Preaching at J-House in Osaka for the first Sunday of 2014. Hunger Games 2 – Catching Fire posters are in the theaters in Japan now so I used the graphic from that…
Pastor Ray Mercer
Are you struggling to quit drugs, alcohol, tobacco. porn, video games, anything that masters you and enslaves you? Freedom comes from Jesus and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
I just saw some good advice from a former drug user who is now a Christian on how he quit. “People who have struggled quitting over the years have asked me how did I do it. I always say the same things, first Jesus said that when I pray I am to pray, ‘Lead me not into temptation.’ The second is like it. I ran from it like the plague! I avoided it and places where it can be found at all cost.” If you are struggling with addiction, please remember those words of wisdom.
Another weapon besides prayer is the Word of God. Jesus himself showed us how to have victory over temptations – even those that come directly from the devil. Speak the Word of God. I remember when I quit smoking about 30 years ago and this verse came to me when I “needed” a smoke – “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)
If you want to keep your way pure, then meditate on the Word of God until it is in your heart. Here are some more verses to start learning if you need some weapons against the devil.
1 John 1:7-9 (memorize vs 9)
1 Corinthians 10:13
If you are at the end of your rope and you’ve never met this Jesus that I always mention in my posts, then please consider talking to Him right now. That is what prayer is really supposed to be, you talking to your Father God who loves you and wants to help you right now. I did this 32 years ago today and I will never regret it!
Where are the young men in Yokosuka, Japan at 8:30am on a Sunday morning? Lined up waiting to spend their money on pachinko… But a couple of blocks away we had a great worship service at Yokosuka Grace Bible Church. This afternoon about 10 new members were added to the church. It is more rewarding than a big pachinko payout or winning the lottery to see lives changed and people following Jesus. These are the true riches!
I am most privileged to be married to a girl from the Aichi prefecture of Japan. Her great uncle started a well-known tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurant in Nagoya. He was one of the first to serve this type of food in a Japanese style. He sliced the cutlets and served them up to be eaten with chopsticks. His restaurant specialized in making a great bacon salad with the leftover parts of the pork. And they also used Nagoya’s famous miso to make a sauce for the tonkatsu and served miso tonkatsu or miso-katsu, as it is known now. The restaurant became so successful that several of the employees moved on and started their own shops based on the same menu and style of food. Of course, each branch had their differences and reflected the personality of the individual owners, but they all had the same basic menu and most of them even used the same name.
In Japan, when a new restaurant starts with he cooperation of the existing establishment it is called norenwake - literally a “dividing of the noren”. The noren is the traditional Japanese fabric curtain which is hung in front of the entrance way of the restaurant. It usually has the name and logo of the establishment printed on it. When sending a former employee out to start his own shop, the owner will often make him a new noren to hang in front that shows the same name as the old place so he can build on the brand loyalty for the shop. He will also give him a portion of the restaurant’s sauce to use as starter for a new batch. My wife’s uncle repeated this process several times and through his leadership and guidance many new shops sprung up around the city of Nagoya. When I lived in Nagoya about 20 years ago, I got a chance to eat at one of these norenwake restaurants. The original restaurant that my wife’s uncle had built was long out of business by this time. But I still remember how good my first plate of Nagoya misokatsu was.
Our church in Yokosuka was planted this way and I believe that in the future we will also have the privilege of sending our own “chefs” out to start their own norenwake churches. We are a part of a spiritual family in Japan that has a shared mission and calling. We have the same name, the same basic “recipe” and the same “sauce” for what we serve to the people in our community who need to be fed. In fact the Holy Spirit has been sending out church planters since the first century with the same name and the same mission. Each nation and church has their own cultural distinctive and flavors. But our job is to offer that same “menu” to new believers in Japan so that, even though the churches listed in the New Testament have long since closed their doors, anyone who seeks for truth in Japan can come and “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8; 1 Peter 2:2-3) at our norenwake church.
I am a cross-cultural missionary and I work with three cultures daily; Japanese, Filipino and American. I find great joy in my role as a bringer of Christ because all men, no matter what their culture seeks, no matter what they think is important, find what they are really looking for in knowing Jesus.
Ravi Zacharias, noted Christian speaker, often mentions that in Bible times the Hebrew people pursued LIGHT, the Greeks pursued KNOWLEDGE, and the Romans pursued GLORY. He goes on to explain that true fulfillment in life is not found in mere abstractions like light, knowledge and glory, true life is found in a PERSON – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul addresses all of these in this verse: 2 Corinthians 4:6 “…the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. “ True fulfillment and life is found in THE FACE OF CHRIST. The answer to everything we are searching for is Jesus.
My Filipino friends often seek fun and friends. They will find true fun and true friendship totally fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. My Japanese friends often speak of a longing for peace, beauty, safety or honor. All these things are ultimately fulfilled in the person of Christ. You will find true peace, true safety in Jesus. My American brothers seem to be looking for freedom and liberty. There is true freedom only in Jesus.
Whatever your worldview is, whatever you are searching for, whatever you believe will give you fullness of life and contentment; you will only find the true fulfillment in the face of Jesus Christ. He created you and he alone knows what you need. He holds the universe together and he is the ultimate personification and fulfillment of all Truth (with a capital “T”).
Have you taken an honest look at Jesus? It will change everything.
Understanding worldview is important but I think this article brings up an important point that intellectuals need to understand, “You can’t think your way to God.” A great quote, “What you love you worship and what you worship you will love.” Reminds me of Matthew 6:21…
“This site animates select C.S. Lewis essays to make them easier to understand…”
Great site inspired by a master of apologetics, C.S. Lewis:
Ravi Zacharius answers “How can God be good if…?”
I love Ravi’s podcasts – check his website:
Moshe Averick answers Dawkins
Whether you are fighting a battle against lust or trying to encourage a friend who is drowning in pornography, you are facing a “giant” which is no less terrifying than the biblical Goliath was to a young God-worshipper named David. The only way we can fight the fire of lust is with the white-hot passion of true devotion to God. The Bible explains that when Jesus Christ (the God-man) humbled himself to become a mere mortal and took human flesh, he experienced all the temptations of a man. Don’t be ashamed to take your struggle to the Lord. He really understands how hard it is to remain pure. But He did it and He can help you do it too!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
(Hebrews 4:15 )
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
(Psalm 51:1-2 David wrote this psalm after his sin with Bathsheba led to tragedy in his life and others…)
Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We are far too easily pleased.
(C. S. Lewis)
Sexual immorality is a symptom of something deeper (John Piper)…
Avoiding sexual sin – Part 1 (Mark Driscoll)…
Avoiding sexual sin – Part 2 (Mark Driscoll)…
Masturbation is a sign of passive manhood (Dennis Sy)…
Resisting pornography (Perry Noble)…
Porn-Again Christian free e-book (Mark Driscoll)…
The biblical standard for Christians never changes:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
This is a topic that actually keeps me awake at night sometimes. It is definitely something that makes people uncomfortable to think about, much less talk about. But recently I heard an amazing speech by a lady who survived an abortion attempt in a professional clinic in 1977 and now speaks for the unborn. If you think abortion is a right that needs to be protected you really need to watch this video…
I know I don’t have the right to judge anyone when I have sinned with the worst of them. So if abortion is in your past please hear my heart – I am not trying to condemn you. But unlike those of us who can speak up, unborn children are totally at the mercy of our world’s propaganda machine. They have no voice but ours. Many think that abortions are usually done only in cases of rape or medical necessity but this site documents the reasons why abortions are actually performed:
In summary, this survey (by a pro-abortion group) documents that the three highest reasons given by percentage are:
#1 Woman can’t afford baby now
#2 Woman is unready for responsibility
#3 Woman is concerned about how having a baby could change her life
As a pastor, I have talked to, counseled and prayed for women who feel terrible guilt about abortion. There is forgiveness in the cross of Christ and God will take care of the aborted ones. But what about those of us who bury our heads and ignore the facts of what is happening? Are you willing to be a little uncomfortable and speak out against the lies? Are you willing to tell your elected officials that this is wrong? Who will speak up for the little ones?