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What is a pandemic? According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, a pandemic is an "outbreak" occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population. I would consider adultery to be of pandemic proportions considering the high rate of marital suffering, divorce, sickness and disease among a high proportion of the world. What do you think? Let's take a closer look and examine this issue.
If you knew of a dangerous virus going around in the city where you lived that caused fever, chills, nausea, severe diarrhea, and vomiting, and death to those with a weak immune system, you would probably stay as far away from the city as possible? At the least, you would wear a hospital mask over your face to avoid the harmful germs, right?
Adultery is like a virus but much worse. It spreads from person to person like a virus and if a person is not spiritually well, it will entangle them within its insidious hold and cause much spiritual and mental anguish, not to mention, in many cases, physical illness, deterioration, and death.
As with any pandemic that we learn about we always go out of our way to avoid the offender, lest we too become sick. Viruses become a pandemic only because people do not take the needed precautions in the beginning of its destruction. Sometimes it is because of filthy conditions or lack of knowledge but once we figure out the cause we avoid it like the plague, no pun intended.
Do we avoid sex outside of marriage? Why not?
The creation story from the first chapter of Genesis tells of God creating light out of the darkness. Light is a symbol of hope and of new life throughout scriptures. The Gospel of John proclaims,in John 1:5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. The foundation of our faith is with God's victory over darkness. Darkness can be terrifying for those experiencing uncontrollable and unmanageable urges.
With God's victory, love comes out of that darkness and this love gradually draws us back into the light of this world and it's realities. For people experiencing a fixation on negative behavior, we can be instruments of God's love by extending care, compassion and hope to those who are still in the grip of darkness and despair.
Unfortunately, in Matthew 16:21-23 we are told how easily, even a disciple of Christ can become the means of communication from demons. Peter hadn't realizedthe purpose of Jesusministry as he spoke out, but, Jesus knowing Peter's words, spoke to satan, who was influencing the disciple's action. His verbal outburst was against God's will that Jesus should suffer and die, and without recognizing it, Peter permitted himself to become a willing tool for satan!In v23 Jesus rebukes Satan, who is darkness.
When dealing with addictions, there may be demonic influences that cloud the inner "voices of reason" and try to convince you that wrong is right, and that evil is good and pleasurable. These are Satan's dark angels at work. I have coined the phrase "The Addictive Mental Process" -- that process of thinking is constantly with us. Some of today's most respected theologians can help you better understand the dangers, but it is Jesus Christ that diagnoses and prescribes the correct action. The rest is up to each one of us, (free will) that will govern the behavior that follows. This is the only way that we might take back control of our thoughts.
When you think of an eating or image disorder, what springs to mind?
If we're honest, often our knee-jerk characterization is female. A lot of us think disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are a "women's issue."
But what about the male gender?
"In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). For various reasons, many cases are likely not to be reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, and the best-known contributor to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is body dissatisfaction." www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Unfortunately, both the male and female genders suffer from distorted and disordered image messages and practices. Perhaps, males don't always possess the same behaviors as those of their female counterparts. Nevertheless, the obsession and self-destructive evidence is there. And, at some of its most extreme, it often manifests in the bodybuilding arena.
"...The onset of disease in males is typically triggered by a concern with bodybuilding and sport training..."
Matthew 24:10 KJV
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Another stop on the road to recovery takes you to the intersection of people and who I said it to. There many warnings signs, directions, instructions and other signpost to consider as you travel the path to self enlightenment. The foundation of this healthy spirit filled life begins with the journey within.
This journey into self teaches many things about who you are and who you are not. It might be the first time in a long time you realize that some of the things you said in order to belong to the group came back to hurt you and you felt you were betrayed. How did this insane way of getting attention affect you? What can you do to protect yourself in recovery? Addiction and alcoholism are about confusion and deceit. They are based on the smoking glasses and half truths about everything in your life.
“Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” Haggai 1:9
Churlish souls stint their contributions to the ministry and missionary operations, and call such saving good economy; little do they dream that they are thus impoverishing themselves. Their excuse is that they must care for their own families, and they forget that to neglect the house of God is the sure way to bring ruin upon their own houses.
Our God has a method in providence by which he can succeed our endeavours beyond our expectation, or can defeat our plans to our confusion and dismay; by a turn of his hand he can steer our vessel in a profitable channel, or run it aground in poverty and bankruptcy. It is the teaching of Scripture that the Lord enriches the liberal and leaves the miserly to find out that withholding tendeth to poverty.
In a very wide sphere of observation, I have noticed that the most generous Christians of my acquaintance have been always the most happy, and almost invariably the most prosperous. I have seen the liberal giver rise to wealth of which he never dreamed; and I have as often seen the mean, ungenerous churl descend to poverty by the very parsimony by which he thought to rise.
Men trust good stewards with larger and larger sums, and so it frequently is with the Lord; he gives by cartloads to those who give by bushels. Where wealth is not bestowed the Lord makes the little much by the contentment which the sanctified heart feels in a portion of which the tithe has been dedicated to the Lord.
“Twenty-five years ago most churches just taught people how to handle 10 percent of their income-the area of giving-and left the other 90 percent un-addressed. As a consequence, many Christians suffer financially because, by default, they adopt our culture’s perspective of handling the rest of their money.” Larry Burkett
Developing Biblical Financial Skills
Skill # 1 EARN
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to people, no, we command them; settle down and get to work. Earn your own living.” 2 Thess. 3:12 (NLT)
Some practical Principles of Acquisition:
- 1. Be diligent
2. Be ethical
3. Be wise
4. Be intentional
5. Be careful
How do you ignore someone's attitude instead of letting it bring you down? How do you handle living with someone who can be really negative a lot of the time?
All are valid questions.
I find that I take everything very personally, even though the situation does not warrant all the energy that I give it. I give the excuse that I have tried to resolve this or that relationship, but I just end up complaining about how useless it is to even try because nothing will change any way. I've tried to explain to my self of how it's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Ten years ago, few of us would have considered chemical dependency, sexual addiction, or eating disorders suitable topics for polite conversation within the church community. These were among the "silent issues" in the church. Today, however, addiction, compulsive behavior and abuse are widely recognized as problems of enormous personal and social significance. Consider these statistics (Washton, Bundy, Willpowers Not Enough, Harper Perenial, 1998).
- At least six million Americans are addicted to cocaine.
- Between five million and ten million are addicted to prescription drugs.
- Ten million Americans are alcoholics.
- More than 50 million Americans are addicted to nicotine.
- Countless more are addicted to television, shopping, exercise, sports, and even cosmetic surgery.
- It is estimated that every addict directly affects at least ten other people.
- Divorce impacts Christian families as often as secular couples.
- Abortion is the choice in 1 in 5 pregnancies, since 1973 Roe vs.Wade over 25 million performed.
The Christian community is not immune to these difficulties. Many life-long Christians struggle with addiction. In addition, many people come to Christ hoping to find freedom from the bondage of addiction. Often these new Christians expect their problems will immediately disappear as a result of their conversions. Eventually, however, many discover that true healing requires a lengthy process of righting the wrongs of their past. Some of these people who suffer from addiction, compulsive behavior, or abuse find it difficult to be part of a church community. They may find that within their church, self-defeating behavior is denied, ignored, or minimized by those who use religion to shield themselves from life's realities
Pastors and church leaders are becoming
In Colossians 1:9b-14, Paul says the following glorious prayer for the faithful believers at Colosse:
"We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins." [NLT]
What brings me great joy in sharing this prayer is the knowledge that it is for each and every one of us who love the Lord Jesus, and for every one who decides to reach out and take His hand and invite Him into our hearts!
What an awesome God I have! For if not for Him, where would I be? These past few days have really shown me more than ever the power of my Lord to raise me up above my own self-will-run-riot.
I recently came across a souvenir my mother received from her British pen pal in the 1950's. It's one of those trick images of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip; who you see depends on the angle of the portrait.
It brings to mind the following scripture:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
And it made me think of my distorted image issues:
"...I stood in my bedroom, in front of my three-way mirror. I’d seen so many versions of myself. I’d been fat and thin, feeling both unworthy and worthy. Yet I was never satisfied..."
(Excerpt taken from Cruse's book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder")
Images and mirrors don't delve into great detail about each trauma, milestone, issue and phase of our lives. They don't accurately depict things as they are. Smudges and warps can alter what reflects back at us. And these images and mirrors certainly don't predict the future or explain the Most High completely.