Understanding

I have been told that I don’t have any understanding about addiction. I’ll own that because I don’t want any understanding about it, at least not from the addiction and use of it!

I apologize to those who read my previous post about an accidental overdose that I experienced because I wasn’t careful about what I was doing. Yes, it was an accident. I didn’t do it to try out the addictive nature of opiates like hydrocodone.

While I was “feeling the effects” of it, a voice in my mind was telling me to try it again. I remember that very clearly but I also remember that feeling of not being in control, not being myself and feeling….well I am not sure what I was feeling, but it felt good for a while. The next day I was sick and nauseous all day, my eyes had pinpoint pupils, even the smell of food didn’t smell good to me.

Why am I writing this? Because, I am not judging anyone who is addicted to any kind of drug, but there is God Who can help in all types of addiction. Note, I didn’t say “a” God, but God Himself! Don’t pay attention to those who look down on your trouble, if they can’t get out of their own pew and get to know you and why things are happening or have happened to you, find another church! There are many who will help and can understand because, even though there are few who practice what Jesus taught us they do exist.

Thank you for telling me that I don’t know what I am talking about, at least that makes me feel like someone read my post for a change. I had intended to get rid of this blog, but maybe some part of it may help, if not then visit http://thelivingmessage.com, maybe some of what I put up there will give you some encouragement.

Three words….

In the Old Testament, there are two words which contrast the way that God shows His love and patience for us, and they are “but God”. The third word is mostly seen in the New Testament and it is “therefore”. What do these words have to do with salvation or a sanctified life in Christ and in relationship with God?

They show us what His love for us means enough that He is about to do something which will make a difference in many lives, not just in one person’s life. The statements which come after these words most often signify a change for the entire human race regarding God’s love and patience toward us all.

When you see “therefore” in the New Testament, it means simply that whatever follows is done, period. Some examples of these words and what follows are listed here:

Genesis 8:1
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Genesis 31:42
If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

1 Samuel 23:14
David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. 

The reason that I didn’t include “therefore” statements from the New Testament is because there are so many of them. Nearly every chapter in Matthew and Luke’s gospel has one. All of the letters which Paul wrote have them, so it would be prohibitively long.

All of these examples show that God cares for us, not just the Israelites but the whole of humanity! Why? Because, He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die in our place, to suffer the scorn and the abandonment upon the cross if He did not love us!

Why do you think that Jesus said to His disciples, “Suffer the little children to come unto me”, because children don’t need a “why” or a reason to believe…they just do! This is the kind of faith that we seem to lose as adults. We get so caught up in life and in our living until we can’t or won’t believe unless we can touch it or feel it in our hands. This is why there will be so many “Christians” in hell one day! Many of them think that they know Jesus and that they believe in Him, when they really believe in the idea of Him and His love for them. The “idea” won’t save their souls!

We have to shed our veil, the curtain which we have been seeing Him through and look at Him as our Creator and our Savior and see Him as a real and living person, not as a “quaint idea” that is spoken of in the Bible and at church. Many times during my life when I thought that I was a “Christian”, I prayed and I read a few verses of scripture. But, I never did get into the Temple. I never crossed the threshold of the outer court, let alone come into the Holy Places where God is. God enjoyed a relationship with Adam and Eve for a while, yet we don’t know how long it was. They were immortal at that point, so it could’ve been a long time. This is the sort of relationship that He wants with His church, His people today.

Do we come near to Him? Do we visit with Him every day or do we just visit for an hour or so on Sunday morning, then go home and don’t think about Him again until next week? How would you feel if that were your relationship with your spouse? Kinda cold isn’t it?

God loves you and me and everyone else on this world that He created for us, but we seem to forget that He is there. We don’t want to acknowledge Him unless we need Him for something, usually urgently…like RIGHT NOW!!

God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit don’t work like that! The Spirit comes to you when you become a Christian. He doesn’t come as a drip at a time, but as the whole package. Jesus saves you and you are to become more like Him as you mature in your walk, daily, as a Christian, studying the Word of God and learning from Him. God watches over you and me and everyone else and makes sure that all things work to our good and His glory IF we belong to Him. 

The church needs to understand that since we are the “body of Christ” until His return, we need to mature into people who are as priests in His Kingdom. We shouldn’t be acting like little children who don’t know better or who don’t know how to act like true Christians who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Still in denial…

Many times, those of us who feel overwhelmed and depressed are in denial about the reason for the way we feel. It could be something which happened yesterday or last month, but we won’t admit it. It could be something which happened to us last year or even years ago which just comes to the surface when we hear a song or watch a TV show. There are many triggers which bring to mind things that we want to forget, things which we thought that we had dealt with but…we really haven’t.

We just pushed the memory into a corner or a closet and shut the door, hoping that it wouldn’t come out again in the near future. But…something or maybe nothing triggers that memory and all of it rushes out like a flood and we have to deal with it all over again.

I know that many times I usually have some advice about how to avoid these kinds of problems, but in this instance there is no fix or cure. Yes, giving your heart to Jesus does help because you can pray to Him and ask for His strength to get through it but the memory and the depression and pain from it won’t really go away. You will be able to bear it more gracefully and with strength that you didn’t have before but it will still come back.

That being said, Jesus is not the One responsible for bringing old hurts and memories to your recall, especially ones which cause pain and depression. Satan and his cohorts do that and they are very good at it. They have had many years of practice. The good news about this is that you don’t have to live with it alone! Jesus is there with you, if you have asked Him to come into your heart. He will never leave you!

Denial is something that all of us suffer with because we don’t think we need help with certain thing or we don’t consider an old hurt or pain from our past to be significant. But, there are days that cause the memories and feelings to rush back into your life and unless you have a lot of family who understands, you will need Jesus to get you through this.

God loves you and He never intended for us to have the issues which we have to deal with today. The rebellion, which is what happened in the Garden, is what started all of this. One act of doing something that the Father told you not to do, caused the pain and suffering and all of the cruelty in the world. Our human nature wasn’t made that way in the beginning, but by doing it in spite of the command not to, we told God that we will do it our way.

Humanity’s way has not worked out so well in the past few hundred or thousand years. We have made mistakes, big mistakes. We have caused a lot of suffering in places where we shouldn’t have been. In the name of one religion or another, we have killed and murdered people for beliefs which didn’t follow the “church” at the time. We, as in humanity, have done some horrific things in the name of religion, even the Christian religion in the Dark ages following the dictates of men who were in charge has killed and murdered people. All of this has broken the heart of God, because many times the Inquisition, the Crusades, the witch hunts and even the burning of believers who believed differently from accepted doctrine, all of this was done under the guise of serving God.

The church doesn’t want these to come to light because then our religion is no different from the one which is doing the same thing in the Middle East today! There is evidence of course, written and archived, but the thing is many of those saints who were killed for their belief will sit in judgement of those who burned them one day. Unless their killers repented and turned from those things, becoming heretics themselves, they will be judged and sentenced to the lake of fire at the White Throne judgement.

Being in denial doesn’t get rid of the problem. Just as sweeping dust under the rug doesn’t get rid of it either. Giving your life and your heart to Jesus will change your life forever and those problems which creep up on you will be easier to bear with Jesus at your side.

What do you believe?

It seems that some people believe that Earth is an entity and that “she” is Gaia, the mother of all life. Others look at nature and the world around them and see gods inhabiting everything, even themselves. Then some don’t believe in any god or gods at all and just believe that when they die, they will just be in the ground and that their life ends when they breathe their last breath on Earth.

There are many other beliefs in this world from one end of the spectrum to another. From no gods exist and neither does the devil, to at least one religion which has millions of gods. We all have our own beliefs but will those beliefs gain us entrance into Heaven or will they send us to hell? The only belief which will get you or me into heaven for eternity is belief in Jesus and in His atonement for your sins.

God has extended His grace toward us in the Person of His Son, Jesus, and the atonement which is through His blood shed for our sins, all of them. God doesn’t require you to believe in Him or His Son, except if you want to have Heaven as your eternal home. You can live your life the way that you wish and be just as happy or miserable as you want, but if you deny the love of God and the atonement given to you through Jesus then your eternity will be without Him.

You can call it hell or Hades or whatever name you wish to give it, but there will be no light, no love, no relief from any punishment that exists there. Since hell was designed as punishment for Satan and his fallen angels, he will make sure that your eternity will be no different from his.

God loves us and Jesus came as the expression of His love toward us so that our sin wouldn’t separate us from Him through eternity. God enjoyed talking and walking with Adam in the garden and He will walk with you if you will ask Him into your heart. He wants a relationship with us and that is another reason why Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

So…what do you believe? Who do you believe in? Do you believe in anyone or anything outside of yourself?

The best news that I have for you is that God knows you better than you know yourself. He is waiting for you to come to Him, knowing that you can’t do it on your own and that you need Him. Why? Because all of us need Him. To give us a purpose and a reason to be, to live, and to work in His Kingdom. There is no higher calling than to be a son or daughter of God. Consider it…then go after Him with all that you have! Why?

What have you got to lose? He owns everything because HE is the Creator! He created you for a reason and He is the only way that your reason can be found! No job can do that, no amount of money or prestige can do that, no other person can give you that fulfilling love and a feeling of being loved by God!

Why?

Are we so blind to suffering and heartache that we don’t see it? Are we that indifferent and uncaring toward those around us? What happened?

It started many years ago and we didn’t notice, or maybe we just were too busy at the time. The Vietnam war was going on, our President had been murdered, unrest was rampant all over and I was about four or five years old. My parents weren’t getting along, things were happening that I didn’t understand, and our country made a law that has had massive repercussions in the years since then.

That law had to do with using the Bible in school and also prayer in schools too. It pushed God out of our education system at a time when He was sorely needed. He is even more needed today than He was then, but the laws have become even more restrictive. Chaplains can’t use the name of Jesus in their prayers for our servicemen and women anymore, the traditional family has been broken apart and now consists of accepted relationships which are against God’s laws.

We have changed our society to the point of being so different from the nation that our forefathers envisioned until they wouldn’t recognize it today. Many of them would be arrested for the words that they used in writing our Constitution. Why?

Political correctness, we don’t want to offend anyone or at least anyone who isn’t a Christian. Most of the laws enacted today are against the values and truths which we hold dear in our churches and it will likely get worse in the future. Why? Because we have pushed God and His Truth out of education and out of most areas of public life. We can’t show nativity scenes during Christmas on the public square. Parades during this time are called holiday parades or winter parades. But, if you want to show your support for any other religion…that is fine! No problem at all.

We are becoming a country which began as a nation founded with ideals drawn from God’s Word but today we have pushed Him out and we are in rebellion against Him. Why?

Read God’s Word, in particular the books of Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Revelation. These are the prophecy books that most people try to avoid, but the time that all of them refer to is now or at least it is beginning to be. We hear about or witness things which defy a real explanation other than “you don’t believe the way I do” or something similar.

How do you feel?

The question above is the very question which a character in a popular TV show could not understand at one point in his life. Yet, it wasn’t long before he realized that it is our feelings…our emotions which guide us. They also help us to make sense of our intellect or life in general. If you are a Trekkie, you know that this was part of a test for Mr. Spock. His mother told him that “the computer knows that you are half human, so it is a logical question”. Many of us flawed, emotional humans tend to have problems dealing with this as well. Maybe not everyday, but at times we do run into situations where our feelings, good or bad, get the best of us. How do you respond in those situations? It depends upon your outlook and whether you depend upon yourself and nobody else or if you seek to understand life through the wisdom afforded to us by God.

So, what do you do when you realize that these words really do have meaning in your life?: “I need help. I can’t do this alone.”

Who or what do you turn to in a time that affects you so greatly that you realize that you can’t handle __________? Whatever it may be. The blanks in your life and mine are, at times, difficult to handle. But, we can get through those times, regardless of how long they last with the strength and wisdom that is found in the Bible. Today it seems that mentioning God or the Bible is an incorrect way of looking for a solution. People today say that this is the 21st century, the Bible isn’t relevant to our problems today. That is a wrong assumption because the problems which we face today are the same as the ones that our grandparents faced over fifty years ago. If you read a historical account of the problems faced in Rome or Jerusalem two thousand years ago, you would find that many of the problems that they faced are the same as today’s problems.

True enough, the technology of the day was much simpler than what we have today but the individual problems of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, unemployment, homelessness, were all still present. There were wars going on in other countries, there was malnutrition and disease. There were people who were rich and getting richer because of the problems in their time just as it is in ours. As the Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 1:9 : “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.“.

I have heard that bell-bottomed jeans are coming back into style and hip-hugger jeans too, so the styles of the ’70’s are also coming back around. Even those platform shoes that were popular at one time are making a comeback. Nothing is new, it just gets recycled into something that many may have forgotten about and it may be called something different but it is still the same. God never changes and He is always there to help if you will let Him. Seek Him out in church or in the Bible, learn about His wisdom and pray that He will give you a new heart and a new life to live into eternity. There is always work to be done, even after we die. The best part about eternity is that we won’t grow old and achy and we will be able to do the work that God has for us regardless of how many years we have lived through in His Kingdom.

Is your life easier today?

Some days are easier than others, whether you are speaking of mental issues or just everyday living. Do you have more problems now than you did a few years ago? Some of us do, especially as we get older. Joints which didn’t hurt a decade ago, now hurt every day and sometimes keep us up at night.

Then there are financial problems and relationship issues that we all have to deal with. How do you handle all of these on a daily or weekly basis? Some of us deal with it by counselling, some by leaning on family members, some rely on their spiritual life. We all have our own ways of handling our problems no matter how big or small they may be. I still have days where I want to run screaming down the road, but that won’t solve anything. It will just create another problem…like getting myself back to the house and explaining why I did what I did (thankfully I haven’t done it, but that doesn’t  mean I haven’t thought about it).

There are days when we all have “hair-pulling days” but somehow we get through them. Most of us tend to count to ten or twenty, some of us pray and then count to twenty, but we all have a way of dealing with those days. Jesus said that we would have trouble in our lives, but He would send the comforter…the Holy Spirit to help us and strengthen us so that we can make it through those times. God loves us and He doesn’t leave us alone in those trying times, regardless of what is testing us. Whether it is a disease or a financial problem or whatever it might be, He is there to help.

Seek His comfort and counsel in your days of trouble, no matter how big or small it may be. He loves us and cares for us and He will be there with us through it all.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:33