Malachi’s Message

Steve Arterburn

The prophet Malachi brought a message of hope to a nation that knew repeated failure.  After being restored to their homeland, the Jews had forgotten the one who had delivered them.  We often make the same kind of mistake.  As soon as we overcome our pressing problems, we forget the one who delivered us from them’God.  Without a continued relationship with God, our hope of sustaining spiritual growth is slim at best.  You and I need to keep our eyes on God, the source and means for our continued spiritual growth.

God’s love to the people of Jerusalem and to us cannot be explained.  God knows the depth of your sin; he knows how weak you are; yet he still loves you.  There is nothing that you can do to lose this love that you never deserved in the first place.  God’s love has the power to heal all the broken places in your life.  Your failures, setbacks, and defenses cannot stop God from wanting to heal you.  This fact should give you hope, no matter how terrible your failures in the past.  He already knows about the anger, betrayal, addiction, lies’you’re not going to surprise him.  But it’s time you confess and seek his will for your life.

Are you willing to turn to him for healing and forgiveness?  He was patient with the people of Israel for hundreds of years, in spite of their sin.  In his grace, God patiently waits for you as well.  

A Peculiarly Male Problem

Steve Arterburn

Although pornographic consumption is on the rise among females, it’s still considered’and has historically been’a male problem. But because consumption of pornography is recognized as largely a male issue, and because it usually begins in adolescence, many adults have become increasingly inclined to tell boys that what they’re doing is normal. That satisfying their curiosity with pornography, and gratifying their hormonal urges, is a natural right of passage to manhood. This is exceedingly dangerous counsel.

 

Based upon my counseling experience, I believe the pornography has trapped more young men, and haunted them throughout their adult lives, than any other problem.

 

Don’t misunderstand me. Not all men who struggle with pornography are sexual addicts. However, that’s no cause whatsoever to minimize the issue. If you become accustomed to the world of pornographic fantasy you’re at great risk to do great damage.

 

Eventually it will ruin your relationship with God, your feeling of self-worth, your ability to relate to women, and it can potentially destroy your marriage. But even if your marriage does stay intact, pornography steadily and surely steals the potential for true intimacy with your wife. True, you’re present in body, but your mind is somewhere else’entertaining thoughts and fantasies of other women who, in their own tragic way, have also been victimized by the pornographic industry. Wake up, men: fantasizing over pornographic images is neither natural nor trivial.  

The Perfect-Mate Myth

Stephen Arterburn

Gentlemen, North American culture wields a tremendous influence upon Christians’ values in many areas. One in particular is the area of relationships where many of us have fallen for what I call the ‘Perfect-Mate Myth.’ This myth applies to single and married men, and goes something like this: ‘If I just had the right woman, my life would be all right.’

Let me be blunt: this belief is incredibly ignorant. First, because it assumes that our problems are all external’that our real problem is an imperfect spouse or the lack thereof. Second, because it assumes that there’s such a thing as a ‘perfect’ spouse.

This delusion keeps us from spiritual maturity. It prevents married men from doing the hard work and making the commitment necessary to build and repair their relationship with their wives, and it tempts single men to put their lives on hold until that ‘perfect’ woman appears.

Men, the perfect mate myth is an unhealthy fantasy. Focus your attention on your relationship with God. He wants a married man’s attitude to be, ‘I’m in this for the long haul. I’m going to dedicate myself to and work at making this marriage last.’ This is how an active and true faith comes alive in a marriage.

Similarly, God wants the attitude of every single Christian man to be, ‘God, I’m yours, with or without a spouse, and I will focus my attention on my relationship with you.”

Whatever your situation, God is sufficient to meet your needs.