Struggling With Addiction
Are you struggling with an addiction? Many people are?
Society tries to make addictions a disease, which only removes our responsibility for our actions. We become victims with no need to repent, just to be understood and learn to manage our sin. All that does is increase the bondage.
Addictions are really “misdirected worship,” a false comfort! Instead of worshipping and receiving comfort from the Holy Spirit, the true Comforter, we look to things like food, entertainment, sports, drugs or shopping for comfort. It’s really idolatry…looking to someone or some thing to do for me what only God can do.
Today, spend some time worshipping Jesus or reading God’s Word.
He’ll comfort you like no one else can.
Pain, Passion, and Purpose
Each of us has a type of unclaimed lottery ticket from our childhood in the pocket closest to our heart. We will need faith and trust to fully retrieve its priceless value. It is not just death that brings pain, but the birth pangs of a renewed hope.
It always costs something to examine our hurts for the purpose of healing and not merely to reminisce our suffering. But, if we’re willing, our pain will reveal our passion, which, when submitted to God will unlock our purpose.
It is the will of God that what was stolen from us be restored, not just in our own life, but also for generations to come. May those yet to be born rise up and call us blessed for our willingness to examine the inner chambers of our heartache.
Fantasizing Fame and Fortune
Do you fantasize about fame and fortune?
8 out of 10 of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed by Pew said getting rich is their most important or second- most-important life goal; half said the same about being famous.
If riches and fame were enough, then why does the song say, “It’s so hard to find. One rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.”
More and more, fantasy is offered as a substitute for reality. If you can’t have the life you want, get lost in the life you can imagine. But no reality-substitutes will ever truly satisfy; and only God can make the reality of our lives worth living. Jesus promised, “I have come that they may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, NKJV) Take Him up on it!
Reality vs. Fantasy
Which is more exciting to you, your real life, or your imagination? Every day, millions of people choose fantasy as a substitute for reality—often times it’s through the use of media.
Technology offers the potential for “wonderful use” or “horrible abuse,” and not just for those of us who are very young. The average video gamer is 35. People of all ages get more excited about their imaginary lives than they do about their real lives.
This year, romantic e-books will surpass paper books in sales, making it easier for women to read them without having a picture of a hunk on the cover.
As the Bible teaches, “…each one should be careful how he builds.” (1Corinthians 3:10, NIV) What has captured your attention: the temporary illusions of Earth or the eternal realities of Heaven?
Looking For Love
Are you looking for love? I hope so, because love’s looking for you—that is, the God who is love.
Deep down inside, we each have a sense that we’re made to love someone and be loved by someone in an infinite way.
That’s the main hook behind the “Twilight” series. It’s primary audience, teenage girls, are looking for love beyond the physical. Deep down, we all know that we’re created to be “first loved” and “then to love”.
We were created first for God’s pleasure, and as we yield to His will, we experience His pleasure for us. This opens the door to experience the ultimate pleasure in life: a relationship with Jesus.
The Bible says, “…in God’s presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures, ‘delightful and sweet’, forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Magnificence of God
Our thoughts about God will in some way determine how blessed our life is. Do we see the magnificence of God? How extraordinary He is? Or do we lose sight of Him and minimize His influence. Wouldn’t the God who made sunsets and starry nights know something about beauty?
Wouldn’t the One who created laughter know how to have fun? Wouldn’t the Prince of Peace help us rest? And, wouldn’t the One who made puppies and babies know all about cute?
God created sensual pleasure: the eye to behold beauty, the ear to enjoy music, the nose to embrace the fragrance of flowers, and taste for food. But best of all, wouldn’t the God who is love know all about relationships? That’s because a relationship with Him is what each of us is looking for.
Is pleasure evil? Absolutely not! Pleasure’s not the problem, until we make it a God. Money’s not the problem, until we love it more than God. Love is not the problem. “God is love.” The problem comes when we try and make “love a god.”
That’s when people become “…lovers of pleasure (fond of sensual pleasure) rather than lovers of God…” (2Timothy 3:4, NKJV)
We live in a world that worship’s pleasure, and worshipping pleasure will kill you. Worshipping anything other then God…will kill your spirit. Only God can connect us to eternal pleasures; and everything God does is designed to lead us into intimacy with Him.
God loves you and I enough to not allow us to be satisfied with anyone or anything less than Him. Therefore, the greatest pleasure in life is knowing God.
Value of Pain
Have you seen the value of your pain?
Even if you don’t see it now, God knows the potential we have because of our pain. It can be the strength and power to motivate us for good. He can transform the worst experiences we’ve gone through to give us full, healed lives that are able to heal and help others.
God doesn’t want us to live out our lives with gaping holes in our heart. The miracle thread suturing our emotional wounds is that whatever happens, no matter how horrible, it will work for our good if we love and follow God more than any one or anything else. The Bible promises, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV)
God’s not a God of can’t and don’t…He’s a God of can and do.
He’s not trying to rain on your party He wants to invite you to His!
The Law of Displacement states that you cannot move away from a thought, you can only move toward a thought. As nature abhors a vacuum, so nothing stays empty for long. We can fill our minds and hearts with things that satisfy for a moment, or allow God to give us what will never get old and boring.
God wants to replace our depressed thoughts with His perfect ones. That’s why we have to guard the epicenter of our affections…our heart. The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart (your inner man), for it affects everything you do.” (Proverbs 4:23) Give God your heart, and your life will be blessed.
Reclaiming Your Childhood
As incomprehensible as my pain once was, so now is the joy of a healed heart. Once a prisoner of tormenting memories and a desperate longing for a dad, my relationship with my Heavenly Father now provides all of the time and attention I need—showering me with every imaginable gift a son could want.
Now, many years after the battle for my childhood heart was fought, I find myself carefully examining the remains of past emotions—the relics of relational ruins. At times, all I seem to uncover are the dead remnants of an irreplaceable past. At other more hopeful moments, my efforts surface unparalleled revelations I will treasure for eternity and far exceed the value of the pain I once experienced.
During the French Revolution many of its leaders were determined to put an end to Christianity forever. One beautiful, clear night an atheist told one of his poor countrymen of these plans. “Everything will be abolished–churches, Bibles, clergymen. Yes, even the Word ‘God’ itself! We shall remove everything that speaks of religion.” The listener gave a quiet chuckle. “Why do you laugh?” demanded the other. The peasant pointed to the stars and replied, “I was just wondering how you and your crew would manage to get them down!”
The Bible says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1, NLT)
“When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers— the moon and the stars You set in place— what are mere mortals that You should think about them…?” (Psalm 8:3-4, NLT)
The Last Marathoner
During the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, as spectators prepared to leave, after the running of the marathon, suddenly the sound of sirens and police whistles were heard.
More than an hour earlier, the winner of the 26-mile event had crossed the finish line. Now, all eyes turned to the gate. John Stephen Akhwari, wearing the colors of Tanzania, was the last man to finish the marathon. Bloodied and bandaged after being severely injured in a fall, Akhwari grimaced with each step. As he hobbled around the track, spectators rose and applauded him as if he were the winner.
After the race someone asked him why he had not quit. He replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.” Don’t give up… finish well!
Someone sent their tax returns to the IRS and wrote, “Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year, and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping, I will send you the rest. Sincerely!”
Though a funny story, it speaks to us about how well we take responsibility for our own actions. Are we half-hearted in our repentance toward God?
When Jesus was here, He preached, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17, NLT)
He was saying, “Take full responsibility for the things you’ve done wrong, and you’ll be forgiven, and Heaven will come to Earth.”
May we each allow the Holy Spirit to do what He came to do: convict us of sin. (John 16:8)
Years ago in Africa when people had to cross dangerous, fast-moving rivers and streams, they would pick up the heaviest boulder they could carry and walk across. They realized the extra weight gave them surer footing and kept the rushing waters from sweeping them away.
How true concerning our carrying the burdens of life.
In the Message version of the book of James the brother of Jesus, who was later martyred for his faith, says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-3, The Message)
Running Without Legs
On November 6, 1986, Bob W. Ireland, finished dead last—19,413th in the New York City Marathon. So, why was this so memorable? Because Bob was the first person to run a marathon with his arms…instead of his legs.
Bob was a forty-year-old Californian who lost his legs in an explosion in Vietnam in 1969. In the race of 1986, he recorded the slowest time in that marathon’s history: 4 days, 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 17 seconds.
When asked why he ran the race, Bob, a born-again Christian, said with conviction, “Success is not based on where you start, it’s where you finish.”
Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, ESV)
Don’t let your limitations define you. Let the limitless God inspire you.
Initiating Without God
Our failure to accomplish something we initiate for God, in our own strength, weakens our ability to fully obey Him at a later time. Peter tried to show his commitment to never deny Jesus by cutting off the High Priest’s servant’s ear. (John 18:10-11) This humiliating failure of judgment discouraged him, making Peter more vulnerable to the accuser. Don’t try and do something for God in your own strength. Obeying Him is better than the most sacrificial act.
Though humble obedience will always cost us much, there’s nothing more fulfilling than obeying God.
Peter then warms himself in the courtyard of the high priest, and denies Jesus. If the only comfort we find is connected to the safety of Earth, we shouldn’t be surprised if we miss the true comfort of Heaven.
No One can comfort us like God.
Years ago, a Jewish boy grew up in Germany. He adored his father and wanted to become just like him. The family’s life revolved around their religious practices, and the boy’s father faithfully took them every week to synagogue.
When the son was a teenager, his family moved to a town in Germany where there was no synagogue, only a Lutheran church. The church was the center of town life—all community leaders belonged to it.
When the father decided to join the Lutheran Church because it was good for business, the family was stunned. His lack of integrity so disappointed his son that he became angry and bitter.
The son’s name was Karl…Karl Marx, the founder of Communism. May integrity guide each of our lives! (Proverbs 11:3) For better or worse, many are watching!
Looking For Love
We each grow up looking for perfect love. God alone is the Father we’ve always wanted. He’s the perfect parent we each longed for. Many times, when our earthly parents missed the mark of God’s perfect, selfless love, a wound was created.
Your dad may have overlooked you, but God never forgot you. Your mom may not have given you emotional support, but Jesus wants to undergird your life with His love and care. The Bible says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalms 27:10, NLT)
My Father in Heaven never abandoned me, not even when I was openly denying Him.
God knows what we’re looking for—what we’re longing for. We want Him! And the best news we’ll ever hear is: He wants us to!
In this world, everyone experiences a measure of pleasure. Everyone wins something!
The devil’s happy to give you the pleasure of Connecticut and Vermont Avenues, as long as he gets the pleasure of Boardwalk and Park Place. Because, if you’ve ever played Monopoly, you know Connecticut and Vermont Avenues are ultimately worthless.
You’re a winner! But you’ve won nothing of real value!
The only hope we have to overcome the seduction of destructive pleasures is to leave lesser pleasures for the greater One. There is no greater pleasure in life than a personal relationship with our Creator—the One who loves us most. “…In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior today. Nothing compares to knowing Him.