Making A Covenant With My Eyes

It’s no secret that many men struggle with sexual temptation. That can range across a wide variety of struggles, from outright infidelity and adultery, to pornography, to simple lust (which isn’t really that simple).

Studies show that men tend to be more visual than women, and just adds to the problem. So how do we combat it?

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Sexual purity is a critical pursuit for men in this day and age, when all too many men see nothing wrong with it. The same struggle exists for women, too, but from what I’ve read, it’s not yet as prevalent as it is with men. Finding a solution that works is essential. In order to be the men that God called us to be, and the husbands and fathers our wives and children need us to be, we must find a way to resist this temptation.

In the book of Job, from the Old Testament, we can catch a glimpse of just how ancient this struggle really is, and we can gather some insights into how we can stand firm, resisting the temptations of sexual impurity.

In chapter 31, Job makes a very bold statement: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

I believe that this is a brief peek into the heart of what God wants for each one of us. I see three things that we can do to help us to stand strong in this area, based upon Job’s experience and commitment.

Book Review – Playing Saint by Zachary Bartels

Playing SaintI have to admit, I wasn’t too interested in reading Playing Saint. Zachary Bartels is a new author, and this is his first book as far as I know. I’m usually skeptical of such books, simply because the author doesn’t have any track record, and first books are often a bit… well, cheesy.

I was totally surprised when I started reading Playing Saint. This book is well written, and captures the attention very quickly. And then it holds it until the very end.

Here is a brief synopsis. Parker Saint is a successful televangelist, serving at a megachurch that is exploding with growth. On top of all of that, he is close to launching his first book. Saint’s star is on the rise.

But when he becomes embroiled in helping the police solve a string of murders with religious symbols found at the scenes, his life turns upside down. He starts to slip, and soon discovers that he is in over his head. Between helping the police, being drawn into a search for an ancient relic with several mysterious Jesuits, and his own personal struggles, Parker Saint discovers that there really is a spiritual battle going on. And he finds that he is in the cross hairs of the killer.

Playing Saint is an exceptionally well written book, with a plot that twists and turns and leaves you completely surprised. It’s intense, and difficult to put down. Very few authors can create such an exceptional novel right off the bat, but Bartels has done it, and done it well. Along with Ted Dekker, Bartels will be an author to watch. I will be looking intently for his next novel.

Book Review – A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre

A Spy Among FriendsOne of my favorite authors of all time is Tom Clancy. The author of The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, The Sum Of All Fears and many more, Clancy can weave a web of intrigue in a novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

His novels center around the CIA and the intelligence community, and many of the best of his stories are from the era of the Cold War.

Though his novels are fictional, they are based somewhat on reality, albeit loosely. However, the underpinning of many of his novels could very well happen. And it did.

In the 1930s, the Soviet Union recruited an agent in the British government. And they had no idea just how far this spy would go. Kim Philby flirted with communism while at university. Unknown to his closest friends, he never discarded the ideals of the communist philosophy. He just buried them, and lived the outward life of a loyal patriot.

A patriot who just happened to be in the upper echelons of the British intelligence services, MI5 and MI6. Philby fooled everyone, from his own countrymen and colleagues, to his friends in other intelligence services. And he did so for more than thirty years.

Though much of his story is conjecture, and is either buried in the archives of the British intelligence files, or has been deliberately destroyed, Philby caused massive damage to British and American efforts to subvert communism throughout the Cold War. His betrayal gave operation and political advantages to the Soviets, and caused an unknown number of deaths.

Coffee Break – 10.20.2014

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Your Brain On Coffee – Understanding how caffeine works has long been misunderstood. Many seem to think that coffee actually stimulates your energy levels. That’s not quite true. Here’s a short video that explains how caffeine affects your brain.

14 Mind-Blowing Anamorphic Artworks – Some people can see things differently. And when you can envision some of the things these artists have come up with, you truly have a creative mind. These are pretty cool.

Rogue Industries – I recently bought a new wallet that I can carry in my front pocket for more protection. I got it from Rogue. Great prices. Quick shipping. Quality company. Check them out.

Anson Belt – On the subject of my personal accessories, a few months ago I purchased a new belt from Anson Belts. I am sold on these belts. I went back and bought a couple more options, giving me several combinations for any situation. Reasonable prices and great customer service.

Memorize Scripture: Titus 1:7-9

Paul’s letter to Titus begins right away with a description of what a godly church leader looks like. His letter is a brief one, so he wastes no time getting right to the heart of the matter. As mentioned last week, the letter to Titus can be broken into three sections: Godliness when it comes to church leaders, godliness when it comes to church life, and godliness in the life of the individual believer.

You can see the continuing description of the elder in Titus 1:7-9:

Titus 1:7-9

At first glance, it seems like Paul is repeating himself here; he tells Titus that an elder must be blameless twice within the span of two sentences. Paul’s writing is usually very intentional. Why would he carelessly repeat what he just stated in the previous sentence?

The answer is that it was not a careless repetition. Here is a rule to live by when reading Paul’s letters, or any of the rest of the New Testament: When something is repeated, that means it is being emphasized. We need to pay closer attention. If Paul feels it bears stating twice, then we need to hear it. In this case, he is going to describe what being blameless looks like for the elder.

It’s worth noting that Paul switches words here from elder (presbuteros) in verse 5 to overseer (episkopos) in verse 7, however, the meaning behind both is the same. These words are both used to describe the same office in the church.

5 Benefits Of Reading Quality Books (ESD)

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Developing solid spiritual disciplines takes a lot of work and a lot of time. But it is well worth the effort. Many of the disciplines that we need to develop in our lives require a lot of patience and a lot of practice to build into a solid habit. Others are much easier; as easy as simply choosing the right thing.

That’s the case when it comes to reading quality books, besides the Bible reading that we need to maintain. There are a lot of books out there. But not everything in print is worth reading. And much that is okay to read shouldn’t be too high on the priority list.

Quality Books

This is a case where you may have to sacrifice the good for the best. While there is much to read that is good, and books that we like to read, there are other things that are the best things to read. Seeking these out and spending time with them is a habit that is worth developing.

Here are five major benefits that come with choosing the best books to read.