Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Selfie

Let me take a Selfie.

We all take them, well most of us. And if we don’t get the right one, we keep taking one until we like it. The right angle, the right shadowing and the right shot, it has to be perfect. And to put the cherry on top we go on Instagram and get the perfect filter to make our already perfect Selfie even better.

We Snapchat, we post our little Selfie creation on Facebook, on Twitter, all over social media, “Look at me!” It glorifies us.
And as if that’s not enough, if we don’t get the right amount of ‘Likes’ on our selfie we take it down. “That wasn’t good enough, OBVIOUSLY,,, so let me take another Selfie.”

Why are we constantly feeding our image? Why are we continually trying to fulfill this feeling of inadequacy? I see young kids on Instagram showing their photos of scars and bloody marks from self-cutting. I see skinny, malnourished teens posting pictures of their self loathing bodies and saying how depressed they are and how no one is there for them. I see people posting dramatic memes and posting the most ridiculous rumors raving about others.

Self-medicating is an epidemic. Overdoses on Heroin, Cocaine, speed-balling and other mind altering substances are on the rise. Depression and anxiety statistics just continue to climb every single year. Disability for anxiety and depression are more prevalent. People are giving up and relying on chemicals to cope.

We are an enabling society. Constant remedies needed as fast as possible. Why?

Because it’s all about me. Yes, you. Me and you. We get offended easy, we get emotional quickly, we get bothered, we get upset, we don’t know how to handle pressure or cope with loss, we can’t believe that just happened, we can’t understand this and won’t put up with that.
“Did you hear what she said? Did you see what he did?”, gossip central. Anything to take the focus off of us when it comes to blame, so quick too, but not very quick to take fault.
But it’s all about me. Everything depends on how I feel, when I want to feel it and when I say it’s OK to feel that way. The world evolves around ME. I even pray for me.

Where is the purpose? Where has the perseverance gone? Why are we mutilating ourselves, hurting and self exterminating ourselves? Where is the honor and respect for each other? Where has all the gratitude gone? Why are we so ungrateful for what we do have and so concentrated on what we don’t have? Why are we constantly complaining, bickering, one upping each other, competing in a realm that doesn’t even exist? Why? Wait for it…

Are you ready? Because IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! I bet that hurt a little. It’s true. You are nothing. And the quicker you realize this, the quicker you will understand and be OK with it. Let me explain.

You were created, with a purpose, for a purpose and for a reason. Your main purpose is to glorify your creator. As a book glorifies an author, as a painting glorifies an artist, so are you to glorify your creator. Have you ever made something, anything, in art class, at home, at work, anything? Who does it glorify? You! You made it! Name one thing around you right now that doesn’t have a purpose or that didn’t at one time have a purpose. You can’t. It’s impossible. Because everything has a purpose, everything was made, and so weren’t you.

Now, with that being said, lets see what we are called to do with our purpose. And before I list our callings from the most popular, number one selling book on the planet, that everyone seems to ignore, I will make a quick remark for my findings. There is one Truth and one air we breath. The air we do not choose, we must accept it, we have to, if we don’t, we die. The Truth on the other hand we must choose to accept. We all know it’s there, some of us are unwilling to accept it. Without it, like air, we also will die. Pertaining to God, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He either is or He isn’t, but that’s up to you.

Here is what we are called to do. We are called to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all our mind, with all of our soul and with all our strength. We are called to Love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We are called to be Holy. We are called to be strong and to be courageous. We are called to persevere. We are called to live by Faith. We are called to help one another, to lift each other up, to make disciples of each other. We are called to praise our creator and to give thanks to Him. We are called to live with this purpose and with the gifts that are given to us.

See, it’s not about me and you. It’s about God. It’s about glorifying Him. That’s our only purpose. We are but a mist on this planet and our time is ever so short. Don’t waste it bringing others down and tearing people apart. Don’t waste it walking around lost and hating yourself. Our pride and our selfishness must go. We must surrender daily.

It’s not about me Lord, it’s about you. Help me to live for you as I was created to do. Help me live a purposeful life as you created me to do. Help me to not just separate myself from my problems, but to separate myself unto you. In all my achievements, in all my accomplishments, in all my gratefulness, in all my strength I give you the glory.

Become Free. Become the Difference.

Bibliography: Holy Bible

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Some of you may have read this before and agreed with it or disagreed with it.
The highlighted area is what bothers me.

If we believe we have a disease, that there is no cure, that we can’t beat it and that we will always struggle with it, then we will never get better.
God gave us the ability to conquer anything. How do we do that? We surrender to Him daily. We remain humble and admit we have a serious problem that is not only an addiction but something deeper that we need to fix.
I refuse to accept that addiction is a disease. We are able to overcome, we are able to succeed and we are able to let go.
This is why I named this site Become Free. I was an addict for over 10 years. I struggled with heroin, opiates, cocaine, benzo’s, anti depressants and God only knows what else.
My daily intake was over 1000 mg’s of OxyContin a day. I got to the point of suicide and absolute complete depression.

Then one day I gave my life to Jesus Christ and I haven’t been the same since. It took time and perseverance. It took rehab and wonderful people in rehab to help me. Over time I became free from my bondage and my slavery to drugs. I had a renewal of my mind, I gained my self control back and I am a new creation.
In order to believe I have a purpose I must believe I was created. As a book glorifies an author, as a painting glorifies an artist, so are we to glorify God.
And you know what is awesome, I’m not alone. There are so many that are living the same way. Freed from addiction.
You have to want it as bad as you wanted your poison.

I didn’t learn to deal with my addiction, I learned that I was in need of a Savior. I learned that I was created by an Almighty God that loves me no matter what I do. I learned that giving up MY ways and living according to His Word, I am set free!!!!!

Listen, God is either real or He’s a fantasy. You either have a purpose or you do not.

You have a choice to believe it or not and that choice is going to determine your lifestyle.

Become Free, Become the Difference.

Some of us will be doing the same old thing, some of us will be making changes, some of us will be continuing on the road toward a brighter future.
What ever path you are on be Humble, remain Teachable and stay Grateful.
Thank God for all things.
Be Strong, Be Courageous.
Always look back and see how you are doing. Make adjustments, make improvements, better yourself and become an example for others to follow.
Life comes at us hard sometimes but we have people placed in our lives to help us get through just about anything!
Most of all we have a God who we can call upon when we are down, a God to praise when we are grateful and a God to thank when we succeed.
Persevere, keep your head up, be confident, renew your mind and walk with your chin up knowing that your strength comes not from you but through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the One who died for us, the One who has your back no matter what.
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be full of Faith, be full of Hope.
Walk not just believing, walk knowing.
Love blindly.
Love.
Become the Difference.
Happy New Year and may God Bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

Black-Friday-Line

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s get all excited to meet up with family and friends most of us do not even want to see. Sad but true. If we were that excited to see our friends and family we see on Thanksgiving, we would probably see them more often right?

A time for harvest and celebration of gratefulness, giving thanks and overly warming others with comforting propaganda. A time to eat a ton of food that will most likely knock you out for an hour or two. If you’re of Irish or Italian descent, the gossip has already started in the kitchen.

It IS a great time to catch up and spend time with family and friends. Eat some great home cooking and just take a break from life for a few and relax. But the main reason for this holiday is in its title ‘Thanks’… ‘Giving Thanks’.

Welcome to America. Home of commercializing anything that makes money and ups ratings. ‘Black Friday’… Shop until your wallet’s empty. Camp out in front of a huge chain store as if you wanted to be first in line to be touched by the Pope. Trample over anyone and anything that’s in the way when the floodgates open to get that ‘once in a lifetime bargain’.

Anyway… back to giving thanks and being grateful. I thank God for work. I thank Him for being able to do the things I was not able to do. Simple things. Like remaining opiate free. Not so simple yet so simple. Things like not having to wake up in the fetal position, dope sick. Like not having diahrea flying out my back side due to withdrawals. I thank Him for the people in my life who are productive and beneficial to my success. Success as in a forward movement, not living in the past and overlooking where and what I was but where and what I am today, strong, confident and alive.

I’m thankful for the littlest things. Things I dare not say because most of you just won’t get it. I got a heater switch fixed in my work truck. It made my day! I thanked God. I’m STILL happy and thankful for it. I bought a new pair of boots; my smile is much bigger because of them.

I’m also able to do the best I can at work; to perform at my fullest. I’m thankful for the ability to show up to a job and complete it within a scheduled time frame. Thankful for the ability to keep moving forward to the next job, building integrity and trust with clientele.

Why so thankful? Why so thankful for the small things as well as the big things? Why do I resort to thanking God for everything I have? Well, who else am I going to thank?

There was a time where I was a slave. A slave to an addiction. I gave my life to it and I lost everything. Literally. Homeless. Lost. No faith. No hope. Complete emptiness. On a suicidal road to a second death. So when my life turned around, I gave birth to a whole new sense of living, a whole new sense of self-worth and a whole new method of understanding gratefulness; what being grateful really means.

See, I gave up. I surrendered. God pushed me toward this place called the Cross. Where I fell to my knees and fully surrendered MY ways, MY wants and MY needs. I asked Jesus to come into my life and make me new. And why it took so long to do so, I do not know. It’s free for crying out loud. I always knew it was. It didn’t cost a dime. Just took willingness to understand that my ways got me no where and that His ways are True and will guide me as I move forward. I always knew He was there and always knew He was willing to forgive me of my transgressions and wipe them out as far as the east is from the west. But this is my story. The path I chose.

I’m thankful to be alive to be able to be thankful. So why do I thank God? I thank God for His Son paying the ultimate penalty for my wrongs. That because of what Jesus went through for me, I am able to live, through Him. I am able to live and enjoy His Grace and His Mercy on a daily basis with thanks and gratefulness because of Him. This is why I thank God for every little thing that I have that goes good, that goes bad and that simply goes.

“Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am Strong”
Let the poor say, “I am Rich”
Because of what the Lord has done, for Us… Give Thanks.”

Become Free… Become the Difference!

We as addicts need to hear this. We like to blow up our war stories and make it sound like we were running a muck, but it isn’t about where we were, it’s about where we are today. In Recovery, we have a new life, our past is put behind us as we move forward. Being authentic and true to ourselves will only benefit us and keep us on a straight path. Yes, we may fall, but we have the One to call upon and lift us back up. And it’s nothing we have done and can take credit for, it’s by His grace we are saved. Being involved in a healthy church, hitting meetings and fellowshipping are all beneficial to a strong, active and flourishing Recovery. Become Free! Become the Difference!

Below is a blog called ‘Authenticity’ by Matt Chewning, Pastor at Netcast Church in Beverly, Ma. You can read the original ‘Authenticity’ blog and also get more information by visiting NetcastChurch.org

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Self-Glory Competition

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been the most competitive person I know. I hate losing, I hate it more than I love winning. Besides being born a sinner, I also was born into a family where this “competitive trait” drove us all. To this day there’s the constant competition over which family member has the most money, who has the biggest house or what married couple has the most sex; it can get awkward at times. In recent years, the Lord has begun to show me that entering into these conversations can be a form of self-glorification as I attempt to try and convince others that I’m better then I really am.

I’ve recently come to realize that this isn’t just a “Chewning Family” issue, but a massive disease that is spreading throughout evangelicalism. Actually, many of us were trained in self-glorification from the moment of salvation.

My Story

I was raised with no spiritual upbringing at all. My mom is a non-practicing Jew, my dad, a non-practicing Catholic and when I was 4 years old they divorced. My only memory of church growing up was being thrown out of a church basketball game because I kept using offensive language. After High School I was recruited to play basketball at a Christian college and decided to attend even though I knew nothing about Christianity. Within 2 months of being at school, a friend of mine, Ricky Grant, shared the gospel with me off campus and I immediately believed in Jesus and became a Christian.

On September 1, 2000, I walked back to my Christian campus as a new creation, saved by the blood of Jesus and immediately, self-glorification training began. Within hours of having my heart transformed by Jesus, I was told how a Christian should act and look. Christians don’t drink, curse, smoke, doubt, have sex before marriage, listen to Hip-Hop music or hit the clubs. Christians are people who abide by a specific life-style covenant and to disobey this lifestyle was to reveal that you must not actually be a Christian. So here I am, a new believer without a safe environment to authentically wrestle with the broken things that still exist in my heart, while also learning the expertise of self-glorification.

Today, almost 13 years after Jesus saved me, I am still in self-glorification recovery. And the more Christians I interact with the more I see how deeply rooted this sin of self glory actually is.

Being a Professional Disciple

As Christians, we love to over-exaggerate our spiritual walk, we hide the disfunction in our marriages and disguise our pain by quoting verses on joy. Sundays are the worst! We put on our Sunday’s best, grab our bibles, put on our smile, rehearse some big theological terms and head out the door. The only thing is that deep down, we feel like a fake, we have little worship, our marriages are messy and the kids are cute demons. Add to that, you’ve been so well trained in “fake humility and Christian culture”, that nobody knows how dysfunctional your heart is.

Developing Professional Disciples

To make matters worse, disciples are called to make disciples, leaders are called to multiply ourselves and sadly many of us are! We’re developing and deploying masked disciples who are incredible at hiding their sin, saying the right things and having no safe environment to wrestle with personal sin. To even consider it would be a form of weakness that we’re not willing to expose.

So, what’s the answer? If we are called to develop and deploy passionate worshippers of Jesus and be steadfast about developing and deploying passionate worshippers of Jesus, then how do we do this?

As a self-glory addict who is slowing walking through a season of recovery, I have found much hope in Romans 12:9 which tells me “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” If we are truly going to develop healthy disciples, we have to lead the way in authenticity rooted in the beauty of the gospel.

The Problem

If all of us, “fall short of the Glory of God” and “no one does good, not even one.” If all of us can have an “evil, unbelieving heart, leading us to fall away from the Living God” (Romans 3; Hebrews 3), than why pretend as if we don’t struggle with things like pride, lust, hatred or doubt? If the good news of the gospel is that we are so wicked in comparison to the incredible holiness of God, that our only hope would be that Christ would grant us His righteousness through the cross; than why minimize our need for the gospel by pretending we are more spiritual and godly than we actually are?

The Answer

The answer to this epic problem is the same answer to every epic problem; The Gospel. At some point we have to remember that Jesus is the only answer to the sin of our self-glory. Regardless of your title, training or education; Jesus is the only answer that won’t over-promise and under-deliver. In Jesus we are reminded that we all desperately need the gospel. We’re all sheep and He’s our Chief Shepherd. Other people may not know me, but the reality is that I am fully known by Jesus yet fully loved by Jesus.

My sin and brokenness which seems to weigh so heavily on me are tiny in comparison to the massiveness of His grace. The beauty and freedom of the Gospel is that I see the truth that “my God died for my imperfections, therefore I have no need to pretend to be perfect.”

Praise His Name!!

climbing-the-mountain

What is Faith? Is it a verb or is it just this word we use to advocate a ‘good feeling’ of hoping something is going to happen?

Faith. People say “I got faith in that.” and “I got faith in this.”. This type of faith is almost knowing that something will come through. That we have a belief, a confidence in; that we will keep a positive outlook on someone’s life. That we back someone up with positive reinforcement to ensure they succeed. “I got Faith that he’s going to make it.”

“I got faith that the Red Sox are going to win!”. Ok, that’s good… what happens when they lose? What happens to that faith which once was? Do we get discouraged? Do we give up? Some of us may, but some of us continue believing that they will one day win.

So having faith in someone or something is hoping for the best. A feeling of a positive outcome. We encourage people when we have faith in them. We say “You can do it.” or “You are going to get through this.” We believe that people will succeed in one way or another. That something will happen if we keep praying and thinking about it. If we continually dwell on a certain problem or a certain obstacle, if we remain confident, that an assured outcome will arise.

This faith is common and often used. And I have had this type of faith rendered unto me during my addiction. It feels good. Who doesn’t love encouragement? It helps too! Hearing that someone has faith in you gives you strength to move forward.

But what about faith when it’s used as an action. A physical action. Not used just as a mental or verbal hope or encouragement. What happens when we just get up and DO?

When I need a gallon of milk, I don’t sit on my couch, hope and pray about it and it spontaneously combusts into existence in my refrigerator! I get up and go to the store and I get it. I have faith, knowing where it is and I get it. No questions asked. Just like when I was deep into my addiction. I knew where the drugs were, I went and I got them. Just like that. When I drive somewhere, I don’t ask God to get me to where I have to go, although some of us do… we drive knowing that we will arrive at our destination. We get up, get in the car and go.

There are so many things we do that require faith but we bypass it, things we KNOW and things we are used to. Like brushing our teeth, going to the bathroom, eating, sleeping. “It doesn’t take faith to do that stuff!” It doesn’t? If you JUST learned how to do these things, you would think differently. We are so used to doing them, it’s part of our daily routine. If I told you to stop brushing your teeth, what would you say? You’d say no way! Because it’s something you have to do in order to keep your teeth! You want to have energy and feel good tomorrow, you sleep. You’re hungry, you eat.

So this faith of the obvious. This faith of knowing. This blind faith of action which we all use on a daily basis. This same faith is needed on our road to recovery. Need help? Don’t just sit on your couch and hope things will get better. Don’t sit there and pray about it and do NOTHING about it. If I am on fire and burning up in flames, am I going to hope and pray it off me? No. I am going to get up and do something about it. I am also going to get a nurse’s full and undivided attention!

If you need help, ask. If you are struggling and REALLY want a better life, seek and find. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”- Matthew 7:7 These are all verbs. Action. Get up and go get it. There are resources all around us. Have that faith that will get you right to where you want to be.

As we persevere in our recovery, we know what helps us. We know what benefits us and what keeps us safe. The faith it once took to go to a meeting or ask someone for help starts to not be as obvious. It’s called wisdom. We become wise, knowing what benefits us and having the answers to what we need. Just like the daily things we do every day. Our recovery must become the same way in order for us to maintain a healthy, safe and drug free life.

In Matthew 17:20, God tells us that faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Will your addiction be conquered? It all depends on your faith. A small amount of faith will make things happen. And do not think for a second that it was God’s will for you to be the way you are! Is it God’s will for a mountain to be where it is? Well yes… but He tells us that faith, as small as a mustard seed, which is pretty small, can move that mountain. That faith can change the place God intended it to be.

Now imagine huge faith, faith of being able to conquer all your obstacles! Faith which is not needed because you have Wisdom. And Wisdom which will not be needed because you will know what to do. It will be so simple. It will be like you knew it all along. You will have overcome that addiction. You will have overcome forgiving someone. Letting go of your past. And you have the Holy Spirit to thank. Wisdom only comes from the hand of God. It takes faith and continually living in obedience to God’s Word. The bible tells us everything we need to know and how to conquer sin.

I wonder how much faith it will take for you to go get a bible and start learning? 😉

You can do it, it’s in you to be more than a conqueror! Become Free! Become the Difference!