Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Walking with Wisdom: Proverbs 5-7 -- Discussion Thoughts and Questions

Walking with Wisdom: Proverbs 5-7 – Discussion Thoughts and Questions
Prov 5:1-23 Discussion Thoughts and Questions

Why do you suppose this father gives his son such repeated and emphatic teaching about sexual immorality? Would you say that such clear father-son instruction is needed today as much as or more than it was in Solomon’s time? Why?

Since God created all of us with certain desires and needs – such as hunger and thirst, for example – why is it sinfully wrong to have relations before marriage and outside of marriage?
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What do you think about the “Me Too” movement? What lessons should we learn from it?
Does our culture still acknowledge that sexual sin is wrong? If so, in what circumstances and settings?
We rightly warn our girls about men who might lead them into sin. Here in Proverbs it’s the reverse. Here a father warns his son about women who might lead him into sin. Why is it important that we teach our sons as diligently as we teach our daughters?
Discuss the promise of sexual immorality. Why is it so appealing? What does it offer? Why would a person consider it? How does our culture encourage it? How does our culture promise to eliminate its consequences?
Discuss the pattern of sexual immorality. What are the first thoughts and the first steps that lead to it? What precedes it, so that one may predict that it will occur unless there is intervention?
Discuss the price of sexual immorality. What does it cost? What does a person pay as a result of it? What does he lose? What are the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical consequences of it?
Discuss the prevention of sexual immorality. Why is it so appealing? What does it offer? Why would a person consider it?
How is the temptation to sexual immorality similar to all other temptations to sin? How is it different, if at all?
Prov 6:1-5 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
What is the meaning of putting up (or pledging) security for a neighbor?
Why would this man’s son do that?
Why is it such a major mistake?
Why is the father so urgent in his exhortation? Why must the son reverse his action even before he goes to sleep?
Why and how do we make rash decisions about financial matters?
Give examples of foolish decisions people make about money.
What wise advice would you give young people about money?
Prov 6:6-11 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
Do you hate ants? Why? What can we admire about them and learn from them?
Why are people lazy?
What does laziness cost?
When and why is it wrong to get a little extra sleep?
What else does the Book of Proverbs say about laziness?
How can a person overcome laziness?
How can we develop in our children a strong work ethic?
Prov 6:12-15 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
Read also 16:27-30.
What is a scoundrel or a villain? The ESV has “a worthless person, a wicked man.”
What does he seek to accomplish?
Is he successful in the long run?
How can you equip your children to identify and avoid such a person?
Prov 6:16-19 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
What is an “abomination?”
Since “God is love,” how could there be anything that He hates?
If God hates something, what should our attitude toward it be?
Why does the author change “six” to “seven?” Is this a mistake? Did he forget number seven and then add it?
What evil things can be done with these body parts: eyes, tongue, hands, heart, and feet?
How is the heart the key to all the other parts listed?
How does this paragraph (6:16-19) compare with the previous one (6:15-18)?
How do people sow discord, or stir up dissension, among their own brothers? Why?
Prov 6:20-35 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
Haven’t we read these words before, right here in Proverbs?
Where have we read about wearing the parents’ instruction around one’s neck, and about the benefits of doing so?
Why is repetition so important in teaching? (Shall we say that again???)
What word pictures and even scare tactics does Solomon use to help his son understand the costly, even deadly, consequences of sexual sin?
Prov 7:1-5 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
This is the tenth and final lecture found in chapters 1-9 and is the last of four lectures that describe the adulteress (2:16-22; 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:1-27). Verses 6-23 serve as an example story.
How can a child “write” his parents’ teaching on “the tablet of his heart?”
How would it help this youth to think of wisdom as his sister or intimate friend? How might association with this “woman” (wisdom) protect him from the other (immoral) woman?
Prov 7:6-23 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
What is the value of the father using a story (depicting an actual or imaginary series of events) to teach his son?
How do stories teach, that lists of rules alone do not?
Why do we still need the lists of rules as well?
What strategies does this woman use to entice the young man?
Where else have we read about her persuasive words? Cf. Prov 2:16; 5:3; 6:24.
What powerful word pictures does Solomon use involving an ox, a deer, and a bird?
Prov 7:24-27 Discussion Thoughts and Questions
This chapter’s opening paragraph (7:1-5) and closing paragraph (7:24-27) serve as brackets for the story in between (7:6-23).
Note his mention first of the heart turning to her ways, then of the feet straying into her paths.
Does 7:26 suggest that this woman is a mass murderer? Why? How?
Why would Solomon note the huge quantity (“many victims,” “mighty throng”) of those this woman has brought down and slain?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Fathers of MIGHTY Children - Psalm 112

“The Western world stands at a great crossroads in its history. It is my opinion that our very survival as a people will depend upon the presence or absence of masculine leadership in millions of homes. I believe, with everything within me, that husbands hold the keys to the preservation of the family.” – James Dobson, way back in 1980. How accurate and prophetic!
“His children shall be mighty in the land.” Ps 112:2
What a promise! Think about it!
The Lord offers this promise to every father among us: “His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Ps 112:2). More than ever our world needs – our homes need – the church needs! – real men, strong men, solid men. These God can use to develop mighty children, an upright generation, that receives His blessing.
These are lesson notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form.  To see the video of this and other sermons:
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Reading: Ps 112
His Children Shall Be MIGHTY!
Pr 20:7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity — How blessed are his sons after him!
Ps 37:18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever.
Ps 37:26 All day long [the righteous man] is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.
Fathers of MIGHTY Children
Begin with themselves.
(Read and underline each trait of a righteous man noted in these passages.)
Ps 112:1-10
Psalms 111 and 112 are alike in that 1) they both begin with, “Praise the Lord!” (as does Ps 113), and 2) they both are acrostics with 22 lines corresponding to the 22 letters of the Heb. alphabet. Psalm 111 exalts the works of God, while Ps 112 extols the man who fears God.
Ps 112:1 Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. 5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. 6 For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. 9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. 10 The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!
Ps 15:1-5
Ps 15:1 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
Ps 24:1-6
Ps 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
Isa 33:13-16
Context: When the LORD disciplines Assyria, it will be so severe that many even of the Jews in Zion will be alarmed because they are not right with God. Who will be able to stand the fire of His judgment?
Is 33:13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. 14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” 15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil, 16 he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.
Fathers of MIGHTY Children
Step up and become strong in Him.
Ex 3:10-4:17 – Moses
Judg 6:11-16 – Gideon
Jdg 6:11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
Jer 4:1-10 – Jeremiah
Eph 6:10-20
Acts 20:32
Fathers of MIGHTY Children
Engage them mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially.
Luke 2:52
Deut 6:4-9
Deut 6:20-25
Dt 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Dt 6:20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’
Fathers of MIGHTY Children
Train them in truth and practice.
Eph 6:4
Fathers of MIGHTY Children
Leave an indelible impression.
Prov 4:3-9
Fathers of MIGHTY Children
Seize God’s promise today.
Some will say, “But my children are grown! I failed to be the father of mighty children when they were young! It’s too late for me!”
It’s not necessarily too late.
Though I do not recommend everything in the movie, “I Can Only Imagine,” let me tell you about the reconciliation that takes place between the dying father and the son he had terribly abused in years past.
Growing up in Greenville, Texas, Bart Millard suffers physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, Arthur. When Arthur becomes terminally ill, he finds redemption by embracing his faith and rediscovering his love for his son. Years later, Bart's troubled childhood and mended relationship with his dad inspires him to write the hit song "I Can Only Imagine."
Fathers of MIGHTY Children
Impact those who lack such fathers.
1 Tim – all
2 Tim – all
1 Tim 5
1 Cor 4:14-17
Many of our sisters in Christ are trying to raise mighty children without a faithful, involved, husband as the male spiritual leader in their home. What Paul did for Timothy and for the church in Corinth, strong men among us must do to help mentor, teach, and train these children.
The God of heaven is the ultimate
Father of MIGHTY Children.
Are you one of them?
Possible hymns:
Rise Up O Men of God
Faith of Our Fathers
None of Self, and All of Thee
Seek Ye First
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Life in the Desert - Leviticus 17-27 - The Holiness Code

Lev 17: Sacrifice and Blood
17:1-9 The Place of Sacrifice Specified
To prevent worshiip of demon goat idols.
17:10-16 The Eating of Blood Prohibited
1. The life principle is centered in the blood.
2. The LORD chose blood for atonement.
These are lesson notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form.  
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Lev 18: Pagan Sexual Acts Outlawed
18:1-5 Not as Egypt or Canaan. I am the LORD.
18:6-18 Forbidden to “uncover the nakedness of” (have relations with): one’s mother, step-mother, sister, granddaughter, half-sister, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, wife’s daughter or granddaughter, or his living wife’s sister.
18:19-23 Not during woman’s monthly cycle; no adultery; no child sacrifice; not male with a male (abomination); not with an animal (perversion).
18:24-30 “Lest the land vomit you out.”
Lev 19: Holy Daily Conduct Demanded
Note these repeated words: “I am the LORD.”
19:1-2 Holiness in every part of life. Because …
19:3-4 Father and mother. Sabbaths. No idols.
19:5-8 Eating the sacrifice of peace offerings.
19:9-18 Regard for poor. Ethics. Honesty. No cruelty. No partiality. No  slander. No hatred or vengeance. Work it out! Love neighbor as self.
19:19 Consistency and unity.
Lev 19: Holy Daily Conduct Demanded
19:20-22 Relations with concubines. Penalty.
19:23-25 Fruit holy in 4th year. Eaten in 5th.
19:26-29 No omens, fortune-telling, (pagan) disfigurement, cuts, tattoos, dtrs as prostitutes.
19:30-37 Sabbaths and sanctuary. No mediums or necromancers (who call up the dead). Respect for the gray-headed elderly. Treatment of the sojourner same as the native. Love the sojourner as yourself, because you were strangers in Egypt. Honest measurements.
Lev 20: Punishments for Sin Listed
20:1-5 Offering children to Molech.
20:6-8 Using mediums, necromancers.
20:9 Cursing father or mother.
20:10-21 Committing sexual immorality.
Some cases: “They shall be put to death.”
Others: “… cut off” from God’s people.
20:22-27 Summary and reminder: Obey [1] lest the land vomit you out, [2] because of the good land you are given, [3] God set you apart.
Lev 21: Holiness of Priests Required
21:1-9 Requirements for All Priests Given
21:10-15 Requirements for High Priest Given
21:16-24 Disqualifying Blemishes Listed
Lev 22: Holiness of Offerings Required
22:1-9 Priest alone allowed to eat of the sacred offerings, but not if ceremonially unclean.
22:10-16 Only those fully in the priest’s family could share in eating the sacred offerings. Any other person who ate it by mistake was to make restitution with equivalent food plus a 20% fine.
22:17-30 Acceptable offerings were to be males without these specific blemishes or defects.
22:31-33 Sanctify, do not profane My name. I sanctify you. I saved you. I am the LORD.
Lev 23: Sabbath, Feasts Regulated
23:1-3 Sabbath Law
23:4-8 Passover, Unleavened Bread
23:9-14 Firstfruits
23:15-22 Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
23:23-25 Feast of Trumpets
23:26-32 Day of Atonement
23:33-44 Feast of Tabernacles
Lev 24: Lamps and Bread; Blasphemy of the Name
24:1-4 Lamps: olive oil, continually burning
24:5-9 Bread of the Presence: 12 loaves, set out each Sabbath, for Aaron and sons in a holy place
24:10-16 Blasphemy, a Capital Sin
Son of Israelite mother and Egyptian father
Witnesses lay their hands on his head.
Entire congregation stones him.
24:17-23 Lex talionis (Law of Retribution)
Penalty fit the crime, no more or less.
Lev 25: Sabbath Year, Year of Jubilee
25:1-7 Sabbatical Year
Land had a “Sabbath” rest from cultivation.
Began at time of sowing (Fall) each 7th year.
Voluntary produce would be enough for all. No systematic harvest. All, including the poor, ate.
25:8-55 Year of Jubilee
Every 50th year – property restored to original Israelite family owners; slaves freed. Liberty!
         25:35-46 Kindness to the Poor
Lev 26: Rewards and Punishments
26:1-13 Promises for Obedience
Rain, produce, peace, military victory.
The LORD to dwell and walk among, with you.
26:14-46 Penalties for Disobedience
Panic; disease; defeat; pestilence; drought; cannibalism; destruction of religious centers, cities, and land; exile to a foreign land.
If you confess and repent in that foreign land, the LORD to remember His covenant and restore.
Lev 27: Vows, Dedications, and Tithes
27:1-8 Valuation of Dedicated Persons
One could dedicate himself or a member of his family. Since a non-Levite could not serve in the sanctuary, he made a payment to the sanctuary.
27:9-13 Dedicated Animals
27:14-25 Dedicated Real Estate
27:26-29 Objects Excluded
27:30-33 Tithes
27:34 Summary of Leviticus

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Household Laws for Children: Lamentations of the Father (Humorous Adaptation)

As we study Leviticus, you may enjoy this humorous adaptation of "biblical" language that a father uses to explain the rules to his children at home. It is written by Ian Frazier.
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink. But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.
Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father by Ian Frazier 
And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.
When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.
Laws Pertaining to Dessert
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.
On Screaming
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat of it myself, yet do not die.
Concerning Face and Hands
Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.
Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances
Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand.
Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.
Complaints and Lamentations
O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout "stupid-head" and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway, "Can I come out?" and I reply, "No, you may not come out." And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.
Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know.
For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with loud groaning and bitter tears, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Winning the War Within - Its Recovery

The Bible is a strategy guide for spiritual warfare. It is also a manual for recovery for the wounded. Repeatedly we see its characters and even great spiritual heroes – David, Simon Peter, the Prodigal Son, Paul the chief of sinners – get back on their feet after failure. In the gospels we meet the Samaritan woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the penitent thief, and so many others meet Christ and find forgiveness and recovery.
The gospel is for sinners. For those who have failed and lost battles while fighting the war within.
So you know your own temptations, defeating habits, and persistent struggles. You recognize the sin that besets you, cripples you, and stifles you. Yet you fall and you fail. What now? Do you quit? Do you doubt? Do you retreat? You must not! There’s another choice: recovery. What Jesus did for Peter after his denials, He can do for you. Let’s learn how.
Turn to John 21.
Possible visual aid – crutch. Represents our need for help in spiritual recovery.
These are lesson notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form.  To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:
To receive email notifications of future posts, enter your email address at the lower left corner of the page where it says, “FOLLOW BY EMAIL.” You'll get an email from FeedBurner. Just click the link inside it to confirm that you want to subscribe.
For the other lessons in this series, click on the "Winning the War Within" link.
As we begin, let me ask all of you: How many among us know the significance of the date, June 6? What about June 6, 1944?
It was D-Day, when the Allies stormed the beach at Normandy. There was a physical, visible, earthly war. If the Allies had not paid the price and made the sacrifice, our nation might have been forced to submit to Nazi rule. We might be speaking German today.
But there was another battle here at home – an invisible, spiritual battle – going on at the same time. Stores closed, Wall Street paused, the President led the nation in prayer, and untold numbers of Americans devoted themselves to prayer.
Check out this fascinating post from Eric Metaxas:
“BreakPoint: The Spiritual Battle on D-Day”
And read this amazing prayer – and exhortation to all Americans to pray – as led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Franklin Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer 
On D-Day, How did the spiritual warfare (the nation in prayer) affect the outcome of the military warfare (Allied troops on the ground)?
War correspondent Ernie Pyle, who arrived at Normandy on June 7, observed that the Allies achieved victory “with every advantage on the enemy’s side and every disadvantage on ours.” Despite this, he wrote, the total Allied casualties “were remarkably low—only a fraction, in fact, of what our commanders had been prepared to accept.”
“Now that it is all over,” Pyle finished, “it seems to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all.”
Whatever we might say about D-Day, the truth is that the outcome of our war with sin begins in the heart. That’s why it’s vital that we understand how to win the war within.
But how can we recover after we have fallen?
Let’s study John 21 and see how Jesus got Simon Peter back on his feet after his three denials. Again there is a charcoal fire. Again there are three questions. By Jesus reenacting the scene where Peter had disowned him previously, He gave Peter the opportunity to change his answers. In this way Peter could repent of his failure, be forgiven, and be restored.
Here we went through John 21 and discussed its events. We compared Jesus’ three questions to Peter’s previous three questions and his repeated denials. The Greek word for the “charcoal fire” appears only here and in the texts describing Peter’s denials at a previous charcoal fire.
We noted the possible distinction between agapao and phileo in John 21, but also the fact that Peter was troubled by the fact that there was a third question. It became obvious to him that Jesus was in a sense reenacting the scene of the denials and giving Peter a chance to change his answers. He offered him spiritual recovery so he could win the war within.
We briefly named the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and discussed how they might be adapted in our efforts at spiritual recovery from sin.

1.   We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.   Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3.   Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4.   Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5.   Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6.   Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7.   Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8.   Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.   Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10.        Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.        Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12.        Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Then we followed with these:
Steps to Recovery
Admit your sin, temptation, lack of perfection.
Identify your triggers, choices, and reactions.
Let the past refine you but not define you.
Surrender more fully to the Lordship of Christ.
Repent. Reverse. Retreat. Release. Repeat!
Seek and accept God’s forgiveness. Yours too.
More Steps to Recovery
Confess and make restitution where possible.
Accept God’s discipline with His forgiveness.
Mine the wreckage to learn its lessons.
Get godly counsel, accountability friend(s).
Teach others about His power to restore.
Move forward, confident but still cautious.

Some of this material was suggested by, and adapted from, Winning the War Within, by Charles Stanley.

Possible hymns:
Burdens are Lifted at Calvary
Restore My Soul
Love Lifted Me
I am Coming, Lord
I am Resolved
I Bring My Sins to Thee (possible invitation)
Do You Know My Jesus? (possible invitation)