As Iron Sharpens Iron

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17

They are not therapists. They are not professionals. Conquering Life Prison and Recovery Ministries (CLPRM) are just a group of folks who are on a noble quest to help those suffering from the voluntary slavery of addictions overcome their problem through Biblical means.  http://www.clprm.org/about

For CLPRM, relapsing is a major concern. It has become such a big deal that on September 8, it will hold a relapse walk and fundraiser. http://www.clprm.org/relapse-prevention-walk-and-fundraiser/ 

Quitting the voluntary slavery of an addiction is one thing, but staying off an addiction is another thing. It’s not just a matter of simply abstaining, which is good, but you need to get at the root of the problem. When people can’t handle life on its own terms, instead of seeking God’s help, they look for deliverance in 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

Despite being rescued from an initial addiction, addicts continue to engage in destructive behavior which only brings them misery. What the demon Screwtape tells his demon nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters in their mission to bring down a Christian to their father, Satan, applies: “An ever- increasing craving for an ever-diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return – that is what really gladdens Our Father’s heart.”

The promise of being delivered and creating better living through chemistry so to speak, only to be let down is analogous to the lines in Sam Cooke’s “Another Saturday Night.”

Another fella told me he had a sister who looked just fine
Instead of being my deliverance, she had a strange resemblance
to a cat named Frankenstein

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=sam+cook+it%27s+a+saturday+night&view=detail&mid=93973378BE0C2869A3E793973378BE0C2869A3E7&FORM=VIRE

The dark world of the drug culture is the world of Frankenstein! It’s a monster created by sinful people. Users go broke, are alienated from their loved ones, they enter the pit of despair, go to jail, rehabs and sometimes institutions, and go early to the grave as well as the nuthouse.

I’ve known and heard of people who have engaged in such destructive behavior – repeatedly relapsing for as long as 30 years. One I knew well finally got clean after decades of living in the dark world of voluntary slavery and came into the light of Jesus, which was the only way to break the chains of addiction. But it was too late! But the chains were broken and heaven’s gates were opened.

You don’t have to be a drug addict or a drunk to mess up your life. I did.

I had lost my job and was going to lose my house. I lost things bit by bit, as did a woman in an episode of The Twilight Zone. In the episode, every time this spendthrift missed a credit card payment, she lost something. First the cat, then the dog, then her kids, then her husband, then her car, then her house. I lost my home Internet connection, I was soon to lose my wife, my dog had already died, and I was running low on food. I was also starting to lose my mind.

For food, I went to a local Salvation Army pantry. I also needed someone to talk with, as I was anxious and depressed about my situation. I took a Salvation Army magazine home with me and started reading it. I emailed a particular section. Someone replied to my email and wrote that it was a of a call for help. It was! Following the respondent’s advice, I visited the church come Sunday. One of the officers was in early. She let me in and we talked before Sunday school. I hadn’t been to church regularly for years. I listened attentively. I was broken. During the singing of “What a Friend We Have Jesus” I hung on every word, which was projected on a screen. When we hit the lines “oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear…” I broke down in tears. The thought that I didn’t have to have the mental pain I was in and that I could find peace in Jesus just touched me.  “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:8

The root of my problem was that I was sinning, not living a Godly lifestyle. I prayed to God, confessed my sins and asked Him to bring me back to him. I got on the right path. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

To help me get back in the pink, which certainly wasn’t in a wink, I volunteered in the food pantry. It’s good to have responsibilities. More recently a homeless guy who had a drinking problem told me he got a job, and added it would keep him out of trouble. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop!

I took my laptop to the local library and started doing online freelance writing. After a time, I started writing these blogs. For a time, I worked doing deliveries and working in the store doing odd jobs at a furniture and mattress business.

Both the drug user and I continued to keep destructive behavior at bay, by hanging with the right people and by doing the right things. Informal counseling and going to meetings such as Celebrate Recovery, an “addiction” meeting at a church, which morphed into a Bible study, reading Christian materials and to church. The drug user called the addiction meeting a Bible study.

Counseling, as Biblical Counseling movement founder Jay E Adams explains in “Critical Stages of Biblical Counseling”, is basically a pit stop to take care of problems that slow down progressive sanctification so the putting off of sinful ways and putting on Godly ways can continue in the church and other venues that help the believer become more Christlike.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to save “good” people, but sinners. Addicts are no different than anybody else.

It’s important to attend a church that follows the Bible strictly and doesn’t succumb to every whim of doctrine.

In the 1920s, mainstream protestant churches were polluted with worldly ways.  They were not holy, which means to set apart from the sinful world. Their world view was reflected in the moral and financial poverty of the times. It was ministering to broken people that helped Christianity have more fidelity to scripture.

To help people who abuse alcohol, in 1921 “A First Century Christian Fellowship, later known as The Oxford Group, was created, founded by a minister who was truly born again, 14 years before Alcoholics Anonymous. Although AA used Biblical principles from The Oxford Group, it minimized God. The added “God as we know him” was incorporated to appease non-Christians.

The practice of regular people with problems using the Bible to help one another, as CLPRM does, was the case with The Oxford Group. A “professional” could not help a drunk back then, and shrinks, along with all the other professional horses and all the king’s men, can’t today.

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. He came back to Dr. Jung, who 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

Drug and alcohol abuse have a common root.

Dr. Bachman, the minister who created the Oxford Group, 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.

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

Every Thought Captive

Another shooting! This time at the airport in Florida.

Why is this always happening?

Being controlled to murder earthlings by an alien force can certainly be ruled out. But actions begin as a thought: hatred, malice and envy – evil thoughts. We all have evil thoughts; nobody is perfect. But when we entertain these thoughts and hold them captive, we end up acting on them.

“The tongue utters only what is already in the heart (Matthew 12:34). Acts of sin besides what the tongue commits proceed from the same evil heart (Matthew 15:17-20). Matthew 7:16-18 confirms the impossibility of changing an evil heart, as it can never produce good fruit. God must completely replace it with a wholly different nature for it to produce good fruit! Before being changed, it can produce only evil fruit.”  -Matthew 15:17-20

Cops: Mental Health Crisis Led To Fatal Birthday Stabbing reads the headlines of an article on LevittownNow.com about a man who came home at four in the morning  and attacked his girlfriend with a knife. Although the police state that this sudden attack was a “rapid descent into a major mental health problem,” weeks before, the attacker’s parents saw there was a problem with this “peaceful, well respected and generous” man.  http://levittownnow.com/2016/10/15/mental-health-crisis-led-to-fatal-birthday-stabbing/

What fuels evil acts such as mass shootings?

Since the Garden of Eden, humans were tempted.  Satan, in the form of a snake, tempted Adam and Eve, telling them that if they eat the forbidden fruit they would be like God, knowing good and evil and will gain wisdom. The crafty snake also told our first parents that God didn’t mean it when he said they will die if they disobey Him. Since then, people have been following the father of lies.

Lies have been circulating before and after the election of Donald Trump. One common, persistent lie is that Mr. Trump is a racist. Not only is this false witness, not based on any evidence, but is counterproductive and harmful to the black community. Professor of Economics at George Mason University Walter E Williams expounds on this thought: http://walterewilliams.com/blacks-and-politicians/

Just as Dr. Williams urges people to stop tolerating and making excuses for the despicable and destructive behavior of individual blacks, some people have put a lid on bad behavior of homeless individuals who exhibit outlandish behavior at the community meals, particularly coming to the meals drunk, verbally and physically threatening other guests as well as actually attacking people! One such person in now in the Bucks County jail.

As a result of holding people accountable for their behavior, the community meals have been peaceful. People not only eat in peace, but have a wonderful time meeting with friends and edifying one another.

To stop bad behavior, you must understand and act on the root cause. It’s sin. All the King’s Horses and All The King’s Men in government can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. We hear the incessant mantra that “drug addiction” is a disease and not a character flaw, weakness. Operating under this premise has exacerbated the epidemic of overdoses, many fatal. Of course, as is the case with liberals, results don’t matter, just as long as people praise their intentions and they get their money!

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”  -Hosea 6:1