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Isolation. Hiding. Secrets. “In our own heads.” These are familiar concepts to us. There is a sense of comfort in them because we feel the illusion of safety and protection.
But alone. And separate. There is loneliness and desperation in isolation and hiding. We long for connection to God and others because that is how we were designed. Many of us are around families, friends, co-workers, and church members, but still hiding. Hiding in plain sight.
That is the beauty of the 12-step meeting: you start to come out of hiding just by being there; you don’t have to say anything. The other attendees know something about you that your loved ones may not know yet. That can be the first step in breaking the chains of addiction.
Attendance is only the start. As difficult as it may be, there will be a time when you will need to speak. Healthy relationships require communication and this is something you will have to learn. A meeting is a good place because when you...
After establishing that death is separation, we can now turn our attention to life, specifically spiritual life. Having a basic understanding of death will help us make sense of what spiritual life is.
Let’s start with Jesus Christ’s command to Nicodemus to be “born again.”
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God….Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:3, 7).
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the phrase “born again.” Some people think of it in terms of membership in a religion or denomination: he is a born again, he is a Catholic, he is a Buddhist, etc. It is often used incorrectly as a label to identify a religious affiliation.
But let’s go back to the definition of spiritual death as separation from God. If I became separated from God through spiritual death, then in order to be reunited to Him, I...
Death is separation. Death is not annihilation or non-existence. It is not destruction in an absolute sense. At its core, physical death is separation, separation of the spirit and soul from the body. And spiritual death is separation of the human spirit from God’s Spirit.
This is a key concept that explains how death is used throughout the Bible. For example, what did Jesus mean when He said, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Luke 9:60)? We can be sure that He didn’t mean let the physically dead bury the physically dead. But letting the spiritually dead bury the physically dead makes perfect sense.
Consider this verse:
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, emphasis added).
Someone was dead, but then made alive (quickened). They were spiritually dead (separated from God) and then made alive (united with God in spirit).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him...
As part of a longer quote, Benjamin Franklin asserted that “nothing is certain except death and taxes.” The Bible tells us that we all have an appointment with death and that “we have the sentence of death in ourselves”; in other words, we are under a death sentence. We are all on death row.
Death is an unpleasant topic and most of us would prefer to postpone the thought of it as long as possible. Man’s fear of death is quite natural and reasonable and that fear can be a source of anguish, distress, and bondage. While death itself is certain, what happens afterward is quite uncertain to many people. The fear of death is the fear of the unknown.
But what if we can be certain about what is beyond this life? What if the certainty of death is matched with certainty about the other side of death? Would that remove our fears and give us a reason to live differently? This is what I want to demonstrate: God has given us enough information to know with certainty...
How do you eat chicken wings? Not the boneless kind, but just normal, everyday chicken wings. You eat the meat and leave the bones. You consume the good parts and leave behind the bad parts. Obvious and simple when it comes to food, but what about in the world of ideas?
A good chicken wing is a “package”; the meat and bones travel together. I am going to sift through it with my fingers and mouth to get the good stuff. I may find that some unwanted stuff gets through that I have to spit out. The stuff I don’t want will be left behind and discarded.
I don't like seafood too much but I was eating with one of my buddies and he was pulling small pieces of meat from some kind of crustacean. I swear that there was more debris on his plate after he finished eating than before, but he seemed quite full and satisfied when he was done. He certainly knew what the good parts were and how to get them. And he knew what parts to leave behind.
The problem for me has been an...
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3–6).
This passage shows that Christian warfare takes place in the spirit world, not the physical world. The weapons are not carnal, that is, physical or earthly, because the battleground is in the mind. There are non-material thoughts and imaginations that are strongholds that need to be pulled down.
It is quite astonishing to realize that the human mind is actually a war zone. This may be why there is an immediate assurance in the parenthetical statement that our weapons are “mighty...
A woman recently told me that she always seems to end up with oblivious men. We both laughed and I responded that oblivion may be a general feature of the gender.
Except I wasn’t really kidding. I have both been accused of being oblivious and have confessed to it, so I have given a lot of thought to the subject.
Google tells me that oblivion is “the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening.” I admit to using this as a comfortable excuse for my own relational mistakes and messes. It’s easier to admit to being clueless instead of selfish or evil.
Of course the dictionary doesn’t give us the “why” behind someone’s oblivion. Maybe it stems from ignorance, which sounds innocent until you consider willful ignorance. In other words, I am oblivious because I don’t care about you so leave me alone. The oblivious person may be a selfish, narcissistic bastard that is trying to hurt you. Oblivion can be a smokescreen...
I woke up the other morning in quite a bit of distress. I had expected a night of tossing and turning, but actually slept well; but I was just postponing the inevitable fear and anxiety. I was in a situation where I felt like I had painted myself into a corner. Except that the paint was battery acid and I had bare feet.
And of course the stress was all about a couple of particular relationships, specifically my clumsiness in navigating them. I can do almost anything when it comes to building and house repairs, I have done plenty of brake jobs, and taught myself how to write computer software. I am physically fit for my age and can easily knock off a Saturday 50-miler on my bicycle. I am proficient at a lot of things and am confident in most of my abilities.
But this relationship stuff is hard work for me. Being in an addiction and basically in isolation mode for the majority of my life has really taken a toll on the way I relate to people. I am not sure which is the cause and which...
The physical world runs on the principle of entropy, which basically says that things proceed from a state of order to disorder. If I leave a piece of wood outside in the elements, it will eventually rot and decay. There is a lot of evidence that our entire universe is “running down” and will eventually arrive at “heat death.” Our own physical bodies are heading for death and decay.
The spiritual world is quite different and has a bias for change in the other direction. According to Romans 8:29, believers are “predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ.”
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16, emphasis added).
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2, emphasis...
I titled this web community “Thoughts on Recovery” on purpose. The thought-life of every human being is absolutely critical to the lives that they live. It will determine how we live and the quality of life that we will experience. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” is the absolute truth. The success or failure (or combination of both) of sobriety, recovery, growth, and healing will largely be determined by the thoughts we entertain.
This begins a series of posts on the mind, thoughts, and thinking; specifically, what the Bible says about them. As we will see, the Bible says quite a bit about them and they are quite important in the life of every person.
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly...
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