Bondage

Are You a Ragamuffin in Need of Grace?Premium Content

Brennan Manning loved to refer to the Gospel as the Ragamuffin Gospel. I always liked that! Why? I didn't come to Jesus with any piety or with the veil of religious performance. I was completely surprised when I encountered Jesus. He was totally other than my immature image of Him! And I had hit "my" bottom as a drug addicted Hippie. My home was the streets.

Jesus took me in through the love and hospitality of two of His Ragamuffin Saints. And He immediately sensitized me to the realities of being drawn into Him. He threw out the welcome mat to my heart to be at home in Him. I had no theology. Not even the slightest pretense of having a clue about my life "purpose" or "worth." I was entirely "clueless!"

Brennan Manning eloquently communicated the Gospel of Grace without even a hit hint of religious pride. And he never wavered or compromised it. Instead; he was faithful to the message of grace through his own personal struggles, failures and shortcomings. The following quote succinctly captures the essence of Brennan's life message!

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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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Pornography, Christianity and ControlPremium Content

When thinking of pornography and Christianity and the issue of control, things get quite interesting. Matthew 18:3 informs us:

    And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

On the other hand it seems intuitive that the repetitive use of pornography is proof that our "internal adolescent" has wrested away the controls in the command center of our brain and what is needed is a return of control to the superego. We long for simple joys, simple trust, unconditional love but there is no denying that we physically are no longer children and we can get into some very big trouble.

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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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The Hamster Wheel: Are You Doing the Same Thing Over and Over?Premium Content

The famous phrase, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result" can probably best be depicted by the hamster on the hamster wheel.

Ever had a hamster as a pet? When I was eleven, I had one by the name of Mitsy. The concept of having a hamster didn't quite measure up to the actual reality. For one, I could never pick her up and cuddle her. One attempt at doing so, Mitsy whipped her head around and sunk those two long front teeth into my finger. Here's a helpful factoid: hamster bites HUR-R-R-R-T!!!

And then there was that hamster smell, emanating from her cage. I don't think I need to elaborate.

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Masturbation - Right or Wrong?Premium Content

Women as well as men can be in bondage to masturbation. The Word of God does not offer any direct guidance on the subject of masturbation. Perhaps the subject is omitted because it is a moral issue that needs to be left up to the individual to determine right from wrong.

From a biological viewpoint, masturbation may be normal a function of sexuality. From a spiritual viewpoint, the real area of concern should be what goes on in a person's mind. Are inappropriate sexual images running rampant in your mind? In order to successfully act out, it is necessary to get vivid and exciting thoughts or images into your mind? (This can be done by pure imagination or by pictures or movies or stories or real persons.) These images always involve people as sexual objects which is against God's direction for us to honor and respect one another.

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Is it OK to Make Up a God of Your Own in Recovery?Premium Content

Earliest A.A. Leaders Specifically Described Their Trust in God

Making Up Some "god of your own?"

Some today have made up their own gods and not-gods. They've called them chairs, somethings, somebodies, door knobs, light bulbs, the Great Pumpkin, the Big Dipper, and whatever they are told they can do praying to a tree or a table. In later A.A., treatment people, therapists, some AAs, and even clergy began thinking they were some new self-made, extra-terrestrial "higher power."

Not so with four important Early AAs.

A.A. Pioneers Heard: "God either is, or He isn't;" and they chose God!

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The Breath of Life: How Do You Feel About Yourself?Premium Content

Do you like yourself? How do you feel about yourself? How do you view yourself? In the eyes of those around you? Your peers? Your family members? Your employers and the other authority figures in your life? In the eyes of your Lord Jesus Christ?

Personally, for as long as I could remember, I had dwelt beneath a shadow of deep inner shame. Shame that whispered in my ear, tortuously accusing me with words such as, "You are dirty; you are worthless and deserving of punishment; you are unlovable and warrant no merit in this world."

Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [Amplified Bible]. Like the leper in Luke 5:12, I knew (or so I thought) that I was unclean. However, unlike the leper in Luke 5, I had no idea that Jesus could make me clean, and that He desired to do so. I was lost in a deep ocean of deceit with the waves of false belief tossing me against the sharp and slippery rocks created by the lies of the enemy - Satan - along with many falsehoods from my past without God. Furthermore, I was being dragged beneath the dark surface by the undertow of lack of knowledge:

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Accepting God’s Discipline Takes Great FaithPremium Content

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:6-7

The saying, "you can't have your cake and eat it too is an old saying but very true."

On the same token, spiritually we can say, "You cannot live in the kingdom of heaven and continue to be a slave to your desires or "serve sin" as apostle Paul puts it.

We have to run the race marked out for us and it is not ALWAYS going to be easy. Apostle Paul even says we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ at all times.

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The 12 Steps to Total and Complete InsanityPremium Content

1. We admitted we were powerless over nothing. We could manage our lives perfectly and we could manage those of anyone else that would allow it.

2. Came to believe that there was no power greater than ourselves, and the rest of the world was insane.

3. Made a decision to have our loved ones and friends turn their wills and their lives over to our care.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of everyone we knew.

5. Admitted to the whole world at large the exact nature of their wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to make others straighten up and do right.

7. Demanded others to either "shape up or ship out".

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