Category  |  substance abuse

Seasons of Grief

Last year I received two pieces of extremely sad news within a few hours. First came the news that a dear friend died of a sudden heart attack. Steve, who was only 60 years old, was a good man who loved Jesus and his family. A few hours later brought the tragic news of a dearly loved couple whose marriage collapsed under the weight of an adulterous affair.

Seduced by Degrees

It started out with my friend doing a little drinking with friends—hitting a bar after work. But then the heavier drinking began and poor decisions ensued as his abuse of alcohol escalated. His weak relationship with God became nonexistent. Today, my friend’s marriage is in shambles and his relationship with his kids is strained. It’s been hard to see him slip into the abyss by degrees.

no ordinary struggle

Near the conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King, Frodo is on the verge of completing his mission to destroy the Ring of Power. With the fate of Middle Earth hanging in the balance, all that’s left is to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

He hears our cry

Have you ever felt as if no one was there for you when you faced a difficult and trying time? Perhaps King David’s words reflect what you were feeling: “I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me” (Psalm 142:4).

June 23, 2014

How has God helped you through a difficult challenge in your personal life recently?

restore us

He brazenly told me of his life as both a drug user and dealer. I strived to show him that I cared as I described the real and fulfilling life that can be found only in Jesus. He described the death and destruction that he had experienced. My instinct was to try to rescue him, to help him find restoration in God. But, after just a few minutes, he said goodbye and walked away. As I watched him slip into the shadows of the streets, I silently lamented.


There was a time, deep into my walk with Jesus, when life became extremely difficult. I told a friend that I felt like a mouse, batted back and forth between the paws of a cat that was toying with his victim before making the final blow.

no offense

I’ve been inspired by the book The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons. One of its most profound messages is that Christians who are serious about restoring the broken are not “offended” by their depraved lifestyles. Rather than condemn and pull away from people whose lives are messed up after years of drug abuse, sexual immorality, or greedy materialism, Lyons says we should meet people where they are. This includes reaching out and offering the hope of restoration found in Jesus.

a psalm for the struggle

It was the kind of eatery where you stand in line, place your order, and then step aside to wait for your food to appear. After I did just that, a young man took my place in front of the cash register. He ordered his food by using gestures and broken words. Paying was difficult for him, because one of his wrists was turned so that his fingers pointed back to his body. And walking to a table meant overcoming the uneven function of his legs. This young man struggled physically, yet courageously.

February 11, 2013

What have you found worked well to help a friend break free of an addiction?

a destructive god

There are two essential spiritual truths that we ignore at our peril. The first is that a variety of “gods” seek our allegiance. The second is that we take on the qualities of the gods we worship. Jesus described money as one of these alternative gods, and the secular world is now telling us how worshiping this god affects us.…

don’t be cruel

Have you noticed how difficult it is for elected officials to break bad news to their citizens? Numerous countries are drowning in debt, yet most leaders refuse to raise taxes or cut benefits. Figuring that bankruptcy will be the next government’s problem, they happily kick the crisis down the road.

These leaders act like the false prophets in Jerusalem. God…

never forgotten

One day, a taxi dropped world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma off at New York City’s Peninsula Hotel. But as the cab drove off, Yo-Yo realized he had left his cello in its backseat. It was worth 2.5 million dollars! The hotel staff jumped to action. As one reporter put it, they “put on their own virtuoso performance, contacting officials all over…

you are loved

A counselor was conducting a family therapy session with the parents of a teenager who had been caught using drugs. The parents excused their daughter’s drug use, saying that it was no big deal and just a phase that most teenagers go through. After a while the counselor told the parents to leave the room and, turning to the daughter,…