Category: Integrity

Experiencing Joy Through Integrity

Experiencing Joy Through Integrity

Discovering Joy Despite My Circumstances
Part 3: Experiencing Joy Through Integrity
Sunday, May 21, 2017

What does this old saying mean to you:  “One who refuses to stand for something will sooner or later fall for anything.”

New Christians go through these three stages:

  1. They become sons or daughters in the family (the fellowship of the Gospel)
  2. They become servants (the furtherance of the Gospel)
  3. They become soldiers (the faith of the Gospel)

Satan is out to defeat the church, and Christians need to have the single mind to face him and “fight the good fight of faith.”

Philippians 1:27-30, p. 831
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.  This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Three realities of encouragement to help us defend the faith of the Gospel

We are not standing alone (v. 27)

  • It is encouraging to know that there are others standing alongside us as we fight life’s battles
  • There is no substitute for the unity and harmony of the healthy church
  • Satan is the great divider and destroyer…Jesus Christ is the uniter and builder

We are on the winning side (v. 28)

  • It is encouraging to know Who we belong to God will save us for we are His children
  • Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4, p. 863)

We count it a privilege to suffer for Christ (vv.29-30)

  • It is encouraging to know that we have a “real or saving” faith as we suffer for it
  • We enjoy the free gift of salvation and the gift of suffering for Jesus Christ…for then we have fellowship with Christ in our suffering: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41, p. 774)
  • There is a purpose in our suffering

This is the blessing of the single mind- that joyful confidence in God, knowing that He is in control of circumstances.

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 5

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 5

#Challenges of Secret Impurity: Discovering Integrity

Sunday,February 26, 2017

 

#social media pitfalls

Social media can be a great tool to connect friends and family together, quick direct communication to targeted people and other convenient uses, but there can be “pitfalls” that we can fall into. 

 

These “pitfalls” can end up poisoning our lives; pitfalls such as gossip and slander, bullying, and various online addictions such as gambling and pornography. 

 

#easy access to pornography

  • 70% of men (18-24 yrs.) visit porn sites monthly
  • 3 out of 4 regularly consume the constant destructive and dehumanizing images
  • 1 out of 3 porn users are women and quickly catching up to the male users
  • 34% of church attending women admits to visiting online porn sites
  • Highest percentage of porn consumers are children 12 to 17 years
  • More than 1 in 5 teenage girls admit to have posted nude or seminude images of themselves online

 

(Source: Pam Spaulding, “Christian Woman Increasingly Suffering from Sexual Addiction” 2007, Craig Groeschel)

 

#crack hit addiction

“Porn addiction similar to heroin or crack cocaine addiction in the brain.”

— Dr. Lasha Darkmoon, Columbia University

 

#marital infidelity

The pitfall of connecting or reconnecting with new friends or old flames through social media is a major source of temptation for a large number of users.

 

University of Texas survey: Previous studies support the conclusion that there’s a connection between social networking and marital problems…32% of heavy social media users say they’ve thought seriously about leaving their spouse, compared with 16% of people who don’t use social networks.

 

U.K. study: 1/3 of divorce filings in the U.K. contain the word Facebook in legal filings.

 

Facebook doesn’t force people to cheat, but many have the opportunities and access without the accountability.

 

#no big deal?

“Over time and with repeated use, technology is eroding both our moral beliefs and our commitment to acting on what we believe.”  —Craig Groeschel

  

Two thirds (67%) of young adult men and almost half (49%) of young adult women now believe that viewing pornography is acceptable according to a study by Daniel Weiss.

 

We are living in a morally declining culture where there “sin” is normalized.

 

Followers of Jesus Christ are called to live an authentic “clean” life, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”  (Ephesians 5:3, p. 829)

 

#setting boundaries

The Bible tells us that we are deceiving ourselves if we believe that we can flirt with lust and not have it affect our lives and souls.

 

Proverbs 5:8, p. 452

“Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house…” 

 

No one has ever simply fallen into the beauty of purity or effortlessly been able to slide into being holy but we can quickly and easily fall into the poisonous pit of lust, shame, guilt, and addiction.

 

Remember:  boundaries are not to confine me but to protect me.

 

#setting boundaries

Step 1: Honesty and Evaluation

Before we set social boundaries for ourselves we need to be honest and ask ourselves:

Where am I weak?      

Where am I vulnerable?    

What type of pit am I most likely to fall into?

 

“You are only as strong as you are honest.” —Craig Groeschel

 

After you have discovered your most vulnerable areas you will need to erect boundaries.

 

Step 2: Strategy

Confess, Repent, Seek Help, and Be Accountable .

Again, no one falls into righteousness but we (sinful human nature) stumble into sin every day, so we must be deliberate, make prayerful choices as we walk an intentional path with God’s Spirit.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13, p. 811

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  

 

Step 3:  Commitment to Action

James 4:7-8, p. 856

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

 

Step 4:  Execute

Galatians 5:16-18, p. 826

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” 

 

 

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