The Deep Secerts Of Our Heart

we-all-have-secretsI think we would all be scared if we really knew what was going on inside people’s hearts, and what people really did struggle with.  We are so good at hiding our struggles and our sins, and this is what the enemy wants us to do.  For people who are struggling with sexually purity issues they listen and believe the lies that they are the only ones struggling with those issues, and they would be judged and looked down upon if someone really knew what they were struggling with.  Therefore, they keep the struggle lock down deep inside and it just destroys them.  They are scared to let someone come into their broken world so they try to manage their sin.  A friend of mine was sharing with me the other day that he was going through a guy’s computer that had just passed away trying to find any family members that he could notify about his passing.   My friend was shock at all the sexually explicit emails he was finding in this computer.   He said, Steven I had no idea he was struggling with this stuff.  All of us have dark secrets and struggles and God wants to heal us.  One of the things that helps in the healing process is getting our secrets and struggles out into the open.   I know for me personal there was so much freedom when I got all of my dark secrets out.  I have no secrets with my wife, and as painful as it was for me to sit and share with her my struggles, sins, it was one of the most freeing things I have done.  I’ve also sat down with another couple who was helping me and we had a time of prayer where I just confessed my sins and got all the dark nasty secrets out.  James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”   There is such a healing that comes with getting our crap out into the open.  When I meet with guys who are interested in going through Refuge I always share my story and my struggles with them first.  It breaks the ice and they realize they are not the only one.  The first and hardest step in the healing processing over this struggle is to let someone into your world.  If you’re at that place where you need to let someone in and you are not too sure who to talk with, pray and ask God to show you who to share your struggle with.  It needs to be someone you can trust, someone who truly understands the Gospel.   This is the person that can help you, and not the person who is going to judge you.  When I was in the battle with my struggle I was seeing this Christian counselor and I had opened up and shared my struggle with him.  I remember one week as I was sharing I told him I had struggle that week, and he blasted me for falling.  I realize today that he didn’t understand the Gospel, I never saw him again after that day.  Know I could have made the choice to say the hell with it, I am not going to share my story with anyone else, but I am glad God didn’t give up on me.  God has brought people into my life that has help me overcome my struggle with sexual sins, people I have shared my story with, and people who meet me where I was and God has brought healing to my life.  It all started by letting people come into my world.  I was enslaved for 20 plus years to porn and other sexually sins.  I just got to a point where I was tired of struggling and I didn’t care who I told and knew I need help.  I just want to encourage you that you don’t have to battle this struggle by yourself.  There are people who love you and will love you through this battle and will get out onto the battle field with you.  If you are struggling pray and ask God to show you who you can talk to.  Ask God to start bring those people into your life that can help you.  This is an issue that you cannot keep inside; it will eat you from the inside out, and will take every good thing from you.  This is a beast that you cannot control, it wants to destroy your life, but it will keep telling you it is the greatest thing for you.

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The Tree By The Water

verse-of-the-day-the-man-who-puts-his-trust-in-the-lordYesterday, a friend of mine told me they could not meet with me over coffee because they needed to get away and pray over somethings they are dealing with.  I asked them how can I be praying for them, and instead of getting a few prayer items I got a verse from Jeremiah.  Jeremiah 17: 8, “He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  As I was studying this verse in its context to be praying for my friend I realized I need this reminder as well.  Jeremiah compares two types of trees in this passage.  If you go back to verse 6 Jeremiah speaks of the other tree. “He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert in a salt land where no one lives.” Two very different trees here.  If you were the tree, where would you want to the be, in the parched desert or the tree by the water?  Easy choice right.  So often we are the tree that is living in the parched desert. Why?  It comes down to who we are trusting.  You see the one tree that is in the parched desert is the one person who is trusting in man verses the one who is trusting in the Lord, the tree by the water.  Verse 5 Jeremiah  says, “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”  So often we either rely on others to help meet our needs or we rely on our self’s and our own strength.  When we do that we become the tree that is starving for water.  Everything needs water, and our one source of water is Christ and the way we get more of Christ is from His Word.  It’s His Word that keeps us grounded in Him and keeps us trusting in Him, and we our like the tree that is planted by the stream of water, we have an endless supply of water, of life. When we step away from God’s Word, church, we shift our focus on us and on others and that’s when we start having problems, because the heat and droughts of life are coming, and we start going back to old habits, and old thinking.  Another way we can easily move away from God’s Word is to start reading a lot of books that speak about God.  God’s Word is our water, other books that talk about God is our bread.  We cannot live on bread alone, we have to have water to survive.  Where is your tree at today? Are you in the wastelands, the desert, or is your tree drinking the sweet water of Jesus? If we are in the wastelands, move your focus and trust to the Lord and the sweet stream of Jesus will rise up next to the tree and the roots can tap into the life source of water.  If your by the stream keep your focus on the Lord, streams can dry up.

Just Stop…..Just Stop

foreman_11665382_7784_56_257x428Recovery is a life long process.  When I meet with new guys who are just starting their recovery process I tell them the recovery process is not six months to a year, is not 3 to 5 years, its a life long process.  Healing takes time and is a process we must go through until we die.  I’ve been on the road of recovery for a very long time now, and there are good days, and there are bad days, were the pain is very fresh and very real again.  As painful as it is I never want to lose the pain.  God uses it to remind me of where I have been.  This morning God told me to “Just spend time with Me.”  5 simply words that hit pretty hard.  I’ve been running a hundred miles an hour and realized I’ve been running a hundred miles an hour without spending a lot of time with the Lord.  I am tired.  With those 5 little words the Lord spoke to me. I have to stop and look that I have fallen back into some old ruts, some old thinking habits again.  I’ve had to question, why am I working so many hours at work? Some weeks I am putting 50 plus hours in and doing 10 plus hours of ministry on top of that, why?  Why with every free hour I am think of what can I get done for work, or what do I need to get accomplished for Refuge.  Why? Because I am looking for those things to fill me.  I avoid the note to myself in my office that reminds me “this job is not your identity.”  This week, I was dreading to having to start work back, why, because I’ve allowed myself to fall back into old thinking patterns and I am flat tired.  In our recovery, we sometimes think we always have to be working on our self’s, or having to go to this meeting or that meeting.  Sometimes we always feel like we have to be doing something for the Lord.  We are able to do things for the Lord by the overflow of what God puts in us.  Meeting with the Lord, is how God fills us, “puts in us” His love, compassion, mercy, grace, meeting with the Lord is how we fill up so we can go out and help others.  I have to confess, I’ve been running a long time without stopping and drinking the full glass of water to restore my soul. Forgive me Lord, and for those I help, forgive me. If your walking down the road of recovery make sure your are getting what you need personally, and are not heading down the road of burn out because that could open up the door to temptation to follow back into our struggles again.

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