Taming Your Private Thoughts

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9780310238119: Taming Your Private Thoughts
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A practical biblical method to stop a sinful thought from becoming a sinful actionWe are constantly bombarded with opportunities for sinful thinking. Our minds are battlefields where godly thinking is relentlessly attacked by believable lies and deceptive fantasies. The voice of Satan and the voice of the sinful self try to overwhelm the pure voice of God.But there is hope--even for those who have repeatedly fallen into the cycle of sinful thinking. Using biblical models, historical figures, and real-life case studies, Taming Your Private Thoughts provides a biblically based process for getting the thought life under Christ’s control and avoiding the consequences of sin.This is not just a book about positive thinking or denying the presence of sinful thoughts, nor does it offer quick fixes or easy formulas.The book includes: * Honest examination of the problem of wrong thinking for men and women, young and old * Straight-forward case studies that demonstrate the consequences of sinful thinking * Biblical solutions for breaking vicious thought cycles and finding peace of mind * Discussion and reflection questions * An appendix of Scripture

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About the Author:

Jay Dennis is senior pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida, and author of "The Prayer Experiment Lab Manual" and coauthor of "Taming Your Private Thoughts" . He has a weekly television program and a daily radio broadcast. He and his wife, Angie, are parents of two children.;Marilyn Jeffcoat is dean of women at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, and coauthor of "Taming Your Private Thoughts" and "The Jabez Prayer Experiment". She has served as a researcher, writer, and editor of numerous articles and books,. She and her husband, Jon, are parents of a son.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It Began Just as a Thought NEVER HAVE I FELT MORE UNDONE. Hot streams of tears cascaded down my cheeks as I sobbed. I repeatedly cried aloud, "Oh, my God, what have I done, what have I done!" Each mile that I drove, I became more consumed with sheer panic coupled with over-whelming remorse and unbridled anger at myself for allowing this to happen. Unable to drive any farther, I found myself slamming on the brakes and pulling over because I was feeling physically ill from the gut-wrenching pain. The place where I stopped my car is the place to which I regularly retreat for solitude and quiet time with God. It is the idyllic location where I run after work and unload the day’s burdens on an understanding heavenly Father. It is also the beautiful setting where I regularly lead a men’s discipleship group in the challenge to embrace uncompromising devotion to the Lord. Now, from the perspective of where I was crouched beside my car, my favorite place—where so many things in my mind had been settled—seemed foreign and anything but peaceful. I could not believe I was there and in this horrible mess. When I was finally able to stumble back into the car, I turned off the engine and just sat there in the darkness. All I could hear was my rapid breathing and pounding heart. Okay, let me think. I have to pull myself together. What am I going to say? The first question she is going to ask me is "Why, Jay?"—a question I now am forced to stop and ask myself. We had often talked about how we didn’t have to worry about this happening to us. Now, here I was being faced with sharing something that would break her heart into a thousand pieces. This is the woman who was there for me during the sacrificial seminary years when I was preoccupied with graduate and postgraduate courses. She is the one who stood beside me through unbelievably tough church situations where most people would have said, "I didn’t sign up for this." What a fool I have been! I just crushed her trust and communicated by my actions that "I don’t love you like you think I do." Oh, God, I have given up all we had taken years to build. . . and for what? An adrenalin rush? A testosterone thrill? A short-lived pleasure? An adolescent fling? I now realize—all too late— that I got major ripped-off in that exchange. Things will never again be the same. How will I tell my son . . . my daughter? How can I possibly look into the eyes of that young man who implicitly trusts his dad and say, "Son, Dad has been unfaithful to your mother. Life as we have known it has ended." How can I peer into the loving eyes of a young lady who has put her dad on a high pedestal and say, "Honey, Dad has made a selfish choice that is going to change our family’s future." What about the people I serve as pastor, who look to me as their spiritual leader? Will their view of God—and Christian leaders—be forever altered? Will the people that came to Christ under my ministry someway feel that their decision wasn’t valid? Will those I baptized or married feel like it wasn’t God-blessed? I’m through! I’m done! It’s all over! I’ve thrown everything away! What took many years to build was torn down by one choice ... one disastrous choice. There’s no rewind button on this one. But there is a S.T.O.P. play. I cannot tell you the pleasure—and relief—it gives me to tell you that none of this has happened. I have often used such mental rehearsals of potential consequences as a deterrent to dwelling or acting on sinful thoughts. Such a painful exercise has often served as a powerful reminder to me that I never want to go there. It’s not worth it. Unfortunately, I have known too many Christian men and women who either did not adequately rehearse the consequences of potential sinful choices—or simply chose to act in spite of their better judgment. How Could a Man of God Do That? It began just as a thought—and then a fantasy. Jack thought he could handle indulging in a mental fantasy world. After all, his marriage was shaky—it had been for years—and he craved the intimacy and excitement he lacked with his wife. In interviewing him for this book, Jack painfully recounted how at first it was "just thoughts" that he let linger. While this caused him feelings of great guilt, he began to desire stimulation beyond what his mind alone could supply. Jack began watching inappropriate shows and movies on television—some-times peering at the scrambled images of cable premium channels to which he did not subscribe. This initially did the trick in satisfying the growing sexual appetite in him. During this time, Jack and his wife were living separate lives—under the same roof. For a long time they had been functioning—and growing—apart. A sexual relationship between the two of them had been nonexistent for years. One day a young woman came to see Jack for marriage counseling. Up to this point in his ministry, this seasoned pastor had consistently followed all appropriate counseling guidelines. This session, however, proved to be a turning point by opening up a world of fantasy that he did not know existed. A shift happened as a result of a decisive session that day: Jack was introduced to the Internet as a vehicle for sexual exploration in a way that enticed him to check it out for himself.

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