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Guard Your Heart

Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


Colossians 2:20-23 ESV

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray you are doing well in the Lord, hungering and desiring for more of Him. Please know that He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things (Psalm 107:9).

Our verse for this week was brought to life after listening to the last sermon series by Pastor John MacArthur. The title of that series was ‘The Sinfulness of Sin’. It was a powerful series, and hopefully your desire is to listen to all 10 messages as well.

Rather than break down each verse of our selected passage, my goal is just to give what I feel is the main takeaway for you and me today, in light of the teaching from John MacArthur.

The three verses are basically talking about the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). That kept the church bound under regulations, precepts and teachings created by man.

However Jesus Christ came to bring freedom from the man made bondage that was created. These regulations were man made in that they gave an outward appearance of holiness. They were doing nothing to change the condition of the heart. Yet we know that God looks on the heart.

The Lord does not see as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We must keep our heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). The Lord searches the heart and tests the mind, giving us according to our ways and the fruit of our deeds (Jeremiah 17:10). That is why the pure in heart are blessed and will see God (Matthew 5:8).

The very last sentence of our passage says:

… but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Today it is still possible to fall into certain traps of rules, regulations or things that present the outward appearance of holiness. Men if we are not addressing the root of the issue, the heart than everything we are doing is in vain.

We must guard our heart with all vigilance (Proverbs 4:23), by the things we look at, listen to and allow to cycle through our thoughts.

One of the things that really stood out to me in a sermon recently, was that as a “Christian” we must be Bible saturated. We should be constantly renewing our mind (Romans 12:2) by the Word of God. We should be growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Also allowing the Word of God to judge the thoughts and attitudes of our heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Are these required for salvation? 

Absolutely not. 

Are they extremely helpful in building our character so we can bear good fruit?

 Absolutely! 

Men, God Almighty sent His one and only Son to die for our sins. Jesus paid the ultimate price possible so that you and I could not only be forgiven of all of our sins. But so that we could have the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus if we put our faith in Him. Through this sacrifice God desires, in fact longs to have an intimate personal relationship with each of us. God also knows that the best thing for us is to constantly fight our sinful heart with the help of His Holy Spirit.

Win the battle of the heart. Although regulations have some value, if we do not constantly address the sinful nature of our heart, regulations become fruitless precepts that actually can create pride and self righteousness.


Heavenly Father teach me to guard my heart with all vigilance. Give me a desire to be Bible saturated so that I may grow in my walk with You daily. Teach me to crucify the sinful nature in me as I renew my mind and learn to stop the indulgence of the flesh by the help and power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name Amen.

Quiet Time

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


Mark 1:35 ESV

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

 

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray you are doing well in the Lord. Please know that the Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty, He is robed and the world is established; it shall never be moved (Psalm 93:1). Hopefully the sovereignty of God is an increasing comfort to your soul.

This week’s verse has always intrigued, inspired and motivated me. However my goal is to make the connection of our preparedness and time to how Jesus prepared and used his time.

We find ourselves in the beginning of Mark off and running in the earthly ministry of Jesus. Sandwiched between several powerful miracles, the Holy Spirit inspires Mark to make a note of the personal preparation of Jesus.

Jesus is fully God yet fully man. Which means as a man he gets tired physically. Looking into a few verses previously it appears that Jesus could have been healing the sick well into the night.

Mark 1:32-33 ESV

32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 

Running hard into the night, healing the sick and meeting needs must have been exhausting. I’m sure leaving that house (v29) early would have been difficult with the whole city at the door.

Yet Jesus still rises early to spend time praying with His heavenly Father. So the obvious question is that if it is that important for Jesus the Son of God to spend time praying with the Father, how much more for you and I?

Personally I am going through a season where waking up early has not been easy. For the last few weeks I have been extremely tired in the morning. Waking up early enough for some quality time in the Word and in prayer has been minimal. But I know how important it is for you and me to make this a priority. To fight through the weakness of the flesh and build up our spirit.

Let me share a couple commentaries that touch on this quiet time:

Life Application Study Bible – It’s easy to be so caught up with ministry that you neglect times of solitude, individual worship, and prayer. Perhaps you need to redesign your schedule to find time for earnest prayer. It is vitally important to: (1) seek the Lord before your busy schedule takes over your thoughts; (2) withdraw from noise and demands so you can focus on God; (3) take Jesus’ attitude of regular communion with the Father; (4) reflect on the priorities Jesus had for his life; (5) determine to pray on a more regular basis, not just in times of crisis. If prayer was important for Jesus, then it must be important for his followers. Pray—even if you have to get up very early in the morning to do it!

Spurgeon – His hard day’s work probably ran on far into the night. Yet, “a great while before day,” he was up at the sacred work of supplication. The more work we have to do with men for God, the longer we ought to be at work with God for men. If you plead with men, you cannot hope to prevail unless you first plead with God. And, inasmuch as our Lord had great success the day before, it teaches us that the greatest success does not release us from the necessity of still waiting upon God. If God has given you much, my brother, go with thy basket, and ask for more. Never stay thy prayer. Increase thy spiritual hunger, and God will increase the richness of the gift he will bestow upon thee.

Copied from Precept Austin Mark 1 Commentary.

Men, Jesus Christ willingly gave Himself for you and me. Jesus spoke and created everything in this world as we know it (Genesis 1; John 1:1-3). Yet, taking off His heavenly robe as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords willingly comes to earth as a man. In the most humble and simple of settings in a manger. Gives His life on that rugged cross, the most gruesome and torturous way to die in that day. He died for you. He died for me. So we can have forgiveness of our sin and eternal life with Him.

My encouragement for you (as I am encouraging and challenging myself) is to pray for a deeper desire of God, His Word and intimate time with Him. Also praying to give us the discipline to follow through, even when it’s hard. No matter where you are in this discipline, whether you’re crushing it or it’s totally absent. Let’s first start wholeheartedly asking God, delighting in the Lord and He will give the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). As we are doing this we have to act. We have to do our part in making up our mind to wake up at a certain time, setting the alarm and having a plan before we wake up. As we are doing these action steps it then comes to trusting in the Lord knowing that the fruit of desire will blossom if we stay consistent. God will move on our part following this recipe (Psalm 37:5).

I think that’s a great start for all of us. However if this is not enough to get you started and you want some help don’t hesitate to reach out. May our Father bless you with a desire for Him and His righteousness.


Heavenly Father thank you so much for the example Jesus has left for us in desiring quiet time with you. Father, I desire that same spirit. I want to know You more, I want to spend more time with You, I want a greater desire for Your Word. Would You please give me the strength and discipline to wake up early and spend time with You. So that I may become more like You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Kaaina Keawe
I-Challenge You Ministries 
Helping Men Take a Stand to Living a Bolder Life in Christ
(808)987-8857

No Fear

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


Mark 8:38 ESV

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well and growing in the Lord. Today be encouraged that the steadfast love of God is great above the heavens, and His faithfulness reaches to the clouds (Psalm 108:4).

A few days ago I was listening to a christian radio show that shared a letter from a 16 year old young man that was currently living in Dubai. In that letter he was sharing his testimony of taking a stand for Christ that provoked his entire class of 150 students to turn on him. This young man was now labeled by all as a bigot, racist, person who does not care about any of the current movements out there that are anti-biblical. He stated how although he is now hated by all he has never felt more free. Praise the Lord!

I was so encouraged by this young man’s testimony. I was so proud of his boldness and courage in the face of major opposition and to take a stand like that really encouraged me.

Shortly after hearing that testimony I read through the above chapter in Mark and felt it was important to encourage us all.

If we take a look on any news outlet, social media platform or even watch any sporting event; controversy abounds. There are movements that have been around for decades or longer. Whether it is the movement on life, homosexuality, race, politics and everything in between. To take a biblical stand against any of these will create instant conflict. This can be scary and definitely a place not many of us want to be. However let us be encouraged by the words of Jesus:

John 15:18 ESV

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

Taking a look at our verse in Mark 8, what does it mean to be ashamed?

Of course there are many situations that each of us will encounter that will vary in degree and dynamic. However every single one of us will face times where our beliefs and values will be questioned.

Although some followers of Jesus may have a more direct approach in their convictions, that may almost seem overboard. I believe the most important thing each and every one of us can start with is being equipped. We don’t have to be constantly airing our opinions and beliefs, but we do have to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us.

1 Peter 3:15 ESV

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 

Brothers, Jesus Christ loves you and me so much that He willingly gave his life so we can have ours. Jesus suffered the most torturous and horrific beating, punishment, treatment and death so that you and I can receive forgiveness of sins and have eternal life through Him. Jesus rose from the dead three days later to prove to you and me, to prove to our sinful, stubborn and rebellious hearts that He is God and there is no other.

The love God has for you and me is so radical, so indescribable to its full extent. Yet it is so available if we pursue it. However it does come at a cost, if we choose to live out our faith and remain true to what we believe. This cost is to see if you and I are more concerned with the judgement of man, or the judgement of God.

Matthew 10:28 ESV

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

My greatest encouragement for you and me is to continue to get equipped. We must be solid in our convictions and beliefs in God Almighty. If not we will become sheeple following the newest latest talk on the news or in social media. What a tragedy that is, when followers of Christ become followers of men because of fear or a lack of knowledge. The people of God perish for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).

Remember this, you and I as followers of Jesus Christ do not have a spirit of fear; rather of power, of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

May our Heavenly Father encourage and equip us in our pursuit of Him as our highest calling and endeavor.


Heavenly Father thank you so much for your love for me that was shown through the sacrifice Your Son did for me personally. Please give me a deeper desire to know You and follow You. Give me the strength to be disciplined in growing in my walk with You. So that when I am face to face with You I will hear: Well done good and faithful servant. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

My Grace is Sufficient for You

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray you are doing well in the Lord. Although this devotion is a few days behind the normal schedule, please know that God satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things (Psalm 107:9).

This week’s verse really encouraged me, and my hope is to do the same to you.

For some context, the Apostle Paul describes earlier in this chapter of an experience where he was caught up to the third heaven. This was a spiritual, potentially out of body experience. This experience had all the ingredients to be boast worthy. However:

2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

Paul describes this thorn as given to him. This is a mindset of surrender and acceptance. Paul is not looking for a pity party. He also understands the fruit that is being produced in him because of this thorn.

2 Corinthians 12:8 ESV

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.

Clearly Paul attempted to pray or plead his way out of this thorn. However God did not answer Paul the way he wanted.

Have you and I ever prayed for something and felt God did not answer?

Is it possible that God did answer, it just wasn’t the answer we wanted?

I heard in a sermon a while back that God has three answers when we pray: Yes, No,  and Not yet.

So based on Paul’s track record of hardships, imprisonments, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks etc. (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). We know this thorn was something significant for this man.

Yet through it all God tells him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

This statement is so powerful and loaded that I feel absolutely inadequate trying to even put my words to explain it. God’s grace is one of our most precious gifts. It is undeserved favor or blessing.

The grace of God that is sufficient for Paul’s thorn. Is equally sufficient for my thorn and your thorn. We all have or will have thorns, and as we pray for deliverance from it; is God is telling you and me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”?

Are we able to trust God in this?

Are we able to understand that we connect more with people through our vulnerabilities?

When it comes to living out the gospel in our lives, building relationships to model the love of Christ, having the vulnerability, transparency and humility is far more attractive than what mainstream culture has us focusing on.

It is counter culture to think that in our weakness we are actually strong.

However as a Christian we know that in our weak times is when we cling to God. In our moments of weakness is when we cry out for help. I believe with all my heart God loves when our hearts are in that state of surrender, submission and weakness. Knowing that we need the Father.

In God’s infinite wisdom and grace He laid out a plan of salvation for the entire world. That through Jesus Christ all men can be saved. Jesus took on the most horrific torture, punishment and death. Completely sinless and blameless. Yet he willingly carried that cross and shed His blood for you and me. So that we could have forgiveness of sins and receive eternal life. Knowing that we do not deserve it at all. Knowing that not only are we sinners, but we will continue to sin and need constant forgiveness (Romans 5:8).

However many of us reading this have put our faith in Christ, We have said: Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for my sins, and rose from the dead. We have stated that Jesus is the Lord of our lives and that is fantastic!

So if we have put our faith in Him to save us, can we put our faith in Him that His grace is sufficient for us? That with our current or future thorn, His power can be made perfect in our weakness?

Can you and I learn to adopt the mindset of Paul in verse 10, that for the sake of Christ, we can be content in weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities? Will we truly believe that when we are weak, then that is when we are really strong (strong in Christ not in flesh)?

Men I believe with all my heart that this is where God wants us to be. Resting in His power, not our own. That when we are weak we will know and believe that God’s power can be made perfect through us. What does that look like for you today? This week? In your current struggle?


Heavenly Father, teach me to trust in Your Sovereignty. Teach me to believe that You know best and that your plans for me are good. Teach me to trust you above my current circumstances. That I will know that Your grace is sufficient for me, and that Your power is made perfect in my weakness. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Kaaina Keawe
I-Challenge You Ministries 
Helping Men Take a Stand to Living a Bolder Life in Christ
(808)987-8857

Sow Bountifully

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency  in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. As always, I hope and pray you all are doing well in the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that each of us desires that the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts are acceptable in His sight (Psalm 19:14).

Our verse for today is such a powerful verse, with some sound wisdom and heavenly encouragement. My goal today is to remind each of us the power of cheerful giving and the amazing grace that abounds to all of us that step into cheerful giving.

The book of 2 Corinthians has the Apostle Paul defending himself against some false teachers that had crept into the church at Corinth. These false teachers stirred the people against Paul with several false accusations. Through Titus and previous letters to the church Paul expresses his thanksgiving for the majority that had repented.

For Paul to address the topic of giving this clearly, we know it was an issue for some, which is no surprise because giving is a snag for many of us still today.

How many of us know that the Bible commands us to give?

If you’re unsure, the Bible is very clear that giving of our time and resources is a biblical command. There are many examples all throughout scripture that illustrate this for us. Without getting too deep down those trails here are a few references for you: (Malachi 3:10, Luke 21:1-4).

In this chapter rather than just focusing on the biblical command, Paul is steering us more towards the benefits of giving. Of course no one wants reap sparingly, we all want a bountiful harvest of our time, money and resources.

One of the biggest principles I learned as a new believer on the journey of giving. Is first and foremost that God does not need our money. All the animals of the forest are Gods, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and the world is His and everything in it (Psalm 50:7-15). Secondly is that we do not give of our money to get more money. God’s riches are far greater than the temporary corrupting currency of material wealth. Not only do we strive to store up heavenly treasures (Matthew 6:19-21). But also the amazing life enriching treasures of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) which bring far more joy and peace than any amount of money.

The hang up always begins with the heart. Paul addresses this here, that we need to decide in our own heart (v7). To me this means being really honest with ourselves on why we are giving and are we sowing bountifully or sparingly. If our motives are a little off track, and/or our sowing is sparingly it’s totally okay and understandable. We just don’t want to stay there, or not give at all because we don’t want to address the heart issue we may have. Start by repenting of any wrong motives and stingy behavior. Then continue to ask God to change our heart, to renew our mind and give us a generous heart. A big lie we all can fall prey to is that it will be easier to give when we have more. This really could not be farther from the truth. That is why Jesus teaches us that those who are giving much will be expected much (Luke 19:11-27).

Paul’s encouragement and reminder in the final verse of our passage could not be more comforting. The words he chooses are so weighty and powerful that it really deserves multiple readings to grasp it a little better.

2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

All Grace abound to you! First of all the depth and width of God’s grace is immeasurable through the cross of Jesus Christ. Our finite brains are barely scratching the surface on the infinite grace of God. Yet, all grace is available and able to abound to you and I! What a promise!

Secondly God wants to supply you and I the sufficiency in all things at all times! Wow! Always having enough in every area of our life at all times. Another amazing promise.

Then to bring it around that all this grace, all this sufficiency at all times is so that we may abound in every good work. Not any work, but good works.

Men, when I read through promises like that I am absolutely blown away by the grace and mercy of God Almighty. The love God first showed you and me by giving His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins. So that we can have access to a savior, the only savior that is capable to wash our sins. So that we can have an intimate relationship with the God of Creation through the power of the Holy Spirit. But in His abounding grace we are blessed with His Word. The Word of God is so filled with continuous promises, encouragements and reminders of who He is and how much He loves us and desires us to be one with Him.

Lets desire to be cheerful givers. Lets desire to sow bountifully. So that all grace can abound to you and I, being sufficient in all things at all times, and abounding in every good work we pursue.


Heavenly Father, teach me how to sow bountifully. Please forgive me of any wrong thinking or motives. Please cleanse my heart and align my heart with yours. Thank you for your abounding grace that is clearly expressed through Jesus Christ. In His name I pray, Amen.

Spiritual Priority Number One

Sermon of the Day:

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


1 Corinthians 13:1-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray you are all doing well in the Lord. I also pray that each of us know that the Lord is good, His steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100:5).

This week I felt a strong desire to highlight a few things I learned recently from this chapter in 1 Corinthians. In my quiet time with the Lord this was one of the chapters in my reading and the devotion that accompanied it had two things I want to point at. The first was the spiritual priority of love, second was how to turn our verse above into a practical exercise.

This chapter is sometimes referred to as the love chapter. From start to finish there is a powerful layout and direction of what love really looks like. Our world and society has really skewed our thoughts and perspective on this topic. So just like any other topic that gets skewed by the world it’s good to come back to the foundational, timeless truths of the word of God.

For the sake of space I have only highlighted verses 4-7. However I encourage us all that reading the entire chapter would be very beneficial to grasp the full context of today’s message.

The first thing that really grabbed my attention in the devotion that accompanied this chapter was that “Love should be number one on your spiritual priority list.” That really blew me away. It makes total sense as there are multiple verses that teach this (John 13:35, Matthew 22:37-39) .

So my question to each of us today: Is love our number one spiritual priority?

For me it has not been in every area. I feel like I pick and choose where I want to apply this. Rather than consistently applying it across every area of my life. This is an area that I have been actively seeking the Lord to grow His fruit in me. Love is not only a fruit of the Holy Spirit, but first on the list.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

By fruit this means a by product of the Spirit. Is God so at work in us and through us that love is the greatest byproduct in our lives?

If the answer is no, the awesome thing is that God wants that for us more than we may want that for ourselves. If we set our heart, mind and prayer to this by truly desiring it. I believe it will be a slam dunk prayer!

The other thing is that it may seem very difficult to love certain people, or have love in certain areas of our hearts and lives. That is where we will need to totally rely on God and the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. There may be situations where we feel totally incapable of doing it, and that is the best place to be. Only God will be able to change us if we really want it and allow Him to work in our heart.

Another powerful tool for each of us that I learned through the devotion of the love chapter was to substitute the word love with our own name. The missionary who would do this would stop if a characteristic was not true of her. Her aim was to one day get through the whole list.

Give it a shot and see how far you can go.

I definitely got a way to go.

However I am encouraged to know that God wants this for us more than we may ever want it. So I know that it is possible. I know that God loves you and me so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die in our place. Jesus took on the cross, the pain, the shame, the torture, mocking, insults and the sin of the world. So that you and I could be redeemed, forgiven and set free.

God is so faithful even when we are not. God’s love and faithfulness are steadfast and enduring through all generations. We just have to surrender to Him.

My favorite road map for surrender and pursuing God is given to us in the Proverbs, as we are told to trust in the Lord with all our heart. To not lean on our own understanding, and in all our ways we are to acknowledge Him. Then He will make our way straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).


Heavenly Father, you know exactly where my heart is lacking in love. I want others to see you through the way I love. Teach me to surrender whatever is holding me back. To lay it at the foot of the cross so that I can trust You and lean on You like never before. Thank you for Your Son Jesus and what He did for me. Thank you that You have given me the Holy Spirit to be my counselor to lead me in all truth. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

Kaaina Keawe
I-Challenge You Ministries 
Helping Men Take a Stand to Living a Bolder Life in Christ
(808)987-8857

The Forgotten Book for Sexual Purity

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Broadcast


Article by 
Marshall Segal
Staff writer, desiringGod.org

 

August 20,2020

 

The Forgotten Book for Sexual Purity

Conquering sexual sin, especially the sin of indulging in pornography, takes more than internet filters and accountability reports. Good tools are priceless, even indispensable. Accountability software proved invaluable in my own battle for purity. We need good tools, just as a soldier needs good weapons. But tools and weapons are inadequate on their own.

And we know they’re inadequate, because our sexual sin isn’t something somewhere out on the internet, waiting for us to fall into its trap. “Out of the heart,” Jesus says, “come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:19–20). Pornography, as wicked and murderous as it is, isn’t ultimately to blame for our failures. Illicitness around us taps into illicitness inside us. The whole vile industry would suffocate without our own iniquity.

The sobering reality about pornography is that our sin emerges not in front of us, but from within us. The images and videos awaken and encourage the suicidal hungers already there. That means we can download any software, apply any filter, discard any device or screen, and still not break free. We need something bigger and more powerful than software.

More than anything, we need God — his saving power, through the cross, to forgive and cancel our sin (Colossians 2:13–14), his renewing Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17), his grace and wisdom (1 Corinthians 10:13), his people to fight with us weekly, daily, hourly if necessary (Hebrews 3:13). While acknowledging this, though, many of us may have missed a mountain of help, an ocean of strength, a river of perspective and guidance, a field of superior pleasure, a forgotten well of purity. We may have misplaced an old and proven book on how to be free.

The Lost Book

God himself opens that book for us when he confronts Job and leads him to repentance. The suffering Job experienced was not a judgment against his sin (Job 1:8), but Job did sin by contending with God (Job 31:35), arguing with God over how he had been treated (Job 13:3). Every sin, especially sexual sin, can be defined as contending with God. Different sins contend differently, but all challenge the wisdom, power, and worth of the Almighty. To indulge in temptation is to defy God, to disregard his commands, to dare him to judge our sin. To sin is to say that God did not mean what he said, and that he won’t do what he promised.

So, if you were Job’s friend, and listened to him argue with God, how might you lead him to confession, repentance, and renewed purity? God does something surprising (which is also surprisingly relevant thousands of years later). God confronts Job with creation, walking with him through the wonder and wisdom of all that he has made. T.M. Moore writes,

God himself was able to lead Job to humility and repentance by a tour de force of the creation. . . . The majesty, beauty, power, and intimate care of God revealed in things he has made, and daily sustains, brings Job to his knees and turns him from sliding into sin to pursuing holiness before the Lord. (Consider the Lilies, 74, 82)

What kept Job from sliding further into sin? Getting outside and seeing, really seeing, the glory in what God has made. Maybe the lost book on sexual purity in our day is the book God has been writing from the very beginning, the book of continents and constellations, of winds and waves, of lions, ravens, and reptiles — the book of “his eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). Maybe we would finally conquer sexual temptation if we uncovered the purifying power of creation.

The Tour de Force

Someone may have already counseled you to flee the scene when sexual temptation strikes — close the computer, put away your phone, leave the house, take a walk. It’s good advice. And it’s made better when we don’t just flee from sin, but flee to something. What if we took a walk and deliberately looked for something, anything, God has made? That’s what God does for Job.

The Lord begins, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:4). Even the ground under our feet can remind us that he is God. Then he wades into the seas, reminiscing about the boundaries he built around them saying, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed” (Job 38:11). Shores exist not because oceans run out of water, but because God drew a line in the sand. How could we contend with a God like this?

Then the Lord describes where he stores his avalanches of snow and hail, each flake and stone kept for the day he has appointed (Job 38:22–23). And then he runs his divine fingers through the channels that deliver the spring rains (Job 38:25), and stops to admire the clouds he scattered across the sky (Job 38:9), remembering the fearsome precision of his lightning (Job 38:25). Then he climbed even higher, to retrace the stars he hung, constellations he himself mapped, connecting each blazing dot (Job 38:31–33). How could we disregard the breathtaking power and wisdom of a God like this?

Then the Lord embarks on a wilderness safari, narrating creatures that roam the earth, and soar through the sky, and dive in the deepest waters. He begins with the lion’s pride, reminding Job who feeds every animal on the food chain, from top to bottom (Job 38:39–40). He flies with ravens, and climbs with mountain goats (Job 38:41–39:4). He dwells on the ostrich (of all creatures!), every ounce of her strangeness filled with his purpose (Job 39:13–18). He rides horses into battle, and hunts with hawks and eagles (Job 39:19–30). Then he goes where few dare to trod, hiking to find the biggest, most dangerous predators of the forest (Job 40:15) and diving amidst the most terrifying sea creatures (Job 41:1). How could we sin against a God like this?

Along the way, the Lord reminds Job of one of the more overlooked weapons in the fight against temptation:

Behold, Behemoth,
which I made as I made you;
he eats grass like an ox. (Job 40:15)

Lest we get lost in the breadth and length and height and depth of all creation, God reminds us of the most intimate window we have into his wisdom and power: his creation of us. Even if you don’t have quick access to oceans or forests, lions or constellations, you have full and unfiltered access to you.

He formed us, fearfully and wonderfully, in an unlit world (Psalm 139:13–14). Our features were not fit together in an assembly line, but woven together with artistic care (Psalm 139:15). Our stories are not unfolding accidentally, but every day was known, planned, written down before we took our first breath (Psalm 139:16). How could we, made by God in his own image, exchange him for a few illicit images on a screen?

Job’s Response and Ours

So, what did Job say after his long, wild walk with God? Did he repent and turn away from sin? “Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth’” (Job 40:3–4). Wonder gave way to humility. Majesty quieted all his arguments. The universe dispelled the enticement of sin.

Creation humbles us by reminding us just how small, fragile, and powerless we are (“I am of small account”), but also by reminding us just how big and powerful our God really is. Job continues,

I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. . . .
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:25–6)

If God can roll out the earth like carpet in our living room, what can’t he do? If God could carve out the Pacific Ocean, deciding where it would rise and fall and stop, can we really question his wisdom and power? If God can feed and keep lions and whales, bears and squids, hawks and even ostriches, could he not satisfy our souls forever? If God can count and name every star anywhere in the universe, will he not notice every time we secretly sin? And if he makes, sustains, and rules it all in perfect holiness and purity, will he not judge, with almighty wrath and justice, everyone who contends with him?

In light of all of the evidence in creation, all of this living, breathing, flying, growing, running, blooming, swimming, thundering evidence for God, how could we wander, again, down the dark alleys of pornography?

Enemies of Lust

In the summer of 1990, John Piper preached a series of two sermons on this often neglected ministry of God, “Do You See the Joy of God in the Sun?” In the second message on Psalm 19, he narrows in on lust.

“Do you know why there are no windows on adult bookstores?” he asks, “Or do you know why there are no windows on certain kinds of nightclubs in the city? I suppose your answer would be, ‘Well, because they don’t want people looking in and getting a free sight.’ That is not the only reason. You know why? Because they don’t want people looking out at the sky. You know why? The sky is the enemy of lust. I just ask you to think back on your struggles. The sky is a great power against lust. Pure, lovely, wholesome, powerful, large-hearted things cannot abide the soul of a sexual fantasy at the same time.”

Piper continues, “I developed strategies over the years that have proved very effective. And one way of fighting was simply to get out of the dark places — get out of the lonely rooms. Get out of the boxed-in places. Get out of the places where it is just small — me and my mind and my imagination, what I can do with it — and get to where I am just surrounded by color and beauty and bigness and loveliness. . . . There is something about bigness, something about beauty that helps battle against the puny, small, cruddy use of the mind to fantasize about sexual things.”

This kind of pleasure-seeking is the opposite of indulging in pornography, which is passive, lazy, unimaginative, self-consumed. Instead of letting Satan drag you back into smallness, fight temptation with bigness, with walks and runs, with long drives and nature documentaries, with skies and fields and parks, with more and more glimpses of God.

Judgment that Edifies

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


1 Corinthians 5:12 ESV

 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray all of you are doing well in the Lord. Please know that the Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty (Psalm 93:1), therefore you and I have nothing to fear or worry about!

Today’s verse is a continuation of our mini series on judgement. This word and topic has become very misused and abused and my hope is to bring some clarity to this through God’s Word.

Two weeks ago we talked about not passing judgement, this week we are going to talk about when and where judgement is actually healthy and mandatory.

When we discussed Romans 14 two weeks ago the focus was on not judging the convictions of those pursuing what they believe God has called them to do. This we never want to do because we do not know the plans and purposes God has for every individual.

Today in 1 Corinthians 5 we are going to look at judgement within the church that is healthy, unfortunately necessary at times and lastly edifying.

First for some context: the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey planted a church in a city called Corinth. The city of Corinth is located in south central Greece. Due to its geographical location and design it was a major connection point for travelers. This in turn brought every sin and device known to man at the time. So the letters Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth was to clear up some issues that had sprung up since he left them.

So this teaching from Paul to the Corinthian church and to us today, is for those of us within a body of believers. We profess to know and believe in the name of Jesus. We belong to a congregation of believers, therefore we represent not only the Lord Jesus Christ, but the church globally and locally. Within this local church we develop relationships that are transparent, authentic, deep and real. This is where life happens, this is where transformation takes place. This is also where judgement through accountability is healthy and edifying. Painful, maybe even shameful but healthy.

In our chapter today Paul directly confronts a man within their church that openly has committed some type of sexual immorality. This is described as an act not even tolerated among pagans, because it involved his father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5:1). Yet the church was arrogant (v2) and boastful (v6) about this sin committed.

The defense of the church was that they were showing the love of Christ by accepting anyone. Unfortunately this was an inaccurate way of expressing God’s love and acceptance.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? 

Paul is not talking about placing judgement on those outside this body of believers. However this man was a part of the fellowship.

Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 

This is a command in the form of a question to the church of Corinth and to us today. Sin is sin; and a little leaven leavens the whole lump (v6). In other words a little wrong can ruin a lot of good.

God judges those outside…

This is paramount to remember.

…Purge the evil person among you.

These are some strong words that have been applied incorrectly at times. Unfortunately human nature has that tendency. Yet when this is applied with the right context, heart and delivery God and the church can be edified.

Although this teaching was about judgement the reality is that you and I just need to grow stronger in Christ. When this happens sin gets conquered. We become living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God so that we are not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2).

Three types of growth are needed for each of us to pursue: grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

The reason all of this is so important is because the believer and follower of Jesus Christ was bought at an amazing price. Our lives are not ours. They belong to the Lord because our lives were bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth and gave himself for our sins, to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1:4). This was so you and I could receive the forgiveness of our sins, and receive the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hopefully we will never have to cross the bridge of purging the evil among us and judging those within. Although many have crossed that bridge and will need to in the future. Our first step is to pursue growing in Christ so that we can be complete and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).


Heavenly Father thank you for the truth of Your Word. Thank you that Your Word brings clarity to the lies and misuse of the world. Please teach me how to grow in Christ. To grow in fruit of the Spirit, and to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In His name I pray, Amen.

Kaaina Keawe
I-Challenge You Ministries 
Helping Men Take a Stand to Living a Bolder Life in Christ
(808)987-8857

Abound in Hope

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


Romans 15:13 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray all of you are doing well in the Lord. I pray all of us continue to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)!

This week’s message was actually supposed to be a continuing teaching on the topic of judgement. Lord willing we will get to that next week since it is a very important topic that lacks proper interpretation.

This week however I felt the need to encourage us all with the message of hope. Recently in our department we have lost two brothers in tragic deaths, and a dear brother has lost his Father. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of these brothers. My hope is our verse for this week will become known in our hearts. Also in the hearts and minds of all the affected family members.

Death is so real, so tragic and oftentimes too sudden. We all know that death is coming for all, yet when it hits the weight can be unbearable.

However, God is the God of Hope. The entire message of the Bible is a life altering message of hope. This hope is able to fill you and me with complete joy and peace.

Peace that goes deeper than a temporary emotional state.

Joy that is anchored in something greater than a temporary situation.

Our above verse says that this comes from believing. Believing in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord.

The joy and peace you’ll notice also comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. Meaning that nothing we can do, earn or accomplish in our own might is capable of true joy and peace.

We absolutely need the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do we unlock His power in our lives for joy and peace?

Believing that He is Lord (Acts 16:31). That God the Father sent His only Son to die a horrific death for you and me. To take our place on that cross. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. Our sin has to be dealt with and Jesus did that for us.

All of us are desperately in need of rescue. Rescue from our sinful nature that if unchecked will always rebel against God (Romans 6-7). That rescue came in the form of a Savior named Jesus.

Men, this is the most powerful hope in all the universe. First of all it is available to all. God’s reach has no limits and no criteria. It is through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Then by grace alone that we can have personal salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

When this becomes the bedrock of our soul, the trials of this life are temporary. Still painful but temporary. That is why James tells us to count it all joy when we meet various trials (James 1:2-4).

This is possible when Jesus becomes greater.

Death will always be painful. We will grieve the loss of the ones we love. We will miss them severely.

However, Paul teaches us that we must put on the imperishable. He is referring to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we put on the imperishable, death is conquered and no longer has it’s sting (1 Corinthians 15:53-55)!

Men, if you seek for the Lord wholeheartedly you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). God the Father longs to fill you with all hope and peace by the power of His Holy Spirit so that you may abound in hope. No matter what life throws your way.


Heavenly Father, I desire true joy and true peace. Teach me to through the power of your Holy Spirit to count all my trials as joy. Teach me how to abound in hope. Not only for myself but for those that are hurting without these things. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Kaaina Keawe
I-Challenge You Ministries 
Helping Men Take a Stand to Living a Bolder Life in Christ
(808)987-8857

Passing Judgement

Sermon of the Day: 

John MacArthur Daily Broadcast


Romans 14:4-5 ESV

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Keawe

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray that you are doing well in the Lord. Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen (Psalm 89:52).

Our passage this week has been a recurring topic in my devotion time and I am believing that this is pertinent for many of us reading this. Primarily myself. The entire chapter of Romans 14 really needs the entire spotlight, however for sake of time I chose to focus on verses 4 and 5 in the heading. Our goal today is to help illustrate that God is the only judge. Encouraging each of us to grow in spiritual maturity so that our unity as believers is what attracts others to Jesus, rather than repel them.

The title of this chapter in most Bibles is titled ‘Do Not Pass Judgement on One Another’. The Apostle Paul is speaking to the believing church in this passage. Those of us that have put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Unfortunately as critical as they were in the day of Paul over legalistic issues, we as believers continue to have strong opinions and beliefs about what is right and what is wrong outside of what the Bible actually says. Or stretching a single scripture for justification.

Although this chapter is talking about issues that were relevant in those days, Paul is really speaking at the principles here.

Personally I am 100% guilty of this. I have been guilty of thinking certain things might not be the right way or the right thing for others to do or pursue.

Who am I to pass judgement on the servant of another (v 4)?

What became affirmed in my heart; is that, if someone is convinced in his own mind (v 5). That what they are doing is right before the Lord. Who am I to think that they are wrong?

First of all I don’t know what God has planned for them. I don’t know what purpose, calling or mission they are here on earth to fulfill. I don’t know what God is working in them and through them.

Secondly, at the end, all will stand before the judgement seat of God (Romans 14:10). So why should I try to do God’s job before He does it?

Romans 14:6 ESV

The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

This is the key though right?

Observing something in honor of the Lord. Observing or not observing something, doing or not doing something. Pursuing or not pursuing something in order to honor and bring glory to the name of God. This must be at the root of all that we do.

However, each of us needs to be honest and true with ourselves and know that we stand before God Almighty who is holy and righteous. It really does us no good to be man-pleasers. Rather, we need to pursue a lifestyle of being a God-pleaser.

Romans 14: 7-9 ESV

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 

This is the big picture that all of us need to know and live out. Understanding that our words and actions are not supposed to be for our credit and our glory. When we choose to profess and believe on Jesus as our Lord, all that we are and all that we do is to be dedicated to God. My life and your life is connected to the lives of others. As much as we may want at times, our lives are not an island (as the saying goes).

Let each of us learn to walk more in love towards one another (Romans 14:15). Let each of us keep our faith between us and God (Romans 14:22), and have a clear conscience about what we approve for ourselves. So that we avoid defaming the name of God and sinning before Him (Romans 14:23).

Jesus Christ is the risen Lord, who came some 2000 years ago to selflessly give Himself for the world. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that you and I can have forgiveness of sins, and receive the free gift of eternal life. God loves each of us so much that his plan for our redemption involved the sacrifice of His one and only Son.

This life men is so much greater than my rules vs. your rules. Their opinions vs our opinions and so on. As we learn to grow in our walks, we grow in maturity and wisdom so that the insignificant trivial things do not hang up our walk. Even worse, these things don’t allow us to make others stumble. At least not intentionally.

Let’s pursue Christ. Let us pursue the walk of a good soldier of Christ (2 Timothy 2:1-7).


Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times I judged your sons or your daughters. I am so sorry. Please teach me to focus on my faith with you. That everything I do and everything I pursue is to honor You. If there is anything in my life that you do not approve of, please reveal this to me by Your Holy Spirit. Father I desire to let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You. In Jesus name, Amen.

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