There are twelve common steps that usually occur in sequence as a relationship moves toward an adulterous affair. These steps often occur over a long period of time, but a man and a woman can move thru these stages of an affair in a single evening. Becoming aware of the steps helps us to recognize what might be happening to us so we can stop the process before we are in over our heads.
Our two main enemies are rationalization and denial. We rationalize when we give acceptable reasons for unacceptable thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Denial is our often intense refusal to recognize the truth about our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Sin can harden our hearts and darken our understanding, turning us away from God. "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
For example, a woman rationalizes that God understood and accepted her numerous affairs because, after all, it was He who created within her this "need for other men." A man lives in denial about his affair, "it's OK, because each time we have sex we end by praying together."
I will briefly list the 12 steps here and in the subsequent post. For a more complete understanding, you will need to read the book, TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE, from which this information is taken.
1. Readiness - The first step is emotional readiness. Something is occurring in a man's life that has him leaning away from the marriage. This is a vulnerable time. He needs to learn to recognize this and turn his energy toward regaining the full health of his marital relationship.
2. Alertness - The second stage in the affair process is a growing awareness of a particular person in our web of relationships. He begins simply by thinking occasionally about the other person. The innocent thoughts turn to fantasy. As she becomes more present in his conscious thoughts, she may begin to appear in dreams and the dreams are often filled with sexual fantasy. Masturbating while fantasizing about her is common.
3. Innocent meeting - Truly innocent, chance meetings, often legitimate business contacts can potentially build the relationship. This is the stage where some flirtations can develop, prolonged eye contact, harmless sounding sexual innuendo, enticing body language, etc.
4. Intentional meeting - Meetings occur frequently which appear to be by chance when in reality one person has acted in such a way as to increase the likelihood of the meeting. He will hang out for extended periods of time hoping for the chance to "surprisingly" meet her. The excitement of sexual attraction overpowers his rational side. At this point, he has entered a real danger zone.
5. Public lingering - The man & the woman now spend time together while in group settings. They will tend to shut others out by turning away from the group and avoiding eye contact with others. Observers know something is happening. However, they would still deny any suggestion that this was more than normal adult relating. The public setting help them to rationalize: "It's fine to focus on her. Nothing can happen. We are with others."
6. Private lingering - Soon the man & the woman find that they are still together long after the others have left. Conversation shifts from ideas to feelings. Caring is shared. Conversation drifts into private and personal areas. They still feel fine about the relationship because the meetings begin in public.
7. Purposeful isolating - Now the man & the woman begin to plan times alone for "legitimate" purposes. They may request the other to work on special projects at work that require them being alone or work late together. He may ask her to help him sort out his marital problems. They still deny any suggestions that their relationship is not completely appropriate. At home, his wife notices a decrease in verbal & nonverbal communication. He seems suddenly detached, cool, almost formal in his relating. There may be uncompleted phone calls.
8. Pleasurable isolating - Now the man & the woman are planning times alone with each other for the sheer enjoyment of being together. The relationship takes on a youthful euphoria. There is a shared experience of excitement and adventure with more intimacy occurring. There is more touching. His spouse notices that there are long blocks of time that are unaccounted for. There is a noticeable decrease in pleasurable times in the marriage. The relationship is still rationalized: "It's OK to have good friends of the opposite sex, there is nothing wrong with being close friends. After all, she understands me better than my wife."
9. Affectionate embracing - There is embracing without letting go. There is increased touching and playful caressing. Childish games like tickling and wrestling are often played at this stage to increase physical contact. The rationalization is that there is nothing wrong with physically expressing support for one another. At the same time, affectionate embracing and physical contact decreases with his wife.
10. Passionate embracing - Affectionate touching and embracing lead to passionate interchanges. The couple will still rationalize and say that it is fine to get aroused because it is innocent and unplanned, "Besides, my wife no longer makes me feel this way."
11. Capitulation - The couple gives in to sexual intercourse. Denial is eliminated at this stage. There is no way to deny the reality of what they have done.
12. Acceptance - Here they finally admit to themselves that they are in the throes of an affair. If they continue, it is definitely a conscious choice. The emotional investment in the affair is at its peak and the emotional investment in the marriage is at its lowest. The man may find creative ways for his wife to discover the affair. The tension of living a double life is usually too much for someone to bear for very long.
Is this the end of the story? Do the man and woman live happily ever after? Nope. The story of an affair is not a comedy. It is a huge tragedy with unbelievable fallout and consequences.
Tomorrow, we will discuss some of these consequences.
Much of this information is taken from the book, TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE
BE A MAN.
Iron Mike Tyson is one of the most iconic, controversial—and also most jacked-up—sports figures of all time. And I absolutely loved
watching him fight. He had the unprecedented power to knock his opponent out with just one punch. He would send you crying to mama in the first forty-five seconds of round one. And if you weren’t careful…he just might spit in your face and go to town gnawing on your ear! (Just ask Evander Holyfield.)
Even though Iron Mike was unquestionably messed up, I couldn’t help loving him as a fighter and an athlete. Because no matter what else you could say about him, he genuinely had that “Eye of the Tiger.” The dude just loved to hit, scrap, punch you in the face, bite, trash talk, kick your booty, fight—and win!
He simply stubbornly refused to lose.
Hey parents, listen up: We need more Iron Mike Tysons in this world.
Oh, you read that right. What I mean is we need parents who are willing to hit, scrap, punch, bite, and fight for their kids! (Of course, I don’t mean you should hit your kids.)
But here’s who you should
hit: the enemy who’s bent on stealing, killing, and destroying our families. And it’s totally gloves off with that punk. It’s Rumble in the Jungle, Thrilla in Manila, Sting in the Ring, Fight of the Century, all-out war!
But instead of Iron Mike Tyson parenting, what we’re surrounded with today is lazy, apathetic, exhausted, busy, workaholic, God-dodging, materialistic parenting. Mom and Dad, it’s time you turn off that phone. Stuff that To-Do list in a drawer. Turn off the TV. Get your butt up off that couch. Lace up your boxing gloves… And FIGHT for your kids. Five Things Every Parent Needs to Fight for for Their Kids:
James 4:13–14 says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” Make time for your kids today. Nobody’s promising you a tomorrow with them.
Did you know that the largest audience for Internet porn is kids aged twelve to seventeen years old? Understand this: Satan has a dream, a vision, and a coordinated plan to take your kids out. He wants them checking out porn, keeping secrets, rounding second base and sliding into third, plunging headlong into promiscuity! Parents, please
… dig deep and find the guts to FIGHT for your kids’ purity!
Is your marriage on life support? Are you at that point where the doc should just come in and pull the plug? Have you been secretly dreaming about some other person besides your spouse? Have you been having an emotional affair? What about a full-on sexual one? Then let me tell you what happens next: Fight for your marriage! Or risk losing it all—including your kids. It really is just that simple. Sure, it’s tough. I get it. Things are jacked up. I get that maybe you’re not “feeling it” anymore. But one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is modeling for them how to have a healthy, vibrant, passionate love affair—with your spouse!
So, what’s your deal? Are you a yeller? Does your anger cause your kids to walk on eggshells around you? Are you a workaholic? Spiritually passive? Porn addict? Critical heart? You know that’s not who you want to be. So why are you still keeping that old man around? Kick him to the curb! Find out what it really means to be in Christ
, and to have Him in you
. You CAN change the pattern of history that has so far defined your life. Write the legacy that your kids deserve. But here’s the thing: You’re going to have to get bloody knuckles to make it happen. FIGHT!
5. The Obvious.
Fight to keep Jesus in the center of your family. The only thing trying to stop you is the whole world. Don’t let it. Push back. When the cares of this world try to start a fistfight with your family, you pull a knife. When they pull a knife, you pull a gun. Fight! Every day of your life, as soon as you get up, strap on your armor. (See Ephesians 6:10–18 to learn how.) Read God’s Word together, pray together, go to church together, talk about Jesus on the way to school, when you get up and before you go to bed. It's time to RE-UP. Recommit to making Jesus the centerpiece of your life.
This post was taken from the booklet Sex, Lust and XXX: Fighting for your kids' purity in a sex saturated world. BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
For many years Christian scholars have written about the disconnect between the belief system of Christianity and the practical application of these beliefs. Studies show that many of the things that are occurring outside of the Christian realm are also happening within the Church. When we look at attitudes, adultery, divorce, financial mismanagement, and even suicide the statistics are not making a great case for inviting others into a transforming relationship with Jesus. In many cases God seems to be taking people through a difficult period in their life to show them blessing and strengthen their faith. Other times, believers may stray from Biblical principles in search of their own comfort and this is what causes the distress.
In the latter conclusion one has to evaluate what is missing to send them down this path. Is the power of God not strong enough? Is this message untrue? Is Christ’s redeeming work actually not applicable in today’s context? These are all valid questions especially for someone who is witnessing the behavior and attitude of someone who claims to follow God.
I think this disconnect comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of belief. As pastors and Biblical teachers we have often looked at Christian principles as a set of facts to be memorized and have encouraged people to agree with this information. It is easy to do this especially when the teacher presents a good case.
Agreement is a wonderful conclusion and we want people to agree with the information we are conveying, but the real goal is acceptance. Many people are struggling in their faith (that they cognitively agree with) because they have not fully accepted that God loves them and there is nothing they can do about it. They need to know that Christ desires that they live a life that reflects this love to the world (the love that is hard to accept because hurts still occur and are being grieved). Accepting this persistent love makes transformation possible….it is the key to showing the world this information is not meaningless data, but life giving.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. You can find the original post here: http://other-words.net/2012/10/03/stop-agreeing/
Last week was anti-porn week here at Ironstrikes. I hope that you were able to read about the five topics:1. Porn and sexual satisfaction2. Porn and fake relationships3. Porn and women4. Porn and cruelty5. Porn is insidious
Readers have asked about the Zillman-Bryant study from which these five posts were taken. In the early 1980s, Dr. Doll Zillmann of Indiana University and Dr. Jennings Bryant of the University of Alabama wondered whether continued exposure to video pornography had any impact on people's sexual beliefs and their attitudes towards women. For their experiment, 80 male and 80 female college-age participants were divided into three subgroups, and each group was shown 4 hours and 48 minutes of media.
1. The first group, the “Massive Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-violent pornographic films over a six-week period.
2. The second group, the “Intermediate Exposure Group,” was exposed to 18 pornographic films and 18 regular films over a six-week period.
3. The third (control) group, the “No Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-pornographic movies over a six--week periodYou may be saying, "that is an old study, what relevance does it have to today?"
At a 2011 conference, Dr. Mary Anne Layden commented about Zillmann and Bryant’s 25-year-old research. “When this study was done, what was called the ‘Massive Exposure Group" -- seeing five hours of porn over a six-week period -- "I now call that the Friday Afternoon Group."
Her statement is far from an exaggeration. A recent survey of 29,000 people at North American universities, shows 51% of men and 16% of women spend up to five hours per week
online for sexual purposes, and another 11% of men spend anywhere from five to twenty hours per week. What used to be “massive” exposure is now common practice.
Furthermore, the Internet has not only increased the public’s exposure to porn, but has also changed the way it is consumed. Dr. Jill Manning believes Zillmann and Bryant’s findings have greater
applicability in the modern age because Internet porn tends to be more interactive and consumer-driven. Viewers can select exactly who and what they want to see, custom-tailored to their greatest specifications.This week, I will be giving four solid tips in helping to curb your vulnerability to porn.
This post is taken from the booklet, YOUR BRAIN ON PORN
by Luke Gilkerson. The booklet can be found at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/brain-ebook/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
A new study by Patrick F. Fagan examines the effects of pornography on individuals, marriage, family and community. Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion at the Family Research Council
. He specializes in examining the relationships among family, marriage, religion, community, and America's social problems. This study is important for everyone to read as it demonstrates that it has damaging effects on individuals and families. In the summary Fagan explains,Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual's concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining social stability.
Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify some of the social and psychological effects, and neurologists are beginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which pornography produces its powerful negative effects.Some of the findings inside the study include:
- Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction.
- Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornography they use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.
- Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
- Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
- Among couples affected by one spouse's addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
- Many adolescents who view pornography initially feel shame, diminished self-confidence, and sexual uncertainty, but these feelings quickly shift to unadulterated enjoyment with regular viewing.
- The main defenses against pornography are close family life, a good marriage and good relations between parents and children, coupled with deliberate parental monitoring of Internet use. Traditionally, government has kept a tight lid on sexual traffic and businesses, but in matters of pornography that has waned almost completely, except where child pornography is concerned. Given the massive, deleterious individual, marital, family, and social effects of pornography, it is time for citizens, communities, and government to reconsider their laissez-faire approach.
This post was written by Ed Stetzer. The original post can be found here:http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-blogs/139251-the_effects_of_pornography.html/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
This post is preceded by "building monogamy"
which should be read before this post as they went together when originally posted.
Put simply, a direct correlation can be made between physical connection for a man and mental connection for a woman. The truth of this really hit home when I read Shaunti Feldhahn’s For Women Only
In her attempt to explain to women the significance of sex for men, she wrote,"For your husband, sex is more than just a physical need. Lack of sex is as emotionally serious to him as, say, his sudden silence would be to you, were he simply to stop communicating with you. It is just as wounding to him, just as much a legitimate grievance—and just as dangerous to your marriage."
This explains a lot! What the body is to a man, the mind is to a woman. Women treasure mental intimacy like men prize physical intimacy.
And just like men expect women to keep their bodies exclusively for them, women expect their men to do the same with their minds.
I am just now beginning to understand what women mean when they say the brain is a sex organ. And I am just now recognizing why a wife feels so betrayed when her husband allows pornography to fondle his mind. She is deeply wounded on at least two levels.First, pornography violates a wife’s exclusive domain.
Please bear with me as I illustrate the significance of this truth. My purpose is to help men appreciate the anguish women often experience, not to be offensive.
If you are a man, imagine your wife walking through a room full of men. They turn to notice her. Many leer. One reaches out and begins fondling intimate parts of her body. What do you hope she will do?
Every man hopes his wife will consider her body the exclusive domain of her husband, reserved for him alone—his eyes, his hands, his enjoyment—granting access to no other person. He hopes she will be offended, utterly outraged when touched by someone other than her husband. He hopes she will slap the violator’s hand away and then move quickly toward the exit. Every man expects his wife to guard her body from interloping hands, whether he’s present or not.
Now imagine the unthinkable. In response to the man touching her body, she pauses and smiles at him as he continues to grope. Another man sees an opportunity and touches another part of her. She doesn’t respond in kind, but she doesn’t rush for the door, either. In fact, she appears to enjoy the attention.How do you feel right now?
This is how a woman feels when her husband allows sensual images to grope his mind, her exclusive domain.
Now imagine the additional pain you would experience if, after confronting your wife’s behavior, she justified or rationalized or minimized the incident. Oh, honey, it was harmless. I didn’t do anything in return. Besides, God made me an attractive woman; I can’t help what men try to do. The world is full of men who will try to touch me, should I lock myself away and avoid the whole world? You’re the only one for me, really. That incident didn’t mean anything!
There’s a lot of truth in what she says. She can’t help what a world full of men think or even try to do. Locking herself away isn’t a realistic answer. Perhaps to her it did mean nothing. But none of that is important. The facts are these: It meant something to you; she should care about that. She can’t control the actions of others; however, she can guard her response. She can’t stop men from leering, but she can avoid risky environments. Someday a man might try to touch her inappropriately, but she can slap his hand away and remove herself from the situation.
Sensual images seem
less significant, less threatening to men. But not to women
. A wife needs to know—not merely by her husband’s words, but by his behavior—that his mind is completely devoted to her. She understands that the world will continue to assault men with sensual images; nevertheless, she wants—no, she needs
her man to protect and preserve what belongs to her.Second, pornography destroys the foundation upon which a wife builds security.
Based on more than twenty years of research and innumerable hours in couples’ therapy, Willard Harley reduced the needs of women to a single word: security.
“A sense of security is the bright golden thread woven through all of a woman’s five basic needs. If a husband does not keep up honest and open communication with his wife, he undermines her trust and eventually destroys her security.”
Pornography is almost always a secret sin, the core element of a hidden other life. When a woman discovers that her husband has been devoting portions of his mind to sexually gratifying images and then closing off those areas to her, the revelation shakes her world to its very foundation. She naturally begins to wonder what other terrible secrets occupy the mind she thought she knew so well. And if she had been so mistaken about knowing her man’s mind, how can she be certain of anything else? Furthermore, his dishonesty destroys her trust, the essential basis of any relationship.
Ironically, when men discover they are victims of adultery, they frequently describe similar thoughts.
While men struggle to understand why women place pornography in the same category with adultery, we must try; or, at the very least, accept the testimony of women at face value. For women, whose intimacy rests upon a foundation of mental connection, the effect of pornography on marriage is very much the same as outright adultery. It destroys intimacy. It betrays trust. And, even when undiscovered, viewing pornography creates emotional distance. In the end, women suffer the same physical, psychological, and spiritual anguish men experience as a result of adultery.
Men, let us always remember that the mind we protect is not ours alone. When we allow an enemy to enter, our mate suffers greater injury than we realize. Therefore, guard your heart with all diligence. Your heart is more than the wellspring of your own life; it is also her fortress.
This post was written by Mark Gaither. For the original post complete with comments, go to: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2009/07/27/is-porn-the-same-as-adultery/BE HOLY.BE A MAN
Sadly, many men would take the last one. But porn warps a man’s character, with devastating results:
He cares only about himself. He is full of pride. Many of his problems stem from this root issue.
Masturbating to porn trains a man
to climax quickly. If/when sex with his wife occurs, he’s a short story… if that.
His perception of sex and reality are totally warped. He would rather masturbate to a picture of naked women who cannot comfort him, wants nothing to do with him, and who probably hated being in a porn movie/picture shoot, than enjoy an exhilarating, satisfying ride to the top with his God-given spouse.
As time progresses and he indulges in porn more often, having sex with his wife becomes emotionally strained. It’s hard to be intimate with your wife when you know you’re committing porn-adultery against her. Shame is an intimacy killer.Compare all of this to marital sex:
Whereas porn is a one-dimensional, shallow act of selfishness, marital sex is a multi-faceted diamond that involves physical and emotional intimacy, the fun of discovering what pleases each other, and the joy of reaching the peak together. Sex with the spouse is far
more enjoyable than anything porn offers.
Marital sex spouse has a bonding effect. I always feel that my wife and I have strengthened our union afterwards.
The communication that takes place during sex enhances the bonding process. Expressions of love and other intimate conversation take a husband and wife to places porn can’t come close to. I can’t imagine a guy talking to himself and telling himself he loves himself while he’s masturbating to porn.
Marital sex is a gauge of how the relationship is doing. I have to treat my wife with kindness, care and respect for sex to happen (and vise-versa). If she’s turning me down and there isn’t a physical reason, it forces me to re-examine how I’m doing with carrying out one of God’s greatest commands to me as a husband – to love my wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5).
Sex with my wife gets me focused on her. The opposite of what porn and pride do.
The afterglow of marital sex is warm and loving, whereas with porn there’s only emptiness, shame and remorse.
Marital sex is satisfying.
Maybe you want to change but are stuck. Here are some guide posts that will help you in the journey to healing:
Stop using all porn, no matter what it takes. Support groups, accountability software, counseling, books, whatever. There will be no progress made until you’ve taken this step.
Set the idea of sex aside, and focus on the relationship with your wife. Take her on a date to a place she likes. Have fun together again. Rediscover the woman you married.
Show her you care. Listen to her fears, needs and concerns. Ask her how her day went. Ask questions and encourage her to talk about her feelings. Don’t try to fix her when she shares, especially
if it’s about her weaknesses or failures.
Stop criticizing her.
Stop comparing her to the porn-images you’ve exposed yourself to. Set firm boundaries in your mind that from this day forward, the only woman you will want to want is your wife. Ask for God’s healing touch in your mind and your heart from the mental adultery you’ve committed.
Do special, out of the ordinary things for her. Get her a card, make her dinner, buy flowers. Surprising her will help spark the friendship again.
Embrace humility. If she points out a way you’re hurting her or not taking care of her and she’s right, bite your tongue, swallow your pride, and ask God to help you change. Confess to her that she’s right.
Help out around the house. She’s not your maid, but your best friend.Pray together, every day
. I can’t overemphasize this one. I’ve heard a statistic that couples who pray together daily divorce one in one thousand, while those who don’t divorce one in two. Praying together is a fantastic way to draw close to your wife, and it brings the Lord into your marriage, which is what you need for healing.When sex does happen:
-Don’t make it a rush to the finish line. Take your time and get into foreplay.
-Remember that sex is an act you’re enjoying with your best friend, not something you’re doing to “get off.”
-Open up the lines of communication. Talk to her about what you like and ask her about what she likes. Tell her you love her.
-If you suffer with premature ejaculation, read up on techniques for prolonging sex and/or see a doctor if you need to. Tell your wife you may need a little time to re-adjust physically and emotionally.
Be patient. If you’ve spent years acting out with porn and your marriage is in a bad place, don’t expect your wife to warm up to you overnight. Keep working at it, and be determined to persevere until you’ve had a breakthrough. This post was written by Mike Genung. For the original post, go to: http://www.xxxchurch.com/men/sex-with-wife-or-3-hours-of-porn.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
God can never be put into a box. When you think that a story is over or God has done all He can do in a situation, He reminds you that He has plans for us that we could never think, dream or even imagine.If you remember from the previous two posts,
there was a pastor and cattleman. The pastor lived a godly life. The cattleman lived life like Esau:
desiring to be the best, be the manliest, having the most and grabbing all you can from life because "you only go around once." He lived a life of sensuality. The cattleman wasn't a bad man, he just slightly missed the mark.
God was working in the cattleman's sons' lives. One of the cattleman's sons finally came to himself.
He had experienced heartache and sadness from his father, his siblings, his wives and his children. All of these heart wrenching experiences finally brought him to the point where he realized that the way he experiences life leads to moral, financial and spiritual bankruptcy.
This man became what God desired of him. He found comfort in being with the family of the pastor, visiting them frequently and enjoyed having them to his home. There was a real change in his heart.
There was a tenderness that he had never experienced before as he let God have more and more of his past, present and future.
Life continued to be difficult for the one cattleman's son. He still had the pain of his upbringing to deal with. Some of his behavior had become so automatic that he still found himself grabbing for two pieces of bread and challenging the pastor's sons in manliness, but now, he was listening when the Holy Spirit reminded him that he was a new man.
He still had to face his siblings and he worked hard to break down the Esau spirit
in their relationships. His own children, who experienced the pain of his lifestyle, finally were able to see that their father had truly changed. He was now working tirelessly to make up for lost time and become more of what God desired for him all along.
The cattleman's son's life is not over. His life is not what it should have been but it is becoming what it could have been. He learned an exciting principle in which he is applying to his life: it is never too late to do the right thing.
So, as we conclude this three-part story of living like Esau, I ask you for two things:
1) Will you take a moment and pray for this cattleman's son? Ask God to continue to mold this man into being the man of God that he can be.
2) Consider your own life. Do you live like Esau? Are you looking out for yourself and looking for the best, seeking sensuality and the immediate gratification of your desires?
If so, it is never too late to do the right thing.
Ask God to change you. Become the man that God knows you can be. BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Once there were two friends. One man wanted to be a pastor. The other wanted to be a cattleman. These men both had a desire to please God. As they aged, studied their respective interests/calling, married and had children, God blessed them. However, as God is
wont to do, He did not bless them equally, or so it seemed.
The cattleman felt sorry for the "poor pastor" who was raising his family on a very meager salary. The cattleman quickly became wealthy. He acquired land, cattle, fortune, and family. In joking with the preacher, the cattleman said, "you know, I'm gonna end up taking care of you and your children. With my wealth, you will be cared for."
Nevertheless, the preacher stayed the course, doing what he believed God wanted him to do. After the preacher married, the doctor gave him bad news, "I don't believe you'll ever be able to have children." However, as God is wont to do, God doesn't have to listen to doctors.
So, it wasn't very long afterwards, they had their first child. And then another. And another... It was tough, living on a pastor's salary with so many children. There were times that they couldn't afford coats for these children to wear in the harsh winters of that region. Yet, God did bless. Miracles occurred in the pastor's family as they learned to rely upon God. The pastor's family learned that God does, indeed, take care of His children.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the cattleman lived well. However, there were a few noticeable, glaring aspects to the cattleman's character. The wealthier he became, the less he needed God. He could easily provide for his family.
Also, the cattleman lived a life of sensuality. Much like Esau,
he became a rather coarse fellow, using brash language, not delaying his gratification. He gave himself whatever his heart desired. This lifestyle led to tension within his own family. His children saw that even though the cattleman was a Christian man, what he said often did not match up with what he did. His children strayed from God's best for their lives. However, they did not stray too far. They frequently went to church, they proclaimed Jesus as their Savior but they always had Esau's seed in them. They, too, could be brash, insensitive, living in their own sensuality. Like their father, they were not bad people. Just edgy. Slightly missing the mark for what God desired for them.
When these two families got together on special occasions, the cattleman's sons challenged the pastor's son to games of strength and daring, often berating their manhood. "Come on, be brave! Don't be such a wimp!" were words the pastor's children often heard when challenged to do things that were marginally safe, sensual, just a bit edgy.
The pastor's sons noticed, also, that the cattleman's sons would grab the biggest or choicest pieces of food from the table, when offered one piece of bread, they would take two, drink the most iced tea, all without giving thought to others. The cattleman's sons weren't bad men, they just lived more sensually than the pastor' sons. However, they were missing the mark of God's standards for holiness.(Tomorrow, we will discuss part two of this story)BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
I write a lot about pornography on this site. I do that to warn others about the dangers of pornography. I have seen lives ruined by pornography. When I talk to non-Christians about the dangers of pornography, I usually (almost always) get this response (some Christians say this too), "The reason why so many people get addicted to pornography is because the church is always teaching that it is wrong. People will always do what is forbidden, it makes it more fun. If the church would not talk about how bad it is, people wouldn't be so interested in it."
Huh??? What kind of logic is that? The conclusions of such reasoning, if followed to its logical end, makes no sense.
Let me give you some findings from a secular
study. This doesn't come from some church website, this is research as reported by Yahoo!.
A recent study of 308 college women, ages 18 to 29 years old, showed that women who reported that their boyfriends or husbands looked at more pornography were less likely to be happy in their relationships than women who said their partners didn't look at pornography very often. The researcher also noted, "discovering explicit material on a partner's computer made them [the women] feel like they were not good enough, like they could not measure up."
Now, this research did not talk about the morality of pornography or interview the partners of these research participants, it just covered how the women felt about their partner's viewing of porn and how it affected their relationship.
OK. So there you have it.
This is not research that condemns pornography from a Christian point of view. The result is pretty clear. Women don't appreciate men looking at porn.
Here at Ironstrikes, we believe that men should respect and honor women.
Pornography does neither.
Stay away from it if for no other reason but to honor women.
The best reason is it is pretty difficult to think properly about women if you look at porn. God's Word says we are to treat "older women like mothers and younger women like sisters, with absolute purity."
It's clear from a secular as well as Christian perspective....
PORN IS NOT HEALTHY FOR MEN, FOR WOMEN, FOR RELATIONSHIPS, FOR CHRISTIANS AND FOR SOCIETY.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.