My Dear Addiction
By: Anonymous Contributor
Sometimes we feel that certain things that we struggle with aren’t normal, make us feel out of place, or make us feel like we don’t fit in with society. When you think of the word addiction, the first thing that probably comes to mind is, drug addiction, pornography addiction, or even an alcohol addiction. These may be the most common but what we fail to realize is everyone has an addiction that they struggle with. There are many more addictions that youth and adults struggle with such as, internet addiction, food addiction, shopping, and video game addictions.
I too struggle with an addiction that is very common, which is pornography. For years, I’ve struggled with it and even sometimes today I do. As a female I usually feel out of place and embarrassed because usually when you hear “pornography addiction” you mainly hear males share their own personal experiences with that. I tried to hide it from God. I would get up every Saturday and still come to church, smile, sing, participate in other activities, listen to other people’s testimonies, and hear pastors talk about how it is a sin. In my mind I was embarrassed and ashamed! I thought this was something I could hide from God and bring all my other problems/ issues to Him.
I know I’m not the only one who has tried to hide things from the Father or has been ashamed to confess something to Him. When we go through stuff like this, some people tend to run from God. I’ve realized that you can’t hide anything from God no matter how hard you try. You can try to run from the Lord, but you can’t hide. You can hide things from people in the church of course but not from God. God loves the unholiest and the most imperfect parts of you and he will never be ashamed of you because you’re his child. When it comes to healing, there’s always a process to move past it, but you have to be open to healing and stop trying to hide things from God and actually take it to Him. You have to trust God in order to get through anything you go through. Lastly, Philippians 4:13 says….”I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” You can get through this with the Lord’s help! All things are possible and you are not alone no matter what addiction you have.
Songs that help me overcome: Make Me Over– The Walls Group; I Can Do All Things Thru Christ That Strengthens Me– Christina Bell, Kierra Sheard, Shelea Frazier, Raven Goodwin, & Angela Birchett
Remember to Remember
By. Celia Waddell
Remember, Honor, and enjoy Your Creator while you’re still young. Ecclesiastes 12:1
God really does want you to enjoy your life. He doesn’t want you to be walking around sad or angry. He really wants you to have a great life. Many times, you’ll experience periods of time during which we kinda’ sorta’ forget about God. We don’t mean to forget, but when the days are full, and you got your life under control, and you’re getting along with your family and friends, and you’re seem to have everything “covered” at school, it’s really easy to leave Jesus out. You work and play all day and spend your evenings staying connected to people in your circle via your phone and social media. Life is manageable. Life for you is smooth. No major problems.
We all deserve a smooth, unconstructed life but you already know that there’ll be bumps in your road ahead…maybe even a hill or two. Strangely, these are the ouches of life that pinch you and remind you that Jesus is always in your shadows waiting for you to remember that He can deal with every reality that you’ll ever face. He’s been answering your prayers for a long time, so He’s really good at it… The answers to your prayers might not have always been exactly what you wanted them to be, but Jesus never just let you dangle without some sort of resolution.
Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t try to predict what angle God’s going to work from. Relax. When life turns upside down and you’re searching for peace in family situations… just remember. If relationships go sour, and you wonder if friends from yesterday are still going be around tomorrow…remember. If you’re fearful and depressed about crazy, bad things that are happening in your world…remember. When you feel that you just can’t cope another minute and you’re ready to throw in the towel, force yourself to remember what Jesus did for you in the past- an hour ago, yesterday, last year… Your past life is a roadmap of answered prayers- sometimes He didn’t even wait for you to ask… He just came through for you. He stood for you even before you called His Name! If you train yourself to remember how the Lord led you in the past, you’ll get a grip on all your situations, and your life will be stronger and better. There’s nobody like our God… nobody like our God…strong, mighty, all-powerful, but able to hear the long and short prayers of His children, even if you just whisper in the dark.
Prayer in Song: Nobody Like Our Lord (Myron Butler)
Peace in the Time of Trouble
By: Celia Waddell
May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. Numbers 6:26
It’s so easy to lose your peace. Maybe you just found out school was canceled until the end of the year. Perhaps you are not able to work your job right now and you’re running short on money. When things like that happen, it’s easy to lose your peace.
Whatever you’re going through right now, Jesus is the answer. He’s the peace you long for if you choose to look to Him. It’s important to tune out the voices of fear and look to the one who came to bring you peace!
In the Bible, we see time and time again that God comes to bring us peace. When the disciples were fearful in the boat, Jesus brought peace to the storm. (Matthew 8) Jesus is known as the prince of peace (Isa 9:6). Never chaos…just peace. Peace that goes beyond our understanding.
So even if your circumstances are less than ideal, take comfort in the thought that Jesus came into the world to bring peace. Whatever you’re going through right now, Jesus is the answer. He’s the peace you long for. Choose to look to Him. Tune out the voices of fear and look to the one who came to bring you peace!
Short Prayer for Everyday Peace: Loving God, grant me peace of mind, and calm my troubled heart… I pray that I am calm, collected, and tranquil at all times today, and every day I live in the circle of Your love. I rest and relax in Your awesome presence.
Song of Meditation- “Jesus Will” by Anita Wilson
Faith is Contagious
Devotional Thought for April 8
By: Celia Waddell
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7-10
It’s not news to you that things in the world are far from normal. Schools, churches, gatherings are all canceled. And if you’re honest, you’re probably a little sick of all of it. That’s totally normal, and certainly understandable. However, here’s something to think about. Instead of being upset and unhappy, how can you help someone else?
Who can you encourage? Maybe your brother is sad, what could you do to encourage him? Your faith can help and encourage others, because faith is contagious. Your faith can be the change that someone needs. Your faith can make a difference in many people’s lives that are hurting and afraid. So instead of being upset too, choose to look around and ask God how you can be part of the solution.
In the Bible, we see the woman at the well doing just that. She went and told others about Jesus. Her faith caused others to believe too. Why? Because faith is contagious. In the same way, your bold stand of faith may be what someone else needs. So be bold and willing to do what God tells you to do. You might end up leading someone to the lord or help someone stay grounded in the middle of this pandemic.
Song of Meditation: “Fear thou Not” by Dynamic Praise
Devotional Thought for April 7, 2020
By: Matthew Winslow
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not. Nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deuteronomy 31:6.
Jamie loved her new job. Jamie worked as a sales associate at a specialty coffee shop that sold 100% natural premium coffee beans. Her manager was kind and had no issue allowing her Sabbath off. Jamie was one of the top sellers every day usually meeting, if not exceeding her sells goals. She got along with all her co-workers. The job paid well too. One day her boss suddenly left and a new manager, Joan, was put in place. One day before, Jamie and her co-worker, Maxine were restocking the back room. “I wonder what the new manager is like.” Jamie stated.
“Like a drill sergeant meets a bulldozer”. Maxine replied with a straight face.
“Seriously, she’s no joke. She’s detailed and particular.” Maxine continued. “She specializes in ways to ensure the store will make the most money. That’s why they are bringing her in.”
“That can’t be a bad thing, we’re all here to make a living. She can’t be that bad” Jamie replied.
“Last time she was here, she called me in on my day off, threating if I didn’t come in, I would lose my job.
“She threated you!”
“Not in so many words. She said that if I couldn’t come in it was fine, but if I didn’t, she couldn’t guarantee all my hours for the week. I have children, I couldn’t risk it.”
“When I got here that morning, I had to do everything. She helped one or two customers, but she was defiantly watching me the whole time. She made me clean the store, make coffee, rearrange each shelf all while helping customers.”
“I later found out she had called Tim and Darren off, just to see how I would perform under pressure. If you want to keep this job, do everything she asks you to do, no matter what it is, even if you have to come in on your day off.”
Jamie later started to wonder what would happen if Joan called her in on Sabbath. She didn’t want to lose her job, but she didn’t want to disappoint God. “I will just have to pray she will not call me in. If I do a good job, what’s the worst that could happen?” Jamie thought.
The day arrived and the new manager came in. She was everything Maxine had said. She made them clean the store, rearrange the shelves in addition refill all the coffee beans. It was a slow day, but Joan kept them busy all day. Jamie was drained the minute she got home.
The next few weeks were hard, Joan wouldn’t let them stand still, even on the slowest days. One day they rearranged the shelves multiple times while practicing making cups of coffee. If a cup didn’t taste up to Joan’s standards, she would pour it out and make them do it again. She was scary and made everyone feel on edge, but Jamie did her job and made her sells goals. She thought “At least I still have Sabbath”.
One day Joan called Jamie in on a Tuesday to help prepare for the seasonal displays. Jamie thought “Oh no, this must be a test.”
When Jamie got there, everyone was there, but Joan was sitting just outside the store on a computer.
“Hi Joan” Jamie waved as she walked toward the entrance.
“Jamie, before you go in, would you join me please?” Joan asked.
Jamie froze. “What could I have possibly done!” She murmured.
“Yes, ma’am.” Is all Jamie could get out as she slowly turned, put on a smile and walked cautiously to the table. “Yes ma’am?”
“Please sit down.” Joan stated without looking up from her computer. “Do not call me “ma’am”.
“Yes, Joan…” Jamie sat, still trying to be as pleasant as always. She thought that if she seemed warm and friendly it would ease her fear.
“You’re one of our top associates.” Joan states without looking up.
“Thanks, just doing my best” Jamie started to feel a relived and thought “Awesome, I didn’t do anything wrong!”
“Yet, you don’t work the full weekend. I will need you to work Friday’s and Saturday’s starting this weekend. You can have Monday and Tuesday’s off from now on.”
Jamie’s heart sank. “Well, I’m a Seventh-Day Adventist, I go to church and serve my God on Saturdays. I can work some of Friday, but I must be off at least an hour before sunset.” Jamie states in one breath.
Joan glares into her eyes over her glasses. “You can make a lot on commission.”
Jamie states firmly. “I will not be able to work those days”.
Joan takes off her glasses. “I can’t promise you all your hours for each week going forward.
“That’s fine, I can work Mondays and Tuesdays, all day if you like. Jamie negotiated.
“I see…go on in. I will post the holiday schedule later today”. Joan glared.
“Yes, ma’…I mean Joan…” Jamie got up from the table and went into the store. She didn’t feel as defeated as she thought. Her heart stopped racing and she felt better, because she stood up for the Sabbath.
Jamie did her job and went home without looking at the schedule. For the rest of the week, she avoided the schedule. She was nice to Joan as normal. She did wonder “Is this my last day? Is she going to fire me?”
On Sunday, Jamie came in knowing she would have to look at the schedule. At the end of the day, just as she and Maxine were closing, she had to take a look. She had Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sabbath off. She only worked four hour, three days a week.
“What happened? Why did she cut your hours?” Maxine approached.
“I wouldn’t work on Friday night’s and Saturday’s. I’m a Seventh Day Adventist, It’s a day of rest for me.” Jamie stated boldly as she started toward the door.
“I like how you were able to just tell her and move on. That’s respectable.” Maxine reassured her. “Plus, I’m off on Saturdays as well, you go to church, right? Can I come with?”
Jamie slightly surprised “Yes, of course!”
As Christians we are called for a higher purpose. Yes, we need job, but we are also called to be witnesses for Christ. Jamie could have folded and told Joan she could work Sabbaths, but what good would have come of that? She ultimately was able to faces her fears and stand for God, even though she lost hours, Maxine can now be exposed to the truth. My point is, people are watching how we respond and do things. They notice when we stand out from the crowd and that’s what God has called for us to do.
Devotional Thought- April 6, 2020
“Keep Calm, Don’t Panic”
Written by Sis. Peaches McEady
Since everyone is panicking and fear is all around. I feel now this is an excellent opportunity to use fears to teach young children, and the youth about faith. Yes, we see how the COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption in our lives. Everything such as churches, schools, sports leagues, conferences, and restaurants, you name it, is affected by this virus. So what do we do? Do we fret and panic? No, you start reading, learning, and believing God’s promises in the BIBLE. If you know no other promise in the Bible, here is one in John 14:1-3. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, also believe in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” This is a great promise to commit to memory.
We know that people are getting sick, and some are even dying from the COVID-19 every minute. This is a pandemic that you and I have never experienced before. This is our “New Normal,” and many young and older people are traumatized as a result. This is not to say there is no reason to be concerned, or that we should ignore the sound advice of medical professionals and public health experts who tell us to stay home, keep a safe distance, wash hands often, and cover your cough. But do not panic, and do not fear because panic and fear are NOT from God. Calm and hope are. Remember that Jesus is in charge of everything in this world. Jesus said, “Behold the fowls of the air. They sow not neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. He continues to say, “Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matt 6:26-29). Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus is BIGGER than this CORONAVIRUS! If Jesus can take care of the birds and the flowers, then He certainly can take care of us.
Finally, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took Him with them in the boat. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:35-41. So if Jesus can calm the sea, He will certainly tell the Coronavirus, “Peace! Be Still!”
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we are dependent only on You. This virus has reminded us how powerless we are without you. We depend on you for all of our needs. Jesus, we repent of all of our sins. Lord, you are BIGGER than any COVID-19 that comes to steal and destroy human bodies and spread its vile sickness through our communities, nations, and the world. As we endure this new normal in our lives, we pray earnestly for the heroic medical doctors, nurses, and health care professionals who are putting their lives on the line for us. We pray for all of our children. Please keep us all safe. In Jesus’ name, we pray, AMEN!
The Blessing in Your Trauma
April 3, 2020
By: Erinn Williams
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was in an abusive relationship. Mostly verbal abuse, but at times it turned physical. That experience left me with guilt, shame, embarrassment and more. When we finally broke up, I was relieved but also felt a sense of grief over a relationship that did not turn out how I expected or planned. Life throws us curveballs all the time! It could be a goal we couldn’t reach, the death of a loved one, a traumatic experience or, in my case, an abusive, toxic relationship. Trauma, loss and failure can leave us in bondage to a multitude of “demons”. Guilt, shame, low self-esteem, depression, addiction, you name it.
While in bondage it’s easy to feel like there’s no way out and you’re stuck there forever. At times, I felt like I would always be too weak to leave that toxic situation. I also felt as though the shame of being the kind of woman that allowed that kind of treatment would never go away.
But the great thing is that God has the power to help us break all of those chains. Not only that, but God already had a plan for you to achieve something beautiful out of those trials. Despite the tribulations you face, the fact that you’re still standing shows that God has given you the strength you need to break out of whatever binds you and move forward. Although it never seems like it, the blessing in our failure, trauma, loss, etc, is that God provides us a chance to learn important lessons about ourselves, develop resilience and most importantly, grow closer to God in the process.
When God released me from bondage, I finally let go of the shame, guilt and embarrassment. I learned what it was within me that kept me in such a toxic situation. I was able to avoid running into the same issues and find fulfillment in healthier relationships. And I have even been able to help others that find themselves facing the same issues, which I believe was part of God’s plan for me.
It may not happen overnight but freedom from bondage can and WILL happen. Shame, guilt, grief, and disappointments can be heartbreaking but they don’t have to bind us or break us. We have something to look forward to. God has provided us the tools and strength we need to “break every chain;” we need only to set our minds to use them.
Self Reflection: You’re a survivor! You’ve survived one of the biggest trials in your life. OR You’re currently dealing with and surviving the greatest obstacle you’ve ever faced. What lesson have you learned about yourself AND about God?
Song of Inspiration: No Bondage – Jubilee Worship
Thursday Devotional: April 2nd, 2020
You Are Stronger Than You Believe
By: Franka Riviere
The Bible is riddled with stories with God’s children overcoming their issues, yet, why do we modern-day “self-proclaimed” Children of God always feel so incompetent? I sometimes ask myself this question and from studying and self-reflection, this is what I found.
1. We are comparing ourselves to worldly standards
Though we live in the world of Meg the Stallions and the numerous mumble rappers, and Grammy winners who are plastered on billboards, radio, TV, and social media it is hard to not fall prey to these constant images and high standards. But we have to remember we do not BELONG to this world. We are asking ourselves if we are good enough for their standards instead of asking if we are walking in God’s shoes- a reflection of his Image.
(Quick Read) Job 17:9
2. Humbleness does not equal low-self esteem
I was always scared of looking proud. I sometimes belittled myself to not seem cocky or a know it all. I’ve come to realize that God did not create me to be small and he GAVE me my talents to shine for HIM! Also, God took all those small people and gave them big roles! If they kept their ways and views of themselves and didn’t accept their gifts, God would have to use someone else for His glory . The Devil wants us to be quiet, not stand up for God and ourselves. When I realized that I am awesome, a lot of things started going my way. My flowered confidence bloomed and I started excelling more than before. Things started to fall in place and I saw God moving in my life. God planted a seed in all of us, we just have to water it. Take a look at this parable, and when reading, think of the talents as the gifts God gave you. Matthew 25:14–30
3. Lastly, we all have our down days. Even Jesus cried a couple of times and prayed a good few more times. It is being human. God gave us this range of emotions, so it is not like he does not expect us to feel sad, frustrated, confused, and even weak sometimes. He understands! So take a moment, breathe, and locate and identify what is going on. We sometimes prolong our stress simply because we do not want to deal with it. The longer it stays the heavier it becomes in our subconscious. After identifying the issue at hand bring it up to God in prayer. He is literally waiting to deliver us. Remember, not everything is going to happen overnight, but this is where your faith comes in. Although we can not see the endgame, we can recognize the value of our struggles, whether it is to refine us, build our faith, bring us future blessings, OR it could just be a testament in bringing someone else closer to God.
(Quick Read) Psalms 142:6
At the end of the day, God is ready to move mountains for us. For the remainder of this week really focus on being your BEST:
Believe that you are stronger
Evaluate your issues
Say that you are competent
Testify to God’s current and previous victories.
Devotional Thought- April 1, 2020
From “Jesus Calling” by Sara Young
Submitted by Suzette Douglas
Proverbs 3:5, Deuteronomy 33:27; Jeremiah 29:13-14
I am taking care of you. Trust me at all times. Trust Me in all circumstances. Trust Me with all your heart. When you are wary and everything seems to be going wrong, you can still utter these for words: “I trust You, Jesus.” By doing so, you release matters into My control, and fall back into the security of My everlasting arms.
Before you arise from your bed in the morning, I have already arranged the events of your day. Every day provides many opportunities for you to learn My ways and grow closer to Me. Signs of My Presence brighten even the dullest day when you have eyes that really see. Search for Me as for hidden treasure. I will be found by you.
Devotional Thought- March 30, 2020
“Fear is not your Friend”
Every day since the news of the outbreak spreading, everyone of us may have had one of our friends ask us the question, “How do you feel about the Corona Virus outbreak?”
I’ve heard it all! Everything from people who have felt angry at our government’s poor “reaction time” to people who felt like it wasn’t even real! But if there’s one emotion that this pandemic has really stirred up within us as a people, it is fear.
This pandemic has struck a cacophonous sound of fear like a bad chord in a stanza of our harmony we call life. COVID-19 caused a shift in our “harmony” and many people are afraid, including us. These times remind me of what it must have been like in the story of the Bible of the plagues that fell upon Egypt before God had Moses lead them out from Pharoah’s rule. Many of the Egyptians and even the Israelites were afraid! Let’s refer back to the last plague of Egypt, specifically found in Exodus 12:29, where the Lord had killed all of the firstborn of Egypt who did not have the blood of the required Passover lamb on the door posts as he instructed in Exodus 12: 12-13.
Was this something to fear? Yes… of course it was! But under what condition was it to be feared? It was this: Those who feared only needed to fear if they had not obeyed God’s instruction to them of what to do in preparation for the last plague.
So, the question we all need to ask ourselves is: Have I obeyed God’s instruction in preparation for His judgement on this world? If we have not, God in His grace, is still extending the time for you to prepare. It’s not too late! Do it now, so that when we have prepared ourselves, we can claim the promise of Psalms 91: 9-10 that says,
“Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Make God your refuge and obey Him now, so that you will not have the fear of COVID-19 like our world is exhibiting. Amen!
Pray this prayer of connection: Dear God, We’re grateful that you never leave us or forsake us. And we’re grateful for the technology that helps us stay in touch with each other. Give us the strength to endure this difficult season and deepen our connection with You and Your people. Today, help us remember that this time of social distancing and isolation that will not last forever. Empower us with an extra dose of Your love, peace, hope, and joy. Remind us of Your promises, and please heal our land. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
~Written by Korey A. Williams