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Tag Archives: Hope

Addict’s Hope

I have seen your pain, your trials and your struggles, your fears and concerns. I have known your hate for the extreme weaknesses to which you have given yourself time and again. I’ve seen your embarrassment at the wrong choices you have made, and the hurt you endured along the way. You have destroyed your own life, missing moments that cannot be regained. You have cheapened the lives of those about you, taking from them the joy they would have known. You have stole, borrowed, and begged to satisfy your inner longings, only to be fed on that which removes your pain temporarily. The pain is never gone long and that which once you controlled, now controls you. You are unable to let go, it beacons you like a lover and rules you like a master. You have in this process aligned yourself with unseen enemies that take you down pathways of hopelessness and emptiness. The mask you wear to hide from the world is showing signs of over use, and even it has taken on the wrinkles it was intended to cover. You have been abandoned, left of those who once stood beside you, but could not any longer. You have broken promises, failed attempts at recovery and each time it becomes harder. I know you have considered death as an alternative because you think you have tried everything and to your understanding you have, but now you’ve reached a breaking point. The cycle continues and you are weary…but what to do??? You are wondering how I know this? Because, I endured all your pain, I suffered all your failure, I felt every ounce of your addiction, I took on every one of your sins. I died so you could live. I paid your price. When will it end my child? When will it all stop? When will the pain cease and the joy return? When will you give up and allow Me the reigns of your life? Then you will find the peace you desire. I’m not telling you it will be instantaneous bliss, that it will all just melt away, that some of the consequences of you choices will not linger, but I will love you and accept you, and restore you, cleansing you from all your unrighteousness. Will you come to Me and allow My blood to work on your behalf? Come to Jesus.

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When the bondage is broken…

There are times in our lives when our faith is being tested, when trials assail us, when frustration takes hold, and fearful anxiety comes taunting. Many of us have experienced those valley days when would much rather be anyplace but where we are now and any road out seems like a good option. It is in the times like this that our faith is tested, our convictions are tried, and our real heart is displayed in the actions we take.
Such was the case for three young men who had been taken captive by the enemy empire Babylon. While many of the others from their home had been reduced to working hard labor these three had been trained to be leaders. Yes, their position of authority was better but the fact that they were in bondage to another people made these chosen people of God see their situation as grim. I wonder what they were thinking as the God they had trusted allowed them to be captured. If that were not bad enough, they were now being told to bow down to a foreign idol in worship with the promise that if they refused they would in fact face death in a fiery furnace. From bad to worse, the situation and circumstances seemed to be placing bigger and bigger demands on their faith.
I know that these men were facing serious consequences if they refused to bow down; I also know that they were raised to faithfully serve God no matter the circumstances. But it is at the point of no return that some fail to live faithfully. Faith that is not tested is not faith.
When we look at a situation and see we are in bondage and we reason, if God really loved us how could he let this happen to us. We consider, really how bad, to bow down to an idol is, I mean we are talking life and death here. If we compromise surely God would excuse a momentary lapse of faith in a situation where our lives are in the hands of our enemy. The problem with that type of thinking is that it second guesses God.
These three young men understood faith to mean that you trusted God to deliver you from the circumstances and moreover you continued to trust God even if he doesn’t. Real faith trusts God with the outcome even if it’s not the outcome we desire.
By now you probably know that the three young men are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If you are familiar with the history of these Israelites then you are also aware that they refused to bow down. Because they refused the then King Nebuchadnezzar, became so enraged that he had the fires of the furnace heated seven times hotter. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego bound hand and foot and thrown into the furnace. Evidence of Nebuchadnezzar’s lack of faith in their God’s ability is characterized in his last question to the men just before he had them thrown in the furnace; “what god could save you from my hand”?
Needless to say Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faithful to trust God with their very lives. But their experience has much to teach us about fiery furnace circumstances and standing firm despite the obvious consequences. Here are just a few things I learned from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s experience in the fiery furnace: 1) Never look at your circumstances look to the one who holds them. Sadly we are people that only view life in terms of the now…life is eternal and unless we can embrace that understanding our fears will prevent us from trusting beyond the threat of death.
2) Faith means trusting God with the outcome even when we may not like the outcome. 3) It is in the fire where the bondage is taken away. These three young men went into the fire bound hand and foot but Nebuchadnezzar saw them walking around in the flames unharmed and free. Too often the things in this life that take precedence as urgent and pressing pale in comparison when the fires are turned up to what really matters. A death of a mother or dad will often draw siblings together to comfort one another even if they have been indifferent to each other for years – because what really matters is more important. 3) Standing firm in your faith will open doors to others who have previously stood unbelieving. Nebuchadnezzar sent out a decree after seeing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego live a faith that did not fear death. 4) You are never ever in any circumstance alone – the fourth one walking in that furnace was God and he is there no matter the trial. This last lesson is most important, because too often we think we are going through our trials alone.
Now the question: Are you living faithful in your circumstances right now? Are you trusting God even when what was bad gets worse? Do you understand that standing firm in your convictions will open the door for others to see the real value of putting their faith in the God you serve? Do you know you’re not going through this trial alone?