Who Is This Jesus?

by Rick Schatz

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

The identity of Jesus is the question of the ages.  Every individual must answer the question about the identity of Christ.

Just consider the message we find in Matthew 16 and the impact that the identity of Jesus had on His disciples.  These men had followed Christ for three years, and Jesus made them squarely face the question of His identity.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the Living God.

As they recognized this truth, the life of every disciple was turned upside down.  Their faith grew until they became fully convinced that Jesus was who He said He was.  Their faith led them to share the good news of the gospel with an unbelieving world.  They spoke with clarity and boldness and were willing to give their lives to share the good news about Jesus as Lord and King.

For every believer and servant of Christ, He is not only Savior but also Lord of everyday living.  We’re called to live righteously, and many of us are blessed with the opportunity to be husbands and fathers.  We’re called to serve our families and to love our wives as Christ loved the Church.  Coming to know Jesus as Christ changes everything.  It brings joy, peace, and hope in this life and salvation for the next.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

So, who do you say He is?  How have you been changed by Him?

This devotion appears in On The Road: Meditations for Men Who Travel, a collection of inspiring and encouraging writings from dozens of Christian leaders and businessmen.  Click here to order a copy from Beacon Hill Press.

Rapper Shares Testimony on Overcoming Porn Addiction

Gospel hip hop artist Jahaziel stumbled upon the perverse world of porn at age six, and was addicted throughout most of his teen years.  This story is one we unfortunately hear all too often, but thanks be to God in Christ Jesus who is an all-powerful Chain-Breaker!  Jahaziel found freedom in the grace of God and through working with United Kingdom’s Safetynet to tell his story, he hopes many more men and women will find that same redemption.  Check out his testimony and the music video below:

Women Struggle With Porn Too

Porn and masturbation.

Two things men are confessing to in droves.  Two things women, are becoming increasingly addicted to, yet keeping quiet about.  Porn is dominating the internet, making record sales in the form of erotic novels, and it’s attacking the minds of Christian women.

Rather than hiding that truth deeper and deeper in the silent darkness of their hearts, Shelley Hitz of Christian Women and Porn is courageously calling scared and ashamed women to walk in the light.  Her new book A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography is a bold confession and expounds on Shelley’s personal battle with pornography and the redemptive and compassionate work of Christ.

In her introduction Shelley writes, “I decided to write this book because I know what if feels like to be caught in the trap of pornography as a Christian woman.  Yes, I have struggled with pornography.  It is not something that I am proud of, and to be honest, it is something that I wish never happened, but God is using this dark season from my past for His good.”

Today she is giving away free copies of the book on Amazon Kindle.  If you or someone you know is struggling, has struggled, or is ministering to women who struggle in this area, then click here to get your free copy!

Women, men, girls, and boys… we do not have to continure to succumb the enemy’s schemes.  He is the accuser of saints, “you’re too dirty to find freedom” he laughs.  “Come into the light, I’ve already paid for your freedom” our Savior whispers.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Strategic Thinking With Josh McDowell and Friends

Yes, that is a chilling video.  Yes, sexual brokenness is a pervasive and painful issue. Yes, there is an attack on our youth just 1 click away.

But yes! There are ministries and individuals rising up, saying “Here am I, Lord” (Isaiah 6:8).

Yesterday some of our most respected ministry partners as well as other organizations from across the nation connected at a Strategic Thinking session hosted by Josh McDowell Ministry.  We discussed the greatest barriers to reaching people with gospel truth as it pertains to sexuality, and how to overcome those obstacles.  Among many practical ideas, there was resolute consensus that to be of any help in this arena, we must constantly receive Help from Christ and make accountability a priority – we need Him and each other (John 15:5, James 5:16).

Highlights from the day included a tangible sense of unity in the body of Christ, the sharing of innumerable resources, and a blanket of prayer from over 20 ministries to One Awesome God.  We are excited for the collaborative efforts sure to stem from yesterday’s event.  Know that this will deepen our well, from which we can draw more wisdom and engagement points to offer you.

Sanctification: Robert Murray McCheyne

In a small but powerful booklet titled The Deeper Life, Robert Murray McCheyne, a Scottish pastor and author who died at the age of twenty-nine in 1843, addresses one obstacle to growing in sanctification (the progressive formation of Christ within us): doubt as to the power of God to really sanctify us and free us from the power of sin.  “I am often tempted to say, ‘How can this Man save me?  How can Christ in Heaven deliver me from lusts which I feel raging in me, and nets I feel enclosing me?’  This is the father of lies again!  For Jesus ‘is able to save unto the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:25).”

The antidote to the lie, McCheyne says, is to grow in grace, chiefly through prayer.  “I am persuaded that nothing is thriving in my soul unless it is growing,”  he observes.  We must desire to be more like Christ, and we “ought to strive for more purity, humility, meekness, patience under suffering, and love.  ‘Make me Christ-like in all things,’ should be my constant prayer.  Fill me with the Holy Spirit.”

“True holiness is Christ in us, the hope of glory,” McCheyne reminds us, and this reality is birthed and sustained in prayer.  “When God gives grace to souls, it is in answer to the prayers of His children.”

Let us remember and emulate the zeal for purity and holiness exhibited by saints like McCheyne, and commit to a deeper pursuit of a sanctified life founded upon the pillars of prayer, understanding, resolve, and engagement.

Telling the Story

by David Schrock, M.Div.

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name… Isaiah 54:5

And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call Me “My Husband”… Hosea 2:16

…”Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Revelation 21:9

Everyone knows that sex sells, but not everyone is equally well informed that sex also tells.   Indeed, sex–as God intended it–tells the story of the Triune God who, though different from us, desires to be united with us.

Amazingly, God has ordained that within the matrix of marriage, covenant partners are privy to the delicacies of God’s unconditional, everlasting, and all-consuming love.  By divine design, marital love between a man and a woman is analogous to God’s love for His people, so that all those who participate in this blessed union of souls find a flesh and blood illustration of God’s lovingkindness and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The result is that within marriage, sex uniquely discloses an epic of God’s sacrificial love and covenantal faithfulness. Continue reading

Porn, Purity, and Parents

One of our main messages to parents is that they are the most influential persons in their child’s life.  Given that, they have a responsibility to create trust and dialogue with their kids, so that they–not the culture–become their child’s source for counsel and understanding about the issues of sex, purity, pornography, temptation, etc.  Moreover, there are specific steps we can take to create that environment.

In this post, our friends at Covenant Eyes, the leader in Internet accountability, relay an email they received from a 19-year-old young man about his struggle with pornography.  It is an encouraging story about the role parents can play in aiding and equipping their kids to pursue purity in a pornified culture.  Sadly, stories like this aren’t common enough in an era when silence, apathy, and avoidance on the part of parents regarding pornography seem to be the rule.  Let’s do our part to change that and employ the Biblical model of
openness, candor, grace, and accountability.

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