A Florida Atlantic University student said he was punished after he refused a professor’s directive to stomp on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” written on it. The university, meanwhile, is defending the assignment as a lesson in debate.
“I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” student Ryan Rotela told television station WPEC. “I truly see this as I’m being punished.”
Rotela, who is a devout Mormon, said the instructor in his Intercultural Communications class told the students to write the name “Jesus” on a sheet of paper. Then, they were told to put the paper on the floor.
“He had us all stand up and he said ‘Stomp on it,’” Rotela said. “I picked up the paper from the floor and put it right back on the table.
The young college student told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment was insulting and offensive.
“I said to the professor, ‘With all due respect to your authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do was appropriate,’” Rotela said. ‘I believe it was unprofessional and I was deeply offended by what you told me to do.’”
Rotela took his concerns to Poole’s supervisor – where he was promptly suspended from the class.
Poole did not return calls seeking comment.
According to his university profile, he has a PhD from Howard University and is authoring a book titled, “Obamamania: The Rise of a Mythical Hero.”
A university spokesperson told they could not comment about Rotela’s case due to student privacy laws.
However, the university is defending the instructor’s assignment to stomp on the name of Jesus.
“As with any academic lesson, the exercise was meant to encourage students to view issues from many perspectives, in direct relation with the course objectives,” said Noemi Marin, the university’s director of the school of communication and multimedia studies.
“While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate,” Marin added.
The lesson on bashing the name of Christ is included in a textbook titled, “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.”
Fox News obtained a synopsis of the lesson that got Rotela in trouble.
“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper,” the lesson reads. “Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”
Paul Kengor, the executive director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, told Fox News he’s not surprised by the classroom lesson.
“These are the new secular disciples of ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ – empty buzzwords that make liberals and progressives feel good while they often refuse to tolerate and sometimes even assault traditional Christian and conservative beliefs,” Kengor said.
Kengor said classes like the one at Florida Atlantic University demonstrate the contempt many public institutions hold for people of faith.
“It also reflects the rising confidence and aggression of the new secularists and atheists, especially at our sick and surreal modern universities,” he said.
The university did not explain why students were only instructed to write the name of Jesus – and not the name of Mohammed or another religious figure.
“Gee, I wonder if the instructor would dare do this with the name of Mohammed,” Kengor wondered.
Rotela said the idea of stomping on the name of Jesus was beyond his comprehension.
“Any time you stomp on something it shows you believe that it has no value,” he told the television station. “If you were to stomp on the word Jesus – it says the word has no value.”This post was written by Todd Starnes. For the original article, go to: http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/professor-makes-students-stomp-on-jesus.htmlIt appears that the school has since issued an apology. For the apology, go to: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/27/17485007-florida-school-apologizes-after-students-stomp-on-jesus?lite
The story continues: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/04/stomping-on-jesus-and-hasty-conclusions.html
Tom Brown’s School Days (free on kindle) was a popular nineteenth-century novel that followed eleven-year-old Tom Brown, as he adjusted to life at a public boarding school for boys and learned how to become a young gentleman. The following excerpt introduces an account of Tom’s only big fight at the school. The headmaster had given him a student to look after, and when a large bully attacked the frail and sensitive boy, Tom stepped in to stop the beating and fight the bully himself.
From Tom Brown’s School Days, 1857
By Thomas Hughes
Let those young persons whose stomachs are not strong, or who think a good set-to with the weapons which God has given to us all an uncivilized, unchristian, or ungentlemanly affair, just skip this chapter at once, for it won’t be to their taste.
It was not at all usual in those days for two schoolhouse boys to have a fight. Of course, there were exceptions, when some cross-grained, hard-headed fellow came up who would never be happy unless he was quarreling with his nearest neighbors, or when there was some class dispute between the fifth form and the fags, for instance, which required bloodletting; and a champion was picked out on each side tacitly, who settled the matter by a good, hearty mill. But for the most part the constant use of those surest keepers of the peace, the boxing-gloves, kept the schoolhouse boys from fighting one another. Two or three nights in every week the gloves were brought out, either in the hall or fifth-form room; and every boy who was ever likely to fight at all knew all his neighbors’ prowess perfectly well, and could tell to a nicety what chance he would have in a stand-up fight with any other boy in the house. But of course no such experience could be gotten as regarded boys in other houses; and as most of the other houses were more or less jealous of the schoolhouse, collisions were frequent.
After all, what would life be without fighting, I should like to know? From the cradle to the grave, fighting, rightly understood, is the business, the real, highest, honestest business of every son of man. Every one who is worth his salt has his enemies, who must be beaten, be they evil thoughts and habits in himself or spiritual wickedness in high places, or Russians, or Border-ruffians, or Bill, Tom, or Harry, who will not let him live his life in quiet till he has thrashed them.
It is no good for Quakers, or any other body of men, to uplift their voices against fighting. Human nature is too strong for them, and they don’t follow their own precepts. Every soul of them is doing his own piece of fighting, somehow and somewhere. The world might be a better world without fighting, for anything I know, but it wouldn’t be our world; and therefore I am dead against crying peace when there is no peace, and isn’t meant to be. I’m as sorry as any man to see folk fighting the wrong people and the wrong things, but I’d a deal sooner see them doing that, than that they should have no fight in them.For the original post, go to: http://artofmanliness.com/2013/03/16/manvotional-fighting/
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
A common problem that men have is how to handle it when a coworker has pornography at work. This is a very touchy issue.
What do you do when men are gathered around on the work site looking at pictures of naked women?
If a guy doesn't participate, he is "hen-pecked" or "gay" or.... The name calling starts and the accusations fly if a guy isn't "one of the guys." He's not a "team player." What's a man to do in these situations? After all, he has a reputation to protect.
Reputation is the key word in this story. Reputation is the answer. Jesus took His reputation and laid it all on the line for us so that we could have strength in times like this. Jesus could have been satisfied to leave things the way they were and stayed in heaven. However, He put aside His reputation, His Deity, to become like us. He risked, knowing that His Father would take care of His reputation.
Like yesterday's post, honesty is needed. Asking God for strength to be vulnerable and transparent is how you handle porn at work. Have the gumption to step up and tell your coworkers why looking at porn is not healthy. Let them know that there is much more to a woman than just what she does to make a man feel sexual.
You know what will happen if you take this step? Like Jesus, you may be crucified. I don't mean that these guys will string you up and kill you but they will belittle you. They will tell you that you are not a real man. They will tease you because they want you to participate in their sinfulness.
You know what else will happen? There will always be at least one guy who agrees with you. He may not publicly, but he will at least come to you privately or at least not join in when the teasing starts.
If you stick to your integrity and respect women, you will make a statement. You will only have to say it once. Your statement will have an impact. If you never participate with them in objectifying women from that point on, God's Holy Spirit will work on these men. They will watch you. So, if you have integrity in everything you do at work, they will see it and they will change.
Your reputation? Don't worry about it. God will protect your reputation if you are doing what He wants. A real man respects and honors women. A real man stands up for what is right, even if it means standing alone.
BE A MAN.
What do you do when you are placed in a situation where you feel trapped?
I knew a guy who, like many men, had a desire to look at scantily clad, attractive women. He used to be an avid fan of Playboy magazine but as he grew in his personal relationship with Christ, he came to respect women more and was able to not spend his time obsessing about women as sex objects.
He had a good childhood friend that lived cross-country and his friend invited him to spend a week with him. His friend had a small one-bedroom apartment with a very small spare room where his friend kept his book collection. This man was to sleep in this small spare room during his visit. As he was laying there, on the couch in this small room, he started to observe the books and magazines that were in this collection. Some books were classics, some contemporary spy thrillers, and some books about military history.
Next, his eyes glanced at the magazine collection. What he didn't know about his friend is that his friend collected Playboy magazines. He had almost every issue over the previous 10 years. They were catalogued and displayed quite prominently. As he lay there trying to sleep, his mind kept wandering back to the Playboy collection that was within his reach. His mind thought back to the images that were in his mind from his previous experience with Playboy. His heart was pounding in his ears and his mind said, "it's OK to look at them. You won't be here but just a few nights. It's not like they belong to you."
What would you do? Your character determines how you will handle this situation. Your true character shows when no one is looking.
How do you handle this? God promises a way of escape. What is the answer?
Honesty. God's strength to be vulnerable and transparent.
Fortunately, this man did the right thing. He woke his friend up and they had a conversation about Playboy. Even though his friend didn't think it was a big deal to look at Playboy, his friend took the magazines out of the room and put them in his own bedroom.
This man kept his integrity. He stayed away from sinful behavior.
Is his friend still collecting Playboy magazines? I dunno.
But his friend now knows that not all men think that looking at porn is acceptable. Maybe nobody ever told him that before...
BE A MAN.
Dads. You may not have noticed but your daughter just left the house wearing tight, stretchy pants with the word “Juicy” emblazoned across her backside. And yes. She bought them with the money you gave her for school lunches, allowance or back to school clothes. Congratulations. You are now the official sponsor of your teenage daughter’s butt.
So what are your options? You can either:
A) ask her to change and be ready to stand your ground or
B) ignore and hope that every red blooded male she walks in front of doesn’t try to read her nether region.
If you decide to give this one a pass, because the word itself seems benign or not sexual in nature, think about the lesson you are teaching your little girl. She is wearing a piece of clothing that attracts attention to a part of the body that is highly sexualized. Beyonce and J Lo gave the butt it’s come-back and your daughter is now a part of the home-town tour. How does it feel to know that men are staring at your thirteen year old’s rear end? If you don’t have a natural inclination to grab a shotgun right now your denial is worse than I thought. And what about the pedophile lurking at the mall. Your angel, the one you promised to protect the minute she drew breath, has now captured the unwanted attention of your local pervert. If you don’t think your community has them, please don’t hesitate to consult any number of online sites in which you can have instant access to sex offenders in your area. I would start here and here. They are everywhere and now have a front row seat to your daughter’s main attraction.
It’s not just the pants. It’s the shirts that have a shoulder exposed and the skirt that looks like a napkin. It’s the teeny bikini and short shorts that all scream LOOK AT ME! I’M SEXY AND I KNOW IT! It is a silent invitation to make your daughter boy-bate yet you quietly acquiesce. You can’t make her change, right? All of her friends wear glittery half shirts that say I’M HOT so if everyone else is doing it….It’s just how kids are these days. What’s a dad to do? The truth is you stopped being the boss of her a long time ago and now just hope she doesn’t fight curfew and really doesn’t wear makeup at school. And maybe deep down, not knowing what’s going on with her is a little bit easier when your head hits the pillow at night.
Wake up, dad.
Our daughters need to understand that they are valued because of what they hold in their hearts. They must be encouraged to dress in a way that keeps attention on their beautiful faces so that their audience can focus on their words. And I bet you think she’s got some pretty important things to say; things that make you proud that she’s your girl. Teach her that her opinions matter. That she is more than what she wears and certainly she means more to you than what her peers think. Tell her that you love her enough to ask her to be different. When all of her friends wonder why she’s the only one wearing a one piece bathing suit at the pool, she can be confident that you have her best interest at heart. It may not be easy but does it matter if it’s right? She may struggle when she doesn’t get the same attention from the boys but you’ll teach her that that kind of attention isn’t about liking her for who she is. It’s about objectifying her outside without consideration for her inside. You’ll remind her that she is to be respected, that her body is a gift and should be treated as such. It will be important to remind her that she is loved.
She needs to know that she is loved by you.
When was the last time you hugged your baby girl? I mean really, truly held her so that she felt your heart beat. I know. She wears a bra now and rolls her eyes when you make a joke. She’s way cooler than you are and none of her friend’s dads bother them with hugs and kisses. They leave them alone to text and IM and don’t try to disengage the cell phone that has suddenly become an additional limb. Your daughter still needs to be held. She may be screaming for independence but she is still a child and needs to be protected and held within arms length. Giving her space and giving her free reign are two different things.
Have you grabbed her for a quick trip to the store or brought her flowers just because? Did you make a date to take her to a movie. When was the last time you left a note on her bathroom mirror reminding her that she was the best thing you’ve ever done. Ever. When she disappointed you did you in turn tell her that you know she’ll make the right choice next time. Did you cancel that conference to make sure you made her soccer tryouts. She learned to kick a ball because of you and wants you to think she’s as good as you are.
Talk to her. Don’t worry about being her friend. Just be. Let her know that you are available and a good listener. Ask her questions that have more to do with how her day was. Be prepared to engage even when the days seem to run together and time is short. Know her friends, her interests and her aspirations. Don’t rely on your wife to be the only one emotionally connected to your children-especially your daughters-and don’t leave it to her friends and classmates to be the singular voice of reason about all things life related.
You are the first man she will love. You hold the key to her heart long before she marries and has her own children. She will make choices because of the father you have decided to be. Your little girl needs your love, compassion and affection and if you do not give it to her, if you withhold it from her because she seems to no longer need you, she will seek that closeness from someone else. Someone who may not value her. Who may not care about the goodness in her and exploit her need to be held, to be cared for, to feel wanted.
You may not have until tomorrow to become the father she deserves. A sweet talking, smooth walking, four-years-her-senior-and-brags-about-his-conquests kinda boy may already be charming his way into her heart. And once he’s in, that means you’re out. It could be a group of friends that skip school because togetherness feels good. And so does smoking a joint and blowing off final exams. All because they made her feel connected and welcome-a part of a chosen family that sticks together and looks out for one another. If you lose her it will be a fight to get her back. The pole is shiny. The pole is escape and acceptance rolled up in pretty lies.
I married a man like my father. My father told me I could be anything. He kissed the top of my head and hugged me even when I didn’t want him to. He showed up and cheered me on. He was fiercely protective and horribly intrusive when I needed my privacy. I could not get away with much and in the end, trying wasn’t worth the look of disappointment on his face, so I stayed out of trouble. So when it came time to fall in love and take a husband I chose what I knew. Someone who loved me to the end of the moon and back. Someone who was protective, caring and respectful. A man who would hug me even when I was not my best. I chose love because I had been loved in a way that gave me a sense of value and I hope you’ll do the same.
Because she’s worth it.
This post was written by April Cao. You can find the original post here: http://theconservativeparent.com/?p=171
BE A MAN.
If you stumble into sin, believer, don't give up; don't allow hopelessness to consume you, the deceitfulness of sin to blind you, or the weight of shame to defeat you. In the morning and evening prayer we pray, in part, the following: "I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not fall" (Ps. 16:8
). Christ is
at your right hand, and this fall shall not be final for you; He took the final fall.
Yes, you may feel as though your worst day has cast a shadow over you that will never break to show the light of day, but, happily, you're wrong. God, in Christ, has declared you to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:21
). Of the righteous we read: "for though they fall seven times, they will rise again" (Prov. 24:16
NRSV). You will rise, friend, because Christ will lift you up. He took the ultimate fall in order that you should rise.
No one knows how many times I've had to encourage myself, thinking these thoughts, repeating the words of this post to myself. How I didn't play dead but arose from sin is a testimony to God's sheer grace. This post is as much an exhortation to myself as it is for anyone else experiencing difficulties or tragedies, whether self-caused or otherwise.
What do you do on the worst day of your life? Rise: not because you're inherently worthy of being named righteous. Rise because the one who took the ultimate fall declares you righteous. Rise because, though you sinned, though you deserve the fate of the wicked like the rest of us, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1
But rise, too, because you neither honor the Lord nor serve the body of Christ by remaining fallen. Don't play dead, possum. In Christ you have been made alive (Col. 2:13
). Play dead to your old, sinful nature or past. But in Christ, even when you sin, don't play dead -- don't remain defeated. In Him you are more than one who has conquered all spiritually negative realities (Rom. 8:37
). "So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1
You can avoid re-offending others by rising, and thinking healthy, spiritual thoughts: "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil. 4:8
). All offenses begin with thoughts. We are instructed to destroy arguments raised up against the knowledge of God.
But the apostle Paul also added, "We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle
raised up against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5
NRSV, emphasis added). How many thoughts rise up against the reality of God's holy existence and righteous standards? We are taught to destroy such thoughts, to take them captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5
I picture such thoughts as personified. I imagine capturing them, putting them into a prison cell, while Christ stands watch over them as Guard. If I fail to do so, then I may entertain such thoughts, have them affect me emotionally, and then obey them. When I obey them, I sin. "But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved" (James 1:15-16
But when you sin, no matter the degree, take it immediately to Christ. "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9
NRSV). Don't let sin drag you into a hopeless, despondent, dejected place, out of which you feel impossible to escape. By His grace and forgiveness you rise up, and you keep rising up. You don't rise up only once. You will need to rise up every time you fall.
More than that, you will need to rise up every time you think
about a past fall. Such thoughts about your past have a tendency to paralyze you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Paralyzed, you will play dead. No: in Christ you must rise up from the guilt of your past. Though you fall seven times a day, you will rise -- you must
rise (Prov. 24:16
The Lord foreknew every sin you would ever commit when He by grace through faith in Christ saved your soul. You don't ever take Him by surprise by any thought, desire, or action. In Christ He has already declared you holy, sanctified (set apart from the world and for His service and care), and righteous. You don't let Him down because you don't hold Him up.
You are becoming more and more like Christ (Rom. 8:29
), slow as such may seem, and your heavenly Father understands completely all of your eccentricities, particularities, and unique qualities. This is how, you see, you keep on rising. Give your defeats to the One who defeated sin, death, and hell (1 Cor. 15:56-57
; 1 John 3:8
). Give your hopelessness to the God of hope (Rom. 15:13
). Whatever you do, don't play dead, possum, but rise. This post was written by William Watson Birch. You can find the original post with comments here: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/01/saturday-devotion-dont-play-dead.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Iron Mike Tyson is one of the most iconic, controversial—and also most jacked-up—sports figures of all time. And I absolutely loved
watching him fight. He had the unprecedented power to knock his opponent out with just one punch. He would send you crying to mama in the first forty-five seconds of round one. And if you weren’t careful…he just might spit in your face and go to town gnawing on your ear! (Just ask Evander Holyfield.)
Even though Iron Mike was unquestionably messed up, I couldn’t help loving him as a fighter and an athlete. Because no matter what else you could say about him, he genuinely had that “Eye of the Tiger.” The dude just loved to hit, scrap, punch you in the face, bite, trash talk, kick your booty, fight—and win!
He simply stubbornly refused to lose.
Hey parents, listen up: We need more Iron Mike Tysons in this world.
Oh, you read that right. What I mean is we need parents who are willing to hit, scrap, punch, bite, and fight for their kids! (Of course, I don’t mean you should hit your kids.)
But here’s who you should
hit: the enemy who’s bent on stealing, killing, and destroying our families. And it’s totally gloves off with that punk. It’s Rumble in the Jungle, Thrilla in Manila, Sting in the Ring, Fight of the Century, all-out war!
But instead of Iron Mike Tyson parenting, what we’re surrounded with today is lazy, apathetic, exhausted, busy, workaholic, God-dodging, materialistic parenting. Mom and Dad, it’s time you turn off that phone. Stuff that To-Do list in a drawer. Turn off the TV. Get your butt up off that couch. Lace up your boxing gloves… And FIGHT for your kids. Five Things Every Parent Needs to Fight for for Their Kids:
James 4:13–14 says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” Make time for your kids today. Nobody’s promising you a tomorrow with them.
Did you know that the largest audience for Internet porn is kids aged twelve to seventeen years old? Understand this: Satan has a dream, a vision, and a coordinated plan to take your kids out. He wants them checking out porn, keeping secrets, rounding second base and sliding into third, plunging headlong into promiscuity! Parents, please
… dig deep and find the guts to FIGHT for your kids’ purity!
Is your marriage on life support? Are you at that point where the doc should just come in and pull the plug? Have you been secretly dreaming about some other person besides your spouse? Have you been having an emotional affair? What about a full-on sexual one? Then let me tell you what happens next: Fight for your marriage! Or risk losing it all—including your kids. It really is just that simple. Sure, it’s tough. I get it. Things are jacked up. I get that maybe you’re not “feeling it” anymore. But one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is modeling for them how to have a healthy, vibrant, passionate love affair—with your spouse!
So, what’s your deal? Are you a yeller? Does your anger cause your kids to walk on eggshells around you? Are you a workaholic? Spiritually passive? Porn addict? Critical heart? You know that’s not who you want to be. So why are you still keeping that old man around? Kick him to the curb! Find out what it really means to be in Christ
, and to have Him in you
. You CAN change the pattern of history that has so far defined your life. Write the legacy that your kids deserve. But here’s the thing: You’re going to have to get bloody knuckles to make it happen. FIGHT!
5. The Obvious.
Fight to keep Jesus in the center of your family. The only thing trying to stop you is the whole world. Don’t let it. Push back. When the cares of this world try to start a fistfight with your family, you pull a knife. When they pull a knife, you pull a gun. Fight! Every day of your life, as soon as you get up, strap on your armor. (See Ephesians 6:10–18 to learn how.) Read God’s Word together, pray together, go to church together, talk about Jesus on the way to school, when you get up and before you go to bed. It's time to RE-UP. Recommit to making Jesus the centerpiece of your life.
This post was taken from the booklet Sex, Lust and XXX: Fighting for your kids' purity in a sex saturated world. BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
When Paul says we are to “walk in the Spirit” he is writing to a church community, not just to random individuals reading his letter in their private corners. Keeping in step with the Spirit of God is a community activity, something we do together. During anti-porn week,
we identified from secular research what viewing porn does to a person. This week presents practical advice of how to stay away from the influence of porn.
In other words, we keep in step with the Spirit by keeping in step with one another. We must live lifestyles of encouragement and accountability.
Nothing slays the power of sin like confession. James writes, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). In confessing our sins to God
we are promised forgiveness. In confessing sin to others
we are made whole.
Sin must be habitually
exposed to the light of confession. This is called accountability
: being honest with another trusted believer about our temptations, sins, and the state of our heart. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, after eating of the forbidden fruit, our knee-jerk reaction is to hide—to hide from God and from one another. Accountability is the willingness to habitually and regularly allow others access to your heart, your motives, your secret desires, your dark thoughts, and, of course, your sinful actions.
How does this relate to pornography? The late psychologist, Dr. Al Cooper, believed three main factors draw people into online sexual activity:
(porn is accessible easily from any Internet connection)
(millions of free or very cheap images are available online)
(home computers and Smartphones have made it very easy to be secretive)
He dubbed this the “Triple-A Engine” of Internet porn.
These three factors work like three legs on a stool: remove just one of the legs and the stool will fall (or at least make it awkward to sit on).
The easiest leg to remove is the leg of anonymity
, or secrecy. We do this by becoming accountable to others about the time we spend online, taking away the option to hide our Internet activity.
One way to do this is through the use of Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability.
This software program monitors your home computer, work computer, or smartphone and then sends a detailed report of your Internet activity to a trusted friend, spouse, or mentor. Covenant Eyes,
which pioneered this concept, also rates websites for mature content, flagging specific web searches and sites.
Confession of sin is not the only goal of Christian community. In the face of each other’s weaknesses, we need to encourage one another to fight sin. The author of Hebrews says, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25).
This can be called “responsive accountability.” When we give an account
of our sins to someone else, in return, they should listen and then give an account
of God’s gospel promises to us.
In this text, God calls us to “stir up” one another—that is, to urge, to spur on, to provoke, to motivate each other—to love and good deeds. Each time we meet together we should be contemplating and praying, “God, show me how I can really motivate my friend to resist temptation and instead love You and others wholeheartedly.” We are to have a hardcore intentionality and thoughtfulness in our friendships.
Like the embers of a red-hot fire, we stir up the fire not by adding heat to it, but rather by exposing the glowing embers to the air, helping to bring out of the embers the energy that is in them already. If the Spirit of God is in us, He has already planted His holy desires into our hearts. He has etched his law on our hearts (Jer. 31:33-34; Ez. 36:25-27). But He has also placed us in the family of the church, among trusted friends who are also filled with His Spirit, in order that we might stir up in each other what God has already put in us.
This post is taken from the booklet, YOUR BRAIN ON PORN
by Luke Gilkerson. The booklet can be found at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/brain-ebook/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
An unwelcome guest climbed into bed with me last night. No, it wasn’t our spoiled dog (I lost that battle a long time ago
) or one of our kids nursing a nightmare. It was something more sinister.
Something dark. Something ancient. It was fear.Have you noticed that fear is a night owl?
It seems to awaken as we’re trying to fall asleep. Dancing on the bed. Ripping off the covers. Screaming all our unknowns, regrets, and worries at such volumes that the sheep we’re trying to count get scared away.What am I afraid of? Well, you see, that’s the funny thing. I’m not really sure. Last night it was a parade of random things:
The weight of my new job
The guilt that seems to come with parenting.
The thought of the Democrats winning the election.
The thought of the Republicans winning the election.
The fact that I’m the father of a teenage daughter
The unrest in the Middle East (and my pending trip to Israel next month
The skyrocketing national debt and what that means for the future.
What if I mess this up?
What if my kids struggle?
What if the economy collapses?
What if Andrew Luck is never as good as Peyton Manning? (This is serious, folks
).Fear has a loud voice.
And no matter how beautiful your circumstances or how deeply you’re rooted in the truth, it has an uncanny way of grabbing your attention. Focusing you on potential mistakes and future unknowns.
And a little healthy fear
is a good thing. It keeps us focused, alert, on task, thinking about the future and wisely adjusting course for the inevitable contingencies that will come. But most of us serve our fears, we don’t harness them. We allow our imagination to project the worst possible outcomes and then we bow down in worship.And frankly, I’m tired of doing that.We’re going to face plenty of hardships and trials in this life. We’ll make some bad decisions, things will happen beyond our control, and outcomes won’t turned out like we planned. But there’s no sense in facing the fears we’ve fabricated. What a waste of energy! It’s time to expose those voices in your head as the liars that they are.
I’m told the Bible commands us to “fear not” 365 times
. One for every day of the year. Here’s one of my favorite:“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Take that one to heart today. And then sleep well tonight.What are you afraid of? Are your fears night owls like mine?
This post was written by Erik Cooper. You can find the original post with comments, here: http://beyondtherisk.com/2012/09/19/dealing-with-fear/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
The Bible calls the devil, among other names, a tempter (Matt. 4:3
; 1 Thess. 3:5
), someone who leads people astray (Rev. 12:9
). When he comes to tempt, he then seeks to accuse (Rev. 12:10
). I've noticed that when I'm tempted to sin, whether in thought, word, or deed, I feel bad for being tempted, as though temptation itself is a sin, which we know it is not. But when I'm tempted to sin I also feel accused of being a sinner.
Now, I already know that I'm a sinner, a sinner saved by grace through faith in Christ. So, feeling the accusation of being a sinner should not trip me up spiritually, but it often has. In that moment of temptation -- before the act of sin is actually committed -- I feel bad for being tempted. Because of feeling bad for being tempted to sin I then do not pray to the Lord for help. Let me explain how wrong that is.
First, temptation is not a sin. Even Jesus was "tempted" (or "tested") and He did not sin (Heb. 4:15
). So, merely being tempted to sin is not sinning, and therefore we need not feel bad for being tempted. Second, when we're tempted to sin, that is the exact moment when we should run to Christ for help, not shy away from Him because we feel bad for being tempted to sin (Heb. 4:16
Finally, the Lord already knows that we're privy to being tempted to sin: "For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust" (Ps. 103:14
). Remember that the Lord God is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (Ps. 103:8
). "For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested" (Wisdom of Solomon 6:6
Often enough I have felt so ugly inwardly when being tempted to sin that two different results have manifested: 1) I ended up sinning anyway, feeling that the temptation to sin is near about the same as committing the sin itself; and 2) neglecting to pray because I don't feel "worthy enough" to pray.
As for the first error, temptation is not a sin; so even when we're tempted to sin, we can still shun the temptation by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and not sin. No testing or time of temptation has "overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10:13
God, indeed, provides us with a way out. But too often we willfully neglect to take that way out. Why? Because we want to sin. Let's just tell it like it is: we sometimes want to sin. We want to tell that person what we think. We want to objectify that person and lust. We want that money, so we'll do whatever it takes to get it. We want others to think of us in a certain way, so we'll lie in order to protect our inathenticity.
As for the second error, prayer is not a sign of personal holiness. We don't praybecause
we're holy. Such an erroneous attitude leads to self-righteousness. When we don't feel
like praying, that is the moment when we need to pray all the more! "For we walk by faith and not by sight [nor by our feelings]" (2 Cor. 5:7
Neither do we pray so that we will become
holy. Prayer is communication, not a practice for self-congratulation or a means to actual, personal holiness. We pray to the only worthy One who can help us in time of need. We pray to the only truly holy One.
I've challenged myself lately to pray to the Lord when I feel bad or ugly or dirty inwardly. What I've found is that I usually avoid thinking or acting out sinfully what I was being tempted to do or say or think.
In the very moment when I'm most vulnerable, even when I feel distant from the Lord and unworthy of His presence in prayer because of the temptation, that is when I need to run to and trust in and pray to the Lord the most.
This honest post was written by William Birch. The original post with comments can be found at: http://www.wpfences.com/2012/07/tempted-to-sin.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.