Friday, 7 March 2014

Our Achilles Heel

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Ephesians 5:3

An Achilles heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can actually or potentially lead to downfall.  Satan knows the most effective Achilles heels of mankind and is so clever in bringing us down.

The derivation of the term “Achilles heel” comes from Greek mythology. Supposedly Achilles was a baby, whose future was bleak.  It was foretold that he would die young. To prevent his death, his mother took Achilles to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invulnerability, and dipped his body into the water. But as his mother held Achilles by the heel, his heel was not washed over by the water of the magical river. Achilles grew up to be a man of war who survived many great battles. But one day, a poisonous arrow shot at him was lodged in his heel, killing him shortly after.

I suspect that most of us have an Achilles Heel, some seemingly less harmful than others.  To what purpose does Satan exploit my Achilles Heel and yours?  He wants us to turn from our dependence on God, he wants to destroy our witness by tempting us with behaviors that are not consistent with our beliefs and values as Christians.

In my opinion there is no temptation that is more pervasive and dangerous than pornography.  It is a multi-billion dollar industry.  The most likely targets are children age’s nine to twelve.  It is destroying marriages and families.  Once the haven of men, now forty percent of women are viewing images, reading erotic novels or are in sexually flirtatious chat rooms.

This insidious addiction is as controlling as cocaine.  Praying for God to give us victory over this addiction is a must but rarely will God deliver us instantaneously.  We need filters on every electronic device, we need counseling, and we need a support group and an accountability partner who is not our spouse.

13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1Corinthians 10:13

As parents and grandparents be vigilant.  As a husband or wife don’t be na├»ve.  Don’t ask your spouse if they are involved in porn because they will either lie to you, which is what most addicts do, or they will tell you the truth and you will be devastated.  Learn as much as you can about the addiction because someone you care about is its slave.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Perfect Me

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.  Ephesians 2:10 The Message

When I consider all my physical imperfections and my intellectual deficiencies it is hard to believe that I have been intentionally created this way.  I always wanted to play basketball.  The only thing that stopped me was that I was too short, too slow and a bad shot.  I could go on to enumerate many endeavors at which I wish I had some accomplishment but the list would be too embarrassing.”

It is then that I recall that great passage in Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Okay so playing in the NBA was not part of God’s plan for me. 

So given these two verses I can only assume, that in spite of the wrong turns I have taken up to and including now, God has me where He wants me and He has given me the tools to accomplish His goal for my life.

If I embrace this notion, I can wake up each morning with an eager anticipation of what He has in store for me this day.  What does He want me to do today to advance His Kingdom?  Will I have a “chance” meeting with someone who needs to hear the gospel; do I need to pray with a friend who is hurting; do I need to make a special meal for my spouse as an expression of my love; perhaps an e-card is needed to cheer someone up; etc.

The amount of Kingdom work to be done on planet earth exceeds the laborers to get the job done.  I could spend much of the day bemoaning the fact that I’m not a scratch golfer, that after fifty years of tinkering on the piano I can only play one song, or I can take an inventory of what God has equipped me to do.  I can figure out what gifts He has given me and put them to work.

Whether you are a corporate executive, a homemaker, a repair person, or a student, God has a job for you to do today.  Make yourself available and be alert for opportunities.

Monday, 3 March 2014

What Happened to the Guy I Dated?

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.  Msg

ne of the complaints that I hear with regularity is “He (being her husband) never talks to me, he just grunts.”  The wife’s frustration is usually exacerbated by the fact that prior to getting married she and her now husband could talk for hours on end.

The wife laments, “This is not the man I married.”  Paul Tripp is quick to say, “No this is the man you married, the man you dated was a fake.”

As I prepared to facilitate a session on communications for a pre-marriage class I began to realize how many factors impinge on man’s ability to communicate with his wife.  Don’t underestimate gender differences for starters.  Scientifically speaking women are wired to use both sides of their brain almost interchangeably.  Men tend to be left brain dominant.  Women are far more articulate than men, far more relational than men and use far more words per day than men.

Personality types, family of origin and personal experiences have much to do with how we choose to communicate.

Perhaps you were aware of everything I just said but did you truly recognize how these differences alone would impact your ability to communicate with one another.

The ability to listen is a skill that most of us (particularly men) have not developed very well.  As men, we are so eager to solve the problem, make our point, or control the conversation that we are too busy thinking of our response to listen.

After conducting this class for several years it became apparent that conflict resolution was so coupled to a husband and wife’s ability to communicate that I combined the classes.  Listening is important.  We must seek to understand before we seek to be understood.  I recognize, in part, because of gender differences and personality differences that it becomes more difficult to resolve conflict.

Some of us are conflict avoiders others of us want immediate resolution to the disagreement.  Ironically it seems as though these two individuals marry each other.  This is a recipe for disaster if it isn’t acknowledged early on in the relationship.

Here’s the bottom line.  Whether it be a communication problem or a conflict resolution problem the main cause is self-centeredness.  Yes, the factors mentioned above have a bearing on our starting position, but if we truly seek to become one, as Scripture commands, we will learn to navigate the differences in a spirit of love.