Hope Over Heroin (hope over any addiction)

At New Life Church of God in Benton, IL, we are partnering with Hope Over Heroin. The big event will happen in August 2019. Look for much more information to come.

As in Ezekiel’s vision, recorded in chapter 37, we can no longer walk anywhere in this land without stumbling over the dry bones of the lives thrown away in search of more and more poison to fuel the disease of addiction. Our land is scattered with the shells of people whose lives are sucked dry of all hope of any existence outside their prison of addiction. People who used to live and laugh, who used to go to school and work, who used to love others and enjoy life now lay scattered across our land, able only to ceaselessly crawl toward the black hole of death that is addiction.

But, just as Ezekiel saw the valley of dry bones come to life, we too will see the broken, fragmented, buried lives lost to addiction come up out of the graves. God knows how to cause His breath, the very substance of His Holy Spirit, to enter into these dry bones: “Hear the word of the Lord” and live! “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live!” Ezekiel 37:4-5.

God also knows the step-by-step process it will take to restore the fractured, fragmented, useless shells of addicts back into living, breathing, loving, growing people. God is bringing His Holy Spirit from the four winds to “breathe on these slain, that they may live.” Ezekiel 37:9.  Once people are delivered from addiction, the toughest work begins. Long after they arise from their graves, they will continue to say, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off.” Ezekiel 37:11. So, through the power and might of the Holy Spirit, those set free will have to be convinced, over and over, that they can live and love and be happy, valuable members of our communities again.

We who partner with Hope Over Heroin to battle against addiction must be willing to walk alongside the restored for as long as it takes for God to convince them that He truly loves them and has a plan for them, until they know that the Lord opened their graves and brought them up out of the darkness simply because He loves them. Therefore, we commit to praying and seeing them through so that they will know that God has put His Spirit in them and placed them in their own land to live and breathe again. Ezekiel 37:13-14.

Amen and amen.

Hope Swims Upstream

I have several friends and family members who struggle with drug addiction. It is a wicked disease that too often completely takes over a person’s life, destroying relationships, wrecking physical and mental health, and ruining careers. Even when an addict manages to avoid the most dire consequences of the disease, depression and hopelessness tend to seep in unnoticed until they pull you under where you can’t breathe without the drugs.

Addicts have the most amazing ability to find each other. It’s as if there’s an underground stream they swim in, unnoticed by those not gripped by addiction. In that underground stream, which began as nothing more than a sewage ditch, the enemy provides addicts with special radar for finding other addicts and the drugs to support their addictions. As each new addict enters that underground sewage stream, the current becomes stronger, sucking all life out of everyone in it as they daily become weaker and less able to pull themselves out to safety. The stronger the current, the harder it is for those who take one step toward it not to fall down the slippery slope of its banks. Over time, as more and more addicts are pulled into that wicked current, the banks get steeper, more slippery, and far more treacherous.

But what if the current of that underground stream were reversed? What if the addicts were blocked from finding out where to get drugs because they kept running into ways to get help? What if there was another mighty river with a current so strong addicts began to be swept upstream to islands of hope where they could find help to overcome their addictions? Where they realized they could be free, once and for all, from any desire for drugs?

God is moving in a mighty way in our little town of Benton, Illinois. He is connecting people from all over Southern Illinois who are passionate about seeing the strongholds of these addictions broken. As God knits our hearts and prayers together, He is increasing the strength and volume of the river of living water that flows from our hearts out to the lost and dying world.

What is happening right now in the spiritual realm will soon be seen in the natural world: the sewers that the enemy causes addicts to swim in is about to meet the river of living water, and a new channel will be formed. The addicts (of drugs, sex, power, food, envy, jealousy, rage, you name it) will see the beauty of the glory of God and want to be washed clean and set free in His river. When those who’ve been caught up in the current of the devil’s sewer start choosing to change course, what has formerly drawn addicts to find each other will draw many other addicts to find the hope of God’s redeeming mercy and grace. As many as choose to will begin swimming upstream toward the light and against the sewer’s current, and those who haven’t yet seen the light will see them swimming upstream, and, as they turn to watch them swim upstream, they too will see the light.

There is Hope Over Heroin and all other addictions.

If you are interested in finding out more about Hope Over Heroin, please contact me or New Life Church of God, 707 N. DuQuoin St., Benton, IL, 62812, phone 618-439-3833, http://www.nlcg.org.