Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is in our box...

1 Corinthians 10:13-14

13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
14 So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.

The pastor of the church we went to this past Sunday used this scripture. The pastor kept the scripture to verse 13. Usually when a pastor references a scripture I will go just a tad before and after to get context of what or whoever wrote the scripture. It is verse 14 that caught my eye the most and I felt like just maybe the Lord had laid something on my heart. 

I often think there are times where if we beg God enough for something he will give it to us just to teach us a lesson. Sometimes we turn our backs and don't listen at all. Sometimes as children of God we can be such brats. How many times have you said "God if you will just give me this, it will make me feel better" as we stomp our feet and throw our fit. I looked for that quick fix to a problem that had been plaguing me. What I have just done here is put God in a box and limited him to what he can and wants to do. I have reduced God to something we can use or control. Why is it we sometimes refuse to give God complete control of our lives and trust him? If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might remember me wondering if God has said to us " have you had enough yet?" I feel like God will usually say this after I have begged him for that one thing I just had to have. The one thing I just had to have turned out to be the last thing I needed. What a mess I turned something into because of my need to control and keep God in the box. 

Friends I am nearing the point to where I have lived half of my life. There have been many times that I questioned God. I should have shut my mouth and trusted that God would never put anything on my plate that I couldn't handle. There were always times where I was crying out and hoping no more grief or problems would come my way. I have learned putting God in my box gets me no where fast. I can only hope the second part of my life that I trust God more than I did then the first half. I will be working hard on keeping God out of my box.

This year has had it challenges. There have been many times where I questioned God, but every time he reminded me he was doing whatever it was for my own good. I am learning to just sit back and watch God work. But sometimes it is not before God wrestles me to the ground and tells me not to get in his way. 

Listen... I can't promise that life is always going to be easy. I can't promise that a quick fix is always going to take care of your problems. God is not a God of quick fixes. God is a God of permanent fixes.The answers may not always come the way we like them, but they are the answers that God has for us because he knows best. On down the road we will be better because we trusted God in all his wisdom and kept him out of our box. Remember if your plate is full, allow God to clear it for you. God will never over fill it and is always willing to clear if you will trust him fully today. 

OK so what to pray for... It has been a long time since I did a what to pray for section. My life is no longer in crisis mode and I have just wanted to minister to whoever reads my blog. But I am requesting prayer for my mom (step mom, none the less like a mom to me) who is very sick and we are in need of a miracle. Please pray with us for my mom's complete healing. Also pray for the Lord's will in our life as we find ourselves at a crossroads of sorts. We are trust God to lead us a long.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Be careful little eyes what you see.... Part Two

All week I have been thinking about the cause and the effect of why men turn to porn. I am not saying that this is a problem for only men, but like I said in part one, stats don't lie. So here is a stat on women and porn. 30% of visitors to porn sites are women. This however may be the only stat I throw out there in this blog. Please read on and realize how we must guard against against the evilness of porn.

The traditional and God intended family of the past, present, and future is under attack. The family is being attacked on every side. One of those weapons the enemy uses is pornography. Like in war days leaders of platoons sometimes preferred not to be saluted in fear that they may be picked off by a sniper. Husbands/Fathers are head of the family and this is where satan chooses to pick us off at all cost. If you remember in part one I mentioned a stat of the age of which children are exposed to some type of sexual solicitation before age eleven. That is just one cause of a porn addiction.Another cause is emotional. Some people have an emotional opening and porn knows just how to fill it. There are all kinds of ways the emotional holes are formed. I am sure you are filling the blanks here, but like I said in part one, porn says come here and I will make you feel REAL good. Porn is counting on those holes to fill its holes up with lots of money. Porn doesn't care about you. Porn just wants your business. Porn won't be there when you lose everything. Porn just moves on to the next person it can destroy.

Lets look at marriages. Marriages are full of ups and downs. After being together for a while, the home fire starts to dim. Spouses might become board with the differences and likenesses of which they fell in love in the first place. Men and women become lonely and start searching for something that might fill that void. Rather than turning to their spouse and communicating their needs and feelings, they find that emotional and physical need through porn. This can lead to many wrong paths. Desensitization can set in and make you search for even extreme sexual situations just to get that high. Porn can lead to adultery. Porn can lead to violent acts and assaults on others. Porn can lead to anger and may lead a person to make some very poor choices.

 There are men out there who do not want to admit they have a problem. When confronted about it, they shy away from those who want to help. This further isolates them from the reality of the situation.. Men who look at porn most times will lose interest in their wives, and withdrawal from the family. Rather than viewing their wife as their equal, they view them as an object. They find that they are not motivated at all to be the husband and/or father that God wants them to be. When the thought of admitting to their wife what is happening, pride sets in and they avoid it in order not to be ashamed. What these men don't understand, at this point no matter how bad they want to kick the habit, they are dealing with a full on chemical addiction. Quitting cold turkey may work for some, but does not work for all. God can help those who want help. But those who get the help, have to tread the line carefully in order to avoid a relapse. I have mentioned in other blogs and even handed this advice out to others that the first steps of victory are great, but satan is waiting for you to come down from that high to attack again. Since this is the case, I would recommend finding a Christian male counselor to help you gain strength and get to the core of what may have pushed you to this point in the first place. Spend lots of time in God's word. Please don't point blame else where and or deflect it all together. Make no excuse and deal with your addiction head on. Don't be surprised when it comes to your wife and the hurt she will feel. Admitting this to her, is brave in some ways will liberate you from the guilt you are feeling. Ask for forgiveness not only from your wife, but from God too.

Earlier in this blog I talked about holes in ones life. It only takes a small space for sin to work its way into your life. Porn is a sin. Remember that. If you find that you are reading this right now, make sure you sure up those holes in your marriage. If there is one, allow God to fill it in. If there is a hole in  your marriage, talk to your spouse. If you and your spouse cannot come to a resolution, then seek a counselor for help. Don't allow porn to fill those holes. It will lead you down a path that could devour you for good. Recovery is possible and God can free you from the chains of a porn addiction.

Finally, porn is a problem in close to half of the families in the United States today. Satan would love nothing more to see families destroyed, lives ruined, and for you to be devoured by this evil addiction. Seek God out and allow him to rescue you from this terrible thing. Be honest with yourself, your spouse, and God about your addiction. It is never to late to turn from sin and turn your life over to God. It will be the best decision you ever make.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Be careful little eyes what you see.... Part 1

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see

Twice in the past three weeks I have sat in church and listened to husbands admit their porn addictions were either tearing their lives, families, and marriages apart or had torn them apart. All saying that they had gotten victory with God's help. In the past year, I have heard two husbands admit this as well. That is staggering. For every 10 men in church,5 are struggling with pornography. The Call to Biblical Manhood. Man in the Mirror, 6 July, 2004. I know of at least four with-in arms reach that are either battling or have battled a porn addiction.  I personally know of two husbands who battle with this evil addiction. The statistics are astonishing. I have spent the past day or so researching this particular subject. To understand this type of addiction you really have to do your homework. I knew with the widespread outbreak of porn online that the numbers would be high. But some of the data that I have seen is almost ten years old. I can only imagine what current statistics might be. For all intense purposes I am not expert on the subject of porn addiction. But documentation after documentation shows that stats don't lie. I know there are others sitting in church congregations all around the country who battle with a porn addiction in secret. Most are ashamed to admit it in public and in fact to their own families.

To understand a porn addiction is a puzzling thought. I am sure there are those out there that think "well if they would just stop looking at it, the problem would be solved.. etc" Not so fast. Gordon S. Bruin M.A. LPC describes a porn addiction no different than a drug addiction.You can view the full article by clicking here. But I want to quote a paragraph that might clear this up for you. Forgive me if I have quoted this wrong, but Bruin writes.. "In essence, the only difference between a heroin or cocaine addict is the way the drug enters the system.  The brain responds from information received from the eye quicker than from any other source.  Visual information is processed in the limbic system in nanoseconds.   This is why pornography is such a big deal.  Visual information is processed faster than from any of our others senses.   Even the ingestion of heroin or cocaine is much slower in comparison.  The brain responds to visual sexual images in microseconds where chemical reactions take place automatically.  There is a release of powerful chemicals that can overrule the rational brain and drive one to behaviors." Does this clear it up for you? Porn reaches out to men and says "here watch me, I will make you feel better" Porn wants us to look at it. For a few minutes porn promises us a high and a release like no other. It even gives us temporary comfort. Dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin combined will give a porn user a great high, but leave them feeling down in the dumps afterwords. When shared with your spouse, these chemicals can create a bond that should last forever. When shared with porn, these chemicals will destroy the way you think of yourself, relationships and how you think of a women The average porn viewer will watch almost seven minutes from start to finish.

In our churches alone the numbers are off the charts. It is awful that there is even a chart for this. But here we go... let me flash some of these stats past you. According to safefamilies.org 51% of pastors say online porn is a possible temptation. 37% say that porn is a struggle. 20% of calls that come into the Focus on the family pastoral care line are pastors who are dealing with some type of personal struggle with porn. And the last stat... 57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005). I am sure that 57% is low compared to 2013, in fact I am sure it is probably higher. 

And now the affect of porn on marriages. Here are two more stats. By the way, I wasn't going to include a lot of stats in this particular blog, but I feel you might want to know that even those some of these stats are older, they are very real and most likely higher if the same surveys were to be taken in 2013. So here are a couple on marriage and family. Keep in mind I have a document 40 pages long with all kinds of stats and facts on porn and sex. 47% percent of families said pornography is a problem in their home (Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003). The Internet was a significant factor in 2 out of 3 divorces (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2003 - divorcewizards.com). If we are not paying attention to what our children alone are looking at on the internet, than we are in trouble. On the average a child will be exposed to some type of porn or solicitation of sexual content by age 11. 70% of men between the ages of 17 to 34 will watch porn at least once a week if not more. Like a drug addiction a porn addiction can financially tear a family apart piece by piece. The entire world industry is worth 4.9 billion. Porn pulls in a staggering 2.84 billion dollars a year. 

Folks this is a real problem. It is a serious problem. Right now it is a serious break down in our nation, in the world, in our church, in our marriages and families. Some of these men I know have dealt with these addictions from a very young age. In part two I will discuss why men, women, and children turn to porn. The cause and affect it has on the person and family. Stay tuned...