September Reading: Every Man’s Battle

Sexual immorality.

How often do you read that in the Bible? It is never put in a flattering category, nor looked highly upon, but the opposite. Yet it is so prevalent in the lives of men.

This book dealt in very stark terms with the horrors and consequences of sexual immorality, and sought to help those who want to live apart from sin.

I found the most effective advice was to starve the imagination. Wandering eyes throughout the day gives the mind ammunition for lust. The casual glances, the outright stares, the ogling of attractive women, these things are fodder for the beast within, and can lead to devastating sin. Stop temptation at the gate of your eyes, before it can get to your heart.

While the book was written mainly for married men, it still serves to warn and instruct those of us who are single. Women may find this book helps their understanding of men’s struggles too (not to say women don’t deal with lust).

My take: a helpful read for one who wants to change.

None Other Can Console Me

My prayers feel like poison
How could I draw you into this
My sin has separated me
I pray in my unrighteousness

I give God cause to hate me
Then I approach the great white throne
I hate myself for what I’ve done
But I can come to Him alone

Though I feel unworthy
And that I am in this dark season
None other can console me
None other has the right or reason

Jesus Christ, my righteousness
By His dark death I am now pleading
He is all my hope and stay
His broken body bloodied, bleeding

Nailed on the tall Roman cross
To cancel death and sin’s old power
He advocates for me today
And I run to Him, my strong tower

Fighting the Fight

It’s really easy to talk tough when you’re not fighting.

It’s really hard to fight if you don’t know how.

It’s really hard to fight if you take a bad hit.

It’s really hard to fight if you can’t see.

It’s really hard to flee when you need to.

It’s really easy to give up.

It’s really easy to give in.

It’s really easy to take the low road.

It’s really easy to let the tongue wag.

It’s really easy to let the anger build.

It’s really easy to want more.

It’s really easy to wander.

But as for you

3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:3-16

Amen.

A Terrible Statistic

A statistic that crushes my spirit:

At least 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are or will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime.

A truth that gives me hope:

12 “For thus says the Lord:
Your hurt is incurable,
and your wound is grievous.
13 There is none to uphold your cause,
no medicine for your wound,
no healing for you.
14 All your lovers have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you;
for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy,
the punishment of a merciless foe,
because your guilt is great,
because your sins are flagrant.
15 Why do you cry out over your hurt?
Your pain is incurable.
Because your guilt is great,
because your sins are flagrant,
I have done these things to you.
16 Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
those who plunder you shall be plundered,
and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
17 For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
declares the Lord
,
because they have called you an outcast:
‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’

Out of the darkest place, the most grievous wound, the most rotten heart, the Lord restores. And all the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.

Jesus is our only hope.

What Movies Are You Watching?

An article on the reformation 21 website had a paragraph that was particularly striking to me:

I am also struck by how Christian talk of cultural engagement has coincided with a watering-down of Christian standards of behavior and, ironically, thought. I have lost count of how many times I have been told in recent years that Christians should be able to watch any movie, providing they do so with a critical, Christian eye. There are several obvious problems with that kind of statement. For a start, such a categorical, sweeping statement has little, if any, scriptural or exegetical foundation and indeed seems not to take any account of texts such as Mt. 5: 27-30, Eph. 5: 1-3, Phil. 4: 8, etc. Second, even those making the case rarely mean exactly what they say: ask them if Christians can therefore watch child pornography, and none that I have spoken to have been prepared to go that far, except in the necessary cases of those professionally involved in the detection and prosecution of paedophile crime. No, Christians shouldn’t watch child porn, they’ll say; but the problem, of course, is that definitions of what is and is not pornography, even child pornography, are changing all the time and are driven, by and large, by the wider culture which increasingly mainstreams such material. Witness the new Kate Winslet movie, involving a sex scene between her character and a fifteen year old boy. Specious distinctions involving the actual age of the actor notwithstanding, it is arguably child pornography. Frankly, there are films rated PG-13 today which my grandparents would have considered as porn. Is the standard of what is and is not obscene set by biblical truth or by cultural accommodation? Talk of `Christians can watch anything as long as they do it critically’ is as daft, unbiblical, soft-headed, ill-thought-out, and confused as anything one is likely to come across. In fact, I have a suspicion that for some it might simply function as a rationalization for watching whatever they like and not having to feel guilty about it, the Christian voyeur’s equivalent of the `I only do screen nudity and sex when the script demands it’ excuse of so many `serious’ actresses whose bank balances have been boosted by the occasional flash of on-screen flesh.

What an excuse for a Christian to use! “It’s ok to watch this terrible stuff because I am resisting the ideas it represents”. That’s simply not true. This article was convicting primarily because I saw Grand Torino yesterday and I honestly should have left. The racism was so terrible that it would have been better for our souls to not have watched it. I feel guilty because during the movie I was led to ask my friend if she wanted to leave, but I didn’t speak up. Praise God that this is a godly grief that is leading me to repentance, but it is still a grief. May I be more faithful to Gods leading going forward.

My Source Of Satisfaction

I am grateful to have a blog.

As I go through my day, I think of things I could say here. The temptation has struck me very recently to complain through this venue. Fear of man prevented me from doing this, as I want to make a good impression on anyone who may stumble upon any of these writings. But as I thought on what I can say here the Lord convicted me, not only of my fear of man, but also of my lack of faith. I was tempted to complain about loneliness. God, in His mercy, prevented me from voicing this in the way that I wanted to. So now I speak about it not as complaining, but as confession.

I wanted to go to a concert and I didn’t want to go alone. I asked a number of people and they all had reasons not to come. I was hurt. Satan whispered “No one wants to spend time with you. You’re not interesting. You’re not valuable. They like spending time with other people more than you. You’re always second choice, or probably lower for most people. No one really enjoys spending time with you.” The devil knows where I struggle. The half truths wedge themselves in my brain and I felt miserable. But God is faithful.

I praise God that in the midst of this, He was there. I knew He wanted me for Himself. But I chose to continue pursuing the company of other people, only to encounter more disappointment and pain.

The concert was great. The songs were so filled with truth, and the central theme was the fear of man. The music was phenomenal and made me want to be in a band (as concerts usually do). I talked with a bunch of folks from BBC who were also at the concert, which was really good, and then watched some of The Return of the King with Matt. While all that stuff was good and made me feel better, it missed the point. The point was that I sought satisfaction in other people and didn’t listen to God when He tried to point me toward Himself.

I didn’t listen when He said “come be with Me. I’m all you need. Rest in Me. I love you so much. I love you so much I died for you. I didn’t need to. It doesn’t matter that you are awkward or kooky, that’s the way I made you. I love the real you, not the super christian you have in your mind. And I am worth knowing. I am the Creator of the Universe. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I AM …and I love you

I’m listening now.