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Confession, The Sign of a Good Marriage?

Confession! Makes you cringe a bit I bet.  Why would you want to share your issues with your loved one?  Isn’t that what will break up the marriage?  Well, it could.  But what confession will do certainly is reveal what your marriage is built on. If it is on your illusion of a partner that is perfect…or near to it, then it will fail utterly, but if you already know your partner in this life is a sinner in need of a Savior, then you might just pull off an awesome marriage.

But don’t get me wrong, your foundation is everything as to which way the marriage will go after a confession.  I have heard some pretty serious confessions over the years from marriatal couples, including my own!  And I am always built up in my faith when I see those couples firmly ready for the trial ahead through they know it is going to be very, very difficult.

There are certainly relationship ideas we pick up living on the planet that stick to us unknowingly.  This confession deal is one of them.  We don’t think it is good.  Especially in a relationship.  Sharing with your girlfriend that you struggle with porn might not be a good starter at the dinner table (don’t do it!  Wait until a better time!).

But we never do share.  We are afraid more than likely.  And afraid of what?  Of the person we care about leaving us.  Being alone again.  It is a big risk to confess in many ways.  We humans do not know how to handle weakness well.  We value strength yet know instinctively that we are all so frail.  But revealing the frailty is the challenge.

Paul, the apostle of Jesus wrote a book to the Corinthian Church on his own frailty.  And Jesus through He is The King, because the servant to us all (Isaiah 53).

In a marriage, there is enough time with the other to see the flaws which they have.  They become clear with time.  This is the opportunity that we all have in marriage in serving the other; loving, caring, praying, encouraging, fortifying.

You both need to learn to battle sinful inclinations.  And you need to do it together!  Most couples look at trials as a hardship or a bummer, just wanting to get over it…raise your hands, praise the Lord etc.. etc… etc….  But oh how wrong that is.  It makes for great religion, but horrible parenting!  Your kids, teenagers need to see how parents battle sin.  If you see it has a drag, they will too.  If you see it as a bummer and can’t wait for the rainbow on the other side, they will too.  You will teach them whether you like it or not; It is happening.  But you might be very troubled to learn that you are not equipping them for the future.  So it is important, even vital to realize that if you see confession and the battle against sin which follows in an ill way, you teach them contrary to the Word of God.


Consider it all joy when you go through various trials knowing that testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  James 1:2-4

Confession certainly brings about a trial in our faith.  Will we trust God as Soverign in our lives who knew this time in our lives?  Whatever comes against us trusting God is an attack on our faith.  And fear of a confession can be what comes against us in marriage!  We would rather not hear it.  But that is fear, not faith.  Do I believe God is big enough to work on my spouses issues?   There is a pain in hearing and giving a confession, but it can lead to a closer realtionship if brought to God with a united front.

If you are marriied, are you ok with your spouce knowing the area’s you are weak in?  If not, why?

One other thought…Peter and I finished up a Better Pleasure podcast recently where we answered the question, “Why your spouse is not the best accountability partner.”  I think you might want to check it out.  The question is around the later part of the podcast, but hope you take the time to listen to the entire answer.

My Time With Dr David J. Ley

david ley

Last Friday I had the pleasure of meeting (Video interview) Dr. David J. Ley!  The clinical psychologist who’s book, The Myth of Sex Addiction has been a lightning rod of chatter!  What a fun opportunity to get to know him, and talk with someone who enjoys to discuss the issues of sex, sensuality, porn culture, and helping others.  My Church culture is one where sex addiction is always spoken of as a fact.  Just last month I spoke to Ministers in our City on the topic (They named it, not me)!  So it was very exciting to talk to someone who thinks otherwise.  Why would I do such a thing right?!
Of course we don’t see eye to eye on everything, but the man has a heart for people (Though he admits that he is known as quite the block of dynamite)!  So I had a feeling we would have a pretty good time.  Which I did.  Here is an example from his book which shows his heart for those wanting help.

“This diagnosis (Sex Addiction) poses a real risk of stigma and shame to innocent people, simply because their sexual behaviors do not fit what is defined as the social norm (though we truly have little data about what the norm actually is.)  page 3, The Myth of Sex Addiction

I tend to always feel as though I should learn from those that have thought much through these issues.  And the best advice I had before entering the time with David was simply to ask him questions and listen and learn.  Good advice.  I notified David for the interview, and he obliged graciously.
One of the idea’s that he really was hitting home on concerned this shaming of an act, instead of looking at the inner heart behind the act.  I could tell he is frustrated in a ocean of sex addiction culture that tends to judge an act as wrong first, and then later go to the heart issues, if at all.  He would like to see that approach reversed.  This no doubt is due to the research he has referenced in his book on the multi level of issues that predominately come out in a person who self diagnoses themselves with sex addiction.

“This is the problem for the concept of sex addiction.  Surveys of sex addicts show up that up to 40 percent have anxiety disorders, 40 percent have substance abuse disorders, and 70 percent have mood disorders.”  pg 46, The Myth of Sex Addiction

I understood his point.  What if a person comes to me and I simply avoided his marriage issues, or the stress he’s (or she) under, or maybe the tragedy’s he has experienced in life, and in turn, concluded, he could be healed by simply throwing out his computer?
There is a time to throw out the PC, but there is much fallow ground to break up first.  Like getting to know a person and his life and behaviors.  I think of my own life, and how I relate to porn.  Most of the time I don’t even think about wanting to watch it.  But there are certain times that it tantalizes me.  Not just any porn, but certain kinds.
If I asked you why you ate today?  How would you respond?  And you have to be honest, ok.  Most of us would have to admit that we eat for many of the same reasons we do many things.  Comfort, release stress, bored, supposed to be good for me, its just what we do and it keeps me in shape (but what kind of shape right)!  All these and many more answers would be the same for viewing pornography or the like.
My point is there are many things we do to which we do not have good reasons for them, or  simply do them out of  a consistent behavior over time.  And we can all agree that changing a behavior is not easy, let alone changing a persons paradigm of there entire life!  So I can see David’s point.  He seemed concerned that those in the sex addiction camp treat everyone alike, which I assume is too simplistic of an opinion.  But I certainly understand his heart.  And I like that approach.
Again Dr. Ley on this topic:

As one sex therapist and clinician described to me, “The sex addiction diagnosis is a lazy diagnosis.  It ignores more relevant emotional and psychiatric issues to focus exclusively upon a person’s sexual behavior.” pg 47, The Myth of Sex Addiction

I don’t think all sex addiction models focus exclusively upon a person’s sexual behavior in therapy or counseling any more than a Biblical counselor would.  I personally as a Pastor can only go over what the Bible teaches about sex, sexuality, sensuality, gender, God and the like.  And it is through these talks, were able to get into so many foundation area’s of life, dare I say, all area’s of life.  Though I am readily admitting that the person’s sex choices have become extreme and damaging.
As David was kicking back in his chair dialoging with me, there was something he said that I would have loved to talk to him about the entire time.  The subject turned to objective and subjective truth as it relates to the sex addiction model.  Let me explain here.  Dr. Ley was frustrated at the sex addiction model for reasons of inconsistency in its reasoning for why certain sex acts are bad.  As he saw it, there is a chink in the armor, and so they have changed there tune a bit.  Again, let me explain.  He sees the S.A. model changing it’s reasoning as to why pornography or other alternative sex is bad, from morality arguments from 30 years ago, to today, where the stress in the argument lies in public health (i.e. Fight the New Drug, Texas house resolution 112).  I brought up the seemingly similarities to the prohibition movement from a century ago, and he nodded, in agreement.  This was nothing new to me.  I teach a presentation every semester at the Jr. College on issues like this. The Kefauver Senate hearings of 1955, in addition to many things shared, commented on the damages to porn on the youth culture, as adult material was being delivered in the mail!
“In some of this rude material the purveyors lured children into ordering and paying for, in the larger percentage of cases however it has not been ordered at all. It is the sales solicitation material which in itself, is usually debauched and rankly obscene, and it goes to children as young as eight years old, because their names land on the mailing list…”
“All this may I say is utter and deadly nonsense; our society has many provisions that protect minor children from corrupting them or dangerous influences. Preventing the peddling of pornographic material to children is no more a violation of civil liberties than is preventing the sale of liquor or dope to these children.”

The Kefauver Senate Hearings of 1955

But the committee did did not have the research that we have today to tote out on the ever changing brain, especially in young people (i.e. your brain on porn).  It is very true that the argument has changed when it comes to obscenity, as it had in the prohibition movement so many years ago.  Drinking too much was a moral issue, but when it could not be passed as such, they changed the propaganda.  And using the public health card, won the day.
David sees this change as a move from objectivity to subjectivity.  And certainly loosing credibility in doing so.  I asked him would be give the S.A. proponents more clout if they stayed consistent with the morality argument?  And he said absolutely!  What bothered him, from what I gathered, was the change of emphasis to how the brain is wired or rewired.  To him, this revealed a leak in the overall foundation of his proponents.  And in turn a revealing not only a crack in the foundation, but one that affects other people, through shame based redirect, which seemed so important in the past, but no longer is worthy as a contender in the ring of public opinion.  The morality argument is dead.  But what about those needing help?  How can we help them, if we are inconsistent with why the behavior is wrong in the first place?  This is where I saw the conversation going.
It made me think about the importance of staying consistent.  Why do I think a sexual act is wrong?  Is is because of what the Bible says?  I personally have chosen to come under it’s ideas on mankind.  But in doing so, I have put myself under a system that I can never achieve in this life!  As C.S. Lewis has said in Mere Christianity, “but we believe we will receive help in this life.”   He is correct of course, but even with the help given, we find a inconsistency, which humbles us immensely.  And hopefully this humility leads us to a compassion.  I hope it does so in me.  And I bet you too.

“Christianity is strange.  It orders man to recognize that he is vile, and even abominable, yet orders him to seek to be like God.  Without such a counterbalance, that elevation would make him horribly vain, or that humbling would make him terribly abject.”  The Christian Life, Blaze Pascal

Lastly, I wanted to press about the help for wives of men who have come to him.  Of course I was hoping to glean some things from him, as my heart goes out to many of the women in our Beauty For Ashes group (wives of those in recovery).  I came at it from the angle of understanding that within the inner workings of counseling with a person with sexual issues, if married, there are certainly behaviors in which a wife will have to review herself…if she is willing and desiring to move forward in the marriage.  And this is what I was hoping to get a revelation on!  Maybe he had seen something work really well to help the wives learn about discussing sex and sensuality, which we knew is seldom done at all in a marriage.  But instead of getting the enlightenment I was hoping for, he simply put his hands up behind his head and had a puzzled look on his face…  I know that face well, as it is one I have had before in counseling.  At that moment I knew what he was going to share.  And it was honest!  He let me know that there was not much hope in that area he had seen.  What he meant, (my opinion) was that it seemed just as the overall U.S. culture is so schizophrenic (un-predictable) concerning sexual issues, so a spouse too, is a person who has not only been hurt immensely, but now needs to start the process of healing which includes there own battling of those inner demons (i.e. I refer to fear, hate, disappointment, control, insecurity).  Which if  you ever have participated in this kind of counseling, is no easy task to do.  I did not push it.  I could tell that topic was important to him, but his overall push in the culture has been to work on a different battle front.  Not that it is not important to him, but simply his energy has been used up elsewhere.
Working in any area of helping people requires much from you.  At times, all of you!  And he really seems to have a passion for those that are desiring help, and for that I commend him.  Of course, we are not going to agree on all things, but I am still trying to agree with Jesus on everything (haha)!  My mind does, but my body says otherwise at times!
This last quote from Dr. Ley will show you that he too is open to dialog.  So much so, he had a chat with me!

“There is not just one answer to the question of sex addiction.  It is not just an impulse or a compulsion.  It is not just the effect of testosterone or dopamine.  The reason the concept of sex addiction is so challenging to pin down is the many different social and moral concepts that are embedded within it, where the only commonality is that the issue of sexual behavior is involved.  The other issues that are involved, whether it be emotional functioning, brain functioning, relationship skills, or adaptability, are ignored by the extreme focus on sexual behaviors.”  pg. 206, The Myth of Sex Addiction

As you can read, this was fun for me.  Learning is fun. Hearing people talk about things your interested in can be very intellectually thrilling.  I hope others too will not shy away from peaceful dialog on the issues at hand in our society.  For we both are just human beings.  The greatest of these (gifts) is love, so the Bible tells us!  And for that reason alone, its worth the chat!

An Insight into a lust driven individual

One of the greatest examples of the intensity of lustful cravings is found in Genesis 38.  It really is an amazing Chapter socked between the events of Joseph’s life.  Judah, being an elder brother of Joseph was a part of selling his brother to a foreign country, an act that no doubt weighed on his sick heart.  When a heart is guilty, we will do whatever it takes to cover it up.


Chapter 38 Judah get’s involved in the world of the Canaanites.  By the way, the Canaanites had a different set of morals.  They did things differently, no doubt.  There are so many voices today discussing sex, sexuality, sensuality, and why it is good to indulge, as long as you indulge in a certain, considerate way.


Freud (God is just an illusion), Kinsey (legitimizing immorality) were prototypes of what would later come in today’s Psychology.  All there work has one substantial idea;  There is no God, or God of the Bible.  As Freud pointed out,”At bottom God is nothing more than an exalted father.”


Judah no doubt, was influenced as we all are.  Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  1st Corinthians 15:33


Judah sees a fine looking Canaanite women and marries her.  It is amazing to realize that the eyes once again are getting man into trouble.  Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes.  Proverbs 27:20


This will be a theme in the chapter, as it is with many of our lives.


As we move on in the Chapter, Judah now sees a prostitute who happens to be his daughter in law.


“When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; because she had covered her face.”  Genesis 38:15


The lust is so intense in him, that he prays or begs for an opportunity to sleep with her!  Judah was a young teen at the time.   16yrs of age approximately according to the Bible scholar Matthew Henry.  Judah like so many teens after him cannot deny the lust that haunts him.  Judah “turns” to her.


Now comes the giving of our possessions for our lustful desires.  Judah in exchange for the sex, gives her a ram as a promise and to show that he is true to his word, his prize possession of a signet ring and bracelets were given too.  


C.S. Lewis wrote that a man with an obsession has very little sales resistance.  When lust comes calling, we will we give up all that we have for it? This is the incredible insanity of it all.  The heart affects the eyes, which in turn affect the heart.


What have we given up to get our own sexual gratification?  For some it has been the most cherished relationship we have ever had, our spouses.  Oh, how this sin cuts at our heart and must be cast down to the ground as a filthy idol that cannot help us in the slightest.


I will like you to read from Matthew Henry’s commentary at this point.


kid from the flock, a goodly price at which her chastity and honor were valued! Nay, had the consideration been thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil, it had not been a valuable consideration. The favour of God, the purity of the soul, the peace of conscience, and the hope of heaven, are too precious to be exposed to sale at any such rates; the Topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal them: what are those profited that lose their souls to gain the world? 3. It turned to the reproach of Judah that he left his jewels in pawn for a kid. Note, Fleshly lusts are not only brutish, but sottish, and ruining to men’s secular interests. It is plain that whoredom, as well as wine, and new wine, takes away the heart first, else it would never take away the signet and the bracelets.


Doesn’t the indulgence in pornography or other sexual sin take away the security we have in Christ?  Oh, the inner emptiness of the soul when lust is taken over a person of God.  It is aweful the utter feeling of surrender to indulgence.  Though the world tells you it is fine, go for it, there are no consequences.  It is not true.  It is a boldface lie from the pit.  They know it and you know it.  For what happens when a famous one does indulge?  Why the news of such scandal if it is ok to do?  The world is loaded with contradictions.  Let’s realize they do not have the answers.  Fight against it!  Don’t give up!  


We get an insight into Judah’s heart after the deed was done in verse 23.  “Let her take them, lest we be shamed…”


This is what the fulfilling of lust will give us.  Shame!  It’s that awful feeling from the inner person who knows he has done wrong.  This is what the unbeliever needs to sear or cut off to continue on the path.  


Do you feel awful when you indulge?  Good!  Your conscience is alive!


Judah was afraid of what others would say about his actions.  He desired an anonymity to his behavior like the internet gives us, but he had none.  Can you relate to this?  What have you done to cover your actions?  What were you afraid off?


Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.  Proverbs 29:25


The harlot goes public and Judah faces up to what he did.  This is why it is best to confess with someone of what you have done, namely God.  But Judah does acknowledge in the end his foolishness, (vs. 26).  And from that time he did not have relations with her again.


There is a lesson learned for young Judah.  We too need to learn from our mistakes, and learn to think differently.  There is incredible insecurity in sinful actions.  I know it!  “But whoever trust in the Lord is kept safe.”  There is nothing that selfish lustful inclinations will do to help or keep us protected.  But from this event we see that it will take our possessions and even our reputation, which when gone, is very hard to get back.


The beautiful grace of God is also available to us as it was to Judah.  Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).  This is no small title for the Son of God.  Jesus is from the seed of King David, who was from his father Jesse, of the Tribe of Judah.  And if we keep going back through his grandfathers we will see that this harlot that Judah went into had a baby named Perez.  This is the Perez mentioned in the following passage of Ruth.


Ruth 4:18-22 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.


And here in the book of Matthew chapter 1.


The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:


Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.


God’s grace always abounds!  I believe that do you?


How does the passage (Romans 5:20), “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more,” relate to this chapter?


What do you learn from Judah and this encounter that he has?  


What influences in our lives lead us into immorality?


What does the non-believing world tell us about sexual sin?


How does the heart of mankind affect the eyes and in turn, the eyes of mankind affect the heart?


How has shame played a role in your life?


What is the remedy for our shame?


Listen to the following message by Pastor John Piper on Justification:
http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/jesus-is-precious-because-he-removes-our-guilt

A Common Attack for those Christians that go back to Porn

“Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain.”  Psalm 73:13

The Psalm of Asaph really struck a chord with me this morning as I sip some anti-oxidants, otherwise known as coffee, on this beautiful clear and hot day in the desert.
I have talked with many who get to this point in their bondage with sexual sin.  “Surely Beau, I should just give in…what’s the point, I’m doomed, there’s no hope.”
I find myself on those occasions asking them questions like this:
Why then was their hope for guys like we read in the Bible?  Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Saul, David, Solomon, Gideon, etc…  Can you say, PETER!!! (talk about a spiritual face-plant!)
For those in the new covenant who sin, there is this ever attack from the enemy that Asaph get’s here in Psalm 73.  I can see Asaph today saying, “this culture is seemingly going about it’s sexual immorality with no real consequences.”  It’s normal for them and I don’t see them suffering, maybe God is at the bar so to speak, or taking a nap (vs. 20).
Have you ever thought that way?  I certainly have.  LIES!  That’s what they are.
For anyone who has lived in the way of sexual liberty, you know that there are consequences to choices we make.  It seemed fine at the time, but oh, how later on it was difficult to turn off the lust button and put on the love one!  Virtually impossible for some.  In a media saturated culture, we too, like Aspah think, “the ungodly are always at ease and seem happy!”
Until we get our minds in the Word of God, we will continually be bombarded with this foolish and ignorant mind. (vs. 21-22).  We need a mind change… better input for sure.
There is always hope for those that are in the fight!  I share that often to men that are in despair.  Continue to get in the ring when the bell sounds, continue to get back up when you stumble and fall.  For those that are of the covenant, we fight and we fight with getting back into the Word, seeking God, learning to enjoy Him more than sexual immorality and it’s passing pleasures.

It’s not that simple (The Over Simplification of winning)

While in a meeting the other night one of our leaders was taking us through Israel’s time in Egypt.  A familiar story to us all; the topic of being free through partaking of the Passover Lamb came up, and we spent time talking about how it looks to break free through Christ.  One of the brothers responded to us all by saying, “If we just listen to Sermons all day we will win the battle.”  If only it were that easy I thought…Is it?
Many Christians listen to many sermons, yet still struggle with pornography and lustful inclinations.  I commented by stating the obvious, yet un-reported fact that King David and Solomon wrote parts of the Old Testament yet struggled.  Go figure, you can even write the Scripture and still be stuck in sexual immorality while doing it!  So just listening to a sermon alone will not cut it.
It amazes me how many ways there are to, “get off Porn,” in the Church culture.  You can pay thousands of dollars to take courses, go to conferences, retreats and order DVD’s that will set up on the right track.  But will they?  For some, these are the beginning of a new life, and for others, it’s a waste of time and money.
There is no substitute for the body of Christ.  None!  Everything we need to walk in healthy ways are for us in the Church.  And you know what, there free!  Can you seek the Glory of God free of charge?  Yep!  Can you take in the Word for no cost.  There are ministries you can find accountability.  Confession to your fellow human comes without price, as does the encouragement to cut off the area(s) that are dragging you down.
The utter failure for most suggestions on how to get off of Porn is that it isn’t just one thing that will do the trick.  It takes a community to help us change.  As you seek to get involved at your fellowship you will noticed deeper issues that you have.  Fear of getting to know people (or having them know you) or anger.  Maybe you will find that you have a critical spirit towards your Church.  These are they that hold us from experiencing the change we seek.  We want things to come easy.  But this battle will not be easy.  It was never intended to be.  What is required is a total commitment to your termination, and a full submission to the Lord of heaven and earth.  What is holding you back.  When you look within, you will find things far more scary than pornography.

Dis-respect of Women

I was overjoyed to be able to share, last Wednesday, to a group of public high school students here in the Tucson area.  My job; talk to the freshman boys about the problem with disrespecting there fellow female classmates.  I find it so ironic, that I get to do this.  All I can remember as a young boy was listening to heavy metal and thinking of how to get closer to the girls I was infatuated with at the time.  I was horrible, I think, from what I can remember.  I wrote nasty letters at times, and certainly had potty brain.  You know what that is right?  It’s when a young man’s brain can’t stop thinking about bad things with his female classmates.  So you can see how odd it was for me to share with the class.  But that was 30 years or so ago now.  Much has changed, and the 23 years of marriage I have experienced has been such a joy!
I was very excited to share my stories with the young men. But first I needed to get them off on the right footing.  Many don’t know about the women’s suffrage movement in North America or the lack of respect for women world wide that takes place today.  Statistics tell us that 1 out of 3 women in the world face violence or sexual violence at least once in there lifetime.  Even if the statistic was 1 out of 6, it’s horrible.  In the U.S. intimate partner violence between ages 16 and 24 experience the highest rage of violence, triple of the national average!  Campus assault studies estimate 1 our of 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years.  Way, way, way too much.  A study reported in New York Times that 1 in 5 adolescent girls become the victims of physical or sexual violence, or both, in a dating relationship!  Insane!
So as the world becomes more tolerant of many lifestyles, we still have a big problem with our hearts.  They suck.   They did years ago, and they still do.
So I asked these students what they thought it would be like to grow up in a culture where the odd’s are somewhat against them.  Many girls will be hit or sexually abused.  Don’t be too quick to blame things like porn for this.  For starters, porn has always been in the world.  Second, today’s technology maybe more to blame for the porn then anything else.  The young men could see the predicament girls are in.  It’s tough to be a young woman today, or any time in history!
As a kid I can recall some moments that my family is not too proud of, where violence happened.  We learned from it and are stronger people today.  But in the moment when watching violence against a mom, sister or girlfriend can be hard core traumatic.  Too many girls are vulnerable to this assault.
We learn from our families, friends, and entertainment culture don’t we.  I challenged the students where they get there ideas of girls from, and what ideas do these cultural teachers teach them!  What do we learn from our parents relationships.  Many do not enjoy one another.  And some even detest the other.  Even worse is when they show it through verbal assaults in public.
It was interesting to share with them what I had seen amongst friends in High School dating relationships.  Some were downright toxic.  So I wondered, “do the students that I was talking to have friends in toxic relationships as well?”  More than likely, a percentage do.
To challenge the kids on our culture, I read off a bit of Queen Latifah’s famous lyrics to U.N.I.T.Y.

Instinct leads me to another flow
Everytime I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho
Trying to make a sister feel low

Many of the young men knew who she was.  Of course, they think of her as an actress and not so much as a rapper, like in my youth.  But they got the picture;  Queen Latifah had a message and it was if you disrespect me, I’m going to respond!  She was tough.  And I only wish that toughness was in more young ladies.
What many did not understand, was that lust is a form of disrespect.  Q.L. got it, but many young men don’t.  They think it’s OK to see a girl walking down the hall of there school and shout out what they want to do to them.  I understand, I did it too.  But what was wrong with me, was a heart issue, and that is what I shared with them is revealed in the young men who say what they say to the girl walking in the hall.  So it was my joy to let them know that when you disrespect a young woman, what you are declaring to the world is that you have an issue with your heart.  It’s corrupt, it’s evil, it is non-loving, it is selfish to it’s core and in order to change it, the first thing you need to do is see it for what it is.
My heart for these youth was that they understand the real danger underlying the disrespect of female students in there school or lives.  The real danger is that you can’t just turn off dis-respect. Selfish Lust in the human heart will not just go away when they find someone they really love!  There is no easy switch to turn it off or on, it is a learned behavior through family, friends, and culture that will not just vanish when you find someone you love.  One day I really wanted to love a person.  She was awesome, sweet, loyal, loving, kind, but I didn’t know how to be those things.  I wanted to be, but there was too much time of being educated in the ways of dis-respect that I was admittingly unable to go a different direction.  For me it took breaking up with her, and having to leave the state, just to be taught a different way for a time.  I needed to re-learn, a new education, and a new teacher.
I commend the school for having the opportunity for someone (let alone me) to share with the students.   This topic is so important.  When I have had the opportunity to go into the Jr. High schools, young ladies tell me that they are asked for nudes by there fellow boy classmates. This is a regular trend.  Lust has always been the human condition, but technology has made young men bold to ask.  Sexting it is called.  It is easy to do.  Snap a picture and send it.  Done.
What technology has done is made it very easy to fulfill lust in the heart.  Also, create a less risky condition that tempts us to give it a try.  For me to ask a girl for a picture of her nude in 1985 would have meant she needed to go find a camera, take a picture, go to get the film from a market and then hide it, and give it to me.  Way to risky for most, even with the lustful influences in our lives.
We are in constant growing pains with the technology today.  So fast does it come out that we can’t seem to socially figure out how to manage it before it takes it’s toll.  We have a human condition and a multitude of ways to express it.
Lastly, I shared that there is something that is forfeited when we give into lustful, dis-respecting inclinations.  It’s love.  And that is profound.  Because love is the best thing on this planet to experience and few experience it or much of it.  Too many do not know Love.  What examples of love do they have?  I encouraged them to find it, search for love.  It will be the best treasure hunt they will ever be on.  And if they do just that it will run them to no other person than Jesus, from the little country of Israel.  It did for me!  A love that is so compelling, so complete, so intense that I couldn’t rap my head around such love.
If we were all more like Him.

Anime – The Subtle & Insidious

This is a difficult topic to write about.  But it is life, and for some, it has been a real part of there lives to which my heart grieves to hear there stories.  Rape is nothing to mess around with.  But with that said, for those who research our pornified culture and trends online it isn’t hard to notice that there is a genre of rape fantasy which is accessible to those wanting it, and also stumbled upon to the curious.  There are a bit softer versions of this degregation porn on the popular tube sites on the internet for free, but there is one expression on this that I want to share, if for anything, for parents to be aware.  Secondly, I find it always important to look into our own hearts and find the need for courage and compassion.  Not that we might have it, but we need it in our world that has become very tricky to navigate in.
It’s always good to remember that all of us, including our offspring live in a physical world and a virtual one.  With students spending as many as 7 to 9 hours of a day being spent on the internet, it seems vital that we continue to learn to navigate this rough terrain.
Rape themes come in the most tortuous ways online.  Would you believe it, you can get rid of all the human pornography in the world and you wouldn’t touch this!  The makers of it are in the family of entertainment that has brought us Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z.  Yes, it’s Adult Anime, or A.K.A. Japanese animation for adults.  I certainly don’t mean to say that all Anime has rape themes, for that is a un-truth.   But the same country that brings us Anime with it’s interesting characters of fun loving young animals and people, gives us sensuality on bizarre level like never before.
Anime in general depicts young people in it’s shows.  They fight off monsters and can be quite likable, but most popular Anime characters, that are human looking, appear around 12-18 years of age.  As you navigate through the various Anime online you find that there are sensual themes in many.  These young ladies (teens), have voluptuous breast, and skirts that are so tiny that you can, at times, see there undergarments.  It seems all to weird that these are high school kids lusting after one another.  Some go so far as to show everything but genitals.  Most would deem it pornographic for sure.  You might ask how this is legal.  But from what I have read online, Japan has a different set of laws and philosophy on the nature of sex in general.  You must remember that not all countries feel the same way as the U.S. about sex.
But hang on, this is only the beginning.  It is easy online to jump from Anime, to it’s adult counterpart officially known as Hentai (meaning pervert).  This is a word that basically means Adult Anime.  The themes can be somewhat similar to it’s less sexual parallel.  But it is important for us to understand that the material in Hentai is very extreme.  The characters look still 12-18, there voluptuous breast got even bigger, and the violence get’s…well, move violent.  Rape is a common theme in Hentai; and the most vicious kinds that I will not mention in detail.  My heart breaks and is grieved by it as if I watched a clip on war or killings being done.  Most girls seem to fight the sex in Hentai, meaning they verbally say, “NO.”  Yet the male or beast, continues to invade.  What does this communicate to a kid who is watching?  This is what I do not understand;  It is illegal in this country for kids under the age of 18 to watch pornography, yet there is no regulation to this material online.  Though it might be also illegal to watch them due to copy-write laws, it is freely distributed by many sites with no age restrictions!  So confusing.
To me, this is a form of child pornography. Many of the clips or shows depict young women, under 18 engaging in the most heart breaking sexual situations.  In my own conspiracy theory brain, I see how kids that watch a certain kind of Anime can become somewhat desensitized to it’s themes that crossover into it’s adult counterpart, Hentai.  Sensuality is in Anime, violence is is Anime, but it goes Godzilla in Hentai!  It is also insane to think that the most hard core of porn on the internet is in animation form!  Cartoon like!  I am reminded that Jesus spoke of the thief as coming to steal, kill and destroy lives.  What is the impact of this material on a young life?  I have only looked into this material for the past two moths, can you imagine years watching this?
What I have learned is that Japanese Adult entertainment is loaded with the rape theme. Whether in animation form or not, it is commonly portrayed in videos.  Watching the animation version seems a bit less deviant to me as it’s a cartoon looking person, but there is such similarity between the two.  Girls can look very young with the man groping her, unwillingly.
We are against sex trafficking, yet the ideas of coercion seem self evident in so many of the Japanese material which is online and available for free!  Seems so confusing don’t it.  Can you put yourself in a kids shoes to navigate through the mixed messages!  But it’s something we are used to in this country.  Though murder is against the law, we can watch plenty of shows with it’s theme.  We must learn to regulate what we take in.  Asking the state to do it for us might not be the answer we are looking for, yet it would be nice if this kind of material I am writing about here was regulated better in my opinion…at the least… for kids.
Remember that as parents we need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.  We need to create a positive and healthy online environment for our kids, so look into internet filters or routers.  Companies have heard the cry of many parents and overseer’s and in response have created many tools to  help navigate this world of pitfalls.  http://www.toptenreviews.com/software/security/best-internet-filter-software/
Lastly…
I often ask how could anyone get off on this kind of smut.  Many in the Christian community certainly would not be transparent on such a admission.  But in reading David Ley’s material on this subject, I was really interested in this statement.
“Some women who have experienced the tragedy of sexual assault go on to be tormented by tremendous psychological turmoil over sexual fantasies of rape and forceful sex.  They feel angry and upset with themselves, confused that they and their bodies are responding with sexual arousal to a fantasy similar to an event that was so traumatic and devastating.

Sexual fantasy about rape is exceedingly common among women, with as many as 25 to 65 percent of women endorsing some form of this fantasy, at least once in their lives, in one form or another.”  David Ley

This really throws a wrench into thoughts and ideas that we have doesn’t it?
Can you imagine being a feminist and having such thoughts?  Very paradoxical wouldn’t you say.  But is it?
The Bible tells us that the heart of man is wicked.  “The heart is the most deceitful thing there is, and desperately wicked.  No one can really know how bad it is!”  (The Living Bible)
From the moment were online we already are infected with a virus, but it’s in the mind.  You see, fantasy in the mind can be independent of even our beliefs.  That’s what I gather from David Ley’s quote above.  What that means?; even though I might admit that something is morally bad and have not experienced the trauma of it in actually life, my heart independent of my belief could desire to engage in it; I can be tempted.  Today’s online Porn perpetuates this in my opinion.  Though I know it is bad to rape, I find these themes tempting, especially when presented, subtly, the way it is in Anime/Hentai. Think about it another way.  Why do we love to watch action movies?  We find them exciting, un-realistic for sure, yet in our hearts we find that the themes of winning and loosing resound within our hearts.  We know we can’t do what is on the screen, but oh, how cool it is to wish!  There is something that resounds in us.  Isn’t that the same with pornography?  Sex is so fun and exciting.  Can’t we do the same with sexual themes as well as action and adventure?  Though nobody tries to do what Thor does, we fantasize about it don’t we.  And so pornography is another way for us to fulfill an idea too.  Don’t people do that with erotic novels as well or sports?  We long for something.  We can easily go to places in our mind.  As radio and TV have in the past, today’s online experience helps us to imagine.
In 2001 at the U of Vermont, research was done and found that 80% of married women fantasized about someone other than their husbands at one time and 98% of married men fantasized about someone other than their wife at one time.  So it would seem to be a very common temptation that most have.  That statement is from a Christian perspective though.  If you believed polygamy or polyandry was ok, then desiring another would be the first step to asking the person on a date!
The Christian Scriptures tell us that all temptation is common and experienced by all of us (1st Cor 10:13).  Not saying that all of us have had this particular fantasy, but just that we are human when tempted.  It is “normal.”  Pornography simply put, gives us a resting place for our deviant minds to act out, without actually acting out.
Porn trends are trends of our hearts!  Yikes that’s a hard truth to hear.  The tiniest of percentage of porn viewers actually go out and commit rape, yet how many watch it globally?  Millions maybe?  377 million viewers per month visit just one of the most famous adult tube sites available on the net according to estimates on 3wsnoop.com!  There are many, many viewers of pornography.  And many kinds of porn.  Most consumers do not look at rape porn, but of course, some do.
But even beyond that I realize that the Bible itself could be viewed in such a frame as well, with it’s Song of Solomon or characters like Samson.  Certainly there are places where women are not treated the best.  Actually many were sex slaves or concubines.  And the greatest men of the Old Testament had them.  The Bible never tells us that what they did was right, but they did do it.
So how do we change this trend?  How to cut the human heart that is so filled with madness?  That is the question. How to transform a heart to think differently?  This is what is needed.
Jesus promises to do this.  A world of people like Jesus would be a safe place.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26
For parents;  be aware of your kids who might enjoy Anime.  Be involved in what they like to watch and help talk to them about the themes.  You need to know the answer to why some things are wrong and other things are permissible.  Without this kind of engagement, our kids are left to figure out the maze of the virtual world, and with it, its themes, whichever form they come in.  And there are unfortunately some seriously scary ones.

Why Pornography Thrives

A growing industry 

Economic pressure– The great risk of dating today.  Too much to loose in dating. Much to gain in staying single and focused on work.
Tolerance at all cost– Risk of offending is big in our culture.  Who wants to stand out as the intolerant one?
Moral relativism/Lack of critical thinking– There is no objective truth (yet that statement is an absolute!)
Evolution– We actually are products of random mutation over long periods of time.  I am a more knowledgeable monkey, so why not act like one?
Abortion/The Pill/Medicine– Technology gives rise to reckless behavior in hopes to cover up the biological consequences of sex and sexual anarchy.
Narcissism– The product of hyper economic competition plus survival of the fittest mentality, creates hyper individualism.  Why help another?
Hedonism– Pleasure at all cost to the other.  Sex makes us happy and therefore it is good to our culture.  It feels good!  The goal is to be happy, and sex produces it.
Religious education- “Don’t do that,” teaching only has moved the religious culture to pursue other means to find answers to intimate needs and desires.  It is very tough to share sexual thoughts or convictions within a religious community.  Safe to be secret and private.
Patriarchy– Men have been the leaders of objectifying and exploiting women.  Porn can be a product of how men see women.  We have been the teachers, leaders and disciples to women of the world of what they are good for and how we would like to treat them.
Womens liberation – There is a branch of feminism that is pro-porn and sees the adult industry as a way to pursue pleasure on there own terms.  Not only pleasure, but the ability to work in such a industry being an act of independents and equality with men.
I’ll arrange a sentence with all the subjects above and maybe it will give us a good understanding if it fits what we experience in this life.
Now we can!  We are animals, so why not go with the flow!  Relationships are hard and tiresome, it’s easier to do what I want.  I haven’t felt good in a long time.  I know it’s wrong to do that, but I cant say it really is wrong, is it?  It’s my right to do what I want with my sexuality!  Wow, that girl (guy) is hot I’d like to _______ her (him)!!!
I think we can all relate to some part of that short paragraph.
There are many issues to talk about when it comes to the issue of Pornography and why it thrives.  These certainly are not the only ones.   My blogs look into these topics a bit deeper and hope to create good dialog and thought, especial within the Christian culture.
https://runninglight.wordpress.com

Male Leadership and Sex

I get the privilege of weekly teaching at the Salvation Army long term rehabilitation center in my city.  We meet with 70 men.  My colleague, Peter, & I had one of our fiery discussions on lust, sex, porn, love & the Bible.  For many of these men it is new to discuss all of these topics in a large group setting.   But to say the least, they are awesome times, for them, and for us.

This specific time I am recalling and would like to write about deals with the topic of sex.  The meeting was alive with men asking questions and us quickly responding with Bible passages and life applications.  It went something like this:
You mean having my girl dress up is wrong?  What’s wrong with spicing things up?  Isn’t that normal?
Peter & I – Do you think there is a problem if you need to ask your girl to dress up due to her not doing it for you anymore?
But what if your girl wants to spice things up?  What then?
To be clear, this blog is not about wearing lingerie or really for that matter spicing things up in bed.  It’s about male leadership, and this is where our topic went to this day and it was beautiful!
Peter and I ask them where they think women get the idea of spicing things up or having to focus so much on there appearance continually?
They pondered…but couldn’t find an answer though they were thinking.
We continued to share what our culture is like for women by looking at how we have viewed them growing up.  This didn’t take long for us to realize that as growing boys (teens) there wasn’t a time where we did not objectify women!  We always valued them for there looks and what they could bring us.  All remembered times where a girl would walk by and we would say something or continue to stare.  Most of us starting watching porn or seeing porn in a magazine at young ages, and the music entertainment culture was mostly about getting sex.  We learned well.  Growing up objectifying women has it’s ramifications even in the lives of women.  They learn too.  And this was the point that Peter and I were trying to make.   Maybe the reason so many women might say yes to the desires of men is because this is the way of the world.  Women have been taught what men want.  Why do women strip…men pay for it…why do women do porn…because men buy it…why do women dress they way they do…to land a man.
Now when I think of the experience of sexual intimacy, this can be seen too.  How many women have had a man ask if they could have sex this way or that way?  Usually it is a way that a woman does not feel comfortable with, but due to the man’s unbridled lust, he leaps out in faith to ask her in hopes to fulfill it.  This can go on and on and cause insane mental abuse on a woman.  But most woman have learned that this is just the way it is in the world of men.  This is normal.  But in this situation, the men in the class let us know that there women like it, and ask for it, so why is it wrong to give it to them?  But just because we’ve been socially conditioned for objectification and lust is that good reason to continue to perpetuate it?  Does there come a time where you as a man say to the girl, “Hey, I want to love you, not lust you!”  “This sex thing is not primarily about my orgasm.”

The orgasm has become today’s secular sacrament.  Dinesh D’Souza

I love what God says to the men of days of Hosea the prophet.  He lived around 755-710BC and was a prophet to Israel.  The book is radical, and you should read it for yourself.  You might be surprised to find this kind of book included in the Holy Scriptures.  But they are a insane testimony of the reality of life, and God’s view on us who live it out.  There is the most incredible love in the book, and the saddest turning away from the beloved.

“Love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery…”  Hosea 3:1

In chapter four we see God’s heart to us men concerning our social & family leadership with women.  It’s so hard core to hear this, as it’s from the perspective of God, who is watching.  We are forever being tapped.

I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men themselves go apart with harlots, and offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.  Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.

And so there it is, the perspective of the almighty.  The daughters and brides are not going to be judged…the men are!  They should be leading there ladies, but instead they were teaching them to value objectification and sexual narcissism.  So much so that they not only learned the behavior, but it was now normal.  To act like a man in his pursuit of sexual narcissism was now common for her too!  And now, do you see it in our culture?  Men lust and lead in it, women follow in this patriarchal society.  Is patriarchy to criticize?  I think that’s too easy to blame.  Bad leadership whether in a patriarchal society or a matriarchal will get us to the same place.  Leadership is the problem and specifically leadership as to what does love look like.  Wouldn’t it be cool if the guys didn’t whistle at the girls or yell out, “Your hot, come over hear girl!”  This kind of leadership keeps the cycle of selfish lust going, and when wanting to get off that wheel, it is tough…real tough.
My own life bears this out.  Though I am a Christian and love the Lord, love my wife and have, by grace, tried my best to not sexually educate in a narcissistic way, I find a deep root of yuck in me.  One that is easily satisfied by the amount of lust in the culture.  I know it’s wrong, for all I need to do is think if I want guys to yell out sexual things to my daughter!  Is strange men salivating over my daughter in the mall or at the beach cool?  Not for this dad.  And in this society it would be considered a foolish, irresponsible thing to allow someone to talk to your daughter in a disrespectful way, especially a sexual way.  But the odd thing is we allow it in all other aspects of our social life through music, entertainment, movies, games etc…
Don’t blame porn…porn is just an parody of the world we live in, a reflection of it, the good, not so good, and horrible.
It’s the human heart that is the problem when we evaluate it all.  It seems we have a default that is prone to fail.
Men, we need a change of heart and mind.  There are many movements that will help you see things different.  Feminism, the fight against patriarchy.  On another front, fight the new drug with it’s porn kills love campaign as seen on billboards in San Francisco.  Both demonize something. For one, it’s the family, social, political arrangement of leadership, and for the other it’s porn.
Jesus forces us into a different, more personal direction.  He tells us that porn and patriarchy are not the problem…YOU & I ARE THE PROBLEM.

“For out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fortification, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.  Mark 7:21-23

What if all us men walked in a way to love God and love our neighbors!  What a mission in life it is to promote that way.  How would it affect our culture and the way women behave?  I can only imagine for the positive.  It’s a difficult mission and dare I say impossible!  But through renewing our mind in the Bible, seeking help from the Spirit of Christ, surrendering our wills to Him, there can be a little change.  May be just enough to change the life and path of another for the good!

Male Leadership and Porn



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Image result for men leadership
I get the privilege of weekly teaching at the Salvation Army long term rehabilitation center in my city.  We meet with 70 men.  My colleague, Peter, & I had one of our fiery discussions on lust, sex, porn, love & the Bible.  For many of these men it is new to discuss all of these topics in a large group setting.   But to say the least, they are awesome times, for them, and for us.
This specific time I am recalling and would like to write about deals with the topic of sex.  The meeting was alive with men asking questions and us quickly responding with Bible passages and life applications.  It went something like this:
You mean having my girl dress up is wrong?  What’s wrong with spicing things up?  Isn’t that normal?
Peter & I – Do you think there is a problem if you need to ask your girl to dress up due to her not doing it for you anymore?
But what if your girl wants to spice things up?  What then?
To be clear, this blog is not about wearing lingerie or really for that matter spicing things up in bed.  It’s about male leadership, and this is where our topic went to this day and it was beautiful!
Peter and I ask them where they think women get the idea of spicing things up or having to focus so much on there appearance continually?
They pondered…but couldn’t find an answer though they were thinking.
We continued to share what our culture is like for women by looking at how we have viewed them growing up.  This didn’t take long for us to realize that as growing boys (teens) there wasn’t a time where we did not objectify women!  We always valued them for there looks and what they could bring us.  All remembered times where a girl would walk by and we would say something or continue to stare.  Most of us starting watching porn or seeing porn in a magazine at young ages, and the music entertainment culture was mostly about getting sex.  We learned well.  Growing up objectifying women has it’s ramifications even in the lives of women.  They learn too.  And this was the point that Peter and I were trying to make.   Maybe the reason so many women might say yes to the desires of men is because this is the way of the world.  Women have been taught what men want.  Why do women strip…men pay for it…why do women do porn…because men buy it…why do women dress they way they do…to land a man.
Now when I think of the experience of sexual intimacy, this can be seen too.  How many women have had a man ask if they could have sex this way or that way?  Usually it is a way that a woman does not feel comfortable with, but due to the man’s unbridled lust, he leaps out in faith to ask her in hopes to fulfill it.  This can go on and on and cause insane mental abuse on a woman.  But most woman have learned that this is just the way it is in the world of men.  This is normal.  But in this situation, the men in the class let us know that there women like it, and ask for it, so why is it wrong to give it to them?  But just because we’ve been socially conditioned for objectification and lust is that good reason to continue to perpetuate it?  Does there come a time where you as a man say to the girl, “Hey, I want to love you, not lust you!”  “This sex thing is not primarily about my orgasm.”
The orgasm has become today’s secular sacrament.  Dinesh D’Souza
I love what God says to the men of days of Hosea the prophet.  He lived around 755-710BC and was a prophet to Israel.  The book is radical, and you should read it for yourself.  You might be surprised to find this kind of book included in the Holy Scriptures.  But they are a insane testimony of the reality of life, and God’s view on us who live it out.  There is the most incredible love in the book, and the saddest turning away from the beloved.
“Love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery…”  Hosea 3:1
In chapter four we see God’s heart to us men concerning our social & family leadership with women.  It’s so hard core to hear this, as it’s from the perspective of God, who is watching.  We are forever being tapped.
I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men themselves go apart with harlots, and offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.  Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.
And so there it is, the perspective of the almighty.  The daughters and brides are not going to be judged…the men are!  They should be leading there ladies, but instead they were teaching them to value objectification and sexual narcissism.  So much so that they not only learned the behavior, but it was now normal.  To act like a man in his pursuit of sexual narcissism was now common for her too!  And now, do you see it in our culture?  Men lust and lead in it, women follow in this patriarchal society.  Is patriarchy to criticize?  I think that’s too easy to blame.  Bad leadership whether in a patriarchal society or a matriarchal will get us to the same place.  Leadership is the problem and specifically leadership as to what does love look like.  Wouldn’t it be cool if the guys didn’t whistle at the girls or yell out, “Your hot, come over hear girl!”  This kind of leadership keeps the cycle of selfish lust going, and when wanting to get off that wheel, it is tough…real tough.
My own life bears this out.  Though I am a Christian and love the Lord, love my wife and have, by grace, tried my best to not sexually educate in a narcissistic way, I find a deep root of yuck in me.  One that is easily satisfied by the amount of lust in the culture.  I know it’s wrong, for all I need to do is think if I want guys to yell out sexual things to my daughter!  Is strange men salivating over my daughter in the mall or at the beach cool?  Not for this dad.  And in this society it would be considered a foolish, irresponsible thing to allow someone to talk to your daughter in a disrespectful way, especially a sexual way.  But the odd thing is we allow it in all other aspects of our social life through music, entertainment, movies, games etc…
Don’t blame porn…porn is just an parody of the world we live in, a reflection of it, the good, not so good, and horrible.
It’s the human heart that is the problem when we evaluate it all.  It seems we have a default that is prone to fail.
Men, we need a change of heart and mind.  There are many movements that will help you see things different.  Feminism, the fight against patriarchy.  On another front, fight the new drug with it’s porn kills love campaign as seen on billboards in San Francisco.  Both demonize something. For one, it’s the family, social, political arrangement of leadership, and for the other it’s porn.
Jesus forces us into a different, more personal direction.  He tells us that porn and patriarchy are not the problem…YOU & I ARE THE PROBLEM.
“For out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fortification, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.  Mark 7:21-23
What if all us men walked in a way to love God and love our neighbors!  What a mission in life it is to promote that way.  How would it affect our culture and the way women behave?  I can only imagine for the positive.  It’s a difficult mission and dare I say impossible!  But through renewing our mind in the Bible, seeking help from the Spirit of Christ, surrendering our wills to Him, there can be a little change.  May be just enough to change the life and path of another for the good!

With, In and Upon!

How fascinating to study the Holy Scriptures!  There is more than meets the eye… always with God.
Genesis 1:27-28
So God made man like His Maker.  Like God did God make man; Man and maid did he make them.  And God blessed them and told them, multiply and fill the earth…
Man and his helper are told by God to have sex and produce offspring.
John 15:5
Yes, I am the Vine you are the branches.  Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit.
Christianity teaches that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is in us, and this penetration of the Spirit within us is to produce it’s own set of spiritual offspring or fruit.
The marriage covenant established in Genesis 1-2 is to be a picture of Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22-32).
Simply put;  Marriage, sex and the family were to be a picture of God’s spiritual work of being intimate with us.  Marriage, sex and family is a way we understand the work of God!  These are testimonies of God’s image and likeness to which we were made.  What I mean by that is God, who is and has relationship with His own being, has made us who are able to have a similar relationship on earth to help point us to Him.  Why do we long for companionship?  God is relational within himself!  He is the first cause and we, his creation are made in that likeness.
God is one of 3, a unity, a compound unity.  Without this, God would not be able to be outside of time creating the world, omni present within time, and able to, “walk in the garden in the cool of the day,” (Gen 3:8)!  Without this unity God could not be the Maker, Redeemer and Sanctifyer of mankind.  But yet, God is yet to be said to be all of them (Isaiah 54:5, Isaiah 44:17, Leviticus 20:8).
It’s amazing to think about it.  We live in homes that have mailboxes on them.  Upon marriage we establish one name to represent the entire household.  I remember when people used to put there last name on there mailbox for the mail carrier to know they were at the right home for mail delivery.  One name, many people in the home.  The basic family, is 3, father, mother and kid.  Three.  I don’t think this is coincidence!  God is a God of order.  Why does God do this?  I believe it is because God is in the business of glorifying Himself, shining himself, showing His worth to all of creation whether on earth or in the spirit world.  The Bible tells us that even the angels long to look into the matters of our salvation and the work of Christ through the Spirit (1st Peter 1:11-12)
The Holy Spirit is said to have three relationships with believers.  He would be with us, in us and upon us John 14:17, Acts 1:8).  I find this fascinating as well, as in intimacy within marriage this is the relationship too!  I am with my spouse, and at times, within and upon!  Wow, that is insane!  Just as the fist passages that were compared saw that there is fruit with both the physical world of man and woman, so there is a pointing to a spiritual fruit of God’s Spirit put in us.  Jesus spirit is in us, the Holy Spirit (1st Peter 1:11-12, Galatians 4:6, Colossians 1:27, 1st Corinthians 6:19).
Does this seem strange to you?  If so, look over the last Bible reference given, verses 12-20.
This way of thinking might also shed more light on a interesting reference to the Spirit when speaking of the physical union of man and woman in Malachi 2:15.
And did not he (God) make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. KJV
Did he not make them one? And the vestige of the spirit remains in him. And why did he make them one? He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and don’t be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. ISV
Why did God make man and woman one (of a unity, through sex)?  Offspring!  Fruit!  This is a work, a residue, a vestige of the spirit of God.  A physical, pointing to the spiritual.
God being with, in and upon is not without understanding and testimony here on earth.  It is happening everywhere!  The Bible makes incredible sense of this though it is so un-noticed among his creatures.  Its like a driver who is so used to the running of his car and the road underneath him that he forgets all together that intellect and ingenuity are behind both.  They are forgotten in light of the experience of driving.
May we not forget our Creator.
Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator.  Ecclesiastes 12:1 TLB

Sweep The Legs!

When I think of football I think of chopping off someone at the knees to bring them down!

Especially when I was a kid playing outdoor tackle football with the neighbors who were bigger then me!  If you can get the legs, then the’ll come down my dad always told me.  And he was right!

Just as without legs a person will fall down in a football game, so there are also legs that we stand in in our life philosophies.  If the legs get taken out, then the top will crumble as well.


Psalm 11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

We live in a world of ideas, and those ideas shape us, and dare I say, some of those ideas undercut us at the knees to where it becomes easy to fall.  I can’t think of a greater one in our day than the teaching of macro evolution.

Macro evolution, or ape to man evolution, if a fact, destroys not only Christianity, but most religious endeavors.  I grew up being taught evolution.  I am familiar with it.

To believe in the Bible’s truth statements of the creation, the fall, the curse, the catastrophe, the confusing, the cross & the consummation would seem ridiculous if popular historical science today has it right.

Why throw of religious inquiry and substitute it for secular materialism?

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do.
For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.
― Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means 

Now hear me…Evolution is not the cause of us wanting to watch pornography or commit adultery, but it certainly provides the worldview to continue to do it!  But’s it’s not the only one.  People use religion as well to continue there lifestyles.  To Joseph Smith or Brigham Young (Of Mormon fame), those who practiced monogamy were in the wrong!  So in both worldviews, the evolutionist or the Biblical believer, you can use your worldview to do what you want to do.  So what are we to do?

The true undercutting of faith seems to me to be the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Even Paul, the follower of Jesus who wrote most of the New Testament agreed!  In his letter to the Corinthian Church he writes that if Jesus is not raised from the dead then our preaching is useless and we are to pitted above all men!  What did Jesus think about lust, men & women?  What was Jesus worldview and is he a credible person to trust on issues of life & death?

This brings me personally to the choices that I need to make in life.  Is Jesus who he claimed to be?  If so, then we need to think through what we do in light of what he said.  If it seems that there is a focus to undermine the validity of the Bible, and in turn, the life of Jesus.  Well you are right.  The evolutionist and the Mormon both have done just that!  You can either see evidence for the non-existence of Jesus (The Atheist) or you can mis-represent what it is written about Jesus and what he said.  In both circumstance Jesus is not a source of truth.  And that’s what this boils down to; what is truth.  Is it ok to commit adultery?  TO watch pornography?  etc…  What is our source of truth, of right or wrong?

Its our belief system that brings us to think something like pornography or adultery is wrong.  We can change our beliefs anytime.  But we also can be renewed in our mind to see things Jesus way.

To cut out Jesus from history is to sweep the legs, bringing down the Christian worldview on sex, marriage, lust & love.

The following is a great video teaching from one of team members of Stand To Reason Ministries called Shattering The Icons of Evolution.  Enjoy!

Fighting for us! Wisdom

This week at Church we studied Proverbs chapter 9.  This Proverb is about Wisdom.  For those of us that struggle with desires that go astray, wisdom is needed.

Wisdom never sounds as good as porn does it!  Unless you have lived enough life in porn living in secret and shame of heart.  If you have been there, you know wisdom is what is needed.
The picture I see in the Proverb is that God is wanting to beckon us to him with his Wisdom.  It is pictured as an:
Architect
Nutritionist
Provider
And is verse 4, we see an interesting parallel!  “Whoever is simple let him turn in here!”  Now compare that verse with Proverbs 9:15.  What a kick in this Proverb we find competing voices for our time.  One is Wisdom and the other is porn.  Also look at Proverbs 7:7 and you can see that not only does Wisdom call out to us as in chapter 9, but also the porn life calls out too!

Now what is extremely interesting about this Proverb but not taught on is that Solomon was the most wisest man in the world, yet he was the most lustful too.  What does this mean?  

It means certainly that Solomon understood very well that there were competing passions in his life and could  be the same in ours?  He walked the freeway of foolishness and the blessings of God’s wisdom.  Can a person do that?
Both are competing for us all the time.  
Solomon says that God was passionate for him, caring to him, seeking to get his attention and show his His amazing abundance of goods.  Psalm 38:6 “We are abundantly satisfied with the abundance of your house and you give us drink from the river of your pleasures.”  Gods always is showing himself faithful in our life.  Jesus is the fulfillment of this!  Oh, how God loves us and has shown us His Christ who did not live for His own, but became weak for us (2nd Cor 8:9).  God’s wisdom is seen in Jesus.  Jesus calls to us as His Spirit is in us (2nd Timothy 2:13).

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it don’t work at home, don’t export it?”  We’ll I hate to inform you of this, but the Bible is filled with those that did not live such good lives as we might think, yet they wrote what is in the Bible!  Go figure.  God uses who he wants.

It’s interesting but we usually think of the men that God used as first being Holy don’t we.  Read this passage below:

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  2nd Peter 1:21 KJV

But I find it interesting that the NIV translators decided to express the meaning of the passage this way:

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  2nd Peter 1:21 NIV


NIV seems to translate the passage in a way that helps us understand that these men where not Holy in the sense of being perfect in character, they were holy by how they were used by God.  God used these guys.  And some were much messier than others;  Solomon being one of them.

Another interesting aspect of this Proverb is that Lustful sex is used by God to show (a picture of)
the negative in human behavior.  This is not the first or the last time the Bible uses sexual language to communicate bad behavior that isn’t necessarily sexual.

When Jerusalem is being taken over by foreign enemies, we read that:
Jerusalem has sinned gravely, therefore she has become vile.  Jerusalem is a lady!  And as you read on, she has shown her body to the enemies to sleep with them, allowing the enemy to feel them up and down!  Radical for sure.  But the context is the destruction of Jerusalem a city.

Solomon seems to do this years before in this Proverb.  Wisdom says come in here so we can draw close, yet so does the harlot as well.  Which will I choose?  What will my behavior be?

Can God use you as a person who sins?  The clear answer is yes.

Yet how do you make the right decisions when it is so difficult in our culture?  The best answer I see from this Proverb is understanding what is competing for your mind, and seek to make choices that would move towards God’s ways.  God’s ways are always better.

“Taste and see that I am good!”  Psalms 34:8

Sex is amazing.  Pornography can be so very exciting. To not admit it is to put my head in the sand to the obvious.  God understands the pull that sex has on us and so he uses it to help show many kinds of bad behaviors.  This battle we have does not move God.  He understands it fully and is ready to give us an alternative.

I don’t try to say over and over, “I hate porn…I hate porn…,” hoping that it will sink in.  Instead I come to God honestly and tell him that there is something about it that I like, yet kill it in me, and replace that secular seed with your pleasure.  God must do it!  If it is not God that changes us, we will become proud and self righteous.  God is concerned about His righteousness, so we shouldn’t compete with Him.

“God will make a way of escape!”  1st Corinthians 10:13.  His wisdom which is seen greatest in Jesus, is it.  Help us Lord to follow your lead and say yes to your invitation to dine with you.

Living Hope

Tonight my non-believing friend said this to me, 
“Always hope.”
It got my thinking of the love passage in scripture,
“Love always hopes, Love keeps no records of wrong, Love endures all things, hopes all things, believes all things…Love never fails. (Capital letter added for emphasis.)
For many of us wives, we have known a love that does fail us and some days it’s hard to hope; its hard to believe again that our husbands could be changed, and believing only lets us down the next time they look at porn or break another promise to us. In many ways it’s easier to not hope…for then we can never be disappointed. 
But I believe God doesn’t call us to put our hope in a human being; surely even the most regenerate heart WILL fail and this is why we need the righteousness of Christ (His perfect life of obedience, credited to me before the Father, despite my sinfulness, therefore making me accepted by God,) to cover us.
But we as wives can “always hope” by putting our trust in the “Living hope,” (see 1 Peter 1:3)
Tonight I was thinking that this “love passage” is not only a call for us (the church) to love others as Christ has loved us, but more importantly a picture of how Christ, our Living Hope, loves me. Take some time to read the full passage in (1 Corinthians 13).


4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Now let’s look at this again in view of Christ…
Love- (a person- our living, resurrected Savior) is patient with me.  His love is not conceited or self seeking, He doesn’t think of Himself but instead thinks of me (insert your name here.)  He is kind to me (despite me having once been His enemy.)  He is not rude to me, despite the nails I hammered through His feet, and He does not turn me away.  He forgives me (despite having every right to resent me); He receives me with open arms and takes me back when I repent. 
He is never happy when I fail, and He rejoices in the truth. His delight is in my victory and joy. 
Love-my Savior bears all things for me, (including a cross and the wrath of the Father.)  He took what I deserved, and gave me what He deserved.  He believes in me,  and sees what I can be (not what I am.) 
He hopes in all circumstances, because He is Living Hope; He, Himself has the power to do something about my life.  He has endured all things on my behalf and His love (for me, and the Father) has never failed.  He has never broken a promise, or lusted after a woman, He is fully worthy of my trust. 
Love-(Jesus)-never-fails.
Notice the tense of that verse: Love never fails- meaning, never has in the past, isn’t failing you now, and won’t fail you in the future.
Do you believe He loves you Beloved?
He does.
Romans 15:13 says:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

May you abound in hope this week dear sisters. May you believe in the greatness of our great and powerful God.  He has the ability (and desire) to turn the heart of stone to a heart a flesh. 
Will you ask Him to do this work in your life (and the life of your husband)?  Are you willing to believe in His life changing love for you (and your husband?)  Do you have hope?
Please respond with how your feeling and lets “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ,” together.
Love,

Bethany

Sex and Identity my way!

(post by Beau Ouellette)

With the advent of video sites (i.e. youtube, vimeo etc…) we can watch practically anything we want.  There is no doubt that along with the internet in general, these sites have changed so much of the way we used to do things even just 15 years ago! Now when my daughter needs to get a project done at school, she just goes on youtube to learn more, watch how things are done, and figure it out.  Or I think of how these video sites have changed how I make decisions about taking the car to a mechanic or doing the job myself. If the clip I watch seems too complicated then off to the shop the automobile goes, I won’t mess with it!
But the question rises- have video sites, specifically pornography video sites changed the way young people feel about their sexuality?  Has watching hours and hours of porn set in motion certain, specified sexual cravings that can lead to the way a person sees themselves and their desired partner?
I believe that more than any other time in history pornography is being viewed at massive levels.  Therefore, when I read sociologists, like Professor Mark Regnerus’, material it is bound to continue to be eye opening information (even as every other thing he has written has been).  We all know that the statistics tell us that students from Jr. High to College watch tons of porn.  During educational presentations at local Jr. High schools concerning internet safety, I ask how many have seen pornography on the internet, and all raise their hands (maybe one does not).  

“During church camp we ask our young men the same question, and every kid acknowledges that they have watched porn and struggle with doing so.” (youth leader)

I have been in student ministry for 21 years.  It has only been in the past 8 years (I write this in 2015), that internet porn has become such a hit with students, and only the past couple years that I have seen more and more high schoolers wondering about their sexual identity.  Could this be the result of the kinds of pornography accessible, and so easily?
My own opinion is this:
Today’s pornography sites (video sites) give the watcher access for free to whatever kind of porn they would like to watch.  For those like me who were not raised on internet pornography, most of what is now available seems kind of nasty to me.  However, there are plenty of delicacies to watch that spark what I saw as a child, and they will stir up arousal to what I might consider nasty now. As a young kid, seeing girls in bikinis excited me.  Once in a blue moon I would find a porn mag (playboy) and see a full naked girl!  Wow she was amazing!
Now, can you imagine a 13-year old moving from what we might consider ‘normal’ to watching a video exposing him to male ejaculation, regularly?  Or male on male ejaculation, male orgies, women drinking male fluids, women urinating, and even bestiality! As Professor Robert Jensen from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin has written and spoken about extensively, the society that allows such sexual behavior to be freely watched by all (especially young minds), has to be questioned a bit. And he does do a good job in his book, Getting Off (Soft Skull Press, 2009).
“Pornography is a mirror of the way this culture hates women and children, which is why it is important that we look at it, honestly.”
Professor Jensen’s writing is really honest and brings to light questions for all of us to think through and act on. 
So the point is evident: young people, not just boys, are watching pornography and through video sites have free access to all kinds of porn.  Because of this, over watched media has an affect on how they engage in sexuality.  To think that viewing pornography from such an early age does not have an affect on one’s thinking is crazy!  Think of it this way- pornography video sites is today’s sex education for many, many young people.  But the scary thing is what are they being taught?
This is why I have always thought that pornography should be regulated better on the internet.  I have written about that elsewhere.  https://runninglight.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/a-response-to-santorums-comments-on-banning-pornography-from-me-a-christian/
Just think of students watching weekly, even daily, all kinds of pornography! Like us all, there are some things that will shock them, and they will turn away, but others will find that arousing, exciting, and adventurous!  Gay porn, straight porn, multiple partners porn, wife swapping porn, mom porn, incest porn etc… it’s all there!  I can only imagine that this form of education gives way to more and more viewers to contemplate what ‘food at the buffet’ they prefer, thus defining what sexuality they are.   It is a question that I ponder, “do today’s vide-sharing pornography sites influence how young people view their own sexuality?”  Pornography viewing is like looking at a person’s heart.  It’s what they like or what they find exciting to them.  And all of us given the time, will find something on these sites that will arouse!

My own thinking is that all humans are lustful, and today’s pornography sites give us a foundation to anchor our lust to.  
But does it also influence what gender a person thinks they are?  Can viewing pornography encourage one to start thinking they want to be a polygamist or a polyandrist?  Could pornography education be the tool to help us figure out if we are bi-, homo-, or hetero-sexual (or the many obscure ones…gerontosexuality etc…)?  Another question I have asked is- has this kind of sexual education paved the way for the culture at large to begin questioning the traditional, husband and wife model of marriage?  As young people learn more and more about fetishes of all kinds, they can begin to think they too desire that for themselves.  The traditional husband and wife does not fit that model.  Does porn education confirm what your sexual identity is, or does it influence us to go into a direction we might have never thought of?  Or both!
In light of my questions, I am not shocked by our current culture with re-defining marriage or the accepting of certain sexual preferences.  But the logical conclusion I come to is that we will also have to question why can’t a young man marry an old man, or one woman marry multiple men at some point.  These are things that the young culture has seen in pornography video sites for years and years now.  It’s not weird at all, it is life, normal, and who is to judge that?  How can you judge someone watching incest porn, when I watch elderly porn, or orgies?  Who are you (figuratively) to judge the type of porn I like?  Could this kind of thinking influence a generation so much, that it as it becomes older sexual traditions are seen as ancient and in need of re-definition? (i.e. marriage)
I don’t know the answers to my own questions, but I certainly am curious to read more on these topics.
From my own eyes and mind, I see there is a lust in us that pornography simply pulls out.  It’s not that this lust in not in us without porn, but if our lust is a dart then porn is just another target for the dart to hit.  The interesting thing to me is that the variety of sexual colors is vast!  And how that influences fully, we shall see.  Young boy wanting to be a girl?  Young girl wanting to be a boy?  Or maybe they can be both, as there is pornography for that too (“shemale”).
Sexuality has become another way for personal self-fulfillment in life.  Sex & idenity my way!  Being raised on these video sites has made way for the possibility of massive sexual experimentation and self indulgence (as if we know what is best for us regarding our sexuality).  What will be the ramifications of this?  
Stay tuned to a culture near you!