I was pondering on the struggles we often have as we come out of the desert of sin and the affects of the past. How I often wished there was a magic wand- a genie in the lamp, a Walt Disney character that had the magic dust… Something nice and painless that made all the poor choices and life altering decisions vanish. Anyway, the reality of dying to “self “and denying “self” is still difficult at times no matter how long or genuine our walk with Jesus is. One group of people will say, “All you need is FAITH,” and another will say, “His Grace is Sufficient for me” and yet another will say- DISCIPLINE YOURSELF! I would say they are right, however my experience in working with guys coming out of addiction is that it requires a combination of all three working in concert together bringing us to maturity in Christ. The goal is to become like Christ-. I have decided in my heart that God is always teaching me the art of surrendering to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit in all areas of this life. In other words- walking in the Spirit of God. I must confess that reading the word, praying and fellowship are my life source- yet the pain of the carnal nature is real, the loss of dreams and the pressure of being in leadership can all take center stage at times in my life. Things I wish I had not said in anger- regret from missing the mark. The pain of seeing a long term dream turn to ashes before my eyes. Watching a dear loved one destroy their life with booze and drugs. You start looking for the silver bullet!- I feel like Neo from “The Matrix” ~Everyone believes in me except me! I have felt like NEO just before he lets go of what he thinks he knows and goes to confront the enemy he says, “There is no spoon” and flys into battle holding onto an elevator cable as he disconnects it from the elevator itself! YIKES! He denies the momentary safety to embrace a greater reality! JESUS is the greater reality! GLORY! – Galations 5:24 “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” The carnal man desires comfort above all else- even at the cost of relationships at times. The carnal man does not want to DIE! Yet Jesus said some pretty hard things like, “If any man desire to come after me he must DENY himself, take up his CROSS and follow me.” CRUCIFIED is a very violent term! The Apostle Paul was not using a bunch of “sugar coated” words to convey to the Galatians what must be done to the flesh….I do not know about you but I am tired of the “Self Help” sermons and the self appointed behavior police, and the heresie hunters that have infected the church. The cry of my heart and the cry of many that are hurting and lost is Give us Jesus. Jesus is more than a “Silver Bullet” He is more than an “addictive” to make my life better. He is the “Great I AM!” He is the King of the Armies of the God Most High! I like to remind myself that all the cleaver quips and fortune cookie “Christianese” can not replace time with the KING! The cry of the Lords heart is “be with me.” Mark 3:13-14 “And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach…” He still says this to us today- Follow Me. While there is breath in your lungs there is hope- some of the most painful things that I have endured have turned into stories of victory and promise- stay in the fight!