As Iron Sharpens Iron, Another Man Sharpens Another

Written by Rev. Joseph T. Lee, MCM

Men, this message is written especially for you.  This is a topic that must be discussed.  It is not meant to belittle anyone, but as the Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, and another man sharpens another.” Christian men must help those men who are struggling as well as teach them or disciple them in the ways of the Lord.  Sometimes, Christian men must call out what sins seem to be rampant in our community. As iron sharpens iron, so does another man sharpen another. This means that older Christian men must step up to help new Believers and bring to their attention any problem that is widespread among the community and has infiltrated the Church. The goal is to help others who are struggling in sin and teach them how to overcome sin and lean on Jesus.

Our society today is plagued with the vilest media ever presented. The internet can be accessed by laptops, desktops, tablets, and smart phones. Last night, while in prayer, the Lord brought to my mind that there are many men, professing Christians, who have backslidden back into sin by viewing pornography, acting on it, and having adulterous affairs.

Satan uses pornography to entice those who view it. Pornography is a way for Satan and his demons to infiltrate one’s life to the point that it causes disruptions in relationships as well as marriages. To put it bluntly, some men have taken to moving to another bedroom away from their wife, to view pornography while their wife is in the other bedroom, only to masturbate to the vile images on their devices. This is what I call committing adultery by proxy. They have used the image as a substitute for what God meant as an ordained and holy marriage. He never meant that a man should masturbate to images. If anyone tells you there is nothing wrong with this, they are spewing a lie that Satan has placed in their own hearts.

Look what Jesus said about this, taken from Matthew 5:27-28, “27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (ESV). Let us look at the first problem with lust. Lustful intent is also committing adultery in one’s heart. This is not good for any marriage, and one has defiled his own marriage by doing so. He is cheating on his wife by committing these two acts, viewing pornography, and masturbating to the images, which means if you are doing this, you are committing adultery.

Last night, while in deep prayer, God brought this to my mind. The following words I believe are God inspired and if this applies to you, please repent from your sins, and ask forgiveness.

“My heart is crying out to Christ Jesus tonight. There is someone who is struggling and hurting terribly inside. The Lord wants you to surrender your addictions, your unfaithfulness, your dirty little secrets, He wants all your sins. There is nothing that you can do or have done that Christ Jesus will not forgive you. The only sin unforgiven is rejection of Jesus and dying in your sin. Jesus wants all of you. You once had a relationship with Him, but you fell away. You chased other things that never fulfilled your desires, and you constantly find emptiness in all your endeavors. You may think that your sin is too great, but I will tell you that Jesus came into the world to save it and not condemn it (cf. John 3:17). God wants a personal relationship with you. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6). Jesus wants you back and His arms are open wide. Just pray this prayer right now. ‘Jesus, forgive me of my sins and trespasses. I rededicate my life you, right here and right now. I repent of my sins and ask the Holy Spirit to live in me, teach me, and guide me in the ways of the Lord.’”

If you have prayed that prayer, Jesus will restore you out of your backslidden ways. Pornography is very addictive and can be considered like drug. Satan utilizes these images to seek and destroy like a roaring lion (cf.1 Peter 5:8).

If you are not a Follower of Christ but want to accept Him as your Savior, the Bible says that who so ever will believe in Jesus will be saved. Look at John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that who so ever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Commit your life to Christ Jesus today. He will set you free.

For those addicted to pornography, seek out a Christian counselor that specializes in sex addictions. You do not have to walk alone and battle this addiction by yourself. God has ordained counselors to assist in recovery and healing. Please call and make an appointment today. Your spiritual life depends on it!

Copyright January 19, 2023. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Build Your House on the Rock: Jesus

Written by Rev. Joseph Lee

When adversity, persecution, illness, trials, tribulations, and strife come; what is your foundation made of? 

The Bible says in Matthew 7:24-27, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

What type of foundation is your life built on? Is it built on the world’s viewpoint or is in built in Christ Jesus? 

A couple of months ago, I contracted Covid Pneumonia. I was very ill and had to be hospitalized for medical support. The entire time I was in the hospital, I felt the peace of Christ. My only concern was not of my own life but my wife and family. But when it came to my own concerns for my own well being, I knew that I was cradled in the hands of Jesus. The reason why I felt no fear of dying was because the foundation of my life was laid and built on the Rock of my Savior and salvation, Jesus Christ. I knew His promises and had faith that I would recover. 

What about you? Is your life on a firm foundation with Christ Jesus, or is your life built on the world’s view? Is your foundation built on the Rock of Jesus or on the sand of the world?

Copyright January 9, 2023. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

New Year’s Resolutions

Written by Rev. Joseph Lee

How many of you make New Year’s Resolutions, only to break them within a week? I know I have and I would think the majority of those reading this post has broken them as well. In order to make a change, one must practice the new change for at least twenty-one days for it to become a habit.

Your New Year’s Resolution might be going on a diet. It could be exercising more. It could be financial such as making a budget. All of these are great resolutions which must be practiced for at least twenty-one days to become part of our lifestyle.

For the Christian, here are two very important resolutions that you should start right away. The first is to spend more time in private prayer to our Heavenly Father. J.C. Ryle once said, “private prayer is the most neglected of all Christian duties. That is most unfortunate because private prayer is the true measure of a Christian’s walk before God and ‘the pith and marrow of practical Christianity’”.

Private prayer is a necessity for the Christian walk with the Father and His Son. Ryle wrote, “Prayer under the blessing of God leads to the new birth, strengthens faith, moves mountains, and promotes spiritual growth and contentment that rises above circumstances.

Prayerlessness, on the other hand, is the broad road leading to Hell for the unbeliever and the major cause of backsliding in the Christian.”

It is imperative to pray daily, and maybe more than once to the Father. We are to talk to Him about everything, from our struggles to thanking Him for our food. We are also to praise Him for our blessings. In order to be able to live a life like Christ Jesus, prayer is one of the most important things you can do in your spiritual walk with the Lord.

The second most important resolution is to read your Bible daily. Have a time in the day where you read and study God’s Word. I once knew a man who said he had read the entire Bible once. He never picked up his Bible again because he thought that was all he had to do. He read it but apparently did not internalize it. One can read a verse and it speaks to them and then in a month read that verse again and it means something different to them. The difference in what the verse is saying to you may be caused by the Holy Spirit teaching you God’s Holy Scriptures.

According to J. C. Ryle, “next to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible reading. God in his mercy has given us a book ‘which is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus’ (2 Tim. 3:15). By reading the Bible we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace.”

Reading the Bible daily is your handbook in how to live a life of Christ. It is an instruction from God to teach those called unto Him how to live their lives.

Tonight is New Years Eve. When making those resolutions, consider making two, praying daily and reading your Bible. Do it daily, then it will become part of your life!

May you all have a very Happy and prosperous New Year. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace (Cf. Numbers 6:24-26)!

Copyright December 31, 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Written by Rev. Joseph Lee

Merry Christmas to all! What is merry about today as opposed to other days? Today is a celebration of the life of Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. Although we celebrate Jesus’ birth in December, he was not actually born on the 25th of December. He was born close to the Passover which was in the Spring. 

We celebrate His birthday by giving gifts as the wise men traveled to give gifts to the Baby Jesus. We decorate our homes with bright lights to resemble the star of Bethlehem. There are many activities that may have nothing to do with Jesus birth, and yet many Christians say that Christmas is their most favorite time of year. 

Last night, my family and I attended a beautiful candlelight service at Berea Baptist Church, with Scripture readings leading up to Jesus’ birth. It was a beautiful service. My favorite song was sung by a friend’s daughter, Maddie Berkle. She did a fantastic job of singing “O Holy Night.” Why is this my favorite song? I was only 6 years old when I first heard this song. My Mom had an old broken record player. I put a record on the turn table and could only play about half the song until the player reset itself and started playing the beginning again! The gospel of Jesus was being presented to me even in half the song. I started to tear up and cry as the Holy Spirit was ministering to me and my heart. I was being drawn to Christ Jesus through the words and the music. 

Moving forward to today’s time of Christmas morning, Jesus is no longer in the cradle. Although we celebrate His birth, we also celebrate His life, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection. Jesus wasn’t born into the world to condemn the world. He was born into the world to save the world (Cf. John 3:17). He died for the redemption of our sins!  He took it all on His shoulders to that old rugged cross. “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

I pray that you will come to know the Living Savior, Jesus, the one and only Son of our Heavenly Father. Jesus is no longer in the cradle but is a Living Savior who wants a true relationship with you! Won’t you repent from your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved (Cf. Acts 16:31)?

Here is one last thought written in the 1800’s by Bishop J.C. Ryle. “Do you desire rest of soul, and yet know not where to turn for it? Remember this day, that there is only one place where it can be found. Governments cannot give it. Education will not impart it. Worldly amusements cannot supply it. Money will not purchase it. It can only be found in the hand of Jesus Christ, and to His hand you must turn, if you would find peace within.” – JC Ryle, Christmas Thoughts, pp. 22-23. 

Copyright December 25, 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Devotion for Sunday

Devotion for Sunday, November 27, 2022

1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Do you struggle with the flesh in this world? Many men and women struggle. “The moral admonition not to love the world is practical advice, for it is already clear that the world is passing away. As in John’s gospel, the ‘world’ is the system of rebellion and pride that needs to displace God and His rule. It is this system rather than the created order itself that is ‘not from the Father’ and that has already been marked for judgement and destruction (John 12:31). Those who are not of the world receive the revelation of the Father from Jesus (John 17:14) and show by their response to it that they have been chosen for salvation and eternal life”(Reformation Bible Concordance, p. 2270).

Loving the world, the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride, does not coexist with the ways of the Lord and the path that He wants for us. If someone is struggling in the flesh, he or she must repent, and turn for this wickedness, and follow the path of the Lord. 

Those who love the world and all that comes with it, they are shortsighted as they want to be satisfied now. In contrast, those who die to their selves and they love the Father, they have a long — term perspective and wait for God’s reward. 

If one of you are struggling with the flesh, lust, or pride, ask the Father for forgiveness. Pray and ask Jesus to take these things that hinder your walk with Him from you. Strive to live a life that is holy and blameless. Repent and turn to Jesus. See 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Stay steady in Christ my friends. He will see you through! 

Reference:

The Reformation Study Bible, Reformation Trust Publishing, Copyright 2015.

Christians, Do You Celebrate Halloween?

Christians, Do You Celebrate Halloween?

Written by Rev. Joseph T. Lee

Christians, do you celebrate Halloween? Do you put up decorations and fully participate if this celebration of death, ghosts, goblins, witches, and darkness?

If you look at the picture attached to this post, you will notice tombstones in the yard. On the other end are skeletons hanging by the neck from a swing set. There are ghosts in the windows. If one is into visiting haunted houses, this would be the place to go. But what the residents of this home may not know or understand is that they are promoting the worship and celebration of darkness and the prince of this world, Satan.

I know a little about the paranormal and ghost hunting as well as the occult. Years ago, at one time in my life, I was curious about this subject, did a little research on it, and my eyes were opened to the evil of it as well as I was spiritually attacked. I renounced my inquiry into this darkness, repented, asked Jesus for forgiveness, and do not participate in any of those activities. There is a reason why God said that we should not seek the dead. The Bible says in Romans 13:12 that we are to put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. The light of Christ Jesus has nothing to do with the darkness of the evil one, Satan.

Our bodies as Christians are to be a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are not to be of the world and participate to the darkness of this world. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, it reads, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” We should not be delving in these works of darkness and we should be seeking fellowship with other Believers in Christ Jesus, striving to live a life of Christ.

Read on the remainder of this advice on the Temple of the Living God, 2 Corinthians 6:15-18, “15 What accord has Christ with Belial (Satan)? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Delving into the paranormal and the occult is an unclean thing. Celebrating the devil’s holiday is an unclean thing. Witchcraft is detestable to the Lord God Almighty. See Deuteronomy 18:10-14, “10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.”

Here is a guiding plumbline to consider when determining what is just and holy before the Lord God Almighty. Does decorating my home like it’s a graveyard with ghouls, goblins, and ghosts bring edification to the Lord God Almighty? Does Halloween bring praise, honor, and glory to the Heavenly Father? I think most of you would know the answer as NO!

As Christians, although we are in the world, we are not to partake or participate in these pagan celebrations of evil, which bring edification to the prince of this world, Satan.

If you want to make a difference in this dark and fallen world, we can consider this one opportunity to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ out into the community. Consider buying New Testament Bibles from either Dollar Tree or possibly from a local member of The Gideons. Every year, we hand out New Testament Bibles. We pray over them and ask the Holy Spirit to minister to a child’s heart through the Word of God. This has been a huge hit in our neighborhood, and we have been known as the Bible house. Here are the facts, unbelievers are going to take their kids trick or treating. If they are going to ring the doorbell, why not make this a ministry opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ Jesus by giving God’s Word?

If you are participating in this celebration, if you are delving in the occult and in the paranormal, I would strongly suggest that you renounce it, ask Jesus to forgive you if you are a Christian, repent, and turn away from these wicked and detestable things.

If you do not know the Living Christ Jesus, and you want to know Him, the Bible says that you must believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved (Cf. Acts 16:31). If you are struggling and have participated in the works of darkness, renounce it, repent, ask God to forgive you, and then follow Jesus. Jesus will send His Holy Spirit to help and teach you. Get into a Bible believing church. Start reading the Word of God beginning with the Book of John.

Christian parents, teach your children the right way, the Way of the Lord. Remember, although we are in the world, we are not to fellowship with unbelievers in these works of darkness.  I pray that the Lord Jesus with be with you, lead you, and guide you in a life pleasing and holy to God Almighty.

Photo Credit: Joseph T. Lee, Copyright 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc.

Copyright 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Putting On the Whole Armor of God

While on Twitter a couple of years ago, I came across a Tweet that made a profound statement. Liz @krazy4ujc wrote, “Women don’t need a knight in shining armor. They need a man covered in the full armor of God! There’s a difference!”

What a profound statement! There are men and women seeking spouses that may not be what they proclaim to be. In a dating relationship, what kind of man or woman are you seeking? If you are a non-believer in Jesus Christ, then I pretty much know the type of person you are seeking, which most likely would not be a Follower of Christ. But if you truly are a Follower of Christ, are you seeking someone who is a solid Christian, on fire for the Gospel of Christ, and shows in his or her lifestyle that they are fully engaged in their faith?

I would hope that you are looking for a man or woman that loves Jesus with all their heart, spends time in prayer, and studies the Word of God every day. These people are fully involved in their faith and they live it each day.

In contrast, “your knight in shining armor” may be a weak-minded individual who is spiritually deficient and lives by the world’s standards. They may claim to be a Christian, but in reality, they are weak and fall into carnal snares very easily because they are not grounded in God’s Word and Truth.

Look at what God’s Word says about a man or woman who is walking with Christ. These people are putting on the full armor of God as written in Ephesians 6:10-20.

The Whole Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

The whole armor of God makes a difference. Let’s say that a woman is looking for a Christian man to marry, that man should be fully engaged in his faith. When he has the full armor on, he can withstand the spiritual attacks that may come his way. I will use The Reformation Study Bible Concordance to explain what the Whole Armor of God is.

In verse 6:13, “Paul compares the whole armor of God with that of weapons of a Roman foot soldier with a number of Old Testament images of God, or Messiah as a warrior. (See Isaiah 11:1-5) Strikingly, what is said of God and the Messiah in the Old Testament is applied to believers.”[1]

In verse 6:14, fastened on the belt of truth means, “The Roman soldiers leather belt supported and protected his lower abdomen, gathered his tunic together, and held his sword. Paul seems to have in mind the confidence that comes from certainty about the truthfulness of God’s Word.”[2]

The breastplate of righteousness means, “Believers are protected by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (Rom. 4:6-11; Phil. 3:9), and they can stand up to the accusations of the devil, whose title in Greek means ‘slanderer’ (Rom. 8:31-34). Simultaneously, Paul sees believers taking on righteous character of Christ while their growing conformity to His image gives them confidence in resisting temptation. This piece of armor is what God prophesied to wear in judging and defeating the enemy in the latter-day battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor of God’s righteousness in Christ.”[3]

In verse 6:15, shoes for your feet means the following. “This is a clear allusion to Isaiah 52:7. Paul has in mind a messenger who takes the gospel to others. The image here is of the Roman soldier’s sturdy sandals, which gave him stability and protection in battle, so that Isaiah has been combined with this Roman background. Ironically, the peace that comes from the gospel readies one for war against evil. Isaiah 52:7 prophesied that in the end-time restoration of Israel there would be peace, and this restoration has begun in Christ and all who identify with Him.”[4]

In verse 6:16, the shield of faith is described as the following. “The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body; it was made of wood, covered in animal hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before battle, it could extinguish arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze. In the Old Testament, the Lord is the ‘shield’ of His people.”[5]

In verse 6:17, the helmet of salvation is described as the following. “This part of the armor is what God was predicted to be wearing when He would come to judge and defeat the opponent in the end-time battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor in Christ. For Paul, salvation is a present experience as well as future hope (1 Thess. 5:8). The believer’s final ground of confidence is the faithfulness of God to complete the salvation He has begun (Phil. 1:6).”[6]

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The one offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal is compared to the Roman sword, short and designed for hand-to-hand combat. Jesus used the Word of God in His battle against temptations of Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). The Lord was prophesied to make the mouth of His Messianic Servant like a sharp sword (Isaiah 49:2; cf. Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15). Christ has begun to fulfill this prophecy at His first coming (Rev. 1:16, 2:12, 16) and the prophecy will be completed at Christ’s final coming (Rev. 19:15). Christ’s followers also have this offensive weapon when they believe in Christ and come into union with Him.”[7]

In verses 6:18-20, “The battle theme in this passage ends with an urgent call to militant prayer (‘Keep Alert’) on behalf of all believers and on behalf of Paul’s ministry (Col. 4:2-4). It is possible that, together with ‘the sword of the Spirit,’ prayer is one more offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal.”[8]

Although Liz posted on Twitter that women should be looking for a man who puts on the whole armor of God, I would also include that men should be looking for women to put on the whole armor of God as well. If one marries a man or woman who is not as strong in the faith, then your marriage is not equally yoked. Yoked means that you are on the same level as your spouse. Take for example a farmer plowing his fields. Before the day of the tractor, a farmer used two oxen to plow his field. The farmer would place a harness and yoke on the two oxen to keep them together. If the harness and yoke were not properly aligned, then the movement of the oxen would be off kilter and therefore they would be unequally yoked. The same applies in relationships and marriage. If one spouse is living her life for Jesus every day and her husband is not taking an interest in Christian Spiritual matters, then that marriage is unequally yoked. In order to be on the same level, there must be commitments of both spouses to spend time with God, together in prayer, reading daily in the Bible, and getting involved and engaged in the Gospel of Christ.

If you are not married and are in a relationship with someone who is not a Follower of Christ, I would suggest putting off any wedding plans until you both are on the same level in your faith. It will make a difference in your marriage and in your life.

I want to thank Liz @krazy4ujc on Twitter for this profound and inspirational post. I would highly recommend that you follow her on Twitter.

References:

[1] R.C. Sproul Ed., The Reformation Study Bible, (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015) 2101.

[2] Sproul, Reformation Study Bible, 2101.

[3] Ibid., 2101.

[4] Ibid., 2101.

[5] Ibid., 2101.

[6] Ibid., 2101.

[7] Ibid., 2101.

[8] Ibid., 2101.

Republished September 19, 2022; Copyright 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. Original Copyright March 26, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: Overcoming the evil of pornography

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: Overcoming the evil of pornography

Written by Rev. Joseph T. Lee

Today, we are continuing our discussion on the evil of pornography and the effects on the Church. In a previous post, I wrote that Google did not have safe guards to prevent a child from viewing pornography. I was incorrect in that statement. They do have a filter that a parent can turn on called SafeSearch. When activated, SafeSearch will deny the user to view content that is considered pornography, violence, and gore. This safety feature only applies to the Google search engine. Safari has something similar.

These filters are good for these search engines, but a middle school child who wants to view content will find their way around these filters. Many times, the child may be using the device of the parent and can turn the filter on and off as well as clear the internet searches from the history of the search engine. Google and Safari also have a Incognito or Private mode in which whatever is searched for in those search engines, the history is not saved. Although the history on the device and search engine is deleted, the websites visited still has the IP Address of your device saved in their servers.

My recommendation is that parents go online and purchase filters through Covenant Eyes, which will help curb this problem within your household. Their website address is www.CovenantEyes.com. They will help you control what your family views online via computers, mobile devices, and tablets. You will download their software on your devices and then when someone searches the internet, a report  is generated as to what was searched. Covenant Eyes also will block porn and violence and will report to the parent what was blocked. The cost for this service is $16.99 a month. They also have an accountability team whom you may call. This is a great value and great investment for protecting your children and family.

Ron DeHaas, President of Covenant Eyes wrote, “The data from “The Porn Phenomenon” bears this out. Twenty-nine percent of general population adults seek out pornography at least monthly. However, 39 percent of those who use a filter to block pornography seek it out at least monthly. More alarming, 54  percent of U.S. adults say they never seek out porn-but 0 percent of filter users say they never seek it out! That is why I started Covenant Eyes. Filters can’t replace relationships for keeping people accountable.”[1]

Anyone searching for pornography or sexual violence has an addiction to it and must seek help. Viewing it over and over again can cause trust problems for their spouse. In the book, “The Porn Phenomenon” published by the Barna Group, there was a Q & A in the back of the book. Marlene Soffera who is a pastor, speaker, and writer answered many questions posed to her about pornography and sex addicts. She stated, “The breakdown of trust is the number-one issue reported by wives of sex addicts. This is true no matter the form in which their husband’s addiction manifests itself, all the way from ‘simple’ use of pornography to extramarital affairs (often with the wife’s friends or relative), prostitutes, rape, pedophilia, etc. Every one of these activities is shrouded in secrecy and layers of lies and broken promises. When the lies finally come to light, usually in a dramatic discovery, the wife’s trust in her husband is almost completely shattered. It is a long and difficult process to rebuild trust.”[2]

Seeking pornography can lead one into an addiction. Once the eyes of an innocent child has viewed this evil and filth, they cannot unsee it. These pictures can set off chemicals of pleasure in the brain and can arouse anyone who views it. Soffera wrote, The reality for the addict-differentiated from a more casual user-is that porn is their drug of choice to medicate the pain of past wounds.”[3] Soffera recommends therapy to get to the bottom of the pain one must be feeling and medicating themselves with the use of pornography. That is why counseling with a qualified counselor will help the sex addict with their issue, so that their wounds can be healed through therapy.

For those who are the producers and makers of pornography, I believe that they are working along side with Satan and demons in what they are presenting. They capitalize on the degradation of women, men, and children. Just to think that a pornographer would defile a child and that an adult man would have sex on film with a small child is horrific to say the least. The Bible speaks against harming children. The perpetrator should just tie a millstone around their neck and throw themselves into the sea because they will be judged harshly and thrown into hell at the great Judgement Day. In Matthew 18:6, it reads “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Mark 9:42 reads, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb a reward.”

For those who are seeking pornography and look at it constantly, the Bible says the following in about godlessness in the last days which seem to be the days we are living in now. Look at 2 Timothy 3:1-9, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.”

Pornography leads one to be a lover of pleasure. Just think about how many intimate relationships you have had in your mind with a virtual woman, man, or child. You have committed adultery in your heart as well and fornication by proxy if you are single, If you viewed child pornography, you have committed pedophilia within your heart and you will be held accountable, if not on this earth, at the Judgement Seat when you die and face God Almighty to answer for your sins.

Let’s look at one more Scripture pertaining to your relationship with Jesus if you proclaim to be a Christian and yet you are looking at pornography. Look at Matthew 7:21-23, “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Are you a worker of lawlessness? Does Christ Jesus “REALLY KNOW YOU?” Are you constantly committing adultery, fornicating, in your heart because you are viewing pornography? If so and you want to quit and salvage your relationship with Christ Jesus, you need to repent from this lifestyle and these sexual acts with virtual women, men, and children. First, you must ask forgiveness. Pray and ask Jesus to forgive you of your unrighteousness and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to save you from your sins. Ask Jesus to help you overcome these sexual desires. Then seek counseling to help you with this problem. Seek an accountability group so that others may help you by holding you accountable.

Next week, we will be discussing putting on the Full Armor of God so that you will be able to endure the fiery darts of Satan and his demons the next time you are tempted with masturbation and viewing pornography.

I will be praying for you that the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you. Place your trust and faith in Christ Jesus when temptation comes. He will help you and provide an escape so that you will not succumb to the temptation.

Resources:

The Porn Phenomenon, Josh McDowell Ministry (Ventura, CA: Barna Group, 2016).


[1] The Porn Phenomenon, Josh McDowell Ministry (Ventura, CA: Barna Group, 2016) 130.

[2] The Porn Phenomenon, 125.

[3] Ibid, 129.

Copyright 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation; But Deliver Us From Evil: Overcoming the Evil One – Pornography

Lead Us Not Into Temptation; But Deliver Us From Evil: Overcoming the Evil One – Pornography

Written by Rev. Joseph T. Lee

Most recently, we have discussed the evils of viewing pornography and how it affects our society and even those in ministry. The fact is that viewing pornography arouses sexual desires which is already in our carnal nature. Pornographers capitalize on this sin which can lead to an addiction to those who view it.

Were you aware that pornography industry in the United States earns a revenue of about 12 Billion Dollars a year? Globally, pornography brings in a revenue of about 97 Billion US Dollars a year. Actors and actresses are branded in other countries. Many of them MUST perform under duress because they are sex slaves. Many of these men and women were abducted and sold into sex slavery. Their chances of ever having a normal life with a spouse and children are nil. If you watch porn films, videos, or look at pictures, you may be in fact supporting sexual slavery.

Often times, what may appear to be adults because their bodies have matured to look like a woman over 18 years of age may actually be children who are between 11 to 17 years of age. You may not know this, but when you look at porn and click on a picture, your computer or smart phone address is registered on that picture in the pornographers computers and servers as a hash tag and the Internet Protocol Address (IP Address) has been captured. Even if you had no intention of looking at kiddy porn, you may have in fact done that by clicking through pictures and your computer IP Address has been captured on the pornographers site. By watching and paying for porn, you may in fact be supporting sex trafficking.

If you are a Pastor, Minister, Ministry Worker, you need to stop immediately and admit to Christ Jesus your sin. If you are addicted, you must admit that you are an addict to the Lord, repent from sinning this way, and turn from your wicked ways. I would also suggest getting involved in a support group who can help you stay clear of porn. Seek out a Christian Counseling Center or reach out to www.ProvenMinistries.org for assistance. They will provide resources to help you quit pornography. This ministry can help both men and women.

The Bible says that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. See Romans 3:23. But this Scripture does not give you permission to continue sinning and being a part of the world. Of course, if you truly asked Jesus into your life by believing in Him, He will save you. In John 10:28-30, Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one will ever snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

The only way to fully battle this pornography addiction and sin is to put on the full armor of God, which will protect you from Satan and his demons. This week, we will discuss the armor and explain what each piece represents for you. In the meanwhile, please read the following Scripture taken from Ephesians 6:10-20. I pray that tonight, you will repent and turn from this wickedness. For those who do not know Jesus as their personal Savior, I pray that you will believe in Him that He is the Son of God, that He died for yours and my sins and you will be saved. Pray and ask Him into your heart and live in you through His Holy Spirit. More to come next week.

Ephesians 6:10-20:

The Full Armor of God

“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

“May the Lord Bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord life His Countenance upon you, and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26.

Until we meet again, I am you faithful Brother in Christ!

Reverend Joseph T. Lee

Copyright 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil – Part 2

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil

Written by Joseph T. Lee

Part 2

Today, we are picking up where we left off at the ending of Part 1, where we discussed that pornography is an epidemic and an addiction that affects over 40 million people in the United States alone. In ministry, we counsel with people who have made pornography there idol and they are so addicted to it that it affects their personal lives as well as their marriages. Even when pastors and ministers are dealing with this, they themselves are not immune to the addiction. Many who are in ministry lived different lives before coming to Christ Jesus. Many may have viewed porn before they were saved and may indeed have had the addiction before coming to Christ.

Although Christ Jesus forgives our sins, if one is addicted to something, they may have a compulsive behavior and may need psychological counseling to help overcome this problem. Pastor’s and ministers may not have the training to deal with these issues, so it is important to recognize the disorder and refer these congregants to a Christian Counseling Center who implements Biblical principles along with psychological treatment.

As for pastors and ministers, they need to be very careful in what they watch and view because pornography can be addictive like a drug. According to Sam Louie of Psychology Today, “Pornography can be deeply problematic in the general population, so it should be no surprise that it’s also impacting the church communities. Yet how many pastors are willing to come forward with their troubles?”[1]

Louie goes on to discuss the finding from the research study by the Barna Group called “The Porn Phenomenon.” The Barna group determined that 57% of pastors in their control group and 64% of youth pastors in the same control group struggle with pornography, either currently or in the past. Only less than 1% of that group recommended telling their congregation.[2]

Louie wrote, “This makes sense, because it’s hard enough for people in the general population who struggle with sexual or porn-related compulsive behavior to acknowledge the problem, let alone a pastor whose job is to expound on spiritual truths and be a living example of morality above reproach.”[3]

Certainly one can try on their own to overcome this problem. They can wrap themselves in their faith in God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Perhaps a way of escape is getting help from a qualified Christian counselor who has both the Biblical and Psychological training to help you overcome these temptations. Christian counselors can also be considered as ministers to those who are hurting and have addictions and afflictions.

Louie goes on to discuss the cycle of denial and how people will try to do it on their own. Louie wrote, “It usually takes years (if done at all) for a person who has negative compulsive behaviors to recognize that the behaviors are not only maladaptive but have reached a point of habituation that they are beyond the person’s individual “willpower” to stop.”[4] It is very hard to stop this addiction. It has taken a root in your inner being.

For pastors and ministers, Louie discusses questions you should ask yourself so that you will know if you have a problem yourself. Often pastors are afraid to go to anyone for help for fear they will lose their jobs. It is important though that pastors seek counseling themselves, even if it’s with a private therapist so that they can get the help they need so that the pastor himself can minister to others. It would be hard for a minister to minister to someone else if he or she has the same secret behavior.

Louie wrote, “For pastors and churches, how can you diagnose if there’s a problem? Well, you can ask yourself these following questions.

  • Have you intentionally accessed sexually explicit material in the past year? Yes, there’s porn, but there’s much more out there that can sexually arouse a person without reaching the definition of pornography. Sexually charged movies, romance novels, comic books, and magazines can arouse you.
  • What is the frequency of accessing these materials?
  • What is the frequency of masturbation (both with or without the use of pornography)? This is important because of the fact some people believe they can masturbate without the use of porn and it isn’t harming them. But this is where sexual fantasy and imagery come into play, which may perpetuate a cycle of addiction. This also needs to be addressed.
  • Have you lied or been deceitful about this to anyone?
  • What specifically are you looking at? (For example, adult pornography would be therapeutically treated differently than child pornography.)
  • Trajectory: Is the pattern of sexually acting out improving or getting worse?”[5]

Louie states that churches should create an environment and re-establish themselves as the safest places on earth. Churches are meant to be places of spiritual refuge and safety where people can share their deepest wounds and break the shackles of addiction and shame (paraphrased).[6]

Pastors, are you struggling? You do not have to do this alone. I would encourage you to contact a Christian Counseling Center and speak with a senior counselor whom you may have a confidential discussion of what is going on in your life. I believe through prayer of Christ Jesus and confiding in a Christian Counselor or Psychologist, you will be able to break your addiction. It may not be an addiction of pornography. If may be some other type of compulsive behavior.

Pray and ask Jesus to forgive you and help you with your problems. Admit it to the Father that you are addicted and that you want deliverance. Then seek out a counselor who is a born again Christian and start on your road to recovery.

This is the end of Part 2. If you want to subscribe and read other follow-ups to this topic, please subscribe below.

References:

Louie, Sam; Reviewed by Abigail Fagan, Psychology Today, January 30, 2020, Retrieved August 30, 2020. Pastors and Porn | Psychology Today

Barna Group – “The Porn Phenomenon”

Photo Credit:

TextArt

Copyright 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Louie, Sam; Reviewed by Abigail Fagan, Psychology Today, January 30, 2020, Retrieved August 30, 2020. Pastors and Porn | Psychology Today

[2] Ibid, Psychology Today, 2020.

[3] Ibid, 2020

[4] Ibid, 2020.

[5] Ibid, 2020.

[6] Ibid, 2020.