Judgementalism and Drugs

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Judge not, that ye be not judged.

  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

The Bible clearly speaks against being judgmental. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy. I try to follow God’s mandate. Recently, I realized why God commands that we not judge others.

In my unofficial ministry to the homeless in Bucks County, PA, I’ve ministered to people with drug and alcohol problems and tried to get some of them into Christian rehab. One night, at the Veteran’s Memorial behind the Levittown library, as I was hanging out by myself at the memorial about midnight, a young guy who had left a local recovery house drifted in.  We talked at length, he thanked me for talking with him about his problem and he went on his way.

Recently, someone I suspected was using drugs reluctantly admitted to it for fear I would condemn her. I told her I do not condemn her but urged her to get clean.

When people condemn drug addicts, treat them like lepers, it contributes to them wanting to give up. They already know they are outcasts. Addicts need acceptance as human beings and encouragement.

Jesus did not condemn the woman at the well, who, seeing herself as an outcast, went to draw water from the well when nobody else was around. After Jesus gently uncovered her sin, He told her “I don’t condemn you” and to “go and sin no more.”

We should not condemn drug addicts, but we should gently admonish them and address their problem and treat it as sin. The campaign in places such as Bucks County PA to remove the stigma of addiction needs to be explained. Like Jesus, we don’t judge drug addicts but we should not give them a free pass for what they are doing.

There’s been a campaign to remove the stigma of drug addiction.

Stigma defined: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

“the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”· “debt has lost its stigma and is now a part of everyday life”

synonyms: shame · disgrace · dishonor · stain · taint · blot · blot on one’s escutcheon · blemish · brand · mark · slur · smirch

Decades ago, I didn’t follow up on a possibility of being a counselor at a methadone center where I worked part time during my early college years. At my meeting with a counselor who tried to interest me in counseling at the center, he showed me materials that pitched not telling clients that they are in their situation because of something they did wrong. The idea of sin and pastors who preach in the tradition in which I was brought up about the total depravity of man was dismissed.

Drug addiction is a choice, a sinful one. For sure, it seems to addicts that the addiction is out of control and their lives have become unmanageable. The only way to overcome addiction, as someone in Bucks County, PA recently did, was surrender to Jesus. We can’t handle such problems on our own but need God to take control of our life.

Drugs are not the only addiction. There’s food, power, money and many more.

I’ve been reading the book Narcotics Anonymous. I read that projecting events where that things don’t pan out the way the addict wants and consequently gets bummed out is common to addicts. I am not a substance abuser but I do the same thing!

In a one on one counseling center with a pastor, he admonished me to let God take control of my life – to give problems to Him.

We can have victory in the war on drug abuse not by calling it a disease, and relieving users of accountability, but by showing people Jesus in our lives and partnering with them in their journey to recovery.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

The Pastor and The Shrink

In an episode of the old Soupy Sales Show, a man knocked on Soupy’s door and exclaimed “Hey buddy, you have to help me; my wife thinks she’s a tree!” Soupy replied “Why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”  As the man pulls a tree past the door, he says “come on, dear.” 

The conventional wisdom today is that when people have problems, the talisman to resolve them is the shrink. Have a problem, take it to the shrink.  

“Mental illness” is a misnomer perpetrated by secular psychologists. “Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all,” wrote Biblical Counseling Movement founder Jay E Adams.  In his seminal book, Competent To Counsel, Dr. Adams challenged churches’ practice palming off people with problems to secular psychiatry and psychology. 

https://www.allaboutworldview.org/christian-psychology-and-mental-illness-faq.htm 

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. When he came back to Dr. Jung, this shrink told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully recovered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous 

The Oxford Group 

Originally a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, the group was founded by a Lutheran minister who had had a born-again conversion in 1908 in a chapel in Keswick, England. Dr. Bachman, the minister, summed up the group’s philosophy: 

  • All people are sinners 
  • All sinners can be changed 
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change 
  • The change can access God directly 
  • Miracles are again possible 
  • The change must change others 

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives. 

Besides the legal dope that harms “patients” dished out by shrinks that causes physical harm and masks the root of the problem, the lack of absolute truth and conviction of sin replaced by psychobabble prevents people from overcoming their problems.  

It was broken people who went to groups in the vein of The Oxford group that help reform, again, churches that became institutional, just a shell that had little fidelity to scripture, dead to the word of God.  

Without absolutes, it might be considered normal by today’s standards to believe you are a tree. 

The god of This Age

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:4

Recently, Pennsylvania renewed the opioid disaster crisis declaration. levittownnow.com/2018/04/04/governor-extends-opioid-disaster-declaration/ 

A declaration? All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put humpty dumpty back together again.

How do we resolve the opioid crisis?

The first step is to get to the root of the problem. It is not a disease, which conventional wisdom, broadcast all over the place, says it is. As Hitler said, tell a lie enough times and people will start believing it. Drug addiction is sin, besetting sin.

Opioid and other addictions are a matter of idolatry, the worship of false gods. We worship false gods by not accepting, worshipping what God graciously gives us, but trying to find satisfaction outside of the kingdom of God. Habitually overindulging in food, even something as innocuous as cupcakes is an example of this.

Wanting to have someone of the opposite sex as a mate to share your life with is good. But when you expect that a mate will give you something that only God can give you, then he or she becomes an idol, a false God. Also, God must be put first and God must be in the relationship, as are Godly principles, such as considering the other person more important than yourself – putting your spouse first.

One of the false Gods, drug abuse promises satisfaction, but delivers nothing but misery, and eventually an early death.  As Paul Revere and the Raiders sang in Kicks:

Girl, you thought you found the answer
On that magic carpet ride last night
But when you wake up in the mornin
The world still gets you uptight
Well, there’s nothin’ that you ain’t tried
To fill the emptiness inside
When you come back down, girl
Still ain’t feelin’ right

And don’t it seem like
Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find
And all your kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind
Before you find out it’s too late, girl
You better get straight
No, but not with kicks you just need help, girl

Well you think you’re gonna find yourself

A little piece of paradise

But it ain’t happened yet, so girl, you better think twice

Don’t you see no matter what you do

You’ll never run away from you

And if you keep on runnin‘ you’ll have to pay the price

https://youtu.be/IP8G4clUJBY

Looking for satisfaction (which Mic Jagger sang he could not get) in all the wrong places – through drugs, makes you broke, lose your home, fosters prostitution, and alienates people. The drug user becomes very lonely – creates a self-imposed solitary confinement even in a crowd.

King David, after committing the sin of adultery, found himself in the pit of despair, into a great depression:

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.…  -Psalm 32: 3,4

But when he confessed his sin to God, David was restored, healed:

Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me–now let me rejoice. –Psalm 51:8

Likewise, drug addicts can become clean, healed, restored to the way God made them by turning to God. Recently, a drug addict in Bucks County, PA who had abused drugs off and on for years, who became homeless for a season, who was headed for destruction, responded to God’s call and is now clean. Consequently, she is getting her life together, is more peaceful, and is a much more likeable person.

The Titanic Sails At Dawn

“The Titanic Sails At Dawn” -Bob Dylan 

https://genius.com/Bob-dylan-desolation-row-lyrics 

Despite warnings that the Titanic was approaching a huge iceberg, the Titanic steamed full speed ahead. The Titanic’s captain smugly stated that he “could not imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” 

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” -Proverbs 16:18 

Despite warnings that drug and alcohol abuse is destructive, thinking they are indestructible, people continue destroying their lives with drugs and alcohol. Engaging in these sins pull people apart from one another, alienate them. Love and caring is lacking. Relationships become mercenary, where people use one another just to satisfy their own selfish needs. And, as Neil Young sang, “Every junkie’s just a settin’ sun.” levittownnow.com/2018/03/17/lower-bucks-county-man-died-in-prison-of-drug-withdrawal/ 

The Needle and the Damage Done” is a song by Neil Young that describes the destruction caused by the heroin addiction of musicians he knew. Though not specifically about him, the song was inspired by the heroin addiction of his friend and Crazy Horse bandmate Danny Whitten. It previews the theme of the Tonight’s the Night album that reflects Young’s grief over the heroin overdose and death of both Whitten and Bruce Berry, a roadie for Young and Crazy Horse. 

https://youtu.be/k0t0EW6z8a0 

The root of the addiction problem is sin. People think they can resolve life’s problems by escaping through drugs or alcohol. This only makes things worse. We create problems for ourselves then we think we can deal with everyday life and its problems through an artificial remedy. We are not the captain of our ship! God is! 

Increasingly, churches, including many in Bucks County, PA, are offering programs to help people overcome the sin of addictions by getting to the root of the problem. http://www.celebraterecoverygabc.com/12-Steps.html 

Is your ship ready for an iceberg? Who is your captain? God is a captain who can get you through troubled waters. 

Jesus and Depression

Seemingly out of nowhere, it hit! Saturday afternoon a dark, deep depression came over me. I was overwhelmed with sadness, crying, and felt like I being pressed down into a pit of quicksand. My head hurt. To relieve the physical symptoms, I drank a cup of coffee and took some aspirin.  

Distraught, this problem needed immediate attention, so I texted my pastor. He empathized with my depression and understood why it was happening. Although it seemed to come on suddenly, my mentor and true friend explained that my depression did not come out of nowhere, but that my brokenness after being hurt was festering but now God revealed it, and I cried out to God for His help to deal with it. 

God delivered me from the pit of depression in short order. Jesus healed my hurt.  

I remember the lines from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus“, an old hymn that touched me about four years ago after I had turned away from God and was broken, hurting. 

Oh, what peace we often forfeit 

Oh, what needless pain we bare 

All because we do not carry 

Everything to God in prayer” 

And the line “Jesus knows our every weakness” tells us that Christ is with his children. He understands our weakness and hurt. And he heals us 

After I heard that song four years ago, this Prodigal Son came home. And I don’t want to leave home again! 

As bad as I felt on Saturday, I didn’t go to the ER or even think about starting to see a shrink. I called on the pastor, who referred me to God. By Sunday, it was as if nothing had happened. I needed no anti-depressants, which I believe, in the long run, do more harm than good. As father of the Biblical Counseling movement Jay E Adams wrote in “How to Help People Change”, drugs that allegedly resolved problems such as depression just mask the hurt. Depression is like the “check engine” light in your car that alerts you that something is wrong and has to be fixed.  

I paid attention to the check engine light and was referred to the master mechanic to repair the problem. I can better see that the idea that God can handle our problems is not just theory; it’s fact! 

Of course, as with our cars, we need regular maintenance with God by praying, reading the Bible, singing praises and through individual worship and with the assembly of saints (going to church, etc.)  “As iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17 

 

One Is the Loneliest Number

“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” -Three Dog Night

https://www.bing.com/search?q=one+is+the+loneliest+number+three+dog+night&form=EDGTCT&qs=PF&cvid=6f08564afba14ebc96a0a771d657d083&refig=f9a37149af574d99dbc9f619ecc1f6ce&cc=US&setlang=en-US

A few years ago I read in Narcotics Anonymous a testimony of a recovered drug addict that his addiction put him in a lonely world. He wrote that for the addict, there is no bond with others and the only thing that matters is getting that fix. The addict, the testimony continues, does not care how he affects others. He or she will steal every last dime from his own family to satisfy his need for an escape from reality.

Stealing, like addiction, is a sin, as is lying. I recently parted company with an addict who did both. I recently caught her in a lie – she made something up in order to get some money from me. She also admitted stealing clothes from a retail store. It’s a disease to her. Wrong! As I wrote in a recent blog, believing that drug addiction is a disease will prevent the addict from recovering. Drug abuse is a choice, a matter of the will. It is a sin. Only Jesus can help us overcome sin.

The world of drugs is a dark world.  So-called friends in this world are not true friends. Recently, when the woman I tried to help get straight (and also had a romantic interest in) would throw a temper tantrum, she’d go to where her female friend is staying, whom I believe is a druggie. In a pinch, this “friend” would only let her stay over, even for one night, if she paid her. Consequently, this is why she had to hustle money. She had already drained her account for the month, I believe, by buying drugs, which she promised she’d stop. Hasta la vista, baby!

I think she may just have to spend some time in the wilderness before she gets straight.

Although a druggie’s intentions to get clean may be genuine, temptation may overcome him or her. This is why addicts are sequestered in in patient centers and then are often taken for further treatment in a place where they are away from their druggie “friends” and dealers.

As a result of falling off the wagon, my “friend” has alienated herself from me and others. She finds fault in others, including the homeless people in Bucks County, PA. She thinks everyone is against her, including me, and finds scapegoats in whomever she can to avoid accountability. Minor disagreements, sometimes even over nothing, creates an argument. This was the case with me.

She’s in a very lonely place. The way she’s going, she may become another statistic.

I’ve been in a very lonely place, where I felt isolated, that I did not have a friend in the world, and that everyone else was against me as I fell into a dark depression. This was not caused by drug or alcohol abuse but because of my ungodly thinking and actions. After this Prodigal Son returned to God, Jesus took me out of the darkness and into the light and my world became brighter. I had become alienated from family and friends, but after a time, I became reunited with them, and it feels so good!

About three years ago I started taking care of a homeless woman who had cancer. Recently, I surprised a friend who had been telling me I did a noble thing when I told him that  I was the one who was blessed. I learned that it was not all about me, and sacrificed and developed a commitment to Sandi. I loved her and she loved me.

Once you are saved, the world doesn’t suddenly become sunshine, lollypops and rainbows, and not every time that we’re together. Wanting to live in la-la land, a utopia is the mentality that leads to drug abuse. Utopia is defined not only as a perfect place, but that there is no such place. Dystopia is a real place, the dark place of the drug and other worlds.

The Bible doesn’t promise that life will be problem free, but that Jesus will be with us in our struggles, which produces perseverance, which fosters hope. I think that many drug abusers grew up under the bubble of helicopter parents, who protected them from the vicissitudes of life. “Blue Heaven is a place on earth…” Not!

Although I’ve come a long way, I still have trials and tribulations, including the present one. Half kiddingly, I told my pastor, mentor and true friend that when my friend and I parted company, it was a wonder I did not at least get drunk (I don’t have a problem with alcohol). He said not to do that but to call on Jesus for help. I did and have been doing this.

I woke up at 4 a.m. today to write this blog, as my mind has been racing. I’ve had a mixture of anger, hurt and concern for someone whose life is spinning out of control. As my pastor recommended, I need to take time out to work on my relationship with God and to finish grieving the loss of a Sandi who recently went home to the Lord.  God can mend my broken heart.

I am lonely now, but God is with and in me.  He will send me that special someone in His time. He is our only help, our refuge and our mighty fortress.  A Mighty Fortress, written by Martin Luther, by the way, was one of the top hits on the Christian radio station in Brandenburg, Germany back in the day.

Both Sides Now

“I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all”  

-lines from Both Sides Now, written by Joni Mitchell, song by Judy Collins 

In a recent blog, I advanced the idea that the Romantic and the cynic are one and the same. The lofty, effervescent thoughts, “powerful feelings recollected in tranquility” become shattered when reality sets in. 

https://www.bing.com/search?q=Both+Sides+Now+Judy+Collins&FORM=EDGNCT&refig=4fa06227f1f44461e92c1912bfb38830 

Lord Byron, a Romantic poet, seemed to worship nature but hated humanity, as reflected in the following lines:  

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
   There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
   There is society where none intrudes,
   By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
   I love not Man the less, but Nature more,                                                                                                              From these our interviews, in which I steal 
   From all I may be, or have been before, 
   To mingle with the Universe, and feel 
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal. 
 
   Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean–roll! 
   Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; 
   Man marks the earth with ruin–his control 
   Stops with the shore;–upon the watery plain                                                                                                          The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
   A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own, 

The love of nature leads to the love of humanity, says the Romantics. Byron’s poem states that he loves man less but nature more. He believes that inanimate objects are what hold people together. Wrong! 

Another poet, George Herbert wrote in a poem “For if I should,” said he(God),
 

“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
 

He would adore my gifts instead of me,
 

And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
 

So both should losers be. “ 

Resting in nature is exactly what the Romantics do! 

Lord Byron correctly believes that humans have made a mess of things. But where he is wrong is that by worshipping nature, things will be made right. 

Humans fell in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed. But God sent His only son, Jesus to save humanity and to restore people to the way He made them. 

It’s Jesus who brings people together. 

There are two basic commands in the Bible: 

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 

Love of God, not His gifts, leads to love of humans.   

As a recovering Romantic, I’ve looked at both sides now, where to just say “I love you” right out loud, with no basis become just an illusion of love and the relationship faltered. As a recovering Romantic, I’ve looked at both sides now, where to just say “I love you” right out loud, with no basis become just an illusion of love and the relationship faltered. As a recovering Romantic, I’ve looked at both sides now, where to just say “I love you” right out loud, with no basis for that emotion, but now need something real, like commitment or compassion, to drive it. I’ve been spending time with a special person and have been trying to reflect God to bring us closer together.  


Chasing Rabbits

“One pill makes you larger And one pill makes you small And the one’s that mother gives you Don’t do anything at all”

-Jefferson Airplane White Rabbit

Whether from the street or from the shrink, drugs intended to improve behavior alter your personality, where, like Alice, you morph into something you are not. And in your quest to expand your mind and find meaning in life, you end up in Alice’s Wonderland, chasing after a fantasy.

As the song continues:

“And if you go chasing rabbits And you know you’re going to fall”

Drug abuse enslaves you.

“When men on the chessboard Get up and tell you where to go And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom And your mind is movin’ slow

Go ask Alice I think, she’ll know”

https://www.bing.com/search?q=jefferson+airplane+white+rabbit&filters=ufn%3a%22jefferson+airplane+white+rabbit%22+sid%3a%22c14123ae-24d7-2617-b91d-da4a4134a428%22&form=EDGTCT&qs=MB&cvid=c3e9cd7ba7fc4875b0c299bea9df9645&refig=d7531f6553fc4f5f95366e6165f5fd01&cc=US&setlang=en-US

Drugs don’t resolve but mask the problem.

King David fell into an emotional pit. Did he call forth the royal shrink and take an anti-depressant? No. David’s depression and anxiety was a result of sin, disobedience to God by committing adultery.

How did King David handle his fall into the pit of despair? After feeling depressed as a result of committing adultery, he writes “Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?” Psalm 6: 2-3

But David confessed his sin and God delivered him: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2. Using drugs to feel better is like ignoring the check engine light in your car. By ignoring the warning, like your car, you will eventualy break down, with negative side effects.

Stop chasing white rabbits; submit to God!

Sin or Disease?

As the war on drug abuse continues to lose ground, as did the war in Vietnam under President LBJ, Bible based programs to help addicts overcome their life destroying behavior continue to step up to the plate to better deal with the problem.

Recently, an open meeting to help people overcome their addictions was started at Oxford Valley Chapel in Fairless Hills, PA. The leader refuted the common mantra that addiction is a disease. He showed clips of politicians and drug rehabs spouting this lie.

Calling drug addiction a disease is a marketing tool used by snake oil salesmen.

One of the participants honestly asked questions about the conventional wisdom disease related model for drug, alcohol, and other addictions. One participant spoke of the power of God who can give you the power to overcome problems.

If an addiction is a disease, then addicts are not responsible for their behavior. If addictions are rightly looked at as sin, then Jesus will help us overcome this sin, and we will be healed, made whole.

The Bible, God’s Word tells us how to overcome sin, which destroys us:  “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22-24

Critics of the disease theory, as reported on Wikipedia, say the disease theory, which is applied to drug and alcohol abuse “exists only to benefit the professionals’ and governmental agencies responsible for providing recovery services, and the disease model has not offered a solution for those attempting to stop abusive alcohol and drug use.”

All The King’s Horses And All The King’s Men Can’t Put Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

Some critics of the disease model argue alcoholism still involves choice, not total loss of control, and stripping alcohol abusers of their choice, by applying the disease concept, is a threat to the health of the individual; the disease concept gives the substance abuser an excuse. A disease cannot be cured by force of will; therefore, adding the medical label transfers the responsibility from the abuser to caregivers. Inevitably the abusers become unwilling victims, and just as inevitably they take on that role. They argue that the disease theory of alcoholism exists only to benefit the professionals’ and governmental agencies responsible for providing recovery services, and the disease model has not offered a solution for those attempting to stop abusive alcohol and drug use.

These critics hold that by removing some of the stigma and personal responsibility the disease concept actually increases alcoholism and drug abuse and thus the need for treatment. This is somewhat supported by a study which found that a greater belief in the disease theory of alcoholism and higher commitment to total abstinence to be factors correlated with increased likelihood that an alcoholic would have a full-blown relapse (substantial continued use) following an initial lapse (single use). However, the authors noted that “the direction of causality cannot be determined from these data. It is possible that belief in alcoholism as a loss-of-control disease predisposes clients to relapse, or that repeated relapses reinforce clients’ beliefs in the disease model.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease_theory_of_alcoholism

Drug abuse and alcohol abuse have a common root: A character flaw. Some 12 Steps programs, which by the way have historically been very successful, combine healing from drug and alcohol abuse with other problems. What’s said about alcohol abuse can be said about drug abuse.

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. …”   -Proverbs 23:29-35

At the shared meals for the homeless and needy in Bucks County, PA I’ve noticed signs for 12 Steps programs.

There are a few other, walk in programs to help people overcome their addictions in the greater Bucks County area:

Breaking The Chains of Addiction, a faith based group that helps people overcome their addictions, meets at First Baptist Church in Morrisville, PA, 50 Pennsylvania Avenue, Tuesdays, at 7 p.m.  Breaking The Chains also meets in South Philly at Third Baptist Church, 2400 S. Broad St Fridays at 7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a national program that helps people overcome drug and alcohol addictions as well as other problems, has a few chapters not far from Bucks County.  Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. New Life Presbyterian Church, 425 East Roosevelt Blvd. In North East Philly hosts Celebrate Recovery.

http://newlifephilly.net/celebrate-recovery

The church needs to bring light to the world, helping to restore broken people.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi 

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.”

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “

-Matthew 5:13-16

Wait For It!

“Forward…”Wait for it…”, says the platoon leader as members of the platoon start to step out.  Like members of the platoon, believers need to wait on God’s orders, His lead.

At the shared meals for the homeless and those in need in lower Bucks County, PA, hosts at the churches where they are held have been speaking God’s Word to the guests. At one recent meal, a few of the guests accepted Jesus as Lord and savior. This is what they need besides a meal. Man does not live by bread alone.

In Bucks County, as is the case in the rest of the country, the opioid crisis continues to grow worse. It’s no surprise. Authorities believe they’ll win the war on drug abuse by pushing out the pusher. They believe drug addiction it is a disease, and think they will keep people healthy by keeping the carrier of the illness out, like keeping the rats away to prevent the bubonic plague.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, drug addiction is not a disease. It’s a result of a character flaw, sin, besetting sin. The only way to really overcome drug addiction or other sins is through Jesus and Biblical counseling.

People have come into my life who are enslaved by addictions. In one case, a guy lost the family home because of his drinking. Another is in jail after trying to strangle his girlfriend. Over the past 3 ½ years, in my associations with the homeless, I’ve tried to help people who are enslaved with addictions. With some people, it seems that whatever you try to do to help some people, they continue to be adamant on destroying their lives.

There’s a Charlie Brown cartoon where one of the character says that they did all they could do and the rest is up to God. I’ve been trying to help someone come to Jesus. Other than just caring that she’s a human being who needs God, I have a special interest in her.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

Someone recently told me I can’t change the world. I realize this. But when God brings people and situations into my life, I try to do what pleases God. The challenge for me is to put God first, and not my own desires. I need to wait on God.

Wait for it!