Randy Alcorn's Blog

May 27, 2015

Sexual relations existed before the Fall and were not the product of sin and the Curse; they were God’s original and perfect design. Because the lifting of the Curse will normally restore what God originally made, we would expect sex to be part of that. However, Christ appears to have made it clear that people in Heaven wouldn’t be married to each other (though some claim it only means there won’t be new marriages, while old marriages will continue):

When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30)

Because sex was designed to be part of a marriage relationship, marriage and sex logically belong together. Because we’re told that humans won’t be married to each other, and sex is intended for marriage, then logically, it seems to me, it means we won’t be engaging in sex.

There’s a different sort of continuity between earthly marriage and the marriage of Christ to his church, so there may also be some way in which the intimacy and pleasure we now know as sex will be fulfilled in some higher form we don’t now understand. If we won’t have sex and if in Heaven there’s no frustration of desire, then obviously we won’t desire sex. What we will desire and always enjoy is the best part of sex—what sex was always pointing to—deep and transcendent relational intimacy.

“When that day comes,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’ . . . I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.” (Hosea 2:16, 19-20)

His unfailing love . . . is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. (Psalm 103:11)

In an interview with Pastor Todd Wagner, I share more thoughts related to this question.


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Published on May 27, 2015 00:00 • 3 views

May 25, 2015

Many years ago I took a sequence of college philosophy classes from a likable atheist. I found the ethics course most interesting. Every time it came to the question of why the professor believed something to be right or wrong, he could say only that it “seemed” to him to be best, it “seemed” to him to help the most people. In other words, it always boiled down to his personal preference. Thirty of us sat in that ethics class, all with our own personal preferences, many fluxing with the current of popular culture.

I have talked with individuals whose ethics have evolved over time, who now believe that any consensual sex between adults is moral. Adultery is consensual sex. So is it moral? Well, yes, some convince themselves, so long as they commit adultery with a person they genuinely love. But how moral is this same adultery in the eyes of the betrayed spouse? Such hopeless subjectivity is no moral framework at all.

Choosing moral behaviors because they make you feel happy can make sense, in a Bertrand Russell/Sam Harris sort of way, but what if it makes you feel happy to torture animals or kill Jews or steal from your employer?

“You misunderstand,” someone says. “We atheists do not base our morality on personal preferences, but on the judgments of society as a whole, on what benefits the most people.” But how does this help the argument? What if in our class of thirty students, sixteen of us really wanted to kill the professor? Would that be good? Or what if the majority of an entire nation thought it best to liquidate one portion of that population—would that be good? Or what if 51 percent of the world’s population decided to obliterate the continent of North America? Would that be good?

Nor does it help to claim the authority of some group of “elites” who supposedly have a finer moral sense. History teaches us that elite groups tend to call good whatever it is they’re inclined to do.

If there is no God who created us for an eternal purpose, and no God who will judge us; if there is no God who has revealed his standards and no God who informs our consciences—then surely any morality we forge on our own will ultimately amount to a mirror image of our own subjective opinions that will change with the times.

To say that the Holocaust or child abuse is wrong is a moral judgment. But such a judgment has no meaning without a standard to measure it against. Why are the Holocaust and child abuse wrong? Because they involve suffering? Because other people have said they are wrong? Feeling it or saying it doesn’t make it so.

William Lane Craig says in Reasonable Faith, “If God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends that life has meaning.... In a universe without God, good and evil do not exist—there is only the bare valueless fact of existence, and there is no one to say that you are right and I am wrong.”

We have only one basis for good moral judgments: the existence of objective standards based on unchanging reference points outside ourselves. Personal opinion falls far short.

After all, Nazis and rapists have their opinions too.


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Published on May 25, 2015 00:00 • 12 views

May 22, 2015

Edge of Eternity was my third novel. Unlike my others, the story takes place in an imaginary world, which allowed me to depict invisible spiritual realities in visible ways.

Over the years I’ve noticed that the response to the book has generally landed in two extremes—some readers love it and others…not so much. :) Several readers have written to say they’ve read it over and over. For instance this one:  “Edge of Eternity is without a doubt the most incredible fiction book I've ever read. It changed my life. I've read it over a dozen times, given another dozen copies as gifts, and ran a book study group comparing it to what the Bible actually says. Every time I read it, I find more and more details that send me researching and thinking and pondering.”

Edge of EternityA reader who enjoyed Edge of Eternity wrote, “I finished reading this book two days ago and the vivid images burned in my mind from the book are still quite fresh. I felt as though I had just gotten off a roller coaster when I put the book down. The book just drew me in. I was on the planet Thuros walking alongside Nick Seagrave (the main character).”

Someone else wrote, “I sit here with tears in my eyes having just finished Edge of Eternity. Thank you for writing it. I appreciate the chance it has given me to pick up my guide book, forget what I think, and read what I should. The challenge of course will be the doing. Thank you for the glimpse.”

In contrast to these glowing reports, one guy asked me, “Were you smoking dope when you wrote that book?” Another wrote, “It's kind of like Pilgrim's Progress on an acid trip.” A reviewer said, “This book was like a bad dream.” Some who usually like my fiction encouraged me to get back to the sort of stories I told in Deadline and Dominion (and later Deception)!

But the other reports of lives changed by the book keep coming. One of my favorites was told me not long ago by a young man who was carpooling back to college with a few fellow students, when the driver turned on the Edge of Eternity audiobook. The passengers had no choice but to listen. By the time they arrived, the story had touched this young man deeply, and though he said nothing to the others in the car, when he was alone he placed his faith in Christ. He now works for a missions organization, spreading the gospel all over the world.

So what do I hope readers will take away from this book? I hope Edge of Eternity will help people see Christ in a fresh and powerful way and trust Him in areas where we don't see the results or rewards. We all need to be reminded of God's sovereignty and the tangible reality of Heaven as our home. Through writing this book, the reality of my citizenship in Heaven hit home to me—and the reality of hell, too, and the fact that we all have one chance to live life on this earth.

I believe we all have moments, if we stop and pay attention, where we can sense being on the edge of eternity. And we know in those moments that we're not made for this world, but for another world—where we'll see the King at last.

Edge of Eternity may not be for you…or it may be just for you. There’s one way to find out…

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Published on May 22, 2015 00:00 • 8 views

May 20, 2015

Early this year, our friend Rakel Thurman shared a great message on God’s sovereignty at our church’s Bible study for women. Nanci and I love and appreciate Rakel, an amazing woman with a heart for the whole world and a contagious exuberance for God and His kingdom. We got to know Rakel and her family while staying with them in Egypt in 1988, and then some years later staying with them in Cyprus.

Rakel came to faith at a missions conference in Sweden in her early 20s and has since ministered in France, Lebanon, Egypt, and Cyprus, as well as the US and Sweden. She and her American husband Pat will celebrate 42 years of marriage this year.

Rakel is well qualified to address this topic. She came to a deeper and very personal understanding of the sovereignty of God in September 1996 when her second son Jonathan (one of two children) was killed in an automobile accident on the first day of his junior year in high school. (When the Thurmans moved to our area Jonathan attended Barlow, the same high school as our daughters, and died while our daughter Angela, also a junior, was in the hospital for a surgery.)

From her heartbreaking loss of Jonathan, Rakel came away “with the understanding that there actually is Someone, apart from me, who is in control, and not just in control, but in perfect control…of everything.”

I encourage you to listen to this message from a woman who loves Jesus, has experienced deep suffering, and has learned what it means to rest in God’s sovereignty.

(My thanks to Karen Coleman, EPM staff, for her help in compiling Rakel’s biographical information.)

photo credit: Rabindranath Tagore via photopin (license)

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Published on May 20, 2015 00:00 • 4 views

May 18, 2015

Thanks to those who joined me last week for #AskAlcorn! The EPM staff has put together a recap of the questions and answers. (If Twitter is your thing, I invite you to give me a follow. You can also join me on Facebook, where I regularly post thoughts, Christ-centered quotes, Scriptures, and the occasional pictures of my grandkids and our dog Maggie.)

I’m live until 1 pm PT answering questions on Twitter. Ask yours with hashtag #AskAlcorn and follow along at http://t.co/nBzrSL5UcG

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Ruth Boyd‏ @aggiemom0407
How would you quantify 'few' and 'many' in Matt 7:13-14. i.e., "How narrow is the gate if there is a great 'multitude' in Heaven? #AskAlcorn

@aggiemom0407 A paradox. Numbers are relative. Compared to all humanity, few, but I'm confident there will be countless millions #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

belacious @bellow001
@randyalcorn why do believers stand before God to be "judged" if we r guaranteed eternal life in heaven already? #AskAlcorn

.@belacious This is a judgment of our works, not our sins, resulting in a gain or loss of eternal rewards. http://t.co/vkK46sWhoB #AskAlcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Thomas P Denhart @thomas_denhart
@randyalcorn #AskAlcorn what is the best way we can help our country see Abortion is wrong? And make it illegal? I saw the 180 movie.

.@thomas_denhart @randyalcorn has a great article about three ways we all can make a prolife impact here: http://t.co/DrlCWzOCg8 #askalcorn

— EPM (@epmorg) May 14, 2015

Thomas P Denhart @thomas_denhart
Hey @randyalcorn #AskAlcorn What is your view on CPR, on the elderly, or on the sick. Took CPR class, learned a lot, DNR or try to restart?

.@thomas_denhart #askalcorn Discretionary decision. We shouldn't play God by ending lives early, but allowing death to happen is an option.

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015 

Neil Horner @neilhchorner
@epmorg @randyalcorn how do we, the church, best help people in continual financial crisis/struggle when they ask for money? #AskAlcorn

.@neilhchorner Takes compassion and discernment to know why in crisis and how best to help. More thoughts: http://t.co/Bchad6rfJv #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Jaci Greggs @jacigreggs 
#AskAlcorn what was the most surprising response you've received to a book?

.@jacigreggs #askalcorn when a guy read my fantasy novel Edge of Eternity, he asked "when you wrote this were you smoking dope?" I wasn't.

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

B. Tyler Ellis @BTylerEllis 
#AskAlcorn When will you write the next installment in the Deadline/Dominion/Deception series? Will it start will a “D” too? @RandyAlcorn

.@BTylerEllis Not sure of timing, but Lord willing there may be 1 or more other Ollie stories. Yes with D title. Suggestions? #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Scott McLean @Scottinthe503
@randyalcorn In raising daughters, do you have any tips of what helped to guide them towards the Lord? #AskAlcorn

.@scottinthe503 Love daughters with all your heart, listen to them, respect them, ask their input, give them honor, defend them #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Thomas P Denhart @thomas_denhart 
@randyalcorn #AskAlcorn I teach a Sunday school class of teen boys, how can I show them the reality of heaven and hell? And need for Jesus!

.@thomas_denhart @randyalcorn's graphic novel, Eternity, is a great tool for teens, especially boys: https://t.co/F6BtKwnFbF #askalcorn

— EPM (@epmorg) May 14, 2015

Addison Witt @addisonwitt 
@randyalcorn What is the one thing you are looking forward to most on the New Earth other than meeting God himself? #AskAlcorn

.@addisonwitt Being free of sin, never wanting again to sin, being totally happy in Jesus always, exploring God's New Universe #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Zachary Biesecker @ESVRocks 
@randyalcorn #askalcorn what influenced you to write Safely Home? In light of it, is China gov. Still persecuting Christians or not as much?

.@ESVRocks Still persecution, lots in some areas, far less in others Wanted to deal with Christian persecution, God's view. #AskAlcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

.@ESVRocks Zach: what's your favorite translation? :) #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

RT @ESVRocks The esv translation I prefer to call it the elect standard version! ;) God chose it before the world began #AskAlcorn @ESVDaily

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

B. Tyler Ellis @BTylerEllis
#AskAlcorn: If the New Earth restores God’s original intent before the Fall, why change marriage instead of restoring it too? @RandyAlcorn

.@BTylerEllis God usually doesn’t replace original, but when does it’s w/ something better. All married to Christ. #AskAlcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

.@BTylerEllis Also on marriage, it is a model of Christ's love, so when we are married to Him it will have fulfilled its purpose #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Cheryl L. Stansberry @InspiredHome6 
@randyalcorn Will you be writing more novels? #AskAlcorn

jbergland @jbergland 
Please, please, please! @randyalcorn #AskAlcorn I look to see if there an Alcorn new novel when I go to a bkstore.

.@jbergland @jonedaniels @InspiredHome6 YES! @randyalcorn has a few novels in the works! #askalcorn

— EPM (@epmorg) May 14, 2015

Todd Conard @TCinNC
What might Hebrews 12:6 look like in practical terms? Haven't heard examples in sermons. #AskAlcorn

.@TCinNC #askalcorn God disciplines us in different ways, but one way is letting us experience the natural consequences of bad decisions.

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Jeremy West @jeremypaulwest 
What is the hardest job you've had and what did God teach you? @randyalcorn #AskAlcorn

.@jeremypaulwest Hardest job was working in a chemical plant where amonia kept spilling out of vats. Learned to trust and to run #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

@jeremypaulwest Also, at 19 I was held up at gunpoint working in 7-11, Gun inches from my face. Learned awareness of mortality. #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

David Qaoud @DavidQaoud 
@randyalcorn What is your #1 biggest concern of Christian leaders for the next generation? #askalcorn

.@DavidQaoud That they would be not only full of grace but full of TRUTH, and see that the way to reach the world isn't to be it #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Thomas P Denhart @thomas_denhart 
#AskAlcorn What happens to a Christian after they die in this age? My gma went home apr. 19th, wonder what she's doing now. I miss her.

.@thomas_denhart when Christians die they go into the presence of Jesus, which is better by far! Phil 1:23 http://t.co/BXTEe182qI #askalcorn

— EPM (@epmorg) May 14, 2015

Eddie Schmidt @eddieschmidt 
@randyalcorn - What's your biggest struggle with the Christian faith? #AskAlcorn

.@eddieschmidt my big personal struggle is engaging in long times of prayer; I do constant quick prayers throughout day, but... #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

WORSHIP FULLY @worship_fully
@randyalcorn Favorite sports team (pro, college, amateur, etc)? #AskAlcorn 

.@worship_fully Seattle Seahawks, since 1976, QB Zorn and WR Largent; have since met both, two great followers of Jesus #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Jean @jeanost
#AskAlcorn Is there any chance you could come back to England in the future?

.@jeanost Nanci and I love England. Have stayed in Oxford four times, love Cambridge too. no plans to come back, but hope we do #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Ruth Boyd @aggiemom0407
What would you tell a child who asks if 'grampa' is in Heaven when (as far as you know) he was not a believer when he passed? #AskAlcorn

.@aggiemom0407 Be honest that you don't know, say it is always possible God did a work of grace in their life just before died #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Jessica Schafer @JecaSchafer 
#AskAlcorn what is your favorite CS Lewis book?

.@JecaSchafer Favorite Lewis nonfiction Mere Christianity, favorite fiction Perelandra #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Steven Richards @StevenRichardsM
@randyalcorn how can we equip the disciple and reach out to the outsiders in churches, both at the same time? #askalcorn

.@StevenRichardsM By centering on the Gospel in its narrowest form, personal salvation, and its widest form, affecting all life #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Noah Lane Kephart @NoahKephart
#AskAlcorn Outside of your own pastor, who's preaching do you enjoy most/challenges you most?

.@NoahKephart @johnpiper and @timkellernyc are among them #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

J. Javier Valdez @JJavierValdez 
@randyalcorn If they made a movie about #deadline - who wold you want to play #Ollie Chandler #askalcorn

.@JJavierValdez @randyalcorn says Powers Boothe would be his choice for Ollie Chandler pic.twitter.com/Nu8eZ0HxgM

— EPM (@epmorg) May 14, 2015

taylor teel @teeljon
#AskAlcorn what's the best way to handle a funeral for someone who adamantly denied Christ, yet people want to say he's in a better place?

.@teeljon Because of rich man & Lazarus in Luke 16, I say that if that person were here with us today he would want gospel shared #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Nicolás Moreno @NicolasMoreno87
#AskAlcorn Is there a possibility if you can visit Santiago, Chile?

.@NicolasMoreno87 Would be an honor to come to Chile, but no plans to do so. Thanks #askalcorn

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Thanks to all who joined #AskAlcorn! @epmorg staff will post recap on my blog soon. See http://t.co/qoXRYeWo6O for more answers to questions

— Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) May 14, 2015

Thanks for joining the #askalcorn chat! Use code 20CHAT for 20% off @randyalcorn's books through EPM's store! http://t.co/87MTpVUkj9

— EPM (@epmorg) May 14, 2015

#askalcorn code 20CHAT expires 5/17

— EPM (@epmorg) May 14, 2015
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Published on May 18, 2015 00:00 • 6 views

May 15, 2015

For years, I taught biblical interpretation at a Bible college. We studied the different types of biblical literature and how to interpret each. In the classroom, we’d often go to texts commonly understood a certain way, then try to discern what the original writer was conveying to the original readers.

Often we found a striking difference between what the texts actually said and how they were popularly understood. We realized that our minds often weren’t open to the meaning of the texts because of the preconceived ideas we were reading into them, ideas we’d heard from others or picked up from our culture, but which didn’t correspond to Scripture. That’s why it’s so important that we know how to properly approach studying and interpreting God’s word.

In her latest video, EPM’s Julia Stager gives some very helpful guidelines for interpreting the Bible. I think you’ll really enjoy her insights.

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. —Psalm 119:18

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Published on May 15, 2015 00:00 • 6 views

May 13, 2015

First of all, remember that if you plant purity today, you will reap a rich harvest, free from shame and guilt. And, by the grace of God, you’ll look back on your life not with regret, but with joyful gratitude. Sexual purity is ALWAYS in your best interest. Be smart, not stupid, and you’ll enjoy the best God has for you!

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

1. Realize you don’t have to date.

Just because lots of other people date doesn’t mean you have to. You can enjoy fun, positive friendships with people of the opposite sex and be involved in all sorts of activities without coupling up with one person.

If you do choose to date, the following guidelines can help you maintain a walk with God and guard your purity. (What follows is an abridged version of “Guidelines for Protecting Purity in Dating,” available at “Guidelines for Sexual Purity.”)

2. If you’re a Christian, only date Christians.

You won’t marry every person you date. But the person you marry will be someone you dated. God says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers . . . what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

There are many contexts in which to do evangelism—dating isn’t one of them.

3. If you’re a committed disciple, only date committed disciples. (And if you’re not a committed disciple, why aren’t you?)

Just because a person is a Christian doesn’t make him or her morally safe or a worthy partner. Don’t expect perfection in the person you date. But do expect character and godliness. (This assumes that you yourself are a growing Christian.)

4. Choose dates by character, not just appearance.

When we judge people by their appearances, often we turn out to be dead wrong—and meanwhile we may have made foolish choices.

5. Realize Christ is watching and is with you all evening—wherever you go and whatever you do.

He is watching you because he is omniscient. He is with you because He’s omnipresent, but as a believer He is with you in a very special way: you are His holy temple (1 Corinthians 6:15).

6. Realize where you go and who you go with will influence your sexual desires.

When we put ourselves in a godly atmosphere with godly people, we are influenced toward godliness. When we put ourselves in an ungodly atmosphere with ungodly people we are influenced toward ungodliness. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (I Corinthians 15:28).

7. Realize your date is your brother or sister in Christ—not your “lover.”

“Treat older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:2). A rule of thumb is, don’t do anything physically you wouldn’t do with your brother or sister.

If a Christ-centered, positive relationship develops, then you might move to cautious displays of affection such as hand-holding. But be alert to the difference between appropriate affection and intimacy. You must stay safely back from the line where either one is propelled toward sexual intimacy.

8. Focus on talk, not touch; conversation, not contact.

Treat your date as a subject to listen to and understand and appreciate, not an object to experiment with, conquer or satisfy your desires.

9. Avoid fast moving relationships and instant intimacy.

Pace your relationship. A car moving too fast is likely to swerve out of control when it hits a slick spot. Keep your foot near the brake. Don’t let this relationship get out of control.

10. Plan the entire evening in advance, with no big gaps.

Gaps always get filled, often with temptations to sexual impurity. Know what you’re doing and either stick with the plan or go somewhere safe, where you’re in the sight of others (particularly others who respect the need for purity).

11. Avoid setups like the plague.

Setups include such things as being alone on a couch or in a car late at night or in a bedroom. Determine to stay away from the setup, rather than putting yourself in the setup and having to call on your convictions when your resistance is at its lowest, and you’re most likely to give in.

12. Be accountable to someone about your physical relationship.

This should be a committed brother or sister in Christ, usually the same gender as you. It should be someone who takes sexual purity seriously, someone with wise advice, who will pray for you and help hold you accountable to high standards.

13. Pray together at the beginning and end of each date.

Commit the evening or day in advance to the Lord. Ask Him to be pleased in everything you do. Plan to pray at the end of the date to thank Him for it. Knowing this prayer is coming will help you to be sure to control yourself and please God.

14. Imagine your parents and church leaders are watching you through the window.

Would that change how you behave? Then realize your life is not private—it’s an open book to be seen by a watching world: "What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3).

15. When you sense the temptation coming, before things start to get out of control, RUN.

“Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). When it comes to sexual temptation, it always pays to be a coward.

16. Write out your own standards and enforce them yourself—never depend on your date.

You as an individual are fully responsible and accountable to God for what you do (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

17. Make your moral decisions in advance—not in the time of temptation.

If it’s left to your feelings in the moment of truth, you’ll make the wrong decision. Again: in the moment of strength make choices that will serve you well in the moment of weakness.

18. Memorize Scripture on sexual purity and quote it when tempted.

“I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). When the attacks come—and they will—be ready to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

19. Don’t do anything with your date you wouldn’t want someone else doing with your future mate.

Somewhere out there is the man or woman you’re going to marry. What do you want them to be doing now with someone else? “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).

20. Look out for the “moral wear down” of long dating relationships and long engagements.

It’s easy to wear down in the battle for sexual purity, to begin to rationalize that you’re really a couple. Don’t get engaged until you can put the wedding in sight. When you’re engaged, you can be deceived into slipping into some of the privileges of marriage before marriage, especially sexual intimacy.

21. If you’ve violated some of these guidelines, confess, repent and implement a plan to prevent future violations.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Even if you are no longer a virgin you can and should commit yourself to secondary virginity—to remain sexually pure from this day forward. You need more than good intentions to maintain your purity: you need a plan which includes avoidance and accountability. If you are committed to a relationship with a growing Christian, formulate a plan to prevent falling back into premarital intimacy.

22. Be radical—do whatever it takes to guard your sexual purity.

In Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus tells His listeners to do whatever is necessary to deal with temptation. Get creative, get radical, and do all you can to avoid temptation.

23. Count the cost of impurity.

Rehearse in advance the devastating consequences of sexual sin and you’ll be less likely to commit it. Even a forgiven person must deal with many consequences to his sin. God removes guilt, but He doesn’t always remove consequences.

God forgives when we sincerely repent, but if we sincerely repent we will show it by taking necessary steps to avoid temptation. 


photo credit: A Couple Walking with Shadows via photopin (license)

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Published on May 13, 2015 00:00 • 5 views

May 11, 2015

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). By recognizing and believing in God’s sovereignty, even over Satan’s work, our perspective is transformed.

As a child, before my mom baked a cake, she’d lay the ingredients on the kitchen counter. One day I tasted each ingredient. Flour. Baking soda. Raw eggs. Vanilla extract. I discovered almost everything that goes into a cake tastes terrible. But a delicious metamorphosis took place when my mother skillfully mixed the ingredients in just the right amounts and baked them at the perfect temperature. The final product was great!

Similarly, the individual ingredients of trials and apparent tragedies taste bitter to us. No translation of Romans 8:28 says “each thing by itself is good,” but “all things work together for good,” and not on their own, but under God’s sovereign hand. I needn’t say, “It’s good,” if my house burns down, I’m robbed and beaten, or my child dies. But God, in His wisdom, measures and mixes our circumstances, then regulates the heat in order to produce something wonderful—Christlikeness—for his glory and our ultimate joy.

The Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament is Genesis 50:20. Joseph’s brothers betrayed him, selling him into slavery. Decades later Joseph told them, “As for you, you meant [plotted, pre-meditated] evil against me, but God meant [same word] it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (ESV).

God didn’t just make the best of a bad situation. Rather, he intended all along to use evil for ultimate good.  He did so as part of his eternal plan—for God’s children have “been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).

Why isn’t Good Friday called Bad Friday? Because we see it in retrospect. Out of the appallingly bad came inexpressible good. Had Jesus been delivered from his suffering, he couldn’t deliver us from ours. If God brought the greatest good out of his Son’s suffering, can’t he also bring good out of ours? To imply otherwise, as prosperity theology does, is to undermine God’s truth and encourage loss of trust in God.

Corrie ten Boom, who survived a Nazi death camp, said “Every experience God gives us…is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see.”

You cannot have a Christian worldview unless you believe that God has a plan, the ability to carry it out, and the loving-kindness to do it not only for his glory but our good.

This means that for God’s child there is no pointless suffering. Of course, much of it may appear pointless, since finite fallen creatures are incapable of understanding the point. But God is all-wise and all-loving and never pointless nor off-point! That’s why Job could cry out in agony, “Though he slay me yet I will trust him.”

That’s the message in Shane and Shane’s song “Though He Slay Me,” featuring an excerpt from John Piper’s sermon, "The Glory of God in the Sight of Eternity."

Not only is your entire affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there, but all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that. I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it's doing. Don’t look to what is seen. —John Piper

photo credit: high tide via photopin (license)

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Published on May 11, 2015 00:00 • 25 views

May 8, 2015

I really enjoy hearing from readers of my books. I also enjoy hearing from followers on social media, so on Thursday, May 14 the EPM staff will help me host a live Twitter Q&A from 12-1 p.m. PT.

If you’re on Twitter (and even if you’re not and just want to follow along), I’d love for you to join. Here’s how:

- Submit your question in a tweet to @randyalcorn, with the hashtag #AskAlcorn. Feel free to ask your question before the live Q&A time. (Please keep in mind the brief nature of Twitter.)

- Make sure you’re a follower of @randyalcorn.

- If you wish, it may be easier to follow the conversation hashtag by going to www.epm.org/askalcorn.

If you’re not able to be with us during the live time, the EPM staff will be posting the conversation on my blog later.

Hope you’ll join us!

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Published on May 08, 2015 00:00 • 6 views

May 6, 2015

One of the common questions about Heaven I’ve heard over the years is, “Do people in Heaven know what's presently happening on earth?”

In my book Heaven (where I address this question more fully), I quote Revelation 6:9-10, which says:

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”

If the martyrs in Heaven know that God hasn’t yet brought judgment on their persecutors, it seems evident that the inhabitants of the present Heaven can see what’s happening on Earth, at least to some extent.

One way to think about it is this: Christ watches closely what transpires on Earth, especially in the lives of God’s people. If the sovereign God’s attention is on Earth, why wouldn’t the attention of his heavenly subjects be focused here as well? When a great war is transpiring, are those in the home country uninformed and unaware of it? When a great drama is taking place, do those who know the writer, producer, and cast—and have a great interest in the outcome—refrain from watching?

In an interview with Pastor Todd Wagner, I share more thoughts related to this question.


photo credit: window and reflection via photopin (license)

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Published on May 06, 2015 00:00 • 16 views