temptation

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How to Not Have Sex with Your Wife for 6 Weeks

Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.
— Paul in Ephesians 5

I wish someone told me before I got married there would be periods where for very good reasons my wife and I cannot have sex. 

I'm in one of those periods right now... it happens for every husband and wife after they have a C-section (and many other types of procedures). Here is Whitney's hospital discharge note stating very clearly, no sex:

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Now, as a Christian man, I've contemplated what to do about these trials. In the wake of my 3rd C-section, I feel like God is giving me some wisdom worth sharing. 

  1. Biblical love in marriage is about giving, not receiving. As I serve my wife through her physical and emotional healing, I find empathy and my desire for my own pleasure dissipates.
  2. Just praying for my wife has a way of deepening my empathy for her as well as my own resolve not to sin. 
  3. I guard against moments of weakness, like when I'm really tired or have an abundance of energy that would normally find a sexual outlet. The top 7 tips that work for me to beat lust are in this little guide

Think its impossible to not have sex with your wife for prolonged periods of time?

Consider wise counsel I received from an older man a few years back. He shared with me how his own wife had a condition that made it impossible for him to have sex with her for over a year. I asked how he was able to do that, to which he responded, "I learned to love her like Jesus, without sex."

A challenging lesson, but rooted in Biblical love, I'm convinced. 

Adventures in Faith

Look at the Porn on Mainstream Media Now [warning: graphic]

As a Christian man, I subscribe to the whole "to look at a woman lustfully is adultery." (Matthew 5:28)  It's a high bar, impossible really, but we believe that with Jesus all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Thankfully, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, a "helper" (John 14:15-18) who helps us to take these thoughts captive. It's regular warfare. 

All that being said, I am continually shocked at the warfare being waged against our eyes now on a regular basis.

Not sure what I mean, here are a few screenshots from mainstream news and social media sites:

How did we get to this place where was what porn just a couple decades ago is now accepted out in the open?

Look, I get it, some people don't think this is any harm, they're all for it, and dive right in. But I still believe that most people don't think this is best, and don't want to see it. 

News flash!!! 

This porn everywhere, it's like land mines.

Guys are getting sucked in and blown up over this stuff, their relationships, their marriages are suffering for it.

Women, why are you shocked that men think they can grab you by the pu**y when this is what we accept everyday?

Kids are seeing this from childhood, their perception of women and sex is perverted by it.

This is vitally serious. Does anybody care?

 

 

Adventures in Faith

Why I Vowed to God Not to Drink Alcohol

For many years I’ve entertained the idea of quitting drinking alcohol because the damage it has caused in my life is both well-known and hidden: 

Well-known because I lost my sister, Danielle, to the actions of a drunk driver. And there are a slew of people from the not too distant past, and especially in college, who can testify to the wreckage that drinking caused in my life (I documented some of it in a post here). 

Hidden because I've made so many bad decisions when drinking in my past. And even though the days when that was a frequent occurrence are long gone, it still happens. It's true, even as God has blessed me with a family, children, a great job, and more, if I’m honest with myself, I have to acknowledge that there’s still an unhealthy desire in my heart to “let loose” and not be concerned with how much I drink.

This desire has reared up time and again in small and even some big ways.

Over the past two years in my job there have been functions where I’ve had four, five, or more glasses of wine--well into the state of questionable judgement and loss of control. I've made the excuse that, as a salesperson tasked with "working the room," it's part of the process.

Whitney almost always can tell right away and is rightly angered that I would “let go” in this way. When Whitney and I traveled recently to Nashville, we both saw my desire to drink heavily on full display.

Even in more innocent instances--a couple of Scotches while doing house work on the weekend for example--when I reflect on the motivations of my heart to have that drink, the answers don’t settle well with me, answers like…

  1. to relax more
  2. to have a different kind of energy
  3. to be a little more joyful

The fact is, in each instance Scripture comes to mind that says…

  1. find comfort in the Lord (Matthew 11:28)
  2. God will help me to soar (Isaiah 40:31)
  3. the joy of the Lord is to be my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

Not to mention Scripture says I’m to be sober-minded (1 Peter 5:8, Galatians 5:21, Proverbs 20:1).

Other excuses I could make are that I like the taste and it’s healthy, but again, as I reflect on what alcohol has profited my taste buds and health in contrast to what it’s cost me, the net result is heavy loss and those reasons don’t appear to be good enough.

And even though I'm in no way saying that alcohol is bad in itself (creating it was Jesus' first miracle, after all), and in fact, I expect that I will have another drink at some point, I can’t kid myself that this is a completely innocent activity.

I can’t act like it’s something I can just do and there isn’t this past shadow that it’s cast on the family. I don’t want to drink when it’s a problem for me, and for so many other people that I know!

As I stated at the start, these thoughts have stirred in my mind for years, but what’s brought it to a head now is a simple prophecy that I received in Atlanta in December 2016. Two people, one a guy I know, and another woman who was a stranger to me came up to me at a church and after praying told me that they believe that God is encouraging me to write a book and tell stories about what He is doing, stories that God is making clear to me and helping me to tell.

Now, when these words were spoken to me I was surprised by them because I have never told anyone that I’ve always wanted to write a book, mainly because I thought it would be later in life. And here were two people poking at this thing in my heart and telling me that, in fact, the time is now!

What does this have to do with quitting drinking?

While I’ve enjoyed writing since I was little and have even been described as having a “gift” to do so, in my mind I’ve often told myself that I write best after having a couple drinks (or more). And frankly, in writing circles, this is actually a common mindset! And so I felt validated in thinking that, saw it come true in some instances, and so have thought it for many years.

The problem is this, with the kind of writing that I believe God wants me to do, there’s a massive conflict in my thinking and in my heart! Because as soon as I realized I am supposed to write a book about God, I prayed to God and said,

“Lord, I am only going to write this book if you write this book, you have to guide me!”

And I know without a doubt that God isn’t asking me to have a few drinks so I can hear the Holy Spirit better. What He’s calling me to do is pray and fast and be sober minded so I can listen better and hear what He’s saying more.

In summary, drinking runs in direct conflict with my desire to learn from my past, my thinking about effective writing, and what God is calling me to write in this season of my life. And so, I’m quitting drinking for the foreseeable future, or at least until the book is written and published.

What would also be a huge help for me is to receive your prayers. I really do not expect this to be easy, I’ve drank for so long, and especially socially. However, with God I know this is possible; and so, when you pray, ask God to draw me closer to Him, ask him to give me grace enough to be disciplined about this, to resist temptation, and also, please pray for wisdom and discernment as I write this book! That would mean so much to me, and by all means, if you get some “sense” or some encouraging thought from God as you pray for me, please do let me know! I’m so thankful for the people who are reading these stories, my family, and the ways God speaks through and sharpens me through you, and anticipate that He is going to increase that in the future!

UPDATE: A brother weighs in...

I've been so encouraged as I shared this with, first, my wife, and second, a dear brother in Christ, who is on somewhat of a parallel journey in that he is also feeling called to write a book.

Anyway, this brother, one thing I love about him is his dedication to immersion in Scripture, and as a result, the great wisdom and counsel that comes from him. Many times, the timing of his calls and the words of his counsel have resonated deeply in my life.

So when I told him about this, what he wrote to me gave me depth to this decision, understanding the precedent for making these kinds of vows, even publicly, and as I read through the Scripture he sent, it all, once again, sank deep into my heart. Here's what he wrote:

1.  Check out the "Nazerite Vows" in OT.  Read the word.  Here's some thoughts on it, too:  Here.  It will encourage you, if you're not aware of it.  

2.  God wants you to write DRUNK and be DRUNK (FILLED) with His Spirit.  It's the only way to write, and live, for God!  A great theme verse for you: Ephesians 5:15-21.  

3.  Great choice, brother.  I trust it definitely has a time and purpose for you and His Kingdom!

PS. Make sure you read John's "vow" announced by Gabriel....  Luke 1:13-17

Adventures in Faith

A Word for Those in College Facing Temptation

Galatians Chapter 5

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Adventures in Faith

Speaking to Students at Alma Heights Christian School

A teacher at Alma Heights Christian School in Pacifica, CA, reached out to me to talk to the high schoolers. I was super blessed by her invitation, and felt God prompt me to accept it followed by His preparing me to deliver a message. This is what I shared:

Pretty new to talking to students about my faith. Some were clearly engaged, while others were just as clearly sleeping. I trust God for any impact. Sowing seeds, letting someone else water, knowing God Himself is responsible for growth.

I was super encouraged that one student came up to me after the talk, after the room had cleared, to say he felt like I was speaking directly to him. He said he was nervous to come talk to me, but he just had to since he felt so clearly that I was speaking directly to him. He told me why he felt that way, and it was clear that the Holy Spirit had moved in that room. We exchanged info and I encouraged him and instructed him as best I could.

After I left, I got a message on Twitter then text messages from students--this is what they said: 

can I ask for your opinion on homosexuality? do you think its wrong? last year i accepted who i was and i knew i was attracted to boys since i was little... i believe i was born like this and it wasn't my choice.

Your whole message resonated with me. i'm going through a rough patch with someone i've been dating. i feel like God has placed you in my life because i don't know what to do. How do you listen to God and hear his voice?

Suddenly my offer to be a brother in Christ to these students became very real. Amazingly, I felt very equipped to respond to the inquires I got, not because of my own wisdom, but because I was literally sitting with brothers in Christ when I got the questions, and was able to talk through them to confirm what I was thinking. 

One improvement I will make when I talk to groups in the future is I will provide a handout or visual that includes my contact info, as well as a few trusted local resources if I know of any. 

When you're walking with the King of Kings, you never know when a life is going to be changed in an instant.