#Day 7 ; Unearthing my beliefs

Romans 6 : No longer under the dominion of sin

Vs  1 – 6: – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Reflections: – There has been this narrative going on for ages, because of grace Christians are free to live their lives in whatsoever way they desire besides we read in Chap 5 that where there is sin, grace abounds even more. I’m pretty sure this was the scenario in Romans at that time. People lived sinful lives and probably boasted in the availability of grace. When Paul said certainly not, it can be translated to tufiakwa (God forbid). He went further to ask them if they really knew the significance of the baptism they went through. And now I ask what does baptism mean to you? Was it one of those rituals you had to perform to have one item ticked off from your Christian qualifications? In case we never knew or have forgotten, this is a reminder. Our baptism was a physical representation of Jesus’ death, whether it was through sprinkling or full immersion (topic for another day) and all that happened to Him when He was raised from the dead should be our report. He nailed sin to the cross; we united and came into agreement with Him with our baptism therefore our sinful nature was equally nailed. I had a conversation with a colleague the other day and after analyzing some practices of Christians, he summed it up with these words “immature Christians”. Like Paul said when I was a child I spoke like a child… but you are no longer babes in Christ if you have come to the understanding of what Jesus did on the cross. We often find ourselves under the control of the sin that held us bound before we met Jesus – It’s an anomaly. Remember I said under the control, we live in a sinful world but we shouldn’t let it dictate or control us if we are led daily by the Holy Spirit.

Vs 7 – 12: –For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

Reflections: – We get to a point in our lives when we realize the life we live is unto God not for the praise of men. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll go through temptations, there are times behind closed doors you are tempted to watch certain movies that don’t edify your spirit after all no one will ever know, you might have even started playing it but suddenly you find yourself turning it off (true life story). A pastor shared his experience of stumbling upon a porn channel in the hotel when he travelled out of town. It  had played for a few minutes before he turned it off, went further to call his wife to tell her what just happened (accountability), he didn’t end there cos’ he found out it was a channel in his choice of DSTV bouquet, he asked his wife to call them to remove that particular channel from his bouquet. You might be wondering why he had to go through all of that, well he knew where he was coming from, it was a trigger and could have a domino effect. Remember yesterday’s topic on decisions. If your viewing porn will cause you to miss heaven then cut it off. He didn’t let that particular sin have dominion and reign in his life, he’s a pastor he would have said I live under grace and nothing will happen later. Oh! But he knew “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” and he didn’t give in to the desires. Cos’ they’ll definitely come, but with the help of the Holy Spirit and the grace available to us, we say no. When next the enemy throws a dart at you  say to him; No satan not today. I am not a slave to you.

Not today satan

***End***

Loads of love

JMAD.

N/B : Tufiakwa is an Igbo word.

Photo credit : Google

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Exit plan from pornville and onanism (Part 2)

Porn Recovery

Like I always say, it takes one thought, a few minutes of conversation to set in motion a series of events. In my own case it was just a chat over lunch that led to these series of posts on Masturbation and Pornography. If you are just visiting for the first time you can read up the first two post here and here. I was privileged to get a few people to write in; I’m extremely excited and grateful at the same time. We’ll be viewing porn from a married man and a single lady’s point of view.

NANSAK (He’s one man I respect so much especially his love for his wife and children)

From a christian standpoint, pornography has no pro’s, be you single or married. Pornography is enjoying sexual arousal outside the confines of which it was intended by God, which is marriage; I struggled with porn and masturbation as a single. On getting married, I found that the desire to view porn still existed. I have compromised on a couple of occasions, and it felt like I was cheating on my wife. That was the same effect it had on her; the pain of being cheated on, plus the fact that she wondered if she wasn’t good enough for me.

On the argument that watching together as a couple is supposed to help your sex life, it will do the exact opposite. God will never need evil to accomplish His purposes. He is too holy to stoop to concepts like telling a lie for the greater good. His word is clear – thou shall not lie, the truth shall set you free. Part of the beauty of sex that I have enjoyed as a married man is in the adventure and discovery, and all of this has got to do with trusting God, and asking the Holy Spirit to teach us. It’s been over five years and we’re still discovering new things. Watching porn together will pervert your minds and give you false expectations that will lead to disappointment and frustration, and will turn the sanctity of one of the purest forms of worship into plain grotesque satisfaction of animalistic instincts.

Why would a man that has a willing wife with a body that could pass for a super model sneak out of his bedroom while she slept to go and watch 30mins of midnight hot on Ftv? I think it’s because sin is thrilling. Sin however comes with a price tag that you will not be able to pay, and the devil flaunts the goods without letting you see the price tag. “Don’t worry about it, you can pay later” he says. But when he comes to collect, he collects big.

***

U.A. (She’s one lady who’s sold out to God, not your conventional lady)

Last Christmas, I celebrated one year clean. The thing about addiction is that it creeps up on you stealthily and one day you wake up and realised you are hooked.

The most interesting analogy about the way the devil baits came from a preaching by Mrs Christy Bature-Ogbeifun. She said the devil fished like a white man. You know to the white man, fishing is a sport, not the kind we do for subsistence. When a white man is fishing, he can be at it for hours. When he feels that a fish has caught the bait, he begins to reel it in. If he senses a struggle and the fish is writhing, he releases the reel and lets the fish feel like it is free, but the thing is the bait is still in its mouth. This cycle goes on till the fish is too weak to fight.

 It was Ikebe Super and the porn of the late eighties, I and my older cousin would sneak some magazines from the neighbour upstairs. I was a child but the seeds had been sown. Over the years, I became a Christian but Porn never lost its allure for me. By 2010, I had suffered an intense heartbreak, for the first time I went out to purchase the DVD’s and spent hours watching them. I understood the link between bitterness and defilement (the root of bitterness springing up to defile many…) but that didn’t stop the habit. Then that phase passed.

Fast forward two years later, another period of pain and betrayal followed (not a heartbreak this time), but everything was revived and I gorged myself on X-rated movies and stories. Then I realised that tongue-talking, leg-shaking, child of God, Preacher’s kid, teaching young people me, was addicted to Porn. It didn’t span too long, maybe 3 months but the effect was enormous.

Some people I spoke to laughed it off as a man’s addiction, but I knew it wasn’t. When I got home each evening and reduced the volume to the barest minimum, I was sure I was addicted to Porn and its attendant sins (you know them yourself). It was like a drug, I needed a dirtier dose each time. Sometimes I would cry out to God and repent, we would make progress and then 2 days later, I was back. The attendant sins began to worry me more than the Porn itself.

All through that period I would say to God: “This is bringing shame to your name. The day you finally deem it fit to set me free, please, set me free such that you take away not just the addiction, but the TASTE for it”. One day, 6 days to the end of that year, the Pastor called out for prayers and I went to the altar. No one laid hands on me. The Deacon praying with me simply said: ‘she is a Princess’ and that was it, the dirty slimy demon of porn left, complete with the taste for it.

 After that time, my connection with heaven was swift and I understood why the Enemy strives to make murk up our relationship with God, especially with sexual sin, cos I don’t care what you say, we can’t connect with God when our spirits are defiled. Be it the actual sexual sin, pornography, masturbation or the periphery of sex, we know we were made for more. We know it. God knows it. The devil knows it.

***

When I asked U.A. if she had to do any extra thing after the prayers in church, she gave the most hilarious response ‘I just kept myself pure… avoided touching body’. This may sound funny but it points back to triggers. She knew getting intimate with anyone will feed the desire to indulge in viewing porn.

Steven Handel in his article ‘Urge Surfing: How to overcome addictive behaviours’ has this to say, In mindfulness-based psychotherapy there’s a technique called “urge surfing” that’s used to help individuals overcome addictive and impulsive behaviours. The main assumption behind the technique is that an urge never lasts forever – usually, no more than 20-30 minutes. Individuals can therefore “ride out” these urges simply by becoming more aware of their transient nature. You can read up the full article here.

 It’s amazing to read up people’s experiences and find out your case isn’t peculiar to you alone, someone somewhere has passed through it ‘For no temptation has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man…’ 1 Cor 10:13. There’s help for you, the question is have you admitted you need help? I pray someone out there is receiving healing as well as the courage in making that decision to quit such addictions.

N/B : I’ve had a few offline chats on this topic, especially on the implication of masturbation within the confines of marriage. I’m not a marriage counsellor but in my opinion if your partner is cool with it, then go ahead and rock the boat. Masturbation in all the posts written was directed at the singles.

LOADS OF LOVE

JMAD

Exit plan from pornville and onanism (Part 1)

Porn

It’s amazing how a simple conversation can birth many issues. I recently wrote a post on Pornography and Masturbation, you can read it up here. It was supposed to be a research but I didn’t think I’ll be writing a sequel on ways of living above the addiction. At the end of the research, I realised the addiction to Porn and Masturbation wasn’t just the regular addiction of going to rehab but it was a jail sentence, incidentally many people are bound by it and it’s tearing people apart and destroying lives and families. I decided to speak to a few people who I know have been through it and have won the battle. Amazingly one of the pastors, (who’s in charge of the Youth Church of my local church) I wanted to speak to concerning it, did an extensive teaching on Addictions in church that day (talk about God orchestrating everything). I have taken his permission and I’ll be sharing it.

I’m sure you’re wondering if a pastor’s teaching on addiction can be beneficial, well after a research I found out his teaching was in sync with that of a psychotherapist, so let’s get on with his message.

Porn Recovery

Pastor Wilson

 He started with how a medical doctor and a university lecturer died as a result of smoking; he kept on asking why people will let addictions prevent them from fulfilling their destiny. I’ll modify it since the message was originally for the youths. Before we proceed we need to agree on what an addiction is. Addiction can’t be mentioned without habit; habit is what  is done repeatedly whether positive or negative, once the habit gets to the point were you can’t control it, an absence of it brings about sickness; you suddenly become dependent on it, that’s a clear indication of addiction. He was addicted to Masturbation and Sex but after becoming born-again, he lived free through the Holy Spirit for 5 years until he got married. Romans 6: 16 “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” When we can’t control our actions, we become slaves to that particular action in this case porn and masturbation. He admitted winning the battle was difficult but it’s possible.

Ways of breaking free

  1. Identify the addiction : – Stop living in denial, many people give excuses why they are engaging in it and can come up with phrases like ‘I can stop when I want to’.
  2. Acknowledge it is destructive to your life.
  3. Tell someone you respect, sin thrives in secret.
  4. If it’s beyond your ability and the person you’ve spoken to, seek professional help.
  5. Go to God in prayers (This is only for Christians). He said this is the most effective but least used. Get your scriptures, confess it repeatedly, and stay in faith. He shared the story of a pastor who started smoking at 13 and was addicted, he grew up in church even went to Bible college but continued smoking. One day he came across a scripture Mark 11:22-23 and started confessing it; for every time he confessed it, he smoked the more but he never stopped. After 3 months he was going to class in Bible college, God told him to tell his teachers in class to pray and lay hands on him which they did, nothing extra-ordinary happened, he went back to his dormitory and the urge came over him again but when he lit the cigarette, an awful smell he couldn’t tolerate over-whelmed him and he felt like throwing-up, that was his last stick. It’s over 20 years and he has never tasted a cigarette.
  6. Replace the old habit with a profitable habit, nature abhors a vacuum. Matt 12: 43-45 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.’’
  7. Get accountability partners. It could be a friend who you trust and won’t run you down but will help you through the journey. Give them the right to ask you any question or rebuke you when necessary.
  8. Avoid every opportunity for the addiction to thrive, create barriers. There are some softwares you can install on your electronic device to prevent porn sites, they include but  not limited to the following, http://www.cyberpatrol.com, http://www.cybersitter.com, http://www.netnanny.com. He gave an instance when he travelled out of the country and in his hotel room he stumbled upon a porn site on TV, he found himself torn between viewing it (after all no one was there with him, no one would know) and changing it, Glory be to God he changed the channel and found out he had the same channel in Nigeria but didn’t know cos’ of the time difference. By morning he called his wife to report himself and asked her to call the Satelite company to delete that channel from their subscription.
  9. Be patient, the addiction was cultivated over a period of time; it’ll be difficult to end it immediately. (Remember the pastor who kept on confessing for over 3 months).

I hope this blessed you as much as it did, the day the message was preached. The beauty of this message is, it cuts across all forms of addiction.

N/B: I have testimonies from people who have won the battle over the addiction of porn and masturbation, I’ll be putting it up next week by God’s grace and if you want to have your story shared you can send me an email at ccogbogu@yahoo.com. It’s a collective responsibility and we’ll win this battle with the help of God.

I am pretty excited at the post coming up on the 21st of April, Easter Monday. A story of a young man who will be sharing his story on drug abuse. .  He recently rededicated his life to God; he’ll be sharing his transformation weekly with us. Easter Monday represents Jesus’ victory over death. I’m trusting God to minister through that post.

LOADS OF LOVE

JMAD

Loads of Love

The journey to Pornville and the acts of Onanism

Censored

Growing up we were taught to keep quiet while eating but for some funny reason lunch has become a place for meetings or chats. A few weeks ago while having lunch with my colleagues a topic was brought up and we kind of had a divided house, some agreed it was ok to indulge while others disagreed. I hate ignorance and half-truths; I decided to do a little research on my own as well as a questionnaire to get different opinions. So let’s cut to the chase.

For the benefit of others I’ll explain the two terms; Masturbation is the manual stimulation of the genital organs of yourself or another for sexual pleasure while Pornography is the explicit depiction either in writing, pictures or films to stimulate sexual desire. Incidentally I came across the word Onanism as a synonym for masturbation, I’m sure the name rings a bell for Bible scholars Gen 38:9 (Tradition demanded Onan to bear children with Tamar his late brother’s wife and he didn’t like the idea, so he spilled his semen on the ground when he slept with her) while Pornography was derived from the Greek word porni (prostitute) and graphein (to write) was originally defined as any work of art or literature depicting the life of prostitutes.

But whose business is it if I choose to pleasure myself or view some magazines or see a movie. I decided to do an opinion Poll with a few friends; some married, single, male and female and these are some of the responses:

Akachi – So on the surface, absolutely nothing is wrong with masturbation and watching pornography, I mean, it’s just me giving myself some desired satisfaction just how I like it, when I like it no fuss! There is no blood transfusion involved, no semen and no exchange of saliva or whatever else is involved with having sex with a second, third or fourth party it’s just me, what could be wrong with that? Does the act of masturbation and watching porn come from a pure thought? When I’m done with the act, does my spirit leap within with shouts of praise to God?

Judith – Masturbation could be disgusting when one achieves sexual satisfactionby touching his/her self while on the other hand it’s a form of sexual stimulation for ladies who have different levels of sexual satisfaction. Pornography is ok if it’s viewed by couples to improve their sexual performances.

Tony – Masturbation brings about imbalanced emotions, inferiority complex towards the opposite sex and can lead to addiction. Many men are fighting it but will never divulge it except there’s real intimacy and trust between their partners to confess it.

Ogenna – They’re both wrong, porn is just a bus to masturbation or fornication.

Nnedinma – For any form of sexual satisfaction outside marriage is wrong, it shouldn’t be self-acquired either.

Ngozi – When one walks with God masturbation is a sin against one’s body. He didn’t intend for us to pleasure ourselves that way, that’s why He made male and female. It brings thoughts of sex and the urge to act upon it. We need to understand how God intends for us to enjoy sex, anything outside is a deviation.

Femmetotale – Masturbation makes people selfish about sex, more interested in getting pleasure while sex should be more about giving pleasure.

Adannaya – Porn has helped in sustaining marriages that lack good sex and it reduces the chances of cheating although it’s a sin cos people who engage are as good as fornicators.

Nnezi – They are demonic cos they are perverted and away from what sexuality means in the Biblical sense.

Now we’ve heard a few let’s look at it from another angle. Some religions have this to say, Islam The Qur’an 24:30 states “Tell the acknowledging men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts, for that is purer for them. God is fully aware of what you do” It is haram (forbidden) to expose your private parts. Christianity Matthew 5:27-28 ‘You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart’. When we are viewing porn or masturbating what thoughts are in your head? Judaism Traditional Jewish laws of modesty require Jewish women to be modestly dressed: so pornographic modeling and pornographic acting are forbidden for women. The (halakhah) states that sexually arousing images are normally to be avoided.

Psychologically during porn viewing, the brain releases a tidal wave of endorphins and other powerful neurochemicals like dopamine (which helps in the transmission of signals in the brain and other vital areas), norepinephrine and serotonin. These natural “drugs”� produce a tremendous rush or high. Someone said watching porn is like swallowing a pill that induces hunger after you have eaten. It traps the person in a vicious cycle of never ending desire, exhausting the person’s body and mind. It rewires the brain.

Medically I found out masturbation helps in relief through ejaculation, eases tension but I equally found out it lowers sperm count resulting in impotence.

As a kid I viewed some porn magazines but I had to hide to view it, in fact growing up it was a taboo if you were caught watching a “blue film” (wonder why it was given that name) but all that has changed now. We are all exposed to porn either through music videos, on magazine stands, adverts on web pages, chat rooms. The truth is everyone is stuck with this outbreak; the only dividing line is choice but what of our little ones. An interview with a former pornographer said he always had Viagra on hand for the extra assistance needed to perform as the scenes became more technical to shoot (and this broke me) ‘most of the female actresses are all damaged (e.g. histories of sexual or emotional abuse). In a 2004 testimony before the United States Senate, Dr. Jill Manning shared some interesting data regarding pornography and relationships. In her research she found that 56 percent of divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites. A 2012 survey of porn actresses showed 79% of porn stars used marijuana, 50% have used ecstasy, 44% have used cocaine and 39% have used hallucinogens while an ex-porn star said men and women in pornography do drugs cos they can’t deal with the way they are being treated.

I could go on and on with the shocking information I got on this topic. I wouldn’t want to impose my opinion on you but let’s not forget the following –

  • Most porn stars have previous cases of abuse.
  • Sex was created to be enjoyed between couples within the confines of marriage, masturbation creates an illusion of personal satisfaction which may seem harmless but after a period of time guilt sets in after each act.
  • Porn has been attributed to the cause of 56% cases of divorce.
  • Porn stars are usually induced with drugs to enable them perform in such ways which isn’t normal, expecting your partner to act in such way without the drugs will leave you disappointed, besides you can’t look at two porn stars and think if you touch me the same way we’ll experience sexual fulfilment, we are all wired differently.
  • Wives who found out their husbands viewed porn felt betrayed.
  • Porn addiction isn’t easy to erase, if you are addicted to nicotine you can go through rehab or detox but with porn it’s different. The images are already registered and a thorough renewal has to take place. A lot of sexual violence has been attributed to exposure of porn.
  • Are you a man viewing porn? If the tables were turned would it be upsetting to see your daughter as one of the actresses? Some women think it’s dehumanising.
  • You may think viewing it is harmless but with each click you’re enriching the business, giving the producers more reasons to scout for more actresses and life’s a circle.

Guess this is the longest post I’ve written so far, I hope you got something out of it but above all, whatever we find ourselves doing, we should always remember to do it to the glory of God.

LOADS OF LOVE

JMAD