Editor’s note: The following address was delivered by a client of Pure Life Ministries at his graduation from their live-in program to overcome sexual and pornography addictions.
October 2004 – Good morning ladies, men, and visitors. I have but a few minutes to communicate what the Lord has done in my life for the past seven months in my stay here at Pure Life Ministries, but before I begin, would you pray with me?
Heavenly Father, may the words that I speak glorify You and encourage and edify those present. May You, Oh Lord, be magnified in our hearts now, in Jesus name I pray.
About a year ago, my wife and I were standing in our kitchen talking. Our house was sold, our marriage was in divorce court, she was moving to Georgia and she was trying to get me to consider coming to this program. I stood there in all my pride and stubbornness saying there was no way I was going to quit my job and go to some program in Kentucky for six months. I’m not that bad! There is no way I will even consider it! No way!
And now, I am standing at this podium on my graduation day with a testimony about the most wonderful life-changing experience I have ever had. And I owe it all to the glory of God.
When I arrived here on May 19, my life was a mess, my marriage was over, I had given up on God, and I had no hope. I was in despair, I was depressed, angry, confused, and I didn’t trust anyone, including God. I had been in sexual sin for at least 25 years, and I didn’t believe there was any way out. My heart was hard. It was heavy and calloused but, guess what? The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword and can pierce even the hardest of hearts. And that is what began to happen in me.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light.”
Well, my soul did need a resting place. So, I put on His yoke and for a while it seemed heavy, awkward, and even painful, but then I learned that it wasn’t His yoke that was burdensome, it was my own stubborn, prideful will. My rebellion and disobedience to God was what was standing in the way to receive what was being taught here and soon I learned that the less I resisted God’s ways, the easier and lighter became His yoke. And all along the way, the Great Physician was working like a skilled surgeon, ever so slowly and gently on my heart, carefully cutting away and removing my calloused, sinful, and rebellious nature and replacing it with Godly attributes.
In I Peter 4:12 it says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” I was in the wilderness. It was hot, dry, and uncomfortable. God was testing, trying, and challenging me at every turn, and I had nowhere else to go but to Him. He became my all-in-all. He showed me mercy. He delivered me from my temptations. He redeemed me and transformed me into His likeness. “For I am confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
And then, in Matthew 9:13, Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”
You see, God was not impressed or even interested in what I sacrificed to come here. His will is mercy and He wanted Matthew 16:24-26 to become real to me, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man profit if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul.” And I was in DANGER of losing my soul before I came here. Professing to be wise, I was a fool! Therefore, God gave me over to the lusts of my heart.
There was no fear of God before my eyes. I was a dying branch on the vine and the vinedresser, the Lord, kept pruning me back to the next bud until there was almost nothing left to prune. Yet, in His great mercy and patience, He gave me another season. He pruned me back hard and then He poured out His river of mercy into my life through the counseling sessions, the worship services, the preaching, the videos, prayer times, homework and the fellowship. God did everything He could to reach my hardened heart through His love, compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, and MERCY and now I can say I am like the man in II Corinthians 5:16, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
God has given me a spiritual backbone and I will never be the same again! God shattered and broke that hard shell over my heart and He is now in the process of molding and shaping my heart into what He desires it to be.
In closing, I would like to impart this to you guys before I depart to Georgia with my lovely wife. Press in to God! Grab onto Him with everything you have and don’t let go! It is a privilege to be here. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and if you dig in, I mean really dig in to what God is offering you here, He will reward and bless you and you will never regret your decision to come here—I guarantee it.
Dear Lord, I thank you for this ministry that was created in the very throne room of God. Thank you for the men and women on staff who are willing vessels of your mercy that is poured out to us daily. Thank you for my dear wife who has endured me with great patience and whom the Lord used to convince me to come here. And most of all, thank you, Father, for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, as the supreme act of mercy as He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds, we are healed. Bless these men for the remainder of their stay in this program. Bless us all this day, in Jesus holy name, I pray. AMEN.
White Ribbon Against Pornography project 2004
Protection from Pornography Week and the White Ribbon Against Pornography Campaign take place this year from October 31 through November 7. The project is coordinated by Morality in Media.
Morality in Media says it is not too late to write to the two leading candidates for the White House and ask them to make a public, unequivocal statement in favor of vigorous enforcement of federal obscenity law. Campaign addresses are:
• George W. Bush
P. O. Box 10648
Arlington, VA 22210
Web site: www.georgewbush.com
• John Kerry
John Kerry for President
P. O. Box 34640
Washington, DC 20043
At their own Web site, www.moralityinmedia.org, the group also offers a model letter to the candidates and many other resources including what you can do to combat pornography during Protection from Pornography Week, information on the White Ribbon Campaign, a quick primer on obscenity laws and a model letter to the editor.
Model sermons for porn awareness and a model proclamation observing the week are also there.
Morality in Media is a national, not-for-profit, interfaith organization established in 1962 to combat obscenity and uphold decency standards in the media. It maintains the National Obscenity Law Center, a clearinghouse of legal materials on obscenity law, and conducts public information programs to educate and involve concerned citizens. (Phone: 1-212-870-3222; E-mail: email@example.com.
• www.faithfulandtrue.com – Dr. Mark Laaser offers five-day intensive workshops for those struggling with sexual addictions.
• www.purelifeministries.org – a premier ministry to those dealing with sexual sin or pornography addiction. Pure Life offers a 6-12 month live-in recovery program.