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Friday, April 30, 2010

Inside of ___________ (see below for answer)
I took this photo yesterday.
Can you tell what it is?
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"A Covenant Of Purity"

"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl" (Job 31:1). "Keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22).

Yesterday in the course of my chaplain work I visited a group of young men in a large factory. As I approached their work area I heard the familiar voice of Nancy Lee DeMoss, a Bible teacher on our local Christian radio station. For the last several days Nancy has been teaching on a topic that Brooksyne and I feel has been long neglected; the topic of modesty. I applaud the fact that she's not caving into critics who would label her a legalist and thereby cast her teaching aside. In fact she has been very forthright on this subject. I was heartened to see these young men subjecting themselves to godly teaching as they diligently worked.

The counsel of God's Word is timeless and far-reaching. Our first daily text speaks of a personal covenant Job made that godly men and women do well to implement as their own today. In reading Job's covenant I readily confess that I can't conjure up in my mind's eye the sexual allurements that were common in his partriarchal day some 4000 years ago.  Perhaps seductive apparel, alluring fragrance, certain mannerisms, or a seductive voice would be among the tools of the trade in Job's time.  I do know the way they come in our time and a covenant with my eyes remains a wise practice.

In Job's time did they have anything near the equivalent of swimsuit editions of sports magazines, Victoria Secret catalogs, graphic billboards or lingerie ads? Today the internet, which I certainly believe is a powerful tool for ministry, is also a major, major purveyor of pornography and has ensnared many people, both young and old, male and female. Lust inducing images abound. But true followers of Christ must obey God's call to purity and holiness, and resist the urge to gaze upon these images with a lustful heart.

Staying pure has always been a challenge. We don't have the specifics about Job's time period, but presently fashion trends that contribute to lustful attitudes are the plunging necklines and low waistlines of women's apparel. Interestingly, some clothes are intentionally tight while young men's fashions includes pants so loose the waistline drops to the knee level as his "fashionable" underwear is being revealed. Have you ever seen a boy run in this attire? It's quite a comic sight, as he looks like he's running in a potato sack race!! Brooksyne has, more than once, tapped one of these young men on the shoulder and "innocently informed" him: "You're about to lose your drawers" to which he looks at her as though she was born in the patriarchal period. Interestingly, the dictionary defines underwear as you would expect: "clothes worn beneath outer clothes, usually next to the skin, and not seen in public."  It's rather interesting that some things that looks downright foolish to one generation can actually be sexually alluring to another.

All through the Bible we read candid reports of Bible heroes and their battles in this regard. Joseph ran from the temptress while David caved into temptation. Samson struggled and was seduced. Judah failed miserably. All of these situations were met with consequences. Of course Joseph was the only example of one who resisted and yet he too was declared guilty by his accusers. But, in the eyes of God, in his heart and in the heart of his accuser, he was thoroughly innocent.

Both daily verses enjoin us to personal responsibility, both in what we view and what we wear. A personal covenant (contract) with the eyes is a powerful decision and needs to be renewed regularly, daily. The straightforward command of the Apostle Paul to "Keep yourself pure" can easily be memorized and recalled at the time of temptation and used as a powerful guideline in our dress, behavior, attitudes and thoughts. Let us renew this commitment today and obey God. In doing so we take a stand against the tide of moral decadence in our land! Let us strive to keep ourselves pure!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, we know that Satan is a thief who "comes only to steal and kill and destroy" and millions fall victim to his enticements. You created us to have an emotional desire for physical and sexual intimacy and in Your perfect plan it is to be fulfilled in a marriage covenant. Knowing our inclination to sin, help us to carefully lay boundary lines where we are not feeding lust but are eliminating this destructive force in our lives. We desire purity and holiness as we daily pursue Your righteousness. Forgive us where we have resented, ignored, or disobeyed Your truths in this area of our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Personal note from Stephen: Let me be quite blunt here. It occurs to me that there are likely those reading this who have godly materials on your computer such as Bibles, devotionals and other spiritual helps. But you also have pornography. You really need to make a decision and I share Joshua's ancient challenge. "Choose this day who you will serve." A powerful personal reminder might be to print out the daily verses and place them right above your computer screen, or make a banner type screensaver with this message! (You may need to do so above your TV as well.) If that isn't deterrent enough rid yourself of the tool of temptation altogether.

BTW: It would be no problem to find illustrative photos for this message.

Personal note from Brooksyne: We know that unchecked lustful attitudes can lead to the viewing of pornography.  I have counseled with women who were devastated after finding that their husbands were involved with pornography. It made them feel that they were inadequate in meeting their husband's physical and sexual needs. It also made them feel like pornography was a mistress who had stolen their husband. Pornography creates unnatural and excessive desires in their husbands that a wife is unable to fulfill. It replaces the beauty of sexual intimacy in a marriage to one of shame and degradation. Husbands who generously love their wives and are wholly devoted to them will be blessed by wives who will give generously of themselves in a marital relationship. Of course, there are circumstances where it is the woman who is addicted to pornography and the husband experiences the same pain as described earlier.

Mike Book, a friend of ours wrote this song:

Lord, I give my eyes to You,
Guard my sight and all I do.
Help me to honor You each day,
In all my thoughts and what I say.

Purity, Holiness,
Seal me Lord—in righteousness.
Not by what I say and do,
But through the grace that comes from You.

Give me desire for Your word,
May only building words be heard,
Through my life be glorified,
Jesus Christ, for me You died.
Repeat refrain

Get thee behind me Satan’s lie,
I’ll do Your will Lord, come draw nigh.
Help me avoid the tempter’s snare,
Dwell in Your loving arms of care.
Repeat refrain

Technical note: Yesterday (April 29, 2010) we did not publish a Daily Encouragement Net message due to an early meeting and full day.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Create in Me A Clean Heart"  Video  Keith Green

"Purify My Heart"  Video  

"Holiness Is What I Long For"  Video

"Revive Our Hearts"  The website for the teaching ministry of Nancy Lee DeMoss. You can listen to the very message Nancy shared yesterday that I referred to in today's message.

Here are several more online resources that deal with the topic of moral purity.
Pure Life Ministries
Pure Intimacy
Resisting the Lure: Recognizing the Dangers of Sexual Temptation
(an online booklet from RBC)
Pornography and Cybersex

The Purity Principle: God's Guardrails on Life's Dangerous RoadsThe Purity Principle: God's Guardrails on Life's Dangerous Roads  By Randy Alcorn / Multnomah
Looking for a way to open up discussions about sexual integrity with your family---or at your church? Alcorn's biblical, practical one-stop handbook deals with everything from teaching young children about sexuality to relationship principles for teenagers, older singles, and married couples; from special advice for those in ministry to transforming hope for those sorely tempted. 96 pages, hardcover from Multnomah.

Finally: Today's mystery photo (at the top) was taken looking up inside a working windmill near New Holland, Pennsylvania!
Windmill in New Holland PA

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Text only version for printing: To make a text only version for printing (without photos or any of the supplemental materials)
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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