I’ve made some terrible mistakes in my life. Some bad enough that people who don’t even know me would be angry at me for making them. In my misguided ways of trying to cope with depression, I’ve walked down roads I never thought I would walk. Basically, there was a time in my life where I considered myself a bad guy. Superman has been my hero since I was a little boy. He could do anything. But he chose to do the right thing.
Even from an early age, I realized that he could have ruled Earth, but instead, he serves Earth.
And even though Lex Luthor was his ultimate evil counterpart, his biggest enemy was something else entirely.
This past Monday, a 16-year-old who had been within the doors of a church most weeks for the last several months, who had just recently been baptized and shared his testimony, and who seemed to everyone who loved him to be doing rather well, walked into my hometown public library with two handguns and shot four women, a man, and a 10-year-old boy. Two of the women died, the rest are in bad shape.
I didn’t know this kid, but a few of my friends knew him very well. They are all in shocked disbelief. They all knew he had struggles, but again, things had been better. He was reconnecting with his faith, he had a girlfriend who loved him, he was making positive friendships at church events… but apparently the pain inside and the outside influences overwhelmed him to the point where his mind was twisted into thinking that the only way to deal with the pain was to inflict it on others.
Cryptic YouTube videos have since been discovered that appear to have been recorded by him. In one of the videos, he describes the anger he has welled up from a life of being bullied. Last Friday, he got into a fight with what some of his classmates say was someone who bullied him, and he got suspended.
So, what went wrong? He had recently returned to church, has a girlfriend, was making friends.
But even with all this, the darkness still took over in the end, and seemingly out of nowhere.
There is a very popular adage from groups like AA and Celebrate Recovery that goes, “Live One Day at a Time.”
This is a two-fold message.
The first is that when we are trying to change a bad habit or overcome an addiction, we have to focus on today and today only. If we look at it like, “I can never touch a cigarette again for the rest of my life,” that can seem like a wall far too tall to climb. But “I can’t touch a cigarette today,” well, that’s a piece of cake.
We can’t place these large goals on our path, because then we lose sight of the here and now. If we make a goal to be "clean" for one month, and then we slip up on day 23, we are negating all of our victories up to then and judging ourselves a failure. But when our goal is simply 24 hours, we feel we’ve accomplished something every night as we put our heads on our pillows. And we have!
The second message is that we cannot live in the past or worry about the future. When we’ve finally come to admit that we have a problem with a hurt, habit, or hang-up, we start to see our pasts a lot more clearly. All the times we were wrong and all the times we wronged others. We start uncovering memories that we had buried down deep and opening wounds we never let heal properly. There is a certain part of recovery that requires this look into our pasts, but we cannot live there.
When we live in our past, we are continually condemning ourselves, reminding ourselves how lost we are, telling ourselves that we don’t deserve freedom or a better life. Or worse, that we are so bad, God has given up on us for sure. This is not true. It’s never true.
We also cannot live in the future, worrying about what is coming next. God has already promised to provide for us, told us not to worry. What good does worry do for you anyway?
“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34 LB)
That’s right, “Live one day at a time” is a Biblical principle! Words of Jesus! So don’t make the mistake of believing that this message is just for those in recovery. These words are for everyone who ever struggles with living in the past, worrying about the future, or setting unrealistic goals which are almost always doomed to fail. Just focus on today. Today is all you have. Learn from the past, prepare for the future, but LIVE in the here and now. Life by the yard is hard, but life by the inch is a cinch!
Founder of BackRowOnline.com & Host of the Back Row Baptist Podcast
This past week has been a volatile one. I don’t need to rehash it. Terrible things. Terrible actions. Terrible ideas. Terrible people.
Forget Trump. Forget politics. Forget all that.
Let me be clear: I do not agree with the ideology of those who stood in Charlottesville. The racism, the Nazi nonsense, all of it is horribly appalling. I am similarly appalled by the Antifa Communism ideology. And by any side of the “Lives Matter” debates when the message turns violent. I am similarly appalled by what’s left of the Westboro Baptist Church cult. I am appalled by Scientology, by Muslim extremists, and by Kim Jong Un. I am grossly appalled by anyone who calls themselves a Christian and lets hatred and bile fly off of their tongues.
But more than all of these, the person who most appalls me is… myself. I am the chief of sinners. I am worthy of no love, honor, or respect. I am the scum of the earth.
Yet, my God loved me enough to come to this earth, take my sins upon his shoulders, and die in my place.
BY MARTY FIELD
Mental health professionals say that everyone has a tendency to be addicted to something. We hear the word addiction and immediately think that it has to do with drugs, alcohol or other destructive behaviors. Often times we overlook the fact that people become addicted to an entire world of things.
Believe it or not, according to leading Christian counselors and therapists, many Christians become addicted to things as strange as guilt, loneliness and even worry. I know it seems weird, but Christians are highly prone to addictive behaviors. This is very scary because the devil knows this and uses it to his advantage.
Why? Why do Christians get addicted to behaviors like guilt and worry? Well, think about it. It all has to do with sin and control.
First, let’s look at sin.
BY ELLEN MARTIN
Sometimes it is easy for us to think that we are past God’s grace. Sometimes we think that we have sinned too many times. Can God really forgive me even though I have sinned so much? How can God forgive me when I have wronged Him so badly?
1 John 1:5-7 says this:
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Jesus cleanses us of all sin. Not just some, but all. All of us have pasts. We all have experiences that we rather not reflect upon. There is hope for us in that Jesus can cleanse us from sin. All sin.
BY KEVIN WELBORN
I used to play football. Now I watch NCAA and NFL games on TV and realize that if I got hit by one of those guys my wife would be receiving a nice check in the mail from our insurance company.
Because I would be dead… I wasn’t sure if I was being clear. Perhaps, you thought that I had taken out a policy that paid my wife every time I was tackled by an opponent, which conjures up the image of my wife actively rooting for me to be tackled. Maybe that isn’t too far-fetched, but I was talking about life insurance.
My least favorite day of the week during football season was the day that we would watch the film from the previous game. We could’ve defeated our opponents soundly, yet there were always things to improve upon. That part I understand, you never play a truly perfect game. The aspect of film day that drove me nuts was the rarity of a positive comment even when you completed your assignment to the letter. On that rare occasion, you received a mere “nice job”.
I’ll never forget one Friday of my freshman year.