Overcoming the Addiction of Pornography

 

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He brought me up also out of an
horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings. Psalm 40:2

How Can I Overcome Pornography?
Pornography is an especially difficult addiction to overcome. The first step in overcoming being enslaved to any particular sin is to know God and have the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life.

For that reason, let me go through the plan of salvation. You must admit you have sinned against God.

Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

You must believe the Gospel as given in I Corinthians 15:3&4, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

And finally, you must ask God to forgive you and ask Christ to come into your life. The Scriptures use many verses to express this concept. One of the simplest is Romans 10:13, “for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” If you have honestly done these three things, you are a child of God. The next step in finding victory is knowing and believing what God did for you when you accepted Christ as your Savior.

You were a slave to sin. Romans 6:17b says, “you used to be slaves to sin.” Jesus said in John 8:34b, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” But the good news is that He also said in John 8:31&32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” He adds in verse 36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

2 Peter 1:3&4 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” God has given us everything we need to be godly, but it comes through our knowledge of Him and our understanding of His very great and precious promises.

First we need to know what God has done. In Romans chapter 5 we learn that what Adam did when he deliberately sinned against God has affected all of his descendants, every human being. Because of Adam, we are all born with a sinful nature.

But in Romans 5:10 we learn, “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Forgiveness of sins comes through what Jesus did for us on the cross, power for overcoming sin comes through Jesus living His life through us in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul says in Romans 5:10 that what God did for us that saves us from the power of sin is even greater than what He did for us in reconciling us to Himself.

Notice the phrase “much more” in Romans 5:9, 10, 15 and 17. Paul puts it this way in Romans 6:6 (I’m using the translation in the margin of the NIV & NASB), “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

I John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Putting the two verses together, our sin nature is still there, but it’s power to control us has been broken.

Secondly, we need to believe what God says about the power of sin being broken in our lives. Romans 6:11 says, “In the same way, count yourselves as dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” A man who was a slave and has been set free, if he does not know he has been set free, will still obey his old master and for all practical purposes still be a slave.

Thirdly, we need to recognize that the power to live in victory does not come through determination or will power but through the power of the Holy Spirit Who lives in us once we have been saved. Galatians 5:16&17 says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.

They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

Notice verse 17 does not say that the Spirit cannot do what He wants or that the sinful nature cannot do what it wants, it says, “that you do not do what you want.”

God is infinitely more powerful than any sinful habit or addiction. But God will not force you to obey Him. You can choose to surrender your will to the will of the Holy Spirit and give Him complete control of your life, or you can pick and choose which sins you want to fight and end up fighting them on your own and losing. God is under no obligation to help you fight one sin if you are still holding on to other sins. Does the phrase, “you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” apply to an addiction to pornography?

Yes, it does. In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul lists the acts of the sinful nature. The first three are “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery.” “Sexual immorality” is any sexual act between individuals other than a sexual act between a man and a woman who are married to each other. It also includes bestiality.

“Impurity” most literally means uncleanness.

“Dirty-minded” is a modern day expression that means the same thing.

“Debauchery” is shameless sexual conduct, a total absence of restraint in seeking sexual gratification.

Again, Galatians 5:16&17 says, “live by the Spirit.”

It has to be a way of life, not just asking God to help you with this particular problem. Romans 6:12 says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”

If you do not choose to give the Holy Spirit control of your life, you are choosing to let sin control you.

Romans 6:13 puts the concept of living by the Holy Spirit this way, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”

Fourthly, we need to recognize the difference between living under law and living under grace.

Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
The concept of living under law is relatively simple: if I keep all of God’s rules then God will be happy with me and accept me.

That is not how a person is saved. We are saved by grace through faith.

Colossians 2:6 says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.”

Just as we could not keep God’s rules well enough to have Him accept us, so we cannot keep God’s rules well enough after we are saved to make Him be happy with us on that basis.

To get saved, we asked God to do something for us we could not do based on what Jesus did on the cross for us; to find victory over sin we ask the Holy Spirit to do something for us that we cannot do ourselves, defeat our sinful habits and addictions, knowing that we are accepted by God in spite of our failures.

Romans 8:3&4 puts it this way: “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.

And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

If you are really serious about finding victory, here are some practical suggestions: First, spend time reading and meditating on the Word of God every day.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Second, spend time praying every day. Prayer is you talking to God and listening to God talk to you. If you are going to live in the Spirit, you are going to need to clearly hear His voice.

Third, make good Christian friends who will encourage you to walk with God.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Fourth, find a good church and a small group Bible Study if you can and participate regularly.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

There are two more things I would suggest for anyone struggling with an especially difficult sin issue like a pornography addiction.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

This passage does not mean talking about your sins in a public church meeting, although it might be appropriate in a small men’s meeting for people struggling with the same problem, but it seems to mean finding a man you can totally trust and giving him permission to ask you at least weekly how you are doing in your struggle against pornography.

Knowing that not only are you going to have to confess your sin to God but also to a man you trust and admire can be a powerful deterrent.

The other thing I would suggest for anyone struggling with an especially difficult sin issue is found in Romans 13:12b (NASB), “make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

A man trying to quit smoking would be extremely stupid to keep a supply of his favorite cigarettes in the house.

A man struggling with an alcohol addiction has to avoid bars and places where alcohol is served. You don’t say where you view pornography, but you must absolutely cut off your access to it.

If it is magazines, burn them. If it is something you watch on television, get rid of the television.
If you watch it on your computer, get rid of your computer, or at least any pornography stored in it and get rid of your internet access. Just like a man with a craving for a cigarette at 3 am will probably not get up, get dressed, and go out and buy one, so making it extremely hard to view pornography will make it less likely you will fail.

If you don’t eliminate your access, you’re not really serious about quitting.

What if you do slip up and view pornography again? Immediately accept full responsibility for what you have done and confess it immediately to God.

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When we confess sin, not only does God forgive us, He promises to purify us. Always confess any sin immediately. Pornography is a very powerful addiction. Half-hearted measures will not work.

But God is infinitely powerful and if you know and believe what He has done for you, accept full responsibility for your actions, rely on the Holy Spirit and not your own strength and follow the practical suggestions I have made, victory is certainly possible.

How Can I Overcome the Temptation of Sin?
If victory over sin is a great step in our walk with the Lord, we might say that victory over temptation takes it a step closer: that of victory before we sin.

First let me say this: a thought which enters your mind is not in itself sin.
It becomes sin when you consider it, entertain the thought and act on it.
As discussed in the question about victory over sin, we as believers in Christ, have been given power for victory over sin.

We also have the power to resist temptation: the power to flee from sin. Read I John 2:14-17.
Temptation can come from several places:
1) Satan or his demons can tempt us,
2) other people can draw us into sin and, as Scripture says in James 1:14&15, we can be 3) drawn away by our own lusts (desires) and enticed.

Please read the following Scriptures concerning temptation:
Genesis 3:1-15; I John 2:14-17; Matthew 4:1-11; James 1:12-15; I Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 6:13 and 26:41.

James 1:13 tells us an important fact.
It says, “Let no one say when he is tempted ‘I am tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” God does not tempt us but He does allow us to be tempted.

Temptation comes from Satan, others or ourselves, not God.
The end of James 2:14 says that when we are enticed and sin, the result is death; separation from God and eventual physical death,

I John 2:16 tells us that there are three major areas of temptation:

1) the lusts of the flesh: wrong actions or things that satisfy our physical desires;
2) the lusts of the eyes, things which look appealing, wrong things that appeal to us and lead us away from God, wanting things which are not ours to have and
3) the pride of life, wrong ways to exalt ourselves or our arrogant pride.

Let’s look at Genesis 3:1-15 and also at Jesus’ temptation in Matthew 4.
Both of these passages of Scripture teach us what to look out for when we are tempted and how to overcome those temptations.

Read Genesis 3:1-15 It was Satan who tempted Eve, so he could lead her away from God into sin.

She was tempted in all these areas:
She saw the fruit as something appealing to her eyes, something to satisfy her hunger and Satan said it would make her like God, knowing good and evil.
Instead of obeying and trusting God and turning to God for help, her mistake was to listen to Satan’s insinuations, lies and subtle suggestions that God was keeping ‘something good’ from her.

Satan also enticed her by questioning what God had said.
“Has God indeed said?” he questioned.
Satan’s temptations are deceptive and he misquoted God’s words.
Satan’s questions cause her to mistrust God’s love and His character.
“You will not die,” he lied; “God knows your eyes will be opened” and “you will be like God,” appealing to her ego.

Instead of being thankful for all God had given her, she took the only thing God had forbidden and “gave it also to her husband.”
The lesson here is to listen to and to trust God.
God does not keep things from us that are good for us.
The resulting sin led to death (which is to be understood as separation from God) and eventual physical death. That moment they began to die physically.

Knowing that yielding to temptation leads down this road, causing us to lose fellowship with God, and leading also to guilt, (Read 1 John 1) should certainly help us to say no.
Adam and Eve did not seem to understand Satan’s tactics. We have their example, and we ought to learn from them. Satan uses the same tricks on us. He lies about God. He portrays God as deceptive, a liar and unloving.
We need to trust in God’s love and say no to Satan’s lies.
Resisting Satan and temptation is done in large part as an act of faith in God.
We need to know that this deception is Satan’s trick and that he is the liar.
John 8:44 says Satan “is a liar and the father of lies.”
God’s word says, “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Philippians 2:9&10 says “be anxious for nothing.. for He cares for you.”
Be watchful of anything which adds to, subtracts from or distorts God’s word.
Anything which questions or changes Scriptures or God’s character has Satan’s stamp on it.
In order to know these things, we need to know and understand Scripture.
If you do not know the truth it is easy to be misled and deceived.
Deceived is the operative word here.
I believe that knowing and using Scripture correctly is the most valuable weapon God has given to us to use in resisting temptation.

It enters into almost every aspect of avoiding Satan’s lies.
The best example of this is the Lord Jesus Himself. (Read Matthew 4:1-12.) Christ’s temptation was related to His relationship to His Father and the Father’s will for Him.

Satan used Jesus’ own needs when tempting Him.
Jesus was tempted to satisfy His own desires and pride instead of doing God’s will.
As we read in I John, He also was tempted with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

Jesus is tempted after forty days of fasting. He is tired and hungry.
We are often tempted when we are tired or weak and our temptations are often about our relationship to God.
Let’s look at Jesus’ example. Jesus said He came to do the Father’s will, that He and the Father were one. He knew why He was sent to earth. (Read Philippians chapter 2.

Jesus came to be like us and to be our Savior.
Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, and being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” Satan enticed Jesus to follow his suggestions and desires rather than God’s.

(He tried to get Jesus to meet a legitimate need by doing what he said instead of waiting for God to meet His need, thus following Satan rather than God.

These temptations were about doing things Satan’s way, rather than God’s.
If we follow Satan’s lies and suggestions we cease to follow God and are following Satan.
It’s either one or the other. We then fall into a downward spiral of sin and death.
First Satan tempted Him to demonstrate (prove) His power and deity.
He said, since you are hungry, use your power to satisfy your hunger.
Jesus was tempted so He could be our perfect mediator and intercessor.
God allows Satan to test us to help us become mature.
Scripture says in Hebrews 5:8 that Christ learned obedience “from what he suffered.”
The name devil means slanderer and the devil is subtle.
Jesus resists Satan’s subtle trick to do his bidding by using Scripture.
He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
(Deuteronomy 8:3) Jesus brings it back to the subject, doing God’s will, putting this above His own needs.

I found Wycliffe’s Bible Commentary very helpful on page 935 commenting on Matthew chapter 4, “Jesus refused to work a miracle to avoid personal suffering when such suffering was part of God’s will for Him.”

The commentary emphasized the Scripture which said Jesus was “‘led up of the Spirit’ to the wilderness for the specific purpose of allowing Jesus to be tested.”
Jesus was successful because He knew, He understood and He used Scripture.
God gives us Scripture as a weapon to defend ourselves against Satan’s fiery darts.
All Scripture is inspired by God; the better we know it the better we are prepared to battle Satan’s schemes.

The devil tempts Jesus a second time.
Here Satan actually uses Scripture to try and trick Him.
(Yes, Satan does know Scripture and uses it against us, but he misquotes it and uses it out of context, that is, not for its proper use or purpose or not in the way it was intended.) 2 Timothy 2:15 says to, “Study to show thyself approved unto God,…rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The NASB translation says “accurately handling the word of truth.”
Satan takes a verse from its intended use (and leaves part of it out) and tempts Jesus to exalt and display His Deity and God’s care of Him.

I think he was trying to appeal to pride here.
The devil takes Him to a pinnacle of the temple and says “If you are the Son of God throw yourself down for it is written ‘He will give his angels charge concerning you; and on their hands they will bear you up.’” Jesus, understanding the Scripture, and Satan’s trickery, again used Scripture to defeat Satan saying, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”

We are not to be presumptuous or test God, expecting God to protect foolish behavior.
We can’t just randomly quote Scripture, but must use it correctly and properly.
In the third temptation the devil is bold. Satan offers Him the kingdoms of the world if Jesus will bow down and worship him. Many believe that the significance of this temptation is that Jesus could bypass the suffering of the cross which was the will of the Father.

Jesus knew that the kingdoms would be His in the end. Jesus uses Scripture again and says, “You will worship God alone and serve only Him.” Remember Philippians chapter 2 says Jesus “humbled Himself and became obedient to the cross.”

I like what the Wycliffe bible Commentary has to say of Jesus reply: “It is written, again pointing to the totality of Scripture as the guide for conduct and basis for faith” (and may I add, for victory over temptation), “Jesus repulsed the mightiest blows by Satan, not by a thunderbolt from heaven, but by the written Word of God, employed in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, a means available to every Christian.” God’s word says in James 4:7 “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Remember, Jesus knew the Word and used it properly, correctly and accurately.
We must do the same. We can’t understand Satan’s tricks, schemes and lies unless we know and understand the truth and Jesus said in John 17:17 “Thy word is truth.”

Other passages that teach us the use of Scripture in this area of temptation are: 1). Hebrews 5:14 which says we need to be mature and be “accustomed” to the Word, so our senses are trained to discern good and evil.”

2). Jesus taught His disciples that when He left them the Spirit would bring all the things He taught them to their remembrance. He taught them in Luke 21:12-15 that they should not worry about what to say when brought before accusers.

In much the same way, I believe, He causes us to remember His Word when we need it in our battle against Satan and his followers, but first we have to know it.

3). Psalm 119:11 says “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”
In conjunction with the previous thought, the working of the Spirit and the Word, the memorized Scripture remembered can both forewarn us and give us a weapon when we are tempted.

Another aspect of Scripture’s importance is that it teaches us actions to take to help us resist temptation.

One of these Scriptures is Ephesians 6:10-15. Please read this passage.
It says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age; against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The NASB translation says “stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
The NKJB says “put on the full armor of God that you may be able to resist (withstand) Satan’s schemes.”

Ephesians 6 describes the pieces of armor as follows: (And they are there to help us stand firm against temptation.)

1. “gird yourself with truth.” Remember Jesus said, “Thy word is truth.”

It says “gird” – we need to bind ourselves with God’s word, see the similarity to hiding God’s word in our hearts.

2. “put on the breastplate of righteousness.
We protect ourselves from Satan’s accusations and doubts (similar to him questioning Jesus’ deity).
We must have Christ’s righteousness, not some form of our own good deeds.
Romans 13:14 says “put on Christ.” Philippians 3:9 says “not having my own righteousness, but the righteousness which is through faith in Christ, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

According to Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:27 says “we are clothed in His righteousness.”

3. Verse 15 says to have “your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel.”
When we study to prepare to share the gospel with others, it strengthens us and reminds us of all Christ has done for us and encourages us as we share it and see God using it in the lives of others who come to know Him as we share.

4. Use the Word of God as a shield to protect yourself from Satan’s fiery darts, his accusations, just as Jesus did.

5. Protect your mind with the helmet of salvation.
Knowing the Word of God assures us of our salvation and gives us peace and faith in God.
Our security in Him strengthens us and helps us lean on Him when we are attacked and tempted.
The more we saturate ourselves with Scripture the stronger we become.

6. Verse 17 says to use Scripture as a sword to fight Satan’s attacks and His lies.
I believe all of the pieces of armor relate to Scripture either as a shield or sword to defend ourselves, resisting Satan as Jesus did; or because of its teaching us as in righteousness or salvation making us strong.
I believe as we use Scripture accurately God also gives us His power and strength.
A final command in Ephesians says to “add prayer” to our armor and to “be watchful.”
If we look also at the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6 we will see that Jesus taught us what an important weapon prayer is in resisting temptation.
It says we should pray that God will “lead us not into temptation,” and will “deliver us from evil.”
(Some translations say “deliver us from the evil one.”)
Jesus gave us this prayer as our example of how to pray and what to pray for.
These two phrases show us that praying for deliverance from temptation and the evil one are very important and should become a part of our prayer life and our weaponry against Satan’s schemes, that is,

1) keeping us away from temptation and
2) delivering us when Satan tempts us.

It shows us we need God’s help and power and that He is willing and able to give them.
In Matthew 26:41 Jesus told his disciples to watch and pray so they would not enter into temptation.
2 Peter 2:9 says “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly (righteous) from temptation.”
Pray that God will rescue before and when you are tempted.
I think a lot of us miss this vital part of the Lord’s prayer.
I Corinthians 10:13 says that the temptations we face are common to all of us, and that God will make a way of escape for us. We need to look for this.

Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus was tempted in all points just as we are (i.e. the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life).

Since He faced all areas of temptation, He is able to be our advocate, mediator and our intercessor.
We can come to Him as our Helper in all areas of temptation.
If we come to Him, He intercedes on our behalf before the Father and gives us His power and help.
Ephesians 4:27 says “neither give place to the devil,” in other words, don’t give Satan opportunities to tempt you.

Here again Scripture is there to help us by teaching us principles to follow.
One of those teachings is to flee or avoid sins, and to stay away from people and situations which might lead to temptation and sin. Both the Old Testament, especially Proverbs and Psalms, and also many New Testament epistles tell us about things to avoid and flee.

I believe a good place to start is with a “besetting sin,” a sin you find difficult to overcome.
(Read Hebrews 12:1-4.)
As we said in our lessons on overcoming sin, the first step is to confess such sins to God (I John 1:9) and work on it by resisting when Satan tempts you.
If you fail again, start over and confess it again and ask the Spirit of God to give you victory.
(Repeat as often as necessary.)
When you are confronted with such a sin it is a good idea to use a concordance and look up and study as many verses as you can on what God has to teach on the subject so you can obey what God says. Some examples follow:
I Timothy 4:11-15 tells us that women who are idle may become busybodies and gossips and slanderers because they have too much time on their hands.

Paul encourages them to marry and be workers in their own homes in order to avoid such sin.
Titus 2:1-5 tells women not to slander, to be discrete.
Proverbs 20:19 shows us that slander and gossip go together.

It says “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.”

Proverbs 16:28 says “a whisperer separates the best of friends.”
Proverbs says “a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who has a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”
2 Corinthians 12:20 and Romans 1:29 show us whisperers are not pleasing to god.
As another example, take drunkenness. Read Galatians 5:21 and Romans 13:13.
I Corinthians 5:11 tells us “not to associate with any so called brother who is immoral, covetous, an idolater, a reviler or a drunkard or a swindler, not even to eat with such a one.”

Proverbs 23:20 says “don’t mix with drunkards.”
I Corinthians 15:33 says “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
Are you tempted to be lazy or look for easy money by stealing or robbery?
Remember Ephesians 4:27 says “give no place to the devil.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10&11 (NASB) says “we used to give you this order: “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat…some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all but acting like busybodies.”

It goes on to say in verse 14 “if anyone does not obey our instructions… do not associate with him.”
I Thessalonians 4:11 says “let him labor working with his own hands.”
Simply put, get a job and avoid idle people.
This is a great example for sluggards and anyone who tries to get rich through any illegitimate means such as fraud, stealing, swindling, etc..

Read also I Timothy 6:6-10; Philippians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5; Proverbs 30:8&9; Matthew 6:11 and many other verses. Idleness is a danger zone.

Learn what God says in the Scripture, walk in its light and don’t be tempted by evil, on this or any other topic which tempts you to sin.

Jesus is our example, He had nothing.
Scripture says He had no place to lay His head. He sought only His Father’s will.
He gave it all up to die – for us.

I Timothy 6:8 says “if we have food and clothing we will be content with that.”
In verse 9 he relates this to temptation by saying, “people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

It says more, read it. What a good example of how knowing and understanding and conforming to Scripture helps us overcome temptation.

Obedience to the Word is the key to overcoming any temptation.
Another example is anger. Do you easily become angry.
Proverbs 20:19-25 says don’t associate with a man given to anger.
Proverbs 22:24 says don’t “go with a hot tempered man.” Read also Ephesians 4:26.
Other warnings of situations to flee or avoid (actually run from) are:

1. Youthful lusts – 2 Timothy 2:22
2. Lust for money – I Timothy 6:4
3. Immorality and adulterers or adulteresses – I Corinthians 6:18 (Proverbs repeats this over and over.)
4. Idolatry – I Corinthians 10:14
5. Sorcery and Witchcraft – Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Galatians 5:20 2 Timothy 2:22 gives us further instruction by telling us to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

Doing this will help us resist temptation.
Remember 2 Peter 3:18. It tells us to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
That will help us discern good and evil, including helping us discern Satan’s schemes and keeping us from stumbling.

Another aspect is taught from Ephesians 4:11-15. Verse 15 says to grow up in Him. The context of this is that this is accomplished as we are part of the body of Christ, i.e. the church.

We are to help one another by teaching, loving and encouraging one another.
Verse 14 says that one result is that we won’t be tossed about by craftiness and deceitful schemes.
(Now who would be the crafty deceiver who would by himself and through others use such trickery?) As a part of the body, the church, we are also helped by giving and accepting correction from one another.

We must be careful and gentle in how we do this, and know the facts so we are not judging.
Proverbs and Matthew give instructions on this subject. Look them up and study them.
As an example, Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in a fault (or caught in any trespass), you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

Tempted to what, you ask. Tempted to pride, arrogance, haughtiness, or any sin, even the same sin.
Be careful. Remember Ephesians 4:26. Don’t give Satan an opportunity, a place. As you can see, Scripture plays the crucial role in all of this.

We should read it, memorize it, understand its teachings, directions and power, and quote it, using it as our sword, obeying and following its message and teachings. Read 2 Peter 1:1-10. Knowledge of Him, found in Scripture, gives us everything we need for life and godliness. This includes resisting temptation. The context here is the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ which comes from Scripture. Verse 9 says we are partakers of the divine nature and the NIV concludes “so we may… escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Once again we see the connection between Scripture and overcoming or escaping the temptations of the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life.
So in Scripture (if we look and understand it) we have the promise of being partakers of His nature (with all His Power) to escape temptation. We have the Holy Spirit’s power to gain victory.
I just received an Easter card in which this verse is quoted, “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” 2 Corinthians 2:16.

How timely.

Galatians and other New Testament Scriptures have lists of sins we are to avoid. Read Galatians 5:16-19 They are “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these.”

Following this in verses 22&23 is the fruit of the Spirit “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

This passage of Scripture is very interesting in that it gives us a promise in verse 16.
“Walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
If we do it God’s way, we won’t do it our way, by God’s power, intervention and change.
Remember the Lord’s prayer. We can ask Him to keep us from temptation and deliver us from the evil one.
Verse 24 says “those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.”
Note how often the term lusts is repeated.
Romans 13:14 puts it this way. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” This sums it up.
The key is to resist the former (lusts) and put on the latter (fruit of the Spirit), or put on the latter and you won’t fulfill the former.
This is a promise. If we walk in love, patience and self-control, how can we hate, murder, steal, be angry or slander.
Just as Jesus put His Father first and did the Father’s will, so should we.
Ephesians 4:31&32 says let bitterness, wrath and anger and slander be put away; and be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. Correctly translated, Ephesians 5:18 says “be ye being filled with the Spirit. This is a continuous effort.

A preacher I once heard said, “Love is something you do.”
A good example of putting on love would be if there is someone you don’t like, whom you are angry with, do something loving and kind for them instead of venting your anger.
Pray for them.
Actually the principle is in Matthew 5:44 where it says “pray for those who despitefully use you.”
With God’s power and help, love will replace and displace your sinful anger.
Try it, God says if we walk in the light, in love and in the Spirit (these are inseparable) it will happen.
Galatians 5:16. God is able.

2 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober, be vigilant (on the alert), your adversary the devil prowls around, seeking whom he may devour.”
James 4:7 says “resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Verse 10 says God Himself will perfect, strengthen, confirm, establish and settle you.”
James 1:2-4 says to “consider it all joy when you encounter trials (KJV divers temptations) knowing it produces endurance (patience) and let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

God allows us to be tempted, tried and tested to create patience and endurance and completeness in us, but we must resist it and let it work God’s purpose in our life.

Ephesians 5:1-3 says “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”
James 1:12&13 “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”

IS TEMPTATION SIN?

Someone has asked, “Is temptation in and of itself sin.” The short answer is “no.”

The best example is Jesus.

Scripture tells us that Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, completely without sin. I Peter 1:19 speaks of Him as “a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.”

In the Genesis account of the sin of Adam and Eve, we see Eve was deceived and tempted to disobey God, but even though she listened and thought about it, neither she nor Adam actually sinned until they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

I Timothy 2:14 (NKJB) says, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.”

James 1:14&15 says “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

So, no, being tempted is not sin, sin occurs when you act on the temptation.

Is It Wrong to Have Sex Outside of Marriage?
One of the things that the Bible is very clear about is that adultery, sex with someone other than your spouse, is sin.

Hebrews 13:4 says, “marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

The word translated “sexually immoral” means any sexual relationship other than one between a man and a woman who are married to each other. It is used in I Thessalonians 4:3-8 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.

The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

Is Masturbation a Sin and How Do I Overcome It?
The subject of masturbation is difficult because it is not mentioned in an unmistakable way in the Word of God. So it is possible to say there are situations in which it is not sin. However, most people who masturbate regularly are definitely involved in sinful behavior in some way. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” To look at pornography and then masturbate because of the sexual desires caused by the pornography is definitely sin.

Matthew 7:17&18 “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” I realize that in context this is talking about false prophets, but the principle would seem to apply. You can tell whether something is good or bad by the fruit, the consequences, of doing it. What are the consequences of masturbation?

It distorts God’s plan for sex in marriage. Sex in marriage is not for procreation only, God designed it to be an extremely pleasurable experience that would bind the husband and wife together. When a man or a woman reaches climax, a number of chemicals are released in the brain creating a sense of pleasure, relaxation and well-being. One of these is chemically an opiod, very similar to the derivatives of opium. Not only does it produce a number of pleasing sensations, but like all opiods, it also produces a strong desire to repeat the experience. In essence, sex is addictive. This is why it is so difficult for sexual predators to give up rape or molestation, they become addicted to the opiod rush in their brains every time they repeat their sinful behavior. Eventually, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, for them to really enjoy any other kind of sexual experience.

Masturbation produces the same chemical release in the brain as marital sex or rape or molestation does. It is a purely physical experience without the sensitivity to the emotional needs of another that is so critical in marital sex. The person who masturbates gets sexual release without the hard work of building a loving relationship with their spouse. If they masturbate after watching pornography, they see the object of their sexual desire as something to be used for gratification, not as a real person created in the image of God who is to be treated with respect. And although it does not happen in every case, masturbation can become a quick fix for sexual needs that does not require the hard work of building a personal relationship with the opposite sex, and can become more desirable to the one who masturbates than marital sex. And just like it does with the sexual predator, it can become so addictive that marital sex is no longer desired. Masturbation can also make it easier for men or women to be involved in same sex relationships where the sexual experience is two people masturbating each other.

To sum this up, God created men and women as sexual beings whose sexual needs were to be met in marriage. All other sexual relations outside of marriage are clearly condemned in Scripture, and although masturbation is not clearly condemned, there are enough negative consequences to cause men and women who want to please God and who want to have a God honoring marriage to avoid it.
The next question is how can a person who has become addicted to masturbating get free from it. It needs to be said up front that if this is a long standing habit it can be very difficult to break. The first step is to get God on your side and the Holy Spirit working within you to break the habit. In other words, you need to get saved. Salvation comes from believing the Gospel. I Corinthians 15:2-4 says, By this gospel you are saved…For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” You must admit that you have sinned, tell God you believe the Gospel, and ask Him to forgive you based on the fact that Jesus paid for your sins when He died on the cross. If a person understands the message of salvation revealed in the Bible, he knows that asking God to save him is essentially asking God to do three things: to save him from the eternal consequence of sin (eternity in Hell), to save him from slavery to sin in this life, and to take him to heaven when he dies where he will be saved from the very presence of sin.

Being saved from the power of sin is a very important concept to understand. Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:1-14, among other Scriptures, teach that we are placed in Christ when we accept Him as our Savior, and that a part of that is that we are crucified with Him and that the power of sin to control us is broken. This does not mean we are automatically free from all sinful habits, but that we now have the power to break free through the power of the Holy Spirit working within us. If we continue to live in sin, it is because we have not taken advantage of everything God has given us in order that we might be free. 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV) says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

A critical part of this process is given in Galatians 5:16&17. It says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Notice it does not say that the flesh cannot do what it wants. Nor does it say that the Holy Spirit cannot do what He wants. It says YOU are not able to do whatever you want. Most people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior have sins to want to break free from. Most of them also have sins they are either not aware of or they are not ready to give up yet. What you cannot do after accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is expect the Holy Spirit to give you the power to break free from the sins you want to break free from while continuing in the sins you want to hold on to.

I had a man tell me once that he was going to give up on Christianity because he had begged God for years to help him get free from his addiction to alcohol. I asked him if he was still having sexual relations with his girlfriend. When he said, “Yes,” I said, “So you are telling the Holy Spirit to leave you alone while you sin in that way, while asking him to give you the power to break free from your addiction to alcohol. That won’t work.” God will sometimes let us stay in bondage to one sin because we are unwilling to give up another sin. If you want the Holy Spirit’s power, you have to get it on God’s terms.

So if you masturbate habitually and want to stop, and have asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior, the next step would be to tell God you want to obey everything the Holy Spirit tells you to do and you especially want God to tell you the sins He is most concerned about in your life. In my experience, God is often far more concerned about sins I am oblivious to, than He is concerned about the sins I am worrying about. Practically speaking, that means sincerely asking God to show you any unconfessed sin in your life and then daily telling the Holy Spirit that you are going to obey everything He asks you to do all day and evening. The promise in Galatians 5:16 is true, “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Victory over something as entrenched as habitual masturbation may take time. You may slip up and masturbate again. I John 1:9 says that if you confess your failure to God He will forgive you and also purify you from all unrighteousness. If you make the commitment to confess your sin immediately when you fail, it will be a strong deterrent. The closer to the failure the confession comes, the closer you are to victory. Eventually, you will probably find yourself confessing the sinful desire to God before you sin and asking God for his help to obey Him. When that happens you are very close to victory.

If you still struggle, there is one more thing that is very helpful. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” A very private sin like masturbation should not ordinarily be confessed to a group of men and women, but finding one person or several people of the same sex who will hold you accountable can be very helpful. They should be mature Christians who care deeply about you and who are willing to regularly ask you hard questions about how you are doing. Knowing a Christian friend is going to look you in the eye and ask have you failed in this area can be a very positive incentive to do the right thing consistently.

Victory in this area can be difficult but definitely is possible. May God bless you as you seek to obey Him.

Will God Forgive Big Sins?

We have our own human view of what are “big” sins, but I think that our view may sometimes differ from God’s. The only way we have forgiveness from any sin is through the death of the Lord Jesus, which paid for our sin. Colossians 2:13&14 says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh has He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you ALL transgressions; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” There is no forgiveness of sin without the death of Christ. See Matthew 1:21. Colossians 1:14 says, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. See also Hebrews 9:22.

The only “sin” that will condemn us and keep us from God’s forgiveness is that of unbelief, rejecting and not believing in Jesus as our Savior. John 3:18 and 36: “He that believes on Him is not condemned; but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God…” and verse 36 “He that believes not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.” Hebrews 4:2 says, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

If you are a believer, Jesus is our Advocate, always standing before the Father interceding for us and we must come to God and confess our sin to Him. If we sin, even big sins, I John I:9 tells us this: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He will forgive us, but God may allow us to suffer the consequences of our sin. Here are some examples of people who sinned “grievously:”

#1. DAVID. By our standards, probably David was the greatest offender. We certainly consider the sins of David as big. David committed adultery and then premeditatedly murdered Uriah to cover up his sin. Yet, God forgave him. Read Psalm 51:1-15, especially verse 7 where he says, “wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” See also Psalm 32. In talking about himself he says in Psalm 103:3, “Who forgives all thine iniquities.” Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Read 2 Samuel chapter 12 where the prophet Nathan confronts David and David says, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan then told him in verse 14, “The Lord also has put away your sin…” Remember, though, God punished David for those sins during his lifetime:

  1. His child died.
  2. He suffered by the sword in wars.
  3. Evil came to him from his own house. Read 2 Samuel chapters 12-18.

#2. MOSES: To many, Moses’ sins may appear trivial compared to David’s sins, but to God they were big. His life is clearly spoken of in Scripture, as was his sin. First, we must understand the “Promised Land” – Canaan. God was so angered with Moses’ sin of disobedience, Moses’ anger at God’s people and his misrepresentation of God’s character and Moses’ lack of faith that He would not let him enter the “Promised Land” of Canaan.

A great many believers understand and refer to the “Promised Land” as a picture of heaven, or eternal life with Christ. This is not the case. You must read Hebrews chapters 3 & 4 to understand this. It teaches that it is a picture of God’s rest for His people – the life of faith and victory and the abundant life He refers to in Scripture, in our physical life. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” If it were a picture of heaven, why would Moses have appeared with Elijah from heaven to stand with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9)? Moses did not lose his salvation.

In Hebrews chapters 3&4 the author refers to Israel’s rebellion and unbelief in the wilderness and God said that the whole generation would not enter His rest, the “Promised Land” (Hebrews 3:11). He punished those who followed the ten spies who brought back a bad report of the land and discouraged the people from trusting God. Hebrews 3:18&19 says they could not enter His rest because of unbelief. Verses 12&13 say we should encourage, not discourage, others to trust in God.

Canaan was the land promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:17). The “Promised Land” was the land of “milk and honey” (abundance), which would provide them a life filled with everything they needed for a fulfilling life: peace and prosperity in this physical life. It is a picture of the abundant life Jesus gives to those who trust Him during their life here on earth, that is, the rest of God spoken of in Hebrews or 2 Peter 1:3, everything we need (in this life) for “life and godliness.” It is rest and peace from all our striving and struggles and rest in all of God’s love and provision for us.

Here is how Moses failed to please God. He stopped believing and went to doing things his own way. Read Deuteronomy 32:48-52. Verse 51 says, “This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites.” So what was the sin which caused him to be punished by losing the thing that he spent his earthly life “working for” – entering the beautiful and fruitful land of Canaan here on earth? To understand this, Read Exodus 17:1-6. Numbers 20:2-13; Deuteronomy 32:48-52 and chapter 33 and Numbers 33:14, 36&37.

Moses was the leader of the children of Israel after they were rescued from Egypt and they traveled through the desert. There was little and in some places no water. Moses was required to follow God’s directions; God wanted to teach His people to trust Him. According to Numbers chapter 33, there are two events where God works a miracle to give them water from the Rock. Keep this in mind, this is about the “Rock.” In Deuteronomy 32:3&4 (but read the whole chapter), part of the Song of Moses, this proclamation is made not only to Israel but to the “earth” (to everyone), about the greatness and glory of God. This was Moses job as he led Israel. Moses says, “I will proclaim the Name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! HE IS THE ROCK, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just, a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” It was his job to represent God: great, right, faithful, good and holy, to His people.

Here is what occurred. The first event concerning “the Rock” occurred as seen in Numbers chapter 33:14 and Exodus 17:1-6 at Rephidim. Israel grumbled against Moses because there was no water. God told Moses to take his rod and go to the rock where God would stand before it. He told Moses to strike the rock. Moses did this and water came out from the Rock for the people.

The second event (now remember, Moses was expected to follow God’s directions), was later at Kadesh (Numbers 33:36&37). Here God’s instructions are different. See Numbers 20:2-13. Again, the children of Israel grumbled against Moses because there was no water; again Moses goes to God for direction. God told him to take the rod, but said, “gather the assembly together” and “speak to the rock before their eyes.” Instead, Moses becomes harsh with the people. It says, “Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff.” Thus he disobeyed a direct order from God to “speak to the Rock.” Now we know that in an army, if you are under a leader, you do not disobey a direct order even if you don’t fully understand. You obey it. God then tells Moses his transgression and its consequences in verse 12: “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor Me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will NOT bring this people into the land I give them.’ ” Two sins are mentioned: unbelief (in God and His order) and disregard for Him, and dishonoring God before God’s people, those he was in command of. God says in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. God wanted Moses to exemplify this faith to Israel. This failure would be grievous as a leader of any kind, as in an army. Leadership has great responsibility. If we desire leadership to gain recognition and position, to be put on a pedestal, or to gain power, we seek it for all the wrong reasons. Mark 10:41-45 gives us the “rule” of leadership: no one should be a boss. Jesus is talking about earthly rulers, saying their rulers “Lord it over them” (verse 42), and then says, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant…for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…”Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” We are told in I Peter 5:3 that leaders should not be “lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

If Moses’ leadership role, that of directing them to understand God and His glory and holiness were not enough, and disobedience to such a great God were not enough to justify his punishment, then see also Psalm 106:32&33 which speaks to his anger when it says Israel caused him to “speak rash words,” causing him to lose his temper.

Additionally, let’s just look at the rock. We have seen that Moses recognized God as “the Rock.” Throughout the Old Testament, and the New Testament, God is referred to as the Rock. See 2 Samuel 22:47; Psalm 89:26; Psalm 18:46 and Psalm 62:7. The Rock is a key subject in the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy chapter 32). In verse 4 God is The Rock. In verse 15 they rejected the Rock, their Savior. In verse 18, they deserted the Rock. In verse 30, God is called their Rock. In verse 31 it says, “their rock is not like our Rock” – and Israel’s enemies know it. In verses 37&38 we read, “Where are their gods, the rock they took refuge in?” The Rock is superior, compared to all other gods.

Look at I Corinthians 10:4. It is talking about the Old Testament account of Israel and the rock. It says clearly, “they all drank of the same spiritual drink for they were drinking from a spiritual rock; and the rock was Christ.” In the Old Testament God is referred to as the Rock of Salvation (Christ). It is not clear how much Moses understood that the future Savior was THE Rock which we know as fact, nevertheless it is clear that he recognized God as the Rock because he says several times in the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:4, “He is THE ROCK” and understood He went with them and He was the Rock of Salvation. It is not clear if he understood all the significance but even if he didn’t if was imperative for him and all of us as God’s people to obey even when we don’t understand it all; to “trust and obey.”

Some even think it goes farther than that in that the Rock was intended as a type of Christ, and His being struck and bruised for our iniquities, Isaiah 53:5&8, “For the transgression of My people was He stricken,” and “Thou shall make His soul an offering for sin.” The offence comes because he destroyed and distorted the type by striking the Rock twice. Hebrews clearly teaches us that Christ suffered “once for all time” for our sin. Read Hebrews 7:22-10:18. Note verses 10:10 and 10:12. They say, “We have been sanctified through the body of Christ once for all,” and “He having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.” If Moses striking the Rock was to be a picture of His death, clearly his striking the Rock twice distorted the picture that Christ needed to die only once to pay for our sin, for all time. Whatever Moses understood may not be clear but here is what is clear:

1). Moses sinned by disobeying God’s orders, he took things into his own hands.

2). God was displeased and grieved.

3). Numbers 20:12 says he did not trust God and publicly discredited His holiness

before Israel.

4). God said Moses would not be allowed to enter Canaan.

5). He appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and God said he was faithful in Hebrews 3:2.

Misrepresenting and dishonoring God is a serious and grievous sin, but God forgave him.

Let’s leave Moses and look at a couple of New Testament examples of “big” sins. Let’s look at Paul. He called himself the greatest sinner. I Timothy 1:12-15 says, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 2 Peter 3:9 says God does not want anyone to perish. Paul is a great example. As a leader of Israel, and knowledgeable in the Scriptures, he should have understood who Jesus was, but he rejected Him, and greatly persecuted those who believed in Jesus and was an accessory to the stoning of Stephen. Nevertheless, Jesus appeared to Paul personally, to reveal Himself to Paul to save him. Read Acts 8:1-4 and Acts chapter 9. It says he “made havoc of the church” and committed men and women to prison, and approved of the slaughter of many; yet God saved him and he became a great teacher, writing more New Testament books than any other writer. He is a story of an unbeliever who committed great sins, but God brought him to faith. Yet Romans chapter 7 also tells us he struggled with sin as a believer, but God gave him victory (Romans 7:24-28). I want to mention also Peter. Jesus called him to follow Himself and be a disciple and he confessed who Jesus was (See Mark 8:29; Matthew 16:15-17.) and yet enthusiastic Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:31-36 & 69-75). Peter, realizing his failure, went out and wept. Later, after the resurrection, Jesus sought him out and said to him three times, “Feed My sheep (lambs),” (John 21:15-17). Peter did just that, teaching and preaching (see the Book of Acts) and writing I & 2 Peter and giving his life for Christ.

We see from these examples that God will save anyone (Revelation 22:17), but He also forgives the sins of His people, even the big ones (I John 1:9). Hebrews 9:12 says, “…by His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrew 7:24&25 says, “because He continues ever…Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.”

But, we also learn that it is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). In I John 2:1 God says, “I write this to you so that you will not sin.” God wants us to be holy. We should not fool around and think we can just keep sinning because we can be forgiven, because God can and will often require us to face His punishment or consequences in this life. You can read about Saul and his many sins in I Samuel. God took his kingdom and his life from him. Read I Samuel chapters 28-31 and Psalm 103:9-12.

Don’t ever take sin for granted. Even though God forgives you, He can and often will enact punishment or consequences in this life, for our own good. He certainly did that with Moses, David and Saul. We learn through correction. Just like human parents do for their children, God reproves and corrects us for our good. Read Hebrew 12:4-11, especially verse six which says, “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON HE RECEIVES.” Read all of Hebrews chapter 10. Read also the answer to the question, “Will God forgive me if I keep on sinning?”

Will God Forgive Me If I Keep On Sinning?

God has made provision for forgiveness for all of us. God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” When unbelievers accept Christ and believe He paid for their sins, they are forgiven for All their sins. Colossians 2:13 says, “He forgave us all our sins.” Psalm 103:3 says that God “forgives all your iniquities.” (See Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 1:21; Acts 13:38; 26:18 and Hebrews 9:2.) I John 2:12 says, “Your sins have been forgiven on account of His name.” Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Christ’s death not only gives us forgiveness of sin, but also the promise of ETERNAL LIFE. John 10:28 says, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall NEVER perish.” John 3:16(NASB) says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Eternal life begins when you accept Jesus. It is eternal, it does not end. John 20:31 says, “These are written unto you that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His Name.” Again in I John 5:13, God says to us, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” We have this as a promise from the faithful God, Who cannot lie, promised before the world began (see Titus 1:2.). Note also these verses: Romans 8:25-39 which says, “nothing can separate us from the love of God,” and Romans 8:1 which states, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.” This penalty was paid in full by Christ, once for all time. Hebrews 9:26 says, “But He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 10:10 says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” I Thessalonians 5:10 tells us we will live together with Him and I Thessalonians 4:17 says, “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We know also that 2 Timothy 1:12 says, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”

So what happens when we do sin again, for if we are truthful, we know that believers, those who are saved, can and still do sin. In Scripture, in I John 1:8-10, this is very clear. It says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,” and, “if we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Verses 1:3 and 2:1 are clear that He is talking to His children (John 1:12&13), the believers, not the unsaved, and that He is talking about fellowship with Him, not salvation. Read 1 John 1:1-2:1.

His death forgives in that we are saved forever, but, when we sin, and we all do, we see by these verses that our fellowship with the Father is broken. So what do we do? Praise the Lord, God has made provision for this also, a way to restore our fellowship. We know that after Jesus died for us, He also rose from the dead and is alive. He is our way to fellowship. I John 2:1b says, “…if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Read also verse 2 which says this is because of His death; that He is our propitiation, our just payment for sin. Hebrews 7:25 says, “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” He intercedes on our behalf before the Father (Isaiah 53:12).

The good news comes to us in I John 1:9 where it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgives us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Remember – this is the promise of God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). (See also Psalm 32:1&2, which tells that David acknowledged his sin to God, which is what is meant by confession.) So the answer to your question is that, yes, God will forgive us if we confess our sin to God, as David did.

This step of acknowledging our sin to God needs to be done as often as necessary, as soon as we are aware of our wrongdoing, as often as we sin. This includes bad thoughts that we dwell on, sins of failure to do the right thing, as well as actions. We should not run away from God and hide as Adam and Eve did in the garden (Genesis 3:15). We have seen that this promise of cleansing us from daily sin comes only because of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ and for those who are born again into God’s family (John 1:12&13).

There are plenty of examples of people who sinned and fell short. Remember Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God also demonstrated His love, mercy and forgiveness for all of these people. Read about Elijah in James 5:17-20. God’s Word teaches us that God does not hear us when we pray if we regard iniquity in our hearts and lives. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Yet here we have Elijah, who is described as “a man of like passions as we are” (with sins and failures). Somewhere along the way God must have forgiven him, because God certainly answered his prayers.

Look at the forefathers of our faith – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. None of them were perfect, all of them sinned, but God forgave them. They formed God’s nation, God’s people and God told Abraham that his offspring would bless the entire world. All were people who sinned and failed just like us, but who came to God for forgiveness and God blessed them.

The nation of Israel, as a group, was stubborn and sinful, continuously rebelling against God, yet He never cast them away. Yes, they have often been punished, but God was always ready to forgive them when they sought Him for forgiveness. He was and is longsuffering to forgive over and over. See Isaiah 33:24; 40:2; Jeremiah 36:3; Psalm 85:2 and Numbers 14:19 which says, “Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquities of this people, according to the greatness of Thy mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” See Psalm 106:7&8 also.

We have talked about David who committed adultery and murder, but he acknowledged his sin to God and was forgiven. He was punished severely by the death of his child but knew that he would see that child in Heaven (Psalm 51; 2 Samuel 12:15-23). Even Moses disobeyed God and God punished him by forbidding him entry to Canaan, the land promised to Israel, but he was forgiven. He appeared with Elijah from heaven on the mount of transfiguration, and was with Jesus. Both Moses and David are mentioned with the faithful in Hebrews 11:32.

We have an interesting picture of forgiveness in Matthew 18. The disciples asked Jesus how often they should forgive and Jesus said “70 times 7.” That is, “uncountable times.” If God says we should forgive 70 times 7, we surely can’t outdo His love and forgiveness. He will forgive more than 70 times 7 if we ask. We have His unalterable promise to forgive us. We only need to confess our sin to Him. David did. He said to God, “Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy site” (Psalm 51:4).

Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will freely pardon.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 says this: “If My people, who are called by My Name shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

God’s desire is to live through us to make victory over sin and godliness possible. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God IN Him.” Read also: I Peter 2:25; I Corinthians 1:30&31; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:9; I Timothy 6:11&12 and 2 Timothy 2:22. Remember, when you continue to sin your fellowship with the Father is broken and you must acknowledge your wrongdoing and come back to the Father and ask Him to change you. Remember, you cannot change yourself (John 15:5). See also Romans 4:7 and Psalm 32:1. When you do this your fellowship is restored (Read I John 1:6-10 and Hebrews 10).

Let’s look at Paul who called himself the greatest of sinners (I Timothy 1:15). He suffered through the problem of sin the same as we do; he kept sinning and tells us about it in Romans chapter 7. Maybe he asked himself this same question. Paul describes the situation of living with a sinful nature in Romans 7:14&15. He says it is “sin that dwells in me” (verse 17), and verse 19 says, “the good that I would, I do not and I practice the very evil that I do not wish.” In the end he says, “who shall deliver me?”, and then he learned the answer, “Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verses 24&25).

God doesn’t want us to live in such a way that we are confessing and being forgiven for the same particular sins over and over again. God wants us to overcome our sin, to be like Christ, to do good. God wants us to be perfect as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48). I John 2:1 says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin…” He wants us to stop sinning and He wants to change us. God wants us to live for Him, to be holy (I Peter 1:15).

Although victory starts with acknowledging our sin (I John 1:9), we like Paul cannot change ourselves. John15:5 says, “Without Me you can do nothing.” We must know and understand Scripture to understand how to change our lives. When we become a believer, Christ comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

Just as Romans 7:18 says, victory over sin and real change in our lives comes “through Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:58 says this in the exact same words, God gives us the victory “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Galatians 2:20 says, “not I, but Christ.” We had that phrase for victory in the Bible School I attended, “Not I but Christ,” meaning, He accomplishes victory, not I in my self-effort. We learn how this is done by other Scriptures, especially in Romans 6&7. Romans 6:13 shows us how to do this. We must yield to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to change us. A yield sign means to allow (let) another person have the right of way. We must let (allow) the Holy Spirit to have the “right of way” in our life, the right to live in and through us. We have to “let” Jesus change us. Romans 12:1 puts it this way: “Present your body a living sacrifice” to Him. Then He will live through us. Then HE will change us.

Don’t be fooled, if you continue to sin it will affect your life, by missing out on God’s blessing and it could also result in punishment or even death in this life because, even if God forgives you (which He will), He may punish you as He did Moses and David. He may allow you to suffer the consequences of your sin, for your own good. Remember, He is just and righteous. He punished King Saul. He took his kingdom and his life. God will not allow you to get away with sin. Hebrews 10:26-39 is a difficult passage of Scripture, but one point in it is very clear: If we continue to willfully sin after being saved, we are trampling on the blood of Christ by which we were forgiven once for all and we can expect punishment because we are disrespecting Christ’s sacrifice for us. God punished His people in the Old Testament when they sinned and He will punish those who have accepted Christ who deliberately keep on sinning. Hebrews chapter 10 says this punishment could be severe. Hebrews 10:29-31 says “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Read I John 3:2-10 which shows us that those who are God’s do not continually sin. If a person continues to sin purposefully and go their own way, they should “test themselves” to see if their faith is really genuine. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 11:4 indicates there are many “false gospels” which are not the Gospel at all. There is only ONE true Gospel, that of Jesus Christ, and which is totally apart from our good works. Read Romans 3:21-4:8; 11:6; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:4-6; Philippians 3:9 and Galatians 2:16, which says, “(We) know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law., because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” If you are trying to get away with sinning, deliberately continuing to sin, you probably have believed some false gospel (another gospel, 2 Corinthians 11:4) based on some form of human behavior or good deeds, instead of the real Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) which is through Jesus Christ our Lord. Read Isaiah 64:6 which says our good deeds are just “filthy rags” in God’s sight. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 2 Corinthians 11:4 says, “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” Read I John 4:1-3; I Peter 5:12; Ephesians 1:13 and Mark 13:22. Read Hebrews chapter 10 again and also chapter 12. If you ARE a believer, Hebrews 12 tells us God will rebuke and discipline His children and Hebrews 10:26-31 is a warning that “The Lord will judge His people.”

Have you really believed the true Gospel? God will change those who are His children. Read 1 John 5:11-13. If your faith is in Him and not your own good deeds, you are His forever and you are forgiven. Read I John 5:18-20 and John 15:1-8

All these things work together to deal with our sin and bring us to victory through Him. Jude 24 says, “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” 2 Corinthians 15:57&58 says, “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Read Psalm 51 and Psalm 32, especially verse 5 which says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Dear Soul,

Let me speak to your heart for a moment.. I’m not here to condemn you, or to judge where you have been. I understand just how easy it is to get caught in the web of pornography.

Temptation is everywhere. It’s an issue that we are all faced with. It may seem like a little thing to look at that which is pleasing to the eye. The trouble is, looking turns into lusting, and lusting is a desire that is never satisfied.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  ~ James 1:14-15

Often this is what draws a soul into the web of pornography.

The Scriptures deal with this common issue…

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” ~ Matthew 5:28-29

Satan sees our struggle. He laughs at us deliriously! “Art thou also become as weak as we?  God can’t reach you now, your soul is beyond His reach.”

Many die in its entanglement, others question their faith in God. “Have I wandered too far from His grace? Will His hand reach down to me now?”

Its moments of pleasure are dimly lit, as loneliness sets in having been deceived. 

The Scripture says,”…I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17b

Soul, that includes you and me.

No matter how far into the pit you have fallen, God’s grace is greater still. The dirty, despondent soul He came to save. He’ll reach down His hand to grasp yours.

Dear Soul,

Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today, you’ll be in the presence of the Lord in heaven? Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life. Those who fall asleep in Jesus will be reunited with their loved ones in heaven.

Those you’ve laid in the grave in tears, you shall meet them again with joy! Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch… never to part again!

Yet, if you don’t believe in the Lord, you’re going to hell. There is no pleasant way to say it.

The Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23

Soul, that includes you and me.

Only when we realize the awfulness of our sin against God and feel its deep sorrow in our hearts can we turn from the sin we once loved and accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior.

…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  – 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9

Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.

Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:

“Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know.

We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient, or place an “x” in the space to remain anonymous.

Today, I made peace with God...

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A Letter From Heaven

The angels came and ushered me into God’s presence, dear mama. They carried me like you did when I would fall asleep. I awoke into the arms of Jesus, the One who gave His life for me!

It’s so beautiful up here, so beautiful like you’ve always said! A pure river of water, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God.

I was so overwhelmed with His love, dear mama! Imagine my joy seeing Jesus face to face! His smile – so warm… His face – so radiant… “Welcome home my child!” He tenderly said.

Oh, don’t be sad for me, mama. Your tears fall like summer rain! I feel so light on my feet like I’m dancing, mama. The curse of death has lost its sting.

Although God called me home so early, with so many dreams, so many songs unsung, I’ll be in your heart, in your cherished memories. The moments we had will carry you through.

I remember when at bedtime I’d crawl up in your bed? You would tell me stories of Jesus and the love for us He had.

I remember those nights, mama ~ your treasured stories. Mama’s lullabies that I tucked in my heart. The moonlight danced on the wooden floors when I asked God to save me. 

Jesus came into my life that night, dear mama! In the darkness I could feel you smile. Bells rang for me in heaven! My name written in the Book of Life.

So don’t cry for me, dear mama. I’m here in heaven because of you. Jesus needs you now, for there are my brothers. There’s more work on earth for you to do.

One day when your work is over, the angels shall come to carry you. Safely into the arms of Jesus, the One who loved and died for you.

A Letter From Hell

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. ~ Luke 16:23-24

A Letter From Hell

Dear Mom,

I am writing to you from the most horrible place that I have ever seen, and more horrible than you could ever imagine. It is BLACK here, so DARK that I cannot even see all the souls I am constantly bumping into. I only know they are people like myself from the blood curdling SCREAMS. My voice is gone from my own screaming as I writhe in pain and suffering. I cannot even cry for help anymore, and it is no use anyway, there is no one here that has any compassion at all for my plight.

The PAIN and suffering in this place is absolutely unbearable. It so consumes my every thought,  I could not know if there were any other sensation to come upon me. The pain is so severe, it never stops day or night. The turning of days does not appear because of the darkness.  What may be nothing more than minutes or even seconds seems like many endless years.  The thought of this suffering continuing without end is more than I can bear. My mind is spinning more and more with each passing moment.  I feel like a madman, I cannot even think clearly under this load of confusion. I fear I am losing my mind.

The FEAR is just as bad as the pain, maybe even worse. I don’t see how my predicament could be any worse than this, but I am in constant fear that it MIGHT be at any moment.

My mouth is parched, and will only become more so. It is so dry that my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth. I recall that old preacher saying that’s what Jesus Christ endured as he hung on that old rugged cross. There is no relief, not so much as a single drop of water to cool my swollen tongue.

To add even more misery to this place of torment, I know that I deserve to be here. I am being punished justly for my deeds. The punishment, the pain, the suffering is no worse than I justly deserve, but admitting that now will never ease the anguish  that burns eternally in my wretched soul.  I hate myself for committing the sins to earn such a horrible fate,  I hate the devil that deceived me so that I would end up in this place.  And as much as I know it is an unspeakable wickedness to think such a thing, I hate the very God that sent his only begotten Son to spare me this torment. I can never blame the Christ that suffered and bled and died for me,  but I hate him anyway. I cannot even control my feelings that I know to be wicked, wretched and vile. I am more wicked and vile now than I ever was in my earthly existence. Oh, If only I had listened.

Any earthly torment would be far better than this. To die a slow agonizing death from Cancer; To die in a burning building as the victims of the 9-11 terror attacks. Even to be nailed to a cross after being beaten unmercifully like the Son of God; But to choose these over my present state I have no power. I do not have that choice.

I now understand that this torment and suffering is what Jesus Bore for me. I believe that he suffered, bled and died to pay for my sins, but his suffering was not eternal. After three days he arose in victory over the grave. Oh, I do SO believe, but alas, it is too late. As the old invitation song says that I remember hearing so many times, I am “One Day Too Late”.

We are ALL believers in this terrible place, but our faith amounts to NOTHING. It is too late. The door is shut. The tree has fallen, and here shall it lay. In HELL. Forever lost. No Hope, No Comfort, No Peace, No Joy.

There will never be any end to my suffering. I remember that old preacher as he would read  “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: And they have no rest day nor night”

And that is perhaps the worst thing about this terrible place. I REMEMBER. I remember the church services. I remember the invitations. I always thought they were so corny, so stupid, so useless. It seemed I was too “tough” for such things. I see it all different now, Mom, but my change of heart matters nothing at this point.

I have lived like a fool, I pretended like a fool, I died like a fool, and now I must suffer the torments and anguish of a fool.

Oh, Mom, how I miss so very much the comforts of home. Never again will I know your tender caress across my fevered brow. No more warm breakfasts or home-cooked meals. Never again will I feel the warmth of the fireplace on a frosty winter’s night. Now the fire engulfs not only this perishing body wracked with pain beyond compare, but the fire of the wrath of an Almighty God consumes my very inner being with an anguish that cannot be properly described in any mortal language.

I long to just stroll through a lush green meadow in the springtime and view the beautiful flowers, stopping to take in the fragrance of their sweet perfume. Instead I am resigned to the burning smell of brimstone, sulfur, and a heat so intense that all other senses simply fail me.

Oh, Mom, as a teenager I always hated having to listen to the fussing and whining of the little babies in church, and even at our house. I thought they were such an inconvenience to me, such an irritation. How I long just to see for a brief moment one of those innocent little faces. But there are no babies in Hell, Mom.

There are no Bibles in Hell, dearest mother. The only scriptures inside the charred walls of the damned are those that ring in my ears hour after hour, moment after miserable moment. They offer no comfort at all, though, and only serve to remind me of what a fool I have been.

Were it not for the futility of them Mom, you might otherwise rejoice to know that there is a never ending prayer meeting here in Hell. No matter, there is no Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf. The prayers are so empty, so dead. They amount to nothing more than cries for mercy that we all know will never be answered.

Please warn my brothers Mom. I was the eldest, and thought I had to be “cool”. Please tell them that no one in Hell is cool. Please warn all my friends, even my enemies, lest they come also to this place of torment.

As terrible as this place is, Mom, I see that it is not my final destination. As Satan laughs at all of us here, and as multitudes join us continually in this feast of misery, we are constantly reminded that some day in the future, we will all be summoned individually to appear before The Judgment Throne of Almighty God.

God will show us our eternal fate written in the books next to all of our wicked works. We will have no defense, no excuse, and nothing to say except to confess the justice of our damnation before the supreme judge of all the earth. Just before being cast into our final destination of torment, the Lake of Fire, we will have to look upon the face of him who willingly suffered the torments of hell that we might be delivered from them. As we stand there in his holy presence to hear the pronouncement of our damnation, you will be there Mom to see it all.

Please forgive me for hanging my head in shame, as I know I will not be able to bear to look upon your face. You will already be conformed into the image of the Savior, and I know it will be more than I can stand.

I would love to leave this place and join you and so many others I have known for my few short years on earth. But I know that will never be possible. Since I know I can never escape the torments of the damned, I say with tears, with a sorrow and deep despair that can never be completely described, I never want to see any of you again. Please don’t ever join me here.

In eternal Anguish, Your Son / Daughter, Condemned and Lost Forever

A Love Letter From Jesus

I asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?” He said, “This much” and stretched out His hands and died. Died for me, a fallen sinner! He died for you too.

***

The night before My death, you were on my mind. How I desired to have a relationship with you, to spend eternity with you in heaven. Yet, sin separated you from Me and My Father. A sacrifice of innocent blood was needed for the payment of your sins.

The hour had come when I was to lay down my life for you. With heaviness of heart I went out to the garden to pray. In agony of soul I sweat, as it were, drops of blood as I cried out to God… “…O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” ~ Matthew 26:39

While I was in the garden the soldiers came to arrest Me even though I was innocent of any crime. They brought Me before Pilate’s hall. I stood before My accusers. Then Pilate took Me and scourged Me. Lacerations cut deeply into My back as I took the beating for you. Then the soldiers stripped me, and put a scarlet robe on Me. They platted a crown of thorns upon My head. Blood flowed down My face… there was no beauty that you should desire Me.

Then the soldiers mocked Me, saying, ” Hail, King of the Jews! They brought Me before the cheering crowd, shouting, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” I stood there silently, bloody, bruised and beaten. Wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities. Despised and rejected of men.

Pilate sought to release Me but gave in to the pressure of the crowd. “Take ye Him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” he said to them. Then he delivered Me to be crucified.

You were on my mind when I carried My cross up the lonesome hill to Golgotha. I fell beneath its weight. It was my love for you, and to do My Father’s will that gave Me the strength to bear beneath its heavy load. There, I bore your griefs and I carried your sorrows laying down My life for the sin of mankind.

The soldiers sneered giving heavy blows of the hammer driving the nails deeply into My hands and feet. Love nailed your sins to the cross, never to be dealt with again. They hoisted Me up and left Me to die. Yet, they did not take My life. I willingly gave it.

The sky grew black. Even the sun stopped shining. My body wracked with excruciating pain took the weight of your sin and bore it’s punishment so that the wrath of God could be satisfied.

When all things were accomplished. I committed My spirit into My Father’s hands, and breathed out My final words,”It is finished.” I bowed my head and gave up the ghost.

I Love you… Jesus.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

An Invitation to Accept Christ

Dear Soul,

Today the road may have seemed steep, and you feel alone. Someone you trust has disappointed you. God sees your tears. He feels your pain. He longs to comfort you, for He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

God loves you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in your place. He will forgive you for every sin you have committed, if you are willing to leave your sins and turn from them.

The Scripture says, “…I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” ~ Mark 2:17b

Soul, that includes you and me.

No matter how far into the pit you have fallen, God’s grace is greater still. The dirty despondent souls, He came to save. He’ll reach down His hand to hold yours.

Maybe you’re like this fallen sinner who came to Jesus, knowing He was the One who could save her. With tears streaming down her face, she began to wash His feet with her tears, and  wipe them with her hair. He said, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven…” Soul, can He say that of you tonight?

Perhaps you’ve looked at pornography and you feel ashamed, or you’ve committed adultery and you want to be forgiven.  The same Jesus who’s forgiven her will also forgive you tonight.

Maybe you thought about giving your life to Christ, but put it off for one reason or another. “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” ~ Hebrews 4:7b

The Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9

Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.

Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:

“Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Faith and Evidence

Have you been considering whether or not there is a higher power? A power that formed the Universe and all that’s in it. A power that took nothing and created the earth, the sky, water, and living things?Where did the simplest plant come from? The most complicated creature… man? I struggled with the question for years. I sought the answer in science.

Surely the answer can be found through the study of these things all around that amaze and mystify us. The answer had to be in the most minute part of every creature and thing. The atom! The essence of life must be found there. It wasn’t. It wasn’t found in the nuclear material or in the electrons spinning around it. It wasn’t in the empty space that makes up most of everything we can touch and see.

All these thousands of years of looking and no one has found the essence of life inside the common things around us. I knew there must be a force, a power, that was doing all this around me. Was it God? Okay, why doesn’t He just reveal Himself to me? Why not? If this force is a living God why all the mystery? Wouldn’t it be more logical for Him to say, Okay, here I am. I did all this. Now go about your business.”

Not until I met a special woman who I reluctentantly went to a Bible study with did I start to understand any of this. The people there were studying the Scriptures and I thought they must be searching for the same thing I was, but just haven’t found it yet. The leader of the group read a passage from the Bible written by a man who used to hate Christians but was changed. Changed in an amazing way. His name was Paul and he wrote,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Those words “grace” and “faith” fascinated me. What did they really mean? Later that night she asked me to go see a movie, of course she tricked me into going to a Christian movie. At the end of the show there was a short message by Billy Graham. Here he was, a farm boy from North Carolina, explaining to me the very thing that I had been struggling with all along. He said, “You can’t explain God scientifically, philosophically, or in any other intellectual way. “You simply have to believe God is real.

You have to have faith that what He said He did as it is written in the Bible. That He created the heavens and the earth, that He created the plants and animals, that He spoke all this into existence as it is written in the book of Genesis in the Bible. That He breathed life into a lifeless form and it became man. That He wanted to have a closer relationship with the people He created so He took on the form of a man who was God’s Son and came to the earth and lived among us. This Man, Jesus, paid the debt of sin for those who will believe by being crucified on the cross.

How could it be so simple? Just believe? Have faith that all this was the truth? I went home that night and got little sleep. I struggled with the issue of God giving me grace – through faith to believe. That He was that force, that essence of life and creation of all that ever was and is. Then He came to me. I knew that I simply had to believe. It was by God’s grace that He showed me His love. That He was the answer and that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for me so that I could believe. That I could have a relationship with Him. He revealed Himself to me in that moment.

I called her to tell her that I now understand. That now I believe and want to give my life to Christ. She told me that she prayed that I would not sleep until I took that leap of faith and believed in God. My life was changed forever. Yes, forever, because now I can look forward to spending eternity in a wonderful place called heaven.

No longer do I concern myself with needing evidence to prove that Jesus could actually walk on water, or that the Red Sea could have parted to allow the Israelites to pass through, or any of the dozen other seemingly impossible events written in the Bible.

God has proven Himself over and over in my life. He can reveal Himself to you also. If you find yourself seeking proof of His existence ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Take that leap of faith as a child, and truly believe in Him. Open yourself up to His love by faith, not evidence.

Heaven - Our Eternal Home

Living in this fallen world with its heartaches, disappointments and suffering, we long for heaven! Our eyes turn upward when our spirit is bent to our eternal home in glory that the Lord Himself is preparing for those who love Him.

The Lord has planned the new earth to be far more beautiful, beyond our imagination.

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing… ~ Isaiah 35:1-2

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” ~ Isaiah 35:5-6

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” ~ Isaiah 35:10

What shall we say in His presence? Oh, the tears that shall flow when we behold His nail scarred hands and feet! The uncertainties of life shall be made known to us, when we see our Savior face to face.

Most of all we shall see Him! We shall behold His glory! He shall shine as the sun in pure radiance, as He welcomes us home in glory.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. ~ Revelation 21:2

…”And he will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” ~ Revelation 21:3b

“And they shall see His face…” “…and they shall reign forever and ever.” ~ Revelation 22:4a&5b

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” ~ Revelation 21:4

Our Relationships In Heaven

Many people wonder as they turn from the grave of their loved ones, “Will we know our loved ones in heaven”? “Will we see their face again”?

The Lord understands our griefs. He carries our sorrows… For He wept at the grave of His dear friend Lazarus even though He knew He would raise him up within a few moments.

There He comforteth His beloved friends.

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” ~ John 11:25

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with them. 1 Thessalonians 4:14

Now, we sorrow for those who fall asleep in Jesus, but not as those who have no hope.

“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” ~ Matthew 22:30

Although our earthly marriage will not remain in heaven, our relationships will be pure and wholesome. For it is but a portrait that served its purpose until believers in Christ shall be married to the Lord.

“And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things shall be past away.” ~ Revelation 21:2

Overcoming the Addiction of Pornography

He brought me up also out of an
horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.

Psalm 40:2

Let me speak to your heart for a moment.. I’m not here to condemn you, or to judge where you have been. I understand just how easy it is to get caught in the web of pornography.

Temptation is everywhere. It’s an issue that we are all faced with. It may seem like a little thing to look at that which is pleasing to the eye. The trouble is, looking turns into lusting, and lusting is a desire that is never satisfied.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  ~ James 1:14-15

Often this is what draws a soul into the web of pornography.

The Scriptures deal with this common issue…

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” ~ Matthew 5:28-29

Satan sees our struggle. He laughs at us deliriously! “Art thou also become as weak as we?  God can’t reach you now, your soul is beyond His reach.”

Many die in its entanglement, others question their faith in God. “Have I wandered too far from His grace? Will His hand reach down to me now?”

Its moments of pleasure are dimly lit, as loneliness sets in having been deceived. No matter how far into the pit you have fallen, God’s grace is greater still. The fallen sinner He longs to save, He’ll reach down His hand to hold yours.

The Dark Night of the Soul

Oh, the dark night of the soul, when we hang our harps upon the willows and find comfort only in the Lord!

Separation is sorrowful. Who of us haven’t grieved the loss of a loved one, nor felt its sorrow having wept in each other’s arms no longer to enjoy their loving friendship, to help us through the hardships of life?

Many are passing through the valley as you read this. You can relate, having lost a companion yourself and are now experiencing the heartache of separation, wondering how you will cope with the lonely hours ahead.

Being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart… We are homesick for heaven and anticipate the reunion of our loved ones as we long for a better place.

The familiar was so comforting. It’s never easy to let go. For they are the crutches that have held us up, the places that have given us comfort, the visits that have given us joy. We hold on to what is precious till it’s taken from us often with deep anguish of soul.

Sometimes its sadness washes over us like ocean waves crashing over our soul. We shield ourselves from its pain, finding shelter under the wings of the Lord.

We’d lose ourselves in the valley of grief if it were not for the Shepherd to guide us through the long and lonely nights. In the dark night of the soul He is our Comforter, a Loving Presence who shares in our pain and in our suffering.

With each tear that falls, the sorrow nudges us towards heaven, where no death, nor sorrow, nor tear shall fall. Weeping may last for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. He carries us in our moments of deepest pain.

Through teary eyes we anticipate our joyful reunion when we will be with our loved ones in the Lord.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” ~ Matthew 5:4

May the Lord bless you and keep you all the days of your life, until you are in the presence of the Lord in heaven.

The Furnace of Suffering

The furnace of suffering! How it hurts and brings us pain. It is there that the Lord trains us for battle.  It is there that we learn to pray.

It is there that God gets alone with us and reveals to us who we really are. It is there where He prunes away our comforts and burns away the sin in our lives.

It is there that He uses our failures to prepare us for His work. It is there, in the furnace, when we have nothing to offer, when we have no song in the night.

It is there that we feel like our life is over when every thing we enjoy is being taken away from us. It is then that we begin to realize that we are under the wings of the Lord. He will take care of us.

It is there that we often fail to recognize the hidden work of God in our most barren times.  It is there, in the furnace, that no tear is wasted  but fulfills His purposes in our lives.

It is there that He weaves the black thread into the tapestry of our life.  It is there where He reveals that all things work together for good to those who love Him.

It is there that we get real with God, when all else is said and done. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him.” It is when we fall out of love with this life, and live in the light of eternity to come.

It is there that He reveals the depths of love that He has for us, ” For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time  are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  ~ Romans 8:18

It is there, in the furnace, that we realize ” For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17

It is there that we fall in love with Jesus and appreciate the depth of our eternal home,  knowing that the sufferings of our past won’t cause us pain, but would rather enhance His glory.

It is when we come out of the furnace that spring begins to blossom. After He reduces us to tears we offer liquefied prayers that touch the heart of God.

“…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” ~ Romans 5:3-4

There Is Hope

Dear friend,

Do you know who Jesus is? Jesus is your spiritual lifeguard. Confused? Well just read on.

You see, God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to forgive us of our sins and to save us from everlasting torture in a place called hell.

In hell, you are by yourself in total darkness screaming for your life. You are being burned alive for all eternity. Eternity lasts forever!

You smell sulfur in hell, and hear blood curdling screams  of those who rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. On top of that, You’ll remember all the horrible things that you have ever done, all the people you have picked on.  These memories are going to haunt you  forever and ever! It is never going to stop. And you’ll wish that you paid attention to all the people who warned you about hell.

There is hope though. Hope that is found in Jesus Christ.

God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to die for our sins. He was hung on a cross, mocked and beaten, a crown of thorns were thrown upon His head, paying for the sins of the world for those who will believe on Him.

He is preparing a place for them in a place called heaven, where no tears, sorrows or pain will inflict them. No worries or cares.

It’s a place so beautiful that it’s indescribable. If you would like to go to heaven and spend eternity with God, confess to God that you are a sinner deserving of hell and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

What The Bible Says Happens After You Die

Every day thousands of people will take their final breath and slip into eternity, either into heaven or into hell. Sadly, the reality of death happens every day.

What happens the moment after you die?

The moment after you die, your soul temporarily departs from your body to await the Resurrection.

Those who place their faith in Christ will be carried by the angels into the presence of the Lord. They are now comforted. Absent from the body and present with the Lord.

Meanwhile, unbelievers await in Hades for the final Judgment.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments… And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” ~ Luke 16:23a-24

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:7

Although, we grieve over the loss of our loved ones, we sorrow, but not as those who have no hope.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17

While the unbeliever’s body remains resting, who can fathom the torments he is experiencing?! His spirit screams! “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming…” ~ Isaiah 14:9a

Unprepared is he to meet God!

Although he cries in his torment, his prayer offers no comfort whatsoever, for a great gulf is fixed where no one can pass to the other side. Alone he is left in his misery. Alone in his memories. The flame of hope forever extinguished of seeing his loved ones again.

On the contrary, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Escorted by the angels into the presence of the Lord, they are now comforted. Their trials and suffering are past. Although their presence will be deeply missed, they have hope of seeing their loved ones again.

Will We Know Eachother In Heaven?

Who of us hasn’t wept at the graveside of a loved one,
or mourned their loss with so many questions unanswered? Will we know our loved ones in heaven? Will we see their face again?

Death is sorrowful with its separation, it’s hard for those that we leave behind. Those who love much often grieve deeply, feeling the heartache of their empty chair.

Yet, we sorrow for those who fall asleep in Jesus, but not as those who have no hope. The Scriptures are woven with the comfort that not only will we know our loved ones in heaven, but we will be together with them also.

Although we grieve the loss of our loved ones, we’ll have eternity to be with those in the Lord. The familiar sound of their voice will call out your name. So shall we ever be with the Lord.

What about our loved ones who may have died without Jesus? Will you see their face again? Who knows that they haven’t trusted Jesus in their last moments? We may never know this side of heaven.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ~ Romans 8:18

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Need to Talk? Have Questions?

If you would like to contact us for spiritual guidance, or for follow up care, feel free to write to us at photosforsouls@yahoo.com.

We appreciate your prayers and look forward to meeting you in eternity!

 

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