01 Start with Why
HS - Lesson one

Porn Is A Pandemic

Begin to leave that awful, dark place you know all too well. It won’t be easy, but Jesus and his medicine of forgiveness are working for you.

I moved to Atlanta just after Dr. Kent Brantly was brought to Emory University Hospital. Of all the places to bring a man with Ebola, they chose MY CITY, even as Americans were thinking: “Keep Ebola as far away as possible!”

Since then, only one person in the United States has died from Ebola, and it wasn’t Dr. Brantly. By percentages, we’re doing well: we have a better chance of dying by shark attack while being struck by lightning than from Ebola.

Now look at percentages for a far worse disease, one that many people are not trying to cure but are actually trying to contract.

Some estimates suggest that 35 percent of Christians struggle with pornography. Those 35 percent live with an illness that slowly kills the soul by attacking their relationship with God. And that’s just those who acknowledge that pornography is sinful and admit they have a problem.

Maybe you live with this disease and with its accompanying darkness, guilt, and frustration. Maybe you know that place all too well.

In that place it can feel like no one, not even God, could love you. Even though you know Jesus died for your sins, you feel unworthy of that forgiveness. Friend, you’re absolutely right.

But even when you feel like God shouldn’t love you because of what you have done, remember what he has done.

But even when you feel like God shouldn’t love you because of what you have done, remember what he has done. Remember what that One – who knows everything about you – did for you and for every person trapped by pornography.

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

“‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” (1 Peter 2:24)

Like Ebola, porn can be deadly, but not to your body. Pornography attacks your soul. A person infected with Ebola needs help, and so do you.

A great place to start healing is at a website called “Conquerors through Christ.” (www.conquerorsthroughchrist.net) Go there! Begin to leave that awful, dark place you know all too well. It won’t be easy, but Jesus and his medicine of forgiveness are working for you.

A perfect cure for Ebola is not yet known, but your perfect Savior gave you his perfection in exchange for all your sexual sins, including pornography. Because he suffered the shame of the cross, God sees you as pure and perfect, without wrinkle or stain or any other blemish (Ephesians 5:27).

The Conquerors through Christ team is praying for you. Ask trusted friends to pray for you. May God protect you from temptation and remind you that, in Christ, you are alive, free, and victorious.

Author: Caleb Schultz, vicar at Faith Lutheran Church, Sharpsburg, Ga.
Original article on wels.net

Marriage issue

Marriage Damaged by Porn: A Pastor’s Reflections

One must remember that God offers his help—his power to conquer and heal and renew in his message in the Bible.

The author describes the damage one man’s porn has done and is doing to his marriage. He underscores that porn damages genuine intimacy, it is not healthy and is an affair. He stresses that the wife is not the one to help her husband. She needs to focus on her own health. He encourages the wife to pray for God’s help. One must remember that God offers his help—his power to conquer and heal and renew in his message in the Bible. Wives who have been victimized by their husband’s addiction to pornography will find some beneficial insights in this article. We pray that those insights coupled with the power of God’s Word will help them heal.

Read: Marriage Damaged by Porn: A Pastor’s Reflections on the Covenant Eyes website
Author: Guest Author

Pastor reflects

A Pastor Reflects on Porn and Church Leadership

In this article the author makes some good points about how we should handle church leadership when porn addiction is involved. Like regularly educating the entire congregation of the challenges that leaders face in a sex-crazed world. Like reminding them that “Those who aren’t struggling with sexual addiction need to understand it anyway because so many folks around them are.”

God’s grace and forgiveness alone can heal broken sinners and make them whole so they can serve him in his kingdom.

The article’s discussion of “the goal of spiritual transformation is completeness or perfection” is confusing because this side of heaven no one can be perfect. The goal of “spiritual transformation” is becoming more Christ-like, living as holy (not perfect) a life as one can – always to thank God for his saving grace and forgiveness. God’s grace and forgiveness alone can heal broken sinners and make them whole so they can serve him in his kingdom. Invite and encourage each other with the Gospel of God’s forgiveness which gives the peace and power to overcome and be victorious.

Read: Read A Pastor Reflects on Porn and Church Leadership on the Covenant Eyes website
Author: Luke Gilkerson

Accountible to spouse

FAQ Friday: Should my wife be my accountability partner?

…it is better for the addict to have someone for their accountability partner who is detached from the situation…

This article makes a case both for and against having one’s wife be one’s accountability partner. We at Conquerors through Christ lean more against having one’s spouse be one’s accountability partner for all the reasons stated in the “against” section of the article and then some. Whether the wife or the husband is the victim, it is better for the addict to have someone for their accountability partner who is detached from the situation and thus who can be impartial and yet in love hold the addict responsible for their behavior. Any accountability partner needs to be able to relate to the addict’s problem and confront him or her with the right amount of God’s Law to convict them of their sin and God’s Gospel to forgive, heal and empower to conquer the sin.

Read: FAQ Friday on the Covenant Eyes website
Author: Luke Gilkerson


Pocket Porn: Nearly a third of teens carry portable X-rated theaters

one third of all teens carry pornThis article lays out some very alarming statistics of the downward spiral that modern technology is leading an ever increasing number of young people into through porn viewing on mobile devices (smart phones, ipods, ipads, etc.).

…invite and encourage each other with the Gospel of God’s forgiveness

The author emphasizes the need for parents and schools to be involved and proactive in their children’s and student’s use of these devices and access to the internet world.

As the article describes a father and son confessing their sin of porn addiction to each other, may many more fathers and their sons confess this same sin, but more importantly invite and encourage each other with the Gospel of God’s forgiveness which gives the peace and power to overcome and be victorious.

Read: Pocket Porn on the Covenant Eyes website
Author: Luke Gilkerson

Honor God

Honor God with Your Body

The Holy Spirit led the apostle Paul to use a very striking example. Would you ever say, “Hey Jesus, I’m going to spend some time with a prostitute? Want to come along?”

Through faith he has united you with Christ.

Of course not! A child of God would never think that. A child of God would never say that. Never! Yet children of God sometimes do that. And children of God do other nasty things. They unite their bodies—or hearts or minds—with a man or woman not their spouse. They unite with sinful images in print or on video. They unite with sinful content on their computers. The temptations are real. Very real!

What is a Christian facing such temptations to do? Think about what Paul urged the Corinthian Christians to do when facing similar temptations.

When battling sexual temptations, remember that your body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. Why? Because God has done a wonderful thing. Through faith he has united you with Christ. That means everything Christ did is yours. His perfect life is yours. His death is yours. His burial and resurrection are yours. And his new life is yours.

Jesus offered his perfect life and shed his precious blood on the cross for you. That purchase price made complete payment for your sins. Wow! What an awesome gift! Your sins are taken away. And by faith you have been made a member of Christ; you are united with Jesus, your Savior!

Paul mentions a few results. You are not your own. The Holy Spirit lives in you; your body is his temple. And your body will be raised from the dead; you have an eternal future. So, what’s the bottom line in the context of sexuality? Where Jesus goes, you go. And where you go, Jesus goes. All of this moves and enables you to flee from sexual immorality.

We are surrounded by some pretty nasty temptations. When you face those temptations, remember what Christ has done for you. Remember who you are in Christ. And together with him, honor God with your body.


More about intimacy in marriage

The beauty of marital intimacy doesn’t shine very brightly in this unfamiliar passage and we wince, imagining this is about a power struggle. Our flesh will see an excuse for selfishness and our renewed heart simply doesn’t understand. What place do these words have in the setting of a Christian marriage? Do they really apply? Maybe that’s not the right question because these words are from our Savior who knows more about yielding rights than we could ever imagine; so perhaps we should listen. The Lord is calling husbands and wives to look at the needs and desires of each other and yield their rights out of love. He is also making it clear that each belongs to the other and both made a promise to live as one flesh. Sexual intimacy is not a manipulative bargaining tool or spiteful move in a power play. There is no withholding sex to prove a point or get pay back. It is part of marriage—to fulfill needs, draw couples together and build love, a very special love.

The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:4

You see, the love God has given us for life and marriage affects every part of our lives, including our intimacy. The Greek word for this love is “agape” and we see it most clearly when Christ laid down his life to earn our salvation. It is self-sacrificing love that looks for the benefit of the other. It is love that asks, “What can I give? How can I bless you?” It longs to see the other person grow and thrive. This beautiful, self-sacrificing love influences the sexual intimacy between a man and wife by compelling them to put the needs of the other before their own needs. Each is willing to yield to the other in love, understanding God’s design for sexuality in marriage. A wife will yield to her husband. A husband will yield to his wife. Personal rights are set aside as each serves the other. Christians reflect Christ in their marriage with this love and it is radiant in their intimacy as well. Each understands the important part that sexuality plays in their Christian marriage and the responsibility they have to one another.

It is a perfect design—but living it is much more difficult than understanding it. The reality is, this is really, really hard. The daily life of a Christian is often spent working hard in or out of the home. It is unrealistic to think that after a long day of work the powerful desire for sexual intimacy can simply be set aside as one considers the needs of their spouse. The husband may face a thousand sexual temptations in a day: glances, flirtatious laughs, suggestive comments and unsought images that focus his thinking on one thing. The wife may face a thousand temptations in a day as men appreciate her work, make comments about her femininity, or show interest in who she is as a person. Perhaps the wife is home all day with children who absorb every ounce of her energy and share more than enough physical contact but not a bit of meaningful conversation.

Paul doesn’t address the daily collision of needs at 9pm. The husband does have sexual needs. He comes home to his wife and wants to want her—this is his faith in action! Marriage is the place that God has given for sexual intimacy. But even now, he is called to set aside those needs to think about his wife. It is an incredible concept, that the powerful motion of love can not only pause, but defer to the needs of another. And the wife has needs too, which are often a bit more complex. She may have sexual desires but they are buried under a list of more tangible needs, like help in the kitchen or time to talk about her day. She may recognize her husband’s sexual needs but what about her exhaustion? Now whose needs are more important? Who yields? The Lord answers by giving husbands and wives the directive to consider the needs of the other and yield. Conflicting needs will call each of us to be self-sacrificing in our love. Compromise, consideration, and communication are all so important, especially in times of exhaustion and hurt. Sighs of frustration and emotional isolation don’t resolve conflict. Spouses cannot guess or assume they understand each other’s needs. Talk about it and listen to one another! Speak in love to find a way through it.

A husband can come to see how his help in the kitchen communicates love to his wife and makes her yielding a joy. A wife will begin to understand the importance of her husband’s needs and speak the language of love he longs to hear. Each yields to the other and the bedroom is a continuation of selfless love. It all starts with Christ in each heart as we are washed clean and filled with agape love. Forgiven and empowered with the gospel, we live according to his calling and find new strength and joy every day. Yes, there will be hardship, failures and hurts, but they have all been covered by the blood of Christ. It is God’s love that spurs us on to love one another. Live in his peace, be blessed by his love.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the perfect example of selfless love that blesses others. The sacrifice you made brought us that love as it covered our sins and gave us peace with God. We want to live in that love but it is so hard. How do we give when we feel like we can’t give any more? How do we yield when there are so many reasons not to? Call us to hear your voice and follow, for we know that your words are true and give us the strength we need. Forgive us for the many times we fail. Continue to teach us, remind us, and bless us so that we may honor you in our marriage and intimacy, and in all we do. In Jesus name, Amen.

Written by Naomi Schmidt
Reviewed by Pastor Gary Pufahl
Original devotion on WELS.net Women’s Ministry

Am I?

Am I A Sex Addict?

The good folks over at Covenant Eyes want to help you answer your most secret question: Am I a sex addict?

We at CtC encourage you to take a look at this article if you’ve ever, even furtively, wondered about your sexual behavior. It is worth the 5-10 minutes of personal reflection. We also encourage you to compassionately share this with anyone you know who may be struggling with sexual addiction – but carefully. Maybe it would be best for you to have a more informal conversation about this before you drop the bomb of “I think you are addicted to sex” on them.

…overcoming sinful behavior, especially addiction, is difficult. But it is much, much easier through Jesus.

Finally, NOTE this: overcoming sinful behavior, especially addiction, is difficult (as the article notes.) But it is much, much easier through Jesus. He has already suffered the consequences of our foolishness on the cross. He has already overcome the punishment we caused him to bear through his resurrection. He is investing in you, with his body and blood, his time and attention, his Spirit and his love, so that you can know you are not alone in this fight.

In fact, when you overcome your sexual addiction, you will be able to point to Jesus as the one who made it possible. Are you a sex addict? Perhaps. Are you a conqueror? Absolutely.

Read: Am I A Sex Addict at Covenant Eyes