Do you want power? Consider the power that Jesus had available to Him: "Don't you think that I could call on my Father to send more than twelve legions of angels to help me now?" What does that mean? Let's put this in mathematical terms for all you geeks out there.
It is generally considered that in the Roman Empire, a legion was 6,000 soldiers. In Isaiah 37:36, a single angel obliterated 185,000 men.
I think you know where I am going, but let me do the math for you...
If a single angel can take care of 185,000 men, then the combined strength of one legion would be enough to destroy 1, 110, 000,000 (one billion, one hundred ten million) men. That is just ONE legion!
Now Jesus said that he had more than 12 legions of angels at his disposal. That is at least 72,000 angels. So the combined strength at Jesus' command was the ability to annihilate 13,320,000,000 (thirteen billion, three hundred twenty million) men. BTW - The current earth population is a little over seven billion.
That is the kind of physical strength that Jesus has available to him. No wonder he told Peter to put away his sword. Jesus did not need Peter's little sword that night. That means that Jesus willingly gave Himself to be crucified.
Let's learn a lesson from Peter and Jesus here.
As you face your own challenges in life, always keep in mind that Jesus has the power to fix any problem you'll ever come across. Before you jump in and make things worse by taking matters into your own hands, remember Peter.
The next time you're tempted to "grab a sword and start swinging," take a few minutes to remind yourself that Jesus can handle the problem without your intervention. Before you do anything else, pray and ask the Lord what you are supposed to do. Then after you receive your answer and follow His instructions, just watch His supernatural power swing into action to solve the dilemma you are facing!!
Taken from Sparkling Gems from the GreekBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
This diagram is taken from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. It is often called The Duluth Model. Even though it is not blatantly from a Christian or other faith tradition, it offers much for how men, in particular Christian men, should not view marriage. I encourage you to download the pdf for this diagram. Just click on the wheel and you will receive that file.
At the center of abusive relationships are POWER and CONTROL. Abusive people, especially abusive men, have a need, often without their conscious awareness, to be in control. When men try to control women, they resort to using power. They use power in these eight categories:
1. Intimidation - making your wife afraid of you
2. Emotional abuse - making your wife feel bad about herself
3. Isolation - limiting your wife's involvement with others
4. Minimizing, denying, blaming - not taking your wife's concerns seriously
5. Children - using your children to relay messages
6. Male privilege - acting like "master of the castle"
7. Economic abuse - making all the financial decisions
8. Coercion and threats - making threats
You may not be physically violent to your wife, but I invite you to consider the subtle ways in which you use power to control her. If you ask, God's Holy Spirit will reveal to you where your are doing so. Remember God doesn't use force.
What does the Bible say about power and control?
- God has always had power & authority
- All power and authority is given to Jesus
- God's power is best displayed when we are weak
- As Christians, we have authority to overcome all the power of the enemy
- God's divine power has given us everything we need for holiness
- Salvation, glory and power belong to God
- Self-control, not the control of others, is a sign of a fruitful Christian
How do you compare to what the Bible says about power and control?
Do you have a marriage that displays God's power or your own power?
Do you try to control others or do you exhibit self-control?
Tomorrow, we will be discussing what a TERRIFIC MARRIAGE looks like.
BE A MAN.
I must admit that addressing this topic has been very challenging. While I have a very clear understanding of the role that control plays in my addiction, it was more difficult for me to connect with it’s specific role when I watch porn. However, after much introspection and conversation with friends I can now make a more direct connection. I am very grateful to the XXX Church for assigning me this topic and for the journey that followed as a result.
On the surface, the relationship between control and watching porn is very easy: I control what, when and where I act out. I pick the fantasy. I can hop to one scene or another and best of all, I face no risk of rejection. I am in total control!! But so what......I’m also in total control if I jump behind the wheel of a car and drive head first into a brick wall. I’m may be in control but at what cost? I kidded myself for a long time thinking that I wasn’t hurting myself or those around me when I watched porn, but boy was I wrong. As I dug deeper, I had to ask myself what I was really trying to control when I watched porn? And what damage was I doing to myself, my loved ones and my relationship with God?
So what am I really trying to control? In speaking with a good friend in recovery, we agreed that we are not only trying to control the situation, but we are also trying to control how the need will be met. Keep in mind that sex is not bad. In fact God has made us sexual beings and has given us ways for our sexual needs to be met. However I often foolishly default to “my way is better than God’s way” and substitute a surrogate pleasure (porn) for this need to be met. But the real need is not sex, it is intimacy. Somewhere along the way I told myself what I consider to be “the great lie: that sex = intimacy.” This one false belief has led me down many a lonesome and troubling paths.
So let’s look at the second question above and how is my relationship with God is affected. When I try to exert control over my life rather than trusting God, am I not really worshiping a false idol? I’m really saying, “this thing that I’m worshiping (porn) will solve all of my problems? Watching porn, medicating my feelings and controlling my environment is much better than turning to God and asking for his guidance?!” Seeing it in writing really points out how crazy this thinking is. Keep in mind that the bible is very clear on worshiping false idols. In Colossians 3:5 Paul defines idolatry as “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed” and we also know that the first commandment prohibits Idolatry: “You shall have no other gods before me.” I’ve always thought of false idols as simply the “golden calf”. But when I expand my thinking it encompasses anything I worship: Money, power, prestige, career.........and yes porn. So one of the major consequences of watching porn and therefore worshiping false gods is the pain and dysfunction that consequently poisons my life and my relationships, including with God. Sadly, one lesson I just can’t seem to master is that placing my trust in God is always a better solution than trusting my own devices.
So to summarize, it is merely an illusion to think that porn makes me feel all-powerful/like I’m in control. The reality is that I am far from in control of what is important: realizing intimate relationships with my loved ones and with God. Choosing porn takes me farther away from reality. Choosing healthy intimate interactions with my loved ones brings me closer to God.
This honest post was written by Jim MC from XXX Church. The original post with comments can be found here: http://www.xxxchurch.com/men/porn-makes-me-feel-all-powerful-like-im-in-control.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
The weight, thrust and speed of a plane at a specific moment during take off necessitates a point of no return, no time to pull up or abort the take off, it must continue regardless of what is in front of them. Ever had that feeling as you sit in front of the computer screen?
I think we all recognise the process of taking off into the soul destroying world of pornography, the taxi onto the run way, the slow process of picking up speed and that moment of no return. I have found that I am not strong enough to abort the take off once I am on the runway, the key is to discover the triggers that propel me to even get into the plane. Having mechanisms such as the great software at xxxchurch helps to abort the take off but doesn't stop the triggers from instigating my hearts journey into pornography.
Sometimes these triggers are easier to spot than others, having a really crap day, everybody has unloaded and dumped their waste on me or just times of undue stress will get me looking for a quick release, I now recognise this and am able to instigate a pre determined process of accountability and strategies of distance from computers etc.
The problem really comes to the fore when multiple triggers happen all at once with my largest trigger being 'aloneness' coupled with stress, depression or even euphoria over a successful 'event'. As I write this my wife is on a plane to the other end of the country for five days during which, I have the four kids (3yrs to 11yrs), childcare, school, work, an end off year bible college assignment due, a blog to write, my two monthly tax to complete a men's event and just to top it off my wife and I have not had sex for at least a week (just keepin it real). I tell you the odds are stacked, my boarding pass to late night destruction is all but purchased, am I worried? Yep! So I have instigated some rules, I have recognised triggers, I am planned but all it takes is for one more thing, that left field attack and all laid plans could be out the window.
So what do I do, I have safety nets, I recognise triggers but its still going to be a tough week and i am going to need something extra. I cannot stress enough the love and power available in Christ. I have done all I can, in my own strength, so to not get to the point of no return but my heart is cunning, deceptive and somewhat selfish on its own and a continual leaning into Jesus, the lover of my soul, will be required. What does that mean? It means that I am more like the tax collectors, Gentiles, non believers that Jesus came to be a great physician to and He enjoys being invited into my home and on top of the accountability team, the software, the rules around computer use I also have the God of the universe in my corner, cheering for me, providing the vision of wholeness, and giving strength when mine runs out. I just need to lean into Him when all the guns are pointing in my direction with triggers just waiting to go off. It is a partnership that I am reliant on, a partnership that requires me to do my part but also one that requires me to lean into Him.
Do not leave out the greatest power, strength and love that can be offered, Jesus desires for you and me to be whole and as we spend time in His word, in prayer, and just sitting in His presence we have something completely 'other' that we can call upon when the triggers to destruction start taking over.
This post was written by Jason Baird of XXX Church. You can find the original post with comments here: http://www.xxxchurch.com/men/what-do-i-do-when-temptation-is-getting-hard-to-resist.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Some of you say, “I’m not emotional, I don’t connect.”
You should. Men and women have the same emotions; they express them in masculine and feminine ways.
Your wife needs intimacy. She wants you to know her. She wants to know you. She wants you to open up. She wants you to be passionate and loving and honest, and she wants to know you and she wants to be known by you.
And the Bible says that Adam was with his wife, Eve, and he, what?He knew her.
There are too many guys that turn marriage into a job description. He does his responsibility, she does hers, and there’s no emotional connection whatsoever. Those are guys whose sins are sins of omission. “I didn’t hit her, I didn’t yell at her.” Yeah, but you didn’t love her. You didn’t connect with her. You didn’t encourage her. You didn’t pursue her.
Ultimately, you failed her.HONOR HER VERBALLY
How do you speak to her? Do you have nasty nicknames for her? Do you raise your voice? Do you threaten her? Do you give back-handed comments? Some of you guys would say, “I would never hit a woman.” How about with your tongue?
When you wife is not there and you’re with the boys, how do you speak of her? What do you say about her?DONT' PUT YOUR CHILDREN IN THE MIDDLE
You know what? Your children will pick this up as well.
You start saying horrible things about your wife, and the children will be left in this awkward and untenable position of choosing between their mother and father and invariably some of the children will despise their own mother and speak evil of her in an effort to remain loyal to their father.
A division in a marriage includes the children, they’re stuck in the middle. They’re casualties of the war.
You men could defuse this and take away this fear by honoring her verbally. Speaking honestly, respectfully, lovingly to her and about her. Some of you guys forget. You say, “Well, Jesus isn’t there. My wife isn’t there. I get to say whatever I want.” No, Jesus is there even when your wife’s not there. God sees everything. God knows everything, and you’re not getting away with anything.
Tomorrow, we talk about honoring your wife financially.
This post is adapted from The Mars Hill blog. It can be found at: http://marshill.com/2010/12/14/how-to-honor-your-wife/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
When you get married, men, you are to be a one-woman man. That’s the requirement for all men:
- You’re not the flirt guy
- You’re not the female buddies guy
- You’re not the download porn guy
- You’re not the “I got another gal on the side I always keep in case of emergency” guy
- You’re not the wandering eye guy
If you are, you’re not honoring marriage and you’re not honoring your wife.
I know some complete fools, they like to take their wedding ring off when they go out to the sports bar with the boys. Do you honor your marriage covenant? Do you take responsibility as the head of the marriage covenant, take responsibility for the well-being of the woman?
A woman has great fear. If you don’t honor marriage, she is statistically
going to go into poverty upon divorce. She will become yet another single mother. She’ll have to find a way to explain to the children of why they shouldn’t be embittered against you even though you’re a loser. See, these fears are very legitimate. Women have seen this so many times that they’re fearful of men.
- Do you ever hit her?
- Do you ever shove her?
- Do you ever push her?
- Do you ever grab her, restrain her?
- Do you ever raise a hand and threaten her?
- Do you ever intimidate her with physical violence?
- Do you give her that look, that pierced, glazed, violent, angry, don’t-push-it-now’s-a-good-time-to-shut-up look?
- Do you tell her, “I’m getting very angry, you should just shut up right now. It’s gonna go bad for you”?
- Do you get right in her face?
- Do you intimidate her with your presence?
A man who picks on a woman, what a joke.
Have you ever forced yourself on a woman? You’re a rapist.
But, you’ll say, “She’s my wife.”
You’re a rapist.DON'T HOLD YOUR WIFE PRISONER
When someone is attacked, we call it abuse. As horrible as that is, what is even worse is torment. Torment is when you’re abused and you can’t get out. This is like prisoners of war and those who are held captive in slavery. For some women, their version of slavery and captivity and torment is called marriage.
Their husband is physically intimidating. She’s afraid of him. She can’t leave, at least that’s what she thinks. She feels stuck, particularly if she’s got children. Some of you guys are tormentors and abusers and rapists and husbands and Christians, and that is absolutely inexcusable.WOMEN, A MAN WHO HITS YOU IS IN SIN
Most men don’t walk around thinking about their personal safety. I know a lot of women who do. Does she feel safe with you? Ladies, if you’re dating a guy who has ever been physically violent, run for your life, run for your children’s life, run for your grandchildren’s life.
If he’s ever even threatened you with violence, there is something profoundly demonic in that man. There is something sincerely wrong in that man. He will then apologize, tell you he is sorry. He will shed a few tears, say it will never happen again and he will subtly shift the blame to you. “You know when you do that, it just makes me really angry. Don’t do that again.”
“Oh, okay, it must be my fault.” It’s never your fault. It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if a man hits you, harms you, he’s in sin, no excuse.HEAD-OF-THE-HOUSE DOES NOT MEAN BULLY
And there are some guys, some absolute block-headed idiots who think when the Bible says that you’re the head of the home, that it means you get to be the bully. There’s nothing uglier than a guy who then takes this same disposition toward his children, especially his daughters. The grossest, vilest thing is a man who hits a woman, and the man who hits a woman is willing to hit his own daughter. It’s disgusting.
Tomorrow, we will talk about honoring your wife emotionally.
This post is adapted from The Mars Hill blog. It can be found at: http://marshill.com/2010/12/14/how-to-honor-your-wife/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Last week was anti-porn week here at Ironstrikes. I hope that you were able to read about the five topics:1. Porn and sexual satisfaction2. Porn and fake relationships3. Porn and women4. Porn and cruelty5. Porn is insidious
Readers have asked about the Zillman-Bryant study from which these five posts were taken. In the early 1980s, Dr. Doll Zillmann of Indiana University and Dr. Jennings Bryant of the University of Alabama wondered whether continued exposure to video pornography had any impact on people's sexual beliefs and their attitudes towards women. For their experiment, 80 male and 80 female college-age participants were divided into three subgroups, and each group was shown 4 hours and 48 minutes of media.
1. The first group, the “Massive Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-violent pornographic films over a six-week period.
2. The second group, the “Intermediate Exposure Group,” was exposed to 18 pornographic films and 18 regular films over a six-week period.
3. The third (control) group, the “No Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-pornographic movies over a six--week periodYou may be saying, "that is an old study, what relevance does it have to today?"
At a 2011 conference, Dr. Mary Anne Layden commented about Zillmann and Bryant’s 25-year-old research. “When this study was done, what was called the ‘Massive Exposure Group" -- seeing five hours of porn over a six-week period -- "I now call that the Friday Afternoon Group."
Her statement is far from an exaggeration. A recent survey of 29,000 people at North American universities, shows 51% of men and 16% of women spend up to five hours per week
online for sexual purposes, and another 11% of men spend anywhere from five to twenty hours per week. What used to be “massive” exposure is now common practice.
Furthermore, the Internet has not only increased the public’s exposure to porn, but has also changed the way it is consumed. Dr. Jill Manning believes Zillmann and Bryant’s findings have greater
applicability in the modern age because Internet porn tends to be more interactive and consumer-driven. Viewers can select exactly who and what they want to see, custom-tailored to their greatest specifications.This week, I will be giving four solid tips in helping to curb your vulnerability to porn.
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.
David’s daughter Tamar was beautiful, and David’s son Amnon secretly loved her from a distance. Amnon described his obsession and lust as so great, it “tormented” him to the point of being ill (2 Sam. 13:2). Eventually he hatched a plan to get her into bed. When the moment came and they were alone, he forced himself upon her and raped her. Then, the Scriptures say, after he had his way with her, he “hated her with very great hatred” (v.15) and threw her out of his house.
A story like this shows the insidious nature of lust. True love leads us to serve one another as human beings created in God’s image. Lust leads us to use
one another, to see others as expendable. And just like in the case of Tamar, a mind that only sees women as objects of lust, can also easily be numbed to cruelty towards women.
In Zillmann and Bryant’s
experiment, when asked how common certain sexual activities were in society— activities like anal sex, group sex, sadomasochism, and bestiality— the percentages given by the Massive Exposure Group were two to three times higher than the No Exposure Group. Pornography led them to believe these sexual activities were more common. Watching pornography also conditioned participants to trivialize rape. Participants were asked to read about a legal case where a man raped a female hitchhiker and then recommend a length for the rapist’s prison sentence. Males in the No Exposure Group said 94 months; the Massive Exposure Group cut this by nearly half, recommending only 50 months. Pornography essentially desensitizes us to sexual violence and cruelty, even when the pornography is considered “non-violent” in nature. Unfortunately, aggression is common in pornography today. A 2000 study discovered the presence of violence in 42% of online pornography. Today, it is not uncommon for even the youngest Internet users to be exposed to graphic material. By the age of 18, for instance, 39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen acts of sex involving bondage online. In a 2007 presentation, Robert Wosnitzer, Ana Bridges, and Michelle Chang released the results of their study of the 50 top selling adult DVDs. After analyzing 304 distinct scenes in these films, they found 3,376 acts of verbal or physical aggression— that’s an act of aggression every minute and a half. About 90% of scenes contained at least one act of aggression. Verbal aggression, such as name-calling, was present in about half of adult video scenes. In 73% of instances, men were the aggressors, and when women were the aggressors, most of the time they were being aggressive to another woman. In 95% of the scenes, the person receiving the aggression reacted neutrally or positively to it. Positive or healthy sexual acts, such as kissing or compliments, were found in only 10% of scenes. These numbers give us a glimpse of the sexual education porn consumers receive. Routinely, pornography depicts acts of aggression, cruelty, and degradation, and teaches viewers that women enjoy these acts.
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.
While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!” So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. “Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?” Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him. At that moment one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword. He struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his ear. Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will provide Me at once with more than 12 legions of angels? How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
Watch TV and you’ll hear the Name of God the Father and God the Son mocked, used in vain, used to curse, and many other ways that deny the holiness, beauty, majesty, power, glory, and wonder of who He is. Watch movies and listen to music and you’ll find the same things. In fact, go out into the marketplace and you’ll hear these same abuses of the beautiful Name of our Savior. And yet, short of boycotting some products or writing letters/emails or phoning TV stations or sending petitions, you’ll not really see any other visible demonstration of outrage from Christians.
And yet, throughout the world we see angry people causing all manner of evil due to the denigration of the name of their prophet. What’s the difference? Why don’t Christians burn down things when Jesus is mocked? Just a few thoughts…
1. There is coming a day when Jesus will make all things right and all who were mockers of His Name will bow at His Name and confess He is Lord.
There is a sense in which I don’t have to defend the honor of Jesus’ Name…He’s quite capable of defending Himself, thank you. And on that day when every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father, the mockers will be put to shame for eternity
. I might be angry for a day. The wrath of God will be poured out for eternity.
2. When the Name of Jesus is mocked, every Christian should remember that s/he once mocked Jesus, too.
We were all by nature children of wrath fully deserving the full wrath of God. And yet our God showed us mercy and grace through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. While fully responsible for actions, we were acting in ignorance according to our natures. But when God said, “Let there be light” in our hearts, we saw for the first time the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We then saw our sin for what it was and the beauty of Christ for who He is and we repented and trusted in the finished work of Jesus to save us. So, instead of burning things up when others mock Jesus, we show patience knowing the Savior was patient with us.
3. Which leads us to the work we should do now.
Instead of burning things up, we warn and plead with those who mock the Savior to repent of their sin and turn to Christ. If we truly love Christ, we will love making much of Him to sinners knowing He came to save sinners. Because we have been forgiven much, we will want others to know of the beauty of His grace poured out on sinners. We will warn these mockers of the fire of hell which will never die out. The work we do isn’t to defend the honor of His Name but to herald His Name as we seek reconciliation between God and man through the preaching of the gospel.
4. All of this reminds us that Jesus is the living, resurrected Lord. Jesus continues to be at work even today, right now.
The Holy Spirit works through us as we make much of Jesus who is risen from the dead. We have a story to tell. Jesus is coming again and will make all things right. We don’t have to defend the honor of a dead man…He’s alive!
I pray that those who feel the need to defend the name and honor of a dead man will see the glory of the true and living Lord who has made a way of escape from the wrath of God through His death and resurrection. Let us pray that their blinded eyes will be opened to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
who is the only way to the true Father of all.
This post is from Mike Lee. The original post can be found here: http://mikelee1963.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/why-we-dont-burn-down-things-when-jesus-is-mocked/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
I was out riding my motorcycle after having just received terrific news. Karyn just told me that I was going to be a father for the first time. So, I was taking one last spin on my motorcycle around Lake Whatcom. The plan was to sell the motorcycle to help with the new baby expenses. Being so exuberant, I was probably traveling a bit faster than I should have been, so as I took this one curve the bike laid on its side. There was some gravel on the road that I hadn’t seen so the next thing I know, I am laying on the road with my bent up bike. As I lifted my bike and walked it to the edge of the road, I noticed that my one knee was bleeding badly and I thought I could see my patella thru my jeans.
This part of Lake Whatcom was not very populated. I started to walk to a busier road. On my way a man in a white
van pulled up and said, “Hey, do you need a ride to emergency?
I saw your bike back a ways.” I told him, “yes, I need to get some help.” I slowly got into the passenger seat and noticed that the man was dressed completely in white,
looking like something that a professional painter would wear. As we talked, I tried to look at his face as I leaned forward and he turned his face to the left. He said, “I have a hard time looking at blood.”
I don’t think that I was completely aware because I was in pain and in shock so I think I passed out because he shook me and woke me up once (I don’t remember him touching me).
We were approaching one hospital and he said, “Is this emergency room OK?” I said, “it’s OK but if you don’t mind, would you take me to the other hospital? This one does abortions and I don’t think that’s right.” He promptly said, “yeah, I agree. Let’s go to the other hospital.”
The other hospital was just another five minute drive. As we were going to the other hospital, I said, “do you have a business card so that I can write you a thank you?” He said, “nope. I don’t use business cards.” I said, “what’s your name then?” He said, “you don’t need to know my name.”
He stopped at the emergency room and I slowly got out of his van. I hobbled a few feet and turned to wave and the van was nowhere to be seen. Second story
We (Karyn & I and both of our sons) had been missionaries in Ecuador and returned back to our former church
and in less than a year moved to another community. We purchased a house that was near an elementary school and our boys liked to ride their bikes around the playground in the summer.
One son was not happy about the move and was feeling a bit down about life
and was riding his bike alone at the playground one afternoon.
Suddenly, he came running back to the house, cheerful,
and said, “hey Dad, I made a new friend!
There’s a boy up at the playground who said he was with me in Ecuador!”
I said, “that’s cool, someone we know from Ecuador!” We rushed back up to the playground to find this boy and he was gone.
My son described him as a boy his own age and size and was very friendly.
I said, “if you see him again, have him come over to our house so that we can meet him.” My son went up to the playground several times over the next few days and he never saw that boy again.We have talked about these encounters with family and friends and most come to the same conclusion that I have. Most believe that they were encounters with angels.Whaddyathink?BE HOLY.BE AMAN.