Posts Tagged ‘christian’


Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become “survivors.” They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don’t talk. They don’t touch. They don’t confront. They don’t feel. They don’t trust. The identity and emotional development of the members of a dysfunctional family are often inhibited. Attention and energy focus on the family member who is ill or addicted. The co-dependent person typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they can lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/co-dependency

Many of the habits
of dysfunctional families
are not from the lack of love
but are the result of fear.
David W. Earle


Originally posted at: http://lighthousenetwork.org/2015/06/seven-things-that-jesus-might-say-to-someone-struggling-with-addiction/

Addiction is the kind of disease that can really break a person down. It causes embarrassment, guilt, and feelings of inadequacy. People struggling with addiction often feel worthless and or wonder how they can ever live a meaningful life again. Focusing on a person’s spiritual health during recovery is important because it provides peace and hope. Jesus is the source of all peace, and by listening closely to what he has to say, someone struggling with addiction can experience a new kind of love, an unconditional love that will help with true recovery.

If we listen, we can hear our Savior speaking to us, even during addiction and recovery. Through Bible study and prayer, and through interactions with other Christians, someone in recovery can learn what things Jesus has to say to them. Let me share 7 of the many tips Jesus shared with me which not just set me free from my addiction, but melted my hardened heart, renewed my mind, and transformed my life.

1. “I love you so much that I died for youNot for you to feel guilty, but to be set free!” We read in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” A Christian’s faith hinges upon this passage. Our Savior’s love is beyond comprehension because it caused him to die to take away the wrong things we have done. For the struggling addict, this means that Christ has a love for them that will never fail.

2. “No matter how much you relapse and struggle, I still love you and always will.”The guilt and baggage that go along with addiction often keep people from accepting the help that is offered to them. They feel undeserving of a new life, and sometimes spend months or years trying to make up for their past. But Jesus reminds us that even the addiction, the lies, and all the past wrongs can’t keep him from loving us. He reminds us in Jeremiah 31:34 that “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

3. “Let me connect my yoke to you and carry most of your burden while you grow in strength to bear up more of it at a later time.” Recovery is a difficult journey, and many people grow tired of the fight against the triggers and temptations to use. Jesus promises to help us with our burdens and to be the strength we need to get through the toughest of days. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) For the addict, even when they want to quit the fight, Jesus is there to help them through.

4. “I will always advocate for you to my Father and you will be my brother at the ultimate banquet table.” Jesus wants to have a relationship with us, and He calls us his brothers and sisters. “On behalf of a man, He pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.” (Job 16:21) This means the world to someone who has experienced strained relationships with family and friends because of addiction. Jesus wants us to go to Him with all our worries, and to look forward to a heavenly home together in heaven some day.

5. “I came to heal the broken-hearted and set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:17-21). I want to set YOU free.” Sometimes the thought of maintaining a substance-free life is daunting, just as trying to live life free from lying, cheating, or stealing is overwhelming. We all have sins that try to weigh us down, and it is a daily struggle to follow God’s commands. But life is a lot harder when you don’t follow His commands, and you already know that. Through the Holy Spirit, we gain power and strength, and when we fall short, we can remember that God still forgives. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) God tells us that if we are his followers, we will have the mind of Christ in us. We will also have the Holy Spirit who will empower and guide us, but we have to listen to his urging and humbly follow it.

6. “The thief, Satan, came to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you would have life abundantly.” (John 10:10) Finally, Jesus tells us that we can have new life through Him. Jesus wants us to not just have a so-so life, but have a life of psychological and spiritual abundance and fulfillment. If we follow His teachings, they will set us free to live the abundant life He wants us to have, He died so we could have access, and God has designed us to live. These words are empowering to the addict in recovery, as he faces the daily struggles of life and learns to trust God’s will for his life.

7. “I know you are confused, overwhelmed, and afraid, but I will bring you peace and stability.” Digging out of the addiction hole or stopping the downward spiral is difficult. Many decisions need to be made each day, even each hour, to stay sober and moving forward. Making those decisions when stressed, hopeless, emotional, and foggy usually leads to wrong decisions. Peace to think clearly and not make knee-jerk or impulsive decisions is essential to start making one good decision after another. “You (God) keep him (addict) in perfect peace whose mind is stayed (focused) on you (God), because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) We need and crave peace, especially when our world is caving in. Jesus is the rock to build your peace on, so keep your eyes and mind on Him and you will have the peace you need to start a positive spiral and dig out of the hole of addiction and into the light of Jesus’ love, grace, and freedom!



God calls us to change the way we look at people. Not to see them as Gentiles or Jews, insiders or outsiders, liberals or conservatives. Not to label. To label is to libel. “We have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them” (2 Cor. 5:16 NLT).

Let’s view people differently; let’s view them as we do ourselves. Blemished, perhaps. Unfinished, for certain. Yet, once rescued and restored, we may shed light, like the two stained-glass windows in my office.

My brother found them on a junkyard heap. Some church had discarded them. Dee, a handy carpenter, reclaimed them. He repainted the chipped wood, repaired the worn frame. He sealed some of the cracks in the colored glass. The windows aren’t perfect. But if suspended where the sun can pass through, they cascade multicolored light into the room.

In our lifetimes, you and I are going to come across some discarded people. Tossed out. Sometimes tossed out by a church. And we get to choose. Neglect or rescue? Label them or love them? We know Jesus’ choice. Just look at what he did with us.

Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Second Chances.


by Gary F.

Last time, we established the importance of relying upon God to change the way we think. We absolutely need the Lord to reprogram our thought patterns, unlearn coping techniques and establish a godly thought life. This week, we will give specifics about the components necessary to having our minds renewed.

Also, in part 1, the importance obedience was taught. This is foundational not just for achieving a renewed mind but in all aspects of our walk of faith. Once we learn these truths, the Lord will hold us accountable for putting them into practice.

New Wineskins

In the New Testament, Jesus gives us a rich picture of how this process of transformation takes place. In Mathew 9:17 Jesus teaches on the principle of the wineskins.

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

The English translation does not indicate any difference between the “new” wine and the “new” wineskins, but the Greek does. These are two different words with two different
intrinsic meanings. The first word used is νέος  (NAY-os) meaning “new, or recently made”. Here “new” means a “new type, not being in existence for a long time.” Jesus said that it was foolish to put new (NAY-os) wine into old wineskins. The results would be burst wineskins and spilled wine.

This is the same Greek word used in 2 Cor 5:17,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Obviously, when we are born again, we still inhabit the same body. We have not changed into an alien life form with eight arms and six legs. That is not the “new creature” Paul is writing about.

Basically, we look the same but there has been an inner change that should affect every aspect of our being. Paul teaches that, before we are saved, we are (spiritually) dead. After our salvation experience, we are (spiritually) alive in Christ.

But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved                                                                                                         (Eph. 2:4, 5)

The second Greek word used in Matt. 7:19 passage is καινός  (kai-NOS). It is also translated as “new” but has a different emphasis. It means new in the sense of being unused.  Jesus said that new (NAY-os) wine needed to be put into new (kai-NOS), wineskins.

Many people traditionally interpret this passage as a contrast between the old covenant and the new covenant. The comparison is made between the Law and Grace. The new covenant cannot fit into the constraints of the old. The new covenant in which the Holy Spirit resides within the believer requires a new environment, new standards. This is a legitimate interpretation of the text. However, there is another.

The Jewish people of Jesus’ day were excellent stewards of their limited resources. They could be termed “conservationists”. They would recycle and reuse materials as much and as often as possible. Wineskins were items that could be reinvigorated rather than simply trashing them.

When a wineskin had grown stiff and hard, rather than throwing it out, they would perform a simple process to make it like new. The used wineskin would be soaked in water. After several days of rehydration, they would take oil and massage it into the wineskin until it became soft and supple. They would, literally, “renew” the wineskin. Therefore, an old wineskin had become a “new” (kai-NOS) wineskin that was unused in its refreshed condition.

This process requiring water and oil typifies the necessary elements in order for renewal to take place within the mind of the Christian. Water is symbolic of the Word of God. In Eph. 5:26,  Paul says that husbands are to wash their wives with “the water of the Word”. Oil is traditionally understood as being symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

In order to change, to be “transformed”, we must have our minds “renewed”. The Greek word in Rom. 12  is ἀνακαίνωσις   (ana-kai-NO-sis) from the root word in Matt 9:17 .
“Ana” means again and “kainos” means new. This literally means “to make new again”.

Obviously, God does not remove our brain and replace it with a fresh, new one. That would be an amazing form of brainwashing. But this concept of “renewing our mind” is a process that actually changes the way we think.

The world has warped our thinking. We become stiff and unfit for the Kingdom of God. We cannot know His will because our minds cannot contain the revelation of it. It is only through the power of the Word of God and the energizing of the Holy Spirit that our minds can be renewed. These two elements, working together, are the essential ingredients necessary for true transformation to come to pass.

Working Together

God has provided everything we need in order to change. Together, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are absolutely necessary for true change to take place. We must use these two tools if we are to know His will on this earth.  The Word of God and the Holy Spirit must have free reign in our lives if we are to achieve His will in our lives and in this world.

The Word of God alone is not enough. The Holy Spirit alone is not enough. Both must be actively incorporated in order for true change (renewal) to take place. The old saying is true. “All Word and no Spirit, you dry up. All Spirit and no Word, you blow up. Both Word and Spirit, you grow up”.

Renewing the mind does not happen merely because one desires it. Renewing of the mind does not occur simply because one becomes a Christian. Renewing of the mind is a process begun with a deliberate decision to change – like the old joke about how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one but the light bulb must really want to change. As a Bible Believer, you must really want to change. It must be a desire followed by a decision supported by action, reinforced by a commitment.

If the mind of the believer is not renewed, transformation will not take place. If transformation does not take place, the will of God will never be known in the fullest measure.  If the will of God is not fully known, we will live defeated, powerless lives, frustrated at our spiritual impotence and inability.

Blessings,

Gary F.


by Gary F.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”                                                                                                            Rom. 12:1, 2

The problem with most Christians isn’t that they don’t want to change; it is that they don’t know how to change. The desperately want too be transformed but they are unfamiliar with the components necessary for change to occur. They do not know how the process of “renewal of the mind” takes place.

This is especially true for those of us who are in recovery. We are desperate. We want to change. We know it is possible for, “with God, all things are possible”
(Mt. 19:26). The question isn’t do we need to change? We know we do. We also know that we cannot change ourselves. We need God to change us.

As Christians, when we recognize the need for change, how do we accomplish it? How can we become different from the people we are now, to become the people God wants us to be? How can we possibly think differently than we do now?

Normally, our ability to change ourselves is limited to the strength of our will. We have some limited power to make ourselves into different people. The problem is that we are limited. Our power to change ourselves is, therefore, limited. God is not. He is unlimited. He is all-powerful.

True change at this mental or intellectual level can only come from a supernatural source. God has to rewire our brains and reprogram our thought life. Once we are firmly convinced that change must occur, then, the Lord is our only hope for real and permanent change.

One of the basic understandings of the workings of God is that nearly everything He does is a process. Creation was a process. Conversion is a process similar to sowing seed. Most people hear the Gospel several times before they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Salvation is a process. Our faith is in process. We are to grow daily in our walk with the Father. Therefore, we are in process.

Paul wrote this in his epistle to the Romans

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”                                     Rom. 12:1, 2

Having our minds renewed is also a process. It does not happen overnight. The ways in which we think are changed over time. As baby Christians, we still maintain many of the world’s methods and thought processes. We have been indoctrinated by the world system. So that we might know and do God’s will, even the way we think must, of necessity, change. This is called the “renewing of our mind”  process.

Before we go further into this study on “renewing of the mind”, we must lay down a fundamental truth. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus teaches the parable of the wise and the fooling man. The wise man built his house upon the rock. The foolish man build his house upon the sand. Most Believers are familiar with these passages.

However, when you ask most Christians, “what is the rock in this story?”, they would answer, “Jesus” and they would be wrong. Read carefully verse 24, “Whoever hears these words of mine and does them…”. Contrast that to verse 26, “…everyone who hears  these words of mine and does not do them…”.

What was the difference between the two builders? Was it the storm? The winds and the rains?  No. It was the foundation of doing what Jesus said  or not doing what Jesus said. The rock isn’t Jesus. It is obedience to the Word of God.

Both builders heard the words of Jesus. One man man who heard and did and built on rock. The other man heard and did not do and built upon sand. The difference is either obedience or disobedience. The key here is that we are to act upon the truth the Lord teaches us.

Why is that principle important? James writes that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (Jas. 1:22). To hear—which implies to understand— and not put that truth into practice is like building your house on sand.

In these lessons, you will learn what it takes to have your mind renewed. It is of utmost importance that you put into practice these truths. If you do, you will be building on a solid foundation making your recovery all the more certain.

                                                TO BE CONTINUED…


by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

True grace is shocking, scandalous. Without Grace there would be no second chances. Grace shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to people and touching them with mercy and hope.

Grace forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.

“Amazing Grace” is one of our most beloved hymns, written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton. Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see.

But what is Grace?

Lets take a minute to go on a journey of Grace. Look at stories of grace, touch grace, feel grace and see grace.

Grace is given and never earned. Grace absorbs this world’s hostility and doubt yet responds with patience and forgiveness.

Max De Pree the CEO of Herman Miller Inc., tells a story from his own experience that vividly demonstrates the power of a literal, physical touch of grace.
Soon after De Pree’s married daughter became pregnant, her husband moved out and abandoned her. So she was alone when the baby was born about four months prematurely. “I went to the hospital to see my new grandchild for the first time,” De Pree recalls, “and there in that incubator was a tiny little baby, about the size of my hand, with wires running from his body to a lot of monitors and machines.”
As he was watching his grandchild silently struggle for life, the senior nurse went to him and said, “Mr .De Pree, that baby’s father is not here, so from the next several months, you will have to be the baby’s surrogate father. Here’s what I want you to do. When you visit the baby, go to the incubator, put your hand through the cuffs, and stroke the child. As you touch the child with your hands, talk to the child. It’s very important that he experiences your voice and your touch together.”
Voice and touch – together.
The story of Gods grace is not only told in words. Our voice must be clear and our touch must be real. Our touch cannot tell the story, only our voice can do that.

 The touch of grace makes the story of grace come alive.

Shortly after the Madrid train bombings of March 2004, Bono and French music journalist Michka Assayas had a series of conversations.

I would like you to read to you what transpired in this interview.

This is Bono’s view on Grace.

It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace…You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics–in physical laws–every action is met by an equal or an opposite one.

And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic.

Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions.

If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my sin and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

U2 wrote an amazing song on ‘Grace’ – here are  some of the lyrics

What once was hurt
What once was friction What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty

Out of ugly things

Grace
She takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain
It could be her name

Everybody needs Grace, Everybody hungers for Grace.

Everybody has a story to tell.    Everybody has a wound to be healed and everybody wants to believe that God is real.

Grace shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to people and touching them with mercy and hope.

Grace forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.

True grace is shocking, scandalous.

Without Grace there would be no second chances.

Grace takes the blame covers the shame and removes the stain
Grace truly is still amazing.