Posts Tagged recovery

10 Possible Reasons Why Christians Look Young for Their Age

One thing I noticed when I first became a Christian is that, in general, Christians look younger than average at almost every age.

Some may have had a little nip or tuck but surely not all. So of course I prayed about it. The scripture says:

“…who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” Psalm 103:5

And it seems to be so.

So these are my possible ten reasons Christians tend to look jolly well for their age:

  1. Peace – Deep peace stills the brow. Less worry, fewer worry lines- stands to reason.
  2. Deliverance -From addictions. Since June 2010 the Lord has delivered me of a taste for alcohol and a full-blown addiction to nicotine. And testimony after testimony tells a similar story.
  3. Sleep – There is just something about being right with God that means you get a deep and refreshing sleep
  4. Restoration – The Lord promises restoration, this appears to apply to cells as much as anything
  5. Healing -Clearly illness takes its toll on the countenance, and Jesus came to relieve us of physical suffering
  6. Support -Belonging to a church means there is always someone to turn to for a helping hand, reducing the strain on the individual
  7. Abundance -Good food and plenty of it
  8. Victory -We have victory over Satan and it is the enemy that comes to kill steal and destroy, but we have the authority and victory to prevail under the blood of Jesus
  9. Love- Living in love ramps up the happiness factor, which in turn increase endorphins and so improves our immune system, helping to keep healthy and looking well
  10. Faith = rest, God has our back, we do everything through Him, all glory to Him

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You’ve Changed!

“You’ve changed!”  Spewed out with venom on a popular TV soap or daytime talk show.

When did changing become so despised by the world?

It’s a problem for Christians, if we allow it to be a problem. Its a popular tool of the enemy at the moment, getting your family and / or your friends to shout this in your face.  How dare we change? We aren’t people pleasers anyway are we? No its okay, we’re pleasing God.

“Thanks” I say.

Last week my son told me I’d changed over the past year. “You’re nicer now Mom” I nearly cried. Thank you Lord, its your work, not mine.

It made me take stock. Over the past year or so I’ve stopped smoking, I hardly drink any more, I shop much less and have got my finances under control. I have new patience and so now I have my temper under control. But its the peace, oh the peace of the Lord that’s the biggest change. Thank you Lord, thank you for the peace.

When you think about it, the world has an awful lot invested in us not changing. Advertisers encourage us to carry on like out of control teenagers well into our adult lives, drinking, smoking,being selfish, worrying about the latest fashions, being irresponsible with family finances. That’s madness at any stage of life but as a grown up? We set ourselves sane goals of having a nice home, a loving family and then we set about doing everything we can think of that will stop us achieving those goals. Wasting money, wasting time, putting our focus on an ex who treated us like rubbish in our teens instead of lavishing our attention on our spouse. Watching Two and Half Men on tv, then wondering why our sons have no respect for women. How things have changed since The Waltons.

We scratch our heads when our finances are a mess. We cry out “what went wrong?” when our relationships fail. Maybe we should have changed when a spouse or a child tried to talk to us about our faults. Maybe we should have changed when the boss mentioned our late starts. Maybe we should have changed when the bank sent that first letter.

I’ve changed, and I’m changing, and I’m going to keep changing too and I thank God for it!

If you’ve changed too, congratulations, good on you. Let’s pray we keep on changing too, under God’s direction.

But if someone’s trying to talk to you about change, in a positive way, maybe you should stop ask yourself whether the Lord is maybe using this person to truly help you onto a better, happier path?

You can change, Woo Hoo!

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My Cup Runneth Over

When I first became saved it was release from poverty, well my perceived poverty, and stability that I craved. I vaguely remembered, knowing virtually nada about the bible, that there was a bit about your cup running over. I set out to find it as one of my first forays into the wonderful world of the Word. And I found psalm 23.

Now many many months of fairly intense biblical study and I now believe that this psalm is even more amazing than I first thought. It has only 6 verses, so is easy to memorise, but what is astounding is that, to me, it encompasses an aide memoir to the whole message of the Bible.

Lets study it verse by verse and hopefully you’ll see what I mean:

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Whenever the enemy tries to shake my faith in my Father’s provision I shout this verse out loud at him , and I mean it. This verse clearly states that the Lord is our supply. The Lord. Not man, not nature, not technology, not government. The Lord. Until you get this deep into your psyche you will not be ready to receive the Lord’s many blessings.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Now that you know from verse 1 that the Lord is your supply, verse 2 adds that He is good, his will for you is good.. He will not lead you astray but will lead you straight into your provision. And lead you to the still waters. Often in the Bible water represents the Word, so He will lead you to His Word.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

The Lord is your supply, He leads you only to good things and He restores your soul. He restores it through grace and mercy and His grace is refreshed daily. He can restore your life, your relationships, your business, anything you thought was lost or stolen from you –  our God can and will restore if it is rightfully yours. He will help you to walk a righteous path, He does not expect you to do it from your own strength, but He is there with you. Like a shepherd He is with you looking out for you and keeping you going in the right direction by the right path.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

What is our role then in all of these blessings? Not to fear our circumstances, but to always be mindful that we walk with our Lord. We should not fear evil because through the cross we have authority over evil. He overcame death for us. And to obey his direction. His rod and his staff are not for punishment, but to correct us always back onto the righteous path that is already there for us. We cannot see the big picture but He can, He can light our steps, we just have to follow His guidance through direction of the Holy Spirit. We can see that these old testament verses clearly foretell of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

This verse tells us about the magnificent blessings of the Lord that are our birthright, even in the face of worldly persecution. We will be envied in this life for our heaven sent blessings, but our enemies will not prevail. We are anointed ones, Christians, our cups cannot contain the blessings poured for us by our heavenly Father.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

We can receive God’s mercy, through grace. He has overcome death for us and we will abide in the Kingdom forever. Everlasting joy. Astounding.

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When you feel Compelled, Who’s Doing the Compelling?

I’ve been thinking a lot about compulsive behaviour recently.

(verb) compel
to make one yield or submit

compulsion

noun

    1. (irrational impulse)  an urge to do or say something that might be better left undone or unsaid

Synonyms: irresistible impulse. Type of: irrational impulse

    1. (irrational motive)  an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions, even against your will

Synonyms: obsession. Type of: irrational motive

  1. (causing)  the act of using force to cause something to occur

It seems in thinking about compulsion that it is a 3rd party activity. Someone or some thing compels us to do or say something affecting someone else or ourselves, generally negatively.

This doesn’t make a lot of sense to our logical minds. We have laws and go to a great deal of expense in our Western society to protect our freedom of choice, freedom of action. So why do we allow ourselves to be ‘compelled’ into irrational behaviour such as compulsive eating,  drinking, smoking, drug taking? Well of course its addiction. But what does that tell us? That we can’t stop doing it so its addiction, if its addiction we can’t stop ourselves from doing it. A circular argument that helps no-one.

It seems obvious that the western world has spent massive amounts of money trying to unravel the mystery of compulsive behaviours. The total budget of the three NIH [US National Institutes of Health] institutes that work in  addiction research in 2006 was $2.9 billion. And yet we see no solution for millions and millions caught up in addiction to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pornography, gaming etc. We can discount the “substance” element as porn/gaming don’t require ingestion of an external substance.

But thinking in terms of compulsion rather than addiction seems to unmask a crucial element. Who is the 3rd party putting a sufferer under pressure? Isn’t this exactly how the enemy works?  Temptation and submission.

What does Satan want? To kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) He does it through temptation, do compulsive behaviours not kill,steal and destroy lives? The enemy wants you in bondage to him, so that you are not free to enjoy the life Jesus came to earth and died to give you.

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

but “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” (from 2 Peter 2)

What’s the answer then, how do we get finally free of the bondage?

The Word. In the gospels each time Jesus was tempted by Satan he fought back with the word.

St Peter said:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Ephesisans 6:12

So how do we fight back?

Read Ephesians 6:12-18 and become equipped, especially with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

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Testimony. Why its so Important.

Why do Christians go on  about testimony? Well we love people and nothing is quite as upsetting as seeing people suffer needlessly. Whether its alcoholics or addicts, smokers… those suffering from depression, financially afflicted, or suffering broken relationships, there is a Christian out there who was at one time in pretty much the same place  as you and wants you to know you don’t have to suffer for even one more minute!

So today I have started my own testimony.

Its here. I pray it helps at least one person know God is Good, he loves you. Really.

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Obedience? Not Fun?

We all tend to think of the word “obedience” in negative terms. Obey your parents… groan, obey your teachers… moan, obey the law…yeah yeah. We think of obedience as tedious, boring, no fun.

But the fruits of obedience are wonderful! Obedience at home gives us peace and tranquillity. Jobs get done, the family prospers, everyone grows. Now I’m only talking here of Godly obedience. No-one should be obedient to un-Godly instruction and leave themselves open to abuse. I’m talking here about the “take the garbage out please”, “sure Mom” type of obedience.

Obedience to the law means no speeding tickets, no fines, no court appearances – no legal bills! …no unnecessary stress in that department.

Obedience in work or at school leads to positions of trust and responsibility, promotion, financial blessing.

Here’s what God taught me in one easy lesson of obedience…

About a year ago I was newly saved, unemployed, financially challenged and was looking for a good, local, bible based church. I found my local AoG (Assemblies of God) church on-line, and found out the service times.  The Lord said me “I want you to go to that church and give £20 to the person I tell you to bless. You’ll know who it is”. My reaction was What! No way Lord. That would be way too embarrassing, plus £20 was a lot of money to me at the time.

Luckily I’d been listening to Joyce Meyer’s teachings on obedience , so I decided to just ignore how I felt and just obey, as an act of faith.

I found the woman I was supposed to give the £20 to… I don’t think she needed it so much financially, but she did need a sign of God’s blessing. It turns out she was born in the same city as I was, over 3000 miles away, within a few months of my birthday. It turned out too we were both single mums. Now we do discipleship classes together now every week at that church.

The very next day I woke up with a gnawing thought about my water bill. Which was odd, its not the kind of thing I normally wake up thinking about! Turns out the water company has a special plan for single mothers which caps their water bill while they are on a low income. I was owed £35 immediately, and a £20 reduction every single month! That is how obedience works in God’s Kingdom. As you become more and more obedient the more He will open your eyes and ensure that you are in His favour!

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Review: Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree

Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree, Perry Stone, Charisma House

 I liked this book, a lot. This is how much I liked it… It arrived by post at about 11am, by 2pm I was on my 3rd coffee, still with it in hand. I speed read most of it the same day and then spent the last few days reading it again properly. I learned a lot about demons and I learned quite a lot about Perry Stone, who turns out the be very likeable. There was no questioning he was oft quoting scripture to support is work. All good so far…

The only thing I didn’t like was it wasn’t enough of a “how to…” manual for me. I’ve got some stuff going on in my life and a part of me wanted this book to give me permission to make some radical changes as well as give me step by step guidance on making those changes. Clearly that was an unfair expectation, and had it been fulfilled would most like have left Mr Stone wide open to all sorts of “I read your book, did what it said and it wrecked my life” allegations and probably potential legal actions. I’m not at all sure about the relevance of the chapter on new and full moons that sits a little awkwardly near the end, like a slightly embarrassing distant cousin to the rest of the chapters.

If your family has some very odd or destructive branches that need radical pruning, this book sadly doesn’t give you enough surgical knowledge… not sufficient to do what it says on the cover, safe in the knowledge that you will do no harm. Other than that it is well worth a read.

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When you GET UP Stay UP!

I love meditating on the Word because you seem to be able to go deeper and deeper, and each layer you penetrate seems to give up so much more wisdom, freedom and make your life so much simpler.

In the story of the paralysed man at Bethesda (John 5):

 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

   The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

 11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”

 12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 

You will see I have highlighted a couple of sentences. I believe they are included for important reasons.

Okay, with Jesus and with His Salvation we can GET UP and be free of our problems and afflictions, but the world at large will not like it. Unsaved people around you will not like the change in you. They may be threatened by the change, envious, they will have to deal with all sorts of emotions. So don’t be surprised or put off when you are newly saved if people around you say “You can’t do that”. And if you are ever not sure just check with the Word, because that is your anchor, the truth that you can rely on.

The second highlighted sentence is the one where Jesus says tells the man to sin no more, or something even worse will happen. This sounds really scary, but in fact I think it should give you strength. I believe Jesus was saying in effect ‘now that you know better, if you now choose to carry on sitting around feeling sorry for yourself you really have no excuse’.

Jesus will get you on your feet, when He does stay on your feet whatever those around you might think, do or say!

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Do the Right Thing (Part 2)

Read Part 1 first (Here)

Ned looked upon his wife. Nell was dishevelled, her hair a nest upon her head. Her dress stretched across her swelling middle. But what shocked Ned the most was that her eyes had no life in them. She was a mess, her life had little meaning. She looked as though all hope was gone. He supposed he looked the same to her.

It struck him as a blow to the very pit of his stomach that his family was neglected. What was happening here? Did he not give his wife money each week for food? Did he not work hard for them? He didn’t beat them. Was this not enough?

Clearly it was not. They needed his care, and attention too.

He ate in silence, his mind turning somersaults. He wanted to get up, and go back to the pub, forget all this. But that never helped for long. Instead he reached in his pocket and gave his wife the few pence he would have spent in the pub. He spent an unaccountably restless night in bed.

Next morning Nell couldn’t wait for her husband to leave for work, the few coppers jangling in her pocket made her heart sing. She had things to do. First she got the kettle on for some hot water and got her and the little ones scrubbed up as best she could. Then she tried to get a comb through their hair. Finally they got into their best clothes… cast off from other families and mended many times but relatively presentable.

The Friday market was bustling and she had a job to keep hold of her wild little charges but she did. She ignored the derisory looks of the ‘respectable’ women with their heaving baskets of goods. She couldn’t wait to get back home and get stuck in.

It was wages day, all the lads were off to the pub. Ned trooped along with them but his family was still on his mind.It was as though he’d really seen them for the first time last night, at least the first time in a long time, and it unsettled him. The men he worked with teased him about his mood and this time he had no patience with them. He made his excuses and left early.

The house was quieter as he approached it down the path in front of the seeming unending row of two room cottages. He felt the warmth and peace as he came in. Nell looked different tonight, with a little glimmer of light in her eyes. She smelled different too. The cottage was cleaner warmer and brighter. And there was the unmistakable smell of a bacon joint boiling on the hob.

He slept well that night, holding his warm wife to him. In the morning the children landed on him and for once he didn’t seem to mind. He felt a little stab of pride at his son’s strength. As he left for work Nell enquired whether he would be coming straight home. “Lets see shall we?” he said and off he went.

Over the next few months the pub became less important. The coppers saved were put to good use by Nell and the cottage was warmer, the food a little more filling, the children grew like weeds. The new baby took  it out of Nell so Ned put more time into helping out. Strangely he found he liked it. He found he started talking about growing food with the older men at work and learned a lot. Eventually Nell asked whether they ought to start going to church. Mainly for the Sunday School of course, some children were learning to read there free of charge!

Within a few years Ned’s newfound respectful attitude and  appearance earned him a reputation for reliability and a promotion to overseer. Nell’s smile was back, the whole family went to Church regularly. Ned’s daughter read to him from the gospels and he knew his children were blessed with a future.

Everyone marvelled at how ‘lucky’ the family had been. Ned of course gave all the credit to God, and His travelling preacher, for helping him do the right thing, just once, just one small decision one day after work, and giving him that tiny seed of strength that was just enough for him to heed the little voice setting him, and his whole family, on the right path.

“Never mind turning water into wine” Ned would say “He can sure turn beer into food and clothes”.

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Do the Right Thing (Part 1)

Once apon a time, well in the 1880’s actually, there was a general labourer who lived in a fairly average town somewhere in northern England. His name was Ned.

Ned had grown up in a fairly rough family, fourth of nine children living in a tiny cottage. As a boy he remembered being mostly cold, hungry, dirty and being scolded by his mother and, on the odd occasion that he didn’t manage to avoid his father, “feeling the back of his hand” searing across his head.

Ned had an ambition to have a better life than this and to give his children a better life. Nothing grand maybe but decent food, warmth, safety and security. Ned couldn’t read or write but he was strong and he could work. With the advent of the railways Ned decided to become a Navvy (navigational engineer) and be involved with building the new railway! He worked hard too. He also drank hard. He was ‘a good lad’ he liked the pub, he liked that beer stopped his aching limbs ache quite so much. He especially liked the warm softness of a lass in his arms.

Ned eventually had a wife and a child on the way. Clearly he couldn’t follow the railway with this ‘ball and chain’ so resentfully he found a labouring job and a small cottage to rent. By the time his third child was on the way, Ned saw that his children’s’ lives were now pretty much the same as his had been. He still liked the pub after work, the comradeliness  of the working lads there. It made it easier to go home to a whining wife, and generally his children were at least asleep before he got there so he didn’t have to deal with them. That was his missus’s business anyway.

He couldn’t believe how much she’d changed in only five years. She always used to be up for a laugh and a cuddle. Now all she did was moan about not having this or that. On and on she went. And more often than not when he climbed into bed she’d turn her back to him.

One evening after a long day he popped into the local tavern on his way home, as was his custom. And why not? He worked hard,he deserved a drink or two. As usual the lads were bantering by the bar. Their talk was, well pretty base, and tonight he found  it tiresome, perhaps because he was tired, worn out well before his thirtieth birthday. A travelling preacher sat at the window table, having a meal, reading what Ned thought must be a bible. Ned thought preaching must be a good job as the man was about his age but looked ten years younger. He was clean too, and looked decently fed.

The preacher noticed Ned too. He motioned him over, offering him a seat. ‘May as well take the weight off my tired legs’ Ned thought and sat down. The preacher asked Ned about himself, his story and nodded with understanding. He listened to Ned’s complaining. He even told Ned a bible story or two. He knew a lot about men like Ned, he was a travelling preacher, preaching to the Navvies. Ned like him.

The following day the preacher was in the pub again having his evening meal. Again Ned sat with him and the preacher told him all about how God could help him get his dream back on track, how his marriage could be healed, how his little ‘uns could have a better life. This seemed pie in the sky to Ned, but he liked the preacher and he did enjoy his time with him.

On the third night, the preacher’s last night in town, Ned prayed with him, quietly at a corner table that Jesus would save his soul. To be honest he didn’t hold out much hope, and he was very glad ‘the lads’ never saw!

The next night he was on his way from work to the pub when a little inkling at the back of his mind prompted him to think he might just as well go home and see how his wife was, pregnant and all, and maybe see just how his kids were.

He heard the shouting and whining as he turned into his row of cottages. His two were running riot in the kitchen, grumbling about their bellies. He was surprised how scruffy they were though, and thin. The cottage looked pretty tatty too. What did his wife do with all their money???

Nell saw her husband coming in and panicked… He never came straight home, something must have happened. Nell braced herself for bad news, or at the very least a hard time off him for the state of the place. She knew he wouldn’t understand she had no soap to clean anything or anyone never mind clothes and that. The fire was tiny but it was all that they could afford, tea was a stew with barely any meat in it, mostly just onions which were cheap at the minute and there was no bread left.

Nell backed into the shadows of the fireplace as Ned came in.

To be continued… (part 2 here)

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