Let’s pray for God’s healing of R. C. Sproul, Jr.  I wish I could tell him that he is not alone.

http://rcsprouljr.com/blog/general/judgment-and-grace/

Monday, August 31, 2015

The message of God’s prophets in the Old Testament amounted to this- God is not pleased with what you are doing. Repent. We miss that prophets were agents of grace as were the judgments promised. The purpose, in both instances, was to be a goad to repentance, a wake-up call. The same is true today as God works in and through providence. For the believer, judgment is always a work of God’s grace, a goad to repentance. Many Christians have bemoaned the destruction wrought by the Ashley Madison hack. The truth of the matter is that just as Ashley Madison did not create unfaithful hearts, so this hack did not create damning exposure. Rather for some it was a means of His grace.

In August 2014, in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity, I visited Ashley Madison. My goal was not to gather research for critical commentary, but to fan the flames of my imagination. There I found two gracious judgments. First, I felt the grace of fear. Second, I felt the grace of shame. I was there long enough to leave an old email address. And within minutes I left, never to return. I did not sign up for their service or interact with any clients. I have always remained faithful to my wife even after her passing.

The grace of God’s judgment bore its fruit, and by His grace I repented of my sin. By His grace, I have also received His forgiveness, the outworking of His love. Prophetic providence had done its good office. Jesus died for this sin, but there are still earthly consequences. With the revelation of the hack has come the revelation of my sin. I recently informed the board of Ligonier Ministries, which has handled the matter internally, having suspended me until July 1, 2016. I also informed my presbytery which is also handling the matter internally. And now the world is informed.

My sin, sadly, has impacted those who are innocent- my colleagues, friends, and family. I have and will continue to seek their forgiveness. I covet your prayers.

 


https://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/is-it-time-to-retire-codependency/

The term codependent is thrown around in recovery circles, and at many people.  It has become such a widely used word or term that it really has no meaning.  The “bible” of the mental health profession, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5™) doesn’t refer to it at all.  One of the best books on the subject, Whitfield’s “Co-Dependence, Healing the Human Condition” says that over 90% of all Americans are co-dependent.  The 12-Step group Co-dependents Anonymous, does not define codependency, instead it has a list of five codependent patterns containing a total of 55 possible characteristics of codependents.

The term seems to have found its way into our lexicon through the program of ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics).  They observed that their collective painfully difficult relational issues seemed to have one thing in common, they all grew up in an alcoholic environment, and that this traumatized them.  One alcoholic parent, and often both, plunged them as children into a parent role of some kind.  In going through this they had to give up their normal development and socialization processes.  Worse of all, any attempt from a child to try to be normal was met with condemnation and other forms of punishment.

The term codependent really became famous when Melody Beattie published her recovery classic, “Codependent No More – How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring For yourself” in 1986.  Her original vision of what codependency was has been added to and vastly expanded over the years, to the point that it really does not bear any resemblance to her definition.

We are faced with the reality that codependency is basically anything an author, a recovery expert or a mental health professional wants it to be.  Here are some sample descriptive passages taken from mental health blogs:

  • Codependents are in denial, they don’t face their issues.
  • Codependents are enablers.
  • Codependents are control freaks.
  • Codependents don’t have boundaries.
  • Codependents can’t be intimate.

When we meditate on this wideness of definition is it any wonder that people don’t understand what codependency is, because the professionals don’t either.  Is it any wonder that some people resist the label of being a codependent, because to be one means they are in denial about everything, they are controlling and enabling, and they can’t have decent relationships?  Is it also any wonder that others like to be called codependent, because it is a seemingly simple word that says it all and yet says nothing; it is a great label to hide behind.

Perhaps the time has come for us in recovery to say “stop” to the epidemic of overuse of the word codependent.  Maybe we ought to resist using the word in our everyday recovery language, and maybe we ought to retire the whole idea.


https://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/evidence-of-recovery/

by applyingmybeliefs

How do I know that he/she is getting better?  This, or something like it, is the question that mentors, sponsors and counselors get from those that are partnered with highly compulsive people such as addicts.  These partners are most often spouses, but could be a parent or a business person.

Most of those who are in recovery will admit that it was their actions that got them there.  There are some in recovery from losses where they were on the wrong end of someone else’s actions.  Either way, what we are about to look at is true.  God says this:

Gal 5:19-21(a) – Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.

Those of us who have stepped out of denial will admit that some of these words in the scripture above described our behaviors, or the actions of those who have hurt us.  For those still in denial, look at the last phrase of this piece of God’s word.

Having established that all of us in recovery are affected by a past that included many of these deeds of darkness, we can now address the original question.  In the same general passage of scripture (Gal 5:16-26) we see God’s answer and we see how this answer can be true.  The answer to “How can I know he/she is getting better?” is this:

  • The fruit of the Spirit will be evident and growing in abundance.

What is the fruit?

Gal 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

What we see in a person is that the nine pieces of fruit are becoming more evident in a recovering person’s life.  For example, a person will be becoming more patient or more loving with those around them.  Not drinking or not looking at pornography or not flying into rages does not provide evidence of recovery; they are all good things that can be managed, but they don’t signal real change.  The fruit of the Spirit cannot be managed as it can only become evident when a person is allowing themselves to walk by the Spirit.

Walking by the Spirit (from Gal 5:25) is what the scriptures encourage us to do if we truly desire to overcome the sources of the deeds of the flesh listed above.  All walking by the Spirit, also called living by the Spirit, means is to do life God’s way.

It sounds simple doesn’t it?  Well it is!  All of us in recovery, from rookies to veterans, ought to remember this daily.  We also ought to tell others who are struggling with things that there are answers in God’s word, and the key is to walk with the Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit in us will be the evidence of our own recovery to them.


http://dalepartridge.com/5-things-ill-teach-my-boys-about-pornography/

 By Dale Partridge On 11/30/2014

No healthy person wants to think of a child watching pornography.

Sadly, pornographic nudity is almost impossible to escape these days. TV shows and movies that once were wholesome and respectable are now leveraging attention by adding borderline soft-core sex scenes, lustful interactions, and revealing clothing.

Or last week, which was the release of Kim Kardashian’s nude photos. I scrolled through Facebook as I watched various links with clever titles beg me to click for a glimpse. I didn’t. At the core, I knew all it was really asking for is me to compare her body with my wife’s. A twisted desire that would only hurt my marriage.

But as we know, men continue to define women as objects. We see it in a musician’s lyrics or in a magazine editor’s content. All while we wonder why the sex trafficking and prostitution industries continue to thrive.

We watch as our little girls begin interpreting their value in the size of their breasts and the way their butt looks in their jeans. They flaunt themselves in figure framing yoga pants and short skirts hoping men might see their worth through its fabric. And yet, we still wonder why eating disorders continue to skyrocket.

Men are stuck struggling with sexual contentment. Women can never be pretty enough. And cosmetic surgery for implants of the breasts, butt, and even calves also continue to increase.

But let’s get real everyone.

There is a consequence to sexual brokenness. Divorce rates, adultery, and broken homes are all around us. Lustful thoughts and distorted views of sexuality are not only destroying our state of relationships, but it’s revoking the purity of our minds.

And my story… was anything but pure. My early definition of sexuality caused both pain in my marriage and shame in my emotions. It fractured the intimacy with my wife and has taken years of counseling to repair.

But where does it begin? How does it start? How can we prevent it?

Science tells us children define gender roles and sexual value patterns between age 2-5 and form more advanced views by age 10. As parents and leaders, we must recognize a warped definition of sexuality at age 9 will likely produce significant damage in a child’s ability to form healthy relationships as an adult.

So, how can we protect our boys and set them up for a successful and healthy sex life with their spouse? How can we help these little gentlemen protect and respect women for more than their bodies?

Here Are 5 Things I’ll Teach My Boys About Pornography:

1. She’s someone’s daughter, sister, and friend.
No father hopes his daughter will be the next star in a hardcore porno. No. He hoped she would be a marketing manager or a chef or a loving mother. The real question you must ask is this: Would you want someone watching your daughter or sister or mother have sex? Remember, finding pleasure in anything that causes pain for another, is always wrong.

2. You can’t always control what you see, but you can control the second look.
Your eyes are the gateway to your soul. Protect them at all costs. You will be unable to escape all the images but you can control your stare. You can choose to look away or even remove yourself. This act of self control is what truly makes a good man.

3. Don’t confuse beauty with pornography.
Pornography is stealing intimacy that never belonged to you. It cheapens the value of the real thing and distorts your definition of beauty. What truly makes a woman beautiful is her character. The way she loves, her compassion and creativity, her dreams and desires, her reactions to moments of importance, and the purity of her emotions. Her body is a gift to her future husband and it is to be appreciated within a marriage, not objectified on a screen.

4. Your sexuality is connected to your spirituality.
Sex was created by God for a man and woman to experience pleasure and procreation within a marriage. Outside of its purpose, it’s often the culprit of shame, guilt, and trauma. And while sex is the joining of two people, it’s also the connection of two souls. If practiced incorrectly outside of marriage or through internet masturbation, you will experience unnecessary spiritual brokenness that will require deep healing in your future.

5. Your willingness to watch, fuels someone else’s brokenness.
As consumers, we vote with our attention and our dollars. Like the quote says, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.” Every moment you affirm a woman’s revealing clothing with your stare, you affirm her value is in her body. Every time you buy a sexually dominant magazine (Cosmopolitan, Maxim, etc), you encourage the creators of it to continue to objectify women. But when you stand for a woman’s worth and even help redefine it, you become a part in the greater story. A story of healing.

What would you tell your boys about pornography? Has pornography hurt anyone around you? Let me know in the comments below.

 


https://www.createspace.com/5554305

I am humbled to announce the publishing of our ministry’s resource book:

CASTIMONIA

THUMBNAIL_IMAGE

Authored by Servants of Christ
Edition: First Edition

Castimonia is Latin for “moral purity” something every man should strive for.

Castimonia is a Christ-centered 12-Step Support and Recovery program for sexual impurity or sexual addiction with the goal to achieve a Biblically-based sexual purity. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other so that we may achieve sexual purity and help others overcome sexual impurity or compulsive sexual behaviors.

This book is used for working the 12-step Castimonia program and should be used with the guidance of a Sponsor only.  The first edition includes text on the 12 Steps as well, stories from men in the group, and a work book for working the 12-Steps.

Many thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous for paving the way in the 12-Step world as well as the countless men in recovery and the therapists that have helped facilitate God’s healing of their wounds.  Most importantly, thank you to the patient spouses who have put up with our issues long enough to make this ministry and book possible.

Publication Date: Aug 22 2015

ISBN/EAN13: 1515310235 / 9781515310235
Page Count: 448
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Self-Help / Twelve-Step Programs

 

The book can be purchased at any Castimonia meeting beginning next week (or as soon as books arrive from the publisher) or via the Create Space store:

https://www.createspace.com/5554305



Galatians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

“His irresponsibility is making my life miserable,” Jen began. She then went on to tell me a terrible story of how her husband had successfully avoided adulthood for many years at her expense. She had suffered greatly at the hands of his behavior, both financially and sexually.

As I listened, though, I could see that her deep sense of hopelessness kept her in prison. I could see countless ways she could be free from her husband’s patterns of behavior. She could make numerous choices to help both herself and the relationship. But the sad thing was that she could not see the same choices that were so clear to me.

“Why don’t you stop paying for his mistakes and bailing him out? Why do you keep rescuing him from the messes he gets himself into?” I asked.

“What are you talking about?” Jen asked, alternating between muffled sobs and a scornful expression. “There’s nothing I can do. This is the way he is, and I just have to live with it.”

I could not tell if she was sad about what she perceived as a hopeless case or angry with me for suggesting she had choices. As we talked further, I discovered an underlying problem that kept Jen from making such choices.

She did not experience herself as a free agent. It never occurred to her that she had the freedom to respond, to make choices, to limit the ways his behavior affected her. She felt that she was a victim of whatever he did or did not do.

God designed the entire creation for freedom. We were not meant to be enslaved by each other; we were meant to love each other freely. God designed us to have freedom of choice as we responded to life, to other people, to God, and to ourselves. But when we turned from God, we lost our freedom. We became enslaved to sin, to self-centeredness, to other people, to guilt, and to a whole host of other dynamics. She did not experience herself as a free agent. It never occurred to her that she had the freedom to respond, to make choices, to limit the ways his behavior affected her.

Boundaries help us to realize our freedom once again. Listen to the way that Paul tells the Galatians to set boundaries against any type of control and become free: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Jen felt herself enslaved by her husband’s patterns of behavior and did not see the choices available to her. But God tells us to not be subject to any kind of enslaving control at all.

For love to work, each spouse has to realize his or her freedom. And boundaries help define the freedom we have and the freedom we do not have. Marriage is not slavery. It is based on a love relationship deeply rooted in freedom. Each partner is free from the other and therefore free to love the other. Where there is control, or perception of control, there is not love. Love only exists where there is freedom.

Today’s content is drawn from Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2002 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit BoundariesBooks.com for more information.