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.
BY COREY WADE
One of the things that I love most about my church is that all the young families are more than willing to take other people’s children into the “Big Service” for worship before the kids are dismissed for children’s church, while their parents are working in the nursery, worship team, etc. They do not need to worry about watching their children and trying to perform their duties.
It is in this context that the following conversation happened to one of my poor friends as he watched my daughter and she took the church-kid-abusing-the-system loophole up to 11:
BY JOSEPH BRAZIL
Ask any child in Sunday School what they’re favorite Bible story is and you’ll probably hear the same answer. Moses parting the Red Sea, Jesus walking on water, or the walls of Jericho falling down, are all likely top choices. But one reigns supreme.
Jonah and the big fish.
Even as an adult this account perplexes me. It’s really an awesome example of how important we are in God’s service. For those a little sketchy on the story’s details, here’s the unofficial Cliffnotes version. Jonah was called by the Lord to go minister to the abominable city of Nineveh, but Jonah refused to obey and took matters into his own hands, paying cash for a fare on a boat headed for sea. The Lord created a storm and threatened to sink the ship. The crew ends up throwing Jonah overboard and the seas grew calm again. Jonah is then swallowed by a huge fish. He has a change of heart and cries out to God who has mercy on him and has the fish spit him onto dry land.
Long story short, Jonah goes to Nineveh and the entire city repents and turns to the Lord.
I think you’d agree we’ve all had “Jonah moments,” those times when we clearly feel God convicting us to answer His calling. I want to say I’ve always made the right decision in those situations, but I haven’t and there have been times when I’ve opted to ignore or flee, as Jonah, thinking I can evade God’s plan.
BY MEGAN OAKS
For the past few weeks my family and I have been doing some summer traveling. As I’m sure any of you with kids know, traveling can be a lot of fun and at the same time very daunting.
I typically go into these times with the highest hopes, full of anticipation for new things we’ll see, memories we’ll make and the bonding my three acorns will share. My husband on the other hand, the yin to my yang, tends to have a less positive outlook on the experience; he calls it realistic, I call it negative.
Either way, our trip always ends up landing somewhere in the middle of our ideas, yet so far we’ve survived and some would say are stronger from the experience.
As we were traveling a few weeks ago with some extended family, making our way to Roswell NM, my 5 year old daughter asks me from the backseat “Mom, are we there yet”… those infamous four words that loom like a dark cloud on every family road trip.
BY JAMES DAMAN
Pokémon Go is a mobile app game that was released this past month and has been downloaded millions of times. The game allows players to capture virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as though in the real world. You then train them and bring them into "gym's" to battle on your behalf. I often wish that life worked like the game does, I wish we get to watch something else experience the pain in life on our behalf and I wish we could choose everyone who comes into our life.
Unfortunately in real life, we do not get to pick who comes into our lives and oftentimes those who come into our life are difficult to deal with.
Furthermore, we don't get to pick and choose the battles we face and when we face battles in our lives we have the possibility of getting hurt, while in Pokémon Go our Pokémon are the ones that get hurt.
When we face a difficult person, we don't realize that many of them have been difficult people for so long that it has become an identity for them. Or they identify as an addict, someone who is constantly angry or unhappy, or something else that causes them to manifest as a difficult person.
The only thing I've learned from Pokémon Go is that it is not designed to teach us life lessons, it's just for fun and I do love playing it. But, if I'm seeking those answers from Pokémon Go then it's a good reminder that I certainly don't have all the answers in life. But, it did help remind me of lessons from the bible that playing Pokémon Go sparked in my life:
Uplifting Devotionals for Christians Overcoming Habits, Hang-Ups, & Hurts