Bree Olson Leaves Porn
Inspiration, SEX LOVE MARRIAGE

Jonathan Welton’s Open Letter To Bree Olson

Francis Frangipane, in his book, “The Three Battlegrounds,” says, “the devil traffics in unconfessed sin.”

This is so true. We will sometimes carry things for years as our own struggles, living forever in cycles of guilt, shame, confession, forgiveness, stumbling, guilt, shame… and yet, until we are brutally honest about our constant struggles with another brother or sister in Christ, that thing will have power over us and keep us forever locked in a cycle of living below where God wants us. But as soon as we lay it bare, in the open, God moves in it to show His grace and glory, giving us power in the confession to bring us to a place of wholeness and deliverance.

I Admire Jonathan Welton For His Transparency

I don’t know how many of you would know of Jonathan Welton, but for whatever else you may think of this man and his ministry, you have to recognize that he talks – freely talks – about his struggle with pornography with his audiences. He struggled with that for many years, even while being involved in a very effective ministry to others. But he found the devil was trafficking in his unconfessed sin, and it was freeing for him to be able to discuss it with someone else

God Took His Struggle And Made Him A Trophy Of Grace

Jonathan found a pretty quick road to recovery when he finally realized that his struggle was one of not recognizing his identity – as long as he continued to be trapped in a cycle of seeing himself as a failure, he would stumble and fall over and over. It was only as he learned to see himself as a child of the King that he was able to recognize both his identiy and responsibility as “royalty” to live in that level of existence.

He Speaks An Important Message About Seeing Yourself As Jesus Sees You

I was very moved by this “open letter” to a former porn star, a Bree Olson, who has apparently left that industry and has received some flack for it. I won’t quote all the letter here – the end of it is basically an invitation to her to attend his online bible school. You can look that up on your own. I didn’t want that to distract from the powerful message that lies in this open letter on Facebook. So read this, below, and see what I mean – about his openness and the important message of redemption he speaks to her.

AN OPEN LETTER TO BREE OLSON, (FORMER PORNSTAR) Dear Bree,Normally, open letters are reserved for people picking fights or debating; that is not why I am writing to you today. As you know, it can be quite difficult to get emails through to celebrities. The layers of email filtering and boundaries can be very hard to pass. In your case, this especially makes sense as I would guess that much of the mail you receive is very rude, insensitive, gross, or judgmental.

This letter is very different. I was heartbroken while watching your recent interview about how you are being treated since you left the Porn Industry. But let me start with telling you a little about me. I am 33 years old and President of a large Christian college. I have been married for 12 years, and have two beautiful daughters (3 years old and 6 months old). Yet I lived with a slavish addiction to Internet pornography for a large portion of my life. I did a lot of really bad things, which led to almost losing my marriage 6 years ago. It was at that point that God removed a spiritual cancer from my heart. The pain in my heart, that had driven me to choose porn as a self-medication, was finally healed and the shame that came from the porn was washed away permanently.

That is a big story to cover in one paragraph but I believe that God treats us according to our destiny, not according to our history. You are not a porn-star, that is your history, you are your destiny and your destiny is still ahead of you in the future. I hear the pain in your interview and as a father; I would never want my daughters to feel like you are feeling. You should not be treated this way, it is wrong and I am sorry.

No matter what my daughters ever do, they will always feel loved, safe, clean and cherished in my presence. You deserve to feel the same and I am sorry that you are not able to feel that way right now. I want you to know there is hope. Please do not give up. Do not give into the dark thoughts, I have been there too, ending everything will not make your life feel better, it will simply end your hope of a good future, and there is hope for a good future, push through and keep going. As a man, I apologize to you, please forgive us. Men were designed by God to be protectors, but many of us have become predators. What I can tell you is that men can become transformed into healthy safe protectors that you would feel clean and shame-free around.

I know this because I have become that. Not only do my daughters have a loving father, but my wife has a husband that she can totally trust. I don t know if you have any church background, I would guess that you might, considering that 89% of strippers (I know you aren t a stripper) have a church background (Statistics from Stripped by Bernadette Barton). So maybe you have heard the story of the son that took his father’s inheritance and ran away from home to do evil. Then when the son returned to his father, he threw his arms around his son and cried because his son had returned. The son must have thought his dad would be angry with him, maybe he would be punished, or maybe he would have to be ashamed of what he had done. But the father loved him in such a way that the past was washed away and relationship was restored.

I know God as a Father in heaven that loves and cleanses us of our past. I believe that He has me writing to you today to tell you that He is calling for your heart. He loves you and wants to put the shattered parts of your heart back together. He wants to wash you clean from the shame, to stop the dark thoughts, to remove the bad dreams, and to put joy back in your heart. I see the happy little girl that you used to be, He wants to restore what was stolen from you. I believe that if you are honest and close your eyes and ask God to cleanse you and hold you close, you will be able to begin the same kind of relationship with Him.

God Treats Us According To Our Destiny, Not According To Our History

That is powerful. If you can grasp that truth, it will transform you into God’s highest desire for your life.

If you struggle in bondage to some sin, understand that you are not alone. Find a mature believer you feel you can trust, and take a brave step: “confess your sins one to another that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)

Sometimes, seeing another human look at you, through your struggle, as a sinner saved by grace, is one of the most helpful healing steps you can take.

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If we should have to die for our faith
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

If We Should Have To Die For Our Faith

No one is beyond saving.

That was the headline in a recent story from YWAM (Youth With A Mission) about an ISIS fighter who came to Jesus after a dream he had, in which Jesus said to him, “you’re killing my people.” Nabeel Quereshi (author of the book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus“) talks in that book about how God often speaks to muslims in dreams and visions.

We all know and admire who “The Apostle Paul” is. But sometimes we gloss over what “Saul of Tarsus” was like before he was confronted by Jesus in a vision. When you read the story in the book of acts about how Paul was saved, it is easy “skip on by,” and ignore the fact that Saul was a murderer and a chief persecutor of the church when this happened. It’s not that we deny it, or even that aren’t aware of it. But we move past it quickly. After all, we see how Paul turned out in the end, so we see that moment through the lens of a Christian eternity. Yes. He was a murderer. But God worked in it.

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the meaning of communion
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

What Is The True Meaning Of Communion

Most Christians have feelings and ideas about communion and what it means when we participate in communion. But do we fully grasp what it implies when we partake?

What is the true meaning of communion?

In the first epistle to the Corinthian Church, the apostle Paul made a very serious statement.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. (1 Cor 11:26-30)

Whether we see the bread and the cup as mere symbols representing His body and blood, or whether we see them actually somehow becoming Him in the sacrament of communion, there are implications we need to grasp when we partake. After all, doing so inappropriately comes with serious charges.

One passage from the old testament in 1st Chronicles, chapter 11, is particularly helpful in displaying a powerful concept when thinking about communion. There was a time when King David was embroiled with his men in battle against the Philistines. It was a very difficult day. David was with his men, in the heat, thirsty and tired. David made a statement that he was thirsty, and that he wished he could have a drink of water. His men responded quickly to what they thought was his request.

David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. And David said longingly, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the LORD and said, “Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it.

What did David mean when he asked, “Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men?”

David’s mighty men crossed deep behind enemy lines simply to fetch some water so their king could have a drink. They risked their own lives for the sake of quenching his thirst. David recognized that to drink this water would be to as much as say, “it is an appropriate risk they took – risking losing their lives so I would not have to be thirsty was an appropriate risk.”

He couldn’t do it. For him to drink that water was to say that his men’s lives were worth nothing more than his pleasure and convenience. He poured the water out because he could not act in a way that said this kind of sacrifice – their lives for the quenching of his thirst – was appropriate.

So what does this story have to do with communion? Perhaps looking at the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross from a different perspective may help. Richard Wermbrand presented this concept many years ago in his book, “100 Prison Meditations.” It is a stark reality of what we are proclaiming when we participate in communion. Let’s try to look at it from the day before the crucifixion.

You are a sinner. You know it.

You realize that even by your own standards of right and wrong, you fall short. You’ve watched Jesus. You know him, you know what he is like. He is perfect. He does no wrong. And you’ve seen him work miracles, love the children, raise the dead and scorch the pharisees with perfect exposure of their hypocrisy. You know God is well pleased with him.

Jesus comes to you, and says, “you are a sinner and your sin deserves punishment. The wages of sin is death. Tomorrow, they intend to crucify me. They will take me out and flog me with 39 lashes, laying my flesh open in gaping strips. They will place a crown of thorns on my head, and then they will take me to the top of the hill and lay me on a cross of wood and nail me to it. I will be left there to bleed to death. When they do this, you need to be the one to drive the nails in my hands and feet. You have to be a part of my scourging. You need to take the whip and use it to do what a whip does. When they make the crown of thorns, you must place it on my head, push it into my skull.”

“These things will be excruciating for me, and after I have suffered for a while, I will die. But a sacrifice is required to atone for your sin. And when I have die, you shall know that your sins are forgiven. You see, this is how a man get saved.”

And then Jesus asks a question that weighs heavy on you. He says, “there is no other way your sins can be forgiven. Either you must allow me to die for you, or you must pay the price yourself. Will you accept my suffering and death for your sins? Or do you prefer to pay for them yourself?”

When we participate in communion, we embrace a reality – an agreement with God – that Jesus’ blood was an appropriate price to pay so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have fellowship with God. And if we can do that with indifference and a lack of repentance from what caused us to be separated from our heavenly Father in the first place, we come under greater judgement than those who have never heard and believed.

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besetting sins
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

How To Overcome Besetting Sin

How do you get victory over besetting sins – a sinful habit or way of thinking?

Many people know the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat over some particular struggle with sin; they feel good about themselves when they get it right; they beat themselves up over it when they get it wrong. It becomes a barometer for the measure of their holiness in life; after a while, it becomes the WHOLE measure of their success in life and the amount of holiness they have obtained, or else the WHOLE measure of their failure as a Christian and what a horrible person they still are. Ironically, in some ways this “measuring stick” becomes their God – it is their focus, their goal, their indicator of how good they have become when they succeed, and an indicator of the need for self-punishment and self-loathing when they fail.

The problem is, you don’t get victory over a besetting sin by beating yourself up over it when you fail any more than you stay in victory by getting all excited when you have some successes along the way.

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when trusting God has to be enough
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

When Trusting God Has To Be Enough

There are times in life where trusting God is difficult, because we do not always understand what God is doing. There is a part in every one of us that recognizes what it is to see justice, and that part of us sometimes causes us to be angry when we see that someone is getting away with something that we know is not right or not fair. Sometimes we can get frustrated with God when we see the innocent suffering, or when we see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Richard Wurmbrand, in his book, “100 Prison Meditations” tells of a Hebrew legend about Moses sitting near a well at one time, meditating. A man, walking past, stopped to drink from the well and, as he did, his money belt fell into the sand. This man left, unaware of his loss. A little while later, a second man passed by the well. He saw the money belt and took it, and walked off without being noticed. Later on, yet a third man stopped to get a drink from the well and laid down to take a rest.

Now the first man, realizing that he lost his money belt, thought he may have left it at the well. So he returned there, after the second man who took it was long gone, and the third man was now there, asleep. The first man demanded his money back from this third man, who knew nothing about the money at all.

A fight broke out, with the first man accusing the third man of stealing his money, and eventually, with the first man killing the third man because he thought the guy was a thief, while the second man, who really was the thief, was now long gone.

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the ship that wont sink
Inspiration

The Ship That Won’t Sink

You Know In Your Head But It Still Doesn’t Make Sense

Recently, having dinner one day while on a cruise ship, I heard conversation going on at a nearby table.

“I don’t understand how this boat can float. I just can’t wrap my head around it. I get the physics behind it and everything. I know how it all works. But I just can’t picture it. This ship weighs 70,000 tonnes.”

I heard what she was saying, and I could understand the feeling. I know how it works, too. The boat sinks into the water to the point where the amount of water it pushes out of the way is the same weight of water as the weight of the ship. So simple in theory, but so hard to relate to.

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fifty shades of grey
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Fifty Shades of Grey

We All Know About Fifty Shades Of Grey. Maybe you haven’t thought about it like this before.

It is Sunday morning. Pastor Jones stands in the pulpit, his heart burning with a message about how important it is to be passionate about our relationship with God, and how much we must be consumed with a zeal for His heart.

Pastor Jones refers to King David and his psalms about following hard after God; how he rises up early in the morning to seek God’s face. And Pastor Jones says, “we must all be like David.”

The congregation, moved by his message, says, “Yes. Yes. We must all be like David.”

The next Sunday morning, Pastor Jones stands in the pulpit, his heart burning with a message about how important it is to be faithful in marriage; about how David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and what damage and chaos it brought in his life and the lives of those he touched with his infidelity and collusion to murder.

And Pastor Jones refers to the decieptfulness of sin and how much it destroys in our lives and our relationship with God, and says, “we must not be like David.”

The congregation, moved by his message. says, “No. No. We must not be like David.”

We All Fall Down

The scriptures have many records of generally good people who stumbled along the way. Abraham lied about his wife to save his neck; Samson was chosen as leader of his people, but gave into the wiles of a woman and lost so much. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and later had her husband killed to try to hide the evidence. Saul started out well, but as life went on, jealousy set in and he did many foolish and sinful things that destroyed the potential for God to use him. Some, like David, ended well. Others, like Saul, did not.

We all fall down sometimes. Like the lyric in the song says, “a saint is just a sinner who falls down, and gets up again.”

Micah 6:8 says

“He hath shown thee, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee? To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

We need to encourage each other to good works, always looking for a view of people as God sees them – looking at their potential to draw near, to repent of sin, to become more Christlike. “His anger is but for a moment; but his mercy endures to a thousand generations.” And remember that it ain’t over till it’s over.

Because, as much as we often want to see everything in black and white, the reality is that we are all just varying shades of grey.

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God speaks
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

God Speaks From Time To Time

There are some things that happen and they stick with you. I remember a moment very clearly that was one of those “stick with you” moments. Actually, it was fairly recently, and I hope it sticks with me forever, for the urgency it created in my soul at that moment.

I was listening to an audio version of a bible commentary on Romans, Chapter 9, written some time ago by a gentleman by the name of Andre Dellerba. And the point he made struck me in the moment as very profound.

God Speaks At Pivotal Points In Our Lives

What he said was that God speaks to us, occasionally, at pivotal moments in the history of our lives, and we are accountable for the decisions we make in those moments of time. Now, I know that the Holy spirit is constantly dealing with us as believers. There are times we hear Him nudging us in one direction or another – times when he convicts us of sin, or prompts us to contact that friend or relative that we just don’t enjoy spending time with, but they need us to do it.

Now, when Dellerba was discussing this issue of God speaking at pivotal times in our lives, he was speaking particularly about unbelievers, and how God will nudge them at particular points in their lives. His point was that God does not strive forever with man; and that as people harden their hearts to the promptings of the Spirit, God does not strive with people forever. God moves in specific moments and circumstances, and God will hold people accountable for how they respond to God in those moments when He speaks.

There Is A Price For Quenching The Spirit

As I was listening to this podcast, it struck me that there are times when God has spoken to me about issues in my life, and I chose to ignore those promptings of His Spirit. And I have to honestly say that in those moments in my life, where I knew that God was prompting me about a need to be obedient, and I chose to quench the Spirit about those issues where He was speaking to me, I’ve since had hard work to do in those areas in my life. I’ve had to turn over the fallow ground that resulted from my ignoring Him and choosing not to obey Him.

There is an even greater problem for the believer in ignoring those promptings of the Spirit that for the unbeliever, because the believer has an even greater witness. The believer has tasted, and has seen that the Lord is good. We walk not merely out of head knowledge or out of fear, but by the reality and the fellowship of the Spirit. The unbeliever, He prompts from the outside; for the believer, He is living inside, choosing to dwell with us, where He can be grieved in His very own home (John 1:14).

Do not forget that God’s purpose in saving us is not merely to get us out of hell. God’s ultimate purpose in saving us is to get the “hell” out of us. If we continue to ignore the promptings of His spirit, we can become ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:8). And if we do, what a waste we make of the purposes for which Christ died to save us.

The level to which we rise in our walk with Him when no one is watching us is the level to which He will be able to promote us and use us in the world. Strive always to walk in the awareness that the God of the universe walks with you, moment by moment and step by step. Strive to please Him, even when no one is watching.

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the greatest thing God wants
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

The Greatest Thing God Wants

Francis Frangipane speaks (in an interview during a podcast) of a time where he was so down in his life, so discouraged at the way his life was going. He was raising 5 children and a foster child, discouraged that he wasn’t sensing a clear direction for his place in life or where God wanted him to be. He was depressed about how he felt like a failure, and like he didn’t have any idea
about his true purpose in life.

One day, in desperation, he was crying out to God, hungering for God to speak to him and to show him what God wanted of him. God spoke to him, in that moment, very clearly, and said, simply, “love me where you are at now.”

Francis was taken aback by that; he was wanting something more specific from God about what he should do with his life. But God simply confirmed to him that the greatest thing God wanted from his life was that he love God with all his heart.

Rick Joyner talks about a time he took a road trip to spend some time with God, trying to discern what God’s purpose was for his life. And God spoke to him, and told him a powerful truth:
“It’s easy for me to find workers; what I’m looking for is friends.”

He hath shown thee, o man, what is good,
and what the Lord requires of thee –
but to do justly,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Yes, God delights in using you. But He COULD do it without you. He just chooses not to. He wants YOU to enjoy the journey as He works through you. But His ultimate purpose in working through you is not to get “stuff” done. His ultimate purpose in working through you is so that you can enjoy the journey with Him, being amazed at what He does, as you get to watch and to participate.

God’s greatest desire is to conform you to his holiness so that He and you can enjoy each other’s company. He doesn’t want your gifts, your talents or your service nearly as much as He wants to enjoy your company.

Draw near to Him, and let Him change you so that you and He can enjoy spending time together.

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I dont know
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Sometimes Saying You Don’t Know Is The Best Ministry

I remember, years ago, when I was working in a factory with a group of guys who knew I was a Christian and who knew that I was pretty vocal about it. At the time, the gospel was pretty simple for me. You have to make a choice. Jesus died for your sins. You have to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. (I still believe this, by the way.)

But at the time, there were a number of people in the group, of all persuasions. “Harry” was a guy that had a very tough skin, and a very hard background. He was the typical “biker gang” type of guy, who would make threats to hang people up and slice them open to watch them bleed out if you crossed him the wrong way. He watched me with curiosity, and we often compared stories and ideas about life. I don’t recall that I was ever afraid of him or anything. But it was obvious he didn’t really like me, or what I stood for.

“Gary” was another guy in the group. He was a nice guy – very gentle-spirited and always friendly. You’d never know, judging by his demeanor, that he ever had a care in the world. He always smiled, always had a kind word for people. It was interesting to watch the interaction between the guys in our work group. I noticed that Bob and Harry seemed to get along alright, though they would have been very much opposed philosophically. In fact, it was interesting to see that, although Gary and I would have agreed with each other about the bible, Harry seemed to like him when he didn’t like me.

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