Jesus Wept; The Bible And Human Emotions, Lesson 11

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I have never used my blog before to promote any books other than the Bible, but after reading through this week’s SS lesson, “Freedom From Addictions” there are a couple of books I would like to recommend. The first one was recommended to me several years ago by a stranger at the Adventist Book Center. I was in Collegedale, Tennessee browsing through the Adventist Book Center when, I picked up the book “You Can Be Free” at random, written by Vaughn Allen. A lady I had never seen before or since walked up to me and told me that was an excellent book and had set her free. Free from what I do not know, but I thought, if you can’t trust a stranger at the ABC then who can you trust? So I bought the book and found it to be very powerful in dealing with all kinds of addictions. It helps you see the source of the addiction, find the remedy in God’s Word, and practical ways to not put yourself in a vulnerable position to temptation. It offers other practical steps to find freedom in Christ. I found it very practical and powerful. You can order it at your local ABC.

A few years ago the Men’s Ministry of the Florida SDA Conference had a workshop on sexual purity in Clearwater. A friend asked me to go so I did. We both thought it would be a simple little seminar on maintaining sexual purity. Wrong! It was an intense workshop for sex addicts. This workshop had group times, and while listening to the men share their testimonies, I learned that many of them began their addiction to sex around the age of 11 or 12. I then noticed on the workshop program that it said you had to be at least 17 to attend, so while this addiction begins at 11 or 12 you can’t get help until you’re 17! This is crazy! We need to help these young men while they are young before things get worse. I am so thankful for my parents for many reasons, and one of those is that in our home there were no taboo topics. There were no awkward conversations. I could talk to my parents about sex as easily and causally as we talked about the Bible or baseball or whatever. I was never censored. When I hear people refer to sex as an awkward or sensitive subject I have a hard time understanding that. The way I was brought up, talking about sex is no more awkward than talking about how to change the oil in your car. I would like to submit to you the idea that, it is Satan’s idea to make sex a taboo topic and not God’s idea. Nobody is going to ask for help if it’s wrong to talk about it.

Many years ago, I lost a friend who had a sexual addiction that nobody even knew about until it was too late and it killed her. It breaks my heart that she may have been scared to reach out for help, for fear that she would be judged.

A great book that has been highly recommended by hundreds of pastors of all faiths, is “Every Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn. You can also find, “Every Young Man’s Battle” for the younger as I was talking about.

While on the subject of overcoming temptations and addictions I want to share a study from the classic book, “The Desire of Ages,” on how God and His Word help us to be victorious.

In closing I want to add something I feel is very important. Several years ago I was reading “The Purpose Drive Life” by Rick Warren. In his book he talks about the importance of having an accountability partner. I used to think that was humanism but now I find it to be very Biblical. After all Adam and Eve were to be accountability partners in the Garden as well as husband and wife. On page 212 of the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren makes a bold statement that a trusted accountability partner is the only way we can find victory. Again a few years ago I thought that was humanism, but it is very Biblical. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16

Redemption in Romans, Lesson 11

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Friday’s section of this week’s SS Lesson asks, “What can we learn from the mistakes of many in ancient Israel? How can we avoid doing the same things today?”

I think as a whole we have the same struggle ancient Israel had when it comes to a proper association with the rest of the world. It appears to me, that either we join them in “Baal worship” or we have nothing to do with them whatsoever.  Jesus showed us the perfect balance to take.  In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. Salt is to have saving qualities. At the same time, salt must be mixed with the food in order to have any kind of savor. Likewise we must have some association with the world. Please allow me to share some quotes from the classic Desire of Ages and Ministry of Healing, that may help us find a healthy balance.

As disciples of Christ we shall not mingle with the world from a mere love of pleasure, to unite with them in folly. Such associations can result only in harm. We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence. Wherever we go, we are to carry Jesus with us, and to reveal to others the preciousness of our Saviour. But those who try to preserve their religion by hiding it within stone walls lose precious opportunities of doing good. Through the social relations, Christianity comes in contact with the world. Everyone who has received the divine illumination is to brighten the pathway of those who know not the Light of life.   We should all become witnesses for Jesus. Social power, sanctified by the grace of Christ, must be improved in winning souls to the Saviour. Let the world see that we are not selfishly absorbed in our own interests, but that we desire others to share our blessings and privileges. Let them see that our religion does not make us unsympathetic or exacting. Let all who profess to have found Christ, minister as He did for the benefit of men.  –Desire of Ages, p.  152

  Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts.– Desire of Ages, p. 151

     Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”–The Ministry of Healing, p. 143

How big of a mission field do you have as an ambassador for Christ? How many non Christians do you have on your cell phone contact list? In other words how many non Christians do you come in contact with on a friendly every day basis?  How many non Christians do you have as Facebook friends? Are you being exclusive and reclusive like the Pharisees or are you reaching out to the world in the same way Christ did? Christ calls us all to be missionaries. He may not need us to go overseas but He may be asking you to leave your big comfy church and Christian Community and move to a dark county where there are no churches for miles and start mingling with the people there and start a new church. He may be asking you to drop out of your church softball league and join a secular league where you can reach people you could reach no other way. I am just thinking out loud here, but you get the idea. 🙂 In Isaiah 58 God tells ancient Israel that while they thought they were worshipping God by debating theology in the temple with their friends, that real worship is going out to share His love and mercy with the world.

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light Of The Cross.