I’m not worthy!

Remember in Wayne’s World when Garth and Wayne would hear an awesome guitar solo, or meet a recording artist in person? They would get down on their knees and bow up and down hollering, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” We all laughed so hard when we saw them bowing because it looked so silly. It seemed like rock stars were their gods which they worshiped in their church: the basement of Wayne’s parent’s house in Aurora, Illinois.

But isn’t that the way we act sometimes? After we’ve sinned we feel we can’t go to God and ask for forgiveness. We say, “I’m not worthy.” We hide from Him, as if that was even possible. I remember Jake* from one of my purity support groups who was crying at the meeting. He could not understand how God could love him after what he had done. He had a hard time believing what it says in Romans 5:20: “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” God wants a continuous relationship with us. His grace is greater than our sin. When we have sinned, He wants us to come to Him for his forgiveness, strength and love.

There is no need to hide or think that God will not accept us because of sin. He shows his incredible love for us in Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Think about this, Christ died for us while we were still sinners, not after we were without sin.

We get confused because the things of God are not like the things of the world. God’s love for us is not understandable in earthly terms. Our experience says we have to earn God’s favor and be perfect before we approach Him. That’s why it’s good to study Scripture and memorize passages. With God’s Word in our hearts we can act on the Truth about God’s love for us. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11.

It’s stunning that God’s acceptance has nothing to do with our worthiness. We are forgiven because of our faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He will vouch for us before the Heavenly Father. God’s love is outrageously big and not based on some qualifying performance of ours. It’s about who He is, and not what we do.

“We’re not worthy!” Sadly, without faith in Christ, there is no remedy from our dilemma. There is only one way to the Father, and only one way to forgiveness of our sins; Jesus Christ. John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”

Here is some “excellent” news, as Wayne would say. It’s not too late. We can ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and to forgive us of all our sins. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now I want to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know if you relate to this story. Tell me where you are in your purity walk.

Follow me to hear about my latest blogs and to see exciting news on the book release at: http://www.davehowe.org

I have written a daily devotional specifically for men on their purity journey. I am sure you will find it helpful. Watch for it’s release Fall 2017 from Tristan Publishing. http://www.tristanpublishing.com

*Jake is not his real name.

Photo by Ben White. @benwhitephotography. http://www.unplash.com

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.

 

Old McDonald’s and the Heavenly Father

When my grandson was five years old he did something that reminded me of our relationship to our heavenly Father.

He used a piece of scrap paper to draw a crayon stick figure picture of my wife and me, with him in the center with hearts by each of our pictures. He wrote, “I love you” in big letters. It was so sweet. Our refrigerator has become the gallery for his latest artwork so we posted his picture there proudly. One piece of artwork became a lesson about God’s love for us.

We now go to church with him 5 days a week, four days for preschool and Sunday for service. He likes to take “the shortcut” home from church. The shortcut involves going past Old McDonald’s which is what he calls the fast food restaurant know for it’s golden arches.  We have stopped there a couple times after preschool when I was not sure what I would fix him for lunch. This daily childcare routine is new to me!

Sunday, as we took the shortcut past Old McDonald’s, he said he really wanted to go there for lunch. I said, “No” which I generally do, and said we had food at home for lunch. He had been very good in Sunday school and when we came to pick him up he was passing papers out to the other children. The teacher told us that he had been a great help in Sunday school that morning. i am not sure if he felt he had earned that stop or what his motivation was that made it so important to him. It’s hard to know the motivations of ourselves, no less a guy who just turned five.

When we got home he grabbed his crayons and got out a black one. He took his picture off the refrigerator, crossed out the hearts by my wife and I and made a squiggly line through the heart under his picture. Then he crumpled up the picture. He told me that we had “broken his heart” because we would not take him to Old McDonald’s. The squiggly line over his heart indicated his broken heart. I apologized and told him I was sorry that it broke his heart. and I did not mean to hurt his feelings. Soon after, he straightened out the paper and tried to rub off the marks he had made through the hearts with a kitchen towel. The marks did not come out.

Isn’t this the way we are as adults with our God?  My grandson wanted to go to Old McDonald’s and when that was not granted, he saw us as being mean and not loving him and was graphically showing that he did not love us anymore. We do the same thing. We pray to God for something and when it does not come when we want it, or the way we want it, we think that God doesn’t love us or care about out us. We may even go so far to to say he is not listening. We want to give up on God altogether.

As an adult, I know what is in those Old McDonald’s french fries and how they add sugar and precook and all the processing they go through in the making. I know that is not good food for him to be eating too often. He doesn’t know all that. Neither do we know what God knows about what is good for us and what is not good for us. God not granting some things we ask for is actually showing he does love us. Besides, think about it, if God gave us everything we asked for we wouldn’t have the time to use it, or a place to store it.

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.- 1 John 2:15 (ESV)

Let’s realize that God, who created the universe, who knows every hair on every head, does care about our needs and loves us. He loves us so much he sent his son, Jesus, to live among us and die a painful death in our place. There is no greater love than this.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.- John 15:13-14 (ESV)

Just as I love my grandson, God loves us. He wants the best for us and we can rest in His love and be grateful for His provision in our lives.

 

Just One Small Rock

jet ski

The Jet Ski* is like a motorcycle. You sit right on top of a big engine. It is meant for one thing-to speed across the water. It is not really a seaworthy vessel. Don’t believe me? Try stopping out in the middle of a lake with some big waves as the water laps into the footwells and it seems to be sitting lower and lower in the water. You wonder if it’s going to stay afloat. But just hit the gas, the water drains out, and you are flying across the lake again.

This is a true story of my adventure with the 125 horsepower watercraft. My wife and I were launching the Jet Ski onto our local lake. The launch is shallow with a lot of rock. We both were on the Jet Ski and drifting toward shore so I hit the gas. I heard “Clunk, Clunk, Clunk” as the jet engine sucked up some of the rocks. Not a big deal, I’d heard that sound before without any problems. The initial hit on the gas got us out about 20 feet from the launch. The engine stopped. I tried to start it again, but nothing. Here we were sitting on the most powerful watercraft on the lake and stranded. After getting to shore and taking the Jet Ski home I found that one of those rocks I heard clunking was jammed in the impeller and had locked up any hope of letting this machine go.

The situation is much like the man who has the rock of sexual impurity in his life. One seemingly small sin, and it’s stopping him. He is a powerful man who is a good Christian, but the small rock of impurity has made him ineffective. He is not involved in leadership in the church and, if he is married, has trouble being the spiritual head of the household. There’s no way he can witness to unsaved friends because of the shame and feeling he would just be a hypocrite. He is reluctant to be in a small group at church, or go to a men’s retreat, because he is afraid he’ll be found out. His relationship with his wife is suffering because he is spending his sexual capital on porn instead of on her. Whether married or single, he’s spending way too much time looking lustfully at women during the day and at the office.

But, there is hope. Don’t let that one rock stop you from being the man that you, and God, want you to be. You can loosen this rock of impurity from your life with God’s help. You are equipped and ready to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. There are resources to help you, but the first step in surrendering the situation to the Lord and admitting you can’t do it on your own. Christ died for all your sins, and sexual sin is no exception. He wants to re-establish fellowship with you.

But, don’t put it off. Commit to deal with this now. Oswald Chambers had this to say about sin:

Bring it immediately into the light and confess, “Oh, Lord, I have been guilty there.” If you don’t, your heart will become hardened through and through. One of the penalties of sin is our acceptance of it. It is not only God who punishes for sin, but sin establishes itself in the sinner and takes its toll. No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer realize that it is sin. No power, except the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit, can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin. 1.

1 Corinthians 6:13 (b)-But sexual sin is never right: our bodies were not made for that but for the Lord, and the Lord wants to fill our bodies with himself. (TLB)

Proverbs 28:13-People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (NLT)

I have written a daily devotional specifically for men on their purity journey. I am sure you will find it helpful. Watch for it’s release Fall 2017 from Tristan Publishing.  tristanpublishing.com

Now I want to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know if you relate to this story. Tell me where you are in your purity walk.

Follow me to hear about my latest blogs and to see exciting news on the book release at: davehowe.org  

*Jet Ski is a registered trademark of Kawasaki

  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Grand Rapids, MI:Discovery House Publishers,1992)

 

Three Keys to Purity

Congratulations on recognizing that purity is what God expects of us as Christian men. You have taken the call of the Bible seriously:  1 Peter 1:16-You shall be holy, for I am holy.” I am sure you have been praying about it.

As you start your journey to purity and freedom in Christ here are three keys:

  1. Make a manly promise to God that you will be pure
  2. Set a goal to be pure by the end of the year
  3. Surrender yourself to the Lord
  1. A promise is a commitment. My grandson didn’t believe a Kindergarten friend’s claim that he wouldn’t push him again because “he didn’t make a promise.” It’s natural for men to take responsibility for their promises. We make promises at work, at sports, and in all aspects of our lives. The promise helps you when you fall into temptation. Instead of giving in, remind yourself that you have made a promise to God to stay pure.

1 Corinthians 6:18- “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

  1. There is a lot of supporting research to verify that setting a goal is a powerful tool to use when you want to accomplish something. Formulating the goal in your mind, and then writing it down, helps your mind commit to the goal. Your mind will get to work helping you figure out how to achieve it. That’s the psychological side of things. In the case of purity it helps you to put everything you’ve got into it. On my personal journey, I read all the books I could find, and listened to lessons on who I am in Christ by Neil T. Anderson.
  1. This is most critical for your success. You’ve got to surrender this thing to the Lord. You are already acutely aware that you cannot get pure on your own strength. You’ve tried it and failed. I know, me too. But, the beauty of it is that in your weakness God can show his strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9- My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Rather than feeling bad about your weakness, celebrate the fact that if you let him, God will show his strength in your weakness just like he did for Paul. Trust God and see what he can do. You can experience God’s power in a personal way for yourself and your faith will grow.

God bless your journey.

Now I want to hear from you! If you have a comment or question please post it. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What are some of the keys on your list? I know that this post is not a complete discussion of everything involved in your purity.

Please follow me by hitting the Follow button on the bottom right of the screen. You’ll get an email when I write a new post. Thanks.

Closing The Gap

You know the gap. The mechanic tells you, “You’ve got a bad oil leak. If you don’t have it checked out you could lose your oil and get stranded on the road.” You put it off and find yourself stranded on a lonely highway.  It’s a human tendency to put things off or minimize them. It’s a gap between what you know and what you do.

What about in your spiritual life?

Knowledge of Christ does not automatically translate into a changed life. I’ve seen this problem in everyone from Bible school graduates to Bible study participants.  They have a deep knowledge of the Bible and the facts of Christianity. They have the lingo down. But their beliefs are not reflected in how they live their lives. There is a gap. But this gap is even more important than that oil leak in the car.

There have been men in my group who do not understand why they are stuck in secret sin. They can recite Bible verses and give you all the theology about sin. Their conversations inspire other guys in the group because of their deep knowledge. But they are stuck.

There is a gap between what they say they believe and what they really believe and are willing to do. Behavior will match the values truly held.

In their belief about sexuality for example, they may think they accept the Bible’s teaching, but they actually believe that they have earned the right to look at porn because they had a hard day, or their wife does not understand them, they’re bored, or whatever. It’s some kind of kinky Bible plus I’ll do whatever I want, whenever I want to value system that allows them to continue in their sexual sin. This is their true belief because this is how they live. They rationalize and minimize it, and will try to explain it away.

Does this sound familiar? If so, take time to examine what you truly believe about God’s plan for sexuality in your life. His plan is perfect. After all, he invented sex.  If you truly believe God’s plan, then realize that you cannot be pure on your own strength. To start, take these steps:

  • Surrender your sexual sin to Christ and admit that you cannot be pure on your own.
  • The Holy Spirit will give you strength and guidance.
  • Put some safeguards into place to make it easier for you to succeed, like accountability software on your computer.
  • Take time each day to study the Bible and commit passages to memory.

There is hope that you can live a pure life with God’s help!

 1 Corinthians 6:18-Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (ESV)

Connect to the Power Sources for True Change

Habit will reconcile us to everything but change.-C.C.Colton Lacon, 1825

Habit is stronger than reason.-Santayana, Interpretations of Poetry and Religion 1900

A friend recently posted on Facebook about his battle with a Tootsie Roll(™). He is trying to stick with a healthy diet and instead of just popping the free candy in his mouth he stopped to think about his determination to change his diet. His commitment won out over his impulse to return to the old habit.

That is the psychology part of the picture. What I want to discuss here is more about spiritual strongholds, about things that are resistant to the type of change this man was making with his diet. The person who is in sin and sinking into deeper sin, but wants to change. A person who is a good Christian, who goes to church every Sunday and loves the Lord, yet he cannot get out of his sin on his own. He has tried many times and failed. He’s trying harder but having no success.

It is clear that on our own we cannot break the habit of sexual sin and addiction to things like porn, or any other addiction for that matter. On the other hand, we know that it is possible to gain freedom in Christ. What are the Biblical sources of power to make these changes happen? Writing over 90 devotionals for men who are in the battle for their sexual integrity has led me to really ponder this question.

Common folklore says that a habit can be broken in about 21 days. This has not be scientifically proven, however. Scientifically, we do know that the neural pathways are still fresh in our brain and you can easily be triggered to follow the old ones back to the habit we want to break.

What is going to be our supernatural power source to free us?

I think that we have to begin with being drawn to God by the Holy Spirit and responding by becoming a born-again believer in Christ. Now the Holy Spirit lives in us and we can have access to the supernatural power of God. We can access the power that raised Christ from the dead. In addition, we have a new identity as a Christ follower; an identity in Him. Here are a few of the facts of our new identities in Christ:

We are joint heirs-Galatians 3:29

We are called Jesus’ friend-John 15:15

We are chosen and appointed to bear fruit-John 15:16

We are free from condemnation-Romans 8:1-2

Study Neil Anderson’s list of all the verses declaring who we are in Christ to help understand our new identity in Christ. Link to the list:

http://vintagelawrence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ANDERSON_WhoIAmInChrist.pdf

If we fall into sin, then the first source of help is the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sin. Once we sense this conviction of our sin we can respond by humbly going to God in prayer and admitting our sin and seek His forgiveness. Then we must repent, meaning to turn 180 degrees. Next surrendering to God and admit our weakness. In our weakness God can show His strength and help us.

There is more. The Word of God, the Bible changes us and is a power source. It’s sharper than a double-edged sword. God’s amazing grace forgive us of the sin. According to Titus 2:12 Grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. If grace can train you to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, then you would have to say grace is a powerful force in your battle to overcome your sin.

Humbly admit that without Christ we can do nothing.

This is how I see the spiritual journey to overcome sin:

  • Holy Spirit draws us and we respond and are born again
  • Holy Spirit lives in you
  • We come to understand our new identity in Christ
  • We will sin but we are no longer a slave to sin
  • Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin
  • God’s amazing grace forgives us of the sin
  • We admit our weakness and then experience God’s strength
  • We humbly admit that apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
  • We surrender our sin and our will to God
  • Bible reading and believing, memorizing the Bible transforms us
  • The Resurrection power of Christ-The power that raised Christ from the dead overcomes our sin
  • Grace trains us to renounce ungodliness
  • The power of Christ’s life changes us
  • The power of the Holy Spirit strengthens us and guides us
  • The power of the Word of God in the Bible

Hebrews 4:12-For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

In Galatians 4:1-7 adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but, and a son if a son, then an heir through God.

So, as Christ followers we have been adopted as sons. We are sons and as such heirs through God. What does this mean as far as power is concerned? We are not beggars on the street knocking on a door looking for help. We are inside. We are adopted sons and loved as God’s own family. Wouldn’t a father do everything he could to help his sons?

The final power source is us! Yes, us as children of God.  If we have faith and do not doubt we can send that mountain of our sin or addiction into the sea. Whatever we ask in prayer we will receive, if we have faith.

Matthew 21:21-22- And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.  And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Connect to the power sources for true change.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment below and I invite you to share the post on social media. Please follow me by hitting the “Follow” button on the bottom right. Thanks.

The Nine Longest Days of The Year

For you, this may be the most joyous and fun nine days of the year. Give God the glory for your blessings. But for many, these days are a struggle.

I’m talking about Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.

For many of us these are the nine longest days of the year. For those:

  • from dysfunctional families where the holidays were painful times of chaos
  • whose marriages have crumbled and the holidays have not been full of joy
  • who are approaching their first holiday season as a non-drinker, a non-smoker, or without whatever drug they were addicted to in past years
  • working on their freedom from sexual addiction facing their family of origin who may be the source of much pain that they have been medicating with sex or drugs
  • whose spouse died this year and are facing their first Christmas season alone
  • divorced and facing their first Christmas alone, or yet another Christmas alone
  • who have had a child die during the past year, or during the Christmas season
  • who are estranged from their children

Our Christmas does not match up well with all the advertising. It is something we wish we could experience, or we have experienced, and have now lost. We get the postcards of the happy families around the huge Christmas tree all beautifully dressed and smiling. Frankly, it hurts. Why can’t that me? Will that ever be me again?

This may be your reality and I am so sorry. I understand your pain. I still find this to be a very long nine days. You see, I have it in my head that we are expected to be happy and festive for nine days without ceasing.  Who can do that anyway? My ancestors are from Northern Ireland where it is always raining and 50 degrees. Naturally, I’m melancholy. The other part of me is Bohemian which is also melancholy. Nine days of exuberance may just not be natural for me. Maybe my ancestors just stayed drunk the whole time, I don’t know. I, however, have given up drinking through the grace of God.

But aside from that, I have had to deal with Family of Origin issues. My father, the Irishman, did like to drink too much which caused problems. As an adult I did not fly home for Christmas many times because I didn’t want to get wrapped up in all the issues of my family.

One year I came home from college only to find out my father was in the local hospital after having had a heart attack. My Christmas vacation was spent visiting my dad in Intensive Care. I remember watching nervously as his heart monitor would vary erratically with each sweep. My own heart would leap with panic, and I would make every effort to not gasp each time!

If you are one of the many for whom these days are hard, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are many like you and me. There are so many broken homes today that this number is surely going up, and will be going up in the future.

In order to enjoy the season, have a plan to get involved in the holiday activities like the many concerts and dramas that are being presented. I encourage you to reach out to others during this time, especially those who you know are also alone. Get together with them to celebrate.

Get out with people and don’t isolate yourself. Isolation makes it worse. You can’t help but feel the buzz even going to coffee shops by yourself. It is infectious and it raises the spirits. Even though you are not at a place of the cliche ideal Christmas, you can still make it a pleasant time. Have a spirit of gratitude for all the good things that the Lord has provided for your life.

Do some volunteer work during the holidays. Help at a soup kitchen, visit people at nursing homes and assisted living. Volunteer to read to people.  Christmas is about God giving us His only Son to come down to earth and be one of us and then to die for our sins. Follow this example and give to others. This is a sure-fire spirit-lifter. Focus on Emmanuel, God with us.
I pray that you will have a wonderful Christmas season and all the best to you in the New Year.

My new book is now available! Live Pure and Free- The 90 Day Game Changer is for men who want to win their purity battle. It’s a 90 day devotional focused on success with daily action items to help you focus on your own personal journey.

Here is what Rob Rienow says about Live Pure and Free- The 90 Day Game Changer:I spent my teen years trapped in a porn addiction. I wish I had this book. I wish I had let godly men in to my struggle so that they could lead me to Jesus, who alone could lead me to freedom. This 90 day journey is packed with truth from the Bible. The truth will set you free! Dave shares the misery of his struggles, the spiritual battle that men face in this whole realm of sexuality, and specific, practical, concrete, tough, honest steps that men can take, in the power of God, to get porn out of lives. Dr. Rob Rienow, Visionary Family Ministries

Order now from your favorite book store, or on Amazon:

Order “Live Pure and Free” Book Now