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Friday, April 29, 2016

Father Abraham Had Many Sons and Daughters



Father Abraham Had Many Sons and Daughters
(and also many blessings and promises)




Abraham lived about 2,000 B.C. in the town of Ur, which was in what is now modern Iraq. The people of ancient Ur worshipped idols and knew nothing about God.  One-day God spoke to Abraham.  In Genesis 12:1 we read that God told Abraham to leave his home and his relatives and everything he had known and travel to an unknown land far away.  He was to trust God to lead him to this unknown land.  Abraham wasn’t given a map or GPS or any directions of how to get to this land.  But Scripture says that Abraham believed God would show him the way and he obeyed and took off.  Abraham “went out not knowing whither he went.”  Hebrews 11:8. 



Traveling back then was difficult and dangerous.  Travelers crossing the desert could easily run out of food and water and thieves were known to hang out around the desert routes to rob and plunder. Abraham left his comfortable home with his wife Sarah and along with relatives, servants and flocks he followed Gods’ leading some 800 miles across the endless desert to the land God had promised him, - Israel.  Now wouldn’t you say that Abraham had faith to do that?



God was so pleased that Abraham trusted Him that God made promises to him. “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless, thee, and make thy name great: and thou shall be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.!  Gen. 22:18. Genesis 12:2 and 3


And “All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth.”  Genesis 13:15-16.   And again in Genesis 17:8: “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Did you notice that God promised this special land to Abraham and to his children forever? 



Abraham believed Gods’ promises even though he didn’t quite understand their full meaning.  Even though Abraham was a sinner God was pleased with him because of his faith.  We read, “He (Abraham) believed in the Lord: and He (God) counted it to him for righteousness.”  Genesis 15:6. 



God made promises to Abraham that his children would become a nation (Israel) that would bless the earth and as always Abraham believed God.  Many of God’s promises to Abraham had to do with his future children. But along with these promises of children, Abraham was growing older and no children were being born to him and his wife!  Year after year passed and Sarah did not become pregnant.   Old age was setting in and Sarah soon past the age to bear a child. God was testing their faith!


As always Abraham waited and believed that God would somehow keep His promise. Finally, when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, God gave them their promised child, Isaac.  The name “Isaac” means “laughter”, Perhaps after having to wait so long for this baby, Abraham and Sarah had to laugh.  Wouldn’t you?


Abraham was even willing later to offer up this special son Isaac to God when God tested him, because he trusted that God would bring Isaac back from death. There wasn’t anything that Abraham would hold back from God.  Throughout his life Abraham kept following and believing in God no matter what. 



God made a covenant with Abraham concerning these promises (Genesis 15:8-18) and continued repeating His promises later to Abraham’s son, Isaac and then to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob.  Hebrews 11:18-19.  God made other provisions and blessed and set aside land for Ishmael, Abraham’s other son by Sarah’s maid, Hagar. (Genesis 21:12-13) And God kept repeating these promises down through the generations through Israel’s prophets. These promises from God to Abraham’s children, the Jewish people, were recorded again and again in the Bible. 



All of these promises were made a long time ago and at first they don’t seem to matter much to us today, do they?   But wait, here in Matthew 1:1 we read: “Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Jesus was also the promised Son of Abraham.  Galatians 3:16 says: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He said not, and to seeds, as of many: but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”  The promises that God made to Abraham were made to Christ.  Ezekiel 39:27-29 describes how God will bring Israel back to their land from where they have been among the nations and pour His Spirit on them and be their God.  More Bible prophecies concerning those original promises to Abraham tell us that Jesus will come back and set up His kingdom in the Promised Land with His people Israel. 



One of Abrahams’ promises from God was that Israel would become a nation and would bless all of the nations of the earth.  We Christians have been blessed with salvation through Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah. Our Bible is Jewish, our Savior was born Jewish, even our Christian faith is Jewish.  We have definitely been blessed by Abrahams’ Seed.



 In fact, Scripture tells us that if we have faith in Christ Jesus we are also sons and daughters of Abraham and have inherited the wonderful promises that God gave Abrahams’ children, Israel.  We have been given these promises through Christ.  Galatians 3:26&29 reads: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. … and if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  So along with the Jews, we too have inherited the promises made to Abraham, and we are also considered “sons of Abraham!” Since Abraham believed God, all of us who also follow in his footsteps and believe God are his “sons”.  There is an old gospel hymn that goes something like this: “Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham.  I am one of them and so are you.  So let’s just praise the Lord.”


Since Scripture says that God makes us sons (and daughters) of Abraham through Christ because of our faith, do we have even a little of the faith in God that Abraham had?  Will we leave our comforts like Abraham did and follow God anywhere not knowing where He is taking us? 

Abraham had to wait decades into his old age for his promised son?  And he died never seeing his children take over the promised land, Israel.  Many of Abraham’s blessings were realized after his death.  And some of his promises are still yet to come. And that might be the same with us.  Are we willing to wait till after we die for our prayers to be answered if that’s what it takes?  Are we willing to let God be God and trust His mysterious ways? 


Philippians 4:19 tells believers in Jesus: “My God shall supply all of your needs, according to His riches in Glory.”  It appears that God is giving us the same sure promises and blessings that He gave Abraham, if we have faith.  Let’s try to give back believing faith to God like our father Abraham did.  Let’s follow in Abrahams’ footsteps and have a faith that pleases God.     




  



    

  






Monday, April 25, 2016

Love is the Missing Ingredient



Love – the Missing Ingredient

God judges us by a different measure than we judge ourselves and others.  It seems that God isn’t so impressed with the rich and famous. Or the good looking and the intelligent. We can be dedicated and hardworking and know our Bible’s backwards and forwards and have a strong faith in God. But without the missing ingredient all that isn’t enough! And the missing ingredient is love!  Scripture says that God judges us on how much we love!  That is everything to Him!

This judgment of God’s does not have to do with whether we go to heaven and have eternal life or not. Scripture says we don’t earn our salvation.  By faith we are given that free gift through our Lord Jesus Christ.  But then if we have eternal life through Christ but misuse the earthly talents God gives us, we will have nothing to show for those God entrusted talents when we get over on the other side!  When He asks what we did with what He gave us, what will we say?    

Are we using the talents God left us lovingly or are we using them selfishly and with little concern for others?  Scripture says that love is what God wants from His children.  We are to be loving like our Father, God.  And Scripture says that God is love and we His children are to be full of love also.  (1 John 4)  

Let’s listen to what Scripture says: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass and a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)   

The “love chapter” 1 Corinthians 13 is saying that without love, we are nothing!  Absolutely nothing!  Without love spiritual wisdom and Christian ethics and God talk amount to nothing more than a lot of clanking noise. (1 Corinthians 13:3) The Pharisees and religious leaders who were responsible for sending Jesus to the cross were supposed “men of God”. They had given their whole lives to studying God’s Word and they had all of the correct answers.  But because they lacked love, their perfect doctrine didn’t seem to help them recognize their Savior and Messiah when He came to them!  Without love they were blind and couldn’t see the Lord Jesus Christ when He was standing right in front of them! 

And there are modern day Pharisees right here today among us that may be making that same mistake.  We have been in some good Bible believing church groups where proud people believed all of the correct doctrines.  Competitive folk with all of the latest answers.  Somehow we weren’t always accepted in these groups even though we tried hard to fit in.  Good Christians becoming judgmental and critical and leaving love behind. Never taking time for their lost brother or giving help to the struggling sinner.  And worse yet, mixing their Jesus in with all of their criticism and hate!  So easy to do.  And so dangerous. 

We Christians have the truth and we want to make change in our society. With our money and power, we will take back the night and make our nation great!  Like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, today modern day Pharisees have conservative teachings and pure doctrines but may have forgotten the missing ingredient.  – the ingredient of love! 

The “love chapter” describes what love is!  Let’s listen: “Love suffers long and is kind.  Love does not envy; love does not parade itself: is not puffed up.  Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.  Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but it rejoices in the truth.  Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. “ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Love in the Scriptures is described as gentle and suffering.  Never failing.  Never pushy or rude.  Never parading itself about insisting on its own way. We are to die to ourselves and let the Spirit of Christ work in us.  The Spirit of Christ always works in us with love. And love wins battles. 

 Jesus never won battles with money and power.  His ways were never showy or confrontational. Jesus won the battle with love – love that took him to the cross to die for us.  He insisted that His kingdom was of another world. And He tells us to follow Him.  To “Love our enemies” (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-36) and when we are slapped on one cheek to “Turn the other cheek”. (Luke 6:29, Matthew 5:29)   Let’s ask the Lord to love others through us.  And help us be able to love our enemies.

The “Love Chapter” closes this way.  “Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will fail: where there are tongues, they will cease, where there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  For now we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child.  I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.  And now abides faith, hope, love, these three:  but the greatest of these is love.”  (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)  


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Gideon, the Mighty Man of Courage



Gideon, the Mighty Man of Courage

Gideon was a Jewish farmer who lived in Israel.  The year was around 1050 B.C. and thousands of warring Midianites like locusts had descended upon Gideon’s land, causing misery and starvation to the Israelite people. The Midianites were wild nomadic people from the Aramean desert, who stole everything in sight - all the animals and all the crops.  They left the Israelite farmers and village people desperate and destitute.  (Judges 6) 

God had promised to protect His people, the Israelites, and bless them with abundance if they would follow Him.  But Gideon’s generation was not following God.  They still expected Him to bless them but they were worshipping Baal and other idol gods and had forgotten the God of their fathers. Scripture says that: “the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord,” (Judges 6:1a) and “The Midianites so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.”  (Judges 6:6) And of course God heard their cry and rushed in to help.

God sent a prophet to speak to the Israelites and tell them that he would protect them from the Midianites if they would come back to Him and worship Him only and turn from worshipping their idols.  And then God called Gideon to deliver His people from the Midianites, promising Gideon that He would be with him.  But Gideon was afraid to lead and told God that he was not able to do what God was asking of him.  (Judges 6:15) Gideon was a coward and referred to himself as the least in his father’s house and a member of the poorest clan in Israel.  That was his excuse for trying to get out of doing what God had asked him to do.

But God didn’t take “no” for an answer from Gideon.  Scripture tells us that God sent an angel to Gideon calling him again to be God’s man for the job.  Gideon looked up to see a bright angel standing there and then the angel gave him this greeting: “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of courage.” (Judges 6:12) Why would the angel call Gideon a “mighty man of courage” when in reality Gideon was trembling with fear?

The exciting thing here is that God didn’t call Gideon what he was as a natural man without God.  But God called Gideon what He knew that Gideon had the ability to be in Him.  With God and in God’s strength Gideon, the frightened coward could become Gideon, the mighty man of courage!

  And this principle is the same for you and me.  Without God and in our own strength we can sometimes be frightened little people.  But with God we can do anything that needs doing since God promises to be with us and give us the strength through Christ (Philippians 4:13) Perhaps we need to stop looking at what we think we are and start listening to God and believing Him and what He says we are in Him!

Gideon asked God for several signs to prove that He would be with him in battle. And God patiently worked with Gideon’s insecurities and game him the signs he asked for and more.  (Judges 6:36-40) Finally, after many proofs and signs, Gideon believed God and gave in to God’s request to lead his people in battle and free them from the Midianite invasion. 

Gideon’s first job as the Lord’s warrior was to tear down an altar to Baal, as Israel had always been commanded to do. (Exodus 34:13, Deuteronomy 7:5) This altar belonged to Gideon’s father and Gideon took ten men and did as the Lord told him.  But because he was afraid of his family, he tore down his father’s alter to Baal at night so he wouldn’t be seen.  The next morning the men in his town demanded that Gideon die, but Gideon’s father Joash, stopped them.

After this the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he obeyed God and went throughout the land calling out men to come with him and fight the Midianites.  Thousands of men answered the call and God spoke to Gideon and told him that there were too many men in his army. “Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave” the Lord said.  So 22,000 men left leaving 10,000 to fight. The Lord spoke to Gideon again saying that there were still too many men, and more men were sent home.  Finally, when there were only 300 men left, the Lord spoke to Gideon and said that He would use those 300 men to drive out the many thousands of Midianites from the land.  God wanted the Israelites to know that He would win the battle for them instead of letting them believe that they would win it in their own strength. 

Gideon listened to the Lord’s instructions and then he divided his 300 men into three groups.  Each fighting man was given a trumpet and an empty jar with a torch inside.  Listening to God’s instructions, Gideon led his men out to fight in the middle of the night. The men followed Gideon and when they got to the edge of the enemy camp they all blew their trumpets and broke their jars so that their torches would be seen.  Then they all shouted “For the Lord and for Gideon” and continued blowing their trumpets.

 While Gideon’s 300 men held their positions around the enemy camp, the Midianites rushed out of their tents terrified.  God muddled their minds and caused the Midianites throughout their camps to turn on each other with their swords.  The army fled in confusion, killing one another as they went.  And Gideon and his armies drove them out of their land.  After that the Israelites tore down all of their many altars to Baal and they started worshipping God again.  And there was finally peace and prosperity in the land of Israel for that whole generation – until the next generation came along and forgot God again and built new altars to Baal.  (Judges 7 and 8)

Why would God choose Gideon as a leader when Gideon didn’t seem to have any special talents? And it seemed to take Gideon a long time to trust God enough to even agree to take the job God wanted him to take.  God must have seen that Gideon was capable of eventually trusting Him and believing in Him.  Scripture says that “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”  (Hebrews 11:6) God’s Spirit did not come onto Gideon until after he believed God enough to take down the family’s altar to Baal.

  We read in Scripture that God looks for people who will be open to Him and trust Him.  Scripture says: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth to find those who are open to Him so He can strengthen their hearts.”  (2 Chronicles 16:9)   God is looking for people who are available to Him. He often finds that ordinary people are more available to Him than powerful and famous people.  And Scripture says that when God does find people who want Him, He strengthens and blesses them and equips them to successfully do what He leads them to do.  And best of all God pours onto these believers His unconditional love.  What does God see when He looks into your heart?  Are you one of the people God is looking for and hoping to find? 
  


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hope in Christ Changes Your Life



Hope in Christ Changes Your Life


My neighbor Suzie, died last week. The light in her window is out now and her house is dark.  For the last thirteen years we have been neighbors and the flickering light from her television set has been on day and night. Over the years when I would wake at any hour of the night and glance outside I would always see her window lit up from the light of her television screen. Year after year she lay in bed watching television and talking about how she wanted to die.

Doctors treated Suzie for depression and told her that she was in good health.  They encouraged her to get out of bed and exercise and go out with friends. But Suzie complained that all was hopeless and that she was too old to get out of bed. She lived with her son and a maid came regularly to clean. Several of her daughters lived nearby and visited often and her ex-husband came by to do chores for her. Everyone tried to cheer her up but Suzie continued complaining that her life wasn’t worth living.

Neighbors brought Suzie food and invited her out, but she usually refused the food and the invitations.  I invited her to come with us to church, but she fussed that church goers are all hypocrites.  As the years went by she became more bitter and angry at her world.  Feeling sorry for herself she began showering guilt and criticism on family members and neighbors and on anyone who dared to come near her, driving many away.  

Finally, last week Suzie telephoned some of her friends and family members and told each of them “Goodbye”. She assured each one that she had no reason to live. And then that very night she went to sleep and never woke up.  Her son found her the next morning, dead in her bed. She had wanted to die for so long and finally she had gotten her wish.  Did she take her own life by overdosing on sleeping pills?  No one knows for sure. Family and neighbors (myself included) feel like we have failed her.  I sadly look across the street at her window that has finally gone dark and wonder if I could have done more to give hope to this woman so nearby who felt so hopeless for so long.

The Bible says: “Without hope (a vision) the people perish…”  (Proverbs 29:18)   How many people like Suzie are also struggling with feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicide?  We Christians have the hope of salvation in Christ and we have been called upon by God to share that glorious hope to our world. (Matthew 16:15)   Scripture says: “The fields are ready to be harvested, but the laborers are few…” (Matthew 9:37, Luke 10@, John 4:35) Here in our scripture, the “fields” that are ready to be harvested represent people who are looking for hope.  These people are ready for us (the laborers) to bring them the hope we have in Christ.  Not just any hope will do but hope in Christ. We humans cannot live without hope. Hope is to the soul what oxygen is to the lungs. 

When we put our hope on other people, they can disappoint us.  And when we count on our money to take care of our needs, it can be stolen and our stocks and bonds can lose their value. When we trust in our good health, it can fail us at any time. The things of this world can let us down.  But when we put our hope on God in Christ, He will never let us down!  Scripture says: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  (Colossians 1:27)   God promises his followers: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)   and ‘Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which can never be shaken but endures forever.” (Psalm 125:1)

We may ask how can we prove that God is real so that we can put our trust in Him?   Consider this: -If God could be seen through a telescope or under a microscope, He would not be the Almighty God proclaimed in His Word.  He is the Creator and as such God cannot be studied in the same way as His creation!  If we humans could understand the God of the universe, He wouldn’t be the God of the universe.

 Scripture says that we need to “see” God with the eyes of faith and hope and that God gives each of us a “measure” of hope and faith in Him.  But we can close our hearts and refuse that “measure” of hope that we have been given. (Romans 12:3)   It is a mystery but if you will step out and believe in the God who is there, you will find that God is there for you.  God will give you that saving faith in Him if you ask Him for it.  It is God’s will that everyone have faith in Him and live.  (2 Peter 3:9)  Because “without faith, it is impossible to please God.”  (Hebrews 11:6)  Hope and faith are a mystery but if we open ourselves to believe in God, we will believe in God.  It’s that simple!   

Romans 8:24-25 says: “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”   Another Scripture hints at this truth.  “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:18) And Hebrews 11:1 states: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
One of the Bible scriptures that shows us a sneak preview of the end of the age when Jesus Christ comes again in glory, never fails to give us hope: “Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep (die) but we will all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  (Our dead bodies that only lasted a lifetime will now be changed into bodies of life that will last for eternity.) Then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  Where, O Death is your victory? And Where O Death is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God who gives us the hope and the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)

Hebrews 11 is called by some the “Hall of Fame of Faith” chapter because it lists and honors many of the great men and women of faith we read about in the Bible.  God used about half of these people who had great faith in Him to perform great miracles and heal many.  But the other faithful half are still waiting for God to answer their prayers. Scripture says: “These (half) were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  God has planned something better for them so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”  (Hebrews 11:39-40)

In Hebrews 11 some of the believers in God received what they were promised, while others didn’t – at least not here on earth.  Why didn’t they?  How do we handle it when we have prayed for decades for something we know God would want and the prayer is still not answered?  We know that with God nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37)  Ah, the mystery of prayer!  The answer to these questions is that God always answers our prayers.  But some of our prayers may be answered on the other side.  Sometimes our hopes and dreams don’t seem to be working out here on earth.  But in eternity, all of our hope is realized. 









 



        

    

    

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sex is the Idol of our Time



Sex is the Idol of our Time

A major sexual revolution has taken place in the last fifty years.  In just these few years much has changed in our society when it comes to relationships between the sexes. Fifty years ago abortion was illegal in the U.S. and the forms of birth control available didn’t work well.  Along with this, women who did become pregnant outside of marriage back then were often treated with prejudice.  Because of these influences, along with Christian beliefs that sex should include marriage, most couples did not have sexual relations until after marriage.  

  A double standard prevailed back then in that the un-wed pregnant girl was shamed while the father of the unborn child usually got off the hook.  Often he had professed his love for the girl, but then when she had become pregnant, he had dropped her and run the other way.  Alone and embarrassed, the pregnant girl in that judgmental society became a sad victim. To avoid being criticized by friends and family, the un-married pregnant girl would often go to a “home for un-wed mothers” and hide out there until after the birth of her child, keeping her pregnancy a secret from the disapproving public.

 Most of these single mothers would give their newborn babies up for adoption, believing that it was best for their babies to be in stable families.  Back then there was a strong belief in society that a child needed to be raised by a mother and a father who were in a loving committed relationship – a marriage.  The single mother also wanted to find the love of her life someday and be married.  She was told that if she kept her baby, that good men would not consider marrying her.   

 Nearly every woman back then wanted more than anything else to marry a good man. Most of the popular songs were about falling in love or finding your “one and only”.  Back then romance, marriage and true love were so all important that women were often blamed if they broke the rules when it came to sex outside of marriage. 

Fifty years ago women (mothers, wives and girlfriends) were put upon a pedestal and treated special.  Most men would never swear or say “dirty” words around women. A good woman was one who remained a virgin until marriage and all women were supposed to be an influence towards keeping the society sexually moral. It was their responsibility. Women were trusted to be the nurturers and protectors of children.  And the wife was also to have a stabilizing effect on her “man” and on her family.  In return women enjoyed respect from their gentlemen friends and treated with chivalry.  So when a woman broke the rules and had sex with a man who didn’t love or marry her, she was taken down off her pedestal and considered a “loose” woman.          

But all of these behaviors began to change in 1973 when abortion became legal (Roe vs Wade) in our country. And ever since then millions of abortions have been performed routinely.  The first birth control pill (Enovid) had been introduced ten years earlier, opening the door for much more sexual freedom and new possibilities for sexual conduct.  And about this time pornography which had always been illegal in the U.S.A. was made legal by another unfortunate Supreme Court decision.  Most of society (Christian) did not want pornography because it opened the doors to a saturation of sexual stimulation on television, advertising, the movies and later on the internet. But it was forced on us anyway! Gone were the good ole’ days!

Many sexually liberated women happily climbed down off of their moral pedestals and demanded sexual equality with their men. Some dismissed the warnings in the Bible against casual sex as being old fashioned and out dated.  These were modern educated women who had outgrown religious notions and they demanded the freedom to enjoy sex with any man they liked without worrying about unwanted pregnancies.  And the men seemed to happily go along. Also many women were tired of being dependent on men, especially men who let them down.    

 Now that women finally had reliable birth control and also abortion as a backup, they were free to do whatever they wanted to do sexually without fear of having unwanted pregnancies. There was big money to be made in this new sexual revolution and big business jumped in to reap the profits!  Billions of dollars in profits rolled in for the music industry, the abortion industry, drugs, alcohol, media, advertising, movies, the clothing industry, etc.!  Sex sells so they all jumped in! 

 Styles were changing and clothing became form fitting and sexually suggestive whereas before women dressed more modestly.  Psychedelic drugs and wild music entered the picture with sexually transmitted diseases going viral and dreaded new sexual diseases appearing and killing millions.  Marriage and family life started breaking down.  Millions of children were now being raised in a moral wasteland without the shelter of stable loving homes. Divorce rates skyrocketed and now we see an increasing unwillingness to enter into marriage in the first place?   

 So much changed in so little time!  We have changed the definition of marriage from what it had always been and what the Biblical definition is – the God ordained union of a man and a woman! (Mark 10:6-9) And there is talk of changing the definition of marriage even further in the future to where marriage can be a union which includes more than two persons. Many people today find themselves trapped in a sexual promiscuity which destroys their self-esteem.  We don’t seem to need God or His standards any more when we can do things our own way and when all other issues must take second place to worshipping the sex god in all of its many forms and perversions.   

The Bible teaches that sex is not free and that God gave us the gift of sex only in the context of marriage. (Hebrews 13:4-7) Adultery is especially outlawed in the Bible and is important enough to be one of the Ten Commandments.  (Exodus 20:14) God gave us this commandment against adultery out of love because adultery breaks up families and hurts people, especially children.  And also we are to “run away from “fornication” (sex outside of marriage.)  (1Corinthians 6:18)  

In the New Testament we find that Jesus teaches that sex represents love and a long term commitment to each other in a marriage. Scripture says that sex is a life uniting act.  But sex is cheapened and becomes meaningless when this “life uniting act” is used outside of a “ life-uniting intent.”  Jesus took the Bible as His authority, and if Jesus is our Lord, we must follow His example. Sex outside of marriage may feel good but when God’s pattern is broken, people get hurt.  If we keep God’s laws, we will live under His blessing.   

How are we Christians to live in this sexualized society?  We may lose some friends if we don’t go along with the “new sexual morality”?  Are we willing to pay the price and go against the crowd?  We are called to follow Jesus. But how do we follow Jesus through the confusion of this sexualized maze?  For starters, if we have made sexual mistakes in the past, God will forgive us.  And if we are dating now, let’s enjoy getting to know the person we are dating without confusing the relationship with sex.  Let’s keep sex for lifetime commitment - marriage. If we are married, let’s be faithful and true in our marriage and love only our spouse.  Let’s not indulge in lusting after other persons but put all of our efforts into building up our spouse.  Let’s be responsible for our own children and not cheat on our spouse.  Live a faithful life and a good life!

Let’s avoid places and persons who might tempt us to be unfaithful.  Let’s not be squeezed into the world’s mold. And let’s teach our children these values too.  Lets’ count on the Lord to help us because the Spirit of God will set us free from sin where a set of rules will be powerless.  (Romans 8:1-4) If you have problems in areas concerning sex, pray and ask God to set you free.  He promises to give you the power to do good things and live the good life.  (Philippians 4:13) Stand on His promises and count on Him to help you overcome. (Ephesians 6:13)  

God is calling you to be His witness in this sexually broken world.  It is impossible to love and serve God all the way and also disobey in the area of sexual morality!  Give sexual immorality up now.  As Christians we are called to be “salt” in this world.  But if the “salt” has lost its’ taste, it is worthless.  (Matthew 5:13-16) We don’t want to be tasteless salt or a worthless witness to our Lord. Let’s go all the way with God.  

Some of these ideas in this blog were taken from Nicky Gumbel’s booklet, “Searching Issues”.