A Prayer for our Nation and other thoughts

I have some other things I want to get into today, but I always like to post links to articles that expose the lies of internet porn.  A friend of mine sent these to me.

The first one is on what internet porn is doing to the male brain.  Here is the link:  porn and the male brain

The second one is an article from a Catholic site that explains just how unhealthy the viewing of pornography really is.  Here is that link:  unhealthiness of porn

I also had a prayer sent to me, and I just had to post it.  I have been told multiple things regarding who it is attributed too.  Many think it is Billy Graham.  However, after some research we find Billy Graham is not the author.  The prayer was originally given by Bob Russell of Southeast Christian Church in 1995, and this prayer was made popular in 1996 by Pastor Joe Wright when he delivered the prayer at the Kansas House of Representatives.  Ultimately, it does not matter to me who originally penned it, but I do like to give credit to the original author.  More importantly, I would like you to focus on the words of the prayer.  May this be the prayer of our hearts today!

A Prayer for our Nation:

“Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your Forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that’s exactly what we have done. We have lost our Spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism; We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism; We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle; We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery; We have neglected the needy and called it self preservation; We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare; We have killed our unborn and called it choice; We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable; We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem; We have abused power and called it political savvy; We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition; We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression; We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.”

The bottom line is we are in bondage to many things in our culture.  I have had conversations with several young men recently who are addicted to porn.  They refuse to walk through the recovery process that is necessary because of what they must give up.  They even have said to me that there is much sacrifice in what I ask of them.  My response to them and to myself and to those reading is simple:  Following Christ requires sacrifice.  I am reminded of the story Jesus tells in Matthew 19 about a young man who allowed wealth to come between him and Jesus.  He couldn’t follow Christ because he loved his great wealth more than Christ.  The reality for many today is that they love the stuff they have become bonded to more than they love Christ.  This is what is going on in the hearts of the young men who won’t make necessary sacrifices in their lives to be fully devoted to Christ.

May our hearts desire the truth of the end of this prayer.  May we want God to cleanse any wickedness in us.  May we want God to cleanse us from the sins we bond to.  May we want God to empower us to set us free.  May we make whatever sacrifices are necessary so God can do this work in our hearts.

My fear is that the church in our nation does not want this type of cleansing.  We say we do.  We give lip service to it, but do we really want to be cleansed?  May we all examine our hearts today and every day!

 

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Created to Worship

I have the opportunity to speak at Mansfield Bible Church on Saturday, 4/26 at 7am.  I will be speaking about being men who lead our family to worship the Lord, and Him alone.  On Tuesday, 4/29, I will have the opportunity to speak to parents at Grace Prep in Arlington.  I will speaking to the parents about how God hardwired our brain chemistry for worship.  If that worship is misplaced it can lead to idolatry.  We will specifically be looking at the idol of sexual sin, specifically internet porn and sexting.

I would like to invite you to pray, to come or to invite your friends to these events.

Since I am speaking on these things that are related to worship, this has caused me to want to blog about it.

Colossians 1 shows us that Christ is creator, and we are created by Him and for Him.  Isaiah 40 shows us just how big this Creator God really is.  He can hold the water in the hollow of His hand.  He can measure the heavens with the span of His hand.  Exodus 33 tells us how glorious He is.  If mankind looked on His face, then we would die.  Isaiah 6 explains how holy He is.  Angelic beings sing praises to Him, and His holiness causes buildings to shake.  Romans 3 shows us that we fall short of this great holiness and glory.  This is why Christ had to come.

When Christ came and died and rose again, John 17 tells us that it brought great glory to God.  Watch this:  When one is made right with God in Christ it brings glory to God, and when one then lives out this faith life surrendered to Christ then God is glorified in that life.  This is what we were created for, to glorify Him!

Jeremiah 2 basically tells us that we settle for things that won’t satisfy, like sexual sin or other idols.  We bow down to that, instead of to the glorious and powerful one, the Lord Jesus Christ!  For the one surrendered to Christ, 2 Corinthians 5 shows us that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection declare us to be holy and righteous before God, and God then empowers us to live a life of holiness and righteousness.  When we do this, we worship Him!  We glorify Him!

Consequently, we experience far more lasting fulfillment than some cheap thrill like sexual sin or any other form of idolatry.

My request is that you pray for me as I deliver this message to men and parents.  May we live our lives out of our identity in Christ for the glory of God as we worship Him.

Idolatry: Some Thoughts To Consider

I am warning you.  You may not like this post.  I am not trying to be legalistic.  Please hear my heart!

I know that I am extreme at times, if not most of the time.  It will come as no shock to you that I do not have a smart phone, and our family does not participate in social media (facebook, instagram, etc.).  I am not saying those things are wrong, but I am saying we have decided they are not best for our family.

I do not want you to hear condemning thoughts on smart phone devices and social media in this post, but I do want to give you some thoughts to consider.  My biggest struggle with smart phones and social media is how easily those things can become an idol.  I know you are probably sitting there thinking anything we do can become an idol, and that is true.  I just think that social media and smart phones can increase the potential of idolatry occurring in our hearts.

Let me explain.  There is a book out on the market right now that teaches people how to create technology for the express purpose of getting people addicted to that technology.  Check out this amazon link for the book that does this very thing.  When God designed us, He designed us with an attachment center in our brain.  We were created by God with the desire and ability to connect with certain things that form strong bonds.  I believe that the bond is supposed to be our bond and attachment to Jesus.  In essence, we are designed and created to worship Christ.  If we don’t worship Christ, then we will worship something.

My concern for our children and students in particular in this culture is that there are people out there designing technology to get our kids hooked.  If we are not careful, they can become addicted to this technology.  It becomes a form of worship, idolatry if you will.  My issue with smart phones and social media is that they can make us prone to the worst worship of all, self worship.

The narcissism in our culture is off the charts.  Check out this blog from Denton Bible Church to get there perspective on selfies.  As they said, this phenomenon with selfies creates an almost worship of self.

What is the point of this post?  Here is the point.  I have been commanded by God in Deuteronomy 6 and in the Gospels to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  Colossians 1 shows us that not only is that what God wants, but we were created by Him and for Him.

No matter what your stance is on smart phones and social media, etc., I make this request.  Have a plan personally in your own life to where the technology itself does not become an addiction.  If it has become that, be willing to seek help and leave the technology behind if need be.  God is worthy of all our worship!

More than this though, I beg and plead with you to have a plan for your children and grandchildren.  Our kids’ brains are not fully developed.  Brain science research is showing that over exposure to technology is not good for adolescent brain development.  If you don’t let them have phones or social media accounts, then explain why.  If you let them have access to these things, then be willing to put boundaries on them, and explain why.

We want to model worship of God with our whole heart for our children and grandchildren.  Let’s not let technology and culture shape our worship.  If we do, then we will be guilty of idolatry.  May our worship be shaped by Christ and His Cross, and may we bow to God alone.

Joseph’s Plan: FLEE!

In Genesis 39, Joseph experiences some significant sexual temptation. Day after day he is enticed by Potiphar’s wife to have sex. Day after day he refuses. Eventually, the only way he can avoid the temptation is to flee.

We could go through the rest of the story about how Potiphar’s wife lies about him, and he ends up in jail for doing what’s right. However, that is not the point of my blog today. I want to emphasize how Joseph escaped the temptation. He fled! It was that simple. I would assume it was not easy, but his plan was simple.

We live in a world where we are bombarded with sexual temptation. If you follow my blog at all, then you know that I write about this a great deal.

Let me back up and explain God’s plan for sex. It’s not that sex is bad before marriage and then sex becomes good. Sex is good! In fact, it is great! Doing it God’s way looks like this. God is faithful, and he wants us to reflect that faithfulness in how we live our lives. Regarding sex, God wants us to be faithful to our future spouse or current spouse or faithful to Him if we are called to a life of singleness. By not participating in any kind of sexual immorality (petting, intercourse, porn, homosexuality, sexting, etc.), then I am demonstrating this faithfulness of God.

If God does call one to marriage, then the sexual part of the relationship is obviously very intimate. This intimacy only symbolizes the closeness and intimacy God wants with His followers.

Often times the chemical releases in our brain associated with sex are adrenaline and dopamine. God designed these for good things. However, these chemicals can play tricks on us when it comes to our desire for sexual immorality. If my understanding of brain science is correct it takes about 30 minutes to calm these chemical levels in your brain down. When one is tempted and these chemicals are firing hard, we encourage people to have a 30 minute plan to flee temptation and run to Jesus.

Ironically, is this not similar to what Joseph did here? The challenge is this. Be willing to flee. Be willing to run to Jesus for that 30 minutes. Be willing to delete your social media account if necessary. Be willing to get rid of your laptop, smartphone or ipad if that is what it takes. What’s the point? The point is: FLEE!!!!!!!!

This is what Joseph taught us. May our desire be to reflect God’s faithfulness in all aspects of life, but certainly this one!