Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Secret Stash

Its a little sumptin'-sumptin' just for you. Its not hurting anyone, you get some sort of pleasure by having it, and its not hindering your Christianity in anyway - right? Is God pleased with this stash of yours?
What's God have to do with it?
Interesting question, from a believer with an attitude thinking that this little stash is going to be something that God will have you give up. Maybe not. Let's see what that secret stash couldn't possibly be first.
You know it could not be:
- drugs
- alcohol
- prescription drugs (not prescribed to you)
- pornography
- extra-marital affair(s)
- old love letters
- old journals
- little black phone book (if married)
- pictures of broken relationships
- mementos given by past relationships

Some of these things are pretty obvious as to why a born again believer shouldn't have. If there is an issue giving one of the first 5 things up, seek personal counseling. The first 5 things will compromise your faith in God. The last 5 are more of a compromise with peace in your home, especially if you are married. People are peculiar. While one is secure with who they are and have no problems with his/her spouse's past, the other person is trying not to be jealous. In a couple of years the outcome of both of those people will be volatile or headed for divorce court. Why? People change.

Actually, it makes no sense to me as to why anyone would need to have this secret stash especially if he/she is calling themselves a well seasoned Christian trusting in God. In order for you to have a secret stash of anything is direct proof that you don't trust in Him.

A family member got married last year and during the wedding ceremony there were a few people in the bridal party that brought some booze. Why would anyone do this at a Christian wedding? It's disrespectful and undermining the foundation by which the couple was married. I watched as they tried to get the groom to consume the alcohol convincing him that it is a time of celebration and if he weren't going to cut loose now -then when? When, indeed. Later my sons asked what was the big deal? They went as far as asking me where does it say in the bible that it is a sin to drink alcohol. I got the distinct feeling that my innocent children were curious about what everyone else was having fun with and they have denied themselves for so long and for what reason. Understand, they have all been raised in church, I had to tread lightly in explaining why. They, unlike myself at their age, understand the Word. My son stated directly, "if you can show me in the Word, I won't ever drink." I was put on the spot. Something I didn't expect from them, but I understood where they were coming from having faced the same temptation (Proverbs 20:1 KJV, Isaiah 5:11-17 AMP, Isaiah 28:7 KJV, Luke 1:15 KJV, Ephesians 5:18 AMP).

A man with a young family had finally established his home. His wife had three children for him. Two daughters and a son. He was content with what he had and knew that it could only get better. Every Sunday, he would relax and it was the custom for him to go to the corner store with his son and purchase the Sunday news, a comic book for his son, and a magazine for his wife. Unless his daughters asked for something specific, it wasn't a big deal for them. It was only on the second week of the month would the routine change. He'd still purchase the paper, the comic book, and the magazine, but there was an added little pleasure that he would have for himself. It was the time for the new girlie mags of the month. Along with everything else, he would take his little secret pleasure mag and roll it up in the newspaper. For some reason, he thought he had hid it from his family and the only one that knew about it and didn't seem to mind was his wife. She saw it, but said nothing. After so many years, the marriage didn't work and the family was split apart with the man moving into his own place. As his only son grew to be a young man himself, he started his own collection of nude magazines. Where did he get this habit from? The children grew and moved out, getting married and having children of their own. One of the marriages from that family didn't work out. It was one of the daughters. She caught her husband cheating several times and didn't know what to do to salvage the marriage. She and her children moved back home with her mother. The daughter remembered what her brother use to collect and made sure to check the room that her sons would be sleeping in. It seemed to be cleared of any of the nude magazines. They unpacked and got settled into their new residence. As the boys moved about discovering all the different places they could play and hide, one of the sons found a picture torn from one of those magazines. She was posed provocatively with a man. The son that found the  picture was 7. He told no one of his new found secret stash.

I haven't quite got a grip in understanding why a married Christian man would need to have pornography magazines as well. It just doesn't make sense to me. He has a wife! If he loves his wife as Christ loved the church and gave his life up for her, then why would he have porn too. What does this porn make his wife feel like? Isn't she enough? If it is all for fun and no big deal, why not give it up? If it is no big deal, why didn't you tell her about your porn stash when you were dating? If it is no big deal, let your pastor know that you have it and hear if he thinks its no big deal in front of your wife. Seriously, if you have to hide it, its a big deal and what's worse - you knew it all along!

 Before Ted Bundy was executed for being a serial rapist, he confessed. He said that his ways stemmed from pornography. He made this confessions after he knew he couldn't get away with it anymore. His arrogance became bigger then himself when he decided to be his own defense - yet with as much wrong as he was facing, it was obvious where he was going to end up. He failed and just before he was about to leave this earth, scripture stood to do what it does. A verse or two came to mind at his confession - pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18 KJV). How can that happen unless entertained and given place (Ephesians 4:27 KJV).

That list above is what some people use as a vice. It temporarily allows the user to escape from the journey chosen. The problem with that list, anyone of those things used on a continuum, will have that user more in lack then he ever thought he could be in - for it is written (Proverbs 24:30-34 KJV).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Foreign Matter

I wrote a statement sometime ago that caused a negative stir among those that read it. It was something to the effect of Solomon being told by God not to marry a foreign woman (1 Kings 11:1-4 AMP). It caused such a rebuttal and I continued to read as to why there was such offense with that one statement. As I did, it became obvious that the offense had no foundation if the entire post had been read rather then writing the refute. I felt like someone's mother trying to chastise who may have very well been a full grown adult. Why act so childish?

Would that question also be apropos when studying the first 3 chapters of Genesis? At the creation of all, God looked at what He done and made the resounding statement that defines who He is, "it is good". When He says that, one can actually picture Him standing back like an artist would a painting after adding the finishing details. Like an expecting parent preparing for the blessed event. Provision has been made. Everything is in its place. Sacrifices have been made to shop for the right color and specific items in anticipation of what would be needed. So why would God ask these questions in the 3rd chapter of Genesis?

 Didn't Adam have all that he needed? Wasn't he happy with what he had? Could Adam just ask God for anything else? How could he disobey the very one that gave him everything? It doesn't make sense.

In studying the Word, I gained such insight I just couldn't contain it all. I looked for a venue to teach others because I felt like an expecting mother about to burst. However, it seemed with everything I tried to use as a venue was like pulling teeth from a brick. I created a bible study group and had to close it within a few months due to cultural conflicts. I went to ministerial school, without going into detail here (can be read in "Got Trouble" entry), it didn't work out either. I wrote manuscripts to books that are either sitting on my shelf  or stored in an USB stick waiting to be published. Yet none of those things sufficed. Creating this blog and the other for single Christians began to sustain that need. With each entry published, a sigh of relief came with them. It was like serving a full course meal to my family.

In making a meal, I know that certain colors have to be on the plate in order for it to be nutritious. That takes planning before preparation. Introducing new things that my family has never eaten takes preparation too. If its foreign, it just might stay on the plate. I rarely eat in places I don't know of. I have experienced food poisoning before and made my children aware of what could happen when trying something they know nothing about. Prayer does come in handy, especially during those times (James 5:16 AMP).

It is why I couldn't understand with the eloquence of the prayer Solomon had when asking God for provision over His people, why he didn't do the same in obtaining a wife (2 Chronicles 1:7-11 NIV)? God told him not to marry a foreign woman and with specifics as to why he shouldn't do it. Solomon disobeyed and not only married  a foreign woman  but almost 800 of them and they brought their foreign concubines. Solomon read the Word. He understood righteousness. He wouldn't have had the position he had with God without understanding. So why muddy the waters? Ecclesiastes doesn't have the easy read as Proverbs and Song of Solomon. Ecclesiastes was written after he married his foreign brides with children to be raised in the manner different then how Solomon was raised - without God (the definition of foreign for Christian principles).

In asking Adam those questions, it was because of seeing Adam in a manner that God did not give to him. How Adam replied was with information God did not provide. The behavior Adam showed in blaming the woman  was something God did not tell Adam. It was foreign. It was not good.

God tells us these things in the Word. He shows us because of Adam's disobedience, this is what has happened to mankind and to the world (Romans 5:12-15 AMP). Certain portions of scripture, men made statements of their circumstances. Statements were written in fear, anger, and some with a lack of faith. When being taught or listening to messages in church, be attentive. There are verses in scripture that should not be used in prayer. Solomon was in a certain state of mind after being disobedient to God. It is why Ecclesiastes isn't quite as easy to study as Proverbs. Verses in Ecclesiastes isn't something you wish to remind God of when coming boldly to Him in prayer and yet I hear preachers in various ministries use these verses to get their points across to the congregation. When God tells us to remind Him of His Word, look for what He says and not necessarily what man is saying to Him.

Jesus was found as a child in the temple talking to the elders about the Lord - Himself (Luke 2:49 AMP). He studied scriptures about Himself. He made mention of what God said about this and that showing the disciples to do the same. Jesus disputed tradition with the Pharisees and Sadducees which angered men but pleased God. I believe Jesus came at the time that He did so that foreign ways wouldn't become the norm.

Jesus ascended for us to have a Comforter (John 14:16 AMP). We don't have to rely on men remaining righteous in hopes to tell what is good in the sight of God. We can read and study scripture for ourselves (Joshua 1:8 AMP). We can make decisions based on the studying of the Word, listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd, and of course, prayer. We decided to maintain righteousness in our hearts because it is what Jesus told us to do (Matthew 6:33 AMP). We are in right standing through Christ our Lord. Keeping that stance takes skill and practice (Romans 5:3-5 AMP). No matter what happens the righteous will stand. Now multiply that (Genesis 1:28 AMP)!

Can you see it? That's the church without spot or wrinkle. That's the bride of Christ. That's what God is looking for. That's when God will again say, "it is good." Once He is pleased to say know what happens next. Get Ready!