Yesterday's message that Pastor Rickey delivered taught us how to have a fresh start. Psalm 51 is a song of hope, we all need hope and a fresh start don't we? Money, greed, lying, bad language, anger, bad choices...there is hope in Him that He forgives and is always waiting to welcome us home no matter what we have done.
Pastor used this Psalm of hope to deliver a message that some may not want to talk about. I will admit, it's not the easiest for me to write about. God wants to welcome everyone with open arms, so If there is someone that this helps/reaches then that is part of His plan.
There IS a problem among those in the church and out, among adults and kids, among men and women, among married and single. What is it? The view for many that online pornography is socially acceptable. "Lots of people look at it." "What does it matter, there is no harm done."
Pastor Rickey shared some facts with us on the effects porn has on your brain. Did you know that it is as addictive as the strongest of narcotics? Did you know that it makes structural changes to your brain...it runs deep ruts in one direction toward that addiction? Do a Google search for "effects of brain by porn" and read for yourself the damage porn causes to a person's character, brain, marriage, family, career...
If you know someone who is not convinced from the moral side that porn is wrong, Pastor offered another excellent way to help someone determine if looking at porn is harmful. If they are married, have them ask their spouse if the act of them looking at porn makes their spouse feel more valued. I know their spouse's answer will be NO! If they are single or a young adult/child, ask them if they feel closer to God when they look at porn. Ask them if they feel guilt, shame, humiliation or regret. The GOOD news is they can be free of this addiction and these feelings by turning to God!
Pastor reminded us of the story of King David, chosen by God, a man after God's own heart, but he allowed his thoughts to turn to actions of adultery with Bathsheba. David wrote Psalm 51, which shows us no matter what we have done, how to have a fresh start with God.
1. Recognize your own sin, while acknowleging God's Mercy.
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Psalm 51:1-3 (NLT)
2. Confess your sins and seek God's purity.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Psalm 51:4-8 (NLT)
3. Ask God for full restoration.
Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Psalm 51:9-13 (NLT)
We can learn from each others sins and pain. Though it is hard to make the bold choice of sharing with others our mistakes, we help others who suffer from the same pain.
4. Stay humble.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:14-17 (NLT)
A humble person is both transparent and teachable.
5. Vow to make worship a priority in your life.
Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit— with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar. Psalm 51:18-19 (NLT)
Pastor shared these two passages as well that shows the family line that Jesus came from:
This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Matthew 1:1-2 (NLT)
Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Matthew 1:6 (NLT)
Why is Bathsheba mentioned in this lineage? There was adultery and sin, wasn't there? Pastor shared that she is here to show us God's love, how he takes our worst and weaves it in to His plan. "He can take your biggest failure, secrets and pain and give you a fresh start!"
Lastly, Pastor shared some resources to help reach those looking for help:
- The Porn Event from May 23-28 present a 25 minute interactive experience focused on the real life effects of pornography.
- Safe Eyes helps fight porn and impurity in your home.
- Covenant Eyes is an accountability software that helps you and your accountability partner monitor where you should and should not be online.