The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
Secret Weapons For Your Fight Against Lust – Volume 3!!!

Ok, my friends.  It’s time for another SECRET WEAPON as we figure out how to stand our ground against lust.

Before we get started, here’s what I want you to know: all of us here in Chicago believe in you.  We love you.  We stand with you.  And we know that, day by day, bit by bit, you can walk forward on this thing.

That’s right, I’m talking to *you*.

Ok.  Let’s DO THIS.  It’s time for SECRET WEAPON NUMBER 3!

Finding A New 10 Minute Mood Changer”

The average time spent on a porn website is not even 9 minutes.  (Technically, it’s 8:56.)  Now, forgive me for being a little blunt, but this isn’t a huge surprise.  Those of us who have struggled with porn (that being everyone, everywhere on earth) know how this thing works.  Step 1 is ‘find something on a porn site that gets you all hot and bothered’.  Step 2 is ‘have an orgasm.’  And Step 3 is ‘huh, my interest in this porn website has just dramatically decreased!’

Now, if you talk to people about why they look at porn, what you’ll find out is that many – and sometimes most – of the reasons have little or nothing to do with sex.  Folks look at porn because they’re stressed out, because they’re bored, because they’re lonely…and they want something to make them feel better.  That makes sense.  And, of course, as you probably know, orgasms influence your brain chemistry, so, in a literal sense, the process is making you feel better.

With that in mind, let’s do a thought-experiment.  Pretend with me that you’d never heard of porn.  And I tell you, there’s a thing that, in about 10 minutes, will help you to feel better, whether you’re bored or stressed or lonely or tired.

If you’re like me, you’d say, “That sounds great!  Tell me more!”  And that would be the right response – who doesn’t want to have something they can do in 10 minutes to help them feel better?

The good news is this: porn is not the only thing that can help you feel better in 10 minutes.

Here’s just a quick list of things you can do in 10 minutes that will pretty much always help you to mentally relax and feel better:

  • Get up, walk out the door, and grab a cup of coffee
  • Put on some music real loud and bust out your best dance moves
  • Get out your guitar and sing some of your favorite worship tunes
  • Put on your shoes and go for a quick run
  • Write an email to a friend and tell them how much you appreciate them 

Any of these things can be done in about 10 minutes, and you’ll feel better at the end of all of them.  Whether you’re lonely, bored, stressed – this stuff will help.  Sure, none of these things is a cure for stress or loneliness, but that’s not the point.

The point is that we all need 10-Minute-Mood-Changers in our lives.  (Porn just happens to not be a good one.)  We all need little things we can do to help us relax and get out of a funky headspace. And I bet that you can build on this list.  I bet you can come up with even better 10-Minute-Mood-Changers, and ones that would work really well for you and your situation.

Here’s a bonus secret weapon.  Keep a list, on your phone, of your favorite mood changers.  And when you start to feel lonely or tired or whatever – something that’s gonna try and tempt you to turn to lust – open up that list.  Cause you know these are all things that will help.  Then, pick one, and go do it.

At the end of that ten minutes, I bet you two things.  First, you’ll feel better – you won’t be as tired or stressed or bored as you were 10 minutes ago.  And, second, because you’re feeling better, your desire to look at something lustful has gone down quite a little bit.

You can do it.  You can find things that will help you change your mood in 10 minutes, and that will help you stand firm against lust.

We love you.  Keep your head up.

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Secret Weapons for Your Fight Against Lust – Vol. 2!!!

This is post number 2 in our new series of SECRET WEAPONS to help in your fight against lust.  You ready to ROCK THIS THING??

Before anything else, remember this: You can do it.  You can move forward on this, a piece at a time, and that’s just right.  Nobody’s expecting you to be perfect.  In point of fact, that’s why we need Jesus.  We all struggle with this arena, we all feel tempted, and you’re not alone. 

So, the goal is improvement.  And you can do it.  We believe in you.

With that in mind, here’s SECRET WEAPON NO. 2!

Always Know What Day It Is”

Here in Chicago, we work with a lot of folks coming out of drug addiction.  And for folks in addiction recovery, the most tempting day of the week is…payday.

Think about it: on payday, you’re walking around with a pocket full of money, and so your odds of giving in to temptation go way up, ‘cause it’s so much easier to do.

There’s a similar phenomenon with porn.  Porn sites see more traffic on Monday than any other day of the week. 

Now, that could be because people are bored at the beginning of their week.  And, plenty of people don’t have anything going on during Monday evening, so maybe it’s the free-time.  But, either way, your average person is more likely to look at porn on Monday than any other day of the week.

So, what does that mean for you?  You probably have a most-tempting-day, too.  It may not be Monday, but I bet you have one.  If you think back over the last few weeks, I bet there’s a day each week where you’re more likely to get tripped up by temptation.

Take a second and think about it – and don’t waste any time feeling ashamed.  Just think back and see if there’s a day that sticks out as particularly tempting.

If you found that you have a particular day out of the week where the temptation is strongest, then the next step is to make sure that, as much as possible, you keep that day busy and filled with a lot of good fellowship.

So, say your day is Monday.  Maybe you’re done with school or work around 4, and you just have a big stretch of time before you, and that creates a lot of temptation.  The answer is to fill that time.  Make a tradition to go to dinner with your friends every Monday night.  Make Monday afternoon your bookstore time where you go and find some cool new book or album to check out.  Maybe set-up a little prayer meeting with some buddies late on Monday night.

Either way, if you find the day that you’re most likely to be tempted, and structure it to reduce that temptation, you’ll have just taken a great big step forward in your fight against lust.

You can do it.  We believe in you.

New Series: Secret Weapons for your Fight Against Lust!

A lot of folks who read this blog are struggling with lust.  (There’s no shame – we’ve all been there.  Seriously.  All of us.)

That struggle can get discouraging because, at a certain point, it feels we’re just falling over and over again, with no improvement in sight.

If that’s where you’re at, I’m sorry.  All of us here in Chicago love you, and we believe in you, and we’re praying for you.

And, we want to help.  So, today, we’re kicking off a new series on SECRET WEAPONS to use in your fight against lust.

But here’s the important part – in the spirit of spy movies everywhere, these secret weapons come FROM BEHIND ENEMY LINES!!!

See, one of the largest porn sites in the world regularly publishes a bunch of data about when, where, and how often people access their webpage.  (You don’t have to see anything naughty to get the data – folks like Gizmodo write it up.)

And that data gives us some really key strategies for combating lust more effectively.

Here’s today’s SECRET WEAPON!

“Anything You’re Excited About Will Help Keep You Away From Porn”

Ok.  This will sound obvious the moment I say it, but bear with me.  Anything you’re excited about and putting your attention and focus on will keep you from looking at porn.  I’ll explain.

Have a TV show you’re excited about?  You aren’t watching porn while you’re watching Dr. Who.

Your team made the playoffs and the big game is tonight?  You aren’t watching porn while you’re watching LeBron and the Heat get after it.

Celebrating the Holidays with family or friends? If you’re unwrapping gifts then you’re not…well, you get where this is going.

Check this out – porn usage goes down by about 30% on Christmas Day.  It goes down by about 30% during major sporting events.  Heck, important TV shows (say, the finale of The Walking Dead) can knock down porn traffic by 10%.

What does this mean for you?  One SECRET WEAPON in your struggle against lust is to develop hobbies and interests and a social life - things you’re excited about – and make sure that those are peppered throughout your week.  Because, when you’re busy watching Sherlock with your friends and cutting up and having fun and getting some good fellowship going, not only are you not looking at anything naughty, you’re actually getting built up and getting strength for those moments when you don’t have something fun going on.

So take some time this week to think about the hobbies and events and get-togethers you’re gonna make sure are in your life to give you some breathing room as the Lord helps you get stronger at dealing with lust.

We love you.  Keep your head up.

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Take the time to read this and pass it on.  Fo, lo, it is awesome sauce.

unkaglen:

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Anonymous asked: I have a friend struggling with lust and masturbation. He is a Christian and is aware that it is a sin but he told me he sometimes couldn’t help it. What could be a good and practical solution for this?

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Unka Glen answered: Ah, the friend, yes. How about this for a…

Go Now, And Leave Your Life Of Sin

We’re all supposed to believe that God forgives us.  And, sure, intellectually, we do.  But, for a lot of us, that just isn’t how we feel.

Truth is, we don’t feel forgiven.  We don’t feel “free”.  No, for a lot of us, we feel dirty, used-up, and out of second chances.  We might know that isn’t true, but that knowledge doesn’t change the feeling.

If you feel that way, this is for you.

There’s an amazing moment in the Bible where Jesus comes face-to-face with a woman caught in the act of sinning.  And, I’m talking about big old embarrassing sexual sin, the kind you hope nobody ever finds out about.

Jesus says two things to this woman. First, he says, “I do not condemn you.”  Second, he says, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  (You can read the whole story in John chapter 8.)

Now, the first one - I don’t condemn you - that sounds about right.  I mean, Jesus is supposed to forgive people, so, that makes sense.

But let’s look at that second one.  "Go now and leave your life of sin."

If you asked most people what it means to leave a “life of sin”, they’d say, “Simple!  Stop doing bad stuff!”  But I’m not sure that’s exactly it.

See, sin, at its core, is about selfishness.  It’s a focus on me, and what I think might satisfy me at any given moment, regardless of anybody else.  By contrast, a life driven by God’s Spirit is a life focused on God, what God wants, and what God is doing.  (For more on this, check out the book of Galatians, and especially chapter 5.)

So, then, if our hearts and thoughts are consumed with beating up on ourselves for past sins, and trying to grit our teeth and whip ourselves to resist present temptations, sin is still the thing at the center of our lives.  We’re focused on our jacked-up mess, and what the heck is wrong with us, and how terrible we are.

Here’s what the Bible says about that:

"Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored." (Romans 8:8, MSG)

Whoa.  That does not sound good.  Ok.  So, what do we do instead?

We recognize that leaving a life of sin is about, well, leaving a life of sin.  It’s about putting something else at the center of our thoughts and energies.  It’s about having a life driven by something other than the draw and repulsion of sin.

If you want to leave your life of sin, I’ve got two suggestions for you.

First, don’t wait around for your emotions to agree with what God is telling you. He says you stand forgiven, and you do.  Waiting for 100% buy-in from your feelings…that’s a very long wait.

Second, take the focus off of yourself, and put it onto loving other people. 

It sounds funny to say it out loud, but, people who are hurting, people who are going through a rough time, they don’t care what you’ve done in your past.  The lonely kid in class who cuts himself?  If you’re willing to talk to him and be a friend, he’s not going to double check the last time you looked at porn before accepting your company.  The homeless guy at the soup kitchen who hasn’t eaten in three days?  He couldn’t care less if you went too far physically with your last boyfriend.  It just doesn’t matter.

And when you start to focus on loving other people, instead of obsessing over your sins, you’ll begin to realize, for yourself, that the sins don’t matter in the way you thought they did.  Sure, they were wrong.  Yes, we want to work on not doing them.  But they don’t define you.  They don’t tell you who you are.  And they don’t tell you what your life is about.

Beloved, leave your life of sin.  Leave your life of guilt and shame and introspection and obsession.  Jesus has a real life he wants to give you – a life following Him, a life serving others – and, I promise, it’s absolutely amazing.

I’m A Girl, and I Might Be Attracted To Other Girls. What Do I Do?

Anonymous asked:
Hey Jed! So I’m writing this message at 3 am. I’m so confused about life, God, etc. it hurts because I KNOW God loves me. The thing is, I may be attracted to women as I do men. I felt this way for as long as I can remember although it never really bothered me. I’m a shy person but at times, around my close friends, I’m funny and outgoing. Recently though it hit me hard. My words are scrambled and I’m really starting to lose focus on Jesus, my Savior.. I don’t know what to do Mr. Jed, I’ve also have been watching porn as well and I just really need God more than ever..

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey sis,

Thanks for your note. 

It sounds to me a little bit like you’re freaking yourself out.  Like you’re letting a lot of disconnected details try and tell you a big fat lie about your life.  For what it’s worth, sometimes, I do that, too.  And it’s no fun at all.

So, you may be attracted to women, too.  Ok.  Well, what do we do with that?  Simple: take it to God, and tell him what the deal is.

Like you say, there’s been an element of that attraction within you for a long time, and we don’t know exactly where it comes from.  That doesn’t leave you with anything to feel bad about, sis.  You didn’t decide to be “naughty”; you’re just trying to live your life, which is what all of us are trying to do.

The key is to take it to God.  Tell him, “God, I’m attracted to women.  I’m not quite sure what to do with that.  But I know you’re not looking down on me in the midst of that.  I need you to give me peace about where I’m at today, and wisdom on where to go with this tomorrow.”

To avoid any trollish responses to this post, allow me to note that, no, same-gender sexual intercourse is not a right thing.  There.  Now, then, let’s review where you’re at:

  • You like looking at porn.  This is totally normal.  (Yes, it’s naughty.  We’re all clear on that.)  As it turns out, everybody likes looking at naked bodies. 
  • You’re somewhat attracted to folks of the same gender.  OK.  That’s true for a lot of people.  (The numbers vary a bit, but folks who experience same-gender sexual attraction are about 1-in-10.  That’s about the same percentage of people who are left-handed.)
  • You feel freaked out.  Well, dang, sis, that’s true for a whole lot of people, and just about every young person on the planet.

None of the above makes you a freak, or a weirdo, or a super-sinner.  It makes you a normal person with sexual desires who’s trying to figure out how to live and follow Jesus.  And that’s no easy thing.

God is not looking down on you.  I promise.  And, more than that, he’d love to talk about your sex life, who you find attractive, where that’s coming from, and where he wants to see it go.  In other words, God has a whole lot more to say on the subject of your sex life than “just don’t.”

I’d encourage you, in your prayer life, to start being completely honest with God about how you’re feeling, who you’re attracted to, and how you feel about that attraction.  And then I’d encourage you to memorize this verse, and claim it as true for yourself:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

God gets it, sis.  He understands.  More than you do.  He understands, and he’s not looking down on you.  He wants you to share your heart with him.  And he wants to give you wisdom on where your desires are coming from.  And he wants to guide you into a life where you are truly satisfied.  I promise.

Is It A Sin To Have A Wet Dream?

Anonymous asked:
I have a question. See, my major that I’ve been working on in my life is kicking out masterbation and porn. I’ve been doing good this week but I was wondering if ‘wet dreams’ (I was gonna say something more medical sounding but couldn’t think of anything) are, bad I guess.

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey bro,

Well, there’s a short answer to this question, and a long answer to this question.

The short answer is, no, nocturnal emissions (the more medical sounding name for wet dreams) are not bad.  Although there is not 100% agreement in the medical community, it’s commonly believed that nocturnal emissions occur more frequently in the absence of masturbation.  In other words, your body has business it wants to take care of, and if you don’t join in, it will just do it without you.

Likewise, psychology says that the things you refuse to think about during the day get worked out in your subconscious mind at night.  And you don’t have any choice in the matter. 

So, no, it’s not a sin, it’s not bad, and it doesn’t make you dirty.  That’s the short answer.

The longer answer starts with a question: why would you think that a wet dream is bad in the first place?

You are a sexual being.  God designed you that way.  On purpose.  I think it’s fantastic that you’re taking a stand against lust in your life, but the goal of that stand is not to become a genderless gnome.  The goal of that stand is to submit your sexuality to God, and let him tell you what to do with it.

The problem with lust is not that it’s sexual, it’s that it’s a distortion of God’s plan for sexuality.  Likewise, gluttony is not a sin because food is bad, it’s a sin because it presents a perversion of God’s plan for food.

Sexuality is a good thing.  It’s a beautiful thing.  There’s an entire book of the Bible devoted just to celebrating it.  (If you ever start to wonder if God’s a cool dude, remember that the Bible has a whole book of music, and a whole book of sex.)

If you want to do something truly righteous as regards your wet dreams, let them remind you that you are, inescapably, a sexual being, and that God designed you that way.  Let them serve as a reminder to go to God and say, “I have a lot of info on what you don’t want sexuality to be in my life, but what do you want it to look like, and how to I start to live into that?”

For a lot of Christians, their goal seems to be to pretend that sexuality doesn’t exist until their wedding night.  That is a terrible idea, and it doesn’t work.  For the sake of you, and your future spouse, and your future marriage, and your future family, do not do that.

Make no mistake: God has firm boundaries on sexual stuff that shouldn’t be a part of your life right now.  But you already know that.  My guess, bro, is that what you’re less clear on is what he does want to be a part of your life today, in regards to sexuality. 

So, begin that journey.  Read Song of Songs.  Get with a pastor or mentor you respect and ask, “What does it take to be a good husband?  And what does it take to have a healthy sex life in marriage?  And what should a healthy sex life look like in marriage?  How is it supposed to work?” 

What you’ll find is that a good marriage, and a good sex life, will require you to be a certain kind of dude.  You’ll need to be confident but humble.  Kind but not cloying.  Inspiring but not overbearing.  Start working on those traits in yourself today, and rest easy in the sure knowledge that God is preparing a good woman for you, and that a day is coming soon when you will lay your burden down.

A great post about how to talk about pornography, lust, etc in the context of a Bible study or youth group!  Check it!

thebridgechicago:

Anonymous asked: Every semester or so, my youth group will talk about sex and relationships. I try to tell the guys that if they have any problems with lust or porn, that they can come talk to me but no one has. I’m pretty sure most of if not all of these guys struggle with that. How do I get…