Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pornography drains you of your virility, masculinity and confidence.

Hosea 4:10-11 (KJV) says 'For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.'

I can't imagine a verse which more aptly describes the affect and life cycle of pornography.

Addiction to pornography is like other addictions, I guess. You start out with just a little. You could probably walk away at that point. After a while you want more and more. At that point you tell yourself you could walk away but it's no longer true-it takes a major effort and lots of support at that point. Later you'll make all kind of excuses to feed your addiction. You'll set aside viewing time at home, then at work. You'll tell yourself you deserve the break. At some point, 'normal red-blooded American' porn isn't enough, and the perversion starts. Some go on to the point where they gain pleasure from viewing mutilation and pain, and/or even find victims on which to act out their fantasies.

Those are some 'lowlights' of the life cycle, but what about the psychological effect? I can tell you from personal experience that pornography sapped the confidence and virility right out of me. The shame and guilt took me to the point of wasting hours of my time every week, it was hard to look women in the eye without a feeling of guilt. It was hard for me to pick up the phone, as a salesman, and make the calls I needed to make in order to bring in new business-or even to service my existing accounts. I was depressed and had a dismal opinion of myself, my capabilities, my future-my entire outlook on life was becoming hopeless.

It's been 5 months now and I don't believe that I'm completely 'set free' yet and to the point where I won't relapse. I can tell you, however, that I'm making a comeback-to the man I used to be; the man God sees me as and wants me to be. My shame is flowing away by the grace of God, my confidence is growing and coming back. It feels great.

I don't believe there is a rule for recovering from an addiction to pornography. I tried all kinds of things: weekly support breakfast/accountability group with friends for about 8 years, other Bible/book studies related to recovery, confessing to my wife, etc. One of the most powerful thoughts I used to have when I tried to avoid pornography was 'what if those were MY daughters in those pictures or movies?' Even that, however didn't work in the end. What HAS worked is memorizing and repeating Philippians 4:6-8 do deal with shame and anxiety, reading God's Word daily, an active prayer life, and in particular this new thought: 'I don't want to be a weak sissy boy. I want to be a man, I don't want those false ideals and images of women to destroy my confidence. I want to be a strong man-the man that my Father wants me to be and that I will be happy being.'

For you, the path to recovery could be completely different. Get started.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our most difficult roles from Genesis

Before Adam sinned, he didn't need to work for food. Fruit was readily available. There were no bugs or diseases. Presumably had Eve given birth prior to the Adam's sin, it would have been easy for her.

Their punishment, shown is Genesis 3:16-19, still haunts us today. Depending on the translation you read, 'women desire to rule over their husbands (NLT)' or 'their desire will be for their husbands (most other versions)'.

Based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence, the NLT version looks right. My wife has a more dominant personality than me, but she's always chosen to follow my leadership, thereby being protected under the umbrella of my authority. The key is that it is a conscious choice on her part; other men are not so lucky. Many men have pulled back from disciplining their children, handling the family finances, etc., leaving a void. Women, whom God made to be our helpers, naturally want to come to our side and fill that void. But the whole thing is insidious. We men, by being weak and passive, give control of the family to our wives. Our wives are then faced with a horrible struggle. They have more and more power, and according to Genesis 3, at some level they crave that role. But they can never be truly content when solely handling discipline and finances (etcetera), because simply by doing so, they are being rebellious. Like many other marriage problems, this is one where the men are at fault, but at first blush it may appear that the women are trying to take over by force. Men, they don't really want to take over! Protect them from this struggle! Take control of your finances! Be the leader of disciplining your children!

Men now have to work hard for their money: 'the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it'. It is amazing how much of our self-worth is tied up in our performance at work. It is amazing how easy it is to be a workaholic-it's easy to say we need to work extra hours, because that it's easier than it is to come home and make sure our house is in order. But God loves us regardless of performance. We are His children.

For women, submitting is the hardest role. For men, believing God loves us simply because we are His, rather than because of what we do for Him or how we perform is the hardest role. But true peace and joy come for men who believe their Father loves them for who they are, and for women who choose to tuck under the authority of their husbands.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Is God Pro Life?

The most famous verse in the Bible which Pro Life Christians quote is Psalm 139:14.

Are you Pro Life? Do you want to know what God says on the subject? Here are a couple of other verses which may help: Proverbs 8:36 says 'those who hate God, love death'. In John 10:10 Jesus says 'I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly'.

Satan desires your death and destruction. God desires that you have an abundant life. God is clearly Pro Life! Unfortunately Christians are divided on this issue. It comes down to the fact that some Christians' political views or party affiliation require that they be pro choice - and they choose to put political affiliation above life and God.

Here is the text of Psalm 139:14: 'I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are they works; and that my soul knoweth quite well'. God knew you and knitted you together in your mother's womb; science has not yet been able to explain the growth of a child in the womb, but God created the process-an you. He loves you! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Be free of past sin

In John chapter 18, you'll find the story of Peter's denial of Christ. After Jesus' arrest, Peter was asked three separate times if he was a follower of Jesus, and three times he said 'no'.

The amazing thing to me is that he is later able to forgive himself. What could be worse than turning your back on the savior? What could be worse than denying you know God? Some day in the end times, you and I may be asked the same question. What will you say? I will say I am a follower of Jesus.

I'm writing this note to point out that there can't be any sin in our past which is worse than denying Christ. Jesus always forgives us. We don't want to take that for granted or use it as an excuse for wanton sin, but we can take comfort in that truth.

No, the hard part is usually forgiving ourselves. But it doesn't matter what we've done; we can be murdereres, drug users, prostititutes, addicts of other kinds, and Jesus will forgive us.

Are you willing to accept this? Can you step away from the past and it's bondage, and move ahead towards freedom in Christ Jesus?

Don't be held back by old/past sin: Jesus' ancestry

In Matthew chapter 1, several women are listed in Jesus' geneology. Matthew could have written the geneology differently and included their husbands exclusively, but he didn't. He made a point of including these women. The four women I want to make note of are Tamar, Ruth, Rahab, and Bathsheba, 'the wife of Uriah'. Tamar posed as a prostitute to seduce Judah after being wronged by him. Ruth was from Moab, a foreign country committed to idolatry. Rahab was a prostitute. Bathsheba was raped by David, who then had her husband killed.

There is a lot that can be learned from Jesus' geneology. I simply want to point out that the perfect man came from imperfect roots. Don't let your family past hold you back from pressing in towards God and holiness! Don't let it be an excuse! My father was a child molester. He molested kids in our neighborhood as well as me. For years I was filled with shame, thinking 'anyone who knows about my dad will assume I'm the same as him. They'll beleive the worst of me because these traits so often follow down the family tree'.

God finally set me free of that poisonous thinking. The fact is that first of all it doesn't matter what other people think I may be like, and second of all I'm not a molester anyway! Don't believe the enemy if he is trying to put these kinds of lies in your mind!

Jesus was perfect, but born of a line of 100% imperfect, flawed people. You can strive for perfection & holiness without letting old family roots hold you back from what God has in store for you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Psalm 133: good vs bad unity

V1: 'how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!'

But when will brothers dwell together in unity, this side of Heaven? I think that small groups of brothers may dwell in unity without any problem. But the larger the group is, the less chance of unity. What what does unity mean?

I heard a pastor speak of communing with Catholic priests, and Jewish Rabbi's. The problem is that he didn't put any limitations on the unity. The Jews were not followers of Christ. They had rejected Him and were bound for hell. Can this be a Godly unity? Of course not. That is false unity.

In the end times, Revelation seems to say that there will be one world religion. If you follow the news, you can see the barriers between the sovereign nations breaking down, and you can see the barriers between religions being broken down. The world says, 'how can you hate people, that you would condemn them to hell for not believing as you do?' But as followers of Christ, we are not condemning the world, we are simply adhering to the truth of God's word.

Beware the spirit of false unity! Do not be conformed to the world-do not bend to the will and way of the world. Rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may know and discern the perfect will of God your Father.

Friday, May 21, 2010

First seek wisdom & understanding before knowledge: Proverbs 4:7

'The beginning of wisdom is, acquire wisdom'. It sounds simple, but what does it mean? How do we acquire wisdom? Spending time in God's Word is the best way to start. Meditate on it and memorize it. What about understanding and knowledge?

It's interesting to note that Proverbs mentions wisdom, understanding, and knowledge several times, usually in that specific order. 2:6 for example.

I studied with a man who was addicted to knowledge. His father was highly eductated and had acheived his master's degree with the highest grades in his class. My friend had no real purpose in his eduction, his marriage was on the brink, he was old enough to have advanced in a career, but he continued to study toward acheiving his Phd. Eventually he came to realize that he was addicted to knowledge. He had been wounded/ignored by his father as a child, and was seeking to fill that hole in his life by outdoing his father at something his father had been good at doing. He was the first man I personally had met with an addiction to the pursuit of knowledge. Like any other addiction can do, it was tearing he and has family apart.

God says FIRST to seek wisdom, THEN understanding, then finally, knowledge. What good is knowledge if you don't know how to apply if effectively and wisely? Not only will it fail to help you, it can puff you up with pride and creat vulnerabilities in you to enemy attack.