lust

Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey

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published by Waterbrook Multnomah.

This particular subject really hits hard in a personal way. I struggled with lust since I was a teen, and at times it still haunts me… As this lust was apart of my life I would grow to despise it mentally, though certainly enjoy it physically; this was even before I became a Christian. When I got saved, I ESPECIALLY knew dabbling in lust and pornography was wrong, and through various  efforts sought to turn away from it. For a time I had heard about this book, but for some reason I never picked it up until recently. I wanted to read this, because I heard so many good things about it. I also wanted to read this, because of my personal encounter with sexual sin; where at times I’d win and lose battles against it…

Every Man’s Battle is a book which touches on just that, a sin which every man ought to be battling: Lust. Fred and others expose not only how ugly sexual sin is for single and married men, but also for children, fathers, and even pastors and youth leaders too. This goes deep and even a little graphic into some of the thoughts/experiences men have andor are capable of having. Since Fred and others are speaking of an enemy worth fighting against, they also give readers a battle strategy too.

Some reading bits of Every Man’s Battle might say: “There is no way some of these anecdotes are real” , but as a man who has struggled with sexual sin I can testify what they wrote is easily relatable. Indeed I have had moments where lust has plagued my thoughts, but Fred and the others expanded this issue further than I expected. I strongly agree with most of what they say in this book, and feel if one pursues the game plan they set for the reader most will be able to overcome this monster.  I like the strong use of scripture, since God needs to be man’s greatest ally in this fight, and I also liked the workbook included too. Of course, one thing I questioned was when they said slow dancing was a form of foreplay; I say this depending on what they define as “slow dancing”. Otherwise I feel this is an essential book!

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

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Suing the devil: A DVD Review

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A Mouth watering production

Very intriguing plot premise! I saw the trailer to this a while back and thought to myself “this looks like it could be a really good film”. I was further intrigued when I saw Malcolm McDowell, Corbin Bernsen (the Dad from the TV show Psych), and Rebecca St. James (Beautiful singer) were cast members; they are all very good actors. Keeping all that in mind I wanted to check out the movie Suing the devil.  I was excited in regard to the points above yet I was also a bit nervous too, because if this wasn’t done properly then it would probably look pretty cheesy in my honest opinion…

Suing the devil is about an Australian man who decides to sue the Devil himself for 8 trillion dollars, after certain events take place within his personal life. The court finds Luke O’Brien’s lawsuit bonkers, until a man appears within the court room who hints he might be satan himself. Because the court is convinced the man is indeed satan, the great trial is set to begin with world-wide news coverage! Little does Luke O’Brien know this won’t be an ordinary trial, because not only does satan have the best lawyers hired, but what is discussed and how things take place will surprise everyone. There is plenty of drama both in court and outside of the court room to put it mildly…

I saw some things I really liked, and a couple of things I didn’t like so much. I didn’t like the actor who played Luke O’Brien very much, because I felt certain scenes he either sounded like he was overacting or cheesy; although he did ok in other scenes too. Some funny jokes were in this movie: one example being how Luke O’Brien goes through the process of serving the prince of darkness with a subpoena. Now excluding the song: Mighty to Save I didn’t like the rest of the movie’s music very much; it was almost as bad as the music in Courage (not to be confused with Courageous). The best thing for me to note is Malcolm McDowell’s excellent portrayal as lucifer. My favorite part of his portrayal was, when he explodes in the courtroom towards the end of the film; especially with what he says about being left or right-wing. Though I felt certain scenes could have gone better, overall I thought this movie turned out pretty good and certainly gives the viewer a lot to think about especially in regard to how to respond to temptation.

TCP Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

p.s. Here are some neat videos you might like from my friend, Pastor Carl Gallups in regard to temptation and the fallen angel himself: satan’s name, and Defeating Demonic Strongholds.

Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley

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by Andy Stanley

It’s interesting that I got this book during the summer and I didn’t get to finish it until this fall. Part of this was poor time management on my part, but when I actually started reading Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley, who is the son of one of my favorite preachers: Dr. Charles Stanley, I realized me reading this when I did was more of God’s timing than mine.

Enemies of the Heart is a book which addresses the spiritual heart. We like to look at the physical condition of our hearts in order to avoid problems like heart disease, but Andy Stanley writes, with a strong emphasis, we ought to monitor our spiritual condition too. Do we have any Greedy, Angry, Jealous, and or guilty habits/tendencies? How do they appear in our lives? And how do we deal with each of these traits?

I cannot get into specific details, but I believe God wanted me to read this book at the time I did because he wanted me to realize and treat certain spiritual heart conditions I’ve been guilty of containing within. I believe this book helped me a great deal in becoming more spiritually aware, but like many diet/weight loss books this book is only something beneficial when actually applied. Andy Stanley addressed several important topics which I didn’t expect him to get into like analyzing more specifically why do some men have a problem with Lust. He also provides various passages of scripture as support for our need to examine our hearts carefully; one really good verse is Proverbs 4:23. He even provides solutions, though not easy ones, in regard to our unclean hearts which though tough are not unrealistically optimistic.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah Press, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Waterbrook Multnomah Press to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus.  This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Rob Bell’s wrong about Hell.

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*Disclaimer* For the sake of rational discussion I will be using the word “Hell” numerous times. It is only for the sake of reference and not for using as a cuss word. I apologize if you are offended by my use of the word, as my intent is only to talk about that place itself and the theology behind it, because as Christians we need to discuss Hell since its existence is real.  I have no intention to purposely blaspheme against the Lord for it is my hope that those who read this if they are not saved will repent of their sins and swear allegiance to Jesus Christ who is the only hope for any persons’ salvation… Whether you agree with what is discussed or not, please be respectful. Any comments with curse words or comments which either are uncivil  or is for the sole purpose of acting like a troll will be deleted.

Before I get into this very controversial subject I just realized today is the One Year Anniversary of this Word Press blog. For those who have remained loyal despite any disagreements you may have had with some of my writings, thank you for sticking with me. I appreciate it a lot. If you are new to the Christian Perspective I hope you learn/enjoy this discussion and feel free to make a comment and or subscribe. 🙂

I don’t know a lot about Rob Bell, but I am agreeing with his critics when it comes to what Bell thinks about Hell. You may not have heard, but Rob Bell is the unorthodox pastor of Mars Hill in Grand Rapids Michigan, and he launched a controversial video as a precursor to his new book Love Wins. So I saw a YouTube clip, from Wretched TV’s channel, of Rob Bell talking about Hell and I could touch on some of the things he said, though you ought to see the clip for yourselves, but of all the things he said if I could point out something that bugged me the most… it would be the idea Bell suggested which I have simplified into the effect of the following:

“How can a loving God send good people to Hell?”

and basically mocked the idea that someone like Gandhi, even though he appeared to deny Jesus Christ, is capable of being in Hell. As Todd Friel from Wretched TV said in the You tube link I provided, Mr. Bell is basically endorsing the Universalist, New Age movement concept that “Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation” (which Oprah Winfrey once said on her show) and “if you’re good enough and have done enough then you’ll be in Heaven too.” Take it from someone who used to think that I can do lots of good things and please my way into Heaven (see my Christian Testimony), no! No you can’t be good enough to earn a ticket to Heaven! Without Christ, I am just as Hell bound as anybody else who is apart from God, for I have committed many-MANY sins against God; I have no reason to boast about anything good. By saying what he said, he appears to be basically mocking people who feel or appear to feel (in his opinion) that God purposely sends people to Hell, and because of his interpretation he is mocking conventional Protestantism. This is a serious accusation considering some people have become Atheists because of this issue, not to mention there’s the Calvinistic interpretation of Predestination some believe in (I do not believe the Calvinist view), and of course the attitude of such a statement in itself is offensive and misleading. Sure  if God wanted to he could send us all into Hell right now in the blink of an eye, because he has the authority to do such a thing after all he created us and I’m sure when scientists build robots most don’t question if they can destroy their own creation… However, whether one can accurately judge if God literally “sends people” to Hell is irrelevant, because of what we do/say/think. If I could openly respond to Rob Bell himself I would tell him:

“God doesn’t have to send people to Hell, because we condemn ourselves!”

I’m neither dead nor am I God so obviously I don’t know exactly who is in Hell, as well as an exact description of what Hell is like, and I don’t have the authority to condemn anyone. However, what I can say about Hell is that 1) Whoever rejects God is in Hell 2) Whoever rejects God’s son Jesus Christ is in Hell. 3) Our good deeds do not save us from Hell. 4) A person who is in Hell deserves it just as a guilty criminal deserves to be in prison. Like in the video I provided second paragraph, when on trial you don’t get to say to a judge “Yeah I’m guilty of this crime, but I’ve done so much good work for my community, and I try to be nice to all people so what I’ve done outweighs my offense right?” and get away with the crime… No if we did that in the real world, most of us (unless the judge is corrupt) would be convicted and sent to prison anyhow. In regard to Gandhi, no doubt did he do some great things for the Indian people, but according to Bible verses such as Isaiah 64:6 good deeds themselves without God are irrelevant. (by the way, the rag Isaiah speaks of is one which a woman wipes up her period blood… gross I know, but it’s a gruesome point to remember.) What bugs me the most about Rob Bell’s statement is what he is suggesting denies the concepts of Justice and Grace as well he is twisting around the definition of Love. In my opinion, Bell’s simply saying “Hey it doesn’t matter that someone denies the one who created him. As long as someone does what others think is good then that person ought to get into Heaven too.” Sure it matters whether someone knows God or not:

1) As Todd Friel said in the video, how do we know how good we have to be? And what is the standard of that goodness? No one can answer that first question without giving some personal opinion, possibly related to someone else’s deeds… We all have our personal standards of right and wrong, but in reality they do not completely match up with what God wants of us, not to mention our standards change constantly while God’s don’t change. The simplest laws we ought to be obeying is the 10 commandments in addition to the rest of the Bible. We fail to meet those standards, because of our current sinfulness and the sin which our distant ancestors Adam and Eve committed long ago…

2) Such an idea that a person doesn’t need Jesus or God to be considered “good” and “worthy of Heaven” conflicts with various scriptural examples like the passages provided in the previous paragraphs, including what Jesus said in John 14:21. It does matter whether I have sworn allegiance to God let alone it being the correct God. I’m not just talking about the God of the Bible here, there are other religions out there like Islam that say “If you’re following the wrong God you’re in big trouble.” (I’m summarizing) Not to mention in a worldly example, if I suddenly decide to become a Terrorist against the United States do you really think if I did something like stole thousands of dollars or bombed some people for the sake of an opposing country/organization that I’d be treated nicely by the United States Government? “Oh well we don’t like what he did, but because he and his group approve it then that’s ok, I mean he meant well.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!

3) The after life does not function like a democracy! I mean if this “majority rules” mentality were accurate for general morality, then I could rape someone without guilt or consequence if I got enough people to support it. We people do so many horrible things, I don’t even have to provide evidence for that because all one has to do is watch the news or look outside their window depending on where they live! Not to mention if morality were determined by a collective consensus, then Grace wouldn’t exist very often… We people, I know I fit this especially at times, can be so unforgiving! What Jesus did for us by dying an innocent death on the cross, which by the way was voted upon when they chose to release Barabbas, he died for all the bad stuff we do and say and think… Like in our legal system we are not entitled to mercy, again if God really wanted to he could just teleport us all into Hell right now, but God doesn’t do that because of his mercy and love for us. He is giving all of us a chance to seek his son, Jesus Christ who died in our place. We have all sinned against him time after time after time…

Hell, in the most simplest sense which I’m able to comprehend without making any false judgments, is a place where God is not present; the Bible calls it an eternal lake of fire. All those who reject God will finally get their wish if they choose to go to Hell. I say choose, because we have the choice whether to repent of our sinfulness and put our faith and trust into our Lord Jesus Christ (by swearing loyalty and allegiance to him) the Prophesied Savior who delivered us from our wages of sin, or we can reject God and continue live for ourselves for the rest of our lives and when dead reside in a place where God, who gives good and perfect gifts, will not be present. I do not mean to scare anyone with “Turn or Burn” style theology, because that is not my intention today. I simply feel I must confess to whoever reads this that Hell is a real place that shouldn’t be dismissed so easily. Anyone who rejects God and sins against him deserves to be in there, for the sake of Justice. But God who loves his creations, without violating our free will, sent his only son Jesus Christ to die in our place so that undeservedly we are forgiven for those sins, and all that is required is for us to believe in Jesus Christ and live for him. I have written this, because I don’t want anyone to go to Hell, we should never wish or hope that upon anyone no matter what they’ve done, rather for those who commit various misdeeds we ought to hope for their repentance… Rob Bell by denying the grace of Jesus Christ and belittling what Hell is supposed to be, is a wolf who is leading those who listen to him into heresy…

The Purpose of Passion by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware

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by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware

I wasn’t impressed by this. I don’t mean to sound harsh and all by opening my review this way, but I was expecting something with a little more substance when first glancing over the cover. I’ll admit I have not actually read all of Dante’s Divine Comedy, though after reading this book I was inspired to read the rest of the Divine Comedy’s series of stories, but I did watch the recent cartoon movie of Dante’s Inferno (although the cartoon may not be completely accurate) and this was a book that was decent about describing parts of the Divine Comedy for those who may have not read the entire collection if reading any of them at all. I say decent, because although I wasn’t impressed with The Purpose of Passion I didn’t hate it either as there were some good things for me and hopefully others to have read as well.

The Purpose of Passion is a look into The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri in regard to how Dante viewed love and how we must also view love. I liked how Kurt and Jim analyzed Dante’s legendary work based on scripture. I felt they did well with providing scriptural passages as examples of how we ought to be whether single or married. I also appreciate how they analyzed Dante’s personal life, his characters, how to love someone, and morality itself. However, I don’t like it when books refer to the current culture when discussing theology, considering the current culture isn’t exactly the most Biblical anymore. For an example calling Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie a couple of equivalent to legendary romances like Guinevere and Lancelot is not my cup of tea, because it makes me feel like I’m reading an extended magazine article instead of a book. Another problem with this book was though their material certainly had some positives, I felt Kurt and Jim should have expanded on the subject of LOVE as well as Dante’s writings much more thoroughly; they could have written at least another 100 pages in my opinion. Not to mention Purgatory isn’t Biblical and considering Tyndale is a Protestant publishing company, I would have hoped the writers would have at least stated that Purgatory isn’t Biblical but they never did from what I read and almost seemed to support it… Again this isn’t a horrible book I just didn’t love it as much as other books out there.

Book Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Tyndale House Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus.  This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A personally written riddle

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***** Please do not cheat. Please read this riddle first and then scroll to the bottom, because I wrote this and I’m not the kind of person who usually writes riddles or poetry. Thank you and I hope you enjoy reading it**********

I know you very well; probably even more than you know yourself. Whether you know it or whether you have not had the courtesy of noticing, I have known you for a very long time. You and I are like childhood twins, but then again I have many brothers and sisters already. For the evil I am their best friend, for the good I am their worst nightmare. My kind does not discriminate, for we cling to all walks of life. I am very persuasive and have a strong influence in your decision-making. In fact it is my hope that your affection is only for me, because I grow jealous so easily. I will appear to you in many forms with each I hope you are pleased, but if you hate me I hope you’re at least distracted. Some call me a ‘curse’, while others simply call me a ‘natural’ occurrence, either way I hope you will feed me so I can grow big and strong. Regardless of opinion and contrary to all disappointments in life, I will be with you always. If you desire to run from me, I will hate you and I will stalk you for the rest of your life. Like a good marriage ’til death do us part and when that time comes I hope you’ll meet my father… for I have been prepping you for that day since the day we first met. Who am I?

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(video presentation produced by Ads4Christ.)

The answer….

The Flesh (and its father is the father of all lies)