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When the Past Haunts UsPremium Content

I often find myself going over and over the past,like when I am trying to go to sleep at night and can't because of these thoughts. All the fear and panic of the past creeps into my present. It is as if I re-live it all in real time. It can be extremely painful both spiritually and emotionally.

I have come to learn a few things.

1. I can always learn from my past and I think we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and missteps.

2. Satan can use the past to keep me in bondage. And that is certainly not the will of God. The last thing I want is to be doing what Satan wants. So, when these thoughts come back to me I pray. I ask God for healing in this area of my life.

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

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What are you willing to change?Premium Content

We're in the middle of cold and flu season; sickness abounds.

And, it's at this time of year, I think about healing. It's one thing to be flu-ridden, queasy, achy, possessing a high fever and wish to be well.

However, it's another thing if we struggle with addictions and compulsions; they are also referred to as "disease." With that situation, we're often conflicted at best and resistant and unhealthy at worst. What is our response to the question, "Do you want to get well?"

Hey, even Jesus asked the question.

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The Christian, Stress and AlcoholPremium Content

We are living in an age where stress pushes at us from all sides. We live with a real threat of nuclear war. There is armed conflict in parts of our world. Famine, natural disasters, inflation and unemployment are nationwide. Things are going from bad to worse.

Apart from the pressure in the world, each one of us face stress and tension in our daily lives and situations. Underemployment and unemployment are very real problems that hurt us not only financially, but threaten us with feelings of inadequacy and loss of self-esteem.

Another cause of stress can be attributed to a simple lack of communication - on the job, between husband and wife, or between parent and child. We have the young mother with a thousand seemingly endless duties at home. There is the husband at work with pressure to meet deadlines. At day's end, when the husband comes home, there can be real conflict unless there is an attempt to honest communication.

There is stress in the life of the single person who may have feelings of loneliness or rejection. There is the ministry whose life may become a seemingly endless cycle of handling one counseling crisis after another, while still expected to be an outstanding church leader, perfect husband, and loving father. There is the worker in the factory saddled with what seems to be a boring, dead-end job.

The point is, all of us face stress and tension in our lives. To a certain degree, everyone also experiences occasional feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy stemming from an improper self-image. 0 r self-image also tends to change somewhat as our circumstances change.

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The Most and The Greatest

The most useless thing to do ...........Worry
The greatest Joy...............................Giving
The greatest loss.................Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work................Helping others

The ugliest personality trait......................Selfishness
The most endangered species...................Dedicated leaders
The greatest "shot in the arm"..................Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome.............Fear

Most effective sleeping pill..............Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease.........Excuses
The most powerful force in life.............. ........Love
The most dangerous pariah.................................A gossiper

What If Christmas Isn’t Merry?


What pops into your mind when you think of Christmas?

Colored lights, tinsel, festive decorations? Familiar music, parties, family gatherings? Joy, the promise of a Savior, God with us?

How about death, loss, and grief? That’s probably not what you expected.

Christmas is a time for glad tidings of great joy, but we also must be sensitive to those for whom the holiday invokes painful memories and highlights difficult circumstances. This isn’t the cheeriest of holiday greetings. I hope you’ll forgive me for reminding us that we’re likely to encounter folks that can’t quite share our holly-jolly spirit.

Holidays are so difficult; Can I just stay home?

Holidays are so difficult; my in-laws are so mean to me. Can I just stay home?

First of all, in order to stay home, would you have to make up an excuse or could you tell the truth about why you wanted to bow out of the activities? In this case, doing the right thing may be very difficult, but no less necessary.

I would guess that you could come up with several people who would be very hurt and disappointed by your absence. My advice is to focus on them. Make those few people your comfort for the day. You can sit by them, talk to them and lean on them for support. Focus on your support system instead of those few hurtful people who try to make you suffer.

Are You "Doing" or Actually Giving Your Heart?Premium Content

God is not looking for you to "DO" more for him. He is simply and passionately looking for more "OF YOU". He is looking for more of your heart.

His constant passionate cry is:

My child, give me your heart. (Proverbs 23:26)

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show HIMSELF STRONG on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9a, NKJV)

You are at your best resting in His loving heart and grace, not in some piety or religious service and performance. Even though it may be well intentioned. "Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into (by faith through grace) what God does for you. True freedom develops best in the fierce battle to live loved and to love others by the fruit of grace."

The Christian may be like a ship tossed in a storm. Nobody on board may be aware that the ship is making headway at all. Yet it is sailing on at great speed (but not without resistance). Great winds and storms help fruit-bearing trees. So also do corruptions and temptations help the fruitfulness of grace and holiness...corruptions and temptations develop the fruit of humility, self-abasement and mourning in a deeper search for the grace by which holiness grows strong. But only later will there be visible fruits of increased holiness. (John Owen)

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What Happens if I Relapse?Premium Content

You have not failed because you relapse. You are normal because you relapse. We all have relapsed when trying to find our way out of the alcohol and drug trap. Never allow a relapse to discourage you from coming to sobriety. As a matter of fact, when we succumb to our addictions we can actually learn from them. Most of us fall back on our addictions for many reasons and here are three of those reasons. See if they ring a chord with you as well.

Not Committed

The first reason is because we just weren’t ready in our heart to stop the addiction – we felt anxious and fearful being without our best friend, and so our uncommitted heart caved in under pressure. We have all done it. Think of addiction as a “hard to break bad habit.” But don’t fret too much over it. Just because you’re not ready to quit now, certainly does not mean that you won’t be committed later. Keep trying and don’t give up!

Have you ever listened to the little voice in your head telling you that your addiction is ok? You know the voice – the reliable little guy that keeps telling you reasons why it’s okay to keep feeding your addiction. It goes something like this. “I’m not really addicted, I can stop at anytime” or about this one. “If I was not married to so and so, I would not need to drink anymore.” We have all heard this one. “My life is just too stressful and I only need it to unwind.” We hear the voice and we listen because the voice is a symptom of addiction.

Same Friends – Same Places

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Seven Principles for an Addiction Free LifePremium Content

1. Bring Past Out Into The Open

Talk about your past with your counselors or trusted friends. The goal is to rid your past from your spiritual bank by forgiving all the people you need to forgive. It is also important to forgive yourself! If you have a difficult time forgiving, express yourself on paper and then mail it to them. Give up your past by not hanging on to it any longer. You can be free of your negative past for good when you just let “it” go.

2. Treat Yourself With Love and Kindness

You don’t have to beat yourself up every night, for whatever reason you might try to do that. You have to treat yourself good. Addiction does not make you a bad person – addiction in itself is bad, period! There is a beautiful person behind the addiction that needs and wants to break free from its hold – let yourself free. Breaking free deserves loving the person you are. Because you love who you are and care about the person God created you to be, you can break free from addiction and live a productive, healthy, and happy life.

3. Take Control of Your Addiction

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New, Cool Eating Disorder. Healthy Or Orthorexic? Premium Content

In the November 2014 issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, actress, Jennifer Lawrence took aim at the Hollywood trend of gluten-free diets. She called them the "New, Cool Eating Disorder."

Our society has become obsessed with healthy living, often to the point of being un-healthy. We now live in a culture of low calorie, low carbohydrate, low fat and high protein diets, along with sugar free and gluten free options to boot. But are these lifestyle approaches healthy... or something else?

When we hear the words "eating disorder, " we most often think of anorexia or bulimia. But there’s another more subtle form also out there: Orthorexia.

According to Timberline Knolls Eating Disorder Treatment Center’s website:

"A person with orthorexia will be obsessed with defining and maintaining the perfect diet, rather than an ideal weight. He/She will fixate on eating foods that give him/her a feeling of being pure and healthy. An orthorexic may avoid numerous foods, including those made with:

  • Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Pesticides or genetic modification
  • Fat, sugar or salt
  • Animal or dairy products
  • Other ingredients considered to be unhealthy

In addition, orthorexia’s behaviors also include:

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