Freedom

Carrying the Burdens of Your Past?Premium Content

We're commanded in Hebrews 12:1 to "lay aside every weight" so we can "run with patience the race that is set before us." Consider that first command: lay aside every weight, every burden that slows us down in our race forward. If we're dwelling on the past, that means we've stopped running, picked up some weights we were commanded to drop, and are giving them (not God or His commandments and His service) all our attention. No wonder we stop running and even start walking backward. For good reason do race horses wear blinders that force them to look forward, blocking out distractions so they can focus on the race.

Even worse, Hebrews 12:1 continues on into the second verse, explaining what we should be looking at when we run the race "set before us" (set in front of us): "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher ofour faith." If we're looking at the past, we're violating this second command of God's: we're not only picking up weights and burdens we were told to lay aside, to drop to the ground and regard as worthless impediments, but we're not looking at Jesus but rather at those forbidden weights instead. We should be rejoicing that Christ tells us to drop all these weights. Satan's worst enemy is a Christian focused on the future and running his race well.

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Jairus' Daughter - a Bible Story that Sparked My Eating Disorder RecoveryPremium Content

Could a simple Bible story spark eating disorder recovery? Well, for me, it did. The account of Jairus' daughter, found in Mark 5:35-43, became the catalyst to hope, life, freedom, and yes, my recovery. I chronicle my eating disorder odyssey, recovery included, in my book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder." From this scriptural passage, I encountered tangible proof that God's Word was relevant and applicable. I learned some good news, all right.

Nothing's too difficult; no one's too impossible for God.
I saw that in Jairus' daughter. I have, likewise, seen it in my own life, as well as the lives of others. And this simple Bible story is now a declaration of hope to all young girls and women, dealing with eating disorders, food, weight and body image issues. You, too, can arise!

    "Little girl, I say unto you, arise." Mark 5:41

I had done and been so many horrible things. As far as I was concerned, I was on my way to hell. But I couldn't shake the thoughts of this story. Was there hope that I wasn't doomed after all?

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"Whosoever Will" is God’s Christmas Gift to the WorldPremium Content

John 3:16-18 NRSV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Those who believe in Him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Today is Christmas, the day traditionally that Christians celebrate the birth of our Lord. Surrounding this tradition are such things as nativities, Christmas pageants, Christmas carols, family celebrations, gift giving, and the like. But as a Christian, I believe that it’s very important that I not so focus on the Child in the manger that I fail to see either the Savior on the cross or the King returning in the clouds.

The Christmas story is one of amazement and wonder. Music and stories sometimes reduce to the story to actually less than it is (and was):

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head:
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay;
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

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Breaking the Old, Negative Grid SystemPremium Content

At MSN I can go to "maps" and, after clicking there, enter the address of my first home ever -- in Washington D.C., my hometown. Once I have a map of the city up, I can find Southeast by crossing the Anacostia River and then find Good Hope Road. Soon I am in my old neighborhood via the "birds eye" feature of MSN maps. I can zoom close -- so close it is very real. And there is the old neighborhood, seemingly unchanged after 50 years, as if time stood still.

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Set Free - Replacing the Old with the NewPremium Content

In searching for, and living in the truth that can set us free, the first thing we need to do is replace the old with the new. Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 7Premium Content

When I started this study, it was in the spring of my last semester of my teaching career. A lot of things were on my mind. I was sad--very sad. Earlier in the year I was pretty depressed about retiring. As I reviewed the various options in my head, I still had to come to one conclusion: I should retire. I just am no longer the man I once was. I just didn't have a lot of the energy you need to really do a good job. I readily admitted to this; it did not take any rocket science to figure it out. I accepted it easily: it was time to retire.

Teaching was my life. Sometimes it was the best part of my day--being in the classroom. But, it was not my entire life. I led with my heart, and that is probably one of the reasons why I got tired at the end. Emotions such the energy right out of you. I loved it so much--teaching.

I remember Ernest Hemingway. Writing was his life. The trouble was, writing really was his life. That was it. Nothing else. This focus made him to be a very important writer of our time, but this focus lead to his suicide, I believe. He could not write any more. What was the point of living?

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The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 6Premium Content

John 8:31-32 is a conditional statement. Jesus says if we continue in His word, we will be His disciples. We will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. The key words are: "if", "continue", "truth", and "free."

If we abide in, stay with, live out and proclaim His word through our attitudes and actions, we will know His truth and we will be free.

Freedom is the one thing we all seek. Adam and Eve might have sensed "freedom" when they were told they would be like God and know good and evil. Satan told them a lie (they would be like God) and a truth (they would know good and evil). Their choice brought the curse God stated in Genesis 3. That was a curse on them and on the earth. For you and I, that curse ends at death when we go to be with Jesus. For the earth, the curse continues until the New Jerusalem descends out of God from heaven as described in Revelation 21.

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The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 3Premium Content

See: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

In the second installment, I testified how God's Word -- His Truth -- set me on the road to freedom, not just freedom from alcohol, but also freedom to become the man God wants me to be.

Presumably the story could have ended there. After all, I had hit rock bottom, knew despair and loneliness, hated the person I really was, and all of this ended by the intervention of my Lord Jesus. Not only did He intervene but He showed me truth in His word, and that truth set me free.

End of story. Let the violins swell up to a crescendo while you see me disappearing into a beautiful landscape of life wonderful.

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The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 1Premium Content

My name is Michael the Penguin and I am a Christian in recovery.

I would like to think out loud with the rest of you for a while. One of my favorite verses in Scripture is John 8:32: You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. It seems, at first, to be a "no-brainer" in terms of interpretation:
(1) It is Jesus talking;
(2) He is the truth; and
(3) we can find freedom in life through Him.

The application to anyone in recovery is also obvious: in recovery we want to be free of our addictions, but we know we need to find a deeper freedom in order to achieve that. It is one thing to stop drinking, drugging, etc., but it is another thing to remain free and also have a life centered in God. The Steps are the tried and true way of helping any of us to find the freedom to be the person God wants us to be. For us as Christians, Scripture is a big part of those Steps. To me, Scripture is just about the one tried and true source of revelation from God. I can state categorically that Scripture is why I have remained sober for 12 years: the study, absorption and application of God's truths for me.

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SurrenderPremium Content

Driving down the freeway your left rear tire explodes.You gently pull to the side of the road to exit and see what happened. You begin to check to see why it popped.

STOP.

The problem with most of humanity is that reason right there. In the end, it doesn't matter what popped the tire. It doesn't matter that if you were in the other lane, you could of avoided it. It doesn't matter that you will now be late. And it doesn't matter when you say, " I knew I should of called in". Why? Because none of those things actually happened.

Work on the solution. Take it off, and fix it. There is nothing in this world that is good, nor bad that you can prevent. For there is only rules one can live by, for which when done, makes you accept when the unpreventable happens.

How many of you would go back and change an event in your life? Let's say one would change their academic career. For which the only reason I can think of would be to have a better job, and obtain more money. They are not living by the rules given. Money is absolutely nothing. It buys fake rules for which leads people to think it is something. Money creates man to believe you can prevent. Money can not make one go back and prevent your flat tire. It can only buy you a new one. It can not make you sober, only get you into places that try to help get you sober. False: money controls people places and things. Fact: people places and things allow money to control them. Other examples are such; I would of not married that person, I would have said bye to my father before he died. I would of never used. I would of answered the phone. I would of been kinder. Would, should, could. Words I will never understand.

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