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Desire. It’s really the driving force in all we do. It’s desire that drives our relationships. It’s desire that keeps us going through the tough times. When we lose desire we lose the will to go on. But desire is a cruel taskmaster. It often drives us down the road most easily traveled rather than the way best for us. It entices us to grab for the things that hurt rather than nurture; that poison us rather than help us. Jesus came to show us desire in its purest, most excellent way.


We’ve never done well with choices. Ever since Adam and Eve chose the fruit over obedience mankind has consistently chosen self-gratification. Ironically, satisfying our physical desires never lasts. The body constantly demands more to fill the emotional side of us. It’s a futile attempt because nothing we can see, taste or touch will satisfy forever. Someone once said that within the soul of every person is a God shaped hole. The only thing that will fill the void is Jesus. But here’s the kicker. You have a choice. Will you continue to try to fill the void with the temporal or will you choose the narrow road and follow Christ? It’s your choice and your decision will determine your level of satisfaction and contentment.


Our God has said: “Encourage my people! Give them comfort. Isaiah 40:1 (CEV)

Where do you get comfort from? For the Christ-follower, the ‘Sunday School Answer’ is Jesus. Okay, we have that one out of the way. Easy enough, right? Not if you are stuck in a marriage that never seems to find the fulfillment you hoped for when you said your vows; not when you struggle with an addiction and find yourself once again suffering from its consequences; not when you are a mother sitting by the bedside of your child or spouse as they breath their last breath; not if you are loading the last boxes onto the moving truck because the bank has foreclosed on your dream home because you lost your job.

It’s at those times that all the ‘Sunday School Answers’ of your past may seem to pale in relation to the pain in your soul. Is God real? Yes, you believe it with all your heart. Does he love you? Certainly. Never a doubt in your mind. Does it take away the knot in your stomach? The knot that seems to be growing so large that it is making it hard to breathe? Not always.

During the darkest times of our lives we don’t need another sermon on God’s provision, we need comfort. We seek comfort in many ways. Some seek it with a new relationship, but new isn’t always better, in fact, second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages and the chances of success at marriage decrease with every attempt.

Other comfort foods for the soul can be food (leading to guilt and health issues), drugs, anger, withdrawal, depression, religion and a whole list of other attempts at quenching the pain in life.

When you’ve tried all the above remedies for the pain within you it turns out the ‘Sunday School Answer’ really is the best. Sometimes, when we are honest with ourselves, we realize the pain we are experiencing is the result of our own sin. Other times we’ve done ‘everything right’ but our spouse still leaves, our health fails and our bank account disappears.

After years of slavery and exile, Jehovah God tells Isaiah to comfort his people with these words. The trial is over. The penalty has been paid. His words point forward to the restoration of Jerusalem (physical restoration) and the sacrifice of Jesus (restoration of the soul).

If you are struggling with the pain of life let me point you to Jesus. Not the religion of Christianity, but the relationship with a loving Savior who understands your need and longs to comfort the pain in your soul.

If you have ridden out the battle and find yourself on top, remember that those who are struggling with life don’t need another sermon. They don’t need a reminder of their faults. They need the comfort and encouragement that only the grace of Jesus can give them. Please be an instrument of that encouragement. Their pain is great enough.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the blessings you’ve given me. I ask that you empower me with your Holy Spirit to be an encouragment to those who need you so that they may experience the comfort only you can give. Amen.


You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. Psalm 31:4 (NASB)

One day a Hummingbird got ‘caught’ in our garage. It apparently darted away when we came out of the house and flew into the garage. It couldn’t figure out that if it just flew down a couple feet it could go out the garage door. To rescue the small, frightened animal I took a couple butterfly nets and gently trapped it inside the nets and carried it to safety.

The small, frightened animal couldn’t have known that safety was just a few feet away. It couldn’t have known that the monstrous animals chasing it around its cell were trying to help it. I couldn’t have known that the nets that eventually captured it were meant for good, not evil.

It’s the unknown that scares us most, isn’t it? Like the Hummingbird we can go through life thinking that our safety and protection depends on our own ability to figure things out. But life isn’t predictable, and every net that captures us isn’t for our own good.

Relationships we seek may seem to be safe and fulfilling until the ‘honeymoon is over’ and anger, rage, frustration and abuse set in. Business dealings may seem ‘too good to be true’ and then we find out they were too good to be true and we lose our retirement. Friends and even lovers may pledge their allegiance and later we find out that they are saying things behind our backs, cheating on us or, in some other way, making us out to be the fool. Politicians and bosses make promises to us that turn out to be empty words.

It’s not the nets of entrapment we see that are dangerous, it’s those that are laid in secret that are our biggest threat. Like an animal walking through the forest, unaware of a pit hidden by brush, we fall into situations that catch us off guard. When that happens we end up at the mercy of our captor. The walls are too steep, the darkness to deep for us to find a way out. Desperation, fear and depression join with hopelessness to become our biggest enemies. There’s no way out.

That’s when your Heavenly Father steps in. That’s when God comes to the rescue. There is no pit too deep but that he can’t lift you out. There is no darkness to black but that his light can’t shine through it. The reason you are in the pit you are in is irrelevant. How you got there is of no concern to God, getting you out is his biggest priority.

Whatever pit you find yourself in today, God wants to lift you up. Whatever net has you entangled, he has the power to tear it open and provide your route of escape. You may have spent a lifetime refusing to acknowledge his existence or wandered away from him in the forest. None of that matters. His goal is to free you.

PRAYER: Father God, I’m trapped. The nets the enemy has thrown have hit their mark. The fear and darkness of this pit I’ve dug for myself are too steep. Please rescue me through your love, grace and forgiveness. Amen.


But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Deuteronomy 7:8 (NIV)

There is nothing more secure than the personal prisons we can find ourselves locked into.

The prison of loneliness can keep us trapped even when dwelling in the midst of close family and friends who are completely unaware of the battle within us.

The unrelenting handcuffs of addiction keep us shackled to feelings of guilt and shame. Guilt of our own doing fueled by the disapproving glances of those who spend more time gazing at specks in the eyes of others while ignoring the planks in their own eyes. Shame because we know better but we can’t help ourselves out of the mix.

We dwell in the solitary confinement of broken relationships. On the one hand we want desperately to get out. On the other hand fear of the outcome and not knowing how we could do life any differently keep us from reaching for the keys that enable us to see ourselves as the gifted talented people we are.

There are so many other prisons that keep us enslaved. Some, like finances/debt, handicapping conditions, and health issues are badges we wear that others identify us by even though we wish we could shed them.

Physical shackles are hard to endure, but they are no match for the emotional/relational wounds of the soul that handcuff us on a daily basis. These are the feelings that are hidden from others yet still define who we are and how we react to the problems of life.

Even though we try many different things to try to relieve the pain or at least dull its effects, nothing seems to help. Frustration and despair become strange bedfellows to failure and defeat. We ask ourselves, isn’t there someone who sees my plight? Is there anyone who understands me and loves me for who I am, bruises and all?

The answer is a resounding YES! The Creator God of the universe loves you. He’s not the god you may have learned about in religion. He’s not the judgmental, angry, accusing god at the other end of a pointing finger of accusation. He’s promised to love you. Not because of anything you’ve done. In fact, He loves you inspire of what you have done. He requires nothing in return. He simply wants to destroy the walls of the prison you find yourself in, destroy the chains, and release the shackles.

Regardless of what the voices in your mind tell you, you are loved. He proved that by sending Jesus to die for you, to redeem you from prison. Accept his love. Accept his forgiveness. Live free! Pray this prayer and begin your life of freedom.

PRAYER: Thank you God for loving me so much. I’m lonely, defeated and full of shame and guilt. Forgive me for the sin, anger, hate and hurt I hold so tightly too. Fill me with your Spirit of love and freedom so I can be all you want me to be. Amen.

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