Archive for November, 2017


Jeremiah was depressed, as gloomy as a giraffe with a neck ache. Jerusalem was under siege, his nation under duress. His world collapsed like a sand castle in a typhoon. He faulted God for his horrible emotional distress. He also blamed God for his physical ailments. “[God] has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones” (Lam. 3:4 RSV).

His body ached. His heart was sick. His faith was puny … He realized how fast he was sinking, so he shifted his gaze. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him'” (vv. 21–24 RSV).

“But this I call to mind …” Depressed, Jeremiah altered his thoughts, shifted his attention. He turned his eyes away from his stormy world and looked into the wonder of God. He quickly recited a quintet of promises. (I can envision him tapping these out on the five fingers of his hand.)

1. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

2. His mercies never come to an end.

3. They are new every morning.

4. Great is thy faithfulness.

5. The Lord is my portion.

The storm didn’t cease, but his discouragement did.

Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Second Chances.


 UncleanNotUnknown.com – Keith B.

Unclean. Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines unclean  as “dirty, filthy, morally or spiritually impure.” How did I get that way? Of course, original sin led to that break with God and true moral and spiritual impurity. But really, what happened with me in particular?

So, what is “clean”? I believe I mentioned that God is Holy. Yeah, I know, big surprise. Because of that original sin of Adam and Eve, we can’t ever meet His standard of holiness while here on earth in our brokenness and in a broken world. So why does holiness even matter?

Leviticus 19 – 21 defines holiness, cleanliness and why they are important. Someone challenged me last week when I wrote about the necessity of seeking a life of holiness to pursue a relationship with God. I was rightly challenged that holiness is not a requirement for salvation or being seen as redeemed by God, which is true. So why pursue holiness? Well, two real reasons. One, living by holy standards gives glory to the Lord, honoring Him in our lives by seeking His standard of living. Two, living by holy standards keeps us from unhealthiness, disease, abuse, and darkness. Stark, huh?

God is Holy. He is the Holy One. He decides what is holy and what isn’t. He is picky, like I mentioned previously. He defines what is clean and what is unclean. Sexual holiness means living by God’s holy standards. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explained the importance of practicing sexual holiness and honoring God’s creation of our bodies. He stated our bodies are part of Christ and defiling our bodies through sexual immorality defiles the holiness of God. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul goes further by defining sexual holiness as existing in the context of marriage between man and woman. Paul made clear that sexual holiness means avoiding any sexual immorality. All sexual sin including adultery, prostitution, homosexuality – all run counter to God’s call to holiness.

How do we become unclean? Many don’t know any better, don’t know God’s expectations for living a holy life. Some of us have a desperate need that we try to fill with something other than God. We may listen to our culture which allows for and even encourages sexual practices that don’t fit God’s definition of holiness. Whatever path we follow, all of us need a Holy Savior.

Our culture and society label those who express support for sexual holiness as intolerant or ignorant or unenlightened. So how do we live in this society, balancing the pursuit of holiness with the love of Christ for all people? I turn to John 1:17 again and again to the only man who successfully navigated being in the culture but not of the world. Jesus came in grace and truth. We pursue His model of living. Revelation 4:8 reminds me “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” 1 John 4:8 says “anyone who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”

God calls me as a follower of Christ to pursue His Holiness and to show His love. Grace and truth. Sexual holiness exists as His truth. Telling my story of redemption and restoration allows me to share a message and example of His grace. Grace and truth. He calls me to both.

 


A short while ago I watched the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and made two short videos, Deepest, Darkest Secret and Drax’s Wisdom.  As I continued to watched the movie various “father wound” scenes stood out to me.  As I have stated before, now that I’m in recovery the Holy Spirit has allowed me to see movies differently and notice subtle (and sometimes blatant) recovery tones within the movie. 

The plot of this movie has been pasted below courtesy of Wikipedia:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his mysterious parentage.

What I saw in this movie was a humorous example of characters suffering from the “father wound” and how it manifests itself in their lives as adults.  This movie, although not therapy-accurate, brings humor to the Father Wound which affects many men and women.  Hopefully, those who are in recovery can see the humor in this movie as much as I do.  This video has a limited amount of comments to allow the viewer to come up with their own opinions.

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Matthew 5:38–42: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Many of us have known people who, after years of being passive and compliant, suddenly stop acting like a victim. This reactive phase of boundary creation is a first step to get a person out of the powerless, victimized place in which they may have been forced by physical or sexual abuse, or by emotional blackmail or manipulation. We are happy that they are no longer victims. But when is enough reacting enough?

Reaction phases are not the same as maturity; they are necessary but not sufficient for the establishment of boundaries. Even though in finding our boundaries, we might find ourselves reacting. Eventually, we establish connections as respectful equals. This is the beginning of establishing proactive, instead of reactive, boundaries.

In Matthew 5:38–39, Jesus compared reactive persons to those who are freely and proactively setting their own boundaries. Through his teaching, we see that power is not something we demand or deserve; it is something we express. How does withholding a counterstrike after we’ve been harmed show our power? The ultimate expression of power is love. Proactive people are able to love their neighbors as themselves (see Mark 12:31) and respect others (see 1 Peter 2:17). They are able to die to self (see 1 Peter 2:24) and not repay evil for evil (see Romans 12:17). They have gotten past the reactive stance of the law — “eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” — and are able to love rather than react.

When we truly have the power of self-control, another person’s evil does not mean that we “have to” get revenge. We are free to do something more redemptive and more constructive. In that way, we have power to turn bad situations into good ones and not be dragged down into the mire of bad behavior.

This devotional is drawn from Beyond Boundaries, by Dr. John Townsend


Originally posted at: https://thewest.com.au/news/australia/children-as-young-as-five-driven-by-porn

Children as young as five are sexually abusing their peers after being exposed to pornography, a Senate inquiry has been told.

In chilling evidence that would shock parents, a leading child development expert has outlined a litany of cases where primary school aged children were coercing classmates into performing sex acts including intercourse.

Professor Freda Briggs has also cited her own work that found fathers were watching online porn with their young sons for “fun” because “that’s what guys do”.

The prevalence of internet pornography — especially how children can stumble on it while innocently doing homework — has alarmed federal MPs.

WA Liberal Senator Chris Back, along with WA Labor counterpart Joe Bullock, has set up a Senate inquiry to look at the harm it is causing children, including sexualising them at a young age.

“What prompted it for me has been the number of people who have contacted me that they have little or no control over what their children are seeing,” Senator Back told The West Australian.

Senator Back said he was keen to explore what could be done to protect children, including seeing whether technological advances had made internet-wide filtering possible.

The Rudd Government had promised to introduce internet filtering to block “refused classification” websites but ran into objections it amounted to censorship and would slow download speeds.

The Abbott Government established an “e-Safety commissioner” to promote online safety for children.

Prof Briggs said in her submission there were growing cases of children acting out on what they had seen and experienced by sexually abusing other kids in schools and child care centres.

“Clearly we are paying too high a price for adults’ rights to view whatever they wish regardless of the consequences for young people and society,” she said.

She accused schools of trying to sweep sexualised behaviour under the carpet and urged a greater focus on child protection in school curriculum.

“The problem is that neither teachers, police nor social workers appear to be trained to take these behaviours seriously and respond appropriately,” she said.

“When staff are inadequately informed, serious incidents such as rape have been dismissed as “boys will be boys”, or it’s “normal sexual experimentation”, when it clearly isn’t.”

A WA Police spokeswoman said child on child sexually abuse was not a trend that had been seen in the State and almost all offenders were adults.

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Our host building, River Oaks Tower will be closed  on Wednesday night, November 22nd in observance of Thanksgiving so we are canceling the Castimonia Wednesday night meeting at this location. The meeting will resume the following Wednesday night at its regular time and location.


Samson

His name means: “Little Sun”

His work: To deliver Israel from the Philistines. His character: Samson’s erotic attachments to foreign women eventually led to his death. A man of mythic strength, he was inwardly weak, given to anger and unfaithful to his Nazirite vows. His prayers as well as his actions against the Philistines seem to have been motivated by the desire for personal vengeance. His sorrow: To have been blinded and imprisoned by his lifelong enemies. His triumph: To have killed more Philistines by his death than he had while living. Key Scriptures: Judges 13-16

A Look at the Man

One of the first Bible stories children hear is the story of Samson, the man who defeated his enemies with a superhuman feat of strength. But it is such an unsavory story that we find ourselves leaving out certain details, for example, Samson’s boasting, his visits to prostitutes, or his murderous rage. Even the man’s prayers were selfish, focused as they were on his own desire for revenge rather than on God’s glory.

Why would God, knowing the future, choose such a person to play such a role, even sending an angel to announce his birth? The question is not easily answered. But it is certainly true that Samson would have been a better man had he paid attention to the call God had placed on his life. Instead, he seems to have squandered the promise of his life by living it in a self-centered, self-directed way.

Ironically, the pattern of his life formed a vivid picture of Israel’s own unfaithfulness during a period when it seemed incapable of resisting the allurement of foreign gods. And so the people God had set apart and called his own, the nation he intended to build up and make strong, grew progressively weaker in the land he had promised.

Samson’s story reminds us of God’s faithfulness, of his ability to deliver his people regardless of the circumstances and despite their sins. It also reminds us of what can happen when we allow ourselves to become attached to things and people, however enticing, that might end in our own self-destruction.

Reflect On: Judges 16:23–31 Praise God: For his sovereignty. Offer Thanks: For God’s strength working within you. Confess: Any promises you have made to God and not kept. Ask God: To make you a person who is strong on the inside.

Today’s reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store.