Addiction, Bible Studies

God: Better Than a Hershey's Bar Premium Content

I love the series "Mad Men." Most of the time, I confound my husband by binge watching episodes of it on Netflix. And I've been especially giddy as I've barreled through season six. I won't spoil plotlines for you, but there was a particular scene in which the Madison Avenue advertising protagonist, Don Draper was pitching to Hershey's. Yes, the Hershey's, the famous chocolate candy bar.

Anyway, in this pitch meeting, Don calls the candy bar "the childhood symbol of love" and the "currency of affection."

Yikes.

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The Adoration of AddictionPremium Content

Recently, I saw of photo of a clouded leopard, lovingly gazing into its trainer's eyes. There was unconditional trust and affection in that gaze. At least, I hope it was and not an entrée selection.

But, looking at that leopard's face, I was struck by that adoration look. It could be unconditional love or a food craving, but the emphasis is still the same. It can be person, place or thing. And that's the thing about addictions; they can also be person, place or thing. But the adoration answer is definitely there somewhere. It's the magic solution to our lives. It's the promised fix of "happily ever after."

That adoration look frequently shows up on Harlequin romance book covers. Someone is in a pirate's outfit; someone's in a bodice and petticoats. But when you look at that the cover, there's that gaze, that kind of "my life is now complete" gaze.

And that's addiction. It's addiction because it is a substitute for God, the spiritually driven hunger for connection with our first love. We may not even know He is just that. After all, God started the whole thing...

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It's the Waiting in RecoveryPremium Content

Recently, I chatted with a young girl I've been mentoring. She's currently in an eating disorder treatment facility- and fighting her treatment. She has flat out refused to eat, drink or take any medication. She's been closely monitored, mainly due to a recent episode in which she swallowed glass.

Yes, you heard me right; she swallowed glass.

I asked her what brought this on and she responded she wanted to feel pain and she was tired of waiting for her recovery. I don't think it has sunken in that recovery is very much a process, not an instant cure.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

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What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?Premium Content

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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Are You Experiencing True Guilt or False Guilt?Premium Content

We must differentiate between true guilt, and false guilt. Listen to how Paul differentiates between the two:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness; to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.2 Corinthians 7:10-11


Before we investigate these types of guilt, I would like to give you an overview.

  • 1. True guilt. Corinthians calls this Godly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow that is according to the will of God in the NASB.
  • 2. False guilt. Corinthians calls this worldly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow of the world in the NASB.
    Within false guilt I see two categories:
      a. Deliberate pretended guilt.
      b. Imposed guilt. This is guilt that we, the world, and other people impose upon ourselves.
  • Let's explore.

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    UncondemnedPremium Content

    Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1


    My immediate reaction when I read this verse is, Hallelujah!!! If there's any reason for the children of God to praise the Lord - and there are many reasons piled on top of each other - this must be it. If we were to list our blessings, as the old hymn exhorts us to do, surely the first in line would be the fact that if we're in Christ Jesus, we are uncondemned.

    Only those who understand our state outside of Christ can truly grasp what that simple phrase - no condemnation - means. Anyone who lacks a clear vision of human depravity simply doesn't have the background to understand the fundamental importance of this verse. We must first understand, in the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, that:

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    The Role of Ignorance and Want in Our LivesPremium Content

    One of my favorite holiday stories is "A Christmas Carol," the timeless classic, written by Charles Dickens. I've seen many adaptations of it; there have been numerous stage and screen versions, rolled out each December.

    One of the constants in the story, however, is that of the boy character, Ignorance, and the girl character, Want, introduced to the Scrooge character via the Ghost of Christmas Present. They're portrayed as creature-like, snarling, hissing and clawing for attention. They make their dramatic appearance, hidden underneath the Ghost's robe.

    And, the drama queen in me loves that poignant, uncomfortable scene because it's a wake-up call reality check for humanity. According to the literature classic, here's the exchange between Scrooge and the Ghost:

    "Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."

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    Run, Don't Walk to Your Forgiving Father

    You know, we don't really believe that the Bible is true. We say we do, but often we ignore things in it. We say, "Well, there must be another way" or "In this case, it won't happen like this." But the fact is, the Bible is unequivocally true. Everything it says will happen the way it says it. Period.

    When wickedness comes, contempt comes also;
    and with dishonor comes disgrace.
    Proverbs 18:3 NRSV

    With wickedness comes contempt and with dishonor comes disgrace. In other words, we can't hide our sin.

    Be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 NRSV

    King David was absolute ruler over all his kingdom. Not only that, but he could have any number of wives and be well within his rights... as long as the women he chose were available to marry him. In other words, he could have any woman except one who was already married. And, of course, human nature being what it is, he wanted a woman who was already married. We all know the story. He had an affair with her and she got pregnant. So, David arranged for her soldier husband to come home, hoping that the husband would have sex with his wife and never know that the baby she bore wasn't his. Unfortunately for David, the husband was a more honorable man than his king and refused to enjoy his "vacation" while his men were still fighting and dying on the front lines. So David, in a frenzy not to have his sin found out, sent Uriah to the front lines to be killed in battle. And so he was.

    I trust in Jesus for my salvation, but why do I still struggle with sin?

    I trust in Jesus for my salvation, but why do I still struggle with sin?

    After receiving e-mails from thousands of people over the years, we've concluded that all believers have to struggle to maintain their faith. Some folks have to struggle more than others, but generally everyone has some level of difficulty.

    It's the people who have no guilt or realization of their eternal state who make the Christian walk seem all the more difficult. Show me a believer who says, "I never have to worry about backsliding," and I will show you someone who is already deep into apostasy. We're all running in a race, and God doesn't care how many times we stumble. The only thing He cares about is who makes it to the finish line.

    Breaking Free from SlaveryPremium Content

    Slavery: according to www.dictionary.com slavery is described as:

    1.The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household.
    2. a.The practice of owning slaves.
    b.A mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force.
    3.The condition of being subject or addicted to a specified influence.
    4.A condition of hard work and subjection: wage slavery.


    And according to the thesaurus on the same site, these are some of the words that go along with slavery:

    bullwork, captivity, chains, constraint, drudge, drudgery, enslavement, enthrallment, feudalism, grind, helotry, indenture, labor, menial labor, moil, peonage, restraint, serfdom, serfhood, servitude, subjection, subjugation, thrall, thralldom, toil, vassalage, work, bondage, committal, confinement, constraint, custody, durance, duress, enslavement, enthrallment, entombment, impoundment, imprisonment, incarceration, internment, jail, limbo, restraint, serfdom, servitude, subjection, thralldom, vassalage.

    As you can see, slavery is not a very nice thing. The people of Israel knew all too well what slavery was when they were slaves in Egypt for 400 years. What started out as good, with Joseph being the 2nd in charge in Egypt, soon turned into something terrible and forceful when a bad pharaoh took over.

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