the help you need and ask others to pray for you, even if it’s unspoken needs. God can deliver you. For some, its instant deliverance, but for others, it takes time, so don’t lose heart. You will slip and fall, as we all do, but you’ll get back up, however, God expects us to be part of the process. We can’t do it on our own, but that doesn’t mean we sit back and “just let God!” We must ask God to cut off all the sources of our addiction, whatever that addiction might be.

If you are addicted to pornography, get rid of the Internet or find a friend who can put a password protected filter on your computer. Jesus said, “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” (Matt 5:30). This means we must cut it off at the source. If you are addicted to drugs, turn in the illegal drug dealers. The main point is, we can do nothing on our own (John 15:5), but we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil 4:13).

Common Struggles
Think you’re alone in your struggle? Nope. Evidence shows that 47% of all Christians say that they have major problems with pornography. Even among the discipleship group of the Promise Keepers, 53% of these men viewed pornography in the last week! An April 6th, 2007 CNN poll revealed that over 70% of Christian men and over 20% of Christian women are already addicted to some sort of Internet pornography.

In the year 2000, Christianity Today completed a shocking survey that revealed 33% of the clergy (pastors and priests) admitted that they had visited a sexually explicit Internet website in the past week. Fifty-three percent of the clergy had visited pornographic websites several times in the past year. In a recent survey of pastors by the National Coalition in Seattle, a full 98% had been exposed to porn, intentionally or not, while 43% intentionally accessed a sexually explicit website. Clearly, we all struggle with addictions and it runs from the pulpit to the pew.

Strategies
A web filter is a great way to screen out potential Internet websites that contain pornography. One of my friends has let me set the password an Internet filter, and I promised him that I would not reveal the password, no matter what he tells me. Of course, in this world, he’ll have no trouble finding other sources, so I used to check up on him at least twice a week.

He said it was a small price to pay for having the protection that he so desperately needed. I also recommended putting the computer the in the living room. When our children were young, we had the computer in the living room so that we could easily monitor their sites. There primary use of it was for homework, but of course they were allowed to spend some free time browsing or playing games. There are dozens of free or inexpensive Internet filters out there.

Accountability Partners
If you are struggling with a powerful addiction like drugs, alcohol or pornography, find a trusted Christian friend (of the same sex) who can be an accountability partner for you. Have them call you every few days or so (at least once a week), and ask them how their week went. If you’re battling an addiction or some deeply entrenched sin, please don’t lose heart. The very fact that you searched over the Internet or wanted to read this is evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in you. It may be that God brought you here today for the very specific purpose of seeking God’s help. God will never, ever give up on you.

Conclusion
I have a close friend who battled with pornography for over thirty years, and he prayed, “Lord, please help me, I am weak. I can’t do this on my own!” You know what? He’s right, and it worked. He surrendered to God, found some help from a friend, and God heard his prayer and answered it. It took him a very long time, but today, he says, “I am clean and sober, but still sort of a train wreck…a sinner, yet saved.”

I know exactly what he means. Jesus’ blood covers past, present, and future sins…so the very fact that you have a sin or addiction weighing heavily on your mind should encourage you. You know the Spirit of God is working in you. Being saved doesn’t mean you’ll never sin again. We will all still sin, again and again…but also, again and again, we will repent of it. We’ll never be sinless this side of the veil, but we will begin to sin less. Paul’s question is for all who have trusted in Christ: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rom 7:24). Of course we know the answer is, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25).
 
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