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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Lure Lake in western North Carolina
Lure Lake in western North Carolina
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"Flee From Sexual Immorality"

"But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house" (Genesis 39:12). "From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her" (2 Samuel 11:2,3).  "Flee from sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:18). "Keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22).

I watched a news program on television that greatly distressed me and reminded me of the tremendous battle for the souls of our children.  It spoke of rampant teenage sexual activity and the tremendous pressures on our young people to be immoral (although, not surprisingly, it didn't use this Biblical term).

Due to our God-ordained hormonal constitution people in every generation have dealt with sexual temptation.  One of the greatest examples of victory over sexual temptation is Joseph. The Bible tells his story in Genesis 39 and today's first text records the essence of this victory. The Bible also forthrightly records failure and David's story is perhaps the most familiar. Today's second text records the essence of what led to his moral failure.   I certainly recall the temptations common to young people as I grew into adulthood in the early seventies.

But I believe today's young people are facing a situation far more intense and distinct from what most of us in previous generations faced.  There is a flood of material condoning and even glamorizing immorality. In many cases it's even taught in public schools and through government agencies.  The God-ordained marriage pattern is mocked and staged by many celebrities as a mere publicity stunt.

Interestingly there is a parallel sense of condemning by popular culture of those who still maintain a Biblical outlook. We are seen as old-fashioned and intolerant (that's OK by me).

I simply do not believe this condoning and condemning took place in recent generations.  In fact it was the reverse!  Marriage was presented as normal and healthy.  The Bible was revered by most and its teaching held sacred.  Sexual immorality was wrong and understood to be sinful behavior. 

Certainly there have always been people in every generation who practiced sexual immorality; some engaging in pre-marital sex and adulterous unfaithfulness in marriage and all through history a very small segment engaged in sodomy.  But except in the most uncivilized cultures this was known to be wrong, even by the participants. 

There are those reading this today who have engaged in sexual immorality in the past but have repented and found the purifying scrub brush of the Holy Spirit brings renewal, cleansing and an invitation to start over according to God's design.  Some of you are fighting this battle as you read this. You know in your heart this message is for you.

The apostle Paul wrote, "Flee from sexual immorality."  Today we need to practice, maintain, and proclaim the Biblical teachings.  Those who do so will be increasingly reviled.  Preachers who stay true to the Bible and faithfully proclaim the Word are branded old-fashioned and homophobic, if they merely repeat what the Bible says in regard to its unambiguous, forthright condemnation of homosexuality and hold to the Scriptural teachings concerning sexual morals. 

My word of encouragement today is to stay faithful in word and deed to God's teachings. "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised"   (Hebrews 10:35, 36).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, it is Your desire that we stay faithful to Your teachings. Scripture gives many examples of those who knew to do right, but chose to do wrong.  The consequences of their wrong actions inflicted a great deal of loss, life-long regret and emotional pain. Help us to avoid the traps Satan has set for the believers by not only reading the Word, but applying its truth to our lives, and standing firm when the temptation to do wrong is ever before us.

Today three songs came to mind as a means of musical reinforcement of the message.

"Purify My heart" A beautiful version, heartfelt with tremendous instrumentation and very well-produced.

"Restore My Soul" is a powerful song I discovered while searching for a song of reinforcement for today's message. I had never heard this song before and assume it's locally written (not in national distribution). If so it demonstrates the scores of wonderful songs written in local churches that are likely never heard by the larger church. A friend of mine (Mike Book) writes excellent Scripture based songs and my own nephew (Patrick Weber) also has a music ministry in his own local church and writes his own songs and hopes to some day make a CD.

"Give Us Clean Hands" This version sounds as if it was recorded live in a local church setting and is not the highest sound quality but I really like the words. I also affirm local churches and ministries that place content up on the web, although it may not be of the highest quality, certainly in large part due to limitations in the recording equipment. This version is from the Branson (I suppose Missouri) Calvary Chapel.

Here are some musicians really willing to share their music. This is a selection of songs in streaming audio.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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