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Emergencies and Tragedies

Emergencies and Tragedies

One story I have read and enjoy very much is a story is “told of a zoo that was noted for their great collection of different animals. One day the gorilla died, and to keep up the appearance of a full range of animals, the zookeeper hired a man to wear a gorilla suit and fill in for the dead animal. It was his first day on the job, and the man didn’t know how to act like a gorilla very well. As he tried to move convincingly, he got too close to the wall of the enclosure and tripped and fell into the lion exhibit. He began to scream, convinced his life was over…until the lion spoke to him: “Be quiet, or you’re going to get us both fired!”

There are many emergency situations that may arise in life.  Storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding will take their toll.  Earthquakes, forest fires, and even volcanoes create much distress, problems, and each are potential life and death scenarios.

Depending on where you live a “natural disaster” may be more likely to unfold.  Having safety plans and survival plans is advised.  Today we also have the added possibility of a deranged, depressed, or demon filled attacker.  Violent attacks ranging from guns and knives to cars and even blunt objects are all possible.

Those are real emergencies. Most of us will experience relatively few true “emergencies” in life.  A majority of the time, what we are more likely to encounter are “tragedies.”  We see this especially in the areas of relationships, priorities in life, and spiritual formation.

Unlike emergencies, that can unfold rapidly, tragedies are events that are slowly unfolding in life.  For example:  a teenager who leaves home saying he “hates God, the Bible, and church” is not an emergency – he is a tragedy.  He did not wake up one day with the impression that he was against everything his parents stood for.  It took time.  An evil attitude was nurtured over time.  Sinful thinking and warped thinking was not only tolerated, but allowed to grow over time.

Emergencies need a quick response, while tragedies (while still urgent) will take some time to unravel and correct.  Please note that repentance and turning a life around all starts with one good decision, but it takes time to adjust a lifetime of sinful choices or bad habits.

Proverbs 3 teaches about wisdom.  Wisdom is personified in this passage.  Each person must decide to keep his or her eyes on wisdom.  She will help you to not stumble, fall, or be in a place where great trouble will capture you.

Proverbs 3:21-26 instructs, “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: 22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. 24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.  25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. 26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

If we keep our eyes on wisdom, it makes it harder for us to “fall off a cliff.”  Why?  Because wisdom will not let you get near the cliff to begin with.

Falling off a cliff would be an emergency.  Plunging down 65 feet off a rock face would be disastrous – but it is an emergency that is predicated by a tragedy.  The tragedy in this case is a life of wrong thinking, unwise decisions, and a heart that is slowly walking away from wisdom and away from the Lord.

There are many tragedies unfolding in the lives of people all around us.  Seemingly “insignificant” choices that are rooted in selfishness more than the Spirit of God, may seem innocent, but they do bring a person closer to the cliff.

  • A child may think “It is just a drink or a smoke” but that brings them closer to an emergency of an overdose on some other drug.
  • A man may think “it is just one magazine or website” but it is a slow path to addiction in his mind and isolation in relationships.
  • A woman may think “it is just a few dollars more” for coffee, tea, or some other fancy and expensive pleasure, but it could lead to mismanagement of finances leaving a person’s savings account bankrupt.

By The Way:  Poor choices are not just about plain sin.  Sometimes the innocent pleasures that are prioritized above Bible principles can become sin to us. Wisdom assesses each scenario and helps you to avoid tripping and falling.  The Apostle Paul suggested this in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”  Just “Because I can” does not make it a good choice.

Please avoid making every decision based on emotion, drama, or selfishness.  Be aware that the mundane, daily choices are the most significant of choices for direction (towards wisdom or away from wisdom) that will determine if you have an emergency or not.

No one intends to create personal emergencies in life.  They develop as “tragedies” over the course of time.  Tragedies are happening all around us.  Be sure your life is not a tragedy.  Remember Shakespeare?  He wrote what literary students call “Tragedies.”  Those writings include: “Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet.  Many people have been entertained by these “Tragedies” over the years.  Purpose to not let your life be mere entertainment for Satan or the world.  Your life should not be a “play thing” or amusement for evil people. Make the daily decision to apply God’s wisdom to your life today.  Keep your eyes on God’s wisdom.

 

 

 

 

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A Parental Challenge

A Parental Challenge

The following moth story can help us understand part of our role as parents:  “One man noticed an emperor moth struggling to emerge through a small hole in its cocoon so he decided to assist it. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the cocoon. The moth emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. Later the man learned the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.” – Fresh

Sometimes allowing a child to suffer consequences is the best thing for them to develop proper character going forward.   Parenting is such a demanding calling and requires much patience and personal discipline to properly train and develop a child.  Parenting is a challenge!

Colossians 3:21 teaches, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

Parents who take serious the Bible admonitions about parenting will want to know what this verse means in their daily life.  Parents must be parenting with purpose.  There must be an end goal, a hopeful desire that you want to see achieved before your child leaves your home.  Besides the physical and academic growth, we should strive for our children to be more like Jesus, exhibiting real Christ-likeness and not simply outer conformity. It is a terrific goal.  Consistent and specific development objectives should be worked towards.

Part of the goals you have should include – not discouraging your child.

Discouraged is defined as “to be spiritless, i.e. disheartened: –to be dismayed.”

Have you ever watched a child wondering through life and it seems his eyes are glazed over?  Perhaps you have seen a teenager seem totally in a fog.  Sometimes this is attributed to illegal drugs, or it may be a child who has been abused or neglected.  Sometimes it is caused by overused behavioral medications.  At any rate, we have all seen children that seem to have no drive, desire, or motivation. They are emotionless, going through the motions of life.

A child living with a lot of anger eventually becomes a child who has been discouraged to the extreme.  He may look as if he has no reason to live.   According to Colossians 3:21, a parent could provoke his child to this extreme form of discouragement.

Provoke is a Bible term that means to “to stimulate (especially to anger).” In the context of this verse, the word “anger” is connected to this word “provoke.”

Angry words, lifting of the voice, a lack of attention, a perception of not loving or caring could each be ways a child is stimulated to anger.

Anger left unchanged will become consistent discouragement.  Disillusionment can set in early in life.  So many children today are cynical about life.

There are many other areas we could consider that could provoke a child to anger: making fun of a child, making a big deal about small things, not giving a purpose in the home (such as responsibilities which give meaning and purpose), embarrassing a child on purpose, and even  not giving good council and clear direction for choices (“What do you want to do?” Is not good parenting.  “What does God want you to do?” Or, “What does the Bible say you should do?” Is much better.).  You get the idea.  Here are three areas we must avoid or we may provoke our children to anger and if left unchecked, disillusionment with life could develop:

  • Allowing Arguing is not proper parenting. When a parent comes down to peer level and allows arguing, it creates insecurity in the child and feeds the natural man’s desire for rebellion.  A child allowed to argue will become good at manipulation to get his or her own way.  Big and sweeping changes happen in a family when a child becomes boss.  Even the least bit of argument can create a spirit of anger.  Constant battles, raised voices, angry words, flashes of facial hatred should not be tolerated. Be firm and be loving. Be the parent. Be the boss.
  • Accepting Un-Thankfulness ill prepares a child for life. Not developing an attitude of appreciation is a fast way to provoke to anger. A child left to be un-thankful will find nothing to be “good enough in life.”  An un-thankful heart is a rebellious heart for the Lord said: “In everything give thanks.”

This is generally seen in complaining.  For example: “School is not good enough – I need to transfer.  Church programs are not good enough. Friends are not good enough. The food is terrible. A Birthday gift was not big enough. I wish I had more_______.”

A parent determined to not see their child angry and discouraged will not seek to constantly please the child but will do everything possible develop an attitude that does not complain.  “Attitude Adjustments” are needed in some children more than others.

A child left to complain will grow into young adulthood and never find contentment and satisfaction unless the Lord dramatically changes their life.  A college class will be “no good.” A married spouse will “not satisfy me.” The workplace will be “boring” and “I hate my job” will become the norm. Just “getting by” will become common place.  A person like this also becomes real adept at skipping around from church to church.

  • Removing Anticipation. Kids should have something to look forward to with each new school year, and with each age they arrive at.  Becoming a teenager should be mysterious and include new things to look forward to.  Becoming a college student and young adult should be exciting.  Saving sex for marriage is part of the mystery and awe for newlyweds. Anticipation is needed in life.

In our family, our children are taught to look forward to the next step.  For example: A full size bicycle at age 11, youth group starting in grade 7, summer Bible camp in grade 8, for the girls – earrings after age 11, a driver license at 16, the chance to play on a High School sports team in High School.  You get the picture.  However you choose to develop your child – it must include anticipation for something special about the future.

When kids are given everything – they will develop a sense of emptiness and shallowness.  Some have so much given so early in life – they have nothing to look forward to and start searching and longing for a reason to live.  This is one reason so many turns to vapes, tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs and illicit sexual activity; it is sometimes because they have nothing good to look forward to.

Take this parental challenge: Don’t allow arguing, change the bad attitude of un-appreciation, and make every year something to look forward to with great anticipation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Addiction

Overcoming Addiction

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  I Corinthians 6:12

Between health-care, lost work productivity, and crimes, addictions are costing America greatly.  Drugabuse.com says that $295 billion is lost to Tobacco, $224 billion is lost to Alcohol, and $193 billion is lost to illicit Drugs.  Yes, the numbers are in the billions.  Look at the American culture and you will realize that many people are addicted to something.  If you are not addicted to something; chances are, someone you know very well – is.

It could be an addiction to stimulants, such as drugs or other stimulants such as TV and mobile device screens.  Some addictions are to fleshly and lustful things that are clearly sin.  Some addictions are to things that many not even be sinful of themselves.  For example, not all TV shows are bad.  Drugs (medicine) can be prescribed and help a person heal.

Addictions are anything that becomes a controlling power in your life.  It could be the next smoke, or vape.  It could be the next tv program.  It could be the lustful images on a screen.  It could be an addiction of social acceptance and applause.  Some people live for the approval of others and getting that approval causes a similar “high” as a reaction to a drug.  Some kids are even addicted to video games.   Paul was not willing to allow anything – whether a good thing or a sinful thing, be controlling of his life.  While Christian liberty gives variety in living, it does not give the freedom to allow any substance, response, or desire to be the controlling factor in our life.  The Christian is to be controlled by the Spirit of God as He directs in the Word of God.

Many are crying out for “help.”  The way the cry is sounded is different in each case.  Some drop hints.  Others go further into their addiction.  No matter what some “professionals” say, the Bible is clear that addictions do not need to control the Christian.  You can have victory!  It will be a challenge; but change is possible!  Here are some steps to victory.

God’s Grace Teaches Us to Deny Worldly Lust.  Titus 2:11-12 declares, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”  To reject a sinful action, thought, or addition as wrong is a great place to start.  Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of choices and direction of living. 

Godly Structure Helps When Tempted with Addictions.  Psalm 119:133 states, “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”  Having a structured day with Biblical plans and goals will help you fend off the temptation to an addiction.  Memorizing a Scripture that deals with your particular addiction then reciting that verse in “care free” moments will help you have victory.  Order your steps with God and others being involved in your daily routines.

God’s Power is Greater.  Notice how Paul says in I Corinthians 6:12, “I will not be brought under the power of any.”  As powerful as the urge, drive, desire, lust, high, or hit may be, God is more powerful.  Rely on Him.  Your flesh is weak, but God is strong.  Since we can only serve One Master, make the choice to not put any other master in front of the Lord.  An addiction in a moment of fleshly or sinful temptation becomes another master.  God is greater.

Ask the Lord for victory.  Pray.  Rely on His grace.  Set parameters in your life with goals for living.  Embrace the power of God to find the win over the addiction.  While short and simple – these truths are a great start to overcoming addictions.  Other helpful ideas are accountability to others, eliminating excess money (limit money to limit usage), and the replacement principle of exchanging right in the place of wrong.

Get some help from a pastor or Bible counselor today.  May the Lord help you in your search for victory over addiction.