Day 20: Where is the presence of the Lord when you are doing wrong?

Audio: Malik Ewan
Proverbs 15:3: The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

It is a puzzling, mysterious and marvelous fact that God is all-knowing and present everywhere in a world so full of wickedness. It should tell us certain things – firstly, that God is extremely merciful in the way He does not always exact judgement the moment you sin, and that we may not ever fully understand the depths of His love that He took the punishment of all these wrongs upon Himself in order to save us – the wrong doers. 

The important thing to know is that even though we aren’t always aware of His presence, God IS ALWAYS there. God is there present in the bathroom, in your room at 2AM in the morning. He is there when you have the house all to yourself. He is there when you’re locked into the screen of your phone or TV. And He is always there!

God’s longsuffering is what allows Him to delay a just judgement in favour of offering the opportunity for repentance. This must never be taken for granted! Soon enough, if you do not take the time to make it right with God, His righteous hand will show up in judgement and you will have no defense in that day.

To embrace God’s love will mean you do what is pleasing Him every day, whether or not you are consciously aware of His presence. However, we must endeavour as youth to develop that constant God-consciousness that allows us to say when we are by ourselves in a sticky spot, “How can I do this thing and sin against my God?!!”

It’s time to pray.

Prayer Starter

Jehovah Shamma – the Lord is there. Even though we cannot comprehend your long-suffering at times, Lord we have to thank you for your mercy. God, we want to please you and make our hearts right with you before you appear to judge this world. Help us Jesus to bow before You each and every day.

Day 19: Recovering from Sexual Failure: Biblical Examples

Audio: Malik Ewan
Judges 16:20: And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

God is not unaccustomed to dealing with sexual failures among his servants. Samson and David are two famous figures we must look at when considering how you and I must respond after sexual failure.

Unlike Joseph who from the outset thought “how can I do this thing and sin against God?”, Samson and David seemed to have dropped their guard when they went astray. Today, many of us look on and say, “How could such righteous men do such a wicked thing?!” 

It seems Samson did not make one correct choice with women, though he received Godly counsel time and again. David, on the other hand, was doing a good job at it then it seems he found himself outside of God’s presence and will for a period. What these two men lacked, you have an opportunity to assess yourself if you have it right now – and that is an absolute conviction of the truth of God’s word. 

They were both surrounded by Godly advisors. Yet, sometimes we find even ourselves pursuing the wrong thing even though our leaders warn us directly against it. If you are like that, now is an opportunity to change your thoughts toward this. Failure to heed both the Word of God and those who minister the word to you will lead you down a treacherous path.

At the end of it, they both faced dire consequences. For Samson it was his life and the freedom of the nation of Israel. For David, the consequences of his actions are so heart-rending sometimes it pains to think about – death of a faithful soldier and husband, death of the child that came from that encounter, his own son rising up against him in rebellion – a whole lot of tragedy that could have been prevented. 

For you also, there are consequences for sexual failures of all sorts. Despite this, the last point of their story teaches how merciful and forgiving our God is. They were both forgiven when they came to a place of repentance. Even so, you must also come to a place of repentance and receive freely the forgiveness of the Lord.

Let us pray…

Prayer Starter

God you have given us great examples how to live sexually pure lives. You have also shown us how we must return to you after failing. Help us to walk more perfectly day by day by your grace.

Day 18: Purity – God’s Plan for the Fallen

Audio: Malik Ewan
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Purity. That is God’s ultimate plan for you. Yes, He wants you to be pure in all your ways. It’s the reason Christ died and rose again. It’s the reason you must repent of all your sins. It’s the reason you must be born again through the blood of Jesus Christ. Other words to describe purity are sanctification, separation, holiness. That is God’s plan for all mankind.

Recognizing that purity is God’s plan for my life has kept me through some difficult periods of temptations, especially while boarding on campus in university. I believe university is one of the most testing times for young Christians in their walk with God and even more so their purity. Society today is already flooded with sexual perversion and it seems to me that it is even more concentrated on the college campus. 

But with God’s plan comes an identity which will guide you through the roughest times when it seems like you’re alone in the fight to maintain sexual purity. You recognize that the purity in Christ sets you apart and makes you a “peculiar people” before God. In fact, when you embrace this you begin to stand out like a big dazzling diamond among the rest. 

Embrace God’s plan for your purity today. Be bold in going against the grain of a morally depraved society and be that light in a dark world. 

Let’s pray…

Prayer Starter

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of sexual immorality, thou Lord art with me. Let your rod and staff guide me, showing me that you are there. I commit the keeping of my soul to You.

Day 17: The Pleasurable Death Trap

Audio: Malik Ewan
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Sexual lust starts with a pleasant stroke and ends with a deadly choke.

It is important to nip it in the bud. To preserve sexual purity you must be of the mindset to “give no place to the devil”. Young Christians are warned to “flee youthful lusts” and to “resist the devil and he will flee”. When it comes to lust, this is a constant charge to us in scripture – Run! Brother Joseph is a great example to us and thank God that he ran so that we can see how God worked things out for him in the end.

Lust will indeed lead to death. And resisting lust will lead to life. There is no better life than a pure life. Like the great men of old, it is better to suffer affliction with the righteous than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

We many times can recognize lust when it comes. And like Jesus in the wilderness being tempted we have been empowered to withstand the devil’s tricks. God has already made a way of escape for the temptations of lust that we will go through. Furthermore, even if you failed yesterday, today is a fresh start in which you can re-commit to the purpose of God in you and never go back to sexual immorality.

Let us endeavour to deal with lust before it conceives and brings forth sin. The longer it stays alive the harder it is to quench. The longer it stays alive the deeper the roots reach into our hearts. Some persons will need to cut off some relationships. Some will need to delete some videos and websites. Some will need to stop listening to certain songs. 

Whatever it is you must do to break the grip of lust, know that eternal life is worth it and that hell is much worse. Let us no longer live in sinful lusts.

Let us pray…

Prayer Starter

Jesus, you see every seed of lust within me. You know also every trap that the enemy has set for me. Lord, lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil. Guide my steps so that they do not slip.

Day 16: Such Were Some of Us

Audio: Malik Ewan
1 Corinthians 6:9  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

I like to think that before addressing your present, you must first address your past. An unresolved past holds the key that locks the door to victory over present failures. 

It may be difficult however, for someone to look back on their past. But it is necessary. If you are burdened by guilt and shame from what happened before you came to Christ then it means you have not totally surrendered it all to Him.

Yet while all the guilt of your past may be resting heavily on your shoulders, let’s acknowledge that the fault may not be entirely yours. I know not all have failed to live sexually pure lives by their own intentional actions. Today however, is dedicated to unearthing where it all started. Now some of these circumstances unfortunately cannot be fixed. But all of it can certainly be confessed to the one with highest compassion. Neither is it entirely possible to resolve whose fault it was or the chain of life’s experiences that have led to who you are today, but with the Lord’s help you can resolve the guilt, the consequences and the future of your life from here on.

The word of God reminds us today that you are now washed, you are now sanctified and justified in the Lord. Release yourself from the guilt of the past so that you can enjoy what God has for you in this new life. Now, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus has redeemed you from your sexual failures. Forgive yourself! And forgive those who caused you hurt in this area. I know it is a hard thing to ask you to do but this may be the release that you have been waiting for.

Let’s pray…

Prayer Starter

Oh Lord, my restorer and redeemer, thank you for saving me from sin. All my past failures to walk in purity you are able to wash away. I lay them all before you now. Just as I am without one plea, Jesus I come to thee.

Week 3 – Restoration after Sexual Failure

Day 15: Rebound Righteously

Audio: Malik Ewan
Ezekiel 16:8  Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. 9  Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil

The nation of Israel is a prime example to us of how loving and long-suffering God is towards mankind. No matter how many times they failed, He always found a way to redeem them back to Himself. It is God’s goodness that leads men to repentance. 

To overcome sexual failures, you must grasp the depth and breadth and height of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Scriptures put it this way – while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly. Yes, He already paid the price for your sexual failure even before you failed Him. “Such love, such wondrous love that God should love a sinner such as I!”

This means that after faltering – whether by fornicating, or adultery, or meddling in pornography, masturbation or other sexual immoralities – the first step in overcoming is realizing the reason Christ had to die. It was for you to be delivered once and for all from these sexual failures. Yes, Jesus Christ died so that you can be released from the cycle of sexual immorality.

Still think it is too hard a burden to be released from? Well, the burden of the cross was heavier for it bore the sins of the whole world!

So yes, you can rebound righteously after sexual failure because of the blood of Jesus Christ. You can be redeemed from this bondage and be set upon a firm foundation to stand. Accept the Lord’s offer of redemption today.

Let’s pray…

Prayer Starter

Lord I ask you to restore me. I have failed. I have slipped up. Help me Father. I commit my ways to you, to never go back down the road of sexual immorality. I die daily to the desires that lead me away from you.

Day 14: Flee Fornication 

Audio: Malik Ewan
1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

When it comes to fleeing away from sexual lusts, young Brother Joseph is a hero for many of us young men. Consider also that the sexual advances of Potipher’s wife occurred over a period of time. It was after a while that she grabbed at him in desperation. I thank God he ran, so we can also know that we can run when sexual enticements present themselves.

Yes, as a man you can run from an obvious sexual advance and not be less of a man. At the end of the day, you must ask yourself this – whose praise is more important, those of the lost men encouraging sexual promiscuity as a sign of masculinity or that of heaven celebrating sexual purity? The same goes for the young ladies, as it seems virginity has lost its sacredness in the world. 

I am reminded of a young man on campus who said a girl came and intruded his room and sat on the bed saying she was ready for him and she wasn’t going to leave until they had sex. He must have read about brother Joseph because he sure left that room.

Another story I heard recently was that of a colleague whose female landlord was making sexual advances at him in his young years. She would be out in the open with loose clothing or come out of the bathroom barely covered. That unsaved young man, despite even the warnings of an unsaved friend, later came to disclose that “he couldn’t resist.”

The circumstances may be varied and multiple in your life today, but the word of God provides the same answer – flee fornication. Fleeing can take many forms which are quite justified if you must choose between the sanctity of your soul and fulfillment of a carnal desire. It could be breaking off a relationship that has started to go down the wrong road. It could be deleting or blocking a contact. It could be desisting from visiting the home of a friend who there are emotions with. 

Whatever you do, take heed to the word of the Lord today – flee fornication.

Prayer Starter

Lord, I know there are times of weakness and times our hearts get distracted. But God, help me to always know that I live in your constant presence, that you are always there watching. Like Joseph, give me the resolve to ask, How can I do this thing and sin against my God?

Day 13: The Joy of Community

Audio: Malik Ewan
2 Timothy 2:22: Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

Today’s scripture sternly warns us to “flee” youthful lusts. It does not encourage us to meddle or fool around with youthful lusts. This is what many of our young people do sadly. They think it’s okay to do everything sexual except the actual act of intercourse. This is like playing with fire. Soon enough, you will get burnt. 

As a young man reading this scripture, I found it quite interesting that the antidote to youthful lusts was to run from it and instead to find like-minded Christian friends to pursue God with. Around that time, I was becoming friends with a group of young men and women who in high school found their joy in the things of God. The truth is they weren’t perfect, but their motivation and trajectory was one of leaving and forsaking sin and chasing after the righteousness of God. We had this declaration that saved us from a lot of youthful lusts –

iTURN (I Trade Ungodliness for Righteous Newness).

For me, this was the first instance this scripture proved itself in my life. We spent our lunch times fasting and reading the Bible. We’d walk home after school and they would sing (while I hummed in my mind lol) and talk about God all the way. Friday nights were spent praying from 11pm to 1am, sometimes going to 3am. This was our joy found in community among likeminded Christian youth.

In University, in my first week I ensured I found the orientation booth of the Universities and Colleges Apostolic Ministry (UCAM). Here again, to a much greater degree I found the joy of community, now among like-minded Apostolic believers. 

If you think about it, all our friendships are pulling us in one direction or the other. Ask yourself then, is my company impressing upon me a life of true righteous, faith, charity and peace? If not, seek to draw closer to persons who have that mindset and find the source of their affection – Jesus Christ.

Prayer Starter

God, bring me close to those who desire to call upon you out of a pure heart. Help me to sever every ungodly connection and soul tie that influences me to compromise your standards of holiness, in Jesus name.

Day 12: True Pleasure in Jesus

Audio: Malik Ewan
Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 

The ultimate standard of purity is Jesus Christ Himself. The ultimate source of pleasure is Jesus also! True pleasure comes from God. 

This is not what the world teaches though. Your unsaved friends will want you to think that they are having all the fun and freedom, and that a life of sin is the best life yet. Meanwhile, you may be looking at the “restrictions” and rules that you live by as a form of bondage. You wonder why you must be holding back sexual emotions and not letting them roam freely. You wonder why you have been deprived the pleasures of sex. These are all mind games of the devil playing on your flesh just like he did Eve.

The greatest liberty any human can find will be found in Jesus Christ. This is the blessed life, not another!

When you find your peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, you start to find the things of God more interesting and intriguing. Church becomes not just a boring meeting place but a joyful, supernatural encounter with God. When the joy of the Holy Ghost grips you, you start to find that youth meetings and camps and discussions among Christian friends are your happy place. Then when you’re alone you find that you just want to sing songs and worship the Lord. You use your talents and skills to find things to do for God. Soon enough you recognize that you don’t feel in bondage anymore! You start to see that your friends are actually bound to their life of sin and would love to get out if they could and that you are the one living the best life! 

Finding true pleasure in Jesus will transform your days. What ways can you find to enjoy the presence of God and live an active life? Make a list of all the things you can do as a young Christian that Jesus would be pleased to abide with you in.

Prayer Starter

Oh, Lord my truest pleasure is found in You! Let the joy of the Lord be found in my heart and teach me how to entertain Your presence daily. Come Lord and inhabit my life.

Day 11: Sexual Purity – a Living Sacrifice

Audio: Malik Ewan
Romans 12:1  … present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

I think I’ve figured it out – the reason why we struggle with sexual purity. Maybe it’s because this body always feels entitled to some illegal sex. Doing wrong overall seems to be accompanied by a certain amount of excitement and intrigue once you quiet the voice of conscience prodding you. If we can’t bring ourselves to do the actual deed, we want to go get it in the movies, in the music videos, in the social media pics and videos. And some get their sexual pleasure from masturbation.

Many scientist say masturbation is just a natural part of human development. However, if we are to have sexual purity we have to take a different stance. Masturbation is a way that both men and women use to gain sex gratification to please the flesh. It is many times coupled with some sort of pornography, imagination of sexually promiscuous thoughts and nowadays, sex toys.

The news recently shared that since the current worldwide lockdowns, one of the products more in demand now are sex toys. This seems to be the escape route for many when human interaction is difficult.

Yet, the word of God instructs us how we should treat our bodies. We must not give over ourselves to lust but instead present our bodies to the Lord. It takes sacrifice yes, to give up what you think is your natural entitlement and recognize that God is concerned about what you do in your body. 

If you struggle with this today, it’s time for a change.

Let’s pray…

Prayer Starter

God, I offer all of my body to you. Lord, purge and adorn me in your righteousness. Have your way in me Jesus.