Jan 29 2010

Love Dare - Day 24

Love vs. Lust

 

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.  – 1 John 2:17

 

Adam and Eve were supplied with everything they needed in the Garden of Eden.  They had fellowship with God and intimacy with one another.  But after Eve was deceived by the serpent, she saw the forbidden fruit and set her heart on it.  Before long, Adam joined in her wishes, and against God’s command both of them ate.

 

That’s the progression.  From eyes to heart to action.  And then follows shame and regret.

 

We, too, have been supplied with everything we need for a full, productive, enriching life.  “We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either” (1 Timothy 6:7).  But the Bible goes on to say that, having basics of food and clothing, we should be “content.”  And Jesus promised these two things would always be provided to God’s children (Matthew 6:25-33).

 

God’s blessings, however, go so far beyond these fundamental needs, we could rightly say that we want for nothing.  Yet like Adam and Eve, we still want more.  So we set our eyes and hearts on seeking worldly pleasure.  We try to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways.  For many it’s seeking sexual fulfillment in another person or in pornographic images designed to feel like a real person.  We look, stare, and fantasize.  We try to be discreet but barely turn our eyes away.  And once our eyes are capture by curiosity, our hearts become entangled. Then we act on our lust.

 

We can also lust after possessions or power or prideful ambition.  We see what others have and we want it.  Our hearts are deceived into saying, “I could be happy if I only had this.”  Then we make the decision to go after it.

 

“But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).

 

Lust is in opposition to love.  It means to set your heart and passions on something forbidden.  And for a believer it’s the first step out of fellowship with the Lord and with others.  That’s because every object of your lust – whether it’s a young coworker or a film actress, or coveting after a half-million dollar house or a sports car – represents the beginnings of a lie.  This person or thing that seems to promise sheer satisfaction is more like a bottomless pit of unmet longings.

 

Lust always breeds more lust.  “What is the source of the wars and the fights among you?  Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you?  (James 4:1 HCSB).  Lust will make you dissatisfied with your husband or wife.  It breeds anger, numbs hearts, and destroys marriages.  Rather than fullness, it leads to emptiness.

 

It’s time to expose lust for what it really is – a misguided thirst for satisfaction that only God can fulfill.  Lust is like a warning light on the dashboard of your heart, alerting you to the fact that you are not allowing God’s love to fill you.  When your eyes and heart are on Him, your actions will lead you to lasting joy, not to endless cycles of regret and condemnation.

 

“His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

 

Are you tired of being lied to by lust?  Are you fed up with believing that forbidden pleasures are able to keep you happy and content?  Then begin setting your eyes on the Word of God.  Let His promises of peace and freedom work their way into your heart.  Daily receive the unconditional love He has already proven to your through the cross. Focus on being grateful for everything God has already given you rather than choosing discontentment.

 

You’ll find yourself so full on what He provides, you won’t be hungry anymore for the junk food of lust.

 

And while you’re at it, set your eyes and heart on your spouse again.  “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth … Be exhilarated always with her love.  For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?  For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths” (Proverbs 5:18-21).

 

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).  Lust is the best this world has to offer, but love offers you the best life in the world.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

End it now.  Identify every object of lust in your life and remove it.  Single out every lie you’ve swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it.  Lust cannot be allowed to live in a back bedroom.  It must be killed and destroyed – today – and replaced with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with His perfect love.

 

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil.  (1 Peter 2:16)

 

 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

 

Jan 29 2010

Visiting Orphans in Haiti

The ministry Visiting Orphans are in Haiti now providing care and medical treatment for orphans following the devastating earthquake.  We had a chance to check in with Amanda Lawrence with VisitingOrphan.org and Dr. Carrie Dutton this morning - to follow along with the work they are doing in Haiti, check out the link below.

Click here for videos, pictures, and stories out of Haiti today...

Jan 28 2010

Married 81 years - what's their secret?

Vern & Verbal Isenhower have been married 81 years.  So what's their secret to such a long marriage?  We attempted to find out when we tracked down this Kansas couple.  Click the link below to HEAR the very loud conversation ...

Vern & Verbal

Jan 28 2010

Love Dare - Day 23

Love Always Protects

 

[Love] always protects. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

 

Marriage is made up of many things, including joys, sorrows, successes, and failures.  But when you think about what you want marriage to be like, the furthest thing from your mind is a battleground.  However, there are some battles you should be more than willing to fight.  These are battles that pertain to protecting your spouse.

 

Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there.  They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.

 

Some are clever and seem attractive, only to undermine your love and appreciation for one another.  Others try to lure your heart away from your spouse by feeding you unhealthy fantasies and unrealistic comparisons.  It’s a battle you must wage to protect your marriage – when love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own.  Your mate and your marriage need your constant protection from things like:

 

 

Harmful influences.  Are you allowing certain habits to poison your home?  The Internet and television can be productive and enjoyable additions to your life, but they can also bring in destructive content and drain away precious hours from your family.  The same thing goes for work schedules that keep you separated from each other for unhealthy amounts of time.

 

You can’t protect your home when you’re rarely there, nor when you’re relationally disconnected.  You have to fight to keep balance right.

 

 

Unhealthy relationships.  Not everyone has the material to be a good friend.  Not every man you hunt and fish with speaks wisely when it comes to matters of marriage.  Not every woman in your lunch group has a good perspective on commitment and priorities.  In fact, anyone who undermines your marriage does not deserve to be given the title of “friend.”  And certainly you must be on guard at all times from allowing opposite-sex relationships at work, the gym, or even church to draw you emotionally away from the one to whom you’ve already given your heart.

 

 

Shame.  Everyone deals with some level of inferiority and weakness.  And because marriage has a way of exposing it all to you and your mate, you need to protect your wife or husband’s vulnerability by never speaking negatively about them in public.  Their secrets are your secrets (unless, of course, these involve destructive behaviors that are putting you, your children, or themselves in grave danger).  Generally speaking, love hides the fault of others.  It covers their shame.

 

 

Parasites. Watch out for parasites.  A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage.  They’re usually in the form of addictions, like gambling, drugs, or pornography.  They promise pleasure but grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time, and money.  They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love.  Marriages rarely survive if parasites are present.  If you love your spouse, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart.  If you don’t, it will destroy you.

 

 

The Bible speaks plainly about this protective role, often using the analogy of a shepherd.  God warned, “My flock has become prey … food for all the beasts of the field.”  How so?  “For lack of a shepherd.”  Not because these men were too weak to perform their duties but because they didn’t pay attention.  Instead of watching to make sure that the sheep weren’t being picked off by predators, “the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” (Ezekial 34:8).  They took extra good care of their own needs and appetites but gave little thought to the safety of those under their supervision.

 

Wives – you have a role as protector in your marriage. You must guard your heart from being led away through novels, magazines, and other forms of entertainment that blur your perception of reality and put unfair expectations on your husband.  Instead you must do your part in helping him feel strong, while also avoiding talk-show thinking that can lure your attention away from your family.  “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1).

 

Men – you are the head of your home.  You are the one responsible before God for guarding the gate and standing your ground against anything that would threaten your wife or marriage.  This is no small assignment.  It requires a heart of courage and a head for preemptive action.  Jesus said, “If the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matthew 24:43).  This role is yours.  Take it seriously.

 

Today’s Dare

 

Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that’s stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse.

 

 

You will be restored if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent.  (Job 22:23).

 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.