Great Book on Battling Sexual Sin

15 06 2018

41qeSqVJniL._SY346_There is hardly a few weeks that go buy that I don’t have a conversation with somebody about sexual sin.  Whether it is a young man struggling in the church that I pastor or it is seeing it first hand as the male that I’m ubering around in my car is trying to convince the girl with him to come back and cuddle just a bit, it is evident that we do live in a broken world.  Paul David Tripp talks about this world gone crazy in his book Sex in a Broken World:  How Christ Redeems What Sin Distorts, published by Crossway.  In this book he doesn’t deny that we are sexual beings, but we live in a world that is not sexually healthy but is deeply broken.  In this world God does not promise us that we will not struggle, but rather He has given to us the best gift ever in it—Himself.  As a matter of fact according to the author, “The cross is our guarantee that in all our struggles with sex, no matter who we are and what those struggles may be, God will give us everything we need.  If He willingly gave us His Son, we can rest assured He will gladly supply what we are not able to supply for ourselves.”  There can be victory in this area of our lives!

In this book Tripp takes a close look at the brokenness of this world but challenges the Christian to not use that as an excuse to chase sin.  He encourages the Christian to take a good long look at his/her own heart and ask the question of whether or not your heart is controlled by a higher pleasure of God, which is greater than any other pleasure you could seek.  The question is this:  Is God the master of my heart?  Everything else falls into place after that.  In this book the author goes in great detail to show us that we must have a heart-controlling love for God that can protect us in this world that we live in.

Tripp completes his book with some practical advice on how to find victory in this area of your life.  He points to hope found in the gospel and in the power of God.  He says, “When you begin to understand that you’ve been invited to a meal that will never end, that you’ve been welcomed to the King’s table forever, you’ll quit looking to sneak a bite at other tables.”  Understanding what we have in this relationship with God, goes far in the victory we all need.

This is going to be a book that I keep close.  It is going to be a book that I recommend time and time again because of the pervasive nature of this sin and this sinful world that we live in.  I found many of the truths in this book to be applicable not only to sexual sin, but any sin.  This is one that you need on your shelfs not just for yourself, but for those you love.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Read This Before You Implode!

11 05 2018

wpln-1I sat in my living room with my mouth open wide in amazement as I watched the Lifeway building downtown implode.  I had been in that building many times and all I could think about is how much work for the Kingdom of God had gone down in that place.  I immediately kicked myself for not making the effort to go down and watch it in person.  Everybody likes to watch a good implosion, right? Maybe so with buildings but it is not very fun to watch it in somebody else or for it to happen to yourself.  Imagine all the pain and disappointment that goes along with imploding lives and multiply that by 100.  I don’t believe you can even scratch the surface.  Some of those scars never heal.

Eric Geiger serves as a Senior Vice President for Lifeway Christian Resources and he has authored How to Ruin Your Life, a book which looks at the story of David’s fall with lessons of how to avoid such a fall in your own life and what to do when you have fallen.  This bestselling author of such books as Simple Church, Creature of the Word, and Designed to Lead, which he coauthored with Kevin Peck, has put together this great resource in hopes of keeping others from falling into some of the same traps that have brought down some of the mighty in the Kingdom of God.

Geiger recommends that you don’t read this book alone, but rather find others to go 5173NyHyYWL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_through it with you.  He has even provided a five day devotional at his website to help.

By looking at three precursors of a fall, which are isolation, boredom, and pride, the author shows how each one of these led to the mighty fall of David, a man after God’s own heart.  He goes on to look at David’s confession and the components that ensured that David’s failure would not be final in his life.  To finish up the book, the author takes us to Psalm 32, which was written after David’s fall, to show how God’s grace applied, can restore us to the joy that we once knew.

This book is an easy read filled with Scripture and stories from real life.  Once I began reading it I could not lay it down.  It is something that I wished I could have read many years ago with others.  This book reminded me of the grandeur of God and the power of His grace.  I plan to use it as I’m teaching through 2 Samuel.  It points out a few things that your commentary will not.  I especially love how this book is about redemption as much as it is about instruction.  He deals with all sides of the issue of failure.

With all of this being said, I too recommend you grab a few peers and read this together.  Though God’s grace heals and forgives, the scars of failure remain.  As I drive by the location where the Lifeway tower once stood, there is a big hole where once a great building once stood.  That is nothing compared to the damage down when a person falls.  They never fall alone.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.





What Are You Planting?

16 01 2018

My quiet time this morning is in Hosea 10.  In that chapter it reads:  Hosea 10:12-13 (ESV) 12  Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. 13  You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors,

fallowIsrael had sown into their lives the wrong things and because of that they had gotten themselves into a mess.  It made me think about what am I sowing into my own life.  In verse 12 He calls for them to instead sow righteousness and that they would reap steadfast love.  God just wants us to love Him.  He just wants our love.  He has been so very good to us.  He has been generous to us.  Why wouldn’t we do that?  He calls them to break up the fallow ground and seek the LORD.

In our world of social media it is so easy to see people planting the wrong things into their lives and getting the same results as always.  I’m like, “Well there they go again.”  There has never been a sin that has done a single good thing for anyone but yet we continue to plant the same seeds and we continue to get the same results.  We get a huge mess.  We get marital and family difficulties.  We get unhappiness and misery.  We get what we have planted.

Why not try something different?  Why not break up the hardened fallow ground of your heart today and seek the LORD.  Plant something different in your life and watch the results.  Seek your Creator God!  Seek the one who has redeemed you or is able to redeem you.  He knows what is best for you and me.  So take the plow today and break up the ground.  Seek Him.  Get into His Word.  Pray to Him!





GOD IS IN THE HOUSE

8 11 2008

I totally recognize that my blog is not typical.  I mostly use it to place my devotional thoughts that come to me in my quiet time.  In some ways it becomes my journal.  I don’t talk a lot about politics on here nor do I speak of crazy drivers who cut me off.  I mainly just want to talk about God and what He is doing in my life.  I know and realize that may not be what you want to discuss.  I tend to get more comments when I put pictures about my family or tell a story about how I nearly died on an appointment.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my family and right under God they are the most precious part of my life.  But when I speak about God on here very few comment.  I see too that my blog doesn’t make it on everyone’s blogroll and that is cool.  Not everyone makes mine either.  I’m trying to be careful who my blog connects to so that my witness and testimony is protected.  You are free to blog about whatever you want.  It is your blog.  This is mine.  But I don’t want it to be about me on here but God. 

God has a way of making us feel uncomfortable doeesn’t He?  I mean we love to talk about the grace and love of God but when it comes to his holiness, his justice, or his wrath he shut up.  We say, “Well that is not how I perceive God to be.”  Well that is how He perceives Himself to be.  That is the God of the Bible.  Ligon Duncan once said, “There is the God that is and the God that we want and the two are not the same.”  He went on to say, “There is the God that is and the God that we underline in the Bible and the two are not the same.”  Hey guys we don’t get to choose characteristics of God.  We don’t get to pull God down on our level.  He just won’t do it.

This morning I got up and prayed.  I went down into my study to think about my sermon tomorrow but before I did, I wanted to spend a little time thinking on the Scriptures myself.  Today I read 2 Chronicles 5.  Solomon has built the temple and is now bringing the Ark of the Covenant to the temple.  On top of the Ark was a place known as the mercy seat.  The mercy seat was considered the throne of God and when Moses met with God his presence would be known on this seat.  The Ark was special.  Very special.  The one thing that hit me was this:  2 Chronicles 5:6 (ESV)  And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.  Why were they sacrificing so many sheep and oxen?  They knew that they were a sinful people.  They knew that they needed a sin covering beause God was coming to the temple.  They recognized the holiness of God and when they compared their sinfulness to their holiness they knew something had to be done.  So they sacrificed all of these sheep and oxen so that these animals could stand between them and this holy God.  They recognized just how holy God is.  Do you?

I think that most people see God as this passive being who is passive when it comes to us.  They see Him as one who has made this earth for us to play on and it is our job to play hard.  When I read 2 Chronicles 5 that is not the God that I see.  I see a holy God who desires holiness in His people as well.  I see something deeper.  Dear friend you are a sinner.  You know that.  Because you are a sinner this holy God cannot and will not let you into Heaven because He is holy.  He is so holy that He must judge that sin in your life.  You are just like Solomon and the Israelites here.  You need something between you and this holy God.  Well God has sent something better than a lamb or oxen.  He has sent his only begotten son and He has sacrificed Him.  Jesus Christ was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.  Jesus faced my judgment and the wrath of God that I deserved.  Why?  So that I can have a relationship with God and be given Heaven one day.  It is only because I’m resting and believing in Christ that this is possible.  I know that Christ is the only way.

You may say that you are believing Christ too.  Well that is good but let me ask you this?  Is this relationship that you have with Christ changing your life?  Because the Scripture tells us that those whom God saves He gives a new heart…a heart that desires holiness…a heart that is changing us and conforming us into the image of Christ Himself.  Dear Christian if you truly are one.  God desires your holiness more than your happiness.  You see they were making all of these preparations because God was coming to the temple.  In the last verse of that chapter it says that the presence of God was so evident that the priests couldn’t function in the temple.  Dear Christian you are that temple today.  If God is living in your life then He is desiring holiness in you.  Jesus died so that you could be changed.

I’m begging you.  Please don’t be passive when it comes to God.  Please know that you too are sinful.  You need Christ to stand between you and this holy God.  Look to Him.  Trust Him.  Believe in Him.  Cry out to Him.

My name is Johnny Beaver and I approve this message.
 





A Clean Sweep

3 11 2008

I’ve been speaking through the book of Exodus for the last several months.  It has been an awesome study for me.  I just love the Old Testament and I have several really good professors at Reformed Theological Seminary for that.  Ralph Davis always taught me that God was the main character in the Old Testament.  John Currid helped me to see some things in the Old Testament that I never have seen.  In my studies I’ve leaned a lot of Ligon Duncan, who taught me theology and is now the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS.  I owe a lot to all of these men.

We have been studying the plagues of Exodus and are about to come upon the last and most deadly one of them all.  Before it happened God instituted the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  In both He gave very detailed instructions on what to do with both of these ordinances.  God was coming to Egypt in an amazing way in this last plague.  Israel was to be prepared and prepare for his visit much like we prepare for the company of guests in our own homes.  Two things really come out in this Scripture to me.  One, God never wants them to forget that He redeemed them from the slavery of Egypt.  God doesn’t want you and me to forget that He has saved us either.  The second things that pops out at me is that God wanted them to be holy in preparation for his coming.  That is the whole thrust of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  It is clear in the Scripture that leaven represents sin.  Jesus said:  Luke 12:1 (ESV) “In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”  Paul spoke of it:  1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV) “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  Leaven consisted of leftover dough from a batch of bread baking.  They would use it much like ladies use starter today in the making of sour dough bread.  Inside that piece of unused dough would be the makings of what would help make the next batch rise. 

In the Feast of Unleavened bread they were to eat unleavened bread for seven days.  If they ate anything leavened then they were to be cut off from the nation.  God was serious about this.  In order for them to make sure that they didn’t have any leaven in their bread they were to do a thorough cleaning in the house first.  There was to be nothing leaven in the house.

God wanted something even greater in the lives of the Israelites.  He wanted them to remove the sin in their lives.  All of it.  They were to leaven none of it.  They were to make a clean sweep because even the least amount of leaven will spread.  The least little sin will do the same.  Sin has a way of spreading and little sins snowball on us in a hurry.

We have begun a 21 day fast at our church.  Different people are fasting various items.  Some are not eating any kind of meat.  Others are fasting TV.  Some are fasting sweets.  I jokingly told everyone that I was fasting cow tongue and tripe.  I am fasting something in my life right now.  Please pray for me.

What do I want out of this fast? I want a clean sweep.  I want God to remove the little areas of compromise and sin that I have allowed to come into my life.  I desire holiness and I desire a deeper and more committed relationship with my wife during this time.  I believe that God is just as serious about my and your holiness as He was about Israel’s.  So tell me…is there anything that you need to clean up?

I end with a quote from Philip Ryken who has been a tremendous blessing for me in this study:

“Even a small sin is dangerous because, like yeast, it wants to spread. This is why God has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sin. Anyone who thinks that some sins can be tolerated misunderstands the whole meaning of salvation. God delivered us from our bondage so that we would make a clean sweep.

Every believer needs to apply this personally. Is there a sin that you have decided to tolerate? Are you nursing a private grudge or indulging a secret lust? Is there something you have decided that it is all right for you to take, even though it doesn’t actually belong to you? Do you think that worry and impatience are not really sins but just bad habits? Is there some area of your personal life where you have decided that it is okay to be undisciplined?

Perhaps you think that it is only a small sin. Perhaps from time to time you tell yourself that you will start to do something about it once it starts to get out of control. If that is what you are doing, then you are in great spiritual danger because sin is like yeast: Once it gets into your life, it will keep growing and spreading until it corrupts everything. Before that happens, God’s Word has something very simple and very straightforward to say about that sin: “Get rid of it!””

—Preaching the Word





Shields of Bronze

13 06 2008

While passing through 1 Kings 14 I came across a couple of lines that got my attention and I thought I would stop a moment and type out a few thoughts.  This is what I read:  “1 Kings 14:25-27 (ESV) In the fifth year of King Re-hoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away all the shields of gold that Solomon had made, and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house.”

I remember reading about the shields of gold that were taken away by Shishak, King of Egypt.  These shields were crafted during the reign of Solomon.  For me they represented one of the best times in the life of Israel.  God was blessing the reign of Solomon so very much.  God was fulfilling a promise to Solomon that he would not only give him much wisdom, but He would also provide him with very great wealth.  Shields of gold are a testament of God’s blessings.

Now they are stolen away and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, must replace them with shields of bronze.  He is wanting to keep up the appearance of blessing but in all actuality he is living a lie.  He is wanting a gold standard life but he is settling with bronze.  Why?

It all began with his father Solomon.  When God promised Solomon great wealth and blessing He did so with a catch.  I will bless you and those who follow you forever said the Lord as long as you walk  in my ways and statutes.  There came a time in Solomon’s life where he did not live up to that request.  He married many times over but then he got caught up in his wives’s false worship.  After sending him many warnings God divided his Kingdom and his son had the southern remnant that was left.

But then it tells us that Rehoboam allowed false worship to spread in Judah.  Judah provoked the Lord for their sins and the Lord punished.  His punishment was the defeat by Shishak who stole the shields.

I just wonder how many times we find ourselves in the place of Rehoboam.  Sin has caused us to find the displeasure of God but we want to keep up the front.  We continue to go on as if nothing has happened and we put a smile on it all.  In reality there is something vitally wrong and we cover it up.  We place a band aid on cancer and hope that it gets better.  It won’t.  You have got to deal with the cancer on the inside.  Solomon didn’t deal with it.  Rehoboam didn’t deal with it.  No longer do they live in their golden world.

Just whistling a happy tune will not make things better at all.  We must admit that we have sinned and go to the one to whom we have sinned against.  In the words of Chris Tomlin: 

We bow our hearts
We bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes
From evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh God let this be
a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be
a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob
 





Secrets

28 05 2008

Throughout my life I’ve had too many secrets.  There have been things that I’ve thought or done in which I felt that as long as nobody knew, I was safe.  But the thing is that God knew.  There comes a time when God has a way of bringing everything out into the open.

In 2 Samuel David had a secret.  He had sinned against God with Bathsheba and then he killed off her husband to hide it.  In 2 Samuel 12 God sends Nathan to David to reveal David’s sin.  In the process of revealing God through Nathan rehearses all of the blessings that He had blessed David with.  He had anointed him king and delivered him from Saul.  He had done all of this for David and would have done more.

Let me just stop there and say that I’ve been there.  God in my life has done so much for me.  It is amazing…absolutely amazing what God has done for me.  He has given me opportunities that I could not have done on my own.

After rehearsing the blessings he then asks him why has he despised the Word of the LORD, to do what s evil in his sight?  God had done all of those things for Lord and  David repaid him by despising God’s Word.

Been there too. I’m ashamed to tell you that I have but I have.  And it didn’t happen overnight.  It was a slow process and I kept my secrets along the way.  It reminds me of the new video by Casting Crowns.

 

You can keep your little secrets but in the end God knows.  God has a way of showing us grace and mercy and giving us time to repent and return. If we don’t, though, there comes a time when He acts just like He did in David’s life.  Nathan told him this:  12 ““For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’  2 Samuel 12:12 (ESV)”  God has a way of bringing the secrets to light and when He doe it is not pretty.

David’s secret sins cost him.  They cost him dearly.  They cost those closest to him dearly as well.  Yes, the Lord forgave him but the scars from his sin would effect his family for many years to come.

We know David’ secret.  What’s yours?  What are you hiding? 

Once when I was young I stuck a key in an electrical plug in.  I had the fire knocked out of me.  It was not very smart.  Because of that to this day I can’t stand to be shocked in any way form or fashion.

Going through the experience of God’s great reveal has taught me several lessons.  First it taught me to never ever ever take for granted God’s goodness.  Second, always take advantage of God’s mercy and grace when He gives you the opportunity to come clean.  Third, sin hurts.  What I experienced when I failed the Lord was horrible.  It was absolutely horrible.  It was worse than sticking the key in the plug in.  I never ever want to go down that road again.  EVER!

David failed in private long before he ever failed in public.  So do most of us.  We allow little private sins to enter in.  We keep them as our little secrets.  Before we know it they have gotten bigger.  But we think we can manage them.  We miss God’s opportunity to come clean and before we know it our private failures start hurting those we love.

So, what is your secret?  Don’t tell me.  Tell God.  He already knows by the way but He wants you to tell Him.