The subject of sexual abuse has been very prominent in the news lately. For the average person who lives by a set of moral standards, the idea of sexual abuse must be of great concern to them. Society in general looks at the perpetrator as one who is sick, deranged or even a low-life. But how well do they know the individual behind those crimes? I would venture a guess they don’t know them at all. Basically, all we see are the after effects of their psychological problems.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not condoning the abuser’s behavior or standing up for them. What I am suggesting is that we look at their heart. You might say that’s easy because what you see is deep, dark sin. On the surface your observation would be correct but it goes deeper than that.
Studies have shown that abusers usually have been abused in some form or another. It doesn’t have to be sexual abuse. It could be mental or physical abuse. When you tie all of those together it makes for a rather ugly scenario and when they get out on their own the devil takes over and starts lying to them. At first the devil’s approach is very soft but as time progresses the devil has convinced the individual that since they were abused, it’s alright for them to do the same. They think its normal behavior because that’s all they’ve known.
After the individual commits the sin of abuse society looks upon them as if they had leprosy. The reaction and condemnation is very swift and painful to the accused.
If you look at the individual sinner the way Jesus did you would have compassion for them and not revulsion. There are many stories in the bible of Jesus healing the deaf, blind, paralytic and even lepers. In Jesus day, lepers were considered unclean and everyone steered clear of them. Not Jesus. He reached out and touched their rotten flesh and made them whole again.
Today instead of touching the abuser we can reach out to them through prayer. Prayer is a very powerful weapon that we have at our disposal. Much has been accomplished through prayer. Lives have been changed and redirected for doing good.
If you know someone who has been the victim of abuse or is committing abuse then powerful prayer would be beneficial to them. Instead of us looking down on that person as ugly and dirty, do what Jesus did. He reached out and touched the leper or like the Samaritan woman at the well, He didn’t condemn her but instead told her to go and sin no more.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
This verse means that there is a precious experience of peace and assurance and harmony and intimacy that is not unconditional. It depends on our not grieving the Spirit.
It depends on our putting away bad habits. It depends on forsaking the petty inconsistencies of our Christian lives. It depends on our walking closely with God and aiming at the highest degree of holiness.
If this is true, I fear that the unguarded reassurances today that God’s love is unconditional may stop people from doing the very things the Bible says they need to do in order to have the peace that they so desperately crave. In trying to give peace through “unconditionality” we may be cutting people off from the very remedy the Bible prescribes.
Let us declare untiringly the good news that our justification is based on the worth of Christ’s obedience and sacrifice, not ours (Romans 5:19, “as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous”).
But let us also declare the biblical truth that the enjoyment of that justification in its effect on our joy and confidence and power to grow in likeness to Jesus is conditioned on our actively forsaking sins and forsaking bad habits and mortifying lusts and pursuing intimacy with Christ, and not grieving the Spirit.
Zaccheus worked as a chief tax collector for the Roman government. His profession caused him to be despised by his fellow Jews. When Jesus sought him out and asked to visit his home, the crowd was dismayed—the Lord was associating with someone whose conduct made him a sinner in their eyes. The Savior responded, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
The word lost is a biblical term used to describe the spiritual situation of everyone who has yet to receive Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior. In this state, a person is separated from God—there is physical life but no spiritual connection to the heavenly Father. Lost doesn’t have to do with physical location; it speaks instead of spiritual deadness (Eph. 2:1), when the mind is blind to the truth of God.
Man’s sinfulness was established through the disobedient action of the first human being—Adam. When he supported Eve’s plan and disobeyed God, his nature became one of rebellion, and all generations from then on have inherited his sinful flesh tendencies. Everyone is born into this world with a nature bent away from God (Rom. 5:12).
Zaccheus was a sinner because of his lost condition, not because of his greedy profession. Good behavior doesn’t make us a Christian, nor does bad conduct disqualify us. The tax collector received salvation through faith in Jesus. By trusting in Christ as Savior, we, like Zaccheus, are no longer lost; we’re made spiritually alive. Hallelujah!
There are many things in life over which you have no choice. But you can choose what you think about! For that reason the wise man urges, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23).
Do you want to be happy tomorrow? Then sow seeds of happiness today. Count blessings. Memorize Bible verses. Pray. Sing hymns. Spend time encouraging people. Do you want to guarantee tomorrow’s misery? Then wallow in a mental mud pit of self-pity or guilt or anxiety today. Assume the worst. Beat yourself up. Rehearse your regrets. Complain to complainers.
Thoughts have consequences. Healing from anxiety requires healthy thinking. Your challenge is not your challenge. Your challenge is the way you think about your challenge! Satan wants to leave us in a swarm of anxious, negative thoughts. But you have a power he cannot defeat. You have God on your side!
Where do you stand with the Lord? Are you in a right relationship with Him or have your own desires and plans taken over? Feeling guilty about this is normal as I believe it’s God’s way of knocking on your heart and asking you to take a look at yourself.
God doesn’t want you to feel guilty about the sins you’ve committed in the past. He doesn’t want you to feel shame either. Shame and constant reminders of your troubled past are the devil’s tools to bring you down. The devil wants you to reach such a low point in your feelings about yourself that you give up and continue to give in to your sinful desires.
Jesus Christ came into this world for one reason. He came to save you from your sins and all of the hurtful baggage that comes along with it. Jesus suffered but He had a major resource to turn to. God the Father supplied Him with all that He needed to help us in our times of need.
Continuing to harbor guilt and shame about past sins in essence says that you are hanging on to the problem instead of releasing it to God and receiving forgiveness. God doesn’t want you to be unhappy and in a constant state of shame. He wants the very best for you in every aspect of your life.
God tells His people in Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
God is making a path for you away from your past into newness of life. Isn’t that great? So, where do you stand with the Lord today?
Don’t worry my post today is not an introductory course in Business Management 101. It is about being a productive, loving Christian.
Some of you might say you’re not managers. I respectfully disagree. We are all managers of sorts, either good or not so good. Let me explain. Take a look at Jesus. In my opinion he was an excellent manager. Why? Good managers lead by example, whereas poor managers use tyranny or punishment tactics to get the job done.
Jesus led his disciples for three years showing them how to be loving, leading others to salvation and spreading the good news of His kingdom. Then with His blessings, he sent them out into the world to continue the work he started. Good managers also have a plan of succession. Someone who will take over after they’re gone. Paul and Peter have been the perfect choice.
Good managers also know the importance of continuing education in their field of expertise. Things are always changing, therefore they must make the effort to remain informed. Additionally, good managers are effective in their use of time. We would do well to follow this example of time management as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus set the example for us to live our lives in a way that not only leads to salvation but also to be productive for His kingdom.
Jesus’ plan would ensure our effectiveness, success and salvation as Christians in His kingdom. The precepts and commandments we live by are outlined in detail in the bible. But, in order for us to be effective managers/Christians we need to familiarize ourselves with God’s word. Daily reading of God’s word and prayer are essential.
For those of us who’ve worked in a job have no doubt at one time or another worked for a manager that was less than desirable. What were their characteristics, actions and temperament that bothered you while under their supervision? Most likely they were living in the world and trying to live their lives according to the world’s standards. As Christians we know those choices don’t work very well.
I would encourage you to take some time today to reflect on whether you’ve been living an effective life for Jesus or whether you like the devil’s management plan better. Where do you stand today?
I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts. (Psalm 119:45)
An essential element of joy is freedom. None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love.
And where do we find true freedom? Psalm 119:45 says, “I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts.”
The picture is one of open spaces. The Word frees us from smallness of mind (1 Kings 4:29) and from threatening confinements (Psalm 18:19).
Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The freedom he has in mind is freedom from the slavery of sin (verse 34). Or, to put it positively, it is freedom for holiness.
The promises of God’s grace provide the power that makes the demands of God’s holiness an experience of freedom rather than fear. Peter described the freeing power of God’s promises like this: “Through [his precious and very great promises] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4).
In other words, when we trust the promises of God, we sever the root of corruption by the power of a superior promise.
How crucial is the Word that breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures! And how vigilant we should be to light our paths and load our hearts with the Word of God!
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (verse 11; cf. verse 9).