Blazing Grace http://www.blazinggrace.org Recovery from porn and sex addiction Wed, 27 May 2015 22:07:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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You’re Not A Freak; Why That’s a Bad Thing http://www.blazinggrace.org/youre-freak-thats-bad-thing/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/youre-freak-thats-bad-thing/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:54:55 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1578 While I was in bondage to sexual sin, I assumed I was a freak; that something in me was defective or broken that was right in others.  Pastors didn’t talk Read More

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While I was in bondage to sexual sin, I assumed I was a freak; that something in me was defective or broken that was right in others.  Pastors didn’t talk about porn, so I assumed I was the only one who struggled with it.

All those happy faces on Sunday morning were a stark contrast to my inner world of shame and a crippling sense that I was a square peg trying to fit into the church of those who have it together.  I felt like a spiritual leper, one who was “outside the camp” of Biblical times. I felt dirty, and was ashamed of who I was. Words like “hypocrite” and “loser” haunted me. How could I get help for something that no one else struggled with or could understand?

The fear of rejection was intense. I had committed adultery both as a single and married man and was hooked on masturbating to pictures of naked women. The porn problem was shaming enough; to admit that I was an adulterer; it was too much. Exposing my sin seemed next to impossible for a freak like me.

Churches that don’t talk openly and clearly about sexual sin and offer effective solutions for breaking free are keeping people in chains of fear, shame, and rejection. I’ve worn those chains and can tell you that they had a debilitating effect on my life. Over the years I’ve heard many men say the same thing I believed, that “I’m the only one who struggles with this.”

It’s not just the men. Wives whose husbands are in bondage to sexual sin suffer silently with shame and the fear of rejection from a different angle. “They’ll think I wasn’t enough for him and/or failed as a wife.” The embarrassment and humiliation of having a husband who’s addicted to pictures and masturbates to them is cause enough for them to shrink back in the shadows and lay low. The Sunday smiles of all the happy couples and families make them want to throw up.

In spite of the church’s silence (and denial) of sexual sin, you’re not a freak, in fact, you’re in the mainstream. One recent survey released within the past month showed that around 64% of Christian men view porn at least once a month. Surveys in the late 90s and early 2000s were showing that half of Christian men were viewing porn; now it’s closer to two thirds. This means you’re just like most of the men in the church.

Which is a bad thing.

I know from experience that when a man or woman is into lust that their relationship with God is lukewarm at best. Following the herd in the church of 2014 is dangerous to your spiritual health.

The good news is that you can be a freak if you want to. Note that a freak is someone who’s unusual; they stand out from the herd. Being a freak isn’t always a bad thing.

So here’s how you can be a Christian freak:

Do whatever it takes to break free from porn. Go to support groups, counseling, whatever it takes. Many men are content to waste their lives and destroy their families while they chase the illusion of the ultimate lust high. Don’t be like one of them.

Purify your home; remove all access to porn or sexually explicit content from it, whether cable service, magazines, or other content.

Go radical in your walk with God. Spend 24-48 hours with Him alone at a Christian retreat. Do the things that most Christians won’t do… or are afraid to when it comes to their relationship with Him.

Scrap your vision and plans for your life and ask God to take over.

Shed the poser-Christian skin and share your weaknesses and faults with others. Let God shine through your cracks.

Talk about your struggles with sexual sin openly and encourage others to do the same.

Refuse to compromise in your Christian walk.

If you do these things, you will become a Christian freak; one in the church who no longer runs with the crowd.  Some people will see your “abnormalities” and squirm; your choice to live out the Christian life is a threat to their comfort zone.

Others will be grateful for showing them what living your beliefs looks like, and thank you for helping them become a freak like you.

Go radical. Become a Christian Freak.

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Rich Mullins, Transparency, and Temptation http://www.blazinggrace.org/rich-mullins-transparency-temptation/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/rich-mullins-transparency-temptation/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:43:24 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1574 Rich Mullins was a well-known Christian recording artist who penned songs like Awesome God, Sometimes by Step, and Sing Your Praise to the Lord, among others. During one of Mullins’ Read More

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Rich Mullins was a well-known Christian recording artist who penned songs like Awesome God, Sometimes by Step, and Sing Your Praise to the Lord, among others.

During one of Mullins’ last concerts before he was killed in a tragic car accident in 1997, he shared his struggles with the temptation to watch pornography, among others. I appreciated Mullins’ transparency because it is rare when someone in the public eye confesses their weaknesses, especially when it comes to lust and pornography. Too many put on a squeaky clean Christian front that runs against the grain of Christian life that involves hard battles against sin and temptation, some of which we don’t always win.

In this video, Mullins shared how he wrote the song Hold Me Jesus after one night of battling with the pull to lust. The lyrics include these words:

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

Mullins captures what I remember feeling so many times, when I would go after another porn binge even while I was feeling like I didn’t want it.

Here’s the video:

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My Story; Our Wives Support Group for Adultery, Affairs & Porn http://www.blazinggrace.org/story-wives-support-group-adultery-affairs-porn/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/story-wives-support-group-adultery-affairs-porn/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 17:46:39 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1530 by Robin Williams, Facilitator of the Blazing Grace Wives Support Group Blazing Grace offers a prayer and support group for wives who are hurting and wounded by their husband’s sexual Read More

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by Robin Williams, Facilitator of the Blazing Grace Wives Support Group

Blazing Grace offers a prayer and support group for wives who are hurting and wounded by their husband’s sexual addiction or adultery. The group is open not only to those who are married but to those who are engaged or considering marriage. For a couple of years, I was a participant on the call as the wife of someone struggling with an addiction to pornography. Around 2004, the discovery of my husband’s betrayal led me to search for help online. Blazing Grace Ministry was the site where I found the most help and quickly learned there was a foundation of prayer undergirding this ministry. The support and encouragement I received from Mike Genung and the women on the prayer team were literally a lifeline for me during that season of my life.

Unfortunately, my marriage ended a few years after disclosure.  The aftermath of this experience left me with deep wounds and many questions. I chose to find healing for myself through a local ministry called Barnabas Center. It was there I quickly learned that healing is greatly facilitated by a group experience. I spent 28 weeks as a part of a group of 7 women and 2 group leaders sharing our experiences of betrayal and gaining a hope for healing.

I also had the amazing opportunity to travel to the west coast to train as a Life Coach with special emphasis on working with those affected by sexual addiction. In 2005, Mike Genung asked me if I’d be interesting in doing online support by email to wives who sought help through the Blazing Grace ministry. My opportunities came quickly and I made myself available to support and encourage wives through this ministry and my coaching experiences. I was often asked why I wanted to continue in this type of ministry to other women. My friends and family seemed to believe I needed to move on to something that didn’t involve such painful reminders of my broken marriage. Each time the questions came, I would evaluate my reasons for continuing to reach out to hurting women. I knew the answer had come to me in my coach training. Having experienced a deep and painful sexual wound as a child and a continued struggle with sexual issues as an adult, my heart just inherently was drawn to this type of ministry.

After my experiences at Barnabas Center, the hours I spent coaching other wives and engaging in dialogue with women via email, I began to realize that isolation can become a breeding ground for bitterness, anger, unforgivensess, shame and guilt. I also began to see the tremendous advantage of having an outlet to speak freely to another woman who understood the pain of sexual betrayal.

Here are a few of the reasons I believe in group support and prayer for wives who have found their world turned upside down by sexual betrayal. The following experiences are just a sampling of what I’ve experienced in speaking with wives of those struggling with sexual addiction.

* A pastor’s wife calls me, a lay person, and literally cries for an hour over her husband’s use of porn and his removal from his position as pastor. They’ve been married 35 years and have grandchildren. Her life feels like a lie.

* The pastor who took my hand when I went to the altar to accept Christ and baptized me in water is arrested for soliciting a prostitute.

* I answer the phone to recognize the voice of a friend seeking a group for wives who need support when their husband has a sexual addiction. She lives 15 minutes down the road but had to find me on the internet because she needs someone to listen. Two years later, she shoots her husband and turns the gun on herself.

* A woman I’m coaching shares with me her thoughts of taking her own life.

* A mother tells me of her fears of leaving her two children alone in the house with their father since she has discovered his online history indicates he is looking at child porn.

I really don’t need any more reasons to understand the need for a woman to have a place where she can feel safe and  find encouragement in light of these kinds of circumstances. The women I’ve spoken with have felt their world has turned upside down and nearly every one I’ve spoken with has been plagued by feelings of being all alone in their struggle.

I recently did a survey of the Blazing Grace Wives Prayer and Support Group. I’d like to share some of their responses here for those women who’ve considered being a part of the prayer group but haven’t yet contacted us to become a participant.

Question One:
What do you feel you have gained personally from being a part of the prayer group?

  • Confidentiality, encouragement, support, the loving concern of other women
  • Deeper understanding of God’s desire for all people to know Him and be healed
  • More sensitivity to the needs of others
  • A deeper prayer life and passion to see other people healed and set free
  • Fellowship, trust, safe and supportive environment to share my needs

Question Two:
Summarize the purpose of the prayer group.

  • A spiritual oasis for broken hearted women who feel desperate, confused and alone
  • Knowing God’s heart for myself and others; praying for the healing of my own heart
  • Praying for the Blazing Grace Ministry and its leaders
  • Praying for the church to recognize the need to address the issue of sexual integrity
  • Praying for all those who lives are or will be touched by the Blazing Grace ministry

Question Three:
What are you most passionate about personally as a participant of the prayer group?

  • Praying for and connecting with others whose lives have been shattered by SA.
  • Lives and hearts being changed
  • Sharing with others what God is doing in my life as a result of the group and praying for and encouraging those who are just learning of the betrayal.

When Mike asked me to be the prayer coordinator a little over a year ago, I had just experienced a miraculous and life changing encounter with God.  God in His great grace and mercy exposed the wound of my own heart and my own misunderstanding of His great love for me. I was able to confess to God my own struggle with sexual sin and repent with godly sorrow for the unhealthy choices I’d made and turn toward Him in full surrender. The freedom I’d read about in the Word of God became a reality in my life for the first time in my sixty years of living. My passion for others to find this freedom has grown exponentially as I’ve served as the prayer coordinator.

As I accepted both the responsibility and the privilege of facilitating the group a little over a year ago, I recognized this promise coming to pass in my life.

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy and the God of every comfort who comforts us in every trouble, so that we may also be able to comfort those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
(II Corinthians 1: 3-4)

The blessing I have received in being a part of this group has far exceeded any expectation I could have had going into the first call. Some of the most amazing, compassionate and encouraging young women have become a part of my life as I accepted this privilege. As can be seen in the answers to the survey, those participating in the group who came in with great pain brokenness have also caught God’s vision to see healing take place not just in their own lives and family but in the lives of people worldwide. That’s the kind of thing only God can orchestrate. He takes broken and cracked vessels and fashions and molds them into vessels that can carry the message of healing to others.

If you have ever entertained the idea of being a part of the prayer group, please contact us and get connected. We have seen answered prayers, progress and healing in many lives as a result of our time together. Don’t allow your fear of not being able to pray aloud keep you from participating. We have had several ladies who just listen in on the call and have found that to be helpful. We have been praying for you already, so just let go of any inhibitions you have and make that contact. I will explain either on the phone or by email just how the conference call works and how to get plugged in. If you have questions or concerns, I will be happy to answer them for you.

Finally, if you have been thinking, “If only I had…

  •  someone to listen to my pain…
  • someone who undestands…
  • someone who will encourage and pray for  me
  • someone who will follow up with me; someone I can trust

Look no further! Reach out! Contact us and ask to be put in touch with the prayer group. Join a safe and supportive environment where you can feel free from judgment and have the warm and loving encouragement of other women who understand. We have been waiting for you to join us!

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VIDEO: Mike Genung’s Porn Addiction Recovery Story http://www.blazinggrace.org/new-video-porn-addiction-recovery-mike-genungs-story/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/new-video-porn-addiction-recovery-mike-genungs-story/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 19:43:24 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1525 We’ve added a new video page to the site. We’ll be providing you with videos on recovery from porn addiction, healing from adultery, porn and the church, and more…  with Read More

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We’ve added a new video page to the site. We’ll be providing you with videos on recovery from porn addiction, healing from adultery, porn and the church, and more…  with content that isn’t often heard in churches, but needs to be. Among others, we’ll offer “Blazing Grace Sermons”… a sermon on masturbation will be one of our first.

In our newest video, Mike Genung shares his 20 year journey to freedom from porn addiction:

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Standing in Freedom http://www.blazinggrace.org/standing-freedom/ http://www.blazinggrace.org/standing-freedom/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 16:38:43 +0000 http://www.blazinggrace.org/?p=1475 December 18, 1865: The thirteenth amendment, which outlaws slavery, is officially integrated into the U.S. Constitution and becomes law. Slaves in the U.S. are now legally free to walk away Read More

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December 18, 1865: The thirteenth amendment, which outlaws slavery, is officially integrated into the U.S. Constitution and becomes law. Slaves in the U.S. are now legally free to walk away from bondage and into the freedom they’ve wanted all of their life. You would have thought that slaves everywhere would have rejoiced as they reveled in their new-found freedom and walked off the plantations, yet this often wasn’t the case. Most black persons stayed where they were and acted as if nothing had changed. What was going on? They were free yet kept living as slaves. The civil war had been fought in their behalf and they now could stand tall as free men and women, yet they continued living in fear and poor living conditions, not to mention their unjust masters.

Today, many Christians are mirroring those freed slaves of the 1800s.

Their experience of the Christian life is one of defeat and compromise, instead of victory and freedom; slavery to sin is all they know.  This is in spite of the fact that they’ve spent years in church hearing the good news that Christ fought the battle for them and won, and they need no longer live bound to the old master.  The sins they serve include sexual lust, bitterness, greed, gluttony, and pride, among others. They’ve lost the battle so many times they have little hope that living in victory is possible, in spite of all the Bible says. This isn’t to say they should live perfect lives, but that they’re living as though they’re defeated.

I’ve talked with some of these men. One man told me he’d given up all hope that he could ever break free from porn addiction; it had fastened its grip on him for so long and he’d failed so often that defeat was all he knew. His sin had become bigger than God’s ability to free him.

I’ve been there. Six months before God set me free from bondage to lust in 1999, I gave up hope that anything other than God could set me free; I didn’t know what the outcome would be or if victory was possible.

According to God’s word we’re spiritual billionaires. We’re given every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places, all of our sins are forgiven, and we’re given the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1). In Romans 5 we’re told “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts.” In 1 Corinthians 10 we’re promised that God will provide a way out of every temptation. We have eternal life, are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5), can approach the living God boldly for mercy and help anytime, (Hebrews 4:16) have a new family (the body of Christ). He gives us armor to fight with (Ephesians 5) and we’re promised that God will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6). These are just some of the treasure trove of blessings and promises that are ours.

What’s going on here? Why is living in freedom so difficult, even seemingly impossible at times?

Here are seven possible explanations:

1. We know the truth, but we don’t believe it. Back in 1999, what I knew and what I believed were two different things. I knew plenty of Scripture, but my heart was walled off with lies, such as:

God can’t/won’t love me as I am.

I’ve failed too many times.

I can never measure up.

My sin is more powerful that God’s ability to free me.

I don’t know if God can or wants to fill the emptiness in my heart. (If lust is gone, what will I be left with? It’s the only way I know to plug the hole in my heart.)

All of those lies and more kept me from receiving all the blessings that God already had given me and wanted me to walk in.

2. Slavery to sin was all I knew. Freedom was foreign to me. I didn’t know what walking in freedom meant, looked like, or felt like. (Crazy, considering I’d spent years in church). It seemed far away and was only for the “super spiritual.”

3. I didn’t know how to step into freedom, and if I tried, the enemy would do all he could to keep me from it. Every time I fell to sin, I would rehearse my lies of shame (can’t get it right, failed too much, I’m worthless); if I didn’t the enemy would do his part by playing those tapes for me. His lies stuck but the truth did not. It’s what I thought I deserved. I was a miserable, shamed, rotten sinner, and the enemy wanted me stuck in that identity. It is true that I have the same despicable, evil flesh that everyone else does that is prone to lust, pride, greed, and a host of other sins, but that’s only part of the truth. It’s not the end of the story.

4. I lived in groveling, scum of the earth mode. I was always begging God to forgive me for my every sin, hoping that He would cleanse me. I didn’t believe God forgave me because I was too focused on my feelings, and because I didn’t feel forgiven I had a hard time believing it was true.

5. My pride and self-absorption. You’d think someone who thought he was scum would have a hard time feeling proud, but the opposite was true. I was always focused on myself, my problems, and my failures. Me, me, me. It’s hard to hear God when you’re wrapped up in yourself and your sin.

6. I thought self-condemnation would please God. This is a sick, twisted way of thinking. “Maybe if I beat myself up and tell God what a loser I am, He’ll forgive me.” If that isn’t slave mentality I don’t know what is.

7. I listened to the enemy more than I listened to God. It was easy to agree with the enemy because he knew exactly how to pinpoint my weaknesses and exploit them with his lies. He’s had thousands of years of experience of playing people. All it took was just the idea that I might sin; the condemnation would start rolling in, I’d fall prey to discouragement and the idea that defeat was inevitable, and I’d give in. Another battle lost, proving I’m a loser hypocrite Christian, incapable of getting it right.

 

So for those of you who might be feeling like this, let me hit you with some emancipation proclamation.

1. All of God’s word is true, and all the blessings and gifts promised to those who love Him are for you. You have all you need to overcome every temptation, and you never have to fall prey to sexual sin again. This doesn’t mean the journey will be easy or there won’t be hard battles to fight, but that if you fight with the weapons and methods God has given you, you can win.

2. Your feelings do not nullify God’s love, gifts, or promises. Neither do your failures.  Just because you feel low doesn’t mean you’re not His child. Get your focus off your feelings and onto the truth of who you are and what you’ve been given.

3. Start examining your thoughts, and don’t allow them to pass without filtering them through God’s word. Self-condemnation, shame, guilt, and questioning God’s forgiveness are not allowed. You’re not a slave to sin, you’re Christ’s friend (John 15:15). You’re forgiven for every sin. You can stand on who you are as Christ’s son or daughter. There is no more need for fear, condemnation, or shame.

4. If you sin, simply confess it, and move on. Don’t grovel. Thank God for forgiving you and accept that He’s done as He’s promised.  No matter how shamed or condemned you may feel, refuse to accept it any longer. There’s no more condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8). Throw your stake in the ground and refuse to budge.

5. The two keys to living in freedom are humility and obedience. Do what God’s word says to do. Don’t be a hearer who deludes themselves (James 1), which, there are many in the church today. Stay in humility by living in the truth that you are broken and in need of grace, God’s power, and the help of others. Choose to serve, even if you don’t feel like it. Accept God’s plan for your life; grow where He’s planted you. Stop resisting what you know He wants to do in your life and work with Him. Above all, keep pride as far away as possible. As soon as you start thinking you’ve got the Christian life wired and you’ve overcome temptation for all time, you’re moments away from hitting the pavement, face first.

6. Dwell on grace. God has lavished His grace on you (Ephesians 1). He wants you to grow in grace, and the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). Soak in chapters about who God is and His attitude towards you, like Psalms 103. In your every failure, God meets you with grace; His undeserved favor. The thing that always blows me away about God is how gentle He is after I’ve blown it. Read the story of the prodigal son and how his father reacted when he came home after blowing it badly. That’s God’s heart for those who come to Him with the desire to restore their relationship.

7. Be aware that the enemy doesn’t want to you know who you are in Christ because you will become a threat to the gates of hell. He will use every dirty trick to try to get you to fall, and then pound you with shame, guilt, and condemnation.  If he can, he’ll use others, including other Christians, to mess you up even more. Your God given weapons are salvation (standing firm in who you are in Christ), faith (in God and His word), truth (as revealed in His word), peace (no more condemnation), the word of God aka the sword of the Spirit, God’s righteousness which was given to you when Christ died, and prayer (Ephesians 5).  Note that none of these weapons involve trying harder, being “a good Christian,” doing good works for God, or other people. The weapons involve you, your relationship with the Lord, your belief system, knowledge of God’s word, and prayer. There will be many times when you must stand firm on your own and you won’t have the help of others. You can go to church and study the Bible all you want, but if you don’t stand on who you are, all that knowledge won’t do you any good.

The battle looks like this:

Enemy: “You’ve failed too many times. You’ll never recover from sexual sin.”

You:  “That’s a lie! Jesus came to set captives free, and with God, nothing is impossible.”

Enemy: “You’ve always been a loser, and you always will be. You’re a failure.”

You:  “It is true that I’ve sinned in the past, and will probably fail again. But God says that I belong to Him and I’m His property. I’m given the Holy Spirit as a deposit. I’m seated with Christ in the Heavenly places. All my sins are forgiven. I’m given every spiritual blessing. There’s no more condemnation for me. God will never leave me nor forsake me. He has compassion on me like a father does his children. I’m not an outcast, I’m not alone, I’m not a loser, and I refuse to give in to discouragement!”

Enemy: “How do you know this is true for you? Are you really saved?”

You: “God’s word says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for my sins. I’m saved by His grace alone. He’s given me His Holy Spirit, and the Lord has spoken to, led, and ministered to me many times in my life. He’s given me these verses to put my stake in the ground with in the past (recite one or two that God has given you before). I am God’s son!”

Enemy: “Wouldn’t a little porn be good right now?”

You: “I don’t need it. It will make me miserable, and I’m sick of giving in and feeling ashamed. I never have to give in to that again. I’m God’s son.” Then, looking to Heaven, you pray: “Lord, please fight against those who fight against me (Psalms 35). Please silence the enemy and let my flesh die. You know there’s a part of me that would love to binge on porn, and I ask for your strength to continue to stand firm.”

8. Remember that prayer is an effective weapon. What often happens in temptation is that we get attacked, offer up one half-hearted, weak prayer, then give in. Prayer is a powerful weapon; the enemy doesn’t want you to know how effective it is. Some battles will last longer than others. Resolve ahead of time to go the distance in prayer with each battle that comes. Right before Jesus was arrested, the only counsel He gave the disciples was to “pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Prayer is a powerful weapon in your arsenal.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Stand firm in all that God’s done for you!

Chuck Swindoll’s book The Grace Awakening provided information on the thirteenth amendment and how the slaves responded.

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