MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION, AND MY CHRISTIAN LIFE

Before I became a Christian at age 22, I had it easy. I had never truly experienced pain and suffering. After a fun and fulfilling childhood and then a parent-funded Bachelor degree, I was ready to embark on the journey called Adult Life.

Life wasn’t perfect, but BOY, had I been sheltered! I just had no way to fathom what the next three decades would bring my way. A life where sadness, neglect, emotional abuse, mental illness, drug addiction and suicide attempts would enter my life’s path. Basically . . .

“Your Worst Life Now” could become my anti-Joel-Osteen bestselling book.

Do I regret anything that has transpired? Do I wish I had taken a different path? Do I raise my fists in anger to God?

No Way!

Dang, I’m GLAD for the emotional muscles that God has built in me. I am thankful for the tribulations . . . really, in all honesty.

It’s not fun to go through difficult times, but it sure is worthwhile. And the reason is because Jesus has been there with me through it all. I had nowhere else to turn, so He literally became my ROCK.

Interviewing for a teaching position at a large homeschool co-op in 2014, I was extremely nervous that I did not possess the desired credentials. But this was a Christian ministry with their head on straight; the first question the panel asked me was, “What does Jesus mean to you?”

Are you serious!?

I immediately started bawling my head off!

Now THAT was a credential I possessed in excess. I began to tell the ladies how Jesus meant EVERYTHING to me; how He had held my hand through many difficult trials, and how I had learned to depend on and rely on Him alone.

Teaching at that co-op for the next five years, was fruitful and successful . . . in a spiritual way. To this day, I still get together with some of my ex-students, high school age, for coffee, chatting and a Bible Study (heavy on the chatting!)

My heart rejoices in the Lord! I am writing this post to testify that He gives us JOY in the midst of pain. It’s a heart-filling, overwhelming sense of peace, safety, security, love and acceptance. NOTHING is better than that.

Yes, my life is still difficult. We had another huge, terrible family emergency just four days ago; an event that could have been devastating . . . but that God had His hand in nonetheless: He works all things together for good.

Christian brother or sister, hang in there! Cry if you need to! Pray and yell and fret all you want to our Father God, He can handle it. Pour out your heart to Him at all times. Cast your cares upon Him.

For He cares for you. ❤️

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Do christians have power through their faith?

Christian leaders who teach the Old Covenant have a unique ability to make you feel like you are not doing enough. That you are not doing enough to change yourself or to change the world. I mean, heck, are you really loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself!?

When you hear messages such as that, just remember that Jesus taught the Old Covenant. But after His resurrection, the New Covenant went into effect. And as Jeremiah prophesied, the Old Covenant is NOT like the New.

Another burden put on believers by Old Covenant preachers, is that we do not have strong enough faith. As far as I’m concerned, I have NO power in and of myself. And my faith certainly has no power besides the fact that my faith in the gospel has given me the righteousness of God. (Romans 1)

When I believed in the gospel, I was given the power of God. The power of knowing the truth. Not because I “believe” the truth, but because I KNOW the truth. I know the eternal One who dwells inside of my mortal body.

The power that is in me is YOU, Jesus Christ. It is CHRIST living within me.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith… the righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1-16-17)

There are so many voices out there in the Christian world speaking lies, speaking deception. That is why is it always important to return to the simplicity of the gospel: that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and then rose again on the third day.

Let’s continue to put our trust in Him, in the Living God, and in His power that was revealed through the simple truth of the gospel.

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God’s Righteousness

anonymous religious hasidim jews during pray near western wall
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I was told once that Christians can be divided into three groups:  Modern-day Pharisees, Christian Eeyores, and lastly, the Grace Community.  And I was told that I was the modern-day Pharisee type.  A lot of you were as well.  You know, the really annoying, judgmental, legalistic type?

 

But, c’mon, unless you used to be an Ultra-Orthodox Jew, you were nothing like a Pharisee. Neither was I.

 

The Pharisees were hard-core religious zealots who devoted every minute of their lives to being righteous; they were sincere and serious. Their zeal was based on the Laws that God spoke to Moses.

 

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” Romans 10:2

 

Not according to knowledge?

 

The apostle Paul goes on to explain in Romans 10 that their religious practices were “their own” attempts at righteousness, and had nothing to do with God’s.

 

Yes, God gave the Law to Moses, but He did not give it so that it would lead us to Him.  To a life of faith, of reality.  The Law was given to increase the knowledge of sin and to lead us to despair and to the feet of the Lord God. (Romans 5:20)

 

So, if you desire righteousness and holiness, your efforts at being ‘good’ will not succeed. The Bible is so clear.  Again and again we are told that, to be righteous in God’s eyes, you must have FAITH.  Before Jesus came, one had faith in God and the words He spoke to one’s heart.  After Jesus came, one puts their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection.  It is THAT that spells out the good news, the gospel; it is that that saves a soul from hell.

 

Paul calls the gospel “the word of faith.”  The gospel is “the word of faith” because it has to do with assenting to what God reveals to your heart, it is about saying yes, having faith, and telling God, “yes, I believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.”

 

The Christian life is a life of faith.  “From faith to faith,” as it is written.  We are saved through faith by grace, and then we grow to know Jesus through faith by grace.

 

Faith is the noun form of the verb “to believe.”  Faith is about trusting God.  It’s about        believing Him. You trust Him for salvation and you continue to trust Him every day afterwards.

 

. . . yet with most of us, there was a slight detour into “works.”  For me, it was a 15 year detour.  Although we were not as serious and sincere as the Pharisees, we church addicts were still nonetheless trying to establish our own righteousness based on “law.”  Our lives were guided by rules and principles and standards (not by the Lord.)

 

But God brought me back to Himself.  He asked me to quit church, to give up my religious idols. To surrender my pride to Him. He asked me to stop TRYING to be righteous.

 

It’s great news because anyone can do this; the gospel applies to anyone and everyone!    God’s idea of righteousness is attainable.

 

We don’t have to be modern-day Pharisees to be righteous in God’s eyes.  I’m still blown away by that!  So, thanks for listening. 🙂

 

“Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4