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Forum 4

Friendship Unknown
Kindness An allegory
Pure Intimacy Addressing on-line sexual temptation
The Bondage of Sexual Freedom Rom 1:20
Discovering Love What is love?
Through Tough Times Gal 6:5

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Friendship

There's a miracle called - Friendship - that dwells in the heart. You don't know how it happens or when it gets started. But you know the special lift it always brings and you realise that Friendship is God's most precious gift!

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care.

 

Kindness

He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work, in this small mid-western community, was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the Levis factory closed, he'd been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home.

It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfil. But he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here and knew the country.

He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He'd better get a move on. You know, he almost didn't see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill that only fear can put in you. He said, "I'm here to help you m'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm. By the way, my name is Joe." Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her trunk. She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Joe never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Joe added "...and think of me".

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out of work actor, it didn't ring much. Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe.

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on a napkin. There were tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady wrote. It said, "You don't owe me a thing, I've been there too. Someone once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do. Don't let the chain of love end with you."

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's gonna be alright,... I love you Joe."

Public domain

 

The Bondage of Sexual Freedom

In our day sexual libertarianism has become so widespread as to become the norm in vast areas of society. This may mean lost contact with God, our creator, and our being out of touch with the one to whom we will give account to for every aspect of our lives after our death. This final encounter will be one of either immense joy - or indescribable anguish. What we do with our lives now will make the difference! (John 3:15-21).

If you are reading this, then you should know that this is a true message of the Bible:

"For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: "As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God." (Romans 14:10).

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." (2 Cor 5:10).

If we should choose to ignore the wisdom of God as expressed to us in the Bible, then we could never say we weren't advised or warned. Therefore our eternal destiny comes down to our own decision making and response or rejection of God's truth. This article forms one part of that process!

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt 12:36).

So be careful how you respond in your heart. These may seem like harsh words, but they are an expression of love – because their intention is to point the way from destructive outcomes to peace with God, and assurance of your eternal destiny with Him.

Why then does sexual permissiveness provoke the hostility and opposition of God? The wisdom of God expressed to us in the Bible says:

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:20-25).

Don’t try to be God yourself - which we would be doing if we attempt to define our own standards and values by a process of independence - that is, the rejecting of God's higher order in life. This is in reality the sin of idolatry ~ putting something else in the place of God in your life. The antidote to human pride and idolatry is the humbling of ourselves before God, by asking him to give us a soft heart which is able to respond to his input in our lives.

Engaging in sexual freedom is the abandoning of the constraints of God for our own independent pleasures, ie: our disregarding of God's moral order. As the Scripture above says, the outcome is a form of entropy: moving from constructiveness to a destructiveness, which hurts us and hurts God.

Let’s look then at the beauty and constructiveness of sex in God’s moral order…

Sex was created by God as one of the most beautiful and strongest of human experiences. He gave it for the bonding of relationship between one man and one woman (Matt 15:19) ~ who give themselves to each other at the highest level, which is marriage. This is the highest commitment of life after relationship with God himself. In this context a married couple share the deepest level of intimacy and take great pleasure in each other in the security of a permanent relationship. There is no fear of sex here, but a freedom to give and receive without risks. The ultimate outcome of such love sharing is a child. In its proper context this is the greatly desired fruit of a secure love relationship. In summary, God's creative purposes for sex are for the prospering of human relationship in marriage and for the creation of new life, our children.

That's why God calls sexual immorality sin. Degraded sex spoils God's beautiful gift to mankind.

Any violation or misuse of God's ways results in destructiveness. That's why God hates our involvement in what demeans and damages us. Let's look for a moment at the negative side…

The risks and consequences of sexual immorality include the giving of aids and sexually transmitted diseases. Multiple sexual partners leads to the abandonment of relationships, betrayal of intimacy and divorce. Instead of creating life we destroy life in abortion. The sex trade prospers in the midst of a drug culture, placing a monetary value on human intimacy - at every risk and any cost. Because of the risk of aids children are stolen and plunged into death through sexual slavery for just a few short years. Their lives are sacrificed on the alter of sexual lust and money which elevates grubby dollars above the dignity of life. Dear friends, this could only be called the demonisation of sex.

If we step aside from God's purposes to any degree, we are descending from love and grace into abuse and destructiveness. If we start to sin without repentance - turning away from the ways of God - where will it end? We can never know where involvement in sexual immorality will end up!

Recently a man we know lost an excellent job and ended up publicly before the courts as a result of down-loading some child pornography from the web at work. He was hooked from a casual web search, resulting in great destructiveness and suffering for him and his family. No, we do not hold the reigns of sin – apart from God, it will control us. That’s why the Bible calls us to turn to God:

"I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:19-23).

Say yes to God’s plan. Don't ever say: "it's too late". No, with God the good news is that it’s not too late! For this very reason Jesus died for you - to take your sins to the cross on your behalf. Jesus has already done this for you as surely as if you were the only person who ever lived. Because of this fact of history, we can respond to God at both a heart and mind level.

Here is a prayer to use as an illustration of how we may approach God for a new start - right where we are at the moment:

"Dear Father God, you are right to cause me to wake up to my own folly and sin. I confess my abandonment of your ways and my preference to choose independently of yourself. I am guilty of breaking your divine order, and thinking that I could just do my own thing. In the process I have hurt you and damaged others. Please forgive me for my sins through your son Jesus. I want to put my faith in Jesus now, I acknowledge the perfection of Your ways, and I now ask that you would make me a keen and responsive student of all that Jesus has to teach me about how to live. Thank you for your forgiveness and graciousness to me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen."

On the following basis we may be completely confident that God hears our prayers and will lead us into a new restored life, where Jesus is central:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:16-21).

 

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