And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”  And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”  (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)I know this verse speaks in the context of food, but i have been thinking about this in terms of our other four senses. This is probably not something i can put together in a cohesive thought in written form, but here is my attempt. Basically i am going to concentrate on sight and sound as smell and touch often incorporate at least one of the other four. We live in a world, at least here in the United Sates, where carnal things assault our senses every day. It is a common notion that "sex sells". Now, is sex bad? Context, context, context. Sex with one's spouse is not bad, but outside of that - bad (i.e. a sin). Jesus was pretty specific, "I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28, ESV). Does that mean you can never look at a woman? No, it means you need to guard your heart about how you "digest" such a sight. It irritates me when i hear "that's the way God made me". Horseradish! That's the way sin has corrupted you! What about the things you listen to? Gossip, music, slander... None of these actually cause you to sin, but how do you deal with such things? Do you put in your own little quip? Or do you excuse yourself from the conversation? What about music? There are a ton of lyrics out there with suggestive content. Guarding our hearts has to be a full time occupation. It is impossible to fully shield ourselves from such input all of the time. We can make good choices to limit exposure, but unless you live in a hole somewhere, it comes at you. I've heard CJ Mahaney say on several occasion, "we need to talk to ourselves, not listen to ourselves". When we take a passive role in guarding and monitoring our heart outside influences wear down your heart. Sooner or later those influences move in and take hold. I was once a TOW gunner. The T.O.W. missile is still in use by the United States military as a viable anti-tank weapon. It replaced the Recoilless Rifle as the primary infantryman's defense against tanks. Why? Because a bullet in flight, even one as big that can be affected by outside influences like wind, but the T.O.W. is wire guided. It takes commands from the controller and actually makes mid-flight adjustments to make sure it stays on target. We need to be the same way in our walk with the Lord. Verse for today: Proverbs 4 : 23-27, ESV Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder  the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
Blessed is the man  who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law  of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.The image shared is of a (wo)man who is walking in and among such people. Which then leads into actually stopping to listen in, and then sitting down and participating. It is the "slow fade". "I will just meet with this person (who is not my spouse) for lunch." Which then becomes drinks, then dinner... you get the idea. But the "slow fade" does not just have to be in the area of adultery. What about idolatry? Slowly you spend more and more time 'meditating' on things other than God. Eventually it starts to creep into other areas, and then you are doing whatever it is instead of quiet times, or even going to Sunday services. This latter thing is something that I struggle with. They are not always 'bad' things either - but if it starts to vie for my time in worship or meditation on the things of God it has become an idol. What about covetousness, or bearing a false witness. It is no wonder we (mankind) are in such a need of a Savior. No wonder we need to "talk/preach to ourselves" more than we need to listen to ourselves. The enemy of our souls is crafty and knows where we are vulnerable. We must ever be on our guard, and in constant prayer asking for God to watch over and protect us. God has really been working on me in this area. Opening my eyes to ways I have been allowing little things to creep in. I think we all need that reminder from time to time. Verse for today: Ezekiel 37 : 21-23, ESV then say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings  in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5, ESV)A book that was recommended by my Pastors when I attended Covenant Life Church was "The Discipline of Grace" by Jerry Bridges. This book speaks really well on that whole topic of grace and things that happen, or things that we do. In the end, are we really ever "safe"? No, not in this world. Our 'securities' can fall out from beneath us. Our bank accounts drained by identity thieves, our homes could be lost due to an unforeseen accident that leads to such an event. An accident can take friends or loved ones. Even our health can fail. But can we feel secure? Yes. I cannot remember exactly where I heard this quote but it goes something like this, "A samurai views his life already as forfeit. When he enters into battle he is already dead so there is no longer a fear of death. He can focus strictly on his duty." To me this is pretty profound, especially in light of my personal view of myself as a "Christian samurai". I am in service to my Lord, Jesus Christ. I need to keep in mind that I am already dead (to the world), but that I am now alive in Christ. My ultimate safety will never be found in this world, but in the next where I get to see my Savior face to face. Does that mean I go out to hasten that event? In light of eternity this life is pitifully short. Even when man lived four hundred plus years, that is only 4% of all the recorded history of man thus far. God knows the day when I will be seeing Him in person and it is not up to me to try and pick and choose such a rendezvous. Am I safe? Do I feel secure? Yes, but it is not found in the things of this world - in which I am never "safe". Verse for today: Romans 12 : 1-2, ESV I appeal to you therefore, brothers,  by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world,  but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
So, in short, be afraid. Lock away your wallets and board up your front doors. Handcuff yourself to the furniture and demolish your hard drives and consoles – Fallout 3 is coming and as far as we’re concerned, it’s going to be as excellent as we could have ever hoped. When it launches then it will demolish your life, soak up your spare time and tear apart your relationships.If that doesn't cause one to stop and think, I don't know what will. I know the intention of the author was to give his ringing endorsement, but as a Christian this helped me throw up a warning flag. ""Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive." (1 Cor 10:23, NIV) Anything can become an idol if we forgo the things of God to pursue such things. But it's not just the idol factor that I would want to warn my fellow Christians about. This game, and its predecessors, include some very "mature" content. The game is designed for the player to make their own decisions. Things like cursing out the town sheriff, helping someone blow up a town, or basically just shooting someone are all possible choices. but is that a reason to not play it? For some people the answer will be yes. I like the movie "Good Will Hunting", but it was a very "coarse". The language used is rough, the jokes can be vulgar, there is drinking and fighting, and most definitely some sex outside of marriage going on. But these were not the reasons I like that movie. The reason the language and the other things did not "put me off" is that they are a part of that culture. In those situations that is what you can expect to hear and see. Does that mean I think those things are OK? No, not by a long shot, but did Jesus shy away from these areas? The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus going out of His way to be in those situations. Not to engage in those things, but to bring the Light into the darkness. Even after spending about three years with the Master, Peter drew a sword and cut off a man's ear when they came to arrest Jesus in the garden. Several of Jesus' disciples were not refined men. Fishermen, tax collectors and the like. I guess what I am saying is that just because someone, or something, is not clean cut does not mean it must be avoided. What it does mean though, is that a Christian must never just delve into a situation without first considering the influences such an experience will have on them. Will they stand firm and help conform the world around them, or will they be conformed? As for me, I still plan on purchasing this game when it comes out around October. But I also need to make sure that I am not pursuing playing the game at the expense of the things of God and what He has given me (my relationship with Him, my health, my family, my job). This game looks like it is very well done, and if you are into playing such games I encourage you to check out the games website, read the reviews, and prayerfully consider if this is something that will be a hindrance to your walk with the Lord. Verse for today: 1 Timothy 2 : 1-6, ESV First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man  Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.