26d043c8a12711e2b41b22000a1f9a15_6…go and sin no more.”  John 8:11

Imagine being caught in sexual sin, dragged away half-naked by a group of rabid witnesses, and thrown before the feet of a judge, knowing that the evidence of your guilt is overwhelming and the prescribed punishment is immediate death.  This was the experience of the woman caught in adultery in the eighth chapter of John’s Gospel.  She was guilty, ashamed, humiliated, probably bruised, perhaps broken from a life of abuse and exploitation, and absolutely terrified as she awaited a horrible death.  All was darkness around her, until she heard a gentle voice ask, “Where are your accusers?”  The voice was that of the judge Himself; the very One Who should have sentenced her to die was sending her away in freedom, safety, and hope.

It is difficult to fathom this woman’s experience, yet, to paraphrase the prophet Nathan, “We are the woman!” (II Samuel 12:7).  We have all sinned (Romans 3:23)–sexually and otherwise–and suffered the sting of condemnation from an Accuser (Revelation 12:10), yet we, too, have been set free undeservedly and sent out with grace, mercy, and love (Ephesians 2:4-9).  All that because the Judge Himself bore our griefs and was crushed for our transgressions and adulteries (Isaiah 53:5).  How can we but rejoice and place our faith in Him?

It is an interesting thing that Jesus addressed in the same manner both this woman and His disciples at their parting: “Go.”  Go…and sin no more.  Go…and tell of what God has done for you (Matthew 28:19).  Go…and love one another (John 15:12).  Let us all go forth today in gratitude for His forgiveness, and pursue the life of confession and community warranted by such amazing grace (I John 1:7-9).

Understanding the origin of your unhealthily dependent relationships also figures high in dismantling them and steering you towards a mutually satisfying connection to someone you can trust and who can trust you. Sometimes this means looking into the past at the family situation in which you learned this behavior. And sometimes that’s painful. But like with any emotional injury, it won’t heal until you explore and understand its origin. Learning to balance give and take, developing a sense of autonomy, and being able to set limits or boundaries is a critical part of a successful and rewarding relationship. If you are someone who thinks you can’t get through without someone else helping you, discovering that indeed you can will be liberating. If you are someone who is too eager and ready to “help” someone else (a partner, a child, a friend) because of your experience and knowledge about what’s best for them, you can start by pulling back and allowing others to make their own mistakes. You won’t save them from themselves by always coming to the rescue. When you find yourself becoming resentful about all the help you’re giving (at your own expense), you can learn to say no. Being withdrawn or detached, or being with someone who is withdrawn or detached, presents its own set of challenges. If you never ask for help, you can come to understand that doing so does not mean you are helpless, and does not cast shame on you. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or bad or unaccomplished. It just means that in this particular situation, you could use a little help. No one is perfect, we’re just human. Being with someone who is unconnected and not able ever to ask for help will require a lot of patience and understanding on your part of just how difficult and shameful that feels. Being able to feel, and honestly and openly express your emotions, as well as take responsibility for them will enrich your personal relationships beyond measure. Being able to lean on someone else yet know you are still yourself with your own desires and capacities is a goal to aspire to. Balancing closeness with independence, trust and vulnerability with confidence and commitment will make for rewarding relationships. If you keep finding yourself in situations like those just described, those patterns are probably pretty ingrained. Turning them around won’t be quick or easy, but it can happen. Therapy can help. From an on-line article by Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA

“Guilt is a destructive and ultimately pointless emotion.” - Lynn Crilly

ADMIT YOUR PROBLEM The most important, and difficult step is to go back to square one (or step-1 in AA) and admit that you have a problem and are powerless to deal with on their own. Getting back into recovery after a slip is tough enough, but after a relapse it is very difficult and painful.  You have to realize and admit how much you have deceived everyone you had worked so hard to build trust with, especially your spouse! In many cases, the spouse’s initial anger and sense of betrayal when they first found out is exponentially greater when they find out that the addict has relapsed.

BE COURAGEOUS The addict needs a great amount of courage to come forward with his situation and be transparent again.  Recovery is not possible without that step.  It helps if the addict comes forward on his own, rather than being caught.  Then the recovery process can begin on a better footing. Getting caught is not usually a good motivator for real recovery.

True freedom from addiction can only come when the motive for the addict to be completely free from the bondage and the things that caused the addiction in the first place. This can only come  when they get beyond the fear of punishment and truly move into the desire to live for Christ at all costs.

ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES The addict also needs to accept that he has let everyone around him down. He has lied to them, deceived them, abused their trust, and manipulated them for his own ends. That is going to result in some level of hurt feelings and anger, some of it unrecoverable. If the addict only wants to be sober so that he can save his marriage, he is going to fail in both goals. He must want to be free so that he can live a real life.  His marriage, job, family, friends, etc. have to take a backseat to that goal.

Go back to your accountability partner, group, counselor, etc. and disclose all of what you have been involved in. Let them guide you in how to break this to your spouse but understand that they are likely to respond very negatively to this news. Break all ties to your addictive lifestyle, regardless of the cost. Too many times we addicts will justify keeping an addictive relationship open because of concern for the other person. This is a lie and needs to be seen for what it is. Break it off completely and be done with it forever!

Breaking a relapse may mean some drastic steps…getting rid of computers, canceling Facebook accounts, even getting rid of your cell phone. It could mean changing jobs if that is a major trigger for you. I know these things sound over the top but you are either committed to getting set free or you are not. Holding onto these things is a way of keeping that door open just a little.

You need to be willing to close it, lock it, and throw away the key!

On January 10th 2015 Merimnao celebrates its 5th anniversary.  We are therefore inviting any person; facilitator or group participant (and their spouse/significant other) current or past to come and join us.  The celebration will be held in the Life Center of the Fellowship.  We will start congregating at 3:30 pm; the program begins at 4 pm, and will end by 5.  Then we’ll just have some visiting time.  We’ll have some video, some live testimony, and then we’ll take a short look back the original ministry vision and what God has done to fulfill it.  After that we’ll look at the ministry vision for the next 5 years, and some of the ways God is already working to make some things happen.  Everybody is invited!  Spread the word.

Date: Saturday, January 10th
Time: 3:30pm
Location: Life Center of The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch
22765 Westheimer Parkway
Katy, TX  77450

For those that are not aware of the relationship between Merimnao and Castimonia, please continue reading:

Merimnao Healing Ministries is a “para-church” ministry, and a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving the churches and community in the Katy/West Houston area through ministering to the brokenhearted. It originated out of the same ministry within the church known as “The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch” ( Brokenheartedness is a scriptural term that refers to the fact that people have an “inner part” which is so often broken. Widows and orphans are brokenhearted, individuals with life threatening illnesses are brokenhearted and people who have been abused or abandoned are brokenhearted; addicts, such as found in the fellowship known as Castimonia, are also brokenhearted.

Castimonia is therefore part of Merimnao, and Merimnao, as a para-church organization is part of the worldwide church that Jesus established after His death and resurrection.

Let them be yours alone and not for strangers with you.” Proverbs 5:17

Don’t talk to strangers.  That instruction was drilled into us as kids, and we may be repeating it to our own children now.  Yet many of us as adults are not only talking to strangers, but sharing the deepest aspects of our being with them.  Whether it is through pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, erotic massages, infidelity at work, on the road, on social media, in the neighborhood, or simply a self-indulgent fantasy life, too many Christian men and women are “casting their pearls” before strangers and being trampled in turn (Matthew 7:6).  Instead of guarding our heart and the streams of life that flow from it (Proverbs 4:23, 5:16), far too many of us are hanging it out in the open–with all its past wounds and isolation–for any seductive stranger to have at.  Lives, families, and churches are suffering for it.

God calls us to much more.  He calls us to healing (Matthew 11:28), to intimacy with Himself (Isaiah 54:5), to community with one another (Hebrews 10:25), and to love our spouse with the passion and desire that He feels and displays toward us (Ephesians 5).  There is no room in that call for a spiritual laziness that leaves the heart open to the spirit of the age with its greed, selfishness, immorality, and impurity–all manifestations of idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

How to guard against the temptations of the “stranger”?  Exhilaration, of the healthy sort.  The exhortation to be “exhilarated always” with spousal love (Proverbs 5:19) means more than just the occasional date night or shoulder rub; it means a tenacious pursuit of each other as you courageously open your whole hearts to each other and God.  To what effect?  A growing intimacy with both your spouse and the Triune God reflected in your sacrificial “one flesh” union; oh, and an increasing rampart against temptation.  For those of us who call ourselves servants of Jesus Christ, there shouldn’t be anything strange about that.

Originally posted here:

Hear Jeff Fisher podcast this blog on his Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast:  CLICK HERE

I want you to be honest about what you’re about to read.

These Scriptures speak to your sexual sin, and any other areas of your life that God wants to touch.  Read them slowly.

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.”

Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

Romans 6:12-14 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

THREE HONEST RESPONSES Response #1:  I believe it.  I’m experiencing Christ’s freedom and learning to walk in it.

Response #2:  I believe it.  I can’t figure out how to get there.

Response #3:  I read these verses, but have a hard time believing them.

There’s no question what the Bible says here:

  • Freedom exists.
  • It is Christ who makes it happen.
  • I can use my freedom to indulge in sin or serve God and others.
  • There is a connection between freedom and the grace of God.

I have struggled with these Scriptures (even as a Christian) because my sexual sin was so dominant.  I believed in Jesus, I knew He had saved me, but I didn’t think I could be free from lust, pornography and masturbation.  How was that possible?  If there was freedom in Christ, why was I having such a hard time staying pure?

Some Scriptures are easy to believe and obey.  I like those.  Some Scriptures I struggle with, but still believe they are possible.  Other Scriptures kick me in the butt and seem so out of reach for my life that I have trouble accepting them.  The exercise here is to be honest… with yourself, with others, and with God.

It’s OK to admit that you are having trouble believing a Scripture.  God is our loving Father.  He can take it.  He will not strike you down or punish you for your honest.  The people He had the strongest judgment for in the Bible were the fakers.

I’m learning not to be a faker.

I’m also learning that freedom is a journey of faith.  I am learning to believe that God’s Word is true.  I believe if He allowed it to be penned in the Scriptures there must be a way to get there.

If you’re having trouble believing that freedom from sexual sin is possible, that’s OK.  Be honest with God and ask Him to help you believe.

Mark 9:24 “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”

Logic vs. Emotion

 (an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

I once mentioned in a keynote at a conference that I had been sexually molested. I didn’t dwell on the issue, but said it affected the way I saw life.
Afterward a woman who identified herself as a pastor-therapist said to me, “You didn’t do anything to cause the assault. It was your perpetrator’s fault.”
I tried to tell her that I knew, but she didn’t seem to hear me. She talked for another minute or two, but her words and her attitude seemed to say to me, “I’ve explained the logic of the situation and you’re free.”

I agreed with her reasoning. I had been a child, and of course I didn’t do anything to bring on the molestation. It was the fault of my perpetrators. If acknowledging the truth were all I needed, I would have been free much earlier.

She didn’t seem to grasp that my emotions hadn’t caught up with my cognitive perceptions. I could make the same statements she made—and I did—but they hadn’t set me free. It was a long time before I could feel free.

And, sad to say, some men never feel fault-free.