There were some very memorable experiences along the way such as when I was given the miracle of being totally released from nicotine. I'm not going to sit here and say God spoke to me...and I'm not going to say He did not speak to me. I will say that early Sunday morning, January 14, 2001, my wife, Denise, and I were watching the El Salvador Earthquake on Saturday night's late news when suddenly, like thunder & lightening, I knew I would never have to smoke again. I told Denise immediately and she laughed...knowing my track record...and wished me luck. I had quit once for eight years, always had cravings the entire time, and started again...then I quit for three years two different times and started again each time. After that third time, I told Jesus I would never be able to do it again without His help and He should let me know when I could quit. I have not had as much as a single desire to smoke since that night...it's as if I had never smoked a day in my life. Now, I don't know about you, but in my book...that's a miracle!
At the other end of the pendulum, I asked Jesus for patience. I was tired of being in pain constantly day in and day out, my family was in disarray, my pets would not even listen to me. I yelled constantly and was on the verge of full-fledged road rage. I yelled at everyone and no one would come to our home for fear of one of my unpredictable tirades. Antidepressants and other medications did not help. So, I prayed...and I prayed...and I prayed some more for patience. However, the more I prayed...the worse my problem seemed to get. It was as if the whole world was out to make me mad. From daybreak to dusk, it was just one thing after another until I was nearly in tears. Finally, I asked my very close friend, confidant, and bible encyclopedia freak, Gary, for advice. After telling him my predicament, he started laughing! I said, "What? You think it's funny I'm loosing my freakin' mind?" He laughed again and said, "No Hip. Can't you see what's happening? You asked for patience...now the good Lord Jesus is putting you in situation after situation that requires you to learn how to be patient. It's a lesson bonehead!"
Man...I have to tell you that I nearly fell off the chair I was so dumbfounded. It was so clear it was ridiculous...but, without the help of a fellow Christian, I could not see the sun for the clouds. So you ask...so what? Well, my point is simple. Jesus, God, The Holy Spirit...they all work together once you are Born Again to make you into a better Christian. Sometimes they give miracles...rarely. Most times, they give lessons. We can choose to fight against their lessons tooth and claw with the logic that we can do it on our own...or, we can choose to learn the lesson and move on. I am a thousand times more patient today than I was a year ago and I still do not smoke or chew over eight years later. And the friend thing...well, that is in the bible too. In plain English it says; Two heads are better than one when it comes to discerning the Will of God. We are meant to fellowship with others and we are not supposed to rely on our own will or our solitary understanding.
Jesus wants to have a "Daily" relationship with you. He wants to be a part of your every waking moment and to be confided in and relied upon for all matters. It's those little, dark secrets that we have stored on shelves in the corners of our minds that He wants to discuss thoroughly. Once they are brought into the light, forgiveness and forgetfulness are only a blink away. However, there are two sides to every coin and a truth behind every lie. Those same little secrets, which you are so reluctant to let go of, can be used by Satan as a stronghold and He will make them fester and grow until they come out in all different forms of torture...drinking, drugs, pornography, workaholic, anger, depression, fear, hate, envy...hey, His list of weapons go on and on. The worst of which is "Discouragement." Satan uses discouragement every time you pray. He sits on your shoulder and yells in your ear, "There is NO GOD! Praying is a waste of time...and it doesn't work!" Or maybe He is at your track meet telling you there is no way you are going to outrun that tall lanky kid from Tenbucktwo. All our adversary needs is a small foothold to make it grow. We need to put on the Full Armor Of God.
In that light, I bring you this blog. I have been called by our Lord to provide as much information on the workings and whereabouts of our adversary as is humanly possible. Starting with my next entry, I will be bringing you details involving both sides of the battlefield and from both camps playbooks. What can you do today you might ask? Well, ask your pastor what is being done in your church to keep our adversary at bay and what their attack plan involves. That is another part of being a Christian...a HUGE part...fighting the adversary. He who fights the Good Fight, fights for what's right!
Until next time...my heart reaches out to you...