Sin is a selfish act. It usually brings some type of temporary satisfaction but it leads to the destruction of the one participating and it leads to hurting others that it touches. The person that is involved in sin will affect all people in their surroundings, including family, friends, bystanders and even those that are also involved in the same or similar acts of that sin.
I was laying in bed last night thinking, “I am so tired.” I wasn’t that tired physically but I was tired spiritually. When I got up and the two boys that are still at home were off to school for the day, I still felt tired. I did some daily devotions and prayer and had no energy to attack my “to do” list. I opened my email and my daily email from Mark Gregston at Heartlight Ministries talked about the things you go through with your children and the last line read somewhat like God has not given up on them, why should you? Laying in bed last night I have to admit I felt like it would be nice if I didn’t have to have this battle but I don’t know if I would give up. If it weren’t for parents, who would be fighting and praying for our kids. It would be nice to think others would step in but the passion is never as deep when it hasn’t hit home or it isn’t your children.
Being too tired to attack my “to do” list, I went to the couch which is not what I usually do. I began to ask God “What am I to do?” and “How long will this take?” I asked him for ambition and motivation to do what I needed to do today or at least what I thought I needed to do. I sat there and felt like I should turn the TV on. This is something I hardly ever do. I flipped through the spiritual channels being very selective of my choices. I came upon Beth Moore. It is nice to sit and listen and go to church and listen but if we spend all our time getting fed, we won’t have time left to feed others. I think God knew I needed some time to listen.
Beth mentioned when God restores us from whatever we are called to go through that we become stronger and are used by God in such a way that Satan is sorry that he ever messed with us. I have had many things that I feel God has been calling me to do in the past few years. Some doors have been opened but I am still waiting for the details of the others to be revealed. I feel overwhelmed at times because of so much stuff and a lack of resources. It is hard to be patient and excited at the same time.
I had some energy restored and walked to the barn to feed the animals. Just as I finished, I felt God telling me this and when I got back to the house (about 1000 feet), I was like “WOW”, I literally did not remember walking up the driveway. We hear parents say, “Don’t mess with my kid or you will be sorry!” or “You can mess with me but don’t mess with my child.” This is my claim today that I want Satan to be sorry that he ever messed with my kid. I trust God to help me accomplish that goal.
We all have something that Satan has tried to use to destroy us that God has used for His Glory. Do something for Christ to make Satan sorry he ever messed with you.
Did I accomplish anything today? I don’t know. I guess it depends on how you look at it.
Do you see people on oxygen, some struggling to breath, some coughing, and wonder what is wrong or if they will make it through their coughing spell?
Do you say, “I never want to be that miserable”?
What are you doing to prevent it?
Everything we do has consequences. Those consequences are good and bad depending mostly on the decisions we make.
We can decide today, this moment to be a NON-SMOKER. There are helps out there to aid in that decision, but the best thing to do for yourself is to see yourself as a NON-SMOKER. Fight off the temptation. Just like anything you put off, like cleaning the toilet. Put off having that cigarette. Find something else to do.
If you fail, don’t quit trying. Put the cigarette out as soon as you realize you slipped. Be determined. You CAN do it. You will benefit from the fight you put into it. The longer you go without, the easier it will become. You may not believe it now but it will become easier.
If you gain unwanted weight, do something else to lose weight. Exercise will help and it will also give you a better sense of well being that will help with your ability to quit smoking. You will reap other benefits from the exercise as well.
Withdrawal time will be different for everyone. Don’t be discouraged. Temptation will come but don’t give into it. There is always a way out.
Find support, accountability, encouragement, etc.!
Don’t keep cigarettes handy!
Avoid atmospheres that bring about temptation!
Avoid others that smoke!
I attended a weekend event where Axis presented their Grid Presentation and these are my notes:
Don’t build an empire of dirt.
Overcoming a Bad Church Experience
If you or your spouse have had a bad church experience in the past, you’re not alone.
by David Sanford
If you or your spouse have had a bad church experience in the past, you’re not alone.
Approximately 22 million Americans say they are Christians and have made a faith commitment to Jesus Christ. They say that commitment is still important to them, but they have struggled with faith or relational issues and therefore quit going to church. Tens of thousands more will join their ranks this week.
Like a safe harbor, local churches can be a second home for many people. Sadly, churches also can be the setting for some of the harshest attacks against our faith.
Problems tend to arise when people are:
- Unsure of where they fit in a local church.
- Confused or overwhelmed by church expectations.
- Rejected, humiliated or hurt by someone in the church.
Steps to Recovery
If you’re still struggling with a bad church experience, you’re not alone. The good news is that it’s possible for you to make a healthy recovery.
Many people have found it helpful to use a journal to record some of their recovery steps, but there are many steps you can try along with your spouse:
- List the ways you’ve been wounded by others. Write down who hurt you and how.
- Describe any times you’ve been confused or overwhelmed while attending a particular church.
- Describe any times you wondered how you fit in a local church.
- Study what the Bible teaches about experiencing God’s forgiveness and forgiving others. Read the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 39-45. If you have an opportunity, look up verses on “forgive” (and related words) in a Bible concordance. In your journal, make a list of what you learn.
- Pray about what you’ve learned about forgiveness. Ask God to make each truth real in your own experience.
- Identify who you need to meet with to ask for forgiveness for the wrongs you have done. Pray ahead of time that they will graciously forgive you. If a lot of time has passed, it’s even okay to pray that they’ve forgotten what you did.
- Identify who has wronged you. Tell the Lord how badly you were hurt. Thank God for understanding how you were wounded. Ask Him to give you the ability to forgive each person in your heart, no matter what they did, even if they never apologize to you. Identify the individual(s) you can’t seem to forgive. Do you need to meet with that person and a third party to seek repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation? If so, who could you ask to serve as that third party? A Christian counselor? Your pastor? Another godly older friend?
- Start the process of finding a new, healthy church home.
Leaving your church under bad circumstances can lead to the temptation to abandon church entirely. Here’s what some prominent Christians have had to say about spiritual drifiting:
“At a deep level I sense the church contains something I desperately need. Whenever I abandon church for a time, I find that I am the one who suffers. My faith fades, and the crusty shell of lovelessness grows over me again. I grow colder rather than hotter. And so my journeys away from church have always circled back inside.” — Philip Yancey
“Life is full of people who ‘used to believe.’ But because things turned out darker and tougher than they supposed, they have decided that ‘there can’t be a God to let things like that happen.’ But ‘things like that’ have always happened, to all sorts of people; even to Christ.” — J. B. Phillips
“Maybe if you have money, health and a busy schedule, you don’t feel the need to fellowship with other Christians. But when the storms of life hit — and they will — suddenly you’ll find nobody’s there. If you remain shallow in your relationship to your local church, you will lose out on the support of other Christians when you need it most.” — Luis Palau