Notes From the Road (Purity Is a Struggle Everywhere)

We have had a busy and rewarding past week! Our team has traveled from a school in Ohio, to a church in North Carolina, to a church in Texas, to a country club in California.  We’ve interacted with parents, pastors, church leaders, women, men, 20 year olds to 80 year olds, law enforcement, and business professionals.

At Miami Valley Christian Academy, our Vice President, Noel Bouche and Director of Parenting Ministry, Dan Martin talked about s-e-x with parents and school officials.  They shared Biblical foundations and God’s compelling story and design of sex. Partnering with Covenant Eyes, they helped families put systems in place to navigate the ever-changing world of technology and the internet.

In North Carolina, Dave Brown, our Director of Counseling and Support, spoke at the Band of Brothers men’s conference for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Purity is not automatic for pastors and church leaders.  These courageous saints have to pursue purity like anyone else, with the hope of Christ and leading of the Spirit.  Dave shared with these men some equipment for the battle.

In Texas, we had the privilege to partner with Traffick Stop an initiative to educate, advocate, and engage people on the issues of human trafficking. Tomi Grover, founder of Traffick Stop, and Noel met with East Texas area men and women, pastors, law enforcement, and advocates to discuss the church’s response to the prevalence of sex trafficking, as well as the correlations to pornography, and the normalization of sexual exploitation and objectification.

Finally, Noel finishes our long week of traveling by touching down in Orange County tonight to bring the Word to the workplace!  The marketplace is arguably one of the most dangerous places for a man or woman of God on a pilgrimage of purity.  Business can take us miles away from home where secrets can creep and thrive, work can make us tired and susceptible to temptation, the office is often a cesspool of the secular and over-sexualized.  Men and women attending the Christian Leadership Business Forum will be strengthened in their resolve to pursue purity even during the nine to five daily grind.

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind, but a valuable thing we are reminded of this week: Folks, purity is a struggle everywhere — whether in Ohio or California, in school or in the office.  Be encouraged, you are not the only one battling.  You are not the only one with questions.  You are not the only one to act out in doubt that God’s design is actually best.  You are not the only one who has been hurt.  Our God sees.  And He is touching hearts and lives, healing wounds, redeeming impurities, setting His people on a trajectory of freedom and justice.  It has been truly humbling to be a part of His reach these past few days.  May His truth ripple out and multiply fruit in many lives– maybe even yours!

Let us know how we can encourage you! And hey, knowing that we’ll go just about anywhere, let us know if your church, or school, or fill-in-the-blank could use some of our resources and teachings at your next event.

What Are Your Kids Posting Online?

pureHOPE’s Dan Martin explains why parents need to talk with their kids about what they are posting about themselves online.  The short answer: because most of the text and photos they post are permanent.  Really.

Ministry Update: pureJUSTICE

Watch this brief video for an update from Noel Bouché on our pureJUSTICE ministry activities, including our internship, sermon series resources, and vision for mobilizing people to oppose sexual exploitation through the pursuit of purity and justice.

Benediction: Numbers 6

 

by Haley Ashworth

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” 
Numbers 6:24-26

When we take time to meditate on these words, this simple passage becomes a source of great blessing and encouragement.

This prayer, given to the high priest Aaron to pronounce over the people of Israel, is recited weekly over the children at my Messianic Jewish congregation.  When I was younger my dad prayed it every night when he tucked me into bed.  In doing these things, we are comforting and blessing the children in our lives, but I’m afraid too many of us miss a key concept: this blessing was meant not only for the children, but for all of the people of Israel.

As adults, we have a tendency to view dependence and rest as weaknesses.  We like to think that we are self-sufficient and able to handle any situation we face.  However, as followers of Christ, we are to become as little children of our God, our Abba father.  In fact, we have been commanded to be such by Jesus Himself: “‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:3).

Let’s rejoice in the fact that, as a young child wholly depends on her parents, we can relinquish our worries to our heavenly Father and lean on His promises (Jeremiah 29:11), provisions (Ephesians 1:3), purposes (Romans 8:28), and purity (1 John 3:3).

Let us rest in Aaron’s prayer as we pray it over ourselves and our loved ones.  Let us praise God for His unfailing love and the fact that He truly wants to bless us.  Let’s be like little children, gratefully accepting God’s loving care and resting in His holy שלום (shalom, or peace).

Haley Ashworth is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University and is currently serving as a 2012 pureJUSTICE intern.

Hope for Every Day

by Michael Baria

Throughout my recovery process, I have received opinions from every side of the aisle on whether or not my life will be victorious over sexual sin.  My favorite advisors tell me, “Yes, you can absolutely be freed once and for all.”  The ones who induce depression say, “This is something you will always struggle with.”  All of these counselors are godly, well intentioned men.  However, they each come with their own opinion on how this battle progresses.

Instead of ignoring the advice I don’t like and just magnifying what I hope to be true, what can I find in the Bible about this battle?  This is not a comprehensive analysis, but here is what I see.  First, God’s will is clearly for each of His kids to be sanctified and purified from sexual immorality.  I Thessalonians 4 tells us that God’s will is “…our sanctification, that [we] abstain from sexual immorality.”  It doesn’t say that He hopes we eventually become pure, or that maybe we pursue purity 50 percent of the time, or just more often than not.  His will, which is active now, is that we be pure.  Ok, so the next time we face temptation, what is God’s will?  That we be sanctified.  Check.

Move to I Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes the verse that is all too familiar to men who fight this fight.  To paraphrase it, God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can take and He always provides a way out of that temptation.  By this verse we know that every single temptation we face, ever, has a limit placed on it.  God has restricted it and nothing will ever hit us that hasn’t already passed through God’s sovereign hand for the purpose of placing barriers on it.  In that beer commercial I see or the pop-up ad or the flirtatious married girl at work, our loving Heavenly Father has already said, “Temptation, you can go no further than this, which is where my child can still resist you.”  Due to God lovingly protecting us and not pushing us beyond what we can bear, we know that every temptation is, in fact, resistible.

Let’s review.  What’s His will in every situation?  Our sanctification and avoidance of sexual sin.  What is the provision He has made so that His will can become a reality?  No temptation can push us beyond what we are capable of, so long as we are walking in His Spirit.  What a relief!  We can know that in every trial, God wants us to succeed and He has made the provision.  No situation is an automatic failure.  The only thing stopping success is me.

Am I saying you can be perfect all the time from here until you die?  I don’t know.  I can’t give a hard and fast rule about whether we always will struggle or whether I’m always victorious.  I wish God removed this like a surgeon cuts out a cancer, but until that day we still have quite a promise from Him that seems to be the next best thing.  My Father’s will is purity and He has enabled and made the provision for me.  Let’s live in that reality.  Your loving Father desires your success and has already gone ahead and made that success a possibility.  Every time.  Final victory is possible with continued vigilance.

Question: Which verses provide you with the encouragement needed to endure temptation? Click here to comment

Michael is a former college athlete and a med school graduate.  He is currently in his medical residency.

Benediction: Ephesians 3

by Maria Marballi

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV84)

The pursuit of purity is much like a tennis match between you and, essentially, everything else.  Lies and deceit are hurled at you from every angle: pornified images, aspirations of artificial beauty, and distorted depictions of what relationships look like, of what sex looks like.  And just like the most skilled of players, the world, expertly coached by the evil one, will aim stronger where it knows you are weaker.

In a heart where Christ does not reign, a person doesn’t stand a chance against the billboards, pop-ups, and HD screens, even with the best of intentions.  To “merely” lust with the eyes and gratify all sexual desire is commonplace, and guarding our hearts from such has been deemed unnecessary by almost every media outlet.

But those who know Christ know otherwise.  Those who know Christ know that purity is not an empty calling, nor is it an impossible one.  When we walk in communion and fellowship with Him, we aren’t really the ones fighting; He fights for us.  Our fight is simply to stay in that communion and fellowship with Him.

Imagine yourself walking in purity; imagine leading a holy life.  Picture what it would look like to have your heart and mind be cleansed and sanctified.  Now dwell on the benediction in Ephesians 3 once again.  He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, and many of us haven’t even asked yet.

 

Maria Marballi is a sophomore at The Ohio State University and is currently serving as a 2012 pureJUSTICE intern.

Pursuing Purity and Justice

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and pureJUSTICE is our response to the evil of trafficking.  Watch the video to learn what it’s all about, and utilize our resources to begin your own pursuit of purity and justice.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4zPf_Ddy3Y&list=UUE2k22EsCJb0kitYDD1yi4A&index=2&feature=plcp&rel=0]

RESOURCES