Five years ago I drank my last sip of alcohol. Every so often I have found it beneficial to re-visit the reasons why I decided to quit drinking and reflect on the things I learned during my time with alcohol. Over the last several years I have normally done this in my personal journal but I have felt recently that God wanted me to share these reasons and insights here on this blog so that others may have the opportunity to find strength or new clarity on the subject. With that being said, I hope that if you have been inspired by this post, or know of someone who may benefit from it, that you would share it in whatever manner you see fit.
Most Christians have heard the great verse in Jeremiah that proclaims … “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity ,to give you a future and a hope” But it is far less often that the 2 verses that follow are recited with it. They proclaim… “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for Me with all of your heart”
I become more and more convinced that most Christians, including myself at many times, find ourselves unhappy and unfulfilled in life because once we have accepted salvation and have His Spirit within us we face a great predicament. We are like a man standing in the middle of the street and he must decide which direction he will go. Will he go back or will he go forward? However, we never truly commit to one direction or the other. We find ourselves constantly wavering back and forth. Turning to walk forward for a few steps and then looking back. We dabble in both directions. The man who has not been re-born does not face this decision. He simply walks down the road of the self -gratification and sin until he is called out of darkness by the Lord. He has no awareness of another direction. He is blind. In this sense, on might say that life is easier as a non-Christian. Once we have been saved we face a dilemma. His Spirit convicts us anytime we find ourselves gratifying the desires of the flesh so we know we will never be happy going in that direction but yet we are not willing to lay down our own selfish ambitions and desires and truly and fully commit to seeking Him either. We simply stand there wavering back and forth, never choosing which life we will pursue. Lukewarm and depressed. We must choose if we are ever to be happy!
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If the story of God and man had to be boiled down to one word, what would it be? What is the entire book really about? In my opinion, the word would be LOVE. That word sums up the entire history of man and his story on earth as given to us in the Bible. It is the story of a love that knows no ends. It is the story of a love that brings a Father to the point of being murdered so that He may rescue His child who has been kidnapped. It is the story of a Man who loves his bride so much that He forgives her adultery over and over and over and over again. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, what was his response? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…..” What was the second greatest commandment according to Jesus? “Love your neighbor as yourself” He said there is no commandment greater than those! He said they summed up the entire law! Jesus himself said….Love sums it all up!!
I find it interesting that love not only seems to be what the story is all about but that it also happens to be the one word He gave us the most comprehensive definition for in the entire Bible. Faith, hope, grace, mercy, peace, etc… are all foundational words within the scriptures but not one of them has been given a definition within the scriptures so comprehensive as that of the word love! Did any other definition really matter? It’s as if our Father said “They simply can’t get this word wrong. They must know what I meant about this one thing. I must define it so comprehensively that there can be no excuse that they didn’t know what I meant. If they don’t get this right, nothing else will matter. If they get it right, they get everything right”
We would do well as Christians to study that great and comprehensive definition we find within the Word. I love reading the amplified version of many passages. Consider this great and mighty passage below. Their is a good chance the answer to your current problem is found in one word….LOVE
1 CORINTHIANS 13—AMPLIFIED BIBLE
If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such [a]as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers ([b]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).
3 Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [c]in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.
4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([d]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
9 For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).
10 But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
12 For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [e]in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand [f]fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been [g]fully and clearly known and understood [[h]by God].
13 And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Author: Mike Mazyck
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I find myself currently entrenched in one of the busiest seasons I have ever encountered in my life. Our business has been very blessed lately and right now I am working very hard to keep up with the blessing that God has been pouring out to us. Thank you Lord!! Here is what I have noticed during this season: I don’t have time to be depressed! I have battled with seasons of depression throughout much of my life but when I think about the last 60-90 days in which I have been working extremely hard, I have not been depressed at all. To experience depression would require that I have reasonable amounts of time to ponder and dwell on what I feel about myself. It would require that I spend chunks of time thinking about me. I have considered during many of those seasons of depression that the very “essence” of depression seems to be very “self-centered”. During the last 60-90 days I have simply not had enough time in the day to even consider how I feel about self. My time has been spent in pursuit of my daily disciplines of being a man: exercise, reading the Word, providing for family, etc….There has been no extra time for anything else.
As I think about how positive I have felt about life over this extremely busy season, I am reminded of the mandate that God gave to Adam. What did God tell Adam to do as soon as He created him and placed him in the Garden? He told him to GET TO WORK!! He said “Be Fruitful and Multiply”. He told him to “fill the earth and subdue it”. Man was created to be productive. He was created to be in a constant state of productivity and growth as a being. He was created to prosper and multiply everything that he put his hands to. He was created to work and be fruitful. Of course, I am not saying this is his highest calling. His highest calling is to love and worship the Lord. What I am saying is that it is impossible for man to be fulfilled and energized if he is not doing what he was created to do! As I have reflected upon many of my seasons of depression in my past, I have learned that many of them were caused by this one thing; I wasn’t working hard enough. I wasn’t being fruitful. I wasn’t pursuing excellence my life. I wasn’t fulfilling the mandate, and in the depths of my heart, I knew it! Much of my depression was caused by guilt from not being the man I was created to be! One of the greatest realizations thus far in my walk with God is this: I drastically underestimated the amount of work required to be the man that God has called me to be. I simply don’t have enough time to spend 4-5 hours every week on the golf course. I don’t have enough time to spend hours every night in front of a television, playing video games, or browsing facebook. There isn’t time to waste! There isn’t time to waste if I am in pursuit of excellence. There isn’t time to waste if I am going to provide well for my family. There isn’t time to waste if I am going to be in pursuit of God. There isn’t time to waste if I am going to be physically fit. There isn’t time to waste if I am going to pursue my wife. There isn’t time to waste if I am going to pour into my children while they are still young.
So here is my encouragement to you today: Rise up from your slumber and be the man or woman you were created to be. Be more productive and you won’t have time for depression. Rid yourself of the distractions of this world. Get up from the ground, dust yourself off, and go forth in victory. We were created to conquer! He said to SUBDUE the ground we walk on! We were created to be victorious. It is okay to fall, but now is the time to rise. Make a decision today that everything you put your hands to will prosper and be fruitful because that is the divine command! God will give you the strength and grace so that you do not grow weary, and of course, He has also mandated rest! But know this: There is no greater rest than laying your head on the pillow at night knowing that you gave that day absolutely everything you had. There is no greater rest than knowing that you labored and toiled in the pursuit of excellence. Consider the words of the great Vince Lombardi…
I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.
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