LOVING WELL IN A SEXUALLY BROKEN WORLD

Our world is spinning out of control

wrong is seen as right

and the pressure is on.

We as Christians are called to hold to the truth, to love as Jesus did, and to

shine as lights amidst a crooked and depraved generation.

There was a time in our culture when the marriage bed was seen as sacred,

and virginity before marriage respected.

Now I am told that this generation of believers are often “sexual atheists,”

shunning God’s standards for purity.

Likewise, just ten years ago,

most opposed gay marriage,

but today, in America, according to John Stonestreet of World News,

6 out of 10 approve of gay marriage,

and many who claim Christ are following in their steps.

God’s plan is like a beautiful river bringing life and joy.

But when God’s plan for sex and marriage is broken,

that beautiful river exceeds its boundaries and brings a flood of death and grief.

This week we will talk about how Christ would have us respond

to those with whom we disagree, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We will also see how the Song of Songs exalts

the beauty of God’s plan for marriage and the marriage bed,

looking particularly, this week, at why God calls for celibacy outside of marriage.

You may wonder what in the world this has to do with our summer theme of finding Jesus in the Old Testament and in life.

Hang on, it will become clearer next week when we go more deeply into why God

calls for one man and one woman for marriage.

Unless we as believers understand and hold to His plan,

then our salt has lost its saltiness, and it is good for nothing.

We will begin our discussion this week with how to approach those with whom we disagree

with love and grace.

There was a time in our culture when it was considered noble to listen respectfully to our opponents.

In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, they called one another “my honorable opponent.”

They listened.

They didn’t interrupt.

They didn’t demean or demonize their opponent.

We are to be good listeners, and gracious.

We are to take what is said before God and sift it before Him, in case there are kernels of truth.

We must repeat back the arguments of our opponents to them

so they know how carefully we listened and heard!

Then, and only then,

can we dismantle their argument with truth.

And we need to begin with the body of Christ.

On a personal note, thank you to all who prayed, who wrote reviews of He Calls You Beautiful on websites, who passed along my Facebook posts and videos — I am so grateful for your support! And I know our Lizzy has good news, and those on our Facebook post have seen it, but I’ll let her be the one to share here when she gets her breath.

 Sunday:

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

2. Read Proverbs 18:13

A. What does this say?

B. Why do you think this is true?

C. How do you know when someone has really listened to you?

D. How might you specifically apply this with those with whom you are close, yet disagree?

3. What do you think Jesus means by Matthew 5:13?

4. One of the reasons that God calls us to be celibate outside of the marriage bed is because it foreshadows a mystery. What is that, according to 2 Corinthians 11:2?

5. In The Song of Songs, though she fantasizes about her wedding night before it happens, she does remain a virgin. Some have been confused because her fantasies are so real. Yet she keeps saying she is “faint with love,” and that Hebrew expression only occurs in the absence of a lover. She is longing for him, longing for the day when her fantasy can become reality — which it does, after the wedding. Read Song of Songs 3:11. What is happening here?

6. Song of Songs 4 is the wedding night:

A. He is her husband now, and he calls her his bride for the first time.

How many times does he delight in this name in Song of Songs 4:9-12?

B. In this passage, he refers to her as a garden locked up which is now open to him and flowing with streams of water. What do you think this means?

7. God does not hold a double standard. It is not only the woman who is to honor the marriage bed by being pure and faithful, but the man. How does God tell the man to guard “his streams” in Proverbs 5:15-20?

Last week my friend Linda Strom and I worked together on an exciting project. Discipleship Unlimited iis having fantastic success in helping women in prison come to Christ, be discipled in Christ, and then through the power of Christ, when they are released, stay out of prison and live in a way that glorifies God and helps themselves, their families, and the world. Right now they are filming testimonies from their graduates who are making it on the outside to show to women on the inside to give them hope. One of the women so touched my heart when she talked about the challenge of living a celibate life on the outside. She is waiting for God to bring her a husband, but she wondered: “Where is he? Is he crawling from Africa?” Yet she is determined to live celibate. Why? Because she loves Jesus, wants to please Him, and doesn’t want to quench His presence, which she says is “absolutely better than anything.”

This is the truth to which we must hold, whatever idol tempts us. For you it may not be sexual temptation, but the siren call of control, comfort, or security outside of Christ. We may manipulate, overeat,  or endeavor to pile up riches. Yet this is the truth to which we as believers are called:

8. What idols call to you to leave Christ and the joy of His presence?

9. There are warnings to those who cave in to temptation and promises to those who overcome them. What warning or promise do you find in the following?

A. 1 John 1:7

B. 1 John 2:4

C. 1 John 2:5

D. 1 John 3:24

4. What is John’s final warning in 1 John 5:21?

5. What temptations do you fight and need prayer for? (Let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)

6. How can your “fight” give you empathy for those who fight disordered sexual desires?

THURSDAY-FRIDAY MESSAGE

One of the many consequences of sex outside of marriage is abortion. Last month, surprisingly, Google had Stephanie Gray speak at their conference. She is a highly articulate Canadian who shows us how to talk to others about abortion with love and truth.

7. Share your comments and thoughts on this talk.

SATURDAY

8. What is your take-a-way and why?

COMMENTS (103) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

 

Oh Dee! How I need to know this week’s lesson well. I struggle so much with this area. I am scared that I won’t understand because I can be dense at times. Dear Lord help me know how to talk to others in disagreement. Please help me learn this week’s tactics and be able to use them wisely. Amen.

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    Laura — you come with such a teachable and eager heart! May the Lord bless that.

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1.  What stood out from the above and why?  

Just how far we have strayed from the truth (of God and His ways) and how far we have strayed from, as you said, being able to disagree in a respectful way!  Course there were times when Jesus got awfully angry with the pharisees, and called them some pretty awful names!!  (But He is God, and they were religious people, leading folks astray from Him and that angers me too!)

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    Yes! I’ve wondered about that — do you think we can do that too or that that is a right for God alone? I’m interested in your thoughts, Mary!

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      I wonder if it is a case by case thing, depending on what we sense is the heart of the person presenting the argument?  For example, some well-meaning, compassionate Believer may think that we should accept homosexual marriage as a viable alternative to traditional and our approach with that person may be different that with a person in a position of authority, teaching that God wants all Christians to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous and asks for those same people to generously support them with their money!  I guess we have to really pray about the various circumstances and seek His heart in it, because certainly some of the things being taught today, on a fairly grand scale, do anger me.  Not so much because they bring harm to me, personally, but because they lead the Bride of Christ astray terribly.

        Great response, Mary!

        Mary-love your heart..that is the best reason to be angry. :))))

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      Dee and Mary, I wonder too. Mary your thought has caused me to ponder all morning! I have been sitting here for an hour typing my thoughts and erasing and typing and editing-just pondering-so below is where I will leave this so I can get ready for church. :))

       

      I have a dear friend who couldn’t understand why we need the Gospel as much as non-believers. No matter how I explained it she didn’t understand. Perhaps it was my muddy communication and not her-;-)  but what comes out of her is usually morality-rules and praying for other people’s sins. She told me after reading Idol Lies that she doesn’t have a problem with idolatry. She really tried to see if she did and her conclusion was that she didn’t.  I asked her, “really?” (for I saw her control idol was blinding her and her heart wasn’t tender. ) Yet I was like her-and can still be stubborn, but God ambushed me and opened my eyes and made my heart tender to turn. I still struggle with Pharisaical thoughts but so grateful He loves me and is helping me.  That said I love her but find it hard to be close to her so we don’t get together much. I think if I identified as gay, or was an atheist, or lets say I was of a different political affiliation, and saw some of my friends posts on f.b. I would be wary of Christians and want nothing to do with Jesus.

       

       

        That is a tough one, Rebecca.  I have a friend who I tend to avoid a bit as well, but it’s due to the health, wealth, prosperity thing.  I wonder if Jesus mostly reserved anger for those in positions of religious authority who were leading the flock astray?  God certainly was angered by that in the Old Testament.  But as far as individuals with whom we just disagree, probably speaking the truth in love is the law that should reign there.  I can see where that situation with that friend would be a struggle.

        Rebecca — my plumber had the same reaction. But months later he told me he realized he did have a problem with idolatry. So — we’ll see?

         

        Rebecca, what you describe here with your friend is a topic that I’ve been delving into myself! I am reading Spiritual Depression by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (because I have a problem with it myself) In chapter 2 he goes into “the true foundation” and really does a wonderful job of explaining the doctrine of salvation, and how it is misunderstood. Here’s what I read….

         

        “Ultimately,the only thing which is going to drive a man to Christ and make him rely upon Christ alone, is a true conviction of sin. We go astray because we are not truly convicted of our sin. That is why I say that this is in particular the problem of all those who have been brought up in a religious or Christian manner. Their chief trouble often is their wrong idea of sin. I remember such a person putting this very dramatically to me; she was a member in a church where a number of people had been converted suddenly from the world and from various kinds of evil living – drunkenness and such like things. I well remember her saying to me: ‘You know, I almost wish that I had not been brought up in the way I have been brought up. I could wish that I had been living their kind of life in order that I might have their marvelous experience.’ What did she mean? What she was really saying was that she had never seen herself as a sinner. Why not? That kind of person thinks of sin only in terms of action, in terms of sins.”

        He goes on to say, “We confine sin to certain things only, and because we are not guilty of these we think that we are not sinners. The essential point is, that the way to know yourself a sinner is not to compare yourself with other people; it is to come face to face with the Law of God. Well, what is God’s Law? Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal? ‘I have never done that, therefore I am not a sinner.’ But my friend, that is not the Law of God in its entirety. Would you like to know what the Law of God is? Here it is – Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul and with all thy mind and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment. And the second, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Here is the test for you and me: Are you loving God with all your being? If you are not, you are a sinner. That is the test. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. As it is put in the Shorter Catechism: The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever, and if you are not doing so you are a sinner of the deepest dye, whether you know it and feel it or not.”

        This whole chapter was so pivotal for me, his explanation that the very essence of sin is if I am NOT dwelling in communion with God and enjoying God and walking with God.  And Lloyd-Jones says that you can be innocent of all gross sins and yet be guilty of this terrible thing, of “being satisfied with your life, of having pride in your achievements and of looking down on others and feeling that you are better than others.”

        Sorry this is so long, but I will end  with this nugget: “Do you believe that from the standpoint of salvation and justification with God that all our customary distinctions are abolished at a stroke and that what determines whether we are sinners or not is not what we have done, but our relationship to God?”

        Susan, I absolutely loved all of this-“Do you believe that from the standpoint of salvation and justification with God that all our customary distinctions are abolished at a stroke and that what determines whether we are sinners or not is not what we have done, but our relationship to God?”

        Mary, Yes, I agree.

        I should know if it takes me two hours to answer  a question I might want to come back later when I don’t have as many interruptions at home. ;-) I just re-read it and am thinking I must have posted only the last half of my rabbit trail-so I was way off topic. I tend to over-think things and end up in the twilight zone sometimes. :))

        Dee, your plumber? love that.  Yes, God is the one who melts hearts.  We will see. :)

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    Mary-i too feel that way.

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Off  topic: my God hunt-and this is the Gospel that we have strayed from-and have failed to communicate well but I believe God is doing  a work in the church through Keller, Dee and others.

Yesterday in the middle of going to the grocery store-I mean of all places and I was in a hurry and a mess and yet He ambushed me! :) I sensed His Love so deeply: (and this came to me)
“Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that he loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that he loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be.”-Brennan Manning
I just stood there staring down the isle embraced by Him and I wanted to stay right there forever and I wanted Him to come more..

 

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    Beautiful quote.  That is precious, Rebecca, how He met you there int the grocery store!

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    Rebecca, yes, to be ambushed by Him and just want more of it!

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    Beautiful- we are loved at this very moment and not as you should be.

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1.  What stood out in the intro?  Not only how hard it is to listen, but then to reflect on what they said when the views are very antagonistic to God.  It is very hard for me to even want to engage in a reply.  My instinct is to politely listen and then walk away, sure that they wouldn’t want to listen to me anyway.  The wrong attitude, I’m sure, but the one I carry. Pray for me to change.

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    I understand, Mary. It is an art for us as believers to be responding in love. And yes, it is easier when they are not ugly about it — I think some of our dialogues from past blogs might be helpful — we had one on intellectual hospitality I loved you might like. I almost enjoy being loving in the face of hostility for sometimes I can actually see His Spirit melting them.

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      I am eager to read that blog. Is there an index where I could find it, or how do I go about searching?

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Rebecca, I love the way God ambushed you with that fresh realization of His love for you! How we need His fresh touch over & over again.    What stood out to me is that I agree things have gotten way of track & away from God’s plan for our lives. My sister is gay & I love her just the same ,but I would never put her down. I think that I can listen & show love & grace, but I am afraid to enter into any conflict with others. Easier to love & just be quiet! I pray for boldness when the Lord wants me to open my mouth, but that is definitely hard for me. Afraid of looking like a closed minded fanatic!

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    Jenny, I am right with you on this. I have two family members and a few friends who are gay and I love them so. I too am a peacekeeper type which can be good but sometimes my comfort/approval idol is the culprit that calls me to be quiet when I speak or calls me to speak when I should be quiet. :(

    It is all around us-the pressure to embrace it. I think it is wonderful that you are loving her and her partner. Perhaps He will open a door for you to share about Him-and no worries if you stumble-He knows your heart and theirs for He is the melter and mover of hearts.

     

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    Jenny — so proud of you for listening and loving her and never putting your sister down. When a relationship is that close, I think that is VITAL – and perhaps the Lord will soften her heart through your love. I think my favorite book on this is Washed and Waiting. Have you read that?

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      Thanks Dee & Rebecca…no I’ve never heard of Washed & Waiting…who wrote it? Sounds good  :)   Yes, probably a comfort/approval idol thing going on, but trying to let go of that a bit at a time! The Lord is so patient with me. Def avoid conflict whenever possible!!!

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Sunday:
1.   What stood out to you from the above and why?
“We must repeat back the arguments of our opponents to them so they know how carefully we listened and heard!”
Yes and a thousand yes! Being listened to and being heard is a gift not only to those whom we love but most especially those we disagree with. And forgive me for using my classroom examples again. I am finding that my most “hardened” students can be turned into my ally or at least get us to a point of a good relationship and understanding of our roles when I really listen to their side of the story.
“ God calls for one man and one woman for marriage.
Unless we as believers understand and hold to His plan,
then our salt has lost its saltiness, and it is good for nothing.”
 
 
Regarding homosexuality, my daughter’s very best friend is gay and has a live in boyfriend. I met both of them July the 4th week-end-they were both very nice, young professionals. My heart was deeply grieved but God gave me a love for them and a desire for them (and my daughter) to have their eyes opened to the truth of God’s Word. And to experience the greatest love of all.

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    So good, Bing!

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1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

 

To be people who listen respectfully to our “opponents”, to repeat back to them their own arguments so that they know for sure that they were heard and we were listening carefully. Very often when someone close to me says something that is clearly kind of outrageous (in terms of it doesn’t line up with correct doctrine or Scripture), I feel sort of panicked inside and start thinking about what to say to change their mind….that’s not good listening!

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2D.  I am way too quick to jump in. I need to bite my tongue, maybe even off, to let them finish and only then start thinking about how to paraphrase what they said and my response. It is radical to think of doing this. In some ways it feels like I would be affirming what their position.

 

4.  God calls for celibacy because as 2Cor 11:2 says, we are to be the pure bride of Christ. Promiscuity in the sexual realm by thought, word or deed shows the world and God that you are not redeemed in that area and you wear the Christian label only.

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1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

Learning to listen and respond to those who disagree with us with love and Grace. For me, the battle is in the listening and repeating back what I heard them say.

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2. Read Proverbs 18:13
A. What does this say?
To answer before listening is folly and shame.  ouch.
B. Why do you think this is true?
It is selfish, shows pride, foolishness, and a lack of love. It can deeply wound the other person if it is a deeper subject. When I respond without finding out what they mean, where they are coming from, how can I truly engage with them? It would be one-sided and my rush to answer will bring shame on me. Instead of making that person draw nearer to me, it might hurt or anger them, and push them away.
C. How do you know when someone has really listened to you?
When they ask me questions to understand what I am saying better. When they repeat back to me what they are hearing before they answer. I respect them so much more than those who think they know what I am saying or how I am feeling and answer quickly. I can tell when someone is forming their thoughts to answer before they have heard me.
D. How might you specifically apply this with those with whom you are close, yet disagree?
When I feel like someone has really listened to me I feel loved-and sense their love for me is sincere, and so what helps me is to remember that part of dying to myself is just that in this situation-dying to my desire to be heard and to lay myself down for them and truly listen to where they are coming from first. This is His Love. He can empower me to do this.

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1.   Read Proverbs 18:13
A. What does this say?
Let people finish what they are saying before you answer. It is folly and shame to you if you don’t.
B. Why do you think this is true?
People sense it when you are not really listening and hearing them.
If I don’t take time to listen, I will not “hear” the nuances or hidden meanings of the words and more likely not to be able to understand where someone is coming from. Shame may even come as I may need to retract my response as it would be obvious I was not on the right track.
C. How do you know when someone has really listened to you?
Their body language, tone of voice, not quick to respond
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear be a careful, thoughtful listener, slow to speak a speaker of carefully chosen words and, AMP version of James 1:19
D. How might you specifically apply this with those with whom you are close, yet disagree?
 
I need to pay attention and watch my words. I find that the older I get, I have trouble waiting and weighing my words. Right now, we are on a crossroad with decisions regarding my parents in law farm house and our daughter moving to Seattle. I need to prayerfully consider my thoughts and words as I relate to my husband and daughter.

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3. What do you think Jesus means by Matthew 5:13?

This might sound too simple, but doesn’t salt have to do with taste as well as many other things? So if we are the salt of the Earth then the Gospel is salt so engaging others by truly listening and responding-getting inside their thoughts without thought for my own selfish needs and truly listening in Love and Grace will make the Gospel more attractive or tasty to them.

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    Love this Rebecca — salt protects from rotting but is also tasty!

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4. One of the reasons that God calls us to be celibate outside of the marriage bed is because it foreshadows a mystery. What is that, according to 2 Corinthians 11:2?

It foreshadows our relationship with God. God’s furious love-His jealousy for us is so that He promised us to one Husband-Jesus. and He desires for us to be celibate spiritually for He desires to present us as a pure virgin to Jesus.

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5. What temptations do you fight and need prayer for? (Let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)

OH my…many vices. Food is one. I am with sugar like an alcoholic is with alcohol so I can’t eat it. More deeply speaking, I am naturally self centered and I want to love others more. For the first time I asked yesterday, with what I hope was sincerity, for Him to pull off my scales for I have many-and as He moves I want to let Him. Like that Donne poem, divorce me, untie me, break that knot and take me to you..Pray for me to have more of a willing heart when He does this to let Him, and to rejoice that He always does what is good for me which is most often not what I want for me.

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2. Read Proverbs 18:13
A. What does this say? 

It is wiser to listen more than you speak.

B. Why do you think this is true? 

There are seversl reasons; it is polite and you are showing that you care about the other person, Also when you humble yourself you may actually learn something from them.

C. How do you know when someone has really listened to you? 

I think you (Dee), hit the nail on the head when you said to repeat back what the person is telling you. If you can do that then you have listened well.

D. How might you specifically apply this with those with whom you are close, yet disagree?

I think I can practice with my close family members; listening and repeating back what they said.

3. What do you think Jesus means by Matthew 5:13?

Scientifically speaking, salt has a very orderly cubic atomic structure. It is tasty! I love salt. It is used to preserve food. Too much is not good for animals. It is of the earth; organic.  It melts ice and is a compound of sodium (a soft silvery metal) and chlorine (a yellowish-greenish deadly gas). It is formed underground in these really weird mushroom shapes.
I suppose that Jesus is telling His followers (us) to have substance and stand for something – Him. We are of Him. We should know the Word and be able to teach others about the details of the Bible, specifically to show others who He is. We too, can be formed from harsh “stuff” inside, but can use ourselves for good, right?

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    Laura, thanks so much for the science lesson on salt.  It really helped me to think of it being a combination of things, one of them being actually poisonous, that results in something we really enjoy and use.  And then to consider that God does that with our parts, so that He can use us for His purposes, is probably my take away for the week!

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      👍

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Laura, your answer caused me to think of Matt. 5:13 in a new light. Thank you! We SHOULD have substance in order for God to be able to use us! He must develop this substance in us so He can “shake us out” to be a help in our world.

This verse often makes me think of BALANCE as well. Salt can enhance the flavor of food; Christians can be used of God to enhance lives around us. However too much salt can be unappealing and actually makes the food taste worse. Do we sometimes overdo it as God tries to use us to sprinkle his truths onto others. Do WE get in the way by displaying a harsh disagreeable spirit or just giving our opinions instead of the Word? Many times I have not listened well and wished I could have a second chance at some conversations! I over did it by turning a “dash” into a debate and then my words weren’t appetizing to the unbeliever or struggling Christian at all. Lord, give me the balance You desire in my life and with my words.

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    Doni, I love your “dash” statement and how you have “folded” us into the “recipe”  😊!

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    I just accidentally published next week’s blog. Asking Control Yours (our website guys) to come to my rescue.

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      it must have gotten taken care of, cause I’m not seeing it! :D

        Yay.

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    Doni, yes, thinking of conversations where I dumped the shaker over and instantly regretted it.  Will have to remember to do just a sprinkle at a time!!

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      lol!!

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2. Read Proverbs 18:13
A. What does this say? to answer before listening is folly and shame
B. Why do you think this is true? because you can’t give a thoughtful, accurate answer if you did not truly listen
C. How do you know when someone has really listened to you? when they respond in a way that reflects that, mentioning some of what I said in the response.
D. How might you specifically apply this with those with whom you are close, yet disagree?  Still listen thoughtfully and try to remember to repeat back to them some of the content of their statements (maybe not word for word, but maybe summarize, this also allows them to clarify, in case I am not understanding them correctly.)  I need to practice this!
 

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3. What do you think Jesus means by Matthew 5:13?   I think maybe He means that we are not to be exactly like the world, but different, to add “saltiness” (flavor) and if we are not different, but live just like the world lives, then we have lost our saltiness are are no longer useful.  I think it is the set apart life that draws in non-Christians, as they are not looking for life to continue as it is, but they hunger for something different; better.
4. One of the reasons that God calls us to be celibate outside of the marriage bed is because it foreshadows a mystery. What is that, according to 2 Corinthians 11:2?  Our marriage to Christ, as His bride.  

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5. In The Song of Songs, though she fantasizes about her wedding night before it happens, she does remain a virgin. Some have been confused because her fantasies are so real. Yet she keeps saying she is “faint with love,” and that Hebrew expression only occurs in the absence of a lover. She is longing for him, longing for the day when her fantasy can become reality — which it does, after the wedding. Read Song of Songs 3:11. What is happening here? The wedding.
 

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4. One of the reasons that God calls us to be celibate outside of the marriage bed is because it foreshadows a mystery. What is that, according to 2 Corinthians 11:2?
 

The mystery? Is it having her for the first time? Being able to know her body? The fact that she is called to stay a virgin means she is  special, just for him.

 

If we place this in the context of us and Christ, He wants us to be “pure” when He comes….this means I have a lot of work to do! Give up those idols and remember who I need to impress 😇.

 
5. In The Song of Songs, though she fantasizes about her wedding night before it happens, she does remain a virgin. Some have been confused because her fantasies are so real. Yet she keeps saying she is “faint with love,” and that Hebrew expression only occurs in the absence of a lover. She is longing for him, longing for the day when her fantasy can become reality — which it does, after the wedding. Read Song of Songs 3:11. What is happening here? 
 

It is the day of the wedding and Solomon is preparing for the moment to come. He is donning his garments.

 

 
6. Song of Songs 4 is the wedding night: 
A. He is her husband now, and he calls her his bride for the first time. 
How many times does he delight in this name in Song of Songs 4:9-12? 
 

He delights in her by calling her at least 3 times as “my sister, my bride.”

 
B. In this passage, he refers to her as a garden locked up which is now open to him and flowing with streams of water. What do you think this means?
 

I think he is relishing in the idea that she is now going to be his, and his only.

 

7. God does not hold a double standard. It is not only the woman who is to honor the marriage bed by being pure and faithful, but the man. How does God tell the man to guard “his streams” in Proverbs 5:15-20?

 

He is told to keep his “water” to himself, to not go looking for love in all the wrong places. He is to focus on his wife and not other beauties.

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    Great answers, Laura.

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5. In The Song of Songs, though she fantasizes about her wedding night before it happens, she does remain a virgin. Some have been confused because her fantasies are so real. Yet she keeps saying she is “faint with love,” and that Hebrew expression only occurs in the absence of a lover. She is longing for him, longing for the day when her fantasy can become reality — which it does, after the wedding. Read Song of Songs 3:11. What is happening here?

The wedding.  She is telling her friends to go see Him in His splendor.

 
6. Song of Songs 4 is the wedding night:
A. He is her husband now, and he calls her his bride for the first time. How many times does he delight in this name in Song of Songs 4:9-12?
Four
 
B. In this passage, he refers to her as a garden locked up which is now open to him and flowing with streams of water. What do you think this means? 
His garden in her was locked up until consummation and now He has opened it up and the waters are flowing and her fruit is fragrant and beautiful. I think this means His fragrance and living water in her is flowing out of her.

 

 

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5. What temptations do you fight and need prayer for? (Let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)

Do you ever feel tempted to dwell on disappointments and frustrations and feel a little sorry for yourself? HaHa  I like to consider myself a strong woman who knows her strength comes from the Lord, and I don’t have time to “get stuck” on these unnecessary feelings. They are quite unproductive, satan can use them to get my mind off track, and the offender honestly doesn’t know how (or can’t at this time in their walk of life because they don’t possess the needed tools) to do any better. Knowing these facts in my brain sometimes doesn’t quite pull all of the hurt out of my heart. Honestly this is my hurdle right now.

Sometimes it is required that I work along side a person that is quite negative, “always right”, and frequently downright abrasive. My Father wants me to respond in love and kindness, but my flesh gets aggravated because I would just like a calm workable relationship and not a struggle. So I would appreciate prayers to know psychologically where to “place” this in my mind and how to relate to this individual better without my disappointment and frustration level escalating.

Idol alert!!! Idol of Idealistic Relationships (could this be an idol?)

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    I do pray, Doni. It is a challenge to know when to give grace and when to set boundaries — but He does promise wisdom if we ask! I see a lot in your words — sometimes it is required — can’t get away from it — I am thinking your love may soften that person’s heart.

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6A.  Bride is used four times by my count, five if you include verse eight.

B.  The garden was locked up, but now is open and flowing.  I take that to mean that before the wedding, the door of sex was closed and locked.  After the wedding, it is open and the beauty of that intimate relationship is flowing, or open without hinderance.

 

7.  It is no less important for men to be pure. Proverbs 5:15-20 says to guard your streams. I take that to mean guard your intimacy by restricting yourself to marriage for all sexual expression. It is so easy for us as women to believe that our thought life is exempt, but God really convicted me of this some years ago. If I use books or films or fantasy to do what only my husband should be doing, that, for me, is a form of adultery.

 

8.  The idol of comfort calls to me. It says I will be satisfied by eating, or by eating more. I know it is a lie, but I often act like the young man in Prov 7:22, following the temptation like an animal going to slaughter.  I appreciate any and all prayers as I seek to find all my satisfaction in Jesus.

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9B.  Warnings… 1 John 2:4 the truth is not in us.  Does that mean that we not only fall for the lie, but that we actually become a lie?

 

11. Or is it 5? My temptation and fight is largely food. But today I see that it is not just food, it is trusting Jesus. Do I really have a better life with Him restricting what I eat? Is anything worth the effort to behave myself with food? I can pull out of my journals a list of reasons why God doesn’t want me to eat more than I need to stay at the right weight for my frame, but I hear Satan’s whispers that God isn’t enough, and I too often fall.

 

12. Or is it 6? I would empathize that it is hard. They say that pleasure and sex are the things our brains are most hard wired for. Our society is crammed with messages for both, saying indulge! Indulge! Yet we can remind ourselves, and each other, that God has said He will never leave us or forsake us. His truth is something we need to come back to moment by moment, pleading for His help.

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      Thank you, Dee. I must have missed that week when we were traveling and had a death in the family. I went back, both to the lesson and reading responses.  My definition of hospitality would be to make others feel safe, welcomed and wanted.  If I keep that in my mind, I can sooner do a good job of listening to people holding ideas I can’t agree with.  I’d never thought of a conversation as being a place of hospitality before.

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8. What idols call to you to leave Christ and the joy of His presence?
 

Oh boy, this is a convicting question…my control idol is tough to handle, and food (comfort) is a definite struggle as well.

 
9. There are warnings to those who cave in to temptation and promises to those who overcome them. What warning or promise do you find in the following?
 
A. 1 John 1:7 
 

If we walk with Jesus we get to know Him and He washes us clean.

 
B. 1 John 2:4
 

If we say we know Him, we should keep His commandments. If we do not then we are liars and will not have the truth within us.

 
C. 1 John 2:5
 

If we have the word within us the love of God is perfected.

 
D. 1 John 3:24
 

If we keep His commandments, then we abide in Him and He in us. We know this through the Holy Spirit.

 
4. What is John’s final warning in 1 John 5:21?
 

To keep ourselves away from idols.

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1.      B. In this passage, he refers to her as a garden locked up which is now open to him and flowing with streams of water. What do you think this means?
2.      The woman’s virginity is a gift and a delight to the king.
7/19/17
God Hunt
I Timothy 4:4 For everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the Word of God and prayer.
 
Although this verse was in the context of foods (based on verse 3), I was struck by its seemingly personal application on the gift of sex between married couples. Sex is a good, holy intimate act of giving and receiving that which we should be thankful for to God because He created it for us to enjoy.

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6. Song of Songs 4 is the wedding night: 
A. He is her husband now, and he calls her his bride for the first time. 
How many times does he delight in this name in Song of Songs 4:9-12? 4
B. In this passage, he refers to her as a garden locked up which is now open to him and flowing with streams of water. What do you think this means?  She was a virgin and now the marriage is consummated.
7. God does not hold a double standard. It is not only the woman who is to honor the marriage bed by being pure and faithful, but the man. How does God tell the man to guard “his streams” in Proverbs 5:15-20?  Ha!  By “drinking water from his own cistern” and to rejoice in the wife of his youth and be satisfied with her.  

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6. How can your “fight” give you empathy for those who fight disordered sexual desires?

It reminds me that we ALL need the salvation, the help, and the strength of God to bring any good and lasting change into our lives!! Empathy is so vital, lest we succumb to pride – which God hates! The “fight” that I mentioned that I was going through was feeling put off by a working relationship that I wished was different. I, just like someone who has immoral desires, must CHOOSE to think in a way that is right and pleasing to the Lord when I am tempted to do otherwise in a given situation.  Thinking right leads to doing right- “As a man thinketh in his heart, so IS he.” Prov. 23:7  Regardless of the issue, this is the truth that sets us free!! Honestly, before I get too upset about immoral living in my church, my community, my country, I better first be asking myself how am I doing in my areas of struggle.

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2. Read Proverbs 18:13

 

A. What does this say?

 

If a person starts talking or answering before they’ve really listened, that is his folly and shame.

 

B. Why do you think this is true?

 

Because I feel it’s sort of like negating the person who is talking to you….you cut them off before they’re done speaking and you assume you’ve heard enough to respond. Your response is most often wrong because you did not have all the facts. It’s jumping to conclusions. I know when someone does this to me, I usually respond by I stop talking.

 

C. How do you know when someone has really listened to you?

 

First, they are looking at me, making eye contact. They respond to what I am saying; they may ask a clarifying question, or nod in agreement. And I’m not always looking for an “answer” when I share something.

 

D. How might you specifically apply this with those with whom you are close, yet disagree?

 

Listen, listen, listen. Look at them, ask questions to draw out their meaning further, and it’s okay if I only say something like “You’ve given me some things to really ponder, think about.”

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    Yes — negating the person when you don’t listen.

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3. What do you think Jesus means by Matthew 5:13?

 

Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth”. I liked Laura’s scientific explanation of salt! For some reason, this verse makes me think of Paul saying that we are the fragrance, or aroma, of Christ. When filled with Him, we are to “smell good” (although to some, he says, we are the smell of death). Here, we are compared to something that makes your food taste better, a good flavor. We must live in such a way that we are making a positive difference in the lives of others, that they would be interested in knowing the God that we serve. If, however, we live like everyone else and are bitter, complaining, and are a poor reflection of Him, we’ve lost our “taste”, our usefulness.

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4. One of the reasons that God call us to be celibate outside of the marriage bed is because it foreshadows a mystery. What is that, according to 2 Corinthians 11:2?

 

We as believers are the bride of Christ, and we want to remain sexually pure out of love for Him.

 

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5. Read Song of Songs 3:11. What is happening here?

 

The daughters of Zion are called to come out and look at King Solomon wearing the crown that his mother crowned him with on his wedding day.  I love that is says that his wedding day was the day his heart rejoiced!

 

6. Song of Songs 4 is the wedding night:

 

A. He is her husband now, and he calls her his bride for the first time. How many times does he delight in this name in Song of Songs 4:9-12?

 

He calls her his bride four times in this passage.

 

B. In this passage he refers to her as a garden locked up which is now open to him and flowing with streams of water. What do you think this means?

 

I think this means that she has remained a virgin; no other man has been “in her garden” – it is all for him to explore and enjoy for the very first time.

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5. What temptations do you fight and need prayer for? (Let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)

 

Food, wine, complaining, criticizing others,  judging.

 
6. How can your “fight” give you empathy for those who fight disordered sexual desires?
 

I can understand and empathize with  them in several ways. For one, the lost fight can happen within seconds. For example, when I’m trying to be good about eating but I’m really hungry, I can reach for the chips or crackers and satisfy that hunger quickly.  It takes more strength to hang on and wait for the good meal I’m preparing.  How many times have I said something, and as it came out of my mouth I wanted to retract it back quickly?  I can just imagine that it’s that way with sexual desire as well. Doesn’t take much time to click a button and get on a pornographic website.

 

Another way is the emotional aspect of the addiction. Usually after I lose the fight, I feel awful about it. I’m guessing that’s how people with sexual desires feel as well.  It’s also a reminder of how imperfect I am as a human, and how I truly need Jesus Christ to make it in this  sometimes horrible place  where we live;  certainly it’s not Eden.

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Kiss from the King. One way He kisses is through unexpected grace.

Did not eat well while my daughters and 5 kids were here — it is so easy to graze with junk around — but I didn’t gain. I thought I’d be up 3 pounds! Unexpected undeserved grace. Small, but nice.

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    love this!

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Please check out the FB page for information on Deanna.

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    Thank you again, Nanci, for pursuing.  I have had a sinking feeling for a long time….glad we had the conversation and that you went forward with contacting Deanna’s daughter.

     

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    Yes Nanci, thanks for pursuing for us.

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    Nanci — thank you so for your wonderful letter. I’m e-mailing you!

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    What Facebook page are you referring to?

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It is folly if we answer before we hear the facts…I need to be a better listener. I have a terrible habit of interrupting & finishing people’s sentences, at times. My kids make me painfully aware of this! I am an identical twin & we never finished a sentence, cause we knew what the other one wanted to say! Still no excuses, but I need help to even be conscious of it, & WAIT till the other person has finished.!  :) Need to listen with ALL my attention.

Song of Songs Ch 4 is the wedding night. The anticipation & excitement are almost palpable…He calls her His bride 4 times…I guess the “locked up garden” means she was a virgin & now she is completely His to enjoy…her love can flow unhindered.

The man needs to be faithful to his wife, delight in her & be satisfied only with her.

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Can I ask a question, even if I have not been able to be here all week?  (I’ve had an out of town houseguest)

Does the term,  ‘righteous indignation’ belong to God alone or also to believers?

I saw someone use it on facebook this past week and this person  hands down, is the most hateful, no compassion…not to mention – ignorant person I have ever cringed to read, who claims the name of Christ and who declares  that her beliefs and prejudices are all backed by scripture.  I was once this woman’s Sunday school teacher and her grandma was a close family friend, but even so,  I just had to unfriend her because of her persistent bullying of Christians who believe differently than her…..(which is probably everyone I know).    I think she is completely off base scripturally and feel certain all of you would also,  but when someone calls her rants into question, she says it is not hatred but ‘righteoous indignation’.    I’ve learned that it does no good whatsoever to join the conversation, so I have stopped trying to comment when I see her involved in a mutual friend’s posts.  But it has caused me to wonder.  Is this something for which we Christ followers are ever called to declare?   I think I mostly need to be directed to scriptures.  I’m not looking for a reply for this woman, as I truly think she is in a cult-like church and/or has some serious mental illness on top of very poor doctrine and it is impossible to talk with her.  But I do wonder for myself.  Does it ever apply?   I keep thinking,  ‘vengeance is mine…..I will repay’ declares the Lord.  

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    Hmmm, do you think she is referring to the place in scripture where we are called to “call out” our brothers and sisters in Christ when they are not following God’s plan for us? Like when we serve our idols instead of Him? I wish I were better at quoting scripture. I can’t remember where it is 😔. I will try to search. However, I don’t think the scripture means to judge them. Isn’t there a fine line between pointing it out and then actually judging? Also, it should always be in love, not with the “hate” I hear you speak of in your post here. Right?

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      Here is one but not what I was referring to:

       

      “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

      ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

      http://bible.com/59/gal.6.1.esv

       

      I’m looking for where the people of the church are being told their different roles; men will do this and women that. Women should not be heads of the church, etc. ugh! I’m so dense in remembering where I have read things in the past. Definitely not a strong point of my nature!!

        You’re right, Laura……we are to call out sin only in love.

        This person I referred to doesn’t have any words resembling love when she rants about what is wrong with the world and with the people of whom she disapproves.  Terribly hateful things she says about political persons.    She is racist and way off base from scripture.  And she isn’t just calling out believers…..she rails against anything happening world wide and nation wide with which she disagrees and then justifies her rants calling it ‘righteous indignation’.  It seems this is what her church teaches.  (Scary!)

        I was wondering if the term ever applies to believers or only to God who does have a righteous anger toward the sins that actually do go against His word.

         

        I think maybe we are to be righteously angry (is that the same as indignation?) over rampant sin…..but we are never to hate those who are trapped by that sin.   Our manner and our words are still to be gracious and loving I believe.   Maybe I just thought this through ‘aloud’ after I read your comment, Laura.   Maybe I’ll google the term and see if it helps too.  Thanks for your reply.

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    I believe Christians can have righteous indignation if it lines up with Scripture.

    With the homosexuality issue, I think that has been twisted to say Scripture supports it — and I’ve found some real help that will be on the blog tomorrow. I wonder if that is where she is?

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7. God does not hold a double standard. It is not only the woman who is to honor the marriage bed by being pure and faithful, but the man. How does God tell the man to guard “his streams” in Proverbs 5:15-20?

 

The man is cautioned to “drink from your own cistern/well” and he is blessed as he rejoices in his own wife and enjoys their intimate relationship and remains faithful to her. The other woman, the adulteress, is the stranger – it is unnatural that the man’s “streams of water” should be shared with her.

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8. What idols call to you to leave Christ and the joy of His presence?

 

I often want to rely on or turn to others for comfort and security when I am in distress instead of turning to Him first. I would say that the biggest idols in my life were my children. I would say that I never experienced what unconditional love was until I had my children; from newborns up until the age of maybe 14 or 15. My kids and I did everything together, and when they grew up and could say things that felt like a knife in my heart, and now two have moved out-of-state, the emotional pain I’ve experienced reveals the idolatry.

Wanting my own comfort is an idol that can lead to grumbling and complaining when I feel “put out” by the needs of others. I suspect that is why, when my husband goes to the gym after work and doesn’t eat until 9pm, the time when I’m tired from the day, that it’s so difficult to get up off the couch. So often I just call out to the kitchen, “Warm up your dinner” (because my daughter and I ate a long time ago).

I am also one who likes to have her own way, so I have to throw in power and control. Sometimes it’s hard to see it in myself, but when my daughter and I visited my son recently in TX, my daughter said “Mom, you would often make ‘suggestions’…” I guess that’s wanting to be in control? And I thought I was just offering helpful advice. I suspect that what often causes friction in my marriage isn’t always my husband’s fault; it is me wanting to have my own way.

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9. There are warnings to those who cave in to temptation and promises to those who overcome them.  What warning or promise do you find in the following?

 

A. 1 John 1:7 – If I stay close to Jesus, which John calls “walking in the light”, my fellowship with Him and with others will be secure, and His blood is continually cleansing me from sin. I think that means that being honest with God and confessing sin as it comes up helps me to stay in the light.

 

B. 1 John 2:4 – This is a wake-up call. If I claim to know Jesus but I don’t do what He says, then I am lying to myself and others and not walking in the truth.

 

C. 1 John 2:5 – The promise here is that if I obey Him, God’s love is made complete in me. I am pondering what exactly does this mean….Other verse in John says that “perfect love casts out fear”….I guess that living in disobedience causes me to be fearful and uncertain, not whole and complete.

 

D. 1 John 3:24 – Obeying Him is confirmation that I live in Him and He lives in me. If I obey Him, it is only because the Spirit helps me.

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I am taking time to touch base this morning with the blog.  I had a very busy last weekend with a family reunion here in my home town and family staying in my home. That was Saturday and then on Sunday morning our church family gathered for the very first service in our new building.  We were integrally involved with that as well and I  could write a long list of praises to God surrounding that day.  Then something totally unplanned happend. It was not just a kiss from God but more like multiple hugs and kisses.  My brother from Missouri drove a car to the reunion that he actually wanted to sell and my sister’s husband decided to buy it but my brother then needed a way home.  So my sister and I left Monday morning and drove 9 hours with our brother back to his home.  We didn’t want to do the turnaround in one day so spent Tuesday with him and then we drove home on Wednesday.  They are both strong Christians and delightful people. The time we spent together was precious and intensely meaningful.  I feel like I was given a huge unexpected gift from my Heavenly Father.

I just read all the comments so I could have a sense of where the blog followers were with this weeks lesson.  I regret I haven’t had time to interact this week. I can identify with many comments on struggles with food and sugar. Also last weekend I have a cousin from Denver who brought his “husband”  to our reunion in our small conservative little Nebraska town. Everyone was nice but uncomfortable with that. So pertinent timing of this lesson. There are  also wonderful reminders in this lesson of the privilege of being the Bride and so perfectly loved by my Bridegroom.

Next week I will be absent from commenting since our National Church Convention will be taking place at our new church. I will have house guests starting tomorrow night (Saturday) through next Wednesday. They are good friends from California.  On top of that my Mom is scheduled to have a surgical procedure on Monday morning.  So I have alot of bases to cover.  God knows the timing of all these things and is in sovereign control but I think my prayer needs are obvious.

One last question.  Is the Facebook page you all refer to a closed page only by invitation?  Thanks.

 

 

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    Yes, Bev, it is a private/closed area for bible study blog sisters to share prayer requests or other more private information.  Diane or Renee can get you signed up.

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I was wondering about the FB page too, Bev.

 

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Thank you Nanci.

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7;13.  Stephanie Gray   Wow! She asked, who inspires you, and why?  She finds it is usually someone who has suffered or gone thru strong challenges. They put others first, They have perspective, and They do what is right regardless.  When we put others first, that is love. It is universally attractive. My husband is so good at that! It is also looking for the other person’s good, it is other oriented. Even when we fail, it is where we want to be. ASK QUESTIONS. For perspective, she talked about Victor Frankl, who observed as a prisoner in a concentration camp, that people can be in a similar situation but yet choose to respond differently. He said the last thing we can lose is our ability to choose our attitude. He came up with an equation, D=S-M. Despair equals Suffering minus Meaning. We despair when we lose meaning.  By increasing the meaning we gain perspective. Need to think of it as not a lack of something, but as an opportunity to see things differently. Obstacles are opportune in our life.  That made me think about the times in the Bible when it says that God would “test” them, to see what was in their heart. He already knew, but it sure showed them, and us, whether we really believe what we say we do. Then for the last point, doing right regardless. That is what inspires others, that is where the rubber meets the road.

I was awestruck by her presentation, and by the fact that Google had her speak.  Her composure and enthusiasm, even in the face of sparse applause, impressed me. She can sure think fast on her feet.  She is like a supersonic jet, and I am like a snail. Usually I can’t think of anything to say at the time. But maybe I can practice asking one question in light of intellectual hospitality and then practice listening better, asking a follow up question.

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  One of the many consequences of sex outside of marriage is abortion. Last month, surprisingly, Google had Stephanie Gray speak at their conference. She is a highly articulate Canadian who shows us how to talk to others about abortion with love and truth.
This was an excellent talk on the topic of abortion. But more so on how to approach the topic-with love and truth. One can tell that she has really taken time to give thought and hard work on it. I saw a link to her faith journey and will listen to her testimony sometime. What a gift she is!
GOD HUNT
After I finished listening to Stephanie, a friend came to mind. She works as coordinator at our only pregnancy crisis clinic here in town, the start up of which is a great testimony in itself. Gwen is a wonderful Christian and an advocate for the unborn and teen-age pregnant women. So I called her as the prompting was great. When she picked up the phone, I greeted her and told her about Stephanie. And would she be interested to listen to it, too? There was a little bit of a pause there and she said , “yes, of course.” And then she said, “it is interesting that you called. I was just thinking about calling you.” Now, it’s not that we regularly call each other so I readily felt God was very much behind this phone conversation!
So anyway, we talked about her plans to pursue a Masters Degree, a desire the Lord has put in her heart. With significant possibilities in moving forward with the clinic’s goals, she feels like pursuing this degree would open doors for this ministry. Would our PEO group be open to considering her for a scholarship? I promised to look into it and pray for her. As we finished and said goodbye, I had a peaceful feeling that Gwen would be provided for in God’s way. Whether it be with our PEO group or not does not matter. He will provide.
 
And who knew that a trip to this clinic a few years ago with my students would bring Gwen and I together again through this blog and through the link to Stephanie? Aahhh…Lord. You ways are mysterious, indeed!

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    What a sweet God hunt, Bring!

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7. Share your comments and thoughts on this talk.  WOW!  I am incredibly surprised that Google hosted this talk!!!  I have used some of her reasoning on this topic for a many years now (like should an innocent baby die for the crime of her father?) but it is easier to give a monolog than to dialog!  She seems to be gifted at both and not all of us are as articulate.  I’m not trying to use that as an excuse to not engage people, but for me it seems that often I think of what I wanted to/should have said long after the conversation has ended.  I desperately need to really practice the art of dialog over areas of disagreement.  I think the real key is love.  If we view the individual with whom we disagree as someone Christ died for, and we open our hearts to love that person, perhaps even if all of our words are a jumble the love of Christ will be seen, and through His love we will be salt and light.

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    Agree with you, Mary. I,too need to really practice the art of dialogue over areas of disagreement. Today, I needed it as my husband and I were talking about a big item he wants to buy. :-) We did agree to wait.

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    Yes — the key is love.

    I did so like her word picture of the captain who abandoned the ship, not protecting those “he was carrying,” and Sully, who was the last on the plane to protect “those he was carrying.” Selfishness versus unselfishness

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      Oh yes, that was a great analogy!

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Bing, that is wonderful about Gwen.

The Lord has blessed me with many kisses of His grace this week. My adult daughter said she loved me, for the 1st time since she was a girl, & I know God has been healing our relationship :)   I was able to love & pray for my neighbor who had surgery today, & who is on a journey discovering the Lord…Jewish but quite open to Jesus. Then after work today, my son’s friend came over & ended up staying & chatting with me for 2 hrs. I’ve prayed for this boy since his mom died when he was 13, & I feel so blessed to have a loving connection with him! Grace upon grace & blessing upon blessing!!

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    Thank you, Jenny. And thanks for sharing your many kisses of grace. Oh, that our eyes be open always to His wondrous works in the little things as much as the big things in life!

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    Jenny, I’m happy for you that you heard those words from your daughter, “I love you”….I’m sure that thrilled your heart!

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4. What is John’s final warning in 1 John 5:21?

 

To be on guard against every false god.

 

5. What temptations do you fight and need prayer for? (Let us pray for one another as we read their answers)

 

To be lazy at times, selfishness and self-centeredness, to hold onto past hurts and keep a record of wrongs, being judgmental and critical of others, and gossip.

 

6. How can your “fight” give you empathy for those who fight disordered sexual desires?

 

Sin is sin. Their sin is no worse than mine,  it just takes a different form. In any form that sin takes, it all traces back to unbelief and not trusting God, that He is better than the pleasure we think we can obtain from our sin. It is having other loves that we put before Him. We’re all in the same sinking boat, and we all need a Rescuer.

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So encouraged by your responses to this talk!

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1.      5. What temptations do you fight and need prayer for? (Let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)
 
My idol still is comfort and control. This morning, I received some troubling news about my family in the Philippines. Without going into details, it has to do with financial mismanagement. My first responses were anger and frustration. This situation is not new or surprising but I am getting tired of dealing with the same issues long distance. Right now, I am holding off sending an Email to my brother-in-law. I know the words maybe stern but I can honestly say I will say the same words if we were face to face. I am going over Philippians 4:8 and praying the Lord will help me fashion the letter to that which pleases Him and would minister to my brother-in-law. I also have a phone call to make to my mother on Monday. Please pray for me. 

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