Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Deer and the Salt Block

To me, having my father, Pastor Wayne Burke, as my youth pastor was a tremendous blessing. The lessons I learned both by watching and listening to him are to this day, ones of great value and practicality. There were a few times, however, that the situation brought with it its share of 'red-faced' moments. Especially when he spoke on the subjects of dating and keeping your hands off! His illustrations and stories, as only dad can do it, seemed to always end with, what seemed to me, the entire youth group staring at me and laughing.
The worst was his story about the deer and the salt block. He would tell his story about his father leaving a salt block out in the back field of their house while growing up. Throughout the early morning and late evenings, deer could always be seen walking up and licking on the salt block with their big nasty tongue. Deer after deer would come by, all getting their 'salt fix,' until there was no more salt block to go around. He then, as you can only imagine-with his best deer and deer tongue impersonation, would apply the salt block to those girls who would let ever 'buck' that comes by take a lick of them. I'm still scarred; but I never forgot the story!
This week's poll question was as follows:
Knowing that the person I marry had never touched or kissed anyone else would be:
A. Awesome
B. Fine
C. Don't Care
D. Disappointing

I must admit, I guessed as to the results and was wrong by quite a bit. I asked Pastor Carr to make his guess, and his was close to mine: "I would say about 75% said 'awesome.'" Well, the actual results were:
A. Awesome 60%
B. Fine 18%
C. Don't Care 20%
D. Disappointing 2%

I was suprised. It seems that the world and the Devil has programmed our young people to expect as the ordinary that your future spouse has 'licked and been licked.' How sad that our IFB young people expect such a thing, especially considering that 78% of those same young people have never touched or kissed anyone!
It would do us all good to remind ourselves of 1 Timothy 5:22, "...keep thyself pure." We have already looked at 1 Corinthians 7:1 that we are to not touch a woman, but (vs. 2) "let every man have his own wife."
Why should there be no touching?
1. Touching Wakes A Person Up (Acts 12:7)(1 Kings 19:5)
When someone is in a sound sleep, at times a voice will not suffice, they must be touched. That feeling of being touched wakes a person. By "waking up," I of course am referring to my last post-that young people are to stay asleep until God awakens them to the right one made just for them.
2. Touching Starts an Engine(Gen. 20:6)
One a person has touched, the desire to touch more will be much more great. When Abimelech took Sarah from Abraham after Abraham said she was his sister, the Lord said He would kill him. Abimelech was quick to say that he had not touched her. The Lord knew that and said that He had kept him from touching her. Why did God not allow Abimelech to touch Sarah? Had he touched her once, he would have touched her again. An "innocent" holding of hands is not cute, it is the beginning of a appetite that is difficult to squelch.
3. Touching defiles the entire person(Exodus 19:13, Lev. 5:2, John 20:17, Prov. 6:29)
A touching of the opposite sex not only wakes the person and starts an engine, but it defiles the person. A touch can be sin! Keep your hands off.

4. Touching defiles the person touched (Numbers 19:22)
Not only can a touch be a sin to the 'touch-er' but it is also a sin to the 'touch-ee.'
5. Touching should be something an unmarried lady fears (Ruth 2:8-10)
Ruth was hesitant in gleaning the fields of Boaz, but Boaz comforted her by letting her know that he had instructed the young men not to touch her. Sadly, most young women in today's world would be trying to figure out how to get the young men to touch them. Our young ladies should have a desire to be 'untouched.'
6. Touching is a means of stealing a heart (2 Sam. 15:1-6)
Absalom stole the hearts of the people, and part of that process was that he 'put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.' Touching someone lowers the natural guards of the heart, and allows it to be more easily stolen. Our young people need to keep their hearts for their future spouse-and them alone.
Reality is, unfortunately nearly 40% of our young people expect their future spouse to have been touched and kissed by someone else before them. Just keep this in mind...everyone you touch in that way, you will leave a part of you. Now physically speaking, this is true, but I am speaking more of the heart and emotions. I believe this is one reason divorce and marrital problems are so great in our churches today, most every couple has too many pieces of themselves with too many people, and not enough with their spouse. Oh that our young people could give themselves....all of themselves to their spouse God has prepared for them. Let's avoid the Deer and salt block stories, and keep ourselves pure!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You can't handle the truth!

The truth is we are all sinners. That is what most people can't handle. There was a time when that was an accepted fact, nobody questioned it, and laws and standards were set up based on that doctrine. Somewhere along the line, somebody decided that we as a people had attained a higher level and were better than our ancestors, no longer needing to classify ourselves as sinners. It was harmful to our psyche and damaging to our spirits. The struggles that bound our predecessors had no hold on us, we could control our flesh and desires and passions without restrictions because we are basically good; if someone does wrong, well, they are the exception not the rule. Christians, beware. Yes, we have been saved from sin, but we can still suffer its consequences; if we play with fire we will still get burned - if we play around with sin, it will leave its scars.
Having said all that, how does it apply to this week's question? The church at Corinth had written to Paul, requesting some counsel in the area of relationships between men and women in the church. What was his response? As Pastor Burke previously quoted, It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Why? Continue on to verse two of the same chapter:

"Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."

That's a pretty good reason. He had just finished the previous chapter with an argument that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, that we are not our own, that we were bought with a price. This was written to the adult members of the congregation; it is safe to draw a logical conclusion that it applied to the young people as well. It is hard to glorify God in our bodies and spirits when we have given them over to the lusts and desires of our flesh. It goes back to the simple principle given earlier by Pastor Burke of learning to say no. Our modern society does not like that. A young lady from our church who works at a local daycare recently told me that, as an employee in that daycare, they were not allowed to use negative terms, like no, with the children. I'm all for being positive and encouraging, but without negative positive doesn't exist. I want to be as encouraging as I can, but we must also discourage bad or destructive behavior. In God's Word we find this practice over and over. He gives us both positive and negative alternatives. What is truth? We are sinners and left to ourselves, we will self-destruct. But thank God for Jesus Christ who can deliver us from this body of sin and death. Romans 7:24-25.