Blazing Grace http://www.blazinggrace.org Recovery from porn and sex addiction Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:22:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wives, There is Hope! http://www.blazinggrace.org/wives-there-is-hope/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/wives-there-is-hope/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:37:09 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=2551 By Linda Those of us who are wives recovering from our husband’s sexual sin are in different places in our marriages and healing journeys. To those of you who are Read More

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Dan's note 001

By Linda

Those of us who are wives recovering from our husband’s sexual sin are in different places in our marriages and healing journeys. To those of you who are still married and are holding onto the hope of a miraculous healing in your marriage, I would like to say a few things.

Is there really a chance that your heart can heal and your brokenness be redeemed? Is there any reason to believe that your husband could really be devoted to you rather than his promiscuous fantasies? Will you ever truly be able to trust him again?

To all of these questions, and many more, I answer a resounding YES!

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I’ve been married for almost 37 years to a man (Dan) who has been a porn addict for 30+ of those years. We have ridden the roller coaster of supposed recovery for many decades, each “high” time only to hit another wall of deception, lies and disclosure. This past February I left for the fourth and last time. After five long weeks of living out of boxes and other people’s homes, God led me to return home with no guarantees. I had to trust Him above what my earthly eyes, and my broken heart, could see.

But… this time has been different. Those five weeks God was at work, preparing both of our hearts for what seemed to be an impossible task: make our marriage thrive. See, we were never meant to just survive, we were meant to thrive!

My PTSD has caused me to be terrified of adding more trauma onto an already shattered heart (my family of origin was very abusive/neglectful) and Dan’s intimacy anorexia has been the backbone of his addictions. Was there any chance that the two could be brought to Jesus’ feet and the transformation begun? I’m here to tell you that it has indeed been a miracle in the making! God is faithful and will eventually finish (as we allow Him) what He started. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed (who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity), To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord (the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound).” Luke 4:18-19 Amplified.

We are in a battle for our marriages, our children, our hearts, our families. I want to encourage you to look to your Maker for strength and deliverance, and make prayer a priority: Ephesians 6:12 “For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood (contending only with physical opponents), but against the despotisms, against the powers, against (the master spirits who are) the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.”

Only God can reveal to you what your personal road should look like. But I’m here to say that if you’re sensing that you should stay and fight for your marriage, God’s way is going to require some things of you … humility, the ability to look at your OWN brokenness, setting some boundaries for your heart, owning your part in the mess of your marriage (none of us are perfect), considering before-marriage trauma and brokenness (family of origin issues), a willingness to forgive and truly work on loving and trusting again, getting in the Word and daily spending quiet time with Jesus, and so many others that I couldn’t try to name them all.

Our healing journeys will not be successful because our husbands get well (as a matter of fact, our own personal healing journey can be quite successful regardless of whether our husbands choose it for themselves or not). They will be successful because WE have handed our hearts over to Jehovah Rapha, God the Healer. You see, years ago Dan could’ve genuinely gone through recovery, and become an absolutely perfect husband, but our marriage still would’ve been a mess. Because I was a mess! Yes, your husband needs God to help him in the depths of his heart … to clean him up, to heal him, and to restore what has been so very broken. But we women are also in desperate need of the same degree of healing. It wasn’t until I began to look at my own heart’s desert condition that the true change in my marriage began.

At this point, Dan and I are closing in on three months of genuine daily heart changes. He is a changed man, by God’s amazing grace. Dan pursues me, he expresses his love for me, he reads the Word with me, he prays with me, he compliments me, he leaves me little notes (see the photo above), he makes me WANT to be with him, I watch for him to come home from work so that I can be with him again! I honestly never in a million years thought I’d hear myself saying these things! Now, we are still very much growing and things are not always picture perfect. But I would tell you God is at work and I look for the ways that He’s answering the cries of my heart and the long-prayed-for things that I’ve so needed from my husband!

I’ll end by saying … stay the course!! Pray, pray and when you’re tired of praying, pray some more!! Spend time with Jesus, reading His Word and seek His heart and plan. No matter how hurt you are and how deep the pain, you are not alone. Plug into the prayer calls and ask the ladies to pray with/for you. Seek out a confidante or faithful friend to pray with and support you during this time. Healing is possible … actually it’s what God is waiting and longing to do. But it takes a willingness on both spouses hearts to allow it to happen. For me healing began when I got most desperate for it. I praise His name and I will be forever in His debt!

Linda is one of the group leaders of our wives phone support groups

 

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We’re Missing the Point http://www.blazinggrace.org/were-missing-the-point/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/were-missing-the-point/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:15:00 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=2521 By Mike Genung Since the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, Christians have been in turmoil. Church and para-church leaders published blog posts and videos giving their take on how Read More

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Clouds with sun rays

By Mike Genung

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, Christians have been in turmoil. Church and para-church leaders published blog posts and videos giving their take on how we should respond; social media is a mess. Most of what I’ve read could be summed up as “stand up for traditional marriage and be nice to people outside the church.”

We’re missing the point of what God is saying to us.

For the past 15 years, there have been many warnings shot over the church’s bow: the divorce rate is the same among Christians as unbelievers, two thirds of Christian men are viewing pornography, churches are closing, giving is down, and the number of people who identify themselves as believers in Christ is declining. As a father of four, one of the most frightening of these warnings is that 75% of our youth are leaving the church at age 18; we’re losing the next generation.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God… 1 Peter 4:17

After years of warnings, I believe the Supreme Court’s decision was a cannonball blast that hit dead center in the hull; an act of God’s judgment against His people. (The world is celebrating; they haven’t been hit… yet). It was as if He was saying, “You’re not who you think you are, examine yourselves and who you’ve become. You’re corrupt, and have lost your way.”

The church has a major blind spot when it comes to facing its sin. When the president of Chik-fil-a was verbally assaulted for his views on homosexuality, the Christian social media and blog world went wild. Hundreds of thousands showed their support by lining up at Chik-fil-a, giving them a record sales day. When Phil Robertson got fired from Duck Dynasty, Christian social media and the blog world once again went wild; a massive letter writing campaign ensued, with the result that Phil Robertson was reinstated.

But mention that the church is corrupt with sexual sin, or 75% of our youth are taking the exits… and everyone checks out.

Josh McDowell said that porn is undermining the church far more than gay marriage; porn destroys pastors, church members, marriages and families. One professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary called pornography “the greatest moral crisis in the church today, above issues of divorce and homosexuality “ He concluded: “Christians can rail against homosexuality but then go to the computer and feed their addiction to porn.”

Why is it that no one is putting it together that lukewarm men create a lukewarm church, and a lukewarm church cannot fulfill its Biblical mandate to be the salt that preserves the nation? Why is it that no one is standing up and calling the American church of 2015 corrupt?

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” Matthew 5:13

The Supreme Court decision didn’t come about because we lost the debate, but because we’re focused on everything except our sin. The warning of being “trampled underfoot by men” has become reality.

Pride is our downfall. We’re the American church; we have the greatest seminaries and preachers in the world. We’ve got our theology down. Our ministries are doing great things around the world; we send tens of millions of dollars to other countries. Nothing could go wrong, right? It’s not as if prayer was kicked out of schools, God has been removed from government, abortion legalized, the U.S. became the porn capitol of the world, or gay marriage was legalized on our watch…

How could these things happen, unless… the church had become so corrupt by the weight of its own sin that it ceased to preserve the nation?

God has already shown us the next step we should take, and it has nothing to do with being nice to those outside of the church or standing for traditional marriage, which by the way, we’ve been doing for years and are still losing our nation.

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

I hear 2 Chronicles 7:14 quoted all the time; someone is always talking about it or how they’re praying for spiritual revival. The problem is that all we do is talk, preach, or put 2 Chronicles 7:14 on a Christian souvenir; we don’t take the actions the Lord prescribed as a body.

If Jonah came today and gave a warning of God’s impending judgment, my fear is that pastors would embark on a six week series on humility, prayer, seeking, and repentance. Every Sunday, church members would nod their head in eager agreement; walk out, check their smartphones, and nothing would change. The hammer of judgment would drop and everyone would scratch their heads wondering what went wrong. We’re stuck in theology world and have forgotten that we need to do what God said.

If we strip 2 Chronicles 7:14 down to its core, there is no teaching, preaching, studying, or even worship; just God’s people confessing their sins, turning from them, and praying, all of which involve humility.

“It might be confusing for the moment, but it would better to call off half the meetings, to give the committees a vacation, and even to miss several Sunday services, while preacher and people caught their breath, got on their knees, and prayed down a fresh Pentecost.”
Vance Havner

If we’re serious about a spiritual awakening, here’s what we need to do:

For the next four weeks, in every weekend service of every church, set all preaching, programs, ministries, and even worship time aside, and put everyone on their knees. Begin by asking God to convict His people of their sin, and invite Him to keep going until He’s had His way. Make each service about public and group confession of sin, mixed with prayer.

This is the essence of 2 Chronicles 7:14, and it’s what we are called to do if we want revival.

If you study the book of Acts, you will find there were times that God’s people devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 1:14). God calls His church a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7) (Matthew 21:13); other than asking “God bless our service,” prayer is missing from our weekend services. In Acts 19, we also find a gathering that included public confession and destruction of the objects that were causing them to stumble (Acts 19:18-19).

I meet with another man on a weekly basis for lunch; as needed, we confess our sins to each other. Occasionally, as we’ve shared our brokenness, the Holy Spirit has showed up and blessed us with His Presence. What do you think will happen when God’s people start confessing their sins in a corporate setting and going after Him with all-out prayer? I can only imagine Him pouring His love, peace, and power out on us in ways most Christians have never experienced.

We’re parched for God. We’ve worn ourselves out running around doing ministry, answering smartphones, trying to be and have everything for our families, and languishing in bondage to sin. We’ve lost our way.

It’s time to stop talking about revival and get on our knees as a body, confess our sins, pray, and seek God. All that is keeping us from revival is our pride, our comfort zone, and being stuck in a rut that church is only about teaching and worship.

If teaching and worship were enough, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Pastors, are you willing to lead your congregation to revival, knowing that some will be upset because you’ve upended the apple cart of their comfort and pride? Are you willing to surrender your own pride, drop the American tradition that church is only about preaching and worship, and allow the Holy Spirit to have His pulpit for several weeks? Are you willing to confess your own sin?

Church members, are you willing to humble yourself, step out of your comfort zone, allow God to convict you, drop your pride and confess your sins, and press into prayer like never before?

If we don’t take the actions of 2 Chronicles 7:14 soon, if all we do is focus on “being nice to those outside of the church and standing for traditional marriage,” we will continue to lose our way, and our country. The only proof you need is to look at the toxic mess that social media has become, with one side shouting “gay marriage!” and the other side screaming “traditional marriage!” to see how effective that’s going to be.

“It will take more than highly promoted conventions with a parade of celebrities to meet our problem of a sick church trying to minister to a sick world. If God ever rends the heavens and comes down again in real revival, he may begin in some obscure country church where a little band of nobodies in holy desperation prays like Jehoshaphat, “We know not what to do, but our eyes are upon thee.”
Vance Havner

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The Things That Drive Me Insane http://www.blazinggrace.org/the-things-that-drive-me-insane/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/the-things-that-drive-me-insane/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:27:06 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=2505 by Mike Genung Some days, I wonder if these things might threaten to put me in the psych ward: The trail of broken hearts from porn. Every week we receive Read More

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straight jacket

by Mike Genung

Some days, I wonder if these things might threaten to put me in the psych ward:

  1. The trail of broken hearts from porn.

Every week we receive emails from men and women who are suffering. Most of the men have been in bondage to sexual sin for decades and are desperate for answers. They hate themselves, what they’re doing, and how they’re hurting their families. Many have been or are in ministry. A few are on the verge of losing hope, and are even questioning their salvation.

Then there are the emails from stunned wives or girlfriends who discovered that the man they’re married or were going to marry isn’t who they thought he was. He’s been viewing porn and/or committing adultery throughout their marriage or courtship; they’re angry, hurting, frustrated, and confused.

Some marriages are teetering on the precipice of divorce. The husband has been in so deep for so long that his heart has hardened to the point where his wife’s pleas to get help are met with anger, manipulation, or blaming.

Then there are the kids. I can’t stand it when a family is ruptured from porn. Being a child of divorced parents myself, I know how a marital split tears the fabric of the soul. In addition to the effects of the divorce, the chances of the kids’ faith being lost increases. What does it say to a child about his father’s walk with God when he discovers Dad’s porn stash? Or that Dad was having sex with prostitutes?  Was God too weak to set their father free from sin? Perhaps this is a part of the reason why 75% of our youth are exiting the church at the age of 18.

The thing that drives me insane is that much of this could be avoided if churches were willing to address the issue head on. However…

  1. “I can’t talk about this. Do you know what the people in my church would do if I started talking about pornography? … I can’t talk about porn from the pulpit.” This quote was from a pastor.

What’s wrong with us?? We can’t go to the grocery store without getting exposed to magazine covers and displays showing people who are near-naked, or get on a news website like Fox News or CNN and have to navigate around sexually suggestive pictures and content. Instead of helping people cope and overcome the temptations to lust, we shut it down and pretend that “everything is awesome” at church.

One recent survey showed that 90% of Christians said the church doesn’t adequately help those who are struggling with porn. With statistics showing that two-thirds of Christian men are viewing porn, church leadership should be freaking out and taking action, not hitting the ostrich hole.

This is an issue every church, para-church ministry, and family needs to discuss and deal with openly.

  1. Our misplaced priorities.

One professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said “Pornography is the greatest moral crisis in the church today, above issues of divorce and homosexuality. Christians can rail against homosexuality but then go to the computer and feed their addiction to porn.”

We’re too transfixed on the things that are going on outside of the church. A lukewarm church that’s porn-addicted cannot preserve or influence the culture.

  1. The way some churches respond to sexual sin.

Not long ago, a husband and wife who were missionaries in Southeast Asia returned to the U.S.. The wife was seeking a divorce because her husband had been viewing child porn for ten years. Their church’s response was to chastise the wife for asking for divorce and not working through the reconciliation process… to make matters worse, they insisted she not leave their church. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this. The news media got wind of the story and blew it up, making the church look like a bunch of Pharisees who cared more about their tradition and rule books than their flocks.

To their credit, the pastor later apologized, but by then the damage had been done. I couldn’t help wondering if the pastor would still have apologized if the secular news media hadn’t published the story.

It’s not rare to hear that a Christian counselor blamed the wife for her husband’s sexual sin (“if you would just give him more sex he wouldn’t do that…”) or gave them advice that did more harm than good.

We are the church of the Living God who sent His Son to set captives free. It’s heart breaking when we do more to turn people away than help them.

  1. The toxic mess social media has become. Ever since the supreme court’s decision on gay marriage, social media has become a mess. It’s become the church people vs. the rainbow people, with the church people screaming “traditional marriage!” and the rainbow people shouting “gay marriage!” I have yet to hear of one person who was swayed by the other side with these tactics..
  2. My flesh and brokenness. I have been in similar situations like some of those above. I nearly destroyed my marriage, and I’ve also feared exposing my weaknesses and failures to others. (Thankfully, God taught me years ago that sharing my brokenness and sin was something He uses to bless and minister to others). I’ve said things that have hurt other people, and given advice that was off the mark. I’m as fatally flawed as every other Christian; my blind spots are just different than theirs. My pride and sin would have driven me to insanity if God hadn’t pulled me out of the sewer.

I believe God is always willing to heal those who are hurting. If we’re willing to set our arrogance aside and quit trying to prove how religious, spiritual, right, or wise we are, and confess and live in the truth of our brokenness, we’ll then be the type of moldable clay He can use to minister to others. Doing ministry in the flesh and our unwillingness as a body to confront our sin is keeping us from being the salt and light He has called us to be.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4

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Need Accountability and Support? Visit Our Forums! http://www.blazinggrace.org/need-accountability-and-support-visit-our-forums/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/need-accountability-and-support-visit-our-forums/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 19:31:59 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=2486 by Mike Genung We have an awesome community of men and women who meet for support and encouragement daily at our sex addiction forums. Here are a few of their Read More

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by Mike Genung

We have an awesome community of men and women who meet for support and encouragement daily at our sex addiction forums.

Here are a few of their posts to give you a feel for the group:

“Today is the 7th day since the reconciliation with God, over Porn and Masturbation. I’ve been on this site every day and am getting ready to take it to the next level. I get more support here than anywhere else I have been. So to clarify, I have been lust, porn and masturbation free for 1 week. Thanks guys.”
“I can’t tell how surprisingly effective online accountability can be if it’s done the right way.  That means I hold myself accountable on a daily basis (if possible) to the forum.  I have to be painfully honest with myself, God, and others on this forum.  I hold myself accountable for more than just porn and masturbation, but also my thoughts, my eyes, my quiet times with the Lord, my family, my wife, etc.”

Blazing Grace is a major pillar of accountability for me.  I have, later on, established other pillars of accountability around me, but Blazing Grace is by far the biggest for me. To lose this pillar would be a substantial blow to my effectiveness in dealing with this addiction and my walk with God.

My point is that I think that there is definitely a place for you at Blazing Grace.  You’ll get out what you put into it.  So welcome back, and I pray that you will find yourself in a better place in the near future.  Thanks for sharing.”

“My husband has found that having a wife does not fix his lust problem, because his problem is not ‘need for sexual relations’ but rather it’s lust and power and pleasure and control. So while maybe having a wife reduces the frequency at which he is tempted to act out, it doesn’t eliminate his temptation by any means.”

 

“I was thinking about doing a post on sexual abuse in the church and porn.

“I am a lapsed Baptist and I’ve seen Baptists of all stripes gloss over sexual abuse in the church. I have two sites which list SE by name and many of them are well known in SBC circles.  It’s just been exposed the one school in SC has covered up sexual abuse in their school for 80 years and they are a mandated reporter as educators.  Many students came forward to expose SA in their homes and churches only to be told to forgive and forget.”

 

“I have read that many wives of SA end up on meds b/c of the Trauma and PTSD from their husband’s porn addiction.  I have panic attacks because of the stress.”

 

“I am wiping away tears reading your post, bentnotbroken. I am guilty of putting my wife through similar circumstances and all I can do when I think of what I did is cry. I cannot put myself in your husband’s shoes, but I can say that I am sorry. I am sorry that the snare that is pornography has devastated your family the way that it has. I will be asking The Lord to help you in your circumstances, and as Steve has said, there are many people here who though may be thousands of miles away, feel your pain and want to offer a shoulder to lean on.”

 

If you’re a man or woman who is struggling with sex or porn addiction, or a hurting spouse looking for others who can relate to what you’re going through, I encourage you to register at our sex addiction forums and get involved. This is a great way to get instant accountability and support and be a part of a community of others who are walking the same journey as you.

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Why it Doesn’t Matter if You’re on Fire for God http://www.blazinggrace.org/why-it-doesnt-matter-if-youre-on-fire-for-god/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/why-it-doesnt-matter-if-youre-on-fire-for-god/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 21:03:39 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=2407 by Mike Genung A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. Matthew 12:20 Around six Read More

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by Mike Genung

A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory.
Matthew 12:20

Around six years ago, I was in a dark place. I had fallen into a pit of discouragement, doubt, and fear; my faith was in pieces. One day I heard a pastor on the radio say that “every Christian’s life should always be marked with joy.” I wanted to throw up; I was barely getting by. Joy? Forget it.

There are plenty of songs on the Christian airwaves where someone is asking God to set them on fire for Him. The idea is that if God sets them on fire, they will have a big rush of emotional and spiritual firepower that can carry them into doing some kind of awesome thing for God that will revolutionize the world.

Except, when I look at God’s word, I don’t see people asking God to set them on fire. I see a different emphasis.

Ask yourself how “on fire for God” the following people were from these stories in Scripture:

Abraham, when God asked him to sacrifice his son.

Job, when he lost his family, business, and health, and then had to endure the ridicule of friends.

Prophets like Isaiah and especially, Jeremiah, when they delivered hard messages and were rejected.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He wanted to exit His destiny at the cross.

Paul, who was beaten often. During one trial he even said he had lost hope that he would make it out alive (2 Corinthians 1).

I don’t see any of the men above, including Jesus, being “on fire for God.” But I do see a marvelous willingness to endure incredible suffering and pain, which fleshed out their dedication, rock solid character, and love for God.

When I think on these Biblical stories of suffering in centuries past, my own trials, and what God has taught me, I believe that He’s after more than just a momentary burst of joy. In fact, when I look at the parable of the sower, which mentions the person who “receives the word with joy at first but then fades away,” I know He is.

I believe God wants His people to be so sold out on Him that no matter how they feel, they honor Him and prove their love by obedience. There’s a certain inner toughness of character that has to be developed for this to take place; most of the time, that toughness is only developed in suffering.

Think of the man who’s enslaved to sexual sin. He’s not going to be on fire for God when he shows up at his first accountability group meeting. Or confesses his sin to his wife.  Yet he does these things because he knows he must in order to experience freedom and heal his marriage.

Consider the wife who just had her world blown apart because her husband confessed adultery and/or porn addiction to her. Her pain and anger, the enemy, and even Christians tell her “Get out of this marriage!” Yet, many wives willingly tough it out for years, working hard to heal their heart and rebuild their marriage.

For those of you who are dying inside and feel condemned because you aren’t wearing a giddy Sunday school face, or can barely make it through the day without wanting to cry, scream, or run in a corner and hide in shame, yet are persevering through the toughest circumstances, God has a special place in His heart for you. The voices in the church, our family, and our friends that would tell us to pretend there’s nothing wrong, or “praise God and it will be okay,” do not represent His heart.

Psalms 51:17 does:

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

You may not be joyful, or on fire for God, but you are being molded into a warrior (or warrior-ette). God is using what you’re going through to shape, strengthen, cleanse, and soften your heart in preparation for a deeper experience of His love and faithfulness. Although the process is painful, keep going. Never give up, and keep pressing forward.  You are not abandoned, and God has a special place in His heart for you.

Many Christians have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to pain and suffering. I know that many of you who visit this site are in the middle of deep, dark waters. While there are certain trials I never want to relive, I can look back at them and say that God used every one of them to shape me in ways I didn’t understand at the moment, but brought fruit later on.

I don’t think being on “fire for God” matters as much to Him as faithfulness, endurance, and obedience.

But the one who endures to the end, He will be saved.
Matthew 24:13

We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and merciful.
James 5:11

O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer.
Psalms 31:23

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My Take on Porn Filtering Software http://www.blazinggrace.org/my-take-on-porn-filtering-software/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/my-take-on-porn-filtering-software/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 22:07:42 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=2383 by Mike Genung I’ve never heard of a guy who couldn’t get around a porn filter when he wanted to. Once the pull to seek out lust hits and they Read More

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by Mike Genung

I’ve never heard of a guy who couldn’t get around a porn filter when he wanted to.

Once the pull to seek out lust hits and they give in, the challenge to see if they can get around the porn filter has a way of intensifying the hunger for lust and the excitement of the chase. When a man is committed to going after a lust hit, the best a porn filter can do is slow him down.

My take on porn filtering software is as follows:

  1. Porn filtering software is at its best for those who aren’t looking for porn, especially children. In today’s environment it’s not wise to have unfiltered internet access in your home with young, curious minds around.
  2. Porn filtering software buys the average man or woman addicted to porn a few minutes to think. As they begin the game of getting around the porn filter, the Holy Spirit can start working on them… “Do you really want this? Remember how you felt the last time you masturbated to pornography? Think about how it will feel when you have to look your wife and children in the eyes, knowing that you’ve fallen again. What will it do to your relationship with Me?”

Sometimes this weight of conviction can persuade the user to shut the computer down and walk away. If not, they will have to harden their heart, ignore the promptings of the Lord, and throw themselves deeper into the well of depravity.

  1. The best solution, especially for those who are married, is to use software that emails a list of every website you’ve visited to a friend or accountability partner. For husbands, this means having the email sent to your wife. If I’m about to click on a link that I know will take me to a porn site and the porn filtering software won’t stop it, the knowledge that I have to tell someone about it afterward will cause me to stop and think about my next step.

However, if I know my wife is going to see the link, which may have a smutty title, it’s going to freak me out. The idea of hurting her, or risking the fallout that will come from angering her is enough to forcefully invade my thought processes. The consequences are too sharp not to ignore them.

For those who are single, your best option is to have the emails sent to someone who cares about you and who you know would be disturbed if they saw you were viewing porn. The more pain that is involved with the consequences of viewing pornography, the better.

Having porn filtering software is a good idea, it’s just that we should be aware of its limitations. It will not prevent someone who’s addicted to porn from accessing it once they’ve made the decision to go after it. The best solution is porn filtering software that is combined with an email accountability feature that also doesn’t slow down your system.

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New Video – Porn, the Church, and What to Do About It http://www.blazinggrace.org/new-video-porn-the-church-and-what-to-do-about-it/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/new-video-porn-the-church-and-what-to-do-about-it/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 17:52:59 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=2314 About a year ago, God started forming the ideas and content in my heart for the video you are about to watch. It provides an unfiltered look at what porn is, Read More

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About a year ago, God started forming the ideas and content in my heart for the video you are about to watch. It provides an unfiltered look at what porn is, how deeply the church is hooked on it, and how to effectively address the issue, from pastors to parents.

This is an issue that is rarely discussed in churches, and even when it is addressed it’s often done quickly and at a superficial level: “Go to a support group or get rid of your computer and you’ll be okay”.
If only it were that easy.

At the end of the video I state that this message needs to be in every church, para-church ministry, and seminary. If you agree, please share it, especially with church and ministry leaders, as well as other Christians.

Let me hear your comments and feedback.

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What Do You Believe About Prayer? http://www.blazinggrace.org/believe-prayer/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/believe-prayer/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 22:06:52 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1627 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So you men could not keep watch with me for one hour? Keep watching and praying Read More

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And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So you men could not keep watch with me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:40-41

Right before what may have been the most intense spiritual battle in history, Jesus, while preparing His disciples for the dark road ahead, recommended just one weapon to them: prayer.  Not Scripture, memorization of verses, listening to a sermon, reading a book, or even talking with an accountability partner;  prayer alone was all they needed.

The disciples didn’t follow His counsel, and we know what happened. When the soldiers showed up, most of them bolted. Peter failed miserably. John was the only one of the twelve who was with Jesus to the end at the cross.

In years past, when temptations would hit, especially with lust, I would often be one and done when it came to prayer. The waves of lust would roll over me, I’d offer one half-hearted prayer, the battle would get hot, and I’d give in.

I didn’t know anything about prayer.

Many battles with lust aren’t over in a minute. Some can last for hours.  Today I believe I can overcome any temptation with prayer alone, but I must be willing to go the distance. This means I must keep praying until the other side backs down, whether it’s the enemy or my flesh.

Some quests take years to fulfill. After I started on the path to recovery in 1991, my journey to lasting freedom took eight years. If we want to be an overcomer we have to persevere for the long term, no matter how many times we stumble or messy the process is.

I’ve experienced the same with other sins. I’ve had to pray and press through for years for God to do a deep work in my heart with pride, anger, bitterness, and fear. I hated the sin and could see what it was doing to me and my relationships, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t fix it. The Lord taught me that I had to keep seeking Him for a breakthrough, even if the process took years. Eventually, in each of these areas, after years of going at it, God changed my heart. That’s not to say that I still don’t wrestle with those issues occasionally, but they no longer have the hold they used to.

In our culture of Now, it’s easy to adopt the expectation that if we pray we should see results in the near future. While that happens occasionally, some situations will demand that we must dig in for the long haul.

So what is it about prayer that makes it so powerful?

1. There have been many times in prayer when I sense connection with God; that the Holy Spirit is working and speaking to me. Even if I don’t receive new revelation or guidance, His Presence is often enough because I know God is revealing that He’s with me. This alone is a faith booster.

2. While God may not provide an answer as to how a situation will be resolved, He can bring the next step to my mind. Obedience can then open new doors.

3. If I’m freaking out over something, in prayer God often breathes the idea to calm down and listen into my soul, and reminds me that I’m too wrapped around the wrong things. He realigns my perspective and thought processes to His, and brings me to a place I needed to visit: the Sanctuary of His Peace. He reminds me that He’s God and I don’t need to drill myself into a worry hole, and He’s always brought me through every situation in my life. All my emotional gyrations are just going to compound the problem.

5. During a fierce battle of temptation, in prayer He will often show me what I need to do to overcome. During one battle He told me to praise Him. While I didn’t know how praising Him would give me victory, I did it, and not long after the battle broke. Sometimes there is no answer, which means I just need to keep praying.

Don’t worry about having the right words. There are moments when all I can say is “God help me.” Many times I’ll start by saying, “God, I have no idea what to say right now, but I know I need You.” Or,  “God I’m so messed up right now… I really screwed up today. Please speak to me.”

I have a hunch that God responds better to gut-level transparency than quoting verses to Him or (trying to) hide our heart. I think He would rather we focus on listening to and knowing Him, rather than reading off “our list.” or throwing out “thees and thous” like we’re trying to impress someone with a load of religious sewage.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalms 51:17

While there are many things that can hinder me from praying, I find the worst is being so busy it makes me stupid. It’s easy to get spun around on chasing the urgent, when much of what we think must be done immediately can wait a little. After a dash of discernment, a re-examination of my priorities, and a request of wisdom from God, I am reminded that fitting prayer into my schedule isn’t as hard as I’ve made it out to be, and I need it.

What do you believe about prayer? Is it merely something that good Christians do (barf), or is it one of the most powerful ways to connect with the Creator of the Universe there is? What you belief is critical; if you believe prayer is a powerless religious exercise, you will flounder in your walk with God. If you believe that prayer is connection with the most powerful being in the universe along with all of His grace, love, and mercy, and that He hears you and wants to help you, your faith will grow and so will your love for God. Your situation may not change, but you will.

No matter where you are today, or what you’re struggling with, keep going, and don’t stop praying.

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12 Things to Remember When You’re Battling the Temptations of Lust http://www.blazinggrace.org/12-things-remember-youre-battling-temptations-lust/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/12-things-remember-youre-battling-temptations-lust/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 22:42:37 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1608 Overcoming lust can be hard. Some battles are fiercely intense and last for hours, while others are easy. For those moments when you’re caught in a tough battle, here are Read More

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Overcoming lust can be hard. Some battles are fiercely intense and last for hours, while others are easy. For those moments when you’re caught in a tough battle, here are 12 things to remember:

1. No temptation lasts forever. They may feel like they will, but eventually they will fade.

2.  Perseverance will often be your more important asset. When the waves of lust would start to roll over me, I would offer up one or two weak prayers, the battle would get harder, and I would give in.  I’ve waged battles with lust that lasted all night, sleeping for an hour, getting hit, praying and resisting, falling asleep for another hour or two, and then repeating the cycle. You’ve got to be prepared to go the distance, no matter how long it takes.

3. You have every weapon you need to stand firm in the battle. I now know that prayer and God’s word are enough to overcome every battle. I didn’t always believe this. When lust had a foothold in my life, God’s word and prayer didn’t seem to have any power to me. I used a combination of white knuckling my way through temptation (which didn’t work), or calling a friend and asking them to pray for me (which worked for an hour or two, but when the lust attack hit again I still needed a way to stand on my own). This does not mean that we shouldn’t try to fight lust in isolation or on our own strength, but that there will always be times in our life when we can’t get a friend on the phone, or get to a group, and we must stand our ground. In those moments we need to be able to wield the weapons God has given every believer. My problem in the past was that I had lost so many battles after reading the Bible or praying that I didn’t believe either of these had the power to see me through. Prayer is powerful; it connects me with the Lord and His power and brings in the emotional and spiritual firepower I need to press through to victory. God’s word is a sword that cuts to the core of my flesh, which would love to indulge in lust, if I let it. The battle may be fierce, and it could go on for a while, but eventually the power of prayer and His word are enough to take me through.

4. In war, one side will eventually get worn down and give up. You never have to be the side that surrenders.

5. What you believe will play a critical factor in determining the outcome. If you believe that you’ve fallen too many times to overcome lust, or that your flesh and the enemy are too powerful, you’re already halfway to defeat. I’ve had plenty of men tell me over the years that they had little to no hope that they could ever be set free from lust. If you believe that victory is possible, not by fighting with your willpower or flesh, which won’t work, but with the tools God has given you, then there is more than enough hope that you will come through.

6. Like Joseph with Potiphar’s wife, there will be some battles where the sexual energy is too strong and delaying is dangerous; the only way to win is to run, immediately. For example, if a woman who was not your wife was touching you or asking you to sleep with her, excuse yourself and get out of there. Stay away; don’t play with fire.

7. Use wisdom and discernment regarding your weak points. If there is a situation you’ve placed yourself in many times and have fallen, avoid it. Don’t play games with lust.

8. Examine what you really believe about yourself, God, and lust. Is He really strong enough to see you through? Does He even care? Do you believe He hears your cries for help?

9. Remember who you are. You are God’s son (or daughter, as women struggle with lust too). You are not alone and you are not forsaken. He is near (Philippians 4). If you’re married and have kids, remember that you are your wife’s husband and your children’s father. Think about how it will feel if you have to look your wife in the eye and tell her you masturbated to porn. Remember your children and the shame you will feel knowing you’re not the man they think you are, should you fall. Be who are you are, a blood-bought, son or daughter of the living God, with loved ones who need you to be the leader of their home.

9. Remember that just because you’ve failed in the past does not mean you have to fall again. You don’t have to give in! The battle may be intense, but if you learn to lean on God and use the tools He’s given you, you’ll start chalking up some wins.

10. You are not a loser, or a failure. You are broken, weak and struggle with a flesh that screams for lust, but you’re not the scum the enemy has been trying to tell you that you are.  Beating yourself up is playing into the enemy’s hands because it keeps you in “I don’t deserve freedom and victory” mode. Accept God’s forgiveness for your past sins once and for all. It’s done. Move forward and keep going.

11. You have more spiritual firepower than you realize. The enemy wants to keep you in the dark about this. Every prayer, every time you read Scripture aloud, is an assault against him and your flesh. He doesn’t like getting hit, and if you continue to persevere eventually you’ll be the one wearing him down.

12. In every battle, in order to win, you must choose to allow your flesh to die. You don’t fight against your flesh with willpower, but you ignore its cries to indulge in sin. You let it die. There will be a little pain inside; I notice that when I let my flesh die that there’s a momentary intensifying of the craving for lust, then a strong feeling like I’ve lost or missed out on something. Not long after, it’s over. My flesh has died, and along with it the lust-craving. If you pray and read God’s word but you’re not willing to die, you will eventually lose the battle because your flesh will take over.  There are times when my only prayer during temptation is “God, please help me to die.” I know what’s really going on is that my flesh is craving sin and I have to die; it’s not about the enemy, it’s just that there’s this sin-thing inside of me that wants to go the wrong way. I can’t fight sin, or will my way to victory; I have to choose to let my flesh die.

I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
1 Corinthians 15:31

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Are We the Facebook Church? http://www.blazinggrace.org/facebook-church/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/facebook-church/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 21:44:12 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1593 Take a minute and think about what you read on Facebook, particularly among Christians. There’s a lot of preaching, and quoting verses. Some comment on the hot-button political issue of Read More

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Take a minute and think about what you read on Facebook, particularly among Christians.

There’s a lot of preaching, and quoting verses.

Some comment on the hot-button political issue of the moment.

There are the usual posts about food, recipes, what we or our relatives are doing, and other positive, light topics.

Nothing wrong with this. I find it interesting to read what people are saying and doing, and sometimes learn something.

It’s what’s missing that bothers me.

Every once in a while I’ll post something about the surveys showing that two thirds of the men in the church are viewing pornography, or that 75-80% of our youth are leaving the church, or that 7,000 churches are closing each year in the U.S.. Most of the time, there is little to no response.

Most people don’t want to hear about porn. It’s hard enough to get them to talk about sex. Meanwhile, it’s not uncommon to see a sexually provocative ad next to the postings in Facebook with a scantily dressed woman. The world shoves sexual depravity down our throat while we pretend it’s not there. Isn’t that bizarre?

Mention that Phil Robertson….  a TV celebrity… got attacked, and Facebook goes wild. President of Chikfila gets ostracized by the media for expressing his beliefs? Hundreds of thousands line up to eat chicken sandwiches in a show of support; the big Christian names come out and pump out articles about engaging the culture and evangelizing the lost. Tell people that the Church is corrupt with sexual sin, and that marriages and families are being torn apart right and left because of it, or that we must be doing something seriously wrong if so many people are heading for the exits, and you get… silence.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I can’t help wondering if Facebook is a reflection of the church we’ve become today.

Market slogans in Christian media like “Positive and encouraging” and “Safe for the Whole Family” are everywhere.  Nothing wrong with this; we all need encouragement. The problem is that if “positive and encouraging” is all we’re about, or we don’t want to hear anything negative, it will keep us from facing and overcoming life’s problems… until someone we knows loses their family to divorce due to porn or adultery… or our teenage son admits he’s addicted to porn, or our daughter is caught sending sexually explicit pictures of herself to her friends.  Or someone we’ve known for years announces they’re leaving the church.  Like a son or daughter.

There are moments when “keep it Positive and Encouraging” feels like it’s a step away from our culture of tolerance. Don’t do anything to offend someone or make them feel comfortable (like talking about sex or porn).  Don’t mention that our youth are bailing in droves. Don’t say anything Sunday morning that will leave people squirming in their seats. We’re Americans, after all.

Let me ask you a question: When is the last time you walked out of church so pierced with conviction that you were broken, and knew you had to change?

Like Facebook, we do lots of preaching and quoting verses. The U.S. has the best seminaries and some of the most gifted communicators of truth in the world. Yet we’re losing our youth, and the church is corrupt with sexual sin.

Few want to talk about it, let alone address the problem effectively.

I see several reasons why:

The culture of tolerance has infected the church. We don’t want to offend anyone or make them uncomfortable.  Always be positive, and don’t go there if it’s negative.

Pride.
We don’t want to face the truth that the American Church of 2014 is corrupt with sin, because it will mean that something is wrong with our way of doing church. I’ve had people tell me that I am giving the church a black eye when I mention such things. We care more about our reputation and looking good than we do facing the core of our brokenness and our desperate need for the grace and mercy of God.

We’re stuck in the way we do church.
If you read the Scriptures you will find there are numerous times throughout history where there were public times of confession and repentance. We’re too sophisticated and smart for that. Give me my theology and doctrine, but don’t force me to get out of my comfort zone and confess my sins to other people. We get just enough of a convicting message on Sunday to make it interesting, but not enough to rock our world. As we leave the church Sunday morning, the smartphones are switched on, and all is forgotten. I hear many people say we need a spiritual awakening, but revivals start and catch fire when God’s people are broken over their sins, are willing to confess and renounce them, and devote themselves to prayer. Which brings me to my next point.

Prayer has been evicted from the church of America.
God calls his church “a house of prayer,” yet our church services are mainly praise and preaching. The early church devoted themselves to prayer and the teaching of the word. We’re great at teaching the word, but prayer is missing. We desperately need to turn some of our Sunday mornings into prayer services. My pastor once said that “Satan laughs when we have a Bible study, but he trembles when we pray.” Prayer is the main power line to the grace and power of God. If we want to see revival, prayer must make a comeback in the church.

Fear.
We’re afraid to confront people about issues with sexual sin, or that we’re not reaching our youth, because we don’t want to upset people. We don’t want our people to be uncomfortable, and we certainly don’t want to talk about porn and masturbation on Sunday morning.  We don’t want to look like a radical nut job or some kind of would-be prophet.  We don’t want to blow our reputation as the people “who have it all together,” when in fact, the world knows the truth.

We don’t like mirrors. We like to go after the big bad world for oppressing a Christian celebrity, but we don’t want to have God hold a mirror up to our face and show us the pain of the “fatal tragedy,” as Owald Chambers calls it, of our brokenness and sin.  The idea of a corrupt church is painful. It means we’re in dire need of some John the Baptists, Isaiahs, and Jeremiahs to confront us with the truth of who we are so God can cleanse, heal, and restore us.

I believe God’s people are hungry and ready for revival. I believe they want to be challenged, stirred, convicted, and have their comfort zones upset. I believe they’re sick of having sin run their lives. I believe they want more of God and are tired of spiritual mediocrity. I believe they want to make a difference in the lives of others. I believe they want bold leadership that is willing to turn “the way we do church” on its head and go radical by embracing the examples for doing church as it’s shown in Scripture.

They don’t want the Facebook Church; they want the real deal.

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