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http://www.michellebenthamcreates.com

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Controversial or Necessary?

** DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A "G" RATED POST. Please be aware that the topic is sexuality. There are no gross or graphic descriptions - but it is what it is.**

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Is it possible that for too long the church has remained silent on matters of sexuality and biblical marital relationship? Is it possible that because of that silence people have learned to disconnect their spiritual relationship with God while engaging in one of the deepest areas of passion He has given us?
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Last night my husband and I attended a very insightful class on this very subject.
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The teacher, Pastor Bob Hamp, is one of my favorite teachers because he talks in circles at times and I think that way at times. :o)
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But, here is what he said to begin the lesson:
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1. God created everything. God created our sexual identity, our sexual desires for our good and His glory. So waht happened?
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2. Satan's desire is to pervert, distort or destroy anything he can. Satan has perverted, distorted and destroyed the thing that God had created for our benefit.
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3. Jesus restores everything. If Jesus restores everything - is it His desire to restore wholeness to the sexuality of men and women?
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He went on to share many insights and truths about human sexuality and how it perfectly reflects our "Two Become One Covenant Making God" in the confines of marriage. It was so helpful - so beautiful to have the canvas opened and the picture pieced together in such a way as it made sense for the very first time. They were taping the lessons so I am guessing it will be available in the sermon resources at http://www.gatewaypeople.com/ at some point. Over the next couple of weeks we will be attending the follow up classes. I know something changed - and yesterday my husband and I were talking about this very aspect of our relationship before attending the class. Things that make you go HMMM!
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One of the things Pastor Bob said that I thought was very freeing is that we have somehow relegated sexuality to a "Just don't touch them 'nasty' places" kind of reality. And, you know as I look at my "committed to purity" daughters that is exactly how they view their sexuality. As embarrassing, unconscienable and somewhat corrupt or vile. But, in the proper Biblical context sex and its meaning to a relationship of husband and wife is a very beautiful thing.
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Do we talk to our elder teen children about the virtues of our sexuality within the context of marriage and share Biblical truth with them to help them understand that God's admonition is not: "DON'T Have Sex." But, instead... Do not awaken love before its time. (Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4). Have we relegated sex to the physical act of intercourse and left out the other vital aspects of our human existence like spiritual, emotional and intellectual connection and relationship.
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We live in a depraved and sexually charged and driven culture - to ignore the implications of this reality is to be like the ostrich who hide their head in the sand hoping the enemy will not notice the large looming body that is standing out in the open.
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Left to our own devices and the patterns of the world, the human existence is as depraved and as fallen as it comes. We are given over to fleshly lusts and desires. Our passions unchecked become destructive whims and drives that leave us wounded, aching and incredibly dissatisfied. We were created passionate beings. Desire was given to us as a life-seeking drive that would push us into God and seek His life-giving nature. But when the messages we receive are: Sexuality is bad. Don't have sex. Push down your desires and pursue what is "good" without an understanding that sexuality was created to complete the picture of God in mankind through marriage... We find ourselves feeling unworthy and seek to satisfy those desires with the "next best thing."
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Are we telling our children not to awaken love before its time, but instead pray with and for them and their future spouse? Are we calling forth the blessings of intimacy in their marriage by teaching them that it is not a vile or a dirty thing? What would happen if we taught them it is a sacred and a delicate thing that must be handled with care and protected? Are our children afraid to have sex because they will somehow become bad by the action? OR are they abstaining from sex because they recognize that God has a better plan for their future? There is a huge difference.
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If we ourselves are living our lives by a list of rules that says "Do this... Don't do that... This is good... That is bad... " At some point the enemy is given a license to enter and distort what is truth into a destructive pattern of license and passion run amuck without a Biblical foundation to bring redemption to a broken reality.

.The Bible talks of a godly "knowing" that is indicative of the way that "a man knows a woman" in intimacy. The Bible is practical, it is necessary daily and it must be applied to every aspect of our human existence for full redemption to be realized. Are we allowing God only to redeem our souls and not our bodies, our sexuality and our distorted reality.

Pastor Bob closed out last night's class with Romans 1:20-32 (NIV):


20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

He pointed out that his grandfather had gone to study scientifically in Russia, Siberia actually. A place where the people were ordered by their government to be atheist. His grandfather discovered that these scientists who had studied the most intricate details of creation and applied science to it found that there had to be a God. In a place where God was utterly denied - His creation cried out that He exists. Men are without excuse --- even if they are never given ear to the Gospel. God proves His existence and He is clearly seen in His creation.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

This begins to paint the picture of our current world and national culture. Because the people knew of God, but refused to glorify and give thanks to Him - acknowledge Him as God - they were given over to futile thinking and their ability to recognize Him became dull. DARKENED. They thought themselves wise, but were really fools. They gave up the eternal glory of God - the life He offers us- for the worship of the creature rather than the creator. Idolatry.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

So God allowed them to be given to their lustful and sinful hearts, and their sexuality became their godless idol. They exchanged truth for a reality based on lies and began to not only worship what was created, but also to serve it rather than the creator.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

When we ask why God allows children to be abused and sexually assaulted, why the culture is turning more and more desensitized to the sacred and the fragile nature of human sexuality we need only read Romans 1:26-27. Perversions and liscentious sexual behaviors like promiscuity and adultery - pornography and the like are the penalty for allowing ourselves to be given over to worship that which God created and sanctified as a way that He could be reflected and identified in His creation... rather than worshipping and praising God for the gift of sexuality.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Think of where we are in our society today. Then think of God wants us to do about it.
Pastor Bob painted this picture of how we enter our bedrooms with our spouse, turn out the light and enjoy intimacy with our spouse in "secret." But, what if the light came on and Jesus was standing at the foot of our bed. Many of us would immediately feel like saying, "[My spouse] made me do it." When really Jesus is saying:
"When you opened yourself up and surrendered yourself to Me, I came inside of you and created new life in you that makes you complete."
What is that a picture of? The Bridegroom ardently pursuing and passionately loving His Bride. When God takes two individual things that were once one and makes them one again - that makes us complete. ONE is whole, Pastor Bob acknowledged, but two become one is a mystery.
Is this truth about our sexuality too controversial or too necessary to ignore?







3 comments:

luvmy4sons said...

It is so very important to see sex as God sees it within the bonds of marriage. It is a form of worship...it is a form of prayer...one of the most amazing books to heal me and help me was Holy Sex by Michael Pearl based on Song of Solomon. Thank you for braving to address it. I have done so on occasion as well and find that most godly women are glad to have someone help them get free of their wrongful thinking in this area. And for me it was good to thoroughly enjoy sex thinking that I was pleasing God and obeying Him and worshipping Him rather than doing something that is acceptable but not pleasing...I have never been the same!

Esthermay said...

The truth about sexuality is controversial when presented the way the world sees it.
You've done an amazing job of covering every aspect of it here.
I've always viewed this as one of the things Paul instructed the "older women" to teach the "younger women." And visa versa with those Y-chromosome'd creatures!!

Good/"necessary" post.
Thank you!

Bob Hamp said...

MIchelle,
Great post...I need to have you do my notes for my classes. I am sure you said it better than I. I love that we can begin a healthy dialogue about God's Glory in ALL things. Thanks for sharing.
Bob Hamp