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Christian recovery from addiction [long version]

Christian recovery from addictions.

TRADITIONS OF http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
[I developed this short list for the purpose of having a format for Christian based bible studies/home groups. Feel free to copy- use- or even start your own group based on these principles- I wave the copy right to all this stuff. To be honest- I have never used a format in our meetings over the years, but for those who want to duplicate/start their own meetings- I find using a format helps.

Zechariah 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

Zechariah 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
Ezekiel 36:24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Ezekiel 36:28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36:29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
Ezekiel 36:30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
Ezekiel 36:31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
Ezekiel 36:32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Ezekiel 36:33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.

As you scroll down there is lots to read. Those who click this page might be struggling with addiction. For a short/quick help- just read thru this top section regularly [print it if possible]. This will train your mind in a way. Also memorize the short verse I HATE VAIN THOUGHTS BUT THY LAW DO I LOVE. Repeat it 3 times every time you find your mind being tempted- or even if your are in the middle of acting out a particular sin- each time you say it 3 times in a row- no matter what- stop the addiction at that moment. At the start- you might have to do this many times a day [depending on the addiction] but over time it will train your mind to stop.

PRAYERS [read together at the start of the meeting]
1;
I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters- that I have sinned thru my own fault.
In my thoughts and in my words- in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
And I ask Jesus Christ- and all my brothers and sisters- to pray for me to the Lord our God.

2;
Our father who art in heaven- Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come- thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread- and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation- but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the glory and the power- now and forever- Amen.

CONFESSIONS [repeat 3 times each]

1;
I hate vain thoughts- but thy law do I love.

2;
Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established.

3 PILLARS
[Readings from Peter, James and John- either read together- or have one person read one ‘pillar’ each. The bible refers to these 3 men as spiritual pillars of the church]
1;
Gird up the loins of your mind and be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is being brought unto you at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.
Those that have suffered in the flesh have ceased from sin- that they should no longer live the rest of their lives in the flesh to the lusts of men- but to the will of God.

2;
Blessed is the man that endures temptation- for when he is tried- he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those that love him.
Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust- and enticed. And when lust has conceived it brings forth sin- and sin- when it is finished, brings forth death.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you- draw near unto God and he will draw near unto you. Cleanse your hands- ye sinners- and purify your hearts you double minded.
Be afflicted and mourn and weep- let you laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness- before that great and notable Day of the Lord.

3;
Behold- a new commandment I give unto you- which thing is true in Him and in you- because the darkness has now passed- and the true light now shines.
Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin- but his word remains in him, and he cannot sin- because he is born of God.
This is how we know he hears us- because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

THURSDAY MORNING- [Sponsors- the danger of co-dependency]
We had a change of plans yesterday- Mike [my artist] stopped by around 9 am- he asked if I would do a meeting.
His friend saw him last night- and was suicidal.
Mike- who has been a friend for many years- but has just recently been in my meetings- told his friend that we do a sort of Christian based AA/NA meeting.
So- I grabbed a few guys and did a meeting here in the Bluff.
It went well- I talked about how Christ re-established our relationship with God- as our Father.
I spoke about the danger of co-dependence.
When I was in New Jersey last year for 3 months- I met some real good people in the NA meetings.
But during my year in AA- I saw things that from a Christian perspective- were not compatible with healthy living.
I did write about it- in a gracious way [it’s on my blog- under the section ‘Christian addiction recovery’.
But one of the things I never hit on was the teaching on Sponsors.
I wrote a book years ago- part of it dealt with the Shepherding/discipleship movement back in the 70’s.
This was a movement within the church that had ‘shepherds’ who were sort of like Sponsors in AA.
The problem with that movement was it created a co-dependency – people became too dependent on another person.
In scripture the concept of Sponsor- Mentor- is there- but the biblical view is- it’s only for a period of time.
There must be a breaking away from that relationship over time.
The Shepherding movement made the mistake of trying to control people- for life.
Jesus discipled his men for 3 years- then told them it was needful for him to leave.
At first- they didn’t want that- but he said ‘I go to prepare a place for you’
We often read that as ‘I’m going to get heaven ready for you’.
Actually- in context [it’s in John’s gospel] he was saying-
‘I go- to make room for you [here on earth]’
Sort of like ‘when I leave- the Spirit will come- and the works that I did- now you will do them’.

He had to leave- so they would grow in their own relationship with God.

In my meeting yesterday I spoke about how we- people- become co-dependent on girlfriends- sponsors- etc.
There must come a time where we move on.

In New Jersey- I met a guy at one of the meetings- don’t remember his name- but we talked a bit.
He told another person next to him ‘I have not only done the 12 steps- but 13’.
Now- he was nice- talking to some friends- The lady asked ‘what do you mean’.

You could tell he was hesitant to sound critical of NA- he must have been in it for around 20 years or so.
He was clean- doing well.
But he said he got a new sponsor a few years ago- and he made him do the steps all over- over a period of years.

He said he didn’t think he needed to- but he had to obey the sponsor- so he spent a few more years- doing something- that he felt was a waste- but if he didn’t do it- he was fearful that he was not obeying the sponsor.

I didn’t say anything- but of course I saw the same danger in this- that I actually had written about years before.

Any movement- or group- that creates this sort of co- dependency – can be dangerous.

So- we talked in our meeting about eventually moving beyond that initial relationship [I think Sponsors are ok- just at the start- maybe even a year- but over time it would be better to move on].

Stephen Covey- in his best seller ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ talked about 3 types- stages- of personal growth.

1- Independent
2- Co-dependent
3- Interdependent

Independent is the mindset of ‘I don’t need anyone else’.

Co-dependent is ‘I can’t live without you’.

Interdependent is ‘I don’t ‘need’ you to survive- to make it- but I see the value of our relationship- and we can go further together- as co-equals- than alone’.

I think that’s the proper view.

I have a friend who is dating a local girl.
Her ex-boyfriend is also my friend.
They are both at the street mission every week.
Then- her ex-husband now shows up [he got out of prison recently].

When she’s there- she has these 3 guys ‘fighting’ over her.

One actually stabbed the other one a few years ago- over this.

My closet friend [out of the 3] said ‘John- she just loves the attention- she wants us to fight over her’.
He was right.

Part of overcoming addictions- is also becoming interdependent.
Recognizing the value of others- but being mature enough to say ‘Brother/sponsor- I know you think I need to do this [whether it’s redoing the steps- over a few years- or whatever] – but I am maturing in this initial relationship- and I’m moving on’.

In my year in AA- I never had a sponsor- But boy was there pressure to get one- almost to the point of ‘we are waiting for you to re-lapse- so you will see your in rebellion’ [I was actually told this by a good friend].
This is a very important aspect- in my view- of becoming a well-rounded person.

Ok- that’s it- see you next week.

2; AA/NA AND THE SEX ISSUE

Note- when I post these types of post on Facebook- my intent is not to ‘preach’ to my friends who are living in various situations [I have gay friends- friends in different situations]. No- these types of posts are for those who are in these types of groups- AA- etc. and seem to be wanting a lifestyle change to some degree. So- for those who keep seeking some difference- and keep stumbling over stuff- for those- I thought this type of post might help- ok- trust me- I don’t wish to offend anyone.

I want to cover Sponsors in one post- but first let’s get to what I think might be the most important aspect of why some- in AA/NA- might still be struggling- with continual relapse- after an entire lifetime in the program.

This past year as I did read the Big Book- and attended meetings- I noticed- and was told- that many in AA/NA have ‘traded one addiction for another’.

Actually one of our first Halfway House residents told me how- in his view- many have traded the substance addiction for ‘sex addiction’.

That is- a lot of the people are ‘picking up’ people for sex- to put in bluntly.

A few months ago- I was having a talk with a friend who is sort of ‘an expert’ in AA.

Been in it for 25-30 years- knows the material well- good guy.

In our discussion I told him that I feel like many are continuing to have problems because the sex issue is really not dealt with- as a sin- and many who stop drinking/using- are still dealing with the guilt- and what the bible calls ‘wrath’ on a daily basis- because of this actual issue.

Ok- I’m not preaching here- I have ‘been there- done that’.

As most know- I’ve pretty much talked about stuff in an open way this year.

So- no one here is a saint.

But- in scripture- the act of sex- outside of marriage- is considered much more destructive to a person’s soul than all other sin [outside of murder].

So- when people stop abusing drugs/alcohol- but still participate in adultery- the penalty- feeling this Wrath- will still be there- but in a much more pronounced way.

Let me explain.

The Apostle Peter wrote ‘There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises- whereby we can escape the corruption that is in the world THRU LUST’.

As I have stated in other posts this past year- I have come to believe that the core issue of addiction is indeed this lust [sex] issue.

Now- many will identify as a substance abuser- but often the person started using substances- maybe years earlier- as a way to deaden the Wrath [that feeling of guilt- and judgment] that comes along with ‘sleeping around’.

You cannot escape this- period.

So- for some- the root cause of their addiction is this very thing [remember- the bible- which I just quoted above- actually says that the corruption exists in the world- thru lust. Which means that is the root of all other sin in the world. Not saying sex- the God ordained way- in the marriage covenant- but any sex outside of marriage brings this judgment on a person].

Ok.

I do believe that this is a root cause of relapse- continuing in what the bible describes as a much worse sin/addiction- then the actual substance abuse itself.

But now- when some do indeed find freedom from the substance- but can’t seem to overcome the sex thing- Walla- you begin feeling this judgment- this wrath- in a more pronounced way.

And because the sex thing is not dealt with [I’ll explain in a moment] then there is a natural tendency for the user to want to return to the drug/drink- because that’s the thing that ‘deadened’ the guilt from the start.

Now do you see?

Ok- when I was talking with my friend who has much experience in AA- I told him that when I read thru the big book this past year- I remember reading a page that said the founders of AA decided to be neutral on the sex issue.

My friend vehemently denied this!

See- once again- it was more of a defense of the movement itself- then an honest conversation.

I was not defensive- I told him ‘oh- maybe I’m wrong- I just remember reading a passage- and I remember how it talked about the popular philosophy of Freud- Hedonism- and then that page seemed to say that AA takes a neutral position on the sex issue’.

I remembered the passage because I teach philosophy as well as history- and when the Big Book was written the thinking of Freud was a big debate- Freud taught that one of the problems of man was him trying to restrain himself from any expression of sex at all. That if we throw off all those old ‘Victorian/religious’ rules- and practice unrestrained sex- Hedonism- then we can resolve man’s problems.

So- that’s why I remembered the passage from the big book- it did not say it accepted Freud- but also chose to take no position and not really deal with the whole sex issue [which in my view is THE ROOT of most addictions].

So- my friend- who at first said I was wrong- that the big book does take a stance- went and found the page.

I read the passage- and sure enough- it was the page I remembered.

And- as I re-read it- I was right.

[Just a note here- when he showed me the page- he seemed to say ‘see- it’s here’- like he was defending the Big Book. When I sat there and read it- I told him ‘yeah- this is what I just said- that here AA takes the neutral position’. He then agreed with me. He too knew Freud. He admitted I was right. See? That’s a problem in AA- even my friend- who was open and sincere- when he knew the page he opened to was actually agreeing with my point- he still went ahead- to defend the book- knowing he was wrong.]

I wasn’t mean- I just told my friend how as you read the page [he did know about Freud] that you can see that the Big Book is not taking a stand on the sex issue.

And actually teaches- in another section- that on these issues you follow your conscience- and if whatever type of sex your conscience says is ok- then that’s acceptable.

Ok- once again- if you follow this- and try it- you will never be able to escape the ‘built in’ wrath of God- and in my view- eventually relapse- because the root issue is not dealt with.

I want to say that my experience in AA was not a negative one- but because I was open minded- and never was ‘anti-AA’- this allowed me to get to know people- ask them questions- and try and learn from their experiences.

This last year- as I read up on addictions and the Rehab industry in the U.S.

I found some who are totally opposed to AA- and want to end the program.

I am not in that camp.

As I sit here and write- a verse comes to mind.

When I was back in N.J. – I struggled with whether or not to stay in the meetings.

Most of all I didn’t want to be a stumbling block to those who have found AA/NA as a great help.

To those- I say ‘great- keep doing what you’re doing’.

My intent in this brief critique is for those who are finding themselves in some of the examples above.

The bible says ‘you will know the truth- and the truth will set you free’.

I have found many- most- of the AA friends do not want to hear- or read any of the other literature on addiction.

If someone is close minded- or has a view that reading the other stuff is somehow wrong- then those people will continue to suffer from not knowing the latest information about addiction.

The verse that I read while asking God what position I should take- I knew I was seeing lots of this stuff because I have taught- and participated in Movements over the past 25 years.

So I knew many of the good things about Movements- as well as the dangers.

So- I could see some of these things- and many of my AA friends had no way to spot some of these flaws.

The verse- from Acts ‘REFRAIN FROM THESE MEN- IF IT BE A WORK OF GOD- NO ONE CAN STOP IT- BUT IF OF MEN- IT WIL FALL’.

I believe AA/NA is a work of God- and that as it goes for all movements- you can attack them- pick them apart [as many did in the books I read- or from friends who did not want to get clean].

So- this critique I write for the benefit of ‘Bill’s Kids’.

Yeah- one of the most amazing things to me in my year with AA was how God used an ex-alcoholic to start a worldwide movement that would help many people become free from substance abuse.

If I were talking to Bill W right now- I would say-

‘Brother Bill- what a great work of God you founded with a small group- I truly enjoyed being with your kids this year- they are a great family.
These things I write are not meant to simply criticize you.
But I felt like the kids needed this- that as all movements- and books go- apart from the bible- they are with flaws.
I even think you would be displeased to see that some of your kids treat the Big Book- almost like the bible.
So- as I say goodbye to AA- I might stop in every now and then- but I felt like my purpose was done with this great family.
I worried- a lot- that my seeing these things- and not being able to deal with them in a meeting format- might cause others to fall- who are your kids Bill- not mine.
So- I bless your kids- they are a great family- you did something that most never do.
You remained anonymous as much as possible.
You effectively passed off the movement to THE KIDS.
Your kids run the show- that’s great!
Yes- many biblical principles have been introduced thru AA.
I pray that as the movement goes on for many more years.
That the adjustments that need to be made- will be made.
God bless you all

John.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBoook] – I have posted lots.

2045- A Christian perspective on AA/NA.

I debated about doing one final post on my experience with AA/NA [Alcoholics anonymous- Narcotics anonymous].

Why?

I want to do an honest critique- not only from personal experience- but from the experiences of others.

Yesterday I saw a new resident at our halfway house- I wanted to meet him- a mutual friend had told me this new addition to the house used to be his sponsor- and he relapsed- again.

As a matter of fact- my friend told me that all 5 of his sponsors- over the past 5 years- have relapsed.

The friend who was telling me this- has an addiction to prescription pills- buys- sells- spends whole days in his addiction.

Yet- he too is a sponsor- and does not consider himself an addict- because he has not had ‘one beer in 5 years’.

I tell these stories for the benefit of those who might be saying ‘Gee John- that’s me too!’

Over the years of Pastoral ministry- I of course was familiar with AA.

I spoke about AA in a positive way- most pastors did not.

Many had trouble with the ‘higher power’ concept- not me- till this day most of my friends have found God and refer to God when they use this language.

Yes- many good people have found God and have become clean thru the program.

But- the above scenario has been repeated many times- in just my short year in AA.

I asked the sponsor who relapsed- let’s call him Chuck.

‘Chuck- I was looking forward to meeting you- I have heard lots of great things about you- how long were you clean [this last time] before you relapsed’.

3 years.

‘Ok- what’s the longest clean time you have had- since you have been in AA’?

8.

‘How long have you been in AA’?

25 years.

Chuck is 58 years old.

‘Chuck’ was standing in the same room- at our halfway house- as another resident of the house was just a day or 2 before.

Let’s call him ‘Paul’.

Paul has the same story.

Knows the Big Book- quotes it- has been in AA for 30 years.

And is now 5 months clean- after multiple years of clean stints- and relapses.

Then- one of our newest residents came in- high as a kite [He did not know I was there- or he would not have come in. If you get high- you get kicked out of the Halfway House].

Just about a week before- I had a talk with him about why I feel the AA meetings are not for me.

[Though all the guys at the house are very involved with AA- and I will still take them to meetings- and in no way try to hinder them from what they feel they need to do].

I have tried to be very nice- and honest- about this.

I told this kid ‘son- you keep referring to yourself as someone with a disease that others just don’t have’.

I went on and told him that sin- in its essence- is sort of like a disease.

But all people suffer from it to one degree or another.

And for the past 2 thousands years- many people have overcome addictive lifestyles thru the grace of God.

I told him that when we do overcome these addictions- it would be better to simply view ourselves as yes- sinners- but sinners who have accessed God’s grace- and are the same as all other sinners.

I found the mindset of ‘I have a disease that makes me different than others’ to be counterproductive in some cases.

One friend says ‘John- we are INSANE- the book says we are insane. Why else would someone go back out and drink after many years of being sober- see- we must be insane’!

Well actually- people go out and chose to sin- because they are sinners.

And yes- some might describe this as insanity.

But my friend used this argument in a way that said ‘see- WE ARE in another group of people- who are different- both mentally and physically than normal people’.

[As a side note- I hope to get to this very point in this study. But- Alcoholism does not fit the category of a disease- like other diseases. Now- to be sure- the EFFECTS of putting substances into your body- whatever they be- do indeed CAUSE diseases- but the actual addiction to a substance- apart from babies being born from mothers who used during pregnancy- is not a disease in the classic sense. Many believe because the medical associations did indeed accept it as a disease- that this makes it one. Many doctors do not embrace this idea at all- and if you simply compare the normal idea of disease- with an addict- they are not the same].

So- as someone who never took a negative view of AA- and still does not- I began to see inherent- if you will- structural problems inside the system.

I also found too many defenders of the movement- who were actively in relapse- to some degree- and yet did not want to admit it- because they took a view of AA like some Christians have about their particular church/denomination.

And they hid their relapse because they wanted to defend their movement.

[Note- when people find their identity by having a particular ‘clean date’- and when so much rides upon that date- 2-3- 10 year celebrations- if they relapse- there is a very real sense that ‘all is lost’. I think the ‘identity of addiction/non addiction’ a term I have coined- is counterproductive. Too much emphasis is placed on the DON’T EVER USE command. While I believe- and practice total abstinence- by God’s grace- yet I do not see it thru a legalistic mentality- a LAW mentality. Over the years I have taught about the difference between law and grace. And I think focusing so much on a person’s clean date can lead to a terrible fall- depression- because many who relapse then try and come back and work twice as hard then before- which can be legalistic].

Some have said ‘for the FIRST TIME in man’s history a way has been given…’

[If I remember- I think this is read at the meetings?]

Now- once again- I know this statement means well- but it’s simply not true.

And if you begin believing this [that God has given- for the FIRST TIME- a plan that will work] then you become a defender of a movement [though good] in a way that certain cultic members defend their movements.

‘God has- for the first time- restored the true church’- etc. etc.

So- I have read up this last year on the entire Addiction/Recovery industry- and I want to share more up to date info.

Historically- more people have achieved recovery thru the Church- thru not only ‘attending church’ [which is not ‘church’ to the full degree of being a practicing Christian] but thru either the participation of the sacramental life of the High Church denominations [Catholics- Orthodox, etc] or thru the usual means of the dispensation of Grace from a Protestant perspective [Altar Call- Baptism- witnessing- etc].

What I mean is- more addicts have become clean thru the practice of the Christian faith- than in AA- period.

I don’t say this as a ‘shot’ at AA.

Some have said ‘I tried church- it didn’t work’.

I asked ‘what do you mean- you tried church’.

‘Well- I went to church on Sunday- watched religious shows- etc.’

I would then respond ‘no- that’s not CHURCH’.

I responded ‘no- Jesus- and Christianity teach -you must give it away to keep it’ [a main theme in AA].

I told him ‘what you tried was simply going to a Christian church meeting without practicing the ‘whole program’.

Which includes many [if not all] of the steps that you would follow in AA.

Which indeed is where Bill and the founders based their movement on, it was at one time called THE JAMES GROUP- named after the letter of James in the New Testament.

The point I was making was- I have had more than one well intending person simply write off THE CHURCH- not realizing that they never really tried THE CHURCH.

That is- they never really implemented the teachings of Christ fully- and many others- over a 2 thousand year history- had.

So- once again- this is not to say that God is not working in AA/NA.

No- without a doubt he is.

But because I have had many experiences this past year- of people- who after 30 years or so- continue to relapse.

[Note- these people- without an exception- when I asked them what happened. They simply believed that it was their fault. Now- maybe so. But to the point of ‘no- this program has BEEN PROVEN to have never failed- for those who do it fully’ is taught in the Big Book. But there are many- I’m sure- that might have failed because of other reasons. Like I’m explaining today. See- if after multiple stories of relapse- and if you are reading the words in The Big book- that says ‘up to now- all who failed- did so because of ..’ some fault of their own- then this can become a self-defeating cycle. There might be- and indeed are- other reasons that some of these people continue to relapse. Some have developed such a defeatist view of themselves- and at times an irresponsible one ‘I have a disease- that’s why this happens to me’. See- some have embraced wrong- false ideas. And it is possible that this minority [or majority?] of cases- they are relapsing because they need better- more up to date help with their addictions].

If you hold to this outdated view [that all who have followed this system have never been known to fail- up to now] – penned by good men about 80 years ago.

Then you need to be updated on the latest data.

[Maybe at the time that Bill wrote this- it was true- but not now. And to continue to tell people that all who followed the plan never relapsed- is simply not true].

Updating these mistaken concepts would help the movement- in my view.

For their sake- those who have a history of relapse after many years in the program- over the next few days I want to give you a balanced approach.

Though I am clean for a year- I really don’t see this as some ‘rare’ thing.

Nor do I want to use my example as the basis for this study.

No- the actual data show us that more people over the past 2 thousand years- have become free from addictions- thru the practicing of Christianity [and to be fair- other religious disciplines as well- Islam- etc.- which teach biblical principles of self-discipline- prayer- fasting- etc] then following any other program.

The bible does indeed tell us that we can chose to ‘sin not’.

That’s really not such a surprise- to have to go thru all types of other things- then to simply seek God- apply the teachings of your church- and yeah- many get clean.

Ok- I don’t want this final post on AA to be negative.

Those in the movement that have found freedom- I bless you.

If you were to ask me a percentage number on the ‘good versus bad’.

Geez – I would say 90% is good- maybe 10 % needs a correction- a structural change within the movement.

The problem is- because AA is truly a movement- and yes- a God given movement [but not THE FIRST- or only].

Run by what we call ‘laymen’ [the biblical principle of the actual followers running the show- this is very biblical in nature- and because the meetings are founded this way- with no single Pastor type person- the meetings are in my view run in a more biblical way than many churches].

But at the same time- I don’t know how the movement can make the adjustments that in needs to make.

There are many examples I can give- from well-meaning people in the program- who simply do not realize that their view of AA/NA in general has become ‘cultic’.

Just one example- out of many.

One friend was giving me the NA book- and of course as a reader- who has also read many more up to date materials on addiction- I received the book graciously- and told him I would start reading.

Which I of course did- like I did with the Big Book.

But he told me that all the other books I read- they were ABOUT addiction- no- this one was different than all others [once again- the same cultic approach you see in various Christian cults- who are also very good people- but have a sort of higher view of the writings of their movement- sort of like scripture].

My friend simply believed that the NA book he was giving me was one of a kind.

That every other book on drug addiction fell into the category of ‘about addiction’

But that this one- this was the only one that saved you from addiction.

Once again- all well-meaning people- but these signs are danger signs- at least to me.

They come too close to the more extreme Christian churches- who also hold to these types of views about their writings.

I also found that many appealed to their own example [though as of now- every one that has discussed this with me- has seemed to have relapsed]

I would say ‘don’t just look at me- or any other person- no- the data show [data- other books- studies] show that many are getting clean thru these other approaches’.

[Note- in my discussions- some friends openly admit this- they say that the Book says there are other programs that work. But yet later- they will also still hold to the concept that FOR THE FIRST TIME God gave a program that frees people. These 2 ideas are contrary. I think some simple changes to the language would help].

One friend- a leader in the local movement- would tell me outright that reading the other literature was sort of being unfaithful to the Big Book.

I gave him my other books on addiction- he did not read them.

But then when we got into these discussions.

Maybe he would say ‘No- this is the first time a God given program has been shown to man…’

I would simply quote the latest data- which shows this belief to be false.

He would say ‘I never heard that’.

I would respond ‘if you don’t read anything else on addiction- but simply keep re-reading the 154 pages [which seems to be a sort of Fundamentalist approach within the movement itself- I have heard some Old Timers say the 154 are the key] over and over again- then you will never broaden your perspective about anything- including addiction recovery!’
THURSDAY MORNING- [Sponsors- the danger of co-dependency]
We had a change of plans yesterday- Mike [my artist] stopped by around 9 am- he asked if I would do a meeting.
His friend saw him last night- and was suicidal.
Mike- who has been a friend for many years- but has just recently been in my meetings- told his friend that we do a sort of Christian based AA/NA meeting.
So- I grabbed a few guys and did a meeting here in the Bluff.
It went well- I talked about how Christ re-established our relationship with God- as our Father.
I spoke about the danger of co-dependence.
When I was in New Jersey last year for 3 months- I met some real good people in the NA meetings.
But during my year in AA- I saw things that from a Christian perspective- were not compatible with healthy living.
I did write about it- in a gracious way [it’s on my blog- under the section ‘Christian addiction recovery’.
But one of the things I never hit on was the teaching on Sponsors.
I wrote a book years ago- part of it dealt with the Shepherding/discipleship movement back in the 70’s.
This was a movement within the church that had ‘shepherds’ who were sort of like Sponsors in AA.
The problem with that movement was it created a co-dependency – people became too dependent on another person.
In scripture the concept of Sponsor- Mentor- is there- but the biblical view is- it’s only for a period of time.
There must be a breaking away from that relationship over time.
The Shepherding movement made the mistake of trying to control people- for life.
Jesus discipled his men for 3 years- then told them it was needful for him to leave.
At first- they didn’t want that- but he said ‘I go to prepare a place for you’
We often read that as ‘I’m going to get heaven ready for you’.
Actually- in context [it’s in John’s gospel] he was saying-
‘I go- to make room for you [here on earth]’
Sort of like ‘when I leave- the Spirit will come- and the works that I did- now you will do them’.

He had to leave- so they would grow in their own relationship with God.

In my meeting yesterday I spoke about how we- people- become co-dependent on girlfriends- sponsors- etc.
There must come a time where we move on.

In New Jersey- I met a guy at one of the meetings- don’t remember his name- but we talked a bit.
He told another person next to him ‘I have not only done the 12 steps- but 13’.
Now- he was nice- talking to some friends- The lady asked ‘what do you mean’.

You could tell he was hesitant to sound critical of NA- he must have been in it for around 20 years or so.
He was clean- doing well.
But he said he got a new sponsor a few years ago- and he made him do the steps all over- over a period of years.

He said he didn’t think he needed to- but he had to obey the sponsor- so he spent a few more years- doing something- that he felt was a waste- but if he didn’t do it- he was fearful that he was not obeying the sponsor.

I didn’t say anything- but of course I saw the same danger in this- that I actually had written about years before.

Any movement- or group- that creates this sort of co- dependency – can be dangerous.

So- we talked in our meeting about eventually moving beyond that initial relationship [I think Sponsors are ok- just at the start- maybe even a year- but over time it would be better to move on].

Stephen Covey- in his best seller ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ talked about 3 types- stages- of personal growth.

1- Independent
2- Co-dependent
3- Interdependent

Independent is the mindset of ‘I don’t need anyone else’.

Co-dependent is ‘I can’t live without you’.

Interdependent is ‘I don’t ‘need’ you to survive- to make it- but I see the value of our relationship- and we can go further together- as co-equals- than alone’.

I think that’s the proper view.

I have a friend who is dating a local girl.
Her ex-boyfriend is also my friend.
They are both at the street mission every week.
Then- her ex-husband now shows up [he got out of prison recently].

When she’s there- she has these 3 guys ‘fighting’ over her.

One actually stabbed the other one a few years ago- over this.

My closet friend [out of the 3] said ‘John- she just loves the attention- she wants us to fight over her’.
He was right.

Part of overcoming addictions- is also becoming interdependent.
Recognizing the value of others- but being mature enough to say ‘Brother/sponsor- I know you think I need to do this [whether it’s redoing the steps- over a few years- or whatever] – but I am maturing in this initial relationship- and I’m moving on’.

In my year in AA- I never had a sponsor- But boy was there pressure to get one- almost to the point of ‘we are waiting for you to re-lapse- so you will see your in rebellion’ [I was actually told this by a good friend].
This is a very important aspect- in my view- of becoming a well-rounded person.

Ok- that’s it- see you next week.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBookl] – I have posted lots.

2051

AND THE FIFTH ANGEL SOUNDED AND I SAW A STAR FALL FROM HEAVEN UNTO THE EARTH AND TO HIM WAS GIVEN THE KEY OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT- Revelation 9:1

Last year- February 15th- 2013 I had a strange event.

As I was up praying early in the morning- as my habit is I look at the stars.

But this day something happened that never happened before [read post 2028 from last year]

As I was looking up- just happened to be looking at a certain spot in the sky- I saw a star [out of thousands].

Then- it got super bright- and went out.

I saw- for the first time- a Super Nova.

I have a verse here written on the fence- I originally painted it back in 2007.

It says ‘at the start I showed you this sign’

Not an exact quote- but it came from a previous experience in 2007.

While at the fire house one morning- up praying [Before I retired- I spent whole nights in prayer].

Some days I went to bed at 8- got up at 11- 3 hrs. of sleep- and went outside and prayed all night.

Some of the guys were just heading to bed- and they would say ‘you’re gonna start now?’

I couldn’t sleep for many months [years?] so I would pray all night.

But that’s when I wrote the verse- I retired in 2008.

As I was up that year- I went outside and felt the Lord wanted me to pray- what I call- the Daniel prayer [from Daniel chapter 10].

Daniel prayed for God to come- and after a couple of weeks an angel appears to Daniel and says ‘When you first started praying- I heard- but the prince of Persia [a demonic entity that ruled over the region- these Principalities- spoken of by the apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians- give power to corrupt authorities that rule in the earth].

The angel tells Daniel that this wicked spirit withstood the Holy angel from breaking thru.

But then the angel says ‘I HAVE COME FOR THY WORDS’.

As I was praying in Kingsville this day- I simply prayed something to the effect of ‘God- break thru- send an angel- clear out the wicked prince’.

Right as I prayed it- I saw 2 huge fireballs in the sky.

This was not a vision- they were simply meteors [shooting stars] that were close to the earth.

Later in the week I told my friend David [another ex-addict- part of the church I formed in Kingsville].

He told me he was fishing that night and also saw them.

So- that’s the verse/experience I painted on the fence.

Then when I saw the Nova last year- I realized this was the sign from God.

Ok- I want to be careful here- because I have had many prophetic dreams- visions and experiences over the years- and it’s difficult to tell them all- without looking- well- nuts.

In the book of Revelation we read about angels carrying out different tasks.

One has this great censor- he casts it into the earth- and the prayers of the saints who died ascend up to God.

I also do a prophetic act like this.

Over the years I collect the news articles of local cases of people who committed serious crimes.

Young kids- doing something stupid- while high.

Yet- the crimes are indeed serious- so I cut these articles out and pin them up on a prayer wall.

Then- when the wall is finished- I burn them all in this censor- early in the morning- and in a way ‘I redeem’ their prayers.

Many of them pray- repent of their crimes- and spend the rest of their lives repenting.

These prayers have power.

The image of the angel with a censor- and also a ‘star that fell from heaven- to him was given the key to the bottomless pit’.

In a sense- it is a picture of us too- when we engage in heavenly warfare- we can ‘cast’ this censor into the earth- we can access this ‘bottomless pit’ of broken people- and pray for both mercy- and Gods justice to come forth.

If you do a study of all the angels- you can see how they are interacting with the prayers of people.

How some of them are connected with stars falling from heaven [signs like the nova] casting censors into the earth [when I collect all the articles- I burn them- and later take up the ashes and throw them].

In Revelation 9- when the angel casts the censor into the earth- it releases upon the earth- torment/wrath- on those who have not the mark of God on their heads.

In a way- it’s a prophetic judgment on unjust systems- because in the end the purpose of God’s wrath is not vengeance- not to get even- but to produce righteousness for all in Gods court.

There are also many images in the book of Revelation about Gods court being in session.

We- the people of God- play a role in this.

In a sense- the writer of the book of Revelation- the apostle John- was also an ‘angel’.

The word angel- in the Greek- simply means messenger.

John was on the island of Patmos and Jesus sent John- to write 7 letters- to the 7 churches in Asia Minor.

One of the first visions John sees is Jesus with 7 stars in his right hand.

John is given the interpretation of this vision ‘the 7 stars that you see- are the angels of the 7 churches’.

Many bible commentators see these stars as men.

Thru out the book- we read about angels with 7 trumpets- vials- etc.

‘These are the 7 spirits of God that go into the whole earth’.

Zechariah says ‘UPON 1 STONE SHALLE BE 7 EYES’ [the things we write- prophetically- will be seen by many].

We continue to read the letters John penned till this day- the book of Revelation.

So in a sense- John too was carrying out the ministry of an angel- messenger-

See?

The bible says in the book of Psalms ‘HE MAKES HIS ANGELS SPIRITS- AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAMING FIRE’.

On the day of Pentecost- Acts chapter 2- when the Holy Spirit came down on the church.

There appeared over the 12 apostles heads ‘tongues of fire’.

Why tongues?

These original followers of Jesus would proclaim the gospel- they were ‘minsters as flames of fire’.

And their words- and writings [the New Testament] would continue to carry out the role of messenger- till this day.

WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL HE JUDGE THE POOR AND ARGUE WITH EQUITY FOR THE MEEK OF THE EARTH AND HE SHALL SMITE THE EARTH WITH THE ROD OF HIS MOUTH AND WITH THE BREADTH OF HIS LIPS SHALL HE SLAY THE WICKED

BEHOLD- I WILL MAKE JERUSALEM A CUP OF TREMBLING UNTO ALL THE PEOPLE ROUND ABOUT WHEN THEY SHALL BE IN THE SIEGE AGAINST THEM [the poor- homeless- when those oppress them- when they are ‘in the siege’ those who take advantage of them because they have no resources or ability to defend themselves]

IN THAT DAY I WILL MAKE THEM A BURDENSOME STONE FOR ALL PEOPLE- ALL THAT BURDEN THEMSELVES WITH IT SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES THOUGH ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE EARTH BE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THEM

I WILL SMITE EVERY HORSE WITH ASTONISHMENT AND HIS RIDER WITH MADNESS [Horse- Rider? Those who use the actual tools that the law provides- to carry out personal vendettas- including governments who come against 3rd world nations- stuff like that]

IN THAT DAY WILL I MAKE THE GOVERNORS OF JUDAH [the elders who stand up for God’s people- the poor and homeless] LIKE AN HEARTH OF FIRE AMONG THE WOOD AND LIKE A TORCH OF FIRE IN A SHEAF AND THEY SHALL DEVOUR ALL THE PEOPLE ROUND ABOUT ON THE RIGHT HAND AND THE LEFT

IN THAT DAY SHALL THE LORD DEFEND THE HOMELESS AND HE THAT IS FEEBLE AMONG THEM IN THAT DAY SHALL BE AS DAVID AND THE HOUSE OF DAVID SHALL BE AS GOD- AS THE ANGEL OF THE LORD BEFORE THEM

AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THAT DAY THAT I WILL SEEK TO DESTROY ALL THE NATIONS THAT COME AGAINST THE POOR

[These references are from the prophet Zechariah- chapter 12. In today’s time period- the New Covenant- God carries out these judgments BY HIS WORD- Many radicalized religions get this wrong- they see violence – sword- etc. No. Jesus judge’s with his Word- to create righteousness and justice- that’s the context for our day]

Practical stuff- those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I am not an advocate of many of the modern spiritual warfare type teachings. I am familiar with them- have read- been involved with many of these type ministries over the years.
All good Christian people for the most part.
But I always felt that some of the techniques created too much focus on demons and satan.
I also very rarely address a demon- or satan himself in prayer.
I practice the principle we read in the Apostle Peter [and Jude’s] letters ‘Michael the archangel- when disputing with satan over the body of Moses- did not bring a railing accusation against him- but said THE LORD REBUKE THEE’.
Yet- some of the stuff I’m touching on in this post are indeed keys to true spiritual warfare.
We read of many images in the book of Revelation where the prayers of the saints- even those who have died- are still effective.
The Catholic Church has always practiced this- Most Protestants have not.
[I pray the Catholic prayer- Saint Michael the Archangel- every week]
In Revelation- you are not ‘praying to the dead’ you are collecting the prayers of the people- there is an image where the Great Winepress of the wrath of God is being trodden.
God’s wrath is for redemptive purposes- I just read some verses from the Old Testament prophets- they say that we too tread this winepress.
This means when God sees that injustice in a certain place has gone on for too long- he then acts.
He works thru the prayers of his people to ‘open up a gate way’ in heaven so to speak.
The ‘Prince of Persia’ who withstood the prayer of Daniel was a demonic principality that worked behind the wickedness that the earthly rule expressed.
True spiritual warfare does engage these principalities in a way- but not directly- as many of the modern warfare teachers teach.
As you seek God- he will release angelic forces [Michael the archangel is a key- in the Daniel chapter I quoted above- It says ‘NO MAN WILL STAND WITH YOU IN THIS- BUT MICHAEL YOUR PRINCE’

THE NEEDY SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN- THE EXPECTATION OF THE POOR SHALL NOT PERISH FOREVER- THE POOR COMMITETH HIMSELF UNTO THEE- YOU ARE THEIR HELP

I JESUS HAVE SENT MY ANGEL TO TESTIFY THESE THINGS IN THE CHURCHES- I AM THE ROOT AND OFFSPRING OF DAVID- THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR

THE 7TH ANGEL SOUNDED ‘THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD HAVE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR GOD AND HIS CHRIST- AND THE NATIONS WERE ANGRY AND THY WRATH IS COME- AND THE TEMPLE OF GOD WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN- AND THE ARK OF HIS TESTIMONY WAS SEEN

I HAVE ESTABLISHED A TESTIMONY IN JACOB

THOU EXECUTEST JUDGMENT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS IN JACOB

AND THE 3RD ANGEL SOUNDED AND THERE WAS A GREAT STAR BURNING AS A LAMP

WHAT THOU SEEST WRITE IN A BOOK AND SEND IT TO THE CHURCHES

BE SILENT ALL FLESH BEFORE THE LORD- FOR HE IS RAISED UP OUT OF HIS HOLY HABITATION

WHEN HE OPENED THE 7TH SEAL THERE WAS SILENCE IN HEAVEN FOR HALF AN HOUR AND AN ANGEL CAME AND STOOD AT THE ALTAR HAVING A GOLDEN CENSOR- THERE WAS GIVEN HIM MUCH INCENSE THAT HE SHOULD OFFER IT WITH THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS UPON THE ALTAR- AND THE SMOKE OF THE INCENSE- WITH THE PRAYERS- ASCENDED UP TO GOD

[note- the many verses I’m quoting about the poor are not simply things I recently looked up- these are verses I have posted over the years in my prayer room. I’ll post the pics when I post this]

AND AFTER THESE THINGS I SAW ANOTHER ANGEL COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, HAVING GREAT POWER- AND THE EARTH WAS BRIGHT WITH HIS GLORY- AND HE CRIED MIGHTILY WITH A STRONG VOICE, SAYING, BABYLON THE GREAT IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN- FOR ALL NATIONS HAVE DRUNK OF THE WINE OF THE WRATH OF HER FORNICATION, AND THE KINGS OF THE EARTH HAVE COMMITTED FORNICATION WITH HER AND THE MERCHANTS OF THE EARTH ARE MADE RICH THRU THE ABUNDANCE OF HER DELICACIES- FOR HER SINS HAVE REACHED UNTO HEAVEN AND GOD HATH REMEMBERED HER SINS- ALAS, ALAS- THAT GEART CITY BABYLON- THAT MIGHTY CITY- FOR IN ONE HOUR IS THY JUDGMENT COME- Revelation 18

2- Today I will be taking the guys to our Bishop fellowship.

Around the 4th meeting we’ve held in Bishop so far this year.

Eli- one of the original members of the church I started in 1987 in Kingsville hosts this meeting.

I baptized him and a few others during those years.

Emit- who now lives in Corpus- who got baptized the same day [I forgot I baptized these boys- Emit called the other day and we reminisced a bit- he reminded me].

Hopefully Emit is going today- he too was an original member.

They were the younger crowd- even though I too was young at the time- yet I worked with their dad’s/older brothers- who were all addicts or in prison.

Over time their families got involved with our church and that’s how these boys [spiritual sons] became a part.

Eli’s brother- who had a pretty bad criminal history- is laying in the cemetery right where we’re going today.

I preached his funeral back in the late 80’s.

He had a bad history- as a youth shot 2 cops from the back seat of the patrol car- somehow he got their gun and fired thru the seat.

He didn’t kill them- but went to a juvenile jail and got out when he turned 18-19.

One day I heard he was being chased by the cops- he did say ‘I will never let them take me alive’.

Sure enough- he died that day under suspicious circumstances- at the hands of the cops [Kingsville Texas- back in the late 80’s- his full name was Rolando Ramirez- we called him BeBe].

As I have been reading thru the prophets recently- I saw how many of the prophets were given tasks that at first they really didn’t want.

When God called Jeremiah- he felt inadequate- God told him ‘BEHOLD- I HAVE PUT MY WORDS IN THY MOUTH. SEE- I HAVE THIS DAY SET THEE OVER THE NATIONS AND OVER THE KINGDOMS, TO ROOT OUT, AND TO PULL DOWN, AND TO DESTROY, AND TO THROW DOWN, AND TO BUILD AND TO PLANT. [hint- God’s judgment is not vindictive- it’s for the purpose of change- repentance. Often times over the years I saw a cycle- it became ‘easy’ for some of my homless friends to go to jail- get out- go back. I was always surprised to hear some of them- who really felt like they were arrested out of being targeted- either because the arresting officer was in a bad mood- or for some other reason. They too became used to it. At times it seemed like the arresting officer too got used to it- he might simply see them as ‘o well- he’ll get over it’ type thing. But in general- both sides- did not realize the seriousness of it. In society- if you restrain a person without cause- you get charged with kidnapping- in some of these cases the guy’s did indeed feel like that’s what happened- they simply got used to it [not in every case- but in some that I have been writing on.] I began to see- that some don’t realize you really cant being doing this- even if the homeless guy does not know his rights- or simply lets it happen].

Historically prophets deal with injustice in the nations.

The people of God- the Church- have a calling that goes beyond simply ‘getting saved’ and ‘being blessed’.

The prophet Amos was called of God to rebuke ‘capitalism’- huh?

Yeah- Gods people were wealthy- and despised the poor.

In chapter one of Amos we read ‘THUS SAITH THE LORD- FOR 3 SINS AND FOR 4 I WILL NOT TURN AWAY THE PUNISHMENT- BECAUSE HE DID PURSUE HIS BROTEHR WITH THE SWORD, AND DID CAST OFF ALL PITY, AND HIS ANGER DID TEAR PERPETUALLY, AND HE KEPT HIS WRATH FOREVER, I WILL SEND A FIRE UPON THEM’

The people of God despised the poor and downtrodden of the land- God sent Amos to bring justice.

I was talking to a friend yesterday- very knowledgeable in the bible and Christian theology.

I talked about Amos a bit- then told him ‘did you know that Mohamed the Prophet defended the poor’.

He did not know this.

Now- as a Christian- I do not see Mohamed as one of the Christian line of prophets.

But I simply brought this up to show him that the founding of Islam in the 7th century- initially- was in a sense a prophetic mission that did bring justice to the poor.

One of the 5 Pillars of Islam is the sharing of your goods with your fellow man.

Islam does not ‘tithe’ to the mosque per se- as Christians primarily practice their idea of giving.

But Muslims see the giving of their goods to their fellow man as the primary way to give.

Which just happens to be one of the major teachings of Jesus in the New Testament.

‘John- why say this’.

Because we live in a day where the world is very divided- I wanted people to see that in the bible the prophets defended the poor- stuck up for the homeless.

And we want to give credit where credit is due- while also speaking the truth against radical Islam.

‘Yeah- lest talk terrorism’

Really?

Obviously I detest Radical Islam- murder is a crime.

Did any of you hear the story of the guy that went in to a wedding- I believe this was in Pakistan a couple of weeks ago?

Yeah- the nut blew up the whole wedding party- kids- women- all innocent Pakistani civilians.

This guy didn’t even strap a bomb on himself.

No- he used some remote control device and bombed them.

Yeah- I’m sure you heard about it- didn’t you?

It was us.

Yes- once again- we used a remote control plane- called a Drone- and we accidently hit that wedding party.

Now- if we want to condemn acts of violence- which we should- then we must condemn this too.

The other week I was going to write about the Stock market [before any of the recent drops] I did feel like we were heading into trouble this year- but I had so many the things to deal with at the time that I never got to it.

I was simply going to say that I felt like we- the U.S. – are simply in denial.

The global economic crisis has not been resolved- the slowdown in Asia [China] is still happening.

The U.S. cut bond buying from 85 billion a month- to 75 billion [which is still a lot of ‘fake’ money flooding the market- much of what you see in the DOW is simply a result of this ‘printed’ money circulating in]

I just felt like we were not really seeing the storm on the horizon.

I didn’t write that post- and sure enough the next week the Dow took a big hit- because of these very things.

But- it wasn’t a surprise- or news- this info was out there all along.

The media simply ‘felt’ like not talking about it.

Another quote from Amos chapter 1 ‘THUS SAITH THE LORD- FOR 3 SINS OF THE CHILDREN- AND FOR 4 I WILL NOT TURN AWAY THE PUNISHMENT- BECAUSE THEY HAVE RIPPED UP THE WOMEN WITH CHILD- THAT THEY MIGHT ENLARGE THEIR BORDER [for personal gain- ‘I can’t afford a kid at this time’] BUT I WILL KINDLE A FIRE IN THIER WALL AND IT SHALL DEVOUR THE PALACES THEREOF- WITH SHOUTING IN THE DAY OF BATTLE, WITH A TEMPEST IN THE DAY OF THE WHIRLWIND: AND THEIR KING SHALL GO INTO CAPTIVITY, HE AND HIS PRINCES TOGETHER, SAITH THE LORD’.

Wendy Davis- running for the Democrat nomination in Texas- to challenge Rick Perry.

She ‘made’ her name by filibustering a state law that would have put certain restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas.

She was asked in an interview the other week about the infamous abortion doctor out of Philadelphia.

A few years ago ‘doctor’ Gosnell was sent to prison for the crime of infanticide- a crime that Hitler engaged in during his Holocaust of the Jewish people.

Infanticide is when you take a baby- and kill it.

Gosnell had a clinic that looked like a modern day torture chamber.

Cat feces on the floor- bloody instruments- the whole works.

He was ‘aborting’ the babies- after they came out of the womb.

He would ‘snip’ their spines- while alive- and dump the dismembered bodies.

Now- if he ‘snipped’ the spine- or punctured the skull- or shot salt water [called saline abortion] – or ‘pulled’ the arms and legs off while INSIDE THE WOMB [which are all various ways abortion is done] then it would have been legal.

Mr.’s Davis was asked about this- if she could justify these procedures- simply because the full term baby was still technically ‘unborn’.

She had no answer.

See?

We live in a day where this so called medical ‘procedure’ is referred to as a ‘woman’s right to her own body’.

The media sees these so called defenders of a ‘woman’s right’ as true heroes.

President Obama- when in the Illinois senate was the only senator to vote against making the ‘abortion’ of a live birth-a crime.

His reasoning was if you ‘restrict’ abortion [even the aborting of a live birth] then it would lead to other possible restrictions down the road.

So I guess we can’t stop the killing of little babies because of political expediency?

Now- how long do you think a society can last with a foundation like this?

Today I’m going to make a prediction- a Prophecy.

I believe that the cup is to the full- for us as a nation.

Just seeing the current state of affairs in the world- a tremendous destabilization of former alliances.

Nations beginning to realize that the U.S. has no more control.

I believe that we are in for something bad- It’s only a matter of time before another 911 type attack is going to happen.

Russia and China and other Asian/European nations are beginning to act- with disregard to our ‘threats’ [China- expanded their air space and territorial borders- against our warnings. We sent a war ship in these waters a few weeks ago- saying ‘we will not stand for this’! China sent 2 ships- and they played chicken with us- they blocked our ship. At the last minute we ‘blinked’ and turned. Kerry gave a ‘terse’ warning ‘nations need to be careful in international waters- we don’t want an accident’.

See- we are in trouble as a people.

Our foundations are eroding.

In time- something is going to happen- not sure how long.

[Just got back from the Bishop meeting- it went well. Let me make a note- the reason I mentioned the stock drop- is not to say ‘see- I knew it was coming’ but I want you to see that in many ways- especially being I’m writing about what we call ‘prophetic things’- that in many ways this week’s post is ‘prophetic’. Let me explain.
When a person preaches- like what I have been doing in our house church meetings- I pray for God to speak a certain word- I simply speak- quote- I don’t read from the bible. This type of preaching is ‘prophetic’ meaning by inspiration.
Now- each week- as the week starts- I try to ‘hear’ God for that week.
So- the stock market thing- about 2 weeks ago I Kind of ‘heard’ do one on a warning about the market.
I have done this before- sometimes I hit it right on- other times not.
But when I started writing this week- including some of the above- I realized what I was ‘hearing’ was real time- sort of like when I speak in the meetings.
I think I’ll finish this week’s post- tomorrow- in a different way- because I’m trying to follow a pattern of what where doing in the meetings- as well as what the guys share].

3-

Yesterday in Bishop I talked about the Tent of Moses. It was the system that God gave to Moses when they were delivered from Egypt- thru the Red Sea- and wandered for 40 years in the wilderness.

In short- when God gave Moses the 10 commandments- Moses put them in a box- called the Ark of the Covenant.

This was what the Indiana Jones movies were based on ‘raiders of the lost Ark’- of course the movies were fake- but the Ark was speaking about this.

Picture in your mind a sort of mobile shed- with 2 rooms in it. Around this shed [sanctuary] was a sort of fence- and when the people of God traveled- they took down- and put up this system as God directed.

The bible tells us that the 12 tribes of Israel camped around it.

In a way- it’s sort of a picture of the church.

We- the people of God- are a mobile [on the move] community- with the Ark [the box- a type of the body of Christ [his flesh] and within is contained the perfect nature- character of God [the law].

Jesus in the book of Revelation is called ‘The Word of God’.

So- today- the people of God have Jesus as the central ‘building block’ in the midst of the community.

Jesus is called the chief corner stone as well.

During the time of the Old Testament this temporary sanctuary eventually became a Temple.

So the Ark was moved into the temple.

The temple was simply a permanent structure- yet was modeled after the tent system that God gave to Moses.

The Jewish people had priests and animal sacrifices and all types of rules that they followed when carrying out this ritual.

Eventually God rebuked them because they saw this ritual- their ceremonies and holy days- as the main part of their worship to God, and they began neglecting the poor and the outcasts of society.

In Isaiah chapter 58 the prophet says ‘THEY SEEK ME DAILY, AND DELIGHT TO KNOW MY WAYS, AS A NATION THAT DID WHAT WAS RIGHT. BEHOLD YOU FAST FOR STRIFE AND DEBATE AND TO SMITE WITH THE FIST OF WICKEDNESS. IS NOT THIS THE FAST I HAVE CHOSEN- TO LOOSE THE BANDS OF WICKEDNESS- TO UNDO THE HEAVY BURDENS- TO LET THE OPPRESSED GO FREE. IS IT NOT TO DEAL THY BREAD TO THE HUNGRY AND THOU BRING THE POOR THAT ARE CAST OUT TO THY HOUSE.

In other chapters God says he is tired of all the sacrifices and religious ritual- he really wanted justice for the poor and homeless [strangers] among them.

At the time of Jesus- he lived in the Roman province where the Jewish people had their rebuilt temple.

King Herod was truly a master builder- some of the great wonders of the day were the tremendous construction projects that he enacted at the time of Christ.

The father of the Herod that ruled during Jesus time built the great temple- one day word came to Jesus

‘You know Herod [the authorities] know what you are doing- they are going to kill you if you don’t stop’.

Jesus was preaching in line with all the other prophets of God- he was challenging corruption in the system.

Jesus responded ‘GO TELL THAT FOX- TODAY AND TOMORROW I WILL WORK AND DO MIRACLES- AND THE 3RD DAY I WILL BE PERFECTED’

He saw the writing on the wall- he would later face Pilate and Pilate would say ‘DON’T YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE THE POWER TO KILL YOU’.

Jesus replied ‘YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME- ONLY WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU’.

In the gospels of John Jesus was engaging with the religious authorities.

He says ‘YOU ARE TRYING TO KILL ME- A MAN THAT HAS TOLD YOU THE TRUTH- WHICH I HEARD FOM GOD’.

They said ‘your crazy- who’s trying to kill you’?

Jesus saw the true intent of evil systems- even though they did not think their hatred of what he was doing would lead to his death.

Yet he knew the heart of man.

In the end- he got it right.

One day Jesus was with his men- they were sitting outside of this huge magnificent structure.

They said ‘look at these great buildings’ Jesus said ‘I TELL YOU THE TRUTH- THERE SHALL NOT BE ONE STONE LEFT UPON ANOTHER WHEN THE KINGDOM COMES’.

The temple represented the official place of law and worship in the province of Judea- Jerusalem as its capital.

Jesus ministry challenged corruption in the system- as well as being an advocate for the poor and outcast of society.

In this temple they had the same system of the ark and the rooms that were in Moses tent system.

There were 2 rooms in the temple- the back room- called the Holy of Holies- had the Ark and was separated from the first room by a veil.

The veil was a thick blanket type thing- and it represented the separation between God and men.

God was Holy- man was sinful.

The high priest went into this back room 1 time a year- the Day of Atonement- and offered the blood of the animal sacrifice as a sort of symbol of what the death of Christ would accomplish once and for all.

On the day of the Crucifixion of Christ the bible says that THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RIPPED IN HALF- FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM.

God was saying that the death of Christ- carried out by the manipulation of the system by those who hated Jesus [read carefully how the ones who manipulated Pilate to crucify Christ- these were the same people- the religious leaders who said earlier ‘who’s trying to kill you’- yet- as Jesus foretold- their anger towards him did indeed eventually lead to his death at their hands].

Jesus taught his men earlier ‘whoever hates is brother is already guilty of murder’.

He saw more deeply- then even those who would carry out the act- that sinful man is capable of anything.

The death of Christ was the final sacrifice for man- it would put an end to the animal sacrifices.

The book of Hebrews says ‘IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND GOATS COULD TAKE AWAY SINS’ ‘BY HIS OWN BLOOD HE ENETERD IN ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE [HEAVEN ITSELF] AND HAS OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US’ Hebrews 9.

Jesus-and all the prophets risked their lives for a greater cause.

They rebuked the ‘church’ of their day for not dealing with these issues.

Spiritual deliverance [salvation] and political deliverance from oppressive systems go hand in hand.

Recently the Pope has come under fire because of his comments on capitalism and the great divide we see in society between the rich and poor.

Make no mistake about it- Frances is right on- he’s too speaking in the ancient prophetic tradition of the church.

[When in N.J. last year- I wanted to see snow. I told the guys ‘I’m praying for snow!’ I asked ‘when do you usually get it’ some said ‘some years we don’t even see it’. I left in October- the guys told me ‘if we get some we’ll send you a pic’. To all my N.J. friends- sorry I prayed for snow!]

4-
Yesterday I spent a little time with Pop’s, the old man who I have written about this last year.

Charlie- a friend of mine- who has been an alcoholic for many years- stays with Pop’s.

Pop’s takes care of him- sees him as a son. Charlie has been on a respirator for a week- in the ICU- not sure if he’s going to make it.

I took Pop’s to see Charlie- prayed for Charlie- laid hands on him- did ask for God to heal him- and once again like last week [with another friend who’s also on his death bed- I just did the same thing last week- by the way- Chris looks like he’s going to pull out- again].

I have been pretty busy- but I put aside a few hours for Pop’s- went to our halfway house for about an hour- and also spent the morning at the mission.

Jeremy- a new landlord for the building that we use for the halfway house [we rent a fourplex- just the upstairs. This building is in the drug section of town- so we have had different landlords the past 3 years- they flip this property a lot].

I met Jeremy when I got back from New Jersey- told him I’m working with David- my partner- in the halfway house.

To my surprise- Jeremy was a firefighter in the Dallas area.

Got into investing- he left the job- at 18 years in- and pulled his retirement out to go into properties.

To be honest- when he first told me this- I thought it was a bad move.

2 more years- he could have retired and the city matches your retirement dollar for dollar [some cities do more].

I retired with about 250,000 because I stayed for 25 years and got the match.

But Jeremy seems to be doing ok.

Just this year I’m getting back into real estate.

My family/daughters have been talking about it for a year or so now.

Sort of a family realty thing.

I told Becky I used to do it- they were young and did not remember.

Bought a nice house from a HUD re-po. Rented it- then owner financed it- and eventually the buyers got a loan from the bank and paid it out.

So this year we are going to start that again.

I am trying to establish our house churches at the time- and staying more active with the real estate thing.

The Corpus Christi market has the highest occupancy rating in the whole U.S.

Jeremy told me this the other day- the next day I read it on the front page of the caller times.

So the time is right.

Actually I’m trying to encourage the guys at our halfway house to get out a bit- move on- beyond too much focus on your addiction.

I spent about an hour with the guys- inside the building.

Then hung out a bit with Jeremy and his crew- one of them is Steve- a former halfway house resident- he was our house manager for a while.

Steve has moved on- has his own apartment in the building- and is sort of the property manager for the fourplex.

To be honest- thats better than spending to much time in the halfway house.

Too much focus on your past addiction- whether it be alcohol or drugs- spending whole days just working the steps- doing meetings- it’s counterproductive at times.

I have been teaching on the difference between law and grace in our meetings.

The law [Old Covenant] focused a person on the ‘do’s- do not’s’- it never worked according to the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 7.

Paul said ‘the law- which is good- revived the sin in him- and by this- sin became more powerful’.

The point the apostle was making is if you focus too much on ‘I will not sin- drink- etc.’ finding your identity in this.

Then instead of freeing yourself from it- it eventually masters you.

There’s a danger in magnifying the addiction too much.

I’m 13 months sober- I don’t think of it that much at all- really don’t see it as some big thing [of course I am very grateful to God].

Like I taught last year- the key is simply moving on with your life.

Ok- that’s it for this week.

God bless.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] – I have posted lots.

2033

PROMISE KEEPERS [or a New Way]

Yesterday I spent the day in ‘historic’ Hackensack.

I put historic in quotes- because as a kid growing up- all you remember are the bad days.

I used to think ‘Hackensack’ and yeah- bad days.

But- to my surprise- when you walk around- sober [or not high] yeah- the town is really a special place.

I visited an old friend- Frank.

I used to be good friends with his brother Fred many years ago- and I became a Facebook friend with Frank last year.

So- I made the promise that when I came up- I would take him to a spot to eat- and talk about the old days [Chicago- Old days- Oldies- good times I remember].

So- as I reach the 2 month mark back in Jersey- I wanted to make sure I kept the ‘vow’.

The other promise I made- was to see another old buddy in Newark.

I did that last week [I found the spot- a halfway house- but it already closed down].

So- I really enjoyed the day in Hackensack.

We went to a church service for homeless/street guys.

It was held in the historic church- that is known for George Washington attending.

We walked thru an old grave yard in the back of the church- it had the names of famous generals from the Revolutionary war era.

The church was started in 1662 [I think- I picked up the pamphlet- but left it at the buffet!].

So- the church was a true historic spot.

I walked all the spots where the street guys would walk- and the area- though nice- is not ‘nice’ for street guys.

Huh?

Yeah- the cops keep an eye on you- and let you know.

The actual denomination of the church [Church on the Green] is Reformed.

I have studied- and taught lots about this church in the past.

They were indeed the original Protestants that came out of the 16thcentury.

They are a good denomination- and for Protestants- one of the most ‘intellectual’.

They focus much on the sovereignty of God [God in charge].

And Grace [they are strong on the doctrine of Predestination- that God chooses us- not us him].

Now- that’s actually what I wanted to post about this week.

I wanted to share the New Testament concept of Grace versus Works.

In a nutshell- Christianity approaches the subject of Change [how to overcome things- whether drugs- drinking-etc.]

From the standpoint of grace.

Don’t all recovery groups do this?

Not really.

In the world of ‘recovery’ you do have many good treatment concepts- often based on biblical principles.

Most of these try and implement the idea that if you follow a program [some have different programs to follow] that you can maintain sobriety.

Do these work?

Some of the times they do- but that’s where Grace comes in.

In Christianity- the ultimate authority for change comes from God.

Okay- don’t most programs believe in God?

Yes.

But here’s the catch.

I have seen/experienced- that without the concept of Grace- when someone fails- relapses- there is a legalistic approach that many find very difficult to implement.

Grace teaches that freedom from sin [addictions] comes as a free gift of God- based on the death and resurrection of Christ.

In a nutshell- that means if a person is clean for a number of years- if they fall- stumble- and ask God for forgiveness- he forgives- and restores- as in if they never had the fall.

See?

This is not just a minor point.

In Christian theology- this is the basis of the grace of God [and sovereignty- which means he does this because HE chooses to].

The bible says when people who struggle with sin [all of us- to different degrees] come to God- that God MUST forgive- because he ‘made this promise to his Son’.

God covenanted [made a deal] with Christ- that if He would die for the world- that God would be JUST to keep his part of the promise- and forgive man because Jesus kept his part of the deal.

Do you now see?

In Christianity- like most recovery programs- God does give us disciplines to keep [that means- there are indeed acts we need to do- restitution- making things right- etc.]

But- if somewhere along the way- we mess up- we don’t see our ‘hope’ as ‘now I need to work extra hard to get back to where I was’.

No- that’s the Old Covenant idea of Law [the legalistic way].

But in Grace- God is actually the one enacting our ‘recovery’ [new birth] and his forgiveness- and the ability to pick up again- all are a work of Grace.

I could quote lots of bible verses on this- but this is indeed the main basis of God’s grace as revealed to us thru the New Testament [this term itself- New Testament- is talking about this NEW concept of CHANGE coming as a free gift of God- not as a result of us working a program- or the Old Covenant of Law].

Ok- this short post can’t get into all the deep theological issues [there are many].

But I wanted to lay the groundwork this week- to share the primary idea that Grace means our recovery- our NEW LIFE is simply the fruit of what Christ did for us when he himself kept the Law [Gods first recovery program].

That the bible teaches that men- in and of themselves- were never able to actually achieve change [recovery] by keeping ANY PROGRAM.

That idea is based on law.

No- God does use various recovery programs- but if a person’s recovery is not based on the actual reality of the Grace of God- the New Covenant that I just explained.

Then in the end- we all ‘relapse’.

NOTE- I want to emphasize the difference between Law and Grace.

To re-cap;

The giving of the 10 commandments [called The Law] was a good thing- yet- in the New Testament [especially the letters of Paul] we read that man had no ability in and of himself [in his own power] to keep them.

So- few a couple of thousand years [until the time of Christ] man’s attempt at trying to keep the law [which you can apply to any well-meaning program- or modern ‘law’ system] was simply a sort of probationary period- a test- that man kept failing- time after time.

Then why even give us the law?

That’s the main debate in the New Testament- the Law was given to reveal to man that he was a sinner- an addict- a person with problems.

Then- after trying to keep the law- [the program] he kept on failing.

He comes to the end of his rope- and sees the reality of the New Program [the New Covenant] and by a free act of Grace- he is now forgiven- and also freed from his sin.

In this New Way [New Testament] if he falls [relapses] he asks for forgiveness- and God doesn’t just forgive him- and say ‘okay- now you start from day 1 all over again’ [which in itself is a Law mentality].

But God says ‘ok- because my Son kept the law- the program- perfectly- I not only let you ‘start over’ but it’s like you never relapsed at all’.

See?

What I simply explained in this post is the difference between trying to achieve change by your own power- and receiving a New Life [New Birth] as a free gift from God.

Now- there are many verses I can give you ‘for by grace are you saved- thru faith- and that not of yourselves- it is the gift of God’.

But I want you to see the age old dilemma- that no effort by man- no matter how good the program is- can change man.

In Christianity- God does give us principles to live by- tools of self-discipline.

Yes- that’s actually one of the Fruits of the Spirit- self-control.

But the New Covenant- grace- based on the fact that JESUS KEPT THE LAW perfectly- is a program where God does not put the burden of change on us.

No- this program works because Jesus fulfilled his end of the Covenant- died for us and rose again.

And we have eternal life [not just a life that never ends- but a new quality of life] that comes as a free gift from God.

Read the gospel of John chapter 3- focus on the verses that talk about this free gift- given to all that believe.

Meditate on verses like ‘I am crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I- but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God- who loved me and gave himself for me’.

Amen.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] – I have posted lots.

The reason you have not heard from me in a year [if I stay on what I feel is God’s schedule].

Is because when leaders have moral failures it is their responsibility to ‘retreat’ and have a time of restoration.

I asked the Lord how long I should ‘go away’.

I knew I would at least take a few months off.

But then I re-read an old book I had on addictions- and the author [Christian based approach] suggested a minimum of 1 year.

I took that as a word from God- and as of today- I think that’s the way I will go.

So why am I writing on Feb 2nd- 2013?

Good question.

As I continue to pray- and seek God- I felt the Lord released me to ‘journal’ in a way.

So- however many posts make up this journal- I hope they benefit all my friends.

I do pray for every one of my ‘on-line’ community.

All the blog readers and Face Book friends.

If I never mentioned this- I believe that reconnecting to my old friends from New Jersey was a major ‘accomplishment’- that is- I always wanted to be able to share my story- the ups and downs- for the benefit of my North Bergen friends.

I really love you guys- no joke.

Okay- what happened?

I don’t want to go into all the embarrassing details- but it was another case [yes- I had a DWI a few years ago] where drinking and sin went hand in hand.

I really did not [or do] remember all the details [no joke].

I did- for real- have a blackout out of sorts [not the first time- when I drink beer and hard liquor [crown] I usually have blackouts].

But- when you have them [at least me] when you wake up your not sure if you had a bad dream.

At least that’s how it works for me.

When I was first confronted with the act- I did not say ‘O no- you got the wrong person’ [denial]

But ‘you gotta be kidding me- this is terrible’.

I went home- told my wife- and from the start did not try and lie [that’s the truth].

You might think ‘that’s not the way people respond John- are you holier than us!’

No- but that’s what happened.

Okay- there were some things that were in question- whether the whole allegation was true- but because most of it was- I tried hard to not defend one part- while knowing some was true.

I just chalked it up to my decision to drink and drive- again.

Okay- how long have I been an alcoholic?

I guess around 25 years.

I have drank- pretty heavily- for those years.

Now- today is my ‘31st’ birthday [as AA says].

I only had 2 periods of non drinking in all those years [at the meetings I hear many stories of people who have had lots of 30-60-90 day chips- periods of time when they went sober and reduced the damage to the brain- I never had those periods].

About 6 months ago I tried to stop- I went about 21 days [an important number! I felt during this time- that something was happening at 21 days- not 28 or 30. I made a note that in the bible- Daniel prayed for breakthrough- and the angel Gabriel could not ‘break thru’ with the answer for 21 days. As I have read up on addictions- some say the main breakthrough happens when you abstain from an addictive behavior- for 21 days].

Also about 10-15 years ago I had a whole year of sobriety.

I just went ‘dry’ on my own with God’s help.

Okay- it’s too early for me to critique the 12 step/group movement.

I have attended 3 different AA groups in my area- been to around 20 meetings.

One is sort of a high class group.

Professionals and others who are seeking sobriety.

I also went to what my friend Bret calls ‘low brow’.

This group is sort of the Skid Row group in town.

To be honest- I liked them the best.

Then I went to the Anchor group- not far from my house [by the Navy Base- Anchor- get it?]

There sort of in between.

Why am I sober now?

As a reader- of lots of stuff- I of course noticed the Big Book [the basic text of AA- which is actually a small book- so when my friend who gave me one kept asking ‘have you read the Big Book yet’?- I told him ‘I don’t think so’ but I’m reading the little one you gave me] is a very well meaning book- but a little dated.

I told my friend John David- who I started the halfway housed with- o yea- you might think ‘how could you start a halfway house when you too were an alcoholic’- because David asked!

I told him that it would benefit all of us if we tried to read some more updated material on addictions- not just the Big Book.

So- I went to half price books and picked up a couple of more non AA books- that deal with addictions.

I also went on-line- which it seems many of my AA friends [especially from the ‘low brow’ meeting] don’t have the ability to do.

I began seeing that many of the AA meetings would benefit tremendously if they expanded their reading to more than the basic text [I’m sure some do- but I have some AA friends that seem to not like this idea].

What’s wrong with the Big Book John?

Nothing!

It’s just one part of restoration- and the meetings [from what I see] do have a danger of not cultivating a holistic approach to sobriety.

For instance- my friend David- who was a drug/alcohol addict for many years- he swears by AA.

To the point where some Christians- and preachers- won’t have much to do with him.

I was never like this- from day 1.

I told David I like the accountability of the group [if you fail- then you have to face your brothers and sisters- they ask you!]

That’s good- that’s biblical.

But there is also the danger of defining your life by what you don’t do.

Let me explain.

Many in the low brow group- though well meaning- seem to be in danger [as we all are] of simply seeing life as a person who does not drink.

Though that’s a noble goal- that can be achieved by Gods grace- yet you need to move on to seeing more than that as a goal.

I know the AA does teach this also- I’m just trying to give you an honest account of my journey- of what I have seen in the meetings- that’s all.

Okay- I have already read 2 books on addiction [besides the Big Book- I’m at page 350 or so] and just started my 3rd one.

The one I wanted to read was the Alcoholism and Addiction cure by Christ Prentiss.

I have seen that one advertised the most over the years- on the tube- and wanted to see his approach.

I try hard not to be judgmental- but from the beginning of the book I could tell Chris believes strongly in Eastern religions [which is OK- I have friends who also embrace this].

But- as a Christian- you will be a little leery when you see that in a book that gives advice about addictions.

I finished the book in a few of days and did like it.

I noticed a lot of the books do have problem with AA.

Some are based on NOT BEING AA.

Some see the entire 12 step movement as cultic- and an actual contributor to relapse [I will try and get to this down the road- this is a real concern that I had felt- even before reading any of the critics].

So- some of the other approaches do not like AA because they do not like Christian based ideas of sin and a ‘higher power’.

Yes- some critics don’t like God- at least not in the way historic Christianity defines him.

Others [I’m a few chapters in to a book about the AVRT method- or Rational Recovery].

This book simply teaches a technique to recognize the voice of ‘the beast’ [their words- not mine] in you.

And then teaches you to reject that voice- for the other voice- the ‘real you’.

In many ways- this can be seen as the biblical idea of rejecting the voice of the old sinful nature [the beast] and hearing the voice of God- or listening to the ‘angel on your shoulder’ as opposed to the devil.

So- all in all- I find that the other approaches- who all preach total abstinence by the way- have good points- just like AA.

One of the most helpful things I learned [or re-learned] was why 28 days [or in some case- 21] is so important in recovery.

A brief synopsis from all the above stuff- and on-line reading- goes like this;

The brain of the alcoholic [or other addictions- sex addicts- drugs- etc.]

Has become dependent on the addiction- the brain has actually been ‘re-wired’ to function off of the addiction.

It usually takes about 30 days [yes- many sources say this- this is important for you to see!]

To ‘re-wire’ the brain back to the old state- at least in some way.

The brain actually does not repair the old parts that have been ‘addicted’.

I thought this was the way it worked for years- that if you quit the addiction [yes- HEAR ME- many sources say- teach- and have a track record of going clean- without the ongoing groups- that is without an unhealthy dependence on other sources- be they well meaning sponsors- or groups- etc.- while these things do work for some- when they are held up as a must to stay clean- then you need to have grace with people- I told David that there are many- many stories of people who have ‘gone clean’ and stayed clean- without all the things that the 12 step programs teach. If you benefit from all the steps- good. But there is a danger in making everyone think that they will never be clean without all the steps- all the time].

So- what happens in the brain- during that 28- 30 day period- is the other side of the brain will actually create new pathways [Nuero Pathways] and will REPLACE the old addictive patterns.

Sort of like what happens in people with brain damage- the part of the brain that’s not damaged will ‘make up’ for the damaged part.

Now- as a Christian- this fits into the biblical idea.

We are told to renew our minds.

To mediate on the things of God.

‘Commit thy works unto the Lord and THY THOUGHTS will be established’ [re-wired].

But- for my readers who are not Christian [who I appreciate very much- Muslims- Jews- eastern religions- etc.]

This works for you too!

Yes- there is much evidence that ALL OF OUR BRAINS can get this re-wiring- if we simply abstain from any habit/addiction- for around 30 days.

Now- you might be thinking ‘John- you’re in dangerous territory- the Big Book says….’

Yes- I know.

I’m just trying to give you an honest account of what I’m learning- and what many others have said- and done.

So- there is hope- for all of us.

Of course- even the ones who advocate a non religious approach- will say- the first 30 days IS HARD!!

Yes- when the brain goes thru that re- wring process- its hell.

That’s what we call withdrawal.

You experience that fight or flight syndrome.

You overreact to stuff- you get mad.

This happens in all the above scenarios- the AA approach- the non AA folk- all of them say this.

This is part of healing- that re-wiring of the brain.

Okay- as you can see- for the first post of the 2013 ‘journal’ I have gone long.

My purpose in these types of posts for this year is to help you guys- as I too get help.

I don’t have a sponsor [nor do I feel like I will get one].

I had to tone down my attendance at the meetings- some actually made me feel LIKE DRINKING- YIKES!]

All in all- I will continue on this journey- I am now accountable to you guys- so- if I mess up- you will know for sure.

And- when I return to the blog- and Facebook- I will of course pick up where I left off.

I will continue- by God’s grace- to write.

I did have some really interesting stories about the Halfway House- the friends who we met- and the whole thing.

As of now- I [we- me and David are the founders] don’t know if it will continue.

To be honest- I did not think any of us were ready to launch it when we did.

But my buddy David- such a good friend- I love him like brother.

He looked so desperate when he asked me to join him.

Geez- the guy just had open heart surgery- was diagnosed with PTSD- for real- because of the surgery.

And he was a street guy- a hard drug addict- a murderer- who found grace.

How could I tell him no?

So we launched the thing- I told David [a few times already!] that I feel as a teacher- blogger [he refers to me as a preacher- I hate that! He means well though].

That I need to be responsible and ‘self discipline’ myself because of my moral failure.

Most times when ‘preachers’ fall- they reject any and all discipline- even if they do have oversight.

Being I really don’t have another ministry over us- I felt I needed to ‘man up’ and pull myself back for a while.

As I began the year- I thought for sure one month- then I felt the Lord wanted one year.

So- as of now- that’s the course.

I don’t want to write more than a few of these a month- or else when I post the whole thing- it will be too much.

So- whenever you guys read this- I’m still alive- I love you all and have never stopped praying for you.

If I have time- I’ll share more about some of the friends I have made along the way.

I liked Bret- he had an interesting story- I wanted to tell it.

We both had the same ‘clean time’.

Bret ‘went out’ the other day- he went back to drinking- I felt bad.

So- as I learn the lingo- try and be open and honest- I hope this whole experience helps you.

That’s all for now- God bless.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1973 CAN I QUIT MY ADDICTION- IN 30 DAYS?

Today is Feb. 4th- 2013.

I was going to limit my weekly posts- but I do find the journaling beneficial so whenever I post these- I hope they help all of you.

A few weeks back I was reading Genesis 1.

I liked the passage where God says he ‘saw the light- and it was good’.

He called the light ‘Day’.

Over the years I have liked the scriptures that talk about the Day- walking in the Light- etc.

As I read the creation account- and recalled the verses about the Day- I felt like God was saying to me ‘Son- when I expose things- hidden sins- it’s painful at first- but when things come into the light- it’s actually a good thing’.

So- in my recent ‘fall’ from grace- I felt God was saying it’s good ‘God saw the light- and it was good- he called it day’.

Now- some of the Day verses.

‘In the day I deliver you from all of your iniquities I will cause you to dwell in the cities and the wastes shall be built’.

‘There are 12 hours in the Day- if you walk in the light you will not stumble’.

There are many more like this- but I think you get the idea.

So- when dealing with addictive behavior- God says the Day- Light- is good- it’s good when things are brought out into the open.

That’s one of the good things I see with the AA meetings- things are brought out into the light- you share with a community of like minded people- who too are seeking to be free from addictions.

Now- as I am progressing thru the 3rd book on addictions- I see how there are many ‘addiction specialists’ who have a real problem with AA.

When I picked up these books- and read on-line- I was not looking for criticism of AA.

I simply read to about page 350 in the Big Book [AA basic text].

And wanted to get some more up to date info on addictions.

But I noticed that some of the alternative treatment programs were indeed very critical of AA.

The book I’m in now- Rational Recovery- is an alternative to AA.

The main book for this group is called the Small Book- a direct contrast to the Big Book.

Now- I’m about 100 pages in- and to be honest- the book is quite refreshing.

The author- Jack Trimpley- was an alcoholic who seems like he went thru the AA meetings and all- and decided to simply ‘Quit Drinking’ without an overdependence on groups- sponsors- ongoing steps- etc.

There program uses a technique that I think I mentioned in the last post- it’s simply a tool to learn to recognize your ‘addicted voice’ [when you start saying to yourself stuff that will lead to drinking] and to learn how to ignore that voice.

In many ways it’s like the biblical concept that says ‘resist the devil- and he will flee from you’.

Now- the funny things is- Jack’s program is a counter to the Deistic [God based] approach found in AA.

Rational- for those not in ‘the know’ is a description that counters ‘faith’.

That is- in the field of theology- and the whole debate in Western thought [which I covered over the years].

When you say ‘rational’- like the Age of Reason- it springs from Enlightenment thinking- Back to Kant- and it’s saying ‘we can heal ourselves! Reason is the answer’.

So- that’s Trimpley’s approach.

Now- he gives cases- many thousands of cases- where alcoholics were told – STOP DRINKING- it’s hard the first month or 2- but if you abstain from it for a couple of months- the ‘addiction’ is gone.

Now- even before I read this book- I began having some debates with hardcore AA friends- I would say ‘I am benefiting from the group- I like the accountability’ and then there would be pressure- well meaning mind you- but pressure to get a sponsor.

Or some would say ‘if you don’t do everything this way- your gonna drink’.

Now- as I said before- I was [am] not one of those Christians who opposed AA- there are many that do- I was never one of them.

Many opposed it because they speak of a Higher Power- okay- I’m open minded- I see how this can be a problem for strong scholarly types- but I’m liberal too!

Others oppose the idea of Alcoholism as a disease- the whole disease paradigm that developed since the founding of AA back in the 30’s.

Now- one thing I learned is there are also many in the medical community who too reject the idea of alcoholism as – quote- Disease.

‘But John- the medical associations agree that it is a disease.’

Sure- but just saying there are many- not just some Christians- who do not accept this idea.

Now- if you’re in AA- right off the bat- what I’m saying will seem like heresy- I know- I’m just trying to help all of us see that there are many examples of people- from various perspectives- who have rejected the lifelong idea of group meetings- they do not believe that alcoholism is a disease- they do not say ‘I’m an alcoholic’ and yet- these people are indeed not using today- some for 30 years or more [And they were indeed alcoholics- not simply drinkers].

Now- in my discussions with friends- I did say that before AA- there were many cases of true Alcoholics- back to biblical times- who simply repented of their sin [as they saw it] and yes- stopped- to never drink again.

Does the bible say stuff like this John?

Yes- many times over.

‘Repent- for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand’ Jesus and John.

‘These things write I unto you that you sin not’- Apostle John.

‘Resist the Devil and he will flee from you’- James.

Okay- I could go on.

But the point I want to make is yes- it’s not unreasonable- or even wrong- to tell the alcoholic ‘you need to stop drinking’.

And it’s also not impossible for him/her to do this act- to not drink- ever.

Yes- there are thousands of testimonies of real problem drinkers- who fit all the categories of an alcoholic- who simply stopped drinking.

Okay- I know this messes with some paradigms that are out there.

And I’m trying to be very open at this stage in my own recovery.

I have been sober since Jan 3rd- of this year.

As of now- once I passed the 30 day mark [my mental struggle was strongest at 21 days] yes- there is great relief of mind.

As lots of the literature on addiction says- if you can stop doing an act- any act- for 30 days- it’s over.

Now- to some of you- you might think ‘O- how I wish this could be true- to not have to be co-dependent on lifelong groups- etc.’

Well- I’m telling you- it is true [If you benefit from the groups- fine- I’m not against them. But when you tell people it is impossible to not drink unless you attend them- all the time- that can be a problem. I had well meaning friends tell me they were basically waiting for me to go out and drink- so I would come back more humble and submit to the program- yikes!]

Not because I’m 30 something days in- but because of all the other real life examples of people who have done this.

Now- as a Christian- when I went thru the first 30 days- there were 2 times where I was at the end of the proverbial rope- and simply prayed ‘God- help- quick’.

In my mental state- I was going to stop for my beer- I actually stopped- but bought some cigs instead and smoked a few [by the way- I’m quitting all addictions at once- yes- on line porn- smoking- etc.]

Now- were gonna get real in this journal- for everyone’s benefit.

I stopped- yes 100%- looking at on-line porn [and all others by the way].

Yes- I think this seems to be an underlying addiction- maybe even stronger than the drinking and drugs [or a root that leads to it].

It’s not spoken about openly in the meetings- and from what I pick up- I think many are still addicted to the porn because it’s not ‘in the light’ yet.

See?

God saw the Light and said ‘It was good’.

So- were going to discuss this in the coming posts- as of today- the only slip I had was about 5-6 cigarettes- in the last 33 days.

That’s it.

I gave the rest of the packs to my buddies at the halfway house [The 5-6 were from 3-4 packs- I would stop- get a pack- smoke 2-3- then give the rest to me buddies].
Now I feel bad- one of the guys never smoked the Marlboro Blacks- until I gave him mine- now he has a new addiction to deal with!

Okay- I want these posts to help all of you.

I’m not sure how my journey will go this year.

As of now- I’m praying about a move [for obvious reasons].

As I pray- I feel very strongly like going back to N.J.

I was never open to this- I love the N.Y. skyline- I love the Hudson [and Hacky!- my Jersey friends know what this is].

So- I’m in February of 2013- and maybe when you read these- I might be living in N.J.

Okay- that’s it for today- it looks like I will be writing in this ‘journal’ much more than I thought.

I’m going to try and do a 30 day test- that is- give people a forum to get everything out into the Light.

Some of you might be struggling with addictions- like many of us.

If we do a 30 day test- those who want to make a public ‘confession’ by simply posting a comment like ‘I’m in’ you will be able to do it [did your heart rate just go up? That means you need to be IN].

In a way- it will be like an AA meeting on line.

Okay- that’s it- talk to you later- John.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1974 Feb 5- 2013

Caught an AA meeting last night- got my first 30 day coin ever!

I’m actually past 30 days- but didn’t get one on day 30.

It was kind of a good/bad time mixed into one.

My good friend was there- who was living at our little halfway house.

He ‘went out’ a few days back- we had the same clean time together- so it was sad to see him.

He was very drunk- and wound up sleeping behind the building where we meet.

This meeting- called Humility- is what he calls ‘low brow’.

I have attended high class ones- middle class- and this one.

He says it’s the Skid Row group- sort of like the original gang that started AA.

So- I got the coin- and enjoyed the time with my other friends.

Some of my friends have told me that they did not realize how addicted I was to alcohol.

At this time- 35 or so days in- you do very much see a real change in me.

I have gotten very edgy- have had the ‘fight or flight’ thing going on.

And because I was what you call a functioning drinker- I maintained a very long period of constant drinking.

Never had the 30-60- 90 day ‘breaks’ during my drinking years.

Because of that- you can see the difference real clearly.

My friend David- who is really into AA- tells me I’m the classic case- that I show every sign he has learned about.

I guess that’s good in a way.

We do have a few friends- in and out of the halfway house- these are young guys- early 20’s- or late teens.

We are glad they are there- but when I shared with one of them the very real struggle at this point- he said ‘o- I never feel like drinking or anything- it’s all gone’.

He’s young- I felt like maybe these younger kids- as well meaning as they are- might not really have the addiction- and its effects- like us longer drinkers.

But that’s fine- we don’t judge them- we are glad they are recognizing the danger early in life.

Okay- the prescription drug danger.

A few days ago my mind was having a difficult time- I felt like a Valium.

I did ask a friend if he had any [I took one 30 years ago- that was the only time- from the ER].

He said they had some Xanax- he could get me one.

I told him to wait- I really did not want any hard prescription drugs.

That seems to be a problem with some of the guys- they are not drinking- but are on a host of all types of very strong drugs.

Some are also seeing the meetings as places to meet people.

Now- meeting people is good.

But one of my friends told me that some people simply use the meetings to pick up girls [or guys].

H said to me ‘John- they stopped one addiction [drinking] for another [sex addicts]’.

I saw his point.

I have found the book of James- in the New Testament- to be the most helpful during this time.

John David told me that the name of the original group was ‘The James Group’ [ or the Oxford Group].

The letter of James [from where the name came from]- written by the step brother of Jesus [not the apostle James] is in a category we call Wisdom Literature.

Sort of like the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.

It talks about humility and humbling ourselves.

Also resisting temptation.

‘Every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed- and when lust conceives it brings forth sin- and sin- when it is finished- brings forth death’.

It shows you the cycle of addiction in a way.

We need to recognize the process from the start- and not allow tempting thoughts to be entertained.

In the last post I mentioned Porn addiction as well.

Jesus said ‘the light [or gateway] of the body is the eye- if your eye is evil- your whole body will be full of darkness’.

When we look at lustful things- there is a demonic attachment that embeds within our soul- our body eventually wants to act out on what the eye sees.

All in all- I have found the basic teachings of Christ- the things that we learned as kids- as helpful to overcome all types of sins.

James also said ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you’.

Yes- we can all try that one- the hard core AA’ers- the ones who do not like the 12 step approach- yes- people from all walks of life can practice this one.

May God help us all as we seek to do it.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1975 CHANGE WHAT YOU THINK- SAY

Ok- day 35.

Yes- 35 days with no acting out on my addictions.

‘You mean all of them’?

Yup.

Of course by God’s grace alone- and a ‘little help from my friends’. [Real friends- not ‘Mothers little helper’- yeah- Stones- Beatles- you older guys get it].

Now- why say ‘all my addictions’?

Remember about the Light- God said ‘it was good’.

Yes- no drinking- NO on line porn [or any other for that matter].

And yeah- no smoking either.

Now- for that last one- that’s your choice.

I have found that for me- when I drank and viewed porn- I also smoked a lot- 3 packs.

So- just being real with you guys.

Now- as I continue reading about ‘addiction’ therapy- and the various studies and views on how to deal with it.

I find various things- from all sides [pro AA- anti AA] that are helpful.

In one of the anti AA books the guy talks about a practice they have found helpful.

When some went down the path to getting ready to use- they ‘heard’ a voice in their head- and they would begin to MOUTH things like ‘I’m going to get some beer right now’.

Maybe they began a process of looking for the car keys- or stashing some cash for later.

The point was- they began ‘hearing’ the voice of addiction.

They began ‘saying’ to themselves that they were going to do it.

The book recommends that at this stage you simply change the Voice.

My practice- which I have done for years on my own- was to memorize a few key verses- and when I had a tempting thought- or dream- I began automatically quoting these verses.

Now- over the years I have memorized thousands of verses- so instead of trying to think of which one to ‘say’ at these moments of weakness- I stuck with 2 basic ones.

One I use at night [tempting dream or thought] is says;

I HATE VAIN THOUGHTS- BUT THY LAW DO I LOVE

Got it?

That’s it- that’s the one.

Don’t remember where it is- it’s in the bible somewhere.

But years ago it stuck in my head- and after a while [a few months?] this practice becomes automatic.

When the bad dream pops up- this verse gets quoted automatically- almost like an addiction- get it?

The verse I used during the day was;

COMMIT THY WORKS UNTO THE LORD AND THY THOUGHTS WILL BE ESTABLISHED

That’s it.

Get this one down too- and you have the 2 main parts of my ‘program’.

Okay- it’s really not a program- but these are practices that I already started doing- and they are also found in some of the addiction literature.

For today- try and get at least one of these short verses down in your head.

Try this practice for a few weeks- when you ‘see’ a bad image at night- dream- etc.

Use it!

When you feel yourself going into a pattern of acting out- then use them.

Over the years- even in the middle of drinking and acting out- I would still use them- and I found that after a few minutes- if I CHOOSE to use them- then the pattern will change.

Yes- this practice is biblical- try it for today.

Remember- I’m on your side as I share my journey with you guys.

I’m trying to give you the best advice- not just from me [I know- I’m only 35 days in]

But these are things- experiences from many others- as well as my own journey.

Remember- if you stop doing a practice- any practice- for around 30 days- it will be gone!

Try and believe this is so- there is LOTS of evidence that says this- lots!!

If you are thinking ‘gee John- I was taught that is denial- to think you can be free’.

Yeah- I know that.

I’m not here to argue with anyone.

Use the things God has given you.

But in the end- yes- if you stop PRACTCING an addiction-any- it will go away.

Many movements/recovery ministries do a fine job.

Take what you can- leave the rest.

And try the things I wrote in this post.

God bless you all.

I love you all.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1976 2-7-13 DENIAL?

Yesterday I met the new kid that joined our halfway house this past week.

John David was real excited about this kid- and he wanted me to work with him.

Cameron is really into the bible- and I sort of play the role of Pastor with the guys.

Anyway- I had a good talk with him- he’s around 25.

Has been in trouble because of drugs- but is trying by God’s grace to make a new path.

As I spoke with Cameron- I found some of his responses to be interesting- he has been familiar with the 12 step groups.

And as we were discussing the possibility of being free from addictions- he gave some of the familiar responses.

Some are taught that if you think you are actually free- you are in a state of denial.

I went thru some of the studies that have been done.

There is a large amount of evidence that many people have simply quit addictions- on their own.

Huh?

That’s seems impossible!

Does it- have you ever read any other material on this subject?

Yes- there are many- some say the majority- who after a short period of abstaining from the addiction- who never go back to it again.

As I have been researching on this topic- many feel that the mindset of ‘disease’ ‘possible relapse’ etc.

Many feel that these ways of seeing addiction are in themselves a sort of bondage.

When I mentioned the simple possibility of being free- some of the responses I have gotten are ‘that’s not possible- without ….’

\
I think it would help if we all at least accepted the possibility that you can stop ‘sinning’.

Now- it would be by God’s grace [in my view] but either way- it is possible to stop engaging in addictive behavior- and the studies show that after a short period of time [around 30 days]- there is an actual change that takes place in the brain of the addict.

He will ‘fix himself’ so to speak- by simply not doing the act.

Okay- I spoke with another friend who is partnering with us at the halfway house.

He brought up the addiction of co-dependency- and how some have fallen into this addiction.

If you view your freedom as being dependent on a certain act- a certain rigorous following of rules [any rules].

Then you can be in danger of becoming co-dependent on that practice.

For instance- in my first few weeks of going to the meetings- some well meaning friends kept telling me ‘John- you must/should make 90 meetings in 90 days’.

They all meant well- some also added other things you ‘must’ do- or else you will drink.

To be honest- a few times I had to rebuke these very good friends.

They would slip and say ‘well John- we are just waiting for you to drink- so you then can come back and fully surrender’.

After a few times of this I said ‘STOP IT’!

I would remind them that there are many thousands of people who have indeed quit.

Without submitting to any program- never mind the 12 step ones.

At times- you can get the feeling that some use the 12 step programs as others use their religious faith.

In a sense- almost cultic.

I have told a couple of friends that we should never tell anyone- who is achieving sobriety ‘that we are waiting for you to fall- so you can get the program’.

The goal is sobriety- not getting the program- we need to keep that in mind.

Okay- I just wanted to share that concept today.

Yes- my new friend had the mindset that if you talk about not drinking- drugging- or whatever [ sort of just stopping].

Then in a way- you are in denial [he meant well- I only mention this because the book I’m in now- written by an ex-alcoholic- sees this as a real problem. He- and others- feel like some of the well meaning concepts in AA have caused people to embrace a defeatist attitude- that does not allow for them to ever be free- for good.]

I think there are some real problems with some of the ideas we have given people [we- the 12 step movement of the past 70-80 years].

As helpful and well meaning as they are- we need to also be aware of the latest advances in addiction treatment.

And be aware that there are many people who have indeed quit there addictions- to never return.

1977 CONFESSION .

2-8-13

Just started studying the 1st letter of the apostle John.

John- the disciple of Jesus- wrote the gospel that bears his name.

He also wrote the 3 short letters- 1st, 2nd and 3rd John.

And the book of Revelation [some scholars think another John might have written Revelation].

Now- 1st John fits in well with the current study we are doing on addictions.

Over the years I have read the letter lots- and as somewhat of a student- I’m aware of the various schools of thought on John.

For instance- he says- alot- things like;

‘Those who are born of God do not commit sin’

‘By this we know the children of God and the devil- those who sin are not of God- those who keep his commandments are of God’

John uses language like this all thru out the letter.

So- this has caused some teachers thru the centuries to try and ‘water’ down what John said [meant?]

Why?

Because the human experience seems to tell us that humans- while in the flesh- will never be totally ‘sinless’.

Okay- but there are those who say yes- we- as humans- can reach a point of being ‘sinless’.

Others say that John was just saying ‘constant sin’.

Sort of like these statements that those who are of God CANNOT SIN- that it really means ‘they don’t do it all the time’.

Okay- what one is it?

I have sided with those who have said John is not saying we can achieve perfection- total perfection- in this life.

Yet- I also think others [in this group of thinking it does not mean sinless] have kind of used this as an excuse.

That is- John is clearly saying that when we are united with God- we will reach a point of overcoming sin- addictions- and that we can live without actually being addicted.

Okay- a few points.

How do we achieve this state?

Both John- and James [the letter in the New Testament that I covered last] give us biblical principles that help.

One of the reasons the 12 step movement does indeed work- is because they practice the biblical principle of what I call OPEN COMMUNITY.

Huh- what’s that?

In these letters- as well as the whole bible- we as believers are told to CONFESS our faults one to another.

Yes- after the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century- many Protestants [of which I am] abandoned this practice.

For 15 hundred years most Christians practiced Confession- yes- to a Priest.

Now- the original reformers [Luther- Calvin- etc.] did not reject confession to a priest.

It’s important to know this- because many Protestants seem to equate their protest against the Catholic Church along with the idea ‘I don’t need to confess to any man- Jesus is my Priest’.

True as that is- yet the New Testament does indeed tell us to confess our faults [which does include sin] to one another.

Okay- this practice- of Open Community- of having others that your are accountable to- is practiced in 12 step groups.

You tell others- openly ‘I have been clean so many days’.

Others ask you [whether sponsors or fellow AA’ers] ‘are you clean’?

I have told a good friend- a few times already ‘yeah- my Birthday has not changed’.

See- this is a biblical thing- a practice that is often not practiced in protestant churches because of what I just explained.

So- how do we apply the teaching of the Apostle John- he did say that ‘by this we know we are the children of God- everyone that does what is right- who keeps God’s commands- who DOES NOT SIN- these are of God’.

I think a key is this Open Community ideal- we admit to each other our faults.

Now- in this journal I’m doing- I have been more open than many about addictions that most of us hide.

Let’s be real- It’s easier to say ‘my name is so and so and I’m an alcoholic’.

Than to say ‘I have an addiction to porn’.

See?

So- as we move forward with this journal- as God leads- maybe this will be an opportunity for others to ‘sign on’ so to speak.

Okay- that’s it for today- remember- the bible teaches us to be open with each other- of course you need to also be careful with whom you choose to ‘confess’ to.

AA does teach that there are some things that you need to share with at least one other person.

But to be careful not to cast your Pearls before swine.

That is- sometimes it’s not helpful to tell too many others about your hidden sins.

So- let God lead.

Also- the 1st letter of John is indeed calling all of us to live free from habitual patterns of sin.

It is not simply saying we have been forgiven [which is true].

But John is saying if we are of God- born of him- then we will eventually show it by keeping his commands and ‘not sinning’ any more.

That is- we can indeed overcome our addictions- all of them.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1978

2-9-2013 40 DAYS

In a few more days the historic church begins the Lenten season.

Every year around this time I always felt like if I did 40 days abstention from any habit- that it would be a breakthrough.

Problem?

Heck- who can do 40 days!

Well- by Gods grace- this year Lent will begin- for me- with the first 40 days of the year as a sort of a self imposed Lent.

Yes- I’m almost at my 40 days of being clean- and it will be the first time in many years.

Okay- yesterday I spent the day with the guys at the halfway house.

My ‘co-founder’ John David [who will read all these posts when I’m done- I have been telling him I’m going to post this whole journal at once- and I want him to read it. As a side note- I love David as a true brother and friend. He was one of the original homeless ‘bums’ on the streets where I live. As of now- I must confess- he’s the ‘best’ fruit from that field. Henry too.]

Me and David hung out at the building where we meet for the AA meetings [We take the guys at the halfway house to this meeting a lot- it’s sort of our Home Group].

David was getting a little depressed- he dropped off a good friend of ours at Detox- and we found out he never made it in.

We were not sure if he walked away on his own- or if he had some medical problem that kept him out.

At this Detox- called Charlie’s Place- if you are too sick- or withdrawing too bad- they won’t accept you.

Either way- David was letting it get to him- I prayed before I left and I think all will turn out well.

Once again [yeah Brother- I know I’m telling on you a lot in this journal!] we got into another ‘heated’ discussion.

Every so often David offers me the ‘whole program’.

He does his best to do what he feels is his calling- to gain recruits into AA.

At this time- I tell him ‘thank you David- I’m doing good- for various reasons that I will explain later [like in this journal] but just give this some time’.

In yesterdays ‘talk’ I told David- again- that there are many former alcoholics who have ‘stopped drinking’ for good [without AA].

He tells me he thinks God has ordained AA- in this time- to be the program to free people.

I tell him I do agree that it’s a tool- but when you say ‘I believe you will go back to drinking- even after many years/months of being sober- unless a person submits to the program’.

This approach is very legalistic- and to be frank- makes me feel like ‘going out’ [drinking].

Okay- enough of that.

Let me share a verse the Lord impressed on me this last month.

I forget where it is in the bible- but it says;

‘I have delivered you from the things your soul lusted after- you will find them no more at all’.

As I approach my 40 days of abstaining from addictive behavior- I do sense a sort of freedom from the nagging thoughts- images- that embed within the mind [soul] after years of acting out.

Now- I do pray regularly- read scripture- do outreach to friends- I do- and have done- lots of the things that 12 step programs recommend.

But I think the biggest reason for not ‘seeking after’ sinful desires- is God’s grace- and going thru a period of not doing the act.

Yes- much of the stuff I’m reading on addictive behavior does say that after a period of not doing an act- anywhere from 21 to 40 days- that there will be an actual change in the brain/mind- and ‘your soul will not find those things anymore’.

My experience has been- even during past times of abstaining from an addictive behavior- that initially you might have constant thoughts [temptations] of doing the act.

But- after the 30-40 days- that goes away.

Now- you might be thinking ‘o- how I wish that were true’.

Well- it is true- there are many thousands [hundreds of thousands] who will tell you that this is true!

That’s why- in some scenarios- the well meaning AA friends- without realizing it- might be hindering true freedom for some- by telling them that they think- or know- that others will drink again- unless they submit to the program.

In this case- we all need to be careful.

Share your experience- strength and hope.

And I am sharing information that maybe you have never read.

Heck- I just picked up 3 books from the book store on addictions- and there are many stories of people who have done this short 30 day test- and got free- for good!

‘John- can I really stop sinning- for real’?

Yes.

I’ll quote the apostle John to you again.

‘My little children- these things write I unto you that ye sin not’

‘He that is born of God does not practice sin’

‘By this we know the children of God- they do Gods commandments’.

I quote these verses- not to make you feel guilty- but to give you the biblical narrative- the ‘experience- strength and hope’ in the bible.

Yes- being free is a free gift of grace.

Many have been finding this- long before the days of 12 step groups- before Detox clinics- before all the very well meaning programs that are out there.

Yes- believe- you can be free- if you want.

NOTE- many of the Detox programs do a great job- they give people the tools to have their first 30 days [ or 28 days- many Detox centers are referred to as 28 day programs] of being free. My feeling is many relapse because when they get out they have no structure for life itself. That’s where AA comes in as a useful tool for many. The program offers Life Structure to long time addicts whose whole life- even their social life- revolved around using.

1979

WHO SAYS YOU CANT GO HOME [Bon Jovi]

2-10-13

Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble.

A book title kept popping into my mind these past few days.

It’s by Victor Frankl- Mans search for meaning.

I heard of it years ago by Stephen Covey.

I liked Covey [who passed away this past year] and read his best seller ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ a few times.

I also had the audio tapes and listened to them at work.

I remembered that he recommended Frankl- so I picked a copy up at the store.

I also asked the customer service girl where the AA stuff is.

She walked me over to the section- they had lots of updated studies and bests sellers on addictions.

I told her I just started getting into AA and I noticed that there was a real need for us to have more than the Big Book.

She made a face- like ‘you aint kidding brother’ I got the feeling that she has some experience in this field.

As I perused the shelves- I decided instead to get a book on Sex Addicts.

I bought one years ago- just recently re-read it and lent it to a friend.

I read about 60 pages or so of this new one- and it’s excellent.

The title is Out of the Shadows- by Patrick Carnes.

He confirms some of the stuff I seemed to see also.

He says that many times alcohol and sex addiction go together- but the stronger addiction is the sex addiction.

He also says it’s important to see that the sex addiction is not simply a result of the drinking- but a separate issue.

Sort of like we should be aware that when a person struggles with acting out in a sexual way- we should not simply blame it on our drinking.

I did like that- I feel at times we do use that as a form of denial.

I never intended for this journal to be so focused on addictions- but for now I think we will stick with it for a while.

Okay- on this journey [my year in AA- etc.] I thought about documenting the good and the bad for the benefit of all.

When I was in Barnes and Noble- I also noticed some material on the entire Rehab and Detox industry in the U.S.

I also read some stuff on-line that is very critical of this industry.

As of now- I’m right in the mix of all of this.

Another co-worker with me in the halfway house is a good friend by the name of Andy.

Andy is the brother of John David- who I wrote about the other day.

Andy started with us from day 1- he was actually recommended by me- I told John David I thought we needed Andy to be the house manager for a while.

David took my advice and Andy has been at the halfway house ever since.

He also got a good job working at the Detox center that many of our guys went thru.

Charlie’s Place.

So- I have dropped Andy off there many times- been there a couple of times with David- I am in the mix of one of the most popular Detox centers in the area.

I also see how many friends of mine have been in and out- sort of like a revolving door.

I see the danger of the industry becoming focused on the bottom line [how many go thru each month- with Medicaid funding- etc.] and how this could be a problem.

But I’m also aware of friends who have gone thru the program and have indeed become clean.

So I want to be careful when I read the critical views of both AA and the Detox industry- because I do know of people who have made a tremendous change in their lives thru these tools.

As a matter of fact- the book I mentioned above is very supportive of the 12 step movement- and he speaks about the sex addicts 12 step recovery movement in a very supportive way.

Okay- as I continue to journal every day now- which I did not plan at the beginning.

As of now- I think I will probably post this journal in a month or so.

If I wait too long- like a year- then it will be too long for first time readers to the blog/Facebook sites.

I thought about the meetings I have attended so far- and I said the other day I have been to around 20.

Actually- more like 10.

The reason I say this is because I consider my Home Group to be a meeting called Humility.

This group meets in an area that I feel comfortable with.

Over the years- doing street ministry- I have been with the street guys many times in what you would call the older Barrios- the older areas of town.

Places where drugs and prostitution take place.

So this meeting is right off Leopard Street- one of those famous spots.

The day before I leave to N.J. – I plan on posting this journal and letting my home group know I’m leaving Texas.

For how long?

I really don’t know.

I think for a year or so [maybe for good].

I always felt like I needed to go back north- but when my kids were young I never wanted to make the move.

But now they are really on their own- they are all grown up- so I think it’s time to make the move.

So- to my Humility friends- I love you all- thanks for all the support you have given me- I know I don’t talk much in the meetings- but I hope you keep in touch with me thru these sites.

I of course will visit you when I make trips back to Texas.

As of today- our little halfway house is still going ‘strong’.

Well- we have survived.

I told my friend John David that for so many years I always wanted to start one with my original ‘gang’ of hoodlums- the guys I started my first church with in Kingsville.

And we finally did it- Hoorah!

Our halfway house is right down the block from another Christian based one that I used to bring drug addicts to years ago.

Victory Outreach.

So when I’m sitting on the top floor at our building- I look out the window- see the old area- and sort of reminisce.

One of my good friends who was an original addict turned clean was Elias Alvarado.

He was a founding member of the little church I started in 1987.

I used to preach to him at the jail.

He eventually got clean [with the victory outreach] and joined my little church.

He died many years ago- but as I sit in our NeWay [the name of our halfway house]- I see him looking down and saying ‘I like it John- I really do’.

So- I’m happy that the Lord gave me this little gift before I leave Texas.

I’m happy for all the years I spent with my friends- my street friends- I love them all like brothers.

And when you guys read this- it looks like I’ll be back in N.J. – going back to the first AA meeting I ever attended.

In North Bergen- N.J.

At my Old Catholic church on Kennedy Blvd- Our Lady of Fatima.

[Who knows- I might just cross the Tiber? Look it up.]

Where I went to CCD classes as a kid.

Attended midnight mass with Billy one year [old buddies].

Yeah- I think I’m ready for the next stop on this strange and exciting journey I have been on.

See you tomorrow.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

2-11-13

1980 GOD WILL ANSWER THE PRAYER OF THOSE WHO STOP SINNING

Well today is day 40- yeah- no practicing of addictive behavior.

‘You mean none- at all?’

Yes.

In the ‘old days’ I would maybe be clean 3-4 days- slip up- confess to God- and then the cycle would repeat.

‘John- you were a hypocrite then’.

Maybe so?

But the point is we all learn to live with sin at times- and we- Christians- make excuses for it.

I have been reading the 1st letter of John [in the New Testament] this past week or 2.

Let me just quote a few verses.

‘The darkness is past- and the true light now shines’.

‘This then is the message we heard from him [Jesus] that God is light and in him is no darkness at all- if we say that we walk with Him- and do evil- we lie and the truth is not in us’.

‘Whatsoever we ask we receive of him because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight’.

‘For this is the love of God- that we keep his commandments- and they are not hard to keep’.

Okay- the other week I prayed for a friend who has lots of physical problems.

I prayed ‘Lord- you said you would hear the prayer of those who DO RIGHT- so- I have been clean for a while now- do this for us- help my friend’.

After the prayer- I told my friend ‘Now- if you sense a real change in a few days- don’t say ‘wow- you know my new med’s are working’ no- remember this prayer.

To be honest- this friend [who I won’t name] is on a lot of prescription drugs- though he is clean from drinking- yet I felt he was getting addicted to the prescription stuff.

So- a few weeks later he tells me- like a few others- that for years he has struggled with sexual dreams and images.

And he kind of says ‘you know- for some reason they have been letting up just these last few weeks- maybe because of your prayer’.

Okay- don’t mis-read this.

I’m not a saint- by no means.

But- I have been clean from addictions- 100%.

These verses that I just quoted talk about God hearing our prayers- when we don’t sin.

James says this ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much’.

Peter says ‘The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers’.

Over the years- I have heard preachers say that this doesn’t mean we are not sinning- but that we have our prayers answered because the goodness of Jesus is attributed to our account.

Now- this is true in as sense.

But if you carefully read these verses- especially the ones in John’s 1stepistle- it does not say ‘God answers our prayers based on the righteousness of Christ’.

No- it says ‘those who do Gods commands’.

Yes- the bible clearly tells us if we do Gods will- if we don’t live in habitual sin- then God will answer our prayers.

Today I want to encourage you- I am praying for you.

I do indeed believe that many of you reading this far into this LONG journal are here because of the things I’m discussing.

So- as you read along with me- receive the prayers I’m praying for you.

Realize that yes indeed- God tells us that we don’t have to live in sin.

Yes- he will give you means of support.

Maybe a 12 step group.

Maybe a good church.

All types of support.

But don’t become co-dependent on a certain thing- a thing you feel you must do- or else you will sin.

No- after the initial battle –usually around 30 days- the thing is gone.

That’s not just me saying this- that’s what the studies are showing.

These studies are secular- they are simply studies of the brains of addicts- and they show that even the unbeliever- if he stops an addictive act for a short period of time- then he is no longer addicted.

Yes- he might have a tempting thought- or some other type of battle.

But- it will indeed be gone.

[Note- I know this goes against what many of us have been taught- that there are physical and physiological dependencies. I am aware of the language on addiction as a disease. I’m just trying to give you the biblical perspective- along with many modern studies of addicts. Yes- some are addicted ‘more’ than others- but in all cases we can change for good. Some feel the ‘language of addiction’ in itself is a bondage- that is if you begin to accept that your are different- in a sense you have a disease that others don’t have- then this in a way gives people a subliminal excuse to later relapse. See?]

‘Then why do so many guys relapse after they get out of Detox’?

I’m studying this right now- but what I said in previous posts seems to be a key.

Lots of people have no life structure- their lives revolve around using- acting out.

In these types of cases- It’s important for them to create new social contacts [AA calls this sober contacts].

Yes- these things are good.

So- for today- take my prayers.

I ‘give’ them to you- I believe God does hear us- when we ‘don’t sin’.

Am I sinless?

Of course not.

But I can say honestly that I have not had one drink- viewed any porn- or acted out in any addictive way in 40 days- not once [note- my sobriety date is 1-3-13. To be honest with you all- I viewed porn one time- maybe 2 days after I stopped drinking- that was it. So- my sober date- and ‘no more porn’ are about the same- but it’s easier to not have 2 dates- see?]

So believe you can do this too- I’m for you!

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1981

2-12-13

TRIGGERS

In the books I’m reading on addiction- some think the idea of triggers- things- actions- places- etc.

Things that ‘set off’ a cycle of addictive behavior- some put little or no emphasis on these.

I personally think they are wrong.

For years I have believed that triggers are a very real thing.

The bible says ‘don’t go by the house of a prostitute- don’t even go the way of her street’ Proverbs.

The bible says to avoid the things that cause us to stumble.

In our day- one of the greatest triggers are the thing you are reading this post on right now.

Yeah- the computer- internet.

Now- as of today- I have not been on-line for the year.

I’m 41 days into no drinking or acting out- and I do feel that being off-line- at least for now- has played a big role in that.

I have gone on line a couple of times to research addictions- and to post a picture of a car I’m selling on Craigslist.

But that’s about it.

My Facebook page and Blog have not been seen by me in a month and a half [I had my wife download the car pic from Facebook for me- I did not want to get on].

Okay- are these things wicked in and of themselves?

Of course not- but they can be triggers- very strong ones.

I would recommend anyone having a problem with on-line porn- UNPLUG!

Jesus said those who look at a woman to lust after her have already committed adultery with her in their heart.

There is a demonic [lustful] connection to the soul of a person who views porn.

Scripture says ‘he that commits adultery DESTROYS his soul’ [the good news is- these images will go away after about a month of not viewing porn- but you will struggle at the start].

Remember the verses I posted the last week or so?

‘The light of the body is the eye- if your eye is evil [looks at evil stuff] then your whole body is filled with darkness’.

Yesterday I read in the 1st letter of John ‘the darkness is past and the true light now shineth’.

He was speaking of those who stopped habitually acting out.

Yes- when you break free from these things- you will begin to see more clearly.

You will still have problems to deal with- but your coping skills will get better.

I was reading one of the addiction books yesterday- and it speaks about the inability of the addict to think clearly.

Others around him/her see the person destroying themselves.

The spouse or kids will think ‘doesn’t he see what he’s doing to himself’.

The family members don’t understand why the addict keeps doing this to himself.

It’s because the addiction has ‘blinded his mind’.

He really does not see how bad things are- how far down he has gone.

But- in time- as you stop practicing the habit [yes- you can stop] things do get better.

Now- another debate I will get into down the road is the whole issue of Roots.

Some therapy spends a whole lot of time trying to find the hidden reasons behind the addiction.

This can be good or bad.

How can it be bad?

If you are under the impression that you can’t just ‘stop’ unless you deal first with a whole host of other deep issues.

Now- we want to deal with these things.

Stuff that happened to us- or other things that might be roots.

But- don’t allow this to be a stumbling block to the ability that we all have to simply stop the practice.

Yes- I believe that we can stop addictive behavior by the grace of God.

In time we want to deal with all the other stuff- but don’t let people tell you- you will keep relapsing until you figure all this other stuff out.

Heck- some of these issues will take years to work on.

No- you can stop today.

Okay- lets end there for now.

If you have to ‘go off line’ for a month or 2- then do it.

I’ll admit- it’s not easy- to some, Facebook and the net are addictions in themselves.

But to you who struggle with on line porn- log off for a while.

Either accessing porn from your phone or computer can become a very strong trigger.

Take a month off if you have to- it can save your life in the end.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1982

2-13-2013

NOBLEMAN RETURNS?

In Luke chapter 19 Jesus gives the parable of the money [talents].

He says a certain nobleman went into a FAR country to get a kingdom- AND RETURN.

Before he left he called his servants and gave them money [gifts- talents].

He told them to stay busy- use it for good- until he comes back.

After a LONG TIME the nobleman returns and calls the servants.

He asks them how they did- how much did they gain with what he gave them.

2 of the men doubled their money.

The last one says he hid the money in the ground.

The nobleman asks him why he did this.

He said because he had fear- he was always in fear of what the master would do.

So he hid it.

This last servant receives a harsh judgment because of this.

The king takes away his one piece of money and gives it to the guy who had 10 pieces.

Then we read the famous verse ‘whoever has- to him will be given. But to him who has not- to him will be taken away what he thinks he has’.

These last few weeks I have been asking the Lord what the next step in my journey is.

I came to Texas 33 years ago.

I started our ministry in 1987- as a church in Kingsville.

I launched our radio program around 1990.

I started an outreach to the street guys around 1992.

And- as I started this year- with many trials- I began asking ‘what’s up’?

One day one of the homeless friends stopped by to see how I was doing.

I met Eddie a few years ago- he and Walden are more like ‘winter Texans’ than street guys.

But they became good friends and whenever they are in town they see me.

I was painting the outside of my house and told Eddie I’m thinking of selling it and getting a place in the country.

He asks me about N.Y. – N.J.

If there are spots up there that are cheap too.

I told him not really- not where I was raised [right across from NYC]

But I did say as a kid I used to go to a hunting trailer that one of the firefighters had.

My dad was a Captain with the North Bergen F.D. – he retired many years ago.

But another firefighter- Dave Holling- had a hunting club that was made up of a few of the firefighters.

I went every year and did the weekly hunt- in a real out of the place city/county called Schoharie.

So- I told him yeah- you could live cheap in a spot like this.

Now- I’m asking the Lord if I should move- maybe back home to N.J.

The next day or 2 I’m checking out the free movies I get with a Netflix type deal.

I pick one of the independent movies about over eaters.

Why?

Have no idea!

As the movie starts- the guy has to get away from home [It’s filmed in Jersey!] and he moves to a trailer- of all places- in Schoharie! [I kid you not].

The whole movie is scenes from N.J. and Schoharie.

I laughed- like wow- I just talked about this yesterday with Eddie- and I have never seen a ‘scene’ with Schoharie in it- till now.

I really never gave it a 2nd thought.

Then- as I’m praying about moving- I watch one of my favorite Catholic shows on EWTN [the Catholic station].

Now- obviously they are not going to have anything about moving to Jersey on this show- right?

The guy on the show for this day is a former Protestant who became Catholic.

He says- quote ‘after being away from New Jersey for 20 years- I went back home’.

Yes- he not only returned to the Church- but moved back to N.J.

Oaky- maybe Gods telling me something.

No wait- maybe I’m jumping the gun- you know- when you are going thru stuff you don’t always think clearly.

So- we go to church.

The message comes from the above parable I just mentioned.

As the Pastor is preaching- I follow with the notes and write down ‘a nobleman went into a far country [Texas?]…and to RETURN [N.J. ?]’.

I SORT OF FELT LIKE THIS MIGHT BE A SIGN FROM GOD.

I get home and the next day I turn to the chapter to read it on my own.

When I get to this part- I had already written- years ago- RETURN- NEW JERSEY.

Yeah- I felt like God was talking to me.

Another verse popped into my head at the moment.

‘After so long a time- today if you hear my voice [again] then listen to it’.

I felt like God was speaking to me in stereo.

As of today- I think that’s the direction I’m getting from God.

Let’s see what happens next.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

1983

TAKE THE TEST?

This week we had one of the boys that left the halfway house a few weeks ago- come back.

He’s a nice kid- he went ‘back out’ [did crack] and looked pretty bad.

He told me he was sorry that I had to see him like this- I told him don’t worry- I love him like a brother and it’s not too late to give it another chance.

I had the same amount of ‘clean time’ as a few of the guys who have already relapsed.

As I’m reading the alternative views on Recovery- I do see a problem with some of the standard approaches.

As of now- I think I will only post a few more on Addiction Recovery.

I want to end with the 30 days test I spoke about [if I forget to do one- use this one as the test post. That means if you are reading this journal- and you see yourself in some ways- some of the struggles I was open about- then you can simply make a comment at the end of this journal that say’s I’M IN. That will be your way of making a sort of public confession- that will be an opportunity for you to get secret sins in the light- for God to deal with].

As of now- I will continue to go to AA meetings- hopefully in N.J. – N.Y.

But I want to transition into a more healthier lifestyle view- that is for all of us.

There is a danger of the Alcoholic/Addict to surround their lives with the identity of addiction.

Yes- the disease paradigm [I have a disease that ‘normal’ people don’t have].

This can be an all consuming thing.

I am not advocating drinking at all- I do believe the total abstinence model for those who have had a drinking addiction [like me].

But the lives of those who want to get better must find a greater purpose in life- than simply overcoming the addiction.

Now- to some- this purpose has been found in AA.

Their calling is to bring others into AA.

The Big Book speaks of this- that some have the opportunity to do this full time.

Others might be called to other ‘fields’.

But- there must be a transition from the life/language of addiction.

Life is intended to live.

When alcoholics/addicts abstain from their addiction- in time- they become WELL.

There minds will function again.

They will develop coping skills that they suppressed thru the years of acting out.

As you- as a person- return to ‘normal’.

Then go out and live your life- do normal things.

Have a career- enjoy the Carnivals again!

Yes- as I see some of our boy’s relapse- I will walk with them again thru the steps.

I will take them to the meetings here in Texas [until I leave].

I will try to develop friendships with the brothers.

But I will also share the things I have learned.

I find it amazing that some of the people I have spoken to about the other avenues of addiction treatment.

Some of them have no idea about the other studies that are out there [like many people who have stopped drinking- without the aid of 12 step groups].

I’m not saying that these friends should reject the 12 step concept.

But for those who see their lives as working with addicted people- I think its imperative to be read up on the most recent data.

Just the few things I have shared with some of these friends seemed to have had a positive impact on them.

A few times some friends have said ‘I never heard that’ when speaking about the other statistics on recovery.

I tell them ‘I know you never heard it- because you are not reading any of the more recent material on addictions’.

So- as I get ready to close this part of the journal [I will continue this journal- but practice what I said in this post- move on].

I pray for all of you readers- I see you as family [an on-line community].

Maybe you feel a need to take the 30 day test.

Which means you will simply comment at the end of this post and say I’M IN.

You will commit to 30 days of not doing an addictive act.

Whether that be porn- alcohol- drugs.

Or maybe all 3!

Either way- if you want- take the test.

Give yourself room during this test trial.

If it helps- say ‘you know- I can at least try 30 days’.

Some feel leaving this lee-way, that not saying up front ‘I will quit for ever’ helps with the test.

My view is- decide to NEVER go back.

But for those new comers to the test- at least give it 30 days and see what happens.

Okay- that’s it for today.

Talk later.

UPDATE 7-2013

It has been 6 months since I started our little program [how to get free from addictions].

I am happy to say- at least for me- it has indeed worked.

Yes- I have not acted out- not a single time- since we started.

Why?

There are many reasons- as a Christian I of course credit God.

But- because this program has been based on some simple studies I did on addictive behavior- the simple reality is the brain/mind of the addict WILL INDEED change after a short period of not acting out.

These truths work for anyone- Muslim, Christian, Jew- even the Atheist!

So- just wanted to do this annual update- to keep myself- as well as you guys- honest.

One note I wanted to add.

I don’t remember if I shared this in the study- but it came to my mind recently.

I read a book by Victor Frankl- the famous Psychologist who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during WW2.

The book is famous- Mans Search for Meaning.

I liked one of the observations he made- it pertains to this study.

He said because the Nazi’s had them on a very low food intake- and a very high energy output- they had NO desire to think or engage in sex.

One of the habits I formed over the past year has been to walk- for miles on end!

I have always been a very low intake eater- for years I have only eaten one main meal a day [and maybe a snack before bed].

So- for the most part- I was a one meal a day person- for many years.

When I quit drinking- I lost about 50 pounds in a couple of months- yeah- that’s how much I was drinking.

I did not increase my food intake- so- I in a way did what the concentration camp guys did.

In the bible- Jesus and his men practiced fasting- Jesus even said some ‘unclean’ spirits only come out in this way.

They also WALKED all over the area where Jesus ministered.

In essence- they too practiced a low food intake [called fasting] and a high energy output.

The bible also puts gluttony and laziness in the category of sin.

The point being- for those of us who have struggled with addictive behavior- try these tools- simple as they are- but proven.

I do not see one particular ‘trick’ that does it [like some of the material I read- some think ‘aha’ this is the trick!].

No- over all- the simple forming of new healthy habits- to re-place bad ones- does work.

The replacing of sinful situations- what you view- where you go-etc.

These basic things will work over time.

‘My’ above program is really not mine- but it’s a compilation of the most recent data on addictive behavior.

Many of my friends swear by older type programs- which have played a role in the past.

But- many see ‘their program’ as THE answer- almost in a cultic way- I think that’s a major problem in today’s recovery movement.

Okay- that’s it- God bless you all.

NOTE- the other day I was reading the letter of the apostle Peter- in the New Testament.

I came across a familiar verse- one I have read many times over the years.

To be honest- all the times I read it- it always convicted me- made me think ‘geez John- this is you!’

This time- something strange happened- I thought ‘wow- this is the first time I can remember- that it’s not me’!

The verse is tuff- it says ‘having EYES for of adultery- that can not cease from sin’.

It’s referring to the false prophets.

Because of the years of viewing porn- there was always a mental image- if you will ‘eyes full of..’ that was embedded in my mind.

I have friends who have told me- over the years- that they cant get rid of the image- the ‘eyes of the soul’ that are marked with the porn.

Over time- as you ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS THAT WAR AGAINST THE SOUL [another verse from Peter] these images do indeed go away.

But- it is not easy- or immediate.

That’s why Jesus warns us about what we see- when he says ‘whoever LOOKS upon a woman to lust after her- has already committed adultery with her in his HEART’ [SOUL].

I’m grateful that as of today- I no longer have those images [not like before- though I still have faint remnants at times].

I want to encourage you- God is merciful- he is patient.

But- in the end- God wants to free you from this stuff.

Jesus said ‘whoever commits sin is the SLAVE of sin- and the slave does not abide in the house forever- only the son’.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.

2055

FRIDAY- A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE;

HE WAS CRUSHED FOR OUR SINS- THE PRICE FOR OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM- Isaiah the prophet.

[I think everyone should read this post- till the end]

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours at the mission- then went to see how pop’s was doing.

It’s funny- the last few times I went to see Pop’s he says ‘it’s right on time- Gods working in this’.

I usually catch him when he needs a ride- or help with something [I even had a pair of expensive cowboy boots David found at the halfway house- I gave them to Pop’s].

He was just getting ready to see Charlie- the boy he has taken care of most of his life- Pop’s is like a dad to the kid [kid- Charlie is around my age- 51. Pop’s is 75].

We went to see Charlie at the hospital- this is the first visit I have made since he woke up out of a coma.

Charlie has been a severe alcoholic in and out of the hospital lots.

Was beat up years ago while drunk- has steel plates in his head.

He looks great now- I have never seen him looking so good- even when I worked with Charlie in the past.

We had a good talk- I took a picture of Pops and Charlie at the hospital- I’ll post it when I post this.

There are lots of interesting things that go on in ministry stuff- I always get a kick out of the funny stuff.

While I was visiting Pop’s at his apartment- he just put up another old guy about 2 weeks ago.

Jim too is a recovering alcoholic- and I have talked with him a time or 2.

He asks if I’m a preacher- to be honest I don’t like to describe myself that way- but said ‘sure’.

He wants to share with me a verse- from the ‘orthodox Greek’ version [most bible students have studied some Greek- that’s the language that our New Testaments were originally written in- I have a Greek lexicon here at the house- gives you the actual Greek word and definition to every word in the New Testament].

So- Jim- along with Pop’s approval [you know- Pop’s says ‘yeah- that’s the original Greek!’]

Jim quotes the verses about the antichrist in the gospel- and he says- in the original Greek it says ‘BARACK OBAMA’.

So- I don’t really know what to say- I mean it’s funny- sittin’ there with these old boys- kind of mixing scripture in between these things- not wanting to laugh- so I guess I said something like ‘wow- I never caught that one’. [Note- I know Big Mike- Mike Jake Duffy- might like this one].

I had a laugh the other day- Pop’s is truly a good man- he even showed me the V.A. suicide hotline number that he’s been calling every night- because he was so distraught over Charlie possibly dying.

He made plans where to bury him- if they were going to cremate him or what.

Yeah- Charlie was that bad.

But Pop’s likes to talk- a lot.

I don’t mind- but he might go on for an hour- and does have so many stories- I began to wonder if pops is a ‘little’ paranoid [yeah- like me at times].

So- he tells me he has been calling the suicide hotline- sounds like he talks to them- every night- for a few hours- which is ok- don’t get me wrong- but I get the feeling that Pop’s is in a way just wanting to shoot the breeze- like when he goes on with me.

He tells me ‘yeah John- the guy I talk to is out of New York- I told him preacher John is from that area’.

So I kinda think Pop’s is maybe telling some of the stories he has shared with me.

So- I’m being a bit more careful about Pop’s stories- he tells me yesterday- while we were driving back and forth ‘they say I’m paranoid schizophrenic- you think that’s paranoid!’- He tells me this after a few more stories- and to be honest- I was already starting to think this- before he asked [funny- don’t get me wrong- the old man is a great guy- and some of his history is indeed true].

But there are so many ones- I can’t verify them all.

He calls the other day- worried about how the people who are helping out with Charlie’s stuff might be ripping him off- he goes into an elaborate thing- how the girl next door- is now with a Black guy- whose name is the same first and last name as Charlie- Charles Young [which is probably true].

But- some of the disability checks of Charlie are missing from the mailbox- and the girl who’s dating the ‘black Charles Young’ also helps the White Charlie Young with his medications.

Now Pops thinks she might be using her boyfriend’s name and cashing Charlie’s check.

All this is possible- and stuff like this goes on all the time.

But as I’m talking to the old man on the phone- for about an hour- he gives me the phone number of one connection- then the next person- then the MHMR contact [a few more]- then the number of a relative out of state- in case Pop’s ‘winds up dead’ by morning.

So- I do write them all down- the names and all- by the time Pop’s was done- I filled up the whole piece of paper that I use for my daily routine.

I’ll post that pic too- funny.

I love working with these guys- they are all trying to help one another out- yet we all still have issues.

In many ways we are sick people- helping other sick people.

There is a prophecy in the bible about Jesus- it says the people will someday say to the Messiah ‘Physician- heal thyself’.

This was fulfilled at the Cross- when they said ‘if you are the Son of God- then come down from the Cross’.

That is ‘if you think you can really help people- then help yourself’.

But you must see- that in order for him to help others- he had to stay on the Cross- he had to suffer things- things that would leave permanent scars.

I love Pop’s- and yes- I began seeing a while ago that he does suffer from some of this.

He tells me yesterday- after he sees me praying and giving them the answers from scripture and stuff- he knows I have been doing ministry for a while.

He sees me praying for Charlie- and quoting scripture- talking to Charlie about taking advantage of this time that he has been in the hospital- almost 2 months- clean.

Pops says ‘John- when I get paid- lets pick up some street drunk and we will take him out to eat- and we can try and help him make a change- but you do the talking’.

Pop’s is for real- even though he too still carries some scars.

2-

Let me talk a bit here. And be very honest. These past couple of years I wrote about things- struggles- problems- that for the most part- people hide.

I spoke about not looking at porn anymore- because it destroys a person’s soul- yet- it was not easy to get free of it- but over time- I did get free of it.

I also quit drinking- I mean not even the wine at communion.

Last year- I was advised to get a mental evaluation- I didn’t want to- but basically was forced to.

Nothing was definitive- but at the initial evaluation they asked things like ‘do you look at fire’.

I mean I was amazed- one of the ‘new’ habits I picked up- was ‘looking’ at the fire that I liked starting in my yard- early in the morning.

‘Do you walk long distances’ just that year started walking 10-15 miles- a day.

‘Do you eat well’ if 1 meal a day is well- then yes.

‘Do you drink lots of coffee’ only 1 pot at the house- then 3 more cups at the mission.

Frankly- I was surprised that I did indeed fit the criteria- or at least the questions they asked- I fit the bill.

Of course that’s just one thing- but there were other things like that- that did surprise me.

I love the movie ‘a beautiful mind’- but when I first watched it- I joked about something- but it did make me think.

My office and room [and even the yard- and the back side of my house] had verses from the bible that I painted- and put ‘post’ it type notes in my office- painted bible verses on my office ceiling and walls that resembled the part in the movie where you see all the papers that John Nash clipped out and hung on his walls.

So- in the process- this was no definitive thing- which my friend who has a lot of experience with MHMR told me later that because of lots of reasons- they don’t want to give a ‘true’ determination- because of the prescription pill problem- basically they let people go undiagnosed- because they don’t want to prescribe valium/Zanax.

Now- when I went thru my withdrawals 14 months ago- I did need something- but never took anything- I went cold turkey- at one point it was bad- I knew my body/mind was truly addicted to alcohol- my friend who has lots of experience in AA told me I was the classic case of the hard core alcoholic- that he saw it in me before I ever admitted it.

At one point- he told me he would give me a Zanax.

Now- some of my friends are hooked on them- even though they are sponsors in AA- and many of them do lots of prescription meds.

I never took the Zanax- because I know you’re not supposed to- unless it’s a prescription.

So I did the cold turkey thing- for real- and it worked- though my body rebelled.

Nor did I take any other meds for any mental health thing- though- to be honest- I thought they should have at least given me a sedative.

Now- today- I take nothing. But- at times- especially last year- I knew there was some stuff wrong- violent thoughts- suicidal thoughts- at times- nonstop.

I was mad- and said- on more than one occasion ‘I can’t believe they didn’t even give me valium- or anything’. [they prescribed some sleeping pills and an anti-drinking thing- which makes you sick if you drink- I took the sleeping pill once- maybe twice- but it didn’t help- I never took the anti-drinking thing- I had no insurance and it was 100 bucks a month].

I was bad- literally going off the rails.

I say that to say this- like John Nash in the movie- I have learned to recognize when I’m not doing my best.

I can see it myself- even when I go back and read some of my posts.

When I post them- I do the best- most honest job at the time.

But sometimes I read them later [weeks or months] and I can see- what many of you probably see- that yes- maybe I- like Pop’s- might not be seeing things clearly.

I chose to leave those posts up- so others can maybe benefit from them.

Often times we see ourselves- our short comings- when we reach out to others- and this has happened to me.

I thank God I am able to do my best- I think I probably still have some effects of things- but I’m better today than I was last year.

My only ‘sins’ are- I smoke- a lot. Almost 3 packs a day. Even some of my street friends have told me to slow down.

The other sin?

Anger issues.

That’s it.

So- I felt this post script fit well here- tomorrow I’ll talk about the good day I had with some of the guys- we went to the Island.

Note- There seemed to be things that indicated a problem- that went many years back.

One of the things that ‘tipped’ off the possibility of a mental health issue was my discharge from the Navy.

When I went thru some of my evaluation- the lady asked me ‘and how long was it- after your discharge- that you got help’.

I told her ‘well- now is the first time’ [33 years later].

She flipped out- she was mad [not at me- but the system].

Till this day- I still have not been treated for anything- that’s fine.

I would not take the meds- to be honest- the only thing I felt they should have done [last year] was some type of sedative.

It was obvious- to even me- that something was not right- and the suicidal thoughts- and the other things- were major signs of getting some type of treatment.

Thru my experience I learned that there were serious flaws in the mental health system.

The doctor who saw me said ‘well- you seem to have functioned at a high level for many years’ [retiring from the fire dept. – ministry- radio- etc.].

But what I was doing- to ‘function’- was basically self-medicating- thru alcohol.

When I quit drinking- I thought the violent thoughts- which I have had for as long as I can remember- would go away- or ease up.

But the opposite happened- they shot up 100%.

I mean I saw it- I recognized there was a problem- yet the system simply did not want to prescribe anything.

I never lied during my evaluations [as many do- for SSI checks].

But it seemed as in if the doctor was waiting for the right catch phrase- and I was honest- and when those questions came up- I answered truthfully.

I do like the movie A Beautiful Mind- I’m obviously not John Nash- but he decided to cope with his mental issues- without medication.

I am no way as bad as John Nash was- I have never had hallucinations- or delusions.

But Paranoia- other things- yes.

I probably should write more on this- but for now I thought I would just add this as an addendum to this post- hope it helps.

During this time- when I was asked about ‘do you have violent thoughts- like hurting someone’.

I said yes- it wasn’t against the people involved in what happened.

But I told the doctor ‘yes- I have violent thought towards ‘so and so’.

I mean I was worried- even for his sake- that something might happen.

So- this whole process- took some time. I told someone the other day- a person I am trying to help- that I too was going thru stuff- and this year I’m doing better- but not fully there yet- not 100%. But I believe God is going to help you this year- he has good things for you- don’t give up.

Yes- I do see myself- at times- in the people I’m trying to help.

I see the verse I quoted above ‘physician heal thyself’ when you reach out to others- and love people- and try to be honest and open- you do help yourself too- even if you still carry some scars from the past.

Note- the other day I gave someone a ride from the bluff- he- like the others- has told me he hates ‘that cop’. But this day- as I helped him [word is out that John was- well let’s say ‘mad’ at the cop too].

He hinted ‘yeah John- he’s really not a bad guy- I would drop it’.

This is not the first person that has said- words to that effect.

More than one person has either said this- or hinted at it.

I began to realize- that yes- things were getting pretty bad.

As I thought about it this year- I’m sure the doctor had to notify the police- when I did indeed say ‘I’m having some violent thoughts about doing something’ and I told the doctor who I was talking about.

Look- these weren’t threats- I basically said ‘give me some type of sedative- for his sake!’

So- it was bad- and I saw it.

NOTE- There are things that I learned- that I always heard about in life- but never really believed- or understood how they could be ‘real’. I never really believed blackout drinking- until it happened to me- on more than one occasion. You just don’t remember how you got home- or where you parked. My friend Rick- from North Bergen- one of the street crew- I told him about my situation- and that I quit drinking. He said he had a friend that told him he drove home from Patterson one night- and did not recall how he got home.

Also- when I was asked ‘do you have thoughts of hurting yourself- or anyone else’.

I said yes- I even told my wife one day that I was afraid I might actually kill someone. I was scared of it.

These thoughts are almost like what Christians call ‘visions’- I mean I was ‘seeing’ my self doing it. My shotguns got stolen last year- when I was in North Bergen- but I was worried [before they got stolen] that I might use them- on someone- or myself. You kind of ‘see it’ happening- it’s hard to explain.

The reason I walked- all day- was it occupied my mind. I would listen to classic rock- walk- and not stop till the day was over.

I was scared of it- the thoughts.

SATURDAY-

Since I have come back from N.J.- I have asked the Lord to fill up each day- ministry- meetings- or just like the old days- spending whole days out on the street [sober!] and running into the guys.

Yes- that’s my favorite of all.

Yesterday I spent the morning at the mission- talked to some friends- we do talk about God- scripture- life change- in a real and open way.

I know some of my Christian friends think that doing this- yes- I do not fit the bill of the ‘perfect’ Christian- and at times I do curse- I just told you all I’m a chain smoker.

I don’t do these things on purpose- to ‘look cool’ that’s just the way my life turned out- and to be honest- I think God uses it at times.

So- I leave the door open for what God wants for the afternoon- meeting- or what?

Whistler asked me if I could give CJ a ride to the island- I knew that was the plan for the rest of the day.

I have a friend- Will- who lives on the island and he does usually need a ride from the mission- so I packed the car with CJ, Will, Whistler and Larry.

Last year Whistler’s mom passed away- he went back to Idaho for a few months and saw family he hasn’t seen in years- one of them was Larry- his brother.

I think it was 25 years since he has seen him.

Last week he told me his brother was gonna try and come to Corpus and start over.

So- I took CJ- she wanted to sell the pretty beach necklace type things- I have had homeless friends [guys and girls] do this over the years.

They make them out of sea shells- trinkets- neat stuff.

We spent about 3 hours- CJ sold some necklaces.

I walked the beach- I love to walk- and it’s been a while.

I had a good talk with Larry- shared some of the stuff I have been teaching in the meetings.

I’m trying to stick to a certain theme each week- both on the Blog and with the people.

Larry told me just this last year for the first time he read a few Christian books- and God has just started working in his life- perfect timing.

I talked to him about the 4 lepers- how they thought all hope was gone- and they took a chance- and God turned things around.

I shared some of my story from last year- how I too thought I was going back to N.J. for good- and had to be willing to make some major life change.

I saw God working this day.

When we got back to the car- headed to the Bluff- we had some fun- I was joking a bit- talking with my friends.

CJ offered to give me 20 for gas- and for taking her to the island.

I told her just by me a pack of Cigarettes.

Then she gave me ten bucks- I took 6- then before we left- I told her ‘just pick out one of your necklaces- I’ll give you the 6 back- and I’ll hang it on my mirror- here’.

She said ‘what does it get for you to just take some money?’

She wanted to pay me for helping- but I see this as ministry- and I feel better when I don’t take money.

I’m glad I took CJ- why?

Like I said in the last few posts- on the streets- you see girls- some of them are cute/pretty.

I just met CJ this year- she rides her bike to the mission and at times dresses- well ‘nice’- in a way that you might if you were ‘working’ so to speak.

I’m sure she gets hit on all the time- working or not.

I also have told you guys I make it known- when I run into them- that I’m not looking for anything.

Being CJ is one of the prettier girls- when she rides by on the bike- or walks by- I have ignored her- I don’t even say hi.

I was extra rude- I didn’t mean to be- but I was.

But this day- she saw that I’m not like that- even Whistler was talking about the verses I shared this week.

He found some type of finger looking thing- it looked like a finger from the Lepers- in the story I taught to the guys this week.

I’m sure this is the first time- maybe ever- that she was out at the island- with guys from the streets- and me.

And sure enough- talking about God.

This whole environment has been a way I have seen God work- many times.

I dropped them off back in the bluff- CJ kept asking ‘don’t you want 20 for your time- the gas’.

No hon- I had a good time.

Yeah- we all did [I’ll post the pics of CJ and the guys- CJ is 5 months pregnant- and kept saying ‘well- people are giving me dirty looks- do they have a problem with a pregnant girl in a bikini!’- I told her- no CJ- it’s beautiful- I asked her ‘can I take your pic- I’ll post it on my site when I talk about this day’. She said sure.]

NOTE- I debated about telling this part- because mental health issues are not funny.

But- I have always had a sense of humor- so- when I did go for my evaluation. At one point they asked me ‘so-you were in the Navy- what did you do’ [I was a corpsman] I said ‘would it help my case if I told you I was the commander of all Naval Forces’.

The lady laughed- I mean you’re not supposed to laugh at your patients. I told my daughter Debbie when it happened- she said ‘I can’t believe you said that!’

Why even talk about stuff like this?

The bible is full of stories of people- real life failures- struggles.

I think Christians make a mistake when they try to hide stuff.

When people- who often struggle with the same things- see that others do to- that helps them.

I do indeed quote scripture- and teach the bible- but there are still struggles- stories- to be told.

The bible exposes people- we know about Peter denying the Lord. Paul wrote the Corinthians and said ‘it was told to me by the house of Chloe that there are divisions among you- and I partly believe it’.

Now- he even mentioned the names of those who told him of bad stuff.

I don’t make light of this stuff- but these are real things that happen in life.

You might go to a Christian site- and they have done studies on how many pastors are addicted to porn- the number is high.

Yet you will rarely read of them talking openly about it.

Yet you will read bible teaching- on the site- that simply talks about scripture [which is good]- but Paul said ‘you who say a person should not commit adultery- and do it yourself- you will be judged’ Romans. The point is- if we are teaching the bible- which contains this warning- and yet are never giving our struggles- then it really doesn’t help- it’s a lie in a way.

If they keep it hidden- it will still control them.

That’s just one thing- but you could give many other examples.

So yes- I open up- and try my best to be as honest as possible- this helps people- part of the Cross is being able to do this. I think more should.

THERE IS A BALANCE BETWEEN 2 WORLDS- ONE WITH AN ARROW AND A CROSS- REGAURDLESS OF THE BALANCE- LIFE HAS BECOME- CUMBERSOME- Seven Mary Three.

For the rest of this week- it’s time to tell the story.

The other day as I was the mission- I told one of my friends ‘yeah- when I was in the Navy- I was popping lots of Ephedrine pills’.

I said ‘yeah- I think it’s called Ephedrine’-

He said- reluctantly- yeah- that’s what it’s called.

Most of my buddies are on Meth.

Meth is made- on the street- by buying over the counter cold and flu medicine- and thru a process- you extract the Ephedrine from the other stuff.

Some states have made it illegal to buy it over the counter anymore [cold and flu med’s] because of this.

When I was back in North Bergen last year- I faced some of my past.

I hung out at White Castle- right across from the old bowling alley in Nungesser’s.

One time I overdosed on Mescaline [1979] – and thought that was it.

I was with Fred- a good buddy- and we walked into the bowling alley- I looked in the mirror- and my face was deep purple. [I was hallucinating]

I began feeling my face- and I was numb.

Fred saw how bad I was- I asked ‘what should we do’? He reached in his pocket- and pulled out a Cross his mother gave him he said ‘John- this is all I can think of”.

He gave me the Cross.

I had a bad trip- it lasted for a few days- my friend Fred put me up for a couple of days- we both thought that I might have not made it.

I had flashbacks- for many years- even at the fire dept.

When I was in North Bergen- I hung out at Hudson County Park- with the crew.

I told Nick- ‘I almost killed my buddy here- 30 years ago’.

I was at the carnival with Frank one night- and I told him ‘if I see cheech tonight- it’s all over’.

Sure enough- about an hour later- Frank says ‘there he is!’

I walked thru the crowd [cheech was/is a big boy- was with a biker gang out of Fort Lee at the time].

I didn’t know if he saw me- it was crowded- but as he got close- I hit him- hard.

Everyone cleared away- I hit him a few more times- drop kicked him in the face- and when he went down- I wouldn’t stop.

My friend pulled me off.

He was later admitted to the hospital- and till this day- has scars from that night.

Fred- who hung out with Cheech- later told me cheech said he has never been hit so hard in his life- he still thinks I used something like a pipe.

We did make up- a few years later- after I became a Christian- I went back.

I hooked up with Fred- and told him ‘I want to see cheech’.

He warned me ‘maybe you better not John’.

I said ‘don’t worry about it’.

I saw cheech- nothing happened- he later told Fred ‘John looks different- not as violent as before’.

[When I saw Fred- after about2-3 years- he told me he saw cheech about a month after this happened- and Fred said he asked ‘what the hell happened to you’. Fred laughed- he said he looked bad- of course it was not funny- but I guess he looked like he got hit by a truck or something].

I was at out our halfway house last year- got a call- it was cheech.

He told me he was staying at a halfway house in Newark [he did 8 years in prison for attempted kidnapping and robbery- he and another old friend were in a biker gang- the Chingalings- out of NY city- they planned to kidnap a guy and rob a safe that supposedly had lots of cash- on 79th street in North Bergen. In the biker gang there was an undercover agent with the FBI. When they knocked on the door- they were busted].

I went to Newark- but the halfway house was closed.

I told a friend ‘I’m gonna try and visit cheech’- he said ‘you made that big boy cry’[I met some people- I did not even remember- and they would say ‘John- you were crazy’- I would just say ‘yeah- I was a bad kid’- but in reality- this was just a way of not facing the things I did]

I never saw cheech after the fight- until a few years later- but they said he looked bad.

He thought I beat him with a pipe- I didn’t- but did hit him very hard that night.

I was told at the time ‘the cops are looking for you’- not soon after- I joined the Navy and left New Jersey.

When I arrived in Texas- I was stationed at NAS Kingsville.

I was a corpsman- and the guys told me ‘John- you can get free drugs from the pharmacy- your one of us’.

I didn’t believe it was that simple.

I walked up to the pharmacy one day- and the guy gave me a bottle of Ephedrine- pure Meth- not the diluted stuff you get on the street.

I finished the bottle in about 2 days- and when the guy running the pharmacy found out- he flipped.

It was supposed to last a month.

I have told people I never did Meth- in reality- I did the pure Meth.

Over the next few days- as I tell this story- I don’t want to glorify it- but a few people have asked me why I go kicked out of the Navy.

I usually say ‘I was a bad kid’- but obviously there was more to it- this is ‘the more’.

NOTE- There was a reason I was looking for cheech- he owed me from a previous deal- it would take too long to get into it. But in the end- of course it was not justified. The other incident took place in Perth Amboy- I mention that because when I went back to New Jersey last year- in a way I wanted to see these old spots [to make amends’?]. I drove to Perth Amboy one day- looked for the park- didn’t find it- but made the attempt. This day- Cheech pulled up at my house in a nice Chevy Nova- we drove it to Perth Amboy. I asked ‘where did you get the car’? He said ‘I found it- running- with the keys in it’. Oh.

THE T HEADS

A few weeks ago- I was joking with a few of my buddies- ‘hey- send &^% down to work the T-heads’.

The other buddy- joking back- said ‘Maybe you should go down and work the T heads’.

I have written about the girls who do ‘work the streets’ [prostitute for drug money].

But yes- some [not all] of the guys do this too- they will pick up guys [or get picked up] for money- this is life for some on the streets.

When my buddy said ‘maybe you should’ I said ‘let me tell you a little story.’

Here it goes.

One night at the base in Kingsville- during this short time of getting high- doing the Ephedrine [I told a friend yesterday about this- who was big into Meth- he said I was indeed doing pure Meth] I told a friend ‘let’s leave the base- go to the bus station and head to Houston’.

We called this going UA- unauthorized leave.

So me and Fye took off- went to the bus station in Kingsville and said ‘we want 2 tickets to Houston’.

He said we didn’t have enough- I asked where can we get with this money.

He sold us 2 tickets to Corpus Christi.

We bought the tickets and off we went.

Got to Corpus in about 30 minutes and began this short excursion.

Hung out- yes- at the above mentioned T heads by the bay front.

We got high- also got robbed- that is Fye asked some black guys in a car if they had any weed to sell ‘sure’- he took the cash- never saw him again.

After a couple of days on the streets [my first actual homeless time] we used the bathroom at the bus station- sold some blood for cash- and came up with a plan.

Now- this is the T head thing.

I told Fye ‘tonight- I’ll walk along the strip- and pick up some guy- with the best car I can find’.

Now- I never ‘actually’ worked the T heads- like some of my friends did.

No- this is what we called- excuse me to my gay friends- but the term was called ‘rolling the queers’.

This was not the first time I did stuff like this- or attempted.

Cheech and me one night [before the above incident] were going to do it at Hudson County park- the same park I mentioned above.

We came close- but didn’t do it.

So- sure enough I walked along Shoreline drive [this was 1980-81?]

It was late- and some guy- around 40 or so pulled up.

‘Looking for a good time’ sure.

‘Let’s take my friend too’

Ok.

The plan was this- I told my friend when we get to his house- I’ll beat the hell out of him and all you have to do is make sure you get his car keys.

He said ok.

This was my first time in C.C. – and I did not know the area- as a matter of fact I kept confusing it with the Chicago bay front- where I was for boot camp and corpschool.

He drove us over some bridge [today I know this was the Harbor Bridge].

We went to some unknown town [now I know we were in Portland].

And we went to this guy’s house.

He served us a couple of nice German beers- big bottles.

I thought ‘this will work great- I’ll down the beer- and use the bottle to beat the hell out of him’.

He went into another room- and I downed the beer- and told Fye ‘as soon as he gets back- I’ll jump him’.

I sat for a few minutes- and I knew this was going to happen.

Before you act out any violent act- you get sort of a high- like you realize you passed a point of no return- and at that stage you have already decided to do it.

That stage already happened- its’ very rare to turn back then.

But- as I waited- I looked up- and there was this huge painting of Christ hanging on the wall.

As soon as I saw it- it seemed like God was saying ‘one last chance John- just one more’.

I told Fye ‘you know what- the deal is off’.

The guy came back from the other room- I said ‘you know what- we have to go- drive us back to the bay front’.

He did.

On the way back we didn’t say much- but when he dropped us off- I got out- turned around and told him ‘I was gonna beat the f#$ out of you and rob your car- you lucked out tonight’.

He got scared and realized how close he came to getting hurt.

He took off real fast.

We spent a few more days on the streets- I told Fye ‘I’m tired- hungry- I’m going back to the base and turn myself in.’

They put me in a building they used to detain trouble makers.

A couple of days later Fye got the room right next to me.

NOTE- You don’t think when your using- getting high. I had basically over dosed 2 times in the past year. The acid I did in North Bergen- and the Ephedrine. I could have accidentally killed this guy- or he could have shot me. You don’t think of the danger involved. We were going to rob his car and drive to Florida. I mean this would have been auto theft- assault- serious crimes.

I had the effects of the Meth overdose for many years.

When I got my life on track- I realized one day that I had no feeling to my big toes- they were numb.

I’m sure I messed up my circulatory system in some way- after about 10 years later the feeling did come back.

But who knows what other type of damage I did to myself- that I never found out?

LAST ONE-

Warning- this one might be a bit much for some of you.

I have to tell this one- or else I can’t finish the post- the critique I need to do.

So far I have given enough [not all] but enough to give you the picture.

Last year I was referred into MHMR [mental health mental research].

My lawyer saw some signs- she also decided to look into my past-‘John was in the Navy’.

Then she inquired a bit- and that’s what led her to tell me I needed to get checked.

Now- when you go thru the initial mental evaluation- they ask ‘did you ever attempt to commit suicide’?

I really didn’t know how to answer that- but- this was the answer ‘you would have to pull my records- I was discharged- because of a witnessed attempted suicide- by hanging’.

Pretty brutal.

I had to get here- to finish.

Am I better today?

Some days I think yes- but some days I don’t know.

When someone has a history of all of the above- has been referred into the system- has no history of trying to get Social security- thru many ‘suicide attempts’ [like some of my friends on the streets have done- they refer to these as ‘nut checks’].

When you enter the system with my history- by all accounts not someone seeking a ‘nut check’.

How could I ‘slip’ thru the system?

The first 2 evaluations- done by either doctors or someone who is trained to do them.

They both diagnosed Bi-Polar disorder.

Last year- I said on many occasions ‘there’s just not something right- I can tell’.

Then- to get a prescription for SLEEPING PILLS [with a history like this] is almost ‘comical’ in the sense of Dark Comedy.

I am still mad- angry- about lots of things- this being one of them.

I don’t totally fault the system- but my friend who as lots of experience with MHMR told me that they do not prescribe Zanax- or other type meds- because they know people want them.

But- I was not in any way one of them- my history was not like the many cases of my friends over the years- who did indeed get checks- and prescriptions- and yes- many of them played the system.

Last year- I was on the brink of collapse- to put it mildly.

I got sober- and was basically like a person who was off their meds.

I wanted med’s- couldn’t get them.

So- I just tried my best- kept doing the 10-15 mile walks [which was one of the signs of a problem!].

Needed some type of sedative- but would not do- even one- Zanax.

Even though I’m around people buying- selling them all the time- and these same people are leaders in AA/NA.

I mean the frustration of seeing all this- trying my best to abide by the system- and seeing the system did not work.

At one point my lawyer saw I was going off the rails- she was concerned and said ‘John- just take your medication’.

I told her ‘THEY DIDN’T GIVE ME ANY!’

It was bad- very bad.

I don’t know if I am Bi Polar- or what.

But I know that over the years I have had many friends who have gotten checks- disability- etc., and they played the system.

In my case- to have a history like this- one that showed early signs- yet never tried to access the system- that was referred into it some 3o years after- common sense would say I was not the typical case of someone seeking a check.

The system seems to work for those who play it- but not for those who need it.

To be fair- the doctor who made the call to think sleeping pills was the answer- did tell me to come back in a month.

But I went to New Jersey and told him I might try and follow up there.

But never did.

The bible talks about the struggles of people- Jesus had a public crucifixion- we saw his agony in the garden.

We read about Peter’s famous denials of the Lord.

Today we have a generation of kids- who are dealing with lots of the stuff I posted- they need to see they are not alone.

Is there hope in God?

Of course- in my case that was the only choice [because the system just did not work].

There’s more to this story- but I think for now we have done enough.

Now- the next time someone asks how I got kicked out of the Navy- I won’t just say ‘I was a bad kid’.

I’ll refer them to this post.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBookl] – I have posted lots.

2056 SEX- STRIP CLUBS- AND A FEW GOODBYES.

Today I have another public confession to make.
A few weeks ago I posted about a girl at the mission- I’ve known her for 25 years or so.
Never really talked to her much.

But the last few weeks she sat next to me- a lot- asked if I could give her a ride- I mean it was obvious to me that for some reason she became ‘real friendly’.
So yeah- it did make me wonder- being this never happened before.

So- the confession.

Yeah- the other day I hugged her- rubbed her back- told her everything is going to be ok.

I brushed her long ponytail from the front of her face- to the back- real romantic like.

I held her in my arms- consoled her- let her talk- what she said didn’t make much sense- but I went along with her- like it did.

I gave her special attention- like you would if you were in love.

‘John- see- we knew it!’
What happened?

I was at the mission and Roger came around from the back of one of the buildings and said ‘so and so is tripping- real bad!’

I went around the back- and sure enough she was having a bad trip- hallucinating wildly- it was scary.
That’s why everyone left her- they didn’t want to be associated if she overdosed- or if they had to call the ambulance/cops.

I was worried- I tried to walk her to the front- she wouldn’t go.
I almost called 911.

But she didn’t want me to.

She started throwing up- I had to move her hair from the front of her face.

So- as she was having a very bad trip [I never saw anyone ‘wigged’ out this bad- up close].
This was the same day I wrote about my own acid trip years ago.

I was wearing my favorite black leather biker jacket that I bought in N.J. last year.

As she was tripping out- she associated with the jacket- she felt like it helped her.

Her ‘husband’ died about 5 years ago- they used to drive up to the mission on his Harley.
She even had on her black leather jacket this day.

As she was flipping out- she kept ‘seeing’ him riding his bike in heaven.

So- she thought my jacket was part of it.

I’m not sure what she took- but some think she took a hit of the ‘legal weed’.
I have had friends who were Heroin addicts- or Meth addicts- people who have done every drug to be done.

They have said they took one hit of this synthetic pot- and they never messed with it again.

So- I think this sweet girl simply heard that I was going thru some stuff last year- and I think now that’s why she was so friendly- kind of like John might be divorced or something.

No- I’m not- but I think now that’s why she was so friendly.

Well- she got her hug- and I spent a good hour just with her- because she needed it- bad.

SUNDAY-
The other day I was doing some outreach with my AA/NA crowd- the area where we do the halfway house.
My buddy and I were talking a bit.
I told him last year that when I went sober- I quit the porn- the strip clubbing- the whole 9 yards.
When I got back from N.J. the first thing he wanted to know is if I relapsed.
He was worried about me going to N.J. with only 6 months sober- and he thought I would use.
I told him no- he asks ‘what about the porn’.
I told him yeah- in that area I did.
He seemed to be relieved- because he- like many others- does watch it- and many of my buddies think its ok.
I’m kinda the ‘preacher’ of the group- and I have told them it’s not ok- Jesus said ‘whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart [soul connection].’
So- the other day I told him ‘no bro- I’m not looking at the porn any more’.
He kinda felt bad- and did confess that he still does it.

We talked a bit- he said some think porn- and masturbation are not wrong.
I told him that ‘the act’ itself- apart from marriage- is wrong.

The apostle Paul said he wished that the Corinthians would be like him- celibate- but if they can’t control themselves- then marry- because it is better to marry than ‘burn’ [in lust].
Notice- he does not say ‘if you can’t control yourself- then look at a woman and lust- and ‘get off’.
See?
That option was off the table.

I pray for the criminal cases- follow the stories in the paper- yesterday I read the case of a Kingsville school board member who finally went to trial for sexually abusing young relatives over a period of time.
He fought the case- said he was innocent- yet after his conviction- did confess in court- they gave him 16 years in prison.
Now- why do these things happen?

The ‘act of sex’ associated with any other act- binds the soul to go back to the act- repeatedly.
That’s why sex offenders are a high risk of relapse.

Sandusky and others have shown this.

A few years back I read the Jeffrey Dahmer book- Dark journey Deep grace.
It talked about his conversion in prison- and how his dad reached out to him after he was convicted of his crimes.
His mom disowned him.

I later watched the interview he did with Stone Philips.
During the interview Philips asked Dahmers dad why he thought these things happened.
Dahmers dad gave- what I believe- was the key.

He said he felt his son had somehow connected the act of sex with the things he fantasized about- in Dahmers case- murder and eating his victims.
Now- we can’t understand this- but that’s why the act of sex- outside of marriage- is forbidden.

There is a connection made with the act- and if you associate it with the molesting of a child- or the viewing of porn- or in Dahmers case- cannibalism- then you are now connected to the thing.

When I did my critique of AA last year- I felt the underlying issue to most substance addictions was indeed this very thing.
My friend- who tried to justify masturbation to porn- does sponsor a kid under him- who calls him- and confesses to this very problem.

My friend- the older sponsor- tries to help him with it- but never tells the kid that he too does it [as far as I know].

Now- if you yourself are not free- you can’t free others.

Many of these guys are free from alcohol- meth- heroin- yet they can’t seem to break this root addiction.
Why?
The most powerful drug- that the body produces- is the Dopamine that is released in the brain that gives you a feeling of wellbeing.

During sex- that’s the biggest release of this body’s natural high that a person can experience.

So- the addict has a sort of a built in way to get high- even if he doesn’t use outside chemicals.

The bible says whoever commits adultery with a woman destroys his soul.

Now- the next few days I want to talk about what the bible says about the act itself [climax- orgasm].

Over the years the church has gone to extremes on these things- but today I think we have gone too far to the other side.

I remember some church did a ‘sex every day with your spouse’ for 30 days campaign.
I saw the interview [it was Ted Haggard years ago].

And they were talking to all the church folk- about how it was working- they meant well.

Could there be damage- even in the marriage relationship- if you ‘over do’ it?

Yes.

Does the bible ever teach that the act itself is wrong- the act of ‘doing it’- in and of itself?
If you read the bible- thru- it does indeed seem to say that the act of ejaculation- in itself is an unclean thing.

What!

See- this is where we need to be careful- but these verses are indeed where the ‘old Victorian’ mindset came from
You know ‘if you do it- YOU WILL GO BLIND!’

We joke about this stuff- be where did the church come up with these teachings?
The official teaching of the Catholic church- in the Catechism of the church [which I have read by the way].
Is that the act of masturbation is a grave disorder.

They are right.
It connects the soul to whatever other act- thought- picture- or person.

There is a rule in the Old Testament about priests- it deals with being ceremonial unclean.

The rule was made just for the possibility if the priest had a nocturnal emission [wet dream].

It required him to go thru a cleansing period- if it happened.
There are teachings that come from scripture- about woman’s menstruation period- and how it talks about these things- using terms like ‘uncleanness’.

Now- I’m giving you a bigger picture then what we usually see- because we have a tendency- in the church- to have gone too far to the other side- trying to counter balance the older view of sex as ‘dirty’.

But- there are indeed many biblical verses that connect the act- even in marriage- as needing a waiting period before you can come back and ‘be clean’.

A famous story was when King David was on the run from Saul- he goes to the house of Abiathar- a priest-and wants to eat the sacred bread.

The priest makes the exception and says ‘as long as the boys you are with have not been with women for the past 3 days’.

These are just some examples- to show you that there is a strain thru out scripture that connects an uncleanness with the act.

Now- one of the reasons I bring this up is because I want to talk- the next few days- about why we need to leave this option open- the ‘no sex’ option- even in some marital relationships.
Why?

It will take some time to develop this- but there is a reason for it.

So- to sum up-.
No-it’s not ok to masturbate to porn- or to ‘do’ the act of sex- and associate it with any other act.

The ‘best’ way- according to the apostle Paul- was to never even engage in the act.
What about the mandate to re-produce- found in Genesis?

I’ll get to that in some later posts.

But- keep open the option- to live a celibate life.

And- in some cases- even in marriage.

When my buddy found out that I kicked the porn habit- in a way he felt convicted.
He confessed more about his obsession- and from our conversation I picked up that he has read stuff on it- trying to convince himself that if his conscience didn’t convict him- then it was ok.

But at the same time he spoke of tremendous guilt- how he can’t read scripture- because of it- his own words showed me that- like the Catechism teaches- the act is a disorder- it disorders the mind.

I told my friend that when I do the celibate thing- total- my mind is free.

That I don’t need to go and find some book on trying to justify it- that I know its wrong- and there are indeed scriptures that say so.

I’ll try and cover this subject the next few days- but thru my experience I have found that this issue- however it plays out- is a deep one- and we do need to talk about it- more.

NOTE- I work with guys who are addicts- in my last post I talked about using Meth myself.
Why are some of the guys who get clean from Meth- Alcohol- etc. Still struggling with the sex thing [by the way- if it’s not porn- in many cases it’s jumping from one girl/boyfriend to the next- this as just as bad- addictive].
Because the Meth itself is not getting you high- the Meth causes a release of Dopamine in the brain- that’s where the high is coming from.
That’s the same drug/chemical that is released during sex [in the brain that is].
So in a way the addict- who thinks he’s free- because he might not be accessing the drug of choice- in reality is not.
He’s just accessing the body’s natural drug- in another way.
See?

‘The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord’
‘Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body’
‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But because of temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.’
‘do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time [I think we need to make an exception to this- I’m not saying to violate scripture- but tomorrow I’ll explain- I think we need to leave open the door for marriage relationships without sex. I’ll explain more later] that you may devote yourselves to prayer, but then come together again, so that satan may not tempt you’
‘I wish that all were as I am [single] but each has his own gift from God’
‘so then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage does even better’

1st Corinthians 7.

MONDAY-
Ok- so far we have covered the power- the connection that the soul/mind makes when it experiences the ‘sex act’.
Today I want to talk about the other side- those who have been victimized by men.
When a woman/girl is either molested as a kid- or maybe brutalized as an adult.
Their mind is now connected to the sex act- in a very damaging way.
Say if that person still wants the companionship of a relationship- yet at the same time- because of no fault of their own- fears- hates the act itself.

Here’s where I think the church has made some bad- though unintentional- mistakes.
How?
There are many verses in the bible that ‘command’ the woman to re-produce [Genesis] that say ‘the woman has no right over her body- but the husband has it’ [works both ways].

These verses can indeed put the woman- who by no fault of her own- under great condemnation because the church rarely teaches the ‘no sex’ option.
Though that option is not only given in scripture [the verses I quoted above] but it is also considered ‘the better way’.

Paul taught in the above chapter that if 2 married people decide to abstain from sex- it should be by the consent of both partners- and only for a short time- lest satan tempt them.

Now- in context- he’s talking about marriages that the couple went into- with mutual agreement that sex would be a part.

Paul also says ‘to the rest speak I- not the Lord’.
He gives some advice about things where God gave no clear commandment.
To the surprise of some- yes- the bible does not cover every detail of life.

So- if I may be so bold ‘to the rest- I too give my advice’.

Here it is- I think we need to leave the option open- especially in the case of a woman- who was victimized- to indeed have ‘no sex marriages’.
If the 2 partners agree- ahead of time- then that’s fine.

What often happens- in the case of an abused woman- she simply avoids relationships at all.
Or she wants love- companionship so bad [like we all do] that she does marry- and tries to have a sexual relationship [which indeed is the norm] but then blames herself for not ‘pleasing her husband’.
Or the pressure from family who want kids- grandkids- etc.

Add to this the churches focus on having kids- on pleasing your husband- the guilt of the poor girl- she in a way is still being victimized- but now it’s being done by the church- or family.

See?

God did create the sex act- he intended it to be both for having kids- and yes- for it to ‘feel good’.

The church went thru stages where it kind of hinted that you should not even enjoy the thing.
No- that was wrong.
But the other extreme was to focus so much on it- that the church leaves a negative view for those who are called to live celibate lives- or for those who were traumatized- and by no fault of their own may never be able to do it again.
See?
This week- as I do a few more posts on this- the purpose is for people to be free.
To not have self guilt- to see that they do have options- biblical ones- to take either road.

When we read the bible- we need to read it in context.

If we spend all our time focusing on the marriage relationship [like many churches do] and we leave out the other option [life without sex] then we make those who are called to a life without sex- feel tremendous guilt.

In the case of the woman who experienced abuse- it might indeed be GODS WILL- for the girl to never have sex again.

God is not a masochist- the commands to ‘please your husband’ or have kids.

These are not for everyone- that’s why I quoted the verses above.

Now- Jesus said ‘you shall know the truth- it will set you free’.

I hope today- some of you are free.

TUESDAY-
Today I’ll head to Bishop for our weekly meeting- think I’m gonna talk about Isaiah 38.
I also want to cover 2 friends who just died- within a day or 2 of each other- one of the New York crew who I have written about- and one of my Texas friends.
But I want to talk a bit about the sex thing- how the real need of people- girls in the industry- is they want intimacy- they seek for real love.

About 4 years ago- on my ‘downhill slide’ I started hitting one of the local strip clubs.
It’s been around for years- the Palace- but I never went before.
Of course in my early days [30 years ago] I went to clubs- like most young kids who party and stuff.
But it’s been a while [I don’t go anymore by the way].
So I walked in to the Palace- and over time met the girls.
They knew I was ‘new’ at it- the first day in the club I lit up a smoke- one of the girls said ‘hey- you can’t smoke in here!’
I didn’t know.
Over time- I saw how these girls get jealous- want to ‘have you’ as their own- and try- real hard- to meet you in a normal way- to go out with you without being at the club.
Over time- they would tell me ‘John- you can get our phone numbers- or give us yours- we text the customers- get together and stuff’.

I wouldn’t do it.

They asked ‘are you married’ I would say ‘yeah’.
As a firefighter I got into the habit of not wearing my wedding ring- guys have lost their fingers over the years on the job because of it- they might get it caught on something- and yeah- the finger gets ripped off.

Plus- I did lose a few rings over the years.
So- girls look at your finger- they can tell if someone just took it off for the club- they see the ring mark [I saw this on some show one day].
But my finger had no mark- because I never wore a ring.

One time one of the girls got mad- I don’t remember what happened- but she said ‘I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WERE MARRIED!
I told her ‘I AM’.
The people at the other able must have thought ‘gee- I never heard that line before’.

One of the girls told me one day she was a Messianic Jew and was going on some ministry trip to Israel for 3 months.
I did tell them that I was a retired firefighter- worked with the homeless- had a web site- I mean I didn’t lie to the girls.
So- I told the girl I had a section on the site just about Messianic Jews.
She wanted to read the site- I told her ‘I can’t give you the site’.

She asked why.
I said ‘I’m talking to you at a strip club for heaven’s sake- and your one of the dancers’.
She saw nothing wrong with it- she was mad that I didn’t give her the site.

Over time- the girls knew I didn’t take- or give out my phone number.

They would hint ‘I go for coffee at Starbucks every day- at 10’.

This was Eden- she was the prettiest dancer at the Palace.

One day she worked the day shift- I would start drinking at around 7 in the morning- drink 2 ‘40’s’ [2 Magnums- beer]. Then be at the club when the doors opened at 11.
I would drink shots of crown and Bud at the club- I told one of them one day ‘I’m pretty far gone right now’.
She was telling me I looked like I hadn’t even drank a beer- she thought I was lying.

I told her how much I had already drank- she then realized I was a severe alcoholic.

Eden changed her schedule to the day shift when she fond out I only come during the day [she was willing to make less money- so she could be there when I was there].

I could tell she liked me- and I felt bad for her- and many of the girls- seeing they want love- intimacy.
One time one of the girls called the manager- because the other one would not leave my table.

I wasn’t buying lots of lap dances [of course I did buy some] but she just wanted to stay at my table- so the other one [Bonnie] wouldn’t sit with me.
So Bonnie got the manager to move her.

It wasn’t for money- I told Bonnie I was not going to spend any more money for a lap dance- she said she owed me one- on the house.

One day- drunk as usual- I told one of the girls ‘Ok- I’ll say my phone number- just once [after months of never giving it- or taking any].

So I blurted it out.
Later I thought ‘I hope she don’t remember the thing’.
The next day my phone rang- I didn’t answer it.
I got about 5 messages over the next few weeks- but whoever was calling [I figured it was her] just let the message thing play out- but never said anything. One day I heard a message- it was silent for a few seconds- then in the background I heard ‘answer your f..ng phone John!

What did I do?
I changed my number the next week.

In my short experience at the clubs [maybe a year?] I saw that the girls wanted love- I talked to them honestly- and even though it was not ‘ministry’ they did want to talk- about life.
I made the mistake one day of asking Eden ‘are you in love with me’?
Without hesitation- she said yes.

Now- the prettiest girl at the Palace- trying to get me to meet her- telling me where she drinks coffee- changing her schedule- why?

One of the girls one day said ‘we like you John’.
I asked why.
She said ‘you talk to us’.
I said ‘don’t all the guys?’

She said no- she pointed at one guy and said he just stares at us like a zombie.

The sex industry Objectifies women- it makes them objects.

God ordained sex involves intimacy in marriage- when we look for ways to enjoy the sex- without the intimacy- commitment- it destroys our souls.

It damages the girls- and the guys.

The first day I met Eden- I walked up to her- being a new girl [on the day shift] and said hi- asked her to sit at the table for a few drinks.

Then- the very next day- I saw some ‘new’ girl- who I never met before.

I walked up to her- she was as beautiful as Eden- I said ‘hi- I never met you before- would you like to have a few drinks’.

She looked puzzled- like she wanted to say something.
She went silent- and said sure.
After a while- I realized it was Eden.

The girls realized I was already blackout drinking- a few times the manager was going to call me a cab- I got mad and drove myself.

Was Eden in love with me?

I don’t know- she said she was.
Over the next few weeks- every time I saw her- she would say ‘I’m still waiting for you- to say something’.

At first I didn’t know what she meant- then I realized she was waiting for me to say ‘I love you’.
I never did- I don’t know if she will ever find it where she works- because most guys go there- to see an ‘object’.

NOTE- I think the girls thought I was lying about being married- so I wouldn’t go out with them- and they saw my ring finger- realizing I hadn’t wore a ring in years. So in a way it made them feel insecure- like ‘why won’t he go out with us’.
The reason was I just couldn’t have a ‘girl’ on the side- and do the homeless outreach. I mean I realize my ‘standards’ were not high- but there were lines I would not cross- and this was one of them.

TUESDAY NIGHT- Just got back from Bishop- and wanted to do an update.
Earlier today I saw Tennessee for the first time since he has been out of the hospital.
Dirk and Tennessee were both at the mission for the first time since Dirk stabbed him.

Obviously Tennessee is mad- and talking about getting even.
A few of the Bluff crowd tried to calm Tennessee down- I did tell him ‘don’t take it personal, but if you guys go at it- whoever is on top- I’ll have to get involved’.

At one point he walked over where Dirk was- I followed.

Dirk took off.

I did pray for Tennessee- he appreciated it.
As I saw the rage he still had- he also mentioned how his family were effected- crying- he was indeed at the point of death.
It wasn’t just the fact that he was stabbed- but how it hurt his family as well.

I also saw the Terri for the first time since she had an episode the other day.

I gave her a hug- she told me she felt ashamed to show up this last week- she threw up and stuff- and felt bad.

This really was the first time I have been nice to the girl [I wrote why these past few posts].
I had a good talk with her- the sweetheart took out all the church cards she had- from Real Life Church.
Had her bible and stuff- I felt bad for her- just the stuff she has gone thru.

Last week while sitting at the mission I saw I had a missed call- from Rick- one of the street friends I made last year in New Jersey.
I listened to the message [I rarely do this] and he told me Mario died.
One of our friends.
The same day- or around the same day- Buck also died.
Another alcoholic here in Texas that I have been friends with for years.

I just took a picture of Buck this last week- I’m sure it’s the only one of him- I took a few this past year.
I’ll try and print a few- hang them up at the mission- post them to the site [Terri’s picture too].
I have felt this year that God was saying time is short- we need to use it well.

I’ll talk more about it tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY-
Yesterday I spoke on Isaiah 38- Hezekiah the king is sick- and the prophet is sent to him by God with a special message- here it is-
‘set you house in order- you are going to die’.
The king prays and recounts to God all the good things he has done- how he tried his best- made the best effort he knew how to make in life.

God sends another message- he says ‘Ok- I have heard you- you got 15 more years’.

He also says he will give him a sign- the sun dial of Ahaz will go back 10 degrees.
The sign was the message- basically God said ‘I’m turning the clock back- just this last time- give it all you got’.

In Bishop I spoke about the shortness of life- the bible says ‘teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom’ ‘all flesh is as grass- like the flowers- they grow up in the morning- and are gone by the evening’.
As we left Bishop- I drove past the house and grave yard where Eli’s brother is buried.
Died many years ago- BeBe was probably the most dangerous friend I have known over the years.
I preached at his funeral [back in the late 80’s] and his remains sit on the same property where we hold the Bishop meeting.

Eli- who I do the meeting with- is the younger brother that resembles BeBe the most.
I baptized Eli many years ago- in the pool I set up in my yard when we were doing a home church in Kingsville.

Buck and Mario died within days of each other.
I have been telling the guys this year- that I feel like time is short for many of us- that is we need to do the things that count- don’t just live with a survival mentality.

God gave the king an extra 15 years- to make something of it.

I’ll end this week’s post with some good advice- from a best friend –

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’ll never live it twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin’ stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBookl] – I have posted lots.

2058- BUS RIDE’S- PROPHETS AND A TAG..

FRIDAY
I have been wanting to do a post on world affairs- the other week I talked about the ‘feeling’ that the U.S. is in for more trouble than people realize.

I posted that this year I think we are going to experience another 911 type event.
A week or so later- we had the mysterious Malaysian plane go missing- now many think it was a terrorist attack.

Yet- I don’t feel like that was what I spoke about.

I felt like our country is going to get hit- big.

Now- the entire story about Russia/Crimea and Ukraine- might be the one.

Why?

I want to talk about the justification of what Russia has done so far- and how the U.S. media machine might get us into World War 3.
Russia- like the U.S. – justifies action- even military action- on various grounds.
One of them is if they feel there is a real threat to their nation- they will act.

We too have this as a stated objective of our military interventions- of which many in the past 15 years have been absolute failures [Libya- Iraq- Afghanistan- the list goes on].

For various ‘self-interests’ [even the self-interest of so called moral mandates ‘you are on the wrong side of history’ yeah- but whose history book is Kerry and Obama quoting?]

So- back to Russia.
In the 1950’s Nikita Khrushchev simply gave away Crimea to the Ukraine.
When he did this- it was against the will of the people.

There are various ideas of why he did it- but it was simply a totalitarian move.

At the time- Ukraine was still a part of Russia [USSR] so- even though it was a cheap shot- yet it was simply a transference of some land- within a sovereign state.

But later- after the breakup of the USSR- the Crimea- once again- against the will of the actual people [who are mostly nationalistic Russian- who never wanted to break away from Russia for the most part] became a part of Ukraine- one of the former USSR states.

So- like Georgia- they were now independent of Russia.

The U.S. and other Western countries- under the ‘flag’ of NATO- began to make a ‘land grab’ in these former Soviet states.

That is we have indeed tried to persuade Ukraine to join NATO [who Putin- rightfully has said- is no longer a purely defensive treaty- but an offensive umbrella alliance that has been used to actually invade other countries].

The West has been in a battle for the Ukraine- to win them over- and we have a strong- threatening presence [threatening to Russia] in Ukraine.

Ok- this year when the protesters began hitting the streets in Ukraine- in a way- what they did was a sort of Coup De Tat [which is what Putin has said!].

The protestors were not asking for Democracy- which they already had- even though the Ukrainian president was corrupt- yet the protestors were mostly Fascists [would the U.S. give in to Fascist protestors if they stood at the gate of the White house- threatening violence?]

So- Ukraine- with Putin’s help- decided to agree on early elections [they voted for this- legally] and the Ukrainian president took refuge in Russia.

But- the protestors- and the U.S.- didn’t want to wait for the lawful election- so we simply picked apart the political puzzle- and chose the parts that best fit our ‘self-interests’.
And started making it look like Putin was following the path of Hitler in WW2- invading sovereign states and possibly going all the way to Europe [which indeed Ukraine is a gateway].

Now- the Crimean people did indeed hold a referendum- and willingly voted- overwhelmingly- to join Russia again.

The western media made it sound like they were forced- at gunpoint [Russian troops are in Crimea] to approve the vote.

That’s simply media spin- the Russian troops were there so the people could vote for what they wanted all along- to go back to Russia.

The U.S. [and other European allies] do have real objections to some of what’s going on- but in reality no country would allow an adversary to build up a military presence on their border.

We threatened Nikita Khrushchev when John f. Kennedy was president for this very thing- trying to place Nukes in Cuba.

Putin is simply doing the same thing- when the West started talking about Ukraine becoming a part of NATO- and putting a defense shield in Poland- Putin was responding the same way we have- using the reason of self-interest.

Ok- as of today Putin has seized the airport and other strategic spots in Ukraine.

They have a naval port off the coast of Ukraine- and yes- they can’t/won’t allow a key strategic waterway to be taken by a pro-Western group.

Ok- this past week it was strange to here John Kerry say ‘yes- we know the Crimean people will overwhelmingly vote to be part of Russia- and we have warned Russia to not accept the vote’.
Huh?

We are backing the Fascist protestors in Ukraine- and rejecting the will of the people in Crimea.

Putin is right- we are simply cherry picking this stuff- for our own ‘national interests’.
As of today- yes- I think we are closer to another world war- than ever before.
Russia has state run media- and one of their top guys said they have enough Nukes to obliterate the U.S.

The only way a statement can be made like that on Russian media is if Putin allows it.

So- I wanted to give you the bigger picture here.

Maybe my prediction about another 911 was wrong- maybe it will be worse.

SATURDAY- just a quick note about the above- I do believe that Putin is on a roll, and will take Ukraine and try and consolidate the former Soviet states.
The point I made was the U.S. pushed him to this point.
We aggressively tried to bring Ukraine and other breakaway states under the umbrella of NATO; It was no secret that we wanted a real presence on the border of Russia.
A few years ago when protests rose up in Russia- we made a short public statement- sort of like ‘well- the will of the people must prevail’.
The same statements we made before we deposed other leaders- by using NATO as the cover.
Putin saw the writing on the wall- he realized in time he had to do something.
He did.

Ok- I wanted to teach a bit about the various genres we see in scripture.
Last week I taught from the creation account in Genesis.
When I did one of our weekly meetings one of the guys mentioned how some people think the tree that Eve ate from was a Pomegranate- or some other type of fruit tree.

Ok- I didn’t want to debate with my friend.

But maybe we can give a little insight here.
The bible uses various forms of literature- just like any other book.
Some forms are Poetic- some are Prophetic [symbolism] – sometimes we see things like round numbers [Jesus feeds the 5 thousand- or the bible says ‘the whole city came out to see him’].
Now- we do believe the inspiration of scripture- but did the writers use things like round numbers?
Yes- in the Old Testament we see it used when talking about armies and stuff- or the 12 tribes of Israel.

Now- in the account of creation- the 2 trees that are named are the Tree of Life- and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Ok- we have a description here- and the description does not speak of fruit trees- but things that symbolize stuff [like I explained in last week’s post].
Are there any other symbols/types in the creation account?

Yes- we read about ‘the serpent’ who speaks!
Now- most realize it is referring to satan- which is right.

Are there any symbolic references in the bible that speak about satan as a serpent?
Yes- in the book of Revelation we read about the Dragon- and most of us realize it is symbolic.

Ok- what am I saying here- that the bible is not to be taken literally?

Well- here’s the problem.
The classic sense of ‘literal’ interpretation does include the symbolic- poetic- etc.
When we say we take the bible literally- it does indeed include stuff like this.

In the 19th/20th centuries there arose a school of thought out of the universities in Germany- we refer to these theologians as being in the liberal school of bible interpretation [Bultman- etc.]

Now- some of the insights they had were indeed good [sort of like what I’m showing you now].
Some not so good [like denying the actual death and resurrection of Christ].

But- when we understand that there are portions of the bible that fall under the category of Historical Narrative- others fall under Poetic- others Symbolic.

It helps us explain the bible better.
Is the whole creation account symbolic?

In my view- no.

Why?

Because we read other portions of the bible- referring back to the creation account- and the teacher is using what’s called Historical Narrative.

Jesus says ‘in the beginning God made them male and female’.
So- there are tools like this that we use when trying to understand what portions are historical- and what parts are symbol.

If you use what’s called the ‘literal interpretation’ then when you read symbol- you must take it as such.

If you interpret symbol as ‘historical’ then you might think you are taking the bible ‘literally’ but in actuality you are not.

The same goes for the portions that are historical.

So- in the creation account- we might be seeing a mixture- some historical- some symbol [most fight for one or the other- I think it might be better to take it the way I just showed you].

So- what type of tree did they eat?

They had a choice- and the bible tells us they disobeyed God- and thru that action were cut off from the presence of God [tree of life] and were left to their own devices [living your life out of your own intellect- the tree of the knowledge of good and evil].

So- God is showing us stuff- maybe the story contains the major doctrines of scripture- in a symbolic way [original sin- etc.].

The more liberal schools of thought argue that the first 10 or 11 chapters of Genesis are not to be taken ‘literally’ [as historical narrative].

The more conservative scholars disagree.

I think there is truth on both sides of the argument.

Either way- God gave us the names of 2 trees- and neither one of them are around today [that is- in a literal way].

SUNDAY- WE FLIPPED A COIN- THATS HOW.

Later this week I want to cover the bible teaching for the week- John the Baptist.
But for today- lets tell some more of my story.
I want to be careful- because some of these people have relatives who are friends of mine on Facebook- and I don’t know how much they know about things that happened.

But- in a way- maybe they too need to hear the story.

Ok- after I got kicked out of the Navy- I went back to North Bergen for about 6 months [1981].
When I got back- my good buddy Miguel heard that I was in town and we hooked up again.

Miguel and I were good friends growing up- I used to eat at his grandma’s house in Union City- last year I took a picture of that old spot.

She cooked great Cuban food.

Mike was glad to see me- and I him.

He had just gotten kicked out of the Army- so we were a ‘good team’.
During his year- I lived in the downstairs apt. – where I lived last year for a while- when my sister died.

I remember one day my dad noticed I was polishing off is beers in the fridge- he said ‘you start early son- maybe you should let up’.

He was glad to see me back- but his father [who I never met] was an alcoholic- who beat my dad when he was a kid- his dads name was Amadeo.

My granddad Veto told me this- my dad never mentioned his real dad- who died young.
Being I was back in town- I got with my buddies- one day Fred, me and Miguel took a ride in Mike’s Monte Carlo.

Mike was dangerous in a car- we used to go down to West side avenue [North Bergen] and he would open it up- maybe about 135- high as a kite- he did crash this car several times.

One year at the Fire Dept. he called me- he just got out of the hospital [in North Bergen] he flipped his car off ‘suicide turn’ on Blvd. east- we used to walk the train tunnel at that spot- it was known as a dead man’s turn.

Yeah- he went off- and lived!
So- me and Fred and Mike took a drive one day to Elizabeth N.J. – the town where they filmed the Sopranos.

We just went for a drive- were drinking and getting high.

We went up some country road and saw a new car parked right on the edge of this cliff.
Mike pulled up to the bumper- and yeah- we started pushing it over the cliff.
No one was in it- but after a few minutes I heard a loud bang on the window where Mike was siting- the guys who owned the car saw us- they must have been partying on the mountain.

This big guy- probably a football jock- and his 2 buddies were slamming the driver side window with a huge bat- like the one you see in the movie walking tall.

I rolled down the window of the passenger side where I was sitting- and broke my beer bottle on the roof- so it would smash in the kids face.

I got out- the guy was big- and to be honest- you never know when you’re the one that’s gonna be at the wrong end of the fight.

So- I changed it up.

I of course threatened the guy- and told them that we were gonna ‘mess’ them up.

I yelled at Fred- he was in the back seat ‘Fed- get my gun’.

He of course went along with the story [I had no gun].

Boy- those kids got scared- they begged Fred to not ‘give me my gun’.

By the time we left- they were apologizing for us destroying their car- sad.

As we left- about 5 miles down the road we passed a cop car- realizing in about a minute they were going to pull up to the scene- and see this kids car hanging off the cliff.

Miguel hit the pedal and we did about 120 all the way back to North Bergen.

During these few months- to be honest- it was exciting- but dangerous.

One day- on a whim- I told Mike ‘I’m driving to Texas Tomorrow’.

He said ‘wait Johnny- lets go together’.

But he wanted to go to Florida.

I had a 1976 Chevy Nova- Mike had a AMC Javelin by then.

That day we made a pact- I said ‘hey- lets flip a coin- heads I win- we go to Texas- tails- we go to Florida’.

I said ‘some day we can tell our kids this story- and tell them that’s how we moved- by the flip of a coin’.

I won the flip- and the next day we drove to Texas- in the Javelin.

Ok- I’ll tell more in the coming days- but I want you to see that in a way- when I started doing ministry- God put me back in ‘my element’.

It was God’s plan for me to surround myself with these guy’s- because in a way I was like them.

I’m comfortable with them- being in the mix- every person has a calling- and I in no way recommend everyone to do things the way I do them- yes- it is high risk stuff.

But that’s the calling- God brings people with various backgrounds- and then he uses them with that back ground in mind.

I’ll tell more about my conversion and how I led Mike to the Lord- and how he later died.

Mike had 4 boys- I remember the oldest well- Andrew.

But the younger ones were just babies when I saw them- they came to my Texas church- the one I stated in the late 80’s.
One of the boys- Joshua- was just a baby when I saw him[Or maybe he was born in N.J.?- I don’t know if I saw him or not].

About a year ago he became a friend on Facebook.

He reads the site.

See- I told Mike ‘one of these days we will tell our kids how we wound up in Texas’.

Today was the day.

MONDAY- HE MUST INCREASE AND I MUST GO AWAY.

The next day or 2 I want to teach a bit on John the Baptist.
The other day David had some questions about him- like why did John send 2 disciples to ask Jesus ‘are you he that should come- or look we for another’.
If I remember- I’ll get to it.

John the Baptist was spoken about in the Old Testament prophets [Isaiah- Malachi].
The last verse in the Old Testament is about him ‘Before the day of the Lord comes I will send Elijah the prophet..’.

John was the fulfillment of this prophecy.

At the time of Jesus- John’s parents- Zechariah and Elizabeth were up in age.

Zechariah was a priest and one day he was fulfilling his normal duties and the Angel Gabriel appeared to him in the temple.
The angel said ‘your prayers are heard- your wife will have a son’.

Now- they were old at the time- and Zechariah had some doubts ‘How can this be’?

The angel is kind of shocked ‘Geez- I’m an angel for heaven’s sake- I stand in the presence of God!’ [Sort of like- what more do you need man! – by the way- this is my ‘version’ but accurate].

So the angel pronounces a judgment on him- he will not be able to speak until the promise comes to pass.

The angel gives him the name for the child ‘he shall be called John’.

Sure enough- the time comes and John is born.

Now- John did not fit the mold at all- he was wild- had strange eating habits [locusts and wild honey] and did not dress for the part [camel’s hair clothes].

Yet- God was in the thing.

When Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary- and told her that she would have the baby Jesus- Gabriel also informed her that her cousin Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant with John.

Mary visits her and when she walks in- the 6 month Fetus in the womb of Mary ‘leaps’.

John was already fulfilling his purpose as the forerunner- before he was born!

Ok- John begins his ministry by calling the people to repentance ‘Repent and be baptized- the kingdom is here!’

He gains a following of sorts.

One day Jesus comes to be baptized- John says ‘I need baptism from you- not you from me’.

But Jesus says this has to happen- and John baptizes him.

This is the beginning of Jesus ministry- the Spirit descends on him like a Dove and a voice from heaven says ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased’.

In the gospel of John we read how Jesus begins gaining a bigger following than John- and some of John’s men kind of feel the competition.

‘You’re losing your men to Jesus’.

John says that ‘he must increase and I must decrease’.

John says he is not the center of attention- but that Jesus is the bridegroom and the bride [people] belong to him.

John’s joy is being able to simply hear the voice of the bridegroom- and to see the great romance play out.

Now- getting to the question above- why did John send 2 of his men later to ask if Jesus was the one.

Surely John knew.

John was cast into prison by Herod- and as he sits in jail- he might have been thinking ‘ok- I’m the forerunner- Jesus is the Messiah- in time I’ll be rescued’.

It’s possible that John felt resentment about what was happening to him.

Sort of like ‘Ok Jesus- I’m still here in the cell- are you the one or what?’

Now- I don’t know for sure if this is why he ‘doubted’- maybe he did have some doubts- John was human too.

The religious leaders asked John one day ‘who are you- are you the Elijah that was to come’.

They were quoting the verse from the prophet Malachi that I mentioned above.

Now- John says ‘no’.

But then he does quote the prophet Isaiah- ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness- prepare ye the way of the Lord- make his paths straight’.

Now- we read later that the people ask Jesus ‘isn’t Elijah supposed to come first- before you’.

And Jesus says ‘yes’ then he goes on and says that John was indeed the one who came in the power and spirit of Elijah.

It’s funny- John recognized part of his significance- but not all.

He knew he was spoken about in the prophet Isaiah- but did not know he was the fulfilment of the Malachi prophecy- the Elijah that was to come.

Ok- a few practical things.

Often times we too do not see the significance of our calling- our purpose in life.

The bible tells us that we too were chosen before the world was made- to be children of God and to fulfill a purpose.

John was filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb.

In a way we are marked from the day of our birth- to fulfill a specific destiny in life.

Sometimes that purpose might be tough [John eventually gets his head chopped off!].

But it’ not about our own survival- the creature comforts of life.

No- it’s about being forerunners- in a way- making a new path- so others can follow in time.

When you cut thru the brush for the first time- it’s hard- it takes time- you get ‘cut’ a lot.

But if you do it long enough- it makes a path.

Others will naturally follow that path- it makes it easy for them- even if it was hell for you.

John knew his purpose- it was not about him- he would fade from the scene soon.

When the disciples of John came to Jesus with the question ‘are you the one’.

Jesus told them ‘among all that are born of women- there is none greater than John’.

Then he goes on and says an interesting thing.

‘Yet he that is least in the kingdom- is greater than John’.

Some think Jesus was saying that those of us today- who are born of God- in the Church age- are ‘greater’ than John- being he was a sort of Old Testament prophet- not yet in the ‘church’.

Yet I think Jesus was saying something else.

Jesus often spoke of himself in the 3rd person ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…’

John 3:16.

I think Jesus might have been saying ‘he that is least [speaking of himself] is greater than John’.

See- John fulfilled the purpose of his life- he showed us who Jesus was.

Yet Jesus- he became the least of all- humbled himself to death on a cross.

Humiliating as ‘hell’.

Was mocked- spit on- rejected of men- a man of sorrows.

‘Reduced’ to the point of agony and ‘depression’ that none of us could ever relate to.

He said things like ‘God- why have you left me- if you can help me- please do it’.

The prophet Isaiah said he was a ‘man of sorrows- acquainted with grief- we hid our faces from him when we saw him coming’.

I’ll tell you- that doesn’t feel good.

Yes- John was a great man- a great prophet.

But Jesus was the seed- ‘except a seed all into the ground- and die- it remains alone- but if it die- it brings forth much fruit’.

It becomes a tree- and the birds of the air nest in it.

Yeah- remember last week’s post- the Tee of Life.

He had to die first- then the Tree.

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
Matthew 11:3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Matthew 11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
Matthew 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
Matthew 11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
Matthew 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Matthew 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Mark 9:11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Mark 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
Mark 9:13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
John 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
John 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

MONDAY NIGHT- THE BUS RIDE.

Today I had an interesting experience- but let me talk first.
Last week I took my car in to have an oil change and to check on a fuel smell.

Sure enough- they said I needed a new gas tank.
Ok- my usual response is ‘these guys are trying to rip me off!

So- I took the car home and got under it- yeah- they were right.

I figured I’d at least by the tank [it cost 80- the shop adds an extra 80 just for them to get it].

So I went to the salvage yard [Sables are no longer in business- the dealer did not carry a new one].

Sure enough they had three 16 gallon tanks- each different- and I had to drop the tank to see which one it was.

Forget it- took it back to Pep Boys and had them do it.

But- I did look forward to having to walk for the day- and catch the bus.

Last year I rode the bus more than any other time in my life. I sold my vehicles and the plan was I was moving from Texas- and from now on I’ll use the buses in North Bergen [NY city area].
But- things changed.

So- I actually looked forward to riding the bus today.
I thought ‘well at least I’ll get a break from Timons [the local mission] and I won’t get bugged for someone bumming a cigarette’.

Sure enough- a guy I know from the mission gets on the bus- the first thing he says- yeah- you guessed it.

But- as I walked from the bus to the mission- I stopped in a store I would never stop in.
One of my homeless buddies works part time there- and I figured it would be cool to see him.

As I went inside- the owner was talking about God to my friend- and kind of grilled me too.

I told him I do a ministry- and he kinda looked at me like ‘yeah right’ [I do look homeless at times].

He asked me what the ‘word’ was for today.

So- I launched into the teaching for this week [above] and quoted stuff- like I do at the meetings.

I think it was a bit much for him.

Anyway- I did talk about the ministry- the years of working with street guys- prisoners- the whole 9 yards.

Told him I have had friends who have done it all- murder- etc.

He started really getting something from this short ‘ministry’ time- he saw I was for real.

He then asked me to pray for him- I did.
Then he handed me some papers- he told me ‘this is my rap sheet- I’m praying for God to help my record get dismissed’.

He wanted me to see it- as I flipped thru the first page- yeah multiple felonies.

He had 3 pages- but he wanted me to see the last page.

Felony conviction- Murder.

He asked if I would pray again- I did.

It was strange- when I walked in to this store [this ‘kid’ is rich-and has really made a turnaround in his life].

He doubted my story- I could tell [plus I do smell like a smokestack].

But after a while- he realized I was sent there for him.

Later- after I left- my homeless buddy who works there told me ‘John- he really likes you- he asked if you would come back and visit’.

Yeah- I was mad about the whole gas tank thing- but glad I rode the bus today.

TUESDAY- In a little while we’ll be heading to Bishop for our meeting.
First I want to wrap up this past week.

The other day I got another call from my friend in North Bergen.

He said it was important [he texted first] that he needed me to call.

I called back in a little bit- he told me ‘John- I’m ready to quit drinking- there’s something wrong with my body John- I can feel it’.

I told Rick that has been the theme these past few months- that now’s the time- we are running out of time in a sense- so we have to make the best of the time we have left.

He texted me a few times last night- he’s on his 3rd day of being sober.
I told him to attend the AA meetings- there’s one right where we hung out- an old church in Fairview.

He did ask my advice- I told him go to the meeting.

Last week I gave an old refrigerator to Pop’s- he had a small one [I’ll post the pics to Facebook] and I told him I’ll give him one.

We borrowed a truck and I took Charlie and Damien- a neighbor- in a bad area of town- they are using drugs and stuff in that spot.

But Damien has the gang look- the whole 9 yards.

He rode with me- and I told him ‘brother- you’re the type of person that I love working with’.

I told him about the ministry and all.

I thought he was Mexican- he’s 100 % Sicilian.

Wow- right up my alley.

We moved the fridge- spent about an hour or so talking to him about life change.
When I dropped him off- he told me to come by whenever I’m in the area- visit him.

This is how this stuff woks- no- I’m not perfect- far from it- but when people see your real- they connect.

Charlie rode with me this day- when we got back to his apt- as we got out of the car- he said ‘preacher John- I need to tell you something’.
Sure- what’s up?

‘I’m sorry- I talked about you behind your back- stuff I don’t really know about- I’m sorry’.

He felt bad- almost started to cry.

I of course told him I forgive him.
We went inside for a bit.

I hung out with Pop’s for a while. When I was leaving Charlie called me over.

‘I need to tell you something else’.

Ok.

‘When I was in the hospital [he was on his death bed- in a coma and on a respirator- for 2 months] the only face I saw- out of all the people who told me they came by and prayed for me- was yours’.
He said it freaked him out.

I remember a few weeks ago when he called- he didn’t tell me this yet- but that day said ‘man- when I talk to you on the phone- I see your face’.

At the time I didn’t get it.

But now I see that when I prayed for Charlie- we in a way our all ‘on our deathbeds’.

I mean when we connect with people- show them God’s love- live life like it was your ‘last day’- then you are walking in a different path.

You’re not concerned about lots of other stuff- you’re doing the best you can- and God sees that.
I remember when Charlie got out of the hospital- a few people did tell him ‘we went and prayed for you- Jackie’s prayers saved you!’ [Jackie has been relapsing for a long time- again just the other day. David- my partner with the halfway house- tells me ‘she didn’t get step 1 right- she had the wrong sponsor’- on and on. I have written about this problem- in an honest way. David keeps seeing a program [AA] in his mind- that is without flaw. And every time Jackie relapses- which she does a lot- he always seems to see how she did not work the program right- I have a lot of trouble with this. I am now sober for about a year and a half- I had to leave AA for various reasons that I have written about. But even to this day- David sees me as a ‘dry drunk’- meaning even though I’m not using- and doing God’s will- yet he sees me at flaw- almost waiting for me to relapse. Yet- those in the program- who are relapsing a lot- he sees them as on the right track- because in his mind they are still in AA- I try and be nice about it- but if someone continues to relapse- don’t keep trying to see how they did some step wrong- or had the wrong sponsor- be open enough to see that maybe they should seek help another way].

I felt uncomfortable hearing stuff like this- to be honest.

And I did pray for a few of my buddies this past month or so- all 3 were on their death beds- and made it.

But I don’t think it was ‘my prayer’ I mean it was like people were competing for who’s prayer saved these guys.

But when Charlie told me this- I knew God was indeed giving him one last chance.

Let’s hope he makes the best of it.

WEDNESDAY-

Ok-
Let’s end this post with a few practical things.
Yesterday I did one of our meetings in Bishop.

I covered the teaching on John the Baptist- and talked about God’s purpose for every one of us- just like he chose John ‘from his mother’s womb’.
One of the verses I forgot to mention above was that John was ‘filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb’.

In the letter to the Ephesians the apostle Paul says ‘God chose us before he made the world- to be holy and without blame before him in love’- the chapter goes on to say that he had a particular destiny for our lives- even before we were born.

In the case of John the Baptist- God actually had the Old Testament prophets speak specifically about him.

In our case- we have the overall general call of God- that even though there are not particular verses that mention us- by name.

Yet- the calling of God is just as real.

In 2012- in the middle of a personal storm- one morning I got up early- and I usually do some house cleaning in the morning- after prayer and writing.
As I walked thru the hall- I noticed something on the floor.

It was some type of tag- made out of strong material- it said ‘First kiss- but not the last- New York’. [I have no idea where it came from- I guess one of my kids bought something?]

Over the years I always wanted to do outreach in N.Y.

But- for reasons I mentioned above- I put it off.

But as I picked up the tag- I stuck in in my bag [I carry a little back pack with my books- so if I’m in the yard- or the house- I have all the stuff right there].

I thought ‘this might be a sign of sorts- that someday I’ll make the trip again’.

I haven’t been back to New Jersey in a few years [maybe 10?] at this time- and the spot where I grew up is really the NYC area- right off the Hudson River.

As a matter of fact- my last trip there- I walked over the George Washington Bridge and headed towards 42nd St. – Times Square.

So- that’s the area.

As the day progressed [when I found the tag].

I had an argument with my wife- and without planning any trip- yeah- I jumped in the Van and headed out- to N.J.

I hate leaving late like this- it was in the afternoon- but like I said- it wasn’t planned.

Later that day [or a few days later?].

I opened my bag- and saw the tag.

It was strange- almost like God was saying ‘you’re going to go back to N.J. soon’.
I had no idea it would be this soon!

So- that was 2012- and I went back for 3 months in 2013 [the longest return since I moved back to Texas in 1981].

And I plan on going back at least once a year- maybe more.

Yeah- first kiss- but not the last.

As you read these long posts- I’m trying to mix in teaching- along with my story.

I never told the full story about all of this stuff- until this last month.

I had a lot of friend’s I have been doing ministry with- who were surprised to say the least.
One of the guys at the mission- who I never told the story to- must have heard from someone else.

He always made an excuse of sorts ‘Well John- the reason I’m on the streets- is because I never had the church upbringing like you’.

He has said this for many years- and I never really corrected him.

I mean I did go to church as a kid- but was not the ‘good Christian’ type boy.

The other day he asked ‘you were raised in the church- right?’

This was the first time he put it like that- as a question- so I simply said ‘no Dirk- I too have a background’ [and to be honest- probably worse than his- absent the recent stabbing- that is].

Another friend- who I won’t mention by name [ see- now it’s hard to do this- without my buddies thinking it’s them- let’s say this friend does not read my site- or Facebook- that way you will at least know who it isn’t]

I have known him for years- yet- he has never confessed to using hard drugs- and he is a loner- I know much more of the homeless crew then he does.

I shared some of my story with him the other day- and for the first time- he told me he used to spend about 400 dollars a night- on Meth.

So- in a way- I think it’s been good to finally tell it all- like they say.

What’s God’s calling for you?

Maybe you won’t find a tag on the floor [or maybe you will?] but often times you already know what he wants- he puts that desire in you.

In my case- finding the tag wasn’t the reason I left- but no- I had been putting off this trip for years.

The tag [or sign] simply prods you along the way.

The past few days my North Bergen friend has been keeping in touch daily- he has about 3-4 days sober now- and we text about every day.

In a way- you could say I’m his sponsor- though this is not AA.

One of the good things I did get from AA was seeing my friends who sponsor these guys- how they call each other- do help each other- and keep in daily contact with them.

Because of my short time in AA- I now do this with some of our guys.

In the past it was almost impossible to get me on the phone- but because of learning/seeing my friends do this as sponsors- I changed my pattern.

So yeah- I do credit AA for the good- and when I critique AA- the purpose is not to put AA down- but to help all of us find the best path.

Yeah- I ‘kissed’ North Bergen for the first time in 2012 [There’s a verse that says righteousness and peace will kiss the earth- so the ‘first kiss’ tag symbolized a type of ministry thing] and again in 2013- and will in 2014.

Yeah- that was my path- that’s not everyone’s path- but that was mine

God- like in the case of John- also has a path for you.

I pray that you will find it- soon.

REFORMED, ORTHODOX AND CATHOLIC STUFF

2063- NORTH BERGEN- N.Y. AREA TRIP- APRIL- 2014.

SATURDAY-NOON- STUCK AT HOUSTON AIRPORT.

Ok- being I have a 3 hour layover- might as well write a little.

I’m sitting at the airport- reading a few papers- and might comment on some world issues.

But first- yesterday I went to one of the first AA meetings in a while- just wanted to touch base with a few friends.

The meeting consisted of about 3 people- good people mind you- just talking for the whole time.

Didn’t seem like much was accomplished [but that’s ok- that’s not the point here].
As I have been reading the book of Romans- there are many themes that contrast law and grace.

I’ll quote just a few ‘Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to those who believe’.
‘Those who sought it by works [effort] did not find righteousness [freedom] but those who sought it not- found it by faith’. [Funny- it says some people found God- and they weren’t even looking! God works out stuff- where people- whose last thing on their mind is God- wind up finding him- cool!]

In Galatians it says ‘the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ- but after we arrive at the true teacher- then the law has accomplished its purpose’.

The other day at the halfway house- Shaky- the agnostic- had a question.

He didn’t understand why the bible has both an old and new testament.

I explained why- but told him that the main reason is the old ‘way’- called the law- has passed away as a means to achieve salvation by our efforts.

And the New Way [New Testament] has now been established by the Blood of Jesus- a way of grace.

For centuries Gods people sought to change themselves thru the implementing of a program [the law- 10 commandments].
During this whole time- no one ever accomplished it.

The apostle Paul teaches us that the purpose of the law was to reveal sin to man [us!].

Ok- that’s the term ‘schoolmaster’ that I quoted above.

Now- Schoolmaster does not mean ‘teacher’ no- he was the guy who escorted the kids to the school- the real place of learning.

Now- after the kids get dropped off- he leaves.

His purpose was served.

Paul is showing us that we are now in a new time period [age of grace] where we are no longer in need of the schoolmaster [meaning the stage of trying to reform ourselves thru some program- or thru self-effort- that stage has passed].

‘So John- how do we then change’?

Good question.

That’s the whole reason for Christ dying on the Cross- he took our sins with him- died with them on him- and rose again.

Ok- now the way this new system works- is when we believe this [you mean it’s that easy?] we then receive ‘change’ [called the gift of righteousness] as a free gift.

I mean this is really basic- but we often miss the simple stuff.

At the AA meeting I mentioned above- some of my friends were there- good friends- people I am helping [thru the bible studies I do].

One of them told me how he argued with a relative the other week- he told the person that even though they were free from substance abuse- and doing real well- yet because this person never completed some steps- they are still not ‘right’.

Now- this friend of mine is doing ok- with his past substance problem- but has many other problems.

I have tried to help him learn to manage his life- with simple tools I learned over the years.

But- he refuses to listen- and says ‘everything he needs is in the big book’.

I have seen some friends struggle [like I do at times] but sometimes we fall into the legalism category- meaning we can take a good program- and it can become bondage over time- just like the Old law covenant.

Those who rely on any covenant/program- for change- without having the free gift of grace- can never truly achieve change.

That’s just the way the free gift of ‘change’ works- it’s a gift.

Ok- obviously there’s a lot more to this but being I’m here at the airport- figured I do something-

So- I did.

NOTES- In the home meetings this week I covered some practical stuff- I talked about how when the people complained about being on this new journey [being delivered from Egypt/bondage] that God judged them [the snakes bit them].
In the book of Hebrews it says that they were ‘mindful’ of the old days- and wanted to go back.
I applied this to recovery- that often times when we walk a new road- out of old ways- that we feel uncomfortable at first.
In a way- we were used to the old addictions- and even though bondage is a miserable way to live- yet at times people are drawn to the old patterns- it makes them feel ‘comfortable’ again.
In one of the meetings I have a friend who used to be involved with some famous Texas gangs.

Many years with these guys.

He actually surprised me that he has been showing up on his own to my meetings.
I have known him for years- never talked to him.

But he loves the meetings- has been off of Meth for 7 months- and is a real nice guy.
Last night- before the meeting he told me he resorted to some old ways- and it just happened before the meeting.
At first I thought he meant Meth- but no- he was at the corner store- right down the block from where I live.

Some guy he didn’t know disrespected him- and he knocked him out.

Now- he felt bad- said he’s trying to get away from the way he used to be.

So- as I spoke about old patterns- and how it takes time to create new ways of thinking and acting- I felt it helped.

There was another guy in the meeting-

He cut down a tree for me a few weeks back- he does use drugs- but he’s a friend- been in my meetings and knows the bible.

I wrote about this a few weeks ago- but left out some of what happened.

He cut the tree- but never came back to finish the job.

He was supposed to cut the branches and stack them along the fence.

So- I did it myself.

The cost for the whole job was 200 [cheap- it was a big tree].

So- I could have paid half- and got away with it.

But I decided to pay the 200- and have a talk with him.

I did.

A few days later he came back- very high- and had his 2 partners.

They came to finish- they didn’t know I did it- and paid anyway.

I told the guys [3 of them] ‘Don’t worry- I finished the job myself’.

One of them said ‘no- we need to finish so you can pay us the rest’.

Now- I went out of my way for these guys- and at that point I went off.

I got mad- told them ‘don’t f.. piss me off- I paid him the f… 200- now you’re getting me mad’.

The old man apologized- said ‘no- we don’t want to piss you off, I’m sorry- he lied to me’.

And they left.
The ‘tree cutter’ has been in my meetings since then- I made things right- and he is actually a good friend.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBookl] – I have posted lots.

2077- TAKING THE LAND

Today we move along in our overview of the bible- and we get to the fulfillment of one of the promises God made to Abraham.
The taking of the promised land- Canaan.
We see the story in the book of Joshua- the people have spent 40 years in the wilderness- and they arrive at the river Jordan- getting ready to pass over into the land.

An interesting ‘door’ opens- God once gain does a miracle- like the parting of the Red sea.

The priests who were carrying the Ark of the covenant [This in itself deserves an entire post- the Ark and the meaning of the Tabernacle of Moses- but I have covered it lots in the past so I decided to skip it] step into the Jordan river- the water stops flowing- and the people pass over.

After the people pass thru- the priests come up out of the river- and the water flows again.

Now- the first city they take is Jericho- they send 2 spies into the city- a prostitute named Rahab hides the spies- and they make a deal with her.

When they come back later to take the city- she and those in her house will be spared.

In Hebrews 11 Rahab is considered a ‘hero’ of the faith- she is part of the genealogy of Christ himself- and yet was a harlot.

God’s mercy is great.

The Israelites march around the city for seven days- on the 7th day they march around the city 7 times- blow the trumpets and shout- the walls fall and they take the city with ease.

The next city is small- Ai- so they send about 3 thousand troops to take it- they fail miserably.

Joshua faces his first real test- he falls to the ground and says ‘why did you let this happen- we should have stayed on the other side of Jordan’ [sounds like the Israelites when they said ‘we should have stayed in Egypt’].

God tells Joshua that they failed to take Ai because there was ‘sin in the camp’.

Huh?

When they took Jericho- they had to ‘dedicate’ the booty to God- they were not supposed to take any treasure for themselves.

But Achan- one of the men- broke the rule and hid some stuff in his tent.
So- they ‘stone’ Achan- and the take Ai.
Eventually they take city by city- I like the imagery of the Ark preceding the territorial taking of the land.

When the children of Israel were in the wilderness 40 years- the Tabernacle of Moses and the Ark were the central part of the mobile community.

The tribes camped around the Ark- when God said ‘time to move’ they ‘un-pitched’ the tent- and off they went.

This is a type of Christ [he is the Word of God- the Ark was a box that held the Word of God- the 10 commandments- it was a type of Gods glory in the midst of the camp].

So- as the people take the Promise Land- this Ark plays a vital role- they are taking the land for the glory of God.

Jesus was the living Ark- and the 12 disciples- like the 12 tribes ‘gathered around the Ark’- see?

The name Joshua means ‘The Lord saves- gives victory’.
The Greek translation is Jesus.

Joshua was a type/symbol of Christ- who brings us into the Promised Land- presence of God.

He is the leader of the Lords army.
Right when Joshua was entering the land- he saw a commander with a sword.
He asks ‘who are you- are you for us or for our enemies’.

The angel answers ‘neither- but as commander of the Lords army I have now come’.
What message did he tell Joshua?
‘Take off your shoes- for the place where you are now standing is Holy Ground’.
In chapter 20 we read about the cities of refuge- these were cities dedicated for the safety of those who killed a person unintentionally.

The person who committed the murder would flee to the city- he would take refuge from the avenger of blood [the relative of the one killed] and he would abide in the city- until the death of the high priest.
Then he would be allowed to go back to his own city- and live as a free man.

I like this- it is a type of Christ and how we find refuge in him.

We are all guilty [whether we know it or not- unintentionally] of the death of Christ.

He died for the sins of the whole world.
But- because of God’s grace- he has made provision for us- the church [people of God- community of God] is like a city of refuge.

We can ‘flee’ to this city- and find safety.
Jesus is called our high priest in the New Testament.

Because of the death of our high priest- we can now go out from the city of refuge [the church is a pace of safety but we are ambassadors of Christ- there comes a time when we are to move out of the safety- confines- of the city of refuge] and enter into the true inheritance we have in God.

In chapter 24 Joshua gives a good overview of what we have been teaching on these last few weeks.

He recounts the promise of God to Abraham- that he would multiply his seed [kids] and give him a land.
Joshua reminds the people that God did indeed fulfill this promise.

Thru out the book the most repeated exhortation to Joshua [and the people] is to be brave- don’t fear- have courage.

They are told- time and again- to obey the word/law of God.

If they are to finish the mission that God has given them- they must put away their false idols.

I hesitate to add his last part- but I think I will.

These last few months [year?] I have had good friends- good people- who though they have overcome substance abuse [like me] yet- they have mentioned that thru the working of the 12 step program- the part that deals with- well- sex.
That they were taught that when you do the sex inventory [if that’s what it’s called?] that God has given us a conscience [true] and that therefore whatever your conscience leads you to do- is permitted.

Sort of along the lines of ‘whatever is not of faith is sin’- Romans.

Now- this is not the first time this has come up and when my friends share this with me [one- who is living in what the bible refers to as adultery] I tell them that in this area- you need to obey what God says [not what ‘your conscience’ has told you!]
This is one aspect of the 12 step program- that frankly- can kill you [or send a person to hell- if I may be so open].
Now- scripture teaches that adultery [any sex outside of the God ordained plan- marriage] is right under the sin of murder.

That is- it is not a small thing.

Most of the friends I know- who are free from a substance yet have lots of problems in life- they simply don’t see this act- sleeping- sex- etc. as wrong.

Ok- my purpose is not to preach to everyone who is in AA/NA- but this has come up more than once-

One time I was with a friend- whose life is in disarray- in my view- because of this very thing.

He has asked my advice- I even copied one of the posts I did for him- called AA and the sex issue.
As I sat in his living room- as he was struggling with what to do [many relationship problems with the person he is living with- someone who struggles herself with drug abuse- a nice girl- but relapses a lot].

I noticed he had one of the AA books open- and he had the page underlined that said something to the effect of what I mentioned above- that you develop your own view on sex- and what your conscience says- because it is God given- that’s what’s ok.

Look- as someone who has made many mistakes [sins] yes- I’m not judging here- but I will say that this is simply not correct.

I have had more than one occasion- this last year- where I said to girls I’m working with ‘I don’t cheat- I don’t sleep around’.
And I haven’t.

Why?

A big part of ‘taking the land’ is walking in obedience to God.

In the book of Joshua God gave them the land- but they were warned- time and again- to walk in the laws of God.

And this issue- sex- adultery- is at the top of the list.

So- I got side tracked to tell you this- but I think it’s a major problem.

Ok- Jesus is our Joshua- he leads us into the Promised Land- and he is the Captain of our Salvation- who was made perfect thru suffering [Hebrews].
If we- in our own lives- want to fulfill the will of God- we need to remember what the commander of the Lords army told Joshua when he met him

‘Take off your shoes- for the place where you stand is Holy ground’.

None of us is perfect- God has declared us righteous- holy- because of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Over time- this becomes lived out in our lives- we do indeed ‘sin less’- this is a big part of fulfilling the will of God in our lives.

I’ll end with a verse from chapter 1 of Joshua ‘this law of the Lord shall not depart out of your mouth- but you shall mediate on it day and night- that you may be careful to do all that is written in it- that you may be prosperous and have good success’.

Note- in Deuteronomy 7:22 we read an interesting thing- as a matter of fact read the whole chapter- these are instructions from Moses to the people about the taking of the Promised Land.

But Moses tells them ‘when you do take the land- God will not let you take it all at once- because then the wild beasts will overrun the land- but you will take a little at a time’.

I like this- in our lives God works progressively- I don’t intend to put a guilt trip on you [especially about the sex thing!]

But- over time- this issue is a big one- and I don’t think we can get around it.
Let God work in you – a little at a time- don’t expect to ‘take all the land’ at once.

It’s progressive- but over time- as you overcome- you will see that obeying God- in all areas- is the real key to success.

Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,
Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Joshua 1:6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
Joshua 3:1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
Joshua 3:2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
Joshua 3:3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
Joshua 3:4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
Joshua 3:6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
Joshua 3:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
Joshua 3:12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
Joshua 3:13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.
Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
Joshua 5:Joshua 11: And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
Joshua 5:12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
Joshua 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
Joshua 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
Joshua 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
Joshua 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
Joshua 6:6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.
Joshua 6:7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
Joshua 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
Joshua 20:1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,
Joshua 20:2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
Joshua 20:3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
Joshua 20:4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
Joshua 20:5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.
Joshua 20:6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.
Joshua 21:43 And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.
Joshua 21:44 And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.
Joshua 21:45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.
Joshua 23:9 For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
Joshua 24:3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
Joshua 24:4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
Joshua 24:5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
Joshua 24:6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
Joshua 24:7 And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
Joshua 24:8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Deuteronomy 7:22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
facebook.com/john.chiarello.5

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] – I have posted lots. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.

2081- ABRAHAM’S JOURNEY [Transition time]

– Before I begin this week’s new post- I want to try and explain something.

As I’m adapting to some changes- and making decisions about some new things- I’m also working on some old radio shows I did many years ago.

As I copy them to the WordPress site- I review them- these are 15 minute shows I did years ago.

I find myself making notes- you know- God speaks to me thru these old shows.

I will add a link to Ruth 1- I mean it’s really uncanny if you realize there is no order to me reviewing these tapes- each one [I’ve heard about 7 in the past week- years apart] has given me direction for where I am at in life- really strange in a way. This tape talked about transition and change- many insights into where I’m at right now.

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7A- Ruth 1

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7y [This is my first Corpus video- the quality not that good- but I wanted my friends from N.J. to get a look at Corpus- so I left it on].

[I hope these links work- if not- the Ruth radio show and the Corpus video ore on ccoutreach87.wordpress.com ]

Ok- this week I want to continue some of the teaching I actually started in North Bergen.

The story of Abraham [found in Genesis] is important in many ways- both practically and theologically.

Out of all the historical figures that the Apostle Paul uses when speaking about Justification by faith [meaning God planned from the start that he would save- accept- and yes- change [addiction recovery] man as a gift- not by human efforts- which is actually a bondage] he uses the story of Abraham the most.

In the letters he penned to the churches of Galatia [it was a region- more than one church/community] and to the church at Rome- he uses the chapters I have been quoting from in my videos [those of you have not watched the teaching videos on my WordPress site- watch them- these blog posts will fill in some gaps].

In Genesis chapters 12 and 15 God calls Abraham to a journey- he says ‘if you leave your family and land- and go into a new place- I will bless you and make you into a great people’.

God took Abraham outside and said ‘look at all the stars- and the sand by the sea- this is how many kids you will have- if you obey me’.

Now- Abraham went on a journey- a tough one to be sure- but exciting.

When God made this promise to Abraham- in Genesis 15- we read ‘And Abraham believed in the Lord- and it was accounted unto him for righteousness’.

Now- these are the verses that the Apostle Paul uses when teaching the Christians [and his Jewish brothers] that God planned- from the start- to give us the free gift of eternal life- when we would believe a promise [about his Son] as opposed to trying to work hard thru a program [the law] to achieve change.

The apostle taught that the harder we try to achieve change thru our own efforts [working the program harder] it actually strengthens the sin [addiction] that we are struggling to overcome [Romans 7].

God gave ‘the program’ [the law- the 10 commandments] about 400 years after he made this promise to Abraham-

So- in the mind of Paul [who wrote the letters by the inspiration of God] this showed us that the first promise to Abraham [freedom as a gift] can’t be ‘un-done’ by the ‘2ndword/commands’ that he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Then why did God give us the law [10 commandments]?

Good question- and many in the days of Jesus asked this very thing.

God gave us the law to reveal our sin- to us!

Yes- it was sort of a mirror [James teaches this in his letter] to reveal our own inability to change ourselves.

In the letter’s to the Galatians and Rome Paul says ‘the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ- but after we arrive at the school/truth [Jesus- grace- the truth] there is no longer any need for the schoolmaster’. [School master is an old term used in the earlier versions of the English bible- today it carries the connotations of someone who brought the kids to school- not the teacher at the school- so, the Law was only meant to bring us to Christ- not to actually change/save us].

He says ‘if righteousness [change] comes thru the law- then Christ DIED IN VAIN’!

Strong words indeed.

So- we see the promise that God made to Abraham- and the fact that Abraham went on a journey- and obeyed- as being key to our own journey in life today.

[on my blog I have written a couple of studies that will explain this more- if you want read the ‘Luther- Reformation’ study- and the ‘justification by Faith’ study- they are on the pages on the left of the site as you log on].

When God made this covenant [deal] with Abraham- he also said ‘and thru one of these kids the whole world would be blessed’.

That ‘kid’ was Jesus- who over many centuries later- would come from the line of David- who was the Son of Jesse- who came thru the tribe of Judah- who was one of the Sons of Jacob- who was the son of Isaak- who was- yeah you guessed it- the son of ‘Father’ Abraham himself.

[UPDATE AT BOTTOM]
Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
Genesis 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Genesis 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Galatians 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Romans 4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
Romans 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Romans 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Romans 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Romans 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:
Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

UPDATE- I don’t have much to do with at all with AA any more- I dont surround my life with the ‘identity of addiction’ – I have found it problematic. I have not drank- any alcohol for almost 2 years as of this writing [11-2014] nor do I use any medications [legal or illegal- which many of my friends do- even sponsors]. I have stopped watching porn [though to be honest- my ‘clean date’ for porn is less than the drinking- but I’m abstinent again]- but do now smoke- alot! So- I always said I would be honest about this process- and I am. I do not think I will deal with this whole subject much at all in the future- except as it relates to the biblical concept of the grace of God and mans struggle with sin- yes- I of course with speak about redemption- but I have found the whole mindset/language of AA/NA to be very unhelpful for me [and others].
http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-8k 11-18-14- Me Teaching at NeWay

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-Y Radio show 705- have to listen with Internet explorer browser only [it’s a Wave file]
WEDNESDAY-
The video for this week was one of the ‘spur of the moment’ teachings- that I said I would do every so often.

There was a new guy in the group- he’s from Canada and said he was here in Texas doing street ministry.
I don’t doubt him- not 100% at least.

He said he has studied the bible in its original languages for many years- and seemed to know some stuff.

After I shut the video off- I took questions- it seems as if the brother had some questionable stuff- which is ok- that’s why I’m there.

I did my best to try and get some of his beliefs on track- and did some church history- ways we understand scripture.
He kept asking me what the original sin was- I did talk about the creation story somewhat.
I said they disobeyed God [don’t eat from the tree of knowledge] and the bible says sin is the transgression of the law- meaning- they disobeyed what God told them [simple?]

I did my best- he had a few other questions- sort of along the lines of a test.

If I may be so bold- I do know this stuff- and he seemed a bit off.

I found out later that he believed- from the original ‘languages’- that the sin was Eve had sex with the Serpent.

Ok- after I left the meeting I went to visit another friend- he also is involved with ministry- good guy- don’t get me wrong- I like these brothers.

Sure enough- he ‘taught’ the same thing.
When I was in North Bergen- yeah- this same question came up.

Ok- do the ‘original languages’ say this?

No- that’s the problem.

This belief does exist- like many others- in some other writings- but these were rejected by the church early on- as a matter of fact a guy at Timons had some questions about the ‘DaVinci code’- again- I taught the same thing.

Saying ‘just because a belief has been around- for a while- and you might find it in some very early documents [2nd, 3rd century Gnostic writings] – yet- this does not mean they are valid’.

The Canadian ‘preacher’ was at the mission today with a few other friends.

Normally I would take the guys with me- spend the day doing stuff- but to be honest- I stopped doing that- they saw.

What’s the problem here?

All 3 of these friends should be working- and in the old days I did do stuff with them- but no more.

I’m a retired fire fighter- I can- with a clear conscience- spend the day doing ministry.

But- if you are on the streets- doing ministry- and bumming cigarettes [yes- when I first met the brother- he is in the meeting on this week’s video- I told him ‘hope you’re not offended- but I smoke’- sure enough- he bummed one from me]!

The point- all the guys I was with today- yes- doing some ministry stuff- yet- they should have all been working- not looking for a day to just hang out.

This is indeed one of the changes I have made- and I think it’s best for all of us.

NOTE- In scripture- stealing- lying- ‘sinning’ in general- well- is bad.

Now- I’m no ‘saint’ [well actually I am- in the bible this word refers to all believers- it means ‘sanctified ones’].
But I noticed a funny thing- since I made some changes.
At the Coffee shop- sometimes I leave the laptop inside- and go out to smoke- a nice sitting area.

I always felt uncomfortable doing it- because if I did this with some of the ‘old crew’ it would be gone.

So- I have had to ‘learn’ not being around people who will steal- again- and again- and ag…

The other day- just as I was getting comfortable with it- I walked back inside and went to my chair- sure enough- my stuff was gone!

I asked Alex ‘I think someone stole my stuff’- does that happen?
He went up to the cashier- and before he could ask- I realized I was at the wrong chair- my stuff was at another spot.

I never realized how this affected me- and how it affects everybody.

Today at the mission a friend said someone stole the keys to his car- his wife was upset [they live on the streets].

He told his wife ‘look- what do you expect- we all do it to each other’.

It’s sad- I love all my friends- but I have felt for a while that things needed to change.

The friend who stole 2 packs of cigarettes from my glove compartment one day- I had him in the car a few weeks later.

I asked him to get something out of my glove compartment [I started locking it- but it was unlocked this day].

He opened it up- I forgot I had a pack in there.

As soon as he saw it- jokingly- he grabbed it and- without even realizing he was actually doing it as a joke- but I could see it was a ‘natural reflex’-

He acted like he was going to steal it.

I don’t think many of these friends realize that unless this lifestyle changes- they will never get anywhere in life.

THURSDAY- I’m going to do something right now- that I never planned on doing again.
What’s that?

Write a bit more about AA/NA.

The main reason I did not want to write on this subject anymore- is because I never was really ‘in the program’- in the sense that I never did a step.

I never had a sponsor- but only attended some meetings early on- and did read the big book.

Now- why write then?

Good question.
One of the changes that I felt needed to be made- in my ‘transition’ season that I have been writing about- was I felt in all good conscience that I can’t be affiliated with previous ministries- for a few reasons- but one is they are strong in AA- to the point where at times I see many ‘cultic’ signs in some of the people I associate with.

What do you mean Cultic?

Since I’ve been back in Texas- I have had friend’s relapse- again- and they start the whole routine over ‘John- I called my sponsor and…’.

Ok- if that’s the track you feel you need to be on- fine.

But if after 30 years- and the track never lead to anywhere [in around 90% of the cases- this is true. The latest statistic I read was the success rate is about 10%- many in the movement do not know this- because they do not read the most up to date data on addiction- many feel it is in a way wrong to be informed about the issue].

So- even though I am now clean for almost 2 years- yet- in a sense- when I run into some old friends still in the movement- and not clean themselves [many are addicted to prescription pills- and some use pills that are not prescribed to them- yet they still count their clean date from the last time they drank a beer].

It’s almost like trying to escape a cult- they view all of life thru the paradigm of AA/NA- which is a danger sign.

These are all good people- and when I first started writing on AA I did not want to side track those who are finding help thru it- the 7-10 % of success stories.

But- there are the other 90 %- who still need help- and often times the relapse is indeed because they are in a legalistic bondage to AA/NA.

I’ve taught on this a lot- and this is the basis of Christianity [many of the videos I’m making deal with this- the freedom from a system- the law- and having a new life in Christ- not focused on some system- that’s the heart of the New Covenant].

So- even though I have determined to try and cut all ties with the movement- in some ways those who are in it- however well intended- seem to take a cultic approach.

If you attempt to keep a relationship- with others in the movement- you are viewed as needing to ‘get with the program’.

I fear many of the well meaning people in the movement do not see the danger.

When I was in N.J.- not this last time- but about 2 years ago.

The last meeting I went to there was a speaker [note- I do realize you are not supposed to talk about what was said in the meetings- let me say- I am not in AA- and I am trying my best to not step on too many toes here- one of the aspects of a cult is you do not talk about what’s going on in their meetings- so- when I share the things I learned- it’s so we can all benefit- I also realize the reason people do not share is so they can be anonymous- which is ok- I get it].

So- one of the last meetings I went to- there was a guest speaker.

As he spoke- he said he wished he could live his life without being in a never ending process of depending upon meetings- sponsors- the whole thing.

He described it as a sort of bondage-

But he said because he was an addict- he can never have a normal life- being free from addiction- unless he did this- for the rest of his life.

I didn’t say anything- and maybe he was having a bad day.

But his own testimony- from his mouth- was what I already began seeing at the time.

The fact is- the free gift of grace- does indeed free us from focusing our lives around overcoming addiction- that was indeed the great break thru of the Cross- that God would set us free- for FREE [meaning you do not have to focus your life around a system to be free- Paul the apostle taught in Romans 7 that if you do try harder to keep the law [any program that you think you need to follow to be free] that it actually strengthens the sin [addiction]. This is what is indeed happening in many of the 90% of those who are relapsing].

NOTE- When I read other literature on addiction recovery- just to broaden my understanding- I did not realize that there were many others who saw major flaws with AA/NA- many of these alternative approaches were developed because of some of the stuff I mentioned above.

Any movement- must in time be open to new things- and I have had people tell me that AA/NA was given by God to Bill W- and because it was given- by God- that’s why it ‘rarely’ fails for those who do it.

But it does fail- often-

And it’s ok to say this- it needs to be said-

But if your view is because it is a God given program- that man never had before- then you become a defender of a movement- much like a cult defends their beliefs- this is happening with many in the movement.

Some of the teaching that I did recently dealt with the SEX issue- how in the bible adultery [any sex outside marriage- even Porn addiction] is considered very serious.

The bible says ‘drunkards- adulterers- etc.’ will not inherit the kingdom.

Now- if you’re in AA/NA just to try and get free from a substance- that’s your prerogative.

But- in the biblical teaching- if you are ‘under’ [meaning sponsor type thing] people who do practice sexual sin- then those under you will never get free- from the thing the leader is in bondage to.

That’s a biblical principle.

[I have had many friends tell me that the porn/sex problem is one they cannot overcome- yet they stopped using substances- they do not realize the biblical principle I am writing about now- they need to know this- or the train will never stop]

I was invited to an AA celebration last year- I was told ‘you might not want to go- they are all renting rooms already- to sleep with each other’.

The person knew I would have a problem with that.

I said ‘what you have is hedonism- without the alcohol’.

Now- if that’s what you want- fine.

But Christians in the movement are submitting to sponsors- if they are involved in this- that the bible teaches you should not submit to.
Because the sex issue- in scripture- is just as bad [or worse] if done outside of marriage- as the substance.

The biblical principle is you can’t help others- if you’re in bondage yourself.

I often tell people ‘look- if you want help quitting smoking- I can’t help you’.

Why?

Because I smoke.
I wrote in the past that I felt the underlying issue to most addicts is lust- The BIBLE says ‘we have escaped the corruption that is in the world THRU LUST’.

If you are in a fellowship- that actively practices lust- you will never get free from it- and many of the people who have overcome drugs and drink thru the program- do indeed struggle with lust- porn- adultery.

Why?

Because of what I just told you- the bible is a higher authority than man- and any movement that allows you to develop your own conscience on sex- leads to a bondage- if at the end of your ‘sex inventory’ you come to a conclusion that is not compatible with scripture- which is God given.
This past month those of you who have followed my journey- you’ll notice some of the verses and old radio quotes dealt with the issue of how should believers relate to those living in sin.

I tried to strike a balance between being ‘in the world’ yet not of it.

I mentioned that in the letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul did say to have no fellowship with the brother who was in sexual sin- because his sin was open- and accepted.

Yet- in the ‘world’ you will have people who are living in all types of situations- and it’s ok to have ‘friends’ that are sinners.

Jesus was called ‘a friend of sinners’.

Now- the problem with joining with a group/fellowship that practices sexual sin [not all- but many- and I covered in previous posts that the movement has decided to take no stand against adultery- in the big book I gave you the section that left that open-and I have known people in the movement that said when they did their sexual inventory that their conscience permitted various sexual sins that scripture forbids].

Now- I’m not nit-picking here- the point I’m making is if a believer puts himself under the authority of a movement/sponsor- that permits sexual sin [which is very different then someone who struggles with sin- yet does not condone it].

Then they are violating the mandate to not be unequally yoked together- meaning when you voluntarily submit to the leadership of a person- or movement- that permits this- you are indeed violating scripture- in this area.

I read a book from some pastors who were pro AA.

At the time I too was ‘pro’ AA- until I saw some of these things.

In my time in AA- there was more than one occasion that I knew of younger kids- struggling with porn- who were getting advice/sponsorship from men who themselves permitted it- they told me that to them it was not a sin.

Yet- the younger ones they sponsored did not know they were under the ‘covering’ of men who practiced the same thing [as far as I know].

There was a very respected older man- in his 70’s- who is well known around the country for having brought many to sobriety thru AA.
One day I was working with a person from the streets- and I mentioned how I thought the sex issue- being openly practiced- was a problem.

I later found out that this highly respected older man- well did the same thing [I can’t explain it all- but the girl knew the man].

I said ‘I can’t believe it’!

The person told me that he’s just a leader in AA- and it’s not ministry.

Now- that might be ‘ok’ if your not a Christian- but if churches and pastors are ‘partaking’ of a movement that permits a very serious sin- bondage- and many young men in the movement are seeking deliverance from this very thing [lust- porn- etc.].

Then the church leaders need to re-examine their support- because if they are recommending to join a ‘fellowship’ that permits this- then in my view they are violating the scripture in the area of not associating [or at least recommending] a movement that permits this.

Now- this is not a critique of others who are just in the movement to get free from drugs/alcohol- this is a Christian based view that I feel is scriptural.

In essence- church leaders are telling their people to submit to leadership- that is in violation of the scripture willingly- openly- and not ‘repenting’- like the Corinthian brother.

And many of the younger [older] leaders in the movement practice sexual sin- because they permit it.

This is much different than working with people struggling to overcome sin- but know it is wrong.

The sinning brother at the church of Corinth was engaged in sexual sin- and was open about it- he saw nothing wrong with it.

That indeed is the position of many in the movement- those they sponsor WILL NEVER GET FREE from a lifestyle that the leadership condones- Do you now see?

THE DALLAS BUYERS CLUB-
Right from the start of me going to the AA meetings- my friends knew that this was an area that I had strong problems with.

Meaning they knew that I felt the ‘addiction’ to sex sin- be it porn- sleeping around- etc.- was a sin/addiction that was just as strong [or worse] then drugs or alcohol.

And my friends knew that I had a problem with those who openly slept around with other people in the group.

In Texas at the end of the meetings we did pray the ‘Our Father’ which was a good thing- but some in the prayer saw nothing wrong with leaving the meeting- with someone else from the group- and having sex.

It was simply acceptable.
One day one of the old timers- famous in AA- he knew I had these strong reservations.

He told me a story from back in the day- that there was a famous Dallas AA group- and one member was jealous that another member had sex with his girl.
He went to New York City and brought back 2-3 hookers- who had aids.
He didn’t tell anyone in the group- he just brought the girls to the meetings- knowing the other members would sleep with them.
According to the old man- many [he said all] of the the men in that group contracted aids- and it became a famous story in the movement.

One of the kids that was at our halfway house- James- he was very paranoid from his use of Meth.

Some days I would go the halfway house- and the door was locked with a chain- I couldn’t get in.

I liked the kid- and he knew I was doing the Christin aspect of recovery [the meetings you see me do on video- actually the video for this week was done at the halfway house where James was staying].

James eventually left our halfway house- and I saw him about a year later.

I was at Timons [a feeding mission] and he said ‘Hey John- don’t you remember me’.

I didn’t recognize him- he was clean- gained weight- and ‘on fire for Jesus’.
He went to a Christian based recovery group- called Rapha House [I have taken guys there before- also to the Victory Outreach- these are Christian based recovery groups- many in these groups are very anti AA].

He said ‘John- I found true recovery thru Christ- I’m sorry- but the halfway house and AA thing – to be honest- were of no help’.

Now- I share these stories to let Christians- who advocate for AA/NA- see that from the Christian view- it’s problematic.

I want to make a note- many who struggle with Porn- sleeping around- etc. – have actually justified it thru their reading of the literature in AA/NA.
Yet- some have also expressed- to me- that they feel tremendous guilt when they practice these things.

I have always told them that the bible is a higher authority then what they are reading in the Big Book- that even if you develop a view on sex- that in your mind is acceptable- because of what you found in the Big Book- yet- you have to decide if you will hear God’s view [from scripture] or man’s view.

But- some of these people have a view of the movement- that says ‘because God gave this movement to Bill W- for the first time a way has been made- therefore what the movement says- has God’s approval’.

I don’t know how many times I have told my friends- in this area- they have it wrong.

Now- I had no plan on covering this issue again- but in the last week I have run into some of the guys- and the cycle repeats ‘I relapsed- called my sponsor- …’

All of these guys are also struggling with sex issues- one told me ‘Johnny- I’m doing ok- but I’m still looking at porn on the phone’.

Others are still sleeping around- I mean you can’t get ‘free’ if you do these things- and view them as acceptable.

Look- if your struggling with these things I’m not condemning you- struggling means you see it’s wrong- and are trying- by God’s grace- to stop.

But many in the movement condone- practice- and teach that it is ok- that they are simply trying to stop substance abuse- and in many cases they have.

But they are using their ‘freedom’ from drugs/drink- to go full speed ahead in a practice that the bible clearly condemns- adultery- in just about every form you can imagine.

The BIBLE says ‘do not use your new found freedom to engage in sexual desires’.

For those of you who are not getting this yet- this book is called THE BIBLE- It trumps all other man made books- including the big book- get it?

Now- I’ve already gone too long here- my advice for Christians in the movement- the bible forbids being in fellowship [meaning a spiritual community] of people who practice adultery.

If you are seeking freedom from bondage- all forms- you will not find it in a fellowship that allows/practices it- period.

If you have found freedom from substance abuse in the program- I bless you- great.

But in my experience- I have seen younger kids battle with the lust issue- and calling their sponsors- who do the same thing- and have justified doing it- because of all I wrote in this post.
These kids will struggle with that addiction- for life- if they submit to a leader/movement who approve of it- that’s the biblical teaching on this- ‘A bad tree cannot produce good fruit’ if the ‘tree’ [movement- etc.] permits a practice that the bible condemns- then it’s considered a bad tree- in that area- it will never be able to help you- in that area- because it is the nature of the tree to re-produce after it’s ‘kind’- this is a biblical principle that will never change.

There’s a verse that says ‘blessed are those who do not condemn themselves in the thing they allow’.
Some have told me that after they did the sex inventory- their conscience permitted certain sex practices that the bible forbids- but ‘their conscience is God given- so God ok’s it’.

WRONG!
The bible says our consciences can be ‘seared with a hot iron’ meaning you can violate Gods word- and actually manipulate your ‘conscience’ to justify sin.

That’s what these guys are doing.

Once again- it’s an issue of believing God’s word- or the words of men in some book.

ESACPED A CULT?

The other day one of my friends- who I have helped over the years- who recently relapsed- again- asked me something about AA.

I told him ‘brother- I’m out of that cult’-
Now- understand- me and the boys are open- those of you who have seen my site realize this.

So- I would not have said it like this to a normal ‘AA’ member- get it?

Cult?
When I first started attending meetings- meeting the guys- I did express to the older guys ‘look- I’m getting free from alcohol addiction- but I think the underlying issue to addiction is lust- so- no more porn for me- or sex at all- I’m doing the celibacy thing’.

Now- I can’t say much more here- you say ‘brother- you’re married’.

Just trust me- I’m doing the celibacy thing- ok?

Now- I had a friend who fought me on this- he told me it was impossible- and every time I saw him he tried to discourage me.

He justified masturbation to porn- he justified sleeping with people you are not married to- and I would say ‘look- the bible does say some men- not all- practiced this’.

He would tell me ‘no- these guys all did it- it’s impossible’- He was a Christian!

Now- I didn’t make it an issue- he made it one!

Always telling me ‘it can’t be done’-

It would be like me saying ‘you can’t stop drinking- or using drugs’.

He was trying to pull me down- because he engaged in this stuff.

Now- this is the principle I’m writing about- how can kids being sponsored by these guys- who come to them- about this very issue- ever get clean?

They can’t- and the sponsors [in some cases] just keep reassuring the kids- and then when they hang up the phone they engage in the practice.

This is very problematic-

In order to get free from an addiction- you must admit that it is wrong- and it has power over you.
But- if you justify the sex issue- then you are violating the whole procedure of getting free.

And this issue- porn- sex sin- many of the kids in the movement are wanting to get free of it- do you now see the problem?

I want to make a note- I’m talking about the snare of porn and all- if you are a girl who made porn- and have seen that is was wrong- and stopped.

Then don’t let that effect you any more- God forgives- and you can move on.

Don’t live in the fear of ‘what if they see my videos- or on-line stuff’.

God forgives- and if people are seeking it- they are just as in the wrong as the poor girl who made them.

So- for you girls who made it- you’re forgiven- ok?

A few months ago I lent my phone to a new friend- Jacob- He was living on the streets.

He called his ex-girlfriend in San Antonio- fine.

But later I kept getting texted by someone I didn’t know.

Then I realized it was his girl- I said ‘hon- I’m not him- I lent him my phone’.

So- she texted me a few more times- and one said ‘check out my pictures here’.

Now- I was with another friend- older then me, a Christian- he saw the texting thing.

Then I said ‘I’m deleting all of this right now’.
He said ‘wait- let’s look at the pictures’.

I deleted it- before I opened it up.

I realize that this issue is big- and lots of kids do the ‘sexting’ stuff- I’m not writing any of this to be judgmental- I want you to understand I’m dealing with an issue where kids in a movement- who are trying to overcome these things- are in the wrong movement- for this thing.

1Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
1Corinthians 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1Corinthians 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
1Corinthians 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
1Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
1Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
1Corinthians 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
1Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1Corinthians 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Ephesians 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry
Colossians 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience
Colossians 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
1Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

1Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
1Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
1Peter 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
1Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
1Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
1Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

These are from the King James bible- but much of the language is referring to sexual sin.

In scripture- you’ll notice- that drinking alcohol [which I do not do] is actually not forbidden- drunkenness is.

But- in the area of sexual sin- there is no moderation- meaning- you can’t do ‘a little’ and get away with it.

It is not like substance abuse- according to God’s word- it is only permitted in the marriage covenant.

What I fear has happened in AA- is some have a false reassurance- because they don’t drink at all [like me] and somehow think the sex issue is ok.

Actually- the sex issue- is worse- according to scripture.

I obviously am not condoning alcoholism- or drug abuse- but- the scripture puts a much higher price on those who commit sexual sin.

LAST WORD- as I get ready to post this- to be honest- I hope it’s the last time I write on this subject.

Yesterday I made a couple of new teaching videos- which I will upload in the next few days.

Some of the guys are already talking about making a trip to San Antonio again- and doing- a ‘spur of the moment’ meeting- with our friend in San Antonio.

In the next few weeks I’ll text some of our former home groups- and see if they want- we will do a meeting or 2- like I said we would.

Now- in this post- I know I hurt some friend’s feelings- my purpose is not to offend anyone.

These past few years- as I saw some of these things- I went out of my may to let my friends see these things-
I copied- printed- these posts for friends who do not have on-line access.

I hand delivered the posts- told my friends ‘I think you need to read this’- I really felt like some of my friends needed to take a strong- hard look at what was happening.

So- I’ll post this in a few minutes- and God willing- move on.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
facebook.com/john.chiarello.5
ccoutreach87.wordpress.com
NOTE- I could have done an entire post- just on the prophetic ministry of John- but I added these at the end so you could get a flavor of how the prophetic ministry does indeed speak ‘truth against power’- in the case of John- he not only proclaimed Christ- but in these verses you see how he challenged Herod- over sexual indiscretion- sleeping with his brother’s wife.

Now- as you read these verses- that actually what got him killed-

When John called people to repent- much of it had to do with the issue of lust- the disciples- and Jesus cast out ‘unclean spirits’-

I wanted to write a post on how the world is indeed polluted- by us!

Huh?
One of the major snares- for sin- in the world today- is pumped into the nations- by the United States.

‘Wow- John- you are nuts”
Ok- lets talk a bit.
When I wrote on addiction recovery- from a Christian perspective- I honestly said I believe the root of addiction is lust.

When they executed Ted Bundy- he was going to give an interview [as well as Dahmer]- but- some in the media did not want him [as many other serial sex crime killers] to ‘mention’ the addiction to porn- and how in most of the cases of severe sex crimes- all around the world- this is indeed a major factor.

Why didn’t the media want to bring this up?

Many see it as a ‘freedom of speech’ issue [which is nuts] and many practice lust.

The U.S. is by far the number one country in the word who pumps porn into the nations.

Now- see an interesting thing here- the Muslim nations we fight- outlaw porn.

They do all they can to block it from the internet in their countries- but the reality is people in these nations do find ways to get around it- and still access it.

Now- these nations are fighting- hard- to block it- from us.

What’s our response- in a nutshell ‘we will never stop- it’s the number one money maker from on-line viewing- we produce the lions share of it- and tough- we will never stop blasting all nations with it’.

Ok- yet- it is also a major factor in all sex crimes in the world.

In revelation we read how ‘Babylon’ pollutes the whole world thru her fornications.

We do indeed do this- and if you understand the connection and how it’s the major factor of all sex crimes- in the world- you can see how when John the Baptist challenged Herod- over an unclean sex issue- that this was indeed a challenge that cut to the heart of sin- see?

And there followed another angel, saying , Babylon is fallen , is fallen , that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
And upon her forehead was a name written , MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying , Babylon the great is fallen , is fallen , and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying , Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come .
And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying , Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down , and shall be found no more at all.

LISTEN CAREFULLY HERE- The number one connection to sex crimes across the globe- is indeed porn addiction.
The U.S. sees this as a ‘freedom of speech’ issue- and will not stop pumping it- into nations- who see it as a sin- because of religious conviction [Islam].

Yet- in the Christian bible- it is also a very serious sin-

Now- we pump the world with it- nonstop [you should look at the stats] and these countries simply can’t stop their people from feeding on it- no matter how hard they try and block it.

Look at what I just said carefully- in this one area- we are the world’s biggest contributors to ensnaring the world in this area- which the verses above talk about- how ‘the world is polluted by her fornications- she made all nations drink of her uncleanness’.

And the reason why the U.S. allows it- is varied- but the porn industry- is the biggest financial money maker- by far- for all on-line stuff.

Now you can see why Herod was mad about John- and he was so afraid of him- when Jesus came on the scene- he thought John came back from the dead!

1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying , Repent ye : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand . 3 For this is he that was spoken of by theprophet Esaias, saying , The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of theLord, make his paths straight. 4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and aleathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to himJerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him inJordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come tohis baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from thewrath to come ? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say withinyourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees:therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down , and cast into the fire. 11 Iindeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I,whose shoes I am not worthy to bear : he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into thegarner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
1 And it came to pass , when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, hedeparted thence to teach and to preach in their cities. 2 Now when John had heard in the prisonthe works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that shouldcome , or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew Johnagain those things which ye do hear and see : 5 The blind receive their sight , and the lame walk , the lepers are cleansed , and the deaf hear , the dead are raised up , and the poor have the gospel preached to them . 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. 7 And asthey departed , Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out intothe wilderness to see ?
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] – I have posted lots. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Ephesians 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Galatians 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

I pulled this next section up from my Philosophy teaching I did last year- figured the quote ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ would fit with this post- as we begin the new year [2015] it’s good for us to take a look at where we are at- and seek God for changes that need to be made- remember what I taught on ‘Christian recovery from addiction’? Any habit that you stop- for about 30 days- begins a change in the mind- and once you make the first 30 days- have faith that the rest of the year will be ‘new’- this applies to any thing- not just substance abuse [as a side note- on Jan 3- I made 2 years without a single drink- or Zanax- or any meds at all- I add this because I have many friends who count their clean date from the last time they drank- but abuse all types of meds- so- a true clean date- in my mind- is being free from all substances]

Socrates was born around 469-470 BCE.
He is famous for introducing a way of learning that engaged the students in a dialogue- the question would be put on the table- and thru rigorous debate- you would come to an understanding thru the process of questioning.

This is referred to as the Socratic Method.
Socrates came on the scene during the famous Spartan wars.

The other day I watched the movie 300- which depicts the battle between the city state of Athens against the city/state of Sparta.
As you know- the Athenians suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Spartans.
The Spartans were outmanned by the Athenians- but their motto was ‘come back with your shields- or on them’.

They were a true warrior nation- trained to fight from their youth- and this defeat sent the people of Athens into a time of disillusionment.

They questioned the power of their gods- and a sort of malaise fell over Athens after the defeat.

This was when Socrates entered the fray- when the people had many questions about life.

He was called the Gadfly of Athens- a title that would also be given to the 19th century Danish father of existentialism- Soren Kierkegaard.

They were called Gadfly’s- because they were like flies that would pester you- and elicit a response.

The leadership of Athens saw Socrates as one that was stirring up the youth of his day- and creating discontent among the populace.

He rejected the many god’s of the day- but did have a belief in a single deity- he- like the Christians 4 centuries later- would be accused of atheism- because of his rejection of multiple god’s.

He was sentenced to death in 399 BCE- and his form of execution was drinking Hemlock.

His most famous student- Plato- spoke with him before his death.

Many were surprised at how willingly Socrates faced his demise- and this willingness had a great impact on those who witnessed it.

Socrates never wrote anything- but most of what we do know about him comes from the writing of others- most notably from Plato’s Dialogues.
Plato wrote down what Socrates taught- In his writings we see Socrates engaging in this method with various people- thus the name of Plato’s works- Dialogues.

There is a debate about how much of what was written about him was actually true- Plato did add his own ideas into these debates- and the controversy about this is so strong that we actually have a name for it- the ‘Socratic Problem’.
During the time of the disillusionment of the Athenians- there were a group of philosophers known as the Sophists.

The word comes from Sophia- meaning wisdom.

Philosophy itself means The Love of Wisdom.
In our day the words Sophomore- Sophistry and Sophisticated are derived from this root word.

The Sophists were the original Pragmatists.

Pragmatism is a form of belief that says ‘do what works- regardless of the ethical implications’.
We will get to Pragmatism at the end of this whole series on Philosophy.

But for now- we see the division between what Socrates taught- and the Sophists.

Socrates did indeed teach a form of Ethics- which contrasted with the Sophists.
He said that the pursuit of virtue was better than the pursuit of wealth- much like the words of Jesus ‘what does it profit a man if he gain the world- and lose his soul’.

His most famous saying is ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’.

He emphasized the importance of mind over body- which inspired Plato’s philosophy of dividing reality into 2 separate realms- the world of senses and the world of ideas.

Socrates actually challenged the Democratic process- he believed it better for the wise men- the Philosopher Kings- to run the show.
Athens did have a form of Democracy at the time- and because of the rise of the Sophists- and the itinerant teachers- you had sort of an election process- much like in our day- where those who would attain office were those who spoke the best- and made the best public argument.

We elect judges and stuff in our day- and even presidents- not because they are the most capable- but because they ran the best campaign.

So- in a way I agree with Socrates- at times I think we need a better process of electing those to higher office- then the one we have now.

It’s important to note that even though we started this study with Thales- and in the study of Western philosophy it’s commonly understood to have started with Thales.

Yet- Socrates seems to be the Father of philosophy in many ways.
He probably has had the most influence in the field philosophy- and the 2 great philosophers that we’ll get to next come right out from the heels of Socrates [Plato and Aristotle].

Why is this important to note?
As we progress in this study- and get closer to the 19th/20th century philosophers- we will see a trend- away from the idea that there are actually any ethical values- moral virtues- or ‘right or wrong’.

These philosophers dabbled with the idea that values themselves are the cause of man’s problems [Freud].

So- keep in mind- one of the main streams of thought in the early stages of philosophy was that values were indeed the main thing- Socrates challenged the Sophists of his day- he said that moral virtue was very important- that to live life with the values of courage- honesty- self-denial- these were the things that made men good- noble.

The bible says ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ ‘those that seek the Lord understand all things’.

Christian tradition would agree with Socrates in many ways- Jesus showed us that the virtue of service to others- to love your fellow man- to honor God- that these were indeed the heart of the matter.

Socrates feared the loss of virtue in society- that if we simply lived for the present time- with no higher values [a form of hedonism] then the foundations of society will erode.
He also believed that it was good to question things- not to simply believe a thing for the sake of believing.

Over time- thru debate and the discourse of other people- he believed you would get to the truth.

The bible says ‘in the multitude of counselors there is safety’.

Yeah- as people have a conversation- as they dialogue- often times they themselves come up with the answer to the question.

The apostle Paul penned the letter to young Timothy- he said ‘preach the word- in doing this you will save yourself- and those that hear you’.

Yeah- when you engage- and even try and teach others- this will have an effect on you too- the actual act of engaging- of teaching- often brings more insight to the one doing the communicating- then the ones who hear.

Yeah- I like Socrates- he believed in what he taught- he drank the Hemlock- knowing full well that his life would pass- but he had belief- faith- that after death man would pass over into another realm- a much better one.

No- he was not ‘Christian’ in the traditional sense of the word- but he was about as close as you could get- for his time.

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Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBookl#] – I have posted lots. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.

Many of the symbols are referring to God’s wrath on sin- and how all humanity is in a process of God purging sin from us.
The Great Winepress of the wrath of God- a type of judgment [present and future] that purges us.

The New City [the church] that no one can enter who lives in active sin [thus- repent].

Those who overcome the Beast and his image- they are ‘marked’ on their foreheads- or on their hands- until the process is finished of God redeeming [fully] the purchased possession [us].
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.- Ephesians

Sin- is also called iniquity- which means sinful lifestyles leave a ‘mark’ on our minds- and actions.

Jesus ‘slays’ the Beast- his great victory removes the Mark of the Beast- from us!

I could go on- at the end of the book we see ALL THINGS NEW- And a promise that those who overcome [yes- you can stop living in active sin] will sit with Christ on his throne- as he sits with the Father.
If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin , because he is born of God.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.- John the Apostle.

The book is really about the great victory of Jesus- and how we too can enter into that victory- in the end- we must.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying , Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? [many feel no one can really ‘war’ with this beast- and those in active sin do indeed ‘worship’ the beast- many feel they can’t function- unless they engage in addictive habits- they ‘love’ it]And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak , and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed .
And that no man might buy or sell , save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak , and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed .
And that no man might buy or sell , save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name
And the third angel followed them, saying with aloud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name[note in these verses- the wrath of God is both a present- and future reality- so when we read in the Revelation about the wrath of God- it’s not only future judgment [Hell] but also a present judgment that comes on those who are in sin- For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;and were by nature the children of wrath, even as othersLet no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,- Paul the Apostle].
And the first went , and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast,
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel ? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
And the beast was taken , and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image , neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Now- I do not ‘spiritualize’ everything in the book of Revelation- and over time I might teach the various views on the book [historic- future- a mix of both- etc.]But what I want you to see in this post is the primary ‘enemy’ that Christ wars against- is Satan’s tactic to deceive man- thru sin- and the way sin effects the mind.
I read a book on addiction a few years ago [read a few] – and one of them was quite interesting.
It was a book on addiction recovery- from those who left AA.
The new program they started [and have good results] was based solely on recognizing the ‘addictive voice’.
Over time- thru many personal stories- they learned that sin/addiction starts in the mind- many testified to the fact that before they sinned- they actually found themselves ‘mouthing’ words like ‘I can’t believe I’m going to do this’
They taught- at that point- reject [rebuke] the voice.
[ that the image of the beast should both speak ,]
Many spoke about images of sin in their ‘mind’s eye’- Jesus warned against sin- saying ‘if your eye is evil- your whole body will be full of darkness’.
As you read these references I posted from revelation- you see an aspect of this
‘Those who worship the beast- and his image’ ‘those MARKED in their minds/hands’.
At the end of the book we read of those who overcame the beast- they ‘stood on a sea of glass- mingled with fire’.
Those who come up out of the waters of baptism [our identification with Christ] ‘stand on a sea’ in a sense-
Yet- it was fire too- I taught this year on the Baptism of Fire
So- the great victory over the beast and his image- is thru the work of the Cross- Jesus- thru his Word- kills this beast.
We are then raised to walk in newness of life- and have authority in the kingdom with him [sit on the throne too- this is actually not the teaching for the week- but I just wanted to give you a flavor of what’s to come].
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame , and am set down with my Father in his throne.
[1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved 😉 6 And hath raised us up together , and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Ephesians- Note ‘the spirit that now works IN THE CHILDREN of disobedience’- the primary spiritual warfare takes place inside people- Jesus ‘wars’ against the sinful nature of man- the ‘spirit’ working IN sinful/lost man].
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them [Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? Corinthians]: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image , neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame , and am set down with my Father in his throne.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away ; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband [This is us- THE CHURCH- THE BRIDE]. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying , Behold , the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away [Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become new. Corinthians] . 5 And he that sat upon the throne said , Behold , I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write : for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable , and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers,and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:which is the second death.For others- it might be time to leave former sins in the past- Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Romans 6:6 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.
Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Romans 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Romans 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Romans 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Romans 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Romans 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
Romans 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
Romans 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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This year I spoke openly about the sins of the flesh- many Christians struggle- for a lifetime- with stuff.
Some have made a sort of ‘agreement’ with these things- trusting that God will forgive them [of course he will] but then accepting the reality that they will never be free from these things.
That’s not God’s desire for you- he wants you to walk away from that stuff- and be free from bondage.
As we start the new year- I believe our country is heading for trouble- I talked about some of these things in the videos this year- and I don’t mean to alarm people.
But the bible clearly teaches us that everything that can be shaken- will.
25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh . For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised , saying , Yet once more I shake not the earth only,but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken , as of things that are made , that those things which cannot be shaken may remain . 28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Many American Christians – I fear- have been lulled into a state of false security- they trust too much in the ‘systems’ of the world-
When these systems are shaken to the core- if they are not prepared- they too will be ‘shaken to the core’.
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