True Beauty vs. Pornography

God’s design for sex is truly the most beautiful thing that exists between two people. Its counterfeit is called pornography. Porn is simulated, imitated, and purchased; but no price tag can ever buy true beauty.

God demonstrates the purest love in Himself, when one part of the Godhead is the Lover and the other parts of the Godhead are the Beloved. The Lover is constantly discovering the beauty in the Beloved, and then praising that beauty. The Beloved then reciprocates back to the Lover. It’s a love dance! 

Humans are created in God’s image. We are first created to be God’s beloved. Then we are designed to be both lover and beloved in the bonds of marriage. True beauty—real, lasting beauty that pleases God—is discovered. It’s something that starts inside and radiates outside. A true lover takes the time to discover who the beloved truly is.

To see this in action, just look at some of the compliments between husband and wife in the Song of Songs—How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! … How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! … Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. … My lover is mine and I am his. … All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

True love that sees this kind of beauty cannot be imitated, purchased or simulated. If someone attempts to, it’s called pornography.

The dictionary gives this definition of pornography: sexually explicit materials whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal. In other words, porn tries to imitate and simulate true beauty at a purchase price.

Jesus identified this sell-out of true love with the Greek word porneia (see Mark 7:14-23). This word means any sexual involvement outside the marriage between a husband and wife. Porneia comes from words that fill out its definition: things like prostitution, idolatry, and slavery.

Your body was not made for porneia but for God (1 Corinthians 6:13). You were made in His image: to be His Beloved, and He your Lover, and then to have a marriage relationship with another image-bearer of God, where you are both lover and beloved, and where you focus on true beauty.

Anything else is imitated, purchased, and simulated. It’s pornography. It’s idolatry.

Christians are told to fight many temptations, but there are only two that we are told not to fight, but to flee: pornography (1 Corinthians 6:18) and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). So our prayer for the purity and enjoyment of God’s true beauty should be: Turn my eyes away from worthless things (Psalm 119:37).

Don’t sell out to the fake beauty in pornography. Discover true beauty exclusively in your spouse!

We’ll be looking at more relationship builders and killers, and I’d love to have you along for this journey of discovery.

False Peace

“A false peace is sweeping through many churches today, a peace that will fail in the troubled days ahead. Moses called stubborn Israel ‘self-blessed,’ meaning self-deceived. He warned Israel that a curse would come upon all wicked, disobedient children of God who walked in idolatry. They would plaster over their sinful ways with a false sense of peace: ‘When he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart’ (Deuteronomy 29:19).

Moses is describing the child of God who decides to satisfy his lust for evil by finding a cozy doctrine that tells him he’s still saved, heaven bound—while still sinning. He says to himself, ‘I will do as I please and still not lose the peace in my heart.’ False peace!” —David Wilkerson (emphasis added)

Thursdays With Oswald—Stay True To The Word

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Stay True To The Word

     We must disabuse our minds of the idea that God sits like a Judge on a throne and batters humanity into shape. …

     We have to remember that an enthusiasm for humanity which ignores the Bible is sure to end in disaster. … 

     It is quite possible for the human mind to blot God out of its thinking entirely, and to work along the line of the elements which are the same in every man, and to band the whole of the human race into a solid atheistic community. … 

     When men depart from the Bible they call humanity “God” in differing terms; the use of the term “God” means nothing to them, God is simply the name given to the general tendencies which further men’s interests. This spirit is honeycombing everything, we find it coming into the way we talk of Christian experience; there is creeping in the idea that God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are simply meant to bless us, to further our interests. … 

     Watch the tendency abroad today; people want to get rid of Jesus Christ, they cannot prove that He did not live, or that He was not a remarkable Man; but they set to work to dissolve Him by analysis, to say He was not really God Incarnate. Jesus Christ always upsets the calculations of humanity; that is what made Voltaire say “Crucify the wretch, stamp Him and His crazy tale out,” because He was the stumbling block to all the reasonings of men. You cannot work Jesus Christ into any system of thinking. If you could keep Him out, everything could be explained. The world could be explained by evolution, but you cannot fit Jesus Christ into the theory of evolution. Jesus Christ is an annoyance to satan, a thorn in the side of the world at large, an absolute distress to sin in the individual.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Oswald Chambers always penned wise words, but what makes his words so wise is that they are solidly rooted in Scripture.

In the above passages, Chambers warns us what happens when we forget the word of God as given to us in the Bible:

  • We see God as harsh and unloving
  • We make short-sighted decisions
  • We build a community in our image
  • We all have a different idea of who God is
  • We make “God” fit into our own molds
  • We water down who Jesus is
  • We create new worldviews not consistent with God’s design

Bottom line: Stay in the Word. Make Bible reading a regular part of your life, so that you don’t get caught up in the churning waves of “popular” culture.

Links & Quotes

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“Think lightly of hell, and you will think lightly of the Cross. Think little of the sufferings of lost souls, and you will soon think little of the Savior Who delivers you from them. God grant we may not live to see such a Christ-dishonoring theology dominant in our times.” —Charles Spurgeon

I share a lot of quotes from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, but perhaps you may not be as familiar with him. Here is a real short biography on a man called The Prince Of Preachers.

“From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the center is opened to it. This sin is committed daily by young children and ignorant peasants as well as by sophisticated persons, by solitaries no less than by those who live in society: it is the fall in every individual life, and in each day of each individual life, the basic sin behind all particular sins: at this very moment you and I are either committing it, or about to commit it, or repenting it.” —C.S. Lewis

If you are feeling tired, perhaps this will help: 9 Factors That Can Enhance Or Hinder Your Sleep.

David Wilkerson says, “God has given us a powerful weapon to use against any attack on our faith. ” Read more in his post The Great Cloud Of Witnesses.

Science becomes scientism when it is more speculation and theory than it is facts. Here is a case in point: this article about climate change talks about trying to get people to not just look at data, but tries to sell its model/simulation.

I love this! Stop trying to perform for God. It’s holding you back.

[VIDEO] Kids tell us what love is―

Links & Quotes

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“That is the religion of ninety-nine English people out of every hundred who know nothing of divine grace—we are to be as good as we can; we are to go to church or to chapel, and do all that we can, and then Jesus Christ died for us, and we shall be saved. Whereas the gospel is, that He did not do anything at all for people who think they can rely on themselves, but gave Himself for lost and ruined ones. He did not come into the world to save self-righteous people; on their own showing, they do not want to be saved.” —Charles Spurgeon

Twitter stands up to ISIS. About time!

bu-030415-1Interesting research results from The Barna Group in What Millennials Want When They Visit Church.

“The engagement of God’s power never takes the place of the engagement of our will! The power of God in sanctification never makes us passive! The power of God engages itself beneath or behind and within our will, not in place of our will. … God will never appear with power in your will in any other form than a good resolve that you make and keep.” —John Piper

“Jesus is Amen as to His righteousness. That sacred robe shall remain most fair and glorious when nature shall decay. He is Amen in every single title which He bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Head, the neck never being dislocated; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death’s dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your Strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and Amen in all.” —Charles Spurgeon

Read this in my Archeological Study Bible and thought this rang true for our generation still today: “This generation was not guilty of the gross idolatry of its forefathers. Rather, these Israelites had embraced a kind of dead orthodoxy, in which they tried to get by with the minimum that their faith required.”

7 Ways To Avoid Becoming An Adulterer

DisciplineGod said quite simple, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18). This entire verse is just one word in the Hebrew language—na’aph—but it packs quite a punch.

Na’aph has two dimensions to it: physical and spiritual. Physically it prohibits sexual relations between a married person and someone not their spouse. Closely related to adultery is fornication, which is unmarried people engaging in sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage. Spiritually na’aph prohibits worship of anything other than Jehovah God.

This means that an inappropriate intimate relationship on the physical level affects our spiritual relationship with God, and vice versa. That is why immoral sexual acts are almost always incorporated into the worship of false gods. But which came first? Did someone leave behind God’s design for sexuality and begin a downward slide away from Him, or did someone’s heart stray from God and the evidence was the illicit sexual acts? It starts when we leave God’s love behind (see Romans 1:21-32).

Adultery and fornication are fueled by lust. Lust is rooted in selfishness. And by it’s very definition, selfishness kills love. Adulterers and fornicators cannot truly love each other; they are only using each other to satisfy their own selfish cravings, and in so doing, they are actually abusing each other.

So here are 7 ways to avoid becoming an adulterer:

  1. Love God passionately—Mark 12:30.
  2. If you’re married, invest in your marriage—emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.
  3. If you’re single, develop discipline. I define discipline as choosing what you want most over what you want now.
  4. Guard your eyes—Job 31:1.
  5. Avoid tempting places—Proverbs 5:8.
  6. Fill your mind with God’s Word—Proverbs 6:20-24.
  7. Have an accountability friend—Proverbs 7:6-9.

Any sexual relationship outside of God’s prescription—one man married to one woman for life—short-circuits God’s design, so it can never fully satisfy. Adultery and fornication break God’s heart because of the damage it does to our relationship with Him and to our relationships with each other.

I will be continuing our look at the Ten Commandments in our series The Love In The Law this coming Sunday. Please join us!

Smashing Idols

Puny idolsWhen looking at God’s commandments, we must look at them through a lens of love. If God—the Lawgiver—is love, then all of His laws must be saturated in His love.

So what happens when we look at the Second Commandment through this lens? The wording is simple: “You shall not make for yourself an idol…” (Exodus 20:4-6). If the First Commandment says, “I love you so much that I want to be the One and Only God you have a relationship with” then the Second Commandment says, “Because of this loving relationship, don’t try to make Me smaller to fit your worldview, but let Me by fully Me!

This idolatry starts in our minds, long before we ever create anything with our hands. Idolatry is a mental state that says, “I can define the Creator. I can figure out all of His dimensions. I can predict what He’s going to do. God operates just as I expect Him to.”

But God says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts. And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8).

The Apostle Paul warned us of exchanging God’s uncontainable glory and majesty for something that we can neatly contain in our box: …they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images … they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator… (Romans 1:21-25).

William Barclay offers this commentary about the flimsiness of idols: “In Greek the word idol has in it the sense of unreality. Plato used it for the illusions of this world as opposed to the unchangeable realities of eternity.” Our puny thoughts about God can create the idols that keep us from the reality of God. 

So how do we avoid this idolatry? Quite simply: we smash every mental idol!

…We refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ… (2 Corinthians 10:5).

So… what idols do you need to smash?

Join me next Sunday as we continue our series The Love In The Law.

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