Monthly Archives: February 2012
According to the American Heart Association, nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break, while the pharmacological and behavioral characteristics that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those determining addiction to heroin and cocaine.
Tobacco addiction, the second-leading cause of death in the world, is a culprit for approximately 5 million deaths each year or 1 in 10 adult deaths. Currently, about 1.3 billion smokers live in the world; most (84%) live in developing countries. With the present smoking trends, tobacco will kill 10 million people each year by 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in the United States, tobacco use is responsible for about one in five deaths annually (about 443,000 deaths per year, and an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure). More Americans are killed by cigarettes than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs.
Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction) and contributes to the severity of colds and pneumonia. Tobacco has a damaging effect on women’s health and is associated with increased risk of miscarriage, pre-term delivery, stillbirth, and infant death, and is a cause of low birth weight in infants. For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking.
My paternal grandfather was so addicted to cigarettes that even after he had a tracheostomy (a surgeon cut a hole through his neck directly into his trachea to improve his breathing), he would sneak cigarettes and inhale them through the surgical opening. My grandfather was over 6 feet tall and normally weighed about 185 pounds. The radiation treatments were so debilitating that by the time he died from lung cancer, he was emaciated down to 90 pounds. I do not want to see anyone have to suffer unnecessarily because of nicotine addiction as he did.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:46
Despite the health problems, lawsuits, and rising prices associated with cigarettes, there’s still something seductive about the tobacco industry – the profits! The tobacco industry sells about six trillion cigarettes each year. The industry is highly concentrated with a handful of firms controlling the majority of the global tobacco market. The tobacco market was worth about $614 billion in 2009.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10
There is a smoking ban for inmates who are incarcerated in Florida prisons but this restriction has been lifted for visitors and workers. The following is an excerpt from a letter that I received from an inmate at Apalachee Correctional Institution in Sneads Florida:
About all they did by stopping the selling of cigarettes was create a big black market for them. The staff is still allowed to bring in cigarettes but must go to designated areas to smoke. But because they can bring cigarettes into the prison that leaves an avenue open. Lots of guys have and are selling cigarettes for $2.50 each. Guys are buying them up and smoking them like Crackheads! Then they rob and steal from others to get more.
I noticed that there was a lot less violence before they “outlawed” cigarettes. I’d rather that there were no cigarettes but that is not going to happen since staff can bring them in. I’m sure $50 a pack of cigarettes is appealing to some of the staff. Usually there are 20 cigarettes in a pack. From the tobacco in a pack, 40 or 50 hand-rolled cigarettes can be made. You do the math! Anywhere from $100 to $125 can be generated from a single pack of cigarettes and it costs $10 for a lighter. But you really don’t need one because you can use batteries and a small piece of wire instead.
The back pages from all the Bibles in the Chapel are gone. They used those pages for rolling paper. When that supply ran out, they started using the wrapping paper from the toilet paper rolls! Pages from the dictionaries in the library are now gone too! I never thought that nicotine would have such control over the guys, but it does. What’s going to happen to these guys when they get out? If they can’t control their urge to smoke, what happens when they are exposed to addictive drugs and alcohol? Scary!
If I offered a group of 100 people each a cigarette laced with arsenic and told them that before they finished smoking their cigarette that they would die a horribly painful death, do you think that even one person would try it? Why then are people so willing to smoke cigarettes knowing full well that eventually they will develop a painful and potentially fatal smoking related ailment such as lung cancer or emphysema?
Are smokers simply self-destructive, in denial or incapable of making rational decisions? Perhaps they were tempted by advertising or gave in to peer-pressure when they were susceptible youths or took up their parent’s bad habit and now are addicted. Many smokers do not want to stop smoking regardless of the consequences. Those who want to quit, find it nearly impossible to do so on their own because nicotine addiction is not just a chemical problem it is a spiritual stronghold!
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
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Exodus 9:1
When the Hebrew slaves were in bondage in Egypt they cried out to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for a deliverer. Passover recalls the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. Passover is both a historical account and a prophetic picture. Moses “The Deliverer” is a type of the Messiah (Christ). The bondage of slavery in Egypt is a type of the bondage of sin in the world. Pharaoh typifies Satan. The Passover, when the firstborn male child passed from death to life by the blood of the lamb, is a picture of our passing from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son by the shed blood of the Lamb of God.
Persons who are addicted need to break the demonic strongholds in their lives by repenting of their sins and placing their trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. They need to be born again and receive the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Many people wonder why God does not help them when they cry out to Him to be set free from their addictions. The reason that they remain in bondage is that they want to be set free – but are unwilling to surrender their lives to Jesus. The “KEY” that will set a person free is to understand that the Almighty’s purpose in setting a person free is to “SERVE HIM.” Jesus must not only be your Savior but your Lord! When you cry out, “Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins and deliver me from my addiction and I will serve you the rest of my life!”– Not only will you be set free, and have a healthier lifestyle, you will inherit eternal life, know true joy and receive God’s blessings!
You can be set free from smoker’s cough. You can be free from the horrible smoke smell that permeates your clothes and your home and from the cigarette butts and dirty ash trays. You can save thousands of dollars a year that literally goes up in smoke. You can benefit from whiter teeth and pinker lungs. You can add years to your life span and enjoy a better quality of life!
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:8-10
If you have never made a confession of faith then say the following prayer aloud:
“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
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.
Please contact us. We want to rejoice with you!
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)
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!