How to doom a kingdom, part II (We serve a powerful God)

Of course, Micaiah doesn’t say anything good about Ahab, just as the latter is accustomed to. He then goes on to report one of the most amazing as well as terrifying visions of the old testament:

I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left;and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another.Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” (vs. 19-23)

God’s sovereignty is a motivation for discipleship

This passage may be an eye-opener to some. It shows our Lord from a perspective that we don’t necessarily come to think of naturally. This is a God who intervenes in his creation. A God who decides by his sole will because he answers to no one. People take offense on this, but God is sovereign over his creation. This story is a great example of how God decides of the fate of people, in a way. One must not forget that Ahab also brought this on himself. After all, it was he who decided to sin for all of his life, to marry Jezbel, to hate the Lord and ignore the warning of his prophet. We have a great example of the way in which God’s will and human choice interact with each other here. It seems that God always gets his way without breaking the will of anyone. The knowledge of this fact should make us seek his glory and rejoice in him, because in the end, he will give us what we really want!

The ensuing battle (Ahab obviously ignores the warning) is almost comical. The king tries to escape his fate – or rather, divine providence – by disguising himself. Being the coward that he is, he even tells Jehoshaphat not to disguise himself in the hopes that he will be killed in his place. However, God opens the eyes of the Syrians and they see that he isn’t the king of Israel, ignoring him. As always, God preserves the faithful!
Now God shows that he always gets his will:  But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. (v 34) One man fires a random arrow and hits the king at the small area where he is vulnerable! No one can defeat the will of God, under any circumstances!

With this knowledge, we are left to say If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 Being aware that nothing can stop God and that he cares for the faithful really helps me in my daily life. Let us stand strong and fight the good fight trusting our Lord, the Lord of hosts! Let us seek his kingdom knowing that he will provide us with everything we need. Let us seek his glory, for he will reward it!

How to doom a kingdom, part I (We serve a powerful God)

One of the passages I read today is one of the most interesting ones in the Bible, in my opinion. This is because it gives a tiny little bit of insight into the doings of our God, in a similar fashion to the books of Job or Revelation. I am always fascinated when I can see a little of God’s glory and supremacy like that!

The text is in 1 Kings 22:1-40. A few quick words on the setting: Jehoshaphat reigns in Judah. One of the better kings in history, he lives for the Lord (He walked in all the way of Asa his father. He did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. v. 43a). He also married family of Ahab, who reigned over Israel.This is one of the most evil kings in the history of God’s people. He pretty much always did the opposite of what God had ordained. (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel. Chapter 21:25f)

The first part of this text can teach us a few very important things that apply in manhood, leadership, worship, life, and everything else important. Continue reading

What now? – Steps to godly manhood

Here we go with the next part of the sermon!I’m going to look at what we can do to become godly men.

First of all, men must dominate themselves through scripture and the holy spirit.
We must avoid evil influences. Avoid the media and godless conversations like the plague. Like God told Cain, sin waits around the corner like a wild beast. You ought to fear. There is a certain thing about fear that’s very healthy: realising that you are not superman and that if you fall over, you leave a wife, and children, and a church.
If you are single and wanna live your life, go ahead. But if you are a man and have a woman, fear about the destruction of your soul, her soul, and the souls of your children.

Set yourself apart from the world!

Avoid evil influences. As Romans 12:2 says, we should not conform to this world. No unequal yokes. This doesn’t only apply to courting and marriage, but also to the way we spend our time, and who we spend it with. If you have ungodly friends, or spend time on television and multimedia, you will be influenced by that!

Flee lust.
2 Timothy 2:22
We need to reject the lust within, and actively! pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

We fight the devil, but we flee youthful lust. Something in our flesh is worse than the devil himself! Do not put yourself in a situation where you are to be tested.
Most teenagers have already had romantic sexual experiences.
Do not be alone with a person of the opposite sex that you are attracted to. And do not put your children into that situation. Where did you learn that it’s time to date with 16? From the world! If you put two people of the opposite sex together, they will fall. This is one of the reasons why I decided to follow the principles of courtship. You can find that post in November 2012.
“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” The church is destroyed because we don’t turn to the scriptures for matters of family. We conform to the world in every possible way because we think that we need to be like them to be relevant, to “be a light” as they say. But this is completely unbiblical! You see:
“that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:15.16)
We are a light in the world when we are not conformed to it, but separated! Do you want to be preached the bible, or live a pagan life with a few christian elements?

Train your children so that the only suitor they will accept is a godly one.
Do not be involved with other men who do not care about the things of God – I don’t care how much you read the bible, you will be influenced. Protect the eyes!

Psalm 101:3 & Job 31:1

In our perverse culture, even the women are now attracted to the opposite sex through the eyes. Like the psalmist, we should protect our eyes, and therefore our minds! Our Prayer should be Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Let us not stain ourselves with one drop of unclean things! This holds for any form of entertainment (movies etc.) and friendships!
If a movie has only one dirty scene, don’t watch it!

If we really want to be godly men, we should “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:14) Do we really fight to achieve this?

Luke 17:1-4

I want to make 2 quick points in this passage that I read yesterday:

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
 

1. God’s sovereignty doesn’t exclude us from being responsible.

God has a plan, and he will fulfill it. But we still have a choice in our life. God allows the devil to tempt (and really tempts himself, because he has control over everything), but we are still held responsible for our deeds, as the first verse makes clear. This isn’t the only passage you can take this from. There are probably many more, but I can think of 2:
In Luke 22:22, Jesus tells Judas that he “will die as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed”. Again, we have both aspects of our life in one single sentence by Jesus.
The other passage I can think of is Romans 9:19: You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” I heard a good sermon on this passage once, in which the preacher also addresses this topic – I don’t really remember what he said, though. I can point anyone to it who wants to hear it. Anyway, fact is that we are sinful and God is just and must hold us accountable to our sin – even though, in a way, he has control over it: because he gives us choice.

What can we do with this knowledge?
I take comfort in God, because I know that he is good, and just, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I trust the Lord that he knows how to glorify himself. He may do with me as he pleases (he does anyway) and I am glad about it, for I know that he will do better than I would. I also work hard, fight the devil, try to die so that Christ may live in me, because: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:13-15) (By the way, everyone should have studied James 1:2-18. This passage is really, really important). Finally, I have good faith, because “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The Word is stronger that a double-edged sword. The devil can go right back home – his future doesn’t look so good anyway!

2. Love doesn’t ignore sin in a brother.

Okay, I already wrote a lot… I’ll keep this short.
There are several passages that teach how to deal with sin in the community. Matthew 18:21-22 would be another example, if you are interested. In short, the correct response to sin isn’t to ignore it. True, there is 1 Corinthians 13, but that’s not what that passage means.

If you love your brother, then rebuke him! If he is godly, he should be glad about any guidance he can get and try to conform himself to scripture. Then, when he repents, forgive him. This is where 1 Corinthians 13 comes into play. You don’t ignore sin, you forget and forgive past and acknowledged sins. By the way, this command is old: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. (Leviticus 19:17) As you can see, Moses already taught this as a basic rule for the community. Sin has to be fought, for the Lord is Holy. Sin cannot be tolerated in the community: either the sin, or the Holy Spirit have to leave. They cannot coexist. If we tolerate sin, we ourselves sin against the Holy Spirit in us and the others, as Leviticus teaches.

It’s important to guide our brothers and sisters in Christ within their daily life, so that they may “present their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is their spiritual worship.”

Courtship – how my relationship life will look like from now on

After spending a lot of time with prayer, in the word, and with Flo, I now know very concretely how I should (and will) behave. I’ll try to break it down for you in an understandable way.

Courtship, not dating

As was already visible from my previous posts, I learned that courtship was the way to go before The LORD. Anything else would be foolish, at the very least. What this means:

  • I will not begin a relationship before I can assume responsibility for her:
    1. Spiritual Leadership in Scripture
    2. Ephesians 5 – Give Life for Her – Protect her and care for her – for good or for ill
    3. Economic care
  • Then, I will go trough her father, so as to protect her from being confronted by a man.
  • I will aim for engagement without waiting for an unnecessarily long time.

Healthy distance – too bad for you, flesh

Following Titus 2:7, I will stay clear of her. This means that

  • I’ll keep the distance of a large study bible between us.
  • I’ll only hug her on greetings and farewells or special occasions.
  • I won’t, EVER, be alone with her.

I hope these resolutions are understandable to you. All I can do now is keeping a distance, getting to now her better by watching her, and growing in holiness and godly manhood. Hopefully, I’ll be able to talk to her dad within 4 years or so.

The Garden – Appendix A from “Her Hand In Marriage”

A beautiful illustration of courtship.

As my horse trotted warily up the road, I could see the walls of a beautiful garden ahead. outside the gate was an equally beautiful woman. At the sound of my greeting, she turned and dropped a curtsey. “Good sir… Good morning.”

I looked at her, and then at the garden walls extending out to the right and left. Behind her was the garden gate. I said, “I am very thirsty… for something clean.”
She smiled, and her smile made me thirstier still. But she said nothing. “Is there Water here?” I asked. “There is a stream within my garden.” Her statement was simply a statement of fact; there was no invitation at all in it. I asked “May I come in and drink?” “No,” she said. “The lord of my mother’s garden does not permit that.”

“Why is this? Other women have let me drink from the gardens they tend.” I glanced at the fruit-laden branches witch were visible over the top of the garden wall. “You have a lovely garden, but those who let me drink had gardens  just as beautiful.” She laughed at this, and her laugh was merry indeed. “I have no doubt you have been in some lovely gardens. But was the water clean?”
“No,” I said, and in spite of myself, turned my head and looked down. She continued with a question. “Is that why you are no longer in the gardens tended by these women?”

I was ashamed so I did not answer her. Instead I looked past her into the garden. The path through the gate disappeared after a few feet, leaving the view of anyone on the road. “It seems like a shame for such a garden to go to waste.”
She seemed both puzzled and amused. “How does it go to waste?”
“Does any man drink from your stream?”
“No, but no man fouls it either.”
“But is that not a waste? Was not your stream made to quench the thirst of travelers?”
“I’m afraid you are seriously mistaken. It was made to quench the thirst, not of travelers, but of the lord of the garden.”
“Oh,” I said, “This garden has a lord?”
“No,” she said.

“Then I don’t understand. Are you speaking in riddles?”.
She smiled. “No, I am not. The garden will one day have a lord, although it does not yet. The stream is for him alone.”
“And who will your lord be?”
“When my mothers lord gives a blessing, the one whom I appoint.”
“How can the lesser appoint the greater?”
“How can it not be so? When my lord comes, I will grant to him my garden. But until I do, he is just another traveler.”
“And what do you look for? I am sure there are many who knock at your gate.”

At this she blushed slightly but looked straight at me. “I will not have a lord who does not have a lord himself – my lord must have taken an oath of fealty to the Landlord.”
“The Landlord? Who is he?”
“He is the owner of all the gardens along this road. In order to come into my garden, my lord must take an oath before the Landlord to tend the garden well. He must also swear that he will enter no other garden.”

I had never heard such words as these before. “How long must he stay out of other gardens?”
“Forever.”
“But what if he is born to travel?”
“Then he is not born for my garden.”
“I see,” I said, becoming a little angry. “Then why have I never heard of such an oath? I have been in many gardens.”
“Yes, you said that before. But was the water clean? Were the gardens tended? That is what happens when there is no oath.

“So that is all? If someone takes an oath before this Landlord, you will make him your lord?”
“Well, what else then?”
“There are many men who think they can tend my garden well, and who would be willing to swear an oath before the Landlord saying so. But that does not mean that my mother’s lord, or I, share their confidence.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I know the extent of the garden. I have a knowledge of it that cannot be gained from the road. But no man can share that knowledge until after I have made him my lord and husband. So I must have the measure of the man before.”
“So what must a man do? It seems like much work.”
She smiled once again. “There is much work. There is also much fruit.”
“So what must a man do?”
“The first thing is to-”
“Yes, I know. He must swear to the Landlord. But after?”
“He must return to me, and ask to see my mother’s lord.”
“And what would he say?”
“That depends on the man.”

At this parting comment, she turned and walked slowly back into the garden, pulling the gate closed behind her. I spurred my horse, which began to trot down the road. I did not know what to think, but I needed to find this Landlord.

Ephesians 5 – Voddie Baucham

Notes from a sermon I listened to a while ago.

The Love we are supposed to have to our wife is not some overflowing emotion, but the Love Christ  has for us. We are to sanctify her!

Turn to the Lord to receive motivation to love her, not to her.

We are to view her as a child of the king, who’s been entrusted to us, and our desire is that our love, that overflows for her, would be a sanctifying influence in her life for the love of Christ who loved us.
We do not only love her that way because she is a part of christ’s body, but she also is a part of OUR body.

The sexual union between a man and his wife is a living, breathing, all-inspiring expression of the ecstasy of the union the church awaits. We do not think highly enough about sex. We don’t respect, honor it enough.
so, don’t we dare make less of it!

A dating sermon – Paul Washer

Another awesome sermon, I listened to this one on Tuesday ( 2 days ago)
Again, my full notes are available.

I will quickly sum up a few of the most important points.

Requirements for (any) relationship:

  1. Spiritual Leadership in Scripture
  2. Ephesians 5 – Give Life for Her – Protect her and care for her – stay with her if she needs you
  3. Economic care

Interest in Girls: Signal to start preparing → assume responsibility – Manhood (NOT SIGNAL FOR STARTING)

If clothing is a frame for your face, it is from God.
If clothing is a frame for your body, it is sensual, and God hates it.

If you spend enough time alone with a girl you are attracted to, you will fallFlee from youthful lusts! They are more dangerous than the devil!

 

please listen to the sermon and read my full notes if you are interested in this topic.

Sexual Purity – A sermon by Rick Holland

Yesterday, I listened to a very good sermon on sexual purity by Rick Holland.
My complete notes are available here:

I will sum up the 6 main points: Proverbs 5

  1. Learn from the Bible! → 1 Kings 3-4 Solomon’s wisdom came from God, So the Proverbs are good.
    Keep words ready on your lips to fight temptation.
    The DAD talks to his son about sex. Rick: about 10 years old.
    Do NOT forget the pleasure part.
    Reaction of the sons – blessing from God: they came back and asked questions! 🙂
  2. Uncover the deception of sexual sin.
    Not only women seduce men, men also seduce women!
    In the bible, flirting only happens in adultery or in the context of marriage!
    In these times, a 1 edged sword was a tool, but a 2 edged sword was purely a weapon → the temptress is a lethal weapon!
    The course of this woman’s life leads to death.
    She is persuasive and dangerous.
  3. Learn the value of a safe distance.
    Josef principle: RUN as far as possible. As soon as you start thinking about it.
    Romans 13: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision to the flesh with regard to its lust. ⇒ It is a contradiction for someone to say they want to fight sexual temptation, and to do everything possible to expose themselves to pornography.
  4. Unmask the Consequences of sin.
    Verse 9: Losing dignity
    Verses 10-11: Losing resources
    Verses 12-13: Remorse and regret
    Verse 14: Public disgrace
    Your Spouse will lose trust!
    You will lose your peace (of mind).
    Others will gain an opportunity to make fun of Christ!
  5. Unlock the satisfaction of marital fidelity!
    Cisterns where a privilege of the rich.
    ⇒ Satisfaction only comes from your spouse.
    Sex is ONE PART of expressing love.
    Song of Solomon 7: Be entranced not only by her body, but BY HER LOVE.
    If you are satisfied at home, sexually, you are not tempted as much outside.
  6. Unleash the power of god knowing everything.
    Verses 20-21
    Hebrews 4:13 EVERYTHING is revealed before God!
    Are you more afraid of other people or of God?

Is a girl more because of her relationship with you?

I found a very interesting statement in chapter 9 of EYMB:

I had little to offer a girl, but I wanted everything from her. It didn’t register with me that this was someone’s future wife, or that she was a real human with real needs that I could meet. Instead, it was all about me and making me feel good. Had I been godly, she could have become more because of her relationship with me. Too often, she was less because I took from her what only her husband should take.

This passage really hit me hard. What is more important to me: taking as much as possible, or giving as much as I can? I promised before GOD that every girl I know now or meet in the future, be she my friend, girlfriend, fiancée, wife, or even none of these, will become more, hopefully even grow spiritually because of me. And you know what the best part about this is? I know for sure that the HOLY SPIRIT will help me in making this happen 🙂

The Covenant with my eyes

Reading chapters 7 & 8 of EYMB, I heard about Job:

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.
Job 31:1

After further digging into this topic, I realized that this was what I had to do – so I did. I promised that my sin would stop from now on – down to every single little look. And than I prayed, brought this before GOD, and asked for his help in making this possible.

Hello world!

Yesterday, the 25th of July, 2012, was a turning point in my life. Realizing that I was much too loose in my fight against sexual immorality and porn, I started “Every Young man’s Battle”, which I had read before – but this Time I didn’t want to stop short. I wanted to do it right. After doing 2 Sessions in the workbook, based on 6 chapters in the book, I felt GOD’s presence in me stronger than ever. I prayed a lot and read a lot, until I decided, among other things, to start a blog documenting my daily life with the LORD.

Cover of Every Young Man's Battle