PURITY
Building appropriate moral standards.
Read Ezra 9:1-15; 10:1-17
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     Ezra really impresses me. Here was a man who was responsible for re-building the city of Jerusalem after King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire destroyed it. Israel simply "reaped what they sowed" as they were warned numerous times that there were consequences for their sins. Among the many sins they committed, they were impure. They intermarried with foreigners. Godly traditions were exchanged for filth. Their form of worship became bowing down to idols and false gods. Ezra stepped into this mess and dealt with these issues of impurity. He initiated a cleansing process, and the restoration of Jerusalem began to take place under his leadership.

     One of the areas where it is particularly easy to become impure involves sexual temptation. God's Word deals directly with this issue and the perils involved when we do not rely on Christ's power and His promises. Romans 13:14 tells us "to not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." 1 Corinthians 6:18 reminds us to "flee from sexual immorality." We are pounded with impurity issues via the internet, watching television, at the movies, in front of the magazine racks, and at the beach, park or mall. It is everywhere!! Someone once told me, "You can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you sure can stop them from building a nest on your head." Certainly there are things we can do to protect us from impurity.

     Jerry Kirk says, "Choosing to let Jesus be in control of your sex life will shape every other area of your life because sexuality is at the center of our being. This decision will influence your current and future ability as a husband (or wife), father (or mother) and Christian. Choosing purity is difficult, but for those who put in the hard work and prayer, living by Christ's standard is a road to deep joy and real sexual satisfaction." He adds, "This matters to God because it goes to the very heart of our witness, our understanding of God's faithfulness and the vital issue of whether we really believe God when He tells us a given course of action is better for us. It matters to God because He deeply loves us and wants us to enjoy that which is most fulfilling and meaningful. Practicing sexual purity, even though it's hard, is also one of the most accurate reflections of the depth of our relationship with Christ."

       The above noted character quality is an excerpt from one of Rod Handley's latest books, "Character Counts For Quiet Time and Small Groups" (Volume 2).In addition to sixteen different character qualities, you get a number of Scripture references and appropriate small group discussion questions. This book is perfect for any age, giving helps on how to live out the Christian life. It's retail price is $6.95. Additional character qualities will be put into future volumes.

Sheridan Productions would like to thank Rod Handley and CTC for their support.
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