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.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil – Part 1

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil

Written by Joseph T. Lee

Part 1

We live in a nation which is rampant with evil and perverse practices. As Christians, we are surrounded by temptations and an evil that is so dark, that it comes straight from the pit of Hell. Even in the day when Christ Jesus walked physically on this earth and practiced His ministry, those were very evil and perverse days. Jesus said as recorded in Mark 8:38, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Jesus said over 2000 years ago, that his generation was adulterous and sinful. No wonder in our current society, our nation is as adulterous and sinful as it were in the time that Jesus said this. We live in a society where pornography is rampant on the internet, in printed magazines, in movies, on DVD’s, on cable television, in commercials (soft porn), and in television programs (soft Porn). Our nation is being saturated with it coming from all directions and as a Christian, we are being bombarded.

I chose to call this “Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil” because of the last verse in the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught us “The Lord’s Prayer” as recorded in Matthew 6:9-13.

        In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
(NKJV)

Let us focus on verse 13. In this translation of the Bible, Do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil or the evil one. The evil or the evil one is Satan and his demons.

Jesus wants the forgiven to pray this petition so that they will trust God and not just trust themselves. In Matthew 4:1, Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit and he was to be tested and tempted by the devil. Just as Jesus was tempted, our Heavenly Father may allow us to be tempted . According to Scripture, He will not allow us to be tempted beyond capacity. 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.” Now look at James 1:12-13, 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one.”

So we know that the temptation comes directly from the evil one, Satan and his demons. We know this because it is written in the Word of God. These temptations are saturating the members of our churches to the point that many are addicted to pornography because they have succumbed to these temptations. Pornography addiction can be as strong as any drug or alcohol addiction.

I am going to share some facts about how pornography has and still is affecting the Church and it’s leaders and pastors. The following are the results of research studies conducted by the Barna Group and Covenant Eyes. This information was found the Mission Frontiers website and will be credited at the bottom of the article in the references. Here are the results of these studies:

  1. Over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites. The average visit lasts 6 minutes and 29 seconds.
  2. There are around 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn.
  3. The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It is also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC.
  4. 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home. Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%
  5. 11 is the average age that a child is first exposed to porn, and 94% of children will see porn by age 14.
  6. 56% of American divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.
  7. 70% of Christian Youth Pastors report that they have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with pornography in the past 12 months.
  8. 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.
  9. 59% of pastors said that married men seek help for porn use.

10. 33% of women aged 25 and under search for porn at least    once per month.

11. Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn—87% of Christian women have watched porn.

12. 55% of married men and 25% of married women say they watch porn at least once a month.

13. 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church.[1]

As one can see, we have literally a pandemic going on in our nation with pornography addiction being the illness which is causing sexual sin in the lives of millions of people. In my last article on porn, I mentioned that when men and women seek pleasure and pleasuring themselves through the use of these pornographic images, they have in fact committed fornication by proxy as well as committed adultery by proxy. By proxy, I mean that they have used a visual means and fantasized of having sexual intercourse with the person in the image, instead of having marital sexual relations with their wife or husband. They used the pornography and masturbation as a replacement or substitution of the actual act of sexual intercourse with their wife or husband. To support this, read Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus is saying that just by looking at a woman, with lustful thoughts, including wanting to have sex with her, has committed adultery with her. Can you imagine that by viewing pornography and hundreds of images, one has committed adultery already in their heart’s multiple times? And if they act on those images and masturbate, that is where I coined the term adultery by proxy, using those images and a substitute for one’s husband or wife. Although, the previous description is graphic in nature, it must be discussed so that we know what the root problem is and be able to discuss how to overcome pornography addiction, which is rampant in our churches and across our community.

This is the end of Part 1. We will be discussing this epidemic in the coming days ahead. Please consider subscribing to this blog for Part 2 and other articles.

References:

Mission Frontiers Website

[1] Mission Frontiers, Retrieved August 29, 2022, (November 01, 2020 by Kingdom Works Studios https://conquerseries.com/15-mind-blowing-statistics-about-pornography-and-the-church/) Mission Frontiers – 15 Mind-Blowing Statistics About Pornography And The Church

Kingdom Works Studios

https://conquerseries.com/15-mind-blowing-statistics-about-pornography-and-the-church

Barna Group

Covenant Eyes

Photo Credit:

TextArt.com

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


Parents, Are You Monitoring What Your Children Look at Online?

Parents, Are You Monitoring What Your Children Look at Online?
Written by Joseph T. Lee

In today’s society, parents are buying their children smart phones. I have seen kids as young as 8 years old with their own smart phone. The mindset behind this is to allow them contact with their parents in the event of any incident that occurs at school. Unfortunately, kids being kids are exploring the internet, and many times with no parental control.

On any smart phone, the user may download apps like Google Chrome or any web browser, just like what can be downloaded on any computer. Google will allow the user to type in any combination of words to find pornography and then the user may select images at the top of the screen and then see any image that has words similar to what was typed in. Sometimes these images are very, very graphic. Anyone can type in an acronym and select image and see the vilest images from graphic websites. The worst part of all is that your children may be viewing these graphic images.

Once these images are seen, then they cannot be unseen. There are many school children addicted to pornography (porn) as young as 11 years old.

According to Summit Pediatrics website, “On average, children now experience porn for the first time at age 11. Teenage boys are the most susceptible to the suggestive messages. However, at this young age, all children are vulnerable to addictive nature of these graphic images. That’s why it’s important to have conversations with your children early. It’s also crucial for parents to recognize the warning signs that their child might be viewing porn on a daily basis. Below are four signs that your child might need help.”

These are the four warning signs according to Summit Pediatrics in Draper, Utah:

1. Isolation, Disinterest in Friends and Activities.

2. Depression or Sudden Changes in Mood.

3. Increased Secrecy.

4. Sexual Explicit Language and Drawings.

If your child is experiencing any of these warning signs, you should seek psychological counseling from a Christian counseling center as soon as possible or talk to their pediatrician for guidance. A specialized therapist will be able to help you and your child.

Pornography can be very addictive and may start out as looking at ladies nightgowns and then click on one picture that excites them which leads to another and another. Before long, they will continue to explore to find a photo that excites them even more until they have viewed hundreds and hundreds of images and have become addicted to porn.

As adults, addictions are hard to break but children are very vulnerable and addictions could potentially last a lifetime. These addictions can lead to exploration of their own sexuality including masturbation, sexual encounters with other children, and potentially unwanted encounters of other kids such as improper touching or an unwanted sexual advance.

Giving your child a smart phone with no parental controls is like giving them a loaded handgun to play with, in that smart phones can cause damage psychologically. Pornography addiction can last a lifetime and can damage relationships including marriage.

People who are addicted can hide their addictions very well. Pornography can cause married couples to end their marriage in divorce.

Every time the man or woman looks at another male or female with lust in their eyes or hearts has broken the 10th Commandment, “Thou shalt not covet.” According to the Reporter Times, “Covet means to want something that belongs to someone else. A person who covets may be led to break almost all the other commandments.” If the person looking at pornography masturbates to the images, they have physically committed adultery not just in their hearts but physically by proxy. This means they have broken the 7th Commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Looking at pornography and becoming addicted can lead one to worship it. Porn has become an idol to the one who is addicted. This person most likely has broken the 1st Commandment, “You shall have no other God’s before me.” It is also possible that this person has broken the 2nd Commandment as well, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.” Any one who worships anything other than God has broken these commandments, which God originally gave the Israelites, His chosen people. As Christians, we are to abide by these Ten Commandments because those are God’s laws for us as well.

For those who are adults and are addicted to pornography, when you view porn, you have lusted after someone who is not your spouse. If you have masturbated to the image, you have committed adultery by proxy and have denied your spouse, thus cheated outside the marriage. Those who have not married, but still exhibit the same behavior, you have committed fornication by proxy which is a sin against God as well as your own body.

Addiction is a form of slavery. One can be a slave to pornography and ultimately a slave to masturbation. These addictions can be as strong as addictions to cocaine or meth.

If you are a Christian, there is nothing that pleases Satan more that to attempt to cause a separation between you and God. Don’t let Satan have victory over your life. Immediately confess that you are a porn addict, ask forgiveness, and repent, meaning stop looking at it. If you cannot stop, then you will need outside intervention through Christian counseling.

There is also an organization that is located In Lynchburg, Virginia called Proven Ministries. Their web address is www.ProvenMen.org. This non-profit organization deals exclusively with overcoming pornography addiction. Their mission statement is as follows: “We have a passion to see men being set free from their sin and passionately pursuing Jesus in a personal relationship with Him. We desire to see this transformation and growth to happen within the walls of the local church! It’s all about men experiencing the power of the Gospel within their lives and struggles!”

Proven Ministries will also work with women, wives and families. Our ministry endorses Proven Ministries. If you are addicted and want to change, I would highly recommend that you reach out to them for help or a local Christian Counseling Agency who will use the Bible for guidance and encouragement.

References:

Summit Pediatrics, Draper, Utah

The Reporter Times

Proven Ministries

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

Frivolous Spending: Being a Good Steward of God’s Money

Frivolous Spending: Being a Good Steward of God’s Money

Written by Joseph T. Lee

Good day friends!  First of all, I would like to apologize if my post on $80,000 offended anyone yesterday. That was not my intention. I am a firm believer of being a good steward of God’s money, especially when it comes to ministry money. The story yesterday was not about “your church” but about frivolous spending of God’s money.

I do not have any issue with a church serving up coffee, tea, or pastries before the Sunday morning service. Although I personally do not care for coffee, I do love a great cup of hot tea. I know that many churches have coffee areas in their fellowship halls or lobby. There is nothing wrong with providing coffee for your visitors and congregants and certainly nothing wrong with sitting around before church having godly conversations with each other.

The reason I felt led to write that story is that there are many churches that are forsaking community evangelism and changing the church appearance to look more secular in order to attract more people. The idea is to remove the church look and change it to look like a theater or auditorium. Some church organizations are removing their denomination name to attract people who may not want to attend a Methodist or Baptist church. The reason why church congregations are dwindling is because potentially the existing leadership and/or deacons or elders are not engaging the gospel in the community. The leadership are not making disciples who make disciples.

The Bible spoke of this over 2000 years ago when it was written in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” What this means is “itching ears” is a term used in the Bible to describe individuals who seek out messages that apply to their own lifestyle as opposed to adhering to the teaching of Christ Jesus and His Apostles. If it is something they do not like, they will either try to change it or seek to find what they want.

Certainly, modernizing a church building may be needed, but why would a church need to put in a luxury coffee shop or anything that is of a luxury nature in a church building? I am not talking about necessary plumbing or air conditioning or heating. I am talking about elaborate and luxurious services to possibly attract more people. To me, this is a waste of Gods money. It is satisfying the itching ears of those who want to change things the way they want them. Many church bodies are removing the names of their denominations as well as watering down the gospel from the pulpit. Those preachers may be teaching what the itching ears want to hear.

I mentioned yesterday that we should be planting seeds of faith in our community and ministering to almost anyone and everyone. This can be done if everyone who professes to be a Christian would get out into their communities and have “godly conversations” with those who are lost and hurting. We could make a huge difference for the Gospel of Christ by investing our time in other people’s lives.

In reality, if a church wants to put in an $80,000 coffee shop, it is really none of my business because I am not a member of that church. But when I hear of things happening like this when just two years prior, churches from all over were applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and some large churches received hundreds of thousands of dollars. When I then hear of churches doing these luxury additions, and they are asking their congregants to donate money for it during a pandemic, then I have serious concerns about stewardship within a religious organization.

We must be good stewards of God’s money. We must focus our resources on the ministry God has called all of us in. Regardless, whether it is an $80,000 coffee shop or spending multiple millions of dollars on a private jet, these ministry dollars spent need to be accounted for. I ask, is this the best use of God’s money? Is this a need or a want? How is this useful for the cause of Christ? If it does not bring more people to the saving grace of Jesus, then it is money that should not be spent. Are we being salt and light in our communities? Are we engaging the gospel daily? If not, then we need to pray for forgiveness, repent, and start to do what God has called us all to do.

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

Church, What Can $80,000 Buy for the Gospel of Christ?

Church, What Can $80,000 Buy for the Gospel of Christ?

Written by Joseph T. Lee

Most recently, I heard about a mega church who wanted the congregants to pay for an $80,000 coffee shop in the church lobby. I was told that by having a coffee shop at church, people could sit around drinking their favorite coffee and having godly conversations. Then I thought, are you serious? There are people that are suffering in our own community and yet a church wants to spend $80,000 for a coffee shop in order to attract more people and have godly conversations over a cup of coffee.

Certainly, having a nice up of Joe can be inviting, but there are several coffee shops all along the way to any church such as Starbucks and some Mom and Pop shops. If you do serve coffee at your church, I do not have a problem with that. Many churches serve coffee and that is fine, but I am quite sure that they did not spend $80,000 to build a luxury coffee shop inside their church.

Friends, we should not miss what the church was designed to do. It was designed to minister to the lost and the hurting. If you want to attract people through your church doors, you must get out into the community and “be the hands and feet of Christ.” There are people who are legitimately homeless and could use a helping hand. There are people who could be retrained to do another job if someone were willing to teach them. There are people who do not know how to read, and the Church could teach them. There are people who are seeking the “Truth” and we must go to them to meet them where they are. There are hungry orphans in our own nation as well as through out the world whom we could help feed. Those who are sick could use help. The list goes on in how to minister to our community and to the world, yet what does a coffee shop in a church do for the gospel of Christ?

Here is just a short list of what $80,000 could do for the Gospel of Christ:

Purchase 80,000 New Testament Bibles to distribute to people hungry for the Word of God.

Purchase 16000 Bibles with the Old and New Testaments for Believers who cannot afford to buy a Bible.

Feed 1067 families for a month or about 4268 people for a month. This is based on the World Health Organizations Cost of a month’s supply of food for one family of four.

Purchase 800 tents for families to live in after a catastrophic event.

Provide clean water for thousands to drink in third world countries.

Clean clothing for those who have nothing in third world countries.

Provide emergency relief for those effected by wildfires, storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of storms, this money could help in the rebuild process of those who do not have the funds to rebuild their own homes.

$80,000 can mean the difference between someone in the community coming to Christ or not. If we want to make a difference for the cause of Christ, we need to stop thinking about ourselves and our comforts, and start thinking about our neighbors and their needs. Being the Church and getting off the pew and serving our neighbors in the community is that best way to get people to come to your church. It will show them that you truly love Jesus and by doing so, you are showing the love of Jesus to them.

Pastors, I challenge you to be a leader in your church and reach out to your local communities and BE THE CHURCH! Get out of the pulpit and start planting seeds of faith all over the community. If you think you need an $80,000 coffee shop, then instead, save the church’s money, which should be utilized for missions and evangelism, and go to Starbucks for that great cup of coffee.

Jesus gave us a commandment taken from Matthew 28:18-20, “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

In Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

We are not to sit around and drink coffee and just have godly conversations. We need to BE the CHURCH! If we don’t do it, who will? People are starving for the gospel of Christ. People need the Lord! People need Jesus! They are everywhere. We need to get into action and start praying and then go into our communities and be the hands and feet of Christ. It’s time! The harvest is ripe.

Copyright August 24, 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Christians, Do You Proclaim to Send Prayers and Good Vibes?

Written by Joseph T. Lee

Last Friday, I had to have a serious shoulder surgery. I had a really bad tear of my rotator cuff and had arthroscopic surgery to repair it. They put me under with general anesthesia and when I woke up, the tear had been repaired. I had some after effects of the anesthesia and really felt very bad for about four days, then I started to feel better. I am on the mend and am feeling so much better, Praise God! At the time of surgery and well as the aftermath, I asked for prayer.

I had asked my prayer partners on social media to pray for me as well as those who attend my church. I truly believe that those who truly know the Living Christ Jesus prayed earnestly for me. I recently received a private message from someone that I do not know well who stated that they were praying for me and sending positive vibes. Although I truly appreciate the prayers, sending positive vibes is not a function of the Church. As a matter of fact, no human being has any power to send positive vibes.

“Positive Vibes” is not a Christian function. Although some people say this because they heard others say it, they most likely mean it harmlessly. Christians should not be using this terminology as it is not Biblical and is not a practice of God fearing Christ Followers. Positive Vibes is a term often found in occult practices. The Occult is not of our Heavenly Father but that of Satan.

People who truly believe they can send positive vibes are practicing the occult whether they know it or not. Where is the source that these vibes come from? It is definitely Not from the Holy Spirit, NOT from Jesus, and NOT from our Heavenly Father. So if these vibes are not from the Trinity, then they must be from Satan himself.

 Sending positive vibes is a New Age practice which is the occult. It is not of God and Christians should stop using this as a phrase or hash tag in posts. Man has no mystical power to send anything. All healing power comes from God Himself, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through His Son, Jesus.

If someone is sending “Positive Vibes” or if you ask for those to pray for you and also send “Positive Vibes or Positive Energy,” the latter request, you have included Satan in the mix. There are only two sides of spirituality, God’s side and Satan’s side. For someone to literally ask occultists to send positive vibes or positive energy is literally inviting demonic activity into your life as well as the lives of your family. You have opened the door to demonic activity.

Let us review what the Bible says about this. I consider the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and it is what can be trusted. Let’s start with Isaiah 47:10-15, “  10 You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” 11 But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. 12 Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror. 13 You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. 14 Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before! 15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored, who have done business with you from your youth; they wander about, each in his own direction; there is no one to save you.”

Beware what you dabble in and invite into your home. Practicing these occult practices, whether intentionally or unintentionally, can lead to destruction.

Now let’s look at Isaiah 44:24-25, “24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25 who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish.”

Look at Deuteronomy 18:10-12, “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.”

No, we are not to accept “Good Vibes or Positive Energy,” as these are the workings of the occult, a practice of New Age and Witchcraft. We are to stay clear of these practices and go to God with all of our requests and petitions. See Philippians 4:6-7, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We are to bring all of our cares, desires, petitions, and everything to our Heavenly Father. We are not to request prayers and then also invite Satan and his demons into our requests. Be careful for what you ask for. Be careful for what you accept.

As for me, I will accept all the prayers of “true Believers in Christ Jesus.” I will not accept any positive vibes or positive energy because I know the source you are sending it through and it is not that of God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit.

If you have been involved in the occult or have dabbled in it or you are currently dabbling in it, you must repent from that sin and turn from this wickedness. You must renounce your participation and ask God to forgive you. If you do not, and you profess to be a Christian, you cannot serve two masters. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins and He will. Repent means that you will stop doing what you were doing and follow Jesus and practice a life of Christ. I pray that you will come to Christ Jesus today.

Copyright August 18, 2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Do you love your neighbor?

Do you love your neighbor?
Written by Joseph T Lee

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

If you want to make the difference for the cause of Christ, you must love one another regardless of their faith, color, lifestyle, or their political party.

The fact that people are so adamant about politics, people will run over other people, call them names, poke fun of their elderly years. Acting this way is so far from the cause of Christ.

We are to love others in a way that people will ask, why did you do this for me? If we are to make a difference for Christ, we need to start practicing and praying the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus said that we are to forgive other’s trespasses. If we do not, God will not forgive our own trespasses. If you don’t believe me, read this.

“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:15

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish in hell but have eternal life with Christ Jesus (paraphrased from John 3:16).

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 a relationship with YOU. If you do not truly know Him, the only requirement is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and repent from your sinful ways (wickedness and wrong doing).

I pray that you will accept Him today through faith in Him and repentance. Then I look forward to you following Him. He will make a true difference in your life.

Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. Copyright August 12, 2022. All Rights Reserved.