“Live Pure and Free” Book Nominated!

I’m excited to report that my purity devotional book, Live Pure and Free-The 90 Day Game Changer has been nominated for a Christian Indy Award.

The Christian Indy Awards honor Christian books by independent authors and small publishers for outstanding contribution to Christian life.

This award is kind of a people’s choice award. Voting is now open.

Would you be so kind as to take a moment to vote for my book? Please!

Go to: https://www.christianaward.com/

  1. Click on “VOTE NOW: Click here to cast your ballot!
  2. Fill in name and email (only one vote per person)
  3. Scroll down to the Self-Help category
  4. Click on the circle above: Live Pure and Free-The 90 Day Game Changer
  5. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click on Submit Votes.

Thank you so much for taking a moment to vote. Winning an award helps the book get noticed and into more men’s hands where it can really make a difference for their purity.

 

Injured

The injured athlete

The Google definition of tackling in American football is: “to stop the forward progress of (the ball carrier) by seizing them and knocking them to the ground.” Sometimes in knocking the ball carrier to the ground someone gets injured. The injured athlete’s movement is restricted and they are on the bench until their movement has been restored. The athlete works hard on their recovery, using all the resources available, so that they can get back in the game they love. They want to get their career back on track and get back to living the life of their dreams.

Athletes know that not pushing through and overcoming from their wounds could lead to being dropped by their team, and not picked up by another team. They are not all that interested in opening up a car dealership. They want to play great football, make big money, be famous, and live a full life to the max! And why not?

John 10:10- Jesus said:  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (ESV)

Your journey to healing

Unlike the football player’s injury, men who are in sexual sin may have emotional injuries. The thing about sexual sin is that we may not be injured physically, but we are injured and not realize it. We’re limping around spiritually and mentally. We are trying, in vain, to ease the pain, of an unrecognized injury, through sexual sins; be it porn, serial affairs, lust, or whatever. It’s not really working, and makes us feel worse with the guilt and shame.

We may be caught in a sin cycle because we are trying to feel better without understanding we need to work on uncovering our injury and allowing it to be healed. We need help figuring out what our injury is and how we can get better. It’s time we get started finding out what the injury is, and moving on with our recovery.

Unlike recovery from a football injury, as a Christian man, we have to understand that this is a spiritual battle, and we need to turn our will and our lives over to Christ. We need to surrender this battle to Him. On our own, we cannot win. We have tried before on own and felt weak,  but when we are weak, he is strong. As it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)

Get started now

Get started today. I invite you to get my book, Live Pure and Free and get a second copy for a friend. Together, take the 90 day challenge going through the 90 devotions together and discussing your answers to the “Take Action” questions. There is room in the book to write out your answers to the workbook questions. Use the feelings list in the Appendix of the book to help you identify your feelings. As you work through the 90 days you will draw closer to God than you have ever been before. You will also have a better understanding of who you are.

Let me know how you are doing on the 90 day challenge and contact me if you have any questions as you work through it.

Live Pure and Free is available from Amazon and directly from Tristan Publishing

Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Live-Pure-Free-Dave-Howe/dp/1939881161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548967825&sr=8-1&keywords=live+pure+and+free+book

Tristan Publishing link:

https://tristanpublishing.com/products/live-pure-and-free

 

Photo credit: Photo by Keith Johnston on Unsplash

Celebration Tour! “Live Pure and Free”

Live Pure and Free will be on a Celebration Blog Tour starting September 1st and running through September 14th. Every day a blogger will either post a review of the book, have a spotlight for it, or feature an interview with the author. Oh, that’s me.

Follow the tour and share the link with your friends.

CONTEST !!

Enter for your chance to win A $25 Gift card for PETE’S COFFEE. My all-time favorite coffee started in Berkeley, California.

Here is the link that will be LIVE on Saturday, September 1st:

http://www.celebratelit.com/llivepureandfree/

blog tour logo

 

Warning: Teenage Danger Zone

Schools out!

With summer comes lots of unscheduled time for children. With many parents busy working, there will be occasions when school-age children are on their own or with peers. No parent wants to imagine that their child is looking at pornography, but it does happen. Some researchers say the average age of exposure to pornography begins at age eight. [1] Others say exposure begins by 11 years of age.

Many times the first viewing is accidental. Be aware that a child’s exposure to pornography may trigger some unresolved issues that parents have with pornography or other sexual behaviors, making it more difficult to deal with the child’s pornography viewing.

Five Keys to Successfully Raising Porn-Free Teens

  1. Love on your Kids
    Stay engaged in your teen’s life. Know what they are up to and who they are with when away from the house. If your teen spends a lot of time at a friend’s house, get to know the parents and their house rules. Travis Armstrong, Pastor of Junior High School Students at Grace Church said: “Keep an open dialogue going with your teen.” Spend time with each of your children individually. It will give you both an opportunity to get to know each other, and it makes children feel special. Tim Block, former Grace Church youth pastor, says, “Communication is critical in helping teens realize that this is a winnable war as we depend on God’s indwelling Holy Spirit to enable and strengthen us.” [2] Think seriously before accepting a job promotion that takes you out of town a lot, or worse, has you move the family during these teen years. I learned from hearing the stories of many men with father wounds that their fathers were just not involved during these critical years.
     
  2. Teach them to love God
    Encourage Bible memorization. Make it a fun game. There is great power in having verses memorized.“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

    Host Bible studies in your home, and encourage your teens to be involved in church groups. Go to church as a family on Sunday. “Parents need to set godly examples and model Christ-like behavior when it comes to sexual issues,” says Block. Show the teens that your faith is important to you. Memorize these verses with your teens: Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 4:7-8.

    Why is reading the Bible so important for your teens? It is important because no matter how young in the faith your teens are, the Holy Spirit is at work when they read. The Holy Spirit will cause conviction. Conviction leads to obedience to the Word. When a teen commits to obey the conviction, they are moving towards surrender. Surrender is the willingness to do anything for God. [3] Surrender is giving up our rights and following what God has laid on our hearts. [4]

    Talk to your teens about their faith. Ask them about their personal testimony – not how they became saved – but their lifestyles. What areas need to be changed in order to make them better witnesses? Have them come up with their own “I” statements about what areas need changing. This gives something you can discuss as an accountability item. When you review these together, you are reviewing directions that they gave to themselves. [5] I recommend reading “Protecting Your Teen From Disturbing Behavior.” (See the “Information and Resource” list.)
     

  3. Be open and honest about your failings
    There is a transition that needs to happen from raising little children to raising teens. It is sad that we have to make this transition at such an early age now, even as young as eight. But since our children are facing such harsh realities, we need to be real with them. Realize that you, as a parent, can be a stumbling block to your child’s development into young adulthood. Admit when you are wrong. You have to be real and vulnerable and open. That way, when your teens have issues – and they will – they will know they can talk to you because you are not perfect either. Make it safe to talk. They need to know you’ve had to work through your own struggles with cigarettes, alcohol, and sexual matters.
     
  4. Expect the best from them
    You should always expect the best from your teens. Children tend to live up to, or down to, the expectations that are placed on them. Armstrong says, “We talk to the teens about having a ‘Prevent Defense.’” In order to help them do their best, set boundaries. Boundaries make children feel secure.”Establishing boundaries that are consistent with God’s Word are paramount,” says Block. John Young of Teen Hopeline and ZJAM ministries says, “Unsupervised Internet usage is more dangerous than alcohol in the life of a teen.” [6] Create an environment in which they can succeed.
     
  5. Monitor their behavior
    We will only know if our teens are staying within the boundaries we have set by monitoring their behavior. Accountability is important. Pastor Armstrong reports that teens are embracing the seriousness of the battle going on for their souls. “Teens hold each other accountable and use texting as the means of helping each other.”There are many options for monitoring teen’s behavior. Part of monitoring is checking what they are texting to people. Be aware of the slang and acronyms used in text messages. Find useful links and a short list of texting acronyms in the “Information and Resource” list at the end of this article.

Take on the Challenge
Pray for your teens, for the protection of their hearts and minds. You can’t be with them all the time. What you can do is be proactive. Get them out of the house. Do things with them that they enjoy. Go golfing, shoot hoops, or go camping to help them see there is more to living than their electronic toys. Take summer vacations at the lake, go skiing in winter, and go on retreats and mission trips. The years from age 11 to 18 can be the most challenging and rewarding years of raising your children. Take on the challenge and don’t shy away from it. This is no time to be on auto-pilot.

My views on this topic come from working for nine years with men in the For Men Only sexual integrity group at Grace Church. I have learned by listening to the men’s heartbreaking stories of father wounds, lack of boundaries, and the trouble they got into with sexual matters as teens. My hope in writing this article is that more teens will avoid pornography or other sexual sins. I pray they will have a healthy view of sexuality.

End Notes

1. Rob Jackson, When Children View Pornography, accessed 5/20/15.
2. Tim Block, Family Life Pastor, Mission Viejo Christian Church, Mission Viejo CA.
3. Lee Vuckich and Steve Vandegriff, Protecting Your Teen From Disturbing Behavior, Living Ink Books, 2007, pp 26-27.
4. Ibid., p. 34.
5. Ibid., p. 32.
6. Ibid., p. 44.

Information and Resources

YouTube Tutorial Videos:

Popular Texting Acronyms (partial list)

9: Parent watching
99: Parent gone
1337: Elite or leet or L337
143/459/ILU: I love you
1174: The meeting place, meet at
420: Marijuana
53X: Sex
ADR: Address
AEAP: As early as possible
ALAP: As late as possible
ASL: Age/sex/location
BROKEN: hung over from alcohol
CD9/Code 9: Parents are around
C-P: Sleepy
F2F: Face-to-face
HAK: Hugs and kisses
KOTL: Kiss on the lips
KFY/K4Y: Kiss for you
KPC: Keeping parents clueless
LMIRL: Let’s meet in real life
MOOS: Member of the opposite sex
MOSS: Member of the same sex
MorF: Male or female

Websites:

  • Covenant Eyes: www.covenanteyes.com
    Accountability software products that track a computer’s browsing history and periodically report questionable web activity to a designated accountability partner, such as a parent.
  • Common Sense Media: www.commonsensemedia.org
    Rate, educate, and advocate for kids, families, and schools.
  • Family Online Safety Institute: www.fosi.org
    Making the online world safer for kids and their families through enlightened public policy, industry best practice, and good digital parenting.
  • My Mobile Watchdog: www.mymobilewatchdog.com
    Over 20 parental controls that make it simple to monitor, block, filter, and track what your child is doing with their phone.

Recommended Books:

  • Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan – Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, Zondervan, 2011.
  • Neil T. Anderson and Dave Park, Stomping Out the Darkness: Discover Your True Identity in Christ and Stop Putting Up with the World’s Garbage, Regal Books, 2008.
  • Neil T. Anderson, Victory over the Darkness, Regal Books, 2013. Find more information about Neil Anderson’s ministry at: www.freedominchrist.com. 
  • Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods- The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and The Only Hope That Matters, Penguin Group, 2009.
  • Lee Vuckich and Steve Vandegriff, Protecting Your Teen From Disturbing Behavior, Living Ink Books, 2007.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Benefits of a Good Leader

My choir director, Brian, had an interesting way of approaching a new song. We did not start at the obvious place, like the beginning. “Go to number 5 on page 8,” Brian would say. We’d work on a difficult section of the song at number 5 until we had that down. “Turn to page 12 and we’ll take it from the third measure.” We went to what seemed like, random sections, and worked on parts of the song. Finally, “Let’s take it from the top.” We would turn to page 1 and start the song. The first part of the song was pretty easy, but as we got to the more difficult sections, we had the advantage of having worked on these with a trained guide, our choir director. What we worked on were not random parts, but were difficult sections that needed extra attention. Once we had sung the whole song together, we went back and worked on the difficult parts some more until we could do them confidently.

This is a good analogy for the journey to purity. Once the Holy Spirit has convicted us, and we listen to the prompting, we can start into the healing process with a group and a leader who has been through the battle and has freedom. As we did in the choir, we work on one issue at a time. Each issue is a challenge. The attraction to sexual immorality is not one issue, it has many component parts. You get to work on these difficult issues with your group. How would it sound if you performed a song and all you sang was the part you practiced on page 8 and 9? You performed it well but it was incomplete. Likewise, once you have worked on some purity issues and think you’ve got it, you will discover there are still some rough spots. You can go back and work on those with your group just as we did in the choir. A rough spot may be getting through the first Christmas holiday season as a pure man. You were doing pretty well from September to mid-December, but realized you are going to need to have a plan for changing circumstances. Accept the process. You have been at this a long time, and it will take time to get free, but you will. You can win in this battle with God’s strength.

1 Timothy 6:11- But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (ESV)

Photo by aleksandr Ovchinnikov on Unsplash

I’m not worthy!

Remember in Wayne’s World when Garth and Wayne would hear an awesome guitar solo, or meet a recording artist in person? They would get down on their knees and bow up and down hollering, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” We all laughed so hard when we saw them bowing because it looked so silly. It seemed like rock stars were their gods which they worshiped in their church: the basement of Wayne’s parent’s house in Aurora, Illinois.

But isn’t that the way we act sometimes? After we’ve sinned we feel we can’t go to God and ask for forgiveness. We say, “I’m not worthy.” We hide from Him, as if that was even possible. I remember Jake* from one of my purity support groups who was crying at the meeting. He could not understand how God could love him after what he had done. He had a hard time believing what it says in Romans 5:20: “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” God wants a continuous relationship with us. His grace is greater than our sin. When we have sinned, He wants us to come to Him for his forgiveness, strength and love.

There is no need to hide or think that God will not accept us because of sin. He shows his incredible love for us in Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Think about this, Christ died for us while we were still sinners, not after we were without sin.

We get confused because the things of God are not like the things of the world. God’s love for us is not understandable in earthly terms. Our experience says we have to earn God’s favor and be perfect before we approach Him. That’s why it’s good to study Scripture and memorize passages. With God’s Word in our hearts we can act on the Truth about God’s love for us. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11.

It’s stunning that God’s acceptance has nothing to do with our worthiness. We are forgiven because of our faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He will vouch for us before the Heavenly Father. God’s love is outrageously big and not based on some qualifying performance of ours. It’s about who He is, and not what we do.

“We’re not worthy!” Sadly, without faith in Christ, there is no remedy from our dilemma. There is only one way to the Father, and only one way to forgiveness of our sins; Jesus Christ. John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”

Here is some “excellent” news, as Wayne would say. It’s not too late. We can ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and to forgive us of all our sins. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now I want to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know if you relate to this story. Tell me where you are in your purity walk.

Follow me to hear about my latest blogs and to see exciting news on the book release at: http://www.davehowe.org

I have written a daily devotional specifically for men on their purity journey. I am sure you will find it helpful. Watch for it’s release Fall 2017 from Tristan Publishing. http://www.tristanpublishing.com

*Jake is not his real name.

Photo by Ben White. @benwhitephotography. http://www.unplash.com

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.

 

Closing The Gap

You know the gap. The mechanic tells you, “You’ve got a bad oil leak. If you don’t have it checked out you could lose your oil and get stranded on the road.” You put it off and find yourself stranded on a lonely highway.  It’s a human tendency to put things off or minimize them. It’s a gap between what you know and what you do.

What about in your spiritual life?

Knowledge of Christ does not automatically translate into a changed life. I’ve seen this problem in everyone from Bible school graduates to Bible study participants.  They have a deep knowledge of the Bible and the facts of Christianity. They have the lingo down. But their beliefs are not reflected in how they live their lives. There is a gap. But this gap is even more important than that oil leak in the car.

There have been men in my group who do not understand why they are stuck in secret sin. They can recite Bible verses and give you all the theology about sin. Their conversations inspire other guys in the group because of their deep knowledge. But they are stuck.

There is a gap between what they say they believe and what they really believe and are willing to do. Behavior will match the values truly held.

In their belief about sexuality for example, they may think they accept the Bible’s teaching, but they actually believe that they have earned the right to look at porn because they had a hard day, or their wife does not understand them, they’re bored, or whatever. It’s some kind of kinky Bible plus I’ll do whatever I want, whenever I want to value system that allows them to continue in their sexual sin. This is their true belief because this is how they live. They rationalize and minimize it, and will try to explain it away.

Does this sound familiar? If so, take time to examine what you truly believe about God’s plan for sexuality in your life. His plan is perfect. After all, he invented sex.  If you truly believe God’s plan, then realize that you cannot be pure on your own strength. To start, take these steps:

  • Surrender your sexual sin to Christ and admit that you cannot be pure on your own.
  • The Holy Spirit will give you strength and guidance.
  • Put some safeguards into place to make it easier for you to succeed, like accountability software on your computer.
  • Take time each day to study the Bible and commit passages to memory.

There is hope that you can live a pure life with God’s help!

 1 Corinthians 6:18-Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (ESV)