" /> " />

Testimonies #1

“I will tell of all Your wonders, I will give thanks and rejoice in You.”Psalm 9:1-2

“So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39

Chris P.

My Testimony

(Psalm 107:18-21) — “Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.”

I was born in Brooklyn in 1960, one of 4 children. My father was a schoolteacher and an alcoholic. Because we always rented our family moved over 7 times. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother struggled to hold the family together. At about 13 years old, I started viewing p, and m. Three years later my father died, and by that time, I started smoking pot, viewing p, going to rock concerts, and hanging out on the streets dealing drugs.

I got more heavily involved in drugs, and my friends and I started visiting houses of prostitution. I believe I was trying to hide the pain of not having a father figure around. My mother during this time had several nervous breakdowns, but I believe the Lord helped her to provide money and shelter for all of us at this difficult time in our lives. Every day I would drift more and more away from my family, and more into the world of drugs and rock and roll. I remember spending all my paycheck to go to a Led Zeppelin concert. I got involved in homosexuality, and I sold my body for money on the streets of New York.

I was a reckless young confused person. One time when I was high with my friends, I got my front teeth knocked out, but I did not care. I got a bridge, and kept partying. Another time, I took money at a bar, but I did not realize it was owned by Hell’s Angels. Well, they beat me senseless. The Lord spared my life. Angels were fighting tooth and nail for me. I went to college in Long Island, and got high a lot with the kids on campus, and slept around a lot with girls. I did not respect myself, and had a very low self esteem.
One day when I was home from college, I was in a gym hitting a heavy bag, and a young guy came up to me and said, “Do you know about Jesus”, and after talking to me, gave me the gospel of John, and invited me to church. The next day, the preacher gave the altar call, and I accepted Jesus as my savior. I was so happy I started witnessing at 5:00 in the morning to people. Things started changing little by little in my life. I started to get involved in street evangelism, which I am still involved in.
It is amazing how the Lord can take someone from the streets, and put him back on the streets preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I met a girl at church and we started dating. She would send me notes, and express her feelings for me, but I could not accept it due to my own low self-esteem. I did not really know how to love. Another big reason is that I was involved with porn, and had such a distorted concept of what I wanted in a woman. I did not understand love. We dated on and off for about 3 years, and my family did not like her because she was a Christian, and they thought she was brainwashing me.

I finally decided after 3 years that I was going to marry her regardless of what my family thought. Still I continued to struggle with p and m and fantasy. I got my first job in 1982, and I finished my bachelors degree in NY. In 1990, I decided to leave my company for another, because I wanted to expand my knowledge. What I did wrong in leaving is, I worked with an agency that forged my resume, and I got a new job based upon my lies, most of them anyway.

It took a while, but my new employer caught on to me, and after about 1 1/2 years, I got fired. I went into a major depression. I was unemployed, my wife was pregnant, and I was falling fast. For a time I could not even read the bible. One day I came home and no one was there. I cried out — in my mental state, I thought my family had left me — I screamed out, “Lord help me,” and I picked up the Bible, and the first verses I went to were from Psalm 107, the psalm of deliverance. My wife and I had met two pastors about three months prior, a husband and wife from New Jersey. Little did I realize the part that they would play in my deliverance.

We called them and I started counseling with them. They taught me and my wife about spiritual warfare. They saw things in me that had to go, and at one point they said to me, “You are in love with your private parts,” and also they said, “You have to choose life.” After 3 months of intense counseling with them, the Lord opened a door for a job, and the first day, I realized my Freedom in Christ, and I was so happy. In fact the ministry that the two pastors run is called Freedom in Christ Ministries. (Editor’s note: they are not affiliated with this ministry.)

My family had a big argument with me and my wife, and we did not talk for two years. I was the first person saved in my family and I indeed understood what Jesus said that a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. Yet I had to make the choice to say yes to my Lord, and to my wife and family.

It hurt deeply that we did not speak to one another, and their was much witchcraft involved in my family all because I know now that the Lord was setting me and my wife apart for future ministry. We had a prophecy spoken over us that we would be involved in marriage ministry. I was still dabbling in soft core porn, and m. At this point my marriage made a dramatic change, and I started to look at my wife in a whole different way, as a woman of beauty, outside and inside.

She noticed the difference, but I still at times was in bondage to p & m, and fantasy. About 3 years later, I suffered a breakdown due to job stress. I worked in the telecommunications field and I was on call a lot. I was hospitalized twice. The second time, before I went into the hospital, I went on a p & m and drinking binge for a whole day in Manhattan. I went to strip clubs, and I could have been killed. The Lord indeed showed mercy to me.

After I started realizing my sin, I repented, and my life changed dramatically at home, and at the job. I took a job in a less stressful position installing computer software, which is the job I am currently in. I started paying attention to my role as the man of the house, and my wife and children noticed the change in me. The Lord was transforming me slowly as I was opening my heart to him. My self-esteem started to improve, and I really got involved in men’s ministry at church, and going to men’s fellowship.

My wife and I started a marriage ministry at church which bore much fruit. All this time, I was still struggling with internet porn, and at times losing the battle. Last year at work, I got called in the office, and my boss informed me that I was being warned about my viewing Internet porn on the work network. Thankfully, I did not get fired, but this was my wakeup call. About a week before this happened, a friend of mine, who I knew a long time, told me about a class he was starting called “Every Man’s Battle,” and he wanted me to come every week. It was an 8 week course.

After being called in the office, later at home it was time to face my wife, and tell her the news. It devastated her, and I knew I had to make a dramatic step. I told her I would be starting the class, and she was not sure of anything at that point. She was tired of the same old problem of porn, without any radical change.

It affected our bedroom, and our marriage. Well I started attending the class, and week by week, three of us in the class went through the lessons on repentance, triggers, techniques to fight against sexual sin, and a host of other topics. Things really changed regarding the area of purity. I was part of the Email group Freedom In Christ at work. My wife saw a definite change in me, and it reflected in how I treated her. My habits changed whenever I was in candy stores, walking past newsstands, — things I would never think about like bouncing my eyes away whenever an attractive woman would pass, I started doing. The Bible says we are a peculiar [unique, to be different than the world’s pattern of destructive thoughts, see Romans Chapter 12, verse 1-2] people, and now I understand why.

After the course completed my friendship with the moderator of the group grew, and we did a TV show on local cable, and the topic was sexual purity. We then decided to start a weekly accountability group, and we have about 8-10 men that come out every week, and we discuss the core issues of sexual purity every week. We have assigned accountability partners so we can check up on one another. I just started an “Every Man’s Battle” class at my job, and there are about four of us in the group.

I am currently going for a master’s degree online, and I am very much involved in my two sons’ lives. My boys are 13 and 9, and my commitment is to see them walk in sexual purity. This is one of my favorite scriptures: “Blessed is the man who walks in his integrity, his sons shall be blessed after him.” The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful wife who has been the most supportive godly woman I know. She put up with me!!!

I sing in a church choir in Manhattan every other Wednesday. We are two blocks from Ground Zero, and in so many ways the Lord has been using me, in different ministries, as I keep yielding to him. Teaching other men about being a man of purity has become my greatest desire in ministry; the devil is such a liar. My mom passed away about two years ago, and I am estranged from my brother and sister (my other brother lives in Florida and I speak to him occasionally).

I could have said more but I did my best to share my heart. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness, his mercy, and his grace. It is such a joy to share this testimony to show how the Lord can work in a believer’s life. He has made me the man I am today, the husband, the father, and friend. I love him so much, and I cannot wait to see him.

Signed: Chris P.

David

Brothers in Christ,

It has been several months since I posted anything to this group. My apologies to all of you for not giving you the support that I could have offered in posting to the group.

On December 17,2003 I finally realized that I had an addiction to porn and needed help. Through the next 10 1/2 months I have had several periods of going two to three months with no porn in my life. I would follow the porn free times with times of acting out and going back to some old habits.

In Feb of 2004 I found this group and joined. The e mails and support from the group have been good in helping to overcome the addiction. Just knowing that I am not the only one with the struggle is a comfort. During the following months I received the “Striving for Absolute Purity” workbook and went through the study with a few members of this group as partners. During the study for the first time I realized that my addiction stemmed from selfishness and pride. It is easy to admit selfishness and pride but impossible to break under my own ability and power. Daily I am reminded of my own selfishness and pride and that much of my life is lived for self and not for the Lord who created me.

During the last few months the realization that the only way to know the life that my creator God intended for me is to live daily for His purpose leaving all else behind. This is easy to say yet much harder to practice on my own when I am surrounded by the world and my family has needs, wants and desires.

This last Sunday I taught a lesson on Christ healing the demon possessed man and sending the demons into a herd of swine. As I studied to teach the lesson I could see myself and how the demon of porn had controlled my life and was still maintaining some control in my life. In my mind I want to rid myself of porn forever yet I continue to go to porn for relief, for pleasure, to meet my selfishness and maybe to run from the intimacy the Lord is calling me to. I am comfortable in my life and I know that when I reach a level of intimacy with the Lord that he calls me to he will call me to a new life, maybe giving up many of the comforts I now know. I want to live for Him, for his purpose and in many ways my present life is not fully living for his purpose. In much of the study I have done on addiction a common theme is that as we reach for our addiction we are really crying out with our need for Christ and for an intimacy with Christ. I know the only way to leave the addiction is to allow Christ and the Holy Spirit to work in me. Just as the demons possessed the man and no man could contain him or control him I cannot control the addiction or put it out of my life on my own. I have to give the addiction to Christ for healing.

As I am healed from the addiction I like the demon possessed man must tell others how Christ healed me and how he offers the gift of eternal life. To this date only those in this group and my wife know of my addiction. I continue to be afraid to admit to anyone the addiction and habits, afraid of losing the respect of others, afraid of the shame that it will bring to my family, afraid of the hurt to my children to know that Dad is addicted to porn.

Lord, today once again I lay my sin at your feet. Only through your strength can I be free of the addiction. Today I give myself fully to you, submitting to your will and seeking the intimacy of the relationship that you have called me to. I do not know where you will lead me in this life or how long you will allow me to live in this earthly tent. I do know that you have a place for me in eternity and that I should live daily to build for eternal life not worrying about the things of today. Lord I am a sinner and only through your strength can I find healing and forgiveness. Thank you Lord for your awesomeness and creation and making me a part of your creation. Lead me Lord, Lead me.

Brothers, thank you for letting me be a part of this group and for the messages many of you have sent and especially for the prayers you have offered on my behalf.

In His Love,

David

Bryan

“A Word of Encouragement on Your Journey Through Recovery”

Dear Brothers,

I know at times when you are first beginning to deal with the issue of P & M and sexual addiction, it can often be discouraging. I have only heard of a couple of people who were instantly delivered from their acting out, for others it is a process. Remember we did not get in this situation overnight. Many have spent 10, 20, 30 or more years of regularly acting out in a manner that brings guilt, shame, and distances you from God and others.

It has cost you time, money, sleep, productivity and your health. I know, I have been there. I love what Tony (the moderator of this group) says – it is progress and not perfection. This is not a cop out to continue acting out, but just stating how it is for most people in recovery from this addiction. You did not get here overnight, so brothers take a deep breath, grab a hold of God’s hand and with His guidance begin taking one step at a time.

There is a lot of wisdom here at this group, but it will do you no good if you do not begin applying it. The goal of this group is to see you healed, delivered, restored, and brought into right relationship with God. I began this journey of healing almost 3 years ago, and am not the same person I was when I began. I am no longer a sinner who sometimes gets it right, I am a saint who sometimes sins, but I am no longer bound by sin. Jesus has broken the chains and the cycle that once bound me to almost daily acting out.

People always ask, well, does healing from this begin from the inside out, or the outside in. The answer is both. God can and does use both internal and external changes to assist in the process of breaking the sin/wallow-in-sin/repent cycle. I know for me I have more strength to face temptations when I ardently pursue a daily quiet time with the Lord. I know that as I drink of the living water of Life, I don’t want to drink from the broken cisterns of P & M.

I also know that there are places that I cannot go, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to go there, so God has given me wisdom to put boundaries in my life. Boundaries are safeguards to protect me. I know I cannot go on an unfiltered computer, so I use Cleanweb (Editor’s note: This service provider is apparently no longer in business. See our filtered internet page for information on other companies.) as my ISP, but knowing that I try to go around filters.

Another boundary I have is http://www.covenanteyes.com, which lets my accountability partner know what I am doing online at all times. I also know that I have legitimate sexual needs… that being the case I know God has given me a beautiful wife to meet those needs. Instead of running to another, I need to work at building my relationship with my wife inside and outside the bedroom. In fact God is showing me that I am to love my wife as Christ loves the church.

I am learning to deal with life a little differently these past few years. I used to try to be the lone Ranger and handle everything myself… (way too hard). Now I am learning to ask for help. I am learning to seek counsel, and talk about my problems and burdens with God and another human being regularly. For me stress was one of the major reasons I would act out, at least it was a big trigger. Now I need to realize I shouldn’t take on too much at a time. I am also realizing that I need to take care of my body by exercising regularly in a safe environment.

Be encouraged brothers, God will take this very destructive addiction and use it for good. He will take your very weakness, and use it to draw you to Himself. He will use it to teach you to walk a different way. So do not ever give up. If you fall get back up. Talk with a brother that can work through why you are continuing to fall in the same area.

Remain teachable, remain transparent, remain humble and be obedient to what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. There is light at the end of the tunnel on this thing. Do not give up, God is healing His people, God is rebuilding the broken walls in our lives.

Blessings on each of you,

Bryan

 

Keith W.

It’s spring 2010 and I’m in the middle of a divorce. My wife has falsely accused me of abusing our two children. After two separate reports to Children and Youth Services were determined to be unfounded she filed a report with the police.

Last March after having about a year of clean time I let the pressure get to me and was once again struggling with porn. Seeing as I lost a job in 2005 for viewing porn at work I went to my employer and asked for a filter on my laptop. After a lengthy search of my laptop and deliberation they decided that there were times I needed my laptop unfiltered to do my job and that if I could disable the filter there was no difference then not having a filter and they determined I could not do the job they were paying me for but they would try to help me find another job in the company. Despite her knowledge of all this my wife continues to tell people that I was fired from this job as well as two others for looking at porn. I have been unable to find work since last April and am now at the point where I am having to call creditors and tell me I cannot make payments.

Two weeks ago I was given an EKG as a screening for a clinical drug trial which would have paid me $550 and they said my EKG was abnormal and they could not take me and suggested I take the EKG to my doctor and, of course, not having a job I don’t have health insurance or a doctor.

Despite all this my purpose in writing this is first and foremost to tell of God’s faithfulness. I continue to find alternate sources of income. I do have an interview tonight and am going to a job fair tomorrow. A lie detector test has concluded I did not harm my children. I found a doctor in town who charges $20 for an office visit for people without insurance and he was able to give me a prescription for antibiotics which a local pharmacy filled for free. That due to the fact that some bad teeth I have are likely connected with my heart problem. And lastly, by God’s grace I have been able to keep clean for 93 days now. I now that’s a long way from the 12 months clean time I once had but I am trusting God one day a time and I am learning more and more each day how faithful he is.

Flash forward to June 2010. News breaks that a nurse was being accused of having falsified or exaggerated descriptions of sexual abuse in her reports. The district attorney was asking judges to review any cases involving reports from this nurse. As you probably have guessed this was the nurse who examined my daughter and filed the child sex abuse report. As a result of the review the judge ruled that instead of the indefinite period of supervised visitation I would have three months of supervised visits followed by at least six months of unsupervised visits, but still requiring me to make the 4 hour trip to where my wife moved. After the six months I can appeal for overnight visits. That was the first prayer answered.

So my three months of supervised visits are coming to a close. Having to make the trips was not easy considering my lack of funds but I was able to get family to supervise so at least I was not having to pay someone to do that. Knowing that my six months of unsupervised visits will extend through the winter a big concern was where I would spend my six hour visits with my kids. I found a hotel in the area of the visits that has a meeting room which they normally rent out for $50 for 2 hours but the manager was willing to give me for $20 per visit. That was my second prayer answered.

Then just this week I received a job offer which was pretty much out of the blue. I had conducted a phone interview with this company about three weeks ago and they said they liked me and would contact HR to schedule an onsite interview. After three weeks of hearing nothing I assumed that door was closed when yesterday I got a call and they made me an offer without my ever having a face to face interview. I start Sep 20 and will be making a little more than I was previously making. This was the third prayer answered.

These were just the big miracles. Also thrown in there are things like paid clinical drug trials I have been able to take part in which supplemented unemployment and the opportunity to develop some more friendships which are helping to stabilize me emotionally and spiritually.

My walk in recovery has not been without struggles and that is a concern since viewing porn at work has gotten me fired and played into my being let go from my last job, but I know that God is faithful and has been taking me through these trials for a purpose which will lead to his glory.

Keith W