Friday, 27 March 2015

Because, I Can Be Grateful

Proverbs 23:19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
      
      Joni Mitchell sang ♫You don't know what you've got till it's gone.♫
      What a turn of events this year has been for me personally. I noticed while I had been doing yard work, I had a bounce in my step and joy in my heart. Spring came very early out here on the west coast of Canada and from February onward I have been preparing the yard for an early spring. Someone asked me, "Why are you so happy doing yard work?" I smiled and said, "Because I can."
      I would not have said that last year because I had not yet experienced the massive stroke that happened to me in August. After coming through that event I started seeing the blessing I had because I could do things with my mind and body that were unhindered. Suddenly the yard work was a gift and I am so grateful to God to able to walk, work, think and function properly after a severe stroke.
      Gratitude is foremost on my mind because like a child who says, "Look, dad, look at what I can do," I felt the same way. Look, Lord, look at what I can do because you are so faithful to me Father God and I give you thanks.
 1 Thes. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. We truly don't know what we've got till it's gone.
      We take so much for granted and become complacent with what we think is our ordinary life. There is nothing ordinary about us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well. We have all been created on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose. Again there is nothing ordinary about us. We are chosen by God to be loved and blessed.
 
      Whatsoever God has set His love on is not of low value. His love is rich and true and therefore so are we as rich and true as the love of God. Eph. 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. This is no small matter that we were in God's thoughts before the foundation of the world. Imagine, each one of us individually was thought of by God Himself in order to be birthed into His eternal plan. Yes sir, nothing ordinary about that.
      Why am I grateful? Why do I have the joy of the Lord? Because I can be grateful and I can have joy, both are my choice. Giving thanks and showing God our grateful hearts for all the things He has done for us is not an irksome task. If I have my faculties and my body is working well then I will say, "Thank you, Lord," because I am capable of doing all the work I have to do and I can do it. 

      This type of acknowledgment is recognizing that I have been granted another day of grace by God and knowing that His love will deliver me out of destruction. Our God is all-sufficient. 2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. Why am I enjoying the everyday tasks of life this year that I was not that fond of last year? The reason is simple. I am capable of doing them because I was delivered from potential harm that could have hindered my body's ability to functions. 
      I am grateful that I can work, run, sing, dance and swing a hammer and use a shovel. Yes, sir, that is a good thing. All these activities mean I am alive and well and I thank my God for that. Col. 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
      It is truly the gift of God's mercy that gives us our health and abilities to reason, pray and choose life. Acts 17:28a For in him we live, and move, and have our being. I am so grateful that I have been taught these truths this year. It has made my life richer and it has given me the continual reason to give God prayers of gratitude because I can be grateful. Nahum 1:7 
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in Him. 
      Don't wait for something to go wrong in your life before you choose to start being grateful. Don't wait for a tragedy before you become a person who prays to our God. Don't wait for a life-threatening disease before you start reading some healing scriptures. Don't wait till it's gone before you do something. God is an ever-present help and near you right now. Give Him praise and say thank you because you can. Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. The blessings of gratefulness be on us all.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Delivered From Guilt And Shame

Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuses instruction: but he that regards reproof shall be honoured.

      We have all known the unsettling sensation of guilt and shame when we know we've done something wrong. But, oh, the blessing of the Lord's forgiveness through the blood of Christ that takes away our sins and the resulting shame that plagued our lives. When you think of it, what an amazing power the blood has to be able to bring real peace and joy to a once heavy heart because of sin. 

     There is nothing that can be compared to God's awesome power, ability and willingness to clear and clean a shame-ridden conscience from the guilt of a heavy heart. God asks us to choose His life-giving gift. He leaves it up to us whether we will have a clear conscience or carry the burden of shame. Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
      Guilt and shame can paralyze a person's spirit to the point of giving up on life. Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus, tried to turn things around after he realized what he had done to the Lord. Matt. 27:3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. Here is the irony for Judas.           
He went to the priest of the day to try to reverse the cause of his sin but there was no real help for him. The priests were not interested in the soul of a sinner, unlike the love that Christ has for the sinner. The priests were only interested in the perks of the office of the priesthood. Judas looked for the forgiveness of sin and the removal of the guilt it caused but there was no redemption found in his present system. Matt. 27:4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” 
      Ouch! What an answer from the spiritual leaders of the day. The detrimental action that Judas took was the result of the deep and overwhelming depression, guilt and shame that resulted from the sin. Matt. 27:5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
     The Proverb says that poverty and shame shall be to him that refuses instruction. Life is hard enough without being in a state of poverty. However, when poverty and shame is of our own doing it can truly be remorseful. Thank God there is grace and a way out of a shameful and poverty-stricken situation. The word of God says Prov. 19:20 Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. 
      When you have wisdom because you submitted to God's instruction, you will come out of poverty and the shame of the past events will be lifted from your soul because you will be walking with the Lord who is your wisdom and the Savior of your soul. Why is it so important to come out from under the bondage of guilt and shame? It sets us free to believe the restoration power of God in our lives. When we are delivered from guilt and shame through the blood of Jesus Christ, it positions us to live our lives in a place of receiving the blessing of the Lord. Restoration becomes one of our blessings.
     God said He would restore our health. Jer. 30:17a For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD. The word of God also says that God would restore our soul. Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. With joy, the Lord will restore what was stolen from us over the years of our life. Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 

      Oh, yes Lord, deliver us from shame and guilt that we may walk in the abundant favor that you have for each one of us who loves you and delight in your love for us. Teach us, Lord God, to love your instruction and respond to it when we hear it. Help us to be Christians of honor. Amen!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Something To Work With

Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
    
      When God works on our hearts with His fire, stuff will be burnt off. Why do we want God burning the dross out of our lives? So that we come forth as a vessel for the Master's use. 2 Tim. 2:21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 
      We have all heard the expression, "God will take you the way you are but He loves you too much to leave you that way." Essentially, the moment we are born-again the fire cleansing love of God takes away our sin nature that we walked in before receiving Christ and starts the long lifetime process of molding us into a vessel of honor to work with. 
      Jer. 1:5a Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee. God knew us before we were born and saw our future. His heart is to make us like His son Jesus, turning us into the person God knows us to be in Christ. Hopefully a vessel of honor. Wow! What a God we serve.
      We have often read how Jesus called the men that would become His disciples. They were described by the Pharisees as unlearned and ignorant men. Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Yet these men had become something God could work with when Christ had become the center of their lives. They had become vessels of honor to the glory of Christ the Lord. They had become more then the world gave them credit to be. Peter and John were low class and common in the Pharisee's eyes but they were number one in God's eye.
      We read of Joseph's promotion when he had become the ruler in Egypt. Gen. 41:39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. Joseph was number two in Pharaoh's eyes but he was number one in God's eyes. Joseph had become a vessel for the Master's use. God had something He could work with and save a nation from starvation and lay the foundation for the rise of the nation of Israel.
      When God is removing the dross from our lives, it is not to hinder us from our big plans in life. It is to give us a life in Christ so that we will reflect the love of God for all people and all nations. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
      God has a world plan and an eternal one. We can only become a vessel of honor to work with when we are showing forth God's nature and love for all of the nations of the world. Psalm 86:9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. When God, through His word, is burning away the dross in our lives, He is building our capacity to become more like Christ and have an ability to offer grace and justice to the people of the world whom God has created. 
      We are not alone in this world, yet we often live like we are. Someone might say, "What can I do, I am just an everyday ordinary person?" Matt. 25:35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. It starts with the people in our lives. We become an instrument or a vessel of God's love, compassion, and blessing in the Kingdom of our God. 
      It might seem like we are useless or inept in many people's eyes, but we will be number one in God's eye and those are the eyes that really count. May our capacity grow and our desire for God and His word be our portion in this life. May we all become vessels of honor and give our God something to work with to the Glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Blessing be on us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

I Am Wholly Loved

Proverbs 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding.

      What an amazing existence eternity has for us. We will be able, without any self-consciousness, bow before the Lord with pure honesty from our hearts. We will be so willing to worship without hindrance that the feeling will be natural. There will be no self-imposed peer pressure whatsoever. We will utterly enjoy the love that others will express to the Lord our God. We will all be filled with pure joy that we could not find during our lives. The Lord will be filling us with His goodness at all times. 
      The very essence of God's being will fulfill us all. Rev. 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. The very fact that we will be in the presence of God will not allow any negative thought to enter our hearts. There will be no thoughts of putting our best foot forward because we will understand that we are fully known of Him who first loved us. 
      We will be so willing to give ourselves to the Lord of Glory that our hearts will cry Abba Father out of God's love coming from our own existence. Deep down we all know this type of relationship exists for us in the hereafter, but how do we get a full serving of it here today? Sng 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
    
Some might think I am too quixotic, exceedingly idealistic. I say, "No," to that statement. I think it is possible to get a real heavenly love anointing in our lives today. We can get an understanding of God's love through His word. Prov.1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding.  
     We can with the help of the Holy Spirit perceive God's love for us. However, this love will be found in His word as we make it part of our lives. Job 23:12b I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. After all, it is God who lived and lives in absolute love before the foundations of creation. The love relationship between the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was already in existence from infinity past. 
      This same God who is the lover of our soul loves us and therefore the love is ours to glean from for the wholeness of our well being and lives now and forever. Sometimes we hear of people who want proof that God loves us. What more can God do? He already did the ultimate sacrifice for anyone who will accept the act of God's love by faith. 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
     The word of God is God's love letter to us. From Genesis to Revelation is a record of God reaching out to mankind on every possible level. Rom. 5:8 But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

      From the beginning, God has had His hand extended toward us and historically we have shunned Him by demanding proof of His love. The proof of God's love is that He has constantly had his hand extended to us so we would take it. If God is always trying to help us and help understand Him, then what more proof is there? If we had been utterly abandoned to our sin and left for dead per-se, that would be proof that He had no love for us. God did not do that, but rather made a way for us all to live in the most loving state of love throughout eternity.
      
How do we get to the place where we can walk in that love of heaven here on earth? God's wisdom helps us perceive and understand His love letter to us all. When we do accept what Christ has done for us, He is not only our Lord but our friend. John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 
      His friendship will be experienced when we accept what He did at the cross. John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. This is what will make us all whole in the love of God. Oh, that we will be able to get a wonderful glimpse of the eternal love that is for us today and awaits us eternally as well. God is so good. Blessings of loving wholeness on us all.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Spring Cleaning

Proverbs 25:14 Whoso boasts himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

       I was going through the small sheds that are at the back of my yard. I noticed a lot of stuff that is not used anymore and just not wanted. I started marking things to give away and stuff to throw away. As I was wondering how all this stuff had made its way into my sheds, it occurred to me that I had allowed stuff to accumulate over time. 
      At that moment I thought of the Lord looking at me and wanting to do the same thing I was planning and that was a spring cleaning. God might want to do a literal spring cleaning in my heart. All this stuff that was taking up room and had no value was clogging up the space. 
      I could see that we Christians might have to do the same kind of spiritual inventory in our hearts. What is taking up room that is not being used for the Kingdom of God? What has become useless and of non-effect in our walk with Christ and yet we hang on to it? What have we been boasting about that is not of God but we think it is? Have we become clouds with no rain? Is our walk in Christ becoming insipidly dry and tasteless? Hag. 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
      Yes, saints, a spring cleaning of the heart is in order. How do we submit to God so that He can begin the clean up in our hearts? We get under the hot focus of God's word and obey the corrections God is pointing out. Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

      We allow God to take away the stuff that no longer brings joy or blessing to ourselves and others. We stop collecting hurts and slights that have happened to us over time. We stop boasting of accomplishment in God that are not so. We let the Holy Spirit heal our wounds that we often use as an excuse for our misbehavior and unbelief. We grow up!
       We read the story of the children of Israel deciding on whether they will believe the encouraging report of Joshua and Caleb or the discouraging report of the other ten spies. The stories told of the land being full of milk and honey are correct and the size of the fruit they bring back is visual proof, but the stuff that is in the hearts of the people of God is clogging the faith that will be needed to take the land. Num. 13: 27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 

      At this point, Caleb, who is of a different spirit and courage tries to rally the faith of the nation of Israel. Num. 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. The report that is chosen is the one of the ten who are full of fear. Num. 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
      Caleb continues to present the case that God is with them and they can take the promised land because it is a promise from God who cannot lie. Caleb is trying to show these people that taking the land will build their faith and be a strength to them over time. Num. 14:9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. Wow, what a statement Caleb makes when he says, "They are bread for us." 

      Caleb sees the need to overcome giants because it feeds the power of God that is within each person. That is the same thing we have in Christ. The Lord cleans us up and makes us ready to battle the giants that come our way in life so that we can look at the trials and tribulations of life as bread for us to grow up on. 2 Cor. 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.
      We don't have to look for trials and problems, but we do not have to run from them or fear them either. The thing is how do we overcome when we are full of stuff that is not of God? That is why we need our heart kept clean so that we see clearly what and who we are in Christ so that when we speak we are declaring words that heal and bring rain to a parched soul. 

      Yes, Lord, go ahead and get rid of the stuff in my heart that causes fear of the enemy. Someone said, "Blessed is the man who digs a well for which another may draw faith." May we be that man.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Porneia: Hooked On Porn

Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them. 

      Vincent Van Gogh said, "Conscience is a man's compass."
      The spirit of porneia. It is one of those topics that can polarize and bring acrimonious debate and that is not my intention. I want people to know that this habit can be conquered. I will try to establish a starting point for the people and families who are struggling with the consequences and feelings of helplessness that can occur when a pornographic spirit has brought harm to a relationship. I hope this blog helps some of the thought processes that will be needed to overcome this vice and any other bondage that has control within a soul.
   
PART ONE: The Eye OF Porneia
   
      
It is difficult for people who have tried to stop entertaining themselves with the vice of porneia to admit that there is a stronghold in their lives because there is often a harsh treatment that comes from their closest friends and family members when the user is exposed. There is a plague-like attitude that results toward the participants of porneia when they come forth asking for help in the areas of this obsession. Most of the time it is because the people close to the one asking for help have as many hang-ups and secret sin themselves that no one looks for answers because there seems to be no way out. 1 Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
      There is a way out, but there has to be a real desire to get out of porneia's grasp. No half-measures work because porneia is like leaven; it affects the whole body, soul, and spirit of a person. I will attempt to explain some of the complicated effects that are strongly attached to the spirit of porneia and reveal some of its shaded faces.
      Porneia is a spirit that causes great hurt within families, marriages, and individuals. My personal belief is that we have been approaching this subject, (craving porn), from the point of an addiction rather than an obsession. Addictions have a bodily desire; a craving, as ingesting drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoke and excessive food eating disorders where the body is addicted to these substances. However, gambling, compulsive-spending, kleptomania, hoarding and participating in the multiple activities of porneia are obsessions. Some might say at this point, "You say potato and I say, blah blah blah." 

      I am putting forth an observation from my experiences in helping people with addictions and helping people with obsessions. The approach is different when dealing with an obsession because the obsessed are dealing with a passion of mental titillation rather than a craving of bodily ingesting of an addictive substance. Both are an invasion of the soul and the person who is in bondage with an addiction or obsession just wants to be free of it regardless of the label put on it. Both approaches need the word of God as the foundational truth and power to overcome when the chronic user is honestly ready to overcome this destructive behavior in their lives. Matt. 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
     
What is the spirit of porneia? Is it only a seductive spirit that saps our spiritual strength or is it just a cheap-thrills activity men and women entertain themselves with? The problem with trying to give a readers digest version of porneia (a Greek word) that encompasses most sexual sin causes a deluded interpretation of its culpability within the souls of the afflicted. The best we seem to come up with is a quick and substandard answer; so we say, "It means pornography." That is like saying, "Einstein was pretty good at math." There is more to it, but because we don't like to associate with this subject we end up with a diluted answer and a weak battle plan for overcoming it.
      This sin, like all other sins, is forgiven when repented of. However, those entangled by its merciless pull have a hard time accepting the forgiveness offered to them. Why? One of the reasons is that the spouse and family members affected by it often have a hard time forgiving the one asking forgiveness and help. This happens even though God is willing to forgive and has forgiven entirely. Matt.12:31a Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. 

      We lean toward having a personal measuring-stick when it comes to certain types of sin. We tend to borrow a page from the Roman Catholic catechism as in mortal and venial sins. A really big sin is hard to forgive but a small one, ah, no problem. Sorry saints. Sin is sin, and God forgives all manner of sin when repented of - even the big ones. 1 John 5:17a All unrighteousness is sin. The finished work of the cross has grace for all sin and those who repent of immorality are forgiven.
      Will there be some difficulty and hard choices for the repentant to make as they now live and go forward in a different direction for victory? Yes, absolutely. Their routines and thought processes will have to be radically acted upon in order to break away from their seductive worn-out paths that are still clearly etched in their minds. They will have to make difficult choices whether to even log on to a computer or not. 

      These people will need help fighting their good fight of faith to win their personal war on porneia, and with the Holy Spirit's leading it can be done. Rom. 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. With deliberate choices and a prayer-led recovery, they can become victors and no longer victims of the obsessive foul spirit of porneia. We all have to remember to keep an eye on our own hearts when discerning the ones going through this battle. Gal. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

PART TWO: The Eye ON Porneia

      
Philip R. Leineweber says in his thesis, (PORNEIA IN THE MATTHEAN EXCEPTION CLAUSES.) He says, "The scholarly understanding of the word porneia, it is important to realize that it is broadly used and understood to mean: the general term for all illicit or immoral sexual intercourse. The specific form may sometimes be indicated by the context. If the payment of wages is involved, it is prostitution. If it involves close relatives, it is incest. If it involves persons of the same sex, it is homosexuality. If it involves an unmarried couple, it is unchaste. If it involves a married person outside of marriage, it is adultery."
      As you have just read there is a broad meaning to the word porneia as it crosses a smorgasbord of immoral activity; thus the spirit of porneia is what needs to be defeated. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read an exhortation that if our eye is in need of discipline then be drastically pro-active to defeat whatever vice has captured the eye of our heart. Matt. 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
      I am not advocating ripping your eyes out of your head. The word is saying go the distance to overcome your personal battle. Do whatever it takes to win this demonic attack. For example, I know a man who cancelled all his Internet use at home and kept his Blackberry device only so he could accommodate his business emails and make his calls. He said that he did not have the fight in him to overcome the pornographic temptation in his home. Some might say, "He is not dealing with the problem, he is just skirting around it." I say, "Good for him." 
      The battle starts and is won with one thought at a time or as the word of God says, "Line upon line, precept upon precept." His attempt may seem weak in someone's eye but God can take that first step and turn it into a leap of victorious faith. Matt. 12:20 A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory. 21 And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.
      The paradox with sexual sin is that sex, in general, is so overrated that it has been made numbingly boring by TV sitcoms. A general blasé attitude and cheap exploitations that cause an emptiness of joy have become a status-quo. Prov. 29:3b But he that keeps company with harlots spends his substance. On the other hand, sex is so underrated because those who have nurtured and developed a wonderful sex life with their spouse can only thank God for this incredible gift and fulfillment. Gen. 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Prov. 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. 

      Another paradox that faces us concerning sex is that unlike an addiction to drug use, where we can eventually stop using the drug, the addiction ends because consumption ends. If we are obsessed with porn we cannot stop having sex with our spouse, so the problem becomes insidious because it literally follows us into the bedroom. 
      When I was an alcoholic, I prayed and asked God to remove the craving from me and I made sure not to buy any more alcohol or accept it when it was offered. I covenanted that I would not drink anymore. Thank God I was totally delivered from that addiction and have been sober every day since; therefore, overcoming addiction by grace. I do not need to bring alcohol with me into the house, bedroom or relationship. 
      The arousal obsession, excess chronic consumption, affects the binge mechanism with the spirit of porneia. This causes a problem in that porn captivates the soul and mind with thoughts and pictures that have burned themselves into the psyche of the afflicted. Therefore, the spirit of porneia will come with the user into the bedroom during lovemaking. The eventual problem will be as the proverb says in Prov. 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 
      Therein is the paradox. We can give up drugs and gambling, but we cannot give up sex in our marriages as this is convenantly owned between both spouses. This is why the spirit of porneia is at work in great force today. One may be involved with porneia, but two are eventually being scarred and hurt. The enemy of our souls wants to destroy us in every part of our lives and that includes our most intimate moments of marriage as well. John 10:10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 
      With the easy accessibility of porneia from all avenues within our society, there will have to be an honest desire to overcome this spirit that afflicts family life. The first thing that has to be expressed from the heart of the afflicted is to call porneia the evil it is because being lulled into its web has no happy endings. Prov. 9:17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 18 But he knows not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

PART THREE: The Eye OFF Porneia
 
      Creating real love-making memories with our spouses rather than imagining sexual fantasies in a Pansexual overcharged society is the direction and path we are looking for. In order to battle the problem of craving and living a life controlled by porneia, we will have to magnify the solution and the Lord is the solution. I know this sounds old fashioned but God is still God and the plan of life that He has established from the beginning is still the right plan. Magnifying Jesus, rather than being led by the overcharged flesh, is the only long term way out of the stronghold controlling the thoughts of the obsessed. 

      There will have to be some radicalism in the person's life and mind who are fighting the evil spirit of pornography. Learning to say "No" to ourselves may be common sense to some, but it is a new concept to many. Self-denial is definitely not something that is promoted in this over-indulgent time in our history. Consumption is the god of this age. 
      People's morality is being challenged with hyper sensations and strong feelings because the obsessed are rationalizing their behavior while walking in their personal version and interpretation of God's word. They are re-writing the word of God to suit their own cravings. "How far can I go before it is sin?" is a question I am often asked when counseling. The fact that this question has been asked means they have gone too far already. James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
      I had a bible study with a young unmarried couple who were asking that very question, "How far can we go?" They did not like my answer when I said, "You have gone too far already." With a few light questions, it was obvious that they had been intimate already and their consciences were bothering them both. Thank God there is grace and forgiveness for all our sins and that the young couple's conscience was still being heard.1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
      Someone said, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.” Part of the problem with breaking a habit of any kind is the slothful attitude of "Here God, you force this bad habit from me. Take my cigarettes, Lord!" News flash! God does not smoke so why would He want them. "Make me stop overeating, Lord!" No, you stop the habit of hanging out in the pantry and refrigerator. We want God to take the habit from us with no effort from our hearts to give it up. 
      There has to be an honest choice and free will that comes from the very core of our being to break any habit. The word of God says that we are to humble ourselves before God. It is not God who humbles us, but we who humble ourselves. 1 Pet. 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. The word says to come to Him boldly, not being forced and dragged along. Heb. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 
      The desire to overcome sin must come from our real relationship with God. True, we come to God utterly lost and without hope but we still ask to be saved by the drawing grace of the Holy Spirit. The chronic user of porneia has to choose to make an effort to overcome the obsession they are bound up with because they will never get their fill in the activity, and deep down the one who is hooked knows it. Prov. 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. The pornographer will literally have to make a covenant with his own heart and eyes. Job 31:2 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
      There have been some statistics lately that indicate there has been a 10% drop in Internet porn. Statistics are fleeting and can change in a day, but more importantly, there are more and more sites opening up dedicated to helping anyone who wants to get unhooked from their chronic porn activities. The testimonials from these people who have looked for help and got it are just wonderful to hear. Just after ninety days of porn free living, they have made great strides toward freedom. Their productivity at work, home, hobbies, and healing in their marriages is a common statement from these former users. 

      They all say it has been worth the extreme effort they are taking to change their lives. With real joy, they state categorically that the battle is worth it. In most cases, these are people who do not know the Lord and His miraculous power and these are some of the results as they are going for victory. How much more could be accomplished with God healing the obsessed all the way to victory. Isa. 40:31 He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

PART FOUR: No Eyes For Porneia

     There is a billboard with a call for help phone number showing up in British Columbia these days that says, "When gambling is no longer fun."  Well, maybe there should be a billboard for the people who are hooked on porneia as well because it can be a wrecking-ball to good family life just as much as gambling does its terrible work. As I indicated in the above chapters, everyone gets affected by people in their lives who are hooked on anything self-destructive. 

      The spirit of porneia affects all genders, social classes, and nations on this earth. Women are surprised when they hear that other women can be hooked on porn. I am surprised that anyone can be surprised about anything anymore. Eccl. 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 
      There is nothing new here as far as vice is concerned. All genders are being tempted with the spirit of pornography and all genders need deliverance. They need to know that there is a way out. Nothing is hopeless when the Lord is on your side, helping you become victorious. What is the reward for the obsessed who have kicked the habit? Happy is the man whose sins are forgiven, yes happy is that man! Psalm 32:2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 
      Learning to say "No" to a bad habit is the new habit that will have to be established and it must first happen in the heart. Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. If a person does not have the heart for victory then they had better pray for miraculous help. There is no weaning off of an obsession. The cutting of the umbilical-cord of that malicious spirit must be clean and complete. 

      Perhaps borrowing the words of Jesus might become the battle cry that has to be loud and clear when shouted, "It is finished!"  Choosing to focus on other things will bring life to the wounded soul. Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
      When this iniquity is brought to Jesus for healing in the soul and memories, it is not something that is beyond the redemptive work of the cross. This sin and every other conceivable sin has been forgiven by grace. This gift has been offered to anyone who wants their freedom from the bondage of any kind. When sin is repented of, it was not the first time that Jesus heard of it. The Lord carried every thought and sinful activity that ever was, is, and will be on the cross. 

      The full and complete accusations of every sin known to man were nailed right in the Lord's flesh to the cross, where the penalty of sin was paid in full. Don't let the enemy of your soul tell you that this particular sin (that is most often done in secret), cannot be forgiven. It has been forgiven openly with the holy blood of Christ and His resurrection power that lives in us all who have received Him as Lord. 1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 
      Yes, God made our eyes and they can be used to look at whatever we want. However, if we could use them to see what Jesus sees, then we would be in awe of the love and future God has for us. Eph. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. God can, and will help anyone bound and obsessed overcome anything wicked or evil. He can break the chains of any unwanted habit. Ask Him and see what the Lord can do.