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Addiction Is Costly

Addiction is costly. It may cost you your job, your friends, your family, your health and even your life.

economics-of-addiction-

 

“Freedom from Addictions” Video

 “Freedom from Addictions”

Sermon given by the Holy Spirit and preached by David Valchine
David Valchine is an anointed and faithful servant of God. He has had years of experience ministering at assisted living facilities and nursing homes, in jails and serving as a chaplain in hospitals. David is a mature Christian and prayer warrior who has a heart for the lost and a desire to see those bound by addiction set free. His sermon, “Freedom from Addictions” is based on sound biblical principles designed to set the captives free. In this video presentation, David first addresses the need for those seeking freedom from life-controlling substances to be born-again in order to receive deliverance. He then offers insight and understanding concerning five essential spiritual disciplines. These are necessary to put into practice in order to grow and mature in the Christian faith and remain victorious over addictive behaviors. Finally, David addresses the two most common addictions found in American churches. Viewing pornography and drinking wine in excess are debilitating and sinful practices that will destroy a Christian’s witness and break his or her communion with God. David Valchine exhorts the body of Christ to seek repentance, be empowered by the Holy Spirit and walk in obedience to the Word of God so that we can be freed from addiction and live lives worthy of our calling.
To view this video, click on FREEDOM FROM ADDICTION:
FREEDOM FROM ADDICTION

If you are abusing alcohol or other drugs and want to lead a victorious life and be set free from addiction you need to have a relationship with the LORD God, Creator of the heavens and the earth. To find forgiveness and freedom,  pray the following prayer or a similar prayer in your own words -

“Lord Jesus Christ,

I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.

Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, then you have just made a decision by faith, to accept the free gift (God’s grace) of the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah (the Christ), whose suffering and death paid the price of your sins. You have been born again. As a new born, you need to be nourished.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

In order to grow and mature spiritually you need to:

•Be baptized into Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ)

•Speak to God each day through prayer. (Pray each day in the name of Yeshua/Jesus).

•Read your Bible every day. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you through His Word. (If you don’t own a Bible, then we will help you get one.)

•Find a Bible believing church and attend regularly – both worship services and a Bible study.

•Share with someone what God has done for you.

We have a variety of resources for you on our website such as:

Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction, Teachings on Prayer and Fasting, links to Christian resources for the addicted: Find Help, Healing Scriptures and information on our Annual Weekend of Prayer event.

 

Drug Addiction and Long Term Rehab Statistics

Drug addiction is a social menace that affects millions of Americans. The effects of drug abuse can be felt on the individual, family and friends, and the society, but the constant need for a drug often overcomes any logical thinking. Recognizing that they have a problem is the first step to recovery.

We have a variety of resources for you on our website such as:

Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction, Teachings on Prayer and Fasting, links to Christian resources for the addicted: Find Help, Healing Scriptures and information on our Annual Weekend of Prayer event.

The Abuse of Prescription Drugs Can Lead to Death by Overdose

Whether a fatality is caused by accidental overdose of illegal drugs or abusing pharmaceuticals, the impact is much more than a matter of statistics!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 people in the United States die from drug overdose every day. Drug overdose death rates in the U.S. have more than tripled since 1990. (Source – http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/)

The horrible irony is that more and more people seeking relief from pain are becoming addicted to prescription painkillers.  Whether overdose is caused by OxyContin ®, Vicodin ®, Percocet ®or any other opiate – too often the person seeking relief from their pain – is killed by their painkiller.

The tragic loss of a close friend or family member to a narcotic overdose is not just another statistic, but can be devastating emotionally and mentally to those grieving the loss.

Dealing with the loss of an addicted friend or family member from drug overdose may be additionally difficult because of unnecessary guilt or shame carried by the mourner. They may feel guilty that they did not recognize, or were in denial, of the signs of addiction such as: mood swings, deterioration of personal grooming habits, a drop in performance at school or work, suspicious behavior, money missing, etc.  They may blame themselves and anguish over what they could have done or shouldn’t have done that could have prevented the loss of their loved one. Grief stricken family members often require individual professional counseling and/or a bereavement support group in order to find help and healing.

Often a person who is suffering the loss of their friend or family member can find some comfort and even joy by focusing on the “good times” they had together. These memories can help them to carry on with their daily lives as they make it through day by day.

“Carry On” is a beautiful and sweet song written by Heath Lanzillotti and sung by Vonabell Sherman that pays tribute to the one we may have lost and enables us to carry on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X0E_bi-m5Y&feature=plcp

For those of you seeking comfort and a peace that surpasses understanding, you need a relationship with the God of All Comfort.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:2-4

Establish a relationship with the LORD God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, and find forgiveness and freedom by praying the following prayer or a similar prayer in your own words:

“Lord Jesus Christ,

I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.

Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, then you have just made a decision by faith, to accept the free gift (God’s grace) of the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah (the Christ), whose suffering and death paid the price of your sins. You have been born again. As a new born, you need to be nourished.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

In order to grow and mature spiritually you need to:

•Be baptized into Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ)

•Speak to God each day through prayer. (Pray each day in the name of Yeshua/Jesus).

•Read your Bible every day. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you through His Word. (If you don’t own a Bible, then we will help you get one.)

•Find a Bible believing church and attend regularly – both worship services and a Bible study.

•Share with someone what God has done for you.

We have a variety of resources for you on our website such as:

Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction, Teachings on Prayer and Fasting, links to Christian resources for the addicted: Find Help, Healing Scriptures and information on our Annual Weekend of Prayer event.

To be Set Free from Addiction, You Must Have a Humble Heart!

If you have a sincere desire to stop your destructive compulsive behavior and break your addiction, you must first change the attitude of your heart.

Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”James 4:6b

In order to receive the grace of God in your life, you must first prepare the soil of your heart. Those who are proud are self-seeking, arrogant and have a hardened heart. Jesus often illustrated moral principles for us to apply in our daily living, as well as gave us spiritual insights into His Kingdom, through parables. The Lord Jesus told a parable concerning the conditions of the heart which will prevent or bear fruit in a person’s life. An understanding of the natural elements used in His teachings and what they symbolize will give us greater insight, so that we not only hear the voice of God, but understand what He is saying to us.

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:1-9

Everyone in the crowd had ears, but unless they had spiritual insight into what Jesus said, they were unable to comprehend His parables. Many heard the voice of God the Son that day, but they were unable to receive the truth He spoke. Unless a person understands the symbolic meaning of the natural elements used in the parable, it remains a mystery.

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” Mark 4:10-11

Except for the followers of Jesus, the Jews had committed blasphemy of the Spirit. They attributed the glorious working of Jesus’ miracles by the Holy Spirit – to the power of Beelzebub.  Therefore, Jesus began to speak in parables in public so that the secrets of the Kingdom were hidden to the masses.

Once in private and away from the crowd, it says in verse 13:

…  Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?”

The reason that understanding the parable of the sower is primary is that it emphasizes the key to unlock the understanding of the other parables. The key is that elements related to the natural world such as soil, seed, thorns and fruitful crops are symbolic with spiritual applications. There is a natural as well as a spiritual application in God’s Word.

The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:14-20

Seed must be planted in good soil means that the Word of God can only take root, grow and bear fruit in a softened heart and compliant heart. The hardness of the soil of the heart must be broken by humbling oneself, repenting of sins and forgiving others. The stones of bitterness and selfishness need to be removed. The heart must be watered by the Word of God and softened by the oil of the Spirit. When properly prepared and received, the word of God will bear much fruit.

There are two types of fruit. The first is the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Christ being developed in the believer so that the person is conformed to His image. The second type of fruit – is bearing fruit after its own kind by leading others to Christ. Fruit contains seed. When a single seed falls to the ground which is prepared to receive the seed and it is watered, it grows into a plant. When the plant matures, it bears fruit that contains many more seeds. Therefore developing a godly character that producers a good witness will bless both the messenger and bring conviction to many of those hearing the message of the gospel.

If you are abusing alcohol or other drugs and want to lead a victorious life and be set free from addiction you need to have a relationship with the LORD God, Creator of the heavens and the earth. To find forgiveness and freedom,  pray the following prayer or a similar prayer in your own words -

“Lord Jesus Christ,

I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.

Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, then you have just made a decision by faith, to accept the free gift (God’s grace) of the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah (the Christ), whose suffering and death paid the price of your sins. You have been born again. As a new born, you need to be nourished.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

In order to grow and mature spiritually you need to:

•Be baptized into Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ)

•Speak to God each day through prayer. (Pray each day in the name of Yeshua/Jesus).

•Read your Bible every day. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you through His Word. (If you don’t own a Bible, then we will help you get one.)

•Find a Bible believing church and attend regularly – both worship services and a Bible study.

•Share with someone what God has done for you.

We have a variety of resources for you on our website such as:

Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction, Teachings on Prayer and Fasting, links to Christian resources for the addicted: Find Help, Healing Scriptures and information on our Annual Weekend of Prayer event.

Forgive and Be Set Free from Addiction by Renewing Your Mind

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7a

Addictive and Compulsive Behavior are the Result of Addictive Controlling Thoughts.

Past hurts and emotional wounds often are at the root of addictive behavior as the abuser uses drugs and alcohol to temporarily medicate away the pain of rejection. An important key to freedom and healing is found in forgiveness. To be set free from addiction, there needs to be a release from addictive thoughts. That release is found through forgiveness and renewed thinking.

In Romans 12:2 we are urged not to be conformed to this world. Instead we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Greek word translated as “renewing” is, ajnakaivnwsiß (anakainosis). Anakainosis means a renewal, renovation or complete change for the better. What needs to undergo a renovation, so that it can be changed for the better, is our “mind.” Our mind is the faculty that enables us to think, understand and perceive. When a person is born-again, he/she is delivered out of the dominion of darkness and has been brought into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). We no longer are to follow the behavior and customs of this sin-stained world. Our behavior is the reflection of our thinking. As a new creature in Christ our spirits have been regenerated and are perfect, but our souls (our minds, wills and emotions) need to be sanctified (set apart for the holy purposes of God).

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, we need to put off the old worldly ways of thinking and no longer submit to carnal desires. We need to be made new in the attitude of our minds.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31

We are exhorted to renew our minds and be free of hatred and strife but how is this accomplished?

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,Ephesians 5:25-26

The church or universal body of believers is cleansed (sanctified/made holy) by replacing worldly and fleshly thoughts with the Word of God. If we are to be true followers of Christ, then we must think and act like our Master. To think and act like our Lord, we must learn about His life and character. By studying the four Gospels, we will learn about the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16

By regular and faithful reading of the divinely inspired Scriptures and applying the Word of God to our lives, we will transform our minds. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, we will progressively be freed from worldly thinking and carnal desires.

A second essential key to renewing our minds and enabling us to put away our bitter, malicious and wicked thoughts is our willingness to forgive those who have caused us bitter suffering.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

Jesus, who was innocent of any wrongdoings, was falsely accused, illegally arrested and unfairly tried, mocked, beaten, scourged and crucified. Yet He cried out from the cross, “Father, forgive them …” According to the Lord’s Prayer we will be forgiven to the extent that we are willing to forgive others. The world teaches us to harbor unforgiveness and hatred, but a Christian who has the mind of Christ will be known by his love.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

 How can you love your neighbor as yourself, if you do not love yourself?  Not only forgive those who have mistreated you, but also be sure to forgive yourself.
We have a variety of resources for you on our website such as:

Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction, Teachings on Prayer and Fasting, links to Christian resources for the addicted: Find Help, Healing Scriptures and information on our Annual Weekend of Prayer event.

TO WIN THE BATTLE OVER ADDICTION WE NEED OUR SPIRITUAL ARMOR

It is so very vital that we understand that there is an unseen spiritual battle that has been taking place throughout the course of human history.

Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan has been waging war against mankind.                                                               

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Our fight is not against human beings, but against the devil and his hierarchy of evil spirits. Satan is the god of this dark world who has blinded the minds of the unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). He is the prince of the power of the air who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). We cannot fight this battle in our own strength but must be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians from a prison in Rome and used  the physical armor of the Roman prison guards to illustrate the spiritual protection and weapons that are available to born-again believers in Christ.  By learning how the natural armor was worn and utilized, we can better understand the spiritual weapons of our warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Roman Soldier in Full Armor

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with  the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this,  take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-17

The Roman soldier wore a tunic or outer garment that served as his primary clothing. It was a large, square garment with holes cut out for the head and arms. It did not provide for body movement unless it was cinched up and tucked into a large belt that the soldier wore around his waist. This cinching was known as “girding up the loins” (or waist). A soldier who was preparing for battle would gird up his tunic into this belt. So that he would be ready to run or move quickly. The belt was also fitted with a scabbard or sheath to secure his sword to his side. In the front it had leather or metal straps attached to help protect the front of the soldier’s lower body.

The soldier’s belt protected his loins from harm. This lower area of the body serves in elimination of wastes and in reproduction. Our spiritual girdle or “belt of truth” protects us in a similar fashion. By knowing and loving the truth – the word of God (the Bible) and He who is the Truth (Jesus Christ), we can discern and eliminate false doctrines, lies and deception of the enemy. By spreading the truth of the gospel, we can reproduce spiritual offspring. People perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Therefore, the first piece of armor and our new life in Christ must begin with “the truth” – we are sinners who need a savior and can be justified freely by his grace (Romans 3:23-24). Jesus himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

The next piece of armor that needs to be fitted into place is the breastplate. This breastplate was attached to the belt by leather thongs that passed through rings on the bottom to keep it solidly attached. It protected the upper body and the vital organs including the heart and lungs. Our spiritual breastplate of righteousness is “the righteousness of God” which is imputed to the believer by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22).

 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21

Once we have embraced the truth, repented of our sins and believe in Jesus, we are in right standing before God. We need to walk uprightly and guard our hearts because the heart is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is the seat of our emotions and our attitude. Our attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus who humbled himself, came as a servant and was obedient to the Father (Philippians 2:5-8).

The Roman soldiers’ footwear was called the caligae or military boot often referred to as sandals. The upper is incorporated into the sole construction between two thick layers of leather. These layers are nailed together with iron nails which can be replaced as they wear down. The only stitching is in a position where it is not subject to wear and can easily be re-stitched. Their footwear was constructed to be long lasting and easily repaired. Our spiritual footwear is “our readiness and obedience to spread the gospel of peace.”

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

When we are obedient to be witnesses of Christ and fulfill the “Great Commission,” the enemy will certainly rise up against us. That is when we need to take up our “shield of faith.” The Roman shield that Paul referred to was called the scutum. It was a very large, slightly curved rectangular shield featuring at its center a large metal knob (called a boss). It was made of two planks glued together, the outer surface being then covered first with canvas and then with calf-skin. Its upper and lower rims are strengthened by an iron edging which protects it from descending blows and from injury when rested on the ground. The soldiers would oil their shield to keep the leather covering supple. In preparation against the flaming arrows of an enemy, the soldiers would soak their shields in water. When they came into range of being attacked, packed formations of legionaries would overlap their shields to provide an effective barrier and their water soaked shields would douse the fiery missiles. In a likewise manner we need to keep our shield of faith prepared for the battle with the “oil of the Holy Spirit” and soaked with the “water of the word” (Ephesians 5:26). Then we can stand in faith when the enemy attacks.

A soldier’s helmet protects another vital organ – the brain. The battle of the spirit takes place in the mind. The “helmet of salvation” is the spiritual piece of armor that will help guard our thoughts against the assault of the enemy. The adversary is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). He will place negative thoughts in a believers mind in an attempt to make us doubt God’s love for us and our assurance of salvation. But we are saved to the uttermost because Jesus lives forever to intercede with God on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25).

Finally, we have our offensive piece of armor – The Sword of the Spirit – which is the word of God.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Chemical addiction is not just a biochemical problem, it is spiritual bondage. Alcoholism and other drug addictions are spiritual bondages that result in physical and mental illnesses, crime and death.
In order to become victorious over drug addiction, a person needs the power of God manifested in their life so that they can be set free from the bondage of sin, find true deliverance and save their soul. The battle of the spirit is fought in the mind and our carnal thoughts must be taken into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We must submit our thoughts to Christ’s thoughts and our ways to God’s ways.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

When Jesus Christ is not only your Savior but the Lord of your life and you are in complete submission to Him, then when you resist the devil – he will flee from you!

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

How do we renew our minds?  How can we exchange our ungodly worldly thoughts and attain the holy mind of Christ? This can be accomplished, according to Ephesians 5:25, as we are cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word. We must replace our hunger and thirst for the strongholds that bind us, with a hunger and thirst for God’s divinely inspired Word.

The way we defeat addiction is to repent of our sins, place our trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross, renounce the work of the devil in our lives, seek God’s will and enablement through prayer and the reading of the Bible, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Fight the good fight of faith by putting on the full armor of God each day. Be sure to keep your sword sharpened!

Is it your heart’s desire to see people delivered, healed and set free to serve the Lord Jesus Christ?
Then click on the following link to learn how you, your church group or ministry
can participate in our international prayer event:

 http://justprayno.org/click-here-for-information-on-the-annual-worldwide-weekend-of-prayer/

To Battle Sexual Addiction: Gird up the Loins of Your Mind

The battles of sexual addiction and pornography are not won by girding up our genitals, but by transforming our thought life.

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:13-16

The word “loins” can be defined as the pubic region or genitals – the location of the reproductive organs. To gird up means to bind about, especially with a belt or sash. In biblical times, a Roman soldier when putting on the part of his armor that covered his loins; would take the excess material from his knee length tunic pull and it forward. Then he would tuck the extra material between his legs in front and gather it behind him. Collecting half of the material on either side in the rear, he would pull it around and tie it in the front as a sash or belt. This would enable him to run with more mobility and agility. Girding up his loins, the soldier would be prepared for the action of battle.

Peter exhorts us to gird up the loins of our mind – the reproductive center of our thought life – so that we will be prepared for the spiritual battle and be able to live a holy and obedient life. We are no longer to be controlled by worldly lusts.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:13-15

The battle of sexual addiction is not won by girding up our genitals, but by transforming our thought life. It is our own evil desire – lustful thinking – that entices us to sin sexually.

The Lord Jesus Christ said, as quoted in Matthew 5:27-28: You have heard that it was said,   ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Men are stimulated visually. Especially for men, indulging in sexual fantasy, reading or watching pornography opens the door to sexual addiction and leads to a path of immorality, degradation and shame.

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1-5

 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 2 Samuel 11:1-4

At the time when kings go off to war, David sent his nephew Joab, as commander-in-chief, out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. King David himself remained in Jerusalem. David was anointed by God to be king over Israel and to lead the army of Israel in battle. Instead of David fulfilling his anointed calling and leading the physical battle against the Ammonites, he placed himself in a vulnerable position so that he would lose a most important spiritual battle.

From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her…

Men are stimulated visually. King David was no different than any other man. As James made so clear in his epistle: …but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. David gave in to his own evil desire to have someone else’s wife – Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. David’s evil desire not only resulted in his sin of adultery but also the arranged killing of Uriah in battle.

Praise God for his awesome grace and tender mercies. When David was confronted with his sins by the prophet Nathan he repented and was forgiven. But there were terrible natural consequences to his sins.

Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ”  2 Samuel 12:9-12

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.”

David was a man after the LORD’s own heart because David was truly repentant. The LORD took away the eternal consequences of his sin. But David would reap in the natural realm what he had sown including the death of the child he fathered with Bathsheba as well as his beloved son Absalom having his way with David’s concubines.

David’s punishment included engaging in warfare all of his days because he struck down Uriah with the sword of the Ammonites. Because David didn’t go out to battle the Ammonites, he was idle. In his idle time, he lusted with his eyes and his evil desire enticed him to sin. The sin of David resulted in the sword never departing from his house. David avoided a physical battle but ended up with a lifetime of battles to fight because he lost sight of the spiritual battle.

Men are stimulated visually. Especially for men, indulging in sexual fantasy, reading or watching pornography opens the door to sexual addiction and leads to a path of immorality, degradation and shame. Because he did not gird up the loins of his mind, even Israel’s greatest king, brought down calamity upon his house.

Porn is reported to be a 12 billion dollar industry in the U.S… 50 percent of men viewed pornography within one week of attending a Promise Keepers stadium event… 54 percent of pastors said they viewed porn within the past year in a Pastors.com survey… in a 2003 Focus on the Family poll 47 percent of respondents said porn is a problem in their home. According to a Christianity Today magazine survey, Internet pornography is a personal problem for 37 percent of pastors. Pornography viewing is not just limited to men who are unsaved but is a besetting sin for many Christian men and Christian leaders as well.

We know that pornography and sexual sin are mighty strongholds in the church that must be demolished. We can also learn from King David’s errors, two important strategies in how to win this battle. First, we have to be aware of how we occupy ourselves in our down or idle time. Secondly and more importantly, we must be aware that the battle of the spirit takes place in our minds. It is our own evil desire – lustful thinking – that entices us to sin sexually.

In order to break away from worldly thinking – carnal mindedness, we must renew our minds. How is this accomplished? Paul explains how in his letter to the church at Ephesus.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27

The Lord Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and as born-again believers we immediately receive spiritual life. But Christ desires that his bride, the church to be without the stain of sin. Sanctification is a process by which we become more and more Christ-like. This is accomplished by our minds being renewed and cleansed from carnal thoughts by replacing them with the Word of God.

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:9-11                                                                                                                                    

For many years, people who had great treasures would bury them and in time of need, would dig them up. When we treasure the Word of God and bury it in our hearts, in our time of need it will come forth so that we will know the will of God and not sin against him.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. James 5:13-15                                                                                                                                                    

To be victorious over pornography and sexual addiction, we must not only renew our mind but also we need accountability, the confession of our sin and the support and prayers of our brothers and sisters in the faith.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Pride and Addiction – Getting High is as the Sin of Witchcraft

Pride and Addiction

 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23

This is a powerful Scripture. Let’s look at the circumstances that surround it, so that we can better understand it. Saul was the first king that God anointed over the Kingdom of Israel after the system of the Judges. Samuel was the prophet of the LORD during this period and passed the words of God onto Saul. Saul was told the following by Samuel:

Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” 1 Samuel 15:2-3

Saul did successfully attack the Amalekites but he spared Agag their king and kept all the best of their oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys. Saul did not do what God had commanded. He thought that he knew better. In fact, Saul thought so highly of himself that in verse 12 it reads, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor…” God was so displeased with Saul’s disobedience and arrogance that God’s tells Samuel in verse 11, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” Then God sent Samuel to Saul with a message. It begins in verse 17, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel”? And it ends in verse 23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

What was the root of Saul’s rebellion? PRIDE! Saul did what he wanted rather than what God had commanded. Saul thought more “highly” of himself than of God. Pride was the original sin. Let’s look at where it originated.

Isaiah 14:12-14 tells about the fall of Lucifer:  “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart:

‘ I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

Ezekiel 28:12-15 tells us a little more about him: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.

What an indictment! Lucifer was created so perfectly and beautifully and given a holy purpose, yet became prideful and wanted to rise above the stars of God and ascend above the heights of the 

clouds and be like the Most High. Lucifer’s pride caused him to want to be “higher” than the station God had appointed him to in life; that’s rebellion – the sin of witchcraft.

Have you ever desired to ascend higher than your God appointed state of consciousness? Ever wanted to get high? I, for one, have certainly fallen prey to this sin of rebellion/pride (witchcraft). Not content in my state of being, I sought to get “higher” using many different substances – all in an attempt to escape reality – to feel what I am not. All these attempts have led to destruction. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

The next time you decide that you know better than God does concerning the state of consciousness that you should be in and you decide to make yourself higher than the stars of God, think twice about this “witchcraft thinking” and leave the substances that alter our senses of reality alone. The sin of pride associated with thinking you know what’s best; will only lead you to destruction. Both Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25 state, There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Remember that pride caused both King Saul and Lucifer to fall from their God appointed heights!

Some say that addiction stems from low self-esteem. Perhaps there is some truth in that statement. Is it self-loathing that causes us to want to get higher and want to be more than we perceive that we are? Maybe the problem is our self-perception and that is what causes our low self-esteem? Let’s consider who we are according to “God’s Word” rather than who we perceive ourselves to be according to our own “stinkin’ thinkin’.” Focus not on being bold in self-pride but being bold in Christ. For in Him, all things are possible!       

 Editor Michael Minton   

AMERICAN IDOLS: The Land of the Free or Home of the Enslaved?

Idolatry can take many forms.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are forms of idol worship.
They lead to spiritual bondage. Abusers are addicted and enslaved.

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20: 1-6

More than 1/3 of all high school seniors in America have admitted to using marijuana in the past year. These self-reports of drug use among high school seniors may under represent drug use among youth of that age because high school dropouts and truants are not included, and these groups may have more involvement with drugs than those who stay in school. Although overall drug abuse has declined since the late 1970s, the use of inhalants has increased among teenagers. Inhalants encompass a range of substances as diverse as glues, aerosols, butane, paint thinner, and nail polish remover. Use of inhalants has consistently been highest among 8th graders, likely because these products are inexpensive, legal, and easy to obtain, making them more attractive to younger adolescents who have less access to illicit drugs.

More than 70% of high school seniors in America have admitted to using alcohol in the past year, while nearly 50% have reported that they have had a drink in the past month. Most high school seniors are between the ages of 16 – 18 years old. The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years of age. Therefore 7 out of 10 high school seniors have admitted to breaking the law by underage consumption of alcoholic beverages in the past year and half have admitted to having a drink recently.

Worldwide, more than 2/3 of all countries have a cocaine problem. By conservative estimates, there are over 2 million cocaine addicts in the United States alone.

Seven of the 20 countries designated by the President as major drug transit or major illicit drug-producing nations are located in Latin America-Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. The strategic deployment of approximately 38 percent of DEA’s foreign workforce to Latin America is testament to the important role the region plays in feeding America’s appetite for drugs.

Latin America is the source of all cocaine, most of the heroin, and significant amounts of marijuana consumed in the United States. Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru remain the primary centers of cocaine production, although DEA remains concerned about the production potential of other countries in the region. Cocaine continues to be produced in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru in vast quantities to supply the United States’ and world’s demand. Non-existent 10 years ago, heroin produced in Colombia now supplies over 50 percent of the United States’ heroin market.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, over 22 million Americans need treatment for a drug or alcohol problem!

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion people smoke, about one-third of the global population aged 15 and older. In the United States, over 25 million men and over 21 million women smoke tobacco products.

During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in adult obesity in the United States. Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese. There has also been a dramatic increase in childhood obesity in the last decade. Childhood obesity rates have quadrupled in the last twenty five years. Diabetes, hypertension and other obesity-related chronic diseases that are prevalent among adults have now become more common in youngsters.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are impacting families and communities around the world. Here in affluent America, we are drinking, drugging, smoking and overeating ourselves to death.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…

People turn to idols because they are seeking pleasure or comfort apart from God. When trials and troubles come, when you experience emotional or physical pain, when you are lonely or bored, where do you find your comfort? Do you smoke cigarettes or eat junk food when you are nervous? Do you have a few beers or watch pornography when you are lonely or feel rejected?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Those who have placed their trust in the finished work of Messiah Jesus are not only promised a full and abundant life but will experience an eternity of pleasures.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Our God is the God of all comfort and the Father of all compassion. When we stand in faith, we will experience an abundant life and we will experience an eternity of joy in God’s presence.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

If we stand in faith in the midst of our circumstances and hardships, we will be pleasing to God and will reap rewards. But the LORD our God is a jealous God who punishes those who are guilty of idolatry to the third and fourth generation. Have you sought pleasure or comfort by drinking, gambling, drugging, smoking cigarettes, by overeating or indulging in pornography? Are you a workaholic or a shopaholic? Who are you serving?

Why is idolatry such an abomination before the LORD? The Apostle Paul exhorts us to flee from idolatry. In speaking about the communion table Paul wrote:

Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 1 Corinthians 10:19-21

Addictions and compulsive behaviors are not only physical bondages but demonic strongholds.

Pharmakeia is a word found three times in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is the root word from which we get our English word pharmacy or pharmacist. Pharmakeia is translated as witchcraft or sorcery. It speaks of the occult magical arts which are often found in connection with idolatry. Drug and alcohol abuse including nicotine and caffeine addictions, like witchcraft, are powerful, demonic strongholds.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16

Here in America and around the world, people are drinking, drugging, smoking and overeating themselves to death. They are in bondage to their addictions and compulsive behaviors and are enslaved by sin which leads to death. Many are unknowingly offering up their bodies as sacrifices to demons. Not only are they slaves to their addictions and guilty of idolatry, they have placed a curse on their families which extends to the third and fourth generation.

The prophet Hosea warns us that the people of God are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

We who have put our trust in the finished work of redemption that Christ accomplished on the cross are not in darkness. We are no longer ignorant as God’s elect. We must walk in the light as He is in the light. We and our children, and our children’s children do not have to be destroyed for lack of knowledge. We must no longer conform to evil desires. We need not be enslaved. We must not serve other gods. We need to be obedient children and be holy as our heavenly Father is holy.

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17

Are we willing to commit to living a life worth of our calling and seek purity as did King David who proclaimed:

I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life- when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.
Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.
Psalm 101:1-4

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