Redeemed from promiscuity & Radically Transformed according to God's promise and for His glory!

The Word of God is filled with examples of women and men who were bound by the chains of sin and yet freed by the power of God. This past weekend, I was humbled to present a workshop to our InnerCity Ministry teens and adults regarding the Gospel and Sexuality. The following is a portion of that workshop that I hope will be an encouragement to you no matter what situation you are in. I believe we can each relate to one (or more) of the following examples from Scripture.

As you read, know that, no matter what situation you find yourself in, God is willing and delighted to redeem you and radically transform your life by the grace of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, who completely paid the penalty of your sin and granted you His righteousness out of love.

Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (2 Samuel, chapters 11 & 12): due to some impropriety, though very likely unintentional, you now feel pressured or trapped into having sex with a guy; you think you are not able to resist b/c of who this guy is (maybe he's not King David, but maybe he's the captain of a football team or an important person at work...

Dinah, sister of Judah (Genesis, chapter 34): just curious about what everybody else is doing, you want to be a part of the crowd and wind up getting taken advantage of, the victim of rape...

Tamar, forsaken youth (Genesis, chapter 38): felt it was her right to have a child, encouraged by others to gain her right of passage by giving birth, and so played the harlot to fulfill her right...

Harlot, on the street corner (Proverbs, chapter 7): planted yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, wanting to look sexy and attract the simple guys' attention, just wanted to have some "fun," convinced yourself there wouldn't be any consequences (wrongly)....

The Samaritan woman at the well (John, chapter 4): went from one man to the next seeking for satisfaction; after five failed marriages, she was living with a man who was not her husband. (Jesus knew this; nothing is secret from Him)....

Gomer, promiscuous wife of the prophet Hosea (the book of Hosea): promiscuity is all you've ever known; you're addicted to sex; even when shown true love, you find yourself back in the clutches of lust...

Rahab, prostitute of Jericho; Ruth, daughter of Moab (Joshua, chapters 2 & 6; the book of Ruth): you've grown up in a sensual culture, but you know there's got to be something better and you're willing to give up what you know for what you have now come to believe (the truth about God and salvation)...

Mary, the mother of Jesus (the Gospels, esp. Luke, chapters 1 & 2): you are still a virgin, your heart is to serve the Lord no matter what. you know there's a cost, but you're convinced God's way is the best and only way to be content and truly happy....

Remember, no matter what situation you find yourself in, God is willing and delighted to redeem you and radically transform your life by the grace of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, who completely paid the penalty of your sin and granted you His righteousness out of love.

The rest of their stories?

They were dead in their sins, but Christ woke them up and shined His love and grace into their hearts (Ephesians 2 & 4).

Gomer (prostitute wife of prophet Hosea) was restored to her husband. God used their story to illustrate the spiritual adultery of God’s people when they leave Him and pursue after false gods and vain pleasures.

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba & Mary all ended up in the family line of the Messiah Jesus our Lord! (See Matthew, chapter 1.) Tamar conceived twins by her father-in-law, yet God used one of those sons to fulfill His promise; Rahab married a faithful man named Salmon and together they raised a faithful man named Boaz, who then redeemed Ruth. Ruth was the mother of Obed and eventually the great-grandmother of King David. David lusted after Bathsheba. The child born through their affair died, but God granted their marriage another son, the wise king Solomon. Mary, that humble young lady, held the ultimate promise within her virgin womb: the greatest miracle and fulfillment of God's great plan, our hope to this day and forever, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many people in the forsaken town of Samaria believed on Jesus because of the testimony of the woman at the well, a woman who was known for promiscuity. In fact she had had five husbands and was now living with a man that was not her husband. But Jesus intentionally directed His path through her forsaken hometown and patiently led this woman to redeeming faith (See John, chapter 4.)


Jeremiah prophesied to a culture not so dissimilar to our own:“Return, faithless [daughter],” declares the LORD. “I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful,” declares the LORD; “I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed My voice,” declares the LORD; “for I am your Master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion” (Jeremiah 3:12-14).

Your city and your family may be trapped in the habits of sexual sins, but you don't have to stay in the grasp of immorality. God offers you freedom and restoration if you will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Redeemer, your Savior and King. He longs to give you grace and peace.

I would recommend reading Ephesians, especially chapters 2 & 4. If I can be of any help to you, please email me at ps48.14fam@gmail.com.
I am praying for you even as I write this. No matter what your sin, God's grace is greater!May you be overwhelmed by His mercy and love and the unchanging truth of our faithful God.

With love,
michelle grover

Simply Splendid: Peppermint Choc-Chip Cookies

An adaptation of a recipe I came across:
Preheat oven to 375 F.

1 cup butter, very soft
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup powder sugar
1 cup Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix together, adding chocolate chips last. It's kind of crumbly but presses together nicely.
Dump onto Pampered Chef Stoneware bar pan and press down.
Bake at 375 F until lightly browned.
Allow to cool a little.
Serve in squares with a tall glass of your favorite milk. (Anyone else for chocolate almond milk or vanilla soy?)

heart beat

Over and over again in His Word, God draws attention to the word "heart"--His heart, our heart, individual hearts, the heart of cities and nations; the seat of passions, the center of our beings, the primary organ for existence. And though our focus is often subverted to the externals, God's focus is on the heart!

I want to recommend a bold book that cuts to the heart:
Eyes Wide Open: Avoiding the Heartbreak of Emotional Promiscuity.
In this book, Brienne Murk challenges the trend of technical virgin and emphasizes the heart of purity. "Emotional entanglement happens when we seek fulfillment in the things of this world rather than in God. This is a problem that goes back thousands of years. In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah was referred to as 'the weeping prophet' because he so empathized with God's sorrow over Israel's sin--the sin of forsaking their first love and giving their hearts away to other gods (see Jeremiah 2). Over and over again, Israel had to learn that what the world offers cannot satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. The key to escaping emotional entanglement is to cultivate a heart that is completely focused on God."

I've include selections from Jeremiah 2 in this post that highlight Israel's promiscuity and God's aching heart. These are key passages that, if we're honest, we can readily relate to each time we seek to replace God with any thing or any one else. It's a fairly lengthy passage, but worth our reflection.

This is what the Lord says:
I remember how eager you were to please me
as a young bride long ago,
how you loved me and followed me
even through the barren wilderness....

"Has anyone ever heard of anything
as strange as this?
Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones,
even though they are not gods at all?
Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols!
The heavens are shocked at such a thing
and shrink back in horror and dismay,”
says the Lord.

What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt
and your covenants with Assyria?
What good to you are the streams of the Nile
or the waters of the Euphrates River?
Your wickedness will bring its own punishment.
Your turning from me will shame you.
You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is
to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him.
I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
“Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you
and tore away the chains of your slavery,
but still you said,
‘I will not serve you.’
On every hill and under every green tree,
you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols.
But I was the one who planted you,
choosing a vine of the purest stock—the very best.
How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine?
No amount of soap or lye can make you clean.
I still see the stain of your guilt.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!
“You say, ‘That’not true!
I haven’t worshiped the images of Baal!’
But how can you say that?
Go and look in any valley in the land!
Face the awful sins you have done....
When will you stop panting after other gods?
But you say, ‘Save your breath.
I’m in love with these foreign gods,
and I can’t stop loving them now!’
...

“How you plot and scheme to win your lovers.
Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you!...
And yet you say,
‘I have done nothing wrong.
Surely God isn’t angry with me!’
But now I will punish you severely
because you claim you have not sinned.
First here, then there—
you flit from one ally to another asking for help.
But your new friends in Egypt will let you down,
just as Assyria did before.
In despair, you will be led into exile
with your hands on your heads,
for the Lord has rejected the nations you trust.
They will not help you at all" (from Jeremiah 2, NLT).

Yet God cries out with a promise to heal:

“My wayward children,” says the Lord,“come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts” (Jeremiah 3:22, NLT).

Sometimes it's a long process, but we have the loving God whose heart pursues human hearts. He delights to heal us, to restore us to true fellowship with Him, a relationship full of hope and peace and joy.

On a side: remembering that human love is a gift from Him to illustrate to the world the love of Christ for the redeemed Church, "Wives, we must submit to our husbands (no matter how difficult that may seem) in the same way we submit to our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5, paraphrase). This is often one of our best tools for evangelism as we interact with a world seeking satisfaction from all the wrong places and coming up empty over and over again in their own relationships. And as we cultivate our love for God, our love for those He loves can only grow.

Dear Lord Jesus, help me today smash the idols and smother the stench of incense burned to false deities in my heart. Cleanse me, Lord. I want my heart to be Your home, full of only the things that You would delight to have surrounding You in Your dwelling place. Grow me in love, for You first and always, and then in my love for those You've placed around me. Fulfill Your purposes in me, in each of us. Amen.

michelle