Posts Tagged ‘recovery’


… for the enemy flies around like a rogue soccer ball looking to strike!


1 Corinthians 5:10-11 – ““You must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or a sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.””

Is it really necessary to set boundaries with “bad” people? Why draw the line if we’re their only hope to help them repent or change their ways? In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, the Apostle Paul answers this perplexing question:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or a sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you.

The Bible contains admonitions for us to separate ourselves from fellow Christians who act in destructive ways (see Matthew 18:15 – 17; 1 Corinthians 5:9 – 13). If we do this, we are not being unloving. Separating ourselves protects love because we are taking a stand against things that destroy love.

We really can’t set limits “on” others — in that we cannot control them. What we can do is set limits on our own exposure to people who are behaving poorly; we can’t change them or make them behave correctly.

Our model is God. He does not set limits on people to force them to behave. God sets standards for people to follow, but people have the freedom to obey or disobey. If they choose to disobey, God allows them to suffer the consequences, but as we see in this passage, God does not give up on those who have failed. Heaven is a place for the repentant, and all are welcome.

Our model is God. He does not set limits on people to force them to behave. God sets standards for people to follow, but people have the freedom to obey or disobey. If they choose to disobey, God allows them to suffer the consequences, but as we see in this passage, God does not give up on those who have failed. Heaven is a place for the repentant, and all are welcome.

This devotional is drawn from Boundaries, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud


Originally posted at: fightthenewdrug.org

Comedian Chris Rock recently joined with other celebrities in speaking out on the life-changing harmful effects of pornography.

Rock recently divorced from his wife of 16 years, and in his recent popular standup show comedy tour “Total Blackout,” he cited porn as a big reason why. Recording wasn’t allowed at the show, but accounts from the show confirm that Rock talked about being “addicted” to porn, cheating on his wife several times while he was on tour, being 15 minutes late to everything because of his porn addiction, being unable to look people in the eye, and failing to notice normal social cues.

With counseling, he was able to overcome his addiction, but it came at a serious price—the end of a marriage that had lasted nearly two decades.

Porn’s Harms Are No Joke

Now, we know that Chris Rock is a comedian—his business is to tell jokes, to make us laugh about uncomfortable things. But that shouldn’t take away the impact of what he says, though. While we don’t know the details of his struggle or of his personal life, Rock was bold enough to lay his experiences out for all to see, and though he might not have said that porn was the reason his marriage ended, he made it clear that it was a contributing factor. And his situation would be in good company, seeing as pornography can double a marriage’s chances for ending in divorce.

We know that porn damages relationships, sometimes beyond repair. The evidence is overwhelming—just read this personal account about watching porn together, or this woman’s experience with her husband’s disinterest in sex, or this story about feelings of betrayal as a result of porn use in the relationship. The addictive nature of porn can physically change your brain, making it desire more extreme content to achieve ever-diminishing amounts of pleasure. This can lead to an increase in real-life violent and extreme acts, or to the things Rock talked about in his show—apathy, neglect, and lack of commitment.

How Relationships Suffer

They’re not physical violence, but these porn-fueled behaviors can be just as damaging to people and relationships—if you need more proof, read about how actor Terry Crews saved his marriage after years of struggle with porn, but just barely. When porn negatively affects a relationship, it’s not just a personal hobby anymore. Two people are now feeling the effects, and the fact is, porn is like a wedge that can slowly drive a relationship apart. It might not even be noticeable while it’s happening, but it can become obvious, and at that point it might be passed the point of reconciliation.

“My wife was literally like, ‘I don’t know you anymore, I’m out of here,’” said Crews of his porn addicted past.

Like Rock, Crews was only able to overcome his addiction through therapy. The difference, of course, is that Crews was able to save his marriage before it was too late, a good reminder that seeking help is a much better alternative to being ashamed and waiting until it’s too late to save a relationship.

This Growing Movement

The understanding that porn isn’t harmless personal entertainment is growing in our culture. States, organizations, and individuals are becoming more and more aware of the harmful socialmental, and physical effects of pornography, and it’s becoming more and more common to see new stories of public figures adding their two cents to the ever-expanding “Hey, maybe porn is actually a real problem” piggy bank.

These testimonials aren’t always coming from the most traditional sources, either, which just goes to show that porn negatively affects a broad cross section of people—just take a look at this short list ofcelebrities who have recently spoken out against porn. Add their names to the list of states like Utah, South Dakota, Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas that have declared porn a “public health crisis,” and you’ll see that this movement of education and awareness is growing every day.

We applaud Chris Rock for speaking out on porn’s effect on his life, and we hope that his experience would be a wake-up call to others who might be struggling with the same thing.


Ps 103:11-12 – For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. ESV

Today. That’s my timeline. It used to be much more long term. How do I plan for and control what happens tomorrow or a week from now or next year. How do I make sure what I want to happen happens in the future. I don’t. Not really anymore. The realization for me is to focus on today. And follow the serenity prayer. To accept the things I can’t change. The courage to act and to change the things I can. Hopefully, also the wisdom to know the difference. So that’s how I focus on each day. God, let me accept that you are in control of today, tomorrow, next week and next year. Allow me to focus on what I can change. That is my actions today.

This led me to something else. Something that I recently wrote about. I wrote that I was wrong. Also that I am wrong. I am realizing and understanding that isn’t exactly true. I wasn’t wrong. I did wrong. I am not wrong. I do wrong. Sounds like a technicality but hear me out.

This goes back to a previous discussion about shame. In my life before recovery, I had incorporated into my life that I was wrong. That I was bad. That I was sin. Through reading, through counseling, through groups I have come to understand the difference. I am not wrong or bad or sin. I did wrong, I did bad, I acted in sin. Incorporating that I am bad or wrong into my identity is against what God intends and is what kept me in that cycle of sin. You know it as shame. And its so pervasive that I have slipped back into that way of thinking subtly.

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see that I had shifted in my thinking in how I was thinking about and classifying my past. Understandably, my wife struggles seeing the good in our marriage before I entered this time I call recovery. Without recognizing it, I started doing the same. Not seeing that it wasn’t black and white: before and after recovery. I had started thinking of my life as what came before recovery and where I am now. I realize now the danger in that.

The time before I entered recovery was just that; it was the time before I entered recovery. It wasn’t that I all of a sudden transformed from “bad” to “good.” Without realizing it, that is how I started classifying my life. Only…that isn’t right. I wasn’t “bad” and I am not all of a sudden “good.” I am broken. Then and now. Only, now I fully realize that I am broken.

I was talking with a friend recently who is also in recovery. I guess the better way to say it is my friend also realizes his own brokenness. I like the way he put it. He said that he used to be able to compartmentalize his life. He would put away the parts he didn’t want to think about or deal with in their separate boxes and he would just not think about them or address them. But they were still there. Now, all those compartments are broken. All the parts of his life are there. That resonates with me. The awareness. I am aware of my flaws, my faults, the damage I have caused. I no longer hide that away in boxes. All my boxes are open.

Am I bad? Am I good? I am broken. Do I do bad things? Do I do good things? I do. Thankfully I am aware of all of them. They are part of in my brokenness who I am. So I address them. I don’t compartmentalize them or box them up. I deal with them…a day at a time.


The Lord said to [Hosea] again, “Go, show your love to a woman loved by someone else, who has been unfaithful to you.” – Hosea 3:1

God will not let you go. He has handcuffed himself to you in love. And he owns the only key. You need not win his love. You already have it. And since you can’t win it, you can’t lose it.

As evidence, consider exhibit A: the stubborn love of Hosea for Gomer. Contrary to the name, Gomer was a female, an irascible woman married to a remarkable Hosea. She had the fidelity code of a prairie jackrabbit, flirting and hopping from one lover to another. She ruined her life and shattered Hosea’s heart. Destitute, she was placed for sale in a slave market. Guess who stepped forward to buy her? Hosea, who’d never removed his wedding band. The way he treated her you would have thought she’d never loved another man. God uses this story, indeed orchestrated this drama, to illustrate his steadfast love for his fickle people.

Then God ordered [Hosea], “Start all over: Love your wife again, your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your cheating wife. Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people, even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.” (Hosea 3:1 MSG)

This is the love described in John 3:16. Hasaq is replaced with the Greek term agape, but the meaning is equally powerful. “God so [agapao] the world … “

Agape love. Less an affection, more a decision; less a feeling, more an action. As one linguist describes, “[Agape love is] an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself.”

Stated more simply: junkyard wrecks and showroom models share equal space in God’s garage.


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Mark 7:14–23 – “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.’ After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.’”

Jesus’ explanation reveals how boundaries help us define who we are and are not. Through them we can take ownership of all of who we are, both good and bad. It is only by taking full ownership of what is on our property and within our own boundaries that we can grow.

Mark¬ 7:14-¬23 is a great description of some of the “not so good” stuff that hangs out in our hearts. All property needs to be cleaned up every once in a while, and our hearts are no different. Jesus tells us that our hearts are in need of this kind of responsible “cleaning up.”

Every kind of growth system that works, from counseling to spiritual direction to recovery, involves looking past our outer behavior to the root causes that lie within our hearts. Sometimes, pain and hurt are to blame and sometimes, as this passage indicates, sinful attitudes and desires are the root causes. Whatever the case, God has forgiven us and that forgiveness gives us the freedom to take a real, hard look at what lies within our hearts. The reward for doing this is that we get healthy and life gets better.

That’s why we like to say that boundaries make life better!

This devotional is drawn from Boundaries, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud.